Thursday, November 09, 2006

Just walk away Renee, you wont see me follow you back home

Chester has two very thoughtful articles on post-Rumsfeld strategy in Iraq (the other is here at TCS). Chester says "all of a sudden, everyone's got an Iraq plan," and goes through a bunch of them. His exposition is excellent and they are better read in the original, but here's a sample just for the flavor.


Meanwhile, Ralph Peters mentions the "all hands on deck" concept:

One proposal under discussion within the administration is to "send everything we've got" - to deploy every possible Army and Marine unit, no matter how worn and weary, for six months to "clean things up."
Now there's an option for you! ...

McCain's right too: No American voters are going to be upset if al Sadr goes away. In fact, best to kill The Man With One Red Shoe now, because if we do pull out of Iraq, he'll probably be the next dictator of Shiastan.

Commentary

As a practical matter a lot of Iraqis who threw in their lot with America must now be thinking of secret ways to mend fences with whoever they believe will be in control after the US leaves. Those who can't are probably now considering whether appeals to some American they have come to befriend will help them leave when the time for the Last Helicopter comes to go. America would be best, but maybe Canada, maybe Britain, maybe Australia, maybe Romania, maybe Bulgaria will take them. No? well anywhere at all, then. Everyone comes to Casablanca.

Including al-Qaeda. This is going to be different because the enemy will pursue right back to mainstreet USA. Perhaps even on the tide of refugees that will be sure to ensue. Funny how history repeats itself. Chester's article says "Bob Owens notes that the new Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, was an advisor the the first President Bush when he screwed the Shi'ites, leading to the deaths of nearly a hundred thousand of them." I don't know. People say things. But also as a practical matter, without delivering moral judgments, two things appear clear:

  • America will never get over Vietnam. It's doomed to fight wars in a cyclic fashion until some dreadful world crisis forces an extension of its periodicity to decisive victory. 9/11 wasn't big enough for that. Fairly soon but with increasing speed the consequences of this catastrophic collapse will be felt and the pendulum will swing back, maybe in 2008, maybe in 2010 — but not all the way — and a new Rumsfeld will be found only to be trashed by a new Pelosi. Back and forth it will go. The next decade will be littered with the bones of millions of indigenes caught up in the betrayals of American domestic politics. Remember the words “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” The man who said those words was dead within three years of uttering them, together with millions of Indochinese, many drowned in the South China Sea. The cycle will continue until some catastrophe breaks the cycle or breaks America.
  • The Government can never fight terrorism alone. It's too bureaucratic. And it will always alternate in control between the Hatfields and the McCoys; whichever party comes to power is owed Constitutional allegiance so we must dig ditches and fill them up again with equal loyalty.

Given the permanence of Vietnam and the paralysis of government it would be wise to outsource as much of the soft warfighting capability as possible to the private sector. One such institution is already in place. The Press, unlike the Democrats and the Republicans, is a permanent institution parts of which have become corrupted and unreliable. The first task will be to continue to find alternative ways of gathering news information and disseminating it in ways which will complement and check the MSM. This can be done whoever is in power in Washington. Second, we should make large investments in developing language capabilities and cultural knowledge among the population and make better use of capabilities that are available. The two tasks are potentially related and it is possible to imagine an Internet enabled network over which Americans can interact with people in foreign countries. The infrastructure is already there. All that's needed is a slick interface and concept. It's not any more stupid than Facebook or YouTube. I was struck by how American MPs were still using interpreters in Iraq after 3 years. We should act to make certain that using interpreters on a large scale will never be necessary in the future. This will also go a long way towards providing a better human intelligence resource base. I can think of other soft warfighting capabilities that can be legally and productively developed in the private sector.  It is certainly a more gainful use of time to build them instead of wringing hands while Nancy Pelosi mulls over her "situation to be solved". There's plenty to do for those who are frustrated by the turn of events. Iraq will follow Nancy Pelosi home. It's best to get ready for it.

17 Comments:

Blogger RCM said...

I wonder who Peters means by this:

"The midterm elections were a repudiation not only of the administration's non- strategy in Iraq, but of the small-but- vocal Taliban wing of the Republican Party - the anti-science, woman-fearing inquisitors."

If he means people of faith, perhaps those folks should just quit voting and wait for the apocalypse.

11/09/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

Wretchard,

Perhaps it would be a good idea to take home a bunch of those Iraqis who we used to interpret for us and give them instructor postions (say at $50k a year?) at the Defense Language Institute in Monterrey (if it is still there).

11/09/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"The Press, unlike the Democrats and the Republicans, is a permanent institution parts of which have become corrupted and unreliable."

Parts! Parts!! You have GOT to be kidding me!! Parts!!!

11/09/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Major parts, 3case. Has anyone yet coined the word "Dhimmicrats"?

11/09/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I like Ralph Peters, but someone slipped koolaid into his morning orange juice about a year ago and he's become sort of schizophrenic since. A shame.

11/09/2006 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

rcm, they are and you're seven years too late. Have been turning out various Arabic languge grads by the gross for at least that long. Also the secular Monterey Institute of International Studies. Cheers.

11/09/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

there is another group in the USA that has the organization/educational abilities to be useful: the Mormons. Because of their Missionary program, they have foreign language specialists galore.

Support Romney!!!
Also: buy as many of Steyn's book as you can afford, and give them out like the Jehovah Witnesses give out Watchtower.
Also, anyone want to put up a site dedicated exclusively to watching the AP??

11/09/2006 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Dan said:

"I like Ralph Peters, but someone slipped koolaid into his morning orange juice about a year ago and he's become sort of schizophrenic since. A shame."

I noticed that as well. At one time his analysis was spot-on but then something snapped.

11/09/2006 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

Defense Department funds massive speech recognition and translation program

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061109-8186.html

Imagine YouTube has the ability to automatically translate & add subtitles from any language to any language. That would be usuful, non?

11/09/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Heather wrote: Also: buy as many of Steyn's book as you can afford, and give them out like the Jehovah Witnesses give out Watchtower.

Anyone who gets excited about Steyn's writing should be aware that he sees only three options for dealing with Islam: submit, destroy it, or change it. He rejects the first two, leaving only (according to him) the third. So Steyn thinks we have to either change Islam or we're finished.

Of course there is an entirely sensible, practical alternative Steyn ignores: separate ourselves from Islam. Quarantine it. Send our muslims back to the Middle East, refuse to let any more in. Obviously, if we don't let them in here voluntarily, there is no prospect that they are going to be in a position to force their way into our countries. Terrorism problem solved!

But because Steyn is fundamentally a liberal, he cannot acknowledge separation as an alternative. To him, that would be "racist" and thus cannot be considered.

It is ridiculous to think we can change Islam. Ridiculous! It will never happen. They are busy working to change us! They think they're just fine.

There are in reality only three options, but they aren't the three Steyn mentions. Submit, destroy Islam, or quarantine them. What will end up happening is one of these three.

11/09/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Of course there is an entirely sensible, practical alternative Steyn ignores: separate ourselves from Islam. Quarantine it. Send our muslims back to the Middle East, refuse to let any more in.

I can see how we could refuse to let any more Muslims in, but on what grounds would we deport Muslims, and what would we do about home-grown converts?

11/09/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Looks like we're taking the nature of the threat seriously. From the Defense Language Institute course catalog:

“Our curriculum offers a number of languages Yanks need to acquire in order to deal effectively with US enemies of the 21st century: Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Mandarin, Wu, African French, Swahili, Putinese, Spanglish, American Donk, Rap, and Desperanto tongue of diplomats.

"Continental French and German are taught alternate semesters.”

11/09/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

49erDweet said...

Thanks 49er, in a rare "happening," I am comforted by your info...

11/09/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

49erDweet,

Yes. I was playin' with "Dhimms" yesterday, but picked it up from someone elsewhere in my 'netreading. I like "Dhimms"; it's a triple entendre.

11/09/2006 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger Towering Barbarian said...

49erdweet,
I've already used "dhimmicrats" more than once when "dummycrat" was not descriptive enough but it's too good a term for me not to believe that several people haven't already independently thought of before I did. Good to know great minds still think alike. ^_~

Mark,
Do you remember how well attempts to isolate Cuba have worked? The Islamic world is a little bit larger. @_@

One additional thing to remember: Hapsburg Spain was Catholic and France was Catholic but that during the wars of religion that did not mean Spain and France were allies. Our war as Americans is with a terrorist network, not with Islam. A second additional thing to remember: Religions do change. Recall that polygamy is no longer an official part of the Mormon Church. People do that which pays off and abandon that which does not.

11/09/2006 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Robohobo53 said...

Dhimmincrat has been in us for at least a year on the serious right side blogs.

11/10/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger putnam said...

Wretchard,

My experience in Switzerland is that the chasm between conservative America's perceptions of current events and the socialist/liberal views of the europeans is so wide that there is little chance of having a dialog.
They all sincerely think the US is the problem.

Recently a Nigerian was telling me that the chinese were so much better that the US in Africa because they were more tolerant and the didn't meddle.

11/11/2006 12:33:00 AM  

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