Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter weekend open post 2

The New Republic has second thoughts about blaming Donald Rumsfeld after discovering that individual Generals also made "mistakes" in fighting the counterinsurgency. Spencer Ackerman uses the difference between the Marine, the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne methods in Iraq to discredit the criticisms of General Swannack.

OK, General Swannack. I understand you want to oust Donald Rumsfeld from the Pentagon ... Secretary Kettle, meet General Pot. When Swannack commanded the 82nd Airborne in Iraq in 2003--which had responsibility for the western part of what was then called the Sunni Triangle--the discriminating application of force that marks counterinsurgency wasn't exactly his calling card. Perhaps most significantly, in April 2003, the 82nd handled a protest in Falluja by firing into the crowd, and while the situation was by all accounts a tremendously confusing one for well-intentioned U.S. soldiers, Fallujan sympathy for the then-nascent insurgency immediately took root. In March 2004, the Marines took responsibility for Anbar Province and set to work reversing Swannack's force-over-politics approach.

Ackerman implies that Swannack used too heavy-handed an approach. He quotes author George Packer (who wrote a feature article in the New Yorker praising success at Tal-Afar) to contrast the 82nd not only from the Marines but also from its sister Army unit, the 101st.

In the first year of the war, in Falluja and Ramadi, Major General Charles Swannack, of the 82nd Airborne Division, emphasized killing and capturing the enemy, and the war grew worse in those places; in northern Iraq, Major General David Petraeus, of the 101st Airborne Division, focused on winning over the civilian population by encouraging economic reconstruction and local government, and had considerable success. "Why is the 82nd hard-ass and the 101st so different?" Hammes [a retired Marine colonel] asked. "Because Swannack sees it differently than Petraeus. But that's Sanchez's job. That's why you have a corps commander."

The New Republic article concludes:

All this is to say that when it comes to counterinsurgency, and the Iraq war more generally, not all the failure, and the blame, lies in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. And after writing that, I feel like I need a shower ...

But this is slightly unfair to Swannack. There were always a multiplicity of approaches to the counterinsurgency, not only with respect to place but also to time. In Bing West's No True Glory, an account of both battles of Fallujah, West recounts how the Marine approach to the Fallujah problem shifted over time. At first the Marines tried dealing with the sheiks using reconstruction money. They later discovered the sheiks were ineffective and found that the Imams were pulling the strings. After several iterations, the Marines were prepared to use force to clear out the city, but were prevented from doing so because it would split up the Provisional Government. Balked, they tried using Saddam-era Generals to contain the growing terrorist cells in the city only to discover these men had lost their former influence to newly arrived foreign terrorist cells. In the end the Marines assaulted through Fallujah, killing and capturing the enemy. But wait, wasn't that what Swannack wanted to do in the first place? Maybe Swannack's timing was wrong. Maybe. But how do we know?

"There is a tide in the affairs of  men ...". We are all familiar with the quote, which signifies in this context that the correct approach may vary in place and time. Ecclesiastes puts it even better than Shakespeare, one of the few instances when the Bard is trumped.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance ...
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

And a time to understand that this is so. The men who judge what works in their area of operations are the Commanders. Sometimes they will be wrong and sometimes get it right. The only demand one can make of command going up the line is to learn from their subordinates' experience and reflect it downward in changed guidance. The failure to adapt is the ultimate command failure. Stupidity was not sending men into the face of machine gun fire in August 1914 when that weapon was encountered in large numbers for the first time. What was stupid was to keep doing it even in the Somme in 1916. For that reason the New Republic's article, though slightly off-base puts its finger on the most disturbing aspect of the debate over the War. The press has made consistency in the prosecution of war a virtue; just as it has made the "failure" to live up to the initial plan the ultimate sin. In consequence so much of the debate consists of archaeology. What George Bush said to Tony Blair in Downing Street. What Joe Wilson heard in Darfur. Yet consistency in war is often not virtue but vice. The hobgoblin of small minds.


Blogger Dewage said...

All these generals speaking out now wouldn't have anything to do with the Democratic strategy disclosed about a month ago that the Republicans and the Bush Administration could be attacked by military speaking out against it, could it? ... Nah.

4/15/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Even at the end of victorious wars there are always a spate of books by knowledgeable people arguing how things had been botched. Intelligence failures at Pearl; the torpedo scandal; Peleilu; Buckner's inability to detect Ushijima's fallback on Okinawa; the late attack on Iwo Jima; the decision to A-Bomb Japan; the belated decision to use submarines primarily against Japanese merchant shipping; the failure to convoy coastal American shipping during the U-Boat Happy Time; the failure to replace the Sherman tank; Eisenhower's fixation with the National Redoubt. Etc. And during the Cold War, too. Douglas McArthur was probably the ultimate military critic of policy. "There is no substitute for victory", he famously said. George Kennan, where are you to defend yourself?

Many of these criticisms (the failure to replace the Sherman tank, for example) were doubtless valid. But going from admitting individual errors to concluding that FDR messed up World War 2 or Truman lost Korea is not quite so straightforward. It's more complex than that.

4/15/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Well, if individual commanders are blaming one another for wildly different tactics and rotation into messes left behind by one commander for the tactics of his predecessor, isn't that the responsibility of High Command to resolve?

As you mention, the fault in WWI was not on the folks that found out how deadly machine gun fire then artillery on pinned down troops were - but with the likes of Rummy's counterparts - Petain and Field Marshall Haig - who just stuck with "staying the course" into 1916 and refused to listen to the reports from the field??

4/15/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" - Keynes


4/15/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The best cure for a bellyache is a good kick in the ass.

4/15/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think we could appreciate a little more consistency from General
'Rumsfeld is a man with the courage and the conviction to win the war on terrorism.' Batiste.

4/15/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

lawyers, guns & money, pb, that's what you'll be needing, talkin like that.

Hell, I'm still waitin' for your belated visit.

Must be that Boston water, you & JFKerry, no, wait, maybe it was the water in Cambodia.

4/15/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

As socljim points out:
This was all part of Reid's playbook distributed some time ago.

Was really lame and wouldn't work as written (demonstrations at Military Bases & etc) but with the help of the Retired Generals (6 of the 9 thousand, anyhow)/MSM Complex, book publishing, and etc, it got some traction.

4/15/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If it was the fragility of the govt responsible for the Fallujah I Debacle, it would seem that the Bremmer year long recess on setting up an Iraqi govt bears some responsibilty.
(but I've been saying that for years)

4/15/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

6:28 PM,
Oh yeah, and Romney signed the Compulsory Insurance Law last week with TEDDY K.
Hell, ted's had more input into fiscal expenditures since '01 than GWB.
A little more ruthlessness in the domestic wars would have been appreciated, say 1 or 2 vetos, at least.

4/15/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

What is astonishing to me is how people do not recall what really happened a relatively few years back. Or that they accept patent absurdities in "the record."

To use another WWII example, the idea that the Luftwaffe lost a wonderful opportunity when Hitler ordered the Me-262 jet fighter built as a bomber is accepted as gospel. The reality is that the Germans could never have produced enough jets to affect the outcome of the war. And no one ever thinks about the fact that all the other German fighters were built in fighter-bomber versions without any problem at all - and those were all much smaller and less powerful aircraft compared to the Me-262.

One of the great things about the military is that people will all unquestioningly work toward a common mission. One of the worst things is that such lack of questioning often is taken as a virtue.

One of Adm Nelson's most trusted sea captains was quoted as saying "If I see an man who looks like he is thinking, I consider that an act of mutiny." In the midst of battlefield events such an approach may be necessary. But in the immediate post-op analysis it is incompetance. And done in the historical analysis is is a outright crime.

4/15/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I asked before, but you might have missed it:
Have you ever met, or heard of an "Alan" in Honolulu?
He's a walking WWII Naval Encyclopedia.
Grew up there through Pearl.

4/15/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Long ago you linked to a site with a detailed history of Ushijima/US encounter.
(the 'Kuri Line' or something I can't recall)
Haven't been able to find it in google.
(Even when I had the correct name for that line!)

4/15/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

In consequence so much of the debate consists of archaeology.

The Iraq War is winding down and the scramble is on to get the legacies into print before overtaken by events in Iran.

"He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."

Impartial scholarship is not possible until the veterans die off and the sources are unclassified.

4/15/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Doug: No I have not heard of Alan.
Guy I know was at PH for the attack; his dad was in the Navy then.

By the way, I wonder how many people know that the 7 Dec 41 attack was only the first one. The Japanese did another bombing attack a few months later.

4/15/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The one constant in the GWOT has been the Bush's Cabinet's and the Military's constant adaptation to changing circumstances. A very, very notable habit that is a joy to watch.

4/15/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

rwe--I know that, as scanned a book about it little while back. Not much of an attack--couple of seaplanes refueled from a sub, wasn't it? And the bombs dropped harmlessly above Waikiki Beach? Part recon mission?

4/15/2006 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Wretchard - you forget the two biggest blunders in the East from WWII - the failure to close the Falaise-Argentan gap - and the British failure to advance beyond Nijmegin. Eisenhower pursued a Broad Front strategy despite much evidence to the contrary that it was not working and was too costly.

4/15/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The Me-262 jet was fast, but the P-51 mustang had better acceleration than the 262 over much of the flight envelope and was more manueverable. The Mustang also outgunned the 262 and had better range.

4/15/2006 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

___To the Generals

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.

___To the Critics

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.

___To Iran, UN, et al

For there is no question but a just fear of an imminent danger, though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause of war.

4/15/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Cannoneer No.4 : I love talking to WWII veterans. I have written two magazine articles based on the experiences they have recounted to me. But one has to be careful to not accept them as experts on every aspect. Just because they never heard about something - or heard it a certain way - does not indicate truth. And I have heard a few things that are absolutely incredible and largely contradict the historical record. An assasination attempt we tried on Rommel, for example. And the circumstances surrounding the crash of the YB-49 that killed Capt Edwards.

Then there are personal experiences I have had where military people tried to "document" what happened -very much to their own advantage.

Bobalharb: Yes, a couple of 4 engined seaplanes, Emily flying boats, I think. At night. Dropped the bombs in the mountains. I think they launched from Wake Island.

4/15/2006 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

1 OT on the other invasion:
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The number of children deported from Arizona after U.S. agents caught them crossing the border illegally or found them in the desert more than doubled in the first three months of 2006, Mexico's Interior Department said on Friday.

However, some border analysts say they have witnessed what appears to be a general migrant rush to reach the United States.

They say the migrants appear to be motivated by immigration bills under discussion in the U.S. Congress that could legalize some illegal migrants and increase border security.

Loureiro said he has not seen such a rush of migrants since 1986, when the United States allowed 2.6 million illegal residents to get American citizenship.
Yet some otherwise intelligent folks ask:
"What's wrong with Amnesty?"
...and of course,
"Why Enforce Laws?"

4/15/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Red River: Few people realize it, but the P-51 had the smallest engine of any WWII U.S. fighter. Its engine was smaller than those in the airplanes it replaced, in some cases well over 50% smaller. It even was smaller than the engines in the airplanes we considered to be obsolete when the war started. The later Mustang models even had smaller engines than the early ones.

By 1941 everyone in the world figured out what a fighter of sufficient performance had to have - and then the Mustang came along and proved all of them wrong!

4/15/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

P-51 in-line liquid-cooled Rolls-Royce engine was a different baby than the big Wasp radials that backboned the US aircraft inventory. Me-262, I don't see how it could be considered out-gunned by P-51s 6 fifties, tho, as it carried two 30 mm cannon plus 2 or 4 other smaller guns. It threw more wt of shot per unit time than our P-47 (I read somewhere), which had eight of the same fifties that P-51 had six of.

4/15/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might be way out of line making this comment. I don't know squat about airplanes. (or much else, for that matter) But, if the P-51 was shootin 50 calibers? Was the jet shooting 30 cal or 30 mil? If it was thirty cal it's NO contest.

4/15/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Or as Eric Hoffer put it:

"Free men are aware of the imperfection inherent in human affairs, and they are willing to fight and die for that which is not perfect. They know that basic human problems can have no final solutions, that our freedom, justice, equality, etc. are far from absolute, and that the good life is compounded of half measures, compromises, lesser evils, and gropings toward the perfect. The rejection of approximations and the insistence on absolutes are the manifestation of a nihilism that loathes freedom, tolerance, and equity."

4/15/2006 08:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thing about that fifty cal is it a "Kick-Ass" Round. You can spit a bunch of them out real fast, and they go a long way with a high degree of accuracy. And, they just tear the holy hell out of whatever they "touch."

6 50's shootin at you could just ruin your whole day.

4/15/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meme, that was exactly the way I was going to put it. I can't believe you beat me to it.

4/15/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drudge is reporting that Tony Blair told G.W. "No Dice" on the Iran Attack thing.

The "source" was an "official" in the British Government.

4/15/2006 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Not to throw gasoline on these Open Posts, but England can't/won't support military strike on Iran.

Wonder if that will get England any diplomatic chops with Iran?

4/15/2006 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Ooops, Sorry Rufus, didn't see you there...

4/15/2006 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...



Summary Report

(European War)

September 30, 1945

Separately, as I recall, Galbraith reported that he believed German war production actually peaked in 1944. Germany could build its jets; it just couldn't get them out of the factories and into the air. The unavailability of trained pilots is another issue entirely.

4/15/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

BTW, that was the Drudge Link..

4/15/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'S Okay, jes rufus not important

don' pay no 'tention t' me

jes go on

4/15/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger FastEddiez said...


RE: battle of okinawa, uou need to google Shuri Line Or Shuri castle.

4/15/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Ain't no nevamind, s'ok, --- "HEY I'M STANDIN' HEAH.... jus sayin'..

4/15/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

rufus, 8:43 PM

More worrisome still is that NYT security expert Richard Clarke is predicting wrath of G-d stuff. Even more important to Clarke than Armageddon, the Europeans, the NYT, and he will howl, scowl, and be generally unpleasant. Next thing you know, Brzezinski and Scowcroft will write an editorial signed by a bunch of Saudi (strike Saudi; add retired) generals.

4/15/2006 09:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's as I kinda suspected. The Mk-108 (30 mm) had a very low muzzle velocity, which gave it a sorry trajectory.

The 6 50's could blow the ME's butt off before it ever got within effective range.

Wikipedia gives the reasons why they had to shorten the barrel and reduce the muzzle velocity.

4/15/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

From the Scotsman link -

"But, in the midst of international opposition to a pre-emptive strike on Tehran, and Britain's military commitments around the world, the government maintains it cannot contribute to a military assault. "We will support the diplomatic moves, at best," a Foreign Office source told Scotland on Sunday. "But we cannot commit our own resources to a military strike."

My emphasis...

Has anyone heard of this "international opposition" in the debate? Other than Russia, I mean.. Now, have we regressed to the Cold War days where Russia speaks and the world trembles? Sorry to curse on Easter, but WTF?

4/15/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that tears it. Without those three Tornadoes we're as good as done.

Now, we'll see how big the Dub's balls really are. Even his best bud ran away. (Maybe, I mean, it was a foreign service ocifer.)

4/15/2006 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Austin Bay has an interview with Hugh Hewitt on Rumsfeld. Colonel Bay says that there is disagreement and personality conflict all the time. The bottom line is that top command consists of people who really believe in their way of doing things. For example, General Zinni believed the sanctions were working. Bay says that a reasonable person might disagree. Read the whole thing.

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

Coulda used their Navy though.. Straits and all that..

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


You talk'n bout TarNAYders?

You know,

You say potato
I say pa TATE er
You say tomato
I say ta MADE er

4/15/2006 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

The Colonel seems to have an opinion that is popular here....

From Wretchards link..

"AB: Hugh, for several years, and of course on my website, I've pointed back to a column, actually, that I wrote earlier this year, the first week of January in 2006, about what to do about Iran. I have been an advocate for both covert and overt aid to Iranian opposition, including building on Iran's current, Iranian's current dissatisfaction, and that is a euphemism, deep dislike for Tehran's radical mullahs. That is what the mullahs truly fear. We can't make up for lost time, but I think we have time to play up on their own nightmare, which is internal disruption. I think that is at a maximum payoff for the kind of regime that the Iranians deserve, plus the kind of regime that will contribute, the kind of government that will contribute to the stability the Middle East needs. But to move to the grave not so hypothetical is, will they produce a weapon, they tout it, and of course, they've already said what they intend to do with it with Israel. Understand that they have other enemies as well, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and of course, Iraq. They just haven't articulated that. Do you have to act when a madman, an irrational regime, and I do not believe they are rational, shows you that kind of mass destructive capacity? And the answer is, yes."

4/15/2006 09:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many are called. Few are chosen. It's a lonely job, guarding the flock. It would have been nice to have had some company.

4/15/2006 09:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, them tar NAY dose

4/15/2006 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

There is something to be said about not having company when they say that they "can't/won't" help you. I'd like confirmation from Blair's mouth on that one, though.

BTW, has anyone been to Google and entered "liar", then pressing "I'm Feeling Lucky"? Now, if that's not a slap....

4/15/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Sorry to "Drive-By Post", but have to make my bi-annual trip to mass in 8 hours or so...

4/15/2006 09:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, people like me that think the best way is a Massive Air Campaign, ala Gen McInirney, have to realize one thing. It could end up in a full-fledged war inside a country that's a third the size of the United States, with three times the population of Iraq, with a military-age male population of 25,000,000?

We know they're "Crazy." And, we know that it's the kind of leadership that rolls little boys up in a blanket and rolls them across mine fields.

If they start taking out tankers in the Straits we'll have to send in the Marines. You can't guard a coastline of 50 miles, or so, against small crews of men shooting off anti-ship missiles by using air assets.

Once we commit the Marines onto the shore of the straits we'll have to protect them. That will require another couple of "Heavy" Divisions. And, here we go!

4/15/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

8:47 PM
Aw, that's just
The Conventional Wisdom tm

4/15/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


This site has a map of Iran referencing the Iraq-Iran War

The oil fields and the strength of the Kurds in northern Iraq interested me.

4/15/2006 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Ain't gonna be no war, rufus. Unless the Iranians REALLY want one - and wouldn't that be a bitch.

4/15/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen, did you type that web address in right? I can't find it.

4/15/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Faster Please?
Why can't we all just git along?

4/15/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trish, if it was ANY country in the world but Iran I would think, "you've got to be right."

But, Abadabadingdong, sheesh. I wouldn't bet a nickel of Saddam's money. On anything.

4/15/2006 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Another good map

4/15/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trish, I honestly think that Abadummy and the Mullahs watch tv and read the papers, and listen to our politicians, and say to each other, "There's no way Bush can come after us after Iraq."

You know, I don't think they understand us any better than we understand them. They don't realize that over 50% of Americans consider it a foregone conclusion that we're going to attack them.

95% of small town Americans could have told Saddam, "Boss, you better get moving, or you're toast." Yet, he NEVER DID think that we were really coming. This looks awfully similar to me.

4/15/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


I pulled the http. I'm having the same problem with retrieval. I'll see what I can do.

4/15/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

ME 262 was not committed to fight the P-51.

They were expected to swarm on B-24 and B-17 boxes. Hence their guns were optimized for the anti-bomber profile.

The P-51 could only tangle with the ME 262 shortly after takeoff and during the landing approach.

ME 262 pilots were instructed to avoid combat with the P-51. Why take down a nimble one-pilot platform when you can shoot up a crew?

4 30mm Mk 108 guns is a massive array for the period.

The German mistake was to try and re-engineer the Jumo 4 engine away from strategic materials -- all at the last minute -- even though it was given AAA priority by Speer.

The move away from chrome and nickel ruined the Jumo 4. Typical engines would last only 10 to 20 flight hours. The result is that many a plane was shot up on the ground waiting for its engines. Shockingly few ever flew.

It was the engines that created all of the problems. They were on the critical path. Nothing else ever was. The decision to save on critical materials killed the program. The original engines would have been much more available at least eight months earlier. Lasting much, much longer, each engine would have kept a much larger jet force in the sky against the heavies.

I’ve never heard of a single account wherein an American pilot could tag a full speed ME 262. They could out climb, out dive and out run out best at all working altitudes.

Other follies: not supplying the ME 262 with better fuel: diesel, kerosene, or METHANOL. Methanol would allow the Germans to chill down the exhaust so that the plane could operate from any airport, not just the concrete ones. Methanol would extend the engine life remarkably. All that would be required would be larger tankage. Adding such volume was routine for all designs. ( P-51, P-47, FW190, TA-152 )

Night fighters would have greatly benefited from methanol since it produces no flaming exhaust. Synthesizing methanol is one thing the Germans could do even late into the war. It’s a quick step from water-gas, already a mass produced commodity.

4/15/2006 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"They don't realize that over 50% of Americans consider it a foregone conclusion that we're going to attack them."

And that keeps a lot of Belmonters happy, being among them.

Maybe the Iranians know that 50% of Americans aren't sitting in the oval office.

That war is unwanted by the people who make those decisions. Unwanted before OIF; unwanted after.

You only have to wait and see.

4/15/2006 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe we could start a
Happy Armchair Warrior Brigade.

4/15/2006 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


"Yet, he NEVER DID think that we were really coming. This looks awfully similar to me."

I have the recurring thought that the problem the Iraqis had and the Iranians are having understanding the US is that they know nothing about America, i.e. red-state America.

Is it possible that Iran is informed only by its experience with the American elite, i.e. the Chomskyites of the left? Consider, unlike the EU, most Islamic immigrants to the US are professionals. Their associations with Americans will be in the main, thereby, with other professionals, bureaucrats, academicians, etc. They have probably never heard of a Tar-Nay-er or a pu-tator. Moreover, I suspect that most Iranians trained or educated in the US or by Americans have been very sheltered. In short, the Iranians are thinking Capote, not Arnold.

4/15/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I know that it'll piss the rest of the world off, but they're going to be mad about something, anyway. Besides, it seems like the Presidents I vote for always end up infuriating the Euro's, and the Russkies, and the One-World Socialists, and the Southern Presbyterians, and the whatnot who-diddits, so I guess we're right on cue.

Anyway, this is one armchair warrior that hopes against hope that Dubya takes out their Nuke Program; because I sure don't want my Grandchildren growing up in a world where Iran has Nukes. I Really Don't.

4/15/2006 11:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen, I would say that you're probably right. Can you blame them. Every major newspaper they pick up, every news broadcast they watch, they hear/see the same thing. They don't get down to Southaven Ms, and if they did I wouldn't talk to them. I find them kind of uptight, and silly.

And, if I did talk to one and say, "you know what, Bub; Dubya's going to tell the rest of the world to go to hell and bomb your nukes into oblivion," they wouldn't believe it, anyway. He'd just go back and tell his Jihadi friends, "You wouldn't believe the Crazy old man I talked to, today." "He said he and his friends want the dummy cowboy to bomb Iran, can you believe that?"

"He and his friends seemed not to like me very much. I think it's dangerous down there. I'm not going back. Turn on CNN, I want to see if there's anything about when they're going to impeach Bush."

4/15/2006 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

What the Iranians must know, at the least, is that the admin is not going to start another war three years after the last - a war endlessly searching for conclusion.

4/15/2006 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


For first map, try


Academic Departments


International History

Our Atlases

Go to Atlases

Wars and Conflicts Since 1958 Eastern Hemisphere

4/15/2006 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


For the second map, try

By physically typing it in, I pulled up the map.

4/15/2006 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Whaddya know: Our Afghanistan didn't happen in Afghansitan.

4/16/2006 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

It happened in Iraq.

4/16/2006 12:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it happened in Iraq, either, Trish. Five or Six months will tell the tale, but I'm betting it looks a lot different in September than it does now.

4/16/2006 12:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wretchard is posting in his next thread that there is another "Battle of Baghdad" coming up after the new government is seated. It's being planned, supposedly, by David Petraeus. Sounds like about a two month affair. That will be the final act.

4/16/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The Germans could not build enough Me-262's to affect the war because it required high-nickle alloys for the engines. And they had no source of such nickel alloys, period. What little they could scrape up had to go for building tank armor and other essentials.

They did not use turbosuperchargers for their aircraft for the same reason. They used a "cold cycle" approach for the engines for the Me-163 and V-2 for the same reason.

Building the Me-262 engines out of lower-grade materials led to a very short life. That meant you had to build more of them, which made the production problem worse in some respects.

A Mustang could in fact outdive a Me-262 because it had a superior, low drag airfoil that delayed the effects of compressibility.

Given the low numbers available, the only thing the Me-262 was good for was as a bomber, ala the F-117. It was uninterceptable.

Meanwhile, the Ford Willow Run factory was building B-24's at a rate of ONE PER HOUR. And there were 2 more factories building those same airplanes - and that is just B-24's. And North American and Grumman were literally in race to see who could build more fighters in one factory. They were each building 15-20 fighters A DAY.

From just 3 factories, the U.S. could build an entire bomber squadron, a USAAF fighter squadron and a USN fighter squadron about every 24 hours.

4/16/2006 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

Once again you distort facts. The Marines did not want the first attack of Fallujah. They were ordered by the president who claimed he would let general's run the war.

4/16/2006 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I heard Hewitt and the Frank Gafney say Iran's Industrial base is the equal of ours in WWII, and my jaw dropped.
...don't think they could match your numbers, or Kaiser's Concrete Ships, for that matter!
...not to mention the Plywood PT's down in Louisiana.

4/16/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...and the population of the USA was what in 1943?

4/16/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Great Link, Bennet.
Note that Conway was also upset at being ordered to STOP.
...not exactly a great example of letting the folks on the ground who KNOW, make the decisions.

4/16/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It'll be another 40 years before we get a dispassionate history of these events and the people.

What's obvious is that the 90s end-of-history and peace-dividend redirection of critical defense funds to welfare programs drove the best-and-brightest out of government service, and the military especially. It's not that the people that remained were bad people, they just were seldom A players, and the A players that remained were rewarded for appearing to be B players (i.e. get along, conform to processes rather than demonstrate great intellect and judgment). If anything, the Rumsfeld beginning resembled a corporate "take-over," inserting a few new people, but mostly close-order coaching and sorting of the existing staff to bolster the A players and remove the Bs. (yes, Bs and BS).

If I had a dollar for every time Rumsfeld mentioned "we have an adaptive, learning and smart enemy.." I'd be rich. Which means this war will be especially cruel to a military leadership that thought that their only metrics were process (and playing "by the book") v. taking risks. I'm surprised half the generals aren't in revolt. Then again, Rumsfeld and company are surprisingly good coaches.

Yes, I mean "critical" defense funds in spite of the obvious waste. Our system of government seldom permits common-sense trades of a military-base against, say, a satellite. There are far too many voters affected by closing a base. What we can do to compensate is do both, sacrificing transfer-payments which are a nice-to-have for a must have, our mutual security - unless we have children-in-charge who are more interested in feeling good about themselves than doing what's right. But even this passes (as Rumsfeld says - " he trusts in the American people's "center" ") as the electorate occasionally is roused from looking after the country's business, i.e. their enterprise, to their common interests.)

4/16/2006 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" What we can do to compensate is do both, sacrificing transfer-payments which are a nice-to-have for a must have, our mutual security "
Great post Ari.
Disagree on details:
If fiscal and security needs are not even taken into account, most of the transfer payment programs are destructive by themselves.

The providers become corrupt power hoarders, and the recipients become shameless leeches.

Add an "education" system that teaches entitlement, selfishness, and disdain for all things great, and you have a recipe for the destruction of the country as it is.

Now we add uneducated net consumers of services in unlimited supply via Mexico, give them a grievance/victim mentality to match their heritage, and pretend we are not destroying the country.

4/16/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

re: transfer payments as essentially corrosive and destructive to all, esp. if there's no sense of obligation in return, just "entitlement."

I vehemently agree, Doug.

But we seem to be divided about half-and-half as a nation, half of us with motherly instincts towards redistribution as being only fair ("Johnny, share with your little brother, I don't care if he has more than you!"), irrespective of the real and psychic damage this does, and half with fatherly instincts ("What? you're a 17 year-old dropout and still in the house?!... Mother, I thought we agreed to change the #$@! locks).

And lacking a backbone in the judiciary to enforce the constitution as written, a democracy is near guaranteed to result in what we have until such time as we realize what harm we do, and tire of limiting our children's futures and quality-of-life.

4/16/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Larsen said:

" Me-262, I don't see how it could be considered out-gunned by P-51s 6 fifties, tho, as it carried two 30 mm cannon plus 2 "

The P51 outguns the 262 because the 51 carried six .50 cal with over 1800 rounds at a high rate of fire with high velocity.

The 262 carried mk108 30 mm with 50 rounds that were low velocity. The Mk103 was unreliable but had a higher velocity, but the ballistics were still inferior to the .50 cal.

The net result is that the P51 could engage at a much longer range from all aspects, use snap shots, and put lead in a much larger volume. The 262 had to get very close from the rear to use its cannon effectively.

The 51 outgunned the 262.

4/16/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The 262 pilots were told not to tangle with the P51s because in a typical dogfight, 51s would shoot them down.

Given the same speed, the Jumo engine could not rapidly spool up to pull away from the 51 across much of the envelope. The 51 enjoyed a relative short-lived advantage in that it could change its speed faster that the 262 across much of the flight envelope.

With the large engines on its wings, the 262 could not match the 51 in either an energy or manuevering engagement because it could not change its roll or its yaw as quickly as the 51.

Furthermore, the 51 carried a lot more ammo that had a much greater effective range than the 262.

Not a pretty picture. The only thing a 262 pilot could do is point his nose at the ground and extend.

4/16/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

meme chose They know that basic human problems can have no final solutions, that our freedom, justice, equality, etc. are far from absolute, and that the good life is compounded of half measures, compromises, lesser evils, and gropings toward the perfect. [Eric Hoffer]

If we can just translate that into Arabic and Farsi. Which is more than a throw-away comment. Contrary to the signals sent by post-modern Western culture, the way of life is conditioned on subtleties of thought that attempt to maximize the secular opportunities for self-determination and meaning. So to all the clever communicators out there - sound-bite that and airlift it in.

4/16/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Red River: Well, that is all pretty much true - although a reasonably smart 262 pilot would never get slow enough to have to spool up his engines, except on landing.
One of the biggest problems with the 262 was that control forces were so high that the pilot had a lot of trouble maneuvering at high speed. The control stick had a hinge in it that allowed the pilot to unfold an extra section and gain more leverage. The 262 could not turn as tight as a 51 but it could fly around a larger circle so much faster that the 51 that in a turn they were about equal. Of course, given the jet's short range, they could not do this for very long, and as airspeeds quickly decayed in the turn the 51 got closer to pulling a lead. There was only going to be one outcome unless the jet ran for it early.

4/17/2006 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

An extendible Stick!
Those Krauts sure were clever.
Maybe a'49 Buick should have had a larger diameter steering wheel in reserve.
...I preferred my air-cooled 36 hp behind the rear axle, however.
But I was fearless then.

4/17/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

There's almost zero cases (that I can find) of 51 and 262 dogfighting--the faster plane has the choice to fight or flee, and the 262 was a bomber-killer by design and order. So, the dogfight superiority has no real answer. Gunnery again is problematic, as either plane had a short-burst kill power, and ranging--important againt bombers--wouldn't count for much between two fixed gun forward-firing fighters. The 30 mm cannon shell was explosive and a hit almost anywhere was going to make the target unflyable. The 262 could take some fire and live (it did), nothing could take a 30 mm and survive except if the hit was in a very lucky place. 51 turned out to be a 262-killer via the tactic of staying above the bases and hitting them landing and taking off. Pretty close to apples and oranges in WWII same-generation fighter aircraft, all in all.

4/17/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...

For all you P-51 vs ME-262 posters, read Adolf Gallands WWII memoir "The First and the Last". He had 104 air to air kills against US and the Brits in the ME-109, flew the 262 and commanded a squadron of them (JV-44 "The Squadron of Experts"). Great stuff on flight characteristics, tactics, politics in the Reich, etc.

4/18/2006 02:11:00 PM  

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