Friday, March 10, 2006


Here's an interesting application of interdicting the edges -- in this case the edges of the physical network -- rather than the node. Yahoo news reports:

RUTBAH, Iraq - U.S. Marines used to patrol the streets of this city near the volatile Syrian border. Now they've penned it in with a wall of sand, leaving only three ways in or out. ... The Marines ringed Rutbah with a 10.5-mile-long berm, seven feet high and 20 feet wide, in mid-January and reduced their presence to checkpoints at the three entrances that also are manned by a few dozen Iraqi soldiers. ...

The sand wall is only "an intermediate solution," said Marine Lt. Col. Robert Kosid, whose 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion is responsible for Rutbah and several thousand square miles of desert around it. "I think the long-term success of Rutbah involves a permanent presence in the city," said Kosid, who was also based here on his previous tour in Iraq. ...

Rutbah's streets are lined with impressive villas even though the town is devoid of natural resources and arable farmland. Its 20,000 people have thrived by taking a cut from smugglers moving goods along ancient routes that snake through Iraq from Jordan and Syria. ... "It's a more methodical way to use (checkpoints) to clear towns instead of going right in to sweep it," Sgt. Spencer Biegel of Albany, Ore., said as he helped inspect cars at a checkpoint. More than a dozen wanted suspects have been caught at Rutbah's checkpoints, he said. "In the long term it cuts down on Marine and civilian casualties," Biegel said.

Power has many definitions. One of the most important leaps of strategic intuition in history was some sailorman's realization that, contrary to the received wisdom of armies, bodies of water were not obstacles but roads. That intuition was taken to its logical conclusion by the exponents of Sea Power. They understood that power, to be useful, must be projected; and that without projection that power it was inert and useless. After Napoleon had swept the Continent with his brilliant victories, the Earl Saint Vincent, First Lord of the Admiralty, was asked if Napoleon could land in England. His answer is still remembered: they may hold the nodes, but they cannot traverse the edges. What he actually said was far more eloquent. "I do not say they cannot come, I only say they cannot come by sea." It was this constant inability to take the Ocean road which cheated the Man of Destiny of his prize. Destiny, it seemed, waited upon the whims of Sea Power. Mahan pronounced the classic judgment of how Napoleon was cheated of his fate: "Those far distant, storm-beaten ships upon which the Grand Army never looked, stood between it and the dominion of the world."

Regardless of who first saw the desert as a sea of sand, we must thank Winston Churchill for describing it so vividly. Looking upon the Sudan as a young man, he instantly grasped that the desert, like the sea, defied crossing.

This great tract, which may conveniently be called 'The Military Soudan,' stretches with apparent indefiniteness over the face of the continent. Level plains of smooth sand--a little rosier than buff, a little paler than salmon--are interrupted only by occasional peaks of rock--black, stark, and shapeless. Rainless storms dance tirelessly over the hot, crisp surface of the ground. The fine sand, driven by the wind, gathers into deep drifts, and silts among the dark rocks of the hills, exactly as snow hangs about an Alpine summit; only it is a fiery snow, such as might fall in hell.

It is this crossing which the Marines have chosen to hold as a temporary expedient against the day when the Iraqi government can take possession of Rutbah.


Blogger Starling said...

Wretchard said: "The Marines ringed Rutbah with a 10.5-mile-long berm, seven feet high and 20 feet wide, in mid-January and reduced their presence to checkpoints at the three entrances that also are manned by a few dozen Iraqi soldiers."

This tactic gives new meaning to the phrase "(re)shaping the battle/playing field".

It is literally and figuratively an example of such.

Big thanks , as always, for the history and strategy lessons.

3/10/2006 01:29:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

I think this is an example of expedience rather than strategy. Iraq is a lake riddled with home grown insurgents and sprinkled with external jihadists from a few minor streams. Building a small sand dam in a few places can be good tactics for the safety of the marines assigned to the post, but has no affect on a sea of trouble. We once talked about draining a swamp; now it is time to think about a very very large lake.Sorry about the wet metaphors.

3/10/2006 03:09:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Fort Zinderneuf

3/10/2006 03:45:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

sounds like what the israelis did with the palestinians... only no UN sanctions, resolutions or headlines

3/10/2006 03:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Lemay saved American Lives.

3/10/2006 04:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...In fact, he probably saved Japanese lives.

3/10/2006 04:57:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

When you think about it, the wall is not around the city, is is "around" the desert. And the fact that the U.S. chose to build such a huge wall instead of using land mines or simply reducing that troublesome municipality to charred rubble says a great deal about both our inclinations and our capabilities. One wonders if the Iraqi government will have either the patience or the resources to use such large kid gloves.

Doug: The 2nd book in the What IF series has a remarkably short article that does the best job I have seen of discussing alternatives to the atomic attacks. The most likely alternative was not invasion, but a naval blockade combined with Lemay's more extensive bombing campaign (he was going to bring the thousands of B-17's and B-24's 8th and 15th Air Forces over from Europe), with the likely result the virtual extermination of the Japanese race.

The nuclear attacks just did not save some Japanese lives; they saved nearly all of them.

3/10/2006 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


And the fact that the U.S. chose to build such a huge wall instead of using land mines or simply reducing that troublesome municipality to charred rubble says a great deal about both our inclinations.

And the fact that the Marines will treat the women of that municipality with respect must surely reverberate.

Arabian women must be our greatest ally. Our greatest berm is our Christian morality. It will take time and a lot of force, but we will get there.


3/10/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

And the fact that the U.S. chose to build such a huge wall instead of using land mines or simply reducing that troublesome municipality to charred rubble says a great deal about both our inclinations and our capabilities.

Well put rwe. The simple fact that a single individual finds these stories and puts them in such clear context (thanks Wretchard) brazenly displays how badly we are being cheated by the empty suits that control the Conversation.

3/10/2006 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Re the Royal Navy vs the Grand Armee, John Keegan in his book "Wooden Walls" analyzes the difference in resources required to move heavy firepower on land vs at sea. I've managed to lose the book (I lend to scoundrels) so I can only relate that the figures during the Napoleonic Era were astounding in favor of sea power. I'd bet, they still are.

3/10/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Chester said...


I distinctly remember a passage in Hopkirk's The Great Game describing the desert of Baluchistan, which some young British officer found himself crossing east to west, on the way to "passing" himself as a local in Tehran afterwards (several of them used makeup to do this). Hopkirk made the conditions seem unearthly. More akin to Mars than the deserts of our imaginations: the wind only blew in one direction such that the dunes, made of dark red sand, sloped gradually up to a peak, then there was a huge drop and it began again, making a Sisyphus of each traveler.

My second memory is of lying on my cot in Kuwait in our large tents, listening to the wind whipping the fabric and thinking a similar sound must be heard while sailing on the water. How ironic then that each of the Marine base camps there in Kuwait were named after island battles: Tarawa, Peleliu, Betio, Iwo Jima and so forth. They were islands once again, but this time surrounded by seemingly infinite white sand. Hopping into a humvee to go between camps was much like dropping into a launch between ships . . .

Most Marines cursed the desert, but I found it to be a dangerously seductive place -- largely no doubt because it was so foreign to our Western eyes.

3/10/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

If the goal is to capture the hearts and minds of people in Rutbah I would think penning them in would not be a very productive strategy.

3/10/2006 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Thanks for the compliment, peterboston, and I guess that anointita liked it as well, but I had a lot longer to think about the subject than did y'all. I sent Wretchard the yahoo article.

Buddy: Thanks for the tip on the Keegan Wooden Walls book, I will have to look for it. I have his The Price of Admirality but I have not read it yet.

Chester: You comments brought to mind the fact that in Desert Storm the Marines handled the Iraqi troops dug in in trenches by putting a bulldozer blade on a tank and running parallel to the ditches at high speed, burying the enemy troops alive. When this was revealed months after the end of combat, the press was horrified.

It is interesting to think that the Marines - a highly mobile force traditionally far less inclined to dig in than the Army - think of using dirt and sand in such innovative ways. In fact, maybe it is their unique outlook that leads to such innovation. I have found that the "real experts" are far less likely to come up with solutions that use their own expertise than do outsiders.

3/10/2006 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

So a town of 20,000 people, reasonably affluent and "in touch" with the Border region, has been walled in.

A combined strength of 130,000 US troops & 232,000 Iraqis in the ISF or Police for a total 362,000 gun carrying combatants for our side.

This is more strength than any US General or armchair stategist suggested the Occupation would require.
Yet the town of Rutbah remains unsecured. To dangerous to Patrol.

We could continue on with the list of "unsecured" Iraq, but to what end. Except that most of the towns are still in the Sunni region or Baghdad itself.

Perhaps Rutbah is not worth securing, or perhaps like Atlanta, prior to General Sherman's arrival, the inhabitiants are quite secure, withoout US.
There are no reported aQ attacks on Markets, in Rutbah, and there is no Federal Iraqi presence.

The people, under Local leadership seem secure. They do not, however, depend on US for their safety. In Mosul, the local leadership did depend on US security to police THEIR city. The were let down by our Combined Management Team.

Catch & Release did not work out well for the local mukhtar in Mosul. Maybe the people of Rutbah are a little bit brighter than to go down THAT road..

3/10/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is interesting that Mr Yon reported on "Catch and Release", what now, 8 or 9 months ago. He reported that LTC Kurilla had thought it a MAJOR impediment to securing Mosul. This prior to LTC Kurilla being shot by a released detainee.

Now, today, almost a year later the problem remains, and the local Iraqis blame US. The "Authority" in Iraq.

Why would anyone wonder that many Locals are not flocking to our Banner.
What superior Governess will the US bring to Rutbah, what is the offer to these affulent folk of Rutbah that the Iraqi Federals make?

There seems to be none.
Perhaps we will build a school,
in exchange for market bombings.

Not much of a choice for doug, he home schools, perhaps the Rutbah's do as well, or want to.

3/10/2006 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

RWE, coincidence w/ Chester's mention of the Pacific Island campaigns, then your mention of Marines bulldozing enemy entrenchments in Gulf I, in that Marines pioneered that very tactic on those very islands in WWII.

Also, The "Price of Admiralty" *is* the title--"wooden walls" came from Keegan's use of the term in the book. My memory disserved, sorry.

3/10/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How is the Port Deal playing in Dubai.
Do the folk, there, see it as a way they saved face, by bowing out.
Or are they upset at the discrimination against their Nationality, Race & Creed, by US.

3/10/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Not to step on SDH's answer, but, CNBC is reporting that scheduled high-level talks on the Free-Trade Agreement between UAE and USA have been postponed indefinitely.

We shot ourselves in the foot--OBL, Elmer Gantry, Huey "Kingfish" Long, other exemplars of liberty and dignity, will be very pleased.

3/10/2006 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As I said, yesterday, Mr Bush's staff did him a disservice.

An unmitigated disaster,
or so it seems, today.

3/10/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Nice post, Wretchard. Thanks for the observations, Chester.

How do these berms work to stop infiltration? I guess they are just designed to stop vehicle traffic, because men on foot might as well be trying to swim the Pacific?

On a related note, Global Hawk (AV-3) was retired recently, after something like 4,200 combat hours. The same article in AWST mentioned that we have hundreds of UAV's in the air over Iraq. Quite a disparate weapons set, from sand walls to robot aircraft, and still this war drags on and on. I think the Ports deal is a warning, the American people are losing patience with this style of warfare, and of course the MSM will never report decreasing casualty trends or any sign of success.

3/10/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Those Republicans in the House, buddy, not to be trusted, aye.

Did not even give Mr Bush his 45 day window, like promised.

Leadership within the Ranks is lacking, aye.

Onward Christian Soldiers!

3/10/2006 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

As an Air Force dependent child in England, 1958, I listened as my father explained the pictures he'd taken as Public Relations officer for SAC, Lincolnshire...

His duties that day were to photograph a gruff, iron-faced general named Curtis LeMay. The guy was infamous: no baloney, no BS and no smiling!

My dad went through formal introductions, and asked LeMay to sit down. Dad was using a twin-lens Rolliflex... look down into the top, squeeze the cable, and take a 2.25"x2.25" color picture on 120 film.

He was trying to make small talk with LeMay, change lighting, change seating position, running out of tricks and running out of time...

when LeMay said, "Sergeant, you've left your lens-cap on!" and Dad pretended to be shocked, hook line and...

three pictures of a grinning, smiling Curtis LeMay!

What a weight on that guy's shoulders! Exterminate the Japanese, indeed!

3/10/2006 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger JSAllison said...

90 years on, the wreckage of a train blown up by Lawrence's Arabs on the Amman/Mecca railroad still sits in the desert, within sight of a checkpoint on the Saudi/Jordanian border. The rails are slowly disappearing, having sections sawn off as souveniers while the wind-whipped sands slowly wear the remains away. It seems for now that the souvenier hunters are winning the race, but the wind is patient. The close proximity of the village dump take a bit of the romance away but if you get between the dump and the wreckage and the wind blows the right way you can smell history.

3/10/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

the Military does not hardly report on "signs of success"
Bill Roggio does, they are few and far between. On the scale of the War, the "signs of success" are VERY limited.

Our own Congress, the Republican Party, does not understand the Stategies and Tactics employeed by the President, how COULD the public be expected to?

It is not the fault of the MSM, nor the public. The Responsibility lies with the Authority, that resides in the White House.

3/10/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Rat, given that every channel of communication is as full of his message as he can make it (given the Law of Diminishing Returns and the fact that ridicule is never far away), what would you have him do differently?

3/10/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

What's the game rat? You making a single-handed effort to turn the Club into the DailyKos? Most of us come here to get viewpoints on the issues not a constant diatribe against particular individuals.

3/10/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

attack the Enemy

3/10/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is no diatribe against any one, Captain of Engineers pb.

It is the relating of the daily news.

Point to the Victories, point to the Success, point to the roll back of the Mohammedans.
I have asked you to do this before, you demur.

The President is losing the support of the American people.

The President has lost the support of the Republican Congress.

Cascading failures do not morph into success by magic.

Any Airborne Engineer Commander worthy of his wings know that.

3/10/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


I'd like you to draw a list of 10 targets that you think should be hit, in order of importance.

3/10/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

What to make of this? From Three Threads Down (Rumsfeld press conference):

Q: Do we have the ability to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?

Rumsfeld: The president and the vice president and the secretary of State have all spoken on this issue. It's -- I am not going to get into details of anything relating to that.

I will say this about Iran. They are currently putting people into Iraq to do things that are harmful to the future of Iraq. And we know it, and it is something that they, I think, will look back on as having been an error in judgment.

Q: Why is that?

SEC. RUMSFELD: I've said all I have to say.

Watching the interview, you pick up on nuances that are absent in the transcript. If I were to characterize how Rumsfeld delivered this last line, I would say he did it darkly: voice lowered, brow furrowed, speech slowed.

I've brought up on several occassions my suspicions about our strategy re: Iran. The signs are there. Soon, we will know.

3/10/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The world has little chance of avoiding an eventual world war over resource allocation unless it draws all the commodity sources into a web which will reward cooperation and punish xenophobia. This is the basic strategy from which GWoT protocols have emerged. Now the US Congress, bubbling with Jingo and bully sound-bites, is rejecting that basic strategy for a second time (Cnooc being the first, though arguably more understandable in world eyes in that the vital resource would still reach world markets in any event).

Better write your congressperson and tell him/her that this ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around. Ports Deal rejection wasn't even what it was meant to be, a slap at AQ, as AQ will love the rejection, breaking the bonds (and I do mean bonds) among Araby and the West is after all the war goal.

3/10/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...


Ralph Peters just got back from Iraq, here are his observations of the glass half full: No War in the Streets

I get the sense you think we are not fighting decisively enough (heh). But in this global conflict that's been brewing since at least 1979, if not since 1947, or since World War I, or since the 7th Century - I think Bush will go down in history as the President who engaged us inextricably, and in the long run, we are NOT going to lose now that we are committed.

I agree with you on the point that this occupation style of "war" is turning into a Nam lookalike, except for the fact that Chalie lacks Migs, tanks, artillery and a million man Army, with open materiel and strategic support from Russia and China.

3/10/2006 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not my job, mat.
Target formulations are constantly in flux.
trish and her crew could get you real target data.
They had mini Z in their sights, in the no fly zone, prior to the Iraq invasion.
Requested permission to hit the Target, miniZ, permission was denied.

those signs have been there since 1979, when they successfuly took on Mr Carter.
The difficulties of a successful Operation in Iran would make the deployment of a Battalion of Rangers to Tora Bora look like child's play.
Doable, but difficult, with many risks involved.

3/10/2006 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Even the VietNam outcome--with all the enemy's geographical and domestic USA propaganda advantages--wasn't a given until Congress made it so.

3/10/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


If you can't draw this simple list of targets and why you would attack there, then you have no business complaining about the conduct of the war.

3/10/2006 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...


the disappointment over the scuttled deal is palpable. I'll be getting the pulse of my students (half of whom live off campus in Dubai) on this over the next few days. I post something about it soon after that. In the interim, I need time to wipe all the egg of my face.

3/10/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yes, tony, Mr Peters reports that there is no Civil War in Iraq. Beyond the one that Iraqi President Talabani says we ended with our Invasion.

We have fulfilled the where as's in the Authorization for Use of Force in Iraq. The job there is complete, but for Mission Creep.

The outcome is not what some had wished and hoped for, but all the requirements have been completed.
Amongst others, Mr al-Sadr has said so, and he is the newly enthroned Kingmaker, there.

But Iraq is our second Mohammedan War, I still think we had better engage the Enemy of the first Mohammedan War, soon.
We should do this before starting the third Mohammedan War, in Iran.

3/10/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

That's right. You can complain about the fact that you subjectively wish this or that would be done or not done, but positing that there is an objectively better plan implies that you know something of an outline of it.

3/10/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The target, mat, is aQ.
Where those fellows are, on a day to day basis, only Porter Goss knows for sure.
Or so he has said.

3/10/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I think you missed my point.

This is a whole new game, with all new players. Our national leaders are keeping their cards close to the vest, which makes it difficult to tease out what we will do.

But they are human, and even the best poker player may have a 'tell'. Watch the interview with Rumsfeld. If his comment is not a portent, I'll eat my shirt.

3/10/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

First you all complain when I say attack aQ in Warizistan. Then when I say where ever aQ is, as trish says they are in 70 countries, I'm not specific enough.

Pick a target in Warizistan, any target, destroy it. When the rabble appears on the street to protest, with their AK's in hand, kill 'em.

Death from above.
Start with that, when that Mission is complete, I'll get you more.

3/10/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Be sure and explain, SDH, that Democracy is a process--and we're still working out the best way to damp the amplitudes of populism. Of course we've just told your students that a benevolent king is the better form of government--unless he decides to be unbenevolent.

3/10/2006 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

This is the way I see it rat.

Wretchard is uniquely gifted in identifying fragments of contemporary information, wrapping them in some historical context, and tossing the implications up for discussion. I learn something new on every thread. An historical tidbit that I missed. A point of view that sharpens my focus or gets me to look at some things in a different way. The world is complicated. The WOT is complicated. I personally don't react well to constant streams of invective. If I didn't value your opinion I'd just skip your posts.

3/10/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

aQ is everywhere and nowhere.

Qaeda is in 100+ countries. Now give me that list of ten targets!

3/10/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

And try to forget about what you think we should do. Try to figure out what you think we will do.

I think all signs point to confrontation. What that means, I don't know--could be war, could be bombing, could be sanctions, could be a slap with a leather glove--but we are two skips and a jump away from the line in the sand.

And it's well worth thinking about what happens when we get to that line. Iran will not go quietly, and Israel's determination to do it themselves blocks our retreat.

Great forces are converging on this situation. Personal preferences no longer matter.

3/10/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger cjr said...

This tactic has already been used at least 2 times before, with good success:
-Samarra, since mid last year
-A town close to Baiji. Last December(IIRC) the town council actually requested that the bern be built.
I would guess this tactic is now a standard chapter in the "anti-insurgency tactics handbook".

3/10/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Wretchard is uniquely gifted in identifying fragments of contemporary information, wrapping them in some historical context, and tossing the implications up for discussion. I learn something new on every thread.

Sums it up for me.

3/10/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Rat, we'll know DC is litening to you when the State Dep't closes about 30 or 40 embassies and tells all westerners to drop what they're doing and go home, and when the stock markets worldwide collapse and the breadlines start forming, and when the draaft comes back and we start arming to defend the borders.

3/10/2006 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


I also am disappointed in the way the ports deal was handled. It makes the USA look bad. Not because the deal was rejected but because of the way the politicians most responsible for the country's future tossed both intellect and principle aside to keep themselves reelectable.

3/10/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

I would suggest that the Ports debacle is an example of the Blowback of the fear and paranoia screeching the Bush admin. has engaged in ever since 911. Many posters here have contributed to the xenophobia as well.

3/10/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If you look, Captain, at the recent series of Belmont thread, they have shared a common thread. Asymetrical Warfare.

He has highlighted the exploits of many Warriors, in the Phillipines most recently. Why?
I think it is because he see an Asymetrical threat, today.
As do I.
How are we countering the threat?
Symetrically, with our Military.
We are not doing well, Worldwide, with this Strategy.

The US Military is SLOWLY trying to transform to meet the threat. It is performing poorly at the transformation. There is considerable resistence to change in such a conservative organization.

There are limited successes in our Wars with the Mohammedans, even our successes, as in Iraq, do not seem to be. The outcome is not the one we foresaw, but is the one we designed.

Mr Bremmer knew Mr al-Sadr or his replacement would dominate the Political landscape. That is why he continued to postpone the Elections. In the end, though, the people of Iraq got to choose.

As Iraq the Model's Dad says: "they choose Religion"

Ms Rice went to Congress to get $75 Million USD to influence Iranian TV. That is 2 days cash flow in the Iraqi War.
It is not a serious effort, judged by the monies involved.

If the US does not change course in the conduct of these Wars, time will tick away, and the US public will abandon Mr Bush and the Mohammedan Wars, as the Republican Congress abandoned him yesterday.

3/10/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Ash, too simplistic. The Ports debacle is a result of a refusal to study the facts on record, and make a discriminating judgement.

That so many Americans so refuse is to be laid at the feet of leaders who have led them down the primrose path of not bothering to think for themselves.

There's been a lot of that goin' around--mostly from your side of the aisle.

3/10/2006 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger cjr said...

Desert Rat:
"So a town of 20,000 people, reasonably affluent and "in touch" with the Border region, has been walled in.

A combined strength of 130,000 US troops & 232,000 Iraqis in the ISF or Police for a total 362,000 gun carrying combatants for our side.

This is more strength than any US General or armchair stategist suggested the Occupation would require.
Yet the town of Rutbah remains unsecured. To dangerous to Patrol."

Your statements lack perspective. Let me provide some. The Colonel in charge RCT-7 which is in charge of Western Anbar gave a press conference a few weeks ago. In it he said "Currently we have suffient Coalition and ISF forces to provide security in 15 important towns in Western Anbar. However, there are 3 towns where I think we could use more forces: Rutbah, Bagdadi and Anah." In other words, Western Anbar's portion of the 362,000 guns are providing suffient forces to 15 of 18 important town, 83%. Since ISF goal is 275,000 troop, 83% coverage for Western Anbar sound quite reasonable to me.

3/10/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Buddy wrote:

"Ash, too simplistic. The Ports debacle is a result of a refusal to study the facts on record, and make a discriminating judgement.

That so many Americans so refuse is to be laid at the feet of leaders who have led them down the primrose path of not bothering to think for themselves."

Which bears a remarkable similarity to the rationales offered and state of pubic opinion in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

3/10/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger cjr said...

Desert Rat:
Oops. Got one number wrong in the previous post. ISF force goal is 344,000 not 275,000.

3/10/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

re: "Hearts and minds": at this stage I don't think that winning hearts and minds of those in Rutbah is as high on the priority list as persuading them that giving aid and comfort to the terrorists is bad for their future

Between the 13 insurgents that were hanged yesterday, the native Iraqis killing foreign Al Queda, and the reports of Shiite death squads, I'm thinking that the people of Rutbah may soon long to have Americans around.

Their alternative is dealing with the Shiites, who are not going to just amuse themselves with putting panties on prisoners heads

3/10/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It may be reasonable, only in that 360,000 armed combatants are not enough, for a Police State.

If the residents of Rutbah are actively anti Federal Iraq, one must ask why?

Is it Politcal, Religious or as I think, Criminal.

The residents of Rutbah seem to be professional smugglers. How did they manage in the "old days" with Saddam?

If the root cause of the problem in Rutbah is criminal, then it is an internal Iraqi challenge, to my thinking. Not one that should overly concern US.
That it does, to my mind, is Mission Creep.

3/10/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Bud: Free-Trade Agreement between UAE and USA have been postponed indefinitely.

It also seems that this talk of National Security should highlight another important issue -- Free Trade, and the sale of US Federal Powers to Foreigners. The Founding Fathers specifically assigned the Regulation of Commerce to the Congress of the United States, elected Representatives of the People. This Power of Congress has now been largely superseded by Foreign interests.

3/10/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Which bears a remarkable similarity to the rationales offered and state of pubic opinion in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Actually, Iraq was exactly the opposite. The more one looked into Iraq, the more one researched, the more Iraq seemed necessary.

Unless you are saying we, the people, could have figured out Saddam was bluffing (which is patently ridiculous), your analogy, once again, makes no sense.

3/10/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Papa bear
Are they giving "aid & comfort" or are they "doing their job"

They most likely see it as part of their occupation, crossing the border. Most likely did under Saddam, illegally.

Who were those dozen detained, why, and when will they be released. Those unanswered questions are what would tell the tale.

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

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/10/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

In his essay “The Geographical Pivot of History” Halford John Mackinder argued that ‘geography is destiny’. With the advent of the railway, he reasoned, that Eastern Europe was the world’s center of gravity.

Who rules Eastern Europe commands the Heartland
Who commands the Heartland commands the World-Island
Who rules the World-Island commands the world

But contemplating that the earth was 78 percent oceans, Alfred Thayer Mahan focused on the role of sea power when he wrote; “ The Influence of Sea Power Upon History”.

The advent of aviation and aerospace would change all of that as well. Defense is now layered from the depths of the oceans to the vacuum of space. It is the defense of national battle space and it is quick reaction mobility in far off places by unmanned air vehicles.

It is reaching deep into the mountains of Pakistan and surgically removing a key combatant, and it is drawing a circle around a small city in western Iraq and embargoing the inhabitants from the smuggling trade that fuels their militant economy.

We can draw a circle in the sand and we can draw circle in the sea, we can even draw a circle in the air, but we cannot draw circles in the jungles, in the rugged mountains, nor in the heart of the sprawling humanity of Baghdad. For this reason we are in Iraq and not southern Columbia. We are in the lowlands of Afghanistan and not in East Timor. We are in Bosnia but not in Mogadishu. We are in Haiti but not in southern Arizona.

We need to pick our battles well because our wars pick us.

3/10/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

Ash said..."I would suggest that the Ports debacle is an example of the Blowback of the fear and paranoia screeching the Bush admin. has engaged in ever since 911."

Perhaps we are seeing blowback of fear and paranoia. But if so, it's not only because of things the Bush admin has said or done or failed to say or do.

Much credit is due to the endless string of videos released by The Terrible Three : (S)OB Laden, The Notorious B.I.G. Z(awahiri) and their sidekick, Li'l Z(arqawi) aka "the head chopper."

It was they who have taunted, threatened, and bribed us since 9/11. It is they who have sworn to kill us by the millions. It is they that have continued to perpetrate the most vile crimes imaginable in the name of their espoused religion and, in the process, have made all but the bravest of their co-religionists fear for their lives for speaking out against them.

If we have been made afraid, it is because the Terrible Three have expended considerable effort to accomplish just that with their endless stream of video tapes and audio tapes.

And don't forget the role of our own MSM. If the Terrible Three were a rap group, the MSM has been their MTV, spreading the poison of fear to every household.

3/10/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Peterboston: I agree with you in regards to the ports deal. The way it was handled was simply terrible.

Now, consider this. While I was at the Pentagon a request came across my desk for Pakistan to buy ballistic missile guidance components. They said that they wanted them for sounding rockets for scientific research. Now, since sounding rockets do not use such guidance systems, my evaluation was that I did not believe them and recommended turning down the request. That recomendation was made completely outside any broader policy issues in terms of selling such type of items to Pakistan, which were well above my pay grade. I don't even know what happened in the end.

But do you think the President at the time (Clinton, I think) ever heard about it? No way! Nor should he have.

And yet, which issue would you think is more important relative to U.S. security, selling the gudiance components to Pakistan or the Ports deal? Personally, I think that the guidance systems issue were way more important.

The point is that the experts in DC handle issues like this all the time, all day and then some. And having "68% of the American people" effectively overrule the decision the experts made is like letting a wino on the corner overrule an expert surgeon in the operating room.

3/10/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

except for "engaged us inextricably".

As we were in Subic Bay, the Canal Zone, or Vietnam?

The US can extricate itself on Command. If and when it desires to, or at least US thinks it can.

Most of US agree with you, we cannot lose. I disagree, defeat is in the cards.
Economic isolation and those items that buddy mentioned earlier. They are all possible and even probable on the current course. They spell US defeat. An economic disaster.

Argue, as some will, but we are still playiing out of the Mohammedan playbook.
We have a "tar baby" War.
We are spending large amounts of borrowed money to occupy Iraq.

While we have captured or killed many Mohammedan operatives, more appear. Their Operations in Europe are on the rise. Their Operations in Afghanistan are on the rise.
Their Operations in South America are on the rise.

The Iranian Challenge, so far, has gone by their playbook. Perhaps that will change, perhaps not.

Mr Bush's strategy in the Mohammedan Wars is not understood by many of US, not even those in Congress.

3/10/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Rat has been sliding ever so slowly in this direction noticeably, to me anyhow, since last summer. I was rankled by his constant pleas to get out of Iraq prior to the last election cycle. It just seemed like bad timing to belabor the obvious and wasn’t helping.

We’ll be pulling out in some meaningful way this year, and if not, we were in Bosnia for 9 years. Where is the incessant pissing and moaning over that?

Hindsight is 20/20 and I still have confidence in the commander in chief nonetheless. Kerry or Gore would not have stood up as strong in my view and I vote for a framework of ideas without a line-item-veto so accept that I get the whole package.

3/10/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

Desert Rat: Let us simply stipulate that there is more than one way to skin a cat or indeed fight a war.

what you do, however, is assume that any method other than yours is doomed.

it took a few requests from fellow posters here to obtain anything other than hindsight from you, which leads me to question your credibility.

Shoulda coulda woulda, is still shoulda coulda woulda, even if it's "well informed"

Please note that Ash is little more than an inveterate bush hater. All things wrong with the universe can, according to Ash, be blamed on Mr Bush.

thus this poster abandons rationality and relies completely on emotion.

As a good example: he accuses Americans of being xenophobic, then blames Bush for this.

the underlying message is simple: we hate arabs because Bush told us to.

Is that good enough? do the thoughtful people here really believe that the president can dictate THEIR point of view? I hardly think so.

yet Ash insists that his position is the unmitigated truth. Oh, really?

3/10/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger JAF said...

SDH said: "And don't forget the role of our own MSM. If the Terrible Three were a rap group, the MSM has been their MTV, spreading the poison of fear to every household. "

Well said.

3/10/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

SDH wrote:

"Much credit is due to the endless string of videos released by The Terrible Three : (S)OB Laden, The Notorious B.I.G. Z(awahiri) and their sidekick, Li'l Z(arqawi) aka "the head chopper."

It was they who have taunted, threatened, and bribed us since 9/11. It is they who have sworn to kill us by the millions. It is they that have continued to perpetrate the most vile crimes imaginable in the name of their espoused religion and, in the process, have made all but the bravest of their co-religionists fear for their lives for speaking out against them."

And it is the Bush admin who cried wolf, linking AQ and terrorism to Iraq, the Middle East, and Arabs as a whole. Is it any wonder that a US public spoon fed Middle East/Arab/Muslim WMD touting Aaaarabs whom hate our way of life so much so that we need invade, occupy, and plant the seed of democracy are a little worried about those same people being anywhere near our notoriously undefended ports?

3/10/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

And again we see the thoughtless Anti Bush antics of Ash.

A poster points out, correctly I might add, that certain members of the Muslim faith have threatened america.

Ash makes no apology for this. he neither supports nor condemns it.

Rather, he prefers to castigate Bush and by extension anyone who supports him, for responding to this threat.

it's just an long well written circle jerk as people like Ash work hard to excuse the perpetrators while blaming the victims.

Ash, you should read Desert Rat's posts carefully. this poster believes that we are being too nice in this war. He believes that we should fight ruthlessly, with all we have and be done with it.

how would you react to that Ash?

3/10/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...


DR is also adamant that we NAME THE ENEMY.

3/10/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Starling David Hunter said...

"Much credit is due to the endless string of videos released by The Terrible Three... It was they who have taunted, threatened, and bribed us since 9/11. It is they who have sworn to kill us by the millions. It is they that have continued to perpetrate the most vile crimes imaginable in the name of their espoused religion and, in the process, have made all but the bravest of their co-religionists fear for their lives for speaking out against them."

A few days ago, the Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal said that Hamas had "its own vision" and did not need political advice from Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri. Even though Hamas now runs the Palestine government, they're still a terrorist organization. Khaled Meshaal and Ayman al-Zawahiri are both cut from the same cloth. Before 9/11 and the Iraq War, Khaled Meshaal would have basked in al-Zawahiri's attention. Now however, Khaled Meshaal has publically distanced himself from Al Qaeda.


Do you think Al Qaeda's tactics have been effective? What are the people around you (educated Arabs and folks out on the street) saying about this?

3/10/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

From the get-go, Ash, the administration--all of it, and the Pentagon, too, has made a distinction between a real, actual, bloodthirsty enemy which has been killing and costing all over the planet for a generation or two, and our friends, allies, and trading partners who happen to be from the same ethnoreligious stock as the enemy. Maybe you've missed all the speeches, policies, position papers, and election platforms, Ash. Too bad, your opinions will be mis-informed now.

3/10/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Buddy, true they have, at times, been careful to separate out radicals from Muslims in general but the big focus, the focus of so much political and military capital, has been Saddam's Iraq and those links to the radicals and the GWOT, at best, are very sketchy.

3/10/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

What about your pols, Ash, who turned on a dime from decrying NSA and Patriot Act because the threat doesn't justify them, to a minute later screaming that the threat is so great that the nation's military and international commerce experts can't even comprehend it?

3/10/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"sketchy" only for those who like it that way. Not for those who keep tabs on the evidence, both circumstantial and material.

3/10/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


That's why you have your own, personal brain. Why don't you try to find what's remaining of it in that collective mess called the Left.

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

welcome aboard,
Yes there are many ways to fight a War. There are many ways to win and as many ways to lose.

If the Mohammedan Wars are individualized, each seen seperately, we have won in Iraq, prior to Mission creep and are losing to aQ, the smoke is everywhere.

If they are combined, we are, at best, in a stalemate.

When Mr Bush commanded a Party loyal to his vison of the War, there was hope. Hope that while I could disagree with his tactics, most thought his Strategy sound as well as his Judgements.

Today, even his own Party powerful in Congress have abandoned his Strategies and Judgements. Why?

Just, what, two months ago, the Republican controlled Senate passed a Resolution calling for "substantial" withdrawl from Iraq in '06, despite Mr Bush's Strategies and Judgements. Why?

And no, options other than mine do not spell Doom. It is just the options that have been chosen, to date, do not spell Victory, either.

Mr Bush is adament that the US stay the course.
I ask, Course to where?, there is no reply from the Bush faithful.
Where are the mile markers on this trip?, no reply.
How do we know when we get there?, ditto.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda, yeah.

Listen to the defense in the trail of Z.M., the 20th hijacker.
They claim the French gave the FBI notice of the commercial plane hits large building scenario. Those reports, in conjunction with reports of Arabs in flight schools did not set off any alarms, in the Hoover Building. What if the Jury, as the Jury in Florida terrorist funding case, decides the Federals are full of it.
Who gets relieved?

So, yeah, skip, there are lots of ways to fight a war, when do we start?
Should we attack Dubai, I mean there must be a hot bed of terrorists, there in Dubai, why else must Congress keep them out of US ports?
Against the President's wishes.

3/10/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Saddam's Iraq presented many problems but among them were not ties to Al Qaeda, 911, or the Greater War on Terror. Saddam was no friend of Muslim extremists, Iran, or the fundies within his own country. Like our dictator friend Musharaff Saddam was constantly fighting the muslim fundy citizens of his country, the same ones we are having problems dealing with now that we have assumed power in the place. This is similar to the false linkages in the ports deal and Buddy, your insightful quote also applies to the lead up to Iraq as it does to the uproar over the ports deal. Let me quote you again Buddy, 'cause it is insighful, and in my opinion correct:

"Ash, too simplistic. The Ports debacle is a result of a refusal to study the facts on record, and make a discriminating judgement.

That so many Americans so refuse is to be laid at the feet of leaders who have led them down the primrose path of not bothering to think for themselves."

I have no sympathy for the democrats position on the ports deal. Bush had the basics of the situation correct.

3/10/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Annoy Mouse said...

"Hindsight is 20/20 and I still have confidence in the commander in chief nonetheless. Kerry or Gore would not have stood up as strong in my view and I vote for a framework of ideas without a line-item-veto so accept that I get the whole package."

I agree completely with Annoy Mouse. A good decision maker must make the best choice he can with the information that he has. Waiting for "perfect knowledge" means never making a decision. There is no doubt in my mind that Kerry would have been a terrible president (he shouldn't be in the Senate).

IMHO, the Iraq War has gone as well as could be expected. The success of the Iraq War has been about par when compared to previous successful wars. Unfortunately the Iraq War was not a repeat of the phenomenal success that we had in Afghanistan. Let us rejoice that Afghanistan was such a success but not allow that success to distract us from what is typical. Certainly we should not allow ourselves to be deceived by the MSM's drumbeat. Goebbels style propaganda of constantly repeating the same old lie is such a bore.

3/10/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We got Osama and no one told US.
That was the Objective in Afghanistan, remember?
There was no Was Resolution to topple the Taliban. If Osama had been given up, the Taliban would still be in charge of Afghanistan. The Taliban were not the Enemy, at the time.

Granted great things have occurred in Afghanistan since the Taliban fled. These peripheral gains must not be discounted, but neither should they be waved as great success.
Because while there is success, in Afghanistan, it is and was Secondary to the real Mission.

According, at least, to the man that pulled it off, both toppling the Taliban and missing Osama.

3/10/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Pew has done an update but it's nowhere I can find it easily (it was featured on Instapundit about a week ago). But the trends bespoken here continued in the update. This--public opinion within Islam--is the war goal (a practical trope of the obvious: our own survival in the form we choose).

Ash, re your last post, remember that election 2004 was a referendum on who was and who wasn't leveling with the electorate.

3/10/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Personally, it is not the last Presidental Election that matters, it is the next.

3/10/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Aristides Said:
Rumsfeld delivered this last line, I would say he did it darkly: voice lowered, brow furrowed, speech slowed.

I've brought up on several occassions my suspicions about our strategy re: Iran. The signs are there. Soon, we will know.

8:22 AM
imho for part of the answer you have to go back to Bush state of the Union when he said we are on the verge of some stunning breakthroughs in energy research.

Remember the pace and intensity of this research is on the level of the Manhattan project in WWII.

This is the last of the oil wars.

As a bonus the cost of water desalination is going to be killed as well...which will have the effect of making it possible to turn all the world's deserts green and double the size of the habitable planet.

The sorry thing is that the Arabs will be one of the chief beneficiaries.

3/10/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"We’ll be pulling out in some meaningful way this year, and if not, we were in Bosnia for 9 years. Where is the incessant pissing and moaning over that?"

C'mon, Mouse.

It's apples and oranges. We've been in Germany forever and no one pisses and moans about that because we're not still fighting the Nazis. Were we, I wager there'd be complaints.

And VDH would be pissing and moaning about our lack of faith and perserverence.

3/10/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

buddy, from your Pew report

"... but pluralities in Jordan and Lebanon cite U.S. policies as the most important cause of Islamic extremism. ... "

" ... Nearly half of Muslims in Lebanon and Jordan, and 56% in Morocco, say suicide bombings against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq are justifiable. However, substantial majorities in Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia take the opposite view. ... "

" ... Yet there is some ambivalence about the role of Islam in government. Majorities or pluralities in each of the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, except for Jordan, say Islam is playing a greater role in politics than a few years ago. But those who see Islam playing a large role in political life are also somewhat more likely to say that Islamic extremism poses a threat to their countries. ... "

" ... In Pakistan, 52% believe Islamic extremism presents a very or fairly great threat to the country, ... "

I'll end with that one.
It seems that the majority of Pakistanis agree with me, Mohammedan extremists pose a threat to Pakistan.
Glory be!

Very informative, thx

3/10/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

"Thanks to the work of our law enforcement officials and coalition partners, hundreds of terrorists have been arrested. Yet, tens of thousands of trained terrorists are still at large. These enemies view the entire world as a battlefield, and we must pursue them wherever they are. So long as training camps operate, so long as nations harbor terrorists, freedom is at risk. And America and our allies must not, and will not, allow it.

Our nation will continue to be steadfast and patient and persistent in the pursuit of two great objectives. First, we will shut down terrorist camps, disrupt terrorist plans, and bring terrorists to justice. And, second, we must prevent the terrorists and regimes who seek chemical, biological or nuclear weapons from threatening the United States and the world.

Our military has put the terror training camps of Afghanistan out of business, yet camps still exist in at least a dozen countries. A terrorist underworld -- including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-i-Mohammed -- operates in remote jungles and deserts, and hides in the centers of large cities.

While the most visible military action is in Afghanistan, America is acting elsewhere. We now have troops in the Philippines, helping to train that country's armed forces to go after terrorist cells that have executed an American, and still hold hostages. Our soldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized terrorists who were plotting to bomb our embassy. Our Navy is patrolling the coast of Africa to block the shipment of weapons and the establishment of terrorist camps in Somalia.

My hope is that all nations will heed our call, and eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own. Many nations are acting forcefully. Pakistan is now cracking down on terror, and I admire the strong leadership of President Musharraf.

But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will.

Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.

We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology, and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction. We will develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect America and our allies from sudden attack. (Applause.) And all nations should know: America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.

We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.

Our war on terror is well begun, but it is only begun. This campaign may not be finished on our watch -- yet it must be and it will be waged on our watch.

We can't stop short. If we stop now -- leaving terror camps intact and terror states unchecked -- our sense of security would be false and temporary. History has called America and our allies to action, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom's fight. "


I apologize for the long post but this is the January, 2002 State of the Union.

Whether you like GWB or not this has been the Plan since Day 1. Pay attention to the part that says "we may not finish this on our watch." You can complain about the speed of progress. That's fair game. But denying that GWB has not stuck to a plan (to which nobody has offered a better alternative) is feckless.

3/10/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Captain pb of the Airborne Engineers,
I cheered that speach of three years ago.

But if dissected, it is not now as a rosey picture.

"... yet camps still exist in at least a dozen countries ... "
as they still do today.

" ... But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will. ... "
but we have not, in Warizistan, Somolia, Syria, etc.

" ... We can't stop short. If we stop now -- leaving terror camps intact and terror states unchecked -- our sense of security would be false and temporary. ... "

Now, three years later we've stopped short. Terror camps thrive in Warizistan, Syria and Iran. Governments continue to sponsor terrorists and we stand by.

One thing I still agree with Mr Bush about, though.
" ...our sense of security would be false and temporary. ... "

3/10/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Rat, forgive me, but the fact that someone would simultaneously find that Pew report especially informative, yet would have been holding such strong opinions as yours, prior to reading it, indicates that some good-size portion of your position is emotion-based. Some self-examination is in order.

3/10/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"but we have not, in Warizistan"

We have, in Waziristan. We do, in Waziristan. Every day.

I had the good fortune of having that explained to me this afternoon.

In Afghanistan, there was no anvil for the hammer, as you have pointed out ad nauseum.

In Waziristan, there is.

3/10/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

And, yes, I realize that going along with others on this thread who advocate taking the bitter with the sweet having thrown in with this administration, is a state of mind that contains potential seeds of disaster. We all need to self-examine ongoing all the time. As I'm sure the president would be the first to remind. But the ship of state must not be seen as swerving all over the sea. Steady as she goes, absent significant changes in the situation.

3/10/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No, buddy,

in those countries held as coming around, as successes of US Policies, say Jordon and Lebennon "... pluralities ... cite U.S. policies as the most important cause of Islamic extremism. ... "

About Jordon, oft reported as an important US ally " ... A notable exception to this trend is Jordan, where a majority (57%) now says suicide bombings and other violent actions are justifiable in defense of Islam. ... " Informative.

again about Lebennon and Jordon "...When it comes to suicide bombings in Iraq, however, Muslims in the surveyed countries are divided. Nearly half of Muslims in Lebanon and Jordan, and 56% in Morocco, say suicide bombings against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq are justifiable. ... "
Very Informative.

That over half of Pakistan agrees with me and feels that the Mohammedans pose a threat to Pakistan, VERY Informative.

That I believe the US should name and engage it's Enemies is not emotional, it is right out of Sun Tzu's, "the art of war". That's an informative read as well.

We should either prosecute the War, as Mr Bush said during his January, 2002 State of the Union, or we should come home.

Mr Bush set the Standard in that speech, that he and US are falling or in his words, "stopping short",
well that's Informative as well

3/10/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Places like Waziristan, Sudan and Somalia haven't changed much in the last couple hundred years and probably will not change much in the next couple hundred. I'd place book that the next regime change in Syria and Iran won't be successional.

It's Long War. Like it or not.

3/10/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We should be shouting it from the hill tops, trish.
But if it is kept in secret, the Enemy in Algeria will not know they are losing in Pakistan.
That will not sap his morale, the tiger will still be seen as paper.

3/10/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


We're in agreeance on the bitter and the sweet of this administration, as tongue-tied and hapless as they are in the face of MSM and Dem calumny. (How the hell did they ever let themselves take sole blame for the Katrina natural disaster - it was the largest, fastest rescue in American history!)

Bush based the last election on who would fight this war. I believe if Kerry and the Dems were in power, we'd be drawing down now, and it would helicopters on the roof time in the Green Zone pretty soon, leaving our allies to die. Only it would be a thousand times worse than Nam, which it turns out was not a strategic nexus after all the sadness. Iraq and the entire Middle East is going to be a strategic nexus until we replace the Oil Economy. Our enemies obviously know this, though half of our own countrymen are in denial.

I believe Trish, we are in Waziristan as best we can be. That recent swarm attack by a squadron of Predators is proof of that. As Rummy has been saying, and as the QDR detailed, we have developed ops capabilities in denied and/or sensitive territories where overall strategy declares the B's can not go.

Even now, the Dems openly declare they have no platform, let alone a plan for the war. I can only think that means we'd go back to the Clinton plan - ignore declarations and acts of war against us, do not act, lest we make them mad at us. That's suicide. And attacking this President during war time (a la the Ports deal disaster) only weakens us.

3/10/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger cjr said...

desert rat:
"If the root cause of the problem in Rutbah is criminal, then it is an internal Iraqi challenge, to my thinking. Not one that should overly concern US.
That it does, to my mind, is Mission Creep. "

The root problem is insurgent smuggling in from Syria. The insurgents are facilitated by smugglers in Rutbah. Therefore this is a case of criminality supporting insurgents. Then, from a strategy point of view, if reducing criminality makes life more difficult for the insurgents then attacking the criminals is a valid strategic mission.

3/10/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is why, Captain of Engineers, Mr Bush's rhetoric was SO refreshing.
His Actions remain status que.
In those real hot beds of terrorism, where the Terrorists train and multiply
"haven't changed much in the last couple hundred years and probably will not change much in the next couple hundred. ... "

You are right.
We may as well come home.

3/10/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If that is what they are doing, cjr, why not hit them in the desert as they cross?

UAV's that are Infra red capable should do the trick, no?

That is if there are large to moderate sized infiltrations. It would be difficult in ones and twos. But then again fighting a War with ones and twos is next to impossible.

The criminal nature of the town will not change, but if the cost of transporting the Enemy became to high, they'd stop. Wouldn't they?

3/10/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Drawing down now wouldn't be a bad thing, tony. Not a bad thing at all. But we agreed to Occupation (misbegotten as it is) until the end of this year.

THAT war truly sucks. It is the epitome of unwar. Or the new war, as in the "new math". We are not going to win that one.

3/10/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Don't you think, Rat, that that has occurred to the operations people?

3/10/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger cjr said...

Desert Rat

"Mr Bush's strategy in the Mohammedan Wars is not understood by many of US, not even those in Congress.'

I would disagree about Congress. I pretty sure that everyone in Congress that wants to, understands the strategy completely, whether they agree with it or not. The reality however is that it is in the political interest of some members to pretend that they dont understand.

3/10/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Then again cjr, we arn't attacking the criminals in Rutbah, we've detained them, enmass.

It may be a good tactic, berm building and I'm certainly not for razing the town, without just cause.

But the berm must not be patrolled with just that small detachment of gate guards, so it, most likely, is not achieving the Goal of stopping the infiltration into Iraq from Syria.

But I a doubt a Company of Iraqi troops stationed in the town could do that either.

3/10/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

To pretend ignorance or to really be ignorant, there is not much difference in the test scores.

If the Republicans understood the importance of the Dubai deal to the War and killed it regardless...

Well then, Mr Kerry and Kennedy are the least of America's worries.

3/10/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

And the guys over in Iran have given us even greater incentive to draw our troops in further and leave. They've undermined our countermeasures, IED-wise.

3/10/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


I wasn't talking about orderly drawdown, I was talking about surrender, retreat, Murtha's "re-deployment."

Already Zawahiri and the Dems both seem to be reading from the exact same talking points! We've already lost the will to fight, we're a paper tiger, the American people feel this is an illegal war started on lies, blah blah blah.

At least under Bush the Iraqis can have some confidence we're not going to "re-deploy" like we did in 1975.

As for 'un-war' - maybe you saw some of my early comments about what we should have done on 9/11, before the sun ever set on the smoke in Manhattan. But cooler heads prevailed, we're showing our enemies that we are civilized, not murderous barbarians like they are. That's rich. Where's Harry Truman when we need him?

3/10/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The UAV's, buddy?
One would hope so?

The question is has the berm stopped the infiltrations?
Most likely not.

So is the berm a success in stopping the resident of Rutbah from aiding the infiltrators?
Most likely, not.

Does it save Marines?, without doubt.

It is a tactic that will not secure Rutbah, does not stop the border crossings and, I'm guessing, does not endear the people of Rutbah to the US or Iraqi Federals.

Is it better than destroying the town, most likely. Is it as good as aggresive patrolling of the border itself?, most likely not.

3/10/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

If I'm not mistaken one of the points of the thread is that the desert sands are in many ways similar to the ocean. Both have well traveled routes and familiar ports. Capture and control the ports and you control or disrupt the shipping.

3/10/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bitching and moaning of Monday morning, arm chair quarterbacks and half-baked, historically challenged leftists is becoming ever more tiresome. The bullying and sniping gets uglier with each new victim.

We may yet come to the point where some get their wish and others see their worst nightmares become reality but at this point in time, the world is not engaged in an all out war of civilizations and oil still flows.

3/10/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But even Mr Truman was stymied by the Chinese in Korea, tony.

3/10/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"At least under Bush the Iraqis can have some confidence we're not going to "re-deploy" like we did in 1975."

Tony, we've already re-deployed in a sense. Just within the country itself.

But we DO have to go home sometime. And it is by no means a given that later's better than sooner.

3/10/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yes, Airborne Engineer, but a loose blockade of a Port, in the battle of the mind, does not deter nor intimidate the Enemy. It is rather, made accomadation for.

As drug runners will tell you, there are expected loses, in border transits.
As Border security rises in one locale, the contrabanistas merely shift locales. It is occurring along our Mexican border as we write.

Unless the entire border area is secured, none of it is. That has been the US experience, bet the Syrian border with Iraq is similar in nature.

In part, that is why the "War on Drugs" focuses on the Source of Supply more than Border Security or diminishing demand.

3/10/2006 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

Griping about strategy and tactics is a favorite pass time.

but this is a very complex environment.

It is not an all out war. most people have no personal connection to the war at all. I'm amazed at how many people ask me what the blue star on my lapel is for.

so much of america isn't emotionally involved in the day to day.

It seems clear at this point that the wounds of our viet nam experience haven't completely healed. Both sides of the debate about the war are effected by this sad period in our history. Our view of the war against islam inspired terror is colored by our viet nam experience.

People in countries that form part of the western civilization seem ambivalent about the war, radical islam and even their very survival. The cynical antics of our putative allies during the run up to Iraq said something very clearly about how they viewed this threat.

Americans are changing the way they aquire and process information. Questions concerning the reliablity of the traditional means are driving folks to places like this.

the domestic political scene has become so acrimonious as to be dysfunctional. all washington seems capable of right now is spending money on bridges to nowhere.

As a net result many of us have our nerves rubbed raw. Words that would be just part of the "soldier's right to gripe" are now seen as the voice of doom and gloom. any opposition is seen as dysloyal while anyone who supports the current admin is viewed as a bushie or "sheeple".

this is a test. america in specific and civilization as we understand it is being tested. do we have the will to survive?

Can we simultaneously fight against radical islam and bicker amongst ourselves?

3/10/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The question is has the berm stopped the infiltrations?
Most likely not.

So is the berm a success in stopping the resident of Rutbah from aiding the infiltrators?
Most likely, not.


You're talking out your ass to create a failure. You have no clue what kind of deal got cut with the local tribal leader. For all you know the villagers might be getting rich turning in infiltrator ears. Maybe the Iraq troops are there to protect the villagers.

3/10/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

If the United States is going to launch air strikes against Iran, wouldn't a tip off be no carriers in the gulf? as they are too vulnerable? Where are our carriers now? JUst asking.

3/10/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


If this was 1975, Congress would cut off all funding to our allies in Iraq, and Al Qaeda would form the new government there. Millions would flee the country, die, go to prison camps, etc. and the country would live in squalor for thirty years. Unlike 1975, more dominoes would certainly fall, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, et. al.

Desert - I'm sure someone here knows that history better than me, but I don't think it was the Chinese holding Truman back in Korea, I think it was Russia with their nice, shiny B-29's and Rosenbergian nukes.

3/10/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If that were the case, Airborne Captain, the berm would not be required, would it?
If the local mukhtar were being paid by the Insurgent ear, our Marines could patrol the streets.

But it is more obvious that the mukhtar is more interested in smuggling then taxidermy

There are only a dozen or so Iraqi troops, there with our Marines. The Marines, they'll protect anyone who is not attacking them. Mukhtar, smuggler or detainee.

That old ancient Captain is the truth.

3/10/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Military sure must have changed from your day, Ancient Captain pb of the Airborne Engineers.

3/10/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The berm is there to funnel traffic. I would guess there is some landscape feature in play that makes going around the berm very difficult.

The village has not been leveled so I am assuming that some arrangement that allows the villagers to continue to earn a living has been reached. I have no clue what this is and neither do you.

3/10/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Times have but people haven't and neither has my attitude toward people that bitch and moan all the time.

3/10/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

yes, the US border has spots that are less well patrolled. the strategy was to drive the illegals into the desert and hope that facing a long slog through tough terrain would deter them.

For a variety of reasons it didn't.

When the Anbar campaign was in full swing the thought was NOT that this would cut supply lines, but rather it would drive the foreigners into less traveled routes. Forcing them to take different routes through different towns would increase their losses.

so if rutbah is no longer part of their underground railway they must react to that by going to less secure places along less well known routes.

The object of this, as I understood it, was to force the enemy to react and keep him reacting, not to screw down Iraq so tightly that nothing moved without being targeted.

Desert rat, help us to understand why you don't think that approach is workable. Help us to understand how you've arrived at the conclusion that the Rutbah scheme is a failure.

it seems to me that one could define success in such a manner that it is impossible to achieve. Have you done this?

3/10/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

I realized, Tony, that you were making a different point re Iraq and Vietnam.

We don't know what flavor gov't we'll end up with in Iraq. AQ doesn't like to run anything - a state, for instance. Too easy a target. Don't have the means, anyway. But beyond that, we don't know who or what we're going to be asked to support, or if we ought. That is ALL up in the air. Still.

3/10/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


Maybe somebody should inform Mr. Bush that Al Q won't be running Iraq if we leave. It seems Mr. Bush thinks they will or at least he's said so in a few speeches.

3/10/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat 8:42 AM,
Wasn't it Franks that put the nix on Mini z takedown? (From CONUS)
"I'll end with that one.
It seems that the majority of Pakistanis agree with me, Mohammedan extremists pose a threat to Pakistan.
Glory be!
I think it was Aristides that pointed to the extreme polarity there in POV and way of life, from technocosmopolitan to 9th Century.
...Although the extreme prejudice of the extremely knowledgeable, educated and intelligent "Zub" still gives me pause.
(How many here remember Zubbie?)
"The criminal nature of the town will not change, but if the cost of transporting the Enemy became to high, they'd stop. Wouldn't they?"
This is the point of my provocative LeMay reminder, not that we should have leveled the place, but there is certainly a lot of latitude between catch and release, and where we are now, and Cluster bombing the place.
"But it is more obvious that the mukhtar is more interested in smuggling then taxidermy."
Skipsailing 1:42 PM,
Well said, thanks!

3/10/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Al Qaeda, the mad mullahs of Iran, okay, let's be clear - Islamofascist enemies would be running Iraq if we pull a 1975 on them now.

3/10/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I have my doubts about Aristides' confidence in something radical happening there soon, however.
How about you?

3/10/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Does Bush believe that, ash? Donuts to dollars, he doesn't. And I don't think I've ever heard him say it.

"Terrorists" come in more than one stripe in Iraq.

3/10/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Well, then, tony, how to get rid of Iran's influence in Iraq? How to get rid of homegrown Iraqi "Islamofascism", for that matter, with 130,000 troops? You tell me.

3/10/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish 2:44 PM,
Take out Mookie 2 years ago?

3/10/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Doug, not sure if it's derived from Arabic but in Israel Zubbie is slang for Kurva in Russian. :)

3/10/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Sounds good to me, Doug.

Somebody warm up the time machine.

3/10/2006 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

skip, Quote me were I said that it was a failure, I did not.
I said it was less than perfect, but better than destroying the town.

That the berm, due to it's length and the lack of troops assigned, could not be well patrolled. So that, while it cordoned the town, it did not stop the cross border infiltrations.

I also said that a Company of Iraqi troops, stationed in the town, would not, most likely, stop the cross border infiltration.

Little done in the town itself would do that.

The border in that area has been violated since before it was a border. The people of Rutbah, have and will continue to smuggle across that border.

The berm has not stopped that traffic. Has it?

It has not secured the Town, has it?
The question I had, was who controls the town? The Enemy or the Smugglers, they are not the same.
If it is the Smugglers, which seems to be the case, then "grounding" the town, or detaining it within the berm, will not change their point of view. It will not endear them to US or the Iraqi Federals.
Only when the costs of aiding the Enemy exceed the profits from that aid will their actions change.

The berm does not exact that type of a cost to the Rutbahians, that is apparent from afar.
So, as a field expedient tactic, that saves both US and Iraqi lives, it is a good thing.

But it does little else.

3/10/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

So far we have cleared 75 percent of the province and forced al-Qaida terrorists to flee to nearby areas," said Osama al-Jadaan, a leader of the Karabila tribe, which has thousands of members living along the border with Syria. Newsday

Somebody is making the right deals. The US military can't patrol every square foot of Iraq but the aggregation of tribal leaders can.

3/10/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

trish is the source for the mini Z targeting story, wanted him targeted, I think she said, four times.
In Tora Bora it is reported the General Franks turned down the request. He said he had multiple reports of Osama's presence, so he took action on none of them.

It is in the article linked to yeaterday.

3/10/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Now you're gettin the picture Airborne Engineer.
It is the Iraqis country, it is their fight as well.
If they will not fight for it, who should?

Maybe there are still some seats at the School of the Americas, we used to teach this stuff there, back in the day.

3/10/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Mini Z, before the war, and in the ramp-up to OIF. That was the NSC's decision.

3/10/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's the one I was thinking about.
I thought it was Franks from Florida.

3/10/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Trish here is one occassion where Mr Bush said:

"Some observers also claim that America would be better off by cutting our losses and leaving Iraq now. This is a dangerous illusion, refuted with a simple question: Would the United States and other free nations be more safe, or less safe, with Zarqawi and bin Laden in control of Iraq, its people, and its resources?"

3/10/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bloomberg (!) Fires Cheif Chaplin in NY City Prison System!
("Bush greatest terrorist in the world")

3/10/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

To which the answer is NO, ash.

I can do politi-speak as well.

But cut our losses we have been doing, and will continue to do.

3/10/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

say what, doug

Trish, Mr Rumsfeld has said mini Z would take over Iraq if we left, while he was in Munich.

On the face of it, an absurd remark. Now that 232,000 Iraqis are in their combined Security Contingent. Police & Army.

The ISF has not run or fled from a fight, lately.

3/10/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Just one more Bush quote on this for fun:

"The terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda are the smallest but most lethal group. Many are foreigners coming to fight freedom's progress in Iraq. They are led by a brutal terrorist named Zarqawi, al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq, who has pledged his allegiance to Osama bin Laden. The terrorists' stated objective to drive the United States and coalition forces out of Iraq and to gain control of that country. They will then use Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks against America, overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East, and try to establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain."

3/10/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Agree, Rat. An absurd remark.

Cutting our losses, though - that's not absurd at all.

3/10/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And here, buddy, is how they are viewing the Republican Congress, from across the Pond

" ... And up on Capitol Hill the loudest noise of all came from Republican members of Congress rushing to distance themselves from President Bush. They ignored Mr Bush’s pleas not to reject the transfer of half a dozen US ports to a company owned by the Dubai Government and in the process sent warning that they have passed the point where loyalty to the President was compatible with their own electoral success.

These skirmishes are part of a broader war now raging within the Republican Party. In its ferocity this internecine strife is worse than anything seen in Washington since the first Bush Administration ended so disastrously in 1992. ... "
The Times...of London

" ... In Congress the party has presided over the biggest increase in the federal government since Lyndon Johnson. The Clinton Administration and previous Democrat-controlled congresses were niggardly by comparison. Doubts about Iraq have set in not just about the conduct of the war but over the very idea behind the effort in the first place. Conservatives who have always harboured deep suspicions about the wisdom of government getting involved in people’s lives are scratching their heads as to how they could have signed on to a project that has the US Government trying to remake an entire region of the world. ... "

But the line I like the best,'cause I know of the fellow, so well

"... Katrina illustrates the disasters they can produce at home. Michael Brown, the infamous head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was not the only political hack with no experience of or real interest in government to be put in charge of a vast government bureaucracy. He just happened to be one who was found out. The Dubai ports sale farrago has even undermined the Bush Administration’s reputation for keeping the nation secure from external threats. ... "

Onward Republicans!

3/10/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Point taken, ash.

3/10/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I am with you, trish, if the US Army is to be in barracks, those barracks may as well be in the US.

3/10/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Sun Tsu said a lot of things but let's keep in mind that he lived in a day that information couldn't travel a hundred miles a day and was, for the most part, unattainable in lands of far. So what is a sentient president to do? Let us attack all threats alphabetically starting with deploying the army to darkest Africa. Angola hasn't had a good ass kicking since the AUC was kited by the Reagan administration. Perfection is the only acceptable result for god and god is a slacker in my estimate. Let's not forget Mexico, send the army there first also, on before to North Korea, just as soon as we mop up Iran, and by all means let's bomb Musharraf today lest we have to do the diplomatic two step with him a moment longer. Let's invade Syria right now, couldn't wait another moment for that issue to reconsile itself. Declare war on the world and if you aren't against us, then we're against you. And let's not cordone off Rutbar and limit vehicular traffic, if they can carry 10 tons of contraband by hand over a 20 foot berm might as well let them drive it in by the tanker full. Apocalypse now.

3/10/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When even Charles Krauthammer begins to worry that there is but a sliver of hope in the Iraq situation, well ...

"... 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. But the defection holds open the best possibility for political success: an effective, broad-based national unity government that, during its mandatory four-year term, presides over an American withdrawal. ... "
The Kurd Defection May Offer Sliver of Hope

Here's to Hope, Charles, and not Hope, Arkansas, either

3/10/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Like Hadrian's Wall--also largely unpatroled--and uncountable others before and since--a wall says "We can do this, and you can't stop us". Also, raked sand shows footprints, complicating life for sneakers in-and-out. Cross a wall anyplace but the checkpoints, and you've committed. And, even if it doesn't do much, it's just some dozer work, and the dozers would be just sitting there otherwise (presumably).

3/10/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Anybody heard what Tariq Aziz is up to in Syria?

3/10/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

So many new Authorizations, am, where would the President find the time.

I said, start with the War that is unfinished, with aQ. If the General President wants to help, let him.
Over half the folk in Pakistan think the Mohammedans poise a threat, to Pakistan. Just like I do.
Golly, at least I'm in the majority, somewhere.

Darkest Africa, if aQ has gone there, we should ferret them out, no?
Or should they recieve a Pass, in Africa?
Check out pb's 11:51am post of Mr Bush's 2002 speach.
Where was Mr Bush wrong?
Where should we not go, am?
Why do you not believe the President?

Man, you guys sure quit easy, no wonder aQ is winning.

3/10/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Exactly, buddy, it's a pile of sand.
If we had enough troops to track those footprits, you'd think we'd be able to secure the town.
The berm is there 'cause there ain't enough troops to Patrol the town, let alone enough to chase footprints into the great & empty desert.

3/10/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

3:53 PM 'Rat,
I think the idea is to keep people from getting angry with us.

3/10/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

MacArthur and Nimitz should have taken every island in the South Pacific, including Japan, at the same time. What a bunch of imcompetents.

3/10/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

pb could tell you haw the dozers are tasked, he was an Airbore Engineer Company Commander, once long ago, before he can hardly remember, He can tell us about the dozers, how much time it would take and the man power involved in building a berm.

As to Walls of Defense and Boundary, the largest and most costly is, I believe, in China. Decades to build, thousands of lives lost in the construction, nearly bankrupted the Country, All to no effect. It did not even slow down the Mongols when they came.

Hadrian's Wall, according to the History Channel, was built to occupy the Legions time. No sense letting Soldiers just sit around, not if they can build a wall or paint a rock.

3/10/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Back to the South Pacific:
On the far Northern Coast (cold and foggy) of California are a bunch of little towns named after South Pacific Islands!

3/10/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Jeez, that Brit writer could hardly contain his glee, could he, Rat?

People always use nominal when percentage fails their point.

Employment numbers came out today, 4.8, average hourly wage gains 3.1.

2.1 mm jobs created in '06 so far.

Huge natural disaster contained--no depression, recession or inflation.

The long bond is still under 5% and the mkt averages are at or near 5 yr highs.

Trade deficit is big but so are our exports. Percentages are the only way to look at these numbers, when you use nominal, you do not get the base of comparison (it's a manipulator's dead 'tell').

National debt at 4 trillion is about a third of annual GDP and the carrying costs are getting lower year-by-year. Household net worth alone approaches 55 trillion and constitutes our national household savings.

Productivity continues to outpace inflation and the US Dollar is sticky upward against every major currency.

Japan, the 2nd largest economy, has begun growing again (after 17 yrs on 'hold') and conservative governments are being elected or re-elected in the big democracies (GB, Australia, Germany, Italy, Canada, others).

The "Arab Spring" has put liberty and prosperity on a high growth road in a half dozen mideast nations, and the macro-momentum is arguably becoming unstoppable.

That's just off the top of the news. Hidden things, like millions beginning to catch onto systemic fraud in public life (media, government, entertainment), are deep and strong currents running to the good.

Against that we have, most prominently, Iran's Mullahs, AQ, and some of our own pols.

I bet on the good guys.

3/10/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Rat's leftist talking points may be embebed in gung ho verbiage,but they are Kosisms and are the language of Moveon.
"Bush let bin Laden escape".
"We are losing".
"There are not enough troops".
"Bring them all home anyway".
One begins to wonder exactly which desert he is a rat in.

3/10/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No Airborne Captain, You start at the beginning, then move to the next. Not all at once.

In the Mohammedan Wars, we started in Afghanistan, to get Osama and aQ, Mission Unaccomplished, Then, before Accomplishing the Primary Mission we went on to the Second War, and are now, according to some, prepping for the third Mohammedan War.
We should go back and finish the First War, before thinking of starting another.

What we've done, it's like leaving Guadelcanal before the Japs were beat, to attack Iwo Jima.

Perhaps that's how you were taught, but I think MacArthur and Nimitz had it right. Do not start with another Island in the Campaign, 'til the first Island you've attacked is Secure.

But things have dhanged, since your day, aye.

3/10/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Sorry,I forgot "AQ is winning".
What did hapeen to Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf - aka Baghdad Bob and Comical Ali.

3/10/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe he'll start being called the deserted 'Rat at BC at this rate.
I can't believe he's deserting Phoenix.
...then again, 850,000 illegals a year ain't Peanuts.
Limbaugh said he's been contacted by the Admin to try to get him back on that train of anti-populist anti-zenophobia or whatever we are supposed to call it these days.
Whatever the WSJ wants, I say.

3/10/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

cjr and his comment on troop stregth goes to the core. There are not enough troops in the field.
Not a talking point, but a reality.

US troops are in the Barracks, in Iraq, for the most part.

I did not say Bush let Osama escape, I said he was cornered and the Army did not send help. Our people in Afghanistan said so, I merely repeated the report.

I advocate aggresive and decisive action or no action at all. You, peteruk, seem prefer some other half hearted effort. I would rather have our Army home than performing half heartedly.

You are quite right, buddy, things are going very well, economicly.
Though when things were "bad" the Economy is out of the President's control, when things are good, the President gets the credit.
That is true of all Presidents, not just Mr Bush.
Do you give Mr Bush credit for Japan's revival? or the Japanese?

Start bombing Iran, though, and, I think, some of the pink will leave the economic cheeks.

But me, I just am a Desert Rat.

3/10/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Rat, we did the Pacific Islands one at a time because we had the one island-taking fleet to do it with. 5th Fleet, was it? Task Force 55 the island-taker? Late in the war MacArthur had sufficient forces to do a parallel op--but that was after Pelielu.

3/10/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Google bought these guys.

3/10/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Well, Japan sells a lotta stuff to us--a bad economy here would certainly not be giving the Japanese people the confidence that is at the core of any and all economic growth.

3/10/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"Though when things were "bad" the Economy is out of the President's control, when things are good, the President gets the credit."

But according to you, Rat, the truth is just the opposite, right?

3/10/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

"I am with you, trish, if the US Army is to be in barracks, those barracks may as well be in the US."

That is so ridiculous, that you can't honestly believe that.

3/10/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And Mr Bush and the White House is the engine of all that US economic growth?

Granted tax policies have a lot to do with it, as does the Kensyian spending spree we are on.

Seems to be working. But is it all because of Mr Bush? or just a little 'cause of him, some from Congress and the rest, the great majority from the US Public?

3/10/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Rat why don't you call Karzai and tell him it's all a big mistake.

3/10/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Start bombing Iran, though, and, I think, some of the pink will leave the economic cheeks.


The Iran operation is foregone conclusion. It's already built into the price. Otherwise price would be below $30 per barrel. Inventory supplies are at a 5 year high.

3/10/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

A large part of the cost is fixed anyway, regardless of where the barracks are located--so why not where our leadership--and our ally Iraq's leadership--wants them to be, in order to beat off an insurgency (and hold world oil prices below AQ's targetted $100/bbl)?

3/10/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I don't recall giving GWB the credit for the good economy, Rat--tho you've posted two or three times in reference to something I never said.

3/10/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The last to make as though I was denigrating the American people in order to boom Bush. Not so--you've put words in my mouth.

3/10/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Which Barracks do you want them in Helodrvr?

If they are in the Barracks in Iraq, they are just acting as a threat.
We can have the same threatening stance with a lot fewer boots, if we wanted to.

'Cause really, it'd take more than our Iraq Expeditionary Force to march to Tehran and secure Iraq, at the same time.
So if the idea is the Army is threatening to Iran, it is because it is not needed to secure Iraq.

But it could not attack Iran and secure Iraq at the same time. We'd need more boots, lots of 'em.

If we air attack Iran and the Shia in Iraq revolt against US as a result. (somewhat probable) 130,000 troops will not be enough, to even secure Iraq.
This was proven by our level of success against the Sunni Insurgency, without the ISF at our side.

3/10/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ex-helo 4:42 PM,
All these guys are just arguing with him to keep him occupied until the guys with the stiff suit arrive.

3/10/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

buddy, I was repkying to your 4:14 post, which I may have misapplied, in the context of the discussion

3/10/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Keynes is Phillips Curve, Rat. this expansion--globally--is Friedman/Laffer Curve. Look at the basic materials indexes.

3/10/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

You are assuming deployments would remain exactly the same. I suspect the incompetents have a different view.

3/10/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

More tellingly, look at the numbers released today--tax rcpts Y2Y up 12% (despite tax cuts and Katrina both).

3/10/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

buddy, fixed costs?
it's $35 Million USD extra per day to be in Iraq at our present troop levels.
If Billeting is a fixed cost, these $85 Billion Supplementals every 7 to 9 months, they are what, Enron accounting?

3/10/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I think, Rat, that you have confused the powers of a president and the powers of the God of the Universe.

3/10/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

d'Rat: Shia in Iraq revolt..

What are they going to do? Burn down Basra? C'mon. The oil fields in the north are secured by the Kurds. And in the south by the US.

3/10/2006 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Figure the cost of a division at home vs deployed overseas, and remember all I said was "a large part" are fixed.

3/10/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Tax cuts spur growth, buddy, even rats know that.

But this excess money supply and inflationary pressures that Mr Forbes continues on about, you discount those.
There are distinct limits to my Kensyian expertise, which ain't much. Just run deficits to stimulate growth, as opposed to cutting taxes to stimulate growth.
It seems we are doing both.
So each curve is in play, it seems.

In the RR days the growth in Government spending was not abated, but Mr Bush 41 paid the price for not reading his own lips.

3/10/2006 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Three years, a half trillon bucks and 20,000 some casualties is what 20% of Iraq in revolt has cost US. Extrapulate that to 80% of the Country, if the Shia step out.

No, I don't thimk the Shia are impotent. No more or less then the Warizistani.
Especially now that we've armed and trained so many of them.

3/10/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

The simple view of John Maynard Keynes economics is state spending to boost the economy.

3/10/2006 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

God of the Universe, that's an elected position?

No, buddy, I just thought he was the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the Federal System, CiC or the Military & the Leader of the Free World.
Silly me.

3/10/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good. Send them the bill if extrapolation is where it's at.

3/10/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I hate the pork earmarking as much as anyone, rat, but even after all the hue and cry, the USA is running a deficit right now right at the average of our modern history. The median might be skewed by WWII, but the average will tell you that our pols hollering nominal numbers are studiously avoiding the percentage comaprison with US history.

Demagoguery with the support of the truth of a permanent and perpetually overspending government.

Yes, Clinton was in surplus for awhile with the Wall-Fall peace dividend--but that was a historical anomaly, a gift of RR and the 94 Contract with America balanced budget movement.

Want more fiscal rigor? me, too. Where do we get it? Kerry?

3/10/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That was my understanding of Mr John Maynard Keynes's work, peter uk.
Which is what the US seems to have been doing.
Borrowing money from foreigners to spend here at home and abroad.
Stimulating both our and the World's economies.
While at the same time following Mr Laffer's model of stimulating growth through lower taxes.

3/10/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

yes, he is all those things, rat, but no leader can lead those who refuse to follow.

3/10/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Of course it was Rat,of course it was.

3/10/2006 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I do not think so, buddy.
With JFKerry and his ilk, without a "new" Republican majority(circa '94) we'd have higher taxes, slower growth and even greated borrowing, I think.

Saw a piece yesterday about Mr Rubin. Seems Mr Bush went out of his way to obtain Mr Rubin's assistance on economic matters, you know bi-partisan action.
Mr Rubin spurred the thought and advised Dems to obstruct.

So no, the Dems are not the answer, to almost any question.

But I saw another piece by that Texan Molly Ivin(sp)
She's as out of sorts with the Democrats in Washington as I am with the Republicans.
The Party establishments think we'll all fall back in our places.
I'm not so sure.

3/10/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"Borrowing from foreigners" makes a hat-in-hand picture that conflicts with the actuality. The treasury hold open bond auctions and whoever wants some of our debt bids on whatever they want. The rate that results will go down with demand, up with supply. Normally, foreign subscription is a mix of central banks and private entities and usually amounts to about 40% of a given auction of long paper. The money so gathered @ 4.75% is lent out to american business which as of '05--the last full year of measurement--is turning it into a corporate-profit rate of 11%, and creating corporate tax recpts which dwarf the interest paid out. And this money, the labor fraction, is then taxed again as income, and the investment fraction taxed againas capital gains and dividends. And it is all growing very nicely since the dot-com/911 recession. The deficits are the entitlement program growth far more than the war. want me to dig out the figures? Or you can, we got Google.

3/10/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Who was it that said, decade or two ago
"We're all Kensyians now"?

I'm sure it was not Mr Hyack or Milton Friedman.

3/10/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

d-r comparing himself to molly ivans!!

He's finally starting to make some sense. :o)

3/10/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Just wait 'til we start paying out more SS than we gather in--just a few years away--then you better have your assets in gold. It's clear how to fix it, but we can't fix it, because GWB is "a liar" and "misled us into war" and "hates black people", and on and (*vomit*) on.

I'd line up behind Bozo the Klown if the other side would just shut the hell up for awhile.

Numbers is numbers--Bozo could fix the deficit, with a little cooperation for a little while.

3/10/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Nixon said that, rat.

3/10/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yes indeed, buddy.
The Global Economy and the US's position in it.

Which returns US to the Mohammedans, who wish to upset the apple cart, as it were.

While the Monarchs and Despots got their fair share of the Global pie, it seems they forgot to share. They did not believe, it seems in a growing pie, but a frozen one. None of their people got a piece, hardly a crumb.

Now these disenfranchised want their piece and our's as well.

The only real question is how much damage can they do to the system before they are destroyed.

After traveling the world and seeing just how fragile the various interlocking systems are. Not so fragile that they'd self destruct, but with just a pretty good sized shove, alot of it will tumble down.
The Mohammedans are ready and in position to try, I think, and that if the Iranians are REALLY pushed, the blowback will be much greater and on a larger scale then most folks here can contemplate.
They are the greatest threat, not due to their nonexistent nukes, but their network around the Globe, which they'd use in self defense.

Even so, the only War we can jump to tomorrow, with the Public's full support is the one against Osama. Where ever he is.

If we do not, the Mohammedan Wars will end in Iraq. No matter the beatings of the drums.
The timelines just do not coincide for a quick move on Iran.

3/10/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

"Who was it that said, decade or two ago
"We're all Kensyians now"?

They didn't they said " We're all Keynesians now".

3/10/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I thought they said:
"Where are all the Keynesians now?"

3/10/2006 06:04:00 PM  

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