Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday reading

Some stuff worth reading.

Nothing follows.


Blogger Teresita said...

Who owns the Vietnam War?

Not these famous chickenhawks, who all found ways to skate out of serving:

Dick Cheney
Karl Rove
Paul Wolfowitz
Bill Bennett
Rush Limbaugh
Bill O'Reilly
Sean Hannity
John Bolton
Tony Snow
Alan Keyes
Newt Gingrich
Bob Dornan
Dan Quayle
Pat Robertson
George Will
Dennis Miller
Ted Nugent
Michael "Savage" Weiner
Matt Drudge

12/16/2007 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Off topic: My wife is South African. My family and I have been to Southern Africa more times than I like (the place is dangerous). Mainly because of the family connection, I try to monitor South African politics.

Nelson Mandela was a competent leader (I actually saw him once in Capetown). Thabo Mbeki was no where near as competent as Mandela but much better than your typical Africa leader (I'm damning Mbeki with faint praise). However this new guy (Jacob Zuma) who is coming up to replace Mbeki is a disaster. Zuma is effectively a Robert Mugabe clone. Zuma is a criminal who has committed rape and been involved in extensive corruption (typical Africa politician). Zuma is also a classic communist demagogue appealing to the impoverished uneducated masses of South Africa.

This situation with Zuma is shaping up to be a replay of what Mugage did to Zimbabwe.

The collapse of South Africa as a modern state will have terrible implications for the rest of Africa. South Africa is one of the few nations in sub-Sahara Africa that actually functions like a modern state. South Africa also serves as the economic locomotive pulling along many of the other nations in Southern Africa. I find it amazing that an obvious villan like Zuma will be allowed to wreck the lives of millions of people.

12/16/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Re "famous chickenhawks". The split between veterans/nonveterans both Republican and Democrat is almost exactly the same if you take the Senate as a sample. Robert Kaplan argues that the increasing divide between the "intellectual elite" and anything military is effectively creating two separate classes.

According to Marine Maj. General Michael Lehnert, nine Princeton graduates in the class of 2006 entered the military, compared to 400 in 1956, when there was a draft. Some Ivy League schools had no one enter the military last year. Only one member of the Stanford graduating class had a parent in the military.

Nor do our top schools encourage recruitment. In fact, they often actively discourage it, as may be reckoned by the number of elite campuses from which ROTC is banned ... at the 2006 Stanford commencement ceremony, Maj. General Lehnert, whose son was the lone graduating student from a military family, was struck by how many of the other parents had never even met a member of the military before he introduced himself.

If that trend continues, then soon every Stanford graduate who says on national defense issues will be some kind of "chickenhawk". But what will such a term mean in the context of a society where the intellectual elite has consciously chosen to treat the military profession as distasteful?

12/16/2007 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Wretchard said:

"If that trend continues, then soon every Stanford graduate who says on national defense issues will be some kind of "chickenhawk". But what will such a term mean in the context of a society where the intellectual elite has consciously chosen to treat the military profession as distasteful?"

I've long thought that the US Constitution should be amended such that only people who have served in combat be allowed to run as US President. However such an amendment is certainly impractical and would become an extreme liability if the nation ever went through a long period without war.

John McCain's proven valor in Vietnam along with his intelligence are among the reasons why I think he would make a good US President. Unfortunately I don't think McCain will even get through the Republican primaries. I'm hoping that Giuliani will come out on top even though I would prefer McCain.

Unfortunately it's all a rather quixotic exercise since Hillary almost certainly has it in the bag (ignore the MSM!).

12/16/2007 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Eggplant: John McCain's proven valor in Vietnam along with his intelligence are among the reasons why I think he would make a good US President.

That and his stand against the use of torture by the CIA (the army already has to obey their interrogations manual). Since the Surge seems to be actually paying off, his unwavering support for it doesn't look like the dealbreaker it did just a few months ago. But we are too close to February 5, and he won't be able to pull it out, unless Huckabee and Romney take each other out in the next few weeks and Giuliani continues to goes down in a flaming ball of scandal. My best bet is that it will be Romney vs. Clinton, but only after both of them get the scare of their lives in the early races.

12/16/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger antithaca said...

The "chickenhawk" meme is so tiresome and bankrupt...

BTW: Another "chickenhawk" who led the country, unwittingly, into a war?

Mr. Roosevelt's War,9171,849358,00.html

12/16/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Here is a link to the New York Review of Book’s article on Generation Kill combined with One Bullet Away, The Making of a Marine Officer. The author, Nathaniel Fick, commanded the platoon that Evan Wright, the author of Generation Kill, was embedded in.

12/16/2007 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Generation Kill is the Millennial Generation.

The last Millennial Generation is the one we now euphemistically call ‘The Greatest Generation’.

The great generals and admirals during WWII were the GenXers.

The great leaders (Churchill, Roosevelt, Hitler, Stalin, Tojo) were the Boomers.

Who fits the categories now?

12/16/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

From Kaplan's Article:

Per Von Clausewitz: In affairs so dangerous as war, false ideas proceeding from kindness of heart are precisely the worst. . . . The fact that slaughter is a horrifying spectacle must make us take war more seriously, but not provide an excuse for gradually blunting our swords in the name of humanity. Sooner or later someone will come along with a sharp sword and hack off our arms.

Our fear of collateral civilian fatalities—especially in the face of an enemy that relishes inflicting them—is a serious inhibitor and impediment to victory. So long as Islam treats Infidels as an animal life form we must not be above such sentiments ourselves. Muslims must be made to understand that permitting themselves such arrogance as they seek to impose Islam upon the West carries a severe price tag.

Without any evident stabilizing belief system, the global media’s spiritual void has been partially filled by a resentment against the United States—the embodiment of unruly modernization and raw political and military power that the global citizens of the media detest. And so it is that the video camera—“that insatiable accomplice of the terrorist”, in Peters’ words—becomes the “cheap negation” of American military technology.

For this, the Mainstraem Media has much to answer for. At nearly every turn they have voluntarily furnished terrorists and political Islam with a multi-million dollar podium known as network broadcast airtime. Were their reporting more balanced it might be a different matter but it most certainly is not. In this lopsided coverage of the Global War on Terrorism, they have become distinct accomplices. The al-Dura media fabrication represents the height of this "fake but accurate" sort of journalism. The New Republic's sordid dalliance with Private Scott Beauchamp is another example of such partisan sabotage. Finally, Dan Rather's attempts to throw the 2004 Presidential election should go down in history and the beginning of the end for Mainstream Media's credibility.

Contrast this with the fact that, at the 2006 Stanford commencement ceremony, Maj. General Lehnert, whose son was the lone graduating student from a military family, was struck by how many of the other parents had never even met a member of the military before he introduced himself.

In the past several years I have made it a habit to express personal thanks to American soldiers and veterans whenever I meet them in public. I can only hope that others here do the same. While the pleasantly shocked expressions I sometimes receive in return from our warriors is gratifying, it is also a sorry indictment of just how little the American public appreciates those who are first to put themselves in harm's way.

Liberal democratic societies have commonly been defended by conservative military establishments whose members may lack the social graces of the cosmopolitan classes they protect. Such a conservative American military now has a particularly thankless task, however. Much of what it does abroad is guarding sea lanes and training troops of fledgling democracies, helping essentially to provide the security armature for an emerging global civilization. But the more that civilization evolves—with its own mass media, non-governmental organizations and professional class—the less credit and sympathy it grants to the American troops who at times risk their lives for it.

This crap's gotta change. Countries that receive our financial and military support had bloody well start coming up with a substantial quid pro effing quo. Egypt is a sterling example of BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars being flushed down the Islamic toilet. Either we get palpable cooperation in fighting Islamic terrorism of these countries should be denied all support, even in the form of disaster relief and emergency aid.

“Decadence” is the essential condition of “a society which believes it has evolved to the point where it will never have to go to war.” By eliminating war as a possibility, “it has nothing left to fight and sacrifice for, and thus no longer wants to make a difference.”

This is the ultimate pimpslap for America's decadent democratic party. In their strident opposition to war and constant appeasement of this nation's absolute worst enemies, they no longer have any political relevance. I can only hope that the next election cycle drives this home in spades.

12/16/2007 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Dewage said...

mike said...
The "chickenhawk" meme is so tiresome and bankrupt...

Robert Kaplan touches briefly on a longer term theme, what will happen to the country when elitist disdain for JOINING the military simultaneously puts increasing demands ON the military? Well, you're going to end up with a military caste as an underclass Lorded over by Chickenhawks sending them off to fight wars for a country whose fundamental reason for being no longer really exists.

An isolated, lower caste, military sent to protect the welfare of an aristocracy is pretty much the standard definition of "pre-insurrection".

mike said:

BTW: Another "chickenhawk" who led the country, unwittingly, into a war?

Mr. Roosevelt's War

If Dubya is successful in stopping Iran from possessing nuclear weapons, his Administration will be viewed by history as more successful than FDR's. Bush II will have been successful in stopping his Axis of Evil from starting a World War. If FDR could have stopped Italy, then German, then finally Japan during his first two terms, WWII would likely never have been fought.

WWII was a colossal failure of dipolmacy by FDR and the rest of the western civ appeasers who currently oppose our chickenhawks.

12/16/2007 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

It is possible that present dangerous times will stabilize and war will go away. Possible, but not likely. Where does that leave elites who are above patriotism and beyond violence, even in self-defence?

"Middle Eastern countries must find alternative domestic energy supplies that keep the lights on, keep the peace and create jobs. No other alternative can do as much as nuclear energy does, at least for the present time. Thanks to Iran, several Arab countries are looking at nuclear seriously. Egypt has taken the first step; it announced last month that it is going nuclear."

12/16/2007 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...


Your Chickenhawk theme is extremely old and unbelievably boring. Regardless, you included quite a few who were too young or too old to count anyway – I mean Sean Hannity was 7 years old in 1968 and Bill Bennett was 36. Matt Drudge was two years old. What is your draft age range? From 2 to 60 years old or something. Very impressive list. Yup…

How many of these folks were militant activists that spit in the face of our military?

My best guess would be zero.

How bout smoking dope and posing on an enemy anti-aircraft battery?

Again zero.

How bout voting for senatorial clowns that vote against funding valuable weapons programs.

Try zero.

Certainly we should reinstitute the draft. Then we should draft a reasonable chunk of draft age citizens – say 10% - to fight this Global War on Terror. That would be about seven million men a year. The DOD budget would then be about $1.5 Trillion per year.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

12/16/2007 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

FDR a chickenhawk???

He had polio folks.

The only way he could have fought in WWI would have been if we were fighting to the final death on our soil.

Lincoln - maybe...

Regardless, not many were denegrated for not volunteering in the Spanish American War - were they. How about the Indian Wars. How bout the French Indian War. Vietnam.

But imagine bailing on the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War II. Our enemies will ensure this conflict is more like these than those.

12/16/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Boghie: Certainly we should reinstitute the draft. Then we should draft a reasonable chunk of draft age citizens – say 10% - to fight this Global War on Terror.

The military draft is literally slavery, enforced at the point of a gun. The strategy to fight the Global War on Terror is to spread democracy in places that have never experienced freedom. In order to spread freedom throughout the world, we must ourselves become a nation that accepts slavery. What's wrong with this picture?

12/16/2007 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ditto to Boghie on the whole Chickenhawk crap. The Dems started it
and their heroes from that conflict are Al the reporter for Stars and Stripes Gore, John PX warrior Kerry and Tom who lied about combat Harkin.
I'd say those who own it are a few million guys who willingly or as conscripts went and served.
I don't believe the protesters own it. Short of a few Quakers and other gentle souls; most of the antiwar crowd were cowards or just in it for the girls and dope.Plenty of post war blood on their hands.
Can't prove it but I bet most Viet Nam combat veterans vote Republican
and support our current efforts. I know I do.

12/16/2007 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...


My point is that a draft today would be stupid. We cannot even begin to use the manpower and resources we could bring to bear in a Total War situation.

As far as a draft being slavery me thinks not.

How many enslaved Americans fought in WWII? I keep seeing veterens of 'The Greatest Generation' on the History Channel. They do not look like they just shook lose from the chains.

You use a draft when the situation warrents it.

12/16/2007 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

By the way...

Is it just me or are the 'Culture Wars' starting again?

This time with an undercurrent that is far less tolerant, far more divisive, and significantly less rhetorical. Maybe more actionable. Maybe more violent.

Is our generations greatest conflict to be internal?

Generation Kill timed with internal strife.

Not a good thought

12/16/2007 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Boghie: But imagine bailing on the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War II. Our enemies will ensure this conflict is more like these than those.

Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, and Harrison were all Republicans who served in the Civil War and they kept from getting into further tussles. (Grover Cleveland the Democrat hired a replacement to avoid the Draft). Wilson never served in the military, so of course he got us mixed up in the War to End All Wars. Ike saw the horrors of WWII and when he was elected President he quickly ended our combat operations in Korea. Nixon was an officer in the Navy supply system in WWII and he ended our combat operations in Vietnam, but not so quickly. Bush-41 was a Navy pilot in WWII who got shot down, and when he went to War in Kuwait it was with overwhelming force and a clear exit strategy.

The trend line seems to be the more combat a President sees the less the chance of him picking fights with someone. Now going by the stories of the knock-down-drag-outs between Hillary and Bill in the White House, we can expect to see Hillary usher in a golden age of world peace.

12/16/2007 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...


While I am not completely sold on their generational theory of progress I think Stauss and Howe in 'The Fourth Turning' has something to say on why we act the way we do at different times.

Their theory is a bit stretched for the American Civil War. Basically, we pass through culture changing events every fourth generation (60 - 80 year marks). We are now in such a time zone - almost 80 years from the Great Depression and 63 years from the end of WWII. The other leaders you mention were not in the fighting zone - and, they were not brought up to espouse grand, culture changing ideas.

Now that I am writing this we might be nearing the end of such an epoch. I forgot that the Great Depression was part of the previous Fourth Turning. Maybe the culture wars will resolve with a whimper. I can hear Pelosi and Reid crying right now. Does anyone else out there find the ‘vibrant’ 60’s to be as important to history as 70’s pop music? Elements yes. But those elements were not part of the counter-culture. Is that a good thing?

12/16/2007 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Who owns the Vietnam War? Well as Mr. Herman explains very well but never gets around to saying right out, there are at least TWO Vietnam wars to “own.”

There is the one owned by the Left, in which the U.S. fought vainly, brutally, and inappropriately against a small bank of Vietnamese patriots in black pajamas, armed with sharp sticks and a few AK-47’s.

The is the one owned by the Right, in which the military found itself chained down by ridiculous constraints of the “the Air Force can’t bomb an outhouse without my personal approval” type and lost as a result.

Then there is Reality, in which the Viet Cong were virtually wiped out by plans put forth by their Northern “brothers” and which a negotiated peace was broken as a result of a massive NVA invasion and the actions of a few traitors in the West supported by a large number of dumb, self-obsessed bigoted idiots. While the USSR and PRC looked on and said “Keeerap! They can fly a hundred B-52’s grouped together in WWII style attack right thorough the best designed air defenses. If they tried it one at a time and with nukes, we would be toast!”

As for the American Elites joining the military – I really don’t give a crap. In fact, I don’t want them there. But as we had posted on the wall of one military organization I belonged to “Lead, Follow, or Get the Hell Out of the Way.” Yes, and don’t bother with try to Lead.

And Zenster: Thanks for the Thanks. I recall walking into National Airport in uniform in 1991and having a woman walk up to me and say “Are you just back from the Persian Gulf?” I had to admit “No, actually I’m on my way to Cape Canaveral.” She replied “Well, it’s good to see you out here, anyway.” And then there was the guy at the top of the escalator at the Pentagon the morning after Desert Storm concluded, saying to us “Thank you sir, thank you for a job well done in the Persian Gulf.” Kind of embarrassing, really – but a whole hell of a lot better than rushing home after work to change your uniform so you won’t have to wear it in public.

12/16/2007 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

The problem for the left is that they cut off funding to South Viet Nam after our troops were already out and after we had promised to give them the tools they needed to defend themselves. So the Left forced us to break a solemn promise and lose a war. After the cut off of funds to the South, the North took that as a signal to invade. American defeat was a Policy choice made by the Democratic Congress, class of '74. Why aren't they proud of it?

Those North Vietnamese tank columns that poured south would have been slaughtered if the US Navy and Air Force were allowed in the fight.

Even if we had just provided the South with the material we had promised and they lost the war, at least we would not have cut them off at the knees.

In Iraq we may see that following through and keeping our promises can lead to Victory. Look for the Left to be desperate to loose. Problem is, once Iraq has a professional army up and running, they'll have the oil revenue to keep it equipped. The Left needs us to loose fast -- or we risk not losing at all. Remember, they think losing makes us a better country.

12/16/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

To all,

Can anyone remember a 'Grand Ideals' speech by a Democrat - in color...

I means, on color TV.

The 'Malaise Speech' doesn't count.

I think we should demand a 'victory speech' from Ted Kennedy on the Vietnam War. He helped us, the Vietnamese, and the others in the region to lose. That could easily be the topic of a memorable speech.

12/16/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Boghie asked:
Is our generations greatest conflict to be internal?

It already is.

Today's politically-active minority is overwhelmingly left-wing, and increasingly removed from normal Americans. (That was hinted at, but not emphasized, in Kaplan's piece). But at present this is a conflict with only one side -- the left-wingers. There is no organized oppostion, and hence no blood in the gutters yet.

Some day, the left-wingers will push things too far -- they always do -- and they will energize a genunine opposition (maybe from within the military??). Then we will see the next round of the long-running US internal conflict -- which started all the way back in Revolutionary times and continued right through the Vietnam era home front.

12/16/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Teresita -- John McCain is a study in wartime courage and peacetime cowardice.

McCain wants/needs the approval of the media (the most dangerous place to be in DC is between McCain and a camera).

He wants lower-level CIA interrogators to "throw themselves under the bus" to interrogate people like KSM and Zubidayah to stop plots and save American lives. And wants the credit for that. And then moralize, placate his pals in the press, and prosecute the CIA interrogators. Who even as McCain and others like Pelosi were pressing them to be aggressive, rightly feared that as soon as the danger was (wrongly) perceived to be over would turn on them as scapegoats.

McCain lacks the political courage to say: "It is so important for us to be morally pure that I am willing to sacrifice the lives of ordinary people, and even American cities, to be morally pure and 'better' than the enemy."

Because that is political suicide. It puts the Politico's career and press-currying above the lives of ordinary people. Though it would be honest.

McCain lacks the courage to say the other: "I put the lives and cities of America FIRST and will authorize and take full responsibility for any action to save them. American lives are worth more than the enemies. Full stop."

Because that would put him at odds with the Press who's coverage he needs like an addict needs a fix.

Some San Diego Congressman who's name I forget was (IIRC the only air ace) in Vietnam. It may have been Randy "Duke" Cunningham. His personal bravery was beyond reproach that day, he made ace. Far braver than I (for example). He also was involved in much bribery and corruption and pleaded guilty to kickback schemes.

Personal bravery on the battlefield is no indicator of political bravery. Nor is battlefield experience something that leads to avoidance of war. Truman was an artillery officer in WWI, and dropped the bomb on Japan and fought the Korean War. Ike maintained the MAD deterrence system and built up the Triad of nuke submarines, ICBMs, and Strategic Air. Lincoln fought the Civil War, and PT Boat vet JFK almost started a global nuclear war with the USSR over Cuba.

Moreover the fundamental assumptions that many make here are IMHO flawed.

We are likely after Iraq (and Afghanistan) NOT to use conventional military forces. Our soldiers lives, any American lives, are not worth the enemies is the calculation that Liberals and Leftists along with the populist urge have succeeded in establishing among the people.

Nor is the global war of Islam against America over. In LA the local jihadis here were sentenced for the plot to shoot up synagoges and federal offices. They spread and will continue to spread Jihad through the Prison systems. Distributed Jihad uncentralized means say, a plot using hijacked chartered jets out of regional airports to simultaneously attack a football or baseball stadium and kill 20,000 people or more could easily happen, beneath the notice of police, and without contact formally to AQ. Such an attack might, and a nuclear truck bomb WOULD trigger a Jacksonian response.

Simply start killing the world's 1 billion Muslims until they stop attacking us. It is the Andrew Jackson solution. Remarkably ugly but effective.

The culture war is merely the wider expression of the struggle over how to respond to Jihad. The nobility, the royalty, the upper-class Liberals, want control over the people and have when pressed admitted that ordinary people's lives matter less to them than moral purity (luxury goods for the terminally bored and rich). Meanwhile the ordinary person seethes with resentment at being told he is too stupid, morally impure, and lower-class to amount to anything and must do as he's told. Whether it's drink a nice cold glass of Rat Milk (Heather Mills) or two squares of toilet paper in the bathroom (Sheryl Crow).

Overlaid on this as well is the male-female divide. Women love hierarchy, nobility, royalty, fashion, caste systems, and will invent ones where none exists (Oprah, Jackie Kennedy, Obama, the global fascination with Princess Di). It is not surprising that women love Obama as he is the modern inheritor of the JFK "King" mantle and Hillary! a dowdy nag in comparison. Meanwhile likely most men rightly figure that Obama = royalty with themselves as the peasants. And want the return of Andrew Jackson.

IMHO it will be the JFK-royalty of Obama vs. whoever can impersonate Andrew Jackson the best for Reps. With the age old tension of elitism vs. populism playing out in America. We are about due for a populist revolt and I expect one.

12/16/2007 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

rwe, the gratitude is all mine. I was fortunate enough to be able to make some Cold War contributions to the Stealth and Star Wars programs but did not serve in the military. Even veterans who never fired a shot or shipped out still have my gratitude.

whiskey_199: McCain lacks the courage to say the other: "I put the lives and cities of America FIRST and will authorize and take full responsibility for any action to save them. American lives are worth more than the enemies. Full stop."

It astounds me that people are willing to compare what went on at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo with the sort of torture our enemies have indulged in. Mc Cain should damn well know this, too. The North Vietnamese fed him and other POWs rice with tiny white pebbles mixed into it so that they would crack their teeth if they did not eat with the utmost caution. The Viet Cong would break bones and intentionally not reset them. They would leave minor illnesses untreated and steal the Red Cross care packages.

When prisoners at Abu Ghraib found out that the prison was being turned over to Iraqi custodians they begged the Americans to come back.

The communist gulags bore witness to tortures almost unimaginable to modern minds. Long after an individual was broken mentally, the duress would continue with drugs or physical injury for the sheer enjoyment of it. Torture continued long after it served no earthly purpose.

Now, compare this to the waterboarding of KSM. He lasted, what? Three minutes? Maybe five? KSM himself complained that the most humiliating thing about his interrogation was not the waterboarding itself but that it was conducted with a woman present.

Finally, when KSM broke, WE STOPPED. A few minutes of intense panic and physical discomfort ended with his cooperation. Anyone who tries to conflate this sort of harsh interrogation with the abominations Islamists inflict upon human beings using power drills, industrial shredders, hammers and gang rape has a demagnetized moral compass.

Simply start killing the world's 1 billion Muslims until they stop attacking us. It is the Andrew Jackson solution. Remarkably ugly but effective.

When the West finally summons up the moral determination and functioning survival instinct to do this, only then will we turn a corner in defeating Islam. Until then it will be a war of slow atrittion and totally unnecessary losses. To date, this is all our political elite are willing to accept. Especially so in light of how their own children do not serve and they have private or military jets to fly wherever they want.

Srdja Trifkovic sums it up rather concisely:

The elite class has every intention of continuing to “fight” the war on terrorism without naming the enemy, without revealing his beliefs, without unmasking his intentions, without offending his accomplices, without expelling his fifth columnists, and without ever daring to win. Their crime can and must be stopped. The founders of the United States overthrew the colonial government for offenses far lighter than those of which the traitor class is guilty.

12/16/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Zenster: We must never forget that our enemies torture for propaganda purposes - to produce statements admitting guilt and for similar purposes. We must never forget that our enemies torture for their own pleasure - or just for the hell of it.

Our reaction to this is that we know it is happening and discount anything that our POWS say, knowing that it was the result ot torture and threats.

A retired officer friend of mine said he was sitting talking with a former Vietnam POW some years ago when there was a knock on the door - it was another former POW. The men hugged each other and kissed on the cheek and then explained to my friend that this was how they welcomed each other back from torture. It meant "No matter what they did to you and no matter what they made you do, all is forgiven." My friend could hardly tell me about this incident without breaking into tears.

Another friend of mine was a POW of the Nazis in WWII. He escaped, was recaptured, and they confined him to solitary for a while, then periodically brought him out sat him down, said "Poor fellow, look at you." gave him something to drink and a cigarette and then, suddenly without warning, would punch him, hard. They were not even asking anything, just beating him up in the most harmful manner possible. He knew nothing of use to them, but they did not care.

The problem with comparing what is done to our people with what we do to captured terrorists is not just the degree of "torture" allowed. It is not even the fact that they are not members of a recognized armed force following our rules of war, but that we take no pleasure in our task. We do it only to gather information that will enable us to repond appropriately to their unique form of warfare.

Intent does count. If it does not, then a surgeon who loses a patient is the same as Jack The Ripper.

12/16/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Sloat said...

Boghie: FDR got polio in 1921, after the war. The reason the "chickenhawk" argument is stupid in relation to him is that he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy for the duration of the war(not to mention 35-36 years old, which is, I believe, deeper into the manpower pool than the US really needed to go in WW1), not because he avoided military service.

12/16/2007 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

Wow, some thoughts on the reading of the articles..., but first.

Wasn't Captain Lincoln of the Illinois militia, involved in the Black Hawk wars? Not a very sterling stint of service (I think there was a courts martial involved for an unkempt and rowdy bunch of frontiersmen), but service none the less.

FDR was, beyond being an avid sailor, Secretary of the Navy, and no doubt would have been in a flag officer at some level, had not polio reduced, or forced a broadening, of his choice of career paths.

Still up to and including the Greatest Generation, ours was a mainly agrarian society, familiar with the cycles of life and necessity of death. As their kids were suckled on slurpees and conditioned to asphalt and snowplows, we have a greater distance to overcome in facing killing and death, much less in coming to grips with it.

It is no wonder that rural folks make better soldiers faster as a general rule, they not only have most of the skill sets required but have the moral part mostly figured out. That too, is one of the lessons of Vietnam to which a solution is being applied.

Still war is not pretty, and killing ought never be just for fun. Which is why most combat vets I know teach their children to know and respect a gun, not fear them nor hold weapons in awe (then they lock the guns up). It is a comforting confidence to know your kids aren't likely to shoot up the neighborhood, as well as know they can feed themselves and why.

It is foolishness to conclude that knowledge of martial arts is the reason for martial behavior, a short step to -we study war therefor we make war. The reasons for going to war, or using a weapon is always key to living with yourself after the smoke has cleared. No free man having witnessed the carnage, or wrestled internally over the facts of war, would eagerly embark on another. But, when required, he will fight. Intent matters, a lot.

Today the war fought in the press, especially tv, has a lot of culpability in creating new myths about America's ineptitude. They have not the space to deal with the issues as these three articles do.

A common theme in all three articles is the distance from one group or set of ideas to reality. There is also divide between the folks we ask to wage war and we who ask. That divide must be narrowed. Like it or not there is a time to every purpose under heaven and that "MF Priest" needs to understand it just as much as those Stanford grads.

12/16/2007 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Chuck Norris on God, Jesus, and the 2nd Amendment.

"Sometimes it's love, sometimes it's Smith and Wesson."

The words of a dead man get modified in the guts of the living.

12/17/2007 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...


12/17/2007 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The loss of a warrior mentality and the rise of universal values seem to be features of all stable, Western-style middle-class democracies.

Although the loss of warrior mentality seems verifiable in the West the so called rise in universal values is a self deception. For one, there is no such thing as "universal values." Even the briefest scan of the course of human history reveals that universal values have never existed and probably never will exist.

The differences between the relationships of man-man, man-state, and man-god in the Muslim world, China, and Europe, for example, are wide and unbridgeable. From where does Kaplan get his sense of universal values unless he too is swooned by the empty feel-goodedness of multiculturalism?

The closest we humans have come to universal values are the philosophical threads woven together from the ancient Eastern religions, the Greek stoics, and the earliest Christian writers, like Augustine, who searched for and found the commonality among them. What C.S. Lewis calls the Tao, or more appropriately the G-d, God, god that today's secularists are attacking most vehemently.

12/17/2007 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger Judyke said...

We saw this coming a mile away.

Putin Says He'll Be Prime Minister

12/17/2007 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Judyke said...

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's president said on Sunday the publication of a U.S. intelligence report saying Iran had halted a nuclear weapons program in 2003 amounted to a "declaration of surrender" by Washington in its row with Tehran.

12/17/2007 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Judyke said...

Putin rival held in psychiatric ward 'to prevent him protesting against government'

Because protesting against Putin would be crazy!

12/17/2007 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

does a surgeon need to be operated on in order to become a good surgeon? i guess only if they need to explain what its like to be operated on. would this be of benefit to the patient or not?

12/17/2007 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Judyke said:

"Iran's president said on Sunday the publication of a U.S. intelligence report saying Iran had halted a nuclear weapons program in 2003 amounted to a "declaration of surrender" by Washington in its row with Tehran."

I wonder why Ahmadinejad likes to make these provocative statements? It's as if he wants to have a war with the US.

If his goal was simply to build a nuclear weapon and then use it for a surprise attack against Israel or to achieve hegemony in the Persian gulf then his best strategy would be to stay quiet until he has the weapon in hand. Instead he keeps making these stupid press statements.

It's difficult to imagine this sort of stupidity carrying much weight with Iran's unwashed masses (maybe there is something subtle about Iran's ignorant poor). Essentially the guy is attacking from a position of known weakness. Doesn't make much sense.

12/17/2007 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Judyke said...

Eggplant, if he affirms the NIE to make the case that America has "surrendered" then he has no nukes and Hezbollah is left out there in Lebanon twisting in the wind. If he denies the NIE he makes Israel's case for the USA to reevaluate the intel.

12/17/2007 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Judyke said:

"if he affirms the NIE to make the case that America has "surrendered" then he has no nukes and Hezbollah is left out there in Lebanon twisting in the wind. If he denies the NIE he makes Israel's case for the USA to reevaluate the intel."

I guess that's my point. To say anything, weakens his position. Why doesn't he keep his mouth shut?

I can't believe that he is simply an idiot. His political rivals would cut him to pieces if he was as stupid as he seems. He must be playing to some audience but I can't figure out which one (certainly not the US or Europe).

12/17/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Judyke said...

Basra handed off to Iranian controlled militias

12/17/2007 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger davod said...


How judgemental of you. Zuma just wants to get back to tribal basics.

12/18/2007 05:18:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

"FDR a chickenhawk???

He had polio folks."

History is a wonderfull lesson, but only if you read.

Roosevelt contracted Polio in 1921.

12/18/2007 05:26:00 AM  

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