Friday, August 11, 2006

"Waiting For Yamamoto" Watch

A new and unfortunately necessary feature here at TCR. Yamamoto refers to Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese Navy commander who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor. With increasingly frequency, we're seeing references to events like Pearl Harbor and 9/11 appear, but not in the context one might think.

Last week, I noted the oft-quoted passage from the PNAC report a year before 9/11:
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor.
I also noted this recent snippet from Michael Ledeen:
What did you expect? They have Syran on their borders, and we have not demonstrated the capacity to win the war.

Perhaps that will change without yet another Pearl Harbor.
While of course no one wishes for a calamity on the scale of Pearl Harbor or 9/11, it's arguable that some may see a silver lining in the prospect of one. There's this pesky problem, you see, of the complacent masses who "don't get it." That's where catalysts come in. Here's Stanley Kurtz, apparently lamenting the absence of one:
So we are running out of good alternatives. Option one is to pretend that 9/11 was an isolated incident (or a hidden internal conspiracy), not the revelation of a new and serious long-term danger. Many anti-war types prefer option one. Option two is to acknowledge the danger of mass-scale terrorism using weapons of mass destruction, but rely on negotiations, economic incentives, “grand bargains,” etc. to solve the problem (the favorite Democratic solution). In the absence of a credible threat of force (and maybe even then, given the nature of our terrorist foe), I think option two is doomed. Option three is to deploy force to preempt one rogue state and frighten others, while depending on a rapidly-spreading wave of democratization to assure long-term change, and permit relatively rapid American military withdrawal. Option three is not working out as planned. Option four is an expanded American military and a combination of more attacks (eg. a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities) with an extended and enlarged occupation of Iraq, working real social transformation and democratization. In the absence of a major new terror strike on the U.S., or an Iran on or over the nuclear brink, option four is politically unsustainable.
So Kurtz considers "Option four," which entails a fashionable but warped interpretation of Schumpeter's "creative destruction," as potentially the most effective. But the lack of a 9/11-type catalyst makes it unfeasible politically, at least for now. Starting to see a pattern here?

An important complement to this is the "Somnolent Masses" meme. Here's a painful post from Kathryn Lopez:
If you take my view of World Trade Center , it's exactly the right movie for this week — a mall reminder that we're at war. Whether or not people want to be reminded is another story, of course. But the U.K. news makes it hard to forget, so might as well run with it...because we are (at war). (And that fact isn't George Bush's fault, it's the fault of the evildoers who want us dead.
More Lopez:
Tim Montgomerie from ConservativeHome.com notes in an e-mail to me this morning:

It is politically vital that the police have proof that this is a genuine plot. After recent episodes - not least the false arrest of people at Forest Gate - people have declining confidence in the intelligence used by the police and government.

If the intelligence is correct - and up to ten planes were targeted by terrorists (all destined for America) - it might wake a few Britons up the danger of the terrorist threat. Britons have already largely forgotten the 7/7 attacks and those attempted just two weeks afterwards.

I fear, however, that Britain is increasingly 'Spanish' in its reaction to these incidents. Within hours there'll be pundits blaming the invasion of Iraq and Blair's support for Israel for making Britain vulnerable to these attacks.
Start with cynicism, mix with desperation on Iraq and the midterm elections, add some illegitimate co-opting of Schumpeter, and throw in a bit of Rapturism. What you seem to get is the belief---never stated openly, of course, but just below the surface---that "another Pearl Harbor" would be as much an opportunity as a disaster. How else to wake up those who aren't sufficiently afraid?

36 Comments:

Blogger jj said...

Time to wake up alright. But to what reality?

8/11/2006 1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Britons have already largely forgotten the 7/7 attacks and those attempted just two weeks afterwards."

This statement is completely delusional. When the facts don't fit the reality, just ignore them.

8/11/2006 8:32 AM  
Anonymous djinn said...

"Option three is not working out as planned."
That's one for Billmon's Hirohito watch.

8/11/2006 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

It's worth noting that this could tie in to the "Dolschtoss" theory too. If we are attacked by terrorists again (real or imagined), yet the masses of American couch potatoes don't rise up in unison and enlist in the army to kill foreigners... (While the warbloggers and magazine pundits keep up the home front, of course)... y'know, the way "The GREATEST Generation" did way back when... then clearly, there must be some kind of evil muslim/liberal plot to suppress this natural, just, and patriotic reaction. If there's another attack and the masses don't respond the way these "Pearl Harbor opportunists" want them to... then obviously, liberty and justice and apple pie have been betrayed by some internal evil. It would then be time for the far Right to take more drastic steps, for the good of the country and Liberty itself.

(P.S. among the many places where Kurtz's logic falls down, is that Option 4 is not a separate option from the already-failed Option 3. It is only an escalation of a strategy which he admits is "not working out as planned". What is the conceptual difference between the two, besides expansion? What exactly did we fail to do, to work social transformation and democratization in Iraq? I mean, pouring a few trillion dollars into direct social aid and effective reconstruction might have helped (as opposed to, say, viewing Iraq as a temporary depository where Americans pour their tax money, and mercenary corporations such as Halliburton and Blackwater suck it out again)... but we coulnd't really afford to do that in Iraq three years ago -- much less expand that plan to Iran and Syria after wasting hundreds of billions in Iraq.)

8/11/2006 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and on cnn of all places as well...wow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahv3VdknyZ4

8/11/2006 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as weird as it may sound, things could get better...jb3 is putting things together to save the november elections...they turn to him when they are at a loss...to many laughed off last nights london 'show'...the troops or some of them from iraq will be coming come soon...dick is real pissed...

8/11/2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger kindness said...

I think there's a distinct difference between protecting America & the world's interests from terrorism & the path taken by the Bush43 administration. This administration has shown us time & again, they DON'T put the country/people first. They put their favored cronies & corporate entities first, but use events as a sleight of hand to sway their political "base".

There is no reason that our government couldn't 1) talk to others in the world they do & don't like 2) use espionage in accordance to FISA laws (not bush43's lawyers & cronies opinions)and 3)be proactive against individuals and groups. That is hugely different from using 9/11 to invade Iraq.

They (bush43 administration) haven't worked well wrt our security because it isn't their primary, or secondary for that matter, concern. Their primary and only focus seems to be enriching themselves and perpetuating their power to keep enriching themselves.

Everything else isn't truly important to them. Sorry if that seems so cynical.

8/11/2006 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the CR believe that 911 was an isolated incident and appeasement of the oppressed Islamist masses is the answer?

I'm sure glad it's he that lives in prime target NYC while he scoffs at these threats, while I have retiired to a pleasant (and liberal!) mountain town.

The appeasers mostly seem to live in large target cities. But it's okay - Iran is not trying to get the bomb - just keep repeating that to yourselves...

8/11/2006 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes and to keep doing that and avoid nasty indictments or the like they need november...jb3 is more powerful than dick or even george

8/11/2006 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Jeff in Texas said...

No doubt, another Pearl Harbor is eagerly awaited by some of these types. And the funny thing is, whether another Pearl Harbor happens or not, it will be GREAT for BushCo. No attack? See, Bush is protecting us by invading Iraq! An attack that kills thousands? See, we have GOT to stay in Iraq and Bush is absolutely right because we are AT WAR. The media plays everything that happens in the real and political worlds as a heads Bush wins tails everyone else loses scenario. And the fact is if 9/11 had happened on President Gore's watch eight months after taking office, the Republicans would have tried to impeach his ass.

8/11/2006 11:48 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

We stopped the next Pearl Harbor. That is such exceptional news. It is also very positive because it allows for sober analysis before the next one. I've done this entry in my blog today arguing that al Qaeda is robust, to the fault of the war-leaders we are currently burdened with. We need to examine our strategic, operational and tactical footing in the war on terror. It's bad. We lucked out yesterday, thank God for MI5.

Sorry to self-promote TCR, but this entry I done wrote is pretty good IMHO and you'd like the points raised.

8/11/2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

At least I have the recent heat wave to blame for my recent bout of delerium. I don't what the right wing's excuse is.

Sorry I can't wade through all of this today but I recently wrote about Ehud Olmert and the Israeli right wing laundering money through the One Jerusalem Foundation and the New Jerusalem Foundation at the TPM Cafe.

Seems to me that the US should apply the same financial standards to Israeli leaders as it does to its own, giving that we give Israel $250 million of US taxpayer dollars every week of the year.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews took in more than $260 million from Christian Evangelicals in the last eight years. I'm 95% certain that some of it found its way to right wing politicians here in the US (including Joe Lieberman) and some of it went to the New Jerusalem Foundation.

I'm willing to read and give the right wing's arguments about Israel credibility if we have an open and thorough investigation of the Israeli right wing and mone laundering in the US. Specifically Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

If Olmert can be charged with money laundering in the US, he goes and we stop pouring US taxpayer dollars into Israel.

Agreed, right wingers?

8/11/2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous George said...

277fia wrote: we give Israel $250 million of US taxpayer dollars every week of the year.


That's $12.5 billion per year. Is that correct? I thought it was closer to $6B. Are you including money paid to Egypt on Israel's behalf?

8/11/2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous epmason said...

"Option two is to acknowledge the danger of mass-scale terrorism using weapons of mass destruction, but rely on negotiations, economic incentives, “grand bargains,” etc. to solve the problem (the favorite Democratic solution)."

So, in a nutshell, Dems favor Chamberlain-esque appeasment of evil. Implication: Dems=Pussies. Nice.

How about "negotiations, economic incentives, “grand bargains,” and using the billions spent on Iraq to further develope intelligence capabilities, as intelligence and law enforcement agencies seem to be the only viable defence against post-9/11 terror." Oh wait, that would mean Dems have a coherent strategy for the war on terror and everyone knows that's impossible. Dems don't do security.

8/11/2006 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.metimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20060810-103622-3708r

think iran will not happen and is off the table..now we need to feel the build up love and hope of peace and all being well as we go into november with the troops coming home from iraq to top it...

8/11/2006 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

c'mon robert...

http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/531

8/12/2006 12:23 AM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

I'm just cynical, but have you noticed a distinct lack of hard evidence coming out in the British case? The WaPo notes today that one of the alleged bottle bombers has already been released. More to come?

8/12/2006 7:30 AM  
Anonymous wendy said...

I'm waiting to find out it's a bunch of crazy guys who hang out in a garage, want to equip themselves with official al queda uniforms and are into Kung Fu. (What ever happened to that last nest of terrorists anyway?)

Funny this recent discovery comes on the heels of the Lieberban whooping in Connecticut.

(It is depressing to have become so cynical about these things.)

8/12/2006 11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evidence so far amounts to two dozen Richard Reids in a single inter-"concious" cell. If you take the group discount round-trip package to Pakistan and hang around a London mosque in your spare time like it's the Right Hard Al-Kaeda Football Club, don't be surprised when the secret service snatches you off the streets at an opportune moment. It's not much to show for videotaping every cubic centimeter of the Home Counties five times over, but one takes what one can get, apparently.

O brave new world, where you get medals and commendations for showing up at work on time and staying awake until it's time to go home. Orwell's diaries make it clear he wouldn't have died of shock to learn that Britain is the reigning champ of the Police State Special Olympics. Just stay clear of busses and the Tube, and the only thing you have to fear is instantaneous agonizing death with no warning and no prophylaxis except American-style civvie screening and a useless shroud of all-pervasive inconvenience.

I happen to know that the easily-made liquid explosive most probably used is clear and can be chugged without effect, except for liver failure, which isn't a problem when your plan involves being blown into invisible pieces within a couple of hours. If every passenger is stripped naked, fluoroscoped, and issued a toga and a single harmless religious object but no carry-on luggage when boarding a plane, does that mean the terrorists haven't won?

8/14/2006 4:29 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

george, I've been throwing out the $250 million per week on the internet for a few months now and you are the first one to question the amount.

Admittedly, I took the the generally accepted annual $6 billion US aid to Israel from the '90s and tacked on a 100% Iraq War and 9/11 factor. But I don't think I'm too far off after doing some research.

According to the Jewish Voice for Peace website:

REGULAR US GRANT AID in FY 2003
$2.76 billion military aid grant
$2.1 billion economic support funds
$600 million refugee resettlement grant

COMMERCIAL LOAN GUARANTEES IN FY 2003
$2 billion

BUSH ADMINISTRATION SUPPLEMENTAL REQUEST FOR FY 2003
Military aid grant $1 billion
Commercial loan guarantees $9 billion
Arrow missile development $60 million

TOTAL AID FOR FY 2003
$14.82 billion

Note that those numbers exclude secret defense and intelligence programs and interest expense paid by US taxpayers for money borrowed to loan to Israel.

The numbers also exclude US government contracts awarded to Israeli companies and indirect US aid to Israel. For example, the US government funds a San Diego University water development program that includes Israel, Egypt and, I think, Jordan.

The Israeli government maintains trade commissions in something like 22 states, according to Virtual Jewish Library website.

Keep in mind, also, the enormous amount of aid to Israel given by US Jewish philanthropic organizations. The Jewish Agency for Israel alone spent $387 million for aid to Israeli immigrants, education, housing and social programs in 2004, according to its 2004 990.

What I don't know is how much US aid to Israel was given for relocation of settlers in Gaza. I know Israel requested $2 billion.

What really bugs me is that the most famous spokesmen for American conservatism like Bill Kristol and Richard Perle have no problem with Israeli government programs like universal healthcare but don't want similar programs for their fellow Americans. BTW, the Israelis boast about their excellent healthcare system.

Seems to me that American conservatives talk out of both sides of their mouths. On one hand, they don't want the US government to apy for social progams for Americans but they can always find the money to support the world's richest welfare queens.

8/14/2006 9:34 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Okay, I've managed to read C.R.'s post here and he leaves the impresson that he has considered my point of view about 9/11 which is that we don't know who was behind 9/11 for sure.

Any decent homicide investigator asks "Who benefits?"

Read chapters 5 and 7 of the 9/11 Comission's report and the story is preposterous. Even the Commission was openly skeptical about parts of it.

A lot of little things about the 9/11 Report don't ring true.

For example, the 9/11 Commission carefully reported that Mohammed Atta took a German language course before he left Egypt for Germany in 1992 and that Atta subsequently became fluent in German. The Commission never
reports when or how Atta became fluent in American English.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed spent the first half of the '90s working for the Qatar government while he supposedly traveled around the world meeting terrorists. Qatar is and was then a US ally.

Who funded Khalid and what he did during the last half of the '90s?

The 9/11 Commission made a big deal about the fact that no one on the commisssion was permitted to interview Khalid Sheik Mohamed's interrogators, let alone Khalid.

How am I supposed to know that Kahlid even exists?

Would Saudi intelligence come up with the names of fifteen hijackers at the request of the Bush administration? I don't know.

One of the commentators at the TPM Cafe complained that Oliver Stone never identified the hijackers as members of Al Qaeda. I don't think that ommission was an oversight on Stone's part.

8/14/2006 10:24 AM  
Anonymous wendy said...

Terror Alert Update: The Michigan plot of cellphone terrorists has already proven to be bullshit extrapolation by cornpone cops.

I live in Michigan and shuddered to think of these guys sitting in a redneck jail in Caro being accused of wanting to blow up the Mackinac bridge. I'm surprised the locals (who include James Nichols of OK City fame) didn't break into the hoosegow and string the poor bastards up from the nearest light pole, such is the current climate of fear and loathing in militia country.

No terrorist worth his salt would come up with such a lame plan anyway.

8/14/2006 8:40 PM  
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