Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Usual Suspects

What's remarkable about Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Laureate Tom Schelling, and Hassan Nasrallah is that they probably agree with Keyser Soze, the legendary fictional villain of The Usual Suspects on one subject. Part boogeyman and part urban legend, Soze was a near-metaphysical example of implacable retribution. Soze's presence exists entirely offscreen until the final scene, but his legend is created in a an early bit of movie dialogue.


Verbal Kint: He's supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody ever believed he was real. Nobody ever knew him or saw anybody that ever worked directly for him. But to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew; that was his power. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. One story the guys told me, the story I believe, was from his days in Turkey. There was a gang of Hungarians that wanted their own mob. They realized that to be in power, you didn't need guns or money or even numbers. You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn't. After a while, they come into power and then they come after Soze. He was small-time then, just running dope, they say. (We see all of this in flashback) They come to his home in the afternoon, looking for his business. They find his wife and kids in the house and decide to wait for Soze. He comes home to find his wife raped and children screaming. The Hungarians knew Soze was tough, not to be trifled with, so they let him know they meant business.

(Flashback: Hungarian cuts one of the children's throats) They tell him they want his territory, all his business. Soze looks over the faces of his family. Then he showed these men of will what will really was.

(Soze shoots two Hungarians, then shoots his children and his wife as the last Hungarian watches in surprised horror) He tells him he would rather see his family dead than live another day after this. He lets the last Hungarian go, waits until his wife and kids are in the ground, and then he goes after the rest of the mob. He kills their kids. He kills their wives. He kills their parents and their parents' friends. He burns down the houses they live in, the stores they work in. He kills people that owe them money. And like that, he's gone. Underground. Nobody's ever seen him since. He becomes a myth, a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night. "Rat on your pop and Keyser Soze will get you." But no one ever really believes. (We see a shadow-encased figure of Keyser Soze walking towards the camera in front of a huge tower of flame as Verbal speaks about the process of revenge.)

Agent Kujon: Do you believe in him, Verbal?

Verbal Kint: Keaton always said, "I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of him." Well, I believe in God -- and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze.

The dramatic screen dialogue is matched by the mathematical precision of the game-theoretic concept of commitment for which Tom Schelling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. The Nobel press release said in part:

Schelling showed that a party can strengthen its position by overtly worsening its own options, that the capability to retaliate can be more useful than the ability to resist an attack, and that uncertain retaliation is more credible and more efficient than certain retaliation.

What this means is explained by notes from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which summarizes Schelling's lectures. First described is the basic notion of commitment, which communicates to the enemy that you will do what you undertake. Commitment makes deterrence credible and credibility is the essential problem. "The most difficult part is communicating your intentions to your enemies. They must believe that you are committed to fighting them in order to defend" what you say you will defend for them to take you seriously. As Verbal Kint put it "to be in power, you didn't need guns or money or even numbers. You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn't." To accomplish it no matter what. Schelling taught that threats are more credible if you "burn your bridges or ships" thereby making it clear that you have only one option: fight. When the Hungarian mob invaded Soze's home to intimidate him into submitting, he simply killed his family first, illustrating Schelling's point that to truly be believed “you must get yourself into a position where you cannot fail to react as you said you would”. Such is this power that when the fictional Kaiser Soze demonstrated absolute commitment he ceased to be simply a man and became a force of nature.

Tom Schelling's key contribution was to establish on a sound mathematical basis the role of will -- expressed as commitment -- in war. Deterrence was not simply a matter of possessing advanced weapons. That was only half the equation. The other half was to establish that you were absolutely ready to use those weapons to your purpose. And given a choice between superiority in weapons and ascendance in will, weapons always came in second. Die Welt relates the experience of an Israeli officer who fought Hezbollah during the early 1980s. Israel had artillery, tanks, airplanes to Hezbollahs guns and knives. But Israel was a liberal democracy and Hezbollah a ruthless criminal organization. The overmatch in will made knives were more powerful than tanks because Hezbollah was willing to use them unhesitatingly. "Hezbollah’s barbarism is legendary. Gen. Effe Eytam, an Israeli veteran of that first Lebanon war, tells of how--after Israel had helped bring "Doctors without Borders" into a village in the 1980s to treat children--local villagers lined up 50 kids the next day to show Eytam the price they pay for cooperating with the West. Each of the children had had their pinky finger cut off."

None of the weapons in the IDF arsenal could level this disparity in will. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in a speech before the Harvard class of 1978 explained how weapons simply became "burdens" to those who lacked a belief worth fighting for. Authentic belief brought commitment; but relativism could only aspire to fashion. Schelling would have understood. His audience did not and Solzhenitsyn tried to spell it out for them.

No weapons, no matter how powerful, can help the West until it overcomes its loss of willpower. In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal.

The matchless power of inherited Cold War weapons was more than overcome by withering of the very mental attitudes which made them effective. Mark Steyn argued that as a result the West's power shrank in direct proportion to the effectiveness of weaponry because the laws of political correctness always diminished the will to use them faster than their increase in destructiveness. "We live in an age of inversely proportional deterrence: The more militarily powerful a civilized nation is, the less its enemies have to fear the full force of that power ever being unleashed. They know America and other Western powers fight under the most stringent self-imposed etiquette. Overwhelming force is one thing; overwhelming force behaving underwhelmingly as a matter of policy is quite another. ... The U.S. military is the best-equipped and best-trained in the world. But it's not enough, it never has been, and it never will be."

The near panic which gripped Teheran and Damascus in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom was not the result of the fear that America had found new weapons -- the lethality of those weapons were already known -- but that it had found unexpected the will to use them. Today even better weapons are there yet the American force in Iraq is regarded as having become totally impotent, not because it has become militarily weaker; through fixed airbases, experience, new weapons it has become immeasurably stronger than it was in 2003. But it's impotence is due entirely to the perception that it's will has drained away -- that it cannot use its power. That leaves American power weaker than had it never been used. As Tom Schelling taught commitments that are repudiated -- such as by those politicians who now say they were against OIF even before they voted for it --  destroy not only the current commitments but the possibility of future commitments. The cost of escaping one commitment “is the discrediting of other commitments that one would still like to be credited”.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn asked his audience whether man could live without faith and received no answer. Tom Schelling answered, without hearing the question, that man cannot not survive without at least the counterfeit of faith: something called commitment. In game theoretic at least. And as for Keyser Soze, of whom, "to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for", faith and fear run together until finally God is indistinguishable from the Devil. "Well, I believe in God -- and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze."

 

1121 Comments:

Blogger James Kielland said...

Wretchard,

Damn, you're good at what you do. Even when I disagree with your subtext . . . wow.

8/17/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Achilles Jones said...

I do believe with all my heart, that we have not yet begun to fight. I believe with all my heart, that the west is still basically good, and will awaken when it eventually feels the existential threat. I believe it is to our credit that we have gone the extra mile to give the enemy the benefit of the doubt. We are no worse today than when we were isolationist is 1939. Honestly, we have not yet begun to fight. God help you when we rise up in resolute anger. And Israel today will arise from its slumbers and live to be a lion again. It just isnt' that bad yet gentlemen.

P.S. I too honour you Wretchard. You are wise indeed. Thank you.

8/17/2006 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One of the essential problems liberal democracies face is that our origins come from a time of lawlessness. However, with the rise of police forces, not only has our crime rate plummeted, but the civilian population's ability to cope with violent criminals has decreased.

For the past few years, I have come to the unpleasant conclusion that one key to defeating the terrorists doesn't come from our government at all, but from psychologically arming our citizenry against our enemies. Civilians have one major advantage in this war -- they are not bound by any treaties, laws, or governmental conventions.

If an al-Qaeda operative tries to gouge out the eye of a prison guard, the prisoner is simply confined. If an al-Qaeda operative tries to gouge out the eye of a guard when he is in the custody of a civilian mob, a major opportunity presents itself to teach al-Qaeda that not only do they have no monopoly on barbarity, but that amount of torture and brutality that can be meted out by a civilian mob is only limited by its imagination.

Civilian mobs are protected by de facto jury nullification. Would the federal government dare prosecute an "overreaction" against someone who tries to hijack an airplane? Imagine if Richard Reid had suffered gratuitous punishment from other air travelers.

On a rational basis, I have come to the conclusion that every terrorist attack on civilians that does not immediately result in the death of the terrorist stands as an opportunity to engage in the most vicious torment one can mete out, to the point where the terrorist's relatives are horrified by what has happened to their family member.

There is a strategic reason for such ugliness -- to convince terrorists that they are safer in the custody of police and military than they are in civilian hands. It is very similar to the custom in WWII and Vietnam where downed bomber pilots wished they were discovered by police or military instead of getting beaten up by civilian mobs who didn't like getting their homes bombed from the sky.

I dislike situations where the most rational decision is to become a monster. Yet, it is logic that brings me to such a sadistic conclusion, not my emotions.

We have a massive advantage over both al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. Not only do we have infinitely better imaginations whenever we stoop to sadism, but we also have the advantage of not being bathed within the certainty of a totalitarian environment. That is, insofar as we can introduce cultural, emotional, and physical uncertainty into their lives, we can hurt them.

Fundamentally, I don't regard this war as about "winning over the hearts of minds of the Muslim world". It ought to be about winning over my heart and my mind. This war should be about what I think, not what some mob in Nablus thinks.

To quote Charles Manson, "I've never killed anyone. I don't need to kill anyone. I think it. I have it here [points to head]." Do Islamists want to create an anti-Muslim Charles Manson -- or worse, an anti-Muslim Phoolan Devi?

8/17/2006 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Bombing Iraq to kill Saddaam never made sense, no more than destroying Iranian infrastructure makes sense to decapitate the regime. We are using nation state tactics against a criminal gang mentality. The tactics of Soze are as old as mankind and used widely by Degenerate Islam. It has been clear for some time that the West has handicapped itself in dealing with Degenerate Islam. There are no tactics too awful for them not to use. They often record their crimes and the CD's or video clips are widely distributed in the ME. They are used to intimidate, recruit and control, not their enemies but their "families". Their enemies do not get to see the videos as the western media censors them. The same media records every deed and misdeed of US forces.

The US military is constantly using greater technology and an evolving “rules of engagement”. Degenerate Islam has shaped the battlefield using their version of Kaiser Soze. It has done so to a ruthless efficiency. The West has chosen to lock itself into a rigid standard of war that is insane and represented by the absurd methods used to screen passengers on airplanes. Our governments and masters cannot even admit the obvious that it is Muslim males who are killing us.

I restate my position. “We know who the enemy is. They told us. We know where they meet. We know a lot about them. It is time to go silent and go dark. No speeches, no threats, no lawyers, no mercy. Isolate and eliminate the radical clerics, financial supporters, politicians, tacticians, academics, theorists, and all supporters of radical Islam.”

Hunt them and kill them one at a time and take all the fun out of the jihad.

8/17/2006 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Since this has been buried like the Seattle Terror incident by the MSM, I will post it here. Would be nice for the whole country to be aware of it, but as yet, Google search shows only Ynet!
Hollywood stars blast Nasrallah

Some 84 movie stars, film industry members sign statement condemning Hizbullah, Hamas activities in Middle East
Yitzhak Benhorin
WASHINGTON - Heads of the film industry in Hollywood and prominent movie stars have signed a statement blaming Hamas and Hizbullah for terror activities in the Middle East, the war in Lebanon, and for harming innocents.

'Stop terror at any price'
The statement said that if terror around the world is not stopped, chaos will rule and innocents will continue to die. The statement called for terror to be stopped at any price.
Consul General Danoch is continuing with his PR activities, and on Wednesday night he briefed the heads of the William Morris agency on the recent events in Lebanon.

Actor Adam Sandler was present at one of the many briefings the consul general gave this week. At the end of the briefing, Sandler announced that he would personally donate USD 100,000 to the children of the north and south.
---
---
Lebanese officer arrested for appearing in videotape with Israeli soldiers
A Lebanese general was ordered arrested Wednesday for appearing in a videotape with Israeli soldiers who had occupied his south Lebanon barracks during their incursion of the country.

Brig. Adnan Daoud was summoned and held for questioning, Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat said in a statement.
Daoud is commanding officer of the 1,000-strong joint police-army force that had positions in southern Lebanon and was based in Marjayoun. (AP)

I should note that Lebanon is still officially at war with Israel.
They declared war in 1948 and has never ceased.
yonitheblogger.com

8/17/2006 01:26:00 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

And given a choice between superiority in weapons and ascendance in will, weapons always came in second.

That is BS. Courage has not yet stopped a bullet.

They must believe that you are committed to fighting them in order to defend" what you say you will defend for them to take you seriously.

This is true and we do this, but our aims are not what you may prefer - we are a materialistic culture, we seek to defend our economic well being. Nothing more. We judge in terms of cost and benefit, pragmatism is employed wherever possible.

A strike on American soil was a bad thing, steps were taken to demonstrate power in a place where it was percieved to be least costly in terms of other pre-existing interests. With hindsight the info used then was flawed, the Syrians & Iranians & Saudis were meant to be cowed into cooperation but were not. Now new pragmatic calculation is carried out in the cost/benefit of the Iranian nukes, Hezbollah and Kim Il Jong.

Our will is found in our back pocket. If we truly want to eliminate Islamism we need to find a way to make this demise profitable.

8/17/2006 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Let me tell a fable. It is precisely two days after nuclear weapons have destroyed New York, London and Sydney. And it is 24 hours after the President of the United States, after consulting with the Prime Ministers of Britain and Australia, has ordered a ten thousand warhead strike on the entire Muslim world, followed a second strike using tailored biological weapons.

At that very moment a famous Washington law firm calls the White House with an important message. An attorney for Osama Bin Laden has been instructed to deliver a video tape to the media upon the event of his death, which now appears certain. The entire situation room staff turns on the television and watches the familiar face, greyer and more lined, deliver a prepared speech in curiously triumphant tones.

"Brothers," he begins. "If you are listening to this then I am already dead and what was formerly known as the Muslim world has been entirely destroyed. I had forseen this response when I put into motion the plan to use our only three atomic weapons."

"Only three?" he continued. "Three was all we could afford. Yet with these few devices we had to ensure not only the destruction of your infidel civilization but the perpetual triumph of the uncorrupted and essential Islam". Looking directly at the camera Osama continued. "You have killed more than a billion people. Some of them were fighters. But most of them were children. Up until your magnificent thermonuclear warheads blossomed above their heads they were going to the market, laughing at their silly entertainments, playing games in fields. And you killed them. Killed them in a moment of fear; a moment which became inevitable because you were not men enough to fight Jihadis with your hands; and who therefore you destroyed with your unearthly weapons."

"Never again can such a people as you enter your churches, recite your prayers, read your literature, or pretend to nobility without knowing that it is all a lie. And the more you pray to your Jesus, to your Buddha, to your Yahweh the more hypocritical you will feel, until you give it up altogether. No, that door is closed to your forever by your own fear, cowardice and evil. The first of my goals, which is the destruction of your infidel civilization at its roots, I have already accomplished."

"And you, my brothers, for I may you call you that, are now my true spiritual heirs. More magnificent than those illiterate fighters I gathered in Afghanistan, who knew nothing of science and technology. And yet as evil -- now -- as any of my pupils have ever been. I have shown you your true selves. I have gathered you to my fold. Your are the new Ummah and you know it. Come to prayer. Come to Islam."

8/17/2006 01:40:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

None of the weapons in the IDF arsenal could level this disparity in will. -Wretchard

On the issue of will power, I somewhat agree. But, it's more complex because Israel is dealing with the Hannibal Lecter of the Middle East.

Basically, Hezbollah's leadership structure - bottom to top - including Al-Dinnerjacket are psychopaths.

Will power is not an issue when dealing with a mad man. Maybe to failure to recognize a mad man is the issue but it certainly harder when taqqyia is used to fool you.

Further, it is easy to underestimate your enemy.

You set up a blockage only to find out that one of your 3 corvette class ships get hit with a modern missile. That's a big loss.

You roll in with your tanks only to get number of them blasted with modern antitank weapons. That's another big loss.

Basically, Israel was fighting Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah all at once. As Netanyahu said: Israel was basically fighting a forward unit of the Iranian army.

From my view, Israel just was fight a much larger, well financed, and well equipped enemy than first expected.

And, they paid for it.

War is the ultimate business where failure is not an option.

The next time Israel goes into action they will be better prepared (both in terms of material and will power).

Here are is a must read interview of Netanyahu by Atlas and friends:

[Netanyahu talks about the psychotic enemy]:

Netanyahu: ...I think too that it's not merely weapons (unintelligible) military doctrine. It's... an understanding that we... in Lebanon, basically, a forward unit of the Iranian army, basically well trained infantry, equipped with fairly sophisticated missiles, and it has to be deal with.

...they [Islam] all agree that there should be an Islamic empire, and that the western countries like Israel should have no place in it. These are to be destroyed or subjugated. Israel is merely the front line position, and so for Iran that is leading the charge, it has to be eliminated, literally wiped away, as its president Ahmadinejad openly says.

...that particular statement by France's foreign minister was remarkable, saying that Iran is a force of stability in the Middle East. I don't know if he's talking about the same Middle East we're living in, and I'm not sure he's living on the same planet we're living in. But Iran is the single greatest threat to our civilization. It is professing a mad ideology which ... that involves a millennial, suicidal apocalypse which... in which millions are supposed to have gone [or killed] from both sides, and they're quite content with the possibility that their own people will die, because they'll all reach an Islamic heaven, so for that purpose there they're building atomic bombs, and they've already built missiles to launch them
...


See Atlas' transcript of Netanyahu's telephone interview 15% down.

8/17/2006 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger HK Vol said...

Do the Australians have it right?
Perhaps the Brits and Americans should take note?

http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6130-0.html?forumID=50&threadID=198019&messageID=2128996
SNIP:
A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament. ''If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you'', he said on National Television.

''I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option'', Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should ''clear off''. Basically people who don't want to be Australians, and who don't want, to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically ''clear off'', he said.

8/17/2006 01:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Do the Australians have it right?
Perhaps the Brits and Americans should take note?
"
---
Of course they have it right!
Will we take note?
Of course not!

8/17/2006 02:31:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Doug,

What do you make of Wretchard's fable?

8/17/2006 03:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

James K's worst nightmare!
Could you please explain it to me?
Did you read the Der Spiegel interview of Iran's Hitler?

8/17/2006 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I really don't see why the options are passivity or complete Holocaust.
What just occured to me was a blast in the wilderness, followed by demands, then a process of walking the blasts toward Tehran, step by step, until compliance is obtained!
Beats a Holocaust!
---
In the meantime, back in the real world, if we had a real CIC, we'd be dealing with training camps, IED factories, and etc.
Instead we hear Condi say that we'd like the Hesbos to voluntarily give up their arms!
WTF?
(did you see the Lebanese General getting arrested above?)
This is our "solution!"
Bizzaro World, or as Rush says,
The Twilight Zone.

8/17/2006 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

JONAH GOLDBERG: Airport security is being held hostage to irrational concerns.
The No-Sense Doctrine

Note: We’re not talking about training security personnel to racially profile passengers. Quite the opposite. The ACLU’s problem is with training officers not to racially profile if that training nonetheless gives them enough autonomy so that it’s theoretically possible to take race into account.

What is so infuriating about this is that the ACLU favors policies which discriminate against all sorts of people—old people, women, children and others who, under random searches and other idiotic numerical formulas, are pulled aside for literally no reason at all.

All of this is happening against a backdrop of a war on terror in which roughly 99 percent of jihadi terrorists are of either Middle Eastern or South Asian descent and 100 percent of them are Muslim.

8/17/2006 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

International jurists group to probe Israel-Hezbollah conflict

"There are consequences if one or both sides have violated the laws of war: those responsible must be held accountable, surviving victims have a right to reparation and should the conflict re-ignite, the military methods of those who have violated the laws of war must change," said ICJ Secretary General Nicholas Howen.


Idiocy has no bounds. Keyser Soze will head the investigation. Israel is guilty because their retribution was disproportionate and should have been limited to shooting their own children.

8/17/2006 04:39:00 AM  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

Wretchard,

Please tell me how this fable of Osama's wickedness transcending his death is any different from the postmodernist nihilist's dream?

Can anyone explain how it is that Ibrahim's first son Ishmael has been recruited to rain down death upon innocents in direct contradistinction to what Ibrahim introduced to the pagan world?

How it is that Muslims, in being offended by the excesses of postmodernists in the West have been brought to battle to the death the West's more traditional members? Members who defend her not because of its postmodernist asswipes, but because of all the good that modernity (hated by postmoderns) has to offer?

I'd really like someone to try and come up with an answer to this.

8/17/2006 04:47:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Far as the airlines go, might as well just fly El Al--there you know you're going to get the thrice over, and get where you are going. Only problem is they don't go all that many places.

8/17/2006 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Sometime ago I was watching a Discovery Channel show on some new wiz-bang weaponry.

I thought "Yeah big deal what good is all this fancy pants hi-tech weaponry when we shrink from actually using it". I even blogged on it over at Blogger Beer (sorry exact url of that exact blog escapes me and I am at the office).

We have an old saying necessity is the mother of invention. Well we in the West have circumvented that old saying we now invent weapons with at most a theoretical need.

Achilles Jones,
Yes, we have not yet begun to fight. However, what will it take to convince our population of the need to fight instead of surrendering? If it took Pearl Harbor in 1941 I would have thought 9/11 would have been motivation enough. Will it take the destruction of an entire city?

8/17/2006 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

LOS ANGELES — A nuclear explosion at the Port of Long Beach could kill 60,000 people immediately, expose 150,000 more to hazardous radiation and cause 10 times the economic loss of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to a new Rand Corp. study.

2164th has it right, but what about our own people that endorse our enemies and ideologically support and enable them?

8/17/2006 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Doug,

Spiegel's interview requires more words than I wish to expend on the topic in this thread.

"I really don't see why the options are passivity or complete Holocaust."

There are other options. Despite the claims of some, I don't believe I've suggested passivity.

"back in the real world, if we had a real CIC, we'd be dealing with training camps, IED factories, "

Your comment presumes that the current administration wants an end to this. Yet, personally, I believe that the more one looks at things the more this administration would like to carry things on indefinitely. There is simply too much inertia and too much money being made by too many people to let the defeat of our enemies stop us.

5 years on, still no Osama. Still no Zawahiri. Pakistan seems willing to help get bad guys, but for some mysterious reasons that are never quite explained, the two dudes who were, just a few short years ago the most dangerous men on the planet simply can't be found. At what point do you say that they've not been captured because it's more useful for them not to be captured?

When you look at so many other things, as the things you pointed out, that haven't been addressed and could be addressed... when do you give up on stupidity or incompetence as the reasons and let yourself entertain the possibility that the problems remain because they serve a larger purpose?

Why would Rice not want Hezbollah disarmed? Is it possible that the US benefits from a vulnerable Israel? Would an Israel completely at peace with its neighbors be as helpful, compliant, and responsive to our needs as an Israel with the occassional Katayusha flying in?

Always remember that politicians in today's climate are successful only if they can convince people that their efforts are needed. Thomas Sowell often remarks with some amazement how democrats continue to insist on solutions that have been shown not to work. Maybe it's not so illogical. Solved problems never re-elected anyone.

Now, I should stress that I'm just speculating. But I know a great deal about how politics in the West works: it works by rarely accomplishing anything and keeping the interest groups motivated. It works by constantly exaggerating threats of all kinds, from SUVs to Wal-Mart to crime to.. well, quite possibly terrorism.

Terrorism is perhaps the best racket of all. It provides seemingly endless amounts of money, all sorts of cool gadgets. It makes compelling and easy to create news stories. For politicians it means the fun of hob-knobbing with their peers around the world and not dealing with pesky low-class citizens or addressing such boring issues as the deficit and debt or energy policy or industrial policy or health care.

Look at what's been spent on "Homeland Security" since 9/11. Billions of dollars for state and local government and private corporations. All without a SINGLE CONVICTION of ANY Al-Qaida dudes. Is it any wonder that republicans and democrat a like are going to talk this threat up all they can? It's the perfect scam.

As I've said, I do think that there are some nasty islamo-nuts out there who do mean us serious harm. But I believe that due initially to ineptness and later, quite possibly due to less respectable reasons, the threat of terrorism in the US has been blown way out of proportion.

So, prepared to be scanned, fingerprinted, tagged, searched, sniffed, and who knows what else. And don't bring any gatorade on the plane. And be sure to marvel at all the new technology designed to protect you. You paid for it.

8/17/2006 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I think that Habu's whack job description was too kind.

8/17/2006 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

For more on how politicians hype the threat of terrorism, take a look at the following documentary which the British government pressured the the BBC to take off of the air:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3649090417189127240&q=Power+of+Nightmares

8/17/2006 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/17/2006 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The EU will look into a suggestion by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy to set up counter-terrorism expert teams at EU level ready to help countries if needed.

Al Reuters

Whew. This is a relief. A large hole was discovered in France. EU officials are looking into that too.

8/17/2006 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

PeterBoston,

Okay, have it. Prove me wrong.

Tell me, Peter, what kind of evidence can you produce that in any way supports the claims of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, post 9/11, that there were "tens of thousands of trained Al Qaida operatives" in "over 50 countries?" And that many, many were also in the US, just ready to strike.

Perhaps you could show me some spectacular organized terrorist attacks that have been pulled off in the US. It's been 5 years. Thousands of operatives should be able to manage SOMETHING. Or is that our Homeland Security is just so incredibly tight?

Barring that, perhaps you could provide me some proof of some actual Al Qaida cells or operatives who've been convicted preparing to launch an attack in the US. Or perhaps, even caught casing some a vulnerable target.

From Toronto to Miami the best you'll find are some complete buffoons who wouldn't have been able to get anywhere without the RCMP actually delivering explosives to them or the FBI leading them along as much as possible.

Islamic terrorism poses more of a threat to muslims than it does to the West. And the numbers bear this out.

8/17/2006 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

An oustanding post, Wretchard, one of your very best. It's been too many years since I read Schelling, especially as he veered left in his later years. Serious study of game theory should be absolutely required in all colleges - not just the intuitive stuff, but (and this means the kiddies need to learn calculus) the real mathematics of it. But, I digress.

I hope that achilles jones and others are right when they say they believe we are no worse off than we were in 1939. Unfortunately, there is a very bad aspect to that analogy that people need to consider, and consider long and hard: and that is the example of the French in 1940.

While France is considered a military joke, it was not always so. Anyone with any knowledge of history knows the French military was the strongest in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries - through the Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire in the early 19th century, really.

The French reputation only began seriously to decline with their overwhelming defeat by the Prussians in 1870-71 in the Franco-Prussian War. The French then chucked out Napoleon III, cobbled the Third Republic together after flirting with reestablishing the monarchy, and rebuilt their military. They were strong in 1914. Will. Elan - spirit - was the word that was used constantly to describe French doctrine and purpose. And, for the most part, the French fought well in the First World War, even after they realized that massed infantry attackes wearing the red trousers Clemanceau once famously said "They're France!" were futile.

France and the French suffered terribly in WWI, and their victory in WWI led to great war weariness, and ennui and had a much more baleful effect in France than even it did in England, America or Germany. Even the military preparations for further war were primarily defensive and protective - the Maginot Line is the prime example.

French politics in the '30s were notoriously and bitterly divided, with strong socialist and rightist influence - this is a well-known story, but it was indicative of a sapped will in the society. It was far worse than in England or America, where we know it to have been bad.

The French military understood they would have to fight by '38, and by the time Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939, the French public understood they would have to fight and France went to war.

Of course, as everyone knows, in 1940, once the Germans got serious and launched their attack, France collapsed in 8 weeks. An army with equipment at least as good as the Germans had - sometimes better - and more men, but poor leadership and backed by an evervated society with no will. You don't think the Arabs read history?

Britain, which suffered some of the same war weariness as the French, but was not directly invaded, did not collapse and rallied to fight. That's the example we all always look to - and the example of the US after Pearl Harbor.

Think for a moment, however, how the British who found the will to fight the Germans in 1940, essentially collapsed and gave up the empire after WWII, and after the disaster of Suez in 1956 (when the US was the dog in the manger), had completely withdrawn East of Suez by 1964. They stood their ground in the Cold War only because the US was standing strong.

Now, consider the US. We rallied from our pacifism and isolationism to fight WWII and win decisively, and then, after a brush with war weariness in the late '40s, rallied to defend the West through the Cold War - the very Cold War that occasioned Schelling's work on deterence. Our MAD and deterence generally was credible for only one reason: we had actually used atomic weapons, so when we threatened them, people 'knew' our threat to use them again had to be taken seriously.

Then came Vietnam and our own squandering of will. I won't recount that disaster where we fought bravely, if not often intelligently, and lost not on the battlefield but as a result of a loss of will at home due to the anti-war movement.

We again rallied to win the Cold War - displaying will and credible threats under Reagan - who scared the bejeebies out of the mullahs and the Russians - and again to fight and win Gulf I. But, that was done primarily by government will, because there was division politically. Reagan and Bush I were villified by the Democrats and the far left (not yet then entirely synonymous); the attacks only really stopped (for a while) when we won. And, after the feckless Clinton years, we rallied after 9/11 to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, throughout the post 9/11 world, we have had political polarization and sniping against the government's conduct of the war that is at least as bad as what the French faced between the world wars, and the notoriously short-attention-spanned American people are now weary of fighting a war that has not even caused inflation like Vietnam or cost us any really serious number of casualties. Our intial allies like Spain and Italy folded like cheap suits after the attacks in Spain, and the British people are really in trouble, with a huge Muslim 5th column and a population that would like to simply walk away from the whole thing.

So, the question becomes, will we be able, as the French did in 1914, as the British and we did in 1940/41, or will the American people lose their nerve and will to fight in the way the French did in 1940, the British did in the post-WWII era, and the US did after Vietnam? Remember the Carter years? Oh, yeah, that's exactly what we can expect if the Democrats win.

But this is more than about partisan politics, it's about the overall credibility of the society's will to survive. Can we make our military prowess credible? Given the fact that we are not prepared to field the conventional (that is to say people intensive) forces necessary to defeat Iran on the ground by invasion, the answer is depressing: not unless they believe we will use nuclear weapons.

What the Iraq War has demonstrated is that as good as our forces are - and they are very, very good - we do not have the conventional combined arms force-in-being, even if we fully mobilized, which we won't, to take on an Iran successfully. The 500,000+ ground troops we had in 1991 could have done it, but even though the 200,000 or so we could put on the ground in Iraq/Iran are not sufficient. Just not enough boots. Oh, we can bomb them and make life hard, but we can't win in the sense of destroying the enemy's leadership (bunkered up) and eliminating their capacity to make war and trouble around the world for us.

That leaves us with our national strategic means - the old euphemism for nuclear weapons. Does anyone really believe the US would use nuclear weapons against any attack other than a nuclear or very major CBW attack on the US? I don't. And, while I think Bush would respond to a WMD attack on the US with nuclear fire, I'm not sure it would be more than a demonstration attack. Tit for tat. Leading to another hudna. And, that's only the Bush administration. I'm not sure a Democrat could even do that much. So, why wouldn't the Arabs and Iranians wait?

A depressing thought, but my conclusion is that absent our actual use of nuclear weapons in the near future - and I'm agnostic whether a tactical nuke would do, or whether it would have to be a strategic weapon , no one who is making real decisions in the world about whether to confront the US or snipe at it is going to believe us. And, when we're attacked, I'm not even sure we'll have the will.

It will be the French in 1940 or far, far, far worse for civilization, the response of the Christian civilization to the initial attacks in the seventh century, when the bickering and infighting allowed militarily weaker Moslems, who had the will to go berserker on us, to conquer most of the Mediterranean world in less than 100 years.

8/17/2006 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

James, James, James,

..."Barring that, perhaps you could provide me some proof of some actual Al Qaida cells or operatives who've been convicted preparing to launch an attack in the US. Or perhaps, even caught casing some a vulnerable target..."

Every day is binary, you end the day with it or it ends you. Your argument falls apart by the time line between the attacks on the World Trade Towers. If you perch between the dates, you have some very peaceful real estate.

Have some fish and chips at the Pub, take some Jaco sand between the toes. Relax.

8/17/2006 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

In the film Twlight's Last Gleaming, an imprisoned USAF general officer takes over a missile launch complex and insists that the classified transcript of a certain high level meeting from the 60's be released publically.

Mystified, the President has the transcript dug up. And he is horrified to discover that it reveals that the real reason for the Vietnam War was to show the nuclear armed USSR that the U.S. did indeed have the will to go to war and the guts to do brutal things.

As VDH says - and as OIF tends to confirm - at times it is useful to show your enemy that you are just a little bit crazy.

8/17/2006 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Long ago, Rome had some trouble with Carthage. They had trouble with Carthage until they finally got tired of having trouble with Carthage.

They sent an army which took Carthage. The men were all killed. The prettier women were enslaved and dispersed throughout the empire. Then they leveled the city and spread salt on the ground so that nothing would ever grow there again.

They had no further trouble with Carthage. They didn't have serious trouble with much of anybody for a long while after that.

8/17/2006 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

James

You can twist your brain into any shape you want. Convicting AQ operatives has utilized exactly 32 seconds of my lifetime neural activity - and you get to see them all.

8/17/2006 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

2164th,

Fish n chips at the Pub is only on Friday. ;)

And, I must say, I'm quite relaxed. Perhaps a little too relaxed for those who insist that there are millions of muslims hiding everywhere just waiting to blow them up.

Anyhow, what do you make of Wretchard's fable?

8/17/2006 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Brad Lena said...

The current situation reminds me of when Grant took command of the Army of the Potomac. Union officers were in angst over what Bobby Lee was going to unleash upon them next. To which Grant said something to the effect of “you shouldn’t be worrying about what Lee is going to do to us but about what we’re going to do to him, get some canon up here.” There is a Grant out there right now. He’ll eventual emerge, it’s just a question of when.

8/17/2006 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

W,

Nobody joins the dots like you.

I'm sure Keyser Soze appalls you. No doubt you know that he will emerge if the Islamists continue.

It is to the credit of the West that we are giving them every chance to evolve from the 7th century.

This dream of evolution is hopelessly optimistic. Nothing to do with Allah, Jesus, Buddah. Their culture is thuggery. What we are seeing as terrorism is just local stand-over tactics gone global. It's all they know. Beat up the next house, the next street, the next town.

All that's missing is the will to name, the will to laugh at them, the will to show them we recognise them for the bufoons they are.

Nobody has voted for the clown in your photograph. Don't you just love the raised finger? Kinda makes what he says so true - yeah.

It won't take nukes, it won't take Keyser Soze, it will take South Park to bring down the mullahs.

But first we must believe it is permissable to call a shit a shit.

ADE

8/17/2006 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

doug,

Some claim that until OBL is proven killed or captured any other mission is a distraction. Indeed, this fairly captures the opinion of many Dems, if the current political campaign is indicative.

You may recall that Hitler was not eliminated until days before the end of European operations. Instead, the US concentrated on destroying the Reich. Actually, that worked out pretty well. Yes, if you cannot find the needle, burn the haystack.

Personally, I think the whole "get Osama first" argument is a cynical red herring, waived about in the absence of a substantive alternative to present policy. This red herring is a favored dish of the Islamofascists and their supporters.

8/17/2006 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/17/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Db2m said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/17/2006 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

We do not have to be crazy. We need to be ruthless and focused. We had a hint the size of a bus during the last few weeks. When everyone thought that Israel would do the obvious and destroy Hewzbollah, the Sunni states could not get out press releases fast enough criticizing Hezbollah. When Israel failed not to disapoint, the criticism evaporated.

Israel and the leadership and decisions under GWB exposed the vulnerablities of modern lethal militaries when used in the actual enviornment in the ME. We do not need country crushing wrecking balls to win the war against degenerate Islam. The allies to win it are arleady there. We need to purge our ideologues that saw a democrat lurking in the heart of every Muslim. It was a desert wraith. We need to establish stability and eliminate the Islamic ideologues in an ignoble fashion. Ruthless methodical patience and no air carrier landings will get the job done. Please get a grip, this thing is so easily winnable.

8/17/2006 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

What Brad said.
If you want ruthless, read up on the crusaders.
For now here is a simple suggestion that will show the muslims we are serious. Amputate the left hand and right foot of all captured jihadists, then send them back to the Mosque that recruited them.
Another efective tool would be making and publishing a list of Mosques that preach Jihad. Then every time there is a muslim terrorist event, the following Friday (prayer day, where all the faithful attend service and hit the collection plate)JADAM one Mosque off that list for every Terrorist attack that took place the previous week.
Do these two things and this latest outbreak of Islamic fundamentalism will be over in a few years.

8/17/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Will's been around for a long time. Will was absent in the war of 1812. He deserted the North for the South in the Civil War -- Until he was captured by Generals Grant and Sherman. In World War II the Japanese and the Nazis had intimidated and tortured Will until he agreed to serve them. Stalin had sent him off to the Gulag -- to be reprieved when the Panzers approached Moscow. (After the war he was sent back to the Gulag where he met Solzhenitsyn). But Will fought freely for the US Marines and the Third Army of General Patton.

I live in Ohio and get my information from the most open of open sources and am amazed that any one with a knowledge of the region would be surprised by the outcome of the Hezbollah/Israel conflict. It was always going to be a Hez win for one simple reason:
The conflict is actually with Syria and Iran.

Syria claims Lebanon and much of Israel and Jordan as well. So we face Syrian Imperialism and a resurgent Persian Empire clothed in religious garb.

The key to the conflict is the current regime in Iran.

Hezbollah is part of the Persian Empire of Belief -- with terror cells around the world. Basically, its real value: it could drag Israel into any confrontation with Iran and the US. The further goal: to drag the rest of the Islamic world into that same conflict on the side of Iran.

The US goal? To link the rest of the non-Islamic world to the face down of the Iranian regime over its nuke program. This will help neutralize the rest of the Islamic world. Will this alignment be easy to achieve? No. But it is achievable.

Try this for "boat burning." Russia and China and much of the Arab world endorse a NATO strike against Iranian Nuke facilities (as well as its "Regime Protection Elements"). If this happens the major powers will all be united in opposition to the Rise of the Persian Empire of Belief for a generation (they will have "burned their boats"). In fact, the Iranians (with a degraded deterrence) may become "wards" of Russia and China after such a prolonged air war.

This would be a bad outcome for the Iranians. So they may well back down before such a "combination" to play another day. Therefore, the "combination" has a incentive to form.

We should remember the Iran/Iraq war. The Iranians suffered much in those years, and may not appreciate the regime doing it to them again.

The return of Jimmy Carter may not be in the interest of the Major powers until the Iranian threat is contained. Then it will be "Welcome back Jimmy."

8/17/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

2164th,

"We need to purge our ideologues that saw a democrat lurking in the heart of every Muslim. "

The NeoConservatives? Wasn't that their message between late '01 and '03?

"Please get a grip, this thing is so easily winnable."

I certainly don't wish to embarass you in the eyes of some here but I must say that I agree completely with that.

8/17/2006 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

I can handle it james.

8/17/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

The upshot of Wretchard's fable is:

Osama is Dead.

Jihad is Dead.

We live happily for a long, long, time.

8/17/2006 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Here's an equation:

"Belief that America is too civilized to engage in a war of annihilation"

Plus

"Attacking Pearl Harbor"

Equals

"Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Any more questions?

8/17/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard said:

Let me tell a fable. It is precisely two days after nuclear weapons have destroyed New York, London and Sydney. And it is 24 hours after the President of the United States, after consulting with the Prime Ministers of Britain and Australia, has ordered a ten thousand warhead strike on the entire Muslim world, followed a second strike using tailored biological weapons.


In reality, we can tailor even a nuclear response to match the terrorist assault and still look at ourselves in the mirror on Sunday morning before Mass. Turkey, Libya, Malaysia and Indonesia aren't in this fight. Only the intractable regimes like Syria, Hezbollahstan, and Iran would need 2000 level sunblock, plus North Korea for supplying them. Have Condi make noises about Mecca and Medina having known, fixed GPS co-ordinates. After that, when we say we want Osama's head, the Pakis will ask if we want it on a silver plate or a china plate. The next time we flash around a picture of a terror training camp in Saudi Arabia, the Saudis will ask if we want them to turn it into a US supply depot or a US helicopter staging area.

8/17/2006 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

And, while I think Bush would respond to a WMD attack on the US with nuclear fire, I'm not sure it would be more than a demonstration attack. Tit for tat.

POP QUIZ:

The USA responded to the destruction of two office buildings on 9/11/01 by:

(a) Destroying two office buildings in the Middle East.

(b) Conquering two nations in the Middle East.

8/17/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Pop answer:

Please advise Iraq they are conquered and ask them to keep it down.

8/17/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/17/2006 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

catorenasci said:

Then came Vietnam and our own squandering of will. I won't recount that disaster where we fought bravely, if not often intelligently, and lost not on the battlefield but as a result of a loss of will at home due to the anti-war movement.

I wouldn't call it a loss of will, I'd call it the will to stem the hemmoraging of American blood in a worthless Cause, dying for a South which was half-hearted in their fight for "States Rights" against the Northerners who wanted to preserve the "Union"

8/17/2006 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

Wretchard, thank you for this post
Re: your fable

Bin Landin's metaphysic as you present it (via videotape) could also be presented by the ghost of Hitler who himslef laid a stain on all Being in the Jewish holocaust while goading the west into frenzied killing of women and children at end of WWII. And the answer is well, yes, we will go on with our temples and churches and movies and books and art and games in giant stadiums because we just will, man is man for better or worse (worse being the active word for our purposes here). I think the flaw in your fable is that bin Ladin - or murderous Islam - wouldn't be able to put that final thought over about the destruction of innocents, the children singing or women at market. Hezbollah hides behind them rather than protect them. The Palestinians outfit infants in baby suicide bomb jackets and in Iran they are daily targets. We are battling a consuming fire.

8/17/2006 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Schelling argued that in a bargaining or competitive situation one economic agent’s framework for rationality is not always necessarily another’s. If, for example, agent A does not act according to agent B’s conventional assumptions about the rules of the game, B will consider A’s behavior “irrational.” During the game, B will be uncertain about the trajectory of A’s behavior. From B’s point of view, A’s behavior is ambiguous and unpredictable. Thus, A’s irrationality might result in A winning the competition. If Agent A is not really irrational—or mad—but is using his/her unconventional behavior as part of a conscious bargaining or competitive strategy, then his/her so-called irrationality is effectively rational in relation to the game’s “payoffs.”

Allow me to quote from Kissinger:

"Nothing in America's behavior would have led policymakers in Moscow or Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, to expect more than a diplomatic protest when North Korean troops crossed the 38th Parallel. They must have been as surprised as Saddam Hussein was when America shifted from the conciliation of the late 1980s to the massive deployment in the Persian Gulf in 1990. The communists in Moscow and Pyongyang had taken at face value the pronouncements of leading Americans that had placed Korea outside the American defense perimeter. They assumed that America would not resist a communist takeover of half of Korea after having acquiesced to a communist victory in China, which represented an incomparably more important prize. They had obviously failed to understand that repeated American declarations proclaiming resistance to communist aggression as a moral duty carried far more weight with American policymakers than strategic analysis.

That America defends principle, not interests, law, and not power, has been a nearly sacrosanct tenet of America's rationale in committing its military forces, from the time of the two world wars through the escalation of its involvement in Vietnam in 1965 and the Gulf War in 1991. Both Moscow and Pyongyang had failed to understand the role of values in America's approach to international relations.

"When Stalin miscalculated...it was because he assumed that his counterparts were also conducting Realpolitik, and in the same cold-blooded fashion as he. These assumptions turned out to be grievously wrong. The United States was not conducting Realpolitik -- at least not as Stalin understood it. To American leaders, moral maxims were real, and legal obligations were meaningful...America resisted these acts of aggression in the name of principle, not in defense of a sphere of interest; America had exerted itself in order to remedy an insult to a universal cause, not over a challenge to the local status quo."


I think you see what I'm getting at. We exhibit Schelling's payoff of irrationality because we actually believe in principles and are willing to fight for them. Oftentimes our enemies take our internal debate and overblown rhetoric as a sign of weakness and and a failure of policy. They hear pronouncements by public officials and by the press that we won't or can't, and they convince themselves that this Gulliver is tied down because they want to be convinced.

Our faith in our beliefs and our commitment to our word is the cornerstone of our "irrational" rationality. Iran will merely be the latest to learn this lesson the hard way.

8/17/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

[1] allen, you're right about that red herring foolishness about capturing Osama.

[2] CatoRenasci, great post. However, this is where Rumsfeld is truly undervalued in my opinion. We have so many people desperately trying to prove how intellectually smart they are and superior to Rumsfeld, while he has accurately assessed our population and our politics and knows he has to find a way to use our massive assets, constrained by limited applicability, to best effect.

That he has done. The incredible lack of casualties in Iraq, the steady nudging of an undemocratic people forward toward democracy while everybody and their mama around the globe tries to cut the legs out from under the effort just so they can say "I told you so!" plus his sheer steadiness will he honored in years to come and all of this lose the peace B.S. will be forgotten as was the case with post-World War II Germany.

[3] hdgreene, it is (IMHO) only our need for TV movie endings that even remotely allows for a claim of Hezbollah "winning" that conflict with Israel. That they live to see another day is not a big deal to me. If, in fact, the real enemy was Iran and Syria all along -- isn't the diplomatic clock running out on both of them? Aren't both of them in remarkably tenous situations with their own populations? There's a regime change a-coming -- in fact, two of them. And there ain't a damn thing the Democrats or Congress can do to stop that.

We've forced them to show their hands in Iraq, and shoot their wad. Still, our advance is clear to see. Who gives a damn if there is internal strife -- it couldn't be any other way.

We've forced the Hez to show their hands and shoot their wad. Hip hip hooray, they think they've won. Israel has been wise to primarily use this conflict as nothing more than an exercise to probe the enemy. I guarantee you, the Israelis have learned far, far more than the Hez, Syria or Iran and are applying that information for the battle next time.

Our transformed and still transforming military, in conjunction with an administration fully cognizant of who we are and what we represent, are advancing the ball while all around them howl.

I'm perfectly content with that. It's called leadership.

8/17/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

Wretchard, I read your "fable" after I had written my historical analysis, which essentially concludes we will not win unless we use nuclear weapons against the Iranians.

Your "fable" suggests you believe we cannot use nuclear weapons, and must fight conventionally. The conventional fight, I would argue, on the analogy of the pre-atomic bombing of Japan analysis of the cost of an invasion of Honshu of 1 million American casualties, would be at least as ugly and brutal - and as destructive to the spirit - as the nuclear elimination of the Islamic threat. The only difference is that we would take huge casualties and kill almost as many Moslems using conventional means.

If you in fact accept the argument in your fable, then we have already lost this war, because, frankly, the West does lack the stomach for a long conventional war. It is the same problem that Truman faced in 1945 - although he had conventional victory assured, it was only the price: faced with an enemy whose will to fight must be eliminated if we are to save civiliation, do we do so with conventional means - resulting is huge casualties on our side as well as theirs, or do we use nuclear weapons in a way that minimizes our own casualties?

If you really believe we are in an existential war - that is that the Iranians will not back down until they are either victorious or overwhelmingly defeated - then your choices are limited to the timing of the war, and the means of fighting. To me, the choice is obvious - use nuclear weapons. The world will not love us any more if our laying waste to Iran is done with conventional weapons at the cost of 50-100,000 American casualaties (or more after an Iranian strike on the US or Israel) than if we nuke them.

Yours is a counsel of dispair and surrender, I fear.

8/17/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger java_thread said...

He's a warrior, not a philosopher, but blackfive considers whether we end up killing more children by pulling back when our enemy hides behind their own children.

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2006/08/on_the_virtues_.html

blackfive suggests: “That we pursue war without thought of the children. That we do not turn aside from the death of the innocent, but push on to the conclusion, through all fearful fire. If we do that, the children will lose their value as hostages, and as targets: if we love them, we must harden our hearts against their loss. Ours and theirs."

he ends with: "We can only do, and pray, that when we are done we may be forgiven."

8/17/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

catorenasci,

Very well done! Thanks.

Those who believe that the ground forces now available are even remotely sufficient to the tasks at hand, are not or have not been in active service within the last five years.

As you know, we have at hand something less than 3 million active and reserve military personnel. What is forgotten, however, about the aggregate number is that for every "boot on the ground" there will be 10 "boots in support". The logistical and administrative tail dwarfs the dog. Therefore, the actual combat focused and ready forces available for deployment to any number of theatres totals, at best, about 300,000.

The nuclear option (tactical or strategic) will be our only option unless there is a major shift in thinking. The armed forces of the Untied States must be doubled, in my opinion, if we are to pose a credible strategic threat to any of our numerous adversaries. Nations resort to the use of such things as poison gas not when they are strong, but when they are weak.

8/17/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

There is no way we are going to nuke the entire Muslim world.

We would retaliate heavily against the regime who sponsored such an attack. We would proclaim that anybody who stands in our way will be destroyed. We would restart conscription. Our economy would be partially or fully appropriated by the federal government. Defense spending would reach the high-teens as a percentage of GDP. Capital markets would be frozen. Prices would be frozen.

And then we would go to war the old fashioned way. Obliterate, occupy, and rebuild. Those governments that wanted to survive would help or make way, those with a death wish would rattle sabers.

The moral of that fable would echo throughout history, that is true, but it wouldn't be a call to Islam.

8/17/2006 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

The Bush administration's weak response to Hezbollah does not require a mysterious conspiratorial need for a weak Israel to explain it. In fact, it is explained by the very problem Wretchard is talking about in this post: our unwillingness to pull out the stops and hit Iran et al as hard as they need to be hit to turn them back and see them overthrown.

What I hope for is a US administration that is willing to pull out the stops and which is willing (and able!) to put in the political/diplomatic work that is needed to stiffen the backbone of the rest of the west as we start beating the totalitarians into submission.

I'm afraid Bush, bless his heart, just doesn't have it in him to do that. He's too much of a spoiled brat himself and has no idea of how to get other people to see things his way. For him, it's half measures all the way out and back.

8/17/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

News about the International Force going to Lebanon:

"France, meanwhile, wants to send a small, purely symbolic contingent to the force, and the United Nations is trying to convince French officials that such a decision would be devastating, a news report said Thursday."

There is more than one kind of crazy, and it makes a big difference which kind you are perceived to be.

8/17/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Actually Aristides, it would be nothing like that. We would pick an "Offender" nation; let's say Iran. We would Nuke Qom, five or six military targets, and their Nuke Installations. A few nuke bunker-busters to go after the Leadership, and that would be that.

I would expect that the President would inform the Iranian "People" that they should choose their "New" leaders, wisely.

Then, we could spend the next hundred years doing what we "really" enjoy: figuring out how to buy a bigger house with no money down.

8/17/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

Damn! I left out a thought at the end of my post just above:

So long as we are unable to rally the rest of the west around us we are squeamish about taking the really firm measures that are needed to put an end to the totalitarian threat. So we are condemned to dick around for at least the next two years, I'm afraid.

8/17/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Promethea said...

2164 . . .

You said: I restate my position. “We know who the enemy is. They told us. We know where they meet. We know a lot about them. It is time to go silent and go dark. No speeches, no threats, no lawyers, no mercy. Isolate and eliminate the radical clerics, financial supporters, politicians, tacticians, academics, theorists, and all supporters of radical Islam.”

I absolutely agree with you on this. Let's call it the "keyser soze option."

Before I read your post, I was daydreaming about the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, in particular the 2nd movie, which especially moved me. I was thinking about the orcs and should we call our enemies "orcs" to clarify things for those who cannot see. Then I realized this would be impossible because it's "dehumanizing" our enemies, something that no go LLLs would approve.

But LLLs love "The Usual Suspects." Calling this the "keyser soze option would absolutely appeal to them in a flip kind of way.

8/17/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger demosophist said...

I'm trying to figure out where the balance point lies between the loss of will in the West and the privatization of war. Both are themes you've raised, but they don't lead to the same place. I can't really tell yet where the latter will lead, or how strong it will be. Would a significant privatization of the anti-terror force shake some sense into the will-less populations, or would they just eat their own young?

Anyway, in the midst of all this very bad news at least it appears that they caught Jon Binet's killer. It's not that I was on the edge of my seat over that, but I figured that was another lost cause... so maybe not all lost causes really are...

8/17/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Promethea said...

...no good LLLs...

8/17/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Real Clear Politics has a poll on Pennsylvania voters. One astounding result.

"6. Do you consider President Bush to be a conservative in the mode of Ronald Reagan? (Republicans only)
Yes 15%
No 66%
Undecided 19%"

Any questions?

8/17/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Marcus Aurelius:

Will it take the destruction of an entire city?


Yes.


Jamie Irons

8/17/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

PapaBear wrote:
Long ago, Rome had some trouble with Carthage. They had trouble with Carthage until they finally got tired of having trouble with Carthage.

They sent an army which took Carthage. The men were all killed. The prettier women were enslaved and dispersed throughout the empire. Then they leveled the city and spread salt on the ground so that nothing would ever grow there again.

They had no further trouble with Carthage. They didn't have serious trouble with much of anybody for a long while after that.


I take my blognomen (trans: "Cato reborn") from the example of Cato the Censor (or the Elder) who warned his fellow Romans of the necessity of destroying Carthage.

Your version of the story is simplistic: it took three wars over a period of 120 years for Rome to remove the Carthaginian threat. Three very brutal wars. During the Second Punic War, Hannibal's famous invasion of Italy after crossing the Alms made Roman victory a near run thing.

I fear that unless we decisively defeat the Islamists now - killing a whole bunch of them - we will end up having to fight them again and again until we end up with a Carthaginian Peace with the radiocative slag left from nuclear weapons taking the place of plowing the fields and salting the earth.

8/17/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Juan,

I appreciate your explanation as to why Bush chose the course that he chose, and I'll certainly give it some consideration. I would simply suggest that you not regard the scenario I described (as speculative as I admit it is) to necessarily be a "mysterious conspiratorial need."

An understanding of US diplomatic history, and diplomatic history in general, I believe leads to an acceptance that powers often have a reason for perpetuating a status quo or even degrees of calculated instability in various regions. Some may say that when it comes to international politics, "people have friends, countries have interests."

I will fully grant that your explanation is completely reasonable and again that mine was just speculation. I'll simply say that what you read about in your local paper is rarely what happened last night at the city council. And what we see on the news in press conferences from world leaders regarding global events is almost never what is really going on.

8/17/2006 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Wretchard,

Your fable presents Bin Laden at his absolute hypnotic best.

He is attempting to use his powers to hypnotize the entire West into passivity; the whole charade is a fine example of an attempt at a post-hynotic suggestion.

Once one realizes this, it has no power over one, and one says "F*** him" as one moves on.

Jamie Irons

8/17/2006 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

The Devil himself is a fine hypnotist.

Jamie Irons

8/17/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

rufus,

There is no point killing massive amounts of people just for the cathartic effect it brings. Our response to any such catastrophe must be imbued with a sense of justice, the lack of which would almost certainly bring about the demise of our civilization.

Note, that does not mean "proportionate". And it does not rule out your scenario, if the attacks originated in Iran. But it does rule out nuking cities just because they are majority Muslim, and just because we can.

The rest of my post dealt with militarizing our society. That would most certainly take place after we were hit with a nuke.

8/17/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Rodney Graves said...

Wretchard,

See also Kipling's "Grave of the Hundred Head."

Thus the samadh was perfect,
Thus was the lesson plain
Of the wrath of the First Shikaris --
The price of a white man slain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
Went back into camp again.

Then a silence came to the river,
A hush fell over the shore,
And Bohs that were brave departed,
And Sniders squibbed no more;
For the Burmans said
That a white man's head
Must be paid for with heads five-score.


Out Here
Rodney Graves

8/17/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Ich bin ein Teil des Teils der anfangs alles war,
Ein Teil der Finsternis die sich das Licht gebar...



Jamie Irons

8/17/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger noah said...

You guys just don't get it. Its not a matter of game theory. Wretchard's post is very interesting...but the responses of nation states depends on the zeitgiest and little else. We were drowzy before Pearl Harbor and 9/11...but our primal instincts were aroused by those events. Now the "war on terror" seems an abstraction and we would just rather sink back in denial. Its like having a shitty neighbor...you either move or you just keep hoping he will mind his own business because calling the cops and filing lawsuits is not what most people want to do with their time.

8/17/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

allen

Our combat forces are sufficiently sized to take on any combination of enemy military forces that could be arrayed against us. I don't know what the accurate ratios would be but the firepower of a 2006 combined arms brigade probably exceeds the firepower of a large number of WWII divisions. Besides, the size of our military only has to be relative to the size of the other guys.

I think what Wrethcard is getting at is the calculus of retribution. Does Islam win if the West is itself emotionally overwhelmed by the ferocity of its retributory attack? I think recent history has already provided an answer to that question. There was no emotional breakdown across the US in 1945 and I doubt there would be any today.

Have you seen Munich? (I have not). I was watching the 1972 Olympics when that happened. I often wondered what would become of the Israelis who exacted retribution from Black September. The answer for one at least ended up being elected as PM. Would the future have been any different if no member of the extended family of any Black September member hadn't have one?

8/17/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Rattlegator, I agree, pretty much, with your criticism. I didn't mean to say that Hezbollah won in the way we understand winning. I meant it in the way the New York Times understands winning.

Terrorist always win. They kill you, they win. You kill them, they win (because two more will take their place). Break up a plot? Why, it's because the plotters are bozos (think of "the Shoe Bomber" or "the twentieth 9/11 Hijacker" or "the bozos in Miami" who needed FBI help to tie their shoe bombs). If the bozos should succeed, what does that say of the idiots in the Bush Administration? So "Terrorist winning" is baked into the Left's cake -- which is actually a cow pie so don't taste it.

If Israel had gone into the Hez heartland of the Bekaa Valley it would have had the Syrian army on its right flank. Not a good situation. So Israel would have to take them out or give them the first punch. Both bad. Can regime change come to Syria via Israel? Don't think so. So Hez "winning" was baked into the cake.

But its ability to drag Israel into a U.S. confrontation with Iran has been greatly diminished (depending on the "will" not of the UN force -- which does not have any -- but of the nations that send troops). So it may actually be a win for those who oppose Iran acquiring nukes (which allows the building of a larger coalition than "regime change"). Of course much of the world must see "Iran Nukes" as a threat for the coalition to form. Much of the World may not -- in which case it will not.

Interestingly, if the U.S. is un-will-ing to go it alone against Iran, then the coalition is more likely to form. But if we show the will to do it ourselves -- we will have to. And world will use it against us.

8/17/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

rattle:


We've forced the Hez to show their hands and shoot their wad. Hip hip hooray, they think they've won. Israel has been wise to primarily use this conflict as nothing more than an exercise to probe the enemy. I guarantee you, the Israelis have learned far, far more than the Hez, Syria or Iran and are applying that information for the battle next time.


thanks for saying what i have been thinking..

while watching the shia of southern lebanon stand tall on rubble proclaiming they have beaten the zionist pigs i keep seeing that old monty python line... "it's just a flesh wound"..

Israel suffered 4,000 rocket attacks, these caused the deaths of 50 israelis (mostly jews but some arabs) from any military POV this is not a win ratio that any leader could be proud of. The death rain that Hezbollah has taken 6 yrs, and billion dollars to provide has failed. It shot their wad and guess what? They suck.

During ww2 the nazis murdered jews at a rate of 31,000 per week, thus the hezbollah murdered jews at a rate of 17 per week, my suggestion for hezbollah is to sell cheap state fair funnel cake and cig's to the israeli, it would kill more of them in a less lethal way on the hezbollah freedom fighters.

Yes israel did not cause genocide on the lebonese people or hezbollah, too bad.

Yes israel only killed 500 hezbollah fighters

yes israel did not massively invade until 48 hours before the ceasefire..

and when israel did invade the number of civilians was at it's lowest possible number, thus not killing another 5000 civilians that hezbollah was seeking.

What iran, Syria and Hezbollah wanted was a bloodbath, saddly for them, it did not occur. Instead of fireworks in the streets, they wanted millions of outraged screaming arabs calling for the death of jews & israel, they wanted piles and piles of dead children to prove that israel was the modern nazis.. THEY DID NOT GET THIS.

they got "celebrations" of victory! Great for them but false truths prove hollow in the still of the night. Free rent for a year is great, but how long will it take to rebuild southern lebanon? Plowing a path thru rubble aint the same as building new roads, power grids, water and sewage treatment plants, grocery stores, resturants etc.

Congrats to iran, syria & lebanon, they won the battle! enjoy the rubble, the losers the israelis will be back at their normal jobs in 14 minutes.

8/17/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Aristides, Jihad, like any militaristic movement, must have funding. In my scenario, the Heads of State will be Killed, the Main Mullahs will be Killed, The Major Military Heads will be Killed, the Nuke Capacity will be destroyed, and the vast majority of the population (99.999%) will be spared.

The result will be the End of State-Sponsored Terror.

In the age of "globalization" it's not in our "interest" to destroy cultures. That ruins their value as "consumers," and as cheap suppliers of labor. It, also, has the benefit of making us feel all "virtuous" when we don't.

When I say we take out Qom, I'm being imprecise. In reality we would/should opt for a smaller nuclear detonation that would take out the Religious Leadership, their headquarters, and the Mosque.

8/17/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

peterboston wrote:
Our combat forces are sufficiently sized to take on any combination of enemy military forces that could be arrayed against us. I don't know what the accurate ratios would be but the firepower of a 2006 combined arms brigade probably exceeds the firepower of a large number of WWII divisions. Besides, the size of our military only has to be relative to the size of the other guys.

The issue is not that one modern combined arms brigade to day has the equivalent firepower of one or more World War II army corps (2+ divisions each), but that you can't overrun and occupy - let alone successfully take out the military assets - of a country the size of Iran with half a dozen, or even a dozen, modern combined arms brigages. You just don't have the folks, you can't secure your supply lines, and you can't afford even modest casualties. The professionals of the European armies that fought the Revolutionary French had more effective firepower per unit, but could be overwhelmed by mass attacks. Without using all of our firepower resources - which would mean killing huge numbers of civilians without worrying about it much - a 200-300,000 man force could not successfully subdue Iran. We might get to Tehran, but then what?

8/17/2006 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Pascal Fervor said... “Can anyone explain how it is that Ibrahim's first son Ishmael has been recruited to rain down death upon innocents in direct contradistinction to what Ibrahim introduced to the pagan world?”

Ishmael, the eldest son of Abraham. His mother was Hagar, the maid servant of Abraham’s wife. In Genesis 16:11-12 (KJV) it is written:

11And the angel of the LORD said unto her (Hagar), Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. 12And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

Thus, according to Genesis, Ishmael is literally the original wild child, the first-born enfant terrible To this day it seems that some of the fruit of his loins still falls close to the tree. Some of Ishmael’s heirs act like l’enfants terribles, as the children who terrorize and are against every man.

As many here know, Genesis goes on to say that Sarah sent Hagar and Ishmael away and the two settled in Mecca. From wikipedia… “The desperate running of his mother (Hagar) in pursuit of water for her infant son (Ishmael) led to a miraculous spring appearing from the ground (from God) known as the Zamzam Well. Ishmael then helped his father, Abraham, build the House of God, or the Kaaba, in Mecca.” Quite appropriately, Muslims revere Ishmael. According to Islam, The Prophet Mohammed is a descendant of Ishmael.

Marcus Aurelius asked: …what will it take to convince our population of the need to fight instead of surrendering? If it took Pearl Harbor in 1941 I would have thought 9/11 would have been motivation enough. Will it take the destruction of an entire city?

… an entire city? I pray it never comes to that. If it does, is uspect it will certainly take more than the population of a village which, in New York state, is at least 500 people and no more than 5 sq miles. That, by the way, is more than a hamlet but less than a town which is less than a city

Goesh said... what about our own people that endorse our enemies and ideologically support and enable them?

If we are lucky, these Useful Global Village Idiots will be discredited and run out of town on a rail. Moreover, their discarded tropes and clever rhetoric could take on new meaning. For example, we could rephrase “it takes a village to raise a child” as a question: (How come) it takes (the deaths of more than the number of people living in) a village to raze a (wild) child (who terrorizes the Global Village)?

Or we could rephrase it as declarative sentence: It takes (the destruction of more than) a village to (make us) raze a child (whose hand is against every man). But how much more, Marcus, is what no one seems to know. I suspect your tolerance level been exceeded.

8/17/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger epictetus said...

It would be extremely difficult to plan against a country like ours. How exactly do you predict the response of a society that seems to agonize over civilian causualties in war, is horrified by Gitmo, yet LOVES films like The Usual Suspects?

As mad as it makes us, our apparent lack of will and brutality does have one advantage. It causes our enemies to constantly overreach.

Historically this has lead to our rediscovering our will and smashing the buggers.

Doug, I think that letter from the Hollywood Stars is huge. I wish it were getting more play, but at this point, I'm happy with what we can get.

8/17/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Wretchard,

I read regularly, and post rarely, but let me say that this was one of your best.


Allen,
"You may recall that Hitler was not eliminated until days before the end of European operations. Instead, the US concentrated on destroying the Reich. Actually, that worked out pretty well. Yes, if you cannot find the needle, burn the haystack."

A counterfactual question- suppose we managed to get Hitler, or more plausibly, say the assassination plot had worked. What then? Maybe Canaris or someone would have taken over and sued for peace. Is it possible the terms of ending the slaughter would have implicitly pardoned the war criminals and the holocaust organizers? That another generation of Germans would have been taught (wrongly, but taught nonetheless) that they were again cheated out of victory by traitors? That we would have had to deal again later with an embittered insurgency of Germans who refused to believe that they lost?

In my darker moments I sometimes think that maybe your "needle" can cause enough damage to your "haystack" to necesitate its burning anyway, even if you find it.

8/17/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

catorenasci

I was not referencing any particular engagement, only that technology has so greatly leveraged the firepower of US ground forces that an evaluation based on troop numbers is inadequate.

8/17/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Maj_Gen_Stanley said...

People point to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the culmination of WW2 in the Pacific. The nuclear bombing of those two cities did pave the way for the Japanese to get out of the war. But that is not the real measure of the US attitude in the war. For that you must look at the aerial campaign of the XXth Air Force.

Starting in March of 1945 the XXth Air Force waged a systematic campaign of destruction and isolation on Japan. Railroad bridges and tunnels were hit repeatedly. Waterways were mined. Cities were fire bombed repeatedly. Planes would land on Guam, Tinian and Saipan, would be rearmed and refueled, and sent out again as fast as possible. Some cities had in excess of 80% of their urgan area destroyed. This was US will for destruction made manifest.

Afterwards the people who killed 80,000 people in one night with a firebomb raid went home and slept comfortably in their beds. They had no qualms about what they had done. Japan had brought this war on themselves, and this was how it was going to be finished.

The winter of 1945/46 saw near-starvation in Japanese cities; there was food in the countryside, but no way to get it to the cities.

If the war with Iran results in massive destruction in Iran, do not expect those who inflicted it to be tossing and turning in bed consumed with angst. The view will be that we gave them every opportunity to back off, and that they brought the destruction upon themselves.

My point is that the US (and the West) is capable of doing these things without a troublesome heart. The only thing that slows us down is ourselves. And we won't feel sorry afterwards.

It may be that we reach Stalin's solution: "Man is the problem? No man, no problem."

Lord Stanley

8/17/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

peterboston wrote:

I was not referencing any particular engagement, only that technology has so greatly leveraged the firepower of US ground forces that an evaluation based on troop numbers is inadequate.

While it is true that our firepower is vastly superior to what it was even 15 years ago during Gulf I, and that troop numbers alone do not tell the story, nonetheless, I still think you were wrong to suggest our current forces were sufficiently sized to take on any combination of enemy military forces that could be arrayed against us, and saying you were not talking about any specific scenario does not help.

The only way to evaluate your capablities against potential adversaries, or combinations of potential adversaries, is to do it in the context of possible scenarios.

I think it's fair to say that defensively our forces are adequate, but to suggest that we're capable of conducting any necessary offensive operations against one, let alone any combination, of potential adversaries, is naiive. Many of us were concerned when post-Vietnam, the Army moved to a posture in which Reserve and National Guard forces were essential not only in a full mobilization but in any major crisis, which was born out in Gulf I, when the Guard and Reserve brigades were almost all unready in time for the war. Then it got worse in the 1990s when Clinton significantly reducted the number of the Army's force-in-being active divisions, and relied even more heavily on the Guard and Reserves. We're half-mobilized now, and we can't put more than around 300,000 combat effectives on the ground. Even with a full mobilization we would be hard pressed to do much more than that in any place, and still maintain essential forces in place world wide (even denuding CONUS except for training and refitting formations). Twenty years ago, a full mobilization would have put 1.5 million combat effectives on the ground worldwide - which means we could have sustained something like 600-750,000 in any theater.

The need for numbers is relative, to be sure, but at some point - which we have passed as Iraq has demonstrated, you just need more units in order to cover the territory.

8/17/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger braggcreek said...

Remember the terrorist, Richard Reid, who got on a plane with a bomb built into his shoe and tried to light it?

Did you know the trial was over?

Did you hear the verdict?

Did you hear the judge's comments on TV/Radio?

I didn't think so....

Everyone should hear what the judge had to say!

Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court.

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say. His response: After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his "allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah," defiantly stating, "I think I will not apologize for my actions," and told the court "I am at war with
your country."

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:

January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid. Judge Young:

"Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.

On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutively. (That's 80 years.)

On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.

The Court imposes
upon you an $800 special assessment.
The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.

This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.

Now, let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans We have been through the fire before. There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier,
gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: "You're no big deal."

You are no big deal.

What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what
I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?

I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty of and admit you are guilty of doing? And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in
this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.

We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bare any burden, pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure.

Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being
done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.

8/17/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

peterboston,

I have not seen Munich and will not. Historical fiction should have some grounding in reality.

To repeat what I have said, it is not necessary to kill everybody; it is necessary to kill the right somebodys.

Almost daily, I am in contact with people downrange and stateside. When they complain that the wearing of 3 hats does justice to no hat, who am I to argue. Of course, as anyone who has served at the Pentagon can attest, there is no shortage of bean counters.

Shaloam!

8/17/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

A modest truth I do declare.
A man, the microcosmic fool, down in his soul
Is wont to think himself a whole.

8/17/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

Wretchard: This makes two ecellent posts back to back. Congratulations!

unaha-closp said... 8/17/2006 01:31:59 AM

“And given a choice between superiority in weapons and ascendance in will, weapons always came in second.

That is BS. Courage has not yet stopped a bullet.”

Maybe you should read German army accounts of the fight at Stalingrad and you will understand that at the cost of nearly 1,000,000 soldiers the Russian army stopped the superior firepower and technology of the Germans cold and never looked back after that. And, I do not think that anybody thinks today or thought then that the Germans won that battle. I will grant you that it took a butcher like Stalin to order such a tactic but it really confirms Wretchard’s point.

8/17/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

They say that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Conversely one may reason that those who live in the hard scrabble of dirt and gravel have no such misgivings.

We Western live astride the glass edifices of our mighty dollar. Daily those entrusted with the protection of our infrastructure and our lives star in exposes that showcase our most critical vulnerabilities. They stand next to the optimum point of ignition, note the weak link blithely and tell us they’d protect it, if only they had more money. As it stands they are not authorized to work overtime so they leave the camera crew panning across the myriad gas works and trundle home to tell their wives and kids how America needs them.

Through the insights gained by Stephen Vincent, Michael Yon, and Bill Roggio, we see a brave American soldier in the nitty-gritty of urbane clear and hold operations. We have seen the full circle of violence as combatants captured only to be released to kill again as the “criminal” courts let the Jihadists return to the battlefield. Once again it would appear that the legalistic framework that has evolved in the “enlightened” West has hamstrung our abilities to fight and wage wars. We fight an enemy state whose strict codes calls for the literal translation of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. It is these strengths of belief the West will fall and many a by-stander will exclaim, if we were to sink to their level, we’ve already lost. But we sink nonetheless for those whose level we dare not sink to, they are ascendant, and their ways will become the universal way if we do not fight them, where ever the battle may take us. Into the depths of human depravity we must go and go with a purpose. To follow the Devil into his own rat hole, into the infernal nightmare, so that we can again lock the door and ignite the fires that keep the evil one incarcerated for a little longer. Endure the malaise of reciprocity in order to return to the world of light. To cast off the memories of demons and to lay a kiss unto the sleeping innocents who quietly slumber away while the warriors toil in their damning duty.

8/17/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

catorenasci

I think that if you evaluate the effectivenes of the US military v. Iraq's conventional forces against the effectiveness of Iran's military v. Irag (in an eight year war) you might arrive at the conclusion that the US military would not be unduly troubled smashing whatever Iran could field.

Occupation and civil administration are a different kettle of fish, but the outcome of a Blue on Red engagement with Iran is not really open to discussion.

8/17/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger STCMike said...

The key to the fable is the video tape arrives before the retalitory strike happens. After hearing that tape do we go through with the strike? or do we measure the innocents lost and talk ourselves out of it? After all they used their three bombs and now we can still use conventional means. Again we have the weapons but do we have the will? More importantly do they belive we have the will?

8/17/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

Braggcreek 8/17/2006 09:14:44 AM

Thank you for your post. The Judge’s statement is what used to be common in the papers and, yes, at the movies in the 50s and it is what today is being ridiculed by the Left, but it is what made this Country great and the target of so many immigrants. Compare this with a recent judgment from a west coast judged which declared that we are not at war and there is no reason for the government to try and protect state secrets.

8/17/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

James Kielland

Well the Head Whack Job is back at it. Another magnum opus.
There is a certain embarassment in "proving you wrong" since dueling with an idiot is an embarassment ,but let's look at what is provable and not. And what is high on the horse shit meter.

1."back in the real world, if we had a real CIC, we'd be dealing with training camps, IED factories, "
Not too terribly difficult to debunk, unless of course you live in the parallel universe I suspect you do...See this is the real world. Note how easy that one was. A "real CIC" .. golly gee you mean W isn't a real person?..must be that parallel universe you inhabit. A full 10 on the horse shit meter.
2.
"Your comment presumes that the current administration wants an end to this."
Then you blah blah on about profits etc. However you can not site one statement by any responsible member of this administration who has said, "Hey let's do war 7/24/365." We even humuliated ourselves in the UN by trying to mollify the world that Sadam was a killer. 9 on the horse shit meter...you're do'in good but your tin foil hat is slipping a bit.
3.
"5 years on, still no Osama. Still no Zawahiri. Pakistan seems willing to help get bad guys, but for some mysterious reasons that are never quite explained, the two dudes who were, just a few short years ago the most dangerous men on the planet simply can't be found. At what point do you say that they've not been captured because it's more useful for them not to be captured?"
Now you really start to crank up the whacko-mill. I could write a good deal more on this one but let me say just two things. One. You have no idea if the two dudes have been located. Two. Mussariff is doing what he can in his volitile country to help us. 10 on the horse shit meter.

James "Whack Job" Kielland, I could go on with each paragraph and not break a sweat but as I mentioned at the beginning. why duel with a looney.

So on the horse shit meter you're already up to your neck so I'll have mercy and allow the stench of your words to waft gently up your nostrils. Enjoy.

8/17/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Lone Star said...

I remember when America had the will and demonstrated it, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. When we went into Iraq, 80% of the American public supported the war. when we were done 3 weeks later, Syria and Iran were afraid and had reason to be. Since that time our leftist anti-American media, which was opposed to the war from the beginning and the Democrats, who are desparate to get back into power, which requires that the effort in Iraq be perceived to be a failure, have managed to turn the public against the war, reduce the will to extend the war as needed and eliminated any fear that Iran and syria might have had.
They have succeeded in confirming the belief that our enemies have that we are a weak nation that does not have the will to fight, and will cut and run when it gets too tough.

8/17/2006 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

peterboston wrote:

I think that if you evaluate the effectivenes of the US military v. Iraq's conventional forces against the effectiveness of Iran's military v. Irag (in an eight year war) you might arrive at the conclusion that the US military would not be unduly troubled smashing whatever Iran could field.

Unit for unit? Sure, no problem. But, look at the maps: Iran is a whole lot larger than Iraq, and we barely had the troops to pull Iraq off. Moreover, much of Iran is mountainous, making it difficult country to get through with armor in the face of significant guerrilla resistance (which we'd face). The logistics would be frighteningly difficlut. (remember, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics) Back in 1979, when I was working on these sorts of thigs, I took a long look the Iranian geographical position with a view to what could and could not be accomplished there, and what it would take. It can be done, but not with the force we have in being.

8/17/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Cogitatus Incognito said...

The flip-side to Wretchard's brilliant analysis is this: What happens to Islamic culture when it becomes apparent to them they will not defeat the West? When their 'will' is finally revealed as impotent to the task they've set for themselves, the destruction of the ungodly West?

The Islamofascists do not understand the culture they are attacking. I remember an Afghani woman being quoted in the press prior to the US invading Afghanistan. She expressed conviction in the ability of the Talaban to defeat the West because she and the other mothers had five to ten to fifteen children each while the Western mothers had only one or two. She had no comprehension of the capacity of each Western soldier to kill hundreds, if not thousands or tens-of-thousands of her children. Zarahiri thought chopping heads off would frighten us and Iraq into submission. Hezballah thought lobbing 4,000 rockets into Israel would cause their enemies to cave. They don't understand the concept of ratcheting up our resolve for violence.

In the stock market there is the concept of a bull market 'climbing a wall of worry.' In other words a true bull market overcomes day-to-day concerns and problems, yet continues rising. (And the opposite, when everything appears to be wonderful and rosy, that's exactly the time to watch out.)

We are in a similar situation with the War on Islamofascism. Day-to-day it may appear things are not going well, but the general trend is positive. We haven’t lost a significant battle in five years, something everyone of us would have thought impossible on December 31st 2001.

Victor Davis Hanson expresses it better than I, but the jihadi's are pushing the West to the point were we reveal we actually have Kyser Sose's will. From Thermopylae to Carthage to Dresden and Hiroshima the West's will has always produced terrible consequences for our adversaries. They always underestimate us and mock our weaknesses. Then they pay ten-thousand-fold.

Now, the vast body of the ummah is not jihadi, but passively takes joy in the West's current torment. But does not Islam teach that Allah is on their side, they are the truly chosen and everything is Allah's will?

How, then, does the Islamic culture respond when it becomes clear that 'Allah's will' is the survival, if not the triumph of the West? Does Islam then devolve into a caricature of itself in the way of the original American Indian's religion? Do droves of believers convert to Christianity? Do suicide, despair and substance abuse engulf the lands of the believers from Morocco to Indonesia?

The question for the Islamofascists is, how do we continue the fight after Iran is revealed as a paper tiger? How do we continue to rally the foolish, the stupid and the naïve to throw away their lives when the West has defeated everything we’ve thrown at them? The question for Islam is how many of your sons are you going to offer up for sacrifice before you realize you’ve lost this war, tens of thousands or tens of millions?

(Oh, and Wretchard, it will be a crime against the future if you are not writing a book about your thoughts and insights like these.)

8/17/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Wm_Edwin said...

Wretchard, thank you for another peerless essay.

This is slightly off-topic, but I had an insight, as I was looking at the pic of Gesturing Nasrallah appended to your article, that one of the strengths of these blokes is simply that they don't wear Western business dress.

There must be an instant appeal, to our Lefty cousins, at the sight of these chill, slightly frightful apparitions in their checkered keffiehs.

It very likely gives the clerics and ranters instant street-cred to the antinomian Left, seeing in them an unapologetic, figurative upstart to the evil, all-powerful, figurative "suit."

If this is so, it says something of the degree of hatred those who wave Hez placards reserve for America's norms. They'll run with any upstart if it means doing away with the alpha male.

8/17/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Peter Boston said:

"I think that if you evaluate the effectivenes of the US military v. Iraq's conventional forces against the effectiveness of Iran's military v. Irag (in an eight year war) you might arrive at the conclusion that the US military would not be unduly troubled smashing whatever Iran could field."

You cannot be serious.

8/17/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger nelson said...

What makes this, our present Jihad, different from all other Jihads?
Oil.
Yes, there are many other factors: their strong will and the West's lack of it, for instance.
Nonetheless we know that, without oil, the Jihad wouldn't have many of the means it has now to wage war.
And the oil belongs to them, right?
Not necessarily. Most oil reserves are in countries whose independence depends less on their own power than on the power of other countries.
Were it not for the American army, Kuwaiti and Saudi oil would be the private property of Saddam Hussein nowadays. And that works for most oil rich countries, with the exception of Russia.
Not so long ago, when a weak country defaulted on its debt, the British navy would overtake not the whole country, but just its harbours, and then take control of its exports and finances till the debt was paid.
Before thinking of 5th or 6th generation total war, wouldn't it be worthwhile to at least give these old methods a try? Gunship diplomacy used to work well.
If the US, instead of sending its troops to Baghdad or, as it did earlier, Beirut, used it to take over control of Saudi, Kuwaiti and other oil reserves, who would stand up to its army? Europe?
On the other hand, China and Russia could be bought off with good corrupt contracts and much of the rest of the world too.
Wouldn't it be better to use oil revenues to finance, for instance, regular Third World corruption than Jihad?
This could even be called oil INSTEAD of blood.

8/17/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

PeterBoston said...
I think that Habu's whack job description was too kind.

8/17/2006 05:10:58 AM

A few posts back I told him that I though he had a patina of intelligence but with the posts that followed he disabused me of that notion. Today he posted: “Wretchard, Damn, you're good at what you do. Even when I disagree with your subtext . . . wow” I find that comment arrogant and condescending.

Do know of a way to automatically skip over someone’s comments? Thanks.

8/17/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

If we want to posit our psychology and our civilization on movies, I urge you, Wretchard, to watch two more movies. Older movies, John Wayne movies, so to speak, because that is the foundation America is built upon.

The first would be "High Noon" starring Gary Cooper. One good man finds the courage to stand up and defeat the bad guys after all the cowardly townspeople refuse to back him up.

Then, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", which is also about one educated and courageous man standing up against a REALLY bad guy (Lee Marvin playing the cowboy equivalent of Keyser Soze), who also has a "rough man" behind him protecting his back.

I think if you're going to build the 21st Century equivalent of bad guys into a mythical status to be whispered about in their dread and terror and fear, can't we equally project American soldiers at least as the equivalent of Star Wars Imperial Troopers, and certainly American civilians (who are not constrained by military rules) as even more fearsome than that?

8/17/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Lone Star,
I concur with you point. Our greatest failure was that the Left attacked the Bush administration and showed to our enemies that we are weak. That any expansion of hostilities would bring down the fragile US presidency. We are now more likely than ever to have to exceed our previous efforts to convince those that would wage war against us that our deterrence is real. We showed that we were indeed our own enemies, but not our own worst enemies… not while the Mullahs are still alive.

I remember fondly the words of a brave US Marine who was held in captivity for 444 days in Iran. Everyday he prayed that the US Air Force would drop a nuke on his position and make Iran the “world’s largest parking lot”.

8/17/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

2164th

An Iranian pilot has not flown a combat mission in 25 years. Assuming that Iranian engineering and machine tooling has risen to the task of actually having an air force, please explain either how Iran would gain air superiority over the US or how its ground forces would succeed without it.

Perhaps the brutal Iranian Winter would do us in?

8/17/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

CatoR,

I for one do not want our forces (military or civilian) to enter the ash cloud emerging from Iran after we're persuaded to respond to their threats with mass-casualty weaponry.

Not until some large group of pro-American Iranians, swear their fealty and beg for our help on Al-Jiz. And, maybe then only after 6 months.

8/17/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

We're just in our Verbal Kint phase.

8/17/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

I remember fondly the words of a brave US Marine who was held in captivity for 444 days in Iran. Everyday he prayed that the US Air Force would drop a nuke on his position and make Iran the “world’s largest parking lot”.

Anony Mous reminds us all that we can thank James Earl Carter and his absolutely feckless Presidency for this Islamofascist nonsense to begin with. Without the Iranian Revolution, there would have been no Shia sponsored international terrorism. Without the Iranian Revolution, there is no way the Russian would have invaded Afghanistan - they'd have had to face the Shah's army with American help - and there would have been no need to support the Islamic Taliban resistance to the Russians.

8/17/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

matt,

Who knows what would have ensued had Hitler been killed on 20 July 1944?

The Germans still had plenty of fight left, despite the inevitability of defeat known to Rommel and the General Staff.

Stalin was unlikely to have considered a negotiated surrender, given the position of the Red Army and the enormity of wanton destruction inflicted by the Germans in the East.

Would a hypothetical negotiated surrender have allowed war criminals to escape prison and the noose? Thousands did evade the hangman, even with unconditional surrender.

8/17/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

catorenasci,

re: Carter

You are aware that the fool, today, accused Israel of war crimes?

Well, it is true, thankfully: Time heals all wounds.

8/17/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

Kaiser Soze and the Japanese Co-Properity Sphere of Influence.

During and after WWII the United States endeavored to understand why the Japanese had attack us at Pearl Harbor.
Many factors went into the overall calculus but the one refrain continually repeated by the common soldier and officer was that they did not believe we would defend ourselves.
In the years leading up to the war the Japanese realized they did not have the natural resources to sustain an empire. They began to reach out into Asia, Indonesian, the Phillipines. What they considered their sphere, the western Pacific. In doing so they took over several US protectorates without opposition. Their mindset was confirmed. Tojo fomented war.

The Islamic world is making a similar mistake. They have, because of their bastard religion, embarked on a war of conquest which they cannot win. We are a wee bit stronger than Charles Martel or Janos Hunyadi who managed to turn them back.
Once we start the real killing that needs done, Islam will be an asterisk in the pages of world ideologies.
As Winston Churchill said, "I would rather have London laid in ruin and ashes than to submit meekly to the Nazi's" (forget the quotes it's a damn close paraphrase though)
The United States is the same way.

8/17/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

James K,

Thanks. I take your point that it is in incumbents' interest to keep the status quo going, and who else makes decisions but incumbents? :)

I take it as a tendency we always have to be on the lookout for. But as the modus operandi of the potus today, I can't imagine it. There are too many people involved to let something like that go by.

8/17/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Alexis said

"There is a strategic reason for such ugliness -- to convince terrorists that they are safer in the custody of police and military than they are in civilian hands. It is very similar to the custom in WWII and Vietnam where downed bomber pilots wished they were discovered by police or military instead of getting beaten up by civilian mobs who didn't like getting their homes bombed from the sky."

Reminds me of my father's stories about one of his friends who served with the USAAF flying P-47 escort missions who was shot down over Germany in 1944. Wounded and badly burned he was found by German civilians, who prompt found a length of rope and a sturdy tree. He was saved with the rope around his neck in the nick of time by the SS showing up and taking custody of him. I have always said that what we needed to do when bin Laden is finally captured is to drive him to downtown Manhattan and let him out. New York justice would be administered before you say "Where did he go?"

8/17/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger showhank said...

FYI, this post is not showing up via the web page. I only saw it on the RSS feed. Thanks,

8/17/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

Braggcreek,
Thank you for your post. I had missed the judges words. They were eloquent without being bombastic. They were direct and true.
Thanks again.

8/17/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Peterboston

'please explain either how Iran would gain air superiority over the US or how its ground forces would succeed without it.'

How many bombs, how many sorties did Israel use against Hezbollah?

No connection? No relevance, just a walk in the park? As I said, you can't be serious.

8/17/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

allen: even thinking about replying concerning Carter reminds me of the old joke about Westbrook Pegler's line And you know what I think of Eleanor Roosevelt....

I disliked Carter during his campaign as likely a hypocritical and meretricious fool, was revolted at the way he used Evangelical Christians to get elected (most people forget that part), was thoroughly disgusted by his performance in office on everything from inflation and the 'energy crisis' to his disasterous policies in Iran, his giveaway of the Panama Canal - built literally with American blood as well as treasure; hell, Panama wouldn't even exist as a country were it not for our wanting to build the canal - to his appeasement of the Soviets generally and his jejune and banal babbling about "lusting in his heart" and demands that unmarried government workers get married. And that's not even getting into his apparent approach to the Soviets about an election which borders on treason. As Bugs Bunny would say, Whatta Maroon!

Sanctimonious, mean, and self-righteous, Carter was undoubtedly the single worst President we have ever had, in the sense that he did more harm to the interests of the United States and more harm to the world than anyone. Other really bad presidents have mostly not acted much on the world state - Wilson excepted - and lived in an era when the federal government did little in the way of lsting harm. He's the boy Clinton always made fun of, but wanted the adult approval he got. Just thinking about Carter makes me want to wash, and wash, and wash myself.

8/17/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Just learned on Rush that Hollywood 84 had to
PAY FOR AN AD
In the La Slimes!

vs daily MILLIONS
of free ads the Dem/Hesbos
get every day.
(rush missed getting that in)

8/17/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

The linked Ralph Peter's article sums up the situation with Israel and the Hizboallah very nicely. My only quarrel with Peter's article is he didn't take the Kornet anti-tank missiles into consideration.

There was certainly political bungling but I believe the loss of the Merkava tanks left the IDF generals dazed and confused. Of course one could argue that the Israelis should have anticipated the Kornet missiles (Israel lost a bunch of tanks to Soviet made wire guided missiles in the Yon Kippur War).

8/17/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

2164th

If you do not comprehend the importance of air superiority in any possible engagement between US and Iranian forces then there is no purpose to continuing this discussion, which I should have had the good sense to avoid in the first place.

8/17/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

MITAC

Washington DC
Home Base for our secret weapon:

Multiple Independently Targeted Arthur Neville Chamberlains

8/17/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

habu_3;

"To know your enemy, you must become your enemy ... Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." – Sun Tzu

I appreciate your frustration. Frequently, in conversations/debates with my teenage son, I find myself in the same boat. At such times, I try to recall that as an adolescent I too believed that any sound coming out of my mouth was an oracle.

The great thing, though, about having someone say, “Prove it”, is that you do have to hone your analytical and research skills. For an old guy like me, I am forced to jump-start those tired brain cells.

Of course, on this site, unlike the home, one can simply refuse to play along, while benefiting from the stimulation.

Hey, what happened to all those sophisticated bunker complexes built by the Chinese and Iranians for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon? I am starting to get that uneasy feeling I had on Day 2 of the war, when it was obvious that Israel had permitted Hezbollah leadership to slip away to safety.

Surely, the Franco-American Resolution 1701 did not require Israel to return undamaged this “infrastructure”. Yeah, nary a word about those bunkers, “It’s a puzzlement”.

Semper Fi

8/17/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Catorenasci, admirable job of summarizing some of the high points of the Carter Experience. He may not've been KGB, but he couldn't've done a better job for it had he been.

8/17/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

James Kielland
James Kielland

Mary Hartman
Mary Hartman

You even have the extremely poor judgement of citing a BBC source.

Do you communicate with the mothership daily or do these things come to you as the meds wear off?
Perhaps your local druggist could help you with a good purgative.

8/17/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

PeterBoston: without meaning to be rude, just what are your credentials to assess the relative strengths of various militaries and the role and importance of air power? Are you a military historian? An active duty or retired officer? An armchair general?

Most of us who have been on active duty - I was an artillery officer and have worked intimately with the close air support AF people at Nellis - understand that while a lack of air supremacy can lose a war, having air supremacy does not necessarily win it. Except for a few bomber types, even most AF pilots will agree. They understand both their importance and the limitations of what they can do. Sure, we will have air superiority in Iran. But, that just means the enemy cannot use airpower to frustrate our movement and we can prevent his concentration, assuming the weather holds. And, the weather doesn't always hold. It doesn't prevent small units from ambushing convoys or suicide attacks or the use of chemical or biological weapons. It doesn't ensure rear area security.

After all, the purpose of invading a country - assuming it's not a war for territorial conquest - is to destroy its military means to make war and to destroy both its government and will to fight. The problem is that airpower doesn't do all these things. As we found in Bosnia, with good camouflage, a whole lot of enemy equipment and troops will survive even a very prolonged and severe aerial bombardment, especially if well dug in and bunkered. Ya gotta find 'em to destroy 'em. If airpower alone could have destroyed the hezbollah bunkers and munitions stores in Lebanon, there would not have been a ground invasion. You can pin them down, and prevent resupply, but to kill them you have go in on the ground.

8/17/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

PeterBoston, 2164; You're talking past each other. We could go through Iran's Army like a knife through hot butter; but occupying Iran would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. It would require at least 500 Thousand troops on the ground, and a million would be bettr.

The Israeli Army is not even in the same ball-park as ours, lethality wise. Air power would be overarchingly important.

But, there's just no reason, that I can think of, to want to do that. We don't want war with Iran; we just don't want it to have, at this time, a "nuclear" capability.

8/17/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Luc,

It's very simple, really; when you see a post by someone who's opinions upset you:

Scroll Down!

8/17/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

hmmm, toss 10 thousand nukes and wipe out 1.2 billion muslims. Kinda like crapping in your own bathtub - hard to run from that sh*t --- ain't fear a bitch.

It really is obvious, and it doesn't take many words to make the point, that you can have the biggest dang gun around but if you don't have the will to pull the trigger then it ain't worth much. Might stop the paperwork from blowing away in the breeze. Has the US lost its will? It seems to have lost its lost its will to launch agressive war, to invade and occupy foreign lands. There's some progress. A silver lining in that dark cloud called Iraq.

8/17/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

catorenasci,

re: Carter

There are people tasked with serving on Mr. Carter’s burial detail who hold him in the same high regard as we. That has to hurt.

My advice to these unfortunates is to suck it up and consider the order not an encumbrance but an opportunity, instead, to make the world a little greener.

Allow me to pick your mind. What is to be made of the disquieting lack of information as to the disposition of Hezbollah’s fortifications in Lebanon? As you recall, this was big news, suddenly gone blank.

One hypothesis: Resolution 1701 (Franco-American) makes the bunker complexes infrastructure that must be returned to Lebanon, as is.

8/17/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

Allen,
Wise as always and greatly appreciated.

By the way don't you think Wrethcard does a splendid job day in and day out? I certainly do and I'm not looking to suck up points. He has a gifted facility for writing, his knowledge is first rate and when he is quizzical about something he doesn't just throw up some crap. He turns Socratic and informs the group by our interactions.
But let's try to save him from an appearance on Oprah should that arise!
Semper Fi

8/17/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

Habu_3 said...
James Kielland
James Kielland
Do you communicate with the mothership daily or do these things come to you as the meds wear off?

Thank you Habu_3 for your post, the previous one too: they are refreshing; I have not laughed so hard reading blogs in a long time.

8/17/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

mark said:

I remember an Afghani woman being quoted in the press prior to the US invading Afghanistan. She expressed conviction in the ability of the Talaban to defeat the West because she and the other mothers had five to ten to fifteen children each while the Western mothers had only one or two. She had no comprehension of the capacity of each Western soldier to kill hundreds, if not thousands or tens-of-thousands of her children.

No joke. Mogadishu, Somalia, Oct 3, 1993: 18 Americans dead cost them an estimated 1,000 Somalians dead.

hdgreen said:

Terrorist always win. They kill you, they win. You kill them, they win (because two more will take their place).

Fine with me, that just means there will be three dead "winners".

8/17/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Maybe, not as Dark a Cloud as you think.

Gateway Pundit

8/17/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

hmmm, toss 10 thousand nukes and wipe out 1.2 billion muslims. Kinda like crapping in your own bathtub



Start with just 7 nukes: Cairo, Damascus, mecca, medina, Qom, Najaf, Tehran. If that does disinfect that toilet, repeat with another 7 cities. Keep going until the Pakis and Indonesians disassemble their mosques and Imams with their bare hands.

8/17/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

There is a curious misconception about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. HST should have received a Peace Prize for his decision. That war had been won prior to the invasion of Okinawa, which in itself was something of an education for HST.

His actions probably saved 30 to 50 million Japanese lives, at least several million Chinese, and between 500,000 and 1,000,000 US casualties. I don't know the statistics as to the ratio of KIA to total casualties, my own guess is probably 200,000 KIA and the rest with quite a high %age of permanent cripples. In the end, for HST it may have come down to 200k Americans vs. 200k Japanese, a fairly easy equation to solve. We got the added benefit that we were known to have the stones to pull the trigger on that kind of scenario, which according to Wretchard and Spelling, enabled us to "win" the cold war.

By the way that war could have been easlily won without invasion, a few train tunnels anihilated would have set starvation in motion for the Japanese, very likeely killing more than the Invasion Scenario, plus probably setting up a staage for the Jap generals in China with millions of troops under their command to set up as warlords exterminating large numbers of locals to make their point.

The relevance of this to the modern situation in the ME is this. If we were willing to get off the Arabs Oil Tit, I think that it is indeed feasible to destroy Iran, Syria and anyone who wants to join them, by a total destruction of their infrastructure, coupled with a blockade and a phohobition of contact with the West.

To return them to the 7th Century where they want to be, the following items would have to be destroyed and prevented from being re-built: Refineries, Power Stations, Port Facilities, Airports, Electrical Transmission System, Broadcasting Stations, Dams and Roads and Bridges.

All these are highly visible targets that cannot readily be hardened, spy drones can make sure that no progress is made to fix any of them. To do it it will be necessary to take out their air defenses. I hardly think this scenario is byond the power of the United States to accomplish, without any assistance whatever, from anybody. Anyone who imagines that this infrastructure, could be rebuilt in a short time frame needs to quit drinking the Kool Aid.

As to the Will required to execute this scenario, I have nothing to say. However, that scenario is quite analagous to the Starvation Scenario that HST could have imposed on the Japanese. An H-Bomb or Twelve, would be more merciful, call down vastly more oprobrium, and much less effective.

8/17/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

habu_3,

re: Mary Hartman ;-] :-) ;-D

My friend, you are priceless! Don't ever change.

8/17/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

habu_3,

re: Good King Wretchard

"A man's sons are the arrows in his quiver." (more or less)

Wretchard's children are many and gifted.

Oprah???...???...Poor Oprah.

8/17/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

Rufus,
How are ye? Sounded good.

I just wanted to fit in my favorite homily by saying that we could occupy Iran if we wanted to.
We could kill about 2/3rds of 'em.
Now that's not gonna happen, but there's a heap of Islamics that need paradise and we should accomodate them. It would be the cordial thing to do. So what's say old chap lets give it a go.
We could start by shooting on site any muslim with a gun in his hand or on his/her person.

8/17/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

Talking about the US will to fight:

DETROIT - A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.

8/17/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

allen:
Allow me to pick your mind. What is to be made of the disquieting lack of information as to the disposition of Hezbollah’s fortifications in Lebanon? As you recall, this was big news, suddenly gone blank.

One hypothesis: Resolution 1701 (Franco-American) makes the bunker complexes infrastructure that must be returned to Lebanon, as is.


I don't know. I did see something - I forget where - about the stench rising from bunkers where lots of hezbos had died. Based on the media reports - including a story written by an Israeli soldier in a demolitions unit that never quite got to take out a bunker complex - the Israelis did not succeed in destroying the bunker complexes.

I suppose it was a little like the tunnel systems in Vietnam, although I don't think the Israelis had the equivalent of our Tunnel Rats or the smoke generators we used to flush people out of the VC tunnel complexes. One of my Brother Rats was a tunnel rat officer - after the war he left the Army and became a Methodist minister; he went back in as a Navy chaplain during Gulf I.

8/17/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

catorenasci said:

Unit for unit? Sure, no problem. But, look at the maps: Iran is a whole lot larger than Iraq, and we barely had the troops to pull Iraq off.

We had 660,000 troops in Gulf One and pulled that off, what happened, did we RIF our Army by a factor of 6, or did we get some whacky SecDef in there with ideas that we only need 100,000 troops because the Iraqis would be greeting us with hosannas and palm leaves anyway? I think the latter.

8/17/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

"Courage has not yet stopped a bullet"

But a lack of courage on the part of the one with the gun has. That was the point.

8/17/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Habu, let's me an you just go out and buy a flex-fuel pickem up truck, and let them son of a bitches drown in their oil.

8/17/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

re: Carter, the gift that just keeps giving

luc, Judge Taylor is a Carter appointment.

Who says Dems are not interested in war?

8/17/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Impeach her ass immediately.

8/17/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hell, impeach other unmentionable areas too!

8/17/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

catorenasci

I don't think it would take too much of a general, armchair or otherwise, to figure out that in modern combat between conventional forces that the side with air superiority would win every time. The "between conventional forces" part should have been the tip-off that opposing ground forces would actually engage each other, as was not the case in Bosnia and was barely the case in Lebanon for a few days.

I've seen dozens of air strikes, some close enough to take casualties from ejected shell casings, and many more if you include helicopter gunships. How about you?

8/17/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

gee, I thought y'all were keen on the constitution and origianl interpretations ect. Property rights...awww forget it, who needs them in a time of war.

8/17/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Anna Diggs, you down w/dat?

8/17/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

When the Jihadis liberate your property, your property rights become null and void.
Matches your Noggin.

8/17/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

No, Ash, I'm against marxist-sympathizing paper asshole misinterpretations of the Constitution. I'm sure people like you are too busy trying to find ways to make the Constitution a suicide pact, to ever concern yourselves with little concepts such as Original Intent.

8/17/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

We spent about $160,000,000,000.00 last year importing oil. We spent another $100,000,000,000.00 protecting the ME oil fields. That's 1/4 of a TRILLION DOLLARS on imported oil last year.

We spent 2 billion on ethanol, and replaced 5% of our oil imports. By my math that means 40 Billion would replace it all.

Now, I was all in favor of the Prescription Drug Bill which is going to cost about 80Billion a year. So;

for half the cost of the prescription drug bill we could get off of imported oil. Or, to put it another way, about 1.5% of our annual budget.

8/17/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

buddy, and guys like you are constantly searching for ways to circumvent the constitution so that you can run from your nightmares to ever consider original intent.

8/17/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Terrorist always win. They kill you, they win. You kill them, they win (because two more will take their place).
Teresita said,
Fine with me, that just means there will be three dead "winners".
"
---
Teresitas World:
Where Wieners Ain't Winners.

8/17/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

rufus, 12:28:47 PM
You're Anti-American!
Stay the Course!

8/17/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oh, too-shay, Ash.

8/17/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

catorenasci,

re: bunkers

It appears that you are thinking the same thing I am, with the same degree of astonishment, I will bet.

That the Israeli government is not touting the destruction of the Hezbollah fortifications leads me to believe that these works remain reasonably intact.

Therefore, what would motivate the Israelis to violate the most fundamental rule of war, i.e. NEVER, EVER, under any circumstances WHATSOEVER leave anything behind on withdrawal?

Politics is the only answer for an act of such gross negligence on such a scale; one that would send any "butter bar" to the brig forever.

At some point soon, the media will need a story other than that of innocent Lebanese children killed and maimed. Who knows, they might inadvertently stumble across the Maginot Line while looking for just that right camera angle.

USMC
Vietnam: class of ’67; 1/9
Spouse, active duty USAF

8/17/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

In Summary:
- Its 1939 again
- New Hilter has a nuke or a least a dirty bomb..or two but no luftwaffe
- Rummy is focused and whacky
- One US judge has verbalized a Will v. Tangos. do we have 1M with same?
- Still pondering going to Persia black or white hot

While we are entertaining What ifs:
What if Jimah & Beckwith's Op Eagle Claw had popped a cap or two in Ahmads'dinnerjacket during the rescue attempt?/ Where would we be today?

8/17/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Not shay enough to be A shaymed

8/17/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"There are people tasked with serving on Mr. Carter’s burial detail who hold him in the same high regard as we. That has to hurt."
---
Allen,
Every Hardship Presents an Opportunity:
Detail is also tasked with carrying remotely detonated
Excrement Bombs which are activated immediately after the casket is lowered.

8/17/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

I forgot a bullet in my summary;

- pigs gracefully aloft over Hollywood today.

8/17/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger K. Pablo said...

Mark, Teresita:

"She expressed conviction in the ability of the Talaban to defeat the West because she and the other mothers had five to ten to fifteen children each while the Western mothers had only one or two."

I'm not sure whose misunderstanding this quote reveals, yours or the Taliban Mom's.

Take those ten to fifteen children. Now put them in a Muslim enclave in a Western democracy. Now give them a vote.

Better go re-read Oriana Fallacci.

8/17/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"He's the boy Clinton always made fun of, but wanted the adult approval he got. Just thinking about Carter makes me want to wash, and wash, and wash myself"
---
Isn't it about time that the Belmont Club starts a pool on when
Boy Clinton gets his (first) Nobel?

8/17/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

k pablo,
Don't forget to send them to Saudi Funded Hate Centers.
Lacking that, the NEA will do just fine.

8/17/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy,

re: Ash and nightmares

Let me share my nightmare. I fear that my spouse, who will be going downrange in October, will be killed or maimed by an IED, set off by a cell phone purchased at my local Walmart, because people like Ash and Judge Taylor could not bring themselves to violate the sanctity of a private cell phone conversation between terrorists overseas and their Muslim export front company here.

The French used to say disparagingly of Americans that Americans never understood the French behavior in WWII because Americans had never tasted their own blood and ashes. Given the rise to political power of the likes of Ash and Judge Taylor, Americans are destined to have that experience. Oh, that is correct; Clinton was president while the Towers’ plots were developed. Some people cannot be taught; that’s why G-d invented Darwin.

8/17/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

Teresita wrote:

We had 660,000 troops in Gulf One and pulled that off, what happened, did we RIF our Army by a factor of 6, or did we get some whacky SecDef in there with ideas that we only need 100,000 troops because the Iraqis would be greeting us with hosannas and palm leaves anyway? I think the latter.

No, it was closer to the former. The American Army has long had a very unfavorable "tooth to tail" ratio - that is we have a lot of support troops for each actual combat unit. During the Gulf War I, total active duty strength of the Army was about 728,000, of which some 350,000 were deployed to the Gulf. Combat units included some 6 Army and 2 Marine divisions. By 1998 we were down to less than 500,000 in the Army and have fewer divisons. Likewise, we have fewer aircraft and air wings. Fewer warships. You can't deploy what you don't have, and you have to leave at least a division plus in Korea and about the same in Europe and CONUS.

The reason we went in with what we did is that it was what was available in a reasonable time frame. We also had the advantage in Gulf I of significant allied forces (only the Brits this time) and the ability to stage in both Turkey and Saudi Arabia. We were limited to Kuwait on the ground this time, which can't hold that much in the way of forces.

8/17/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"that’s why G-d invented Darwin."
---
Research Project:
Putting Darwin on Steroids.

8/17/2006 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

CatoRenasci,
Didn't Gulf One function in part, as a surplus program for our downsizing of the military overseas?

8/17/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

allen, if you want to violate the sanctity of a private call just pass a law. Presidential fiat is the way of tyranny.

8/17/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

Allen:
“Clinton was president while the Towers’ plots were developed.”
It is much worse than that! He was president during the original trial runs on the WTC.

As I read many of the comments trying to make sense of the war in Lebanon and the War on Terror, I cannot help but feel that most of the positive spin, which God knows I hope it is true, is nothing more than wishful thinking on our part.

8/17/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

luc,
This is the GWB Happy Time Society!
Thot you had noticed ;-)

8/17/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

peterboston: yes, I've seen lots of airstrikes 'up close and personal' from the ground and in a LOH.

I think we just disagree, you're more like a blue suiter and I'm a former green suiter: Air superiority matters, but without boots on the ground, you don't win wars.

8/17/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Promises made and ignored 2 days later Ala Ms Rice, are blissfully ignored.

8/17/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

CatoRenasci,
Bravo on your assessment of Jimma Carter. I read one of your post further down the thread but will return for your first which has drawn many accolades from those BClubbers that know what from what.
Jimma is still mucking up the place.
Lets try to get him and Ramsey Clark to run on the CPUSA ticket or maybe the Greens..can you imagine the crap we'd hear?

8/17/2006 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mr. Lament in the Nutmet State Channels Jimmah.

8/17/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Connecticut, the NUTMEG State.

8/17/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me...."


Buck Owens, Roy Clark, "Hee Haw"

8/17/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

allen noted:

The French used to say disparagingly of Americans that Americans never understood the French behavior in WWII because Americans had never tasted their own blood and ashes.

Just shows you what poofters the French are: the Americans who are least sympathetic to the French performance in WWII are Southerners, the only Americans ever to have tasted their own blood and ashes.

8/17/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Sonspot said...

That's one area where the lefties have it partly* right. Go green. I don't understand why we're not putting forth all effort to get off ME oil and become energy independent.

(The partly wrong is in this obsession with not allowing drilling or more nuc. energy).

Sorry for the OT post.

8/17/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

catorenasci

Your comments have been the perfect example of how and why "news" can never be an accurate representation of facts on the ground. My mention of air superiority was in response to the 2164th implication that the Iranian military would defeat the US military. I queried how that could happen without Iranian air superiority.

How you got from there to blue suits is beyond me. In any event, I'm done with this subject.

8/17/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

For what it's worth, Wretchard, I think that the focus of our effort needs to be sapping the will of the enemy, and the question is, How to best do that? Well, I think the way to do that is to analyze what they think they are going to get from their actions, and then show steadily and increasingly that they are getting the opposite. In this case they want a Global Caliphate to rule the world under Shiara. Fine. Our job is to show that EVERY time they make a move in that direction they lose more than they gain in that direction.

The problem, obviously, is that gigantic 5th column in our rear braying that we're going to lose, lose, lose and that George Bush is a contemptible pig-headed moron-super-diabolical-Sith-Lord. Namely our own very dearly beloved Liberal Mass Media. Braaayyying away. And sapping our strength and conviction.

So we have a two front war. The IslamoSupremacists in front, and the Liberal Socialist Imbeciles behind. We need to do a few things to handle this situation.

First and foremost is to kill the meme of the Liberals. Kill it. Dead. How? Well, gee, why is it that the Conservatives have few media outlets but the Liberals have many? Why is it that the Liberals have untold thousands of Journalist School professors, but the Conservatives have so few? And why is it that the Conservatives find it so hard to articulate why it is that Socialism is a deadly virus to the masses, and that Capitalism is THE thing upon which their precious freedom is founded? Why? Well, we need to answer that, and then act. Conservatives need to rally their forces in the realm of ideas and start projecting with force. The Liberal memes must be destroyed. And not falsely, but honestly. It is not a political manuver we need, but a reality check - socialism kills. We need to demonstrate it, louder and clearer and with the decisive hand that a father shows his erring child.

After that things will again begin to fall into place. Until then we are in great danger.

8/17/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

Rufus,
Soon, within the next three years I'll be full time in Montana guarding our northern flank.

From my twelve foot wide covered porch that encases the entire 2k sq foot house I will stand vigil.
The neighbor, about five miles away has a skeet and trap set up and told me I could board my horses in his stable.
My mountainside home has a view of the Big Belts and it's highest peak is at the twelve o'clock position 50 miles away with an unobstructed view. It gets snowcapped early. The Missouri River runs in front of the place down the mountain a bit but I can see it. In fact there's a campsite within view mentioned in the Journals of Lewis and Clark. The southern end of Canyon Ferry lake is about 15 miles at the ten o'clock position.
I will do my duty there, ya'll come visit.

8/17/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

France is now down to offering
"A Largely Symbolic Force"
---
I Propose the
White Flag Brigade.

8/17/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

PeterBoston: fair enough, though I didn't see a post where 2164th actually said the Iranians would defeat us. Rather, I saw a post where mocked you for suggesting the US would beat the Iranians in a walkover. Somehow that got translated into an argument about airpower. Not worth further arguing about, so I apologize to you.

8/17/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I did hear tell tho, that the IAF would have been more effective with appropriate GBU's.

8/17/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"The result will be the End of State-Sponsored Terror."

- rufus

Hells bells, rufus, it wasn't state-sponsored terror that came knocking on our door, or the UK's, or Spain's, or Australia's (Bali). It wasn't, I guarantee, state-sponsored terror that was planning to bring down US carriers outbound from Heathrow.

Think about that.

Please.

***********************************

"5 years on, still no Osama. Still no Zawahiri. Pakistan seems willing to help get bad guys, but for some mysterious reasons that are never quite explained, the two dudes who were, just a few short years ago the most dangerous men on the planet simply can't be found. At what point do you say that they've not been captured because it's more useful for them not to be captured?"

- James

Many people said the same about Zarqawi, who was in fact being hunted day and night - and without the special, most unhelpful set of hurdles that pertain to the task of getting OBL or Z.

And, look, as for Zawahiri, we came close in - what was it? - May. Close but no cigar. We've been close, in one sense or another, other times.

I've explained this here before:

For those whose ACTUAL JOB IT IS to locate and kill bin Laden and Zawahiri, nothing on God's green earth would satisfy more. There are, unfortunately, self-imposed, major-league impediments in this particular endeavor as well as the usual unhappy fact that the endeavor is to a significant degree dependent upon others whose jobs and pressing concerns are far removed from those of the people paid to deliver the goods.

Any sense of urgency, under current circumstances, is felt mostly by those who very much desire to be the ones to deliver - that is, to kill one or the other before their current deployment comes to an end and the next guys go to bat.

8/17/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

France will send 400 troops but wants command of the supposed 15,000 total number.
TownHall

I must be getting senile because I actually believed for almost a whole day that France would actually make a material contribution to the WOT.

8/17/2006 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/17/2006 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I propose we make their Carrier with the broken Propeller the Flagship of the USN.

8/17/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buddy 01:45:27 PM,
And you was young then!
I have a range of about + - 5 degrees F now!
Real Hardass.

8/17/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Trish, reread your post, regarding State Sponsorship; Then, you think about it. Granted, some of it's pretty indirect, but ....

8/17/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(Deleted Bud said it was cold up there)

8/17/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Sorry, doug--while i was writing, the thread filled up with on-threads, so i dumped it. And added confusion. Gotta be quick around here, with the 'asides'!

8/17/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Rufus, I've said often that the very best place for the bad guys to hang out is on the territory of a very shaky US ally.

It was an excellent choice on their part.

8/17/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Atta Boys got Saud money one way or another.
I thot the Brit Bottle Bombers got AQ money through Pakistan.
Madrassas are State-Sponsered Training Grounds.
etc

8/17/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Cain't come, Habu. Who'd kill all these water moccassins?

8/17/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Iranian IED's rpg's and etc are State-Sponsered Covert War.

8/17/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

peterboston & catorenasci,

re: The Color Purple

You are both aware that to compensate for too few Army boots (green team) the Air Force (blue team) has kindly put on loan thousands of its personnel. As the services like to say, "We're going purple."

Please, don't misunderstand, purple is just fine with me. In fact, I may have argued here that the USAF needs to be reincorporated into the USA, if for no other reason than to provide adult supervision of upper echelon Air Force stud muffins. However, for any one who has ever observed troop training, Air Force training will never be confused with that of the Army. And, until recently, most Airmen were darned glad for the difference.

Today, thousands of Airmen are now filling Army jobs downrange. It has not yet occurred to USAF/USA leadership that wearing a camouflage BDU and packing a firearm does not an infantryman make (although the bean counters are pleased with the paperwork). And despite the contented smiles at DoD, arming a half-baked Air Force records clerk and giving her perimeter duty in Iraq, is...

The MSM and Dems are forever trying to smear the President for all the wrong reasons. If they ever wake up and discover the sins of the DoD, Mr. Bush will be in serious trouble.

Not to worry, libs are only capable of linear projection.

8/17/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

rufus - Aristides, Jihad, like any militaristic movement, must have funding. In my scenario, the Heads of State will be Killed, the Main Mullahs will be Killed, The Major Military Heads will be Killed, the Nuke Capacity will be destroyed, and the vast majority of the population (99.999%) will be spared.

The result will be the End of State-Sponsored Terror.


Hardly. You ascribe to the Single Irreplaceable Great Evil Mastermind theory of warfighting against an ideology.

While sparing the enemy population that strongly supprts the ideology ANY discomfort because....well they are all noble people and all of the Religion of Peace who deep down hate their:

Masterevil Mullahs. Awfully evil Generals. Terrible democratically elected heads of state.

And just with a few "surgical precision air strikes", the result will be an end to state-sponsored terror

Which is total nonsense in an ideological conflict with enormous popular support.

Kill one Hexbollah head, kill the next one just to be sure - and the result is Sheikh Nasrallah, with tens of thousands eager to replace fallen soldiers or even Nasrallah if he is killed.

Result of the US killing a certain part of Iran's "top evil masterminds" - those 15-20% that we seem to be able to find and kill - and "take out" 80% of the nuclear infrastructure we can find - which means leaving 35-40% intact without US boots on the ground to locate the hidden rest and finish what the bombs missed on known targets, and round up all the scientists and engineers that can rebuild in short order if left alone.

The end result would be state funerals attended by millions of Iranians for the 15-20% of leadership the US managed to kill, their replacement by hard-liners from the thousands of able candidates willing to face the danger...and a national vow by almost all Iranians that any destroyed nuclear or other infrastructure would be rebuilt. Twice as big, or twice as good as before..

War was never a "easy" matter of one sortie decapitating a country while "preserving at all costs" civilian lives.

History shows to be effective and achieve true victory, you need strategic victory and destruction of a major part of the enemy's people and equipment resources, and true victory is best reinforced by significant civilian slaughter so there is no doubt they were in a war and lost.

Preserving all civvies and most soldiers just leads to the Sunni Iraqi belief that they "didn't really lose" and are free to mount a major insurgency with virtual impunity of consequence.

Keeping with Wretchard's theme of Will, all a "decapitation strategy" is, is technology lovers believing that there is an end around of the lack of will - simply by killing the "evil masterminds" and avoiding all the brutal, ugly hard slogging unpleasantries of war including piles of dead Jihadi babies and wee cute little puppy dogs and other "innocent enemy".

8/17/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Allen,
AF here used to have a negligent commander.
Now it's a Lady Bird Col that demands real Physical Conditioning.
Gotta like that.

8/17/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Iranian IED's rpg's and etc are State-Sponsered Covert War."

The Pentagon says no. What does the CIA have to say?

8/17/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"And despite the contented smiles at DoD, arming a half-baked Air Force records clerk and giving her perimeter duty in Iraq, is...
"
Hadn't read that part!
Criminal?

8/17/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Cedarford, are you really equating an overhead Nuclear blast with "Precision" air strikes?

8/17/2006 02:07:00 PM  

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