How to Kill a Burglar:

"Do it in Kenya," writes Aidian Hartley in the London Spectator. The solution works equally well in the great state of Georgia, USA. In fact, under certain circumstances, you can even open fire on the police. Last spring deputy sheriffs in Forsyth County burst into the home of a sextagenarian air-conditioner repairman, serving an arrest warrant. It turned out that they had the address wrong--the fellow they wanted lived next door. The old fellow who did live there picked up his rifle--which he kept by his bed--and drove the police out with a hail of gunfire. The deputies returned fire to no effect, and finally managed to convince the gentleman that they were with the proper authorities. (I am given to understand that he drank a bit of a nightcap before bed, which compounded the difficulty, along with the ringing in his ears from the gunfire.)

The deputies took him in for the night to question him, but let him go Scot free the next morning. Meanwhile, the fellow they actually wanted, having heard the fierce gunbattle of the previous evening, turned himself in directly upon rising that bright Saturday.

More on Afghanistan:

I found another report that the Taliban have appointed a rival governor of Zabul province, and a report that the famed Mullah Omar has appointed a new military head to some Taliban forces. Both of these stories are from the end of July, one in Reuters and the other from al Jazeera. Keeping in mind al Jazeera's, ahem, sterling reputation for accuracy, consider this:
A senior official in southern Afghanistan�s volatile Zabul province yesterday urged US forces to step up operations against the Taleban there after the guerrillas named a rival provincial governor. The deputy governor of Zabul told Reuters Taleban officials, meeting in the Pakistani city of Quetta, had named Mulla Abdul Jabar as the rival governor and that hundreds of Taleban roamed freely in several districts of the province.

The deputy governor, Mulla Mohammed Omar, a namesake of the elusive Mulla Omar, said many Taleban were living in the Deh Chopan, Shamol Zai, Ata Ghar and Now Bahar districts. �There are about 500 Taleban in Deh Chopan district,� he said. �The district is under our control, but they are walking freely in the bazaar.�
Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor, which really does have a sterling reputation, has this:
Some villagers in Zabul - a hardscrabble and deeply conservative corner of Afghanistan - now offer shelter and assistance to Taliban insurgents. As the militants exploit both the mountainous geography and the political grievances of the Pashtuns here, the province is increasingly becoming a no-go area for foreign aid workers and a permanent irritant for US-led coalition forces.
If you'd like to read the whole story, you can find it here. Meanwhile, JUS has apparently recognized that they've got a real story for a change, and has started running updates. You saw that update yesterday (the Afghan TV link below), which puts you ahead of the Mujahedeen by about twenty-four hours. Ooh-rah for American ingenuity, eh?
Zabul falls to the Taliban:

It appears that coalition forces in Afghanistan have allowed Zabul province to be recaptured by the Taliban. Jihad Unspun, a pro-Islamist site in Vancouver, had the story first:
The Taliban claim they have successfully captured the Sfghan province of Zabul, with the white flag of Taliban flying on government buildings and the local people happy to have the Taliban back in power.

The Afghan army retreated and left behind huge caches of arms and ammunitions. Fighting in the surroundings districts continues and has claimed the lives of 11 Afghan soldiers at the time of this filing.

The governor of the province under the Karzai regime, Hameed ullah Tokhi claims that main government buildings are still flying the flag of the Kabul government and that the governor of Kandahar has refused to help the Afghan forces in Zabul. Daily Islam has reported that the Taliban have captured all but one district of the province, with many offices bearing white flags and that Mullah Abdul Jabbar has been named the Taliban governor of the province.
I normally consider the presence of a claim on JUS to be evidence against the claim's truth. However, today StratFor picked up the story. StratFor is respectable, if far from the best at predictive analysis, so I decided to look into it.

Last week, the governor of Zabul province urged US forces to attack Talibani positions in his province. But this week, after the JUS story, the governor denies that there are any Talibani in Zabul province. Meanwhile, a report from Afghan TV says the Taliban have set up a base northeast of Khandahar in Zabul province.

Lending support to all this is an article published this week based on investigations in Afghanistan says that, in Zabul province, gunmen have seized educational materials meant for women and are keeping them under lock and key.

That's a suprising amount of support for the story. It may very well be true that the Taliban are back in control of parts of Zabul province. JUS claims that they have the backing of Pakistan's ISI, the intelligence service that erected the Taliban as a power in the first place. There is good reason to believe that is true, as reports of at least rogue elements in the ISI supporting the Taliban and al Qaeda have been constant.

What does this mean for the coalition? One thing it could mean is that we are seeing a large-scale trap on the lines of Operation Anaconda. In Anaconda, an area in Taliban control was left safe while guerrillas gathered, then surrounded and brutally wiped out. Allowing them a province as a rallying point could cause a draining away of pro-Taliban forces elsewhere. The appearance of success could also cause the supporting ISI members to overplay their hands, making them easier to identify.

But there is a problem with this analysis: NATO is taking over command in Afghanistan, and it is not evident that the rifts in NATO caused by the diplomacy preceeding the Iraq war have healed. Open rifts make leaks more likely, and make it hard to coordinate a plan on the scale I postulate in the last paragraph. That argues against this being intentional.

For now, the press is still blind to this. When they recognize it, look for a firestorm.

Update: Reader Michael Ware notes:

NATO is not "taking over command in Afghanistan" exactly. A NATO command is assuming control over ISAF, relieving a joint Dutch-German command. ISAF is a stabilization force largely confined to Kabul. (See SHAPE press release). ISAF is separate from the coalition's combat command.

The war-fighters are in CENTCOM's Combined Joint Task Force 180. ( has a useful though far from perfect precis on Combined JTF-180.)

The centerpieces have been (a) special operations forces from all U.S. services in total in multi-battalion strenghth and (b) a reinforced brigade of light infantry rotating from the 10th Mountain, 82d Airborne and 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Divisions. There have been Australians there from the begining. On a rotating basis for the last 18 months, there have been fairly substantial coalition contributions (over and above ISAF) to the combat effort. Italian mountain troops have fought this summer. (I have heard that their American commanders were psyched with the brutal effectiveness of the Alpini, though I don't have a link.) Norway has had soldiers fighting on the ground and planes fighting from the air (see here, reporting combat operations earlier this year of Norwegian, Danish and Dutch aircraft). At least a dozen other countries have contributed to Combined JTF-180 and its predecessors over and above whatever contributions those countries may have made to ISAF.

All this fighting stuff is controled by CENTCOM is separate from ISAF.

Duly noted, and thanks for the clarification.
Bush Administration Lies:

No, this isn't about WMD. I think the president is telling the truth about them, and if you're interested in my reasoning, go here. This is about the Iraq war, though, and a lie the administration has apparently decided it needs to tell.

Yesterday the German press ran this story on napalm which I have here in an English translation:

The Marines said that in March, U.S. warplanes dropped dozens of incendiary bombs near bridges over the Saddam Canal and the Tigris River in central Iraq to clear the way for troops headed to Baghdad.

"We napalmed both those [bridge] approaches," said Col. James Alles, commander of Marine Air Group 11, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Unfortunately, there were people there because you could see them in the [cockpit] video.

"They were Iraqi soldiers there. It's no great way to die," Alles added.

He could not provide estimates of Iraqi casualties.

"The generals love napalm," said Alles. "It has a big psychological effect."

The firebombs were used again in April against Iraqis near a key Tigris River bridge, north of Numaniyah, the Marines said. There were reports of another attack on the first day of the war.

During the war, Pentagon spokesmen denied that napalm was being used, saying the Pentagon's stockpile had been destroyed two years ago. Napalm, a thick, burning combination of olystyrene, gasoline and benzene, was used against people and villages in Vietnam. Its use drew widespread criticism.

The newspaper said the spokesmen were apparently drawing a distinction between the terms firebomb and napalm.

The Marines dropped "Mark 77 firebombs," which use kerosene-based jet fuel and a smaller concentration of benzene. Marine spokesman Col. Michael Daily acknowledged the incendiary devices were "remarkably similar" to napalm weapons, but said they had less of an impact on the environment.
Emphasis added. Now... you've got a thing that is "remarkably similar" to napalm, but slightly different in composition--it uses kerosene instead of gasoline to burn people alive. It is so very similar, in fact, that the Marines just carry on calling it napalm, because to them it's the same stuff. These are the same people who call the M4 Carbine a "lightweight, gas operated, air cooled, magazine fed, selective rate, shoulder fired weapon with a collapsible stock." If the Marines see no reason to distinguish between the MK-77 and napalm, there is no reason to distinguish between them.

Mind you, even this "lie" is technically the truth, since there is apparently some difference between the two chemical compounds. Still, is the Pentagon thinking it's going to get credit from the enviornmentalist lobby? Nice thought, but the people who are going to be mad about napalm aren't going to care what you're burning--except the people underneath it. If you're going to defend the MK-77, you've got to make the case that burning those people is the right thing to do: either for reasons of force-protection, or because victory requires it. Trying to weasel out of that difficult but necessary argument is dishonest.

Teutonic Surnames:

In The Corner, a discussion of the difficulties of Teutonic surnames:
[Nick Schulz] once heard Arnold Schwarzenegger say that his name means �Black Hammer Thrower� or �Black Plow Man� which always sounds really funny when he says that (or when just about anyone says it in an �Ah-nuld� voice). Since those would be easier to spell, you could always substitute one of them when writing about him.
Well, this presents a real difficulty for your correspondant. My last name also has a disputed origin: it comes from the Danelaw in England, and means either "the Bald" in Anglo-Saxon, or "the Stout," meaning short but thick, in Old Scandinavian.

Of course there has already been a Grim the Bald (father of Egil Skallagrimsson, that is, "the son of Grim the Bald"). And at any rate, your correspondant is not yet bald, though it is fully possible someday I will be. Grim the Stout is fairer: at five foot six and a half inches (according to the USMC), I stand only half an inch taller than the average height for a human male, and a bit shorter than the average height for a man of European descent. On this point I blame what have otherwise been excellent genetics, since my father's side apparently may have been known as "the Stout," and my mother's draws its descent from Donnachaidh Remhair, that is, "Duncan the Stout," founder of the Clan Donnachaidh in Scotland. It's an odd confluence of stoutness, drawing on both the Germanic and the Celtic. The results readers can judge for themselves: that's me when my son Beowulf was a month old, the bearded fellow with the boy on his lap and The Ballad of the White Horse at his foot.


Eurobashing at its finest. It reminds me of a story my father used to tell about a US propaganda coup during the Cold War, in which a huge number of these products, or some rather similar, were sent to Russia marked "Medium." This link is not for my lady readers, thanks aye.
The Post Gets States' Rights Wrong:

It is not surprising that the official newspaper of the Federal capital would be opposed to any doctrine that tended to balance power away from the Federal government and toward the states. The Washington Post's constant disdain for the doctrine of States' Rights is only natural. It would be nice, however, if they would take the time to understand the doctrine before heaping it with scorn.

Today's lead editorial on the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment demonstrates their difficulty. The FMA is meant to prevent gay marriage by forbidding any state to allow it. Those who believe it necessary do so on the grounds that the current law--the Defense of Marriage Act--would be vunerable on multiple grounds to Supreme Court rulings, so that any state's legalization of gay marriage would quickly require all states to allow it. (Those interested in this argument are hereby referred to National Review Online and Andrew Sullivan, who have conducted a lively debate on the subject--check their respective archives, as both are on vacation just now.)

The Post contends that good conservatives should be against this, since:

there's another issue too, which has to do with federalism and the respect for states' rights, which in other spheres many conservatives tend to enshrine. A constitutional amendment defining marriage would federalize what has been among the most unquestioned of state responsibilities since the dawn of the American republic. The amendment specifies that marriage "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman," and it would preclude state or federal law from being "construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups." Certainly many Americans agree with Mr. Bush on his definition of marriage. But why should states with majorities that feel differently be barred from acting through their democratic processes?

The doctrine of State's Rights is not, and has never been, that -all- rights are State's Rights. It has also not been, as the Post suggests, that states are naturally better at democracy than the Federal government. The point is that the Founders' design was one in which the states had some rights, the federal government others, and some rights neither had nor were entitled to have (e.g., the right to require citizens to subscribe to a particular religion). This design produces a balance of power between opposed governments, which opposition between powers creates a space for liberty.

The determination of which rights pertain to which group (state, federal, or personal authority, that is) is codified in the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the several states, which represent the lasting will of the people. Constitutional Amendments, which specifically require ratification by state legislatures as well as the Congress, are not violations of States' Rights, but a natural outgrowth of this principle of Classical Liberal Federalism.

The proper way of thinking about this from Classical Liberal thinking is that ONLY a constitutional amendment can address the question of gay marriage. The reason is this: while the people have traditionally delegated to the state the authority to ajudicate certain questions about whether a given man may marry a given woman, they have never delegated to the state or the Federal government the authority to define marriage as something other than a union of man and woman. That understanding of marriage preceeded the formation of the American republic. It is not subject to the authority of the American republic, but remains a right reserved. If any state wants to legalize gay marriage, ONLY a constitutional amendment can do it. It means a concession of new, and great, authority from the people to the state. No judge, no judiciary has the rightful power to usurp that authority.

However, the judiciary has been in the business of arrogating new powers to itself for quite a little while now. It has reached the point that, practically, a Constitutional amendment is necessary if the judiciary is not to "discover" the authority to remake the social contract to fit its views, whatever they are. Such an amendment is not a violation of the republican ideals of the Founding, but a restatement of them; and neither does it violate States' Rights, as neither the states nor the Federal government have any authority here. Whatever solution is reached can only be reached legitimately by the amendment process, which consults both Congress and the legislatures of the several states for new authority.

Hang this man:

As someone who joined the United States Marine Corps right out of high school, and who has over the years become a true believer in its precepts and traditions, I take especial exception to this plea bargain. There are three things that should be mandatory capital offenses in military law: engaging in forcible rape, treason, and betraying your brother Marines. Judges are not bound by plea bargain agreements. The sentence should be death, preferably by hanging with a parachute cord.
Still More Advice to the Democrats:

This one is called Mogadishu Democrats and includes what is a fine assessment of the war's progress in Iraq:
As for "bring it on...", one wonders if DfNS are aware that U.S. troops used exactly this tactic during the war, via loudspeakers on Humvees, to great effect? That's why we heard about pickup trucks attacking M1A1 tanks - the fedayeen just couldn't stand to have ther manhood challenged in stereo. I believe one U.S. soldier's quote was "we shoot them down like the morons they are." One expects an organization called "Democrats for National Security" to know this, and perhaps to apply it.

In a guerilla war, you WANT people to come after your soldiers. That's the ideal tactical scenario, and with the shallowness of the Ba'ath infrastructure and limited recruiting capability they cannot sustain an attrition-based campaign for long. That might change if they adopted a longer-term strategy, and Bush has now challenged them not to. Smart move - the fedayeen loudspeaker tactic writ large. The faster and harder al-Awda attack, the sooner they're taken out, the faster the reconstruction is done, and the more U.S. troops come home.
Yeah, that's true, although there may be wider recruitment than just what's in Iraq. That too is a benefit, as we've heard from the Flypaper theorists. Either way, though, we need a gunfighting corps of soldiers out there challenging the guerrillas to come and get it. The US has an excellent record with guerrilla warfare, excepting Vietnam--which is to be excepted, since this time there are no secure bases for the enemy, nothing off limits, and no superpowers backing them.

Leaving all that aside, the advice to the party is right on: we need a candidate, and a platform, that is built around warfighting. We are at war, after all.

DPRK Watch:

If we go to war with the DPRK, it will probably not be over their development of nuclear weapons. The administration seems resigned to accepting that--which is a terrible mistake, for reasons outlined on ParaPundit's blog. No, what will require war will be if the DPRK can't be persuaded or required not to export its nuclear technology. Of course, the DPRK is doing just that.
NORTH Korea and Iran were in talks over a plan to export Pyongyang's Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missiles to Tehran and to jointly develop nuclear warheads, a Japanese daily said today.
The two countries have been negotiating the deal for about a year and were likely to reach an agreement in mid-October, the conservative Sankei newspaper said, quoting defence sources familiar with North Korean affairs.
I've said I expect war with the DPRK before next summer ends. It may be sooner.
Books in the Corner:

I am amused by this post in the Corner:
I want to thank all the Corner readers who consistently query me about my book, Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (and other lies I tell my children). I'm flattered and didn't mean to plug it at the end of each column as if it were already published. I was sort of advertising the fact that it was indeed written and ready for the bidding wars to begin!
I didn't mean to plug it at the end of each column? Well, ok: I have a book called The Ship Knife which is ready for the bidding wars, too. It's about the expedition to Sicily led by King Harald Hardrada, Viking warlord, at the head of the Byzantine fleet. Bidders welcome.
'A Ticket to Nowhere':

Joe Lieberman's advice to the Democratic Party made quite a stir today. Turns out he's a boxing fan, too. Boxers make great politicians, if they are good enough to keep from getting their brains rattled. Lieberman sounds like he mostly watched boxing, but maybe he learned some of the right lessons:
[A] lot is at stake:� nothing less than the heart and soul of the Democratic party, and the security and prosperity of the United States of America. . . .

Some Democrats still prefer old, big government solutions to our problems.� But with record deficits, a stalled economy and Social Security in danger, we can't afford that.� It won't work.� That old way is wrong for America, and wrong for the Democratic Party.

Some Democrats respond to the health insurance crisis with a break-the-bank $2 trillion program -- leaving no money to create new jobs, invest in our schools, support our firefighters and cops, or shore up Social Security. That would be wrong for America, and wrong for the Democratic Party.

Some would raise the walls of protectionism again.� But we've got a record trade deficit and our manufacturers are hemorrhaging jobs. We need more markets, not fewer.� Bridges, not barriers.� That is right for America, and right for the Democratic Party.

Some have said no to any tax cuts, and would even raise taxes on the middle class.� But middle-class families have borne the brunt of George Bush's failed economic leadership, so we must help them, not burden them even more.� That's right for America, and right for the Democratic Party. . . .

Some are silent about the marketing of violent or sexual entertainment to our children.� But we should be allies with parents in the struggle to protect their kids.��

Some said "no" to eliminating Saddam Hussein, or were ambivalent about it, before and after the war.� But we must not shrink from the use of force when our security and our values are at stake.� That is right for America, and right for the Democratic Party.

Doing what's right for America and for our party are truly one and the same.

There's a lot of good stuff here, Joe. I understand you're still in the market for a VP--you might see my advice to our party from earlier in the week if you want a suggestion on one that will win it with you. Get Sen. Miller on your ticket, and I'll vote for you.
Damn that Instapundit!

Doesn't the Sage of Knoxville have anything better to do? Talk Like A Pirate Day indeed. It even has one of those damnable personality tests.
You are The Cap'n!

Some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some slit the throats of any man that stands between them and the mantle of power. You never met a man you couldn't eviscerate. Not that mindless violence is the only avenue open to you - but why take an avenue when you have complete freeway access? You are the definitive Man of Action. You are James Bond in a blousy shirt and drawstring-fly pants. Your swash was buckled long ago and you have never been so sure of anything in your life as in your ability to bend everyone to your will. You will call anyone out and cut off their head if they show any sign of taking you on or backing down. You cannot be saddled with tedious underlings, but if one of your lieutenants shows an overly developed sense of ambition he may find more suitable accommodations in Davy Jones' locker. That is, of course, IF you notice him. You tend to be self absorbed - a weakness that may keep you from seeing enemies where they are and imagining them where they are not.

Eerily accurate, these things. I took a D&D one once only to be told that I was a Chaotic Human Barbarian. Everyone I mentioned it to nodded knowingly. Where's that broadsword?
Good news from the Middle East:

Honestly. This report looks at Bahrain, whose king has appointed a bicameral legislature and given full rights to women. Nor does the king, whose reign so far enjoys prosperity on the order of six-percent annual growth, harbor feelings of anti-Americanism:
�Time seems to be very slow in Iraq. But it is only three months since Britain and America went in. And three months is not enough time in a big country like Iraq with so many different groups and beliefs: but the dramatic change is for the good of Iraq and for the people of Iraq.�
But what about the evidence that the Alliance�s leaders were less than honest about their reasons for going to war? �Nothing is 100 per cent, nothing is perfect. But we think they�ve been honest enough to be followed by the entire world. And whether they�ve missed one or two things, well, things happen in wars. But in general everybody is with America and with Britain in what they have done so far. We just have to wait a little longer, and we will see the good things that are happening in Iraq. But often, you know, no news is good news.�
Now why can't certain candidates for the Democratic nomination to the presidency speak as boldly in favor of their country and its work?
Theology in the Asia Times:

Out of Hong Kong, a fascinating series by Spengler on the clash between the West and Radical Islam, one that posits that Islam will win. The critique of Western culture has the mark of scholarly theology, and is plainly a long time coming.
Socrates (like Strauss) was wrong. It is not the unexamined life that is not worth living, but the life defined by mere animal existence. Unlike lower species, humans require a sense of the eternal. The brute instinct for self-preservation is a myth.
Because radical Islam provides this, and most Western faiths no longer do, Spengler judges that Islam has the weight advantage in a punching match.

In the second part of the series, he answers the hope many people expressed in reply that Islam may soon undergo a reformation. Spengler asserts that there are good reasons to suspect that they will not:

What precisely goes into making a Reformation? In the case of Christianity, textual criticism became the starting point. What was the original Revelation, and how could Christians return to it? . . . .

Hebrew and Christian scripture claim to be the report of human encounters with God. After the Torah is read each Saturday in synagogues, the congregation intones that the text stems from "the mouth of God by the hand of Moses", a leader whose flaws kept him from entering the Promised Land. The Jewish rabbis, moreover, postulated the existence of an unwritten Revelation whose interpretation permits considerable flexibility with the text. Christianity's Gospels, by the same token, are the reports of human evangelists.

The Archangel Gabriel, by contrast, dictated the Koran to Mohammed, according to Islamic doctrine. That sets a dauntingly high threshold for textual critics.

Spengler feels that the West's hope is that Protestant missionaries--the true believing Christian Right--will interact with Muslims, who may absorb the Protestant methodology of examining the texts as a path to God. There may be something to this analysis. Certainly Protestant Fundamentalists have more in common with Muslim radicals than others in the West. Osama bin Laden's letter to America contains a number of objections to American culture echoed perfectly in Christian Right publications, especially as concerns the prevelance of sexual images and outright pornography.

Still, to me it sounds like adding a second tiger to a hill. It may be the organic solution, but a great deal of blood and time would be necessary to bring about sustained interaction between them. I suspect a second probability, which is this: the clash with Islam will embolden the West, and renew its faith. A second 9/11, particularly if it happened in Europe, would do more to fill men's hearts with divine fire than anything else. Nothing makes people suspect the truth of an ultimate Good than to witness ultimate Evil. It is comfort, not despair, that has brought the West away from faith as a mode of life.

Radical Islam should beware. Refilling the hearts of Western men would remove the only advantage the Islamists have. Because the West is tolerant of all faiths, Muslims who wished to live moderate lives would find a home among invigorated Westerners before they could among the Talibani. The punching weight of true belief evened, humane tolerance and high technology would be the deciding factors--both Western strengths.