Sunday, June 11, 2006

PDI-deologues Say Zarqawi Was Just An American Myth

arqawi is dead. Strangely enough some people are sad...

In its Sunday Editorial today, Slaying a Myth, (about the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi) the Philippine Daily Inquirer is trying hard to create and pass off its own myths about Iraq and the war on terror. Right in the lead paragraph one gets the feeling they are actually sorry that Zarqawi was killed...though they instantly snap back...
THE killing last week of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian jihadist behind many abductions and suicide bombings in strife-torn Iraq, is certainly a military feat of a high order. But it is not—and cannot be—the political and historic milestone the Bush administration would like to think it is.
What bitter old Sour Grapes! Next, PDI claims that the Yanquis made it all up anyway so getting Zarqawi was no big deal...
The myth of al-Zarqawi as the leader of the anti-American insurgency in Iraq, a foreigner who symbolized al-Qaida’s engagement in the country, was exactly that: a myth. And it was a myth created, in large part, by the American government he had sworn to fight.
Gee, and here I thought he was the real Butcher of Bagdadi Shia-dom, but PDI informs us he's just America's invention. Just like Osama Bin Laden! But look, says PDI further, Zarqawi wasn't really all that bad, the Americans just inflated his evil, murderous ways:
It is true that he had taken part in or masterminded the kidnapping of foreign nationals in post-Saddam Iraq; it is believed—and US officials have repeatedly said—that he is responsible for the death of dozens in Iraq; it is likely that he had even personally beheaded two American hostages.
Dozens? Dozens? I think the FACTS will bear me out that Zarqawi was directly and intentionally responsible for the death of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children, killed twenty to one hundred twenty at a time in their mosques, police recruiting stations, government offices, homes and offices. As for those beheadings, they were certainly a part of the political theatre he practice, macabre and disgusting as it was. Ah but seen through the concavely thick anti-Western ideological lenses worn by PDI editorial writers, you see, Zarqawi was not a real flesh and blood killer, but a symbol of resistance to Satan-Bush himself...
But while he served as a symbol of violent resistance to American occupation, he was not, and never was, its leader. As a must-read report (already available online) in next month’s Atlantic Monthly magazine also reveals, he was not—and never was—Osama bin Laden’s deputy in Iraq either.
See even an American monthly magazines says "This is confirmed!" Here is our proof, you see it is further confirmed by this snippet from the Washington Post...
Only two months ago, the Washington Post revealed that the Pentagon had been pursuing a strategy to inflate al-Zarqawi’s reputation. The lead paragraph in that story read: “The US military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of (al-Qaida) in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.”
I see now where this is really headed. According to PDI, the US invented Zarqawi, inflated his daily bombings and murder spree in trying to foment sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni in Iraq, as a way of proving that there was a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. In fact according to PDI, the $25 million dollar reward offered for Zarqawi was just a big show, and the editorial is not beyond taking certain American media reports out of context and grafting onto their little Sunday Fairy Tale about Zarqawi
How did he “tie the war” [the invasion of Iraq] to Osama? The Atlantic Monthly report drily notes one example: “One can only imagine how astonished al-Zarqawi must have been when [US Secretary of State] Colin Powell named him [in February 2003] as the crucial link between (al-Qaida) and Saddam Hussein’s regime. He was not even officially a part of (al-Qaida), and ever since he had left Afghanistan, his links had been not to Iraq but to Iran.”

But making him out to be more than he really was did not only help the White House make that tenuous connection between Osama and Saddam; it also helped US forces meet operational objectives in post-invasion Iraq.

The Post story notes: “The documents state that the US campaign aims to turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their perceived dislike of foreigners. US authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.”

One of the documents obtained by the Post, the transcript of a meeting, quotes one key military intelligence officer telling Army officials: “Our own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will—made him more important than he really is, in some ways.”
Here is where PDI claims that even the $25 million dollar reward money put up for Zarqawi's capture was done just to prove how important and dangerous he was. Well never mind that he was sending victims and suicide bombers to Allah so fast they once ran out of vestal virgins, given that 70 odd are promised to each of the recently canonized jihadis. (Surely, Allah is not filling the shortage from the victims. That would be the Abu Sayyaf's fantasy since they "marry" the women they rape and carry off, or vice versa.) So did the Americans "create" Zarqawi? PDI says...
They certainly did. Judging from the iconic economics of reward money, al-Zarqawi was deemed by the US government equal in importance to Osama himself; he, too, had a $25-million bounty on his head.

But that same intelligence official quoted in the Post also described al-Zarqawi’s operation as resolutely small-scale, “a very small part of the actual numbers.” On the other hand, Osama, who actually masterminded the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, continues to inspire anti-American, anti-Western violence around the world. He has invented something new: franchise terrorism. His terrible network is impossibly wide, reaching even the hills of Basilan, the streets of Toronto—or the alleys of Baghdad. In fact, it was in the cities of Iraq that al-Zarqawi found his calling: as a franchisee terrorist.
Alhough PDI resolutely ignores the murderous, terrifying reality that Abu Musab Al Zarqawi truly was, belittling their numbers to dozens let it not be said that they are insensitive to the loss of human life. The editorial (mercifully and mercilessly) ends with this...
Will al-Zarqawi’s death (the US air strike also killed a woman and child, among others) lead to the collapse of the insurgency in Iraq? The short answer is “No.” But, perhaps, now that he’s dead, the White House will finally be forced to face reality in Iraq, not myth.
They are mourning the death of Zarqawi's (latest) teenage wife and their infant.

FIGHTING TERROR: I think PDI just hit mental bottom with the above editorial, but it isn't all a nadir of nuttiness in the Philippines. I caught the excellent program on ANC Friday afternoon featuring Maria Ressa (ABSCBN Network's head of news and public affairs, formerly with CNN, author of Seeds of Terror). She was interviewing Rohan Gunaratna, an expert on al Qaeda, whose work I've been following since around 2003 whose book Inside Al Qaeda has been highly praised. His remarks bear paraphrasing:

Regarding the death by intelligence-and-air strike of ABU MUSAB AL ZARQAWI in Iraq, Mr. Gunaratna said that Zarqawi was a Master of the Media and the World Wide Web. (Judging by his hypnotic effect on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, he's got that right! Throughout his murderous rampage in Iraq (including beheadings in which he was personally the executioner) Zarqawi knew how to make the most of both Western and Iraqi media, especially by using TV and the Internet. (Zarqawi ran a video store when he lived in Jordan.) But he really made a name for himself after turning Iraq into the "epicenter of international terrorism, being a magnet for jihadis and a lightning rod for the global war on terror." Zarqawi, according to Rohan, was apparently not liked by Osama bin Laden when he was just a thug starting out in the career of a professional jihadi. After the US invasion of Iraq and the toppling of the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein, Zarqawi renamed his growing band "Al Qaeda of the Two Rivers" or Al Qaeda of Mesopotamia (the ancient name of Iraq). Zarqawi's basic formula was to viciously attack the Shiites of Iraq with Sunni suicide bombers, in order to foment sectarian violence causing over 6,000 deaths there, mostly from indiscriminate and inherently cruel "improvised explosive devices." He new how to recruit followers, raise money and terrorize his targets through the media. Zarqawi was able to convince people to join his jihad as sympathizers or as recruits. Zarqawi was a very dangerous and ruthless terrorist. He once planned and nearly executed a biochemical attack in Jordan that might have killed thousands of people.

MAPHILINDOSTAN: One particularly disturbing thing Rohan Gunaratna and Maria Ressa discussed is the Philippines situation, in particular with respect to Mindanao. Rohan says that over the years, the global jihad advocated by Al Qaeda has become ideological. Al Qaeda has had a profound impact on many local groups who've taken up the call and example of Al Qaeda. He cites the particular case of the Jemaah Islamiyah, which is actively trying to establish something I have called "Maphililindostan" -- a Jihadi State much like Taliban-dominated Afghanistan in the nineties, but incorporating portions of Malaysia, Indonesia and the southern Philippines. In the Philippines Mr. Gunaratna says the biggest threat is from the Abu Sayyaf, which has transformed itself largely into an adjunct of the Jemaah Islamiyah, many of whose fighters and top operatives have been using Mindanao as a base since at least 1994. A rudimentary biochem weapons manual has been found in Mindanao. Mr. Gunaratna said, and it appears to have been written by an Indonesian terrorist. Speaking of which, here is a link to the US Rewards for Justice Program offering up to TEN MILLION DOLLARS for Dulmatin (aka Amar Usman). He is a prime suspect in the first and second Bali Bombings, which I fear may actually have been planned, prepped and even launched from camps within the Philippines. During the last few days there have been disturbing indications of a deepening involvement of elements in Mindanao with Jemaah Islamiyah and Al Qaeda. The emergence of the Rajah Sulaiman Movement as having been responsible for the "worst maritime terrorist attack" in the Super Ferry 14 bombing which killed over 110 people in February, 2004 (but which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo actually ascribed "to pranksters" as she dismissed the incident which came at a critical moment early in the 2004 election campaign season.

But Mr. Gunaratna thought that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was sincere in its participation in the peace talks, and stressed the importance of a comprehensive settlement of the century old Muslim insurgency in Mindanao. He thought that unlike Abu Sayyaf Group, the MILF have largely shunned close ties with the Jemaah Islamiyah (except of course for individuals and "rogue commands" which easily and undetectably switch fealty and identification.) Meanwhile he believes that the capabilities of the ASG and the RSM to sow terror and conduct attacks must be reduced and eliminated.

Finally, when asked what he considered to be the most important ingredients to a successful war on terror, he said that what every country needs is one, leadership, two leaderhip, and three, leadership! YIKES! We've got Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

GLORIA'S PORKASAURUS-REX: For the fifth time in six years, the Philippines Congress has failed to pass a National Government Budget, resulting in the re-enactment of the 2005 Budget. They should all be fired, then commit hari-kiri, as a matter of honor. But that would be too much to ask of the Kongress of Moral Dwarves (with apologies to the Dwarves, of course!). However, there is this: Instead of reducing the President's budget by around P30 billion pesos, the Senate has effectively enforced a 134.7 billion peso reduction, going by this very useful table from the Congress Budget Planning Office.
Amount %
Department of Education a/ 112.0 119.1 7.0 6.3
Department of Public Works and Highways 49.5 62.3 12.9 26.0
Department of National Defense 46.2 46.6 0.5 1.0
Department of Interior and Local Government 43.9 45.6 1.7 3.9
State Universities and Colleges 16.9 16.7 (0.2) (1.2)
Department of Agriculture b/ 14.3 15.7 1.3 9.3
Department of Transportation and Communications 8.0 14.3 6.2 77.3
Department of Health 10.3 10.6 0.3 2.5
The Judiciary 8.0 8.5 0.5 6.6
Autonomous Regions 7.1 8.3 1.3 17.7
Department of Finance 6.8 6.9 0.1 1.7
Department of Agrarian Reform b/ 14.7 6.5 (8.3) (56.0)
Department of Environment & Natural Resources 5.9 6.3 0.4 7.1
Department of Foreign Affairs 5.1 5.3 0.2 4.7
Department of Justice 5.1 5.3 0.2 4.0
Other Executive Offices 5.1 4.7 (0.4) (7.8)
Department of Labor and Employment 4.5 4.6 0.1 2.9
Congress of the Philippines 4.7 4.6 (0.1) (2.3)
Commission on Audit 4.0 3.9 (0.0) (0.4)
Office of the President 3.5 3.6 0.1 2.7
Commission on Elections 1.4 3.3 1.9 134.8
Department of Science and Technology 2.5 2.9 0.3 12.7
National Economic and Development Authority 1.3 2.8 1.5 114.0
Department of Social Welfare and Development 2.3 2.6 0.3 12.3
Department of Trade and Industry 2.1 2.0 (0.1) (3.4)
Department of Energy 1.0 1.7 0.7 67.3
Department of Tourism 1.1 1.4 0.3 24.5
Office of the Ombudsman 0.7 0.9 0.3 38.6
Office of the Press Secretary 0.9 0.8 (0.0) (5.7)
Department of Budget and Management 0.4 0.6 0.2 44.8
Civil Service Commission 0.5 0.5 (0.0) (0.0)
Commission on Human Rights 0.2 0.2 (0.0) (9.3)
Office of the Vice-President 0.1 0.1 0.0 55.0
Joint-Legislative-Executive Offices 0.0 0.0 - -
Departments* 390.0 419.2 29.2 7.5
Special Purpose Funds 528.6 634.1 105.5 20.0
GRAND TOTAL 918.6 1,053.3 134.7 14.7
HIT HER WITH YOUR PURSE GENTLEMEN: I for one am cheered by the LARGER reduction of the Palace Slush Fund by almost 135 billion pesos (the difference between 1053.3 billion and 918.6 billion pesos.). However, it does give the President a lot of room to play. It is time for the Congress, or the soon-to-be-extinguished Senate, to learn the true powers of the Purse. I for one do not buy all that rhetoric about how reducing the National Government's budget will hurt the poor. Nope it only hurts the rich crooks in the Giant Stealing Machine that IS the national government. However, our ideological liberals are really NONPLUSSED, I think by this rhetoric. Our liberalism is actually a from of cryptosocialism that believes in a government that meddles in everything about the people's lives. They really can't imagine how keeping the money away from the government actually helps the poor.

EDUCATION POST-SCRIPT: Pia Hontiveros had Butch Abad and Mike Luz on last week on her TV talk show Strictly Politics (Wednesday, ABSCBN ANC). It was very interesting to hear Butch Abad mention an interesting little statistic: it costs the government only P4,000 per child on average, to send a kid to a private school under the GASTPE (Govt Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education) program, while the public schools are spending P7,000 per child on average in the free public schools. I believe this reflects the overall bloated cost structure under the Deped system. It is information that dovetails neatly with something that outgoing Senate President Frank Drilon said last week: how private building contractors can build school houses for half or less of what the Dept. of Public Works and Highways charges to build them for Deped. The public debate on the classroom shortage takes a silly turn when it is blamed on a lack of funds. It is really a lack of funds allocated for the purpose of putting a roof over the heads of the students because the employment plantilla of Deped is a Sacred Cow if there ever was one. Sometimes the hardest thing to see is what is right in front of our nose.


manuelbuencamino said...


The basic tenet of wartime propaganda is to portray the enemy as a monster who has to be vanquished at any cost. That means, sacrificing one's own people in the pursuit of that lofty goal and looking away from the collateral damage of innocent civilians being killed in the name of fighting the good fight.

Who knows how evil Zarqawi really is. Should his evil be measured against the number of civilians who have been killed during the invasion and occupation of Iraq? How do we cut through all the propaganda bullshit coming from both protagoniasts and decide who is right and who is wrong in that war? What objective criteria do we have to choose sides?

Rizalist said...

MB--I think what we must ask ourselves is a question like this: How do we want Iraq and the Middle East to look like in 10 to 20 to 30 years?

I suppported the War on Saddam Hussein because I believed, and still do, that it will put the Middle East on an irrevocable path towards democracy and prosperity.

This is not theoretical. The Americans did it before with Germany in Europe and Japan in Asia. Imagine what vision it must have taken in 1945 to believe that Militarist Japan and Nazi Germany could become the worlds No. 2 and )until China awoke from communism) No 3 economies in the world, and among its strongest democracies.

I believe that too about Iraq. In 10 years she and Israel will be the bulwarks of Democracy in the Middle East.

I think that is the future of the middle east now. No matter what our opinion about why America went to war there, it is no longer a thing we can change.

Democracy in the Middle East or bust!

Iraq will be more like Malaysia and not Iran by then.

So how do we decide what to support.

I say we must always support that bright future of which we already have shining examples in the past.

Remember:: 60 million human beings died in World War II. Yet the peace that resulted with Japan and Germany as a result of CONQUEST by America with democracy following on was well worth it.

It can happen again in the Middle East

manuelbuencamino said...

The thing is you cannot export democracy or impose it. The other thing is that democracy is never permanent anywhere. There is always a constant tension between democracy and what I would loosely term as authoritarian tendencies.

Even now, responsible voices in America are warning about the creeping authoritariansim spawned by the war on terror. You know the liberties that were threatened if not lost by the passage of those laws homeland security laws part 1 and part 2.

We don't know if what America did to Japan and Germany has taught them the lesson to end all lessons.

Japan has just decided to reestablish a defense ministry again. What guarantee do we have that Japan, if it percieves an opening such as a weakening of America, will not become an aggressive nation again?

Hitler rose to power from the ashes of the Versailles treaty. That was after the war to end all wars.

And then there's the hypocrisy behind wars of democracy. The US waged war on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. They were totalitarian communist states that had to be crushed or turned into democracies. Thirty years later they are still undemocratic. Vietnam is still communist but the US is getting along very nicely with them. Same thing with China. Still communist and undemocratic yet the rhetoric is gone and business is up.

I'm all for democracy. I like the system of checks and balance and minority rights and majority rule. I wish the whole world practiced that.

We do have to draw the line between rhetoric and reality. We do have to see if the rhetoric is actually what is being practiced. I think democracy is best taught by example.

Rizalist said...


I don't see why democracy cannot be exported or taught to others.

We do it for biology, chemistry and physics. Does everyone have to have their own version of the internal combustion engine or the laws of science? We cannot force anyone into democracy, I agree with that, though there WAS a great deal of coercion to do it even in Japan and Germany. I keep mentioning these, because that is the clear model for Iraq and the Middle East. What's the alternative, do you think? Drift? Let them do what they want with the fuel tanks of the world economy?

The names and nationalisms are what get in the way. In the end, what really matters is what really works for the greatest number of human beings. No individual may be ignored, but no individual may ignore the rest of humanity. The world has gotten too small and there aren't any more virgin continents to run to.

Democracy to me should be not an ideology only or a religion, but a technology -- know how.

Treated like that, then the comparative values of cultures, traditions and localisms can be removed the equation. The world is in an extraordinary state of flux. But it has to be towards a more humane world. Some things -- many things are known not to work. We cannot insist on them. Dictatorship and terrorism are just those sorts of things.

Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and China are their own punishment. What progress they've made recently come directly from whatever democratization and liberalization they've not been able to prevent. They will I think evolve into fully capitalist competitors, if they aren't already.

And Hollywood will take care of the cultural rough edges and political uptightness.

These countries are I think built for success once they shed their socialist and communist trappings. Or the old fogeys die out, and their MTV generations take over!



I recognize the immense contribution of America to help Europe thump the Nazis and I think it goes without saying that Europeans will always be indebted to their relatives and brothers in arms in America for their enormous contribution to humanity.

However, in so doing, we shouldn't discount or minimize the sacrifices of people in Europe both in the East and in the West, who got ém Gestapos, Nazis, Hitlerique Germans running for their dear lives - millions and millions of Russian lives alone perished to make that a reality.

We must also agree on one thing: it wasn't only America that fought the war in Europe - a great part of Europe actually gave up a significant number of their people to achieve victory so that we may all be free.

It would be maligning the memory of extremely courageous people who gave up lots too, including their lives without any hesitation, if we only recognized American valor.

It would be maligning the memory of my English father in law who fought and got wounded twice and who at 18 almost died in a German concentration camp, and my mother in law's 2 young brothers (age 21 & 24)who died one after the other in great pain while the Mosquito aircraft they were flying and fighting the Germans with went down in flames. It would be extremely unfair to the memory of a submariner uncle of my husband's who gave up his life in an effort to bring down a Nazi fighting ship.

It would be fair to say that the theatre of war in Europe did not only see American sacrifices but European sacrifices too.


The CONQUEST of the Axis powers that you speak of therefore were made hand in hand by friends and allies so that America and the rest of the Western world may be free.

Rizalist said...

HB--Didn't mean to minimize Europe or aggrandize America. It was Europe that bore the brunt of the Nazis and China that fought 95% of the Nipponese army.

But I am talking about AFTER the war. After she had already "won" and "conquered" the world and possessed the only atomic bombs.

If she had a different vision, if she believed that democracy should not be exported, if she said things like we say now:: that the Muslims can't handle democracy and that we should force it down their throats...if America did not believe she COULD export democracy and plant it in those countries after they each got done killing 60 million human beings together...that was an extraordinary moment in human history.

We would not be here without it. The world would be far grimmer, far uglier than it is now if Germany and Japan WEREN'T forced into democracy, by a conscious choice of the AMERICANS. By a choice unpopular even in America.

Why after all does America care about a stupid lil place on the map called Baquba or Basilan?

Why should it? Because it understands the stakes better than PDI!

Rizalist said...

And I don't know if I wanna include France in what I said about Europe. Seems their entire military defense strategy is to surrender to the first German General that shows up at the Eiffel Tower


Tut...tut Dean,

Shows how little you know about French history.

Let's not get too excited ok?

Also, America did not export democracy to Europe. Europe had it long before America did.

Anonymous said...

If we are talking of etymology then, as many other english words that are derived from either latin or greek,democracy was sure one of them.

As I said somewhere that even if the war was about oil or getting rid of saddam;
I think it is about time for the US to pullout of IRAQ.
What many republicans point out that as long as their isinsurgency they should stay.Boy,that would take forever.If not for mount Pinatubo,they would have still been here and insurgency during the time they left were not isolated incidents.

Rizalist said...

I must admit I know very little about France. Recently I've been reading about Rizal's sojourn in Paris with Juan Luna, his wife and Luling their son. I guess it all ended rather badly for the Lunas. There was a nice little operetta by Ryan Cayabyab on the Spoliarium recently. Not quite Mozart, but not bad...

Corsarius said...

That word -- 'dozens' -- it's sticking my mind right now. I just can't bear to think how in the world can the writer overly underestimate (!) the casualties.

Though the DepEd budget rose quite a weeny bit, it's still not enough. Doesn't take a finance and budget expert to figure that out. And ho ho ho -- state universities' budget reduced? No wonder we were actively eliciting funding from corporations when I was still in UP. Heck, one of the goals of our Department's Week was to get enough sponsorships to build a new building. tsk tsk.

btw, i thought that maybe you'd like to read my independence day entry at crimson crux, if you have the time. there, i share the belief of a burmese priest in the philippines. if a foreigner can believe in us, why can't we?

thanks, rizalist.

manuelbuencamino said...

Democracy is not a finished product. It cannot be exported.

It is a process that is still evolving thousands of years after man started thinking about an alternative to all forms of totalitarianism.

The whole world is a laboratory for democracy and every individual and every society is involved in the great experiment called democracy. One day if and when it is patented, it can be packaged and exported.

and let's not make the error of equating democracy with capitalism. The American experiment is about that. Other countries are trying to find their way.

Let's not equate a nation's economic system with the principle of one man one vote, minority rights majority rule, checks and balances etc.etc

The enemy of democracy is authoritarian or totalitarian tendencies. Some economic systems tend to encourage these negative tendencies away from democracy like communism and fascism in its true Mussolini concept. But monopoly capitalism also known as merger/consolidation etc is also one of those systems that runs counter to democracy.

Let's get our medicine right before we even think of prescribing it to others

Anonymous said...

i borrowed your comments and posted it to the comment thread of MLQ...

I just felt it was related.

Rizalist said...

MB--That's the Cold War talking. Democracy is NOT like religion, where all fantasies and credos are, by necessity created equal. The prideful nationalists should look to the example of Japan, which is America's perfect semi-colony. Look she surrenders her entire defense to America. Look she's No. 2 in the world! I don't counsel subservience or second class citizenship. I champion doing the smart thing. Democracy is technology. Though we cannot, nor should we force physics, biology and chemisty on others, it seems wrong to think we can't teach it to them, or that they can't learn it, or that they have to discover what works for themselves.

It's just our way of blaming the Americans for "Laming us". Heck we've been independent 60 years and it's still their fault we are the way we are!

There is no salvation is eternal resentment. We have every chance to make something of our country without blaming others for our own shortcomings.

Anonymous said...

The thing about France surrending to Germany made me research.......

It was a matter of France never expecting the unexpected,they blew up all the bridges from the rivers so as the tanks can not penetrate,but they thought that the Germans won't use the rail bridges for there is no way that the tanks can pass through them,but what dya know the Germans used them by remoiving the rails...

It was not that France had no strategy,the Germans only had a better one.

john marzan said...

i disagree with those who claim na zarqawi's importance was inflated. eto, pakinggan si tom friedman of the NYT, not exactly a bush-loving mideast expert.

The killing in Iraq of the archterrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is important both for Iraq and for the U.S. political debate about Iraq.

It is important for Iraq for a few reasons. First, Zarqawi was finally tracked down because someone in his organization or in the Sunni community in Iraq turned against him. We need more of that, because Iraq will only work if more Sunnis turn against the terrorists and join the government. Second, Al Qaeda can talk all it wants about replacing Zarqawi, but he is not so easily replaced, because he was a world-class, first-team all-star terrorist. For three years he terrorized Iraq, while eluding the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and C.I.A. Bad guys like him don't grow on trees. But his death will be a turning point only if it leads more Iraqis to come together into a coherent government and army. Ultimately, that is all that matters.

Zarqawi's death, though, also interests me in terms of U.S. politics. Recent polls show that not only are the Democrats more trusted to manage key domestic issues — from health care to the budget — but they have pulled even with Republicans on national security, a traditional Democratic Party weakness. If I were the Democrats, though, I wouldn't get too comfortable.

What the polls show is largely the result of President Bush's incompetent performance in Iraq, rather than the emergence of a convincing Democratic national security message or group of candidates respected on defense. When it comes to national security, I've always felt that voters don't listen through their ears. They listen through their gut. They vote based on a visceral sense of whether a candidate understands we have real enemies and is ready to confront them.

What Zarqawi and the recently arrested group of terrorists in Canada remind us of is that, whatever you think about the Iraq war, open societies today are threatened by these utterly ruthless jihadists. Many Americans feel that. If Democrats want to really seize control of the national security issue, they must persuade the country — in its gut — that they have a convincing post-Iraq strategy to rally the world against these Islamo-totalitarians.

(his article is under a timesselect firewall, but peking duck has the full article posted on his blog)



France during WWII in a capsule:

When the Germans crossed the "Maginot line", Marshall Philippe Petain decided to sign an armistice with Hitler. Although a highly decorated WWI soldier hero, he was nevertheless a very old man and was terribly alone.

Against his better judgement, he thought he could limit the damage or an all out war with Germany that France and its people could not win so he signed an armistice with Hitler. He was hoping beyond hope that an armistice would save the wanton destruction of France (He was like Osmena I believe in that respect - was it Osmena who was president during the Jap occupation?).

Britain could barely sustain its own war efforts against Germany and was absolutely in no position to help France repel the Germans (the US was nowhere to be found yet - Franklin Delano Roosevelt* was proving difficult and wanted Chruchill to literally go down on his knees before he would commit openly to helping the allies) so by Petain's action France was split into France Occupée and France Libre (Occupied and Free France respectively).

Petain was WRONG. Hitler didn't honor the treaty and used poor, old, weak Petain as a pawn, a puppet to force half of France into submission.

The Germans marched into Paris but there was virtually no more French Army or the ones that could have made up the French Army were in England preparing to wrestle France from the Germans while bewildered, confused French units were still following Petain's orders, some of whom were "fighting" alongside the Axis powers (mainly Germans at that time) in North Africa. It was fratricide.

But lest you be misguided that the French forces surrendered - you must know that Charles de Gaulle represented the other half of France, la France Libre and THEY didn't surrender. De Gaulle had fought the Germans during WWI, was a good military officer but openly rebelled against a superior officer, a Marshall of France (6 stars) because he believed France should not surrender. For this de Gaulle was court martialled and was meted death in absentia.

From England, De Gaulle did just that and organized an internal French guerilla movement known as La Resistance Française to wreak havoc against enemy installations and promptly brought back the exiled French forces to France to fight the Germans alongside the Allies during D DAY.

After the war, Marshall Petain was tried, convicted and sentenced to die by the firing squad. However, already in his 80s, Charles de Gaulle commuted Petain's death sentence to life imprisonment.

(*Don't get me wrong - Pres FDR is one of my heroes but that was the reality then.)

Voila mon cher Karl, l'histoire de la France en bref lors de la seconde guerre mondiale...

Anonymous said...

Boon Jour Anna,

I was afraid that I pinched a nerve when I said the French surrendered.
Thanks for the history of France in brief about the second world war!


Bonjour Karl,

Mais, non, pas du tout!

I know that you don't say things to spite anyone. (I do but not you...)

Anonymous said...

pardon my french just guessing(my translation)...

as to the spelling of bonjour
even in english and tagalog I do typos.



I'm sure you will find the French language easy to speak - it's Latin based and therefore close to Spanish or Italian...

Moreover, the English language (the original English language) is peppered with French because it was the official Royal Court's language which stayed on for a long, long time even after the invasion of the Angles (the original Anglo-Saxons) by French Guillaume le Conquerant (William the Conqueror).

So many common English words we use today were based on the French language, e.g., chat (cat), charbon (carbon), tête (test or head), geol (jail), char (car but is also a military tank), ecole (school), etudiant (student), maître (master - the
"hat" on the letter is a silent letter "S"), chattel (cattle)... the list is terribly long - an enormous number of English verbs or infinitives are the same in French except that instead of the preposition "to" the French add the suffix "er", e.g., organizer (to organize), arriver (to arrive), dancer (to dance), etc., etc., etc.

PS: Dean, hope you didn't mind my posting une leçon en français here... Thanks for not minding it... Cheers!

Rizalist said...

Mi Comentario, su comentaryo. Hehe, you folks are always welcome here, you know that!

Marcus Aurelius said...

Democracy is exportable. Germany and Japan are proof of that. Prior and during WWII both were authoritarian societies and after the war there was a large US force present in both (and small ones still present) until they figured out how to run liberal societies.

It isn't easy and takes a little grit to git 'er done.

Now it has been stated at least one is slowly rearming. Yeah so? They've done their time in the corner and it seems they have learned their lessons.

As far as the significance of the Zarq-Man's death.

First off yes he was commanding the jihadis and the jihadis are reputed to be a small part of the problems in Iraq. I would dispute that. The sectarian violence that is common was sparked and stoked by his gang of ex-pats.

But as I said at Blogger Beer this isn't a game of chess, the game does not end when the king is dead (check-mate) and that is why we build organizations. So one person's loss, weankess, or failure ruins the effort. Still, one person can make a big difference.

If Woody Allen were a disaffected paper hanger in Germany, would WWII have hapened?

Also John, there is quite a bit of thought President Bush's poll numbers have something to do with his penchant for very centrist/moderate left domestic policy and his base is becoming unhappy with that. Immigration and spending are the biggest bugaboos with the base.