2004 July 28 Wednesday
Imperial Hubris Author Interviewed On Al Qaeda

Editors Philip Giraldi, Kara Hopkins, and Scott McConnell of The American Conservative have scored with an absolutely great interview of the anonymous CIA agent author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terrorism. The anonymous agent (who really needs a neat pseudonymous name) says Al Qaeda is an insurgency, not a conventional terrorist group.

TAC: I was interested in your analysis of terrorism versus insurgency …

ANON: I worked on the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan and watched the organizational structure and the ability of the Afghan insurgent groups to absorb tremendous punishment and survive, and then I worked for the next period of my career on terrorism, where the groups were much smaller. Their leadership is more concentrated, and if you hurt them to a significant degree, they cease to be as much of a threat. They are lethal nuisances, not national-security risks. Al-Qaeda is not a terrorist group but an insurgency with an extraordinary ability to replicate at the leadership level. When Mr. Johnson was executed in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi authorities killed four al-Qaeda fighters, one of them named Mukrin. Within four hours, al-Qaeda’s media enterprise had issued a statement acknowledging the death of Mukrin, appointing his successor, and providing a brief résumé.

TAC: You suggest that al-Qaeda would be delighted to have George Bush stay in the White House because nothing could be better for their international objectives. How do you see this playing out in terms of—this is totally hypothetical—a potential terrorist incident, somewhat like the bombing in Spain?

ANON: I said that al-Qaeda itself has said that it could not wish for a better government than the one that is now governing the U.S. because, on the policies of issue to Muslims, al-Qaeda believes this government is wrong on every one and thus allows their insurgency to grow larger to incite other groups to attack Americans.

He provides a list of things the United States either does or is perceived as doing that motivate Muslims to support Al Qaeda. If you click through and read the interview come back and post in the comments about what, if anything, we should do to change US foreign policy on each of those items. Also, before accusing him of being an appeaser note his absolute willingness to cause major collateral damage that kills a lot of Muslims as part of any operation to attack Al Qaeda. He's no dove. Yet he sees major errors in Bush Administration policy against Al Qaeda and in dealing with the Muslims.

The whole interview is intriguing as all get-out. Go click through and read the whole thing.

Also see my previous post that links to a Spencer Ackerman interview of this same CIA agent.

Update: In a USA Today interview the anonymous intelligence agent an unwillingness to face the religious nature of Islamic terrorists is hampering our ability to think clearly about Bin Laden.

Q: When you talk about the mind-set of the country on the war on terror, where do you think the misconceptions come from? The media, politicians? A: It's trite to say, but the idea of political correctness is very, very important in terms of the performance of the intelligence community. How many times has USA TODAY, or The New York Times or The Washington Post discussed the role of Islam as a motivating factor in bin Laden's appeal in the Muslim world? I can't remember it very frequently. The director of intelligence and the president say al-Qaeda represents the lunatic fringe of the Muslim world, which, on the face of it, is absurd. But there is no one talking about Islam as a motivating factor for war.

There were times when our ancestors went to war to defend their faith. So, the debate is very constricted, not only in America but certainly within the intelligence community. We do a lot of analysis by assertion rather than by reality. Somehow the argument that someone is fighting for his faith is seen as a negative. So we assert that only gangsters do that. We make bin Laden into a gangster. But it doesn't get you anywhere.

That interview is also worth reading in full.

The Boston Phoenix has revealed Anonymous's identity as CIA agent Michael Scheuer.

Nearly a dozen intelligence-community sources, however, say Anonymous is Michael Scheuer — and that his forced anonymity is both unprecedented and telling in the context of CIA history and modern politics. "The requirement that someone publish anonymously is rare, almost unheard-of, particularly if the person is not in a covert position," says Jonathan Turley, a national-security-law expert at George Washington University Law School. "It seems pretty obvious that the requirement he remain anonymous is motivated solely by political concerns, and ones that have more to do with the CIA..."

Click through and read that article as well. Very insightful.

Kevin Drum says Anonymous thinks democracy promotion is not going to help much if at all.

As he adds in our interview, “My argument, I think, taken from the whole book, is that we've left ourselves with no option but the military option, and our application of military force against our foe, whether it's Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else, has not been particularly intimidating. They've ridden out two wars. They're on the offensive at the moment. What are we left with? If we don't use our military power, we really just sit and take it.”

Since he doesn’t see much promise in an ideological (read: democracy promotion) campaign, or in trying to alleviate the “hopelessness” of the Muslim world (which he calls “cant” in the section quoted above), the military option is the one he relies the heaviest on, and his conception of what’s militarily necessary is very wide-ranging. The prospect of energy self-sufficiency and foreign disengagement (He writes, “There is no greater duty today’s Americans can perform for their nation and posterity than to finally abandon the sordid legacy of Woodrow Wilson’s internationalism, which soaked the twentieth century in as much or more blood as any other “ism”) can do something to diminish the need for war to an unspecified degree, but can’t substitute for it.

There is an important point that Drum alludes to: US policy options have become so circumscribed by the narrow way so many policy issues have been framed that Anonymous is trying to shock us by arguing that the US has no option left other than the Shermanesque scorched Earth approach of killing lots of people with large amounts of collateral damage of innocents. Why is he trying to shock us? In part so we won't repeat the timidity of the Clinton and early Bush Administrations in terms of constraints upon military actions. But he's also trying to stun us into reexamining the assumptions underlying a broad assortment of policy areas and debates.

In an interview with Andrea Mitchell Anonymous (who I'll henceforth call "Mike") makes the point that, yes, as long as we won't reexamine our policies ruthless war is our only option.

Mitchell: "And what are you going to say to those who say that this is anti-American and that this is a really prejudiced approach? What do you say to those who say that your call for a war against Muslim people, is really only going to make the situation worse?"

Anonymous: "I wonder how much worse the situation can be, in the first instance. We continue to believe that somehow public diplomacy or words will affect the anger and hatred of Muslims. And I'm not advocating war as my choice. What I'm advocating is, in order to protect the United States, it is our only option. As long as we pursue the current policies we have, until we have a debate about those policies, there's not a lot we can do. We won't talk them out of their anger, we won't convince them we're an honest broker between the Israel and the Palestinians. We won't convince that we're not supporting tyrannies in the Arab world from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

"It's the only option. It's not a good option; it's the only option. And I'm not saying we attack people who aren't attacking us. But in areas where we realize our enemies are, perhaps we have to be more aggressive."

"Mike" is a very reasonable guy in my estimation.

Update II: "Mike" says the domestically oriented Terrorist Threat Integration Center is draining CIA agents away from fighting Al Qaeda on their home grounds.

Some experienced CIA experts have been reassigned to the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, or TTIC. The unit, formed after Sept. 11, combines specialists from numerous agencies to fuse domestic and foreign information on terrorist threats. It has no direct role in killing or capturing terrorists overseas.

"You drain all of these experienced officers away from the organization that is doing the most to defend you and put them in the TTIC, which is basically an analytic domestic organization which will not do anything in Pakistan, Afghanistan or anywhere else," he said.

"Mike" says the jihadists will be flocking to Iraq for a long time to come.

"We have waged two failed half-wars and, in doing so, left Afghanistan and Iraq seething with anti-U.S. sentiment, fertile grounds for the expansion of al-Qaida and kindred groups," he wrote in one passage in the book.

In an interview this week, Mike, said Monday's transfer of authority in Iraq is likely to do little to curtail insurgent attacks.

"Iraq, with or without a transfer of power, will be a mujahadeen magnet as long as whatever government is there is dependent on America's sword," he said.

"Mike" says we are in a lose-lose situation with Iraq and Afghanistan.

Currently we're in a lose-lose situation both in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we stay we bleed. If we go, the problem festers even worse. The United States, I believe, needs to have a debate about its policies in the Middle East. All a set of policies that have been on autopilot for about 25 years. Before you can draft a policy to defeat Bin Laden you have to understand that our policies are, in part, what drives him and those who follow him.

An excerpt from Mike's book includes his list of US policies that tick off Bin Laden.

While important voices in the United States claim the intent of U.S. policy is misunderstood by Muslims, they are wrong. America is hated and attacked because Muslims believe they know precisely what the United States is doing in the Islamic world. They know partly because of Osama bin Laden's words, partly because of satellite television, but mostly because of the tangible reality of U.S. policies. We are at war with an al Qaeda-led, worldwide Islamic insurgency to defend those policies -- and not, as President Bush mistakenly has said, "to defend freedom and all that is good and just in the world."

Keep in mind how easy it is for Muslims to hate the six U.S. policies bin Laden repeatedly refers to as anti-Muslim:

• U.S. support for Israel that keeps Palestinians in the Israelis' thrall.

• U.S. and other Western troops on the Arabian Peninsula.

• U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

• U.S. support for Russia, India and China against their Muslim militants.

• U.S. pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low.

• U.S. support for apostate, corrupt and tyrannical Muslim governments.

Only when U.S. leaders stop believing that bin Laden and his allies are attacking us for what we are and what we think can we put aside our ill-advised and hallucinatory crusade for democracy -- our current default response.

What notably is missing from this list? Things people do in the United States: Sinful dancing, pre-marital sex, mini-skirts, recreational drug use. Bin Laden is parochial in a sense. He cares about what happens in Muslim countries more than what happens in non-Muslim countries. He care about what happens in Arab countries more than what happens in non-Arab yet Muslim countries. He cares more about what happens in Saudi Arabia in particular - in part because he is from there and in part because Mecca and Medina are located on Saudi territory. Bin Laden is most angry and driven to change conditions in the places he cares most about. With that as a starting point and his Muslim religious beliefs as a source of his political desires a different view of his motives emerges. The US is first and foremost a target because of US involvement with the House Of Saud and secondarily with other neighboring countries.

Of course the Taliban government which Bin Laden propped up in Afghanistan was corrupt and tyrannical. So it is really the "apostate" part about various Arab governments that ticks off Bin Laden. He is a firm supporter of Islamic theocracy. Bin Laden is very enthusiastic about Islam and Islamic political rule. Islam has no place for the separation of church and state and neither does Bin Laden.

The theory that democracy will "drain the swamps" of support for Islamic terrorism is based on the assumption that democracy will produce such better government that people will feel more justly treated and their living standards will rise so they feel less aggrieved and resentful. Well, the lack of democracy is not the biggest obstacle to economic advance in the Middle East or elsewhere. But higher incomes are a necessary precondition to successful democracy anyhow. Plus, there are lots of other reasons democracy isn't in the cards for the Middle East.

Given that the threat from Al Qaeda is long term the United States would greatly benefit from an immigration and border control policy that enables us to far better keep out Muslim terrorists. Also, as "Mike" agrees, we need an energy policy aimed at the reduction of world demand for oil.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 July 28 04:37 PM  Terrorists Western Response


Comments
lindenen said at July 28, 2004 8:15 PM:

So he's arguing that we haven't been scary enough?

Fly said at July 28, 2004 10:59 PM:

I would only change one of the policies he listed, “finally our support for Muslim tyrannies”. The Muslim tyrannies are the swamp that must be drained.

I certainly wouldn’t increase the oil money going to those tyrannies and through them to terrorists.

The other policies relate to conflicts of Muslims with non-Muslims. As I believe we are at war with radical Islam, I wouldn’t support radical Islam in those conflicts. I’m not familiar with the Western China conflict so I don’t know what role radical Islam plays. In the other cases I don’t want to see radical Islam achieve any success. (No more myths of Islamic warriors defeating super powers.) I don’t believe appeasement of radical Islam will lead to peace.

I agree with his assessment that we are at war with a larger group than Al Qaeda.

I also agree that the US will eventually have to fight more aggressively, “It’s a politically correct handicap to think that you can have a war but maintain a position where we don’t want to kill the enemy”. And I agree with his statement, “If I had to choose between the president attacking somebody and killing some civilians to protect my children and not doing it, I think I would support the president.”

He doesn’t address the political realities of whether the US populace is yet ready to wage the kind of war necessary for success. Nor does he discuss what preparation needed to be done to best wage that war. (I believe the Iraq War was part of that preparation.)

Randall Parker said at July 28, 2004 11:18 PM:

Fly,

Most of the Muslim governments are not supported by the United States to any meaningful extent. Also, we do not help the Chinese maintain control of Muslim Xinjiang.

This guy is short on specifics on what to do about Al Qaeda. Change US policy on India and Pakistan to support Pakistan's ambitions to win control of Kashmir? Put trade sanctions on China and demand Chinese withdrawal from Xinjiang? There are a lot of governments out there executing policies that anger Bin Laden who do not need any US help and haven't received any US help to carry out these policies. So what, if anything, can the US or should the US do about these gripes?

One big problem with engineering a big shift in American policy to placate Bin Laden is that it would send a loud message that terrorism is an effective tool for changing US policy.

World demand for oil is increasing and so money flowing to the Muslim oil producers is increasing.

As for fighting more aggressively: How exactly? We have to have targets to hit. Even when we have targets to hit it is not always a good idea to hit them. Suppose, for example, that we have intelligence that Bin Laden or Al Zawahiri or some other top Al Qaeda guy might be in some building in a Pakistani city. Do we do an airstrike in Pakistan and blow up a bunch of civilians in hopes of killing a bad guy? My guess is that such tactics on our part would be counterproductive in a really big way.

I can't figure out what this guy would advocate as changes in policy. It is already too late to avoid invading Iraq. It was already too late on the day of 9/11 to pull troops out of Saudi Arabia - and now the US has scaled way back in Saudi with few if any uniformed US military people stationed there (anyone know how many are left?).

We could change policy on Israel but my guess is that the Jewish lobby in the US is going to block any big changes.

D.J. McGuire said at July 29, 2004 5:28 AM:

Where oh where do I begin?

I guess I'll start with "Western China," which, by the way, actually has its own name - East Turkestan - the name given to it by the Uighurs. It was an independent nation before the Communists occupied it in 1949. Contrary to what Mr. CIA would have us believe, bin Laden has not uttered a single word on East Turkestan. In fact, al Qaeda has had growing ties with the Communists themselves - Osama sold them unexploded American cruise missiles for $10 million, and the Commies' intelligence service has let him use PRC front companies on worldwide stock exchanges to launder drug money. Of course, Mr. CIA would know that, right?

Wrong, and that just begins the problem. What is most important about this guy is HIS institutional bias. The CIA is the worst foreign analytical unit in the entire United States government. They had Iraq wrong on several fronts, they have followed the State Department's soft-headedness on Iran, and they are practically abysmal on Communist China.

In time, the al Qaeda-ChiCom connection will be seen as the most singularly important component in the war on terror. Osama et al don't need popular issues to build recruits and capital, he has Beijing backing him (as does Iran and Syria, and as did the Taliban and Saddam Hussein). Meanwhile, Musharraf (another Commie ally) continues to pretend to support us in western Pakistan, while aids the anti-Indian Kashmiri al-Q elements in eastern Pakistan.

Until we focus on Communist China, we will never win the war on terror. Hardly anyone in Washington understands this. Mr. CIA, rather than being the hard-bitten tough guy with the solution, is just another paper-pusher exacerbating the problem.

"Western China" The blood bolis.

A Berman said at July 29, 2004 5:58 AM:

Randall, I think you hit the nail on the head. Now take it one step further. WHY does the Muslim world perceive things as one sided, despite our support of Bosnians, despite our support of Afghanistan first against the Soviets then against the Taliban, despite our ridding Iraq of a hated dictator? The big picture is that, given the distorted reality that Militant Islam imposes on its adherents, our choices are limited to:
1) Angering them, which leads to their being energized against us, or
2) Appeasing them, which also leads to their being energized against us.
3) Reducing the influence of Militant Islam on the world somehow without doing #1 or #2.

Some possibilities for #3:
a) Reducing the money going towards teaching Militant Islam.
b) Discrediting Militant Islam (see Spengler's "Horror and Humiliation in Fallujah", http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/FD27Ak01.html )

I also think that we are all scared of the size of the task and at the fact that ultimately, we are facing a Dragon. Now maybe the creation of Israel helped wake the dragon. Maybe we provoked the dragon. Maybe we can keep the dragon at bay temporarily by throwing it some virgins occasionally. But ultimately, we have to kill the dragon.

John Farren said at July 29, 2004 7:31 AM:

The US policies Mr Anonymous identifies as 'Bin Laden's list of six US policies that most anger Muslims' appear to me to be indicate that at least one, likely two, and possibly three of Anon/ObL/Muslims are misperceiving reality.

"Unqualified support for Israel"?
US policy aims at negotiated settlement.
At present, Palestinian leaders and organisations, perhaps a majority of the population, are unwilling/unable to abandon the phantasm of peace on their terms. Or the potential of terrorism to achieve them, either prior to and/or alongside talks.

While this is the case, the US can do little or nothing.
Perhaps make a few pronouncements on settlements and borders, maybe stage a public row with Sharon for PR.
But nothing substantive.

"Ability to keep oil prices within a tolerable range."
I assume this means a belief that the US is keeping prices artificially low, thus depriving the peoples of oil producing lands of their rightful wealth and/or strategic economic weapon.
Would that it were so.

Personally I doubt many Muslims fret about this; and if they were exercised, the US could hardly cripple the world economy to please them.

"Russia in Chechnya, India in Kashmir, China in Western China."
This is so perversely back to front it is difficult to know where to begin.

In any event, the US cannot pick fights with three Great Powers over what they regard as primarily internal matters.
The US did intervene to protect Muslims in Bosnia and Kossovo, and how much gratitude has that produced?

US "in Iraq and Afghanistan"
In both, current policy appears to be to build up local allies and 'liberal' elements, and to reduce the prominence of American arms and political control.

Short of an abject scuttle, there is little else to do.

US presence in Arabia and support for tyrants in Muslim world.
Valid point, maybe.
(This seems to be the opinion of the neocons, anyway.)

But the problem here is judging the sequence and pace.

To much too soon might lead to current regimes deciding to move decisively into the camp of enemies of the US, and even trying to cut a deal with the Islamists.

See Saudi family/elite, divided between those who see al Qaeda as an enemy, a threat, a diversion, a competitor, an ally, a tool.

See formerly secularist(ish) fascist Baathists proclaiming their allegiance as jihadi Islamists.
The US needs to deal with enemies one at a time according to threat urgency and magnitude.

Also if possible to get a managed transition from despotism to more limited and accountable governments, and not have, say Arabia or Egypt or Pakistan replicate the fall of the Shah and ascendancy of the mullahs as occurred Iran.

Mr Anonymous appears to have little concrete to suggest that differs from current policy.
I would note that while deprecating the invasion of Iraq, he appears to think that a massive and rapid invasion of Afghanistan would have been appropriate.

Setting aside 'rapid' and 'massive' being difficult to combine, especially re. a landlocked country, putting a major army of occupation into a land that has chewed up and spat out occupying armies for millenia seems dubious to me.

Fly said at July 29, 2004 11:21 AM:

(I don’t really believe this CIA guy has any better take on the overall WoT than we do. I believe he does provide a frontline perspective and that is what my comments address.)

My take on the article is that the guy is a realist with direct contact with Muslims. He understands how they think and how they will react. His list was from the perspective of Muslims. I doubt he supports changing those policies to appease Muslims.

He knows that as Muslims they believe unbelievers must be converted or dominated or killed. (Some Muslims believe the proper strategy is to bide their time. Others believe the conversion should be by peaceful means. There are also strong internal conflicts. But all “believing” Muslims support the goal of an Islamic world.) Thus Muslims support all wars against non-Muslims. Thus US support for non-Muslims in those wars will anger Muslims.

So his position is that the US should either appease the Islamic world or should be prepared to wage real war. (Perhaps I’m projecting my own beliefs but that is how I read the article.) I don’t think he is advocating appeasement.

Randall: “As for fighting more aggressively: How exactly?”

I believe that his view is that in order to win we are going to have to fight aggressively eventually so we should already do it. (Either leave the beehive alone or demolish it.) I suspect that he means killing a lot more supporters of radical Islam and a lot less concern for prisoner rights or collateral damage.

I don’t believe he takes into account the need to politically prepare the US populace and US allies and to prepare the battleground.

McGuire, thanks for the info on the Western China conflict and your views on China’s background support.

I know China is an enemy. I also know China provided Pakistan with nuclear technology. I suspect the Chinese directly aided the N. Korea nuclear program. I believe China is willing to sell most anyone weapons. I don’t doubt China would use a third party to indirectly attack the US if there was no danger of being caught.

There is a strongly documented trail of money from Saudi’s to Osama. There is also strong evidence of Al Qaeda planning and operations bases in several European countries. With all this information wouldn’t any substantial links to the Chinese come to light?

I don’t doubt there are connections between China and Al Qaeda. China is large and has its fingers in many places. Many regions in China operate fairly independently of Beijing. There is lots of corruption and lots of opportunity for shady deals. But was the Chinese government a significant supporter of Al Qaeda?

I don't believe the Chinese were strongly supporting Al Qaeda but I do believe that if the US response against the Al Qaeda backers is weak then China and other US enemies will be tempted to try the same.

Berman, I agree.
Farren, I agree.

Randall Parker said at July 29, 2004 11:55 AM:

Fly,

As for killing radical Muslims: How? How do you decide when to kill this or that person? They blend in. The US troops have a hard time in Afghanistan entering some village and knowing whether any active Taliban supporters are in the village and which ones. If the US troops take some people out and shoot them and they are innocent then the US has just taken their cousins in the next village over and turned them into enemies along with their cousins' cousins.

It seems to me the whole problem with this fight is identifying the enemy. They are hiding in civilian populations. Counter-insurgency is incredibly hard to fight. This is why I have argued repeatedly that the slow rate of US military and CIA development of local language skills is such a mistake. But it goes deeper than that. Soldiers end up being detectives. Well, most soldiers are not smart enough to be detectives and we do not have enough soldiers to occupy multiple countries and play detective in each one. Look at Iraq for an example of what overreach produces.

Andy,

Fallujah: Bush shrunk back from delivering the final blow.

Appeasement: We can't make a change in policy that appears to be appeasement of OBL. We do need smarter policies toward the Middle East. But it is hard to figure out what those policies ought to be. We needed those smart policies 10 years ago.

So far Bush's policies have made Muslim perceptions of the US even more negative. I do not expect that to turn around under a 2nd Bush term of office. I do not know what Kerry might do thaat would be any better.

As for Anonymous's comment about tyrannies: OBL has nothing against tyrannies per se. He was instrumental in keeping the Taliban in power and the cruelty of the Taliban tyranny made any Arab tyranny look mild in comparison. What OBL objects to is any government that rules Muslims that is not as Islamist as he is. There is no effective way to appease him short of overthrowing Middle Eastern governments to install Islamist tyrannies of the Taliban type. Probably even that wouldn't work.

I think the talk about tyranny misses the point: OBL is not judging us by our own standards of what is fair. He is judging us by his standards. We think of something different than he does when we think of the word "tyranny". He thinks rule of non-believers is tyranny. He only finds major fault when he looks at rule by people who are less faithful Muslims or non-Muslims. Such a double standard is not something that can be appeased. His ideal is not going to be met by democracy.

Also, the dissatisfaction of Muslims in Muslim countries is not properly understood. A lot of them measure the quality of their governments by their own living standards. We could impose democracies but if their living standards didn't rise as a result (and I do not believe their living standards would rise under democracies) then they'd still look at their governments as bad and as somehow tools of the West.

Luke Lea said at July 29, 2004 12:23 PM:

As for the Israeli-Palestinian problem, I think we should lean on the Europeans to compensate the Palestinians as part of a final settlement: basically guarantee every Palestinian worker a Western standard of living, contingent upon their honoring the terms of their deal with Israel. This could be accomplished through wage subsidies, universal health care, old age assistance, etc., and would provide leverage to enforce the peace. Ideally, Germany should take the lead in this inititiative, since they alone among the European countries have acknowledged their responsibility for their anti-Semitic past, which, or course, is the historical source of the problem.

The price tag would be high -- around 1 percent of European GDP for at least a generation -- but considering the stakes, it would be money well spent. E.g., it would put European spending on national security in the same ball park as America's.

Randall Parker said at July 29, 2004 12:55 PM:

Luke, Far more than a standard of living the Palestinians want a well defined territory that is theirs. Right now they have to import goods through Israeli brokers and pay very high tariffs to the Israeli government. Right now water from the West Bank is taken and pumped to Israel to be used by Israelis. Right now any Palestinian can lose a piece of land or a structure that settlers take an interest in. Right now the Territories are cut thru with Zionist settlements interleaved with Palestinian villages and towns with access roads to the settlements cutting off the free movement of Palestinians.

Let me be clear on this: The Israelis have been and still are incredibly unfair to the Palestinians. At the same time while they were doing all this they invited terrorist Arafat and his gang back to take control of large parts of the territories. Want to create a recipe for how to cause a terrorist attack wave? Follow the Israelis. Their enormous multi-decade folly has shown the way.

Now the Israelis are facing a demographic crisis. They building settlement structures yet they really really need to put all themselves on one side of a wall and all the Palestinians on the other side. The Palestinians need to have a clear piece of contiguous land that is theirs. To give them less is very unfair and very unwise.

Yet having said all that, Sharon has to go into the territories with Shin Bet and the IDF as he is doing to break up the terrorist rings while he finishes the Wall. He has no choice at this point. Oslo set up the conditions that Ariel Sharon now has to deal with. But Sharon also set up those conditions by working to build up the settlements for decades.

Of course Sharon's doing what he has to do (and even the Anonymous intelligence agent agrees the Israelis have to restore their pre-Oslo level of intervention for the time being) is incredibly bad timing for us. We combine what the Israelis are doing with our obvious blessing with the US invasion of Iraq and it is all just a great massive recruitment propaganda campaign for Al Qaeda.

Luke Lea said at July 29, 2004 4:53 PM:

Randall, I can't compete with you in articulateness. Few can. I agree with most of what you say. Even so, my point remains valid. The Olso process finally broke down over what was in it for the average Palestinian man in the street, a.k.a, the refugees. All the other outstanding issues were more or less settled: Jerusalem, settlements, borders, you name it. So don't say all this other stuff is more important, when what I point to is the very thing that scuttled the peace process. Believe me, if the Palestinian populace at large could see a real future for themselves in a new Palestinian state -- a promise of happiness, if you will, including guaranteed human rights -- they would put incredible pressure on their leaders to settle. Absent that, they will put incredible pressure on their leaders not to settle. Do you seriously doubt this?

Randall Parker said at July 29, 2004 5:01 PM:

Luike,

Oslo didn't solve the settlements issue. Heck, the Camp David and Taba deals offered didn't either. Under Taba the Palestinians would still have been paying rather high tariffs to the Israelis to import petroleum products thru Israeli brokers (who I'm told are well-connected Likudniks).

BTW, the settlers sell gasoline to the Palestinians because the settlers can buy gasoline for a much lower cost that doesn't include the tariffs that the Israelis levy on the West Bank Palestinians.

As for the Palestinian leaders and people: Israel has never been willing to allow a real state in any sense of the term. The Israelis want to keep a lot of their settlements. They want to keep tariff control of the West Bank.

There is no way that individual human rights can be guaranteed to the Palestinians because they would have to have a government willing to respect individual rights. I do not see that in the cards under any plausible scenario.

gcochran said at July 29, 2004 7:18 PM:

Luke, I like the idea of extorting 2.5 trillion dollars for the Palestinians out of the EU. Presumably we would tickle them until they gave in.

Fly said at July 29, 2004 9:11 PM:

Randall: “It seems to me the whole problem with this fight is identifying the enemy. They are hiding in civilian populations.”

I don’t see the Iraqi’s as our enemies. I believe the Iraqi populace together with the new Iraqi government will fight the terrorists and insurgents with the US role decreasing with time. I do believe there will terror and civil unrest in Iraq for a long time. So I don’t see a problem in Iraq with identifying our enemies. The Iraqi’s will do it. Likewise for Afghanistan.

As long as the US publicly goes after terrorists and proclaims support for secular, moderate Muslims I believe countries such as Turkey will maintain an uncomfortable neutrality.
At some point the US may have to kill a lot of Saudi’s and Syrians. Pakistan could go either way. (Most likely civil war.)

If the US is lucky the Mullahs might be toppled. If not the Iranian people might rally behind the Mullahs to repel a US attack. Could turn into a real mess. Depends too much on unknowns.

Over half the world’s Muslims support Osama so I don’t think the problem is separating a few terrorists from a civilian populace. The question is can we wield US force well enough to convince Islamic governments that discretion is in order. Do that and those governments may rein in the media, mosques, and schools that preach hatred and incite violence. Too much bumbling force and we are at war with all Muslims. Too little and radical Muslims are free to pursue their dreams. A fine balance must be maintained. Thus the goal of democratizing the ME while stating that Islam is the RoP. Perhaps democracy will take root and Iraq will prosper thereby destabilizing the tyrannies. Perhaps democracy will fail. In the meantime the US Military is toppling governments and pressuring tyrannies.

In the meantime more and more Americans are discovering the true nature of our enemy. According to polls Americans cared more about US citizens being beheaded than they did about prisoner abuse. When harsh steps are needed the American people may support them. (Or not. It’s hard to read the American people under all the media spin.)

Europe and the non-Muslim world are a big question mark. Most of the world dislikes American dominance and doesn’t mind seeing us take some major hits. On the other hand, their security and economic well-being depend on the global order that the US maintains.

As I’ve said before we are likely to end up waging total war.


Randall: “I think the talk about tyranny misses the point: OBL is not judging us by our own standards of what is fair. He is judging us by his standards. We think of something different than he does when we think of the word "tyranny". He thinks rule of non-believers is tyranny. He only finds major fault when he looks at rule by people who are less faithful Muslims or non-Muslims. Such a double standard is not something that can be appeased. His ideal is not going to be met by democracy.”

Exactly. And most of the Muslim world is watching to see how successful Osama is going to be. They’ll only turn on him if his attack is seen as a disaster for the Islamic world.
If the radicals are thwarted, the “moderates” could regain control of the media, mosques, and schools. That could eventually (with lots of luck) lead to a peaceful world.

Invisible Scientist said at July 30, 2004 3:23 AM:

I am pasting below some web sites about the Integral Fast Reactor, which is
one of the evolutionary (not revolutionary) improvements in nuclear energy.

http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/designs/ifr/
http://www.decentria.com/ifr.html
http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA378.html
http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/phy99/phy99xx7.htm
http://www.anlw.anl.gov/anlw_history/reactors/ifr.html

In a nutshell, there are a few improved (and proven) nuclear reactor designs that are:
(A) 100 times more uranium fuel efficient than the commercial reactors in currently in operation.
(B) Capable of burning all the long term nuclear waste as fuel (such as plutonium and
other higher artificial elements), leaving behind only short term nuclear waste with half life
less than 300 years, which means that waste storage and disposal will not be a problem, and we
can use such reactors for hundreds of years all over the world, even if all the energy becomes
nuclear.

Such nuclear reactors can be built all over the world because the energy from the improved
new designs would be competitive with the coal fired plants. This abundant energy can be used
to charge the fuel cells such as zinc-air fuel cells,
or even to produce hydrogen for hydrogen based fuel cells.

And the reason I remain invisible in this message, is because a famous wall street analyst
said that if anyone who does indeed try to popularize any technology that can displace oil,
will die in a mysterious accident. But since I do not have a family, I am still taking this risk.

D.J. McGuire said at July 30, 2004 5:17 AM:

All,

While we can debate the merits on non-oil based energy for years (actually, since I guess most of you, like me, support nuclear power, maybe we can't), oil is not suddenly going to become less important simply because we're not buying it anymore. Communist China's appetite for oil is becoming voracious, and they will quickly snatch up any petroleum we leave unsold. Thus the Arab potentates will still cash in on the crude - the money will just come from Communist China, which has absolutely no problem with the terrorist regimes in the region.

Again, I'm fine with shifting away from oil here, but when it comes to disarming terror, it won't mean diddly squat.

While I ripped Mike on East Turkestan earlier, he is right about the other reasons terror is spawned, except for one thing - taking the "muslim" position will get us nowhere.

Kashmir - most folks in Kashmir don't want to be under Pakistan control. The Muslims would prefer independence, while the Buddhists and Hindus largely prefer India.

Chechnya - if the rebels there still were only pushing for their independence, I'd be sympathetic, but in 1999, they tipped their hand in invading Dagestan, a neighboring region that was more than content to remain Russian. The "rebels" in Chechnya are not local freedom fighters anymore; they have become run-of-the-mill irridentist tyrants.

Israel - personally, I would follow our own example of emininent domain, and pay every Palestinian (or descendant) who lost propertty in 48 or 67, but the money would have to go directly to the Palestinians themselves, don't let Arafat get his hands on it. That would, I think, resolve the issue for the people.

But not Arafat and his clique. They need a state of war to justify their corrupt regime (as does Syria, Iran, etc.). That's why I think even the destruction of Israel itself won't appease these folks (the corrupt dictators). Rather than address their own problems, they will likely decide to distract their own people by calling for the killing of every Jew on Earth. And who gets targeted then? Well, if Israel fell, the largest Jewish population in the world would be here. Need I go on?

That's one reason why I still think regime changes in Syria and Iran need to happen (the much bigger one being their close ties to the PRC). I have no illusions that it will be swift and clean (although I do think it would be better received in those two lands then most say), but I am convinced that Assad and Khameini, if they didn't have Israel to kick around anymore, would aim at us, for the reason mentioned above.

Invisible Scientist said at July 30, 2004 7:25 AM:

You are right about China's need for oil, but note that Cheney went to China to encourage
them to buy the latest Westinghouse nuclear reactors, which are sligthly less advanced than
the Integral Fast Reactor innovation, but still much more economical than the stone
age older reactors, and excellent for burning the long term waste. China definitely wants
the advanced reactors. Additonally, both China and Taiwan are looking at the zinc-air fuel cells.
And ironically, such countries are even more likely to adopt such measures for their countries
on a draconian basis than the United States, since they are more totalitarian. If we can convince
them about the long term benefits of such projects, they would do it, since they are not
manipulated by oil companies (recall that Japan was the first to commercialize hybrid and electric
cars, and Japan does have advanced nuclear reactor projects like the Integral Fast Reactor.)

A second comment is that if the US becomes independent of oil, the US would have a lower profile
in Muslim countries, and the Al Qaeda would not attack the US as much...

Luke Lea said at July 30, 2004 8:10 AM:

Randall and Greg Cochran,

You guys are sick. But, then, so am I. The whole world is our hospital . . .

Luke Lea said at July 30, 2004 7:50 PM:

In reference to the above, see the post under Provincialism: Tel Aviv here.

Fly said at July 30, 2004 7:58 PM:

Luke, the author of that post doesn’t give due credit to the tyrannical Arab leaders who use that conflict for their own purpose. Nor to the Iranian mullahs. Nor to certain European leaders who may be playing their own triangulation games in the ME.

Engineer-Poet said at July 31, 2004 6:21 AM:

D.J. McGuire writes:

I'm fine with shifting away from oil here, but when it comes to disarming terror, it won't mean diddly squat.
That is true so far as it goes, but it ignores one very important thing:  if we are independent of oil we then have freedom to attack the exporters of terror and disrupt their oil earnings, and the economic fallout would strike those nations which have increased their oil dependence.  We can't do this so long as our economic life's blood depends on the Wahhab stream of earnings.

There is a problem with depending on China to commercialize non-oil transportation so we can buy it; China doesn't care about terrorists (and has no difficulties with religious profiling to keep them out), and may have as much incentive to feed the beast to keep us pinned down as to fix their balance of trade.  If the USA fails to act, we will never gain control over our own foreign policy.

Fly said at July 31, 2004 7:34 AM:

Engineer-Poet: “We can't do this so long as our economic life's blood depends on the Wahhab stream of earnings.”

Agreed. So the US positions troops so that the US can force change by threatening military action. If the threat isn’t sufficient and the war escalates, then US troops will secure the oil fields in the ME. In either case the oil supply is secure and ME funding and promotion of terror ends. In the best scenario the credible threat of military action will suffice while Iraq becomes a successful democracy. (Clearly the reality is far more complex and “secured” oil fields would be under continual attack.)

I strongly agree that the US needs energy independence. I think the biodiesel project looks promising for transportation fuels and I support nuclear power for our electrical needs.

Invisible Scientist said at July 31, 2004 1:38 PM:

Fly,

ONCE there is an abundance of nuclear energy, you can use this energy source, either
as electricity, or directly the heat itself, to make any kind of fuel you wan, including
diesel fuel. You can
make hydrogen, and then convert this hydrogen into diesel fuel by combining it with
other things, always by using the energy from the nuclear plants. The trick is to decide
when this will be done. The old environmentalist and political paranoia abour nuclear energy
is disappearing already. We are talking about enough clean and safe
energy for the entire world, for hundreds or even thousands of years...

Kurt said at July 31, 2004 8:08 PM:

I have read the material on the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) and agree that it is the best way to go. It is also good to hear that Cheney is trying to convince the Chinese to buy the Westinghouse version of of the IFR. I think China will go nuclear in a big way in the coming decades (assuming that there are no breakthroughs in any kind of fusion). I also heard recently that they are going to build the 4th nuclear power plant in Taiwan. This means that Taiwan will get most of its electricity from nuclear power.

The problem with the older (60's and 70's) nuclear power technology is that it was pushed by the government before the technology was ready for the "prime-time". I know of several former anti-nuclear activists who have changed their attitudes once becoming familier with the IFR.

There is another development that will make an even safer version of nuclear fission. The Farnsworth fusor (an IEC device) cannot be used for commercial fusion but is an effective generator of high-energy neutrons. These IEC devices are commercially available for various applications such as medical scanners, airport weapons scanners, and what not. These devices generate neutrons of 14eV energy. A little known fact is that U238 really is fissile, but requires neutrons of energy greater than 11eV. Typical chain reactions using U235 or Pu239 generate neutrons of 5eV or so. As such, U238 is not fissile using current fission technology. Using an IEC device to generate the neutrons could lead to the development of a nuclear power plant using U238 as fuel. This is a BIG development because it eliminates the need to "enrich" nuclear materials and such a power plant, by definition, cannot suffer a criticality accident (the reaction is not a chain reaction, cut of power to the IEC device and the reaction stops). I believe that this will be the next major development in nuclear power and will further remove it from the processes and technologies necessary to make nuclear weapons.

Thsi was all explained to me in an email by some people who were working on an approach to develop a form of fusion power. Their plan was to license their technology for this application if their approach to fusion power were to be unsuccessful. There are several private groups working on fusion power. How real these people are is not clear to me. Some of these proposals can be found at:

www.impulsedevices.com
www.focusfusion.org
www.prometheus2.net

There are others. Perhaps someone really will develop fusion in the next 10-20 years.

Randall Parker said at July 31, 2004 9:24 PM:

E-P.

You say:

if we are independent of oil we then have freedom to attack the exporters of terror and disrupt their oil earnings, and the economic fallout would strike those nations which have increased their oil dependence. We can't do this so long as our economic life's blood depends on the Wahhab stream of earnings.

But the United States is not going to stop using oil until a cheaper energy source is developed. It is that simple.

Also, if we forced ourselves to use higher cost nuclear and wind and solar to eliminate our use of oil then our exports would cost more and we'd be less competitive in industry. We'd have lower living standards too. Plus, if we ended our dependence on oil by forcing ourselves to not buy oil and then we invaded the oil fields and disrupted production we'd cause higher prices for the rest of the world and plunge the world into a depression. A big US-caused disruption in Middle Eastern oil production would make the whole world hate us. We'd have more terrorists aiming to attack us and we'd lose many friends and allies.

Only the development of technologies that produce cheaper forms of energy can reduce the flow of money to the Wahhabis.

jeff said at July 31, 2004 9:40 PM:

On first read, I found the interview glib and unconvicing--in fact, it reminded me of Mr. Clarke more than anything else. Just a first impression, mind.

I think a good example is his take on the likelihood of Osama working with Saddam. It's unlikely, if for no other reason, argues the agent, because Saddam was simply slopply and Osama and his organization are very professional.

But why would the question of the professionalism of Saddam be the determining factor if al-Qaeda was carrying out the missions and Saddam was simply providing various kinds of logistical suppport, such as passports and other travel arrangements, cover of various sorts, refuge and training for agents, etc.? To have a state sponsor in limited ways is of tremendous value. Of course, this doesn't answer the question of the degree to which they did cooperate in fact, but the agent seems to have that sort of faux worldly wise, "I am an expert in terrorism and I know how all this stuff works", way of holding forth that seems superficial. I'll be interested to see what he says if Iraq turns out well.

I may be the last person in the country who thinks Iraq is going just MARVELLOUSLY well, but it seems to me that it could hardly have gone better. Of course, if we batter the future Iraqi government to death for various "human rights abuses" and alleged cronyism, like we did the South Vietnamese, all bets are off.

Jeff

Randall Parker said at July 31, 2004 10:16 PM:

Jeff,

You have to read all of the "Mike" interviews that I link to in this post to get a sense of the thrust of his thinking. Just the TAC interview doesn't convey enough of his thinking to understand his analysis.

You say:

I may be the last person in the country who thinks Iraq is going just MARVELLOUSLY well, but it seems to me that it could hardly have gone better. Of course, if we batter the future Iraqi government to death for various "human rights abuses" and alleged cronyism, like we did the South Vietnamese, all bets are off.

If it could hardly have gone better that strikes me as an argument against doing it in the first place. As for the "human rights abuses": That was part of the argument for overthrowing Saddam. Are human rights abuses better because they are perhaps not quite as extreme when done by our client authoritarians who are pretending to be liberal democrats? Perhaps. But lets at least be honest about it and make that blunt and ugly case if that is the real argument humanitarian argument for overthrowing Saddam.

As for the "alleged cronyism": Surely you jest. This is the Middle East we are talking about with high rates of consanguineous marriage in a tribal culture where people have far more loyalty to extended families than to governments. They view government jobs as a means to help out those extended families. Lots of corruption and cronyism come with the territory. We are not going to build a non-corrupt liberal democracy. At best we will get a corrupt authoritarian regime which occasionally arranges elections that are carefully engineered to produce the outcome the powerful decide on in advance.

Randall Parker said at August 1, 2004 1:07 AM:

Jeff,

But why would the question of the professionalism of Saddam be the determining factor if al-Qaeda was carrying out the missions and Saddam was simply providing various kinds of logistical suppport, such as passports and other travel arrangements, cover of various sorts, refuge and training for agents, etc.?

An incompetent Iraqi intelligence service providing support to Al Qaeda would have left a trail that would have led Western intelligence agencies to identify Al Qaeda operatives. As it stands, a bunch of US and foreign intelligence agencies have tracked all sorts of Al Qaeda money flows and document flows without finding a significant trail leading back to Iraq. Al Qaeda obviously had the means to get money from Saudi Arabia and other sources, move it aorund the world, and put it into the hands of attackers. All this was done via means that didn't use Iraqi help.

Engineer-Poet said at August 1, 2004 8:26 AM:

Randall Parker writes:

But the United States is not going to stop using oil until a cheaper energy source is developed. It is that simple.
Electricity is already cheaper than gasoline (at $1.80/gallon, 115,000 BTU/gallon and 20% conversion efficiency, gasoline costs 26.7 cents per KWH; some estimates of overall efficiency of ICE vehicles are as low as 17%).  If we develop a technology to store and package electricity in a cheap and compact fashion, it can kill petroleum.

I believe that the zinc-air fuel cell is such a technology.  The energy capacity of raw zinc metal appears to be approximately 840 WH/kg, and it can be stored indefinitely.  At market prices of roughly $1/kg the inventory of zinc to keep a month's worth of "fuel" for a vehicle in reserve would cost a few hundred dollars, and the resulting oxide is recycled.  There may be better technologies in the offing, but zinc-air systems are so close to the other possibilities in their various characteristics that we would waste little effort if we pursued it for now.

I'm going to break the following into a list to respond point by point:

  1. ... if we forced ourselves to use higher cost nuclear and wind and solar to eliminate our use of oil then our exports would cost more and we'd be less competitive in industry.
  2. We'd have lower living standards too.
  3. Plus, if we ended our dependence on oil by forcing ourselves to not buy oil and then we invaded the oil fields and disrupted production we'd cause higher prices for the rest of the world and plunge the world into a depression.
  4. A big US-caused disruption in Middle Eastern oil production would make the whole world hate us. We'd have more terrorists aiming to attack us and we'd lose many friends and allies.
I think this paragraph suffers from many non-sequiturs:
  1. Nothing requires us to replace oil with nuclear or renewables; we could supply the energy from coal (zinc oxide could be reduced to metal with coal syngas produced in IGCC powerplants, to give just one example).  Using cogeneration to extract more useful energy from fuel already being used for heat could increase the supply of electricity, and that electricity could charge plug-in hybrids or regenerate metallic zinc.
  2. If we can deliver power to the wheels for less than 26.7 cents/KWH, we'd have higher living standards even without the "anti-terrorist dividend".  It's pretty obvious that the impact of Wahhabism is a large fraction of the cost of gasoline at the pump; the 9/11 aftermath cost the economy over USD 100 billion, which is approximately one dollar for every gallon of gasoline used in the USA in a year.
  3. This contains several sub-points:
    • We don't have to force ourselves not to buy oil, we just have to open up a Saudi-sized gap between world demand and world production capacity; at that point, Saudi Arabia could disappear from the market and the world would go on.
    • Invasion of the oil fields is not necessary to take them off-line or deny their profits to the Wahhabists; a sufficiently capable Shiite insurgency, financed and armed covertly, could do the job.
    • The rest of the world is not falling into depression at USD 40/bbl, and if instability in the ME caused consumers to seek contracts with other sources of supply it would encourage other producers.
  4. If Shiites take down the Saudi pipelines and oil terminals, is the world (or the part that doesn't already blame the USA for everything) going to blame the USA or the mullahs of Iran?

I believe that we've already got the cheaper forms of energy, but what we lack is the technology to cram it into a tank and get it out again as cheaply and conveniently as we've come to expect from petroleum.  All it takes is one breakthrough and we're ready to go; the fact that e.g. zinc-air fuel cells have other effects such as being pollution-free and making it easy to take advantage of intermittent energy sources such as solar and wind make them attractive for completely different reasons which we also ought to use to spur their adoption.

Invisible Scientist said at August 1, 2004 11:01 AM:

Electric Vehicle Division News

Arotech’s Successful Demonstration of Ultra-Capacitor / Zinc-Air Hybrid Electric Bus Draws Press and Dignitaries

Sheldon Silver, NY Assembly Speaker, says he will encourage use in New York

November 7, 2003 - Arotech Corporation (NasdaqNM: ARTX) announced today that its zero emission all-electric bus was successfully demonstrated yesterday in Schenectady and Albany, NY. The two demonstration drives of the Electric Fuel bus drew extensive TV coverage, with participation by dozens of reporters and members of the DOT/FTA appointed Peer Review Committee.

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver rode the bus around the Capitol in Albany. Mr. Silver talked to reporters on the bus, as they drove quietly along Albany’s streets. At the end of the drive, Mr. Silver said, “I was very impressed with the Electric Fuel clean air bus we have seen today, and we encourage such zero emission technology in New York.”

The demonstration and the Peer Review meeting are among the last tasks of Phase III of the zinc-air all electric transit bus program with the Federal Transit Administration. Members of the Peer Review Committee, set up by the DOT/FTA to evaluate the program, rode the crowded bus in Schenectady.

Phase IV of the FTA cost shared program will begin next month. It will explore steps necessary for commercializing the all-electric zinc-air / ultra-capacitor hybrid bus. To that end, Electric Fuel is working with an undisclosed company on finding alternative zinc available from existing zinc producing facilities.

About the Electric Fuel Bus

The bus demonstrated yesterday is powered by the Company's Electric Fuel zinc air fuel cell technology. Coupled with a pack of advanced ultra capacitors and an improved energy management system, the hybrid all electric bus has zero tailpipe emissions. An urban transit fleet based the Electric Fuel bus will not only improve the quality of the air – it will also help national security by reducing the dependence on imported fuel.

In a recent test the bus traveled 145 miles under typical city bus driving conditions, including stop and go, acceleration and constant speed. The average normal full day cycle for New York City buses is less than 90 miles. The Company believes that all-electric buses utilizing Electric Fuel's Zinc-Air technology have sufficient range to offer a practical alternative to diesel-powered buses.
The Electric Fuel All Electric Transit Bus is designed to operate as a full-size, zero emission 40-foot bus having a 20-ton gross vehicle weight (including passengers) and operating all standard bus features, including air conditioning.

E-P:
Here is a web page with a full demonstration of a zinc-air fuel cell powered bus
in New York. This electric bus, running on a zinc-air battery, was operating under
regular conditions for the entire day in New York. I have
just pasted the relevant web page below:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.electric-fuel.com/evnews/030711.shtml
About Arotech Corporation

Arotech's corporate mission is to provide quality defense and security products for the military, law enforcement and homeland security markets, including advanced zinc-air batteries, multimedia interactive simulators/trainers and lightweight armoring.

Arotech Corporation (www.arotech.com) operates two business divisions: Electric Fuel Batteries — developing and manufacturing zinc-air batteries for military and homeland security applications and developing electric vehicle batteries for zero emission public transportation; and Arotech Defense — consisting of IES Interactive, which provides advanced high-tech multimedia training systems for law enforcement and paramilitary organizations, MDT Armor, which provides vehicle armoring for the military, industrial and private sectors, and Arocon Security, which provides homeland security consulting and other services.

Arotech is incorporated in Delaware and has corporate and sales offices in New York and Denver with research, development and production subsidiaries in Alabama, Colorado and Israel.

Invisible Scientist said at August 1, 2004 11:02 AM:




Sorry I failed to copy and paste the entire web page above, here is the
full text:
---------------------------------------
http://www.electric-fuel.com/evnews/030711.shtml
Electric Vehicle Division News

Arotech’s Successful Demonstration of Ultra-Capacitor / Zinc-Air Hybrid Electric Bus Draws Press and Dignitaries

Sheldon Silver, NY Assembly Speaker, says he will encourage use in New York

November 7, 2003 - Arotech Corporation (NasdaqNM: ARTX) announced today that its zero emission all-electric bus was successfully demonstrated yesterday in Schenectady and Albany, NY. The two demonstration drives of the Electric Fuel bus drew extensive TV coverage, with participation by dozens of reporters and members of the DOT/FTA appointed Peer Review Committee.

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver rode the bus around the Capitol in Albany. Mr. Silver talked to reporters on the bus, as they drove quietly along Albany’s streets. At the end of the drive, Mr. Silver said, “I was very impressed with the Electric Fuel clean air bus we have seen today, and we encourage such zero emission technology in New York.”

The demonstration and the Peer Review meeting are among the last tasks of Phase III of the zinc-air all electric transit bus program with the Federal Transit Administration. Members of the Peer Review Committee, set up by the DOT/FTA to evaluate the program, rode the crowded bus in Schenectady.

Phase IV of the FTA cost shared program will begin next month. It will explore steps necessary for commercializing the all-electric zinc-air / ultra-capacitor hybrid bus. To that end, Electric Fuel is working with an undisclosed company on finding alternative zinc available from existing zinc producing facilities.

About the Electric Fuel Bus

The bus demonstrated yesterday is powered by the Company's Electric Fuel zinc air fuel cell technology. Coupled with a pack of advanced ultra capacitors and an improved energy management system, the hybrid all electric bus has zero tailpipe emissions. An urban transit fleet based the Electric Fuel bus will not only improve the quality of the air – it will also help national security by reducing the dependence on imported fuel.

In a recent test the bus traveled 145 miles under typical city bus driving conditions, including stop and go, acceleration and constant speed. The average normal full day cycle for New York City buses is less than 90 miles. The Company believes that all-electric buses utilizing Electric Fuel's Zinc-Air technology have sufficient range to offer a practical alternative to diesel-powered buses.
The Electric Fuel All Electric Transit Bus is designed to operate as a full-size, zero emission 40-foot bus having a 20-ton gross vehicle weight (including passengers) and operating all standard bus features, including air conditioning.

About Arotech Corporation

Arotech's corporate mission is to provide quality defense and security products for the military, law enforcement and homeland security markets, including advanced zinc-air batteries, multimedia interactive simulators/trainers and lightweight armoring.

Arotech Corporation (www.arotech.com) operates two business divisions: Electric Fuel Batteries — developing and manufacturing zinc-air batteries for military and homeland security applications and developing electric vehicle batteries for zero emission public transportation; and Arotech Defense — consisting of IES Interactive, which provides advanced high-tech multimedia training systems for law enforcement and paramilitary organizations, MDT Armor, which provides vehicle armoring for the military, industrial and private sectors, and Arocon Security, which provides homeland security consulting and other services.

Arotech is incorporated in Delaware and has corporate and sales offices in New York and Denver with research, development and production subsidiaries in Alabama, Colorado and Israel.

Exce

Pessimist said at September 29, 2004 4:15 PM:

Some intelligent comments here, but still generally inside the box.

I think "Anonymous" is pretty much on target, and we are essentially doomed to failure until and unless the political limitations in which we find ourselves are broken.

From 1850 to the Civil War America was frozen in a rigid political box in which the occupants were unable to see the reality about them, and even when they did, they could not act. The general polity conspired to utterly marginalize anyone who thought to move outside the box. Ending slavery gradually using public funds would have been cheaper and simpler in the long run than fighting a war over it... but the war had to be fought, to break the self-imposed mental and political prison in which all the victims found themselves.

Japan in the 20th century could not alter its course toward inevitable war and catastrophe. Even though many if not most in the leadership were fully aware of what was coming, it was not possible to take a different track.

Today we face inevitable fiscal collapse, default, national impoverishment...not to mention destruction of at least a major part of one or more of our cities by some jihadist nuclear weapon(s)...because no one can stop the spending or raise the taxes to pay for it... possibly the end of free elections and anything like what we have hitherto regarded as our basic liberties...because our system makes various immediate interests so powerful they overcome all challenges.

I can only hope that the smashup will allow something new to grow that does not require the utter loss of all that was valuable before. The Japanese did pretty well after WW2. So did the US after the civil war. Of course, history is full of nameless peoples overrun by others where no trace remains.

Randall Parker said at September 29, 2004 5:46 PM:

Pessimist,

Plenty of civilizations have faced huge problems where crises came upon them as a result, and there never was a tough painful reckoning to fix the problems or reduce the burden. There was just decline.

The United States is failing to deal with the problems being created by mass immigration of large numbers of people who are dumber than the average American who is already here.

The United States is failing to control our borders thoroughly enough to keep terrorists out.

The United States is failing to deal and solve the problems caused by with our and the world's dependence on oil from the Middle East. We ought to be making an absolutely massive effort to obsolesce oil.

The US policy toward Israel is so restricted by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States that the US is failing to deal with the Israel-Arab conflict and the Palestinian issue fairly.

Then there is the aging population problem and our need to slow down the aging process to increase the ratio of workers to retirees. We aren't trying hard enough on that one either.

My guess is that things are going to get a lot worse.


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