The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Gen. Abizaid on Global War On Terrorism
Fellow blogger Hugh Hewitt interviews CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid as he gives us an update on the global war on terror.
General Abizaid talks about the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and the rest of the broader mideast. And let's not forget that more than 2300 Canadian troops are fighting the good fight under the NATO Command and doing what is necessary to win the war, therefore this includes us too and the fact that Canada is also engaged in this war makes it necessary to listen to what General has to say on this.
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I read the transcript of the interview and found that the general's comments underestimate the situation. I do not however believe that cut-and-run is an option.
The reason I believe that the general underestimates the situation, at least based on the interview, is that stupidly both of these countries were allowed to include Islam as the official state religion. Any long term hope of changing things there makes separation of religion and state imperative. Furthermore I do not find the divide between jihadists and "moderates" as clear as the general. When you have a religion that allows jihadists/terrorists to freely operate in its name; whose ideology is used to promote terrorism; and whose membership according to every international poll includes hundreds of millions of devotees who support suicide bombing, then the divide between the two is very fuzzy. This is why many simply could not understand why both countries were allowed to include Islam in their constitution, a very different situation from Japan and Germany at the end of WW II.
Posted by: Alain | 2006-08-23 11:07:20 PM
I disagree, Alain. I suspect the general knows a bit more about what's going on than we do, and I think that his pointed references to the differences between the extremists and the moderates are particularly relevant to those at the Shotgun who out of frustration (certainly not logic) would prescribe a program of paving the middle east.
Consider the following words from General Abizaid:
"All indications are that the people out here are not interested in having their countries turn into Taliban-like states. But on the other hand, Shiia extremism and Sunni extremism in the region are very strong, and we need to help the states help themselves against this.
"Shiia mainstream Islam, and Sunni mainstream Islam, in my view, certainly don't represent a threat to the United States. But when it is coupled with the revolutionary ideology, as purveyed by the current government of Iran, it does represent a long-term threat to our interests in this region. And Sunni extremism, as represented by people such as Osama bin Laden, certainly represents a threat to the United States of America, not only in the region, but globally.
"So I think it's very important for us to give the moderates in the region the chance to shape their own future. We've got to help the moderates in the region face down the extremists, wherever they show up. And it's a big challenge, it's a long challenge, and it requires not only military power, but a lot of diplomatic and economic power as well.
"I don't know that I want to characterize what the American media is doing or not doing, other than to say it would be a huge help for everybody if we started talking about our enemies out here, what they stand for, what they want, what their vision of the world is, why they're dangerous, and how this is a worthy fight to fight at this level now, rather than letting it wait to get worse.
"I think it's important that people understand the dangers of not contesting this area. If we let the extremists get embedded, if we let the extremists gain ground, if we let the extremists have time and resources, then I believe they'll eventually insinuate their way into the mainstream."
Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-08-23 11:31:12 PM
I stick by my comments Vit. We can agree to disagree, not a problem.
Posted by: Alain | 2006-08-24 12:06:38 AM
Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-08-24 12:27:06 AM
Correct me If am wrong but, seeing as the UN created and we support and recognize a democracy that has an official state religion - namely Israel - it would be hypocritical of us to demand that Afghan and Iraq (et al?) not do the same.
If official state religions are a bad idea (and I tend to think so) then we in the secular democracies should be pushing for their elimination wherever they exist.
Posted by: Gord Tulk | 2006-08-24 7:41:51 AM
Or we should be pushing for Christianity to be our state religion
Posted by: Duke | 2006-08-24 9:25:08 AM
A point on the 'moderites' vs the passionites.
Moderate implies a kind of passiveness ... a view that would have one saying ... "C'mon you guys, cool off, can't we all get along and settle our differences?"
The passionate jihadists will take the time only to slit the throat of the moderate for being such a wimp and for not joining the jihad.
This is how it is when you are trying to get sheep and wolves to lie down together. It's a waste of time.
The moderate or pacifist=pacify=appeaser is not passionate about the conflict or the issue, but rather, wants to get passed it to get on with the things that he is interested in.
The passionate=absorbed=fanatic is not interested in anything but the issue and has no time for anything else since, in fact there is nothing else for him.
You cannot talk a crocodile out of eating you once he has you in his jaws and that is how it is with this jihad. These people are like the Android in "The Terminator" ... IT IS ALL THEY DO!
The Jihadist isn't a soldier serving his three or four years then goes back home to get his career going, buy a chevy, marry the old sweetheart, join the bowling league and have a nice life.
These people have no other life, the Muslim world doesn't have much of an economy apart from selling oil ... there aren't chevy dealerships and Walmarts in every neighborhood. These people live relatively primitive lives and they don't like to work much.
The protestant work ethic is unknowm to them.
In short we are dealing with aliens from another planet and we aren't about to get along as equals.
The only answer is to kill them off until there aren't enough of them left to mount much of a challenge to the civilized world.
Then we can redirect our concerns the even larger threat we will be facing soon with China.
Posted by: Duke | 2006-08-24 9:42:17 AM
Cut and Run is not an option in the war against terror
Posted by: Winston | 2006-08-24 10:12:57 AM
Duke is in ear-shot of the solution.
Cut to the quick as in like cancer.
Posted by: Frico | 2006-08-24 10:28:06 AM
Are you sure Israel has a state religion?
As much as I am for Israel's right to exist, much of the work done into helping get the state created was done by the Zionists movement.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not believe Zionism is based solely on religious principles.
Religious people are allowed to live in Israel for sure, but I belive the state follows secular humanist principles while tolerating all religions, including a high Muslim population within its borders.
Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-24 11:11:47 AM
What is necessary is to recognize the parallelism of Christianity and Islam. What the UCC is to Christianity; the Moderites are to Islam.
Each respective position from 'holy writ' taken with a 'pince of salt'.
Posted by: Frico | 2006-08-24 11:15:13 AM
Are you suggesting a corruption through creating a pick-and-choose mosiac reconstruction taken from the original, which does not resemble the original in any way?
If you are, I would agree the UCC is trying to create such a mosaic.
I'm unfamiliar with the Moderites viewpoint.
Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-24 11:21:12 AM
Set you free, you are correct. Gord, interestingly, only singled out Israel, not any other country with an official religion. In any case, one cannot compare Christianity and Judaism with Islam, because of the profound problems I mentioned in my first post. Nor do I endorse the Left's desire to ban religion in order to replace it with their own godless religion.
My point is that if we hope to establish Afghan and Iraqi democracies, this is impossible with their constitutions stating Islam as the official state religion - due to the nature of Islam. It is an open door for sharia, etc., with a complete loss of religious freedom. Whereas with true religious freedom both countries could become fertile ground for Islamic reformation, should this be possible.
Posted by: Alain | 2006-08-24 11:34:01 AM
I wonder if the general has taken time to study how facism came into life in Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan in the 30s.
I believe we face a variety of facism called Islamofacism. The only thing to be done with facism is to eradicate it. It is not possible to negociate with facists. Remember that France, England, Russia tried to do just that. They were not interested in a second world war.
We must not underestimate the mad mullahs. Maybe the hardest thing right now is not to fight the terrorists but to fight the lack of information about the real dangers and the apathy of our western countries.
Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2006-08-24 11:35:47 AM
RH - a very valid point. At present it does not seem possible to win this war due to the Leftist maggots that have eaten away the heart of the West. We have allowed them control of our courts, education and politics for so long that far too many Westerners are capable of clear thought. They have been slowly endoctrinated without realizing it. Most of Europe I fear is already a lost cause including the U.K. The same cancer is alive and well in the U.S.; one only has to look at the Demos, MSM, Hollywood, etc., to see that the Americans are in danger. Canada's situation falls somewhere between that of Europe and the U.S.
Without a moral compass we are unable to distinguish between right and wrong and are unable to know who our enemy is. Basically we lose the will to defend ourselves and fight for our own survival. Mind you this, I maintain, is the goal of the Left. The Left so hates Western civilization with its traditions, values and morality that they will make allies with any group seeking to destroy the same. I certainly hope that we shall win this struggle for survival, but in order to do so we must come to terms with our own sickness and find a cure for this cancer that is eating away at our soul.
Posted by: Alain | 2006-08-24 11:58:08 AM
Meant to say far too many Westerners are incapable of clear thought.
Posted by: Alain | 2006-08-24 12:02:23 PM
Do you mean deep thought?
Many Westerners are capable of clear thought, but it stops at the superficial level of moral equivalence.
The main argument presented here many times is by pointing out that every philosphy has made mistakes, therefore all are equally imperfect.
I had difficulty with this for some time, but once you figure out this is a utopian argument, it all makes sense.
Utopians/totalitarians believe they can change human nature by passing laws. Thomas Jefferson has articulated very clearly that even tyrants are capable of passing laws.
Utopians re-connect the church and state without understanding the fundamental difference.
By dismissing the church as an institution of oppression, they reject the concept of individual's redemptions.
Credible churches point out that humans are imperfect, since without the recognition of that imperfection, redemption is not possible ... or even redundant.
But, if somebody tries to help a person improve themselves, it is portrayed as an oppression.
Then, by denying the existence of their own imperfection, secular humanists can pretend they are perfect and that their self-centred view of perfection is the way that others must also conduct themselves. So, they pass laws that set up a political system which make individual humans are cogs in a machine and call it progress.
This is exactly the point western civilization is at now.
No wonder the Muzzies want to kill us all.
Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-24 12:33:29 PM
SYF. Thank you for articulating it better than I was able to do. I completely agree.
Posted by: Alain | 2006-08-24 12:36:34 PM
Set You Free,
Zionism is not oppossed to other religions.
In Israel, anyone can worship whatever they want.
Yet fundamental-islamism demands no other religions be tolerated, let alone respected. So, Muslims in some of the Muslim states are punnished for becoming apostates. You recall recently, the recent conversion of a Muslim to Christainity in Afghanistan? The moderates were going to kill the guy.
Zionism has two sides to the coin. There is Zion, the state and Zion the nation of people. And I have read that this plurality is also included in the name, Jerusalem (Yerusalyim) which is plural. There is no doubt that, as a people, Jews are both Jews spiritaully, and secularily. There is no such thing as a law that demands observance, as that would go against everything Jews stand for, which in summary, is freedom and one almighty.
And of course, Zionist is not limited to Jews, as you know, Christian-Zionists, Budhist-Zionists, and so on and so forth. And yet the meaning has been hijacked by the fundamentalist-islamists, to mean something that is totally outside the actual definition of Zion and Zionists. The reason they have done that, is to try to divorse the truth, that Israel is a nation, with a people, the children of Israel, aka, the Jewish people.
In relation to duke's position, I believe that Canada is a Christian nation already. Look at who is the Queen, and what her positions are, and you will have the truth.
Posted by: Lady | 2006-08-24 1:20:47 PM
To better understand adherents to religions who follow 'holy writ' MSM should then recognize its faithful followers (extremists) in the same light: what fundamentalists are in the context of Christianity, ISLAM has jihadists. Obedience to the WORD cannot be compromised.
Posted by: Frico | 2006-08-24 1:22:29 PM
I believe that the idea of god was created when early humans began contemplating their own existences as only humans can. Other animals are not aware of their mortality.
Here is a likely scenario:
A child just approaching the age of reason witnesses the death of a grandparent or perhaps a pet.
The child asks what happened? The answer ... death has occurred. The next question ... what is death? The answer, end of life. The next thought the child will have is ... will I die too? Will mommy and daddy die too? Oh the horror of that moment.
That moment could be the beginning a neurosis that may drive the child wild with fear and anxiety.
What to do ... what to do ...
Tell the child this ... Don't worry darling, you don't really die, your body dies, but you go to ... are ready for the big lie? ... Heaven where we we will all meet up eventually and live forever!
Where is heaven and who runs it? Well ... god does. He is also the guy who made us and when we are all through eating sleeping and doing whatever it is we do here ... we spend all eternity together playing golf or something like that.
Religion is a therapy that has grown into the political and spiritual insanity that we now must deal with.
There was a time when we lived in great fear of all the phenomena that occur. Thunder, lightening, flood, crop failure, or in the case of hunter gatherer, lack of stuff to hunt or gather. The point is that, in our helplessness in these matters we assigned a god for each phenom and begged (prayed) him to be merciful.
As sceince explained away all these phenomena, the god of each vanished ..... All but one.
The one god that remains is the god of death ... we cannot yet explain what really happens when we die so we listed to the mouthpieces for that death god who are called prophets or 'know-it-alls'.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Belief trumnps fear of death and so it goes.
I am athiest, but was comforted as a child with the lie. I am now able to accept that I exist without an explanation and will eventually die. This leads me to cherish the life I have and that is why so many westerners love life and don't want to throw it away for no good reason.
I strongly advocate that religion continue be part of our society because it does still serve a very useful purpose. It continues to trump fear and prayer provides hope that you may yet, with gods help and mercy ... win the next lottery or be cured of whatever ails you.
So, even in our secular society, religion has an upside. One of the obvious down-sides for atheists is that there is no one to talk to during orgasm.
Although, I am sure that many egotistical atheist- leftists shout their own names at times like that.
Posted by: Duke | 2006-08-24 1:50:14 PM
Lady to suggest that Canada is a Christian nation is a bit of a stretch. As a matter of fact it is recognized as the only religion which is consistently under attack in this country. Public prayer by the previous fiberal government was virtually forbidden etc.
We are however at a pivotal point. The present option facing us today is: Choose Life - Christianity or choose Death - Islam
Posted by: Frico | 2006-08-24 1:59:14 PM
You get a "D" grade. Just a couple points, but that only for cross-debating. Others might not be as soft on you as I am, as I see you really feel what you have stated.
You really must learn a tad more about your country, and you have a right to your view, of course. What you stated really has nothing to do with what I stated. Thus, you have cross-debated the point I put forward, in a massive hint.
Who is the head of state?
And what does she represent?
I'll give you a hot-swinging-larger-than-life-hint.
What is the Queen's position, in relation to the head of a particular Church? And, what religion is that?
And, of course, the Liberals have been trying to get rid of our monarchy. So, it goes without saying, that they would also attack the religion that she, in that movement, is head of.
Posted by: Lady | 2006-08-24 3:59:29 PM
Western society is so contaminated now that purging the impurities is not possible. It is possible to treat the symptoms with tough laws, enforcement, punishment, dumping of political correctness and determination to defeat the enabler of the diseases, namely our own left.
Just a thought.
Posted by: Duke | 2006-08-24 4:10:23 PM
Lady. the Queen is only the head of one denomination,(CofE) not all of Christianity. Since we have no state religion and we promote multi-garbage in toto. Christianity is thrown in with the batch. My statement is meant to infer the different doctrines of 'holy writ' upheld in Christianity & Islam. In all truthfulness one upholds the value of Life while the other glorifies Death. Its open to reason & worth investigating.
Posted by: Frico | 2006-08-24 5:35:24 PM
On March 20, the twits at FrontPageMag.com interviewed Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, who stated without a doubt that Saddam shipped WMD off to Syria on the eve of the Iraq invasion. McInerney was referring to documents he believes prove that Saddam was hiding his horrible weapons. Of the 600 documents that have been released to the public thus far, none, I repeat none, say that Saddam shipped off his WMD to secret hiding spots.
It is clear that McInerney, a Fox News (sic) commentator, and the FrontPage conspiracy nuts are desperate to find evidence that WMD existed in Iraq prior to the invasion three years ago. They are also hoping to uncover ties between bin Laden and Saddam. Many of the documents they hope will uncover these claims contain forgeries, rumors, and disinformation. In short, they aren't the most reliable sources.
Nonetheless, here's an example of the hearsay propped up by McInerney:
"Yes, [Saddam shipped off WMD] to three locations in Syria and one in Lebanon [Bekaa Valley] in the September-December 2002 time frame. This information was provided by Jack Shaw, the former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security. He charged that Saddam's stockpiles of WMD were moved by a Russian Spetznatz team headed by Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian intelligence chief, who came to Iraq in December 2002 to supervise the final cleanup."
I suppose if Jack Shaw says it's true, it must be. Right. Here's a guy who in December 2002 released a report of Saddam's alleged crimes, but as Noam Chomsky noted at the time,
"It was drawn almost entirely from the period of firm U.S.-UK support, a fact overlooked with the usual display of moral integrity. The timing and quality of the dossier raised many questions, but those aside, Straw failed to provide an explanation for his very recent conversion to skepticism about Saddam Hussein's good character and behavior."
On the flip side of the translation game, Saddam noted over and again that Iraq had no WMD in 2002. In several of the documents now available on the Web in English, Saddam Hussein is quoted as saying to his deputies:
"[The UN inspectors] destroyed everything and said, 'Iraq completed 95 percent of their commitment. We cooperated with the resolutions 100 percent and you all know that, and the 5 percent they claim we have not executed could take them 10 years to [verify]. Don't think for a minute that we still have WMD. We have nothing."
McInerney and other war supporters have attempted to interpret the Arabic material that has yet to be released in English. Letting the amateurs slug it out is not likely to produce anything of quality or truth. Yet, many conservative bloggers have tried to nail down Saddam's ties to bin Laden by highlighting documents that seem to refer to a 1995 meeting between bin Laden and an Iraqi intelligence officer in the Sudan. However, many intelligence officials claim such documents must be taken with a grain of salt. Conversations were recorded over the radio; others were only passed along by secondhand sources but none have produced any direct link between Saddam and a-Qaeda. Even so, a meeting between in the mid-1990s doesn't mean Saddam had anything to do with 9/11, or that the two were in cahoots against the U.S.
Besides, if a smoking gun did exist, wouldn't the Bushies be the first to point it out? Why would they need an ex-fighter pilot on David Horowitz's neocon site and a few right-wing bloggers to uncover the truth? As with most of Bush's PR, the release of these documents is only meant to boost his dismal poll numbers.
Searching out justifications for the Iraq invasion are all the war's backers seem to have left. I guess they all failed to read David Kay's report on the matter of WMD. Even Charles Duelfer, another war supporter like Kay who sought Saddam's nonexistent arsenal and wrote a report about it, is convinced Saddam didn't have squat even before the first bombs dropped in 2003.
Now, I think it is pretty simple (but obviously hard for the war supporters to grasp): if Saddam didn't have WMD before the war began, then he didn't have any WMD to ship off to Syria and hide. That means there was nothing to destroy, either.
It's just more fabrications from the seekers of the nonexistent smoking gun. The only thing smoking right now, however, is the war crowds' continued lies and smoldering reputations.
Posted by: Jamie | 2006-08-25 3:14:19 AM
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has trouble understanding Canadians who feel ardently that their country's soldiers should not be involved in Afghanistan.
Toronto Globe and Mail
Afghanistan is not our war, Mr. Prime Minister.
We are not threatened by voices in the Middle East opposing American policy, unless you believe one reference in a recording of bin Laden mentioning Canada along with other countries. That recording, along with other post-invasion recordings, was almost certainly a CIA fraud, for Osama bin Laden had to be killed in the heavy bombing of his mountain redoubt.
Even if you do not believe that bin Laden is dead, what is beyond question is that American activities in Afghanistan and Iraq are building a vast reservoir of resentments and a training school for future terrorists. Tens of thousands of disaffected young Muslim men not only now have something to deeply resent but they have the operational conditions to perfect their arts of covert war. According to countless witnesses from Afghanistan and Iraq, America's brutal, thoughtless tactics have only inflamed tempers. Canada's good name should not be associated with this.
The previous government's making an under-the-table deal with Bush to place Canadian troops in Afghanistan surely does not make it our war. Your continuing, rather shrill, insistence still does not make it so. The deal was, of course, an effort to placate Bush for our not supporting his illegal invasion of Iraq. America is Canada's neighbor, but it is a fatuous and immoral argument that you help your neighbor in criminal activities just because he is your neighbor.
You and other voices from Western Canada have made much of reforming Canada's democratic institutions, and I agree that a number of them do need reforming. Yet no greater vice to democracy can exist than a government's committing the lives of young people and the whole nation's reputation to war without any consultation or debate. If you believe in democratic values, as you claim, you cannot support such behavior.
The argument is all the more powerful when war is the behavior of a minority government. Your government represents the will of less than forty percent of Canadians. How can you believe then that your views on the war should be the views of most Canadians? Through polls and every other indication of public opinion, the majority of the Canadian people have made it clear they do not support America's wars in the Middle East.
The Canadian general in charge of operations in Afghanistan has made public statements that are shameful to Canada's reputation in the world. Stuff about going over to do some killing. He sounds like an American wannabe raised on Rambo movies.
Canada did have a terrorist incident every bit as dreadful as 9/11. I refer to the bombing of the Air India flight years ago. Taking account of Canada's size, this event killed proportionately more Canadians than 9/11's American victims. While the outcome of that investigation has been disappointing, Canada never contemplated bombing Sikh communities because of it. America's logic in the war on terror is simply that ridiculous.
Posted by: Kent | 2006-08-25 3:18:09 AM
Kent/Jamie likely the same. You are typical of the useful idiots of the Left. Stick to facts and truth for you just might learn how to think instead of repeating leftist mantras.
Posted by: Alain | 2006-08-25 11:49:22 AM
After Saddam Hussein was driven out of Kuwait in Gulf War I, the United Nations allowed him to maintain power in Iraq.
One of the conditions that Saddam agreed to was to reveal the location of his weapons of mass destruction.
After 14 subsequent UN resolutions (the last being 1441), Saddam still had not lived up to the terms of his agreement with the international community.
1441 laid out consequences and one of the consequences was removal from power for living up to the terms of the original peace agreement.
Talk about revisionist history ... and this is just within the last 15 years.
Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-25 1:00:01 PM
Of course, she is the head of one Church. But her Church's faith is Christian. It is not Islamic.
(Hmm, what would Steve Colbert say here...?)
And what do you think might happen should William or Henry marry Jewish ladies?
Sure! The separation between freedom world of life and submission world of death, is worth investigating. That is not a part of the debate.
I do believe that there is common ground. The west has it's roots in the freedom and liberty from submission movement, that may trace it's roots back to different ideologies, but primarily one that took leave of slavery, when the Israelites were freed from Egypt. from that point, to now, has been an extremely bumpy road, where western societies have bounced back and forth, between freedom and submission. Currently, we live in a freedom swing, and are being challenged, once again, from the movement of bondage!
Your mission, should you choose to embrace it, along with everyone else in the free world, is to defend freedom. Their mission, is to defend submission.
The other day, I watched a few toddlers playing in sand. They got all covered in sand, and made muddy-sandy castles, rather rudimantary at that, by filling their buckets, and turning them over, and then destroying them. They were about two years old, around there. And, boys and girls.
In the free world, they are at liberty to explore their abilities, develope social patterns, and go through the growth, warts and all, of whatever they can experience in their lives. In the submissive world, they would never be permitted to be together. Boys would be valued above girls, and girls relegated to even deeper and lower submission than boys.
Posted by: Lady | 2006-08-25 1:41:07 PM
Lady I submit and concur :)
Posted by: Frico | 2006-08-26 2:24:05 PM
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