Saturday, May 10, 2008

Invasion Burma

Time Magazine has an article entitled "Is it time to invade Burma?" In it, they argue that "with as many as 1 million people at risk" from the leaders of this Chinese-allied country, "it's time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma." In a very clever phrase the author says, "we still haven't figured out when to give war a chance".

There are probably any number of people who are now rhetorically asking 'if we will go to war for oil, then why not go to war for humanitarian reasons?' But anyone who examines this sentence carefully soon notices it contains a number of assumptions, none of which are true.

First of all the United States does not acquire oil by conquest. It buys it on the open market. If America actually made war to seize oil it would be lifted without paying the invaded country a dime or at artificially low prices. That's the definition of "seize". Not a single barrel of oil in Iraq has been "seized". It's all being sold at world market prices.

Second of all, that "we" are the world. But in reality, who is the "we" who are going to invade Burma? Will it be France? Will it be Cuba? Will it be Venezuela? Will it be the European Union? Heck no. "We" in this context means the United States of America.

Retired General William Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations says the U.S. should first pressure China to use its influence over the junta to get them to open up and then supply support to the Thai and Indonesian militaries to carry out relief missions. "We can pay for it — we can provide repair parts to the Indonesians so they can get their Air Force up. We can lend the them two C-130s and let them paint the Indonesian flag on them," Nash says. "We have to get the stuff to people who can deliver it and who the Burmese government will accept, even if takes an extra day or two and even if it's not as efficient as the good old U.S. military.

Yes folks, the "good old U.S. military" -- the same one whose recruiting stations Code Pink wants to drive out of Berkeley; the same one Barack Obama wants to reduce; the same "good old U.S. military" that is reviled as incompetent, perennially defeated when it is killing children by the thousands or bombing baby milk factories. That's what's going to do it. Invade Burma, I mean.

And the third assumption is that invasion doesn't mean killing people. That all "we" have to do is show up and the Burmese generals, who care nothing for human life, will suddenly give way before the 'moral authority' of the invaders, just because it's a good cause. Never mind that the history of war shows that invasion almost always implies an exceedingly violent series of acts. Nope. When "we" show up the Burmese are just going to roll over, get up and fetch.

Now in all probability if the "good old U.S. military" actually does invade Burma it will incinerate every vestige of armed opposition in its path. Burmese Army units will stand about as much chance as ants before a kid's homemade flamethrower. And then all of a sudden the assumptions will collapse in reverse order. People are going to say, 'we didn't realize invasions meant killing people'; 'we didn't realize we wouldn't have allies'; and finally 'we did not think it would be so expensive'. And then we will hear that classic line: "I was for it before I was against it."

Here's what I think. The US can invade any country it wants for a good reason and with a full understanding of what it entails. The Time magazine article is proof that there are a whole lot of people who are a long way from either having reasons or understanding -- and a good chance they'll all be in office by 2009.

Maybe they should watch some old movies.

The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wretchard, we aren't going to invade Burma, but if Time Magazine is even putting that on the table, it is a tacit acknowledgment (wink wink, nudge nudge) that the invasion of Iraq did succeed in liberating the people from Saddam, despite the dogma of the Left that force never solves anything (except slavery, Nazism and Communism, but those were rare exceptions). And in Time's ideal scenario, Bush initiates the invasion now, so he gets blamed for a the massive deaths that would be involved, while post-January Obama reaps the benefits of a democratic Burma emerging after he guides them into an enlightened Democratic utopia.

5/10/2008 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

The Time magazine article is proof that there are a whole lot of people who are a long way from either having reasons or understanding -- and a good chance they'll all be in office by 2009.


5/10/2008 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I don't we're going to invade Burma either. But recall that in Somalia force was authorized to protect the UN humanitarian mission there. But when it became clear that going after the militias meant real military force the decision was taken to limit the heavy weapons support available to the Rangers in Mogadishu, who were then forced to operate without a margin of safety.

Everything went swimmingly well until Murphy showed up. And then, after a battle in which 18 Americans and 1,500 of their Somali enemy died, the Clinton Administration declared defeat. And Osama Bin Laden suddenly had an epiphany, if Muslims have epiphanies.

This is what happens when people think there's a free lunch. There are things that are free. There are things that are lunch. But there is no free lunch. Any lunches that actually serve food have a price tag.

5/10/2008 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger joe buz said...

As I read elsewhere many of the generals are painting their names on boxes of intercepted aide prior to distribution. Have to keep the surviving voters informed. A subscription to Time Magazine is not worth the value of the paper on which it is printed. What a waste of pulp.

5/10/2008 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Quig said...

Here's another advocate of "invasion".

I do not understand them.

5/10/2008 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

The rational part of me believes this is all cocktail conversation. The kind you utter between giggles and sips of white wine. As in 'why not invade Burma? Please pass that chestnut puree and shrimp cracker will you?' Sort of like a joke you hear but shouldn't take the trouble to rebut.

Yet over time I realized that half the bizzaro ideas floating around out there are actually taken seriously. There's a universe of strange ideas which people actually believe in. Yakub the Muslim scientist who invented the white man. The Mother Ship. Thetans. The fact that fire doesn't melt steel; the supposedly therapeutic value of Man-Boy Love. In a certain universe these wacko ideas are all real. If so, what's so strange about talking to Hamas, surrendering to Iran, withdrawing the forces in Iraq to Okinawa? Compared to some of the ideas out there, these are all eminently reasonable. And while we're at withdrawing the forces to Okinawa, why not invade Burma?

That's why it is so comforting to believe that articles about invading Burma really are cocktail chatter. They must be. Imagine if some people actually took it seriously. I mean, it is cocktail talk, isn't it? Isn't it?

5/10/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Because 'peace' is the goal, Iraq may stand as the distant far away marker pointing to when large numbers of undeserving people were allowed to be free.

Free Tibet? Only if it is free and thus naught. I may be wrong but I do not think every Iraqi has been given a free AOL CD yet. I imagine the Tibet poor would welcome a useful, plastic, tool....I mean an AOL CD.

The modern plastic tool demands the freedom of Tibet while denouncing the slavery of WalMart. The modern plastic tool recycles, repeat elites. Say it aint so....

5/10/2008 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

You need to include zombies in your list of things people believe in.

I'm getting very very tired of having to rescue every little backwards country in the world from the results of their own timidity, laziness and/or greed. They get the government they deserve, including Zimbabwe, Dufur and Burma, which we now know from seeing the Iraqi's up close and personal and what they thought *they* deserved before we intervened.

If they get a government that takes rich farms away from white farmers and gives them to unskilled black thugs, then that country will end up starving. Which is the result of their choice t live with that government.

IF they get a government that chooses to spend all its oil money on supporting 5,000 princes in the pursuit of solid-gold toilets and not on education, then they will end up with extremely high rates of unemployment, untold rates of birth defects, wife and child abuse run rampant, and surrounded by religious cops and shooting maniacs. Again, karma has spoken and why should the US bother its pretty little head about fixing such a place.

Burma has been a sinkhold and a cesspool for decades now. Much much worse than Iraq or North Korea and has long as they kept it down to a dull roar, everyone could successfull ignore it. The Burmese people are evidently OK with their government since I've never heard a complaint out of them nor any upraising or overthrow attempts. I'm sure, like everyone else, they'd like it much better if each individual Burmese had a chicken in his pot and a Toyota in his garage but you gets what you pays for and I don't know that either the Burmese military nor its people can afford that many chickens.

The point being, why on earth should the United States be responsible for these people? Just because they've had a little typhooon and their misery is now visible from space does not mean that we're more in the baby-sitting-the-world business this week than we were a month ago.

Listen up, World -- WE CANNOT AFFORD YOU ANY MORE! If you cannot at least make an effort to help yourselves, then PUH-LEEEZE do *not* coming knocking on our door asking us to fix your silly little country for you! The least you could do is make a first stop at the United Nations and ask *them* to dip into their scammed reserves that they've got tucked away in Swiss bank accounts. But I guess what you really want in addition to US dollars is honest and honorable US business people and soldiers to come and lift you up, dust you off and make it all better. And if you asked the UN for help, we all know that what you'd get would be neither honest or honorable.

But just quit calling, OK?

5/10/2008 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

For an weekly news magazine -- a form whose stock-in-trade is to monitor and report the zeitgeist -- Time has become astonishingly tin-eared. The recent cover with the Iwo Jima photo, flag replaced by i believe a Spruce tree, was a corker. Marines and others complained, to which Time answered something like, "(Harumph) Time Believes That Global Warming Requires a WWII-Sized Response". Great, miss the point, then miss it again. Who is working over there, anyway?

5/10/2008 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

NahnCee "The Burmese people are evidently OK with their government since I've never heard a complaint out of them nor any upraising or overthrow attempts."

"...mass demonstrations for democratisation on August 8, 1988...violently suppressed."

5/10/2008 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

The doctrine that people get the government they deserve is not very understanding and not very generous. It's blaming the victim. Would you say that Black Americans in the South should have been able to free themselves? Eastern Europe did eventual free itself, but not without help from America. Would you say that East Germany deserved the Stasi right up until the moment they were able to free themselves, and then they suddenly stopped deserving that status?

I do think we have some moral duty to help others when we can, but I don't think Burma represents a situation where we can do a whole lot. Since the Russian and Chinese vulture governments are supporting the keptocrats, our intervention would lead to an outsized level of violence -- and risk. And our intervention in this specific situation would be counterproductive anyway. An invasion is not much different than a cyclone, leaving large swathes of dysfunctional turf in its path. Disease and hunger are disperse calamities that require high levels of logistical sophistication, which would have been largely destroyed.

I've often thought that Rwanda would have been a good place for military intervention. We could have stopped a lot of death by bombing a few radio stations and providing defended sanctuaries on the ground. Our problem in that case was hoping that someone else would do the job. By now, I guess we know better.

America to the rescue is the last fantasy of hope. That's because it works sometimes. We have been very helpful, far more than anyone else, in the aftermath of the Tsunami and the earthquake in Pakistan, but we had some form of cooperation from the local governments.

5/10/2008 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

...and last Autumn.

5/10/2008 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Wretchard, by definition this is an elite that is decadent, removed, and fairly stupid.

Only a profoundly stupid person would advocate invading Burma. Only someone filled with stupidity would react to the images of worldwide oppression and horror in Burma, Darfur, and elsewhere by advocating war there and surrender in Iraq and Afghanistan.

People are, and they're stupid.

What you are seeing is the wheels coming off the elite, and Obama by implication. Neither are very smart, and can't reach outside their own idiot elite class.

5/10/2008 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Buckets said...

I was having a conversation a few months back with a lefty friend of mine - the topic of military intervention in Africa and Asia to stop civil wars, prevent another Rwanda, etc.

This all seems OK until you realize my friend thought the invasion of Iraq was an awful idea, while "humanitarian" intervention under a Democratic president would be a good way to use the military. What really knocked me over was when I pressed her on the use of American soldiers to stop a purely civil war; she then volunteered to send her neighbors, her parents, and her own son in the middle of a tribal bloodbath, "because it would be worth it."

She wasn't lying to me. She believed the words she was saying, at the time she said them. It is dangerous to underestimate the ignorance of the Left when it comes to the use of military force. The road to hell is most definitely paved with the good intentions of Leftists. God forbid Obama makes it into the White House, military recruitment could be seriously affected.

5/10/2008 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

whiskey's right about the stupid. I wonder if there's a single person over there who understands anything at all about the meaning of Iwo Jima. Or even that there is a meaning, or why they should know that meaning, or why they should care one way or the other. And these crude, stupid people are at the top of the journo world.

5/10/2008 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger warhorse said...


"I'm getting very very tired of having to rescue every little backwards country in the world from the results of their own timidity, laziness and/or greed."

Unfortunately, you're going to have to get used to it. Once those little backwards countries started breeding Osama bin Ladens, America was stuck with cleaning them up, purely in self-defence. I hope the rest of us have the good sense to help you out.

5/10/2008 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

The basic problem with invasions is that they have to be followed by occupations. The latter take several years to sucessfully conclude. They must be limited in number or they will consume our entire capabilities.

If people are truly concerned about Burma, Darfur, etc. I would suggest they lobby for a repeal or alteration of neutrality laws, export of small arms, hiring of mercenaries and all that.

Given a chance private-sector insurgencies might well produce beneficial results. Figuring out how to pay for them will give civilization some interesting new logistics without soaking the taxpayer. Don't see any reason not to at least explore this line of endeavor.

By the way, the Karen tribesmen of Burma have been putting up one heck of a fight against genocide-minded tyrants for six decates now. Few people have given them much thought. Nor are they mentioned in this new sudden rush to hawkishness. Wonder why?

5/10/2008 07:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warhorse: Once those little backwards countries started breeding Osama bin Ladens, America was stuck with cleaning them up, purely in self-defence.

How about instead of cleaning them all up, we just build a fence from El Paso to Sandog and put everyone whose last name starts with "Al" and ends with a place name from the map of Mesopotamia on the No Fly List?

5/10/2008 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I started reading that article in the Asia Times about the US invading Burma (with UN approval, of course) and broke out laughing. I think we could put the Asia Times correspondent in charge of the entire operation and still not do it to his satisfaction. Those guys are a hoot.

Before the Iraq war I actually thought it would be good to have solid support from the UN for the action. I am ashamed to admit it now, but I did. We definitely lucked out in not getting it. It would have been an awful precedent. Thank God for Jacques Chirac. He unintentionally did the US a good turn even as he tried to stab us in the back. Him and Chancellor Schroeder opened my eyes. I don't think even the Democrats take the UN seriously anymore (other than as a stick to poke Republicans with).

When Clinton was trying to "arrest" Aidid in Somalia without harming any of his supporters, I told my friends it was totally idiotic. When everyone around those khat chewing, RPG toting kids was starving, Aidid fed them. So they weren't going to let us walk in and pick him up. If we weren't willing to slaughter his followers, we shouldn't even start. Besides, he was probably the best of a very bad lot. Why knock him down to benefit the others? Interestingly, his son was a US Marine at the time of our invasion.

5/10/2008 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Hezbollah to end Beirut seizure

Apparently Hezbollah is giving up in Beirut so they can invade Burma. They say it is time to give back to the international community. Where do you want that truck bomb?

5/10/2008 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Sometimes people are in a situation where they can't free themselves. Things can get tough, and the thugs are well organized enough, it takes something from the outside.

5/10/2008 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

re 'outside help', yep, entrenched secret police systems work very well. Ask a Cuban.

5/10/2008 08:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bobal, freedom should be a seller's market, not a buyer's market. Instead of trying to ram it down people's throats, we ought to open schools for people who want the blessings of liberty to come here and learn how we did it.

5/10/2008 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

More stupidity, and profound stupidity at that:

1. Dems and the Left and the Media and Barack Hussein Obama, Obama-the-messiah, specifically, have said that all war and armed conflict is evil.

2. Dems, the Left, the Media, and Obamamessiah have said that all conflict can be settled by "talking" and "negotiating" and "hugging."

3. Dems, the Left, the Media, and Obamamessiah have proposed to gut the military to basically, Switzerland levels. A tiny force unable to do much of anything. To pay for a vastly expanded welfare state.

Politically, to argue "no I really didn't mean it" with respect to the three points above is ... stupid.

It paints those who say it as either false, conniving, duplicitous, deceiving, and fundamentally untrustworthy in all areas, or monumentally stupid and idiotic and not to be trusted with much of anything. Certainly nothing important.

Now, add to that the concerted, five year effort to portray Iraq as a disaster, and the six year effort to say the same about Afghanistan. To the point where significant amounts of Americans are sick of both. With Dem, Media, Left, and Obamamessiah proposing seriously just throwing in the towel in defeat by Iran and AQ, America's two biggest enemies. With many Americans sick of war.

And Dems, the Media, the Left, and Obamamessiah offer MORE WAR? War without end, and without ANY advantage?

Leave aside wisdom of statecraft. This is politically stupid. It speaks to the deep lack of any understanding of the vast middle of the American people. A deeply isolated, Starbucks-Apple Computer-Indie Movie social group that has no clue about how people live and act.

Hillary is right. Obamamessiah will be an utter disaster.

5/10/2008 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Burma is uniquely antique, cut off from the world on purpose. Thirty years ago your best bet was to fly into Rangoon and buy a cartoon of 555 cigarettes and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red in the government store that only tourists could shop in (once), and you go out on the sidewalk and sell it for 3X what you just paid for the smokes and booze. Transparent corruption, or just the way things are done.

Even 30 years ago, Rangoon and Mandalay felt like abandoned movie sets, the great architecture and infrastructure the Brits built there sat behind barbwire, off limits, just decaying.

I attended Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in the holy majesty of St. Mary's Cathedral, the big brick masterpiece in old Rangoon. The state laws were most restrictive, it felt like civilization here had turned back and was retreating into the past. Through the dust blowing in the open window on the train from Rangoon to Mandalay, you see endless examples of stupas and spires of temples everywhere, the vast flat countryside is filled with them, often surrounded by a few banana trees, sometimes smoke coming out of a cooking fire.

The TV Audience SPORADICALLY becomes aware of unimaginably different places like Burma and Afghanistan - and the Audience seems to imagine things "over there" are just like what they see on TV, like NJ or CA, New Orleans.

And then they change the channel.

5/10/2008 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

It is difficult to believe that those who advocate the liberation of Burma would continue to support the war when the going gets tough. I didn't say if – I said when.

If the United States invades Burma, even with United Nations approval, the Chinese government would freak out. I would be surprised if the Chinese government didn't send hundreds of thousands of "volunteers" to do battle against the Americans, much as China did during the Korean War. And why not? China’s got the guns. It’s got the men. It’s got the money too. China can rely upon its jingoistic racism and an army of sexually frustrated young men who are a product of an epidemic of female infanticide.

Would Senator Kennedy claim that the Burmese junta's torture chambers were now being run under new management – American management? Would Senator Durbin compare our military policemen walking the streets of Rangoon to the Gestapo? Would Code Pink continue to protest against military recruitment? And what will those who presently advocate intervention say to the grieving mothers of soldiers sent home in body bags?

I have no faith in the toughness of liberal interventionists who demand the overthrow of the Burmese junta, which is admittedly one of the worst tyrannies in the world. If overthrowing Saddam Hussein wasn't a favor to the Iraqi people, how could overthrowing the Burmese junta be a favor to the people of Burma, given that Burma's population is even more fractured by ethnicity than Iraq? Are the liberal interventionists willing to take moral responsibility for the civil war that would ensue if they get their way?

By the way, Burma has a Muslim minority that has been horribly abused by the military junta, a minority that has been courted by al-Qaeda. And if we find ourselves fighting al-Qaeda in Burma, I could see protestors claiming that al-Qaeda didn't exist in Burma before our intervention, but then it flourished in Burma as a result of our intervention.

I would have more faith in liberal interventionists if they weren't so thoroughly invested in promoting America's defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

5/10/2008 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger shivermetimbers said...

I haven't read the article. But, I wonder if the author considered how China would react, since they consider Burma in their sphere of influence.

Would China see this as the US having noble intentions. Or, would they be paranoid and see this as a sinister means of the US blocking them from getting a port in the Indian Ocean.

Even when China was completely backwards, they still managed to cause problems when they supported the other side - e.g. Korea and Vietnam.

If they wanted to be a spoiler in this, they could probably do so in ways much worse than the opposition we didn't anticipate in Iraq causing us to still be fighting there; the same sort of unexpected opposition the Time magazine claims as evidence that we were failing in Iraq.

5/10/2008 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger knowon said...

no one knows what to do...
but that is unacceptable with what is likely to go down...
death tolls anticipated @ 100k, with 500k homeless, the whole delta covered in water, people are probably stranded on tufts of land similar to Bangladesh so many times before...but, then comes the diarrhea, deaths and the next 100k; that puts it on the magnatude of the tsunami... many functional choppers do the myanumb-ey's have? do the ends justify the means in toppling a crooked regime?
who can forget the image of the usaid handshake on those bags of wheat? the popularity of the USA is not a phantom long lost since the Kennedy era; it stems from doing the right thing (even though we don't always get it right).
the moral thing is the right thing and we need to do whatever we can to try to help those people.
we need to get something going and get it going now; how long did Banda Aceh have to wait before the Americans and the Aussies were in there?
the junta is toast one way or the other; we can do what we can to try to save those dying and oppressed people or we can sit on our hands, and watch the death toll rise and watch as our inaction causes yet another country to become whored out for its natural resources by those most hungry neighbors that have propped the junta up until now...

5/10/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger veng said...

teresita, what do you suppose they'd learn in the schools you propose? Would it be how bad the white man is for all the supposed sins of the USA and how we keep them down? That is the sort of crap that is taught in our colleges today by the leftist teachers. Why would the schools you propose be any different?

5/10/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Intervention to prevent a humanitarian disaster, or to save people from a monstrous regime is theoretically justifiable. If there were another Hitler sending millions to the gas chamber it would be worth dropping a JDAM on him.

But the problem is that nobody really wants to do that. Not really. Ironically nobody who advocates invading Burma actually wants to invade Burma. Because that means enforcing a regime change. Rounding up the Generals and sticking them in the hoosegow. Etc.

They only want to fantasize about it because they get a thrill down the side of their legs imagining themselves the saviors of the Burmese. But the devil is in the details. When video comes back of Burmese army soldiers being chased around by 40 mm AC-130 bursts or whole companies disappearing under a JDAM, or some pitiful Burmese armored vehicle getting turned into shards by a 120mm tank round, then the liberals will round on you with a vengeance.

"Brutes! Killers! Bitter, gun-loving, furriner-hating, Bible-thumping, NAFA-hating, unsophisticated brutes! We didn't know this involved violence." Not really, anyway.

And God help us if the invasion lasts for more than 2 weeks; or if we actually capture some enemy generals. The ACLU will be all over the court system filing pleadings for them. And if the successor regime is less than perfect, or commits a massacre or indulges in the all-too-human impulse for revenge, look to the International Criminal Court to file war crimes charges against the good old American military.

But if the liberals were willing to sign up to the proposition that some regimes just need changing, then why not start shipping arms to the Burmese resistance? Why not assassinate the Burmese generals with deniable assets? Why not? Because if we don't do that to a Teheran, which daily attacks US troops in the field, how can we bring ourselves do it to Burma.

And besides, notice what's involved in toppling the Burmese regime. Arms. Assassins.Subversion. Yup. Them's the ugly words. And unless we're prepared to utter them we'd best leave the subject of Burma alone.

5/10/2008 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger probus said...

wretch-- u need to tone down the meds a tad-- no burma-- keep repeating 'no burma'-- we've learned that people die, they live on and we can't save them all-- those simple, dunder-headed generals are putting their own names on food aid arriving-- and still went on with their voting sham-- the best we can do is parachute supplies into the folks and hope the SOB's don't try to shoot us down-- although i'd love to have some badass Marine boots on the ground, just for the duration, i don't see it happening unfortunatly for the people of Burma-- Regards, probus

5/10/2008 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Lucky Pierre said...

Wretchard said, "When video comes back of Burmese army soldiers being chased around by 40 mm AC-130 bursts or whole companies disappearing under a JDAM, or some pitiful Burmese armored vehicle getting turned into shards by a 120mm tank round, then the liberals will round on you with a vengeance."

This is true, and for precedent we have the incident along the Highway of Death in GW1. The Mainstream Media had been showing images of what looked like video games in black and white, bridges and buildings going up in rather abstract graphics, and then here was an actual slaughter to bring everyone back to earth. Oh, you mean they kill people in wars?

5/10/2008 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Lucky Pierre said...

Alexis said, China can rely upon its jingoistic racism and an army of sexually frustrated young men who are a product of an epidemic of female infanticide.

On the contrary, the same "One Child Per Family" policy that resulted in a dearth of girls will cause those same families to put pressure on the Chinese government not to send their sole "Little Emperor" off on a war in Burma. And the sexual frustration you mention would only come into play if China was annexing Burma outright rather than trying to eject US forces, unless you suggest those young men will all have a thing for G.I.s.

5/10/2008 10:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember, war is only okay when it is in/against a nation where we have absolutely no national security interests whatsoever.

5/10/2008 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Wretchard don't you see the irony?

Obamamessiah has been preaching he'll be different than GWB, no more "war."

And here's his pals in Time, preaching "war." But one for no possible advantage for the US or even the ability to win, right next to China.

Political suicide.

5/10/2008 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I could get behind parachuting guns in to the civilians to help them fight back, to help them overthrow their generals, in Burma, in North Korea, in Zimbabwe.

But I'm sick and tired of parachuting in food and medical supplies that are immediately stolen and/or sold in whatever shithole black market is available.

And I'm *really* tired of the U.S. Military being used as an extremely expensive Peace Corps to rebuild these places, trying to show them the benefits of a sewage system and that women have other uses than as brood mares and punching bags.

I repeat, we simply cannot afford to rebuild the world, and at most, the best we can do is enable "the world" to defend itself against its bad guys. If they then choose not to, then it really is a form of Darwinism, isn't it?

(Note that in Iraq, when we do give the Iraqi's guns to fight their bad guys, then their little feelings are hurted because they're not getting the biggest and best guns that the American soldiers have. Tough -- they haven't even begun to earn the biggest and best, but at least they're up on their hind legs and trying.)

5/10/2008 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Count Grecula said...

I wonder if the author considered how China would react, since they consider Burma in their sphere of influence.

No the article does not mention China other than stating "the U.S. should pressure" it.

"Pressure". One of those catch-all words that implies some sort of magical transformation. Like we should have to say anything to the Chinese to get them to help their "ally".

I think the reason many Liberals think that Bush thought the war would be a cakewalk is a result of their projection. When you fight for the "correct" things- the unselfish things- the details take care of themselves.

5/10/2008 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/10/2008 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

From the IDIOTIC ideas promoted or given prominence by the media, I have to conclude that those pathetickers have no more bothered to research the realities of disaster relief than they bother to educate themselves on any other issue. Evidently journalism as a profession merely requires a person to be able to print the word "Journalist" on a badge. This is exactly the same hysterical, completely emotional and irrational response as we saw among alleged journalists and (real) leftists during and following Katrina.

People seem to think rescue helicopters and their crews are an unlimited resource, cost nothing, and should show up INSTANTLY AVAILABLE AT EXACTLY THE SITE WHERE THEY'RE NEEDED.

Even if there were tens of thousands of helicopters available, they have very limited range, just a couple hundred miles, most of'em. The helicopters would have to be carried to the region BEFORE they could be filled with supplies and sent off on missions. That is a big delay.

Ok, the fastest way to get helicopters to the disaster is to carry'em in Big Fixed-wing Transports: C-5 Galaxies, Antonov Giants, C-130s, etc. How many of those are available? Where are they based? How much fuel does it take to transport the helicopters to Burma. Funny how the same people who consistently cut military budgets are the first to criticize the military for not having unlimited assets available when there's a need for some "feel-good" mission...

More Importantly: If you use all the available heavy fixed-wing transports for ferrying the helicopters, WHAT WILL THE HELICOPTERS BE CARRYING AFTER THEY'RE UNLOADED?

There's no point in getting helicopters or airplanes to a staging area unless there are supplies and workers at that staging site. Otherwise the aircraft just sit idle until the supplies are there.

Next, compared to ships, aircraft generally and helicopters in particular have very limited payloads. So much so that their usefulness depends on making a lot of roundtrip flights. (Same is true for the big transport planes, of course.)

So forget about getting helicopters to the MyanMar disaster in time to prevent several hundred thousand people suffering from dehydration, dysentery, cholera, et cetera. It'll have to be ocean-going freighters, and a FEW big transports, then a smattering of hard-working helicopters, and lots of overland truck convoys.

Regarding the truck convoys:
Think about what the trucks will have to carry.
Drivers, mechanics, bull-dozers (at least "bobcat" sized), chainsaws, hoists, jacks, come-alongs, dynamite, and people trained to use all those. Armed soldiers to protect the shipment from desperate looters or organized raiding parties from a HOSTILE GOVERNMENT. People to load and unload the supplies. Medics, EMT's, Paramedics, a few doctors. Consider the logistics of moving and deploying supplies and transport across hundreds of miles of blasted landscape where the roads are destroyed and blocked by fallen trees, the detritus of demolished bridges, homes, schools, and other buildings.

Food, fuel, toilets, water, and all other supplies for the drivers, equipment operators, soldiers, and rescue workers must be carried in addition to the relief supplies themselves.

The helicopters will have to be armed and defended by troops, too. It might be possible to convoy helicopters defended by a guard of military armed choppers like apaches or such. But there are LOTS more trucks about than helicopters.

China during its long isolation between 1949 and about 1970, refused outside aid on many occasions of disastrous floods, famines, and earthquakes, each involving hundreds of thousands of casualties. Ditto Russia, although to a lesser extent.

Organizing a relief effort is almost equivalent to a military campaign, especially considering the inevitability of armed conflict at least with the desperate devastated victims. Contemplating an INVASION --- i.e., an incursion for any reason by an armed force into territory governed by a hostile regime, is an act of WAR, despite any claims of benevolent intentions. The invaded regime would have ample precedent under international law for a vigorous and violent protection of their sovereignty. Look back at U.N. postures on similar events, all you left-leaning liberal mushbrains, and you will find that the delegates in plenary session have consistently voted to protect from outside interference the tyrants who clawed their way to leadership on mountains of corpses of their own citizens.

Oh, I guess you were out protesting and smoking dope during your history classes, and missed that datum.

Anyhow, by the time any such effort were half underway, there would be far worse consequences for the disaster victims than anything they were suffering already.

5/11/2008 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here:

5/11/2008 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...
"While no one is saying it out loud, the strategy we observe unfolding appears to be to allow as many people as possible die, thus fewer people to feed next year when shortages will occur."

5/11/2008 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger mezzrow said...

This brings in another story. The score for "Objective Burma" was nominated for an Academy Award. The composer was Franz Waxman. Here's his Wikipedia bio:

Waxman was born Franz Wachsmann in Königshütte (Chorzów) in the German Empire's Prussian Province of Silesia. He orchestrated Frederick Hollander's score for the 1930 film Blue Angel (1930) and wrote original scores for several German films in the early 1930s. With the Nazis in power from 1933, he worked briefly in France, composing the music for Fritz Lang's French version of Liliom, but arrived in the United States by 1935. He received 12 Academy Award nominations, winning in consecutive years for Sunset Boulevard and A Place in the Sun.

In addition to his film scores, Waxman composed concert works and, in 1947, founded the Los Angeles International Music Festival. Waxman headed this festival for twenty years. During the twenty years of his tenure, the festival served as the venue for world and American premieres of 80 major works by composers such as Igor Stravinsky, William Walton, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Dmitri Shostakovich and Arnold Schönberg.

According to the autobiography of fellow composer Miklós Rózsa, Waxman conducted a performance of the Stravinsky composition Greeting Prelude (based on the song Happy Birthday). The performance lasted exactly sixty seconds. In this book, A Double Life, Rózsa stated that Stravinsky gave precise instructions that a performance of this piece should last exactly sixty seconds. Consequently, Stravinsky was very happy with Waxman's conducting of the work.

5/11/2008 02:43:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

'..."we still haven't figured out when to give war a chance".'

That has to be the dumbest f*ckin' thing I have seen in some time. The intellectual and moral laziness of that statement is immense. I agree with whiskey about the stupidity, but what's behind the "give war..." sentiment is something far more evil.

5/11/2008 03:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Chi-coms reject UN initiatives.
Nuke China for Peace and Aid in Burma!

5/11/2008 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"Chi-coms reject"

"UN Aid"

"For Peace and Aid"

"Nuke China"


5/11/2008 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cutin it close in Myanmar.

5/11/2008 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

YouTube - Hillary's Downfall

ht-meaningless hot air

5/11/2008 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

doug, ain't it great to be finally rid of the clintons? Sure, there's lots of trouble and doom and gloom and danger all over the world, CLINTONS! Joyous Day!

5/11/2008 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

I am vastly amused at people advocating a war in southeast Asia against a dictatorship!

I'm curious as to what the author thought of Vietnam? What did he think happened there?

5/11/2008 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

'..."we still haven't figured out when to give war a chance".'

since it's a play on the old John & Yoko "give peace a chance" mantra, I don't really have a problem with it. I don't think it was meant to be taken literally. just a peacenik Lennon fan being cute.

5/11/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said... CLINTONS!

One word: Chelsea. Unmarried, not engaged, very well educated, experienced world traveller, and - now - a hell of a public speaker and campaigner.

She can run on a platform of eight year's White House experience as First Daughter, as well has how ever many years HIllary has been a Senator.

5/11/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

heck, daughter might turn out to be a fine public servant -- after all, she knows her parents -- that alone might turn her into their opposite.

5/11/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nahncee: She can run on a platform of eight year's White House experience as First Daughter, as well has how ever many years HIllary has been a Senator.

Naw, I'm more of an Amy Carter fan. When I was a 12 year old tomboy building treehouses on vacant lots with scrap lumber, there was Amy Carter with her treehouse on the South Lawn of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, complete with a Secret Service detail posted below. And I was going, "There you go. There you go!" Some of the children of foreign ministers she entertained with tea parties in that tree house are probably prime ministers now. Clearly Amy has the superior experience to be President.

5/11/2008 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/11/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

'..."we still haven't figured out when to give war a chance".'

Whadda mean WE paleface? Just how many divisions of troops or bombers does Time magazine have, anyway?

John Lynch: You got that right! And I recall Joan Baez saying, after what Pol Pot was doing in Cambodia was revealed, that we just had to DO SOMETHING! Well, gee, Joan, we tried that and you did not much like it.

Nahncee: In 1988, they held a big anti-war protest at the Pentagon just before I reported there. And we were not at war, then. Except maybe the Cold War; I guess the protestors had figured out that things had turned around. We were winning that one and they wanted a stop put to all that business.

In 1993, just after I left the Pentagon, they held another “big protest.” And note that this was AFTER Bill Clinton was elected. Well, it was a big protest in the sense that the cops outnumbered the protestors. But they had a little interview with two of the protestors and what they were there for was … East Timor. But we were NOT in East Timor? THAT was the problem. They thought we SHOULD be there. I guess that Bill was listening because in short order the US Army was deployed to some 100 countries – AFTER we had won the Cold War.

These people tell themselves little stories about how it is a War for Oil or a Wag the Dog scenario to deflect attention from the President’s failings, or because the military likes doing it for fun, or just because the President wants to look tough. Then they proceed on that basis – Gee, why is oil priced so high if we just went and stole a bunch of it? Why can’t the military have fun doing what WE want? Or why can’t OUR President – the one WE voted for - get to Wag the Dog and look Tough?

They may be nuts, but they are, by their standards, consistently nuts.

5/11/2008 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/11/2008 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

" CLINTONS! Joyous Day!"
Things could always get worse:
Consider a President Obama,
First Lady Michelle,
and Supreme Court Justice Hillary Clinton...

Have a great day.

5/11/2008 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Huht, glorrrrp.

Oh great. So much for that keyboard.

Thanks Doug.

5/11/2008 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Consider a President Obama,
First Lady Michelle,
and Supreme Court Justice Hillary Clinton...

Charleton Heston, as Astronaut George Taylor sizing up the planet of the apes:

"It's a madhouse. A MADHOUSE!"

5/11/2008 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Nailgun said...

Why aren't we "merely" talking about controlling Burma airspace and staging direct air drops of aid into the affected areas. I see no need for invasion. Does Burma have any sort of Airforce that could resist at all?

In terms of regime change thousands of boxes of aid dropping with USA and other Western Nations flags stamped on them falling out of planes marked from USN and USAF and other Western Air forces is going to make things mighty difficult for the Junta especially if the aid comes with leaflets saying we wanted to do this earlier but Junta stopped us. Not guaranteed to see Junta overthrown but the Burmese people won't forget it

5/11/2008 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Exactly, nailgun. Manna from heaven, people have a way of remembering that. The hell with permission from the junta.

5/11/2008 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Alaska Paul said...

Burma needs a regime change. Hell, the Chicoms need a regime change. If you are not going in to take out somebody that directly threatens you, then you better think hard about invasion, because the totally dysfunctional country now becomes YOUR problem---YOUR albatross hanging on your neck.

The US needs to point out what the despotic regime in Burma is doing to its people, and how the ChiComs, the Great Olympic Torch Bearers™ are enabling these despots. We need to do the same thing in Sudan with Darfur, and how the Saudis are spreading their dirty Wahabbi money around the world, creating misery.

But we don't. We just do State Dept platitudes. If you will have moral outrage, you need to be consistent, and be a beacon of hope by action and words.

We do not have enough resources, material and troops, to take care of all despots in this world militarilly. We have to think smarter.

5/11/2008 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"They may be nuts, but they are, by their standards, consistently nuts."

They have no standards. Their consistency amounts to making sure they don't pay in any way, shape or form.

5/11/2008 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

That TIME magazine article expresses the thinking of Samantha Power, Obama's on and off again chief foreign policy advisor. Wretchard talks about cocktail party chatter and although in jest it all seems so deadly serious with folks like Ms. Power who is feted for her "insight" by almost every liberal media outlet.

With an Obama in the WH this kind of thing would be a very real discussion.

5/12/2008 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Additional notes:

China supports the Burmese tyrants. China is on the UN Security Council. China will veto any "intervention" in Burma.

The fact that the US has no national interest in Burma is a plus to the Left. It means "intervention" in Burma would be morally pure. Unlike Vietnam and Iraq.

5/12/2008 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 05/12/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

5/12/2008 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Brian H said...

You're pretty much without a clue.

Actually, the "give war a chance" is very pertinent, not just a cute rehash. Sometimes the b.g.s just won't submit to persuasion or even the most "expert" anger management. Then you have to fight them.

Sorry 'bout that.

Oh, and get hold of and listen to some of Bueno de Mesquita's lectures on tyranny, and how it establishes itself and holds on. Way more insightful than your puerile one-liner about "the government they deserve".

5/12/2008 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The organized cadres always have a plan. The populace never does. Slavery is as old as humanity, and the slavers have a vast body of technique and knowledge.

5/12/2008 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger davod said...

if only we hadn't started the war on terror we would be ready to go into Burma, for the children, and world peace.

5/13/2008 03:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not invade for humanitary reasons? It worked out so well in Somalia after all. Didn't it?

5/13/2008 07:36:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger