Obligatory 24 Posting

I don’t watch 24 on TV, I wait until the DVD comes out, block off 3 days, and watch them back-to-back. Here is why I do this:

If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Meyers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he'd shoot Nina twice.

If you get 7 stars on your wanted level on Grand Theft Auto, Jack Bauer comes after you. You don't want to get 7 stars.

Jack Bauer does not sleep. The only rest he needs is what he gets when he's knocked out or temporarily killed.

Jack Bauer has no problem following orders, unless you tell him to do something he doesn't want to. Everytime Jack Bauer yells "NOW!" at the end of a sentence, a terrorist dies.

As a child, Jack Bauer's first words were "There's no time!"Children don't believe in Santa anymore because they know Jack Bauer killed him.

The few people that believe in Santa know that Jack Bauer is torturing him.

If Jack Bauer had been on Oceanic 815 there would no Lost.

Seattle Seahawks- Terror Targets?

As I was driving up Interstate 5 to my TDY motel room, the local radio talk show host in Seattle was ranting about the Super Bowl. I know the Seahawk fever has seeped into the town, but the host was afraid that this would be the Super Bowl that the terrorists would attack- nuking the Seahawks into oblivion.

I don’t believe that Al Qaeda hates the Seahawks, per say, but the point is interesting to ponder. Detroit houses one of the largest Muslim communities in America. Now, with all of the required caveats, of course the majority of Muslims in Detroit are not extremists. But in the 5 years since September 11th, it is possible that networks could be built up in such neighborhoods, even if 1/10th of 1% of the population is supporting such a terror network.

We know that other sporting events like the Olympics are seen (and have been used in the past) as a great world stage on which to act out the terror play- but does the Super Bowl provide such a world stage? How many people will actually be watching the Seahawks in the target audience of the Arab world? If the target audience is Americans, will anybody notice any serious damage to Detroit? (joke, people. I don’t have to spell everything out here…)

Wrapping up, I think that a major American sporting event like the Super Bowl would be a great target of opportunity for terrorists. Yes, there may be some infrastructure in the Detroit area to facilitate some sort of direct action- but attacking the ultimate football event in this country wouldn’t weaken the United States as a whole due to the fact that the Redskins didn’t make it this year.

The Just War Theory and Iran

An excellent way to clarify the justification for military action against the Iranian regime is to examine the crisis through the lens of the Just War Theory.

The JWT is a philosophical compass, orginially designed by two of the most brilliant Catholic theologians --St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas-- as an ethical field manual for Christian soldiers. The driving concept of the theory is that a razor sharp line can be drawn between wars that are just and wars that are unjust.

Philosophers and theologians have further developed the jus ad bellum since the Catholic thinkers of the middle ages laid down the theory's groundwork. As the nuclear age dawned, 20th century thinkers revisited the works of Aquinas and Augustine, using the just war criteria to establish the Geneva convention (and notably the Hague convention in 1907).

That said, the rules for just war still apply today: a war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority, proper protections must be provided for civilians, the violence used in war must be proportional to injury suffered, and so the list goes on.

The original framers of the just-war theory never considered preemptive action, which is exactly the type of war that could be waged against an aggressive, nuclear Iran. Many critics of Operation Iraqi Freedom invoked the lack of preemption in the just war criteria to claim that the American invasion was, by definition, unjust.

Just War Theorists may not have specifically mentioned preemption, but the principles of just war --without a shred of doubt-- authorize action against the Iranian regime.

Here's why, principle by principle:
  1. A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified. Roger that. Which is why we first explored the EU led diplomatic charge. Now that the European initiative has failed, we're taking a stab at UN sanctions. If those fail, and if there is a reasonable chance that Ayatollahs are close to a functional bomb, then all options have been explored and military force is justified.
  2. A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. America is a recognized nation, whose armed forces comply with the laws of the Geneva convention. Check.
  3. A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. If the Iranians ignore the directive of the United Nations, and the security of Europe, Israel, and the United States --not to mention the nations of the Middle East-- is threatened, then a wrong has been suffered and the military correction of that wrong is authorized. Oorah.
  4. A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Uh yeah, check.
  5. The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought. Iran is a destablizing force in the region and not even the worst of Ayatollah apologists deny that fact. And although the word "preferable" is a bit ambiguous, the civilized world can agree that a free Iran is most certainly preferable to the totalitarian reign of Islamic fundamentalists.
  6. The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. Okay now I read this as authorization for preemptive strike to remove the Iranian nuclear capacity, not full-blown regime change. I suppose that you could argue that permanent "cure" for the "injury" of destablizing the region would be fostering a new Iranian democracy, but that comes off as a bit of a stretch (no matter how badly I want a free and functional Iranian republic).
  7. The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. There is no other nation in the history of mankind that is more proficient in precision engagement than the United States. Check plus.
There are of course offshoots of the JWT. Marxists only believe that war is just if it is means to progressive ends, pacifism is the antithesis of just war (i.e. war is never just), and Islamic fundamentalists use an almost bizzarro version of the just-war theory in their fatwas. In fact, Islamic jihad is by definition a complete perversion of the jus ad bellum, e.g. killing innocents is authorized, no legitimate authority is necessary, war is fought with little chance of success, war is not used as a last resort, and war is used to establish fundamentalist dictatorships instead of peace.

Should the time come to bring down the thunder on the Iran nuclear infastructure, it is only appropriate that the Just War Theory be invoked against the Islamofascists who have dishonorably broken the long-standing treaty of ethical warfare.

Heads Up!

In the (e)mail bag:

The Issue: Proposed National Guard Force Reductions
Immediate Action Required: Contact your Senators and ask them to support and sign the Senate Guard Caucus letter to Secretary Rumsfeld

Force Reduction:
Recent reports have indicated that the Department of Defense is planning to ask Congress to cut the size of the National Guard in its Fiscal Year 2007 budget request. The cuts would shrink the Army National Guard by 17,000 and reduce the Air National Guard by an unspecified number. The National Guard Association of the United States strongly opposes this action.

The Pentagon's proposal would undermine the Guard's ability to fulfill its diverse mission. We urge you to contact your Senators and ask them to sign Senators Bond and Leahy's "Dear Colleague" letter that asks Secretary Rumsfeld to reconsider these proposed cuts.
A complete summary of documents pertinent to the proposed action is available on the NGAUS home page www.ngaus.org - Click "DoD Considers Guard Cuts"
PLEASE TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTION: By using WRITE TO CONGRESS that can be accessed from the NGAUS web page www.ngaus.org you can contact your Congressional Members via e-mail and send a pre written message immediately by entering your zip code in the available space provided or you can write your own.
Contact friends and family and urge them to support the Guard Family as well

This completely befuddles me. At this time in American history, we need way more ground maneuver brigades (the next century’s legions) not less! Plus the Guard’s dual mission allows it the flexibility to respond to local disasters like flood and hurricane duty. Decreasing the Guard numbers makes absolutely no sense –transforming them does. Make FA and ADA units into Infantry, relocate some armories, but don’t freaking cut entire units. Let’s see what else the magical Google machine can dredge up:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. state governors called on the Pentagon on Thursday not to make cuts in the National Guard, calling such a move "inconceivable" considering the role played by Guard troops in Iraq, disaster relief and homeland defense.
"We need more Guard troops at this time, not less," the National Governors Association wrote to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a letter signed by Govs. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho and Michael Easley of North Carolina.
The National Guard's part-time troops come under the command of state governors for use in natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and other domestic emergencies, and also can be mobilized by the Pentagon for overseas duty. The Pentagon has relied heavily on Guard soldiers for combat duty in Iraq.

Army Secretary Francis Harvey said on Wednesday the Army had decided to fund the Army National Guard at its current level of 333,000 soldiers rather than the congressionally authorized level of 350,000. But Harvey argued that "there's no cut in force structure of the Guard at all."
Huh? If the Guard is at 350,000, and you’re only going to fund 333,000, THAT’S a CUT! More from the WaPo:

Army to Slow Growth and Cut 6 National Guard Combat Brigades
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 19, 2006; A03

The Army announced yesterday that it will cut six National Guard combat brigades -- or up to 24,000 infantry and other combat troops -- as part of an effort to ease budgetary pressures and shift manpower into homeland defense missions.
In addition to scaling back the guard's combat brigades to 28 from 34, the active-duty Army will add one fewer combat brigade than it had planned, ending up with 42 instead of 43, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey told a Pentagon news briefing yesterday. As a result, the Army in coming years will grow to 70 instead of the anticipated 77 active-duty and National Guard combat brigades to respond to overseas and domestic contingencies, Harvey said. In 2003, the Army had 67 combat brigades, Army officials said.
"This force structure we think is appropriate to the threat," Harvey said, explaining that the change resulted from a broad review of Pentagon strategy and resources that will bemade public next month with the new defense budget.
The changes suggest that budgetary pressures are exerting limits on the expensive manpower increases that the Army initiated in recent years in its struggle to meet demands in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also reflect recruiting difficulties, as well as a greater National Guard emphasis on homeland missions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The six National Guard combat brigades -- 3,500-to-4,000-troop infantry and armor units at the core of the Army's war- fighting force -- will be replaced by brigades made up of engineers, military police, civil affairs soldiers, and other support troops "very appropriate for homeland defense missions," Harvey said.

Look, when you’ve got the Guard and Reserve component hovering around 50% of the combat-deployed troops, cutting doesn’t solve the problem. I’m writing my Congressmen on this after I check some more things out on this. Snipers in the audience, feel free to let a few rounds go in the comments if I missed anything on this.

Iran Watch

Here’s some analysis of the Iran situation by way of its jew-hating, nuke-grubbing, leader (via ShrinkWrapped)

Malignant Narcissism and Paranoid Psychosis are two sides of a coin, but the most important aspect of such a person is that they are not "mad" or "crazy" in any conventional meaning of the term. Their basic assumptions may be bizarre and their goals may be terrifying, but they are perfectly capable of being cunning, brilliant, charming, and exhibiting a full range of human attributes, all the while imagining ushering in the Apocalypse. In addition, and this is crucial for understanding the danger from Iran, the relationship between the Narcissist and his belief structure is such that they cannot separate themselves from their beliefs.
A typical Narcissist who fails feels humiliated and becomes depressed and/or enraged as a result. The Malignant Narcissist takes this to an extreme. Failure to them is incompatible with existence; they become suicidal and/or homicidal. In such a setting suicide bombers are no accident.Since being elected President, Ahmadinejad has been consolidating his rule and eliminating the competition....These are not the actions of fools or "madmen." They are the rational actions of people in the service of irrational goals. The goal of the Iranian leadership is to bring on the Apocalypse.
They can not separate their Islamic beliefs from their experience of the world and the failure of Islam would be a psychic death; suicide via murdering the infidel is the only outcome possible that preserves their mental state. This is true on a small scale, with suicide bombers, and on the larger scale of a society that cannot exist without the justification of doing Allah's work. Despite their demographic advance in Europe, Islamists must know, even if they do not admit it, that their version of ascetic and radical Islam cannot withstand the allure of the material wealth and freedoms of the West.
Secular Islam is an oxymoron to these men and this is why the options are so limited. Iran not only wants the prestige of nuclear weapons, but whether it takes place next month, next year, or next decade, they need a nuclear war before their grip on power begins to slip. That is the clock that is ticking.
It seems to me the only way to avoid this is through regime change, the sooner the better.

More Here.
Meanwhile, Iraq is saying Iran captured some coastguards:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi officials on Tuesday accused Iranian forces of "kidnapping" a coastguard patrol after a clash on their tidal frontier and demanded the men's release, but Tehran's envoy in Baghdad denied the incident took place.

Iraq's foreign minister called in the Iranian envoy seeking the release of eight or nine coastguards Iraq said were seized after an exchange of fire involving suspected oil smugglers on their long-disputed border along the Shatt al-Arab estuary.

Shatt al-Arab was a point of conflict during the Iran-Iraq war, there is definitely still some tension there.

Also, the Europeans are working hard to write a letter to Iran, telling them that they are angry:

A draft text that was read to The Associated Press by a European diplomat accredited to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency stopped short of the calls for sanctions sought by the United States and its closest backers.

Instead, it urges the 15-nation council to press Tehran "to extend full and prompt cooperation to the agency" in its more than three-year probe of suspect nuclear activities. It also asks the council to make clear to Iran "that additional transparency measures are indispensable" if it hopes to prove to the world that it does not want to make nuclear weapons.

I’m sure Tehran is quaking in its jackboots. And the theatre of the absurd continues to lurch forward in the field of internationalism , with Iran now wanting to resume the go-nowhere talks:

Iran is fully ready to resume negotiations and calls on the Europeans to resume these negotiations" on Wednesday, said the official, who was speaking from Vienna where the UN's atomic energy agency is based but asked not to be named.