Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Usual Suspects

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

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

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

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

Agent Kujon: Do you believe in him, Verbal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Blogger James Kielland said...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8/17/2006 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further, it is easy to underestimate your enemy.

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

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

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

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

And, they paid for it.

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

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

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

[Netanyahu talks about the psychotic enemy]:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What do you make of Wretchard's fable?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International jurists group to probe Israel-Hezbollah conflict

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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

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

Al Reuters

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

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


Okay, have it. Prove me wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

James, James, James,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

8/17/2006 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/17/2006 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

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

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

8/17/2006 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


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

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

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

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

8/17/2006 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

I can handle it james.

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

Here's an equation:

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


"Attacking Pearl Harbor"


"Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Any more questions?

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

wretchard said:

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

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

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

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


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

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

(b) Conquering two nations in the Middle East.

8/17/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Pop answer:

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

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

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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

catorenasci said:

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

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

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

Wretchard, thank you for this post
Re: your fable

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

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

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

Allow me to quote from Kissinger:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Very well done! Thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News about the International Force going to Lebanon:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any questions?

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

Marcus Aurelius:

Will it take the destruction of an entire city?


Jamie Irons

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


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

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

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

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


Your fable presents Bin Laden at his absolute hypnotic best.

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

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

Jamie Irons

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

The Devil himself is a fine hypnotist.

Jamie Irons

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


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

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

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

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

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

Jamie Irons

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


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

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

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

8/17/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...


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

thanks for saying what i have been thinking..

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

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

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

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

Yes israel only killed 500 hezbollah fighters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord Stanley

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Wretchard, thank you for another peerless essay.

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

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

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

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

8/17/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Peter Boston said:

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

You cannot be serious.

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

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

8/17/2006 05:10:58 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Perhaps the brutal Iranian Winter would do us in?

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


re: Carter

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

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

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

Alexis said

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Just learned on Rush that Hollywood 84 had to
In the La Slimes!

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

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


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

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


Washington DC
Home Base for our secret weapon:

Multiple Independently Targeted Arthur Neville Chamberlains

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Semper Fi

8/17/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

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

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

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

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

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


re: Carter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mark said:

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

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

hdgreen said:

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

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

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


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

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

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


re: Good King Wretchard

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

Wretchard's children are many and gifted.

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

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

Talking about the US will to fight:

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

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

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

catorenasci said:

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

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

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

"Courage has not yet stopped a bullet"

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

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

re: Carter, the gift that just keeps giving

luc, Judge Taylor is a Carter appointment.

Who says Dems are not interested in war?

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

Impeach her ass immediately.

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

Hell, impeach other unmentionable areas too!

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


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

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

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

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

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

Anna Diggs, you down w/dat?

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

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

8/17/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8/17/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Oh, too-shay, Ash.

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


re: bunkers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not shay enough to be A shaymed

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

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

8/17/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger K. Pablo said...

Mark, Teresita:

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

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

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

Better go re-read Oriana Fallacci.

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

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

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

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

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


re: Ash and nightmares

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Lament in the Nutmet State Channels Jimmah.

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

Connecticut, the NUTMEG State.

8/17/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

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

Buck Owens, Roy Clark, "Hee Haw"

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

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

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

Sorry for the OT post.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8/17/2006 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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

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

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

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

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

(Deleted Bud said it was cold up there)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

peterboston & catorenasci,

re: The Color Purple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

re: Color Purple

I failed to mention that the USMC, to its undying credit, has not filled its vacancies with gruntairs.

8/17/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trish will be glad to hear that the Patina is rubbing thin on my Bust of Rummy.

8/17/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Equating overhead Nuclear blast with "Precision" air strikes? "
Works for me in some neighborhoods!

8/17/2006 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

cedarford wrote:

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

not to mention 1 or 2 of our beloved youthful soldiers killed, a innocent yankee civi also harmed, and a hundred or two bucks of money added to our national debt. phaaaa, it'll be a piece of cake.

8/17/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger weswinger said...

Late to the party again. . .

Re: Wretchard's Fable

The risk in retaliatory attacks, as in any war, is that the action reduces the attacker to the moral status of the initiator.

See Hiroshima and Dresden (in the sense that they opened a window for the "wet" theologians and philosophers to cry moral equivalence.)

A proportional response "an eye for an eye" is always and everywhere justifiable. Therefore your fable is on point. Part of preparation for the battle ahead of us is to think through strategic alternatives.

Mark's riposte that if and when the Islam culture starts questioning just what engaging the West was supposed to do for them was too good.

The excitable types (you know who you are) should remember that people like the Americans, Brits, and Israelis do not relish war. Our vacillations are proportional to the offenses of the enemy. Each engagement ratchets up the response (thank you, Mark) until the enemies are removed from the field.

Keep the faith. . .

8/17/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

I apologize for the long post and promise not to do another for a long time

“State-Sponsored Terror” is IMHO the only terrorism of any consequence since terror, the tactic used by some people, does not exist in a vacuum; because just like the people that use terror tactics, it exists somewhere, even if it is hidden in somebody’s backyard. Now that backyard is in some state, hence the terrorists are where they are with the state’s knowledge if not actual backing. It is exactly the same reasoning that Israel uses to justify its campaign in Lebanon: Lebanon is responsible for any attacks from its territory.

I fully understand that accepting such reasoning makes a mockery of excusing Pakistan for harboring AQ. Maybe all the mental gymnastics employed not to call a spade a spade have something to do with the questionable will to meet today’s challenges. I am using the term challenges advisedly to distinguish it from the incoming disasters.

While giving one’s life to protect another is one of the highest human achievements, waiting to get hit before dealing with a deadly enemy is not proof of wisdom and courage but a sign of arrogance and stupidity.

What honest person would ask another to get killed because he does not have yet sufficient reason/conviction to strike an enemy? Because this is exactly what refusing to use all means at one’s disposal, yes nukes, means. I am not advocating making Iran and the ME a glass-lined parking lot but a few well placed nukes on strategic rather than population centers might do the trick. If it does not, there is always the opportunity for more radical surgery. Don’t forget we are not yet a MAD stage with Islam and it is MADNESS to wait till we reach that point.

Finally, I have seen it claimed that using nukes is a threshold which should never be passed. Why? There is no moral reason for it, once you accept killing your enemy why quibble about the means?!? For me, there is no more difficult rational decision than that of taking someone else’s life, once the decision is made knife or nuke is the same to me.

8/17/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Transcript of Condoleezza Rice interview

I don't think there is an expectation that this force is going to physically disarm Hezbollah. I think it's a little bit of a misreading of how you disarm a militia. You have to have a plan, first of all, for the disarmament of a militia, and then the hope is that some people lay down their arms voluntarily.

And if they don't?

I'd love to see the communications between Olmert/State/WH.

8/17/2006 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Condi Baby, Sec of State:
" and then the hope is that some people lay down their arms voluntarily. "
Ok boys, Join In:
"We Are the World,
We Are the Children...

8/17/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


re: Lady Colonel

We have one here as well; hard as nails, I have on good report. Of course, the chance of either becoming the Chief of Staff is virtually zero. And that is a shame, because the upper reaches of management could do with a strong dose of testosterone.

For years, the public has been glibly, even arrogantly told, that the Armed Forces are "right sized". This is propaganda.

A problem that is going to hurt the war effort has been little examined outside of professional studies: there is some limit to the amount of times personnel can be deployed into a combat zone without exhausting the force. There is growing concern that such a point is close. No scare mongering intended, it is just a fact that will become evident as the VA budget will eventually reflect. Furthermore, the Army has introduced a mandatory counseling program to address a recent very significant spike in divorce rates. Are you aware that there are large numbers of troops entering the third deployment in Iraq/Afhganistan?

The US has the best troops in the world, but they are not gods. There is no substitute for victory in a reasonable time frame.

8/17/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Next up:
Condi Dances With Mullahs.

8/17/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Peterboston should put up or shut up. He said:

"My mention of air superiority was in response to the 2164th implication that the Iranian military would defeat the US military. I queried how that could happen without Iranian air superiority."

Would the General cut and paste where I said any such thing? I do tire of tough talking, cavalier pundits that are not quite as smart as they think they are, glibly dismissing the incredible and extremely dangerous mission that would involve in an all out war with Iran. Only a fool would be dismissive of the complexity and cost of such a venture.

CatoRenasci rightly pointed out the foolishness of your assertion. I do not know what kind of military career you had, or how good you were, but you are one hell of a tap dancer.

8/17/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yes I am painfully aware of the deployments.
Allen's post describes part of the reason we are where we are.
Mine and Boston's on Condi some of the rest.

8/17/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Peterboston said:

..."you might arrive at the conclusion that the US military would not be unduly troubled smashing whatever Iran could field."

Unduly troubled my lord? Smashing good day we had...

8/17/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Must be August, Touchiness always comes in with the heat & humiditity.

8/17/2006 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


re: Sam Brown belts

Buy a copy of last week's Air Force Times. ;-)

The review committee is not yet planing on bringing back the campaign hat, but who knows. At any rate, the Air Force has been debating uniform regs for at least two years. A decision will be made in about a year.

Talking about supra-orbital-tarsuses.

8/17/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Practice Guidelines for Judge Anna Diggs Taylor
She is a 1950 Graduate of the Northfield School for Girls
This Can't go on Forever, At Least!
Barnyard, Yale,
She wants to meet you at the
Wolverine Bar, Habu:
Better Bring Possumtater.

8/17/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buddy 03:19:51 PM,
I thought that's why they invented AC !

8/17/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Habu, the ruling is under a 'stay' until the 6th circuit hears the appeal, and there appears to be an overwhelming case for overturn--starting with 'standing', which ACLU is going to have to demonstrate to someone besides Anna Diggs Taylor.

8/17/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger just a marine said...

Wretched is good: he attempts to think like the other side (what ever or whoever they are).

Wretched is bad: "Going in harms way" always changes ones' dedication and logic when attempting change. (Being shot at really counts).

Never discount the criminal aspect of most people like Nasrallah. They grew up that way.

Wretched is good: from his position he reads, thinks, and guides.

Wretched is bad: Moral equivalence to an Islamic idealogue or a Guatamalan family seeking the USA is a waste of time. I call it a debasement of families.

Wretched is good: History is being recorded.

8/17/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

doug said:

Isn't it about time that the Belmont Club starts a pool on when Boy Clinton gets his (first) Nobel?

There's a Nobel piece prize now?

8/17/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

doug said:

Teresitas World: Where Wieners Ain't Winners.

Where wieners ain't even contenders.

8/17/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

teresita, reckon he's up for the Pull-It-Sir Prize?

8/17/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pull-It-Sir Piece Prize

8/17/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Starling DH,

Yeah I don't need anymore convincing. Hehehe, thats right, you are a coder! :-)

Anyway by city I certainly mean more than a little burgh or hamlet out in farmland. I am thinking a of a city with the size of 100,000 people or so.

Often times explorers or those engaing in any enterprise burn their bridges, ships, or put it all on the line. This way one never has to be distracted by wondering when to cut the losses and retreat, its, sorry for the cliche, do or die.

Often time in sports teams will lose a lead because they become more concerned about not losing than winning.

I recall at the start of the WOT especially after Saddam's fall from power it was rumored often that many of the leaders of questionable governments started to regard W as crazy. Many commentators said this is not a bad thing. Ask Qaddaffi about that dynamic.

8/17/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"many of the leaders of questionable governments started to regard W as crazy."
Those were the days!

8/17/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

My wife and kid know a guy from Libya that just paid a visit:
Says things are much improved on the streets and beaches are beautiful.
Lose Lebanon, gain Libya?

8/17/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buddy 03:26:22 PM,
People could not longer talk to each other on phone.
Had to fly to see.
- Hewitt Caller found #47 or some such.

8/17/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pull-It-Sir Please Piece Prize.

8/17/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


8/17/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

The very liberal Rick Moran of Right Wing Nut House has up a devastating opinion piece naming Dr. Condorlezzaa Rice. I say devastating, but that will, of course, depend on objectivity.


___And the blame for this must rest squarely on the shoulders of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

___Rice penned a dishonest Op-Ed in today’s Washington Post where she not only tries to spin her way out of trouble but also misstates several key parts of the cease fire agreement

___And if she actually believes some of the tripe she has written, perhaps that is reason enough, along with the fact that she may have lost the confidence of the President, for her to resign.

___Either the Secretary has blinders on or she is being deliberately disingenuous and perhaps dishonest.
___In her Op-Ed, Rice is all over the map regarding the disarmament of Hizbullah.

___And despite her obvious spinning and outright dishonesty in putting the best face on the outcome, the fact is that Resolution 1701 – recognizing as it does a terrorist group as a legitimate combatant

Dr. Rice’s removal would offer comfort were it not for the fact that she will be replaced by someone like Mr. McCormick or Mr. Burns. John Bolton will not be even in the running.

8/17/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


You scoffed at my assertion that the US military could smash anything that Iran could field.

I challenged you to explain how either: (a) Iran would gain air superiority, or (b) defeat the US military without it.

That challenge remains open. Would seem to me that if you can't put up you should shut up.

8/17/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Doug, that's the claim, alright. But precedent will call for it to be 'reasonable'--as in, where are the 'harmed' people in similar situations that did *not* set-themselves up with "needed flights"?

8/17/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

ACLU basically went ambulance-chasing to find some activist plaintiffs in the right "judge-shopped" jurisdiction. The objective is not to "win" a meritless case, but to provide talking-points to anti-war candidates in the upcomings. ACLU might as well be part of Hez International.

8/17/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


Yes, my wife (a Jew, and a strong supporter of Israel) caught that change, too. Somehow she is still able to listen to NPR and read the NYT (I have been able to do neither since shortly after 9/11), but at least she did notice this good news in a possible shift in NPR attitudes.

We'll see.

jamie Irons

8/17/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Trish, and that ain't hay!

8/17/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

There are rumors that North Korea is ready to carry out an undergraund nuclear test. No further comment from me is needed...

8/17/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Needed Flights"
Aren't Terrorist/Symps rights to free travel guaranteed in the living Constitution?
(Or maybe it is in Euro Aux Edition?)

"ACLU might as well be part of Hez International. "
I like GOP Re-election Campaign Staff Better.
Theme Song for 06 and 08 to portray Dems:
"There Ain't no Good Guys,
There Ain't no Bad Guys,
There's only We and Thee,
And We Can All Agree!"
Praise Allah!

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

Mind if I ask how your wife happened to hit Terra Firma for the first time in China?
(Pulls firmly and Stretches Gravity of Geological Link.)

8/17/2006 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Doug, the Hollywood 84--no more Bruised Will-less and Dhimmi More ?

8/17/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

In a Senior Moment of Weakness,
I got Verclempt thinking about em.
Think How Easy it would be to love them, Warts and all, if they were all just on our side!
...kinda like WWII.

8/17/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think I would still keep my distance from Liza Minnelli, tho, just to be safe.

8/17/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...speaking of warts.

8/17/2006 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What's the Plural of Sinus?
(I'm just nosy)

8/17/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


My mother, may she rest in peace, was born in China.

My wife was born in southern California. She's a surfer girl (and I wouldn't let you within 10 kilometers of her!).


Jamie Irons

8/17/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

The incomparable Jules Crittenden avers (and we agree), however, Nicole Kidman is hot...

Jamie Irons

8/17/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


8/17/2006 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

While Wretchard is on this kick I have to share the following with you all: Our nation is tops when it comes to technological prowess but in our quest for technology we have left our souls behind. We have all this super weaponry but not the will to use them. We have a large army, nuclear weapons, top of the line tactical weapons. However, the people we are fighting in this war on terror have us marked as paper tigers and I am afraid they are not too far off of the mark. May 3, 2006 Blogger Beer.

I hope we are hibernating tigers and not paper tigers. I like to think we are just hibernating, but I would rather know than think.

Solzhenitsyn's speech is a veritable treasure trove of deep thought. The most troubling part is while the speech clearly condemns the vision of Islamic fascism it is hardly embracing of the blind materialism exemplified by many in the US and (imo proportionally more so) in Europe.

There is that old cliche that the winner in the rat race is still a rat and that is what I get out of Solzhenitsyn's speech. We live for higher purpose than the service of ourselves.

8/17/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Israel vs Hizbollah: Round Two:

It is hard to imagine that the Hizbollah will resist the temptation to attack all the easy targets that Mr Olmert has now given it in southern Lebanon. It is inconceivable that either the Lebanese army (itself mostly Shia) or the French and Italians (the core of the proposed peace-keeping force) will try to fight their way into southern Lebanon on Israel's behalf.

There is the potential here for Israel's first serious operational defeat since the 1948 war.

Round 2

8/17/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's OK, Jamie:
Sonia would steal her from me anyhow!

8/17/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If I could write, that's what I woulda wrote!

8/17/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

achilles jones,

re: Israel killing Hamas

I must quibble a point or two.

1) Israel cherry picks a bad guy here and there, although recently it has begun mechanized farming.

2) Israel has thousands of killers and other assorted scum in jail (all of whom give excuse for the kidnapping of folk like the Fox crew).

3) A terrorist a day (that would be anyone with a weapon of any sort) keeps terrorism away.

Has anyone ever told you that you are Faulkian hot.

8/17/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Malkin speech at Young America's Foundation

8/17/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Marcus 06:21:07 PM,
For once I did not join with the nitpickers in the previous thread.
I mean it was 78, and he does have a thing or two to say.

8/17/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thanks for that Sam.
Would that we might all be so effortlessly courageous.
May La Raza Die of Dysentery!
I join her in donning the red badge of Nativism!

8/17/2006 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Unusual Suspects
(to some)
William F Buckley and the WSJ

8/17/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Someone here, many moons ago, mildly chastised me for using the word “chaff” in reference to “moderate” Muslims. Please, go to LGF and see the face of Islam. Sometimes words fail, but G-d damn them to Hell, ALL of them, comes to mind.

Desecration of Israeli Bodies by Lebanese Villagers

8/17/2006 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


I was following up until the time Michelle reaches up to toss her hair in the air…

I pretty much lost my train of thought at that point.

Lawrence on August 17, 2006 at 12:18 PM

8/17/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mmm, It was a very good year.
"When I was 21,
I humped an M-14..."

8/17/2006 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(That's humped as in transported)

8/17/2006 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I heard a story that Syria threated the French with an incident similar to the 1983 Marine Barracks Bombing.

So it appears theyw will send a few men there to sip sweet mint tea...just like Joe Wilson.

The Italians are still saying they will send some 3000 or so, we'll see.

In the end the policy with respect the Hezbolalahs seems to be don't ask don't tell.

8/17/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Differently Abled Nocturnal"
Will do just fine, next time, Whit.

8/17/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cutting down Emissions.

8/17/2006 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How that little punk country gets away with so much, I'll never understand.

8/17/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

French Anti-semitism

8/17/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Puzzle of New War:

Our strategic opportunity is now in the in-between. It may be all we have left, but it is not inconsiderable.

If we cannot exterminate whole communities, then we must persuade their people to come over to us: by going over to them and developing relationships. But we should also be mindful that, as long as they command New War, these will never be relationships on our terms.

New War

8/17/2006 07:30:00 PM  

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