Australian Academic Accuses U.S. and Aussie Forces Committing War Crimes in Fallujah

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The Australian academic Chris Doran in his article on Online Opinion on August 3, 2008, accuses and condemns the Coalition forces in their attack on Fallujah on November 2004 of breaching the Geneva Conventions and of committing war crimes. But in his passionate condemnation he disregards the fact that wars are not fought by holding the sword in one hand and the Ten Commandments in the other. An ineradicable law of war is that its prolongation increases its brutality in ‘geometrical’ proportions and hence its casualties in civilians and the military.

The action in Fallujah had the strategic goal to shorten the war. Fallujah was a hornet’s nest of foreign and local jihadists who were not only manufacturing the lethal car bombs but also sending their suicidal fanatic warriors in other cities of Iraq. The collateral civilian casualties, not in the huge overblown fictional figures presented by the writer of the article, were inevitable in a war that the enemy uses civilians and, indeed, members of his own family and relatives as a shield. And the question arises who is the real moral culprit and war criminal in such a case. It’s obvious however, that Doran in the heat of his pacifist hate of all wars, whether justified or not, has no propensity to even deal with this question, least of all answer it.

Discussion with a Norwegian Writer what Kind of Society Could ‘Bring On’ an Apocalypse?

Kotzabasis says…

Krauthammer in his latest article on The Washington Post hit the nail on its head on the issue of the November 4 election. Indeed, and I’m paraphrasing, the crucial issue for Americans on November 4 will be to identify the lion-hearted and the lamb-hearted. If lacking the will or cognitive ability to make this identification and vote– out of irrational hate for Bush-Cheney and the Republicans as a result of their lack of understanding of the immeasurably intricate strategic situation that the Bush administration was placed in the aftermath of 9/11 and the ‘razor-edge’ difficult decisions it had to take to protect America from the deadliest of foes- for the “lamb” Obama, then America like sheep will be taken to the ‘slaughterhouse’.  And there will be no shortage of intellectual shepherds—one of them will be Steve Clemons holding almost the longest staff in his hand—to lead it to the abattoir. And ironically their arch enemy fanatical Islam will be licking its chops.

Posted by Paul Norheim

“some folks would like to move forward again…”

Kotzabasi apparently wants to move backward straight into the
apocalypses.

Posted by kotzabasis Oct 25, 10:43PM – Link

Paul Norheim

Since you appear to be a ‘Nostradamus’ on apocalypses you should be able also to pose the right question about them. What kind of society has a greater potential to ‘bring on’ an apocalypse, a civilized one, such as America and Scandinavia are, of which you are one of its offshoots, or one that is versed and mired in religious fanaticism?

Posted by Paul Norheim Oct 26, 1:09AM – Link

OK Kotzabasis, I`ll try to answer this in a less polemical
manner,
because you actually raise a very interesting question.

What about one of those most “civilized” ones, like for example
Germany 70 years ago?

Cambodia 30 years ago?

Rwanda less than 15 years ago?

As you notice, I mentioned actual apocalypses in modern time,
not “potential” ones; some confined to a national scale, one of
them on a more or less global scale.
All of them had strong elements of ideological fanaticism –
which perhaps may be interpreted as a surrogate for religious
fanaticism. In the top leadership of the Rwandan genocide, it`s
said that religious hysteria (of a Christian type) played a certain
role as well, but I don`t think it was crucial.

You may also think of WW1, where a certain stupidity and lack
of fantasy among the European political and military leaders
may have played a role (most of the even thought that the
calamities would be over in a matter of weeks…)

In the nuclear age, I have no trouble seeing some of the bigger
powers, or even the biggest of them all, “bringing on” an
apocalypse, perhaps aided by a smaller state with a ruthless
leadership or leaders lacking judgment regarding dangers on a
geopolitical level. In a different political climate, the crisis in
Georgia may have escalated.
I could easily imagine several scenarios, some including states
where religious fanaticism certainly plays an important role,
some where religion plays no crucial role, or no role at all.

And one of those scenarios is the Global War on Terror – this
could bring on an apocalypse on a huge scale, due to lack of
sound judgement, BOTH from the “civilized” society and
societies “mired in religious fanaticism”. And as you may well
know, there are both moderate religious worshippers and
fanatics both in a country like, say Iran, and in a country like,
say USA – although this kind of fanaticism obviously may play a
more dangerous role in a theocracy. My point is: the division
between those mired in religious fanaticism and more sober
worshippers, does not respect national borders.

During the Cold War, the world was close to such a scenario at
least once (Kennedy/Khrushchev), and this had little to do with
religious fanaticism. I would say that ideological fanaticism of
various kinds presents a danger equal to religious fanaticism in
modernized societies.

One of the important questions during conflicts in the nuclear
age: what role do the mainstream media play? The role of
propaganda from both sides? And more important: how does
the leadership of a nation interpret the situation? How does it
balance threats with diplomacy? How does it interpret
intelligence and rumours?

And in cases of asymmetrical warfare, terrorism or failed states:
how does it avoid overreacting, or using a certain situation as
an excuse to legitimize other agendas?

My impression is that you, kotzabasis, have a rather simplistic
view on these matters. That you divide the world into two
forces: the civilized (“good”) world against the dangerous
societies “mired in religious fanaticism” (read: Islam). (Correct
me if I`m wrong in my assumptions).

In our contemporary world, I believe that the issues are much
more complicated than that. This is not to say that religious
fanaticism does not present a potential danger. Kashmir is just
one example of a hot spot where a fusion of nationalism and
religious fanaticism may be a crucial factor if it all blew up.

Iran may become very dangerous if it feels seriously threatened.
But so may Israel (and not due to “religious fanaticism”). Or
North Korea, in a state of paranoia, enforced by propaganda,
and lacking credible intelligence.

Even America may become dangerous if it should go in decline
– and if some hardliners in politics or in the army became
desperate to regain its hegemonic position. And if the GOP wins
this election and McCain`s VP candidate Sarah Palin should end
up as the woman in charge of the world’s only superpower, that
could be another example of an apocalyptical scenario where
religious fanaticism may play a role.
Potentially.

In fact, the potential apocalyptic scenarios are legio. However, I
doubt that Norway or Australia will play a crucial role in any of
those scenarios in the near future.

I am curious to hear your thoughts on this.

Posted by kotzabasis Oct 26, 6:59AM – Link

Paul, you have a very weak definition of “polemical” to consider my gentle ‘strokes’ upon you as being polemical. You would have been rejected as a weak ‘general’ under Gustavus the Great. You also have a very weird definition of a civilized society if you include as such Cambodia and Rwanda. As you well know a civilized society includes not only cultural factors but also political and juridical ones such as democracy and habeas corpus. Neither Cambodia nor Rwanda were in that category. Both of them were inflicted by apocalyptic “religious hysteria,” Cambodia’s rising from the Althusserian school of apocalyptic Marxism whose students included some of the future leaders of Cambodia such as Pol Pot and Kiem Sampan, and Rwanda’s partly from a primitive understanding of Christianity and tribal hatred which is the bane of Africa. Your examples by the way by an intellectual acrobatic lapse support the core of my argument, i.e., apocalypses are incubated and arise from religio-politico fanatical ideologies.

I also notice that your cognitive tools of analysis are rather blunt, refraining myself from the temptation to be polemical. You seem to be unaware that apocalypses have a greater potential to come from the deliberate action of religious and ideological beliefs than from the accidents of war due to the “stupidity and lack of fantasy among…political and military leaders.” No Western leader ever had an apocalyptic agenda nor was he imbued with ideological fanaticism, with the exception of Hitler and Stalin, but Ahmadinejad of Iran has such an agenda. This is the fundamental difference which you miss. But it’s obvious that you are not strong on fundamentals.

And you are not wrong in your “assumptions.” Once one identifies by the scrupulous method of historical knowledge and examples one’s irreconcilable, implacable, and malicious enemies one is compelled “knowing thy enemy” to make a clear and unequivocal stand between good and evil. The question is which is more “simplistic” to continue the ‘fine tuning’ of one’s intellectual deliberations, which obviously is your inclination, at a time when it’s simply evident who your real enemy is. “Ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action.” (Thucydides)
In your penultimate paragraph you fantasize when you depict the politically femme fatale Sarah Palin could potentially unravel an American “apocalyptical scenario.”

I enjoyed this civilized discussion sans name calling and sarcastic vitriol. But your apocalyptical equilibrium between fanatical Islam and the ‘pockets’ of religious and ideological fanaticism that exist in the West is dead wrong and has no historical legitimacy.

Adieu my friend

P.S. If you can spare the time click on my name and go to my site and tell me what you think of my proposal how to win the war in Afghanistan.

Posted by alan Oct 26, 9:12AM – Link

One curse that every President has had to bear is an **sh**e relative. It’s almost a given.

Posted by Paul Norheim Oct 26, 1:41PM – Link

Just a short reply now – I`m preparing for a trip to Berlin
tomorrow.

Re: the misunderstandings…

What I meant to say was that I decided to answer in a less
polemical manner than I originally planned (it did not refer to
your post).

Secondly I did not intend to imply Cambodia or Rwanda under
your concept of “civilized” societies – only the one I explicitly
called civilized: Germany.

Thirdly: I mentioned that ideological fanaticism “may be
interpreted as a surrogate for religious fanaticism, and “that
ideological fanaticism of various kinds presents a danger equal
to religious fanaticism in modernized societies.”

You seem to agree. Fine.

And then you said: “You seem to be unaware that apocalypses
have a greater potential to come from the deliberate action of
religious and ideological beliefs than from the accidents of
war due to…”

I am well aware of the dangers of deliberate actions of religious
and ideological beliefs. This is the reason why I consider
Pakistan the potentially most dangerous country in the world at
the moment: a collapsing economy, a weak state control, strong
fundamentalist elements in the population, the military, the
intelligence and in various organizations (like al Qaeda and
Taliban) — if you add to that the risk that these elements
could obtain control over the nuclear arsenal, and the question
of Kashmir, there is a huge risk for an apocalyptical scenario.

The main point of my post above was to show that in the
nuclear age there are countless of other potential risks as well –
NOT involving religious fanaticism. And on that point, I guess
we disagree.

And then to the last misunderstanding: “You would have been
rejected as a weak ‘general’ under Gustavus the Great. (…)
“Ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one
was totally unfitted for action.” (Thucydides)

You seem to have misunderstood my role: I am not a man of
action involved in a war, I am a writer. A writer who, unlike you,
is not involved in a manichaean struggle of global proportions
“against one’s irreconcilable, implacable, and malicious
enemies”.

Life seems boring and trivial in Australia, as well as in Norway,
doesn`t it? You seem to have chosen Don Quijote`s strategy,
fighting a “war”, acting as if you were surrounded by enemies.
Must be entertaining for you.

In my next post, I`ll paste from an article in the New York
Times. Some food for thought, and somehow more directly
linked to Clemons’ original post.

Posted by Paul Norheim Oct 26, 1:48PM – Link

This one is for Kotzabasis, a column by Nicholas Kristof from NYT today, titled “The
Endorsement From Hell”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/opinion/26kristof.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

 

Kotzabasis says

If you are a writer two things follow. First, you should have been able to pick another’s position from his writings. I did not pick my position out of trivial boredom in Australia nor as an escape to “entertainment” but after thinking many hours about it. And if you think that my position is a “Manichaean struggle” or a Quixotean attack on windmills after the dire transformative events of 9/11, then all I can say to you is that you are trivially shallow and intellectually flippant in your considerations. Secondly, if you are merely a writer avoiding action like a plague, then you should not be so judgemental about issues of war and pontificating on the latter ex cathedra.

Further, you would not pass a test in logic, and Plato would never allow you into his Academy. If you accept that 9/11 was an action of fanaticism in pursuit of the seventy-two virgins, how can you doubt that America’s and the West’s enemies are “irreconcilable, implacable, and malicious?”

I did not mention Germany as it was a special case, since you yourself made only a passing comment on it and concentrated your argument on Cambodia and Rwanda. The First World War had put an arrow into the pride heart of Germans, and the Great Depression had emptied their pockets. Thus civilized Germans at the time were susceptible to the slogan of “stab-in-the-back”, and to the beer hall seductions of Hitler’s unsurpassable oratorical skills. Not that such a special case cannot happen again. If American populist stadium politics in the presence of a current ‘Depression’ have their say and vote for Obama and his ‘changing’ and ‘transformative’ policies diminished America’s global power and weakened its stand against its enemies, then Obama could unwittingly become during his administration the sire of a future American Bonaparte. And America will in turn have on its calendar the Eighteenth of Brumaire all by courtesy of Obama.

Nicholas Kristof’s article in the New York Times is unworthy of a reply. It regurgitates and pays court to the politically and strategically bankrupt conventional wisdom of the chattering classes about the war on the extremists and continues, by implication, the mantra that the best strategy against militant fanatic Islam is to go to it with an olive branch in hand. As to the issue of jihadists recruits the answer is given by events in Iraq. Why al Qaeda and other jihadists groups are in dearth of recruits presently and use women and children as a substitute in their suicidal missions? The simple answer is that they have been defeated on the field of battle. This is the way to dry their well of recruits

 Your opininion… 

 

 

 

Will America Rise from its “Comatose” State?

By Con George-Kotzabasis

A reply to a very clever American Open Salon

The Global Credit Crunch and the Crisis of Legitimacy

By RCMoya612

 RCMoya, after your excellent and resplendent analysis I feel, if I captiously quibble about few points, like a bat squeaking in the dark. First, inequality might have “continued its forward march” but I would argue that it did so on a higher level of general economic prosperity in America following the up till now unassailable historical paradigm of capitalism and free markets that has made the poor ‘richer’ in relative terms, as Amartya Sen has contended.

Secondly, America’s “hectoring and ignoring” has its counterpart in Europe and in other continents whose countries were strong allies of the US during the Cold War but with the collapse of the Soviet Union have reappropriated their independence both geopolitically and culturally and expressing this in their own hectoring and ignoring against America, thus continuing the irreversible law of the political and cultural competition of nation-states.

Thirdly, I would argue that as long as America continues to be the centripetal force attracting the “best and the brightest” to its shores and not stifling the Schumpeterian spirit of entrepreneurship and “creative destruction”, it will be able to rise again even from the ashes of a ‘comatose’ state and will continue to be  in the foreseeable future the paramount power in world affairs.

And fourthly, the rejection by Congress of the funding plan that would have a better chance than none to prevent the economy from collapsing was inevitable in the present political climate where reason cannot compete with populist emotionalism and when a swirl of weak politicians, like Nancy Pelosi, and, indeed, Barak Obama, are its ‘slaves’.  Only by cleaning out these wimpish politicians from positions of power will the political narrative reassert its legitimacy.   

Will Hate for the Republicans Ravish Reason?

A short reply to Professor Paul Krugman and columnist of the NYT

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Well, well professor Krugman, if you take the personalities of Obama and McCain out of the equation what are you replacing them with other than hate? The hate Democrats have toward Bush-Cheney and the Republicans and by association McCain? So, if this is “a race between a Democrat and a Republican and a race that the Democrats will easily win,” to quote you, it will indeed be a sublime race, a contest between hate and reason.

Reason being on the side of those who believe that politically and strategically it would be the ultimate inanity to elect a mercurial flashy populist who has his head in the clouds and is a leadership pretender to boot as president of the United States, the paramount protector of the achievements of Western civilization, when America is encountering deadly implacable enemies.

Over to you

 

It’s Time America Realizes it Cannot Negotiate with God

By Con George-Kotzabasis

In the latest talks between Iranian representatives and the five permanent UN Security Council (SC) members plus Germany last Saturday in Geneva, the chief negotiator of Iran reading from a written text rejected the package that was offered to Iran by Javier Solama, the special envoy of the European Union. Already less than an hour of the talks, Keyvan Imani, a member of the Iranian delegation, casted his doubt over the talks saying, “suspension- there is no chance for that,” in reference to the SC demand that Iran suspends its uranium enrichment. He also downplayed the presence of William Burns in these talks, –which the international media overplayed as being a “bend” in Bush’s diplomacy toward the Iranians in its up till now refusal to participate in any direct talks with the latter—saying that “he is just a member of the delegation.”

Meanwhile, Saeed Jalili, the chief negotiator of Iran, evading the issue of suspension and tongue in cheek indulged himself in literary allusions using a simile to describe diplomacy’s glacial motion as being like a beautiful Persian carpet that moves slowly as it is made and ending with a beautiful result. It’s beyond doubt that the six superpower delegates wouldn’t mind treading and romping on that beautiful Persian carpet, but some of them might be more concerned about the ugly things slowly but surely are clawing on that carpet, such as nuclear weapons, than its ‘aesthetic’ beautiful pattern.

The Iranian delegation also attempted to outsmart their Western and Chinese counterparts in the ‘photogenic stakes.’ They suggested a photo in which Saeed Jalili and Javier Solama will be in front shaking hands and the six superpower delegates standing behind them providing the background. The five Security Council members plus the German one gave this suggestion of the Iranians the short shrift it deserved.

It’s time for America and its allies to realize that they are dealing with an unappeasable, irreconcilable, and duplicitous enemy. Moreover an enemy who unshakably and truly believes that he is implementing the non-negotiable agenda of God. In such situation only a war premised diplomacy threatening Iran’s theocratic and military leadership with obliteration has a chance to create a fissure within the regime, at least among its more moderate elements, ousting the Mullahcracy and replacing it with a regime that would accept the demands of the international community. Only when America places its lethal armaments on the carpet of Iran with the threat that they are going to be used if the latter persists in its intransigency, will the deadlock of conventional diplomacy end. In the event that the theocratic regime continues to walk and talk the path of ‘martyrdom,’ then America and its staunch allies will have no other option but to adopt Cato’s strategy. Delenda est Carthago.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

Barack Obama on his Road to Calvary

By Con George-Kotzabasis

A shadow of defeat has been cast over the face of Barack Obama. In all his appearances, since the ‘ascension’ of Sarah Palin, in Ohio, in Virginia, his face expresses the ineffable feeling—of a would-be Messiah who would ‘change’ America and transform the hate of the world for America into love—that he carries a crown of thorns on his head and is dragging his cross to Calvary on November 4. And his denigrating sexist comment of “lipstick on the lips of the pig” forebodes that he will become more desperate in his campaign.

World Affairs Guru Picks Up Liberal Bastinado to Beat U.S.A.

A reply by Con George-Kotzabasis to:
 
Mahbubani Responds: Western Intellectual and Moral Cowardice on Israel/Palestine is Stunning

Washington Note, May 29, 2008

Professor Kishore Mahbubani of the National University of Singapore argues, with his impeccable credentials as an expert in international affairs, of a dawning shift of economic and political power from the round-eyed transnational continents of the West to the slant-eyed continent of the East. And in the eyes of Mahbubani it seems that the U.S. after reaching the peak of power and dominance in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries will inevitably fall from the top branch of the tree of power (like Newton’s apple?) pulled by the gravitational force of Asia. Therefore “America should prepare well for a post-American world order”. 

This pending decline of the West and of America is not mainly based on economics that western bears compete with Asian tigers on the global market, but primarily on politics and on the art of political leadership. Although Mahbubani gracefully acknowledges and applauds “the liberal international order which has benefited humanity”, which was the creation of the West and the American hegemon, he claims that presently “Western geopolitical incompetence poses the biggest threats to our international order”. He pinpoints four areas where this incompetence is blatantly demonstrated. The blunders of the war in Iraq and its concatenation to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo bay, the Israel/Palestinian conflict,  the dialogue between the West and the Rest, and global warming. All the four issues of course are the same that the liberal intelligentsia is using to condemn and chastise the Bush administration. Hence Mahbubani by picking up the liberal bastinado to beat the U.S.A. shows himself to be vacuous of any originality in his analysis, since all he does is to replicate and regurgitate the animadversions of the international coterie of liberals who like Charon, are preparing to transport the Bush administration and its Republican successors to Hades. Lastly, he blames and rebukes the U.S. for lacking the will and astuteness in its exercise of global  “governing”  to avail itself the inherent “benign characteristics” of power. Thus implying that in its political engagement with the rest of the world the U.S. is far from being a benign superpower.

The imprescriptible rule in power politics is that there are no benign characteristics in the implementation of power but only pragmatic ones. This is especially so when a nation in its greatness, such as the U.S., is burdened with the historical responsibility to tilt the balance of the world toward peace and to be the supreme arbiter between other belligerent and warring nations. In such a complex context while it’s possible for the U.S. to be benign in its relations with other nations some of the time, it’s impossible of being so all the time. The mere scale of its responsibilities and of having so many balls in the air, forces it to make its judgments on pragmatic grounds and to the highest degree possible with the precision of a juggler that dexterously keeps all balls in the air without letting any of them crashing with each another. And in this magnitude of the scale of its operations it’s inevitable that the U.S. is bound to commit mistakes, especially in the “fog of war” as it has happened lately in Iraq. But the greatness of a nation lies not that it doesn’t make mistakes in its exercise of political, economic, and military power, but in its ability to promptly acknowledge and correct its mistakes, as the U.S. has presently done with the implementation of the new strategy in Iraq that has critically changed the course of the war and which is leading to an American victory.

It’s an easy call for Professor Mahbubani to make his strictures against America ex cathedra without being directly involved in the quotidian, complex, intricate affairs of the world as the U.S. is as the sole superpower. In such involvement there are no magic or scientific prescriptions that can remedy the maladies of the world. There are no precise scientific instruments that can neither timely diagnose the ills of the world nor provide the instant remedies that can cure them. This is the reason why often in world conflicts the “surgeon” is the major domo. Only his dexterous handling of the knife can prevent a situation from getting worse. The Serbian-Bosnian conflict was a clear example. Conversely, the lack of political resolve to use a surgical strike against the Hutu regime in Rwanda led to the genocide of the Tutsis, as it’s also presently happening in Darfur.  But while no surgery is infallible, surgical strikes are unavoidable when a nation confronts an irreconcilable implacable foe. Israel has demonstrated this both in its attack on Iraq’s nuclear plant and on Syria’s incipient one, lately. And an impending attack either by America or Israel on Iran’s nuclear plant might be the next one.

Mahbubani completely ignores this narrative of the complexity and intractability of global conflicts and the often insuperable difficulties that a nation that tries to resolve them finds itself in. To him it’s the incompetence of the U.S. leadership that cannot resolve these problems, and, indeed, due to this incompetence exacerbates them and threatens the stability of the international order. He accuses the West, and by implication the U.S., of “stunning intellectual and moral cowardice” on the Israeli Palestinian conflict and of standing aloof from the “collective punishment” (Me.) of the people of Gaza. Without giving a tad of consideration first that this collective punishment is a result of the intransigency and deadly bellicosity of Hamas, and secondly, in not acknowledging that next to the genocidal punishment of the people of Israel the collective punishment of the Palestinians, even if Israel was to be blamed for, is infinitesimal. Notwithstanding this great threat posed to Israel, Mahbubani claims only the plight of the Palestinian people is the “litmus test” for the West and America.

Further Mahbubani casting himself in the role of “Theodicy”, condemns America for its double standards, for its evilness of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Like a bronze statue impervious and unaffected by the ravages of the weather, Mahbubani is impervious to the ravages of war. He does not recognize that war being the greatest atrocities of all inevitably atrocities of all kinds follow its trail. Even most of its civilized and disciplined combatants will yield to the ugly rules of war—no war can be fought clinically–especially in this case fighting an invisible enemy clad in civilian and often in women’s clothes and who can be identified only at the instance of their terrorist actions. Moreover the religious fanaticism of this “apocalyptic” enemy who believes he follows the orders of his God makes him impervious to any reasonable persuasion that would extract from him information that could save thousands of lives. In such an existential struggle it’s inexorable that human rights and values are secondary and are replaced by human existential rights and values. There are no absolute human rights and the latter are always relative to a particular situation. In the sinking of the Titanic the human rights of men were secondary to the human rights of women and children. Throughout history the values and laws of mankind have a concrete existence and not an abstract one. Their abstract existence is for philosophers but not for philosopher-kings.

Professor Mahbubani by picking the liberal bastinado to beat the U.S. shows himself to be just a follower and an aficionado of the dernier cri, the fads of the global liberal intelligentsia. And he cannot usurp least of all take up legitimately by the power of his intellect and imagination the position of a philosopher-king. He is just a pharisaic sophist superciliously weaving his thesis on the decline of the U.S.A. and its replacement by Asia.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now.