Sunday, April 09, 2006

Shaking the Foundations

UK Secretary of State for Defence John Reid recently gave a widely publicized speech called "20th-Century Rules, 21st-Century Conflict". Defence News (follow the link to the speech) summarized Reid's theme: the era of great power wars is probably over and the system of laws which stemmed from them may no longer be suitable for the wars of the 21st century.

Mr Reid said that the strategic landscape and its threats were new and unprecedentedly complex, with interlocking uncertainties in the ecological, economic, political and social spheres. The barbarism and lack of constraint of our terrorist opponents made it necessary to consider considering the legal framework in which they and we operated. The Defence Secretary said that without making specific proposals, it was time to ask whether current international law-originally developed for a world of state-to-state conflict now needed to be rebalanced between security and freedom, as UK domestic legislation has been. In particular, did international law adequately now address:

  • the threat from international terrorists, who can now threaten mass casualty attacks -and where there might be a case for new Geneva Protocols ?
  • the potential need to take pre-emptive action against imminent attack?
  • the possible requirement to intervene to stop mass murder and genocide?

Although delivered in quiet, non-inflammatory phrases, Reid's speech nevertheless managed to impugn three of the basic pillars of international law. His first question is whether the Geneva Convention needs to be updated.

For centuries conflict between tribes, cities and states was completely unbridled and savage. Very gradually, mankind developed a range of conventions that they applied to constrain and moderate what is in essence a brutal activity. Eventually, these agreements became rules, which became laws. ... But warfare continues to evolve, and, in its moral dimensions, we have now to cope with a deliberate regression towards barbaric terrorism by our opponents. A few weeks ago I spoke to students at King’s College here in London about the uneven nature of the modern battlefield, and the unconstrained enemy ranged against us. ... Historically, of course, laws have always been adapted to better suit the times. When they have become out-dated, or less relevant, or less applicable to the realities of the day they have been modified or changed. This is true of all laws, domestic or international.

Reid's second point enters the disputed waters of when pre-emptive military action may be legitimately undertaken. It is widely believed that pre-emptive attacks are illegal except where authorized by the UN Security Council or in national-self defense. (A discussion on the legality of pre-emptive force against Saddam Hussein's Iraq may be found here.)

The UN Charter reads in article 2(4): "All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations." ... This principle is now considered to be a part of customary international law, and has the effect of banning the use of armed force except for two situations authorized by the UN Charter. Firstly, the Security Council, under powers granted in articles 24 and 25, and Chapter VII of the Charter, may authorize collective action to maintain or enforce international peace and security. Secondly, Article 51 also states that: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right to individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a state."

John Reid asks whether in a time when small groups of combatants can inflict first-strike mass casualties it is still feasible for governments to await authorization from the UN or await actual attack before striking to remove the danger.

In 2004, my colleague the Attorney General explained the current position under international law when he said: "International Law permits the use of force in self-defence against an imminent attack but does not authorise the use of force to mount a pre-emptive strike against a threat which is more remote…military action must only be used as a last resort….the force must be proportionate." Difficult as it is, I think all of us here – including representatives from academia, the legal profession, diplomacy and journalism need to consider these issues now rather than waiting for the next threat to come along, and I’ll explain why. ...

But what if another threat develops? Not Al Qaeda. Not Muslim extremism. Something none of us are thinking about at the moment. The proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction has coincided with the growth of those prepared to use them. We know that terrorist groups continue to try and acquire such weapons and that they have described their willingness to use them. We also know that they continue to seek opportunities to launch attacks on a similar or greater scale as 9/11. Hopefully, we would learn of any such threat before any atrocities had been committed. I believe we would have strong legal grounds to take action to protect ourselves against attack. I also suspect that others would disagree. A debate would centre around "imminence". The very significant consequences of action or inaction in these circumstances should give us all pause for thought.

John Reid's last point challenges the principle of territorial sovereignty which has underpinned international law since the Peace of Westphalia. "Following the Thirty Years' War ... the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 established the notion of territorial sovereignty as a doctrine of noninterference in the affairs of other nations." The doctrine of noninterference resulted in the opacity of sovereignty, in which the community of nations was literally blind to acts committed by sovereigns within their borders, however brutal those might be. Saddam Hussein for example, could gas the Kurds and the US actions to topple him for these and other reasons are perceived by some (such as by the Christian Peacemaker Teams, for example) as "illegal".  But Reid asks whether this opacity can still be sustained.

Again, we can illustrate the relevance of the question by reference to our own domestic history. Most of us in this room can remember an ethos in our culture in this country whereby it was accepted that police would arrest a man for punching his neighbour, but would decline to get involved if he did the same to his wife. Society and the law's approach to domestic violence changed, thankfully, and I am extremely proud that this government has done so much to reflect those changes with the new legislation and public campaigns. The question is how far we need to go in considering similar developments in international law. Just as in the Balkans in the early 1990s, we can find ourselves operating in situations where the state is either unwilling or unable to protect its citizens from murderous attacks.


Reid's points taken together comprehensively call into question the international constitutional system. It is unlikely the issues raised by those questions will be resolved any time soon because those issues are typically addressed by the victors after a war (Utrecht, Westphalia, Vienna, Versailles, etc) to codify a consensus that has emerged in the course of events. All one can say with the conflict still in progress is that current concepts of the Rules of War, pre-emption and territorial sovereignty will be called into question; that they will change under the pressure of future events is all but certain; but what they will change into is anybody's guess.

Reid, before becoming the UK equivalent of SecDef was "a former member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (of which he has said: 'I used to be a Communist. I used to believe in Santa Claus')" and his views may be colored by his background. But I have no doubt that Reid's remarks, whatever their actual merit, are the first stirrings of a debate which will eventually reshape the international environment of the 21st century. And the world is changing. Austin Bay links to a long article in the National Journal which talks about a new "strategic convergence" within NATO which basically asserts the alliance is gradually going to war as concretely expressed by its growing commitment to combat in Afghanistan. One of the implied objectives of NATO's Afghan commitment is to gain experience in a new kind of warfare for which most of its members are unprepared but a recent hearing of the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations on Islamic Extremism in Europe strongly suggests that for the Continent at least, the war will also have a significant domestic component.

Daniel Benjamin, a NSC staffer for the Clinton Administration testified that:

It is an unwelcome irony that Europe, which emerged from the Cold War more united, peaceful and prosperous than at any other time in history, may be threatened by jihadist violence as much as any other part of the world outside Iraq. Europe, as home to the world's largest Muslim diaspora, is at the heart of the battle over Muslim identity. ... For example, according to a 2002 survey of Muslims in Great Britain, 41 percent of the respondents under thirty-five years of age described themselves as solely “Muslim,” rather than “British and Muslim,” which was one of the other choices on the questionnaire. ... Let me simply note that, without a doubt, European Muslims had ample discontents before the U.S. toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein. ...

Prospects for the containment of radicalism must be seen in the near term as limited. ... Not surprisingly, Britain’s Muslims are not particularly happy with how they are treated by the wider society. ... Two in three stated that anti-terrorism laws are applied unfairly against Muslims, nearly half would oppose an oath of allegiance to Britain ... When some of the British government’s top civil servants met after the Madrid bombings to discuss how to defeat al Qaeda domestically, the picture that confronted them was deeply unsettling. Muslims had three times the unemployment rate of the entire population -- only 48 percent of the Muslim population was working ...

The other experts testified more or less in the same vein: Europe was smack in the middle of the War on Terror and the danger was real. And if its undersized militaries were unsuited to fight Al Qaeda in Central Asia they were little better off at home. It is in this context that some of Reid's most disturbing remarks must be read.

Here at home, we in the UK have recognised the need to update our approach. In the face of the new terrorist threat, we have made appropriate legal changes in our domestic legislation. For instance, we have changed our domestic legislation relating to maximum period of detention before charge. We may disagree about the length of time that we should hold people but there is a general consensus that there was good reason to extend that period. We have also introduced a new offence of "Glorifying Terrorism"

The issues that Reid raised were all prefigured in one way or the other by the US experience from 2002 to the present. They find their echoes in the Plame Affair. Guantanamo Bay. The McCain Amendment. In Iraq. That these problems are now coming to the general attention of Europe suggests that the problems themselves are real. If so, there is no Last Helicopter out of the situation unless it can take us away from the 21st century.


Blogger orlandoslug said...

what a tough balancing act!!

what are the odds of gaining consensus on this one...

...unless it was somehow viewed as temporary, until things improved.

Our foundations are built on solid, upright values that have stood the test of time in a forward looking society seeking to go about its business...

...but some areas are low lands, plagued by the swamp and muck. To prepare the site so that a conventional foundation can be laid, often a temporary surcharge, or overburden must be set in place for a period until the unsuitable soil beneath is consolidated, settled and considered permanently which point the surcharge is removed, and the foundation laid...

4/09/2006 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger Moneyrunner said...

9/11 seems to have been a wake-up call for a relatively small number of people. The vast majority on the Left still seem to be fixated on the concept of nation-states as the sole actors in a genuine war. Everything else is simply a crime, to be dealt with as crimes always are: with evidence gathering, manhunts, arrests, hearings, trials and jail time.

In their world, a jihadi with a nuke is simply a well armed crook.

4/09/2006 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Are we moving to phase 2 in the war against the Arab empire?

While the Iraqis kill each other and Iran (and Egypt?) is destabilised, Europe finally manoeuvres to legitimise the inevitable bloodshed on the Europe's streets.

The fault lines are moving.


4/09/2006 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger Bon Air said...

The first challenge is to actually recognize that there is a growing problem. The bigger challenge is to find a consensus on what to do about it.

Considering the more recent behavior of some UN member states and the results of their actions or inactions, adherance to an international protocol adopted by such an inept organization does not inspire confidence.

Secdef Donald Rumsfeld has said that the US military has become more of an "institutional" military. We need a military that is lean and prepared for rapid deployment as a quick strike force. I believe our military forces need to be adjusted to address the type of armed conflict we see in this new century. I believe it is also difficult to make fundemental changes in an institutional military. What I am not sure of is trying to make these adjustments in an actual conflict. Perhaps this is why we have 130,000 troops in Iraq now when we had 575,000 over there for the first Gulf War.

Adapt and improvise. Does Europe recognize the problem? Will there be a consensus?

4/09/2006 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...


The buzz is growing over the discussion of tactical nukes to be used against Iranian nuclear facilities. The Left, MSM, many foreign pundits and hopefully the Iranians believe Bush is smart enough, dumb enough, crazy enough or reckless enough to do it. There is talk about a bazillion ton explosive test in Las Vegas and members of JCS resigning in protest over proposed nuclear weapon use. This is the background music you would want if the decision were to put an ultimatum to Iran.

The world has heard this song before from this administration. Iran gives no credibility to the EU negotiations. They know the EUros are feckless. They also believe that Bush could do it. They know that Bush is in trouble in Iraq and would like to fix that. De-fanging Iran would take some of the starch out of Iranian leaning Iraqi Shiites. In the ME, strength attracts, weakness repels. Bush does not need a ground presence in Iran to do major damage to Iran. I am no fan of Bush but you have to take him seriously. The Iranians do. The increased tempo of Bush going it alone and as Dr. Strangelove may start some serious negotiations. May, but maybe not.

If not, Bush has the whole world in a panic. He moves forward deployed assets to advanced battle readiness, air assets out of EU bases that may not allow nuclear missions from these bases. Two members of the JCS take an early out "in protest". The Iranians know he is not kidding. Maybe not.


The US takes out all Iranian naval, air, missile and air defensive assets. All conventional. All Iranian nuclear facilities are ignored. The deep underground facilities are untouched. Command and control facilities are heavily targeted. The world takes a deep sigh of relief that neither the nuclear facilities were hit nor TNW were used. Iran has a huge gaping hole in its military structure and will have to pay for and restore that. The mullahs are humiliated leaving some room for indigenous counter regime response. The nuclear option is all still on the table.

I do not know that war with Iran is inevitable, desirable or even necessary. It never was with the Soviet Union and they had steel teeth. I suggest what I see as a possible developing strategy for your Sunday entertainment.

4/09/2006 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/09/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Wretchard said...
"The other experts testified more or less in the same vein: Europe was smack in the middle of the War on Terror and the danger was real. And if its undersized militaries were unsuited to fight Al Qaeda in Central Asia they were little better off at home."

The Europeans have effectively halted further muslim immigration into Europe. They have made a good commitment to Afghanistan and in varying degrees in Iraq.( including not helpful) They have at least recognized the problems in Iran. We need to encourage their increased cooperation and resolve

4/09/2006 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I wonder if we are trying to apply the modern concept of Situational Ethics - and its corollary, Situational Punishment - to international relations - or if we are merely trying to escape from it.

Situational Ethics holds that the definition of a crime must be driven by the type of person that committed it, and that punishment for a crime must similarly be meted out in the same way. A drug dealer often beats the arresting policeman back to the scene of the crime. An honest man who digs an unauthorized hole on his private property is locked up for months.

Under this concept, those who live by the sword are forgiven of much more than those who escue its common and daily use.

Some struggle to apply this internationally - while others have come to the realization that such an approach is at best immoral and at worst criminally stupid.

4/09/2006 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But, rwe, most posters here demand situational ethics be applied in US Policies.

We are allowed to "preempt" a distant Iranian threat, Mr Cheney demands that the Iranians abandon what is allowed under the NPT. If not "all options are on the table"
This is cheered, cause we're the "good guys"

That includes nuclear weapons, according to Mr Hersh and others reporting.
In Iran's War with Israel, Israel should be "wiped of the map". according to the Iranians. Seems they want "all options on the table" as well.

In other than situational ethics the two threats would balance. Like the threat / counter threat of the Cold War. Like the rhetoric of US selling the Soviets the rope to hang ourselves, overlooked.

Instead the US proposes to abandon past International accords, like those in the UN Charter referenced by our host, and attack Iran because of extreme rhetoric, while little real threat exists.

The absence of a serious threat, from Iran, permeates most of the posts made, here. Most believe the US will be like a hot knife in butter, slicing and dicing to our hearts content, with no recriprical threat seen.

If Iranians do not pose a Military threat to US in Iran, there can not be a signifigant Military threat to US, elsewhere.

If the Iranians REALLY supported International Terror, if there was PROOF and not just conjecture, the US would have already moved forward, as per the Bush Doctrine. Or the ethics of Mr Bush's Policies are situationaly driven.

If the real issue was Nuke polifieration the Pakistanis, Indians and Israelis would all be on the target list, as well.

4/09/2006 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a can of worms!

We will be forced to reevaluate current international law and rebalance between security and freedom. It's been obvious that the Geneva Convention as well as US Laws are inadequate against a global jihad.

The problem, in our all too PC world, is how to reconcile and restructure in the face of partisan and irrational political opposition, rampant, global anti-Americanism and an adversial UN. Is the west ready to realistically address the inevitable human rights and security problems posed by the current Islamic uprising?

It appears that the elites are beginning to appreciate the grim realities but significant and possibly insurmountable portions of the European, US, Canadian and Australian populations still suffer from cognitive dissonance. Not recognizing existential threats or perhaps because of political animosities, these groups frustrate efforts to profile, surveil, prevent attacks, detain, and interrogate. It is probable that these groups will block the necessary military and social adjustments until only draconian measures will suffice.

Hard choices must be made and the only thing we know for certain is that our world has changed.

4/09/2006 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

The reason the laws of war must change is because they already HAVE CHANGED or rather NEVER EXISTED for the kind of suicidal, state-less enemies we met on 9/11.

4/09/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Shaking the Foundations may be an underestimation of the tectonic changes occurring across the globe. Maybe only phrases like "clash of civilizations" and "battle for modernity" can place speeches like John Reid's into any meaningful perspective.

These are big issues. It's unfortunate that they are occurring at a time when the institutions best positioned to confront them, national legislatures, mass media, religious organizations, and 'intellectuals' are the least prepared for the confrontation.

We hear ad infinitum about the President's approval ratings but almost never that only one in four Americans has any confidence in the ability of US Congress. The Left has been successful in removing God from the public square but at the cost of trashing the ethical-moral roadmap the religious tradition had provided.

There's much to be done. I would start by slapping the complainers. If the Conversation doesn't move from crude auditions for People magazine our grandchildren will pay a heavy price.

4/09/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

MEET THE PRESS..Kerry is looking for a Swift boat to get him out of the studio......

4/09/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Ralph Peters wieghs in on Iran

"... The crucial question is whether the Iranians are still playing at brinksmanship, hoping to spook us into passivity as they build nuclear weapons, or if they've already convinced themselves that a conflict with the United States is inevitable.

Given the closed nature of Iran's ruling clique, it's impossible to know. The most-probable situation is that differing factions within the leadership are at different stages of willingness for war, with some ready to fight and others fearful. ... "

" ... The most worrisome possibility is that they may have convinced themselves they can win.

FROM the Iranian perspec tive, it may appear that we're fully committed militarily - and they've probably wildly over-estimated the "anti-war" constituency in the U.S. Tehran certainly evidences no understanding of the depths of America's military resources, of our decision-making processes - or of NASCAR America's inevitable reaction to attacks on our Navy (or on the fuel supplies for our SUVs). ... "

" ... The extremists in Tehran actually may believe that they could win a military exchange, that they could stymie our Navy in the Gulf, interrupt oil exports and make any conflict so costly to us and to the world economy that we'd be forced to back down. They doubtless count on support from Beijing and Moscow - much as Saddam did.

Their calculations would be devastatingly wrong.

We can hope otherwise, but Iran's leaders may already have concluded that war is unavoidable - and even desirable, for religious, regional and domestic reasons. ... "

That is similar to what Mr Phares at counterterrorism blog wrote, the Iranians see US attacks not as a negotiating point, but as guarenteed. Mr Hersh made the same point.

" ... SHOULD Tehran ignite a combat exchange, we need to ensure not only that Iran's nuclear-weapons program is crippled, but that its broader capabilities are shattered. ... "
" ... BUT a half-hearted military response to Iranian aggres sion would only strengthen the confidence of our enemies and invite future confrontations.

We pulled too many punches in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and now we're paying the price. If Tehran drags us into war, we should make the conflict so devastating and painful that even our allies are stunned. ... "

Stunning, one can only hope, but if past performance is an indication of future performance, not likely.

The link to Mr Peters at the NY Post.

4/09/2006 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Hersh is now on of the sources used in this Timesonline report. Although there are others cited.

Sarah Baxter has written a lengthy piece. She envisions a massive conventional air strikes, taking out Iranian Nuclear capacity, in one night, in the run up to the election, in '08.

There is to much "good stuff" to even attempt a cut and paste.
Gunning for Iran. Check it out.

while the drums beat on.

4/09/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Germane to this topic, David Reiff's New Age of Imperial Liberalism, written in 1999:

The conclusion is inescapable. At the present time, only the West has both the power and, however intermittently, the readiness to act. And by the West, one really means the United States. Obviously, to say that America could act effectively if it chose to do so as, yes, the world's policeman of last resort, is not the same thing as saying that it should. Those who argue, as George Kennan has done, that we overestimate ourselves when we believe we can right the wrongs of the world, must be listened to seriously. So should the views of principled isolationists. And those on what remains of the left who insist that the result of such a broad licensing of American power will be a further entrenchment of America's hegemony over the rest of the world are also unquestionably correct.

But the implications of not doing anything are equally clear. Those who fear American power are-this is absolutely certain-condemning other people to death [...]

However controversial it may be to say this, our choice at the millennium seems to boil down to imperialism or barbarism. Half-measures of the type we have seen in various humanitarian interventions and in Kosovo represent the worst of both worlds. Better to grasp the nettle and accept that liberal imperialism may be the best we are going to do in these callous and sentimental times.

Indeed, the real task for people who reject both realism and the utopian nihilism of a left that would prefer to see genocide in Bosnia and the mass deportation of the Kosovars rather than strengthen, however marginally, the hegemony of the United States, is to try to humanize this new imperial order-assuming it can come into being-and to curb the excesses that it will doubtless produce.

4/09/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

The primary international legislation are the Geneva conventions, descended from the Hague conventions. These were framed by Imperial powers as rules of fair play between themselves. Consequently, except for the left side of the political spectrum looney interpretations, it is clear from the text that the conventions were never meant to apply to uncivilized opponents (who do not respect the laws and customs of war).

They may be treated in any manner appropriate with national legislation.

Of course, the US sponsored 1949 version of the Geneva convention in a surge of compassion (for lack of a better description) rather unfortunately outlawed the taking of hostages, and any proactive means against civilians. Hostages were one of the time honored means of dealing with irregular opponents, from the Pax Romana onwards. This puts us 100% on the defensive, since one cannot (legitimately) oppress pre-terrorists (a.k.a The Arab Street. Think Hamas kids with toy bomb belts or the madrassas or Islamoid mullahs)). The terrs have the initiative by law.

But Reid is hardly speaking of changing the rose tinted glasses provisions of the conventions back to the more realistic pre-49 version. He may mean rewriting international law to mean - well, what it already means, but like you know, understandable even to pinko politicians.

Though now that I think about it, that may be be some advance :).

International law already now, and has always, allowed virtually ANY indignity/horror to be visited on terrorists. Given the overreaction to the very mild abuses at Abu Ghraib, the question is rather how much society will stomach.

4/09/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Moeurs Contemporaines


Mr. Styrax


Mr. Hecatomb Styrax, the owner of a large estate
and of large muscles,
A "blue" and a climber of mountains, has married
at the age of 28,
He being at that age a virgin,
The term "virgo" being made male in medieval latinity;
His ineptitudes
Have driven his wife from one religious excess to another.
She has abandoned the vicar
For he was lacking in vehemence;
Sheis now the high-priestess
Of a modern ethical cult,
And even now Mr. Styrax
Does not believe in


His brother has taken to gipsies,
But the son-in-aw of Mr. H. Styrax
Objects to perfumed cigarettes.
In the parlance of
Niccolo Machiavelli:
"Thus things proceed in
their circle";
And thus the empire is

- Ezra Pound, 1918

4/09/2006 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Hey, peter boston, better find another Gitmo cot, this retired Marine Corps Lt General is complaining.

I'd stack his service to the Republic against anyones, including yours.

" ...
Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war. Here, for the first time, Newbold goes public with a full-throated critique:

In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture—who became career members of the military during those rough times—the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again. From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq—an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat—al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough. ... "

" ... To those of you who don't know, our country has never been served by a more competent and professional military. For that reason, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it. ... "

" ... the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions—or bury the results. ... "

" ... Flaws in our civilians are one thing; the failure of the Pentagon's military leaders is quite another. Those are men who know the hard consequences of war but, with few exceptions, acted timidly when their voices urgently needed to be heard. When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction. ... "

" ... The consequence of the military's quiescence was that a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort. There have been exceptions, albeit uncommon, to the rule of silence among military leaders. Former Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki, when challenged to offer his professional opinion during prewar congressional testimony, suggested that more troops might be needed for the invasion's aftermath. The Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense castigated him in public and marginalized him in his remaining months in his post. ... "

A Marine Corps General speaks his mind

Sounds a lot like what I've been saying for over a year.
It's great, peter boston, I've got a new roomie.

4/09/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...



At sixteen she was a potential celebrity
With a distaste for caresses.
She now writes to me from a convent;
Her life is obscure and troubled;
Her second husband will not divorce her;
Her mind is, as ever, uncultivated, and no issue presents itself.
She does not desire her children, or any more children.
Her ambition is vague and indefinite.
She will neither stay in, nor come out.

4/09/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...



Upon learning that the mother wrote verses,
And that the father wrote verses,
And that the youndest son was in a publisher's office,
And that the friend of the second daughter was undergoing a novel,
The young American pilgrim
"This is a darn'd clever bunch!"

4/09/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Sarah Baxter has written a lengthy piece. She envisions a massive conventional air strikes, taking out Iranian Nuclear capacity, in one night, in the run up to the election, in '08."

Talk about leaving a steaming pile of sh*t in the new guy's In Box.

4/09/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...


Sketch 48 b. II

At the age of 27
Its home mail is still opened by its maternal parent
And its office mail may be opened by the its parent of the opposite gender.

It is an officer, and a gentleman, and an architect.

4/09/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...


"Nodier raconte..."


At a friend of my wife's there is a photograph,
A faded, pale brownish photograph, Of the times when the sleeves were large,
Silk stiff and large above the lacertus,
That is, the upper arm,
And decollete...

It is a lady,
She sits at a harp,

And by her left foot, in a basket,
Is an infant, aged about 14 months,
The infant beams at the parent,
The parent re-beams at its offspring.
The basket is lined with satin,
There is a satin-like bow on the harp.


And in the home of the novelist
There is a satin-like bow on an harp.
You eter and pass hall after hall,
Conservatory follows conservatory,
Lillies lift their white symbolical cups,
WHence their symbolical pollen has been excerpted,
Near them I notice an harp
And the blue satin ribbon,
And the copy of "Hatha Yoga"
And the neat piles of unopened, unopening books.

And she spoke to me of the monarch, And of the purity of her soul.

4/09/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...



After years of continence
He hurled himself into a sea of six women.
Now, quenched as the brand of Meleager, he lies by the poluphloisboius sea-coast.


Siste Viator.

4/09/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

point: what the governments WONT do, the people will..

in eurabia i see an ever hostile islamic population, living in SELF imposed Ghettos (from venice, the 1st FORCED area (canon foundry) for Jews) (funny aint it?)
where this hostile population will demand food, electricly, aid, funding as part of their civil rights (sounds like the paleio's doesnt it?)

at one point, when the economies of eurabia (europe - old tense) cannot support BOTH the natives and the newbies in a lifestyle of their lazy choosing, they will clash, the "police" will be impodent, the ghettos will burn, populations will flee and be exchanged...

at the same time, populations IN the islamic world will understand WHOM is the enemy and will start to take matters in their own hand, i see mosques burning in the middle of the night, i see car bombs thru out the islamic world, not just at the infidel, but rather BACK at the Imams.

at the same time, look to the USA to preach Islam is the ROP!

I see that outstretched hand, clasping the weapon of our Nation... That hand, clasping the symbol that we hold so dear, that terrifies Islam...

I see that hand, clasp with a cold one....

A cold Beer will save our Republic!

Funny thing is it's true...

4/09/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...


I Vecchii

They will come no more,
The old men with beautiful manners.

Il etait comme un petit garcon
With his blouse full of apples
And sticking out all the way round,
Blagueur! "Con gli occhi onesti e tardi,"

And he said:
"Oh Abelard!" as if the topic were much too abstruse for his comprehension,
And we talked about "the Great Mary"
And said: "Mr. Pound is shocked at my levity."
When it turned out he meant Mr. Ward.

And the other has rather like my bust by Gautier,
Or like a real Texas colonel,
He said: "Why flay dead horses? There was once a man called Voltaire."

And he said they used to cheer Verdi.
In Rome, after the opera,
And the guards couldn't stop them,

And that was an anagram from Vittorio Emanuele Re D'Italia,
And the guards couldn't stop them.

Old men with beautiful manners,
Sitting in the Row of a morning;
Walking on the Chelsea Embankment.

4/09/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...



And she said:
"You remember Mr. Lowell,
He was your ambassador here?"
And I said: "That was before I arrived."
And she said:
"He stomped into my bedroom...
(By that time she had got on to Browning.)
...stomped into my bedroom...
And said: "Do I,
I ask you, Do I
Care too much for society dinners?"
And I wouldn't say that he didn't.
Shelley used to live in this house."

She was a very old lady,
I never saw here again.

4/09/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

It has been interesting, at least to me, to observe the ascendency of Liberal international law theory in the past five years, which is really what Reid's statement is all about.

The theoretical faultlines in the past were between Realism and Liberalism (an excellent primer on this topic can be found here).


The dominant approach in international relations theory for virtually the past two millennia, from Thucydides to Machiavelli to Morgenthau, has been Realism, also known as Political Realism. Realists come in many stripes, but all typically share the following assumptions. First, they believe that States are the primary actors in the international system, rational unitary actors who are functionally identical. Second, they assume that State preferences, ranging from survival to aggrandizement, are exogenous and fixed. ...

To grasp the defining characteristics and theoretical force of Realism, it is necessary to understand not only what it includes within its analytical framework, but also what it excludes: national ideologies, from nationalism to fascism to communism; domestic regime type, from democracies to dictatorships; and transnational actors, from multinational corporations to non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Liberalism, however, is different:

Liberals assume that the nature and intensity of State preferences, determined as the aggregation of the preferences of individual and group actors represented in a particular State, will determine the outcome of State interactions. ...

Liberal theory explicitly takes domestic regime-type into account in its analysis of State behaviour. ...

The best-documented empirical distinction between different types of States by scholars working within the Liberal paradigm concerns the frequency of war among liberal States, as compared to war between liberal and non-liberal States or among non-liberal States alone. ...

If the model of law among liberal States developed here holds as a positive model, it will present international lawyers with a new set of normative challenges. We will have to redefine existing principles of international law and develop new principles to govern actors and processes that remain obscured when viewed through the lenses developed by Realist international relations theory and traditional international law to view the international system. ...

To the extent that the existing catalogue of fundamental human rights expands to include a right of ‘democratic governance’, a right Thomas Franck proposes based in part on empirical evidence of peace among liberal States, international law will take the first step toward an explicit distinction among States based on domestic regime-type.

If it is true that domestic political conditions have consequences at the level of international relations--and I believe this is inarguable--then "sovereignty" must be disaggregated to take this into account.

This is what is happening. Liberal International Law is no longer merely theory. It has now been reduced to practice.

Welcome to the new world order.

4/09/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...


- waiiit - thats a little complex, but corect me if I'm wrong, is the gist like this :

They (the US government) are talking about something like US style judicial activism being applied to international law i.e. some kind of "rights" being deduced outside of specifically written international treaty?

4/09/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

d rat
They have roomies in mental hospitals as well. You are so self congratulatory.
Perhaps the general only understands one part of a broader strategy. Everyone know how the game should have been played after the fact. Should have passed now, kicked the field goal, chipped not putted.
The "just go after AQ" mantra is so self serving, anyone who uses it should be embarrassed. The opinions of generals should be considered, but to imply they are being muzzled or they would all agree with you is ridiculous.
Stick with your story. It's the same day after day. You've said the same thing a million ways. Perseveration is a sad thing to watch.

4/09/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Not judicial activism, but a new way to think about Sovereignty.

In essence, a liberal State is left to its own vertical devices to interpret and enforce international norms within its borders. Because its constituent parts have reached the level of sovereignty, the state as a whole enjoys that distinction. This is what is meant by "disaggregating" sovereignty. The billiard-ball theory of state interaction no longer applies in a world of sub-State, trans-State, and supra-State actors.

Because of this, non-liberal States are distinquishable from liberal ones because they lack this type of vertical sovereignty. With them, International Law must be enforced horizontally, even if this means violating the classic realist definition of sovereignty: the inviolability of state policy within its borders.

In essence, "sovereignty" stems from inter-State and intra-State activity. Because intra-State dynamics can have a substantially effect on other State actors, sovereignty is no longer a domestic blank-check.

In essence, sovereignty is an effect, instead of a cause, of intra-State political reality. If the the State lacks the constituent parts that make up Liberal society, it is, by definition, a pre-sovereign territory.

4/09/2006 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I don't agree with all of the prescriptions of Liberalism, but as a way to approach and analyze international relations--for instance, the idea that one must make distinctions between regimes when applying international law--it is more realistic than realism.

4/09/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

desert rat said..."Hey, peter boston, better find another Gitmo cot, this retired Marine Corps Lt General is complaining. I'd stack his service to the Republic against anyones, including yours. ... Sounds a lot like what I've been saying for over a year. "

dRat, thanks for the link to the article by General Newbold. I read it carefully and while I greatly respect his service to the country I found his "critique" to fall flat. Here's why.

The title and lead of the article read this way: Why I Think Rumsfeld Must Go: A military insider sounds off against the war and the "zealots" who pushed it.

A title and lead that begin with the word "Why" creates a certain expectation in the reader- an expectation that an ARGUMENT will follow. I read the article slowly, line by line, and found little of anything resembling an argument. Instead I and other readers are treated to a list of complaints about and criticism of the handling of the war by the civilians and military leadership.

There is no doubt that Gen. Newbold is a patriot of the highest order, but even from someone with his credentials a list of complaints, even legitimate complaints, simply does not substitute for an argument.

In the final analysis what the General did was treat his readers to the same complaints that have been levelled since day one. I'd have liked to know more of what his alternative vision for the past was and for the future is. Instead we got this

" So what is to be done? We need fresh ideas and fresh faces. That means, as a first step, replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach. The troops in the Middle East have performed their duty. Now we need people in Washington who can construct a unified strategy worthy of them."

I have to believe that Gen. Newbold has more original ideas and more vision than this. At the conclusion of this essay I couldn't help but wish that he had started with and answered the question "What is to be done?" rather than the one he set out to answer and barely did.

Saying "the other guy should be replaced because he made mistakes" just isn't good enough for me.

4/09/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Much of what the general has to say is only remarkable, only controversial, because he's saying it publically rather than in closed company.

4/09/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

bon air,

Re: your 5:24 AM

Since the First Iraq War, the armed forces of the United States have been cleaved of 40% of active duty personnel. Even if Mr. Rumsfeld had been so inclined, and he might have been, to field a far larger force in the Second Iraq War, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker would have had to be thrown into battle. You cannot fight with ghost armored and infantry divisions.

By the way, General Shinseki and his peers, now claiming that the small force utilized and now deployed to Iraq is proof of Mr. Rumsfeld's incompetence, were mute as their services were eviscerated by the Bush I and Clinton administrations.

4/09/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger woof111 said...

----By the way, General Shinseki and his peers, now claiming that the small force utilized and now deployed to Iraq is proof of Mr. Rumsfeld's incompetence, were mute as their services were eviscerated by the Bush I and Clinton administrations.----

Saw this first and had to acclaim the thought. I was part of the great 'peace dividend' that we awarded ourselves by going from 17 divisions to 10. That dividend was spent -on what?--- and now he have our lefties telling us we are unable to field a larger force, we are tied down in a quagmire!

I also resent the politicization that results from the meme that Shinseki was retired because of his judgement on force packages. He retired on schedule that was planned just like all generals. You reach thirty x years and you have retirement.

4/09/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: "war with Iran is inevitable"

War with Iran, by one means or another, is inevitable, and has been so since the unavenged deaths of hundreds of my Marines in Beirut, 1983. When a government allows the proxies of a fascist regime to violate international law and commit mass-murder without consequence, the fascists are, thereafter, irretrievably emboldened.

As Wretchard has indicated, international understandings come into being after victory. Historically, however, the shelf-life of these treaties has never been of the duration anticipated by the framers. Aggressors care less, and there will ALWAYS, yea, verily, Amen, ALWAYS be aggressors.

The error consistently made by civilized men is to project their own sense of decency onto their barbarian foes, e.g. Islam is the "religion of peace." Consequently, the cost of reordering the international system is exponentially increased.
It is a truism, incontestable even to international politics, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

4/09/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...


I see that, but any law is only relevant as its enactment. Since that means enforcement, it sounds like a series of weasel excuses to get inside other countries business at every turn. Considering the [sarcasm] brilliantly successfull [/sarcasm] interventions in Kosovo and Somalia that is rather worrying.

I may be dense, but where exactly is seen the need to move away from the existing system to deal with terrorists?

4/09/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

le rat,

The forehand for you and the back of it for le general. Belly aching is not a plan. Never has been. Never will be.

4/09/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

It's impossible to imagine that a UN that can't agree on a definition of terrorism will agree on a new treaty defining sovereign states' right to act against terrorists. It's also exceedingly unlikely that the UN will agree on a treaty legitimizing the right of pre-emption while the drums of war are beating out the tune of "It's time to bomb Teheran."

As Wretchard suggests, these things will have to wait until after the war is over, when the victors can dictate their demands.

As a practical matter, the right of self-defense will justify actions of the US and any coalition of the willing.

4/09/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

It's my understanding that the reason why we have rules like the Geneva Convention was there were actions in war that offered no real tactical advantage and brought only misery to both sides. The classic example was the use of poison gas during World War I. There was an initial advantage in using poison gas but the opposition quickly developed counter-measures. In the end there was no tactical advantage and after the war, thousands of men were left blind or with ruined lungs.

Rules like the Geneva Convention assume both sides are rational. I doubt that the framers of the Geneva Convention envisioned their rules applying towards men dressed as women using suicide bombs to murder worshippers in a mosque. What relevance is the Geneva Convention or any sort of rules against this level of hate? Our basic confusion comes from not recognizing that the Islamic fascists are so insane with hatred that they will not act in their own best interests. I should add that this basic confusion also clouds our ability to understand what the Iranians intend with their nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

4/09/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

desert rat, 7:47 AM

"could stymie our Navy in the Gulf, interrupt oil exports and make any conflict so costly to us and to the world economy"

When you hear a newsreader report that the mechanical failure of a ship in the Straight of Hormuz has temporarily halted shipping, thereby, causing a price jump in the spot market, the war is on.

4/09/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Of course I stick to the storyline, I percieve it to be true.
Like trish & the General I share in the perspective of both a veteran and one with loved ones out on the wire.

That a three star Marine Corps General speaks, as they say now adays, truth to power, is enlightening. Most often, in Public, three stars represents the power, not the truth.

As to sterling's comments on the Generals lack of "where do we go from here", I agree, the General falls short.

I proposed, here, months ago an alternative scenario in Iraq.
1. Begin with drawing US conventional force, to be completed in aprox 18 months.
2. Obtain basing rights for prepositioned equipment and the troops to maintain and defend it. aprox 20,000 - 25,000, about the same as our Korean contingent.
3. Increase US troop intergration into the ISF and Police. Develop a ratio of from 1 to 8 or 1 to 10 US to Iraqis throughout the ISF and Police. aprox 30,000-35,000 troops.

Close air support could be handled from the equipment depots of from off shore.

The integrated troops would remain for an indetermined length of time, but aprox 5 years would be needed for influencing their Military culture, positively.

At this point I'd encouurage the gridlock in the Iraqi Government. I would not interfere with the process.
I would focus on further developing the ISF, in Turkey's old model.

4/09/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

After SDH's post, I decided to take a look at D'Rat's self-justifying "authority." I am, to say the least, unimpressed. Newbold writes:

I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq—an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. ...

The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood.

Ironically, Newbold writes in the idiom of zealotry to accuse his opponents of being zealots. His word choice demeans his subject matter and casts a pall of ridiculousness on the whole article.

That's what I thought even before I began to substantively critique his message.

Firstly, it is obvious that Newbold's analysis of the war has been colored by his continued opposition to it. (He states that the rationale for war "made no sense," and that OIF was "unnecessary.")

Newbold expresses concern that a precipitous withdrawal would "reinforce the jihadists' message that America can be defeated, and thus increase the chances of future conflicts", yet he doesn't mention the message that would have been sent had Saddam been able to defy the UN, and even more significantly the US, and stare down the international community. Nor does he mention the utility to the jihadist recruitment effort of having Americans stationed in Saudi Arabia.

He talks about the "failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder", yet doesn't mention that our primary concern was getting the Kurds and Shiites to buy into a unified Iraq--something that would have been impossible without a thorough de-Baathification of the army and government.

Newbold criticizes the "alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq", yet doesn't name these willing-but-sensitive partners for peace. Surely he can't be talking about France, who actively worked against us on all fronts to protect its investment in Saddam Hussein's Iraq; or Russia, whose ambassador was actively trying to help Saddam fight and win the war; or China, whose foreign policy can most aptly be characterized as a determination to frustrate any expression of American power anywhere on the globe. Surely Newbold cannot mean them.

Newbold states that our commitment to the war was one of "casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions—or bury the results." Who is he talking about here? What is he talking about? The war-plan, all the way through to phase four stabilization, was put together and implemented by military men, men who have seen battle and buried friends.

So, to Newbold's demagoguery, we must now add irrationality. I can see why Time magazine liked him.

Newbold states twice that "intelligence [was] distorted to justify a rationale for war", but doesn't provide any evidence for this. Several bi-partisan investigations have now been concluded, and all of them refute this point. Newbold, it seems, is someone who will hold onto his opinions at any cost--not the best attribute in a general.

Newbold says our only enemy is al'Qaeda. Even if this were true, which it's not, Newbold's analysis would still fall flat. If al'Qaeda is our sworn enemy, willing to fight us to the death of their last man, then we can do nothing about their intentions. The only thing we can affect is their capabilities. Eliminating the most obvious nodes of WMD supply then becomes the corollary imperative to eliminating al'Qaeda itself. That means going after Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. I remember someone saying something about that trio, once. 'Axis' of something or other. Must have slipped my mind.

So, in summary, Newbold sounds like an idiot. Now, I don't think an idiot gets to be Lieutenant General, so there must be something else going on.

Perhaps we should delve into his motives and objectives for this "unnecessary" critique, because his rationales "make no sense."

4/09/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

where exactly is seen the need to move away from the existing system to deal with terrorists?

I am obviously failing at communicating this idea. Either it's my prose, or the idea itself has a high entry-barrier. I apologize, either way.

4/09/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

War with Iran?

In Oct 1987 the Ayatollah Kohoumeni declared war on the United States. The takeover of our embassy in Tehran occured 8 years earlier, in 1979.

We have been at war with Iran for a minimum of 18 years - using the declaration of its leader - or 27 years, judged by its actions. I hardly think that a justification for action against that country is required; a justification for inaction may well be.

As for the statements of Gen Newbold, my years in the Pentagon indicated that very few of the General officers there were capable of strategic thought - most especially those who were in the area titled "operations." The cutbacks of the immediate post-Cold War years, combined with the "invasion of the month club" approach of the Clinton Admin caused most, if not all, to focus on the immediate problems at hand - including, most especially, protecting favored programs and careers.

4/09/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

well your reading of the Generals article MAY be right on. As to his motives or intelligence, I have little insight. Except that three stars are HARD to come by if you're an idiot, incompetent, or mentally defecient.
Three stars can often wrong, though.

Your idea "That means going after Iraq, Iran, and North Korea." is not idiotic but leaves out the Wahabbist nuclear capacity in Pakistan, the one the Saud funded.

That is actually the greatest WMD threat in the World. Nuclear weapons in a country engaged in a Mohammedan Civil War, or at least an Insurgency, or at least a Jihadist terror campaign.
Whose definitions are we to use.

4/09/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...


Thanks for your link to Gen. Newbold's article. He lists all the things we've done wrong in this "invented war" such as Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department.

I wish he had spent more time on why he believes Iraq is an "invented war." We and the rest of the world had instituted UN sanctions and enforced them with no-fly zones for over a decade. It seems prudent that we acted more vigorously after 9/11.

We now know the Oil-for-Food thing was fatally flawed by a huge payoff to our former "allies" in France and Russia, therefore contrary to popular opinion it was not "working."

I wish Gen. Newbold would project what would have happened if we didn't go into Iraq, even given all the horrible-in-hindsight mistakes. It seems likely the sanctions regime would be done by now, and instead of one potential wmd enemy in Iran in the ME, we would now be facing two, Iran and Iraq.

And what more would our resources have done to attack Al Qaeda - invade Pakistan? Invade Saudi Arabia? C'mon, gimme a clue.

What should we have done instead, that's what I wish knowledgeable military guys would tell us - not micromanage in hindsight, tell us what the grand strategy should have been after 9/11.

Also, I notice Gen. Newbold has a personal ax to grind with Rummy. Here's snip from Gertz' "Inside the Ring" from 8/2/02:

General retires
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, director of operations for the Pentagon's joint staff, is retiring after more than 30 years. But he is not being allowed to step down without taking a few more jabs from his bosses.

Gen. Newbold, in a briefing for reporters last year, said U.S. airstrikes had "eviscerated" Taliban military capabilities shortly after bombing raids began Oct. 7.

A few days later, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld publicly chastised the craggy Marine combat veteran for overstating the effect of the initial airstrikes, even though what the three-star general said eventually came true.

To mark Gen. Newbold's departure, Mr. Rumsfeld cued a videotape made up of broadcast comments of the general making the remarks. Shown to reporters in the Pentagon press briefing room, the tape was followed by the ribbing he took from Mr. Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard Meyers, who joked on a Sunday television show that he was surprised a Marine even knew what "eviscerated" meant. The soundtrack for the video was Johnny Mathis' 1957 classic "It's Not For Me To Say."

The video ended with a clip of a much-younger Mr. Rumsfeld talking about fish being "eviscerated" in the 1970s, when he was an economic adviser.

Asked by Mr. Rumsfeld to make some comments, Gen. Newbold joked that he would use only one-syllable words.

Please, somebody, lay it out for me how we'd be further along now without invading Iraq at all. (I can lay it out for you how we'd be a lot further along if we'd been more vigorous from Day One.)

I write this with sincere respect for Gen. Newbold and our military.

4/09/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...

There's a spate of articles purporting to describe a bombing campaign against Iran led by a piece from Seymour Hersh. A bombing campaign on Iran makes no sense to me unless there are further plans for a regime change. But this is precisely the situation the US was in vis-a-vis Iraq three and a half years ago and even earlier, during the Clinton era. The Iraq bombings solved nothing, though there will those who argue that occupying Iraq solved nothing either. In recognition of that fact some have advocated allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon ("get over it" as some commenters have said) and then negotiating with them, like the EU, to moderate the Mullah's behavior. But oops! That solves nothing either. Those are plans A, B and C. Is there a plan D?

4/09/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A vision for an unified Iraq, get the Kurds and Shiites to "buy in"?
We postponed the Elections the Shia were desperate for. They had bought in from day one.

And where is this unified Iraq, today?

Who has not "bought in"?
Not the Shia, but the Sunni. The folk we have been fighting for the past three years. They are afraid of a dominent majority, as well they should be.

The Kurds, their enclave is safe & secure, no matter the outcome in Baghdad. They are not ill effected by the lack of a Federal Iraq. In fact it seems to be in their advantage, Federal gridlock with international Kurdish Security guaranteed by US.

4/09/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

D'Rat, your comment re: Pakistan is well taken.

I wonder, though, if Pakistan distinquished themselves by siding with America after 9/11. The character of a regime is just as important as it's possession, or lack thereof, of WMD. I think Pakistan's ruling elite, and their solid power-base comprised of educated, upper-middle class internationalists, made all the difference for Bush, as he sat down to divide the world into "us" and "them".

4/09/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

" Shaking the Foundations"...I've been advocating this more or less since I began participation on this blog.
There is no logic that can be applied to a situation where a mighty superpower is forced to fight with one hand against a foe who holds to NO rules or conventions.
To go through the UN, or at this point in history any of the established SRB's (self regulatory bodies) also makes no sense..if winning the conflict is primary.
We have massive data from our Echelon elint, NSA,MenWithHill (UK),Bad Abling,Germany, that can prove who our foes are. These sources are protected for obvious reasons but the evidence is there, trust me.
Saudi Whabbism, Syrian & Iranian idiocy. The Soviets are back in play now also, and the Chinese are wearing out their heartland to build a mighty offensive army. Very Stalin like.
The current conventions should be abandoned and the world notified that we are going to get things right. Withdraw from the UN, it couldn't make things worse. Tact-nuke, assassination, firebombing cities who are our enemies should be our gambit now.
Kill 'em in mass numbers. Then they will understand.

4/09/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

There's an article at "ThreatsWatch" about a new reentry vehicle (RV) that the Iranians have fitted on the end of their Shahab-3 ballistic missile. The article mislabels the reentry vehicle as a "triconical nosecone" (it's actually a cylinder-flare). Decades ago, the United States used cylinder-flare RV designs for the Mark-IV (Atlas and Titan-I ICBMs) and for the Polaris SLBM RV. The cylinder-flare RV was made obsolete by high ballistic coefficient sphere-cone RVs (first example was the Mark-VI used on the Titan-II). Why are the Iranians using an obsolete RV design? Maybe they are using declassified American and European reports describing older designs? Maybe their engineers are clueless and reinventing an obsolete wheel?

The RV shown by ThreatsWatch is fairly large for a nuclear warhead. However the ThreatsWatch assumption that this is for a nuclear weapon is probably valid. With a non-nuclear warhead, the Iranians would want to maximize the RV's volume to carry more explosive or chemical weapon mass (the original Shahab-3 RV did this effectively). With a nuclear warhead, the objective would be to minimize drag (maximize ballistic coefficient) to quickly pass through an ABM system's defensive envelope. I think the Iranian RV is a reply to the Israeli Arrow ABM system. Because of its size and geometry, I suspect the Iranian RV is intended for use with a gun type (Little Boy) nuclear explosive. A gun type nuclear explosive is of such a simple design that it does not need to be tested. In summary, this new RV appears to aimed at Israel for a surprise attack with an untested nuclear explosive.

Now the $64,000 question: Why did the Iranians allow us to see this new RV on their Shahab-3? Are they really deliberately telling the Israelis that they plan on nuking them as soon as possible? I can not find a rational explantion for Iran's behavior.

4/09/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Plan D:

1. Economic and naval blockade
2. Sustained bombing of military and economic assets.
3. Delivery of light arms to opposition groups. (rpg, mines, riffles, cellphone/ cameras, etc)
4. Wait.

4/09/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...


There is a school of thought that believes a massive bombing campaign to eliminate regime elements, military assets, and nuclear sites, followed by a nation-wide restriction on flights (both fixed-wing and rotor) and on convoy movements, could just possibly lead to a revolution and regime change. The thinking is this: the Mullahs are hated by enough Iranians that if one were to remove the regime's advantage in firepower and logistics, the Mullahs would meet the same fate as a Mussolini or Ceausescu.

Add to the above remote lilly-pad bases connected and supported by air-lift, where Iranian town and city leaders can meet with the Americans to discuss subsistence, counter-insurgency, and rehabilitation monies, and you have a workable battle plan that avoids much of the messiness of Iraq.

That, at least, is what the advocates say.

4/09/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: your 10:24 AM

On this site I have previously laid out for consideration the "misdeeds" of a number of flag officers (general and admiral): Fiscus, Hassan, Byrnes. Also, I have pointed out the bigoted opinions of Major General Lambert (retired). Moreover, I have referenced General Shinseki. I have not spoken to General Zinni.
Now we learn of the complaints of a retired Marine Lt. General. Something is rotten in the Pentagon.

In 2000, retiring Air Force Chief of Staff gave an exit interview to the Air Force Times. Among other things, the General was truly impressed with his ability to meet 60% of the mission, i.e. keeping planes operational. At the time, I wondered why a gentleman with such low expectations had been retained, much less elevated to the Air Force's highest office.

Again in 2000, the Army Times carried a report of the shortage of small arms ammunition. It was reported that the shortage had affected training, in that, there were instances of NO training. What or Who, I wondered, brought about such events. Why had Army general officers either ignored or countenanced this sad state of affairs?

For those without personal experience, general officers are, for the most part, political creatures. All too often their ascensions are predicated on what they say, not what they know. I seem to recall the late Barbara Olsen having written that President Bush had inherited the flag officer corps of Mrs. Clinton. Reportedly, all such officers were personally interviewed by Mrs. Clinton and had to pass her muster for advancement. If true, this might say something about the difficulties in the execution of the Second Iraq War. Even if my recollection is faulty, who can disagree that there is an obvious disconnect between the civilian policy formulators and the military executioners?

When Mr. Bush finally won the election in early 2001, I had hoped he would have the good sense to purge the Pentagon. With draconian ruthlessness, I hoped for the mass removal of most officers above the rank of Lt. Colonel. Retrospectively, my assessment might have been correct.

No matter how magnificent our fighting forces, they are stymied by a failure of leadership. Not since WW I has there been such a patent dichotomy.

4/09/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There are large numbers of Pakistanis, Afghans, Iranians, Iraqis, et al that are distinguished, that are deserving our respect and even admiration.

Iraqi and Afghan soldiers, working in hand with US.
The Pakistani that are on the Front, fighting their Insurgent Taliban elements.
The Publisher and Editors of the Daily, in Pakistan.
Iranian bus drivers that went out on strike, protesting the Government.
Most of sterling's students.

That is why I've always thought that Mr Jefferson could trump Mr Mohammed.
That is why I supported Mr Bush and his fight for human liberty, the freedom to think, independently.
I still support the Strategic Idea of exporting Liberty.
It is in the implementation of that Strategy that US, as well as General Newbold, have fallen short.

4/09/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

Bush likes permanent solutions.

Any military "option" that falls short of Iranian regime change is not permanent.

Whatever action is taken will of necessity have a major military component but Bush will not waste military lives, money, or effort "swatting at flies".

He will remove the source of the problem.


4/09/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Here's an interesting factoid that, until yesterday, I did not know:

During OIF, in addition to the carrier battle groups we had in-region, we had one stationed in the Pacific to keep a lid on China and North Korea. While not surprising, perhaps, I do find this fascinating.

4/09/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Plan D is long, slow regime change from within. AKA The "Faster, Please" Plan. Without the Faster.

4/09/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger thefewandtheplenty said...

I wouldn't count the era of big wars over just yet. Not with China's miitary buildup. So we might not be looking for any conventional wars anytime soon, give it 10 years and a lessening of America's global reach and someone will step up and challenge us in a conventional war.

4/09/2006 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Egglant's 64k question--maybe the assumption is that western intelligence knows everything already anyway, and releasing the info might further invigorate anti-war westerners.

4/09/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

Aristides said... "I decided to take a look at D'Rat's self-justifying "authority." I am, to say the least, unimpressed. "

it's late in Dubai and I will momentarily retire for the evening. Just quick note to say I appreciated the more in-depth analysis of the Lt. General's arguments or lack thereof. thanks to to drat for proposing some of the things the Lt. General might have addressed.


4/09/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

It is hard to argue that war with Iraq was necessary. It requires a yet to be proven postulate. It is easy to argue war with Iraq was avoidable. It would take a brave man to argue defense for the post-war debacle. It is unfortunate that a superb, albeit reduced US military, is governed and directed by a mediocre civilian administration. The politics practiced by this crowd is inept on a good day. I have to agree with Dan to a point. But what exactly does the position of Cammaner in Chief mean?

4/09/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...


The Army, at least, has had serious leadership problems for well over a decade now. What disturbs me is the suggestion or actual belief that general officers who served under Clinton and then Bush, and who subsequently disagreed with or were critical of the latter's appointees, cannot be taken seriously precisely because they're "holdovers". That's simply obnoxious.

Some people want to be told, every damn day, that the current administration's sh*t doesn't stink. It was the same story, with a different group, under Clinton.

4/09/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Commander in Chief

4/09/2006 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Buddy Larsen said...

"maybe the assumption is that western intelligence knows everything already anyway, and releasing the info might further invigorate anti-war westerners."

I have to confess that I find moonbats almost as incomprehensible as Iran's mullahs. That said: Why would Iran showing the world that they plan on nuking Israel ASAP, further invigorate anti-war westerners? If anything, Iran's display of intent should weaken the moonbat's anti-war arguments.

4/09/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Compliments to Wretchard for that killer last sentence (in the post), and to rat for the "Agent Muldar" reference, as a spokesman for the Heritage Foundation just used it (re the same topic) on national tv. Someone is reading this blog.

Also, I'm wondering about British politics--top officails are running to the right of GWB, yet popular voting patterns run way left. Are the Brits hard-bifurcating, a la USA?

Today three years ago, the famous Saddam-Statue video was made. Three years ain't THAT long a time, considering how more we know now re the enemy, and how much more the world has learned about our tenacity--and how much much the new extra-terrestial discipline of open-government has, despite all, gotten into the minds of the general population of the mideast.

4/09/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

eggplant, welcome to the Hotel California.

4/09/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

trish, 12:05 PM

Re: "That's simply obnoxious"

Too true. It is also disgusting and imbecilic. That, however, does not make it less true.

I leveled criticism of both immediately prior administrations to a) indicate a systemic flaw and b) demonstrate personal non-partisanship.

Even at the risk of your displeasure, many having active military service since the First Iraq War will readily attest that hacks and toadies are to be found elsewhere than the MSM.

By the way, do you disagree that flag officers have become, if they always were not, political creatures?

4/09/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Newbold states that our commitment to the war was one of "casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions—or bury the results." Who is he talking about here? What is he talking about? The war-plan, all the way through to phase four stabilization, was put together and implemented by military men, men who have seen battle and buried friends.

- aristides

And the SecDef and others stood idly by?

That, aristides, is completely untrue.

4/09/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

You have a better chance at meeting "Bigfoot" than a general officer that is not a political animal.

4/09/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Some old Greek, I think his name was Harry Stottle, said "man is by nature a political animal".

4/09/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

From the "Gunning for Iran" article:

The Sunday Times was last week given the same message. A senior White House source said Bush and Cheney were determined not to bequeath the problem of a nuclear Iran to their successors. “It’s not in their nature,” he said.

Whose nature? As I read the declarative embedded in the last sentence, I thought the author might be referring to a Democrat administration; i.e., "It's not in their nature. The Dems won't fix this problem, so W is compelled to do it." For everyone's good.

4/09/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Heritage Foundation, you say, buddy?

We're movin' on up!

4/09/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Why treat the Newbold article as anything other than just another People magazine audition? It's as informative as another What Did Paris Hilton Do Today?

4/09/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

trish, 12:05 PM


"the current administration's sh*t doesn't stink"

That would not represent my viewpoint. For example, I have here observed that I find the Friday, last, State Department's intention to fund the "Palestinian people" not merely laughably absurd, but morally corrupt and criminally negligent. They will rue the day, count on it.

However you wish to cut it, to have so many flag officers out of a population of approximately 439 - 13 March 2005, Air Force Times- so philosophically off-track MUST say something of the ascension process.

Let me suggest the case of former Air Force Maj. General Hassan (now Colonel). Among other things, this officer was a foot fetishist - comedic, but true - who practiced the fine art of the digital seduction of subordinates at the Pentagon. Now, had he been in charge of uniform protocol, his predilections might have been relatively harmless; however, the general headed the office of the Air Force that selected senior military officers, senior NCOs, and senior civil servants for advancement. Could that say something about the present situation, do you think? Furthermore, how did he, and former Major General Fiscus, whose philandering had an obvious decade long history, arrive a their positions of authority. Finally, how came such officers to be honorably discharged at the rank of Colonel, in the face of a host of criminal behaviors that both had sternly punished in subordinates?

4/09/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Because, peter boston, the fellow is a three star General, well beyond Airborne Engineer Company Commander authenticity.

That is the rub, more so than that other Marine, Mr Murtha. If a three star General is not to be believed, why should a four star?

If it is ALL bogus and partisan, than are not General Myers or Pace, also to be discounted?

If the Generals are, as Mr Bush has said, to define Victory, we had better know what is up, with them, no?

4/09/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

hope it ain't to that dee-lux apartment in the sky!

No, really, the reference was identical, to missing GWoT/Iran/Iraq connecters that someone somewhere knows--but that we the people are not (yet) prepared to handle. The guy (missed his name, was on FoxNews noonish) gave the cold outlines, then tried to lighten the finish with a smile and "Well, the Truth is Out There, as Agent Muldar would say".

4/09/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Just tryin' to influence that West Wing, buddy, now that Mr Sheen has moved along.

4/09/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

I think that the real problem for the liberal one worlders is that the global wot may have bolixed their framework formula for one world government.

The idea for the last 20 years that has come out of the cfr and is the overarching idea of annual meetings like davos has been that instead of one step to world government there -- would be a gradualist move with the first moves taking place in Europe and america. The europeans would glom together legally by fiat from above through agreements between their nomenclatura and north america would glom together illegally by illegal immigration. The wheels are flying off both ideas because the europeans model called for the addition of turkey to the mix and the north american model called for the mexico to be added to the mix.

In the end good fenses make good neigbors.

4/09/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

If Allen and Rat are right, that the vetting for high command is rotten, then we're in deep doo-doo, of such depth that one would expect to be hearing more on the subject from the ace reporters at NYTimes and CBS. Is there any chance that you guys are exercising insufficient rigor in contexting these anecdotes?

4/09/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Buddy Larsen,

If the military high command were fundamentally incompetent then changing strategies would only put the same group of incompetents in charge of the new one. The strategy of containment was run by Clinton's general officers and that didn't go too good. If the current crop are incompetents too, then if Iran is to be bombed what confidence can there be in the execution of that campaign? Why would Moe, Larry and Curley Joe be expected to do better Chess after failing at Bridge?

The US just been through a reorganization of Intelligence, after the 9/11 Commission hearings. Has that helped? How does one solve this problem?

4/09/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Perhaps, buddy, but if the discourse here is an indication, then many believe the Generals are not to be trusted.

I recall floating that idea a few weeks ago, that most of the Generals should be replaced, as exampled by Mr Lincoln, in an attempt to achieve Victory.

The condemnation of the idea by my fellow Clubbers was substantial. That thread, Generals were competent and patriotic, of the highest caliber and dedicated to Victory.
Now that a General publicly demurs from Presidental Policy, there is general condemnation of large portions of the past General Staff.

But most objections on the past thread were of a personal nature, few addressed the real issue, as is so often the case.

Outside of Panama and Grenada the US has not won a War since 1946.
Yet our Military is thought to be omnipotent, by most of US.
Our Enemies sees US as a paper tiger, that has had no Military Victories, since 1946.

If Victory is the Objective, well we have a problem, don't we?

If there is some Military Objective, other than Victory, we're fine.

4/09/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"Intelligence" and "High Command" are doomed in the image department--anything less than perfection is incompetence, since the stakes are just so damned high, and the operations are are so difficult for the laity to assess.

That's why we like to watch press conferences (rather than read the ytranscript)--we want to study faces, like around the campfire ten-thousand years ago.

4/09/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

desert rat, 12:51 PM

Re: "If a three star General is not to be believed, why should a four star?"

For sure, perception is reality in politics. But for the sake of this site, results are of more consequence than rank.

Personally, when asked to judge the integrity of a general officer (or any other, as a matter of fact) I fall back on the example of Colonel Robert E. Lee. When confronted by what he considered the overreach of his federal government he did not succumb to the temptation of accepting the most plum job in the military of the time, command of the Federal army; rather, he stated his intention to resign his commission and return to private life, unless called to the defense of the sovereignty of his state.

He could have remained in service, undermining the Union cause by philosophic inertia or outright sabotage. He could have retired to Virginia and engaged himself in propaganda, rife at the time. He could have thrown his hat into the political ring.

If and when a flag officer acts with such integrity, then, and only then, should he be taken seriously. Retroactively mouthing the mantra of the Left is not demonstrable integrity.

4/09/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

The Revolutionary War's Thomas Paine grew so disgusted with the hypocracy of disguised Tories and summmer soldiers ans sunshine patriots that he finally gave up trying to persuade them..quoting him, "this class of men, who see not the full extent of the evil that threatens them." Paine then rested his hopes on those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out."
We are there again. Going back to the Clinton administration their National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) od 2002 reach "with high confidence" that "Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires weapons grade fissile material"
Albright signed on, no dissent,Sandy Berger likewise and SECDEF Wm. Cohen was in agreement.
carl Levin,Tom Daschle,John Kerry Hillary, Robert Byrd all agreed.
The foreign intelligence agencies of our allies were all in harmony..Iraq with nukes very soon.
This is 2002 folks.
Today the sunshine and summer bloggers forget all this. It time to pick nits..
The point here is that we had THE BEST INTEL at the time to go in and had we not and Saddam nuked us or Isreal the kim chee would be waist deep.
We did the right thing and will again when we take out Syria and Iran..the intel is too deep and too good.
I can tell you from being a former CIA intelligence officer that you'll never know their successes, which are many.

4/09/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The heart of the matter is who are the civvies running the Pentagon? Most of what we don't like now is the result of the Clinton regime, and if we let this "incompetence" theme balloon past its inherent probity, guess what we'll have another one of? I know what I'm saying, and I know it sux to say that we should filter everything through the fact that the enemy is a-march, and we can easily cede the war in the Novembers of '06 and '08.

4/09/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Exactly my point, allen.
We all subscribe to Authority, in one way or another.

A General is representitive of authority, as well as responsibility. In our Culture a General has "gravitus" or he would not be a General. That is the common perception, is it not?

If ALL Generals are not of high moral fiber, intelligence and fidelity, how do we citizens pick and choose the truthful?

The yardstick for success in the Military is not Victory in Battle, battles are few and far between.
I learned that, decades ago.

In the reality of my experience, the normal Officers were intimidated and the NCO's envious or mystified by "peace time" combat veterans.

That was in '81 - 83.

When most of today's Generals were just gettin' started in the Military.

4/09/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

The only problem I have with this discussion is that general officers who 'toady' to civilian authority are doing what they are supposed to do. "Integrity" can never be a substitute for a defective national policy unless we want juntas. Chester argues, for example, that the Second Fallujah was delayed until after the November 2004 elections because "Bush could not risk the media's coverage of a dirty, urban battle while he was shoring up his own electoral position at home" and speculates that the elections of 2006 are exercising the same baleful influence.

Is that bad? Operationally it's disastrous because tempo and timing are often everything. Yet I'm not sure that even were we to resurrect Nelson, Napoleon and Robert E. Lee that they could avoid toadying to their political superiors. If policy is infirm can military strategy succeed? Part of the problem is politics, both in Iraq and in the US. And I don't there are complete military fixes to politics.

4/09/2006 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

McClellan had 4 stars. That didn't prevent him from being the fool. Newcomb has 3 stars. That doesn't make his article any less shallow, his glaring lack of factual back-up any less obvious, or his failure to support his conclusions any less sophmoric.

If that article says anything about the quality of his military analysis the fool should have been run out of the military before he made major.

4/09/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen, 1:05 PM

Re: "expect to be hearing more on the subject from the ace reporters at NYTimes and CBS."

Why should you find such reporting at this juncture? Officers, who may have been in part responsible for the jeremiad "quagmire" declarations of the NYT or CBS, follow the Leftist party-line. Therefore, they are the heroes of the MSM. If ever a flaw can be found in Marine General Peter Pace, you will find no such reluctance.

I take no pleasure in what you call "rotten." The system is what it is; I have simply stated here facts that are the matter of public record. When a small subset of the military culture contains a disproportionate number of perverts and perps, what is to be said?

Yes, we are in deep doo-doo. We would be up "that" creek without a paddle were it not for the heroic application of doctrine by our junior level officers and their NCOs. What should concern all are the grandiose plans of the Air Force brass, for example, to forcibly "retire" several thousand of its "deadwood" lieutenants. To write that causes an almost uncontrollable gag reflex.

4/09/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But he was not, peter boston, he stayed the course and became a three star General.
That is the quality of man in the General Staff. Mr Powell came through the same System, he examplifies it, as does this General.

They are representitive of today's Military. One that manages battlespace, but does not win Wars.

If that is caused by political considerations, then perhaps all is good.
I'm just glad Jr is out of the Corps, come August.

4/09/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Back to the enemy-of-enemies, dishonesty itself. It this case, that of an American press--and those who support it--keeping foreign policy forever standing on one leg. This is ancient, and built-into democracy, it was how the Hellenes destroyed themselves, how the endless Peloponnesian War became endless.

4/09/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

It's absolutely pitiful to read a bunch pajama people critique an article by a three star general.
He's not a writer, he's a military man.
blah blah he missed this point...blah blah he should have used a semi colon ..blah blah.
It's a good asssumption no blogger on this site has ever haad his level of responsibility.

4/09/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

A general is a mere man with specialized knowledge and experience. Insofar as his opinion is derived from his area of expertise, he should be paid close attention to. Insofar as his opinions drift into realms not contemplated in his experience or training, he is as fallible as the next man, and as vulnerable to criticism.

Newbold's is a critique of geo-political strategy. Just reading this one piece, it seems he knows and comprehends less than the average Belmonter on this issue.

Furthermore, I think it is absolutely fatal when attempting to write a serious paper to offer criticism based on innuendo, errors, and omissions. We know, to the degree anything can be known, that Bush believed the intelligence he had was credible, and credibly alarming. To assert otherwise after all the investigations into the intelligence question is indicative of many things, none having anything to do with the subject matter asserted. When I read stuff like that, it tells me the author is a) ill-informed, b) disingenuous, or c) both.

Newbold seems like someone who has a point to make, and will use whatever is at hand to make it stick. This argumentative tactic--throwing shit at the wall--is a favorite of the left, and the hallmark of an advocate. Newbold may not be the former, but he is definitely the latter, and therefore, much like a Supreme Court nominee's written opinions when he was someone else's attorney, should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

4/09/2006 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

VDHanson 101: from the foundation of the west forward, the totalitarians lose because property is worth fighting for, open enquiry produces better weapons, and meritocracies produce better leaders. Is any of this triad in relative retreat?

4/09/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

It's absolutely pitiful to read a bunch pajama people critique an article by a three star general.


I'm assuming that was sarcasm. If not...heh.

4/09/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

desert rat, 1:42 PM

Well said.

Amateurs think about battle; the professionals think logistics.

It is a matter of fact and public record that in 2000 troops at Fort Sam were not being given adequate small arms training because of a shortage of small arms ammunition. Now, somewhere was a general officer whose job it was to anticipate and prevent this circumstance in the first place. He/She/Sheit failed.

In 2003, the Chief of the Air Force, General Jumper, ordered the wearing of the service blue uniform for two duty days per week. Since the BDU had been the normal service wear since 9-11, there was a run on the military stores. As might be expected, the shops could not meet the immediate demand. To make matters worse, no instant fix was to be found because the Air Force had contracted with a single contractor to manufacture the requisite cloth; that contractor had declared bankruptcy and had halted production. In short, blues had to be rationed, when they could be found. What had this to do with command leadership? How could General Jumper (by the way, an excellent Chief) have been so ignorant of something so basic, so fundamental, and so vital to the service as the availability of uniforms? Now, think up-armored Humvees and body-armor.

Wretchard has just pointed out the potential problems of civilian policy defects. But, whether those policies would have been perfect or abysmal is irrelevant to the defects I have just pointed out. Again, there is something rotten in the Pentagon.

4/09/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had Marine Privates that would have been under-matched at a Mensa Meeting, and Marine Generals that didn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain.

The first thing Marshall did was start moving aside his Garrison Generals, and rapidly promoting competent officers. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a 49 year old Lt. Col when the Second World War started. Of course, he was a much better politician than a General. He got his ass creamed in N. Africa, until Patton came along, and "Overlord" was "FUBAH" all the way. He had himself stuck in the hedge-row country, a totally foreseeable event, with no real strategy for getting out. Cobra only worked because an Army Tech Seargent invented the hedge row buster on the fly, and the good Lord gave him a couple of extra days of rain to get enough tanks fitted that they could break out.

Anyway, the fact is: he was a "Politician." He could get along with Churchill, and keep Patton from killing Montgomery, and keep the English from surrendering just to get rid of the damned Americans.

I'm rambling, but I think the good General is probably trying to get someone interested in putting up some money for a "Political" Campaign, ala Wesley Clark (another Mental Giant."

As for the Geneva Conventiions, I don't know what they envisioned; but I've got a hunch it wasn't Ama DingDong putting 10 Nukes in ten suicide bombers hands and killing 30 MILLION AMERICANS.

When it gets existential you kill whoever you have to, and submit your reasons in writing, LATER!

4/09/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

There is something imperfect in the Pentagon, sure. But this is still the same institution that went from zero to invading a land-locked country 7,000 miles away in a 30 days. Next to that, I would say the lack of blue uniforms is rather insignificant.

4/09/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

habu_1, 2:01 PM

Please, do not drift into ad hominem.

Where did you see those things in today's postings of which you complain?

Technically, no man (he/she/sheit) may "know" the "other." Nevertheless, some men recognize obvious stupid.

4/09/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...


I thought the same thing about the General's motives. When you put enough money on a position, sooner or later you'll get people to advocate it; and right now, there's a lot of money in anti-war rhetoric.

Generals aren't any different in that respect. Also noted is Tony's observation that the General has, historically, not been a big fan of Rumsfeld's work.

4/09/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

no it was not, aristide.
The CIA invaded Afghanistan.
The used a few hundred agents and, as I recall, three or four hundred spec ops people. It was run, not from the Pentagon, but from Langley.

The Pentagon did not send troops to Tora Bora. By the time Afghanistan had US Troops, the War was all but over.

4/09/2006 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

how could Rummy's transformational policies *not* make enemies? The shiny end of the military is the sword & shield of the nation; the arse end is that it's a government bureaucracy. The arse end of anything is where you aim your kick.

4/09/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen, 2:17 PM

Re: "relative"

"Nothing is great or small, save by comparison." (?)

I wake every morning and give thanks that our enemies are marginally dumber than we. I wake every morning and give thanks that we have been materially able to overwhelm our adversaries. If either dynamic changes, we are in seriously deep trouble.

4/09/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

aristides....'tis good you chose a lower case "a" as an identifier, for your arrogance mirrors nothing of Aristides.
Keep pondering the point, you'll catch on eventually. No sarcasm. Veritas bro..

4/09/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

rufus, 2:26 PM


Victors write history; the vanquished - the vanquished are history.

4/09/2006 02:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alan Greenspan, when asked, "What is America's Greatest Competitive Advantage?" replied, "It is the U.S. Constitution." It is that remarkable group of men, two hundred and twenty years, ago, that I'm most often in awe (and thankful) of.

4/09/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

habu, cheer up, ole hoss--it's springtime and da swallerz is retoinin' to Capistrano.

4/09/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Don't follow the car in front of you too closely. Don't eat too many eggs. Don't neglect flossing.
Don't forget to pick up your room... write what and how you want and I'll do the same..fair enough hombre?

4/09/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

habu_1, 3:02 PM

You will have the respect you deserve, nothing more, nothing less.

4/09/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aristides, I think the demise of the Nation-State is being prematurely reported. I don't see the Chinese, the Russians, or us, for that matter sitting around with the world community and singing Kumbala, anytime soon. Did I mention Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea? Libya? Syria? Myanmar?

4/09/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

C'mon rufus, get on down to Turtle Bay, they do a Kumbala you would not believe.
Sudan, Libya and Cuba they are all on the "How to define Terrorism" working group.

After hours, their conga line is killer

4/09/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Aristides @ 2:34,

Also notable that Gen. Newbold was being mocked by Rummy for claiming that we had "eviscerated" the Taliban at that early date.

So, Rummy didn't think so, Newbold claimed so, and now Newbold is coming back and saying we didn't devote enough resources to AlQ.

Unless the General is making a vast distinction between the Taliban Base and AlQ Operations, what do you do after you "eviscerate" an enemy? Bury him with pig parts?

I really do not mean to insult or impugn a General Officer, especially one in the Marines, for God's sake! But this did appear in Time, and he does have an existing beef with Rummy, so I'm taking the out that even Marine Lt. Gen.'s are human.

4/09/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

allen (3:02)
"If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to repect youself. Only by that,only by self respect will you compel others to respect you"

I smile every morning I shave for the respect people have for me and the servce I have rendered this country.
I don't want, nor seek, the repect of all men.
Semper Fi

4/09/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look Tony, been there, got the Tee Shirt. Some are Dumber'n a "Box of Rocks."

And uglier, too.

4/09/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

I'm surely not a typist nor proofreader..apologies.

4/09/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Russia is not a nation state. Neither is China. Neither is Iran. Neither is Libya, Syria, or any other "Arab" state. These are all Empires. That is why they're authoritarian, and why they resist democracy. And that is why all we need do is follow "Plan D" as prescribed.

4/09/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

re: demise of nation state

I'm not reporting it. Nor am I championing it. But you are correct: the nation state as an entity of uniform laws and common defense is not going anywhere.

4/09/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Again: a Liberal state is sovereign because it consists of those elements from which sovereignty is derived. Non-liberal states are pre-sovereign, and therefore pre-law, territories.

Note: America is sovereign. Iran is not.

4/09/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I always wondered about the reciprocal of Dostoyevsky's "Without God, everything is permitted".

He could've added, "Also without Man, everything is permitted".

4/09/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


About Me
I am a sick man. ... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. However, I know nothing at all about my disease, and do not know for certain what ails me. I don't consult a doctor for it, and never have, though I have a respect for medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, sufficiently so to respect medicine, anyway (I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious).

4/09/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

How does one add a picture next to their blob name ... I think it only appropriate that Bill Moyers' Daisy LBJ presidential commerical picture adorn my name.

4/09/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Were the information gained per unit time be constant for all intervals on the graph it would draw a slope.

4/09/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

How does one add a picture next to their blob name

I'm afraid you must wait for another article by a three star general.

4/09/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...


Have mercy dude, I'm still wok'in hard on my GED.

4/09/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Metusela; Me'thinks you're drawing some mighty fine distinctions, there.

BTW, the next time you quote Dostoevsky, do the second paragraph. I've read all the "first" paragraphs.

4/09/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

You're a bright person but your pettiness is showing.

4/09/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Mika, you probably had too many of these.

habu, here's your pic.

4/09/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

GED candidates aren't allowed to use entire qoutes, but then I thought you knew that.
By the way are you still dating aristides?

4/09/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Thx Buddy,
You're a brave man to get into the line of fire.

4/09/2006 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


Re: your 1:28 p.m. comment.

To pick Robert E. Lee as your benchmark for integrity is possibly the upper bounds. What would you consider median?

4/09/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Must be my poor Cartesian geometry skills. That slope is starting to sloth on me.

4/09/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

just trying to avoid that blue on blue

4/09/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


GED? Good Enough Degree? :)

4/09/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

slope is slope, but are we learning our way up it or back down it, is da question. Bobby Lee wrote his orders in the pluperfect subjunctive preterite future conditional.

4/09/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can find a blog where they speak English?

Forget English. How about "Hill-billy?"

4/09/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

GED: Got Enuff Dumbass

4/09/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


If you log in you'll solve Buddy's logarithmic riddle.

4/09/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That little girl sent Mr Goldwater back to his shortwave radio and photography for a couple of years, buddy.
She, amongst others, but at least Mr McGovern did worse than Barry. AZ is not home to the "biggest" loser ever in the Presidental Race.

Reality TV, notice that many pundits are discovering Mr John McCain, another AZ Presidental hopeful, is really a Conservative.
Why, he even met with Jerry Falwell!

4/09/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buddy, he, also, snapped and charged into the middle three (3) times. Up a hill.

And all us Rednecks had to try and learn English.

4/09/2006 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Rufus wants to be "delivered"

4/09/2006 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

danmyers, 4:28 PM

Re: Robert E. Lee

I made no assessment of his morality, as that is now apprehended. Hindsight is sometimes 20/20.

Are you questioning Lee's integrity as described?

4/09/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain a Conservative? Whudda'thunkit? I thought Conservatives were "in favor of" free speech!

4/09/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Naw, gud buddy, I like Eric Clapton. I got no idea who the log-o-rhythmics be. Log-in ain't polite talk where I come from either.

But you sure are a cute talker.qihlk

4/09/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

serious note, Rufus, that was such a HUGE foul up--and against his best general's foreboding, I sometimes wonder if way down deep--in the subconscious--he didn't want to see the Union preserved. Shet my mouth fer sayin it. but after all, if he'd won Gettysburg, he'd a had DC to run.

4/09/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buddy, I think we done been "Delivered." I just want kissed!

4/09/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You're "old school" my friend, very old school.

It must be chill, the Supremes went for the deal. No Free Speach, every buddy got to pay.

It's all part of aristide's new world order.

Big John, he's the son of a son of a sailor, ya' know.

Crown Prince of the Pacific,
once upon a time.

4/09/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Buddy; the amateur psychologists will be puzzling over that one for a long, long time. Personally, I think he just snapped from the pressure of playing cat and mouse defense for so long. Kind of like a poker player that throws away hand, after hand, after hand till finally he just says to hell with it and goes all in on a raggedy QJ or something.

4/09/2006 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


Sir, I would rather pee in my beer than disparage Robert E. Lee.....

Tell you anything?

4/09/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

danmyers, 4:28 PM Continued

Is there such a thing as mediocre integrity? That is like being a little pregnant.

In terms of Civil War commanders, the “upper bound” would include Scott, Lee, Jackson, Grant, and Sherman. Those of questionable integrity, to my mind only, would have to include McClellan, Longstreet, and Custer. The nominees at either pole will be subject to the prejudices of the compiler. I just don’t see any middle ground.

4/09/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Jr. had a group, you know. Called the "Keating Five." Sang for their supper, they did.

Something bad went down. They scattered like quail. Dead Eye "Dick" couldn't have put a 28 gauge shot in their tail feathers.

Johnny went, Solo. Sings "Gospel," now. Even has a gig coming up with the Liberty College Choir.

4/09/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Ha, right, a little foreplay'd make it easier to play the banjo.

Since Goldwater and "integrity" have come up close by, someone should someday straighten out that image. He never got out from under it, and it is maybe the most unfair mud ever slung. Goldwater was the least corrupt pol we ever had on the national stage in modern times. That campaign was foul. All I remember from it at the time was my Uncle Bill in N Louisiana, a Korean War vet, celebrated LBJs victory by blowing his tv to pieces with a 12 ga shotgun. I know because Aunt Ruth and the kids stayed with us awhile 'til he cooled down.

4/09/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

danmyers, 4:59 PM

"pee in my beer"

You, sir, are a gentleman without peer.

4/09/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Custer? I'll take Custer on my fantasy team. We'll discuss ethics, morality, (or whatever,) after the War's over.

4/09/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

One does not place Robert E. Lee second on any list of the War of Northern Aggression unless they are insufficiently schooled on that war.
Marsh Robert has no peer in the pantheon of great military leaders and men of honor.
And I would also piss in danmyers beer before disparaging R.E. his daddy was a different story

4/09/2006 05:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am, by the way, talking about the Magnificent, Civil War Cavalry Officer, not that long-haired idiot that led the 7th Cav into the ambush at Little Big Horn.

4/09/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen, 5:03 PM

To their credit, during the '64 campaign the Dems did'nt drag the cold, dead body of JFK out of the grave for parade. Maybe, looking back, they didn't think about that.

That was soooo wrong, wasn't it? C'est la vie.

4/09/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

You're absolutely right about Mr. Goldwater and what a dirty campaign the Dems ran. The Daisy commercial was the opening of TV dirty lying politics and Bill Moyers wouldn't know truth from dog poop. O course the Dems are still a faction not a party,solely rascist and anti American

4/09/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


That rated a 9.5.. :-).

Man, how did this thread degrade???

4/09/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You gotta hand it to LBJ, though. He's the only man in history to "Buy" the "entire damned Congress."

4/09/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

amateur psychologist/meteorology dept: a hurricane is how the seas get rid of heat. what'd happen to all that heat without a hurricane, we won't ever know because there'll always be a hurricane when the ocean gets hot enough. A sunconscious Unionist might win many a battle, bleeding off that heat, but he couldn't let himself win the one the Union couldn't lose.

lookit how he made peace, when, and how mysteriously loved and respecteds he was by friend and foe alike.

Given there had to be a hurricane, save the thing you can't lose, honor--for the whole country, north and south.

Lookit it now, the defense of odious slavery is in our minds seperated--firewalled--from the military valor of the Confederacy. Lookit Bobby Lee--any aura of 'loser' anywhere about him?

4/09/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


Don't say that around a true Southern Democrat.. You may be picking up your hat.

Now, as this thread has degraded to the point of Ad Hominem..... Buddy, I don't like your accent!!!!


4/09/2006 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think this thread's degraded, now? Baby just went out, and I've got an ice box full of Beer.

4/09/2006 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Are you aware that General Winfield Scott offered his resignation to President Lincoln in favor of Colonel Robert E. Lee?

While the definition of "integrity" has a wide spectrum of meaning, apparently, that single act of patriotic selflessness by General Scott has always endeared him to me.

4/09/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

danmyers (5:16)

when did it degrade? when Habu_1 started making all those nuclear comments, and then went on and on about killing the enemy.
Until then it was serious prose about da wowa.
i think we all agree, lets see a show of hands

4/09/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right, Buddy. Absolutely, without a doubt, the most revered of all American Generals (probably surpassing G Washington, I dare say.) Maybe, you're right.

4/09/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

There are a few Cherokees in OK that may disagree with you. But as I apparently am Irish enough that my 1/8 Cherokee wife doesn't consider me a prime instigator of the Trail of Tears, I can say without qualification, my wifes great grandmother REALLY didn't like him....

4/09/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

I highly recommend James Flexners bio on GEo. Washington and the recently rleased 1776 by David McCullough.
Went to the Little Big Horn Battlefield and still can figure out why Custer did what he did. He was out gunned though and the bad guys had repeaters.

4/09/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Sorry... again. Allen, that last post was re: Gen. Scott.

4/09/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I know what you mean, DM. My Great Grand-mother wasn't too crazy about the old TOT, either. She jumped off and married my Great Grand-Father. She never learned much English. Just some phrase about "Frying Pans, Fires," something like that.

4/09/2006 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger USMC_Vet said...


Thanks for the input on the nosecone. I followed the reported quotes of others in using the triconical term.

Much appreciated.

Steve Schippert

4/09/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Habu. I'll try to get ahold of the Flexner book. I've been meaning to read 1776. I'm ashamed to admit, I just haven't read much at all, recently. I need to break out of the funk.

4/09/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always been intrigued by the question, "What would have happened if the British had given George Washington that commission?"

Would we be speaking the King's English, now? Or, German?

4/09/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are we Americans only because George Washington was a lousy officer?

4/09/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Danmyers, thanks for the reminder--i went and put my teeth in, do i sound any better now?

li'l known facts: state congressman Lincoln was out of politics in the cycle before 1860 due to losing a senatorial race over his opposition to the Mexican War (he thought it "insufficiently provoked"), which General Scott won, and from which Robert Lee emerged "top soldier".

another tidbit, the USA population in 1860 was roughly 30 million, or one-tenth of what it is now, meaning that the 600,000 casualties % would today be six million. No wonder Lincoln said (after the Wilderness) "The Heavens are hung in crepe".

4/09/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

"Outside of Panama and Grenada the US has not won a War since 1946."

In th long run, we won Korea, and even Vietnam, if you compare Vietnam today to Thailand and Singapore. Vietnam stopped the comunist advance. We also one other little conflict - the Cold war.

4/09/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

1776 is on tape and CD. I know tape for sure ...CD i'm shaky. IT's very good and narrated by McCullough who has a great delivery.The tribulations they went through will forever change your understanding of this nations beginnings. It did mine. Best.

4/09/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

The behaviors of the great military officers can be instructive to us.

While at Valley Forge, General Washington did not pretend that he had sufficient manpower, supplies, and funding. To the contrary, he was prone to hyperbole, inflating his strength in dispatches he knew would come into British hands and painting the most awful picture for review by the Continental Congress. Be that as it may, again, he did not pretend that he had sufficient troops, perfect equipment, or that he agreed with the political powers-that-be.

Washington became such a pest because of his tongue lashing of his civilian masters that, of all people, Benjamin Franklin seriously questioned Washington's martial ardor and privately confided that the General should be relieved.

Although the anger of members of Congress was known to Washington, he would not pretend that the war could be won given the status quo.

Just something to think about, as the thread examines the integrity of modern flag officers.

4/09/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Washington "lost" six of his nine battles--but the one thing he could not allow, his hardest task, was keeping his army together and in the field. In a way, even his losses were victories, as they shewed the British officers that he, Gen. Washington, did not intend to quit, and neither did the core of his army. good thing CBS wasn't around.

4/09/2006 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen, 5:53 PM

The war was "The time(s) that tr(ied) men's souls."

A great-great grandfather, a recent, unlearned immigrant joined an Illinois infantry regiment. Within months he was dead of camp disease, the scourge of both armies, and by far the greatest killer of all.

At war's end, entire Confederate counties had not a single able-bodied white man.

Long, long ago I did a statistical analysis of casualties on both sides. While the numbers no longer leap to muddled mind, I do recall that the probability of being killed in battle was, per capita, 10 times greater for a brigadier than a private soldier. In camp, a brigadier had almost no chance of dying, while private soldiers died by the thousands.

4/09/2006 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Allen (5:57)
Sir, please help me out here as I am unfamiliar with the Washington you outlined. I would enjoy knowing the author who presented that portrait of a man others readily acknowlege as the most indespensible man to the creation of this country. Franklin on the othe hand was described by many while in France as a useless diplomat, prone to sloth and vulgarity.

4/09/2006 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

habu_1, 6:15

As stated earlier, "You will have the respect you deserve, nothing more, nothing less."

4/09/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GW was incredibly lucky not to lose his whole army in his first battle. He did improve, and by the time he found himself at Valley Forge had proved himself as a pretty fair general.

But, VALLEY FORGE! Greatness was surely born. His men suffered. He stayed with them. They loved him. They tried to quit. He talked to them. They tried to quit, some more. He talked some more. Called on Thomas Paine. Talked some more.

Then Trenton. Big Move. Busted a "Cap" in their Ass. And, the rest is history. And yes, the Continental Congress did threaten to fire him. But, they knew they were stuck with him. Just a bunch of lousy politiians with too much time on their hands.

Ben Franklin, undoubtably the most conniving rogue in American Politics. But, smart as a whip and wrote a good almanac.

And, don't believe everything John Adams said. He was an insufferable, uptight, twat. A patriot, though. And married to a hell of a woman. He couldn't have been all bad.

4/09/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

golly gee i even used sir and everything..i just asked a simple question. i didn't mean to hurt you but if
"i can only get the respect i deserve" i guess i'll just skip desert, which i probably also don't deserve... i guess finally the only things left to say to you are .. you made it up....and sin loi you REMFA

4/09/2006 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

great points...also an amazing thing acccording to 1776 is that the Trenton operation cost only one (1) American life, and he froze to death!

4/09/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

rufus, 6:32 PM

I thought you might be interested in a recent production of A&E's History Channel, titled, interestingly enough, "Valley Forge." For the specialist and non-specialist alike, the DVD offers a short but fully packed review of recent archaeology at the site, with accompanying period literary excerpts.

4/09/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that, Habu. That is amazin. I knew they were small, but I had no idea they had no combat-related casualties. The British weren't quite so fortunate, were they?

4/09/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

"The sting of insult is truth." - Franklin

4/09/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

TAPS til the morrow's been a joy

Best to all and a big smooch to allen

4/09/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

habu_1, 6:47 PM

I used to give one to each of my little ones at bedtime. If it makes you feel more secure, OK.

4/09/2006 06:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll try to look it up, Allen. Thanks.

You know, we've been very lucky on many occasions. Washington at New York, and Madison could have easily lost Baltimore, and the War of 1814, which would have effectively negated the Revolution. The Prize was Baltimore, and the Brits were walking along the road to knock it off, and they got hit by a freakin Tornado. Knocked the Holy Crap out of them. In "Maryland!" By the time they got going again the Baltimoreans had pulled off one of the most remarkable civilian engineering jobs in history. They managed to completely fortify the town to the extent that the invasion was thwarted.

Speaking of great moves, how about Madison declaring war against England when he had virtually no Army, and absolutely "No" Navy? How's that for "Optimism?"

4/09/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Dolly Madison ran back into the burning White House to grab that Gilbert Stuart portrait of GW that is reproduced on the dollar bill.

Trenton was an amazing feat of arms. "Stolen" crossing of the Delaware with thousands of soldiers and baggage train in the dead of winter. Not a man to be trifled with, that George Washington.

4/09/2006 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

the NorKs are a Charter member of the Axis of Evil, we have 25,000 troops deployed against their forward positions, to this day, 50 years after the cease fire.
My father, myself served there and Jr just left.
The NorKs have gained nuclear weapon and missle technology. If that is defined as Victory, to you, we went to different schools.

As to 'Nam, the domino loss of upwards of 4 Million Cambodians and possibly one Million Vietnamese killed after US withdrawal from Indochina forever diminishes claims of US Victory.

If there have been post war advancements made in Indochina, they have not been made by the US Military, but by business and political interests.

4/09/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Rat. If those be "Victories," I sure hope I'm not around for any big "Losses."

4/09/2006 07:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen closely children, and Uncle Rufus will tell you how to tell if we've lost in Iraq. If your youngster ever writes you a letter, or calls you, and tells you the Iraqi's have started calling it, "Bush's War," IT'S ALL OVER!

My first day in Nam an old Vietnamese gent who was helping unload our trucks called it, "Johnson's War." I politely asked him, "Isn't this YOUR war?" and he said, "No, not my war, Johnson's War!"

I thought, "Oh, My God, thirteen months to go, and this isn't HIS war, it's JOHNSON'S WAR!" It's gonna be a long year.

4/09/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

rufus, 6:56 PM

"It was a damned close thing." - Wellington

In looking at the great events in American history, there is reason to think of Wellington.

There is in the "Old Testament" a divine admonition to the effect, "Don't ever forget who has your back." Our ancestral heroes appear to have known this, faults and foibles, notwithstanding. All too often, our modern would-be heroes appear completely oblivious to the frailty of man; bringing to mind another proverb, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

At this late hour, I cannot say with certainty how any of the above has relevance to the various conversations within the day's postings. But viscerally, I think they do.

4/09/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

rufus, 7:28 PM

Then, brother, you also heard, "Ho Chi Minh, number one."

4/09/2006 07:36:00 PM  

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