Blog Smith

Blog Smith is inspired by the myth of Hephaestus in the creation of blacksmith-like, forged materials: ideas. This blog analyzes topics that interest me: IT, politics, technology, history, education, music, and the history of religions.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Summary of June 2008

As a new monthly feature I will review the past month and try to summarize. The Middle East and Islamist issues predominated. Pakistan has gotten more unstable this month.

Iraq has made cautious but certain progress this month in terms of stability. Better estimates have emerged to document the downfall of Sadr and the Mahdi Defeat. As the insurgents have been quieted, a new call for the upcoming elections and the progress of democracy is possible. Iraqi Kurdistan continues to be an area of support. Overt and covert operations against Iran may be helping the situation in Iraq. Arabs and others are slowly returning and investing in Iraq which should help the country in its battle against foreign invaders and Iran. And finally, the re-built Golden Dome would help brighten Samarra. No, wait, the biggest story as a summary of the month before is what all Americans should be cheering: monthly death toll lowest since 2004. We have measurable progress and the job the military has done is just awesome.

The American scene seems just as confused as always. Congress continues to chips away at 4th Amendment rights and proves no more successful in thwarting terrorists by any policy changes. The point is well-documentd in that the War on Terror has lost the interest of Americans, and according to Michael F. Scheuer with have no clear-cut effective policy to combat insurgents anyway. White Europeans are being trained by AQ but while the Court continues to strike out at American freedoms, the government can not even keep Congressional computers safe from the prying eyes of China. In fact, the Mars landing site was hacked twice. History textbooks are fraught with downplaying the threat of Islamism for the sake of political correctness. The government is not doing its job in protecting Americans. The nation does not realize that we are losing the information war and whittling away at our freedoms. This will work against us in the fight against a generational Islamic jihad. We could learn a lesson or two from the British academics who speaks out attack the cancer of Islamism within their midst.

The campaign is heating up so the presidential election may garnish more attention. For example, Obama's cousin declares Islam to be the only True religion so I would hope more people would press Obama for more information about his ideas and backgroun. Obama’s Communist mentor has been identified and finally perhaps the Web is finally going to really chane things during campaigning since there is evidence of the popularity and change that the Internet has provoked.

Some of my recent reading has included Thucydides, Ronnie and Nancy Reagan, Eurydice, the Olympics, education (Wissner-Gross), military history, History of MS, and Napoleon.

RIP: Hey Bo Diddley!

Pakistan Lives Up to Historical Fragmentation

Pakistan's military reminds me of France, no victories, and I am not optimistic that they will prevail against the Taliban. Recent polls indicate about 60% of Pakistanis, nationwide, support the Taliban. And, since it is a state founded on religious fanaticism, Pakistanis are most likely to see the Taliban as co-religionists and as such part of the Ummah. The Pakistani government will be hard-pressed to do well against the Taliban.

The regions separated into India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have long been divided along religious lines. Around 1000,

Muslim Turks and Afghans pushed into India. They were fierce warriors with a tradition of conquest. Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni pillaged much of the north, but he did not settle there. In the late 1100s, though, the sultan, or Muslim ruler, of Ghur defeated Hindu armies across the northern plain and made Delhi his capital. From there, his successors organized a sultanate, or land ruled by a sultan. The Delhi sultanate, which lasted from 1206 to 1526, marked the start of Muslim rule in northern India.

Why did the Muslim invaders triumph? They won on the battlefield in part because Muslim mounted archers had far greater mobility than Hindu forces, who rode slow-moving war elephants. The Muslim faith also united them.

Akbar was perhaps the greatest ruler in the region. Raised in Afghanistan, he was illiterate but at the age of 15, in 1556, his father was dead, and the boy became padshah—“ruler of the empire.” Under the guidance of his regent, Akbar immediately began seizing territory lost after his father’s death and his territory expanded dramatically.

In the late 1600s, one of Akbar's successor's, the emperor Aurangzeb resumed the persecution of Hindus. Economic hardships increased under heavy taxes, and discontent sparked revolts against Mughal rule. This climate of discontent helped European traders gain a foothold in the once powerful Mughal empire.

The Hindu tradition re-asserted itself but with a significant Muslim minority.

The two countries were more or less united then until Pakistan gained independence in 1947, at the same time as India. However, Pakistan was a divided country.

Pakistan has traditionally been characterized with a weak central government. In addition, there were sharp disagreements between Islamist factions—people who believe that society and government should strictly follow sharia—and those who wanted greater separation between religion and state. Repeatedly, Pakistan’s rulers, often backed by the military, dismissed elected governments. Sometimes, the military simply seized power.

During the 1980s, the war in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion drove over a million Afghan refugees into Pakistan. Many of these Afghan refugees turned to Islamism because of their anger at the non-Muslim Soviet invaders. Many young men from these communities joined the mujahedin rebels fighting Soviet forces. Pakistan’s Islamic fundamentalists gained power by forming ties with Afghan refugees. After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, these Islamists rejected U.S. intrusion in the Middle East and in Pakistan. During the 1990s, Pakistan backed Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, which supported the terrorist group Al Qaeda. However, when the United States launched a military campaign against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in 2001, Pakistan’s government nominally has supported the United States.

Pakistan's efforts against the Taliban have been tepid; the military is viewed as weak and indecisive.

Since July 2007 seven moves against the Taliban have been ineffective.

Islamabad, July 2007:

The Pakistani government ordered a siege and subsequent full scale assault on the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in Islamabad. Extremists retook the Lal Masjid just one day after it was reopened.

North Waziristan, July - August 2007:

Fighting flared in North Waziristan immediate after the assault on the Lal Masjid. The Pakistani military attempted to hold territory but were repelled and they were forced out only to remain garrisoned.

South Waziristan, August - September 2007:

The Taliban conducted its most successful military operation during 2007 in South Waziristan. Baitullah Mehsud rose to leadership during this time. In mid-Decemebr, a council of 40 senior Taliban leaders established the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan -- the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan -- and appointed Baitullah its leader.

North Waziristan, October 2007:

The Pakistani military and the Taliban fought pitched battles in North Waziristan during October 2007. The government pushed for a peace deal at the end of October and the fighting waned. An official peace agreement was signed in February 2008.

Swat & Shangla, October 2007 - January 2008:

The Pakistani military launched an operation to retake the settled district of Swat after Mullah Fazlullah forces overran police stations and paramilitary outposts. The Taliban were fought off to a certain extent but the government never took full control over the district. The resort was burned down this week, while the government signed a peace agreement with the Taliban in May.

South Waziristan, January - February 2008:

Heavy fighting between the Taliban and the military flared up in late January after the military launched yet another offensive to dislodge the extremists from entrenched positions. The military has pulled back to bases on the outskirts of South Waziristan.

Orakzai and Kohat, January 2008:

In Orakzai, Pakistani troops halted an offensive after a peace jirga, or committee, requested the suspension of operations. The government is currently negotiating a peace agreement with the Taliban in Kohat.

Khyber, June 2008

This effort may just be the last in a line of failed Pakistani efforts against the Taliban.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

Graphic source:

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, tr. C. Forster Smith.

Thucydides is the most important source we have for the Peloponnesian War. Once Athens became the predominant power in the Delian League others outside Athens resented their domination. Before long, the Greek world was split into two rival camps. To counter the Delian League, Sparta and other enemies of Athens formed the Peloponnesian League. In 431 B.C.E., warfare broke out between Athens and Sparta. This conflict, which became known as the Peloponnesian War, soon engulfed all of Greece for the next 27 years.

Sparta Defeats Athens

Despite its riches and the most powerful navy of the era, Athens faced a serious geographic disadvantage. Because Sparta was inland, Athens could not use its navy to attack. And Sparta’s powerful army could simply march north to attack Athens and decimate the countryside and its crops. When the Spartan troops came near, Pericles allowed people from the countryside to move inside the city walls. However, the cramped and overcrowded conditions led to a mysterious and terrible plague that killed many Athenians, including Pericles himself.

As the war dragged on, Thucydides reports that each side committed savage acts and atrocities. Eventually, Sparta allied itself with Persia, the former and longtime enemy of the Greeks. At its conclusion, in 404 B.C.E., Sparta with the help of the Persian navy captured Athens. The victors stripped the Athenians of their fleet and empire but did not decimate Athens.

Greek Dominion Declines

The Peloponnesian War ended Athenian domination of the Greek world but Athens proved to be more resiliant and did not collapse completely. The Athenian economy eventually revived and Athens remained the cultural center of Greece and its heritage continued into the Roman era. However, at least some of its lustre and vitality declined allowing a new power, from Macedonia, a kingdom to the north of Greece, arose.

Thucydides reports a classic statement of the defence of democracy and with Pericles' funeral, the golden age of Athens ends.

The Funeral Oration of Pericles

In this passage from Thucydides' History, the Athenians have gathered to bury their warriors fallen in the first battles with Sparta. According to custom, Pericles, Athens' most respected statesman and general, a "man of approved wisdom and eminent reputation," is chosen to give the funeral oration. In his eulogy, Pericles strives to rally the spirits of his countrymen by contrasting Athenian enlightenment with the narrow militaristic ethos of its enemies.

Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.

Further, we provide plenty of means for the mind to refresh itself from business. We celebrate games and sacrifices all the year round, and the elegance of our private establishments forms a daily source of pleasure and helps to banish the spleen; while the magnitude of our city draws the produce of the world into our harbour, so that to the Athenian the fruits of other countries are as familiar a luxury as those of his own.

If we turn to our military policy, there also we differ from our antagonists. We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing, although the eyes of an enemy may occasionally profit by our liberality; trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens; while in education, where our rivals from their very cradles by a painful discipline seek after manliness, at Athens we live exactly as we please, and yet are just as ready to encounter every legitimate danger. In proof of this it may be noticed that the Lacedaemonians do not invade our country alone, but bring with them all their confederates; while we Athenians advance unsupported into the territory of a neighbour, and fighting upon a foreign soil usually vanquish with ease men who are defending their homes. Our united force was never yet encountered by any enemy, because we have at once to attend to our marine and to dispatch our citizens by land upon a hundred different services; so that, wherever they engage with some such fraction of our strength, a success against a detachment is magnified into a victory over the nation, and a defeat into a reverse suffered at the hands of our entire people. And yet if with habits not of labour but of ease, and courage not of art but of nature, we are still willing to encounter danger, we have the double advantage of escaping the experience of hardships in anticipation and of facing them in the hour of need as fearlessly as those who are never free from them.

Nor are these the only points in which our city is worthy of admiration. We cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without effeminacy; wealth we employ more for use than for show, and place the real disgrace of poverty not in owning to the fact but in declining the struggle against it. Our public men have, besides politics, their private affairs to attend to, and our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters; for, unlike any other nation, regarding him who takes no part in these duties not as unambitious but as useless, we Athenians are able to judge at all events if we cannot originate, and, instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all. Again, in our enterprises we present the singular spectacle of daring and deliberation, each carried to its highest point, and both united in the same persons; although usually decision is the fruit of ignorance, hesitation of reflection. But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those, who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger. In generosity we are equally singular, acquiring our friends by conferring, not by receiving, favours. Yet, of course, the doer of the favour is the firmer friend of the two, in order by continued kindness to keep the recipient in his debt; while the debtor feels less keenly from the very consciousness that the return he makes will be a payment, not a free gift. And it is only the Athenians, who, fearless of consequences, confer their benefits not from calculations of expediency, but in the confidence of liberality.

In short, I say that as a city we are the school of Hellas, while I doubt if the world can produce a man who, where he has only himself to depend upon, is equal to so many emergencies, and graced by so happy a versatility, as the Athenian. And that this is no mere boast thrown out for the occasion, but plain matter of fact, the power of the state acquired by these habits proves. For Athens alone of her contemporaries is found when tested to be greater than her reputation, and alone gives no occasion to her assailants to blush at the antagonist by whom they have been worsted, or to her subjects to question her title by merit to rule. Rather, the admiration of the present and succeeding ages will be ours, since we have not left our power without witness, but have shown it by mighty proofs; and far from needing a Homer for our panegyrist, or other of his craft whose verses might charm for the moment only for the impression which they gave to melt at the touch of fact, we have forced every sea and land to be the highway of our daring, and everywhere, whether for evil or for good, have left imperishable monuments behind us. Such is the Athens for which these men, in the assertion of their resolve not to lose her, nobly fought and died; and well may every one of their survivors be ready to suffer in her cause.

Indeed if I have dwelt at some length upon the character of our country, it has been to show that our stake in the struggle is not the same as theirs who have no such blessings to lose, and also that the panegyric of the men over whom I am now speaking might be by definite proofs established. That panegyric is now in a great measure complete; for the Athens that I have celebrated is only what the heroism of these and their like have made her, men whose fame, unlike that of most Hellenes, will be found to be only commensurate with their deserts. And if a test of worth be wanted, it is to be found in their closing scene, and this not only in cases in which it set the final seal upon their merit, but also in those in which it gave the first intimation of their having any. For there is justice in the claim that steadfastness in his country's battles should be as a cloak to cover a man's other imperfections; since the good action has blotted out the bad, and his merit as a citizen more than outweighed his demerits as an individual. But none of these allowed either wealth with its prospect of future enjoyment to unnerve his spirit, or poverty with its hope of a day of freedom and riches to tempt him to shrink from danger. No, holding that vengeance upon their enemies was more to be desired than any personal blessings, and reckoning this to be the most glorious of hazards, they joyfully determined to accept the risk, to make sure of their vengeance, and to let their wishes wait; and while committing to hope the uncertainty of final success, in the business before them they thought fit to act boldly and trust in themselves. Thus choosing to die resisting, rather than to live submitting, they fled only from dishonour, but met danger face to face, and after one brief moment, while at the summit of their fortune, escaped, not from their fear, but from their glory.

So died these men as became Athenians. You, their survivors, must determine to have as unfaltering a resolution in the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue. And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defence of your country, though these would furnish a valuable text to a speaker even before an audience so alive to them as the present, you must yourselves realize the power of Athens, and feed your eyes upon her from day to day, till love of her fills your hearts; and then, when all her greatness shall break upon you, you must reflect that it was by courage, sense of duty, and a keen feeling of honour in action that men were enabled to win all this, and that no personal failure in an enterprise could make them consent to deprive their country of their valour, but they laid it at her feet as the most glorious contribution that they could offer. For this offering of their lives made in common by them all they each of them individually received that renown which never grows old, and for a sepulchre, not so much that in which their bones have been deposited, but that noblest of shrines wherein their glory is laid up to be eternally remembered upon every occasion on which deed or story shall call for its commemoration. For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart. These take as your model and, judging happiness to be the fruit of freedom and freedom of valour, never decline the dangers of war. For it is not the miserable that would most justly be unsparing of their lives; these have nothing to hope for: it is rather they to whom continued life may bring reverses as yet unknown, and to whom a fall, if it came, would be most tremendous in its consequences. And surely, to a man of spirit, the degradation of cowardice must be immeasurably more grievous than the unfelt death which strikes him in the midst of his strength and patriotism!

Comfort, therefore, not condolence, is what I have to offer to the parents of the dead who may be here. Numberless are the chances to which, as they know, the life of man is subject; but fortunate indeed are they who draw for their lot a death so glorious as that which has caused your mourning, and to whom life has been so exactly measured as to terminate in the happiness in which it has been passed. Still I know that this is a hard saying, especially when those are in question of whom you will constantly be reminded by seeing in the homes of others blessings of which once you also boasted: for grief is felt not so much for the want of what we have never known, as for the loss of that to which we have been long accustomed. Yet you who are still of an age to beget children must bear up in the hope of having others in their stead; not only will they help you to forget those whom you have lost, but will be to the state at once a reinforcement and a security; for never can a fair or just policy be expected of the citizen who does not, like his fellows, bring to the decision the interests and apprehensions of a father. While those of you who have passed your prime must congratulate yourselves with the thought that the best part of your life was fortunate, and that the brief span that remains will be cheered by the fame of the departed. For it is only the love of honour that never grows old; and honour it is, not gain, as some would have it, that rejoices the heart of age and helplessness.

Turning to the sons or brothers of the dead, I see an arduous struggle before you. When a man is gone, all are wont to praise him, and should your merit be ever so transcendent, you will still find it difficult not merely to overtake, but even to approach their renown. The living have envy to contend with, while those who are no longer in our path are honoured with a goodwill into which rivalry does not enter. On the other hand, if I must say anything on the subject of female excellence to those of you who will now be in widowhood, it will be all comprised in this brief exhortation. Great will be your glory in not falling short of your natural character; and greatest will be hers who is least talked of among the men, whether for good or for bad.

My task is now finished. I have performed it to the best of my ability, and in word, at least, the requirements of the law are now satisfied. If deeds be in question, those who are here interred have received part of their honours already, and for the rest, their children will be brought up till manhood at the public expense: the state thus offers a valuable prize, as the garland of victory in this race of valour, for the reward both of those who have fallen and their survivors. And where the rewards for merit are greatest, there are found the best citizens.

And now that you have brought to a close your lamentations for your relatives, you may depart."

Source: Richart Crawley, Translator.

Thucydides states that Athenian democracy adheres to both law and custom which ensures harmonious relationships. Others who see the benefits of Athens are attracted to the city. In military affairs, Athens citizens act freely and as a city-state Athens acts unilaterally. Discussion and debate permit Athenians to act more openly and freer than in other cities. These habits strengthen the state and in need of no one to merely boast about these accomplishments. The character of the country is such that it produces individuals willing to struggle or even to die for its glory. The survivors should have the same resolve and hold steadfast as the dead did. Pericles comforts those who survive knowing their progeny had such resolve and those who can have more children are to do so. The living, male and female, are to live up to their best character. There are rewards for the glory of the dead and the state assists those related to the dead.

As important as Thucydides is, the difficulty for the layperson to grasp him and understand his work, is to overcome certain limitations in his presentation of the war. Robert Strassler's supplemental edition provides resources by providing a commentary of the narrative, and the necessary background of an easily misunderstood cultural tradition that we do not share in order to provide a useful context for modern readers. The work is amply bolstered by a plethora of unique maps, substantive appendices by leading classical scholars, such as Victor Davis Hanson, explanatory marginalia, and a helpful and complete index. Thucydides is much more easily understood by using this volume.

Along with using Robert Strassler's, The Landmark Thucydides, while reading the original text in translation, Donald Kagan's, The Peloponnesian War, is a masterpiece of elucidation. The text is clear and well-written while expounding on the War mostly covered by Thucydides. Kagan also is supplemented by maps not available in Strassler that I found extremely helpful to understand Thucydides while imagining the personalities involved, such as Alcibiades, the terrain, and battle conditions. This is a masterful one-volume work for general readers of the period which is much more than a simple summary of his four-volume corpus for specialists published by Cornell University Press.

Unfortunately for us, and most distressing for Thucydides, is that he died before the conclusion of the War and his account is supplemented by others. The Portable Greek Historian by M.I. Finley does not contain his Hellenica, Xenophon's account of the War, but Plutarch's, The Rise and Fall of Athens, does include important biographical and historical details about leading actors such as Pericles, Nicias, Alcibiades, and Lysander. Although living long after the dates in question, in the first century of the Common Era, Plutarch nonetheless reliably reveals important aspects of the participants lives.

At a time when democracy is threatened worldwide, Thucydides is critical reading to understand contemporary questions.

What is the nature of a democracy during warfare?

Are democracies well-equipped to engage in warfare or does the liberal nature of democracy limit its war-making capabilities against martial states?

Does chronic warfare lead to tyranny?

One of the basic questions to consider is whether democracies have the same decisiveness and strength of character that martial states have. Isn't the resolve of democracies weaker in that once confronted with casualties, in a democracy people object to the destruction, and therefore their resolve is weakened? Pericles seems to imply the opposite. He argues that the people should hold steadfast while those who willingly fought gained glory and performed their duty. Pericles argues that it is the freedom of individuals that produces people of good character in a democratic state.

Thucydides is aware that chronic warfare led to tyranny in Athens. The Athenian democracy was overthrown by the oligarchy. Between the machinations of The Four Hundred and The Five Thousand, democracy was only belatedly, and with great difficulty, restored in Athens. Democracy is fragile and requires vigilance.

However, only specific, complex societies offer a possibility of eliminating tyranny. Eli Sagan, in his At the Dawn of Tyranny, draws from what he describes as "complex societies," i.e., pre-literate states, such as the Buganda of what is today Uganda, and pre-Europeanized Polynesian societies. No matter what advances were made by Greece or Mohammed, or any number of states from countless places and periods, Sagan states: "It is only with the emergence of democratic political forms that the eradication of various forms of oppression has become an ideal and a possibility of society. . . . Somehow, in only one part of the world--in Western Europe--deep within tyrannical society, the forms developed that made democratic life possible" (p. 297).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Peshawar Chickens Home to Roost

Peshawar Graphic source: The New York Times

In an `I told you so' type of situation, Taliban militants have threatened to envelop a city of three million, one of Pakistan’s largest, in Peshawar. As the militants strike fear into the city, Pakistan's lukewarm battle against the Taliban comes home to roost. NATO and the Coalition have long argued that this lawless, tribal region was close to collapse and as the major supply route for weapons the area is crucial to hold. The situation is even more grim considering that there still may be unaccounted for nuclear weapons held somewhere nearby. Peshawar is just 90 minutes by highway from Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, and with this latest move the Taliban demonstrate just how severe the threat is on both sides of the border with Afghanistan.

Peshawar has long been a semi-autonomous region anyway. In the 1980s, Americans used the city as a staging base for the mujahedeen, the Islamic fighters supplied by Washington to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Bin Laden arrived in 1985 to assist the mujahedeen, and almost exactly 20 years ago, in 1988, bin Laden held meetings at a house here that gave birth to Al Qaeda, according to The bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century by Steve Coll.

This lawless region exists as a menagerie of Taliban and al-Qaeda elements according to a survey of nearby towns.

To the south is Darra Adam Khel where forces of the Tehrik-e-Taliban of Pakistan, an umbrella group of Taliban, took virtual control of the city.

The group is led by Baitullah Mehsud, who is accused by the Pakistani government of masterminding the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Rivalries between Mehsud's movement and Haji Namdar who runs a Taliban group called the Promotion of Virtue and Suppression of Vice. This Taliban faction enforces a strict version of sharia, or Islamic law. Namdar called for Mehsud's supporters in Khyber to leave the region after a suicide bomber targeted his headquarters in Bara. Twenty of Namdar's supporters were wounded in the attack, which was carried out by the Hakeemullah Group. Hakeemullah Mehsud, Baitullah’s deputy, took credit for the attack.

To the east, Mangal Bagh leads Lashkar-i-Islam and he claims to have 180,000 fighters under his command. Lashkar-e-Islam has fought pitched battles with Ansar-ul-Islam, a rival group.

To the north, Tehrik-e-Taliban established a prison in Michini and in Warsak, the Taliban have constructed a training camp.

In Shabqadar, a few miles away, the Taliban turned up in the central square and posted a notice urging people to contact them rather than the courts to settle their disputes.

The techniques of fear and intimidation are similar to those used in Afghanistan during the 1990s, when the Taliban emerged after the retreat of the Soviets and the end of American financing. The Taliban generally ally themselves with the local criminals. The Taliban either attack criminals which wins them favor with the local or they coopt the criminals to further intimidate or hold the local populace in check. The Taliban are joined by the local criminals who grow their hair and their beards to fit in neatly with the Taliban. In this symbiotic manner, the Taliban and criminals join together as the criminals get protection from the militants for the money they give to the Taliban from their extortion rackets.

The Taliban are forward-thinking in that they abduct young boys and demand that they become jihadists rather than sit idly at home.

The counter-offensive by the Pakistani government has provided "full authority" to General Pervaiz Kayani, the Army Chief of Staff, to conduct operations to secure Peshawar.

Kiyani is viewed as one of the toughest officers in Pakistan and graduated near the top of his class at CGSC (Command General Staff College) at Leavenworth, Kansas. He is a highly regarded tactician and intellectual. The CGSC is where the 'cream of the crop' from overseas attend. Kiyani is also likely to have forged close bonds with his military counterparts in the Coalition/NATO. He is also a former head of the unreliable ISI in 2004 but thus may actually oppose its disloyal members. It was during Kiyani's ISI tenure that the agency arrested AQ’s most wanted chief operational commander, Abu Faraj Libbi, who had allegedly masterminded the Rawalpindi assassination attempts on Musharraf’s life amongst other insurgent actions. However, in balance it was during his administration that the Taliban staged a comeback in the tribal areas of Pakistan thus enabling AQ to establish its sanctuaries in the Waziristan region on the Pak-Afghan border. He possibly could come through though.


Italy Gets a Piece of Gas in Iraq

The Iraqi State Company for Natural Gas has agreed with Omica, an Italian company, to construct Iraq's largest factory for repairing natural gas valves in the province of Thi-Qar. The factory is scheduled to be set up this year. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil has opened eight new departments affiliated with the company in the provinces of Najaf, Karbala, Diala, Ramadi, Muthanna, Wassit, Thi-Qar, and Missan.

Friday, June 27, 2008

NASA Discovers Life on Mars

NASA scientists today announced that Martian soil could support life; now, if we could only find intelligent life on planet earth we'd be in business.

A Thought for the Saudis Today

OPEC sells oil for $136.00 a barrel; the Saudis buy U.S. grain at $7.00 a bushel.
Solution: sell grain for $136.00 a bushel.

Saudi Arabia is a huge import market for food and agricultural products. Imports from the United States reached a record $131 million in calendar 2005 but this trend is increasing even more. With a young and growing population, Saudi Arabia will continue to be a growth market for U.S. food products in the years to come.

In the following comments, the focus is on the imports during 2007 and specifically on imports made during January 2008.

According to a recent report by the Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI), Saudi imports increased in 2007 by 29% to reach SR338.1 billion. Moreover, another detailed report by CDSI showed additional details about imports during each month, the most recent one is for January 2008, which showed that imports has increased by 20% compared to January 2007.

Amongst the commodities that Saudi Arabia imports from abroad, the most important items included foodstuffs which increased significantly as well by 44% in the past year.

I note with interest that the value of imports such as foodstuffs has had a large increase, which might be explained by the global rise in food prices, leading to increase the share of foodstuff imports among total imports and its total value.

Amongst the countries that Saudi Arabia imported from during January 2008, the US continues to be the lead country, followed by China instead of Germany, which used to be ranked No.2, Japan has maintained the third rank.

The change in the value of imports from main partners when comparing January 2008 to January 2007 is as follows:
United States: 53%
Japan: 8%.

I wonder why our politicians don't tell us that the Saudis need us more than we need them.

Note on Ronnie and Nancy

This is a gossipy and somewhat researched volume by Vanity Fair correspondent Bob Colacello. It is written in the style of a Hollywood tell-all so although of limited historical value it does reveal some of the inner dynamic between Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Since this is as close as we will get to a Nancy-penned biography, this will have to do. The fearsome Nancy jealously guarded Ronnie, and his legacy, and once she allowed Colacello unlimited access to her vault, she must have trusted him to present her version of the truth. Thus, we gain greater access to points largely revealed previously but in greater detail: her somewhat humble and embarrassing acting career and early family life, Ronnie's limitations and indiscretions, her troubled relationship with her own and Ronnie's children. It is a breezy read which Reagan fans will enjoy to bolster their revered image of the "Great Communicator" legacy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama's Cousin Declares Islam the Only True Religion

Graphic source: Evangelical Alliance of Kenya

Raila Odinga, cousin of Obama, recently signed a published "Declaration of Understanding" with Kenya's National Muslim Leadership Forum. Although a perusal of the entire 13 chapters might shock us who believe whole-heartedly in the separation of chuch and state, the opening paragraph is enough to sample the wares:

"WHEREAS The Candidate [a reference to Raila Odinga] - who recognizes Islam as the only true religion - is seeking to become the next President of the Republic of Kenya. . . ."

Odinga was hailed by Obama in his last trip to Kenya in 2006. He rallied in support of Odinga at public forums.

The Declaration makes for interesting reading; it is in stark contrast to the American.

Obama already has been linked to former terrorist and PLO member, Khalid Rashidi, who is currently a professor at Columbia.

AQ Emir Confirmed Dead

The U.S. military has confirmed that al Qaeda's leader of Mosul was killed during a targeted raid on June 24. Abu Khalaf was al Qaeda's emir, or leader, of Mosul who was killed Task Force 88, the hunter-killer teams assigned to disrupt terrorist command networks.

Senlis Comments on Iraq

Graphic source: The Senlis Council

The Senlis Council, an international think-tank, released a report entitled, "Iraq: Angry Hearts and Angry Minds," that concluded that a new generation of angry young men are ripe for recruitment by Iraq's extremist groups. Tell us something we don't already know.

The study describes the American experience in Iraq as a "quagmire" despite the fact that a recent Iraqi study concluded that 2,000 Mahdi militia were killed as the Iraqi Army cleared out Sadr City and related areas.

Also in the tell us something we don't already know department should be mentioned that the U.S. realizes that a military solution alone will not solve Iraq's problems. The import of the point though is to find the magic formula. In the meantime, the U.S. has borne the brunt of the effort while, I would remind the Senlis folks, that the U.N. abandoned Iraq once the going got tough. Now Senlis would like us to believe that the international community will be capable of coming up with a new architecture of security.

I would like to know exactly what was the cost to the French, the Germans, the Italians, the Chinese, or most of the world for that matter, who would now like to waltz in with their platitudes and rosy sentiments to solve Iraq's problems.

One problem mentioned is corruption in regards to oil profits. The insurgents are the ones who benefited from the corruption and who are cheating the Iraqi people from the profits that might help them. The root of the corruption problem is to be found in the insurgents. I would like to see the Senlis folks make them go away. If they can not, in the meantime, the Coalition will be bearing the brunt of the cost.

One lamentable problem is the enormous cost and losses of the Iraqi people due to war. The Coalition is regularly taken to task for this problem. The U.S. is criticized for the loss of civilian life and the degeneration of the Iraqi quality of life. In modern, urban warfare, there are going to be lives lost, oftimes, enormous numbers of losses. The differences for civilians is that there is nothing in U.S. policy that would benefit Americans if civilians are targeted. Yet, American actions are going to result in loss of life. At the same time, for insurgent groups, civilians are legitimate targets and they lose their lives as a result. Wherever insurgent groups have taken control, such as AQ or the Taliban, the people eventually revolt against them. The Senlis study barely alludes to this fact.

Yet, one of the barriers that the Senlis group mentions, the involvement of Iraqis, occurs all the time. Whenever a civilian population harbors or does not cooperate with tracking down and eliminating insurgents, the Iraqis are voting. People have choices, and if to a greater extent, they would turn on the insurgents, which many brave Iraqis have, the Iraqis can determine their destiny to a larget extent. The possibility which democracy offers is the ability to decide amongst several options which is best for Iraqis. The Coalition offers that possibility.

The Senlis study is noble-minded but the lack of commitment on the part of the international community must be mentioned. Because the international community played politics with Iraq as well, pre-war by benefitting with cushy oil contracts, and abandoning Iraq to the insurgents while the U.S. bore the brunt of the fighting, solutions should not be accepted uncritically from the international community.

It is easy to sit on the sidelines and offer platitudes, it is more difficult to remain engaged and supply the manpower and the material to point the way towards a solution. The U.S. deserves more consideration than the study states.

Mahdi Defeat More Extensive Than First Believed

The Mahdi Army has suffered a more significant blow during fighting against Iraqi and Coalition forces this year than earlier reported according to an Iraq intelligence report. "More than 2,000 cadres from the Mahdi Army leaders were killed recently," an Iraqi intelligence official told the Gulf News. More than 1,000 Mahdi Army fighters were killed in Sadr City alone, according to a Mahdi Army commander in Baghdad. Another 415 were killed in Basrah. More than 400 were killed during fighting in the southern cities of Najaf, Karbala, Hillah, Diwaniyah, Amarah, Samawah, and Nasiriyah in late March and early April, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal.

Sadr has been portrayed as a freedom-loving democrat by some but after his militia has been decimated he remains in hiding under the protection of Iran's Quds Force in exile.

Released Gitmo Suicide Bomber Update

One of the released Guantanamo detainees, Abdullah Salih al Ajmi, was behind a March suicide truck bombing at Combat Outpost Inman in Mosul, an Iraqi Army base that served as the headquarters for the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Iraqi Army Division. Thirteen Iraqi soldiers were killed and 42 were wounded after Ajmi drove an armored truck packed an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of explosives through the gate of the outpost and detonated in a spot between the three main buildings of the compound.

Al Furqan used footage taken by Bill Roggio from the Long War Journal who was on scene in the aftermath of the suicide attack.

I noted before that the 23 June 38-minute-long video clip obtained from al Qaeda's media arm in Iraq, Al Furqan's "The Islamic State is Meant to Stay," which shows the attack on Combat Outpost Inman. Al Qaeda in Iraq, through its puppet organization the Islamic State of Iraq, released the propaganda video.

Nibras Kazimi, a Visiting Scholar at the Hudson Institute, noted on his website, Talisman Gate, that propaganda has slowed to a trickle. In fact, according to's Nick Grace, stated: "By this time last year," he said, "they had produced exactly 90 videos. . . . U.S. operations against their media cells inside Iraq late last year have had a profound impact." Al Qaeda has not even refuted reports on the death of senior leaders, including Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the purported leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, and Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda in Iraq's leader and the Islamic State's defense minister.

As early as March, an al Qaeda leader admitted that its position in Iraq is tenuous. Abu-Turab Al-Jaza'iri, a senior al Qaeda commander in northern Iraq, said al Qaeda "lost several cities and have been forced to withdraw from others," but was still fighting. "I do not want to paint a false picture: Our position is very difficult."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama’s Communist Mentor

Frank Marshall Davis Graphic source: Trevor Loudon

What is “coalition politics” and what is behind Obama’s rise to power?

As recent information has come to light, Obama's childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was a communist and this may be the connection.

Because of Frank Marshall Davis, Obama had an openly admitted relationship with a person who publicly identified as a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Obama lived in Hawaii from 1971-1979 where he considered Davis as a mentor. In his book, Dreams From My Father, Obama repeatedly refers to his mentor, "Frank."

Trevor Loudon, a New Zealand-based libertarian activist, posted evidence that "Frank" was Frank Marshall Davis in a posting in March of 2007.

Davis was an identified communist according to the 1951 report of the Commission on Subversive Activities to the Legislature of the Territory of Hawaii, which identified him as a Communist Party in the USA member (CPUSA). Moreover, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), accused Davis of involvement in several communist-front organizations.

Obama hides quite a bit of his past and his affiliations but he does reveal his relationship with "Frank" in his book, Dreams From My Father. He describes "a poet named Frank," who he visited in Hawaii, read poetry, and was full of "hard-earned knowledge" and advice. Only indirectly does Obama identify "Frank" when he states that this figure had "some modest notoriety once," and was "a contemporary of Richard Wright and Langston Hughes during his years in Chicago..." but was now "pushing eighty." Wright (September 4, 1908 – November 28, 1960) was an African-American author of many controversial writings, mostly about race; Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) of course was an American writer known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. Obama writes of "Frank and his old Black Power dashiki self."

John Edgar Tidwell, an expert on Davis and a professor at the University of Kansas, notes that in Davis's case, his political commitments led him to join the American Communist Party during the middle of World War II. In addition to Tidwell, another book, Black Moods: Collected Poems of Frank Marshall Davis, confirms Davis's Communist Party membership; and another book, The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946, by James Edward Smethurst, associate professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, names Davis as a CPUSA author.

Dr. Kathryn Takara, a professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa also confirms that Davis is the "Frank" in Obama's book. She wrote her dissertation on Davis and in an analysis posted online, she notes that Davis, who was a columnist for the Honolulu Record, brought "an acute sense of race relations and class struggle throughout America and the world" and that he openly discussed subjects such as American imperialism, colonialism and exploitation. She described him as a "socialist realist" who attacked the work of the House Un-American Activities Committee. According to Takara, Davis "espoused freedom, radicalism, solidarity, labor unions, due process, peace, affirmative action, civil rights, Negro History week, and true Democracy to fight imperialism, colonialism, and white supremacy. He urged coalition politics."

The Communist connection between "Frank" and Obama is also identified by Professor Gerald Horne, a contributing editor of the Communist Party journal Political Affairs and a history professor at the University of Houston, whose remarks are available online as "Rethinking the History and Future of the Communist Party." Horne notes that Davis moved to Honolulu in 1948 "at the suggestion of his good friend Paul Robeson," came into contact with Barack Obama, and became the young man's mentor. Robeson (April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976), of course, was the Communist Party USA member, entertainer, and civil rights activist who was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. Horne describes how "Frank" and a young student from Kenya, Barack Obama, got acquainted and the young man followed Davis to Chicago. As Davis advised before Obama's educational career, college was "An advanced degree in compromise" and warned Obama not to forget his "people" and not to "start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that ####."

Once in Chicago, Obama became affiliated with two former members of the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), William Ayers and Carl Davidson. The SDS was a leading anti-Vietnam War organization theat eventually produced the even more radical and terrorist Weather Underground. Ayers was a member of the terrorist group who turned himself in to authorities in 1981. Now a college professor he serves with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago. Davidson belongs to the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, an offshoot of the Soviet American Communist Party (CPUSA), that helped organize the 2002 rally where Obama came out against the Iraq War.

Indeed, Communists have continued to support Obama. Frank Chapman, a CPUSA supporter, has written a letter to the party newspaper hailing the Illinois senator's victory in the Iowa caucuses.

As Chapman wrote, "Marx once compared revolutionary struggle with the work of the mole, who sometimes burrows so far beneath the ground that he leaves no trace of his movement on the surface. This is the old revolutionary ‘mole,' not only showing his traces on the surface but also breaking through."

Obama is that mole.

That Obama is advocating socialist politics is not really debatable. He campaigned for socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and since he was raised as an occasionally practising Muslim Obama

Obama with his schoolmates. Graphic source: Daniel Pipes

not surprisingly favors international concerns more than Americans and their issues. And, although he has accomplished little in Congress, he has sponsored a "Global Poverty Act" designed to send hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. foreign aid to the rest of the world, in order to meet U.N. demands.

The question that should be posed is that why would so many fall so gullibly for an avowed communist fellow-traveler? This should be a time when Americans advocate American interests and concerns.

Trouble in Jihadist Paradise

Is it any wonder that ex-Guantanamo prisoners and suicide bombers advocate jihadists to obey al-Baghdadi?

A recently released Al-Furqan 38 minute video, which was posted on the Al-Ekhlaas jihadist internet forum under the title ‘The State of Islam [Shall] Endure,’ jihadists promoted the head of state, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, identified as Hamid al-Zawi.

Most of the video is a rehash but the new material may reveal why jihadists have been so glum during the past six weeks as Iraqi government conducted Mosul's Operation ‘Umm Al-Rabi’ayn. Analysts have wondered why the jihadists had such a poor showing in Mosul.

The last part of the video showcases a Kuwaiti suicide bomber, `Abu Omar al-Kuwaiti’ (identified elsewhere as Badr Mishel Gama’an al-Harbi).

Al-Harbi rebukes other Iraqi jihadist groups, such as the Islamic Army of Iraq that had turned against the Islamic State of Iraq, for allowing their honor to be desecrated through cooperation with the Americans, adding “we are not from Iraq, but we are Muslims, and we couldn’t sleep” over what was being allegedly done by the Americans on Iraqi soil. Al-Harbi says that it is useless for young Muslims to sit behind the keyboard and that they must flock to the Islamic State of Iraq and fight under its banner since “in it is the nucleus of the Islamic Caliphate on this earth.” Cf.

It sounds like there is trouble in paradise and that the recent Iraqi military operation has been successful.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Web Shattering Politics?

I've long been skeptical that the Web is making much difference in political campaigns but there may be evidence that the 2008 political campaign is shattering records in the U.S. A record-breaking 46% of Americans have used the Internet, e-mail or cell phone text messaging to get news about a campaign or to share their views, according to the "The Internet and the 2008 Election" report compiled by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. At this point during the 2004 election, only 31% of Americans had used the Internet to get political news and information. The report noted that the difference between the elections is more than the total number of Americans who used the Internet during the entire 2004 campaign for political information.

18 Year Old Faces 38 Years for High School Hack

Omar Khan, an 18 year old teen faces 38 years in jail for his grade-tampering hack as he was charged with 69 felony counts including 34 for altering a public record, 11 for stealing and secreting a public record, and 7 for illegal computer access and fraud. Khan and an accomplice are seniors at Tesoro High School, a Rancho Santa Margarita, California institution recently ranked among the Top 1,000 high schools in the U.S. by Newsweek. He was charged with stealing personal log-in credentials from teachers to break into school computers and change current grades from advanced placement (AP) tests as well as grades from past semesters.

Congress Chips Away at 4th Amendment

The U.S. House of Representatives has again approved legislation to continue the controversial surveillance program at the U.S. National Security Agency with limited court oversight. At the same time, this legislation will likely end lawsuits against telecommunications carriers that participated in the program. The House voted 293 to 129 to approve a bill that was a compromise between Democrats and Bush.

The bill extends NSA surveillance of phone calls and email messages going in and out of the U.S. The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court also will review Bush administration requests for wide-ranging surveillance powers. The bill, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act, allows the NSA to receive blanket surveillance orders covering multiple suspects of terrorism and other crimes.

The Bush administration began the NSA surveillance program after 9/11 but the existed for about four years before news reports revealed its existence.

105 Democrats agreed with Bush, who voted with his position, while 128 voted against it.

The NSA program, in my view, violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

The surveillance of Americans is increased but no one has been able to demonstrate the connection between provisions of the bill and the ability to nab terrorists.

There are 47 outstanding lawsuits related to the surveillance program and 35 lawsuits with telecoms as defendants, including AT&T, Verizon Communications and Sprint Nextel, stated Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Mars Ice, Ice, Ice Baby

One of the major developments in the Mars story is that dice-sized pieces of whitish matter dug up in a trench appears to be ice, according to Ray Arvidson, a co-investigator for Mars Lander's robotic arm team and a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. The material was dug up in a 7-to-8-cm-deep trench by the Lander's robotic arm and the matter disappeared after being exposed to sunlight which leads scientists to believe that it was ice that simply melted. If the scientists can confirm that there is water or ice present, it will reveal that there is a potential for life. Water is one of the main elements of life and this relates to one of the fundamental questions that people ask: 'Are we alone in the universe?' Or, is there a possibility that life existed on the Red planet? If even microscopic life exists elsewhere, other life could or did exist elsewhere. More to follow apparently as the scientists initiate a major series of tests.
In a dramatic situation U.S. Special Operations Forces killed al Qaeda's leader in Mosul. The house of al Qaeda's emir, or leader, was being raided in a supposed safe house when violence erupted. The emir was not identified but Special Operations Task Force 88, the hunter-killer teams assigned to take down terrorists in Iraq, stormed his house. The commandos opened fire when attacked and after one of the terrorists attempted to detonate his suicide vest was shot. A woman with the group also attempted to detonate the vest on the dead al Qaeda operative. Mosul is systematically being cleared of al Qaeda's emirs as on June 20, Coalition forces detained al Qaeda's security emir in Mosul, his predecessor was captured just two months prior, and the previous emir was captured in February.

Since AQ was cleared from Baghdad, the terrorists attempted to re-insert themselves in Mosul as noted by yours truly. However, fourteen of the thirty senior most al Qaeda operatives identified have been killed or captured by Multinational Forces Iraq between February and May in Mosul.

Monday, June 23, 2008

War on Terror Not Important Enough to Cover

Ever wonder why you don't hear about Americans engaging terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or, more precisely, why don't you hear about American success in the wars on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan? The answer is not easy to find: just ask American reporters. CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, states Lara Logan,


the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News.

An article in today's New York Times notes:

according to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The “CBS Evening News” has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC’s “World News” and 74 minutes on “NBC Nightly News.” (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)

Cable news channels like Fox News and CNN have considerably more time to fill with news than the networks thus both CNN and Fox each have two full time correspondents in Iraq.

The New York Times article noted though that:

coverage of the war in Afghanistan has increased slightly this year, with 46 minutes of total coverage year-to-date compared with 83 minutes for all of 2007. NBC has spent 25 minutes covering Afghanistan, partly because the anchor Brian Williams visited the country earlier in the month. Through Wednesday, when an ABC correspondent was in the middle of a prolonged visit to the country, ABC had spent 13 minutes covering Afghanistan. CBS has spent eight minutes covering Afghanistan so far this year.

Nonetheless, no American television network has a full-time correspondent in Afghanistan, although CNN recently said it would open a bureau in Kabul.

If you are looking for news on the war on terror don't expect to find it on American televisions.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Michael F. Scheuer On His Latest Book

As always, former CIA Chief analyst of Bin Laden,

Michael F. Scheuer, provides a gloomy account of our situation

in the Middle East while discussing his latest book.

White Europeans Poised to Attack the U.S. for al-Qaeda

In a move that has been widely anticipated, although not easily defended, dozens of white Europeans have trained in Pakistan's terrorist camps, according to U.S. intelligence sources. The adaptable tactics of al-Qaeda have shown that the organization is nimble, lethal, and resilient.

For example, "Eric B." is a German national plotting attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Europe.

Graphic source: IntelCenter

The alleged terrorists were recruited in Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Romania, and Estonia.

Sadr Out

The earlier conservative estimates of the losses that the Mahdi Army experienced has now been supplemented by documenting the heavy casualties the Sadrists suffered. In Basrah and Sadr City during March - May more than 1,000 Mahdi Army fighters were killed in Sadr City, another 415 were killed in Basrah. Several hundred were killed during fighting in the southern cities of Najaf, Karbala, Hillah, Diwaniyah, Amarah, Samawah, and Nasiriyah. The Mahdi ceases to exist as a fighting force and recent Iraqi security efforts have gone unopposed.

Iraqi Kurdistan Support for Coalition Troops

In the debate on the continuing presence of Coalition troops the Kurdish Parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Masoud Barazani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of President Talabani, are the most loyal allies and they support permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. Bush has already stated that he does not favor permanent bases but in the Iraqi Parliament, these two parties would advocate strong allied bases. Kurdistan could host these bases. The same offer was recently reiterated by Parliament member Mahmoud Othman.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Start of Campaign

A list of new items and summer blogs will be forthcoming. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sign iPetition for Ian Hunter to be Inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

Graphic source:

I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I
recently signed:

All The Way To Cleveland, Ian Hunter for the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you
to add your signature, too. It's free and takes less than a minute of
your time.

Thank you!

History Textbooks & Islam

An excellent survey of the problem in describing Islam in American textbooks was written by Gilbert T. Sewall, Director of the American Textbook Council, a former history instructor at Phillips Academy, and an education editor at Newsweek. Sewall states his major conclusions:
History textbooks should stress that:

The Islamic conquest of the Mediterranean defined the Middle Ages and Europe. Arabic conquests and expansion occurred in the seventh and eighth centuries. The Turks who conquered the Balkans and Asia Minor, the Mongols in Central Asia, and the Delhi Sultanate in South Asia were Islamic expansionists who were not Arabic, and their conquests occurred centuries after the Arabs took control of what today is called the Middle East.

Containment of Islam was European policy from Tours to Vienna. Landmark encounters occurred between Europe and Islam from the early Middle Ages to modern times: Battle of Tours (732), First Crusade (1095), fall of Constantinople (1453), and Battle of Vienna (1683). In each case textbooks should explain how and why the West was threatened. Likewise, textbooks should explain that the so-called age of discovery and the voyages of Columbus to the New World in fact were a European search for maritime trade routes to Asia designed to circumvent Muslim territories.

Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798 began the push of "the West" into Islamic lands, for strategic and, later, economic reasons. In the nineteenth century European imperial powers took sovereign control of Islamic territories and introduced laws, political values, and educational systems into colonies with varying responses. From the 1920s economic imperialism prevailed. The presence of oil in Islamic lands has uniquely affected geopolitics and global transportation ever since. Additionally, the influence of Western entertainment carries an aspect of cultural imperialism.

When textbooks cover Islam as a geopolitical and cultural force in the world today, they should explain:

Islam is aggressive in a postcolonial world. The Arabic union against Israel since 1948 and the creation of Pakistan after World War II provide vivid historical illustrations. In today's world Islam has several power centers: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Indonesia. The idea of Islamic unity is constrained by the vicious division and power struggles of Sunni and Shia sects, as contemporary Iraq makes clear. Muslims include the Taliban of Afghanistan and the bankers of Abu Dhabi.

Yet Islam sees a world split into dar al-harb and dar al-islam. Dar al-harb (territory of war or chaos) is its term for the regions where Islam does not dominate, where divine will is not observed, and therefore where continuing strife is the norm. By contrast, dar al-islam (territory of peace) is Islam's term for those territories where Islam does dominate, where submission to God is observed, and where peace and tranquility reign. This ideation constitutes-to what extent, experts disagree-a rivalry of alternative worldviews, metaphysical ideas, and conceptions of evil. But these ideas, if acted upon by the Islamic revivalists who are rapidly growing in number, might constitute a clear and present danger to global security, particularly in the West. Al Qaeda is the orchestrated global effort to re-establish Islam's historical and mythic supremacy worldwide through jihad. The international community has immense collective self-interest and incentive to avoid nuclear terrorism as a holy struggle.

Islam's ability to embrace modernity and secular society remains an open question. Many leaders in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan - and many more than in the recent past - are ambivalent about or reacting to twentieth-century secularism. Almost a century ago the eminent medieval historian Ferdinand Lot concluded that Islam's legal and political outlook made a modus vivendi with the West unlikely. Specialists today point out that Islam has no real institutional or theological mechanism to facilitate religious liberty. It has no element that allows the individual or society to explore, criticize or deny doctrine without fear of punishment or reprisal. At its extremes, it raises the prospect of thought control.

Sewall also lists reliable resources:

Cf. Thomas B. Fordham Foundation's "Terrorists, Despots and Democracy: What Our Children Need to Know" (2003);

Watson Institute for International Studies's, "Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy" (2003).

"Fighting for the Soul of Islam" (April 18, 2007), U.S. News and World Report.

Columbia History of the World.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dead Insurgency, and Live Upcoming Elections in Iraq

Since the insurgency died around May of this year, the fractious upcoming elections might well become a free-for-all but it will be indicative of parties and individuals who can represent a free Iraq.

Eurydice in the Orpheus Myth

The Orpheus myth is one of the most convoluted stories from the Greek stock of stories. Nonetheless, the myth persisted in various forms for centuries. In this modern adaptation by Sara Ruhl, the myth is examined from the less well-known view of Eurydice, wife of Orpheus. The most dramatic element, ironically, was the clever set design of Mimi Lien.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Iraqi Security Tested Against Iran

If the Iraqi security forces can stop the Mahdi Army in the southern border province of Maysan, specifically in Amarah the provincial capital, this is probably where senior Mahdi Army leaders retreated after security forces moved into Sadr City last month. Amarah is critical becasue it is a forward command and control hub for Iranian operations in southern Iraq. This will be a good test of the Iraqi security forces if they are able to stop Iran's influence in the region.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sadr Signals End of Support and Insurgency

Graphic source: The Long War Journal

From the looks of things, although Sadr is now claiming to form a new organization, the hard evidence shows that he is losing popular support. Sadr is losing not only in terms of numbers, but please recall, that when the Coalition forces ran into armed conflicts, it was Sadr who was reputed to be the preeminent insurgent leader. The new tactic of demonstration may well illustrate that the insurgency can not be sustained and Sadr is left with trying to rally enough people to demonstrate in political actions. In any case, this is a positive development because armed opposition is weaker and Sadr, to remain relevant at all, must have recourse to more legitimate forms of democratic protest.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Coalition Engages Taliban: Threat Eliminated

Coalition forces came under fire

so the fire was returned and the threat eliminated. There is no Pakistani structure seen on the tape and if the Pakistanis were doing their job they would have engaged the Taliban. They did not.

"The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today."


06-1195 v.

STATES, et al.

KHALED A. F. AL ODAH, next friend of FAWZI

06-1196 v.


on writs of certiorari to the united states court of
appeals for the district of columbia circuit

[June 12, 2008]

Justice Scalia, with whom The Chief Justice, Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito join, dissenting.

Today, for the first time in our Nation's history, the Court confers a constitutional right to habeas corpus on alien enemies detained abroad by our military forces in the course of an ongoing war. The Chief Justice's dissent, which I join, shows that the procedures prescribed by Congress in the Detainee Treatment Act provide the essential protections that habeas corpus guarantees; there has thus been no suspension of the writ, and no basis exists for judicial intervention beyond what the Act allows. My problem with today's opinion is more fundamental still: The writ of habeas corpus does not, and never has, run in favor of aliens abroad; the Suspension Clause thus has no application, and the Court's intervention in this military matter is entirely ultra vires.

I shall devote most of what will be a lengthy opinion to the legal errors contained in the opinion of the Court. Contrary to my usual practice, however, I think it appropriate to begin with a description of the disastrous consequences of what the Court has done today.


America is at war with radical Islamists. The enemy began by killing Americans and American allies abroad: 241 at the Marine barracks in Lebanon, 19 at the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, 224 at our embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, and 17 on the USS Cole in Yemen. See National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 60-61, 70, 190 (2004). On September 11, 2001, the enemy brought the battle to American soil, killing 2,749 at the Twin Towers in New York City, 184 at the Pentagon in Washington, D. C., and 40 in Pennsylvania. See id., at 552, n. 9. It has threatened further attacks against our homeland; one need only walk about buttressed and barricaded Washington, or board a plane anywhere in the country, to know that the threat is a serious one. Our Armed Forces are now in the field against the enemy, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last week, 13 of our countrymen in arms were killed.

The game of bait-and-switch that today's opinion plays upon the Nation's Commander in Chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed. That consequence would be tolerable if necessary to preserve a time-honored legal principle vital to our constitutional Republic. But it is this Court's blatant abandonment of such a principle that produces the decision today. The President relied on our settled precedent in Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U. S. 763 (1950), when he established the prison at Guantanamo Bay for enemy aliens. Citing that case, the President's Office of Legal Counsel advised him "that the great weight of legal authority indicates that a federal district court could not properly exercise habeas jurisdiction over an alien detained at [Guantanamo Bay]." Memorandum from Patrick F. Philbin and John C. Yoo, Deputy Assistant Attorneys General, Office of Legal Counsel, to William J. Haynes II, General Counsel, Dept. of Defense (Dec. 28, 2001). Had the law been otherwise, the military surely would not have transported prisoners there, but would have kept them in Afghanistan, transferred them to another of our foreign military bases, or turned them over to allies for detention. Those other facilities might well have been worse for the detainees themselves.

In the long term, then, the Court's decision today accomplishes little, except perhaps to reduce the well-being of enemy combatants that the Court ostensibly seeks to protect. In the short term, however, the decision is devastating. At least 30 of those prisoners hitherto released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the battlefield. See S. Rep. No. 110-90, pt. 7, p. 13 (2007) (Minority Views of Sens. Kyl, Sessions, Graham, Cornyn, and Coburn) (hereinafter Minority Report). Some have been captured or killed. See ibid.; see also Mintz, Released Detainees Rejoining the Fight, Washington Post, Oct. 22, 2004, pp. A1, A12. But others have succeeded in carrying on their atrocities against innocent civilians. In one case, a detainee released from Guantanamo Bay masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese dam workers, one of whom was later shot to death when used as a human shield against Pakistani commandoes. See Khan & Lancaster, Pakistanis Rescue Hostage; 2nd Dies, Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2004, p. A18. Another former detainee promptly resumed his post as a senior Taliban commander and murdered a United Nations engineer and three Afghan soldiers. Mintz, supra. Still another murdered an Afghan judge. See Minority Report 13. It was reported only last month that a released detainee carried out a suicide bombing against Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, Iraq. See White, Ex-Guantanamo Detainee Joined Iraq Suicide Attack, Washington Post, May 8, 2008, p. A18.

These, mind you, were detainees whom the military had concluded were not enemy combatants. Their return to the kill illustrates the incredible difficulty of assessing who is and who is not an enemy combatant in a foreign theater of operations where the environment does not lend itself to rigorous evidence collection. Astoundingly, the Court today raises the bar, requiring military officials to appear before civilian courts and defend their decisions under procedural and evidentiary rules that go beyond what Congress has specified. As The Chief Justice's dissent makes clear, we have no idea what those procedural and evidentiary rules are, but they will be determined by civil courts and (in the Court's contemplation at least) will be more detainee-friendly than those now applied, since otherwise there would no reason to hold the congressionally prescribed procedures unconstitutional. If they impose a higher standard of proof (from foreign battlefields) than the current procedures require, the number of the enemy returned to combat will obviously increase.

But even when the military has evidence that it can bring forward, it is often foolhardy to release that evidence to the attorneys representing our enemies. And one escalation of procedures that the Court is clear about is affording the detainees increased access to witnesses (perhaps troops serving in Afghanistan?) and to classified information. See ante, at 54-55. During the 1995 prosecution of Omar Abdel Rahman, federal prosecutors gave the names of 200 unindicted co-conspirators to the "Blind Sheik's" defense lawyers; that information was in the hands of Osama Bin Laden within two weeks. See Minority Report 14-15. In another case, trial testimony revealed to the enemy that the United States had been monitoring their cellular network, whereupon they promptly stopped using it, enabling more of them to evade capture and continue their atrocities. See id., at 15.

And today it is not just the military that the Court elbows aside. A mere two Terms ago in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U. S. 557 (2006), when the Court held (quite amazingly) that the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 had not stripped habeas jurisdiction over Guantanamo petitioners' claims, four Members of today's five-Justice majority joined an opinion saying the following:

"Nothing prevents the President from returning to Congress to seek the authority [for trial by military commission] he believes necessary.

"Where, as here, no emergency prevents consultation with Congress, judicial insistence upon that consultation does not weaken our Nation's ability to deal with danger. To the contrary, that insistence strengthens the Nation's ability to determine--through democratic means--how best to do so. The Constitution places its faith in those democratic means." Id., at 636 (Breyer, J., concurring).1

Turns out they were just kidding. For in response, Congress, at the President's request, quickly enacted the Military Commissions Act, emphatically reasserting that it did not want these prisoners filing habeas petitions. It is therefore clear that Congress and the Executive--both political branches--have determined that limiting the role of civilian courts in adjudicating whether prisoners captured abroad are properly detained is important to success in the war that some 190,000 of our men and women are now fighting. As the Solicitor General argued, "the Military Commissions Act and the Detainee Treatment Act ... represent an effort by the political branches to strike an appropriate balance between the need to preserve liberty and the need to accommodate the weighty and sensitive governmental interests in ensuring that those who have in fact fought with the enemy during a war do not return to battle against the United States." Brief for Respondents 10-11 (internal quotation marks omitted).

But it does not matter. The Court today decrees that no good reason to accept the judgment of the other two branches is "apparent." Ante, at 40. "The Government," it declares, "presents no credible arguments that the military mission at Guantanamo would be compromised if habeas corpus courts had jurisdiction to hear the detainees' claims." Id., at 39. What competence does the Court have to second-guess the judgment of Congress and the President on such a point? None whatever. But the Court blunders in nonetheless. Henceforth, as today's opinion makes unnervingly clear, how to handle enemy prisoners in this war will ultimately lie with the branch that knows least about the national security concerns that the subject entails.



The Suspension Clause of the Constitution provides: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." Art. I, §9, cl. 2. As a court of law operating under a written Constitution, our role is to determine whether there is a conflict between that Clause and the Military Commissions Act. A conflict arises only if the Suspension Clause preserves the privilege of the writ for aliens held by the United States military as enemy combatants at the base in Guantanamo Bay, located within the sovereign territory of Cuba.

We have frequently stated that we owe great deference to Congress's view that a law it has passed is constitutional. See, e.g., Department of Labor v. Triplett, 494 U. S. 715, 721 (1990); United States v. National Dairy Products Corp., 372 U. S. 29, 32 (1963); see also American Communications Assn. v. Douds, 339 U. S. 382, 435 (1950) (Jackson, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). That is especially so in the area of foreign and military affairs; "perhaps in no other area has the Court accorded Congress greater deference." Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U. S. 57, 64-65 (1981). Indeed, we accord great deference even when the President acts alone in this area. See Department of Navy v. Egan, 484 U. S. 518, 529-530 (1988); Regan v. Wald, 468 U. S. 222, 243 (1984).

In light of those principles of deference, the Court's conclusion that "the common law [does not] yiel[d] a definite answer to the questions before us," ante, at 22, leaves it no choice but to affirm the Court of Appeals. The writ as preserved in the Constitution could not possibly extend farther than the common law provided when that Clause was written. See Part III, infra. The Court admits that it cannot determine whether the writ historically extended to aliens held abroad, and it concedes (necessarily) that Guantanamo Bay lies outside the sovereign territory of the United States. See ante, at 22-23; Rasul v. Bush, 542 U. S. 466, 500-501 (2004) (Scalia, J., dissenting). Together, these two concessions establish that it is (in the Court's view) perfectly ambiguous whether the common-law writ would have provided a remedy for these petitioners. If that is so, the Court has no basis to strike down the Military Commissions Act, and must leave undisturbed the considered judgment of the coequal branches.2

How, then, does the Court weave a clear constitutional prohibition out of pure interpretive equipoise? The Court resorts to "fundamental separation-of-powers principles" to interpret the Suspension Clause. Ante, at 25. According to the Court, because "the writ of habeas corpus is itself an indispensable mechanism for monitoring the separation of powers," the test of its extraterritorial reach "must not be subject to manipulation by those whose power it is designed to restrain." Ante, at 36.

That approach distorts the nature of the separation of powers and its role in the constitutional structure. The "fundamental separation-of-powers principles" that the Constitution embodies are to be derived not from some judicially imagined matrix, but from the sum total of the individual separation-of-powers provisions that the Constitution sets forth. Only by considering them one-by-one does the full shape of the Constitution's separation-of-powers principles emerge. It is nonsensical to interpret those provisions themselves in light of some general "separation-of-powers principles" dreamed up by the Court. Rather, they must be interpreted to mean what they were understood to mean when the people ratified them. And if the understood scope of the writ of habeas corpus was "designed to restrain" (as the Court says) the actions of the Executive, the understood limits upon that scope were (as the Court seems not to grasp) just as much "designed to restrain" the incursions of the Third Branch. "Manipulation" of the territorial reach of the writ by the Judiciary poses just as much a threat to the proper separation of powers as "manipulation" by the Executive. As I will show below, manipulation is what is afoot here. The understood limits upon the writ deny our jurisdiction over the habeas petitions brought by these enemy aliens, and entrust the President with the crucial wartime determinations about their status and continued confinement.


The Court purports to derive from our precedents a "functional" test for the extraterritorial reach of the writ, ante, at 34, which shows that the Military Commissions Act unconstitutionally restricts the scope of habeas. That is remarkable because the most pertinent of those precedents, Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U. S. 763, conclusively establishes the opposite. There we were confronted with the claims of 21 Germans held at Landsberg Prison, an American military facility located in the American Zone of occupation in postwar Germany. They had been captured in China, and an American military commission sitting there had convicted them of war crimes--collaborating with the Japanese after Germany's surrender. Id., at 765-766. Like the petitioners here, the Germans claimed that their detentions violated the Constitution and international law, and sought a writ of habeas corpus. Writing for the Court, Justice Jackson held that American courts lacked habeas jurisdiction:

"We are cited to [sic] no instance where a court, in this or any other country where the writ is known, has issued it on behalf of an alien enemy who, at no relevant time and in no stage of his captivity, has been within its territorial jurisdiction. Nothing in the text of the Constitution extends such a right, nor does anything in our statutes." Id., at 768.

Justice Jackson then elaborated on the historical scope of the writ:

"The alien, to whom the United States has been traditionally hospitable, has been accorded a generous and ascending scale of rights as he increases his identity with our society... .

"But, in extending constitutional protections beyond the citizenry, the Court has been at pains to point out that it was the alien's presence within its territorial jurisdiction that gave the Judiciary power to act." Id., at 770-771.

Lest there be any doubt about the primacy of territorial sovereignty in determining the jurisdiction of a habeas court over an alien, Justice Jackson distinguished two cases in which aliens had been permitted to seek habeas relief, on the ground that the prisoners in those cases were in custody within the sovereign territory of the United States. Id., at 779-780 (discussing Ex parte Quirin, 317 U. S. 1 (1942), and In re Yamashita, 327 U. S. 1 (1946)). "By reason of our sovereignty at that time over [the Philippines]," Jackson wrote, "Yamashita stood much as did Quirin before American courts." 339 U. S., at 780.

Eisentrager thus held--held beyond any doubt--that the Constitution does not ensure habeas for aliens held by the United States in areas over which our Government is not sovereign.3

The Court would have us believe that Eisentrager rested on "[p]ractical considerations," such as the "difficulties of ordering the Government to produce the prisoners in a habeas corpus proceeding." Ante, at 32. Formal sovereignty, says the Court, is merely one consideration "that bears upon which constitutional guarantees apply" in a given location. Ante, at 34. This is a sheer rewriting of the case. Eisentrager mentioned practical concerns, to be sure--but not for the purpose of determining under what circumstances American courts could issue writs of habeas corpus for aliens abroad. It cited them to support its holding that the Constitution does not empower courts to issue writs of habeas corpus to aliens abroad in any circumstances. As Justice Black accurately said in dissent, "the Court's opinion inescapably denies courts power to afford the least bit of protection for any alien who is subject to our occupation government abroad, even if he is neither enemy nor belligerent and even after peace is officially declared." 339 U. S., at 796.

The Court also tries to change Eisentrager into a "functional" test by quoting a paragraph that lists the characteristics of the German petitioners:

"To support [the] assumption [of a constitutional right to habeas corpus] we must hold that a prisoner of our military authorities is constitutionally entitled to the writ, even though he (a) is an enemy alien; (b) has never been or resided in the United States; (c) was captured outside of our territory and there held in military custody as a prisoner of war; (d) was tried and convicted by a Military Commission sitting outside the United States; (e) for offenses against laws of war committed outside the United States; (f) and is at all times imprisoned outside the United States." Id., at 777 (quoted in part, ante, at 36).

But that paragraph is introduced by a sentence stating that "[t]he foregoing demonstrates how much further we must go if we are to invest these enemy aliens, resident, captured and imprisoned abroad, with standing to demand access to our courts." 339 U. S., at 777 (emphasis added). How much further than what? Further than the rule set forth in the prior section of the opinion, which said that "in extending constitutional protections beyond the citizenry, the Court has been at pains to point out that it was the alien's presence within its territorial jurisdiction that gave the Judiciary power to act." Id., at 771. In other words, the characteristics of the German prisoners were set forth, not in application of some "functional" test, but to show that the case before the Court represented an a fortiori application of the ordinary rule. That is reaffirmed by the sentences that immediately follow the listing of the Germans' characteristics:

"We have pointed out that the privilege of litigation has been extended to aliens, whether friendly or enemy, only because permitting their presence in the country implied protection. No such basis can be invoked here, for these prisoners at no relevant time were within any territory over which the United States is sovereign, and the scenes of their offense, their capture, their trial and their punishment were all beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any court of the United States." Id., at 777-778.

Eisentrager nowhere mentions a "functional" test, and the notion that it is based upon such a principle is patently false.4

The Court also reasons that Eisentrager must be read as a "functional" opinion because of our prior decisions in the Insular Cases. See ante, at 26-29. It cites our statement in Balzac v. Porto Rico, 258 U. S. 298, 312 (1922), that " 'the real issue in the Insular Cases was not whether the Constitution extended to the Philippines or Porto Rico when we went there, but which of its provisions were applicable by way of limitation upon the exercise of executive and legislative power in dealing with new conditions and requirements.' " Ante, at 28. But the Court conveniently omits Balzac's predicate to that statement: "The Constitution of the United States is in force in Porto Rico as it is wherever and whenever the sovereign power of that government is exerted." 258 U. S., at 312 (emphasis added). The Insular Cases all concerned territories acquired by Congress under its Article IV authority and indisputably part of the sovereign territory of the United States. See United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U. S. 259, 268 (1990); Reid v. Covert, 354 U. S. 1, 13 (1957) (plurality opinion of Black, J.). None of the Insular Cases stands for the proposition that aliens located outside U. S. sovereign territory have constitutional rights, and Eisentrager held just the opposite with respect to habeas corpus. As I have said, Eisentrager distinguished Yamashita on the ground of "our sovereignty [over the Philippines]," 339 U. S., at 780.

The Court also relies on the "[p]ractical considerations" that influenced our decision in Reid v. Covert, supra. See ante, at 29-32. But all the Justices in the majority except Justice Frankfurter limited their analysis to the rights of citizens abroad. See Reid, supra, at 5-6 (plurality opinion of Black, J.); id., at 74-75 (Harlan, J., concurring in result). (Frankfurter limited his analysis to the even narrower class of civilian dependents of American military personnel abroad, see id., at 45 (opinion concurring in result).) In trying to wring some kind of support out of Reid for today's novel holding, the Court resorts to a chain of logic that does not hold. The members of the Reid majority, the Court says, were divided over whether In re Ross, 140 U. S. 453 (1891), which had (according to the Court) held that under certain circumstances American citizens abroad do not have indictment and jury-trial rights, should be overruled. In the Court's view, the Reid plurality would have overruled Ross, but Justices Frankfurter and Harlan preferred to distinguish it. The upshot: "If citizenship had been the only relevant factor in the case, it would have been necessary for the Court to overturn Ross, something Justices Harlan and Frankfurter were unwilling to do." Ante, at 32. What, exactly, is this point supposed to prove? To say that "practical considerations" determine the precise content of the constitutional protections American citizens enjoy when they are abroad is quite different from saying that "practical considerations" determine whether aliens abroad enjoy any constitutional protections whatever, including habeas. In other words, merely because citizenship is not a sufficient factor to extend constitutional rights abroad does not mean that it is not a necessary one.

The Court tries to reconcile Eisentrager with its holding today by pointing out that in postwar Germany, the United States was "answerable to its Allies" and did not "pla[n] a long-term occupation." Ante, at 38, 39. Those factors were not mentioned in Eisentrager. Worse still, it is impossible to see how they relate to the Court's asserted purpose in creating this "functional" test--namely, to ensure a judicial inquiry into detention and prevent the political branches from acting with impunity. Can it possibly be that the Court trusts the political branches more when they are beholden to foreign powers than when they act alone?

After transforming the a fortiori elements discussed above into a "functional" test, the Court is still left with the difficulty that most of those elements exist here as well with regard to all the detainees. To make the application of the newly crafted "functional" test produce a different result in the present cases, the Court must rely upon factors (d) and (e): The Germans had been tried by a military commission for violations of the laws of war; the present petitioners, by contrast, have been tried by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) whose procedural protections, according to the Court's ipse dixit, "fall well short of the procedures and adversarial mechanisms that would eliminate the need for habeas corpus review." Ante, at 37. But no one looking for "functional" equivalents would put Eisentrager and the present cases in the same category, much less place the present cases in a preferred category. The difference between them cries out for lesser procedures in the present cases. The prisoners in Eisentrager were prosecuted for crimes after the cessation of hostilities; the prisoners here are enemy combatants detained during an ongoing conflict. See Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U. S. 507, 538 (2004) (plurality opinion) (suggesting, as an adequate substitute for habeas corpus, the use of a tribunal akin to a CSRT to authorize the detention of American citizens as enemy combatants during the course of the present conflict).

The category of prisoner comparable to these detainees are not the Eisentrager criminal defendants, but the more than 400,000 prisoners of war detained in the United States alone during World War II. Not a single one was accorded the right to have his detention validated by a habeas corpus action in federal court--and that despite the fact that they were present on U. S. soil. See Bradley, The Military Commissions Act, Habeas Corpus, and the Geneva Conventions, 101 Am. J. Int'l L. 322, 338 (2007). The Court's analysis produces a crazy result: Whereas those convicted and sentenced to death for war crimes are without judicial remedy, all enemy combatants detained during a war, at least insofar as they are confined in an area away from the battlefield over which the United States exercises "absolute and indefinite" control, may seek a writ of habeas corpus in federal court. And, as an even more bizarre implication from the Court's reasoning, those prisoners whom the military plans to try by full-dress Commission at a future date may file habeas petitions and secure release before their trials take place.

There is simply no support for the Court's assertion that constitutional rights extend to aliens held outside U. S. sovereign territory, see Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U. S., at 271, and Eisentrager could not be clearer that the privilege of habeas corpus does not extend to aliens abroad. By blatantly distorting Eisentrager, the Court avoids the difficulty of explaining why it should be overruled. See Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833, 854-855 (1992) (identifying stare decisis factors). The rule that aliens abroad are not constitutionally entitled to habeas corpus has not proved unworkable in practice; if anything, it is the Court's "functional" test that does not (and never will) provide clear guidance for the future. Eisentrager forms a coherent whole with the accepted proposition that aliens abroad have no substantive rights under our Constitution. Since it was announced, no relevant factual premises have changed. It has engendered considerable reliance on the part of our military. And, as the Court acknowledges, text and history do not clearly compel a contrary ruling. It is a sad day for the rule of law when such an important constitutional precedent is discarded without an apologia, much less an apology.


What drives today's decision is neither the meaning of the Suspension Clause, nor the principles of our precedents, but rather an inflated notion of judicial supremacy. The Court says that if the extraterritorial applicability of the Suspension Clause turned on formal notions of sovereignty, "it would be possible for the political branches to govern without legal constraint" in areas beyond the sovereign territory of the United States. Ante, at 35. That cannot be, the Court says, because it is the duty of this Court to say what the law is. Id., at 35-36. It would be difficult to imagine a more question-begging analysis. "The very foundation of the power of the federal courts to declare Acts of Congress unconstitutional lies in the power and duty of those courts to decide cases and controversies properly before them." United States v. Raines, 362 U. S. 17, 20-21 (1960) (citing Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137 (1803); emphasis added). Our power "to say what the law is" is circumscribed by the limits of our statutorily and constitutionally conferred jurisdiction. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 573-578 (1992). And that is precisely the question in these cases: whether the Constitution confers habeas jurisdiction on federal courts to decide petitioners' claims. It is both irrational and arrogant to say that the answer must be yes, because otherwise we would not be supreme.

But so long as there are some places to which habeas does not run--so long as the Court's new "functional" test will not be satisfied in every case--then there will be circumstances in which "it would be possible for the political branches to govern without legal constraint." Or, to put it more impartially, areas in which the legal determinations of the other branches will be (shudder!) supreme. In other words, judicial supremacy is not really assured by the constitutional rule that the Court creates. The gap between rationale and rule leads me to conclude that the Court's ultimate, unexpressed goal is to preserve the power to review the confinement of enemy prisoners held by the Executive anywhere in the world. The "functional" test usefully evades the precedential landmine of Eisentrager but is so inherently subjective that it clears a wide path for the Court to traverse in the years to come.


Putting aside the conclusive precedent of Eisentrager, it is clear that the original understanding of the Suspension Clause was that habeas corpus was not available to aliens abroad, as Judge Randolph's thorough opinion for the court below detailed. See 476 F. 3d 981, 988-990 (CADC 2007).

The Suspension Clause reads: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." U. S. Const., Art. I, §9, cl. 2. The proper course of constitutional interpretation is to give the text the meaning it was understood to have at the time of its adoption by the people. See, e.g., Crawford v. Washington, 541 U. S. 36, 54 (2004). That course is especially demanded when (as here) the Constitution limits the power of Congress to infringe upon a pre-existing common-law right. The nature of the writ of habeas corpus that cannot be suspended must be defined by the common-law writ that was available at the time of the founding. See McNally v. Hill, 293 U. S. 131, 135-136 (1934); see also INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U. S. 289, 342 (2001) (Scalia, J., dissenting); D'Oench, Duhme & Co. v. FDIC, 315 U. S. 447, 471, n. 9 (1942) (Jackson, J., concurring).

It is entirely clear that, at English common law, the writ of habeas corpus did not extend beyond the sovereign territory of the Crown. To be sure, the writ had an "extraordinary territorial ambit," because it was a so-called "prerogative writ," which, unlike other writs, could extend beyond the realm of England to other places where the Crown was sovereign. R. Sharpe, The Law of Habeas Corpus 188 (2d ed. 1989) (hereinafter Sharpe); see also Note on the Power of the English Courts to Issue the Writ of Habeas to Places Within the Dominions of the Crown, But Out of England, and On the Position of Scotland in Relation to that Power, 8 Jurid. Rev. 157 (1896) (hereinafter Note on Habeas); King v. Cowle, 2 Burr. 834, 855-856, 97 Eng. Rep. 587, 599 (K. B. 1759).

But prerogative writs could not issue to foreign countries, even for British subjects; they were confined to the King's dominions--those areas over which the Crown was sovereign. See Sharpe 188; 2 R. Chambers, A Course of Lectures on the English Law 1767-1773, pp. 7-8 (Curley ed. 1986); 3 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 131 (1768) (hereinafter Blackstone). Thus, the writ has never extended to Scotland, which, although united to England when James I succeeded to the English throne in 1603, was considered a foreign dominion under a different Crown--that of the King of Scotland. Sharpe 191; Note on Habeas 158.5 That is why Lord Mansfield wrote that "[t]o foreign dominions, which belong to a prince who succeeds to the throne of England, this Court has no power to send any writ of any kind. We cannot send a habeas corpus to Scotland . . . ." Cowle, supra, at 856, 97 Eng. Rep., at 599-600.

The common-law writ was codified by the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, which "stood alongside Magna Charta and the English Bill of Rights of 1689 as a towering common law lighthouse of liberty--a beacon by which framing lawyers in America consciously steered their course." Amar, Sixth Amendment First Principles, 84 Geo. L. J. 641, 663 (1996). The writ was established in the Colonies beginning in the 1690's and at least one colony adopted the 1679 Act almost verbatim. See Dept. of Political Science, Okla. State Univ., Research Reports, No. 1, R. Walker, The American Reception of the Writ of Liberty 12-16 (1961). Section XI of the Act stated where the writ could run. It "may be directed and run into any county palatine, the cinque-ports, or other privileged places within the kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed, and the islands of Jersey or Guernsey." 31 Car. 2, ch. 2. The cinque-ports and county palatine were so-called "exempt jurisdictions"--franchises granted by the Crown in which local authorities would manage municipal affairs, including the court system, but over which the Crown maintained ultimate sovereignty. See 3 Blackstone 78-79. The other places listed--Wales, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Jersey, and Guernsey--were territories of the Crown even though not part England proper. See Cowle, supra, at 853-854, 97 Eng. Rep., at 598 (Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed); 1 Blackstone 104 (Jersey and Guernsey); Sharpe 192 (same).

The Act did not extend the writ elsewhere, even though the existence of other places to which British prisoners could be sent was recognized by the Act. The possibility of evading judicial review through such spiriting-away was eliminated, not by expanding the writ abroad, but by forbidding (in Article XII of the Act) the shipment of prisoners to places where the writ did not run or where its execution would be difficult. See 31 Car. 2, ch. 2; see generally Nutting, The Most Wholesome Law--The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, 65 Am. Hist. Rev. 527 (1960).

The Habeas Corpus Act, then, confirms the consensus view of scholars and jurists that the writ did not run outside the sovereign territory of the Crown. The Court says that the idea that "jurisdiction followed the King's officers" is an equally credible view. Ante, at 16. It is not credible at all. The only support the Court cites for it is a page in Boumediene's brief, which in turn cites this Court's dicta in Rasul, 542 U. S., at 482, mischaracterizing Lord Mansfield's statement that the writ ran to any place that was "under the subjection of the Crown," Cowle, supra, at 856, 97 Eng. Rep., at 599. It is clear that Lord Mansfield was saying that the writ extended outside the realm of England proper, not outside the sovereign territory of the Crown.6

The Court dismisses the example of Scotland on the grounds that Scotland had its own judicial system and that the writ could not, as a practical matter, have been enforced there. Ante, at 20. Those explanations are totally unpersuasive. The existence of a separate court system was never a basis for denying the power of a court to issue the writ. See 9 W. Holdsworth, A History of English Law 124 (3d ed. 1944) (citing Ex parte Anderson, 3 El. and El. 487 (1861)). And as for logistical problems, the same difficulties were present for places like the Channel Islands, where the writ did run. The Court attempts to draw an analogy between the prudential limitations on issuing the writ to such remote areas within the sovereign territory of the Crown and the jurisdictional prohibition on issuing the writ to Scotland. See ante, at 19-20. But the very authority that the Court cites, Lord Mansfield, expressly distinguished between these two concepts, stating that English courts had the "power" to send the writ to places within the Crown's sovereignty, the "only question" being the "propriety," while they had "no power to send any writ of any kind" to Scotland and other "foreign dominions." Cowle, supra, at 856, 97 Eng. Rep., at 599-600. The writ did not run to Scotland because, even after the Union, "Scotland remained a foreign dominion of the prince who succeeded to the English throne," and "union did not extend the prerogative of the English crown to Scotland." Sharpe 191; see also Sir Matthew Hale's The Prerogatives of the King 19 (D. Yale ed. 1976).7

In sum, all available historical evidence points to the conclusion that the writ would not have been available at common law for aliens captured and held outside the sovereign territory of the Crown. Despite three opening briefs, three reply briefs, and support from a legion of amici, petitioners have failed to identify a single case in the history of Anglo-American law that supports their claim to jurisdiction. The Court finds it significant that there is no recorded case denying jurisdiction to such prisoners either. See ante, at 21-22. But a case standing for the remarkable proposition that the writ could issue to a foreign land would surely have been reported, whereas a case denying such a writ for lack of jurisdiction would likely not. At a minimum, the absence of a reported case either way leaves unrefuted the voluminous commentary stating that habeas was confined to the dominions of the Crown.

What history teaches is confirmed by the nature of the limitations that the Constitution places upon suspension of the common-law writ. It can be suspended only "in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion." Art. I, §9, cl. 2. The latter case (invasion) is plainly limited to the territory of the United States; and while it is conceivable that a rebellion could be mounted by American citizens abroad, surely the overwhelming majority of its occurrences would be domestic. If the extraterritorial scope of habeas turned on flexible, "functional" considerations, as the Court holds, why would the Constitution limit its suspension almost entirely to instances of domestic crisis? Surely there is an even greater justification for suspension in foreign lands where the United States might hold prisoners of war during an ongoing conflict. And correspondingly, there is less threat to liberty when the Government suspends the writ's (supposed) application in foreign lands, where even on the most extreme view prisoners are entitled to fewer constitutional rights. It makes no sense, therefore, for the Constitution generally to forbid suspension of the writ abroad if indeed the writ has application there.

It may be objected that the foregoing analysis proves too much, since this Court has already suggested that the writ of habeas corpus does run abroad for the benefit of United States citizens. "[T]he position that United States citizens throughout the world may be entitled to habeas corpus rights ... is precisely the position that this Court adopted in Eisentrager, see 339 U. S., at 769-770, even while holding that aliens abroad did not have habeas corpus rights." Rasul, 542 U. S., at 501, 502 (Scalia, J., dissenting) (emphasis deleted). The reason for that divergence is not difficult to discern. The common-law writ, as received into the law of the new constitutional Republic, took on such changes as were demanded by a system in which rule is derived from the consent of the governed, and in which citizens (not "subjects") are afforded defined protections against the Government. As Justice Story wrote for the Court,

"The common law of England is not to be taken in all respects to be that of America. Our ancestors brought with them its general principles, and claimed it as their birthright; but they brought with them and adopted only that portion which was applicable to their situation." Van Ness v. Pacard, 2 Pet. 137, 144 (1829).

See also Hall, The Common Law: An Account of its Reception in the United States, 4 Vand. L. Rev. 791 (1951). It accords with that principle to say, as the plurality opinion said in Reid: "When the Government reaches out to punish a citizen who is abroad, the shield which the Bill of Rights and other parts of the Constitution provide to protect his life and liberty should not be stripped away just because he happens to be in another land." 354 U. S., at 6; see also Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U. S., at 269-270. On that analysis, "[t]he distinction between citizens and aliens follows from the undoubted proposition that the Constitution does not create, nor do general principles of law create, any juridical relation between our country and some undefined, limitless class of noncitizens who are beyond our territory." Id., at 275 (Kennedy, J., concurring).

In sum, because I conclude that the text and history of the Suspension Clause provide no basis for our jurisdiction, I would affirm the Court of Appeals even if Eisentrager did not govern these cases.

* * *

Today the Court warps our Constitution in a way that goes beyond the narrow issue of the reach of the Suspension Clause, invoking judicially brainstormed separation-of-powers principles to establish a manipulable "functional" test for the extraterritorial reach of habeas corpus (and, no doubt, for the extraterritorial reach of other constitutional protections as well). It blatantly misdescribes important precedents, most conspicuously Justice Jackson's opinion for the Court in Johnson v. Eisentrager. It breaks a chain of precedent as old as the common law that prohibits judicial inquiry into detentions of aliens abroad absent statutory authorization. And, most tragically, it sets our military commanders the impossible task of proving to a civilian court, under whatever standards this Court devises in the future, that evidence supports the confinement of each and every enemy prisoner.

The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today. I dissent.

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Reading since summer 2006 (some of the classics are re-reads): including magazine subscriptions

  • Abbot, Edwin A., Flatland;
  • Accelerate: Technology Driving Business Performance;
  • ACM Queue: Architecting Tomorrow's Computing;
  • Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Ali, Ayaan Hirsi, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations;
  • Ali, Tariq, The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity;
  • Allawi, Ali A., The Crisis of Islamic Civilization;
  • Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb;
  • American School & University: Shaping Facilities & Business Decisions;
  • Angelich, Jane, What's a Mother (in-Law) to Do?: 5 Essential Steps to Building a Loving Relationship with Your Son's New Wife;
  • Arad, Yitzchak, In the Shadow of the Red Banner: Soviet Jews in the War Against Nazi Germany;
  • Aristotle, Athenian Constitution. Eudemian Ethics. Virtues and Vices. (Loeb Classical Library No. 285);
  • Aristotle, Metaphysics: Books X-XIV, Oeconomica, Magna Moralia (The Loeb classical library);
  • Armstrong, Karen, A History of God;
  • Arrian: Anabasis of Alexander, Books I-IV (Loeb Classical Library No. 236);
  • Atkinson, Rick, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Liberation Trilogy);
  • Auletta, Ken, Googled: The End of the World As We Know It;
  • Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice;
  • Bacevich, Andrew, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism;
  • Baker, James A. III, and Lee H. Hamilton, The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward - A New Approach;
  • Barber, Benjamin R., Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century;
  • Barron, Robert, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith;
  • Baseline: Where Leadership Meets Technology;
  • Baur, Michael, Bauer, Stephen, eds., The Beatles and Philosophy;
  • Beard, Charles Austin, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (Sony Reader);
  • Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America;
  • Bergen, Peter, The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader;
  • Berman, Paul, Terror and Liberalism;
  • Berman, Paul, The Flight of the Intellectuals: The Controversy Over Islamism and the Press;
  • Better Software: The Print Companion to;
  • Bleyer, Kevin, Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America;
  • Boardman, Griffin, and Murray, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Roman World;
  • Bracken, Paul, The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics;
  • Bradley, James, with Ron Powers, Flags of Our Fathers;
  • Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre;
  • Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 10 1974-1984: The Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 8 The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Nathan J., When Victory Is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics;
  • Bryce, Robert, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence";
  • Bush, George W., Decision Points;
  • Bzdek, Vincent, The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled;
  • Cahill, Thomas, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter;
  • Campus Facility Maintenance: Promoting a Healthy & Productive Learning Environment;
  • Campus Technology: Empowering the World of Higher Education;
  • Certification: Tools and Techniques for the IT Professional;
  • Channel Advisor: Business Insights for Solution Providers;
  • Chariton, Callirhoe (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Chief Learning Officer: Solutions for Enterprise Productivity;
  • Christ, Karl, The Romans: An Introduction to Their History and Civilization;
  • Cicero, De Senectute;
  • Cicero, The Republic, The Laws;
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 1 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 2 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • CIO Decisions: Aligning I.T. and Business in the MidMarket Enterprise;
  • CIO Insight: Best Practices for IT Business Leaders;
  • CIO: Business Technology Leadership;
  • Clay, Lucius Du Bignon, Decision in Germany;
  • Cohen, William S., Dragon Fire;
  • Colacello, Bob, Ronnie and Nancy: Their Path to the White House, 1911 to 1980;
  • Coll, Steve, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century;
  • Collins, Francis S., The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief ;
  • Colorni, Angelo, Israel for Beginners: A Field Guide for Encountering the Israelis in Their Natural Habitat;
  • Compliance & Technology;
  • Computerworld: The Voice of IT Management;
  • Connolly, Peter & Hazel Dodge, The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens & Rome;
  • Conti, Greg, Googling Security: How Much Does Google Know About You?;
  • Converge: Strategy and Leadership for Technology in Education;
  • Cowan, Ross, Roman Legionary 58 BC - AD 69;
  • Cowell, F. R., Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Creel, Richard, Religion and Doubt: Toward a Faith of Your Own;
  • Cross, Robin, General Editor, The Encyclopedia of Warfare: The Changing Nature of Warfare from Prehistory to Modern-day Armed Conflicts;
  • CSO: The Resource for Security Executives:
  • Cummins, Joseph, History's Greatest Wars: The Epic Conflicts that Shaped the Modern World;
  • D'Amato, Raffaele, Imperial Roman Naval Forces 31 BC-AD 500;
  • Dallek, Robert, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963;
  • Daly, Dennis, Sophocles' Ajax;
  • Dando-Collins, Stephen, Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome;
  • Darwish, Nonie, Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror;
  • Davis Hanson, Victor, Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene;
  • de Blij, Harm, Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America, Climate Change, The Rise of China, and Global Terrorism;
  • Defense Systems: Information Technology and Net-Centric Warfare;
  • Defense Systems: Strategic Intelligence for Info Centric Operations;
  • Defense Tech Briefs: Engineering Solutions for Military and Aerospace;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Consciousness Explained;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Darwin's Dangerous Idea;
  • Devries, Kelly, et. al., Battles of the Ancient World 1285 BC - AD 451 : From Kadesh to Catalaunian Field;
  • Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations;
  • Digital Communities: Building Twenty-First Century Communities;
  • Doctorow, E.L., Homer & Langley;
  • Dodds, E. R., The Greeks and the Irrational;
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The House of the Dead (Google Books, Sony e-Reader);
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The Idiot;
  • Douglass, Elisha P., Rebels and Democrats: The Struggle for Equal Political Rights and Majority Role During the American Revolution;
  • Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, The Hound of the Baskervilles & The Valley of Fear;
  • Dr. Dobb's Journal: The World of Software Development;
  • Drug Discovery News: Discovery/Development/Diagnostics/Delivery;
  • DT: Defense Technology International;
  • Dunbar, Richard, Alcatraz;
  • Education Channel Partner: News, Trends, and Analysis for K-20 Sales Professionals;
  • Edwards, Aton, Preparedness Now!;
  • EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly, the No. 1 Videogame Magazine;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scriptures and the Faiths We Never Knew;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why;
  • Electronic Engineering Times: The Industry Newsweekly for the Creators of Technology;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., His Excellency: George Washington;
  • Emergency Management: Strategy & Leadership in Critical Times;
  • Emerson, Steven, American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us;
  • Erlewine, Robert, Monotheism and Tolerance: Recovering a Religion of Reason (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion);
  • ESD: Embedded Systems Design;
  • Everitt, Anthony, Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor;
  • Everitt, Anthony, Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician;
  • eWeek: The Enterprise Newsweekly;
  • Federal Computer Week: Powering the Business of Government;
  • Ferguson, Niall, Civilization: The West and the Rest;
  • Ferguson, Niall, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power;
  • Ferguson, Niall, The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000;
  • Ferguson, Niall, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Decline of the West;
  • Feuerbach, Ludwig, The Essence of Christianity (Sony eReader);
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army of the Principate 27 BC-AD 117;
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army of the Punic Wars 264-146 BC;
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army: the Civil Wars 88-31 BC;
  • Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire;
  • Fisk, Robert, The Great War For Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East;
  • Forstchen, William R., One Second After;
  • Fox, Robin Lane, The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian;
  • Frazer, James George, The Golden Bough (Volume 3): A Study in Magic and Religion (Sony eReader);
  • Freeh, Louis J., My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror;
  • Freeman, Charles, The Greek Achievement: The Foundations of the Western World;
  • Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century Further Updated and Expanded/Release 3.0;
  • Friedman, Thomas L., The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization;
  • Frontinus: Stratagems. Aqueducts of Rome. (Loeb Classical Library No. 174);
  • Fuller Focus: Fuller Theological Seminary;
  • Fuller, Graham E., A World Without Islam;
  • Gaubatz, P. David and Paul Sperry, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America;
  • Ghattas, Kim, The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power;
  • Gibson, William, Neuromancer;
  • Gilmour, Michael J., Gods and Guitars: Seeking the Sacred in Post-1960s Popular Music;
  • Global Services: Strategies for Sourcing People, Processes, and Technologies;
  • Glucklich, Ariel, Dying for Heaven: Holy Pleasure and Suicide Bombers-Why the Best Qualities of Religion Are Also It's Most Dangerous;
  • Goldberg, Jonah, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning;
  • Goldin, Shmuel, Unlocking the Torah Text Vayikra (Leviticus);
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian, Caesar: Life of a Colossus;
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian, How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower;
  • Goodman, Lenn E., Creation and Evolution;
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln;
  • Gopp, Amy,, Split Ticket: Independent Faith in a Time of Partisan Politics (WTF: Where's the Faith?);
  • Gordon, Michael R., and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq;
  • Government Health IT: The Magazine of Public/private Health Care Convergence;
  • Government Technology's Emergency Management: Strategy & Leadership in Critical Times;
  • Government Technology: Solutions for State and Local Government in the Information Age;
  • Grant , Michael, The Climax of Rome: The Final Achievements of the Ancient World, AD 161 - 337;
  • Grant, Michael, The Classical Greeks;
  • Grumberg, Orna, and Helmut Veith, 25 Years of Model Checking: History, Achievements, Perspectives;
  • Halberstam, David, War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals;
  • Hammer, Reuven, Entering Torah Prefaces to the Weekly Torah Portion;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, An Autumn of War: What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Between War and Peace: Lessons from Afghanistan to Iraq;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, How The Obama Administration Threatens Our National Security (Encounter Broadsides);
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Ripples of Battle: How Wars of the Past Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, The End of Sparta: A Novel;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Wars of the Ancient Greeks;
  • Harnack, Adolf Von, History of Dogma, Volume 3 (Sony Reader);
  • Harris, Alex, Reputation At Risk: Reputation Report;
  • Harris, Sam, Letter to a Christian Nation;
  • Harris, Sam, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason;
  • Hayek, F. A., The Road to Serfdom;
  • Heilbroner, Robert L., and Lester Thurow, Economics Explained: Everything You Need to Know About How the Economy Works and Where It's Going;
  • Hempel, Sandra, The Strange Case of The Broad Street Pump: John Snow and the Mystery of Cholera;
  • Hinnells, John R., A Handbook of Ancient Religions;
  • Hitchens, Christopher, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything;
  • Hogg, Ian V., The Encyclopedia of Weaponry: The Development of Weaponry from Prehistory to 21st Century Warfare;
  • Hugo, Victor, The Hunchback of Notre Dame;
  • Humphrey, Caroline & Vitebsky, Piers, Sacred Architecture;
  • Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order;
  • Info World: Information Technology News, Computer Networking & Security;
  • Information Week: Business Innovation Powered by Technology:
  • Infostor: The Leading Source for Enterprise Storage Professionals;
  • Infrastructure Insite: Bringing IT Together;
  • Insurance Technology: Business Innovation Powered by Technology;
  • Integrated Solutions: For Enterprise Content Management;
  • Intel Premier IT: Sharing Best Practices with the Information Technology Community;
  • Irwin, Robert, Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents;
  • Jeffrey, Grant R., The Global-Warming Deception: How a Secret Elite Plans to Bankrupt America and Steal Your Freedom;
  • Jewkes, Yvonne, and Majid Yar, Handbook of Internet Crime;
  • Johnson, Chalmers, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire;
  • Journal, The: Transforming Education Through Technology;
  • Judd, Denis, The Lion and the Tiger: The Rise and Fall of the British Raj, 1600-1947;
  • Kagan, Donald, The Peloponnesian War;
  • Kansas, Dave, The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It: What You Need to Know About the Greatest Financial Crisis of Our Time--and How to Survive It;
  • Karsh, Efraim, Islamic Imperialism: A History;
  • Kasser, Rodolphe, The Gospel of Judas;
  • Katz, Solomon, The Decline of Rome and the Rise of Medieval Europe: (The Development of Western Civilization);
  • Keegan, John, Intelligence in War: The Value--and Limitations--of What the Military Can Learn About the Enemy;
  • Kenis, Leo, et. al., The Transformation of the Christian Churches in Western Europe 1945-2000 (Kadoc Studies on Religion, Culture and Society 6);
  • Kepel, Gilles, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam;
  • Kiplinger's: Personal Finance;
  • Klein, Naomi, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism;
  • KM World: Content, Document, and Knowledge Management;
  • Koestler, Arthur, Darkness at Noon: A Novel;
  • Kostova, Elizabeth, The Historian;
  • Kuttner, Robert, The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity;
  • Lake, Kirsopp, The Text of the New Testament, Sony Reader;
  • Laur, Timothy M., Encyclopedia of Modern US Military Weapons ;
  • Leffler, Melvyn P., and Jeffrey W. Legro, To Lead the World: American Strategy After the Bush Doctrine;
  • Lendon, J. E., Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity;
  • Lenin, V. I., Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism;
  • Lennon, John J., There is Absolutely No Reason to Pay Too Much for College!;
  • Lewis, Bernard, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror;
  • Lewis, Bernard, What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East;
  • Lifton, Robert J., Greg Mitchell, Hiroshima in America;
  • Limberis, Vasiliki M., Architects of Piety: The Cappadocian Fathers and the Cult of the Martyrs;
  • Lipsett, B. Diane, Desiring Conversion: Hermas, Thecla, Aseneth;
  • Livingston, Jessica, Founders At Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days;
  • Livy, Rome and the Mediterranean: Books XXXI-XLV of the History of Rome from its Foundation (Penguin Classics);
  • Louis J., Freeh, My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror;
  • Mackay, Christopher S., Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History;
  • Majno, Guido, The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World;
  • Marcus, Greil,Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes;
  • Marshall-Cornwall, James, Napoleon as Military Commander;
  • Maughm, W. Somerset, Of Human Bondage;
  • McCluskey, Neal P., Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education;
  • McCullough, David, 1776;
  • McCullough, David, John Adams;
  • McCullough, David, Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt;
  • McLynn, Frank, Marcus Aurelius: A Life;
  • McManus, John, Deadly Brotherhood, The: The American Combat Soldier in World War II ;
  • McMaster, H. R., Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam;
  • McNamara, Patrick, Science and the World's Religions Volume 1: Origins and Destinies (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution);
  • McNamara, Patrick, Science and the World's Religions Volume 2: Persons and Groups (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution);
  • McNamara, Patrick, Science and the World's Religions Volume 3: Religions and Controversies (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution);
  • Meacham, Jon, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House;
  • Mearsheimer, John J., and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy;
  • Meier, Christian, Caesar: A Biography;
  • Menzies, Gaven, 1421: The Year China Discovered America;
  • Metaxas, Eric, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy;
  • Michael, Katina and M.G. Michael, Innovative Automatic Identification and Location-Based Services: From Barcodes to Chip Implants;
  • Migliore, Daniel L., Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology;
  • Military & Aerospace Electronics: The Magazine of Transformation in Electronic and Optical Technology;
  • Millard, Candice, Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey: The River of Doubt;
  • Mommsen, Theodor, The History of the Roman Republic, Sony Reader;
  • Muller, F. Max, Chips From A German Workshop: Volume III: Essays On Language And Literature;
  • Murray, Janet, H., Hamlet On the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace;
  • Murray, Williamson, War in the Air 1914-45;
  • Müller, F. Max, Chips From A German Workshop;
  • Nader, Ralph, Crashing the Party: Taking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender;
  • Nagl, John A., Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam;
  • Napoleoni, Loretta, Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the World;
  • Nature: The International Weekly Journal of Science;
  • Negus, Christopher, Fedora 6 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux;
  • Network Computing: For IT by IT:
  • Network World: The Leader in Network Knowledge;
  • Network-centric Security: Where Physical Security & IT Worlds Converge;
  • Newman, Paul B., Travel and Trade in the Middle Ages;
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, The Nietzsche-Wagner Correspondence;
  • Nixon, Ed, The Nixons: A Family Portrait;
  • O'Brien, Johnny, Day of the Assassins: A Jack Christie Novel;
  • O'Donnell, James J., Augustine: A New Biography;
  • OH & S: Occupational Health & Safety
  • Okakura, Kakuzo, The Book of Tea;
  • Optimize: Business Strategy & Execution for CIOs;
  • Ostler, Nicholas, Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin;
  • Parry, Jay A., The Real George Washington (American Classic Series);
  • Paton, W.R., The Greek Anthology, Volume V, Loeb Classical Library, No. 86;
  • Pausanius, Guide to Greece 1: Central Greece;
  • Perrett, Bryan, Cassell Military Classics: Iron Fist: Classic Armoured Warfare;
  • Perrottet, Tony, The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Olympic Games;
  • Peters, Ralph, New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy;
  • Phillips, Kevin, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush;
  • Pick, Bernhard; Paralipomena; Remains of Gospels and Sayings of Christ (Sony Reader);
  • Pimlott, John, The Elite: The Special Forces of the World Volume 1;
  • Pitre, Brant, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper;
  • Plutarch's Lives, X: Agis and Cleomenes. Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. Philopoemen and Flamininus (Loeb Classical Library®);
  • Podhoretz, Norman, World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism;
  • Posner, Gerald, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK;
  • Potter, Wendell, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans;
  • Pouesi, Daniel, Akua;
  • Premier IT Magazine: Sharing Best Practices with the Information Technology Community;
  • Price, Monroe E. & Daniel Dayan, eds., Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the New China;
  • Profit: The Executive's Guide to Oracle Applications;
  • Public CIO: Technology Leadership in the Public Sector;
  • Putnam, Robert D., Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community;
  • Quintus of Smyrna, The Fall of Troy;
  • Rawles, James Wesley, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse;
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