Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Cult

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported an item of news unlikely to get much attention in the American and European press: the expansion of "deprogramming" techniques, which have already proved successful in Indonesia, Pakistan and the UK to terrorist malefactors caught in Australia. At a stroke the story reveals the outlines of a hitherto unreported endeavor waged without much notice in the back corners of the War on Terror.

Commissioner Keelty [of the Australian Federal Police] says the process of "deprogramming" extremists has been successful in countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan and the UK. He says the technique involves using respected clerics or people previously connected with terrorist organisations to convert extremists and provide information to police.

"In some places they will use a cleric who has a good reputation with the community and who will be respected and listened to by the people in custody and in this case they've used somebody who was actually part of the Mantiki arrangement, so, it's somebody they would have otherwise looked up to as a natural leader, in terms of a terrorist, and they've turned him around and used him to convert the others," he said. "And not only convert the others, but also to provide a significant amount of information to the Indonesian national police." Indonesia's anti-terrorist squad Detachment 88 now has former Jemaah Islamiah (JI) commander Nasir bin Abbas working for them, re-educating arrested JI recruits.

The idea of treating the Jihad like a mental disease or lunatic cult may sound like an innovative approach. But in war, probably more than any other profession save one, the new is very, very old. An old but fascinating document describing the approaches developed by Colonel Edward Landsdale to suppress a Communist insurgency in the Philippines on a shoestring budget will remind the reader how dirty and cunningly fought the Long War was. Historians may have called it the "Cold War" but those in it shot real bullets and died very permanent deaths. After the Second World War Communist hit squads were  swarming all over the island of Luzon in a battle to seize power that gave no quarter and showed no mercy. Facing them were a bunch of American and Filipino officers who built what in later years was nostalgically referred to as the Army of MacArthur and Magsaysay; men who slept on canvas cots and made up tactics and weapons as they went along. The Terry-and-the-Pirates atmosphere is illustrated by the way they cooked up their own napalm.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines set up, about 1949, a Research and Development Unit, a little department of dirty tricks. They had a nice old colonel in charge, the nicest man that I have ever known and with one of the nastiest minds. ... Due to policy and other complications, the Armed Forces of the Philippines were unable to secure napalm to use in the quantities they desired and the way they desired to use it. So the old colonel fooled around with coconut husks and gasoline, and this and that and the other, and came up with a very satisfactory substitute. This was much better than what was first used. I think the first home-made substitute for napalm used in this campaign was in an operation in Candaba Swamp in 1950. The Secretary of National Defense and a few other characters flew over an area which it was desired to burn, kicking out 5-gallon cans of kerosene and throwing white phosphorous hand grenades at them. It didn't really burn too much of an area, but it accomplished the job at that time.

Since the Philippines was independent country by then, the American advisors had to substitute influence for authority to manage the battle. One man, Colonel Ed Landsdale, knew that he had to make the new Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay part of the team, and not just the target of a briefing, when he arrived to advise him on counterinsurgency operations.

Lansdale—and the others to an extent—bunked with Magsaysay, ate with him, traveled with him on field inspections and operations, and held daily discussions with him—what Lansdale called "coffee klatches." Although on Lansdale's arrival Magsaysay was living at home with his family, within a week he was sharing Lansdale's room in the JUSMAG compound—the two men sleeping on army cots, in an arrangement that persisted for over a year. Bohannan, in an unpublished paper, explained the team's operational method as total immersion, and their relation with Magsaysay, a rather peculiar blend of buddy-buddy camaraderie and cold-blooded manipulation.

Operating without much supervision from Washington (Max Boot would probably approve), Landsdale and his team understood that the first order of business was to professionalize the indigenous Army and stop its abuses. Magsaysay, with Landsdale at his elbow, embarked on cleaning out the Filipino armed forces. That accomplished, they began to turn the enemy against themselves. They started by creating associations of ex-insurgents. To paraphrase Australian Federal Police Commissioner Keelty, they attracted the enemy with "somebody they would have otherwise looked up to as a natural leader, in terms of a terrorist, and they've turned him around and used him to convert the others ... And not only convert the others, but also to provide a significant amount of information". Landsdale was "deprogramming" in 1950; but went a step further. He formed units to impersonate the enemy.

The forty-seven initial members of Force X were dressed and equipped like Huks. They were taught in a remote rain forest base to talk and act like Huks by four captured guerrillas who had been "tested, screened, and reindoctrinated to our side and brought to the training base to serve as instructors. " The principal aim was to enable government forces to get close enough to guerrilla forces to eliminate selected targets.

In those days before RFID chips, GPS and miniaturized communications devices, infiltrating a Huk stronghold called for large degree of intestinal fortitude. And when in trouble, how would agents call for help? Agents communicated with Landsdale's men through the Stone Age technique of leaving objects in certain configurations so they could be spotted by L-5 observation aircraft making apparently random patrols over the area. "The two open windows indicate that there is an enemy concentration approximately 200 strong in the area. The position of the animal tied in the yard in relation to the house indicates the direction of the enemy concentration, The open gate indicates that the enemy are planning to stay in this area." And Landsdale did treat the Communist insurgency like a cult. Consider his "vampire" tactics.

One psywar operation played upon the popular dread of an asuang, or vampire.... When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers silently snatched the last man of the patrol.... They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire-fashion, held the body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the trail. When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed that the asuang had got him and that one of them would be next.... When daylight came, the whole Huk squadron moved out of the vicinity.

Landsdale was death; he made the enemy fear his men more than it would fear Stalin himself.

The army unit captured a Huk courier descending from the mountain stronghold to the village. After questioning, the courier, who was a native of the village, woefully confessed his errors in helping the Huks. His testimony was tape-recorded and made to sound as if his voice emanated from a tomb. The courier was killed. His body was left on the Huk-village line of communications. Soldiers in civilian clothes then dropped rumors in the village to the effect that the Huks had killed the courier. The villagers recovered the body and buried the Huk. That night army patrols infiltrated the cemetery and set up audio-equipment which began broadcasting the dead Huk's confession. By dawn, the entire village of terror-stricken peasantry had evacuated! In a few days, the Huks were forced to descend the mountain in search of food. [owing to the disappearance of the support village] They were quickly captured and/or killed by the army unit.

In his early counterinsurgency career, Landsdale extensively used counter-terror as a weapon. Huks were bayoneted in full view of their supporters. Enemy casualties were piled in trucks, their arms and legs artfully made to overhang the edges of the truck, and the vehicles were ostentatiously driven though rebel strongholds. He created hit squads to take out key enemy cadres. After he had gotten the upper hand and Magsaysay was elected to the Presidency, the counterinsurgency campaign cleaned up its act. But today's readers will find it astounding and not a little disturbing to realize at what price the Cold War victories were won while civilians slept unmindful in their beds. Landsdale described the mayhem in a private diary whose account read differently from his subsequent sanitized history of events.

All this killing during a peace is getting rather sickening. Bondoc, the accused mayor . . . was captured by Major Napoleon Valeriano's commando force of Philippine MPs. Valeriano is a friend of mine who heads a special headquarters intelligence team for MPC (PA) [Military Police Command (Philippine Army)]. These Filipinos run around Central Luzon with skull and crossbones flags flying from their jeeps and scout cars.... Cruelty and lust for murder are commonplace. Philippine Army MPs take but few prisoners. They merely shoot their newly captured Huks, often in the back of the head. It is hard to prove sedition, the true crime, against these folks, so why waste time with legal proceedings. On the other hand, MPs live but a few agonized moments after the Huks capture them. Both MPs and Huks have told me they learned to kill during the Jap occupation.


Leafing through history, one realizes that it is possible to write an account of warfare without mentioning a single weapons system other than the human mind. The reader can try to expunge from the tale all reference to the human heart, but in vain: for man is at the center of warfare. His will is its ultimate prize; his broken body its ultimate currency. In that light the "deprogramming" efforts of the Australian Federal Police in the dingy corners of the world are simply a return of warfare to its roots. The jihadis want our souls; the rule in warfare is that we will want theirs.


Blogger Fabio said...

But thell this to the post-modernist and politcally correct crowd. They will cry cruelty and object even to the mildest form of de-programming.

The will to fight is a necessary condition for victory.

3/09/2006 03:12:00 AM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

I'm sure we've got folks from the SpecOps side of things running these sorts of "spook the bad guys" ops as well. We just won't hear about it until long after the war is over. I suspect that with a twisted mind and access to all manner of high-tech gear we could pull a "Road To Damascus" stunt on them... (I recall reading about a speaker version of a shotgun mike that allows you to (theoretically) send audio to just one person in a crowd. Instant voices in the head! Add in a dazzle-laser to strike them temporarily blind... >:-D )

3/09/2006 03:33:00 AM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Sounds like any war. Berlin and Tokyo were not taken by being kind to the enemy.

3/09/2006 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Ian Dodge said...

Very interesting piece that is well worth reading again.

The Islamists that turn up on UK TV do seem to sound like brain-washed zombies at times.

3/09/2006 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

Even now we sleep "unmindful." Our SOF is increasing in numbers and funding even as we speak and for good reason... Counterterror works. Not much has changed since the days of Lansdale. Our people have been doing this stuff for a long time, all over the world and to great effect. One of my retired SOF vets recently told me some tales from his El Salvador & VN tours, and they are every bit as hair raising as what Lansdale's boys did. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

3/09/2006 04:51:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

That was Then and this is Now.

Today, (C)looney Courage is making a movie about a mean Senator who died 50 years ago. The sitzpinklers control the Conversation. The State Department wouldn't allow the likes of Landsdale into the country.

When I start hearing that the way to handle ankle biters is to kick them in the teeth every once in a while, metaphorically and otherwise, I'll start believing that the "other" half is even worth fighting for.

3/09/2006 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

The 80s operations in S and Central America were no less vicious and bloody. Goad the Commies into massing for an attack then hammer them with Spectre.

3/09/2006 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Damn good chit, Wretchard, damn good.

3/09/2006 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

What a remarkable narrative!

When The Japanese invaded Burma in WWII, deep within the jungle they encountered a tribe that proved to be incredibly effective jungle fighters. Among their tactics was to slip into a Japanese encampment at night and not kill everyone, leaving the surviving soldiers to wake up and find they had been sleeping next to dead men. The message was clear: You live because we chose to let you do so.

The tribe was so feared not only because of their stealth, cunning, and vicious nature, but also because of their practice of cutting off the ears of those they killed and carrying them on their belts. By sheer coincidence, the Japanese happened to believe that one entered heaven by being pulled their by your ears. No ears, no pleasant afterlife.

When he heard of this incredibly effective tribe, Gen Joe Stillwell asked to meet one of their best fighters. The general was so horrified by the man's ear collection that he ordered the practice to be stopped at once.

It is a hard thing indeed for a civilized man to come face to face with the barbarity required at times to defeat greater barbarity.

Stilwell did not seem to comprehend this until after the end of WWII, when he visited Japan as part of the surrender ceremonies. He saw what the B-29's had wrought, sought out Gen Lemay, and said "Now I understand."

The choice is between their brand of barbarity and ours. Ours is much worse - for them.

3/09/2006 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

psyc opts...

who would of thought of it?

3/09/2006 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"for man is at the center of warfare,"
notes Wretchard, and most posters here nod in agreement.

So there IS no political solution to a spiritual problem. There IS NO way to avoid, minimize, belittle or eliminate the 'root cause' of terrorism: "We have a right, and ARE right, to dominate you, (Allah'u'Akbar!)"

That thought, reinforced by others in your life-circle, not only rationalizes 'their' death in 'our' eyes, but reinforces 'our' view of 'us' as Ubermenschen, Divine-Wind Warriors, Blessed-Jihadis...

The Oneness of Humanity, the Equality of Men & Women, and The Independent Investigation of Truth, are ALL potent weapons against these cult-twisted souls.

3/09/2006 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Good one. Re-telling these stories keeps them alive--and they need to be kept alive. These guys--and the sacrifices they made for their ideals and their people--earned their places in history.

3/09/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"for man is at the center of warfare,"
notes Wretchard, and most posters here nod in agreement.

So there IS no political solution to a spiritual problem. There IS NO way to avoid, minimize, belittle or eliminate the 'root cause' of terrorism: "We have a right, and ARE right, to dominate you, (Allah'u'Akbar!)"

That thought, reinforced by others in your life-circle, not only rationalizes 'their' death in 'our' eyes, but reinforces 'our' view of 'us' as Ubermenschen, Divine-Wind Warriors, Blessed-Jihadis...

The Oneness of Humanity, the Equality of Men & Women, and The Independent Investigation of Truth, are ALL potent weapons against these cult-twisted souls.

3/09/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Double-posting was NOT my doing, Friends.

Otherwise I would have used one of them to point to a funny reading of "Bennish's PopQuiz" at

3/09/2006 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"The Oneness of Humanity, the Equality of Men & Women, and The Independent Investigation of Truth"

No doubt that as the West ran that flag higher and higher up the flagpole, the jihadi pirates had to run theirs up, too, alongside.

Thank goodness for the "total immersion" guys. Good on ya, Lansdale and Magsaysay, wherever you are.

3/09/2006 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not being done in Iraq, though buddy.
No immersion is US Policy in Iraq, that and quick Unit rotations in and out of the battlespace.
Not a bad Policy if mother's and wives's morale is the main concern. But a terrible Policy if you want to win a war.

To win against an Insurgency, without destroying the infrastructure and the Society, the counter insurgents most swim amonst the people, as the Insurgents do.

The US is unable to accomplish this with it's Military, hopefully the Iraqis will be more adaptive to their own Culture. They seem to be doing a better job of Policing than US ever could, in Iraq.

Now if they would just quit releasing the Enemy fighters.

3/09/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"They punctured his neck with two holes, .... every member of the [Huk] patrol believed that the [vampire] had got him and that one of them would be next"

We are no different than the Huks. Given the right mix of fact and fantasy, we will all become convinced a vampire walks among us. The media tools available to pull off the illusion make Landsdale look like an amateur.

3/09/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But in the end, what has become of the Huk?
Have they integrated with Philipino Society? Are they now full and functioning members, looking for a way off the Island, or are they still opposed to the Central Authority?

Was there any long term success?

3/09/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Well, there's no Hammer and Sickle flying over Government House in Manila. That's one thing, for sure.

3/09/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The media tools available to pull off the illusion make Landsdale look like an amateur.

And then there is the NYT who would have us beliver that there are no vampires among us.
After Wave of Pro-Muslim PR, NY Times Buries UNC Attack

3/09/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

This makes me want to pick up my book on Wingate again.

3/09/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Rat, re 'immersion'--what is that unit-task force 626 or something--that is dedicated to Zarkawi?

3/09/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

PB, re coverage, catch this:

3/09/2006 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Quite a bit of our mindset is materialistic and we have a hard time breaking out of it. The terrorists place IEDs on the road and our response is to up armor the counter of course is the bad guys deploy larger explosive yield IEDs.

We look at the Iraqi army driving down the roads in Toyota Pickup trucks and laugh at the poor suckers. The only difference though is they get vaporized while the bodies of our dead can be sent home for burial.

We deploy robots and similar technological items against our advesaries. Our adversaries dispense with all of that whiz-bang stuff and attack our spirit instead.

Very apt wording that we are pitched in a battle for souls. The problem is the Jihadists realize this more than many of us do.

Nonmous's suggestion that our press sees an aswang (I have always seen the word spelled with a W) every day and makes sure they tell us so. The Iraqi Civil war is an aswang.

3/09/2006 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That would be a few hundred men,at most, out of 130,000 plus/minus.
I'm not sure, but doubt that they are LIVING in the Society, but I could be wrong.
CounterInsurgency, when effective, the fellows go a bit "native".
The 626 guys have not been effective in their Primary Mission, to date.

Here is a little piece about Afghanistan, by the fellow that pulled off the downfall of the Taliban. No the US Military was not involved, except the AirForce and a few detached individual Delta Force operatives.
When the Army was called for help, at Tora Bora, need a few hundred Rangers, a Battalion ASAP, message recieved, assistance denied.

General Franks did not trust the Delta Operatives recon, as they were not trusted later, at Anaconda.

Osama got away.

Who was relieved?

3/09/2006 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

By the way, a friend of mine was a crew chief on C-46's flying the Hump in WWII.
Another was a maintenance chief on recon P-38's flying out of India at the same time.

According to them, it was very much a "Terry and the Pirates" war over there - "Let's go over and see what Wingate's doing in Burma." or "How about we take these wrecked airplane parts and see if we can build one that does what we would like."

Nowadays they probably would either be in jail - or the subject of a "60 Minutes" piece that asked why they were not in jail.

Thank God we used to be so unprofessional.

3/09/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Most think OPBL skedaddled during that 48 hr cease-fire that our guys accepted on the 'hearts and minds' basis.

3/09/2006 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

OBL, not OPBL.

3/09/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Harrowing stories. What different times we live in. Perhaps now that we have advanced satellite communications we can no longer work in the dark recesses of conflict nor communicate by tying the goat to the western fence, but must instead rearrange the deck chairs.

In no way to diminish Wretchard’s fine post: ‘Deprogramming’ Saddam era Iraq from a link in yesterday’s post –

“President Saddam Hussein decreed a general amnesty for Iraq's incarcerated. Left behind are the wardens. "We'll stay here and prepare for new prisoners," deputy warden Ahmed Ibrahim”…

“The gesture also demonstrated how the rule of law in Iraq is subject to official caprice. But several guards and wardens at Abu Ghareb say nothing is amiss with releasing thousands of convicted murderers, rapists, thieves and other criminals.

"We've fixed their behavior," says Mr. Ibrahim, citing the prison's rehabilitation programs.

We fixed their behavior. I love that. Sounds like something an East Coast Democrat might say.

But whereas murderers might be rehabilitated, there are those, such as the Zionists that can not be forgiven.

“The amnesty was slightly short of absolute. A government statement said murderers unforgiven by the families of their victims and those who owed money to the state would be kept in jail. Political prisoners were also being released, the government said, except for those convicted of spying for the US or Israel.”

3/09/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

" ... Amazingly, there were only a few hundred special ops spread out across an entire country, led by Berntsen, who was lugging a Rubbermaid container with $11 million in cash to make deals in the most hostile part of the world.
"To win the major cities, 110 CIA officers and 350 special forces worked alongside 12,000 Northern Alliance to defeat between 50 and 60,000 members of the Taliban and 5 to 7,000 members of al Qaeda. So, we were heavily outnumbered."
Berntsen told me that Cent-Com wanted to avoid a larger commitment because of the lesson of the Soviet quagmire.
At Tora Bora, Berntsen had an eight-man team, four CIA, four military from Delta Force.
"These eight men went down into Nangarhar Province, which is several million people in complete chaos, company-size elements of Chechens and Uzbeks and Al Qaeda and Taliban moving around. I was sweating bullets when I send them down there because Special Forces didn't go down with them...
"They linked up with a friendly warlord who we made contact with. And then, with that warlord, they drove down to Tora Bora to get to the foot of the mountains."
Four of them found bin Laden, and our best opportunity since 9/11 to kill him.
"They were able to visually spot his camp at Milawa... And from that... mountaintop, they are able to call in air strikes for 56 hours. There were hundreds of them there... We are able to hear bin Laden. After we took a radio off of a dead fighter, we could hear him. We were very close."
That's when Berntsen called for a Blue 82, a 15,000-pound bomb, the largest explosive in our inventory shy of a nuclear weapon. It has to be dropped off the back of a C-130 because it's too heavy to be suspended from an aircraft.
Berntsen's team was on the ground for 11 days of shelling, with the CIA running the show. Then Delta Force took over for the last five days. He says that, at Tora Bora, his request for Army Rangers was denied.
"We we wrote a message back to Washington, it goes back to CIA headquarters, that said, 'We need 600 to 800 Rangers. We need a battalion. We need to employ them in the following way: We need to put them between where bin Laden is at this moment and the border of Pakistan. We don't want him to escape.' "
But on Dec. 15 or 16, he did escape, Berntsen says, into Pakistan. ... "

AFTER 9/11, IT WAS Gary Berntsen's job to get Osama bin Laden

He did take out the Taliban with 460 US individuals, 12,000 Afghans and cash.
For a chance at Osama, though, a Battalion of Rangers was to much for the Army to manage to get to the fight, I mean the battlespace.

3/09/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But we keep 130,000 troops in Iraq on the off chance mini Z will be captured by those troops, between basketball and guard duty.
Or that the Powers that Be in Washington will decide to engage one of the sides in the Iraqi Political turmoil, with the US Army.

3/09/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

The movie "The Great Raid" was, well, just great. I was astonished to see how brave and brilliant the Filipino resistance fighters were. Reading this essay (and seeing that movie) reminds me of how little I know about that part of the world and what we did there.

A moving and illuminating essay, Wretchard. Thanks.

3/09/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Lord only knows what the remaining details might hold, Rat--maybe at the time there were some other factors in play. Maybe a Ranger Battalion was just the right size to get chewed to pieces--drop 'em in and then have to rescue 'em. Indian country and all.

3/09/2006 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It was not to great a hazard for the Delta ops or the spies, to be at Tora Bora.

I wore the damn tab, Rangers in a blocking position would not have been "chewed to pieces"
The Afghans in the assualt were not, "chewed to pieces".

Managerial ineptitiude, time after time within the Military is what is evidenced. Whenever we have to move beyond a set piece armor battle.

That is the reality of it, buddy.

Philipino phil, ask your friend from CA if he was detached, civilian contractor or one of the Special 54 in Salvador.

3/09/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The recon on the ground was from the Delta guys, if they report the need for the Rangers and that the Rangers would be applicable, that is the Delta's job. If it was "unsafe" for the Rangers the Delta Ops would not request them.

At the time, the Army was not engaged else where. The Rangers were available, could have been there in 12 hours.
There is, or was always a Bn on standby.

The Generals often ignore Field Intelligence from the Delta Force, that is readilly seen.
Especially in Somalia and Afghanistan, one wonders what tales will come from the Iraqi Experience.
Beyond the debacle of Fallujah I and the Syrian border being unpatroled, for years.

3/09/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Hell, buddy, it was not to hazardous for, as I recall, Steve Harrigan or was it Geraldo Rivera & his brother to get to Tora Bora and send US live video of the shelling.

Later, after the battle, Geraldo walked the escape route Osama took.

It could have been blocked.

Who was relieved because it was not?

3/09/2006 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/09/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Or to do some chopping of our own.

If an Army did not enter into dangerous missions, they'd still be speaking German, in Paris.

We had just rolled the Taliban and Osama up it the Tora Bora retreat. To not have contained him there, to have not allocated ANY US ground presence is incompetent. Evidenced by the results of the Operation, Osama escaped to Pakistan.
Pakistan, where the entire aQ infrastructure has found both new recruits and Sanctuary.

Where did Colonel Ed Landsdale allow the Huk to find Sanctuary?
Where did he fail to follow?

3/09/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


Rewriting history the way we want to see it is an exercise in futility.

If I were a battalion commander I wouldn't be too happy about getting a call from somebody I didn't know to drop my unit into the middle of it either.

The legitimate complaint would be about not coordinating the insertion ahead of time. Whether that happened or not I don't know but you're a real pain in the ass about this.

3/09/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I got to side with Rat on this one. You got the Farm Boys out in advance of the sword, pathfinding, the Delta force representing the glistening edge, and if not to back up the pointy end up with airborne forces then what? Do you suppose the Delta forces were out there during their spring break vacation? It is a clear case of bureacracy verses that "pushed down responsibility" that we discussed yesterday.

Heads should roll. Instead we are molliating bureaucratic turds less we hurt their feelings.

3/09/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

peter, massive effort? I believe that three copters were sent in response to the SEAL team coming into contact with the Enemy.

That does not meet the definition of "massive". It was at best a "measured" effort.

Regardless, it was an unsuccessful attempt. Thankfully one SEAL Operative was able to escape, being helped by natives in the area.

So, obviously, the entire population of the area is not hostile.

3/09/2006 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


Time after time the Generals f''k up and you do not understand why it should be discussed.

What about next time, pb.

Whether it is in Pakistan or Iran or Darfur, believe me, there will be a next time.

What is your military experience, pb?
Where d you train and then, who have you trained.
If the answer is zip, that is, perhaps, why you do not understand.

In the real world, outside the wire, decisive action is required.
Or you'll lose.
Ask Colonel Ed Landsdale, or read his notes.
Decisive Action wins the day.
Who Dares Wins.

While the Taliban no longer rule Afghansitan, the Mission there was a failure.
Osama and Dr Z, the targets of an US Declaration of War, got away.

3/09/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

And so, at long last we come to it: The Afghan campaign was a failure because Desert Rat said so.

Is that good enough?

3/09/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Airborne combat engineer unit commander (71331). Been there. Never paid any attention to people who bitched about what could have been then and don't do it now.

3/09/2006 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Our Afghan allies controlled the area on the Afghan side.

The Enemy was not in force outside their own Perimeter. It would have not been difficult to insert the Rangers. That is what they do.
If a follow on Force was needed, later to reinforce the Rangers, the 82nd Airborne could be tasked.
That is what they do.

Wars are won by fighting them, not managing battlespace.
Colonel Ed Landsdale would have laughed, I'd bet, if told he would be managing the Huk Challenge.
He'd have told you, no, he was killing the Huk.
"Landsdale was death"

3/09/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Read Mr Berntsen's book.
Seems he was there, I was not.

3/09/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Cool pb, I was in the 518th Engineers in the CZ.
We have more in common then I'd have thought.
Did it then, still do it now.
Did you wear an Academy ring or OCS?

3/09/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


The Caliphate Broadcasting System Radio just reported 13 terrorist types recently held an air dance session. First time since the collapse of Saddam's government.

It took that long.

3/09/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As far as fulfilling the Authorization for Use of Force, it was.

That we moved the Taliban from Afghanistan to Warizistan, you claim that as Success?

How has that effected aQ Operations, worldwide?

If you read Mr Berntsen, tou'll see the objective of the Afghan mission was Osama and aQ.
The Taliban were an obstacle to the Mission and had to be removed.
The Mission remained the destruction of aQ and Osama.
That Mission was a failure.

As I say Mr Berntsen was tasked and attempted to complete his mission. He feels his Mission would have been a Success, if a Battalion of Rangers had been deployed.
When they were not, his Mission Failed.
I am not the one that made that leap of logic, oh no, Mr Berntsen comes to the same conclusion.

It was his Mission, so I guess he'd know best.

3/09/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Liberation of Afghanistan was not the primary Objective, it turned out to be a nice piece of collateral advantage.

If Osama had been in the Sudan, the US would not have gone to Afghanistan.

No matter how nasty the Talabanistas were. Hell, Yale recruits Talabanista now as students, so they must not have been ALL that bad.

3/09/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


You done yet?

3/09/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

pb, Airborne Engineer, you could know Lt Peabody USMA Class of '81.

Was one of the nerviest guys I've ever known. He was my last mission in Panama, training the LT. Heard, later, he was doin' real well in the 82nd, that was in '86.
Depending on when you cycled through you could know him, he wanted to be a General, bet he made it. He was Ariborne Engineer, too.

3/09/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Well, too late now, OBL is gone. The Dems will pick up probably a few thousand votes on the "OBL got away" theme, and meanwhile Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan and Iran, is no longer a terror nation but rather a US ally and a soveriegn nation with an elected government. And OEF is to blame. History, of course, continues to roll on.

3/09/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I don't got a dog in this fight, but Mogadishu? Urban terrain in indian country is different than open terrain in indian country. For example, there are not legions of civilians hanging out there laundry to dry while the boys shoot at one another. Anything north and east of our position is a free-fire zone and an AC-130 or any other air asset could support the operation in a way that would have been in possible in Mogadishu.

If inserting into a blocking force for US sanctioned and controlled operation what exactly is the mission of the Rangers? Bake sales? Community policing?

3/09/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

OT, sorry.
Just got a whiff of this story, Jihad attack at UNC-Chapel Hill, from a co-worker. It seems that our benevolent media do not want us citizens to get our panties in a bunch and realize that the war is here.


3/09/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

buddy, that is true and a good thing, but was not the Objective of the Operation. Nor the reason for the Auhtorization to Use Force.

For an on going and Independent look at Operations in Afghanistan, check out Westhawk.

They are free thinkers over there.

3/09/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

John Peabody, pb.
Airborne Engineer, Commanded a Company at Bragg in the mid-late 80's.
There are not that many Company Commanders of Airborne Engineer units, I'm sure you'd have heard of him. Great soldier, I thought.
When did you get out, anyway?

3/09/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


I'm still pissed the Crusaders didn't knock down the Dome of the Rock and make a seawall out of the rubble. I've moved on.

I've been out so long I don't recognize the pictures.

3/09/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

[M]an is at the center of warfare...The jihadis want our souls; the rule in warfare is that we will want theirs.

In total war, the deprogramming of the individual is less important, from the standpoint of effect, than the long-term deprogramming of the losing culture.

This starts, of course, with individuals. Dead men tell no tales: their beliefs and perspectives die with them. With criminals, this is usually where the story stops; their criminality is no longer transferrable once they are dead. With movements and cultures, however, the story is more complex.

Movements and cultures carry with them an institutionalized memory--made of narrative theories and beliefs--that are much less dependent on particular individuals for their survival and transmission. Some are more dependent than others on leaders--their recall and articulation, for instance--but the most successful ones can survive with minimal carriers in a decentralized environment. Christianity in its infancy was such a movement. America, for all its early dependence on Washington, was another.

In total war, one is fighting a common mentality--a common narrative theory about the world that is shared (if not by every lowly soldier) by every agent of consequence in that society. This narrative theory does not have to be complex: it can be as simple as "them or us." It may be based on truth, and it may be based on falsity. Many times it is broad and vague--a general agreement that to continue to be us we must stop them from being them. Sometimes it is narrow and precise--they are infidels, and must be slaughtered.

I said yesterday that human motives are pretty much consistent across all spectrums and societies, and this is true. We all start with certain genetic baggage--some of this baggage is species-wide, some of this baggage is more localized. Our binocular vision, or our language center, or our ability to recognize agents--these were selected for way back, and will be consistent in all humans except in the case of mutation. Localized genetic baggage--genes that developed geographically--play a much bigger role in behavior and personality, but they are heavily diversified and tend to manifest on distribution curve that is similar, though not the same, in all societies.

Okay, you are probably wondering (if you've made it this far), where does that take us?

It takes us, in a literal sense, to birth, to the grand introduction of this genetic package to the world in which it must navigate and participate. Thereinafter, all information this person takes in from the world will be processed in the context of his genetic predisposition, and, when enough of this data is stored, in the context of the processed product itself.

The short hand for this is "qualia"--which is a philosophical (not a technical) term that signifies subjectivity itself. Red to me is not red to you, as the classic example goes. You will never be able to experience my red, and I'll never be able to experience yours. There must be some subjective experience, then, that cannot be quantified or reduced. And so on.

While this is practicably true, it is not true in principle, not true in the sense that it cannot be accounted for. If we were to start with a genetic replica of you, and if we were able to recreate each discrete sensation and event you ever experienced, in the order in which you experienced them, there is still a doubt about whether the person at the end of the line would be you exactly. Oh, it would be close enough to predict all but the tiniest of behaviors, but it still may not be fully and completely you. An element of randomness may have gone unaccounted for, for instance, a quantum variable or some such that cannot be mathematically predicted. But it would be very close.

This tells us a lot -- a lot -- about avenues we should explore if we hope to avoid total war. Barring some horror like gene-doping (which, unfortunately, we will see in our life-times), the substances we have to work with--and on--all exist at the sensory input level. We should recognize it, and act on it.

An Arabic kid who was never exposed to Islam would not be Muslim. He may still be wicked, insincere, narcissistic, etc., but the mental universe in which he acted out these traits would not be based on Suras and Sermons. His behavioral options--based on theories about cause and effect--would be broadened in some ways, but also narrowed in others: it would never occur to him, for instance, to kill himself and others for 72 virgins in heaven.

Nothing is easy, and messing with belief systems is no different. Motivations do not exist one at a time, but in a matrix of relativity that can change value on a dime if the environment in which it interacts shifts even slightly. Two beliefs can be held simultaneously even though they are, fundamentally, contradictory--and one can be acted on in one kind of situation while another will be effectual in another kind of situation. There are more possible neural pathways than there are particles in the universe. Our brain is incredibly complex.

But we really don't need to know every little thing about the mind before we come up with a plan to cultivate it. Edison didn't need to understand 'why carbon filament' before he internalized the lessons of its success. Farmers don't need to know chemistry to understand the necessity of a field lying fallow. And a park manager doesn't need to know thermodynamics to understand the benefit of a controlled burn. We don't need to know everything, either, because we have examples of success all around us.

A stable society must have stable institutions that organize the information that flows into developing and developed minds, and it must also have institutions that then account for the individual and group activity that is a consequence of this information input. We know that works, we know that is a recipe for success. There are also other things that spell success: informational competition, activity competition, kinds and quality of information, kinds and quality of acceptable activity, etc.

What you see on closer inspection is that America is--as far as it is possible--the ideal mind cultivator and aggregator. Just as the human brain developed to cultivate theories (explanatory postures about the world) and aggregate information (memory), America has developed as a superior mechanism for nurturing and organizing minds. It has done this by accounting for the propensities and diversities of behavior (human nature) in order to minimize institutional and societal instability. And it has done this by freeing minds to associate with other minds--much like neurons associate with other neurons--thereby allowing 'America' to process information at the society level in an incredibly efficient, responsive, and fault-tolerant way.

This is the recipe for societal success. This is what the rest of the world must become.

The reason why is painfully obvious: other cultures now interact in a world where America exists. A new species has developed--strong, agile, intelligent, determined--and the fact of its existence changes everything for every other species.

I'm sure the Neanderthal thought himself successful before the ascendancy of homo sapien. The story of America's ascendancy will play out in the same way, until another species develops to take her place.

This is not much comfort for individual cultures and societies, I'm afraid, but--and I think I'm on solid ground here--their minds will love it.

3/09/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

AnnoyMouse, an o/t re your o/t, read this (Duke is next door).

3/09/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Iraq the Model makes it to the WSJ A mortar attack near my home makes me fear for the future of my country.

Not a really optimistic view of the situation in Iraq. As Dad says though:

" ... Dad: Why do you always put America in the face of the canon? America is a super power but it's not superman. These are our problems now and America has nothing to do with it. We have to fix our mess or no one will.

Me: But their interests and presence here makes Iraq's stability a top priority for them, right?

Dad: And this stability is not going to happen soon . . . Why do you always want things to be the way you like them? Failure exists just like success does. ... "

" ... Me: Will America leave Iraq?

Dad: Not now of course but they will at the nearest possible chance. Don't forget that America had been in the region long before 2003 and Iraq is not an irreplaceable base. Syria and Iran can be dealt with from Turkey or the Gulf countries. ... "

Dad is someone Iraq the Model really respects, he is very adept at Iraq and survival. He's Dad.

Read it all, it's worth it, the enlightenment of experience, Iraqi experience.

3/09/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

We can argue nurture verses nature if you want but we cannot very well influence either unless we intermarry or adopt the youth of which you speak who are being acculturated into such behaviors. It may be useful to observe the quantum mechanics of personality but is not enough to influence their behavior understanding how they evolved.

We, as Americans, cannot rely on any of the promulgators of knowledge to faithfully pass on the spark of our unique genius, be it the MSM or Hollywood, the message is muddled, and is self deprecating. If I was a Middle Easterner I’d say; ‘Yeah, FU too.’

Not to throw a wet blanket on you thesis Ari, but “their minds will love it”? My reasoning yesterday can be summed up that the hearts and minds that have been brought up with such vitriol and poison must be, in the end, isolated or eliminated.

3/09/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

War, or Retreat.

3/09/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The thought of feminists at David Duke University taking off their shirts appalls me, but less so than there sackless sycophants. I much rather see the bare chest of a woman who shaves her armpits.

3/09/2006 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Rat, 'time' the fourth dimension.

Aristides--good post--I think you're right. Constitutional democracy, self-government, rule of law. What can be more humane?

3/09/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

AM, just rings alongside Aristides stress of the role of institutions--and there, at Duke, in the heart of one such, are these anarchists, protected inside the strength of the very instityution they seek to destroy.

"Horowitz pointed out that professors at Duke make over $100,000 a year, work five hours a week in class, have four month paid vacations and lifetime jobs -- all at the expense of Duke students who pay $43,000 a year for the privilege."

And there they are, directors and department heads, "orchestrating giggles". And you wonder why not much fuss over the Jeep Jihadi next door?

3/09/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

There's a David Duke University? Does it have a Nancy Pelosi graduate school?

Great intellect must be acknowledged.

3/09/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The Barbra Streisand Collidge of Speling offers an undergratefulness degree in "how 2 rite gud".

3/09/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Deprogramming--that is, providing members with information about the cult and showing them how their own decision-making power had been taken away from them." Margaret Singer

“An important new book by Quintan Wiktorowicz, titled "Radical Islam Rising," makes clear that the Salafists operate like a cult. They draw in vulnerable young people, fill them with ideas that give their lives a fiery new meaning, and send them into battle against the unbelievers. Combating this seductive Salafist preaching requires the same kind of intense "deprogramming" used to wean away converts from other modern cults.” WaPo

How do I tell my parents and family I've become a Muslim?
Advice for Teenagers
“Although it seems like a wacky idea, it has been said by other converts, and now by myself as well, that it oftentimes might be better to wait six months, a year or more to tell them. The reasons for this vary: you need to be more established in Islamic practices, and you need time to make friends and build a support system within the Muslim community. This is so that if your parents react to your announcement by attempting to "deprogram you," or schedule "an appointment" with the local minister / priest / rabbi, you will be able to rely on your knowledge of Qur'an, and the strength that being a practicing Muslim has given you. Allowing yourself time to build a support system within the Muslim community is important so that you will have friends to help and guide you, to help answer any questions or concerns your family might have, and to help you out should your parents decide that you can no longer live in their house.” IslamforToday

3/09/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Duke professors operate like a cult. They draw in vulnerable young students, fill them with ideas that give their lives a fiery new meaning, and send them into battle against the conservatives by baring their chests and giggling.

3/09/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Soon it will be "Duck!" University.

3/09/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Dep't of Left Unsaid (revision):

" help you out should your parents decide that you can no longer live in their house, forcing you to kill them and take the house for yourself."

3/09/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Tabari IX:113 “Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain, they have the right to food and clothing. Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing themselves. Allah has made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Qur’an.”

Is that a recruiting slogan for women or what?

3/09/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

...always wanted to 'enjoy' a domestic animal.

3/09/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Those 'Terry and the Pirates' types of operations, while romantic-sounding, were incredibly dangerous to the people involved because of their haphazardness. The accident rate (not combat-related mishaps), just accidents due to equipment malfunction, operator error, weather, etc. was roughly 75x as high as it is now, because of relatively poor training, poor maintenance practices, showboating by pilots, etc. It started improving in the '50s to get to where it is today.

3/09/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I guess that lady author of "Islam for Today" finally answers Freud's question "what do women want?" --Bra'ad Pi'tt playing Jack-the-Ripper playing Mohammed.

I wish those lady professors at Duck! University would put their shirts back on and sit down and read this stuff.

3/09/2006 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Peter, not only that, but choppers don't fly so well at those altitudes.

Opotho, a fine Catholic statement! " unchanging moral "law" that expresses itself in such myriad manners and contexts that we can only be humbled before its all-encompassing meaning" is a description of a Protestant God, though--watch it, you're sysnthesizing!

3/09/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

synthesizing. dangit.

3/09/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/09/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is when they walk, buddy, they are Airborne Infantry, after all.

3/09/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is also country where a well trained US force could have ambushed fleeing enemy troops and VIPs.
But since no US troops were deployed, the Enemy got away.
So, all in all, it is just another fish tale. No fish.
Coulda, shoulda, woulda, but it ended,
Mission unacomplished.

Maybe next time, in LA or Chicago.

'cause old Osama and Dr Z, they are safe and sound in Pakistan. Planning the next strike against the "West", or not.

3/09/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

We'd've needed to a division-sized force, wouldn't you think, in each of several valleys--the bad guys had some numbers, after all. And without big guns and without groundlines of communication. We'd've continued to use the tactical air, of course--the thing that put the bad guys on the move to begin with.

3/09/2006 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But do not worry, before the next time Osama has the next aQ platoon infiltrate the US and strike US internally, they'll stop by Iraq and get caught on that "fly paper".

Maybe we'll catch some Iranians on the "fly paper", but what if we do not?
What if all that sticks are just Saudis and Algerians?

3/09/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Delta Force fellows, the Experts in their field, did not think it would take more than 600-800 troops.
The Delta boys are the best of the best, most have been over Ranger qualified.
If they thought a Battalion could do it, a Battalion could have done it.
Why doubt your on the ground recon experts?

3/09/2006 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Why do the arm chair Generals, in the UK, have a greater ability to see the ground, than our own Delta Operators, who were there?

3/09/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Thousands of people have marched through the Sudan capital, Khartoum, to protest against UN plans to take over peacekeeping operations in Darfur. BBC

A story that combines the theme of the two most recent threads.

3/09/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Sure hilly like Anaconda. It may even have “caves” but it does not have multistory buildings or a jungle canopy. If we were to look at all the available terrains to fight in, ‘hilly’ might be just the ideal terrain for a blocking force. The golden bridge controls the avenues of escape through the terrain, gives concealment and distinct fields of fire. This would be impossible in the middle of a city, in the middle of a jungle, and probably in the middle of a desert, where the truly open terrain favors capital armies. No, a blocking force in mountainous terrain would have been preferable to sending the coalition forces uphill to clear the caves looking for Usama, which they eventually did anyhow, so in my estimate, the issue is moot. Better to play the anvil to the hammer than to have to tunnel rat the enemy out of fixed positions.

Should’a, would’a, could’a. It barely deserves mention except for Rat’s referencing the Mr Berntsen’s article. Fact is, what I heard, over and over, was that the Afghans let the UBL escape. So maybe it wasn’t so easy as that. Critically evaluating the information isn’t the same as criticizing the US military. Our counsel becomes weak when we become kings.

3/09/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Ok, I give. Impeach Bush.

3/09/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

yes, peter, but that knife cuts both ways.

There are casualties in combat, they should be avoided if possible, but combat should not be avoided because of possible casualties.

3/09/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Why, buddy, has he committed a high crime?

Just that many of the Administration's Actions were "spun" and now the Top is about out of juice.

There has to be more Action, to keep the Top spinning, sadly there is not.

From a Historical perspectives many of the Successes were less than reported, as were many of the Failures.

The sand storm did not "bog down" the US assualt on Baghdad.
But, three years later, Route Irish was still unsecure.

As Iraq the Model's
Dad put it so well
"... Failure exists just like success does. ... "

3/09/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

No one wants to be one of the 16 deadmen, but the espri de corp of the US Army is high because that one man knows that 16 of his brothers will risk all tocome to his aid. It makes for crummy statistics but one cannot ensure safety by staying at home.

3/09/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Just think what DickDurbin would say about those kinds of tactics now.

3/09/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Eric Rudolf the abortion-clinic bomber eluded a maximum-effort FBI army for years and years, alone, inside a few square miles off the interstate. Laws will tell ya, catching one guy on the run, who is smart and has some resources, is the toughest job in the biz.

3/09/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

the Unabomber--what, 15 years?

3/09/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If we were on the Offensive, buddy, if the US were winning this War, not in Iraq, but the "other" now nameless War, Mr Bush would not have a revolt in the House and the Senate.
He does have a Revolt on his hands, no doubt about it.
I happen to agree with the President on the Port issue, but what of it. His own Party powerful are bailing on his Leadership.

That is not because of the MSM or the Left or any other descriptive noun. It is due to Mr Bush and his Leadership, which the Republicans in Washington see, or not, daily.

Mr Bush seems to be falling behind the curve of events. In Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Darfur, the UAE and Washington DC.

I'm not Chicken Little, but the sky, the ceiling is getting lower.

3/09/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

In Montana--not Waziristan.

3/09/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Like this?

Mr. Durbin said, "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

3/09/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I agree that in the media-derivatived world--the cartoon world that lends itself to soundbites--the prez is on the defewnsive.

And that's not to belittle the grave importance of that artificial world. It votes.

3/09/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

AM, Durbin's little ploy there goes straight to Opotho's post--the transgressive abuse of time.

3/09/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Hard is not impossible, it comes with the job.
Mr Bush said, Osama, Dead or Alive.
Mr Bush stood in the rubble and said they would pay, that they would hear from US.
Mr Bush took on the task.
He wanted the Job, twice.

He will be judged by his and his Staff's performance.
His Staff, on the Port deal, did him a disservice. How about on other deals?, I know about Mike Brown.

A President should not make promises he cannot afford to keep, on matters of War, most of all.

That WTC payment, the one the President said he would make, for all of US, it is still over due.

3/09/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

d'Rat: His Staff, on the Port deal, did him a disservice.

I'm not so sure. I think there was a little craftiness involved here. Something to give the Dems, so they can maneuver themselves politically to come on board.

3/09/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No , peter it is not obvious at all.
aQ and the Taliban were at Tora Bora, the Americans were not.

They were requested by the Americans that hired the Afghani fighters assualtting Tora Bora.

Those making the request were the finest Soldiers in the US Military, Delta Force operatives. They are the BEST at what they do.
They knew the conditions on the Ground better than you or I. It is their reccomendations and requests that were ignored.
As they were again in Anaconda.

That is not a Dutch Uncle's but a realistic view of the event. That the Generals may not have prioritized the Battle adequately is the whole point.
Who was relieved for the, in retrospect, poor decision.?
No one.

As they were not in the Anaconda fiasco.

3/09/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When 66% of the Public oppose your Deal, you do not win, by losing.

Even if the Port Deal floats, which is at best, iffy, more needless damage has been done to the Administration. If it was willfully self imposed, Mr Rowe has lost his touch.

3/09/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the first Bill that Mr Bush vetos is one that disavows the Port Deal, that is bad politics, really.

He is not in "touch" with the Public, even if he is right.

Same problem he has always had, it is just beginning to cascade.

3/09/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I don't think so 'Rat. It gives everyone a way to run further to the right. That's good for all involved, and good for the country.

3/09/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

‘Private Ryan’ wasn’t a rescue mission and “Extrapolate that to your Rangers blocking force and you have another Mogadishu on your hands.” Which is to say what? War is also about decapitating your enemy and our enemy was UBL. The Delta Force operators were not in Afghanistan to overthrow the government, they were there on a path finding mission looking for Targets of Opportunity, which I believe it is safe to say they had the ultimate TOO in sight. How employing the Rangers in mountainous terrain can be considered unthinkable boggles my mind and how can you suggest that rugged terrain is anything like the urbane terrain of Mogadishu boggles the more. What was the safe alternative, trick or treating in Kandahar? I didn’t bring up the ‘can’t deploy forces ‘cuz 16 troops died trying to extract a squad of SO glamour boys. In most circumstances extractions work, that they sometimes fail is no reason to give up and become a proponent of antiseptic warfare. The force structure is entirely volunteer and those airman who lost their lives doing something heroic would have chosen it to driving a tanker of gasoline from Kuwait City to Baghdad.

3/09/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

BTW, Dubai Ports World has sold controlling shares to an American owned entity, as per Captain's Quarters.

3/09/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Somebody give rat a week end pass to 187 posts on the same subject gotta' be worth something.

3/09/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Perhaps, but if he has to veto a Bill, it'll be a PR disaster.
Even more so if Mr Frist is right and the first Veto would be over ridden.

Unmitigated disaster, both in Dubai and in the White House.

If he can pull the Deal out, he gets no credit for it, here. He could in Dubai, but will they even understand his Challenge?

Or will they behave like Mr Putin, when he wondered why Mr Bush does not just fire the Press?

3/09/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

No Peter,
I was responding to Robert Schwartz’s cryptic comment:

”Just think what DickDurbin would say about those kinds of tactics now”

The comment was one of Durbins’ more infamous.

3/09/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


Truly shameful behaviour on the part of Republicans. They hid any pretense of principle in the polls, which were running up to 80% against the deal. Too bad the Dems are the only other alternative.

3/09/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Mogadishu cost Les Aspin, not the CiC, his job.

3/09/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Try North Korea, you'll see similar terrain features.
Just North of Seoul, inland.
Very rugged country.
To bad it did not keep the 2nd Infantry from heading to the Yalu, and back again.

Is that the point?

That it is better to come home than fight the Declared War.

3/09/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

From what I understand the decision to hang the Rangers out to dry was Aspin's.

Aspin should have been hung heels up from the training towers at Ft. Bragg.

3/09/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Col Happerset told me that many of the best Spec Op fellows went into Private Life, after Somalia.

The lack of US support just made it an unfulfilling career choice.

3/09/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

pb, how good of you to count

3/09/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Annoy'o'mouse wrote:

"Sure hilly like Anaconda. It may even have “caves” but it does not have multistory buildings or a jungle canopy. If we were to look at all the available terrains to fight in, ‘hilly’ might be just the ideal terrain for a blocking force. The golden bridge "

You've never been in rugged terrain have you?

Given a flat mile, for a blocking force, I need a full company.

The same mile in the mountain can become 2-3 miles filled with all kinds of blind avenues of approach and hidden holes in the ground. You then have to resort to patrols and observation.

I can see 20+ miles in the mountains. On a windless night a cough or a clank will carry 5 miles. So will smells.

Then there is time and distance. You will have to walk 5 miles to go two - a man may be across the valley from you - 1 mile away - but you will have to go down a cliff, walk across a scree field, cross a river, then hike up the other side - all while he watches you.

3/09/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I agree, the India agreement is world historical, and roundly ignored.

I think UAE selling their interest is the perfect solution, and Mat is right about the Port deal redounding to Bush's goals--esp as a 2nd-termer. He gave the relieved Dems some escape room on the right--and the domestic front war effort will be stronger for it.

Other aspects of the Port deal are not so good. Combined with Unocal, and we can expect to look a lot less friendly--safe--to foreign capital.

As far as the security aspects, I've always worried more about the Gambinos than a bunch of Arab capitalists trying to grow in the first world.

3/09/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

So better not to try, peter?

then to try and not succeed?
then to try and succeed?

No wonder you guys we're gettin whipped on by those NAZIs.

No wonder we are an Independent Country, now, either.

3/09/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"Col Happerset told me that many of the best Spec Op fellows went into Private Life, after Somalia.

The lack of US support just made it an unfulfilling career choice. "

We should have cordoned off Mogadishu, made everyone leave - after being searched - then used dogs to search the city to get the weapons, then let everyone back in, then had Zero tolerance for weapons of any kind.

Clinton and Aspin were pussies.

3/09/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I have not read up on this Port twist, but if the Port management deal is no longer with the Dubai Company, are not the Emirates still discriminated against and our Ally insulted?

If the Deal is no longer with the UAE, didn't the opponents win?

Or am I missing something?

3/09/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Just do the geometry on the area of the surface of a pyramid vs the base area. And this leaves out the topography.

3/09/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


187 is an estimate. It feels like 1,000.

Would it have been "better" to insert the Rangers? Don't know. Don't have the details or the intel that was available at that moment in time. I do know that it's not worth getting exercised about it.

3/09/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"For a chance at Osama, though, a Battalion of Rangers was to much for the Army to manage to get to the fight, I mean the battlespace. "

In Rick Rescorla's bio, a friend, former Ranger, who fought in Afghanistan, had an op planned to get UBL in June, 2001. They had already done the recon, just wanted to make sure the reward would be there for UBL's head. The FBI Dawdled.

3/09/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The Marines would have been the ones deployed into Afghanistan to block UBL - there was a whole BN off Pakistan.

3/09/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

what you're missing is that the other side of the deal backed out gracefully, in a statement saying something to the effect that the overall relationship between UAE and USA was far more important that any one business deal. So, while we may have hurt them, they are publicly taking no offense.

3/09/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The Repubs dumped the prez because the polls were extreme against doing the deal.

The deal was supposed to get 45 days of discussion in the House but the committee killed it with a 62-2 vote and there will be no further discussion, absent a veto.

I don't think it would have made a wit of difference security wise and I'd kiss a pig to make sure the Navy keeps access to the Port of Dubai, which is likely to be the most strategically important port facility in the world in the near future.

3/09/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Larry Kudlow says that
" ... one of the very few private American firms capable of running a bunch of port terminals is HALLIBURTON. That's right, Halliburton. Remember them? Every Democrats' favorite. ... "

Mr Kudlow

3/09/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/09/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Halliburton is the unanticipated consequence for the Dems. I don't think 10 people in the whole country, other than port workers, even knew that almost all terminals were already being operated by foreign companies.

3/09/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

PB, the reason for that is the Longshoreman's Union. American companies don't want to have anything to do with it.

3/09/2006 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger American Crusader said...

This is really an excellent site. I wish I had found it earlier. Pedestrian Infidel showed me the way. Of course much can be learned from military history. Strategies and situations combined to make victory or defeat possible. As a veteran, there is no better lessons than those that have been learned through fire. I would really like to exchange blogrolls. Really outstanding

3/09/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Well Red River. Let's draw a circle around any area that is not flat and rule out defending US interests there. The analogy was comparing Tora Bora with Mogadishu which I don't believe deserves much comparison. If you can see for 20 miles and hear a twig snap for 5, I'd say surveillance was working pretty good for you. You might even take the high terrain.

Now that the Rangers get to choose their battlespace, maybe they will just order the badguys to go stand in the desert and wave their arms. That would be very convenient. Problem is the 'splodey-dopes got it figured that they don't do so well there so guess what? They climb mountains, dig holes, and take over neighborhoods in Mogadishu. Time to go home I guess.

I'd rather take my chance hard scrabbling over rocky precipices than walking down a narrow alley way in Mogadishu anyday. Moutain goats got nuthin' on me.Ya see, you can walk on mountain tops but you can't go no where on roof tops. Yep there is the 10th Mountain division. Ask them if they would like to go door knocking in Mogadishu.

And for Pete's sake, Tora Bora would have been 'just like' Mogadishu. Pahleeze.

3/09/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger American Crusader said...

Annoy Mouse said...War is also about decapitating your enemy and our enemy was UBL. The Delta Force operators were not in Afghanistan to overthrow the government, they were there on a path finding mission looking for Targets of Opportunity, which I believe it is safe to say they had the ultimate TOO in sight.

This was a major blunder in strategy. Capturing bin Laden would have been a major psychological victory. Every time he makes another video/recording, he is reinvigorating his followers. I think Al Qaeda might have fallen, particularly outside of Iraq if we had finished the job in Tora Bora.
A major psychological/propaganda victory (example: the TET offensive) is often more important than who actually won the battle on the ground.
That was a lesson not learned.

3/09/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

“Former CIA officer Gary Berntsen, who led the CIA team in Afghanistan that was tasked with locating bin Laden, claims in his 2005 book Jawbreaker that he and his team had pinpointed the location of bin Laden. Also according to Bernsten, a number of al-Qaeda detainees later confirmed that Bin Laden had escaped Tora Bora into Pakistan via an easternly route through snow covered mountains in the area of Parachinar, Pakistan. He also claims that bin Laden could have been able to captured if United States Central Command had committed the troops that Berntsen had requested.Former CIA agent Gary Schroen concurs with this view.[2] Pentagon documents seem to confirm this account.”

But forget that. If we get to choose when, where, and what terrain we fight in, can we also fight with swords?

3/09/2006 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Not to mention that nobody really knew how well Chinooks would work at 13,000 ft.

Time to move on.

rat was totally out of line with the Nazi comment. Nobody can ever fault the Brits for lacking cookies.

3/09/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Actually Peter,
With my philosophy I have enjoyed mountain suvival training for weeks at a time in the Sierras and the Cascades. I have dabbled with jungle survival which gives me the willys and have contemplated desert survival which I consider positively insane. I have to admit that I feel more comfortable in the mountains scratching around in redoubts then I do trick or treating in hostile territory.


3/09/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

My mind was more focused on Dunkirk and D-Day, peter.
One, as Churchill noted, was a defeat, the other could not have been accomplished by the Brits, alone.

If it were not for US Lend-Lease supplying the Soviets, all of Europe would have fallen to the NAZI's, or not.

A defensive aerial campaign will not win a War. The RAF could have never smothered the Luf in Germany, not without rwe's big bombers. And of course the P-51's. That is certainly true.

I guess winning a Battle in Africa did taste sweet, after the bitter taste of defeat in Europe.

3/09/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Monty needed badly to win at El Alamein. Of course, that's a given, but in this case the recent history, plus the war elsewhere, meant that Great Britain really, really could not afford to lose the Suez. So he refused battle until he knew beforehand the outcome as well as possible. Meanwhile the RN and RAF were attriting Rommel's supply line. Time was important, but not so important as avoiding the material and morale crash of a campaign gone wrong.

3/09/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

So the moutains that rise to 14,000 feet are all at 14,000 feet. There are no valleys? If we can't manuever infantry just how did the Afghans get a tank up there? They are incidentally eye level with B52's. How did they get up there?

Charlie may not surf but you're telling me that the superman UBL skis? I may be think but your arguments are doing nothing to the orginal premise that UBL could have been blocked. Then the argument that if it is hard it is impossible. Sorry. We'll just have to disagree. Lets just do battle in cities, oceans, and nice flat deserts against inferior armor. We get to fight against inferior armor, right?

3/09/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I dunno, Rat. Hitler wasn't going to be able to take England, regardless of USSR and USA in the war. He'd already figured that out, before he invaded USSR, before Pearl Harbor.

3/09/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This was a major blunder in strategy. Capturing bin Laden would have been a major psychological victory. Every time he makes another video/recording, he is reinvigorating his followers.

Actually, I think whether inadvertent or not, keeping OBL from certain death was/is a major tactical and strategic success. It sustains the needed psychological motivation to maintain the "War on Terror", the war against the Jihadi weltanschauung. With OBL dead, there might not be the motivation to persevere and continue the work that still needs to be done.

3/09/2006 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

But Peter, if Matthew McConeghy hadn't grabbed that Enigma machine off the U-Boat....

3/09/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Not only that, Mat, but as a Big Time Martyr, he would've been effective for all time--to what extent, who knows?

3/09/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We, our hired guns, had trucks and tanks in the area, peter. Helicopters were not the only method of transport. In reality there were no helicopters in the Theater, at the time.

Trucks would have moved the US troops to the front, then they'd have walked, if it was to be done at all.

Supplys would have moved by truck.
It may not have been easy, but neither was that bridge, the one they made a movie about, the one where Monty was to relieve the Brit Airborne troops right after D-Day, that Bridge to Far...

I agree with you tb68, the fault is in our Officer Corps, either that or we just cannot win with the troops we've got.

Back to the Draft!

3/09/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Discredit him first, then kill him. Better yet, have him alive to perp-walk from van to court-room--put THOSE pics out to jihadi-land. just speculatin'....

3/09/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But England sure couldn't take Hitler, not without help.

3/09/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Operation Market-Garden (the fifth bridge was the 'bridge too far') was a gamble to win the war before Christmas 1944. Didn't work, the Germans were just too damn strong. But it could've worked, and had it, there's have been no thing in the Ardennes, the Battle of the Bulge, and no half-year more of non-stop casualties.

3/09/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

To do that, buddy, someone on our side has to go into Warizistan, eventually.

Mat, IMHO you could not be more wrong.
You, as I recall, did not even know about the Authorization for Use of Force. So how does keeping Osama alive and out of custody keep US morale high?

In a word, it does not. US morale is not at all time highs, is it?
In Osamam's world, it proves US a paper tiger. Boosting the aQ as an equtable opponent of US, a position which we ratify with the "Long War" strategy.

3/09/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But they TRIED, buddy.

More than the US did in Afghanistan

3/09/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Mat may have a point with some folks, who see the war as something to be fought 'until' OBL goes down.

But any theory of CentCom letting him off the hook for that reason can't stand up to the fact that the flyboys were dropping everything but the kitchen sink on the sumbitch.

3/09/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Yeah the Nazi dig was a bridge too far Rat. I was going to say something snippy about tea time but had the wind taken away with that crack about the Merlin. If I am to credit the Brit's with anything, it would be for having great naming conventions like the Spitfire and the Merlin.

3/09/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Opotho, I'll address your comments first because I think you make objections that this type of subject always engenders.

A year or so ago I came across a statement by Daniel Dennett that praised the successes of reductionism--in all fields of science--while lamenting the relative absence of any useful synthesis of these new concepts. The problem is that reductionism demands specialization, and specialization demands a lexicon. To synthesize all this knowledge, one would have to become moderately fluent in a whole host of esoteric languages, and be able to switch from one to the other or, even better, synthesize them all into a new, more accessible language--one that could be read by a political philosopher and by a geneticist without any losses of translation.

When we speak of politics we speak of human systems. When we speak of morals we speak of human morality--a morality that only makes sense in the context of human. That statement might not make sense, and you might immediately reject it, but it is a true statement. There might be a morality of grasshoppers, but when we speak of morality, we are talking specifically about the human art of living together: human morality.

So human morality must be explained using humans, which, as I said above, must be explained in the context of mind. If we understand mind, we can then move on to understand systems of minds, and then we can understand systems of systems of minds, and so on--each level emerging from the level below.

There is a reason why some people have self-restraint, for instance, and some don't. That reason can be found in the mind. The inputs on the mind are two-fold: genetic, and environmental. If you want to know the 'why' of any discrete behavior, you must analyze it in these terms.

There is much debate about whether 'beliefs' can be genetically transmitted, or whether they must be the result of environmental input--what Hume would call impressions and ideas. I fall into the latter camp. I do not think we are born with beliefs. I think they develop from and through our sensory interaction with the environment--what our parents tell us, what happens to us, what doesn't happen to us, what we read, etc.

So, if that is true, and I think it is, sensory input plays a huge role in what people believe. And what people believe plays a huge role in what they do.

Now, you say:

I believe it's disrespectful and even dangerous to extrapolate and project our success story backwards, chemicals or no.

I believe it would be irresponsible to not do so. We sit on a wealth of empirical evidence about the way humans and their societies interact. We have started developing explanatory theories of mind that need to be brought to bear on the questions of what works, and why. We need this because we may soon find ourselves in a storm of dissolution with these functional explanations of virtue the only things to hold onto. If we do not know why and how America works, we may talk ourselves right out of continuing her existence. And, make no mistake: the people we must convince will have been nursed, from birth, on skepticism, cynicism, secularism, and nihilism. We will need incontrovertible, demonstrable truth to win that battle.

Knowing that humans have genetic baggage is knowing that one cannot do anything about basic human nature. This may sound unexceptional to you, but in the 1970's most social scientists believed in absolute tabula rasa. Without the knowledge that genetics plays a significant role in behavior, we would still be in fantasy land where human nature is infinitely malleable. That is a dangerous way to think.

That is why knowing is so useful. If we know that boys will be boys, we will stop trying to force them to be girls. If we know that blacks and whites have a similar distribution curve of genetic predispositions, we know that differences in group success are caused by nurture--caused by environment and culture.

You say:

What value is there in discussing the genetic basis of "wisdom"?

Very little, because wisdom is by definition built out of experience. Now, one might bring up the logical relationships between different experiences--a logic that the brain is genetically built compute--but I don't think that is what you are asking.

You say:

That the momentum of these assumptions in Western culture may represent something not terribly pleasant, we can leave for another day.

The momentum of untruth is even more unpleasant. Imagine a world where we couldn't appeal to science. Imagine the demogogues that would sell all kinds of snake-oil. Imagine a Leftist that sold a rejection of human nature, and the peace on earth that would flow from it, without a reductionist standing by to correct him.

There will, of course, be many repercussions of such a synthesis in the realms of morality, philosophy, and religion. This is inevitable. It is, in fact, what Dennett's book is all about.

However, we can be comforted a little. Morality and religion grew organically from human nature and human interaction. Their truth--or at the very least their usefulness--can only be reinforced by a scientific study of this subject.

But again, make no mistake. We are in an arms race of explanatory sophistication. If we are not ready to compete, not ready to go wherever it is that truth takes us, we will lose to the guy who seems to have all the answers--a guy who promises that in his store one can find all Needful Things.

3/09/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I do not believe there was an attempt to let Osama flee.

Make no mistake about that. That there was no willingness to believe their own recon troops, that the Generals were afraid of possible losses, or that the Logistics were thought to be to difficult to even attempt. Those things I believe COULD be true, but that the Military let him go, I'd move to Mexico, which may happen anyway, before I'd believe that.

3/09/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

But I do think that a war to ennervate the anarchists until they settle for political solutions--ie, the voting booth rather than the suicide bomb--is hard to enlist the public behind.

That's the great advantage of the enemy, that there is 'nothing to conquer'.

3/09/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, I didn't think it was all that nasty, or anything.
Resonably true, as well.
Without US troops and ships and planes and supplies, Fortress Europe would have remained just that, a Fortress.

England may not have fallen, but she wasn't crossin' the Channel, either.

3/09/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Oh, those Brit names--the Mosquito is my favorite--

3/09/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Oh, but there is, buddy, we just refuse to do the conquering.

There is only one Enemy left in our baf of opponents. Perhaps we will add more, later. But for today, there is only one left.
The first one and, now with the emergence of a democratic Iraqi Government, the only one is aQ?

They have ground to conquer, they have ideas to defeat, they have men to kill, we demur.

The Enemy parades on the streets of Pakistan, we watch on TV.

If that is US Policy, so be it. Let US admit it.
That there are mountains to high and caves to deep for US to deliver justice.

So, just who is the defeatist, who should move to MoveOn, those that do not believe in US capacity, capability and exceptionalism, or those that do?

3/09/2006 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I mean, anyone who would advocate a conflict with Iran, if that person thought Tora Bora was to difficult a Mission for US, wow.

That person would need to seek professional help, with their thinking process.

3/09/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

jeez, Rat, you frame the question as if we are doing nothing.

The war IS underway. Your complaint is over push vs pull, and should be framed that way.

We're trying to 'pull' the high moral ground--and appear to be doing it.

To 'push' the populations in which the perps are hiding would be to complicate the ideological 'pull' we're trying to exert.

After a jillion of these arguments, you *still* won't concede that obvious point?

3/09/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

PeterUK, Rat, anybody

Check out this site to see which personality type you would rather not be.

3/09/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I know we did not go, That, for sure, I know.
That we toppled the Taliban with 350 Special Forces and 100 CIA agents, that I know.
That the Objective of the Operation was Osama, that I know.
That Osama was not taken or destroyed, that I know.
That the Mission Failed, that I know.
That from that Failure some Good did sprout, that I know.

Read Iraq the Model, the US particpation in that Country's war is over. Read Bill Roggio, the Iraqis are carrying the ball, there.

We can stay there, Garrisoned forever, it will not change the situation on the Ground, we will not "bring" stability to Iraq. Never could, it is an Iraqi mission and responsibility, best to give them the Authority, as we leave.

3/09/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Opotho, Aristides: There is merit in your dialogue, so I call to your attention that 'When we are out of touch with PURPOSE, we are out of touch with FUNCTION.'

Not knowing or agreeing that the PURPOSE of a human is To KNOW and To LOVE, we get snake-oiled by the pleasure-mongers, hate-mongers and supremacists, among others.

When one consciously accepts that a human is 'a knowing and loving entity' THEN (and only then) can that human most fully develop its knowing and loving capacities, mindful of the un-knowing (ignorant, ignoring, ignoble) and un-loving (hateful, biased, prejudiced) options all around.

"I bear witness, O My God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee." from the Daily Required Pray every adult Baha'i recites/contemplates at least once every day, around noon.

THIS is, as pointed out by others upthread, altering and disturbing our macro-social relationships because, like America, the Faith of God is now EXISTENT, and all others in this world must interact with it, in more or less-conscious ways.

Humankind's coming encounter with Baha'u'llah.

3/09/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

d'Rat, 4:39 PM

That's bs. You want to call it the War on OBL or the War on AQ, when in reality both references (the one I provided and the you provided), only casually reference AQ or OBL. Killing OBL will not end this thing. But keeping him alive provides the political cover to triangulate on the different Jihadi players prosecuting this war.

3/09/2006 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

And USA wasn't going onto the continent either, without England. Check out the Italian Campaign sometime. Even the B-29 (meaning, VJ would've had to wait, as far as we knew until Alamogordo) would've had trouble hitting the German industrial north from north African bases--which we had anyway as a result of Operation Torch--mounted in large part from England.

3/09/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If it were working, buddy, I'd concede it. That is the point.

I understand the idea, it has worked in Iraq, as well as it is going to.
It will not work in Warizistan, or at least there are no signs of it.
It is not working in Sudan, no signs of it.
It is not working in
Syria, no signs of it.
Nor in Palistine, Hamas wins, there.
It certainly is not working in Iran, buddy.

So, yes, I did beleive the rhetoric, I supported the rhetoric, I voted for the rhetoric, sent my eldest child to fight for the rhetoric, with blood if required.
To say I'm disappointed with the outcome, after FIVE years is an understatement.

The "Long War" BS did me in.

3/09/2006 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...


Which were you? I was not Carl.

3/09/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


I'm not any of the above, but I was hoping whether PeterUK could tell us about the authenticity of the "British Accent Guy".

3/09/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ari, I think W was saying, the girl adjusting her skirt and then scratching her butt: that's us.

3/09/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Authorization for Use of Force is Declared War against the Perps of 9-11.
Who is that, mat?

Not Iraq, nor Iran, nor even the Sauds. It was not the General President nor Mr Putin.

It certainly was not the Sudanese nor the Somolians, was not the "Barbarians" of Paris, was it?

No the perps of 9-11 are aQ.
The Head and Heart of aQ is Dr Z and Osama. Perhaps there are others, we have been chasing and arresting them all over the World. But those fellows are not the core of the perps gang. Their arrest will not kill aQ.
Will removing Osama and Dr Z kill aQ? I do not know, but I do know that as long as they are roaming the World, we're losing the War.

Unless, of course, Mr Bush decides Islam is not a Religion of Peace and expands the Perp list. He has not, 'til then that list is pretty dang short, our Enemies list.

3/09/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I'll vouch anecdotally. I personally know an example of every single type of Game Killer.

Whoever put this together has tapped into a Platonic level of existence. Great link, Wretchard.

(Disclosure: at first I thought we were supposed to relate to one. That's all I'm going to say about that)

3/09/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/09/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


We don't know exactly who the Perps are. If we knew for sure, we'd nuke 'em. We don't know exactly who is behind OBL, but we're smart enough to play this game in a way that it doesn't matter who is behind him.

3/09/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger DWPittelli said...

Kurtz: I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with Special Forces. Seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate the children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for Polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized... like I was shot... like I was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought: My God... the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they could stand that these were not monsters. These were men... trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love... but they had the strength... the strength... to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment. Because it's judgment that defeats us.

3/09/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

aristides said:
"When we speak of politics we speak of human systems. When we speak of morals we speak of human morality--a morality that only makes sense in the context of human. That statement might not make sense, and you might immediately reject it, but it is a true statement. There might be a morality of grasshoppers, but when we speak of morality, we are talking specifically about the human art of living together: human morality."

Human morality is a subjective thing. What is moral in my opinion may not be so with Joe Jihadi and vice versa. What Adolf Hitler, as the leader of the human race (in his mind) thought to be moral (apparently) is considered an abomination by most today.

Taken to an extreme, the subjective nature of human morality becomes meaningless. It is no morality whatsoever.

I think what opotho was referring to& I know he will correct me if I misrepresent, was an objective morality - not of human origin.

3/09/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Muslim Brotherhood MPs: “Islam Encourages Terrorism and Jihad”:

According to a report in the independent Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yusouf, Egyptian MP Ragab Hilal Hamida, from the Muslim Brotherhood, said during a parliamentary session discussing the Inter-Arab Agreement on Combating Terrorism, that the Koran encourages terrorism, and that he supports the activities of Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi. The report also stated that another MP from the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Ahmad ’Askar, supported Hamida’s statements, and that MPs from the governing National Democratic Party (NDP) did not denounce them, but instead joked with Ragab.

Question: "Does it make sense to you that a Muslim should claim that the Koran incites to terrorism?!"

Hamida: "I said these things in an [Egyptian] parliament session dealing with the Inter-Arab Agreement on Combating Terrorism. I noticed that the report of the [Parliamentary] Committee for Defense and National Security and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry were inaccurate when [they] dealt with terrorism, since [they] dealt with it in general [terms].

"This Palestinian is therefore [called] a terrorist, but he does not care that he is called a terrorist, since the Koran calls him so! We must realize that all religions forbid the killing of Muslim citizens.

Question: "Do you think that this is the [appropriate] time to repeat such provocative statements, when we are trying to improve the image of Islam in the West and to refute the accusation that [Islam] is a religion of terrorism, as [some] are claiming?"

Hamida: "Islam does not need improvement of its image... But there are some ignorant Muslims who do not understand the tenets of their faith...

Question: "How do you regard [the possibility] that some organization or country hostile to Egypt and to Islam might use your remarks to distort the image of our religion and criticize us abroad?!"

Hamida: "If some respectable organization came to me and asked me, it would [receive an answer and] understand what I mean. Islam encourages terrorism and jihad - [though] not terrorism in the common sense of the term - to prevent our holy places and our property from being easy prey for [our] enemies.

Muslim Brotherhood

3/09/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Peter Boston,
They did know how CHinooks would work at 13,000 feet. Which is why those ops are so difficult. They train in high-altitude ops, the problem is that the helos are severely limited there, no matter how much training the crews have.

Please stop acting like the military higher ups are complete idiots. I guarantee that they had access to more intel than you have, and made the decision that either it would have been too costly an operation, or with too low a chance of success, or that they would be able to get bin Laden with what they currently had in place. It may have been a mistaken decision, or maybe not. We will likely never know. But it certainly wasn't made in a vacuum.

3/09/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

re: objective morality.

This is a difficult concept to explain, so bear with me.

There is a school of thought that thinks Morality exists independent of reality, as a Platonic form or some other philosophical construct--God comes to mind. By this way of thinking, Morality is a purpose, a reason why we're here.

Another similar idea is that morality--in the sense of "what works"--exists as an abstract truth, and would exist even if humans had never stumbled on it. In this theory, humans discovered this truth much the same way they discovered that 2 + 2 = 4.

Another theory is built around the idea of emergent properties. This theory states that morality would have no meaning if you separate its definition from the interaction of humans that gave rise to it. It is this theory I believe you refer to, because this theory treats morality as being so contextually-dependent as to be considered an accident of evolution -- given different material to work on, morality would have a drastically different meaning.

Another theory combines the previous two. This theory argues that morality is a discoverable truth, but that its truth is a localized attractor, not a universal one. In this theory, one would have to be interacting in the vicinity of a moral truth before its truth would be discoverable.

Conceptually, there are many differences between these theories. Practically, though, none of them necessarily leads to the nihilism.

To see this, try to imagine the game of basketball. The imperatives (morals) of basketball change depending on the context of the game. If it is a friendly pick-up game, you play differently than you would if it was a NCAA Championship game. Your intensity, your cooperation with your opponent, everything: your behavioral imperatives are drastically different for pick-up game and for Championship game.

Now, you could say, "Well, that means it is subjective. If you can choose to act one way or another, and there is just no right answer that works every time, then what's the point in talking about it." That is what freshman philosophy students say.

Of course, all this confusion goes away if you reduce your 'subjective' theory to practice. It simply won't work for you to play "pick-up style" basketball in an NCAA Championship game. You will lose. Vice-versa may work for a while, but without a team reinforcing you, all your effort will go to waste, and you will probably piss everybody off.

This is the same for morality. If I behave like a Goth of old, it won't work in the present context. It will do nothing to keep me alive. Likewise if I acted like an effete professor while raiding a village. As a standard of behavior it simply won't work.

So, it is relative only in the sense that it is contextually-dependent. The idea what works is the missing factor that makes all the difference.

3/09/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

What's interesting about all this is that Christian morality seems to work better than all the others. Empirically, it works the best when a large amount of people must live together.

3/09/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...


You may be confusing morals with cultural norms. Morals are more base than differentiating behaviors. They are the driving factor for what we do, not how we perform.

Morals, more often than not, affect the very lives of others in a profund and unchangeable way. Culture may have some influence, but different cultural norms rarely have an effect on, say whether a neighbor lives or dies tomorrow.

In your baketball analogy, the rules of the game would equate to the morality. How the game was being played relates more to culture.

3/09/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Morals are imperatives. Do this. Do that.


3/09/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

To analogize my basketball analogy, think about how different the imperatives are in peace, and in war.

In war, thou shalt not kill--and all the rest--fade right away.

3/09/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/09/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

The reason moral men go to war is to protect innocent lives. This has not changed since old testament times.

3/09/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I have heard of Air Force Col. Edward Lansdale and his exploits in the Philippines. But, I have hard time following Michael McClintock’s version of his exploits (maybe it just that they are not in chronological order).

Now, is this the same Michael McClintock of Human Rights First?

See: Human Rights First

If so, I am surprised at the non-bias nature of the paper.

3/09/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Anyone who wants to understand Ed Landsdale should remember that he fought his campaigns under Harry S. Truman, who was also engaged in Korea within the same time and who had, early in his first term, dropped the Atomic Bomb on two Japanese cities. I am constantly amazed by the popular description of World War 2 as the "Good War". It was good only in comparison to the alternative of submission to tyranny. But in itself, it was the dangdest, bloodiest and most gol-durned event of the 20th century. How we forget.

3/09/2006 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Wonder why the whole ME isn't attempting to go nuclear? It being the information age and all. Shouldn't be too difficult these days. I mean how come we're not seeing Syria for instance building reactors. That whole region has got to be looking at Iran and saying 'Whoa! They're going to get away with it and the US and UN aren't doing anything about it.' I mean, that's gotta be going through their heads. You would think.

3/09/2006 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...


"If you can see for 20 miles and hear a twig snap for 5, I'd say surveillance was working pretty good for you. You might even take the high terrain."

You missed my point. I am not saying it could not be done, but to get them ( BN )in fast would negate any advantage because the target would head some other direction due to all the commotion. Franks looked at the airlift and support needed for the BN and the payoff and smartly said no-way.

I've logged a lot of time in the Sierras. I use to commute to Reno from LA and made many a day trip into the Sierras - including a 5 hour round trip on Whitney's Mountaineer's Route and a 6 hour r/t on NW Buttress. On a Descent from Russell, the Evolution Lakes Area was about the darkest sky I have ever seen outside of Alaska - Mars was up and I could see the Red Edges around my shadow. F-14s flew over and I could see the glow from the cockpits. When we got to dirt, we could see bioluminescense in our footsteps. And I could smell the hot dogs 7 miles and 4000 feet below us in the campgrounds..

3/09/2006 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...


You treat weapons systems and military units like they are poker chips without regards to their specific natures and limitations and maint needs.

Just to get the first CIA and SOF teams in took several days and flights that had to turn around. One Helo Crashed.

Its one thing to maintain an air bridge with tankers and drop bombs - its another to put a BN or two in the field when we had little logistical capacity or CAS in place. What if the whole BN had froze to death in a blizzard? Or been surrounded and run out of ammo?

3/09/2006 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Free West said...

Yes - Über-Faith is a Totalitarian cult.

Going back to the origins of this cult around the seventh century AD we see the influence of the Gnostics, in particular the Docetic sect of Gnostics. Note that Gnosticism disappeared by the Middle Ages. So too Mithraism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, Cathars, etc...

Anyway, the popular opinion in the West on the Über-Faith is in a downward spiral, if you can believe the polls:

Growing Negativity...

Poll results ...

Probably means something.

3/09/2006 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Kurd Card:

Lost amid the news of all the bloodletting in Iraq is an important political development: The Kurds have switched sides. In the first parliament after the first set of elections, they allied themselves with the Shiite slate to produce the current Shiite-dominated government led by Ibrahim al-Jafari.

The security situation is grim and the neighboring powers malign. The one hope for success in Iraq is political.

The Kurdish defection has produced the current impasse. That impasse has contributed to the mood of despair here at home.

Kurd Card

3/09/2006 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Should we execute Clooney on Sight, or try to learn from him?
Peggy Noonan
What George Clooney doesn't know about life.
Which gets us to George Clooney, and his work. George Clooney is Hollywood now. He is charming and beautiful and cool, but he is not Orson Welles. I know that's like saying of an artist that he's no Rembrandt, but bear with me because I have a point that I think is worth making.
Orson Welles was an artist. George Clooney is a fellow who read an article and now wants to tell us the truth, if we can handle it.

More important, Orson Welles had a canny respect for the audience while maintaining a difficult relationship with studio executives, whom he approached as if they were his intellectual and artistic inferiors. George Clooney has a canny respect for the Hollywood establishment, for its executives and agents, and treats his audience as if it were composed of his intellectual and artistic inferiors. (He is not alone in this. He is only this year's example.)

And because they are his inferiors, he must teach them. He must teach them about racial tolerance and speaking truth to power, etc. He must teach them to be brave. And so in his acceptance speech for best supporting actor the other night he instructed the audience about Hollywood's courage in making movies about AIDS, and recognizing the work of Hattie McDaniel with an Oscar.

Was his speech wholly without merit? No. It was a response and not an attack, and it appears to have been impromptu. Mr. Clooney presumably didn't know Jon Stewart would tease the audience for being out of touch, and he wanted to argue that out of touch isn't all bad. Fair enough. It is hard to think on your feet in front of 38 million people, and most of his critics will never try it or have to. (This is a problem with modern media: Only the doer understands the degree of difficulty.)

But Mr. Clooney's remarks were also part of the tinniness of the age, and of modern Hollywood. I don't think he was being disingenuous in suggesting he was himself somewhat heroic. He doesn't even know he's not heroic. He thinks making a movie in 2005 that said McCarthyism was bad is heroic.

How could he think this? Maybe part of the answer is in this:

The Clooney generation in Hollywood is not writing and directing movies about life as if they've experienced it, with all its mysteries and complexity and variety.

In an odd way they haven't experienced life; they've experienced media.
Their films seem more an elaboration and meditation on media than an elaboration and meditation on life
This is how he could take such an unnuanced, unsophisticated, unknowing gloss on the 1950s and the McCarthy era.
He just absorbed media about it.
And that media itself came from certain assumptions and understandings, and myths.

Most Americans aren't leading media, they're leading lives. It would be nice to see a new respect in Hollywood for the lives they live. It would be nice to see them start to understand that rediscovering the work of, say, C.S. Lewis, and making a Narnia film, is not "giving in" to the audience but serving it. It isn't bad to look for and present good material that is known to have a following. It's a smart thing to do. It's why David O. Selznick bought "Gone With the Wind": People were reading it. It was his decision to make it into a movie from which he would profit that gave Hattie McDaniel her great role. Taboos are broken by markets, not poses.

3/10/2006 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"On a Descent from Russell, the Evolution Lakes Area was about the darkest sky I have ever seen outside of Alaska - Mars was up and I could see the Red Edges around my shadow.
F-14s flew over and I could see the glow from the cockpits.
When we got to dirt, we could see bioluminescense in our footsteps. And I could smell the hot dogs 7 miles and 4000 feet below us in the campgrounds..
Man what we miss!
...being surrounded by "civilization" and all.
Maybe I should spend a few nights on top of Haleakala.

3/10/2006 04:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat 11:31 AM,
Glad it's confirmed.
Oops, thought you were confirming Aristides 11:31 AM, but you're not THAT fast.

3/10/2006 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thanks for the Horowitz link.
Seems were at a point where we are either engulfed in the hell on earth of the left, or fly away like a phoenix.
Where I used to live, we got to watch Blue Herons.
Amazing Birds, Texas got anything like that?

3/10/2006 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Well, the first stanza better include that Wolfie and the rest of the NeoCon Joos were hell-bent on war in Iraq anyways, come Hell or bin Laden.

3/10/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Yes, Doug, we do got those birds, right heron Texas.

The early-warning indicators, Peter, are saying that Gen Franks must be a Pub and planning on running for office.

Why else would his great campaign, Operation Enduring Freedom, going into the books as one of the finest campaigns in history, be characterized by political opponents as a fubar wherein Gen Franks cost us all the blood and all the treasure of all conflicts going forward from here to eternity.

3/10/2006 06:38:00 PM  

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