Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Laws of War

John Keegan (hat tip: Glenn Reynolds) argues that Bad law is making a Just War so much harder to fight: not always, but sometimes, and argues that the court martial system would provide better justice than civilian law.

The Iraq war, which is both unpopular and in the eyes of many, illegal, has led to the prosecution or threat of prosecution of dozens of British soldiers. The outcome of promised proceedings is unknown but it seems possible that there will be sentences. Some, no doubt, will be justified if, as seems possible, mistreatment of prisoners of war, or civilians caught up in the fighting, is proved. Disquiet over those criminal proceedings lies elsewhere. The disquiet falls under two headings. The first concerns the nature of the fighting in Iraq. The second concerns the effect that using international criminal law has on the morale of the Army.

As to the fighting in Iraq: an insurgency of this sort leads to confusion and misunderstanding. There is no front line, no division between the war zone and civilian areas, no distinction between terrorists and law-abiding citizens.... The only effective agents in a war zone are the combatants themselves, and the innocents have to rely on such people's instincts of decency or fear of punishment for misbehaviour to avert harm to themselves. ...

There was a lot that was wrong with the court martial system, which produced much rough justice. There was, however, also a lot that was right. Under court martial, it is unlikely that officers or soldiers, pleading that their actions should be understood within the military realities of fear, confusion and concern for each other's safety, would be condemned for lack of understanding of such circumstances. Good civil law is likely to make for bad military law. Only a lawyer would argue otherwise.

Some critics might ask if there was ever a bad law or a just war, but not of Saddam or Osama, who might ask in turn if there was ever a just Western law or an bad war against the infidel. The problem I think, lies not in the relative merits of civilian and military law, but the failure of humanitarian law to return to its origins. Its form endures but its object has slipped from under its grasp. Keegan begins his excellent article by recounting how the laws on war evolved.

Roman law was brutal in the extreme, legions fought to win victory with no concern for the fate of the losers. Prisoners were usually killed, unless they were spared to be sold into slavery. In later centuries, the awfulness of Roman war was a little softened. Medieval Christian theologians tried to establish a code of behaviour, which came to be known as the Just War doctrine. It laid down, among other things, that non-combatants, women, children and priests, were not legitimate targets of violence and that the lives of prisoners should be spared. Just War doctrine caught on. During the First World War, there was very little harm done to civilians and the killing of prisoners, though not unknown, was regarded as beyond the bounds of civilised warfare.

There was a subsequent decline. The Second World War was characterised by appalling loss of life among non-combatants and a great deal of deliberate slaughter of prisoners, women, children, and other defenceless beings. As a result, a firm effort was made by the victor nations, principally Britain and the United States, to restate the principle of Just War and to punish transgressors. The worst of them were condemned at the Nuremberg Trials, which laid down that obedience to orders, if illegal, was not a defence.

Keegan might have added that the forms of war, much more than the letter of the law, provided the greatest extent of protection to the noncombatants. The Zone of the Front and the Zone of the Rear during the First World War helped separate civilians from the violence of combat. The subsequent decline in civilian inviolability was due not to a sudden decline in morality during the Second War but to the emergence of fast moving mechanized warfare and bomber forces which destroyed the neat division between Front and Rear. Yet despite the Warsaws, Dresdens and Hiroshimas the distinction between combatant and civilian still remained. Combatants wore uniforms and, by and large, shot mostly at each other. Because humanitarian protection is so dependent on the modalities of combat, what does it mean when British soldiers must fight where "there is no front line, no division between the war zone and civilian areas, no distinction between terrorists and law-abiding citizens"; where "the only effective agents in a war zone are the combatants themselves, and the innocents have to rely on such people's instincts of decency or fear of punishment for misbehaviour to avert harm to themselves"? The answer must certainly go beyond a choice between civilian and military justice.

If the objective function is to minimize the suffering of noncombatants, the first step must surely be to discriminate between the "innocent" and the "guilty", for when distinctions are not made obvious by the wearing of uniforms other methods must be substituted. The main driver of battlefield humanitarianism is good intelligence. A terrorist battlefield sees far less force than the First War -- none of the rolling barrages of the Somme -- but compensates in frightfulness by using civilians as sandbags, and only intelligence and highly accurate targeting systems can focus violence on the combatants and not the civilians. Only through intelligence can there be any hope of achieving the substantive aim of humanitarian war, which is the exclusion of the noncombatant from the violence of battle. Humanitarian law then, should theoretically do everything in its power to enhance this process, just as in the past century, it highlighted the practices most likely to assist civilians given the battlefield modalities of the day. However, humanitarian law in its current form sometimes does the very opposite and hinders this process. A captured terrorist is only obliged to state his name, rank and serial number. Tom Friedman of the New York Times argues that Guantanamo Bay should simply be shut down because it is so contrary to humanitarianism.

I believe the stories emerging from Guantánamo are having a similar toxic effect on us - inflaming sentiments against the U.S. all over the world and providing recruitment energy on the Internet for those who would do us ill. Husain Haqqani, a thoughtful Pakistani scholar now teaching at Boston University, remarked to me: "When people like myself say American values must be emulated and America is a bastion of freedom, we get Guantánamo Bay thrown in our faces. When we talk about the America of Jefferson and Hamilton, people back home say to us: 'That is not the America we are dealing with. We are dealing with the America of imprisonment without trial.' " Guantánamo Bay is becoming the anti-Statue of Liberty.

What Mr. Friedman does not quantify is how many innocent civilians might die from mistaken engagement, friendly fire, bad targeting and what have you, if an alternative means of obtaining intelligence is not found. Would it be greater or less than the hundred or so Jihadis said to have died in US custody? Would it matter to those who regard Gitmo as the anti-Statue of Liberty? This is not an argument for torture: there are more effective ways than hostile interrogation to obtain intelligence including spying, wiretapping, surveillance and tracing through bank accounts. But it is an argument to recast humanitarian law to allow the gathering and application of that intelligence. Much of the historical impact of humanitarian law stemmed directly from the ability to gather and apply intelligence to discriminate between combatants and noncombatants. The devices of open cities, clearly marked ambulances, zones of safe passage, armbands for humanitarian personnel, etc are usages whose practical utility has expired under the deceptions of terrorist warfare, but their intent -- that of marking the limits of licit violence -- is sound. It is a distinction which can be based only on intellgence. Without that, humanitarian law is form without function on the modern terrorist battlefield, "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".

193 Comments:

Blogger PLWCPA said...

re: Gitmo- What would happen to these prisoners if they committed the same crimes in Saudi or Iran- wouldn't they lose their heads??

Meanwhile, the US is accused of war crimes because the prisoners are "uncomfortable".

6/02/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

I am sorry Wretchard but I must part company with the idea of a kindler gentler war. Winning hearts and minds is absurd, its difficult enough trying to change the mind of a Democrat much less some band of religious fanatics whose followers actually believe that the 7th century was the last best time on earth.

All of the sound and fury of Gitmo and Abu Garib are nothing more than attempts to weaken us by the enemy. Our main problem being that we havent as yet officially identified all of our enemies. Marxists, Earth Firsters, and various other loony moonbats of the left have banded together with the most unlikely of allies the Nazis and Islamic Fanatics to confront the biggest enemy of them all, Civilization. And we being the strongest representative of Civilization means we have a target on our backs. Defeat us and you win the world.

We allow them to define how the war is supposed to be fought then natually failing those unrealistic standards we fail. They have defined everything from victory to defeat and somehow the US is always standing at the finish line ahead of anyone else according to them. And we all allow this nonsense, in the middle of a war that can turn to our incredible disadvantage at any moment, we allow this fifth column to dominate the discussions.

I dont advocate arresting them, I simply advocate responding to them then ignoring them. Pursuing every avenue of funding that they have access to might be a valuable method for shutting them down legally as I have a hard time believing its all on the up and up.

Victory answers everything and the more we slow down to correct the hallucinations of our enemies the longer that victory will be in coming, if indeed it is in our future to win. Not a foregone conclusion to my mind.

Pierre

6/02/2005 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The tragic outcome of today's liberal strategy, with its "Abu Ghraib" fixation, is to guarantee that we cannot find stable solutions in the useful part of the curve.
In place of a curve, they've created a discrete step function, where civilization is to endure every outrage uncomplaining while the threat grows until, at last, something snaps.
Cool it, or lose it. Some may call it principled pacifism, but its real name is reckless cruelty.
---
---
...Much of the historical impact of humanitarian law stemmed directly from the ability to gather and apply intelligence to discriminate between combatants and noncombatants.
The devices of open cities, clearly marked ambulances, zones of safe passage, armbands for humanitarian personnel, etc are usages whose practical utility has expired under the deceptions of terrorist warfare, but their intent -- that of marking the limits of licit violence -- is sound.
It is a distinction which can be based only on intellgence.
Without that, humanitarian law is form without function on the modern terrorist battlefield, "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
"
---
The same recklessly cruel "Principled Pacifists" also do everything they can to tie the hands of those gathering intelligence.

6/02/2005 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

___Amnesty leadership aided Kerry___

The top leadership of Amnesty International USA, which unleashed a blistering attack last week on the Bush administration's handling of war detainees, contributed the maximum $2,000 to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign.
Federal Election Commission records show that William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty USA, contributed $2,000 to Mr. Kerry's campaign last year. Mr. Schulz also has contributed $1,000 to the 2006 campaign of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

Amnesty International's Web site states it is "independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. It does not support or oppose any government."

6/02/2005 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pierre, don't forget Soros.
After all, we do have to follow the money.

6/02/2005 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Well, you're on to something, Wretchard with this post and the 4th Conjecture. Who said that the limit of the possible is the actual?

It's not America, the Hypercapitalist Democratic Republic which is threatened in the big wide world with economic bust, it is the quasi-socialist Europa, China, and nascent India, as well as the growing FUBAR that is the Cuba-Venezuela axis. Even should America falter, it is the others who will watch their countries burn. It is not America, STILL separated by oceans, customs, and perennially moderate faith that is most at risk for terrorism, but the Islamic world and its decathalon private massacres of the chosen peoples. It is not so much to our eternal good credit and refined morals, or the primitive morals of our antecedents (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, anyone heard of them?) that slavery is abolished and that we no longer empty the city walls of life when we take them; the shock waves from the industrial revolution eliminated slavery around much of the world, the cotton gin notwithstanding, and smart bombs are pretty damn good substitutes for a gladius or a bomber fleet.

Karma is a b!tch. Every weapon in the hands of Islamicists is pointed first at liberals and then moderates and lastly us. Arabs kill more Muslims than BushChimpyCheneyKKKHitlerBurton could ever hope in a given year and even the worst libel against Israel, the bugaboo of the region, should it be true, would merely make Israel a representative in good standing of its region. Yet the 'other' seems to justify endless intra-ethnic massacres.

But I'm all for Gitmo being abolished. I mean these are unlawful combatants out of uniform caught on the 'battlefields;' this means we can execute them in the field. Careful what you wish for, libs, you just might get it; from 520 prisoners to 0 within thirty minutes.

6/02/2005 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Verc,

That doesn't mean the enemy can't kill us. But it's sometimes useful to recognize they don't just kill us, because if the MSM realized, just for an instant, how many innocent, impoverished and non-Western people died at the hands of their chosen champions, it might mar their self-image. And we don't want to lower people's self-esteem.

6/02/2005 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Friedman is no idiot, but he's no prophet either.

Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, if anything, are just one more set of recruiting tools...

Along with other egregious U.S. monstrosities and cultural violations as religious freedom, pork chops, cold beer and Madonna CDs.

Those who would fight the West don't need prisoner abuse to make their case to new recruits. Nearly everything we do or stand for adds to the mythology of the "Great Satan".

They were hating us long before either detention facility was open under U.S. ownership. What was the excuse then?

Bottom line: Who gives a big rat's ass about international law, Amnesty International, and A-Q recruitment websites? It's not like toeing the line in the eyes of these various outlets will stop Islamists from hating us. So why bother?

6/02/2005 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

Tough Love for Planet Earth: shape up or ship out. Listening, Iran?

6/02/2005 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Condi meeting with the Iranians in Brussels later this month:

"We would like nothing better than for Iran to be devoted to a stable Iraq in which Iran is not trying to interfere in Iraq's internal affairs, but rather trying to support the development of a stable and democratic Iraq. And I'll just make one other point about that, which is that I have never believed that the Iraqi people, having thrown off the yoke of Saddam Hussein, now wish to subject themselves to the rule of the Guardian Council of Iran," she said

Ms. Rice noted that the Guardian Council, a panel of clerics and jurists which has final say over Iranian legislative and electoral affairs, had summarily dismissed hundreds of would-be candidates in upcoming elections there. She said Iranian internal developments are not, as she put it, a very pretty picture.

http://www.allamericanpatriots.com/m-news+article+storyid-11044-PHPSESSID-e0ecb5fbddac4f1ac7c8da4cc7717845.html

6/03/2005 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

I agree certain barristers are playing the US public for a fool. Let's look at the situation. The head of Amnesty International, a Muslim, comes out to condemn the US Military of operating "Gulags" A lot of words from lawyers.

Could Saddam's trail be nearing? We know that most high profile trials are tried the court of public opinion. Every good defense lawyer pleads his case to the press (regardless of legalities). Saddam's cronies must be spending a huge sums on lawyers. One can smell the putrid air of a high profile trial coming to a head.

6/03/2005 01:51:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

As an old 97E, and as the wife of an incredible guy who went to Afghanistan to do this work this year...

Thanks.

6/03/2005 03:02:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

I think Pierre has nailed it.

It might be kinder and gentler to go in hard initially, after all, war is a numbers game.

As for identifying our enemies, the following is a quote from a Samizdata.Net commenter:

The Left's desperate quest to identify with "the oppressed" grows funnier by the day. The sight of Marxist, feminist, pro-gay, materialists playing footsie with the mullahs is one of life's richer pleasures.

Rich pleasure, as long as the left's not suing you.

But one of the unintended consequences of the GWOT is how it is exposing so much of the looney tunes culture that the West was drifting into.

West resurgent, enshalla?

ADE

6/03/2005 03:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/03/2005 04:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Verc,
Could always distribute a close up video of Kevin Sites Face, said Sites being bound to a chair in the observation area.

6/03/2005 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

ADE Said,
"It might be kinder and gentler to go in hard initially, after all, war is a numbers game."
---
Be sure to read ledger's LeMay post on previous thread.
The head spins. T
he loonie's heads would EXPLODE.

6/03/2005 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

The WoT has been interesting to watch - as VDH would put it - the Ripples of Battle have had some unexpected outcomes.

The less-than-trusted MSM, Oil for Food scandal, and the slipping mask of the Left. It is the Left that is now deperately clinging to the past, trying to play by the old rules. But the game has changed.

6/03/2005 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Victor Davis Hanson has a great article which applies to this discussion.

http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200506030807.asp

6/03/2005 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Iraqis are taking control of their Society. The Jihadists are attacking Sunni civilians, indiscriminately. They will not be able to do this for very long before the population turns on the Bombers. If they can't swim with the masses the T's will be isolated and neutralized.
Then what?
Look at the timeline and see the window of opportunity closing on any other major military action in the "War on Terror".
When the MSM declares 'Victory in Iraq', after the elections in December, the "War of Terror" will be over. Unless the T's actually hit a Major US target the mood of our population will be of accomplishment and pride in the Victory. A job well done, they'll be told.
Who will campaign on never ending war against unnamed opponents.
The whole WoT will degenerate into the 'police' chasing individuals across the globe.

6/03/2005 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

US forces attack through terrorist occupied positions killing and capturing as they go. Some would say accepting the surrender of enemy combatants is inefficient and puts soldiers and marines in greater danger than the value of intelligence gleaned from the captives. But in Military Operations in Urban Terrain and in particular battles against an un-uniformed combatant, the lines between civilian and terrorist are blurred.

The first responsibility of US forces is to remove the rabble from the battle field and then to assess their culpability in the matter in the safety of confinement. This can not be done without lengthy interrogations and the interrogations need to be unpleasant at best. I have little doubt that a small town police department in the rural south uses more stringent forms of coercing than is used at Gitmo. Catch a criminal red handed in America and they will profess their innocence with the vigorous support of a court appointed attorney. Affording the same protection for illegal combatants is ineffective and absurd.

Nonetheless, enemy combatants have learned to use the ignorance of the American public and the arrogance of the left to their advantage all they have to do is cry fowl and the legends of leftists who have thought war, the US administration, Republicans, and males in general, to be inherently unjust come pouring out of the wood work. This makes a good case for “rendering”.

The holier than thou arm of the US public is obsessed with tedious rules of engagement for the very reason that it hamstrings the strengths of the US armed forces. If the US is so chaste, why not let the regimes of Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia do the vetting of enemy combatants?

6/03/2005 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

The argument discounts those civilians who are,whilst not actual combatants, are at thr very least activists.Those who form crowds to enable combatants to escape, who provide safe haven,look the other way when ambushes are prepared,carry messages,act as lookouts and even transport arms.
It is not only the form of conflict that has changed it is also now the term civilian has many shades of meaning

6/03/2005 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/03/2005 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Wretchard, isn't the suicide bomber just the perfect metaphor for the Islamicist paradox? Deadly to be sure, but it has not transformed the character of Israeli democracy (or demos for that matter), obliterated her core institutions, will assuredly never empty all of its peoples from the land, or defeat the Israeli military. But to struggle to attain parity with Israel in the bodycount race, the Palistinian terrorists have lost and in losing have bankrupted their nation, sold the soul of their people, devastated a generation (and more) of children with the worst abuse imaginable, virtually extinguished all hope for freedom and self-determination, at the hands of their own, that they claim to fight for.

Thucydides noted the resiliency of a state was tied to its capacity to suffer reversals. Victor Hanson elaborates that even the most apparently mighty civilizations based upon fear collapse from devastating blows; Sparta in direct line to the Soviets.

But I think the observation is absolutely correct. 'A mob of men is not an Army as a pile of building materials is not a house,' Socrates, and for the weight of arms in the middle east and a Friedmanesque "Flat" world, blood flows in sheets in the Middle East not the Midwest. Tons of chemicals wind up in a bomb rolling through to Damascus, and not 81st Street. Long before their most disciplined cadres hit us, and they do, unfortunately, they've sharpened their steel on the bones of their own.

But its always the Leviathin of order that sets law, the actual defines the possible. If Amnesty et al cannot see that, the rot at the heart of their ideology, then again another noxious 'culture' is bent on self-destruction. Like Pierre alluded to, there is a whole world out there that is worthy of being torn down but its right outside the gates during a WTO summit, not inside them, throwing bricks through windows, and its not within the fences at Gitmo, its outside them into the whole mass of Cuba and the infrastructure that keeps the real gulags in place.

6/03/2005 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

peter : "It is not only the form of conflict that has changed it is also now the term civilian has many shades of meaning."
bingo. my thought on reading your post W: how has this change in circumstances also changed the noncombatant's responsibilities? iow, if the combatants are now hiding among the noncoms, is it just the US that must try harder to avoid civilian casualties?

6/03/2005 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Vercin,

"Thucydides noted the resiliency of a state was tied to its capacity to suffer reversals."

That is what worries me about our nation, when you look to the reaction there has been to an extended (extended being a relative term, when compared to what the hopes were after Baghdad fell) struggle in Iraq. And this isn't even a reversal, it has actually been amazingly successful to this point.

6/03/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

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6/03/2005 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/03/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

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6/03/2005 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger texasviolinist said...

husker_met said that Friedman is no idiot. I won't ask you to prove a negative but I submit that Friedman is a total idiot and should be ignored all the time

6/03/2005 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

The West is still largely in denial. So much better to fashion an enemy out of our own shortcomings -- one we can deal with on our own terms, one that will not harm us in response to our reproach.

Only a culture which considers free range chicken a demonstration of higher morality . . . one habitually accustomed to opting out of unpleasantness and sacrifice . . . one routinely spared the consequences of its most irresponsible behavior . . . could make the fantastic demand that the timeless brutality, injustices and moral quandries of war be somehow set aside -- like an entree ordered in a restaurant -- to suit its fussy sensibilities. And even more delusional -- to have these standards apply to only one combatant in a fight to the death.

As with the Cold War (and the forgotten moral trade-offs of the "Good War"), the West is always supposed to observe by Marquis de Queensbury rules, its options easy choices between certain virtue and callous blunder, while its enemies are not expected to observe, or are excused entirely from, any retraint or standards of decency.

Thank God Marines who waded into the barbarism of Tarawa or Iwo Jima -- good men who did what was necessary, made peace with themselves and went home to raise families and build the world we know -- weren't harassed with the hot house morality of liberal arts majors yipping and yapping about 'fairness' or insults to Bushido.

Sorry for all the deletions.

6/03/2005 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

exhelo, I'd counsel some forebearance before I declared the US in terrible straits; we are not, as far as I can tell. I'll skip the long of the argument and say my piece.

"Brave men are a city's strongest tower of defence"
Alcaeus

Cowardice is not a word in new derivation; it wasn't invented yesterday to describe the NYT and western liberals. Its been with us always. Even in the Civil War there were demonstrations and protests, and WWII had its fair share of squabbles, and no doubt its fair share of shirkers. Remember 'sunshine patriots?' Not every man always fought for their nation. Most never do.

So it is not the openness of our cowards that worries me, but their insularity. There are cautious men and we should respect their prudence. But the walls of our cities are not in brick and stone, our turrets and parapets don't rise high above the earth, they are in our blood, our strong men, and everyday common sense.

We are all Spartans now.

And that is why I am unafraid for my country.

6/03/2005 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Texasviolinist:

Friedman's not bad when he sticks to the economic topics that launched him.

When he moves to politics and military matters is when he becomes a dingbat.

Like Dirty Harry says, "A man's got to know his limitations."

6/03/2005 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cosmo said,
"Thank God Marines who waded into the barbarism of Tarawa or Iwo Jima -- good men who did what was necessary, made peace with themselves and went home to raise families and build the world we know -- weren't harassed with the hot house morality of liberal arts majors yipping and yapping about 'fairness' or insults to Bushido."
---
What brave, humble, and honorable men I was surrounded by when I grew up.
Thank God I lived long enough to understand what miserable fools all the "intelligentsia" and "news" people I once believed were, and are.
...and thank God we still have brave Warriors like Major Tammy Duckworth.

6/03/2005 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger noprisoners said...

This is off topic: I apologize for interrupting a very good discussion. I have been coming to this site now for about six months and I still do not know who Wretchard is. Or, at least, his background, area of expertise, etc. I think that this is the best blog on the web. I can't go through a day without it. I would just like to have an idea why Wretchard is so consistently perceptive and insightful. I would appreciate any help I can get on this point.
Thanks.

6/03/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger PatCA said...

The jihadis' exploitation of our desire to return to moral warmaking falls under "fighting the last war" theory. If we avoid civilians, they use them as cover. If we give free passage to ambulances, they will rig them with bombs. If we have a free press, they will dissemble and use them to spread propaganda. This is no accident; it is a strategy.

6/03/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger noprisoners said...

Regarding Tom Friedman:

I am constantly impressed by his keen power of observation and the clarity with which he describes a situation. I am constantly amazed by the conclusions that he draws from his own observations. I don't see how he does it.

6/03/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Ahhh, noprisoners, ever see 'Saving Private Ryan?' Doug and I have got a pot going to guess our noble Captain's peacetime job. Your guess is as good as anyone elses...I'm thinking Chippendale Dancer with International Capitalist Zionist banker day job but I could be wrong.

PatCA, the libs and the terrorists ARE fighting the last war...Vietnam. So long as they keep fighting it, we can keep JDAMing the hell out of them.

6/03/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

noprisoners - You feel better with a label to help you make your decisions because you don't trust your own native intelligence, experience and/or education to decide whether or not Wretchard is accurate and to be believed?

I see no reason why Wretchard nor anyone else on this blog should respond to your question, since the only reasons I can think up for your asking it are nefarious or bad-spirited.

6/03/2005 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

NahnCee
You always think inquiring minds are trolls.

nopris
he's the cat man
read the archives and judge the quality of thought, then tell us what you judge, content or labeling

6/03/2005 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

desert rat - don't you?

Besides, it thinks Friedman is intelligent. Or maybe not. It's difficult to tell because the comment *might* just be being snarky, in which case ... never mind.

6/03/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Verc said,
"...I'm thinking Chippendale Dancer with International Capitalist Zionist banker day job but I could be wrong"
---
I was just searching for that post where the dim red light gets knocked out in the fracas, just to be helpful, but could not find.
...I did forget to search for "fracas," however.

6/03/2005 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Stunned, stunned, I tell you!
---
FWIW, (supposedly they really believe impeachment is an option.)

"Kerry: I'll make an issue of Iraq memoThe now infamous -- at least if you know where to look for it -- Downing Street memo hasn't gotten a lot of play in Washington or in the mainstream media, but that may change next week. Sen. John Kerry says he plans to make it an issue when Congress returns from its long Memorial Day recess on Monday.
"When I go back on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," Kerry said this week in a visit with the editorial board of the Standard-Times of Massachusetts. "I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home. And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."

6/03/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

"noprisoners" said: "I am constantly impressed by his keen power of observation and the clarity with which he describes a situation. I am constantly amazed by the conclusions that he draws from his own observations.

Yes. And that is Mr. Friedman's failure. His conclusions are not logical. They seem emotional. Hence untrustworthy.

In earlier times they may have been much closer to the mark. But since TF became a "big deal" to the MSM, sadly the reliability of his intellectual work output has fallen off target.

On the other hand, Wretchard may have kept himself spot on by carefully choosing how much of his public personna he releases along with his intellectual endeavors.

I have learned to rely on W, and not on TF (well, maybe to go against his memes).
¡Viva W!

6/03/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Folks, a key question - and a key flaw in Keegan's discussion of Just War laws - is whether such restraint should be employed when your adversary refuses to recognize the same laws of war that you do. Rather than the mere existance of bomber fleets and armored, the strictures against harming civillians broke down during WWII because the Axis refused to follow the rules from the very outset. The Nazi Condor Legain bombed Guerinca during the Spanish Civil War and followed that atrocity with attacks on a variety of cities, culminating in the raids on Coventry. The Japanese bombed Chinese cities and even strafed civillians. Admittedly the RAF's Bomber Command early in the war was incapable of doing more than spreading bombs across whole cities, but the precedent had been set - by the other side.
There is simply no evidence that the thugs we are fighting now would ever honor "our" laws of war, and they seem to have none that apply to themselves. The claim that mistreatment of prisoners by us will lead to mistreatment of captured Americans is simply absurd. They are going to torture our people that fall into their hands in any case. And that kind of torture won't involve putting underwear on people's heads. Suicide bombers flying Zeros in WWII did not engender concern on our part for their people - they reaped what they sowed. I really don't know what the answer is to the Just War question when your adversary refuses to recognize the concept, but one thing is certain:
They Started It.

6/03/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"But since TF became a "big deal" to the MSM, sadly the reliability of his intellectual work output has fallen off target.
"
---
Our French friend considers him THE go to read guy.
...the ultimate source for insight.
I do appreciate his efforts to help out young Thai whores & etc.

6/03/2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Rather than the mere existance of bomber fleets and armored, the strictures against harming civillians broke down during WWII because the Axis refused to follow the rules from the very outset."
---
rwe brings us back on track.
...so perhaps Nahncee WAS right, 'Rat.

6/03/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Suicide bombers flying Zeros in WWII did not engender concern on our part for their people - they reaped what they sowed."
---
"The last mission sent 828 B-29s and 186 fighters over Japan without a single loss. On Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, the A-Bombs were dropped, and Japan surrendered unconditionally."
(from ledger's post in last thread. This on top of a long series of escalating firebombings of Japanese cities.)

6/03/2005 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger husker_met said...

"When I go back on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," Kerry said this week in a visit with the editorial board of the Standard-Times of Massachusetts.

Of course you are John. Because you are a sore loser (not to mention a pampered gigolo).

It's not enough that we continue to fight the last war, no the Left would have us refight the current war before we're even finished.

WRT Friedman, I was previously referring to his pre-9/11 views on the utility and effects of globalization, not his current leftist natterings.

6/03/2005 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Romans salted the earth so that no descendent of Hannibal could ever threaten Rome again. The Mongols killed everything in their path as they moved across the Steppes and Deserts to the Gates of Vienna.
Civilian deaths have long been part of War. Entire Peoples have perished. Genocide is nothing new.

What is new to warfare is the US great aversion to killing noncombatents, during the broad sweep of our actions since WWII. Rather then beating the Insurgents out of the Iraqi Population we are trying to take a scalpel to the cancer and remove it selectively.
For this we are chastized as being the Masters of Gulag.
I am still in favor of sending the Gitmo detainees to Uzbekistan for safe keeping. Let Kirimov earn his fee.

6/03/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Husker_met has it right about Friedman. As long as he sticks to economics he is a good read. I quoted “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” sometime back because of it’s brilliant insight into the global economy and was subsequently savaged by some Belmont posters. Jeesh. But on the other hand, Friedman is a kiss *ss to the Palestinians, because he knows if he gets out of hand he’ll be whacked. Objectivity is a hell of a price to play for a scoop.

6/03/2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

A war policy that incorporated W.'s insights into intelligence-gathering as a weapon in a post-Geneva war presupposes some serious rethinking of past military history in the west (Napoleon to the present). I say this because the Geneva treaties (aka "conventions") necessarily established policies for fighting "the last wars."

We all know by now--and no thanks to the MSM--that terrorist warfighting doesn't conform to the categories and classification of wartime maneuvers, where masssed uniformed armies moved in discretely "offensive" or "defensive" patterns in behalf of the political ends of hegemonic nation states.

These categories were particularly concerned with the distinction between "combatant" and "noncombatant," a distinction that took the "normal" case to be one wherein "noncombant" was definitionally co-extensive with "civilian."

But "civilian" never historically excluded "noncombatant"--not even in the Napoleonic wars, given the example of Spain. Guerilla warfare systematically crossed the boundary between "civilian" and "combantant," while exploiting the unwillingness to wage war on civilians for its own purposes.

As Sherman said to the guerillas operating around Memphis of which he was military governor in 1862 (in paraphrase): "You cannot operate as civilians between 6AM and 6PM, and then as a combatants between 6PM and 6AM." And by that he meant that he would not give them the benefit of playing both sides of this contradiction against each other. They fired on Union boats on the Mississippi, then they were combatants, and would have their houses burned to the ground. Such firing as the result of this proclamation was considerably reduced.

My point is that the attempt to treat the prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Gitmo (the cases tend for liberal orgs to fuse with each other) is the same as the attempt to hold the position that there is no war on because it's not being fought like a 19th-century war. And someone can hold this position only as long as they refuse to acknowledge what military history has taught us up to the present point: that war evolves, and therefore the laws governing either evolve along with it, or become obsolete and useless.

Of course, the liberal orgs and press are acting at the height of liberal irresponsibility, since refusing to acknowledge the realities of the terrorist wars is their way of refusing to acknowledge the victory of Bush in being re-elected. For these people, knowledge of military history is not only repugnant, it is a waste of time.

6/03/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

By the by. Got the same troll-dar alert as nahncee with the W inquiry. May have been perfectly innocent... but sounded like a fishing expedition for carp.

6/03/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What is new to warfare is the US great aversion to killing noncombatants, during the broad sweep of our actions since WWII."
---
I was thinking of that WRT Vietnam while reading ledger's post last night.
What if virtually all our air power had be focused on No. Vietnamese cities from the outset?
But then, what if LBJ had been W, and McNamera had a lick of sense.

6/03/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

We've perhaps established that law must reflect capability, that old interplay of the actual and the possible again (I like that wording, dammnit ;).

There was great utility in destroying cities in the ancient world...sorry, but there was, otherwise the Captains that we read about so happily, Caesar, Alexandros Megas, Scipio Africanus, and more, wouldn't have been writ so large in history. Today there would be none. Our society doesn't derive its power from the backs of chattel, and it would suffer if we revived the tradition. Destroying a city...we've done it before, Dresden, Tokyo, Nagasaki, more, but if there was some utility to mass murder, we'd certainly explore it.

The US isn't full of lily-white girly-men, but pros that want to get the job done. Discipline, ever and always, but now we also have idealism to contend...ideals not based in the real world but on flawed emotional writers two centuries ago and counting. There is nothing wrong with Laws of War; they have the same utility as the Laws of Peace even if they are equally devoid of 'justice.' What is wrong with the Laws of War AND Peace is the muddle-headed insistence on relativism in their application.

6/03/2005 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Michael said,
"For these people, knowledge of military history is not only repugnant, it is a waste of time"
---
...and they would deny that if the penalty for jaywalking were death.
...jaywalking violations would
TEND
to go down.

6/03/2005 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Wonderfully said! I have struggled long and spent many words to say exactly what you did in so few words. Thank you.

Pierre
Only a culture which considers free range chicken a demonstration of higher morality . . . one habitually accustomed to opting out of unpleasantness and sacrifice . . . one routinely spared the consequences of its most irresponsible behavior . . . could make the fantastic demand that the timeless brutality, injustices and moral quandries of war be somehow set aside -- like an entree ordered in a restaurant -- to suit its fussy sensibilities. And even more delusional -- to have these standards apply to only one combatant in a fight to the death.

6/03/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Torture, abuse, civilian targeting, destroying cities, when we are in a war we should never announce what our rules are. There should be no rules only tactics to achieve a goal.

The US aversion to wholesale slaughter of civilians in WW2 probably was the result of it not being our "village" that was being attacked. Our children and parents were not directly to the backs of our soldiers with the enemy mere minutes away from rapeing and pillaging all that we loved. In those conditions we might believe that we could make rules.

Much the same way that we have all these absurd rules these days. You can be sure though that if the enemy were in your front yard the only "RULE" would be win. Only a truly arrogant people make rules of war, arrogant because they believe that no matter which rules they dream up victory will follow.

Though it never hurts to remember that many who make rules for us in this country have absolutely no desire to see us prosper as a country. They have resented this country for years and have wished for its failure for longer.

Pierre

6/03/2005 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Old Dad said...

Islamofascists cannot be reformed. Therefore, they must be eliminated. Reasonable steps that mitigate the development of Islamofascists might be a good thing so long as they do not distract from efforts to eliminate them. Rules of war that do not impede their elimination and enhance the safety of civilians and the reputation of legitimate combatants are a good thing. I'll leave that to experts.

Americans are practical people. Most are not persuaded by the hysterical. One does not need to endorse torture to understand that war invites the unthinkable. When the unthinkable occurs, we remedy what can be remedied, but we do not forget our mission. Thomas Friedman's opinion is irrelevant.

Most Americans understand in their guts that psychotic mad men would like to slaughter as many of us as possible. We support elimination of this threat. If there are abuses at Gitmo, let's fix what can be fixed, but better Gitmo than another 9/11. It's an alley fight. Fight fair if you can, but win.

6/03/2005 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Not that it's important, but Friedman isn't the one with the fascination with Thai hookers. That's one of the other Lib Pontificators that the NY Times likes to pretend has an insight into world affairs (I get them all confused, but I *know* that Friedman's downfall is the Plighted Palestinians, and not Indonesian Sex Slaves.)

6/03/2005 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger iotm said...

First of all, humanitarian war, when launching a war in the first place was completely unnecessary is a contradiction.

This kind of logic is equivelent to saying that if I'm to beat you half to death, and concentrate on your body and leave your head be, I'm some kind of humanitarian. Obviously this is bogus logic.

Second of all what's happening in Iraq isn't a war. It's an occupation which utilizes terrorism to maintain power. Killing and torturing civilians is not a regretful occurance of people not obeying the rules, it's standard policy, if not the only way to fight against a public that is nearly uniform in opposing the occupation.

6/03/2005 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I think someone is confused.

6/03/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Talk about nailing it (as they frequently do in their posts):

Old Dad wrote: "Fight fair if you can, but win."

Pierre wrote: "Only a truly arrogant people make rules of war, arrogant because they believe that no matter which rules they dream up victory will follow."

Amen.

I wonder how much of the chatter since 9/11 about 'root causes' or alleged mis-steps by the U.S. in prosecuting this war (despite the earnest intellectual window dressing) -- is nothing more than deliberate societal cowardice -- like school children who'll do ANYTHING to avoid confrontation with the class bully, or worse, accomodate him or make excuses for him in an effort to mollify him. The children can be excused for responding this way to fear. The adults cannot be excused for failing to recongnize their fear in the first place.

6/03/2005 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

iotm - so the US is using Terrorism?

documented examples?

6/03/2005 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

So, iotm, just whom do you think 'launched' this war?

This ought to be good.

Helpful hint: Don't be an 'arrogant' American -- some wars actually start before a U.S. soldier steps onto the battlefield.

6/03/2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Third of All: Just because iotm says it, doesn't mean that it's so.

6/03/2005 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

A bad peace is even worse than war

Tacticus

Someone needs to read more...

6/03/2005 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I caint reed.

6/03/2005 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I agree with RWE: "the strictures against harming civilians broke down during WWII because the Axis refused to follow the rules from the very outset. The Nazi Condor Legain bombed Guerinca during the Spanish Civil War and followed that atrocity with attacks on a variety of cities, culminating in the raids on Coventry. The Japanese bombed Chinese cities and even strafed civillians... the precedent had been set - by the other side... There is simply no evidence that the thugs we are fighting now would ever honor "our" laws of war, and they seem to have none that apply to themselves... Suicide bombers flying Zeros in WWII did not engender concern on our part for their people - they reaped what they sowed."

I would have to agree with the theory that "the precedent had been set by the other side." Which ties loosely with Wretchard's theme that terrorism could be used against the terrorists. Going back to WW2 for reference, the Japanese did far worse with their "Rape of Nanking" and bombing of Chinese cities. Hitler's gassing of the Jews burning of cities such as London scored a 10.5 on the breaking of "rules of war" meter (on a scale of 1 to 10). Once that type of precedent is set - it's set. The RAF and the Allies had every right to retaliate.

As desert rat points out that genocide is nothing new in warfare. He also points out that "Rather then beating the Insurgents out of the Iraqi Population we are trying to take a scalpel to the cancer and remove it selectively. For this we are chastised as being the Masters of Gulag." I agree with his sentiments.

We are in a war and there is bound to be propaganda. Now, the "Gulag" label could just be another propaganda ruse on the part of an unfriendly entity (remember the women who said that is Islamic). Not that it makes the statement by AI any less irresponsible.

As for American civilian lawyers rushing to GITMO to help the "poor" detainees via the American civil legal is system - it's inappropriate. How many of those lawyers have rushed to Iran to help those detainees jailed for speaking out against barbarism there. Certainly, there must be more than 500 of oppressed detainees in Iran's "Gulags." How many of those lawyers have gone to Syria, North Korea, or Saudi Arabia to help the oppressed? It would seem logical that they would find many clients in said countries. Is it a double standard? Or, is it just a matter of billable hours?

6/03/2005 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Reread Keegan...
Legalism in the military is fine, but only for military law and even then prudently.

Application of civil law is asinine. [Immoral too, but asinine most of all.] You couldn't even apply the tenets of civil law to sports, such as boxing or football, without sending your athletes to jail after every period or round and that's ENTERTAINMENT.

Again, civil law in military affairs is asinine.

6/03/2005 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Doug,
Well start on IOTM he can't write.I am intrigued by the regretful occasion,what has this occasion to be regretful about?

6/03/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee,
You leave us all puzzled about the name, but not the vain.
I can picture him, all caring, in those moving multimedia pieces funded by papa pinch.
---
Tom no doubt considers himself a handsome sort also.
...not that it matters when you are highly respected by the Eastern Establishment.

6/03/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Peter,
Good idea.
Even though I'll never know for sure, it feels like I can read better than it can write.
Now THAT's regretfull.

6/03/2005 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"You couldn't even apply the tenets of civil law to sports, such as boxing or football, without sending your athletes to jail after every period or round and that's ENTERTAINMENT.
"
---
Cable, I'd guess.
What Channel?

6/03/2005 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Non Equivalence:
Liberalism>Asinine>Immoral

6/03/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Going back to WW2 for reference, the Japanese did far worse with their "Rape of Nanking" and bombing of Chinese cities."
---
But Japanese civilians had less to fear of their own than do present day "moderate muslims."

6/03/2005 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Application of civil law is asinine."
---
I thought that was one of the central lessons of 911.
How did we end up back here again?
(Don't bother answering

6/03/2005 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"And it's amazing to me the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."
"
---
Good to know Hanoi John is up to speed on the internets, and is keeping watch for us.

6/03/2005 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

What other nation would send -- or permit -- its own lawyers, or allow its legal system to be used to defend the 'battlefield detainees' of an enemy during wartime?

An act demonstrating the underlying strength of our civilization or a reckless gesture of astonishing naivete? History will tell.

6/03/2005 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Speaking of "occupation":

"The multinational forces are not occupying forces, they are friendly forces, and they are helping us to establish security, carrying out missions in their interests of the Iraqi people, and under the authority of the government," Jaafari said. "The government will request an extension of their mandate until we have defeated terrorism and restored security across the country."

The request for a renewed mandate for American forces later was approved by the Security Council."
NYT News Service, June 1, 2005

So much for the "illegal war" trope.

6/03/2005 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Wretchard wrote: During the First World War, there was very little harm done to civilians and the killing of prisoners, though not unknown, was regarded as beyond the bounds of civilised warfare.

There was a subsequent decline. The Second World War...


... and the subsequent decline began with the British continuing the blockade of Germany after the armistice, starving the german population. That was a war crime in everyone's book except the British and French books.

6/03/2005 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Fernand,
Actually, I think that the decline started with the killing of innocent passengers on ocean liners by German submarines. Of course, the British violated the protocol by shipping war materiel on those liners, thus making it a valid target, so they are primarily to blame, but the Germans would have benefitted from a little more cost analysis.

6/03/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Enigma said...

It is kind of amusing, in a macabre sort of way, at how the anit-American Left, both here and abroad, is always looking to blame America's actions for provoking terrorism. Oh sure, Al Qaeda's recruitment offices are overflowing with volunteers outraged over Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. So what was the source of the outrage that provoked 9/11?

Of course, the Left has an answer, and that's America's "occupation" of Islamic holy lands (Saudi Arabia). So what was the reason before GW1? Oh, that's because of America's support for Israel and ME tyrants like the Shah. Then please explain the Barbary pirates in the 18th and early 19th centuries. I'm sure that HAD to be America's fault as well.

Could it be, maybe, just maybe, that we're at war with a brutal enemy filled with evil desires and intentions? Could it be that this really is a war that pits good against evil?

Nah...

6/03/2005 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

To a modern liberal, there is no good or evil.

Except maybe for G.W. Bush.

6/03/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

He causes them to go Nukular.

6/03/2005 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

I guess a question we must ask is if the adherence to the Western Laws of War we have developed actually serves to incite and embolden our enemies. Compared to previous wars, in Desert storm we used a carefully weilded tack hammer. In Yugoslaiva we used an ice pick and a tack hammer. In the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq we used a tack hammer and ice pick aimed with a magnifying glass. And at that, we had the MSM in near hysterics over the fact that the B-52's actually dropped strings of bombs! In their ignorance they called it carpet bombing, which it resembles about as much as a garden hose output does Niagra Falls.
But despite all our care, our mailed fist with the sledge hammer - a very big and heavy sledge hammer - is still there, and ready. Do they not realize that fact? Or do they in fact know that and thus hold us in contempt? Maybe a few Real Atrocities would get their attention. Maybe we are being too nice for their own good.

6/03/2005 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

That you are right exhelodrvr.

...and maybe even earlier there were some excesses that the Redcoats committed in the Boar War against the Dutch population of the area.

6/03/2005 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

Somewhat OFF TOPIC. But urgent breaking news from the AP via FoxNews

" — The Pentagon on Friday confirmed for the first time that a U.S. soldier deliberately kicked a Guantanamo Bay (search) prisoner's Muslim holy book in violation of the military's rules for handling the Koran.

In other confirmed incidents, prison guards threw water balloons in a cell block, causing an unspecified number of Korans to get wet; a guard's urine splashed on a detainee and his Koran (search); an interrogator stepped on a Koran during an interrogation."

Amnesty International will jumping all over this, although it may require modifying the Geneva Conventions to include books before they will be able to take effective action.

I as so thankful that I live in a country where the media can protect me those who would commit book abuse. I just hope they can trace this all the way up the chain of command. It would serve the Chimp-in-Chief right if they took away his library card. Here's a :^) to let you know I'm kidding.

Seriously, how did the MSM come to this sorry state? You couldn't make up this sh!t.

6/03/2005 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

The following is from a TIME Magazine article posted on May 29, 2005. It deals with the people held at Guantanamo:

>What is their status? The U.S. considers none of the detainees prisoners of war, which means they do not enjoy rights under the Geneva Convention, which protects pows from indefinite imprisonment and aggressive interrogation. Because the detainees allegedly targeted civilians and did not belong to a conventional army—or, in the case of the Taliban, did not serve under a legitimate government, in the U.S.'s view—Washington classifies them as unlawful or enemy combatants, a decision that numerous critics vehemently disagree with.<
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1066878,00.html

Several things are noteworthy in the above statement:

(1) The reason why the "detainees" are not treated as "prisoners of war" is because the U. S. wills not classify them as such. That is, they will not grant them that status under the Geneva Convention.

(2) This situation is treated in the article as a result of the U. S. military's own decision. Ignored of course is the fact that the Geneva Convention, which is apparently denied applicability by the U. S. military, is in fact explicitly followed by the U. S. in their decisions

IOW, the writers are claiming that the U. S. is ignoring the Geneva Conventions on POWs, when it is in fact TIME (and the "vehemently" disagreeing "numerous critics") who are themselves ignoring the limits of theses treaties.

(3) Thus TIME manages to have it both ways: the U. S. is deliberately flouting the Geneva Conventions, because they are not giving these treaties explict due observance, which puts the critics--and TIME--righteously on the side of obeying international treaties. On the other hand, the implied criticism of the U. S. is based itself on a deliberate ignoring of the treaties' range of application.

Thus, the U. S. has no treaties with terrorist organizations; and the "detainees" themselves do not belong to any nation state, which is also a requirement of the treaties themselves.


Is this simply bad journalism, since it evinces dismal ignorance of the very legal documents the writers are citing? Or is it MSM up to its standard trickiness? The point of these two questions is that either option decisively cripples the credibility of the article itself.

6/03/2005 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

michael,
Is this simply bad journalism, .. Or is it MSM up to its standard trickiness?

Yes to both. It provides an excuse, no matter how flimsy, to publish the idea "abuse at Guantanamo" again. A pure propaganda piece for their liberal constituency with whom they have instant credibility - regardless of what is written as long as it expresses their political point of view. And as Wretchard once observed it keeps the (alleged) Guantanamo abuse story alive forever, while there is never any mention of Beslan again more a day or two after it happened.

It seems to me the MSM is working hard toward a coup ala Watergate. They're giddy from Deep Throat, Kerry's talking about 'the memo' etc. and all this is part of a kind of magic incantation to bring it about. IMHO.

6/03/2005 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Re: the attorney's flocking to Guantanamo, I'll betcha if you looked at the signature on the bottom of their paychecks, it would read "George Soros".

I really don't understand why anyone is surprised at this since (1) the U.S. has *the* highest per capita of attorneys in the entire world, (2) attorneys work for money nearly always -- you just *know* if these guys say they are doing it "pro bono" someone back home is slipping them the funds (see G. Soros), and (3) the attorneys I know all have a distinctly liberal mind-set that comes from that higher education book-learning you can get in liberal colleges.

What I *am* surprised about is the government letting them in. Unless it's a counter-spin sort of "embedding" where once the shylocks get there and interact with the Bad Guys, they'll come screaming back to civilization willing to sell their stories to CBS, and muttering, "Oh, the horror!" And Karl Rove will smile quietly.

6/03/2005 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger jakita said...

rwe . . .

You said: "I guess a question we must ask is if the adherence to the Western Laws of War we have developed actually serves to incite and embolden our enemies. . . . ! In their ignorance they called it carpet bombing, which it resembles about as much as a garden hose output does Niagra Falls.
But despite all our care, our mailed fist with the sledge hammer - a very big and heavy sledge hammer - is still there, and ready. Do they not realize that fact? Or do they in fact know that and thus hold us in contempt? Maybe a few Real Atrocities would get their attention. Maybe we are being too nice for their own good."

The childish writers for the MSM clearly know very little about military affairs and U.S. weapons. Ditto for the Islamofascists. Although I'm proud that the U.S. military has been very restrained, I often wonder if a bit more visible brutality wouldn't help matters. Sometimes, just like in child-rearing, you have to be cruel in order to be kind.

Too many MSM-types and Islamofascists don't really understand modern warfare and what they could be up against.

On the other hand, this is still the early stages of a long-term war. I suppose it's better to be kind now and see what happens before we take off the velvet gloves. Maybe the Democracy in Iraq project will be successful. That would be good.

6/03/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Ya'll hang in there, Fox News is reporting the Grey lady is losing subscribers in the hundreds of thousands and cutting 200 jobs.

rwe, an observation, the kamikazi were legitimate military weapons hitting legitimate military targets. Perhaps the march at Bataan would suit your argument better.

6/03/2005 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

From:
. ____THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS____ .
Hawk said,
I’d like to spend my days at peace with myself too. But I have an uncle who machine gunned a lot of young Germans sixty years ago. And my dad trained to do the same thing to a lot of Japanese, except someone else’s dad incinerated enough of them first that he didn’t have to. Neither was psychologically damaged afterwards.. And the massive destruction America unleashed on Germany and Japan hasn’t damaged our soul. Just as Sherman’s March to the Sea didn’t derange the North. We can survive visiting an apocalypse upon a fanatical and dangerous society. If my choice is to incinerate millions of deadly enemies or leave that same choice to my son, I’ll take the responsibility and let him pass what judgement he may when he’s older. He’s sitting on the floor in the library right now, practicing counting to three. I look at him, think of Beslan, and wish the launch button was in my reach.

I share your wish that we can avoid that, but that choice isn’t really ours. No matter how hard we try, the ultimate choice is with the vast majority of Muslims who currently sit on the fence, taking no side in the war, and by so doing take the side of the terrorists. If they turn on the thugs and fanatics, the war can be short and clean. If they continue as they have, giving them cover, it will last until we’ve had enough, and then Dar al Islam will have the peace of the grave, and we will face - and tame - the same demons as the boys of Patton’s Third Army and the crew of the Enola Gay.

4:30 AM

6/03/2005 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Regardless of it's applicability to "Our Modern Times"tm, I like Hawk's post for it's reminder that millions of men came home outwardly undamaged, and more ready than most to assume their roles in civilian society.

6/03/2005 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Two men I remember well, a father and son, worked together as carpenters.
Recalling them reminds me of their boisterous good humor.

6/03/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Searching for a post about newspapers, I came across a Ward Churchill thread.
I recall the high minded argument there, but it still strikes me as absurd in the extreme that his ilk remain employed.
Like some ham handed drunk that lied about his MD degree and specialization in Neurosurgery:
The hospital retained him, because he took high def videos of the mess each time, w/his running commentary, which he maintains is protected speech, and part of his art.
Seems totally analogous to me in that whether the patients/students are irredeemably harmed or killed is apparently of no consequence.
---
Such is the state of what once was common sense.

6/03/2005 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think that was sparked by Nahncee's lawyer post above.
Are terrorists really more of a threat to this country in the long run than the ACLU, AmNasty, etc?
Commies all, (IMHO - my definition, protected speech and all that.) doing what commies have always done to try to destroy this country brick by brick, from the inside out.

6/03/2005 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Peter said,
____We have allowed journalists to become a privileged class similar to the medaeival church____ .
Likewise for Judges and "public interest group" outlawyers and the like.

6/03/2005 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Well, maybe we won't have to commit atrocities anymore...maybe all we have to do is let them murder each other in the streets until it is all over. Multicultural cities aren't NYC and LA...they're Dili and Mogadishu; there are lots of places around the world which will burn in the next few decades (and probably centuries) ahead. So we employ the Fourth Conjecture to our advantage; some weapons threaten the warrior as much as and often more than the target and if so we let them enjoy those weapons in their own private slaughters. Sudan (check), the Balkans (hmmm, check), Palestine (in progress), so on and so forth.

Sometimes the greatest cruelty is not extending the helping hand, and I think we are quite capable of ignoring the ungrateful, the unlucky, and the intractable until it suits our needs. The Massacre is quite alive and well, my friends. Just wait a while.

6/03/2005 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mika said,
____The Left Is Worth Nothing____.

"Since I was an adolescent, I have been preoccupied with evil: specifically, why people engage in it and why other people refuse to acknowledge its existence. As I have gotten older, I often find the latter group more infuriating. Somehow, as much as I don't want to, I can understand why a Muslim raised in a world permeated with hate-filled lies about America and Israel, and taught from childhood that God loves death, will blow himself up and joyfully maim and murder children. As evil as the Muslim terrorist is, given the Islamic world in which he was raised, he has some excuse.

But the non-Muslims who fail to acknowledge and confront the evil of Muslim terror and the evil of those monsters who cut innocent people's throats and murder those trying to make a democracy -- these people are truly worth nothing. Unlike the Muslims raised in a religious totalitarian society, they have no excuse. And in my lifetime, these people have overwhelmingly congregated on the political Left.

Since the 1960s, with few exceptions, on the greatest questions of good and evil, the Left has either been neutral toward or actively supported evil. The Left could not identify communism as evil; has been neutral toward or actually supported the..."
Dennis Prager

6/03/2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Sometimes the greatest cruelty is not extending the helping hand, and I think we are quite capable of ignoring the ungrateful, the unlucky, and the intractable until it suits our needs. The Massacre is quite alive and well, my friends. Just wait a while.

Ummmmm, yeah. And let's not forget the impact on those who hate us of AIDS and lung cancer from smoking. And even a little unhelped starvation might be salutary in the case of North Korea, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

6/03/2005 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Verc said,
"Multicultural cities aren't NYC and LA...they're Dili and Mogadishu; there are lots of places around the world which will burn in the next few decades (and probably centuries) ahead"
---
Of course it is the case that the above don't have to be mutually exclusive, just as it is possible you know more about Macedonia than LA ;-)
...where the difference between public schools and Saudi funded Madrassas becomes smaller each year.
---
April 9, 2004 By MARC LACEY The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/09/international/africa/09RWAN.html?hp=&pagewanted=all&position=

KIGALI, Rwanda, April 8 - Although he is not a government spokesman, Ernest Twahrwa can recite Rwanda's official view toward ethnicity with great precision:
"There is no ethnicity here. We are all Rwandan."
Mr. Twahrwa, a Hutu, is halfway through a six-week government re-education camp set up to purge him and other former fighters of any ethnic ideologies that they may still harbor from 1994, when extremist Hutu massacred 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu.

"They're trying to change what we think," Mr. Twahrwa said. "There have been many changes in this country. I need to change too. I need to be a new person."

That new thinking has its critics - those who say that denying that ethnicity exists merely suppresses the painful ethnic dialogue that Rwanda requires.

To hear Mr. Twahrwa put it:
"Ethnicity is bad. I want it to go away."

Ethnicity has already been ripped out of schoolbooks and rubbed off government identity cards.
"We don't like to use the terms at all in class," said Bosco Manishaka, the assistant director of a Kigali primary school. "The children do learn about the history of the country and how we were divided. We advise them to learn from the past."

It is not just considered bad form to discuss ethnicity in the new Rwanda. It can land one in jail. Added to the penal code is the crime of "divisionism," a nebulous offense that includes speaking too provocatively about ethnicity.

6/03/2005 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

____Elementary Schools Post Lower Scores____ .

For example, just 30% of third-graders were proficient in English, down three points from last year.
And only 35% of sixth-graders were proficient in math, up one point from last year.
Educators cited several factors to explain the lackluster performance, including budget cuts that have eroded teacher training programs and increases in the numbers of students who are still learning English.

6/04/2005 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Hmmm, nahncee, but don't fall victim to the old saw that hate is a thing earned; it is often just a thing coveted and sought after.

The fact is that places in Africa or the Balkans, maybe the still Middle East, will have to bleed before they find peace. In other words, sometimes tolerance is only gained when the 'other' is no longer there, however that may be.

Its worth exploring the idea that pain can be passively invoked; sanctions may be the heirs to sieges, but maybe more besides.

I wonder what Africa will contribute to the unique governing philosophies of the 21st century, Doug, i really do sometimes. Rwanda might be home to a special breed I fear.

6/04/2005 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

At least the Quran is not Pissed Off:

. Pentagon Confirms Quran Pissed On .
OfficialWire - 42 minutes ago by Brian Richards.
WASHINGTON, DC -- (OfficialWire) -- 06/04/05 -- The US Pentagon has provided the latest version in what is expected to be an instalment process of news delivery, late Friday evening...

6/04/2005 02:23:00 AM  
Blogger yahoo said...

doug,

u bash newsweek when they make their claim.

then u laugh it off when something similar turns out to be true.

and THEN u talk abt spreading American values in the ME.

how do the three work together?

6/04/2005 03:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

whatever:
Whre did u evr se me bash Nwswk?

Whn did u evr her me lgh off smthin simlar?

Whre did u evr se me tlk abt sprding Amer Vlues in th me?

Im jst thnkful Kran not pssd off.

6/04/2005 04:51:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

But I see your point:
Even though Newsweek/Isikoff printed another falsehood in order to bash USA/Bush/US Military, similar things could have been true, and if true, are much worse than what was done to Dan Pearl or the ~3,000 innocents in NY and DC.
---
As Dan Rather would say,
"It didn't fit the Toilet, but it fit our desires."
or, as he just said about Deep Throat:
"You do WHATEVER IT TAKES."

...whatever.

6/04/2005 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's obvious that Friedman instinctively believes the terrorists over the military that we are indeed systematically torturing prisoners.

...But the thrust of Friedman's argument is not the veracity of the reports of torture, but their "toxic effect on us -- inflaming sentiments against the U.S. all over the world and providing recruitment energy on the Internet for those who would do us ill."

Friedman says we should put on trial the prisoners we have evidence against and "then simply let the rest go home or to a third country." Some may come back to "haunt us" he admits, but "I would rather have a few more bad guys roaming the world than a whole new generation."

But, Tom, the terrorists don't need more fodder for recruitment purposes. They have plenty of ammo to generate hatred apart from spreading false stories about us. But assuming your analysis is correct, wouldn't your energy be better spent in turning it back on your comrades in the media?

.If anti-American stories -- whether true or not -- are what stir up Arab sentiment against us, then why no outrage at Newsweek for stoking the flames of hatred among Muslims against us? Why no horror at the Left's constant depiction of President Bush as deliberately fabricating our reasons for attacking Iraq?

Friedman, like many of his colleagues on the Left, simply believe that we can talk and behave ourselves out of this war, if we can just prove to terrorists and the rest of the world that we are nice and peaceful people.

Thank God these appeasers aren't running the War on Terror. And God help us if they ever do.
. ___DAVID LIMBAUGH_____

6/04/2005 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Mike h: The point I was making was not that the Kamikazes were not legitimate weapons used against legitimate targets, the point is that by the use of Kamikazes, Banzi charges, mass killing of civilians, suicide in lieu of surrender, and so forth, the WWII Japanese taught us to believe that they did not value life. So, given that lesson, why should we be the least bit hesitant to burn Japanese cities to the ground? The idea that we should have taken thousands of casualies invading their country instead of fire and nuclear air raids in order to save Japanese lives would have never occurred to us then. It is a popular attitude on the Left today.
In contrast, in 1943 the USAAF and USN consulted their JAGs in order to make sure that the killing of Adm Yammamoto was a legitimate act of war. I have not heard anyone say that the lawyers were consulted before we decided to turn entire cities and their populace to ash in 1945. In those two years we had learnedd the lesson the Japanese taught us.
The Islamic Facsists of today are working very hard to teach us the same lesson, - and unlike the Japanese they started on Day One - but we don't seem to be capable of learning it.
I think is essence of Wretchard's essay is what might happen when someone in the West does learn that lesson.

6/04/2005 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

One of the attitudes that constantly puzzles me are conservatives who continue to assume that the left wants us to win. Why do y'all do that? Exactly what sort of indication have y'all gotten that I missed that allows you to believe that if only you frame the argument correctly all of a sudden MSM will start reporting the war as if they want us to win? What sort of signs have y'all seen in the sand that shows how most college professors are merely misguided and not malicious?

Pierre Legrand

6/04/2005 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

doug

OfficialWire - 42 minutes ago by Brian Richards.
WASHINGTON, DC -- (OfficialWire)


The new Newsource that you've found has a very ritzy address:

Domain name: BAOU.COM

Administrative Contact:
Baou, Inc., . *****@baou.com
244 Fifth Avenue
2nd Floor, Suite 2003
New York, NY 10001-7604
US
+1.2126133156 Fax: +1.2123308179

I wonder if it says Ministry of Truth above the entrance to their offices. One thing is for sure. They're not too sensitive to the second amendment to the US Constitution.



The Right to What?

6/04/2005 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

StoutFellow:
Good old unbiased GOOGLE.
It's done by computer, how could it be biased?

6/04/2005 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Pierre
After the December elections in Iraq the MSM and the "Left" will declare victory.
The Iraqi Security Force will number around 200,000 members and will handle most of the Police and Checkpoint duties.
There will be calls for a quick draw down of our Combat Power.
The MSM will give a small amount of credit to Bush and then begin to either discredit the peace or drop the subjext entirely.

But in the short term they will want the WoT issue off the table prior to the mid terrm elections.
When the Battle of Iraq is won the MSM & Left will try to end War on Terror with claims of Victory

6/04/2005 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Stoutfellow:
A Different Kind of Frontpage News
U.S. Points Finger At Arab Allies [06/04/2005]Forgets there are three more fingers pointing back at it
Pentagon Confirms Quran Pissed On [06/04/2005]Army commander's report details five instances of Quran desecrated by U.S. jailers
GITM0 Jailer Splashed Urine On Quran [06/04/2005]CAIR says president must address 'climate of abuse'
French Fried Friedman [06/04/2005]The Nouvelle Globalizer
Editorial: George Bush Is An Idiot [06/03/2005]Amnesty International Report Upsetting Only Because It’s True
Thousands Of Americans Request Free Qurans [06/03/2005]CAIR overwhelmed by 'Explore the Quran' campaign demand
CAIR Launches Muslim Volunteerism Campaign [06/02/2005]'Muslims Care' to focus on health, helping the needy, youth activities
Deep Throat Cover Blown [06/02/2005]Washington Post Still Sucks
Online Cheerful Givers Auction [06/01/2005]A month-long online event to raise needed funds
Deep Throat: 'Follow The Money' [06/01/2005]W. Mark Felt 'outs' himself, Washington Post confirms
Hooray For France! [05/31/2005]Editorial/Op-Ed

6/04/2005 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Pierre, I think the assumption of "they are really on our side down underneath" comes from the belief that the liberals would suffer most severely of all from the type of suppression and persecution that an Islamic victory would bring. In the words of David Horowitz in regards to an anti-Iraq War Rally "Lesbian Feminists marched next to fundamentalist Muslims, despite the fact that the Muslims would have the lesbians killed if they had their choice."
But perhaps that is a bad assumption on our part. Given the Leftist ability to distort their own beliefs for the convenience of the moment, maybe they would do just fine in an Islamic Kingdom. Or at least they may be crazy enough to think so.
But I think it is rather more likely that they are convinced that such crude beasts would not be able to deal with true sophisticates such as they. I think that the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era was motivated to a large degree by the sincere belief that such primitive chinks could not hurt the mighty U.S. The protestors had grown up in a world in which their fathers had won the greatest war in history war so thoroughly that they had no reason to fear any foreign power. Or so they thought.

6/04/2005 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Couldn't agree more with RWE, but it applies even more to the lefties of today, who believe that if only Big Bad Dumb Dad USA would just be nice, the whole world would be happy.

"The protestors had grown up in a world in which their fathers had won the greatest war in history war so thoroughly that they had no reason to fear any foreign power. Or so they thought."

They think we are invulnerable. As for 9/11, well, that didn't hurt so bad, did it?

6/04/2005 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/04/2005 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

The assumption that they must at their core be "with us" is not borne out by any evidence. Those who are actually "with us" have long since declared their intentions. For instance Christopher Hitchens, no friend of Republicans understands and accepts the danger of Islamofacists and has declared his opposition to them.

Those who have not by this time with all the evidence over and above the horror of 9/11 declared their allegience, are not with us. These folks are our enemies, what helps them so far is their overall cowardice prevents them from declaring as much.

Pierre

6/04/2005 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger geoffb5 said...

I would like to point people to an essay on this subject, "Sanctuary" by Bill Whittle at,
http://www.ejectejecteject.com/

6/04/2005 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Pierre, it appears to me that something left out of the equation of almost everyone is whether or not MSM will still be around in, say, five years. We *know* that subscription numbers for both NY Times and LA Times are plummeting. We *know* that no one watches the 6:00 news any more on any of the initial networks. We're pretty sure that the initial networks have been hiring terrorists to provoke and take pictures of American soldiers being shot at and killed. We're also pretty sure that a lot of what they've been doing the past 2 or 3 years could fall under the category of "treason".

See following post from littlegreenfootballs.com where there are some numbers verifying these facts and suppositions. It would seem to me, that in a capitalistic market-driven society, the MSM simply *must* die and go away for lack of funding ... and pretty soon, too.

Gallup Poll: US Trusts Military, Distrusts MSM

Here’s some very compelling evidence that the mainstream media is drastically out of step with the majority of the American public: Military Tops Public Confidence List in New Gallup Poll.

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2005 – The American public has more confidence in the military than in any other institution, according to a Gallup poll released this week.

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed in Gallup’s 2005 confidence poll said they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the military - more than in a full range of other government, religious, economic, medical, business and news organizations.

The poll, conducted between May 23 and 26, involved telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of 1,004 people 18 and older, Gallup officials said. Those surveyed expressed strong confidence in the military, with 42 percent expressing “a great deal” of confidence in the military and 32 percent, “quite a lot” of confidence. Eighteen percent said they have “some” confidence, 7 percent, “very little,” and 1 percent, “none.”

Public confidence in the military jumped following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has remained consistently high, Gallup officials noted. The 2002 survey reflected a 13 percent increase in confidence in the military over the previous year’s poll. The public expressed a 79 percent high-confidence rate in the military in 2002, an 82 percent rate in 2003, and a 75 percent rate in 2004.

This year’s 74 percent confidence level exceeded that of all 15 institutions included in the 2005 survey. Police ranked second, with 63 percent of responders expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in them. Organized religion rated third, with 53 percent of responders expressing high confidence, and banks rated a 49 percent high-confidence rate.

Health maintenance organizations bottomed out the list, with just 17 percent of responders expressing high confidence in them. Big business and Congress tied for the second- and third-lowest rankings, with 22 percent of responders expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in them.

The Gallup organization noted that public trust in television news and newspapers reached an all-time low this year, with 28 percent of responders expressing high confidence in them.

6/04/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

I've been staring at this essay for three days and it bothers me everytime I read it.

The most disturbing aspect of the essay is how differing concepts are blended together to imply relationships that are tenious at best.

Just War philosophy has very little to do with the Laws of War, when law and war are capitalized. I can assume that when capitalised this concept refers to the Geneva Convention which is a relatively modern grouping of historical values.

1st,
Just War philosophy is highly overrated and over hyped, and oversimplified and has been controversial since the two words Just and War were combined together by 'Medieval Christian theologians.' The philosophy itself has been rightfully criticised as a tool for fostering isolationist views, paying little attention to treaties and agreements between nations, and creating endless semantic arguments.

2nd,
The concept of a Law of Warfare is and has always been largely cultural. We don't hold to them out of the hope that our enemies will adopt them, we hold to them because they represent our values, and because adhering to them can have strategic and tactical advantages.

3rd,
Politics and war are intimately connected.

4th,
Roman conquests were cruel and did result in the death of prisoners of war, however we shouldn't ignore the fact that many soldiers from defeated forces became conscripts, were absorbed into the Roman Army and later fought to expand the Roman Empire.

5th,
Winning hearts and minds isn't a new concept. It is an ancient concept and a sucessful strategy in any military endeavor. Acting 'honorably' on the field of battle, showing mercy, and rebuilding destroyed infrastructures aren't modern concepts. All of these behaviors have pragmatic and practical values.

6th,
The definition of combatants and noncombatants have always been largely military values tied exclusively to strategic and tactical necessity. As an example the bombing of industrial complexes where civilians are a primary target.
This is actions driven by an ancient philosophy that asserts that people are responsible for their own governance. War is action between nation/states, and nation/states are created by citizens, and citizen can be divided into combatants and noncombatants according to tactical and strategic considerations. This may be offensive to some, and I understand why it has such emotive intensity.

6/04/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

So what's your point? Or are you just indulging in a little hand-wringing to show your warm and caring side?

6/04/2005 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee,
I think he was trying to say:
War Sucks!
Always has, always will.
...but it sure beats the alternative.

6/04/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pierre,
Other evidence for your case comes from people that were once deep in the other side.
Like Dave Horowitz.

He KNOWS they were not on our side, and we KNOW, they still deny it and try their damndest to discredit him by piling new lies on top of the old ones they will not admit.
etc.
Liberalism is a mental disorder:

Liberally sprinkled with projection of denied inner impulses.

6/04/2005 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/04/2005 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee,
The way I look at your optimism re:
Future of MSM, the same way healthy folks do about lethal threats that most likely won't ever happen.

Even though it likely won't ever happen, since it's lethal to you, yours and your country,
you do all you can to destroy it just to make sure.

6/04/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pierre,
And if they are motivated by such good intentions, how are they able to ignore and besmirch hundreds of honorable SwiftVet Truthtellers while promoting the lies of a Braying Gigilo?
...
Everywhere I go,
People say Hello!
Life goes on w/o me.
...Just a Gigilo.

6/04/2005 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe mentioned Yamamoto Shootdown.
...I just read this account the other day.
(Yet another free plug for Google Desktop Search goes here.)
It's not too long and worth the read.
...the intercept could not have been more accurate had they had GPS.
Amazing!
Major John W. Mitchell
Leader of Yamamoto Mission
Commanded 339th FS in WW2 and 51st FIW Korea

John Mitchell was swatting flies in his tent at Fighter Two when the phone rang, "Get over to the Navy briefing bunker. There's a mission for you and your guys. You'll like it."

. _____Major John W. Mitchell _____

6/04/2005 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That evening Mitchell pored over maps of the Solomons with Lanphier and Joe McGuigan, the intelligence officer. They laid out a course that after leaving Guadalcanal, would keep them 50 miles away from the Japanese-held islands of New Georgia, Vella Lavella, and the Treasuries. The planned route from Guadalcanal to the interception point at Bougainville was 400 miles, two hours flight time. Based on their estimates of Yamamoto's air speed (180 MPH) and scheduled arrival at Kahili, they estimated that he would be at the interception point at 9:35AM. The brass had called for "maximum effort" to get Yamamoto; that meant Mitchell would lead 18 P-38 Lightnings on the mission.

6/04/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Doug, I figure if we can bring a country to its knees with a directed boycott (i.e., France), why can't we do the same thing to a bunch of snooty journalists and their head-in-the-air money-grubbing captains?

I really think that part of the problem is that everyone accepts MSM as being like Mt. Rushmore, that it's always been here, it's always been this way, and we just have to work around them.

I reject that and see absolutely no reason why a country of dedicated citizens can't effect change in our media through a combination of lawsuits and economics. And peer pressure involved in the sure and simple knowledge that everyone is both laughing at them, and hating them, and that nobody wants to grow up and be a journalist, nor buy a used car from one.

6/04/2005 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Agreed.

6/04/2005 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe as people get weened off MSM addiction, they will see more clearly.
Distance brings perspective.
Mark Steyn is smarter than I am and knows much more than I do, but my guess was the EU was finished, whereas he thought it would still be around.
Couldn't see the forest?

---
. "Africa is worth fighting for. Europe, in its present form, is not."
Tony Blair has given up on Europe as an issue worth fighting for.
In the first rumblings of a call for the franc to be reinstated, Nicolas Dupont-Aignant, a member of Mr Chirac's ruling UMP party, said: "France, Italy and Germany would be in a better state without the euro. However, I don't believe we should ditch it now.

"But either it is reformed, and the central European Bank kick-starts growth by lowering interest rates and pursuing a more American-style monetary policy, or the euro will explode in mid-air."

The governor of France's central bank, however, rushed to the euro's defence. Christian Noyer said that the currency was "in no way under threat" following its fall in value since the No votes of the past seven days. He dismissed as "absurd" the idea of a temporary withdrawal from the euro by individual states.
"The euro is a solid currency which brings us a lasting guarantee of stable prices and thus the maintenance of purchasing power for our wages and savings," he told Le Parisien newspaper.

The No campaign in Britain will launch a campaign tomorrow demanding a referendum on any aspects of the constitution that leaders might attempt to salvage. It will also unveil 46 new business backers, including Stuart Rose, chief executive of Marks & Spencer.
An ICM poll for the No group found that 81 per cent of voters say that it would be unacceptable to bring in any of the proposals without a referendum in Britain first.

6/04/2005 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

For Verc,
"Girl was a witch - convicted woman

An African woman convicted of abusing an eight-year-old girl said she was convinced the child was a witch. Sita Kisanga and her brother Sebastian Pinto were found guilty at the Old Bailey of aiding and abetting the girl's aunt who was convicted of child cruelty. The court heard that the child, who was brought to Britain from Angola by her aunt after her parents died, had been beaten, cut and had chilli peppers rubbed in her eyes to "beat the devil out of her"."

6/05/2005 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

When I was a soldier in the 101st Airborne (1986-1990) we were sitting through our annual "Law of Ground Warfare" lecture from the company XO. At the end of a very by-the-book breifing the XO asked the comander if he had anything to say. This is what he said: "If any of you even fails to share your water with a prisoner I'll have you court-martialed. But if you abuse a prisoner or a civilian you won't be court-martialed. I'll personally shoot you." I think he was telling the truth.

6/05/2005 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

As many of you know, Saddam's trail is coming and he could be executed - yet, there has been is no date revealed.

I believe that an indicator of the closeness of his trial will be the usually furry legal statements and MSM disparagement of the US Military. Saddam's minions will plant stories in the press of audacious nature. Saddam's well paid lawyers will go into full spin mode with tales of US brutality. All types of slander against the US will be flung against the wall - Saddam's lawyers hoping some will stick. Those will be the sign Saddam is about to meet his fate.

SADDAM Hussein's morale has collapsed due to the gravity of the war crimes charges he faces... "The ousted president has suffered a collapse in his morale because he understands the extent of the charges against him..." Juhi told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper... Saddam... and some of the 11 other detained former regime figures are facing 12 cases that carry punishments from life in jail to the death penalty.

Saddam... faces charges including killing rival politicians during his 30-year rule, gassing Kurds, invading Kuwait and suppressing Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991
.


See: Saddam's morale "collapses" before trial

6/05/2005 02:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Iraqi and US soldiers also kept up their pressure against suspected insurgents south of Baghdad, with more than 800 troops, mainly Iraqis, cordoning off districts in Latifiyah, a city in a region dubbed the Triangle of Death because of multiple attacks and killings that have taken place in the area.
The US military believes insurgents behind almost daily deadly attacks in Baghdad use districts on its southern edge as staging areas.
"For two years I have been suffering from these terrorists, now it is my time," Brigadier General Mohammed Essa Baher, an Iraqi army commander from the region whose two sons had been killed by insurgents, said on the eve of the offensive.

Eight people died on Friday from insurgent attacks around the country, bringing to at least 830 the number killed since the Shiite-led government took office on April 28.
That is an average of 23 deaths a day, not counting rebels, who are drawn from multiple groups, including Islamic extremists and Saddam loyalists.

In a coup for security forces battling the insurgency in northern Iraq, a terror suspect known as Mullah Mahdi was detained yesterday along with his brother, three other Iraqis and a non-Iraqi Arab national in eastern Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, Iraqi army Maj Gen Khalil Ahmed al-Obeidi said.

Al-Obeidi said that the terror suspect was captured following a brief clash in eastern Mosul.
---
American Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday that the television network Al-Jazeera was promoting terrorism by airing beheadings and other attacks.
"Quite honestly I do not get up in the morning and think that America is what's wrong with the world," he said. "The people that are going on television, chopping off people's heads is what's wrong with the world.
"And television networks that carry it and promote it and are Johnny-on-the-spot every time there's a terrorist act are promoting it," he said.

Qatar-based Al-Jazeera denies it holds any anti-American bias and says it reports the news objectively. Al-Jaz-BS.
---
23 x 365 = 8395/yr
US Traffic Fatalities = ~40,000/yr?
---
_____SCOTSMAN_____

6/05/2005 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"One of the attitudes that constantly puzzles me are conservatives who continue to assume that the left wants us to win."

Pierre

Sure the Left is not generally interested in an American victory. The very idea, the very phrase, strikes them as offensive. The question is why this is so.

I recall reporter Christopher Allbritton, who has now spent considerable time in Iraq, trying to explain to not a few of his readers that the "resistance" in that country is the work of some very, very bad actors - that these are NOT the philosophical and spiritual descendants of Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, nor largely innocent peasants reflexively defending home and hearth from the "evil invader" - that these are, by any rational standard, terrorists, bandits, and viscious oppressors. There followed an avalanche of abuse and denunciation of Mr. Allbritton. The combination of desperate naivete or senseless indifference regarding the nature of the enemy and monumental cynicism regarding current US motives is breathtaking. And illuminating.

The Left's desire for an American defeat is not the product of any any deep thinking or real ideological kinship with our enemies. It is the consequence of willful ignorance and gleeful spite. "The enemy of my enemy" is the sum total of its intellectual content. It is, at once, juvenile and senile. It is, to borrow a phrase, a creature of "towering smallness," of profound shallowness.

The Left is living vicariously through a "resistance" it cares not to seriously examine nor to have examined for it. The signal virtue of that "resistance" is its ability to inflict losses on the object of the Left's present, overwhelming hatred and paranoia: this White House and its political party.

But if the Left's opposition to this war is all of an inch deep and a mile wide, its numbers grant it undeniable significance. When a quarter to a third of one's fellow citizens eagerly await and hope for defeat, the country is in very, very serious trouble.

"Never bother to examine a folly, ask only what it accomplishes." What will the American Left achieve by taking the side of thugs and savage zealots it would not itself care to be ruled by? The Left doesn't seek to "achieve" anything but the momentary catharsis of a loss hung round the neck of their domestic opponents. If this means the resubjugation of Iraqis and Afghans - if it means the emboldening, the increased confidence and brazenness of the forces of violent, soul-sucking illiberalism - so be it.

WRT the MSM: The angry Left denounces it with the same vigor as the angry Right. Think about that, because the Left has its own alternative media - and it is far, far more irrational than what's on offer at the NYT or in Newsweek. In five or ten years, we may sorely miss the influence of a relatively moderate mainstream media.

6/05/2005 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Trish,

Based on my experience with my liberal friends (who formed their values in the 60's and 70's and never grew up), you are spot on in your comments. It is a reflexive feeling, and I hesitate to use the word 'belief' because it doesn't appear to have anything to do with the intellectual, that America is responsible for EVERYTHING. We cause the most pollution, we use the most oil, we besmirch the world with our popular culture, yadda.

On top of this self-loathing, they couple it with a staggering condescension of the rest of the world. O sure, we should all listen to World Music, and we should look for the deep understanding of society offered by primitive tribes (I had to laugh out loud when my local paper ran big stories about how African tribes 'know everything about community' - considering the desperate lack of civilization in many parts of that continent), but most importantly: we should humbly assume that whatever America does is simply dumb and wrong.

I used to think "willful ignorance" covered this syndrome, or even "self-loathing." I'm coming to understand it as the infantile psychology of those who can not accept the world as it is, who see everything in the parent-child relationship.

This is clearly not the way to live during this active world war.

All this blather about the Koran is the perfect example, where mis-handling a book is morally equivalent to open declarations of war and acts of war against us.

6/05/2005 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Matt,

Thanks for sharing your insights into discipline in the 101st. Of course, how often and for how long do elite units like yours have responsibility for prisoners? Not long, I would guess.

6/05/2005 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

The NYT outdoes itself today, with a story in the Op-Ed section about the "new Ho Chi Minh Trail." And then an editorial justifying Amnesty International's use of the term "gulag" to describe Gitmo.

Now, obviously, NYT readers are supposed to be intelligent, so it can't be that the editors can assume that the readers don't know the actual meanings of the terms Ho Chi Minh Trail and Gulag.

So, it can only be that they are openly embracing the Orwellian tactic of inventing false realities, and blaring them loudly as the New Truth.

It's disgusting.

6/05/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Most actual prisoner abuse takes place at the point of capture, not in detention or interrogation facilities. But then interrogators operate in most cases according the cardinal rule of no physical contact whatsoever during interrogation. The difference in nature between the primary job of an infantryman, for instance, or even of a military policeman, and that of an interrogator plays an important role in disparity of treatment and common circumstances of physical abuse. The work mentality (not to mention, with regard to combat forces, everyday environment) is altogether different, an effect of separate and distinct objectives, even though the injunction of humane treatment is the same for all.

But a point has been reached - was reached with amazing speed, I think - where the treatment of prisoners AS prisoners has itself been deligitimized. Interrogation AS interrogation has been demonized. And there's no walking that back to an even marginally friendlier and less obviously insane public viewpoint. It's discouraging, even if half of Americans manage still to grasp reality and necessity. Their opposite number makes for a damned strong, constant headwind. And it has an effect on those who make poicy.

6/05/2005 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Doug -
Re: Rwanda

The irony there is that the Hutu and Tutsi aren't even ethnic groups in the traditional sense of the term, they share the same culture, religion, language.

They were actually class differences, perpetuated by Belgium colonists obsessed with racial theory. The Belgians took a class difference [Tutsi were cattle tenders, Hutus were farmers] and then created a whole bunch of pseudo-intellectual BS proving that the former were actually a superior people possibly descendant from a lost tribe of Israel. Then used that to divide and conquer the natives.

European humanitarianism at work.

6/05/2005 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Ledger: We're also going to see the press go fullscale concerning the US realpolitik agreements with Hussein during the 1980s, with no corresponding coverage of Russian, French, Chinese, or Chirac-relations during said time period.

Hussein's lawyer, Jacques Verges, has a history of putting the prosecutor itself on trial, and arguing that because of its own abuses, it has no right to try the accused. He did this to the French, using imperialism in Vietnam and Algeria, to try and discredit the prosecution of Klaus Barbie.

So expect us to get heat on every concievable US transgression from every angle [not limited to Hussein, most likely] as the media, domestic and international, picks it up. Personally, I fear that we're going to be the ones who get 'tried' in the media, not Hussein. I wouldn't cry if he just had a heart attack.

Verges was also a personal friend of Pol Pot, but who am I to judge...

6/05/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cutler said,
Ledger: We're also going to see the press go fullscale concerning the US realpolitik agreements with Hussein during the 1980s, with no corresponding coverage of Russian, French, Chinese, or Chirac-relations during said time period
.
---
And to their intended audience, what "happened" during the Crusades is of more import than what our forces, and their CIC, are doing today. ...and in fact they are accountable for what "happened" during the Crusades.
Apologies Expected, daily. (w/compensation)

6/05/2005 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Belgians took a class difference [Tutsi were cattle tenders, Hutus were farmers] and then created a whole bunch of pseudo-intellectual BS proving that the former were actually a superior people...
Reminds me of College Days. My girlfriend was an Anthro Major and had one young moronic firebrand prof that went on and on about the superiority of whatever central American country he lived in/studied.
Just having returned from Korea w/my common sense intact (I later lost it temporarily.) my repeated question was:
If it's so great, and the US is so f....., why doesn't he live there?
Time provided the answer:
He became a local hero and managed to incite kids to such a degree (academic freedom, or some such, plus Vietnam, plus the environment, evil capitalism, etc etc) that they burned down the local Bank of America.
A seminal moment in the great revolutionary movements in our history.

6/05/2005 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

In So. Africa, a great deal of the misery was due to exploitation of class hatred. Quite a mix, what w/Indian business class and their imported baggage to add to the mix.
I'll forever remember the scene described in "Kaffir Boy" of the eviscerated victim running down the street from his tormentors, trying to hold in his guts as they uncoiled behind him.

6/05/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger jakita said...

If it's the Iraqis who are trying Hussein, they can do what they want with him, including hanging him from a lamppost, which I hope they do.

6/05/2005 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jakita,
I wonder about that:
Will be interesting to see if the Enemies Within will be able to exploit that situation as easily as they do American Courtrooms, as our comments here suggest.
---
Those in the ME will probably have a clearer picture of what is going on than the left and the sheep here at home.

6/05/2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Cutler, I think you are correct. Lawyer Jacques Verges will try every trick in the book attack the prosecutor and anyone who backs him. And, yes the press will be used. Further, I conceive there will be more violence from Saddam's remaining thugs. It will a "fullscale" attack on us and the Iraqis.

I think this is why you are see so much anti-American news stories at this time. I expect the voices on the left to become more shrill as Saddam heads to his ultimate fate.

To Doug.

Yes, your points about "Apologies Expected, daily (w/compensation)" are well taken.

6/05/2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger noprisoners said...

To: "Nahncee & Annoy Mouse: I don't know whether to be flattered or angry. Me - a troll? I asked about Wretchard's pedigree because I believe that every man who is good with a hammer sees every problem as a nail. I just want to get an idea what Wretchard thinks he's good with - a hammer or a laser scalpel, or both. I believe that it is Vercingtorox who sees him as a Chip n' Dale dancer (I was hoping for a female counterpart). Even if "W" is one of these, this is the best blog on the web in my opinion. Nahncee, I am not looking for labels, I am looking for perspective and that can vary depending on a person's past and prestent experiences. Hence, the question.
As for Tom Friedman, I think that he is a liberal lightweight. His conclusions are absolutely predictable which betrays a lack of original thought. My sense of wonderment about him stems from the fact that he clearly describes situations. Then, shocks me with some off-the-wall conclusion. His lack of intellectual honesty, or blind liberalism, is amazing to me. Usually, liberals begin by obscuring or manipulating the facts to support their conclusions. This is the difference that I see in Friedman. He goes from pretty good facts to outrageous conclusions.

6/05/2005 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Usually, liberals begin by obscuring or manipulating the facts to support their conclusions. This is the difference that I see in Friedman. He goes from pretty good facts to outrageous conclusions.
"
---
Maybe the opposite of Krugman? ...I wouldn't know, as I've never forced myself to read that entity.
Seems so consumed by his opposition stance and negativity that he repels.
Friedman even has drawn some reasonable conclusions, but then he reliably slides off into the liberal gutter.
He knows that's the locus of his livelyhood?

6/05/2005 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The cat man has said he was in the Philipines and has obviously traveled the 3rd world. In this he is not alone. In what capacity he traveled, I'm not sure. He seems well grounded in his views of the situation vis a vie the Islamist conflict.
He has admitted little knowledge of Central and South America, which is, in my opinion, a high priority to US security in the near future.
Nahncee thinks everyone that asks about W is a troll, some are, but I like to give people the benifit of the doubt.
Most of the people that come on blog and take a "leftist" view are left with little respite. They are asked for facts and references and are stymied. It is interesting because in some cases they could have a good point, they just do not know it or how to explain it.

Bush and his cronies are niether omnipotent or omnipresent. They are headed in the correct direction, Progressive Policies for the World.

To think I would be standing with a Trotskite like Chris Hicthens in support of expanding liberty and freedom across the Globe makes political labels obsolete in the New World Order.

6/05/2005 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat:
The new order in which your opponents include lesbians, gay activists, Nazi misogynists, Homo Hating Medievalists, and etc
....although when rwe said:

""Lesbian Feminists marched next to fundamentalist Muslims, despite the fact that the Muslims would have the lesbians killed if they had their choice."
But perhaps that is a bad assumption on our part. Given the Leftist ability to distort their own beliefs for the convenience of the moment, maybe they would do just fine in an Islamic Kingdom.
"
The thought occurred to me that perhaps the ladies could overcome their aversion to men if the alternative was a severe throat laceration.
...then we'd see the "depth" of these "religious" fanatics' "convictions."
Like the Attaboys, they'd probably tell the 72 Virgin Airways Employees they'd have to wait a while.

6/05/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

72 white grapes in a fruit basket.
That is why the Islamists are Homophopic, they can never hang with the girls. They never get any 'strange' and think that they will when they arrive in Allahs Paradise. If Allah won't let them have it here, why would he permit it there. What an irrational GOD they claim to believe in.
Better to hang with Thor and Odin, at least those GODs knew how to party.
Why our "Lsftists" would leave millions to live in oppression is beyond my understanding. That is not a "Progressive" program. Hitchens, at least, saw the light. There is no excuse for supporting mass murderers, unless they rule Uzbekistan

6/05/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

By the way, Doug, if you want me to endorse your Man From U.N.C.L.E. membership card as you indicated a while back, I would be glad to do so.
Among other things, I used to teach a course for the CIA.

6/05/2005 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Napoleon Solo would be so happy to know doug was on the case. Supporting Kofi's antics across the world in covert operations would be exciting. Getting front row seats for the Kiddie Porn produced by UN Piecekeepers from the Congo expedition is just one of the UNCLE Agents fringe benefits.

6/05/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This is an interesting read, found it at Chesters site and found it informative

http://www.mnf-iraq.com/Scimitar%20Story.htm

two quotes caught my eye

"“I realized most of these guys love us to death. I mean, on a patrol, they'll go into a house first before they let us [Americans] come in. They'll protect us with their lives. Other Americans think we're crazy — two Americans out there with a bunch of Iraqis. But they're our buddies — they just speak a different language.”

and

“I like being in the Army because I can protect my people,” Jundi said. “When the people see us, they are very happy to see the new Iraqi Army, and it makes me proud. In the old Army, the Soldiers protected the Saddam regime. But now, the Army protects the Iraqi people.”

6/05/2005 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Bush and his cronies are niether omnipotent or omnipresent. They are headed in the correct direction, Progressive Policies for the World."

Desert Rat

They are better referred to as "liberal" policies, as the nineteenth century meaning of that word roughly corresponds to the current US conservative drive for Middle East reform, and as such stands a better chance of once again demonstrating the lasting 20th century betrayal, by American liberals, of liberalism's humanitarian ideals. Bonus: "liberal" retains its original definition in much of Europe - where it remains a highly provocative set of concepts.

"Progressive"....No. It never has meant and never will mean or convey anything other than "collectivist" - the last kind of "reform" any ailing, hidebound society needs.

6/05/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Tony Blair, our English compatriot says we are on a "Progressive" path in Iraq. That it is Progress to bring these folk into a democratic society, I agree.
Labels can be uninformative and are best used on bumper stickers.
We are certainly not trying to "conserve" any of the past thirty years of Iraqi governess.

Just read a VDH piece

http://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson060305.html

Of his possible scenarios
"We can wind down — essentially the position of the mainstream Left — and return to a pre-September 11 situation, treating Islamism as a criminal justice matter or deserving of an occasional cruise missile. This, in my view, would be a disaster and guarantee another mass attack."

This is where we are heading. After the December elections in Iraq the MSM will declare Victory.
Who will argue?
It will be the end of the War on Terror. It is one of the weakest points in the Admins PR debacle.
While we win on the ground we lose in the Information Wars, and that is the fault of Bush and his cohorts.
The Bushes and the lady from Texas, who's name escapes me, are doing a poor job explaining whom we are at war with and why we must win.
The lack of clarity, to the public, will be our Achilles Heal in this conflict.

6/05/2005 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

nahncee said,
"So what's your point? Or are you just indulging in a little hand-wringing to show your warm and caring side?"

My point was that I think essays like this paint with too broad a brush and are the result of massive historical revissionism.

The Geneva Convention wasn't a massive paradigm shift. It represents a shift to a more commonly accepted set of values by a large collective that was the result of political debate and ideological warfare.

The Geneva Convention is the proper context for evaluation of our current conditions, not the philosophy of medieval christian theologians.

It isn't necessary to accept or debate Osama's analogies on the bombing of Hiroshima and destroying the WTC to understand the concept of illegal combatants, or the protections advanced by the Geneva Convention for lawful combatants in the performance of armed combat. You can debate them according to your will but you should at least understand that they aren't equivalent circumstances, or subject to the same philosophy. It is however necessary if you are talking about combatants and noncombatants.

Yes, Doug, that was the point underneath and yes "War is Hell" and I would add it is much more complicated that most people realize.

6/05/2005 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Karen Hughes is the Texan lady that helps form the Admins message

6/05/2005 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Rat,

"Conservative" in the American political context has but one meaning: conserving the ideals of this country's founding. It is radically different from traditional European conservatism.

Again, I favor the tag of liberalism, along with an energetic reminder and revival of its roots.

"Progressive" leaves the door open to those who've done and will continue to do much damage, always under that exact nomenclature.

6/05/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I agree that there are differing definitions to the same words in different cultures.
As is often said "words have meaning". We are making Progress in Iraq and the ME as a region.
The MSM has set the ground work of the debate. It has been rigged so that Liberals are Conservative and Progressives are Regressive.
Life should be so simple that our labels were accurate.
NAZIs were Socialists, hardly ever hear that discussed in "Liberal" society.
There is nothing "Conservative" about Bush and his Foreign Policy.

6/05/2005 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gee, I left just before The Hillarity Began:

" There is no excuse for supporting mass murderers, unless they rule Uzbekistan.
---
Supporting Kofi's antics across the world in covert operations would be exciting. Getting front row seats...
"
This place gets positively blasphemous at times.
(esp when I'm not around to moderate things)

6/05/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Also just to keep my post on this topic logically consistant, civilian workers within industrial centers and public utilities are strategic targets and "noncombatants."

Which returns to my previous point about strategic and tactical considerations determining our approach to non combatant casualities.

Feel free to debate this strategy against Just War philosophy if it makes you feel warm hearted.

It should be obvious that the Laws of War currently under consideration are those under the Geneva Convention and not anything that is a product of medieval christian theology.

6/05/2005 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Suppose you're a hot young Turk who's just been hired by the NY Times to replace one of their fired plagiarist reporters. Or you've been hired by AP or CBS to look into allegations being made on the internet that those companies are hiring terrorists to take pictures of American soldiers being killed. Which of course your AP/CBS bosses *really* don't like a lot and would like to have stopped.

One of the blogs that is cited in a lot of those allegations is Belmont Club, so your bosses assign you to write a story on this Belmont Club, and if possible to uncover some juicy dirt on the goings-on there.

You might parachute in, read a day or so of postings, and then decide to announce yourself. A good way to do this would be to write something ambiguous about Thomas Friedman, who is fairly well known, and wait to see what the response is. Further, you might then innocently and innocuously start to ask about just who *is* this Wretchard, any way, and what is his expertise? If challenged, you'll post an innocent and injured reply that "I'm just curious", and add that, of course, Friedman is an idiot to establish your bonafides.

If you can narrow down Wretchard's areas of expertise then there may be a finite number of people in the world who would fit those criteria. If you can narrow it down even further to one person, then you can begin to look at his income tax returns, how many traffic tickets he has, and whether or not he is homosexual -- all things which have been used by the Big Boys to shut up inconvenient whistleblowers before.

On the other hand, I may be over-reacting since it turned out that my favorite spooky-spy author (Trevanian) is an American college professor, and that things are not always what they seem. So I'm going to opine that Wretchard the Cat is probably a PolySci professor at Berkeley and that's all inquiring minds *really* need to know about him.

6/05/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Life should be so simple that our labels were accurate."

Yes it should.

Perhaps we can ignore labels that can be misleading or downright erroneous and simply examine the character and content of any party's or faction's or individual's ideas?

As you said - and I'm glad to hear it said - words have meaning. And I am always in favor of taking people at their word. It's the best policy, the best approach.

You're right about the Nazis. Truth in advertising.

6/05/2005 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

New and larger Bunker Busters anyone?

[Large Bunker Found]

...Hundreds of Iraqi and U.S. troops searched fields and farms Saturday for insurgents and their hideouts in an area south of Baghdad known for attacks, and the Marines said they discovered 50 weapons and ammunition caches and a huge underground bunker west of the capital fitted out with air conditioning, a kitchen and showers... joint U.S.-Iraqi force operating in Latifiyah to the south was backed by American air power and said it had rounded up at least 108 Iraqis, mainly Sunnis, suspected of involvement in the brutal insurgent campaign... The military said the find included a recently used "insurgent lair" in a massive underground bunker complex that included air-conditioned living quarters and high tech military equipment, including night vision goggles.

[it was some 275 yrds long]

see: hunt finds lair

6/05/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ledger,
Per discussion above, be sure to stop reporting any such incidents after the MSM declares WOT over.
...on slow days, consider rehash of Abu Gahrib, with teases of better video to come.

6/05/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Also, after said date, do not refer to this region as the "Triangle of Death."
Just report vague accounts of mayhem under the heading of the continuing sad legacy of GW's war without a plan or Rational.

6/05/2005 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Just wait til December. That is when Victory will be declared by the MSM. The Iraqi elections will be over and the "Insurgents" will be dead, in jail or elected office holders.
There will be no 'next on the list'. Because there is no list. Absent another major attack on the US the War on Terror will be over.
Would Bush and the Congress take US to Iran over their nuclear capacity, supplied by the Russians? Not likely. We have discussed the scenarios for combat and there is little doubt we could take their Army and Air Force in less then 90 days. The insugency there, Iran, would make the Iraqi challenges pale in comparison. Iran is the hot bed of the Islamofacists, they would be coming out of the walls like Roaches until the end of time. We could or would not kill them all over the nuclear threat to Israel. It is obvious the MSM discounts any nuclear threat here at home.
The economic dislocation, world wide, that an Iranian campaign would entail is the other reason we will stay out.
If we were going to Damascus with the 4th Inf we would have already done so. There has been enough provocation, if we wanted to see it. Both Syria and Iran are State Sponsors of Terror, yesterday and today, so that in itself will not be enough to launch against them in '06. The Political costs will be to high for our officals to risk their election prospects on another Desert War.
Bush and the Administration have not prepped the public for any new actions and by the time they begin, it will be to late. All that will be in our bag of tricks will be Soft Power and covert ops.
There will be a Victory lap where everyone states how proud we are of our Military, but the PRICE will be said to have been to high to try it any where else again. Iraq will then be forgotten, into the black hole of memories to painful to discuss. Except for the cost in Blood and Treasure, these will be debated until '08.
Was it worth it? That will be the crux of the discussion. The MSM will have a "Yes, but..." answer.

6/05/2005 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Red A said...

If our forces follow the rules, the population will begin to compare our troop's behavior with that of the jihadis. This is very much to our benefit, as the jihadis lose the intelligence war when the populace starts to rat them out.

Examples from Fallujah and the other areas under "jihadi control" show that we are correct in following the rules even when the other side doesn't.

Now if someday you have a 500,000 man army of jihadis moving across Europe, that's a different matter.

6/05/2005 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

red
they cannot mount a 500 man operation in Iraq, let alone 5,000. The idea that 500,000 men will be under arms and moving toward Vienna is not in any real world scenario.
Europe will face a clandestine battle in the Soft Power sphere, doing battle with unassimulated Muslim migrants. How they deal with that will be interesting to watch. I look for a Nationalistic, Religous Revival coming out of Eastern Europe, but then I look for a lot of things that never appear.

6/06/2005 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah,
I remember:
"On to Damascus."

6/06/2005 03:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

EVOLUTION

6/06/2005 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Quran Splashed with Urine at Guantanamo

The Pentagon released this news late Friday in order to defeat the US news cycle, which closes down for the American weekend. I deliberately kept it for Monday morning.

The Pentagon now admits that it found evidence in its files of the Quran being "mishandled" at Guantanamo. (Muslims would say "defiled.") All this after poor Newsweek was pilloried by the Bush administration. Moreover, I cannot for the life of me understand why the Pentagon thinks all the interrogation techniques used at Guantanamo were carefully recorded for posterity.

- Juan Cole

THIS is the kind of garbage created by the outrage industry. Was a Koran mishandled - exuse me, defiled - at Gitmo? It MUST be an interrogation technique. Naked prisoners posed for pictures? It MUST be an interrogation technique. Someone told their mother's ugly? Interrogators. Dirty, no-good interrogators.

What ever would we do in these dark, dark times without history professors taking upon themselves the corageous mission and grave responsibily of tabloidists?

"For the life of me" I just don't know.

6/06/2005 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I cannot for the life of me understand why he deliberately kept it for Monday morning.
---
Nor why he would head it:
"Tuesday, June 07, 2005
"

6/06/2005 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

June 5, 2005 A Policy of Rape By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF NYALA, Sudan

All countries have rapes, of course. But here in the refugee shantytowns of Darfur, the horrific stories that young women whisper are not of random criminality but of a systematic campaign of rape to terrorize civilians and drive them from "Arab lands" - a policy of rape.

One measure of the international community's hypocrisy is that the world is barely bothering to protest. More than two years after the genocide in Darfur began, the women of Kalma Camp - a teeming squatter's camp of 110,000 people driven from their burned villages - still face the risk of gang rape every single day as they go out looking for firewood.
-----------------
I'm still chilled by the matter-of-fact explanation I received as to why it is women who collect firewood, even though they're the ones who are raped. The reason is an indication of how utterly we are failing the people of Darfur, two years into the first genocide of the 21st century.

"It's simple," one woman here explained. "When the men go out, they're killed. The women are only raped."
. It's Only Genocide

6/06/2005 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Do you think any mishandled Korans are in this picture?
http://911.navexpress.com/40.htm

6/06/2005 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

So Islamist police in Sudan rape and kill Blacks. It seems to be State Sponsored Terror to me. It is a shame that this is going on today, after the US Sec of State declared the affair to be Genocide.

Never again, hell, how about All the Time, somewhere.

Think of all people that could be save by a Battalion of US Military acting as an Overwatch force. They would shut the Genocide down in a New York minute..

We could leave it to the UN, but their piecekeepers would just join in the 'Fun'. The would most likely film the events, just like the Kiddie Porn ring in the Congo.

6/06/2005 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

This morning on our local talk show, they had a guy on named "Wild Bill" G. who was a paratrooper on D-Day. (He's also described in "Band of Brothers." This old guy told the story of how he got his name. One day he accidentally picked up another guy's jacket, and found a letter in his pocket from the guy's wife. He read it, and it said "don't tell Bill, but his brother has been killed in Italy."

As Bill said, "When they dropped me into Normandy, they unleashed a killer. I told them, I'm not going to let any Germans live."

This attitude of taking the fight to the enemy was not frowned upon at the time, and by the tone of all the callers who thanked Wild Bill, it's not universally frowned upon now.

Possible Site of Mishandled Korans

6/06/2005 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The real threat from China is outline here

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_2781432

a much more serious challenge than the Formosa Straits and Taiwan.

6/06/2005 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Tony,

I remember a Marine general - I think it was Casey - commenting some months ago at the start of an operation in al Anbar: "This isn't about hearts and minds."

Dear God I hoped so.

I'd waited so long to hear someone say it. For a year and more there'd been little more than prattle about "hearts and minds" - from officials who can perhaps, in the current atmosphere of well-nigh paralyzing appeasement, be forgiven for it (examine and forgive on a case-by-case basis).

Some hearts and minds, certainly, are to be won. Some are to be ruthlessly, methodically terminated.

[Truman said to Paul Tibbets: If anyone gives you any grief, send 'em to me.

No one ever did.]

6/06/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

trish
There is an old saying, that I cannot credit to any particular source
"grab 'em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow"

6/06/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger iotm said...

Funny, this is the kind of rationale used by the Syrian puppet regime in Lebanon to say it wasn't under occupation despite the presence of Syrian military and intelligence. Yet the US government said it was an occupation.

That's a big fat glaring contradiction in your logic my friend.

"Tony said...

Speaking of "occupation":

"The multinational forces are not occupying forces, they are friendly forces, and they are helping us to establish security, carrying out missions in their interests of the Iraqi people, and under the authority of the government," Jaafari said. "The government will request an extension of their mandate until we have defeated terrorism and restored security across the country."
"


Also documented US terrorism? How about Abu Ghraib, indiscriminate shootings and bombings, their raids which round people up and throw them in jail, regardless of whether they have anything to do with the resistance. The fact that if anyone says or does anything the US doesn't like they might end up being tortured and humiliated is terrorizing the population. Wouldn't you agree that say the Soviet Gulags were a mechanism of terror? This is the same deal, round up everyone, even if they're part of the government, to show that no one is safe. The occupation itself inspires terrorism, before the occupation terrorism was limited to that of Saddam Hussein and his goons, and regular people didn't generally fret for their lives when they walked to the store. Now they do.

"Peter UK said...
Well start on IOTM he can't write.I am intrigued by the regretful occasion,what has this occasion to be regretful about? "

I don't really think someone who hasn't yet grasped the art of punctuation, let alone the ability to put together a coherent sentence, should be criticizing the writing abilities of others.

6/06/2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

iotm
late to this thread, well better late than never.
Yes, Stalins Gulags were instruments of terror. No it is not the same as what is happening in Iraq. Upwards of 20 million were dealt with in the Gulag system. There are only a few thousand imprisoned at Abu Ghraib.
Mass graves that Saddam filled with hundreds of thousands do not match the scale of collateral damage casualties we have caused.
The deaths caused by the suicide bombers are the responsibility of the bombers, not US or the new Government.
The terrorists are responsible for the terrorism.
As to the level of personal safety of the average Kurd or Shia Iraqi, it is much better now than it was prior to the occupation. The Sunnis are in the danger zone now and that is a position they are unfamilar with.
Hopefully political action within Iraq will mollify their leaders. If not, payback is a medavac.
It will have been a long time coming.
Regardless of the situation on the ground we will be drawing down our forces come January '06, after the general elections.

6/06/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

IOTM,
Your incorrect use of "indiscrimate" (either through ignorance or a willful distortion) is typical of those on the left who oppose the war, and just adds fuel to the fire of the Islamo-fascists we are fighting. Why propagate untruths that end up costing American and Iraqi lives, and make the task that much harder to complete? The fact is that the U.S. military goes to incredible lengths to avoid civilian casualties and to avoid upsetting Muslim sensibilities, even though such procedures result in increased casualties for U.S. personnel. Lengths that have been unheard of by any other military at any other time in history. For you to indicate otherwise is just total B.S. For your sake, I hope it is due to stupidity and not a lack of character.

6/06/2005 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

iotm,
you cite pete uk, and then leave ME out!
iotm: Don't you care 1 IOTA?

6/06/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Iotm, my friend, I should lend you my log-on to LGF - they LOVE this kind stuff over there.

6/06/2005 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Trish,

Right, the purpose of war, once engaged, is not to fight the war, it is to win - to end the war.

6/06/2005 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

iotm:

Abu Ghraib! Abu Ghraib! Panties on the head does not Auschwitz or Sevvostlag make. Or maybe it does, to you. Would you mind clarifying your position on this please.

Furthermore, would you mind substantiating your accusations of "indiscriminate shootings and bombings, their raids which round people up and throw them in jail, regardless of whether they have anything to do with the resistance" with sources other than MoveOn.org and its ilk, please.

Thank you.

6/06/2005 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm.. i totally agree you. Really the iraq war was unpredictable.It took lot of lives with him.But what is result, nothing.May this is because of bad law or god knows.

thanx,
www.tradeweblinks.com

1/06/2007 01:01:00 AM  

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