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NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS OCTOBER 2004 ARCHIVES
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“They Are Against Whatever We Do” (Posted
Opponents of the war today complain that we failed to get Osama bin Laden. For them, our victories are hollow as long as this single man hides from us.
Yet recall 1990, when opponents of the Persian Gulf War complained that President Bush (41) was personalizing the war by making it Bush against Saddam. That was so simplisme they said.
So what changed? Why is Osama himself the gold standard now?
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“Coalition of the Willing” (Posted
Though I slam
One reason President Bush has refrained from
criticizing the French is because while Chirac's government is no ally in
In general, I try to take the long view in our coalition of
the willing in the fights in
We have friends in every country even when those friends do not run the government, so if I slam a friendly country that is not as helpful as I’d like, take that into account. It is not really a general condemnation of the country as much as it is a condemnation of the country’s government in the question at hand.
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“Is Osama Happy?” (Posted
So after three years of the
Some here say we’ve made it easier for Osama to recruit Islamists. I think that is bull, but this article notes that we really aren’t studying it much or reporting on it to really answer that question. He thinks it could be true but where are the reports that can be compared to earlier reporting on Islamism? Still, the thrust of the article is that the argument we are making things worse by fighting is bull. The environment is better for us and worse for the Islamists:
What we do know: Al Qaeda was born and grew rapidly in a time when the
We know that Osama bin Laden, his number two, Ayman
al-Zawahiri, and other much more respectable members
of the Sunni Muslim community have called for the streets to rise in the Middle
East against the infidel American invaders. Yet the streets have been, once
again, mostly quiet (despite the Westerner-paid opinion polls that tell us how
much the average Muslim man hates the
NOW FOR WHAT we are beginning to see in the
Anyone who has spent much time watching Arabic television knows how hard the satellite channels have tried to depict the Iraqi resistance as a national, fraternal affair even though the vast majority of Iraqis--the Kurds and the Arab Shia--have not joined in action or sympathy the Arab Sunni insurgents. This line doesn't quite ring true, and the Arab journalists and guests often have a hard time tiptoeing around the obvious--that the vast majority of Iraqis do not look upon the war as illegal, immoral, or a great geostrategic blunder. Serious discussions have started in the Arab press about the savagery of some of the Iraqi insurgents, about how they kill more Iraqis than they do Americans. Bombings of Arab Christian churches and all of the beheadings have caused some soul-searching, even among Islamic activists.
Prior to 2001 when we stomped the Taliban, happy jihadis trained safely away while we were sensitive,
nuanced, worshipping the UN, and oblivious to our so-called allies who were
helping Saddam for profit and to screw us over. The Jihadis
plotted to kill us and they carried out attacks at relatively low rates until
they murdered 3,000 of us in
I realize that Tommy Franks, who was there, is pretty effective rebuttal to the inane Dem talking points (from Kerry, Holbrooke, et al.) about how we supposedly had Bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora but let him get away because we were diverted by Iraq -- a total non-threat ... except of course for a few missing tons of HMX that are a galactic danger to mankind and that the "incredible incompetent," GWB, forgot to guard. But I really think contenting ourselves with the General Franks response misses a more important point.
In August 1998, the embassies were bombed, killing 257 people. This was
a coordinated military attack on sovereign American installations. President Clinton, whom Kerry would emulate (as he reminded
In October 2000, the Cole was bombed, killing 17 American sailors -- a direct attack on the American military. It turns out, though, that by Cole standards, the embassy retalliation was robust. President Clinton did absolutely nothing -- not even cruise missiles -- to respond. Again, there was no Bin Laden manhunt and no disruption of al Qaeda's command structure at a time when everyone in the Clinton administration, and everyone on the Senate Intelligence Committee on which the Junior Senator from Massachusetts sat, knew that more attacks were being planned.
Against that background, the Tora Bora BS is not only infuriating but insulting to the intelligence. How dare these people suggest that BUSH hasn't done enough to hunt down Bin Laden. This war didn't start on 9/11. These people had YEARS to try to grab this guy -- while everyone knew he was planning atrocities such as the one that occurred on 9/11 -- and they never even tried. They were too weak to confront the Taliban. They were too weak (and too dug in to their non-proliferation pieties) to conduct a wilfull carrot-and-stick dialogue with Musharaff to convince him that we were going after Bin Laden and Pakistan could either go along with us or suffer the consequences. They didn't have the nerve.
President Clinton makes the vapid complaint that greatness eluded him because there was no great historical challenge to meet during his two terms. He could not be more wrong. Had he taken the embassy bombings as the call-to-arms that they were, had he used his unparalleled political and rhetorical skills to rally Americans to this great cause, we, as patriotic Americans, would have rallied around him, he'd have been remembered as a personally flawed but otherwise superb president, and we'd right now be grousing over next Tuesday's likely ushering in of the second Gore term -- although not that depressed because 9/11 would never have happened.
President Bush has failed the minor detail of actually capturing Bin
Laden, who must live every waking moment in fear of his life, after the major
accomplishment of shredding al Qaeda's capacity to
project force. The last time the Democrats had the wheel,
neither Bin Laden nor al Qaeda's infrastructure was
touched even though the
My point in quoting this isn’t to attack Kerry or Clinton,
but to point out that the idea that this administration isn’t serious about
taking on the Islamists is insulting given the record. Much more could have
been done in the past yet was not done. Could Reagan have done more? Yes. Though this ignores the fact that we had the more important
Now the Islamist training must come on the job and US and
allied forces kill or capture them at a rapid rate. And the Moslem world is
finally beginning to ask some serious questions about their society. With
As I said, some think we are recruiting terrorists by fighting back. I might take the claim a little more seriously if the jihadis hadn’t grown in strength, confidence, and capabilities, and planned 9-11, while we were fighting a sensitive war aimed at keeping deaths at a nuisance level. Indeed, these people who argue fighting is counter-productive seem to agree with the Islamist idea that we provoked them. No provocation against us is apparently enough for us to fight back, but somehow what we have done is a provocation sufficient—and understandable—for them to kill us in large numbers. I’m amazed and dismayed at this world view. The Islamists would want to kill us if we all convert to Islam yet insist on the relaxed American version where women get to show ankles and we don’t stone homosexuals with rocks bigger than 8 ounces. That is their record—nobody is pure enough, and unless Michael Moore thinks Americans can make better little jihadis than the masses of existing Moslems who are the main target of the Islamists lately, he should just be quiet about our so-called guilt.
Ultimately it is too soon to tell if we will win and
suppress the instinct to join the jihadis, the author
says. We don’t know the full impact of what we have achieved so far. Nor do we
know whether we will win the war on terror, including the campaign in
There is no substitute for victory. Osama knows it. And in his latest video, he knows he won’t achieve it.
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“Welcome Back You SOB” (Posted
Osama bin Laden is back on the air.
I say welcome back. I’d begun to think that the long absence meant he was dead. Clearly not.
But it also means that he has been impotent these last three years to attack us.
He has seen his al Qaeda organization ripped apart.
He has seen the Taliban helpless to stop progress in
He has seen the Afghan people vote in free elections.
He has seen his buddy Saddam dug out of a hole and put in shackles.
He has seen his friends in
He has seen Iraqis join pro-US forces to fight the Baathists and his jihadi buddies.
He has seen the Saudis go to war against the Islamists.
In short, he has seen his vision of an Islamist caliphate
under his command go down the toilet. And he is reduced to whining in public.
His threats aren’t even as believable as the
Not a chance, you weak horse dork. The deal was always the other way around: you leave us alone and we don’t give a rip about how you live your miserable life. But you did not leave us alone. No, you killed 3,000 of us and we came after you. We reached around the globe and wrung your scrawny neck. You may have fled successfully but we killed your legions like they were ants. You experienced defeat and lived to see further defeats. And now you spout Michael Moore talking points and expect to Madrid us? Screw you.
And best of all for us, after thinking you might be dead already, we essentially get the pleasure of killing you “again.”
And you will die at our hands. No matter what, you will die.
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“Help Was In the Way” (Posted
I’d mentioned in the invasion of
American and European intelligence agencies believe that between
January and March, 2003, Russian intelligence and commando units went to
Well that would explain a lot, now wouldn’t it? Everybody
We were clearly about six months too late in invading in our strangely termed “rush to war.” We gave our enemy plenty of time and they used it. And we pay the price still.
I’m not happy with Putin over this Russian interference. Not happy at all.
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“Another Question” (Posted
Our troops in
But didn’t Western experts on Islam insist in 2001 during
Where are those experts now? Why aren’t they imploring the
Or does their advice change depending on whether it would
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“Hey. It’s My Birthday Today” (Posted
So if you like my site, why not link to it (I know, I don’t blogroll and that is a terrible oversight that I plan to remedy when that alien concept of “time” is given to me).
Or check out my List of Annoying Things (which is almost a separate blog in its own right), or Home Front (and be grateful that unlike Lileks—praise be his site—I separate out this soft stuff from the thunder and guns stuff), or Landfill which I update far too infrequently.
Oh, and since I’ve added Sitemeter
to The Dignified Rant, I’ve noticed that I have readers in almost every time zone on the planet. This is very gratifying and
humbling. I say almost since there is a gap at 10 hours minus Zulu time. I have been amazed at some of the places I've gotten hits from. Khazakstan? Really. France? Expat or Gaullist? I don't know. I do know
that I’m counting on getting a hit from the expanse of empty
And thanks for reading. It’s been fun.
UPDATE: Dang. One day later and somebody came through from -10 hours Zulu time! And despite my mis-stating of the time zone. My global reach is complete! Muhahahahaha! Thanks!
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Let’s assume the IAEA really did verify that the 400 tons of explosive powder that are now missing really were under IAEA seal in early March 2003 as they say.
Let’s assume that 3rd ID missed the IAEA seals when they rolled through early in the war and that the stockpile was there at that time.
Let’s assume that 101st AB missed the IAEA seals when they rolled through a week later and that the stockpile was there at that time.
Let’s assume that the Baathists managed to truck the explosive powder out sometime between the 3rd ID’s departure and the arrival of 75th Exploitation Task Force which confirmed that the stockpile was gone.
Let’s further ignore the apparent fact that this raw material for a very powerful explosive has not been used against us or our Iraqi or Coalition friends since we won the big unit phase of the war.
Let’s assume all these things for the sake of argument.
So, my question is. Where is it? Are those jumping on this
Most importantly, are the critics saying that the Baathists could hide nearly 400 tons of explosive powder that they stole during the war since May 2003 without being discovered by Coalition forces who control the entire country? Are they really saying that while they ignore the possibility that important WMDs or WMD components could have been hidden prior to our invasion when the Iraqis controlled the country and could plan better?
So either it is possible to hide 400 tons of something inside Iraq even when the hiding is hastily done; or we have to question any one of the assumptions I conceded for the sake of argument in the beginning and admit that the Iraqis probably moved the explosive powder prior to our invasion. And if that far more likely explanation is true, where is it? Hidden inside Iraq which holds open the possibility that we will find more important items stashed in Iraq; or it was sent to safety in Syria or less likely Iran (I doubt Saddam would give a useful component for nukes to Tehran)?
I think this is an interesting question that has gone unasked. Just where is this “looted” explosive powder? Al Caca, indeed.
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"I Could Be Wrong On This"
I wrote earlier (and no I'm not going to spend the effort to find this) that I didn't think our enemies could see enough difference in our political parties to believe one or the other would be better or worse infidel Crusaders.
I could be wrong. As one thug said:
"American elections and
Al-Tai, a London-educated architect and intellectual, said different types of
resistance fighters have different views of the
The most pro-Kerry, he said, are the former Saddam Hussein loyalists — Ba'ath Party members and others who think Washington might scale back its ambitions for Iraq if Mr. Kerry wins, allowing them to re-enter civic life.
The most pro-Bush, he said, are the foreign extremists. "They prefer Bush, because he's a provocative figure, and the more they can push people to the extreme, the better for their case."
Sure, I accepted that at some
level just changing the current administration under pressure like
Perhaps I need to amend my thinking—or focus it. As the article further notes:
"The nation of infidels is one, and Bush and Kerry are two faces of the same coin," said Abu Obeida, nom de guerre of a leader of Fallujah's al-Noor Jihadi regiment. "What is taken by force will be returned only by force, and we don't care what the results of the elections are."
Whoever wins this Tuesday, our Islamist enemies will still seek to kill all of us infidel Crusaders whether we live in red states or blue states. Your hatchback may sport a "Bush Lies!!!!!" bumper sticker and they will still blow you up with as much glee as if your pickup truck has a gun rack. That is our new state of normality, folks. We can't vote our way out of war and it will be fought by our enemies regardless of who you think will do a better job on our side as the war goes on. And please note that whoever you think can best win the war, we are winning now. Peters has a good post on Iraq.
One other thing I note with envy in the first link is that both the "pro-Bush" and the "pro-Kerry" terrorists are able to put their differences aside when they consider their common goal of killing Americans. I wish we could be that practical. Whoever wins the presidency, I want my president to win this war.
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“The Nuisance Issue” (Posted
I have some sympathy for the idea that we should strive to make terrorism just a “nuisance” again.
The good old days when attacks on the
I’m partly serious here. These terror attacks were worthy of serious intelligence attention and serious military retaliation—more serious than we acted; but could anybody say that fighting to prevent a couple dozen dead a year would justify a war in which 1,000 plus die in three years of fighting back? I couldn’t. That would be a high price to pay for possibly stopping several dozen deaths per year. And even if our government had embarked on such a policy in the 1990s, our people would never have sustained such a policy or the casualties. It is a close enough thing even after 9-11.
The problem with the desire to go back and make terrorism a nuisance is that the means of killing us have expanded beyond simple explosives. So has the hatred. Nineteen men with box cutters and hate killed three thousand of us. The hatred itself has made it likely that we can’t go back to nuisance levels of terrorism.
But it isn’t just their hatred that is at a fever pitch. Their means to kill us in catastrophic numbers have increased dramatically. What was once the niche domain of advanced nation states is becoming mass market items. It is in this context that 1,000 dead soldiers in three years becomes a bargain indeed—we are fighting to stop mass murder on a scale in our country that we have never seen. What could the Islamists do with a nuke? Sarin? Or bio weapons?
This article provides a very good reason why terrorism can never be assumed to be a nuisance:
Iran has moved much faster than expected in manufacturing and
assembling these centrifuges, diplomats said. The rapid progress means a pilot
centrifuge plant near Natanz, in central
Two senior European diplomats said the pilot plant could be expanded from the existing 164 centrifuges to 1,000 within weeks and produce enough material in less than a year to fashion a crude nuclear device.
They could perhaps have nukes by 2007. Or
maybe earlier. We just don’t really know. And who knows who
When the biggest psychopaths have nuclear weapons, terrorists can never ever be thought of as nuisances again. It is sheer wishful folly to pretend we can go back to thinking of terrorism as a nuisance.
You can’t go home again. I’m really sorry. But there it is.
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This article runs through the case for the Iraq War quite nicely:
and coalition intervention in
Damn right. But damned if I can remember where I saw this first.
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“Designing the Military” (Posted
I read on NRO that the Europeans have 2 million men under
arms but only 15-20,000 deployable troops. Sounds about
As we think about how to transform our military in an age when military technology is rapidly advancing and when we must fight terrorists, their state sponsors, and nuclear-armed rogue regimes anywhere on the globe, we may be tempted to contrast our military that has deployed globally with the static European militaries.
But keep in mind that Abrams tanks are not inherently more
strategically mobile than Leopard IIs. Nor are Bradleys more deployable than Marders.
We have deployed armored forces around the globe twice in victorious campaigns
since the Cold War ended. We did this with a Cold War military. What made the
difference is our focus on getting our military from
So as we focus on a deployable military, we should not make it a light force to make it more deployable. Lighten it where we can, of course. But victory is not our birthright. We must build a military that can win once it is in theater and then build the logistical capabilities to get it where we need it.
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Saddam Hussein is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people. Whether in mass slaughter or in individual atrocities, his hand is visible. The Iraqis want to try Saddam in a fair court of law and then punish him—probably by executing him. First of all, you are at best confused if you think “fair” trial means you have a 50-50 chance of getting off scot free. Saddam is guilty and a fair trial will find him guilty and will sentence him to a justly deserved death.
But back to the point of this post. The UN won’t help Iraq train judges and prosecutors to make this process run smoothly:
"The Secretary-General (Kofi Annan) recently stated that United Nations officials should not be directly involved in lending assistance to any court or tribunal that is empowered to impose the death penalty," Stephane Dujarric said at a news conference.
"We have no specific mandate for this," he said. "In addition ... we have serious doubts regarding the capability of the Iraqi Special Tribunal to meet the relevant international standards."
Wow. The UN is upset that a man who killed hundreds of thousands could be executed. What a triumph of process over results. But fine, let the Iraqis dispense justice without the “help” of the UN. They’ve done enough.
I guess the “relevant international standards” include being bribed with oil vouchers. I bet UN help would be forthcoming if the Iraqis greased some palms.
I have serious doubts that we should support the UN as currently configured.
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“News Flash: Dozens of Prostitutes Have VD” (Posted
In another flash, hundreds of tons of explosives are missing
Inconveniently for opponents of the Iraq War, they were in
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“There Will Be No Outrage Over This War Crime”
That Mooreworld patriot Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for murdering those unarmed Iraqi soldiers on leave, execution style. This is something his scum kind brag about.
The amount of press coverage given to some Iraqi prisoner with underwear placed on his head by an American will not be matched by the amount of coverage given to the murder of these four dozen Iraqi security personnel. Nor will there be anywhere near the outrage. Lawrence O’Donnell is capable of rage—but not over what our enemies do (Man, I wouldn’t have believed the reports if I hadn’t seen that bout of insanity myself). If the word “atrocity” is even mentioned, I will be shocked. Killing little kids failed to inspire press outrage over Saddam’s thugs. Mass graves failed to do it. Gassing Kurds wasn’t enough. Stealing from the weak in the Oil-for-Food scandal failed to do it. Beheadings failed to inspire outrage. The press doesn’t care. Ho hum. Hey, did you hear the American troops ran low on supplies during the war?! Now that’s something to write about!
And it isn’t enough to say that the press expects far better from us. Of course they do. They should. I expect far better from our troops. Fine. Expect more from us. But it would be nice for the press to acknowledge that the reason more is expected of us is that we are far better than our enemies. If they don’t admit our superiority, how else can they explain the vast differences in coverage and outrage? How can they explain why they get upset when we kill instead of arrest our armed enemies; while our enemies get a pass for any atrocity?
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“There Is No Outrage Over Saddam’s WMD Plans”
With there blinders on, ignoring both the proven past and the predictable future, opponents of the Iraq War still pretend Iraq was no threat to us or his neighbors (and you really have to press them to admit his threat to his own people). They pretend that Saddam was safely in a box even though the French and Russians were slicing away with box cutters to free the Hussein family and set them loose on their victims. With a defense attorney’s eye, they look only through Blix’s eyes and note that right now we don’t see any WMD.
But for those willing to look beyond the law enforcement approach to protecting us, Saddam’s threat to us was clear.
Saddam wanted to re-create Iraq's banned weapons programs, including nuclear weapons.
Saddam was determined to develop ballistic missiles and tactical chemical weapons when the U.N. sanctions were either lifted or corroded.
Saddam retained the industrial equipment to help restart
these programs, having increased from 1996 to 2002 his military industrial
spending 40-fold and his technical military research 80-fold. Even while U.N.
weapons inspectors were in
To what end? The overlooked section of the Duelfer report could not have put it any clearer: "
But we should have left him alone. We had not right to look anywhere but straight ahead with our blinders firmly affixed. According to Moore and his International ANSWER buddies and Moveon.org buddies, anyway. As Zuckerman concludes:
What stopped Saddam was the will of a few strong-minded leaders who believed in a more forceful response than simply joining hands and singing "Kumbaya."
We stopped Saddam. And what we stopped him from
doing—whether you consider building nukes and missiles or slaughtering and
torturing innocents—we did the right thing. I’m damn proud of
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“This is Our Enemy” (Posted
Some over here like to pretend the Baathists and their Islamist buddies are Iraqi nationalists fighting the good fight. I don’t understand how these people can think this. Here is another example of what our enemy is:
The bodies of about 50 Iraqi soldiers were
found on a remote road in eastern
Oh, it is just war, those people will say. What do you
expect these brave freedom fighters to do when they are occupied by the
Gen. Walid al-Azzawi, commander of the Diyala provincial police, said the bodies were laid out in four rows each, with 12 bodies in each row.
"After inspection, we found out that they were shot after being ordered to lay down on the earth," he said.
Executed in cold blood.
Of course, this was just standard operating procedure back
in the good old days of Saddam’s rule. Killing for fun and profit, eh? But
then, al Jazeera wasn’t making it known because they
loved the murdering bastards. They still do. And CNN wasn’t reporting stuff
like this because they wanted that
Just how much more do these scumbag have to do to convince the ilk of Michael Moore that our enemy is evil? How can these Bizarro World people conjure up fanciful conspiracies to prove in their minds that the administration is up to no good yet ignore atrocities and murder on a mass scale by the Baathists and Islamists who hope to terrorize the Shia, Kurds, and sane Sunnis into submission once again? The Baathists are killing for fun and the hope of future profits if they can kill their way back into power. Will the Moorwackians not be happy until we abandon Saddam’s victims to their fate and let the Baathists return to killing Iraqis on an industrial scale?
We have nothing to feat but fear itself was a nice slogan in its day. Now we have actual murdering thugs to fear (come to think of it though, even then we had fascism to fear though we refused to see it). Kill them. That’s what I hope. No mercy. And if we catch them, drop them in Gitmo and keep them there until they rot lest they return to their murdering ways. Our enemies are drawing us pictures. Look at them!
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“New Tet?” (Posted
Is the enemy in
It is more than coincidental that the recent increase in attacks are occurring during the period when Americans, through the presidential election, are deciding the thrust of their policy toward terrorism and the Middle East.
This seems to have entered the realm of conventional wisdom. Our enemies can’t beat us on the battlefield so they really aim for our home front when they fight us. Tet is Exhibit A and there are no other exhibits. It is then noted in disgust that the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were decimated in the offensive and that we won that series of battles.
But was it really
According to the US Army’s American Military History, the Tet offensive’s purpose was two-fold:
Communist plans called for violent,
widespread, simultaneous military actions in rural and urban areas throughout
the South—a general offensive. But as always, military action was subordinate
to a larger political goal. By focusing attacks on South Vietnamese units and
Hanoi's generals, however, were not completely confident that the general offensive
would succeed. Viet Cong forces, hastily reinforced with new recruits and
part-time guerrillas, bore the brunt. Except in the
That is, the enemy thought that the plan could bring victory by winning in the theater itself. They aimed at a general uprising and did not assume defeat on the battlefield would be balanced by the loss of US resolve at home.
So if our current enemy is
banking on pulling a Tet on us, they are operating on
a false historical example. Yes, Tet did result in a
failure of our home morale even as we won militarily. But that was not
pre-ordained. Perhaps if our press had not portrayed the offensive as a
communist victory, perhaps we would have gone on to win. Perhaps if the
military had not been too optimistic for the circumstances, it would not have
been a shock from which we could not recover. In World War II, a similar
surprise enemy offensive in the
Ultimately, then, if our enemy is trying to “Tet” us this Ramadan season prior to our elections, they are not even remotely hoping to defeat us in the theater as our 1968 enemy was, but are banking everything on a public relations victory. So we can completely defeat their hopes if we react in a “Bulge” manner and just go on to kill the bastards and win. Baby boomers like to talk with admiration about our “greatest generation.” How will the boomers react today? Will they rise to the example of our World War II generation or will they repeat their performance that gave the communists victory in 1968?
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“Supply Shortages” (Posted
Supply shortages in
This article noted a report that generated a fair amount of hand wringing:
The lack of key spare parts for gear vital to combat operations, such as tanks and helicopters, was causing problems so severe, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez wrote in a letter to top Army officials, that "I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates this low."
Ralph Peters addresses this as part of an article noting that we are having to relearn just what war is and disabuse ourselves (well, not me) of the idea that war is a perfectly planned computer program that churns out predictable results based on how good your inputs and plan are. On the supply issue, Peters notes:
Forecasting what the
military will need in wartime isn't a new problem. In World War II, we
overestimated the amount of air-defense artillery required and badly
underestimated the need for artillery shells and infantrymen. In the latter
months of 1944, as our troops approached the
People who have to run to a 7-11 to pick up milk during the week because they didn’t plan their usage correctly when they last went on their weekly grocery shopping think this report is a scandal. It is not. It is business as usual. It is a problem to be corrected—not ignored or blown out of proportion.
Peters notes a bigger problem of a peacetime system that seems to focus on big ticket items suspiciously optimized for the Cold War while we need batteries and body armor for an actual war. Peters has a point. But I’ve read enough about rapid fielding initiatives to get items into the field quickly that I don’t know if this should be raised to the crisis level.
Just so this doesn’t look like a typical “this is reality so get used to it” post (though many problems noted in the press do fall under this category) let me note a problem this does highlight. I think our just-in-time-delivery focus for logistics is an error. Big time. This move stems from the great amount of time it takes America to deploy military force overseas to virtually any theater the United States by sea and air. This stems from the fact I’ve read that we shipped home 90% of the supplies we sent to the Gulf for the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91. Eliminating “iron mountains” of supplies to focus on getting supplies to the troops just in time is a way to ease deployment. Unfortunately, it is also a way to ensure shortages when something unexpected happens—something enemies have a disturbing tendency to do. In 2002, I noted in “Equipping the Objective Force” that focusing on efficient supply lines is dangerous:
Such a solution, if even possible, may not be wise if it creates a force that is vulnerable to even a hiccup in the supply line. Think of how simple the enemy's task is if he knows that merely slowing the supply flow can bring great benefits. That is far easier than severing a supply link for weeks as is necessary when iron mountains can sustain forces without a supply line. Some in-theater support and iron hills, as opposed to iron mountains, may be necessary so units can defend themselves at least a short time if the supply link is severed.45 Otherwise, we rely on an enemy who is too unimaginative, passive, or incapable for secure logistics. The Persian Gulf war taught many Americans that winning is easy, but the Army should not act on that assumption. Underestimating an opponent to that degree would be criminal.
So part of the problem noted was just the usual adaptations that an Army must make when fighting a real, adapting enemy. But is part based on the idea that just-in-time industry-style logistics is the pattern we should follow? I hope this experience leads to a reassessment of this philosophy before we face an enemy that can really take advantage of supply problems to defeat our forces in the field.
As Peters concludes:
These recent problems simply reflect the changing shape of war. Our military is evolving with the times — and doing so effectively. But no matter how good we get, we'll never see trouble-free combat. To pretend otherwise is immeasurable folly.
I’m hoping that after the election, no matter who wins, we can discuss problems without the “out” party immediately leaping on them as an argument to impale the “in” party rather than using the discussion to solve the problem. After all, the enemy is trying to win the war—not embarrass the “in” party.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA23OCT04A
Weighs In” (Posted
Secretary Rumsfeld counts our progress in the war on October 18th in The Australian:
From the outset of this conflict, it was clear that our coalition had to go on the offensive against an enemy without country or conscience.
A little over three years
ago, al-Qa'ida was already a growing danger. Its
leader, Osama bin Laden, was safe and sheltered in
Three years later, more than three-quarters of al-Qa'ida's key members and associates have been detained or killed, bin Laden is on the run, many of his key associates are behind bars or dead and his financial lines of support have been reduced.
Afghanistan, once controlled by extremists, today is led by Hamid Karzai, who is at the forefront of the world's efforts in support of moderates versus extremists. Soccer stadiums once used for public executions under the Taliban are today used, once again, for soccer.
Libya has gone from being a nation that sponsored terrorists, and secretly sought nuclear capability, to one that renounced its illegal weapons programs, and now says it is ready to re-enter the community of civilised nations.
Pakistani scientist AQ
Khan's nuclear-proliferation network – which provided lethal assistance to
nations such as
NATO is now leading the
International Security Assistance Force in
Three years ago, in
Three years later, Saddam is a prisoner, awaiting trial. His sons are dead. Most of his associates are in custody.
Have there been setbacks
These are difficult times.
From the heart of
Today, as before, the hard
work of history falls to the
I am glad he chose a paper in the country that did not go wobbly in its last national election to lay out our successes. The Australians have been important in our success thus far and we shall continue to stand side by side.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA21OCT04D
“I’m Nervous” (Posted
Our election approaches. I think the Islamists would love to pull a Madrid on us. And I fear that the example of Beslan is appealing to those bastards. Some might say that the Islamists would not dare attack us because we would not buckle like the Spanish. Some might say that the Islamists would not be so foolish as to attack our children.
But I think the Islamists hate us so much that they want to kill us no matter what. They are quite a bit away from their own goal of killing four million of us. They will kill whoever they can and our kids are not safe from them.
Unfortunately, Halloween is only two days before our national election. Lots of kids will be out at night and who would pay much attention to grownups dressed up out that night too? Our kids will perhaps be easy targets that night.
I just have a really bad feeling about this Halloween. I hope that I am worrying about ghosts and goblins and not the enemy. Just another reason to want to fight that scum overseas and not wait for them to come to us.
Make them scared of us.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA21OCT04C
The UN thinks our invasion
and liberation of
As the UN re-enters
The United Nations no longer
objects to American soldiers to guard its staff in
Well, well. The international
community won’t come through for the UN? Once again it will fall to the
But we’ll do it.
If it falls to our troops, I hope we detail soldiers from 1st CAV and have them wear their cowboy hats to rub in just who is keeping them safe from the Baathist and Islamist thugs the UN loves to talk to and protect.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA21OCT04B
"Revolution, Intervention, or
article (via Winds of Change)
argues that Iranians are likely to resent any
The regime-change idea
is greeted with skepticism by many
political flux and popular dissatisfaction,
But eventually isn't
soon enough for Ledeen, who concludes most every
article on the issue by imploring "faster, please." Ledeen believes that with a little push, the
This is the gist of it.
Regime change will happen eventually if only we don't poke our noses into
Look, I don't know what the
future has in store for
The article doesn't think regime
change will work. The author thinks that the Iranians will rally to the mullahs
should we support opponents of the regime. Yet wars in
With Iran's recent defiant statements
about its right to pursue a nuclear program, and US and Israeli intelligence
projecting that Iran could have nuclear weapons sometime in the next two years,
advocates of a military strike against Iran's nuclear sites are likely to gain
the upper hand. Even so, the fate of democracy in
The article itself cites the
Regime change in
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA21OCT04A
“Giving Them What They Want” (Posted
The Spanish pulled out of
Spanish police have arrested seven "radical and violent Islamic activists" in raids across the country, an Interior Ministry statement said.
Officials say the men were suspected of plotting to attack the country's High Court and included three Algerians, a Moroccan and a Spaniard.
Maybe the Islamists really want what they say they want—to
kill us or convert us. These little things like pulling out of
Why do the Spanish think they are special? That they are immune to Islamist violence?
The Spanish need to rethink their surrender and rejoin the war against terror. Because as far as the enemy is concerned, the Spanish never left the war.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA19OCT04A
“The Princess Secretary General” (Posted
Kofi Annan continues his reign of error as the head of the dysfunctional community of nations we call the UN. The oil-for-food scandal enriched Saddam and the money continues to supply the Baathists as they try to kill their way back to power. But it is surely simplisme to think that the money some members of our international community received from Saddam had any effect at all on their actions:
"I don't think the Russian or the French or the Chinese government would allow itself to be bought because some of his companies are getting relative contracts from the Iraqi authorities," Annan said. "I don't believe that at all.
"I think it's inconceivable, these are very serious and important governments. You are not dealing with banana republics."
As Winds of Change notes (and I am sorry they beat me to the punch on this one making my own post redundant):
You don't get many hanging curveballs like that in your life.
[Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up]
Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
It is truly inconceivable that some people trust this man and this institution.
And is the esteemed leader of the international community dissing some of its tropical members with that last crack?
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA18OCT04C
“Oh Good Grief” (Posted
We have asked the British to redeploy one battalion further north to free up one of ours for offensive operations:
Facing a barrage of hostile questions from lawmakers
reluctant to see British troops sent into the more volatile U.S.-controlled
sector, [Defense Secretary Geoff] Hoon said the
government did not want to let
This is throwing the opposition to the Iraq War in
People, this is a single battalion. Six-hundred and fifty troops. This is not a big deal.
Of course, it is nice to see that critics of the war admit
there is a quiet south. They seem to argue that all of
"Would you consider carefully the risk to British troops, if they free up U.S. forces for the next attack, that they may be seen by some Iraqis as equally responsible for civilian casualties for which neither you nor they will have any control whatsoever?"
I am amazed that some worry about ticking off the enemy. It is not, however, inconceivable.
Thank goodness the British government is made of sterner stuff.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA18OCT04B
“Fighting Outside the Box” (Posted
I was prepared to be quite upset when I read the post at Intel Dump that said that we were eating our seed corn by sending 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, our OPFOR (opposition force) that trains our units in exercises tougher than the combat we’ve faced, to Iraq for a year. The LA Times article linked says:
For years, The Box has been a stage for the Army's elite "opposition force" — soldiers expert at assuming the roles of enemy fighters, be they the Taliban or Iraqi insurgents. Their mission is to toughen new soldiers with elaborate simulations — staging sniper fire, riots, suicide car bombings and potentially dangerous culture clashes.
Staging such scenes has long been the work of the fabled 11th Armored
Cavalry Regiment, or Black Horse Regiment. But starting next month, the
3,500-member unit will begin shipping out to
Training is more important than the latest technology as far as I’m concerned. Expensive weapons are so much expensive junk to be wrecked by an enemy if the troops using them are not up to par. OPFOR is key to keeping our troops trained. Indeed, our OPFOR has been called the best Soviet-style Motor Rifle Regiment in the world as it faces off against our units in desert combat. OPFOR prepared our units for the big one in NATO that never came and its worth was proven against the Iraqis in two wars.
Then I read the linked LA Times article further. It isn’t the problem that I thought. The article notes that National Guard soldiers will replace 11th ACR in the training role. But the training is no longer in mechanized warfare:
Erecting fake villages on training grounds where tank battalions once
rumbled — along with dispatching the Black Horse to
"Smash-mouth, regiment-on-regiment battles are not what I'm concerned with right now," Cone said. "For the next year, I'm stressing low-intensity conflict and cultural awareness."
Each month, the fort trains 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers from other installations. Among other things, GIs learn to shoot to kill from a convoy barreling along at 50 mph and how to spot an improvised bomb.
This isn’t the highly choreographed all-arms battle that the
OPFOR excelled at providing. I think the National Guard troops will be able to
handle the training for irregular fighting for the next year while the Black
Horse Regiment is in
Is our Army stretched? Yes. I’d love to see 40,000 more troops in separate brigades and battalions added to the Army. Is this the disaster of eating our seed corn that I thought it might be? No.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA18OCT04A
“High Sticking” (Posted
The “hockey stick” graph that purports to show a dramatic swing up in temperature over the last hundred years in support of global warming has a bit of a problem (via NRO):
But now a shock: Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records.
But it wasn’t so. McIntyre and McKitrick obtained part of the program that Mann used, and they found serious problems. Not only does the program not do conventional PCA, but it handles data normalization in a way that can only be described as mistaken.
Now comes the real
shocker. This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that
do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To
demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick
created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method
of generating random data is called “
That discovery hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics. How could it happen? What is going on? Let me digress into a short technical discussion of how this incredible error took place.
Give me a “heh” here. Surely this information must get out to inform our debate, right?
McIntyre and McKitrick sent their detailed analysis to Nature magazine for publication, and it was extensively refereed. But their paper was finally rejected. In frustration, McIntyre and McKitrick put the entire record of their submission and the referee reports on a Web page for all to see. If you look, you’ll see that McIntyre and McKitrick have found numerous other problems with the Mann analysis.
Gee, the high priests of the global warming religion didn’t want to see this problem with their faith? The author of the article cited still thinks global warming is real but honestly requests that we work with reliable science. That’s all I want. In theory, global warming seems like a real event. But in the real world, what does the role of mankind do to the temperature in the face of natural warming and cooling trends caused by the oceans, the Sun, and other factors? And just what would the ideal temperature of the planet be? Is it miraculously our current age’s temperature that we must defend at all costs? Is it 5 degrees warmer? Ten? Is it five degrees cooler? Seriously. Tell me what the best temperature for human life on our planet is. If you can’t do that I don’t know why I should agree that slapping down our industry is the correct response to defending the current temperature. And I sure don’t want to be lectured by our European brethren on our refusal to head for the penalty box and cripple our economy for false data.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA17OCT04C
“Winning and Transforming Under the Next QDR” (Posted
The military will have a new quadrennial defense review next
year to focus the military in the light of our current strategic situation.
piece from the
The most likely, virulent, and persistent challenges for the foreseeable future will be irregular and increasingly catastrophic in character. Further, although nonstate sources pose the most pressing irregular and catastrophic threats today, we cannot discount the prospect that all hostile competition—to include that with states—will trend in this direction over time. Taken to their logical ends, strategic adjustments founded on such an outlook would mark a very distinct philosophical shift in the strategic calculus of some American strategy and policy elites. Further, it would balance strategic priorities and address what has been an over-emphasis on the prospect of future peer competition.
To make his point clear, the author states:
First, American predominance in traditional military power has not, as was widely believed, deterred active resistance to our influence worldwide. It has simply foreclosed adversary options in traditional realms. Second, hostile rogue states and budding great powers are not the only prospective challenges of strategic relevance. Our preeminent position draws active resistance from many directions—most immediately by less traditional, often nonstate, challengers. Thus, we must prepare to contend with a period of persistent irregular and potentially catastrophic conflict for the foreseeable future.
He has a point. We do have a war to win and we must organize
to win the fights in
I want to avoid the problem of failing to balance
transforming with winning the current war. In
On the other hand, in the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam optimized
his army to fight the foot-mobile fanatical Iranians and won that war. But the
army designed and equipped to fight the Iranians was ill-suited to face
So should we adapt our ground forces to defeat the Baathists and Taliban, what happens if we must send that
victorious adapted military into battle against a conventional foe that might
outnumber us? I think that would be a mistake. I am not of the opinion that our
military is more important than the wars it fights. We must win in
So what do we do? Some want us to create a separate constabulary force optimized for guerrilla warfare and pacification so that our big unit Army can stay focused on conventional warfare. This would tear up the current Army to create this force. I don’t like it.
We already have:
National Guard and Reserve support units aid all of these. Why can’t we task these five armies to fight the full spectrum of warfare from high intensity conventional warfare to counter-terror operations? Why add another army?
Such a division of labor would call on reserves in small
numbers for the lower level and introduce reserves in larger numbers only as
the scale of fighting increased. It may require adding 40,000 more troops to
create more Army motorized infantry or MP units. It also requires the Marines
to change their focus the most. Amphibious warfare, the Marine mission begun
after World War I and practiced to its fullest in World War II with a last
glorious gasp at
But the idea that we need a sixth army to be composed of constabulary units seems ridiculous to me. We already have five armies.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA17OCT04B
“Bugger Off” (Posted
anti-trade protesters marched
Many of the marchers said they hoped to send a message to
American voters ahead of the Nov. 2
"I think our message to Americans is simple: Don't
vote for Bush," said Emma Jane Berridge, a
No word of whether the crowd estimate includes puppetry.
Ms. Berridge is right on one
point. There message is simple. Simple-minded. Simply wrong. Simply reprehensible in its assumption that
They will surrender on the beaches. I can imagine their ilk
giving a lovely inspiring speech to their backers in
Even though large tracts of the world and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Islamists and all the odious apparatus of fascist religious rule, we shall not fight or resist.
We shall go on marching to the end, we shall surrender in France, we shall give up on the seas and oceans, we shall run away with flagging confidence in our society and growing insanity on the air waves, we shall surrender our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall surrender on the campuses, we shall surrender on the airports, we shall surrender in the courts and in the streets, we shall surrender in the press; we shall never fight for our society, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were worthy of defending, then our EU friends across the channel, castrated and neutered by the EU bureaucracy, would forbid us from defending ourselves, until, despite Kofi Annan’s protests, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to invade the old to seize the North Sea oil reserves."
Truly, the surrendering class can inspire with words like no other.
I trust that most Britons are made of sterner stuff.
And I hope my message to the protesters is clear.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA17OCT04A
Some members of a Reserve
transportation unit in
First of all, we’ve had breakdowns in discipline in every war we’ve fought, including an incident where George Washington himself had to quell a soldier strike in the Revolution. Heck, the entire French army mutinied for a time in World War I. So don’t panic.
That said, military justice is about military discipline and maintaining military effectiveness first and justice for individual soldiers second.
These soldiers must be punished. Whether it is a mild or severe form depends on the leadership of the unit. If leaders truly failed to keep the unit in shape for missions, leaders must pay the higher price. Still, the lower ranks cannot get away with refusal to obey orders even if justified in some sense. Soldiers cannot decide which orders to obey (except for unlawful orders, that is). They needed to use other avenues to protest shoddy leadership if leadership failure is what happened. Of course, if it is sheer mutiny, they need to be made an example. An army is nothing without discipline.
The Army will deal with this incident, move on, and fight. Sadly, some over here will draw hope from the incident. Shame on them.
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA16OCT04C
“Buying Time” (Posted
The Iranians say they might give up their nuke program in exchange for a no-regime-change pledge by us:
Iran might be willing to give up its uranium enrichment capabilities but it wants many things in return -- above all a guarantee that no one will try to topple the Islamic regime, diplomats and analysts say.
As the saying goes, fear is the beginning of wisdom. But is this the beginning of wisdom or just a ploy to buy time? After all the effort they have made to get nukes and ballistic missiles are they suddenly wiling to give it all up for a pledge from people they don’t even trust that we won’t overthrow them?
Or do the mullahs play on the need by some over here to explore every last option before war before we think about acting forcefully? Do the Iranians count on the excitement of some to attend another conference with Evian water around the lovely Oak table, ribbon-festooned documents in two official languages, and pledges all around to meet again in 6 months?
This article also
ridiculously asserts that the 2003 Iraq War convinced
"Iranian leaders got together after the
And if true, what does this
say about Saddam’s ability to restart his WMD programs if he was still in power
and managed to survive the 2002-2003 crisis, shrug off sanctions, and become
free of international scrutiny? If
Just say no to conferences in
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA16OCT04B
"Plans for War" (Posted
When the Baathist
insurgency (and I don’t get wound up over terms—we would know that they are
brutal murderers even if we call them “friendly helpers”) started to pick up
steam in July and August 2003, some wondered if the insurgency was Saddam’s
plan all along. Opponents of the war said we were falling into Saddam’s clever
plot to suck us into
The NYT has an article on
for fighting the
On the eve of the American invasion in March 2003, Saddam Hussein instructed top Iraqi ministers to "resist one week, and after that I will take over.'' To his generals, Mr. Hussein's order was similar - to hold the American-led invaders for eight days, and leave the rest to him.
of those who have recounted those words to interrogators believed at the time
that Mr. Hussein was signaling that he had a secret weapon, according to an
account spelled out in the new report by the top American arms inspector in
intelligence agencies have reported since last fall that the broad outlines of
the guerrilla campaign being waged against American forces in
Where we once assumed the Red Line was the line that would prompt chemical strikes if we crossed it, this theory says it was the line at which the Iraqis would abandon conventional warfare and scatter.
The NYT says further:
January 2003, the [Duelfer] report says, Mr. Hussein finally accepted that American military action
was inevitable. But he also believed that Iraqi forces could hold off the
invaders for at least a month, even without chemical weapons, and that American
forces would not penetrate as far as
"Saddam believed that the Iraqi people would not stand to be occupied or conquered by the United States and would resist - leading to an insurgency,'' the Duelfer report says. "Saddam said he expected the war to evolve from traditional warfare to insurgency.''
This contradicts the idea
that Saddam was going to go guerrilla as the main line of defense. He thought
he could resist a month before being defeated and he believed that even in
defeat we wouldn’t reach
As I wrote in my Red Team analysis in July 2002, Saddam did have military options for fighting us. Even if you strip out my assumption about chemical warfare—which I thought would not be decisive against our well trained and fast moving troops anyway—Saddam could have faced us in battle with some chance that dragging the fight out and imposing a high cost would bring a ceasefire and save his regime.
We also know this from Time magazine about Saddam’s thinking:
Well into 2002, he never thought the
So even though Saddam thought
a US-led invasion would take a month to defeat his military and even then fail
I also read and posted some
time ago the report that Saddam expected that any actual ground invasion would
kick off from
So what do these reports tell us of Saddam’s plans for insurgency?
First of all, I don’t think that Saddam saw an insurgency as his first line of defense. I don’t think anybody assumes defeat, which is what this is.
Saddam first of all did not think we’d invade. He expected another round of air strikes, perhaps a little tougher than Desert Fox in 1998 but no worse than Kosovo in 1999 where a ruler of sterner stuff and destined for greatness (like Saddam) would have withstood the barrage.
If we did invade, he figured
that we’d march out of
With Americans stalled
So yeah, guerrilla warfare
was pre-planned. But it seems to be only a component of a layered plan to win
the war. Saddam did not willingly plan to give up his palaces for a hole in the
ground in some brilliant plan to trap
The NYT article also says, in an indictment of our year-long "rush to war," that some of our problems stem from waiting so damn long to destroy Saddam's regime:
report does not offer a clear verdict on the extent to which the Iraqi
insurgency that has raged for 18 months was planned. But it says that from
August 2002 to January 2003, Army leaders at bases throughout
I argued again and again in the months before the war that if we gave Saddam time, he would use it. My main Red Team analysis for the aim of an Iraqi defense was this:
the idea is to delay American deployment, inflict casualties, and publicize
Iraqi casualties whether they exist or not. You want to influence American,
European and Japanese, and Arab opinion. Only time can save
I feared Saddam would prepare chemical weapons primarily but time is so valuable you never know what your enemy will do with it. Now we know. Saddam prepared a last ditch insurgency to harass our rear. He may have thought there would be a frontline behind which he would direct the war from a deep bunker, but when we conquered the whole country, the insurgency went from being a component of resistance to being the entire resistance.
In early 2002, I thought we
could have gone into
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I wrote that one part of the Russian response to the Beslan massacre would be the assassination of Chechens in foreign countries. Jane’s is on this aspect:
What are the Russians up to?
So, why are the Russians still insisting
on their own doctrine of military pre-emption against alleged overseas
terrorists? There are two reasons. The first is long term and remains strategic.
Ever since the end of the
prediction: Wholesale assassinations of Chechen protagonists and
Russian bullying of
Look, I know very well that
the Chechen question is different from our war on terror. The Chechens want
independence like other people who were under the Soviet empire. But jihadis have made this fight their own and when a
people—even one with some claims to our sympathy for independence—slaughter
children with evident glee, they forfeit our support. I feel much the same
about the Palestinians. However much in abstract they deserve a nation, their little murdering proto-dictatorship that would
run the nascent thugocracy has forfeited my sympathy.
It isn’t as if the Israelis conquered free
The Russians will respond to Beslan. I wish them well in this endeavor. But their wider
objectives to recover as much of the old
Permalink to this post: http://www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRFAOCT2004ARCHIVES.html#TDRNSA14OCT04B
“September 10th Thinking”
The eagerness of some to
oppose the way we fight the war on terror is old thinking. Opponents want to
get out of
But while this is September
10th thinking, it is not September 10, 2001 thinking. It is just as
Until the Cold War and the
threat of mutual nuclear annihilation, when
The Korean War was a
transitional war. We entered the war to preserve
In 1989, as the Berlin Wall
was crumbling unseen, we achieved total victory in
As the sole superpower, once
again we could pursue victory when we went to war. In Kosovo, we still sought
limited objectives but were pleasantly surprised when the Serbs themselves
provided regime change in the aftermath of war in 1999. Again, victory was good—though
it was not our objective—without the lingering threat from partial wins
and ceasefires that we still couldn’t quite shake. In
So while those who suffer
under the delusion that we can at best hope to moderate our deaths to terrorists
are certainly failing to understand the September 11, 2001 world where Islamist
thugs want to kill us in the millions and in their less lucid moments, bring us
into the worldwide Islamist paradise they dream about, this is only part of the
delusion of the war opponents. They also fail to understand the
Our war needs to be waged under September 11th thinking. We need to kill our enemies and reform the survivors before they kill us and we must pursue victory as our objective. There is no substitute for victory. But we did have to settle for less for fifty years. Once again, there is no substitute for victory. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we cannot lose any war we fight. No war outcome is ever inevitable. We must fight and win our wars without holding back because our enemies want to win too. We just have to realize that our strategic environment has changed for the better.
Win! Doesn’t it feel good to say? It will feel even better to achieve.
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"Project Task List (International
The successfully completed direct presidential election in Afghanistan was a triumph in the war on terror. To reach this point, we had to leap a number of hurdles:
So with a little stumble, voting was a success. The enemy certainly wanted to disrupt the election:
Militants from the ousted Taliban regime spent months making fiery threats of attacks on election day but even in Afghanistan's insurgency hit south and southeast voter turnout was unexpectedly high.
Perhaps the Taliban and their foreign Islamist friends focused on disrupting step 9 rather than 1 through 8. ("Mullah Omar! Abdul here. I can report success! We have introduced water-based inks into 3 of 1,348 polling stations! Surely Election Wizard Carter will be able to work with this to undermine the elections…")
No, wait, here's the excuse that the Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi provided:
"In order to avoid bloodshed of innocent Muslims we did not target the polling stations," he told AFP Tuesday by satellite phone from an undisclosed location.
Hmm. Perhaps I've missed the entire point of their whole Islamist regime while they ran the show and the last three years while they ran around kidnapping and killing.
The people who used UN-built stadiums (hey, we can check a UN task!) to execute sundry undesirables and who have been happily killing innocent Moslems whenever and wherever they can, wanted to avoid bloodshed!
Baghdad Bob has met his match with Afghan Abdul in the screaming whoppers category.
Next time, we'll let the newly democratic Afghan government buy the ink.
Now I’m not saying that the UN doesn’t have its uses. If properly supervised, they can pour water out of a boot that has the instructions written on the heel. Unfortunately, if unsupervised by responsible adults, the UN would spend all its time translating the instructions into French, issue a lovely bound report (in English and French), and then jet off to a conference in Geneva to discuss the implications and issue congratulations all around while denouncing the US for even having boots. Of course, the boot would still be sitting on the ground, filled with water. Until an American (or a Brit, Pole, or Aussie, to name but three others in our coalition) came over, kicked the boot over, and got the job done.
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This article says that we are
facing a complex
Independent analysts say 16 months of escalating warfare by
While quoting a
History is also replete with insurgencies that triumphed.
Vietnamese guerrillas ousted the
Then of course we get to the heart of it:
"It's more complex and challenging than any other
He also says:
Let’s start with Krane’s first statement. Yes, we have little first-hand experience. But our Army and Marine Corps are well trained and adapting. We have studied past insurgencies and we are preventing the insurgents from interfering with the creation of a new Iraqi government and security forces. So our experience is of little issue here. After all, I do believe the insurgents lack practical experience in fighting a technologically superior enemy and a majority population that will not be under their boot again. The insurgents have discovered the difficulty of defeating a government who mounts attacks from out of nowhere and whose troops and people control the vast majority of the country. The point is, this is just a silly statement with no bearing on whether we will win or not.
Let’s ignore the
But the heart of it is Krane’s
The statement that Iraq is
more complex and challenging than any othe insurgency
we’ve fought is unclear to me—especially the idea that
So what makes the
This just stuns me. Normally,
unity of command is an advantage in war. But in
So what of this complex insurgency?
The insurgency is made of 4 main groups plus a fifth that adds to the climate of fear and violence that also contributes guns for hire:
The largest insurgent bloc is composed of Iraqi nationalists fighting to reclaim secular power lost when Saddam Hussein was deposed in April 2003.
The second is a growing faction of hardcore fighters
aligned with terrorist groups, mainly that led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The
A third group consists of conservative Iraqis who want to install an Islamic theocracy, but who stay away from terror tactics like car bombings and the beheading of hostages.
The fourth, al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, seeks to make the cleric the nationwide Shiite leader.
Ordinary criminals also pitch in on attacks when they are paid. And gangsters who abduct people regularly sell their hostages to terror groups, which have beheaded some.
First, the criminals can be swept up with police work. They are out for money and when the price for their criminal activity is high enough, they will back off.
Sadr’s thugs are isolated in the Shia community and though he clearly seeks to be a nationwide Shia leader, he has failed miserably.
The “conservative” Sunnis who want a Sunni theocracy are a minority even in the Sunni community and the Shias—even those who like Sadr—would not accept such a government.
The foreign-led Sunni
Islamists are killing Iraqis and pissing off the Iraqis. They can cause mayhem
but they cannot lead a revolution to control
When it comes down to it, the
first group is the only one that really matters. Defeat them and cranky Shias, foreign Islamists, and criminal gangs can be swept
up. The Friends of Saddam have ample money, arms hidden in
Is this resistance tough and
complex? Sure. But we are tough and complex, too. And we have numbers on our
side with 90% of the Iraqis ill disposed to a Baathist
dictatorship returning to rule
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“If Genocide Isn’t Enough” (Posted
I’m no fan of pure humanitarian missions. They are truly wars of choice that may be undertaken if they will not harm American security or run unacceptable risks to undertake. At some point, the horrific nature of the humanitarian crisis can take precedence. I don’t know what that level is but the world did not think Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, Rwanda in 1994, or Saddam’s Iraq qualified as bad enough to do something on humanitarian grounds.
However, when an intervention
supports national interests and there
is a humanitarian crisis, the humanitarian nature of the problem certainly
shields the interveners against accusations of immoral imperialism or whatever
the charge of the day is.
The UN Security Council passed a resolution in September
threatening sanctions against
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami arrived in
Khatami is due to have talks with Sudanese leaders on bilateral, regional and international issues, and presidential sources said he and Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir began their first meeting soon after the Iranian leader arrived.
Details of their talks were not immediately available. [emphasis added]
talks with the Iranians does not
indicate the ideals of the international community, I think. The
reality, yes, but not the ideal. I imagine that the details are not ever
going to be made available. Bilateral issues surely include WMD production and
use; regional issues of course include slaughtering Darfurians
and helping al Qaeda transit the region; and international
issues include terrorism and proven means of getting
I think that an intervention
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“The Threat Beyond
the 24-Hour News Cycle” (Posted
David Brooks is a must read today:
knew the tools he would need to reshape history and establish his glory:
weapons of mass destruction. These weapons had what Duelfer
and his team called a "totemic" importance to him. With these
weapons, Saddam had defeated the evil Persians. With these weapons he had
crushed his internal opponents. With these weapons he would deter what he
called the "Zionist octopus" in both
But in the 1990's, the world was arrayed against him to deprive him of these weapons. So Saddam, the clever one, The Struggler, undertook a tactical retreat. He would destroy the weapons while preserving his capacities to make them later. He would foil the inspectors and divide the international community. He would induce it to end the sanctions it had imposed to pen him in. Then, when the sanctions were lifted, he would reconstitute his weapons and emerge greater and mightier than before.
The world lacked what Saddam had: the long perspective. Saddam understood that what others see as a defeat or a setback can really be a glorious victory if it is seen in the context of the longer epic.
Yes. Saddam launched his first war for glory in 1980. And though he was stymied at every turn in his sick quest for conquest ever since then, his desire for nukes to finally get his place in the sun was clear for those who can see. But too many see nothing. As Brooks notes:
I have never in my life seen a government report so distorted by partisan passions. The fact that Saddam had no W.M.D. in 2001 has been amply reported, but it's been isolated from the more important and complicated fact of Saddam's nature and intent.
We stopped a nuclear threat.
If some people cannot see the inevitable linkage in the chain stretching from a
brutal aggressive dictator to a future brutal aggressive nuclear-armed dictator,
I don’t know what more can be said. They saw the threat during the
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John Howard has been returned
as the PM of
Australians are made of sterner stuff than many over here hoped.
also voting in a victory for our Coalition strategy, we have hope that we
can beat the Islamists by maintaining the Coalition and by creating new allies
where once there had been enemies. Democracy and rule of law will sustain us
despite setbacks as in
There is no substitute for victory. Or liberty.
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Opponents of the Iraq War are
a subset of those who opposed the 1991 Persian Gulf War. A lot of people
formerly pacifistic had their minds changed by 9-11 and are more hawkish now.
But the whole group in 1991 thought war to liberate
But what pray tell was missing from this test in 1991? When some today claim they just wish to fight smarter and with allies who are impressed with our sensitive manner, and that they will never let any foreign state or entity stop us from defending ourselves, what does this 1991 test tell us?
Well, first of all I believe them when they say no foreign nation or entity will be allowed to veto our decision to go to war to defend ourselves.
After all, to have a foreign nation or entity in a position to veto our decision for war, it assumes such a group of sensitive warfighters would decide to wage war. They will not.
I don’t see how people who decided that the 1991 test was insufficient to go to war will ever vote for war shy of getting CNN reports of boatloads of al Qaeda unloading in Manhattan while hauling a dirty bomb ashore in a direct attack. Or maybe they’d still decide to send the police to arrest them. Who knows?
there is no possibility of a foreign or UN veto of
They are self-deterred.
I could be wrong. Perhaps for a majority of those opposed to the Iraq War, the global test asks only one question—what party is the president proposing war? That would be a real shame.
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Some critics of American
policy on Iraq have insisted that we should have dealt with North Korea first
since Pyongyang is the only member of the Axis of Evil to actually have nuclear
capabilities (but let me add as an aside that these critics are relying on the
same intelligence sources that they say hyped Iraq’s capabilities). Aside from
my general rule that dealing with the nutball who
wants his first nuke trumps dealing with the nutball
who wants his third, the options we have to deal with the Pillsbury Nuke Boy
show why dealing with
Via Winds of Change, Power
Politics discusses US
Clearly, invasion is off the
table. We can’t do it alone and if we planned to do it, we wouldn’t be pulling
our few ground troops away from the DMZ. Nor can an aerial offensive win
quickly enough to keep
Isolation can never be
complete given South Korean determination to engage with the North. The ROK has
no desire to pay for unifying with the North even on victorious terms.
Negotiations got us to where we are at now and I fail to see how more of this will do anything but stall the North. And a deal might accelerate their progress by freeing PDRK resources to pursue nukes and missiles.
Power Politics notes that the last option seems best:
The final option – left publicly unconsidered until only very recently – is accepting the North Korean arsenal de facto, and implementing a regime of containment, inspection, and missile defense. This is, understandably, the option of last resort, since North Korean possession of nuclear devices runs decidedly contrary to American interests. However, advocates argue, it may in fact be the only realistic solution. Proponents cite the flaws of other potential options, and suggest measures taken now to implement a system of containment would do much more good than merely ill fated attempts at disarmament.
Essentially, a strategy of containment would be trifurcated into three
significant components. First, North Korean territorial and power ambitions
would be suppressed. The
The risk inherent in this strategy, of course, is that North Korean
nuclear technology finds its way to terrorists and hostile regimes.
Nevertheless, this option of last resort may very well be the optimal way for
I’ve advocated such a course
for a long time.
posture in South Korea shows invasion is not in the works, though the
option of an aerial and missile offensive is being kept on the table. We are
reducing ground troops in
We are also putting missile
defenses around the Korean peninsula and in
So we are prepared to ring
the North with firepower and minimize our weaknesses. The last part is making
sure the North doesn’t sell a nuke to Islamist nutballs.
This is the interdiction
component of our strategy to contain
Department of Defense announced today that it welcomed operational experts from
seventeen countries to the first Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)
maritime interdiction game hosted by the
Delegations participated in a series of intensive simulations designed to test decision-making about potential interdictions of proliferation-related shipments. The event was intended to assist in developing the operational capability of PSI participants to interdict maritime shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related materials.
Participants in the PSI maritime interdiction game included operational experts from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
is a global initiative to enhance and expand efforts to interdict shipments of
WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials to and from states and
non-state actors of proliferation concern. More than sixty countries
around the world are supportive of PSI, which was launched by President Bush on
With a solid defense against direct North Korean aggression and a means of stopping the North from shipping WMD to buyers, we can wait them out. Even South Korean aid will not allow the inept managers of the Northern economy to escape their death spiral. North Koreans will continue to escape and their numbers will increase. At some point, the fear that the Northerners have will not eclipse their despair and they will pull down the statues of the Pillsbury Nuke Boy and the monster who spawned him.
It is sad that North Koreans
will suffer and die until this happens—for years or even decades—but we have
few good options to engineer a regime change at an acceptable cost.
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“No Lesson from Beslan”
The Russians have apparently learned nothing from Beslan:
Russia will continue its
nuclear energy cooperation with Iran, a senior Russian official said Thursday,
despite international concern that
I mean, this is safe, right?
No, it is much better to make
a couple bucks selling the mullahs the knowledge and facilities they need to
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Having run away from
In another dig at the
And to make sure we know that they have surrendered supinely to the new jihad:
Instead, French troops have
been invited to march in the parade as part of celebrations marking the 60th
anniversary of the liberation of
As if the French had anything
to do with the liberation of
What has become of the Spanish?
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Marxist terrorist wannabe will remain in a Peruvian jail. Good. This stuff
isn’t a game and she doesn’t get to say quit once caught and go try for a dull
middle class life in
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"Did Invading Prevent Saddam from
Getting WMD?" (Posted
This is what the President said regarding the Duelfer report (summary here):
"The Duelfer report showed
that Saddam was systematically gaming the system,
using the U.N. oil-for-food program to try to influence countries and companies
in an effort to undermine sanctions," Bush said as he prepared to fly to
campaign events in
Opponents of the war have
seized upon the confirmation that we have not found stockpiles of WMD in
To start, I do want very much to know why our intelligence (and the intelligence services of every other country as well as the UN and even anti-war groups) believed Saddam had chemical weapons stockpiles on the eve of war. Either they were all wrong or something happened to them prior to invasion or shortly after before we were in place.
The idea that this administration misled the American people is ridiculous. Every responsible group thought Saddam had chemical weapons. Even though the report concluded that Saddam made no WMD after 1991, the fact that Saddam was willing to endure sanctions for 12 more years rather than comply with his agreement to disarm and verify that disarmament tells us of his determination to get WMD. Indeed, it wasn’t until the mid-90s that we discovered the existence of his bio warfare program. If we were wrong to invade Iraq then all through the 1990s we were wrong to maintain sanctions on a country with no WMD and were wrong to have struck Iraq repeatedly, including the heavy Desert Fox air campaign in 1998.
But the report makes it clear that Saddam had preserved the technical and scientific knowledge to ramp up chemical and biological weapons within months in some cases, once sanctions were gone. Primitive mustard gas could have been made quickly in a few months and nerve gas would have taken longer. Nukes were even longer away but with the progress made already, it is possible that Saddam could have leapt forward with a timely purchase of the needed nuclear materials from either the Pakistanis or North Koreans and maybe Saddam could have purchased an entire nuclear warhead from North Korea to gain a quick nuclear weapon until domestic efforts could ramp up.
And sanctions were collapsing prior to the war. We were fighting a rearguard action hoping to get focused sanctions instead of the broader sanctions that were collapsing. And we know that Saddam had corrupted the oil for food system and was bribing Security Council patrons and journalists to undermine the sanctions. Those who claim that war was unnecessary must answer why they think it was possible to maintain sanctions in these impossible circumstances. Given Saddam’s clear intentions to get WMD as soon as sanctions were ended, the sanctions could never have been lifted if we were to follow this route. The war critics therefore must also explain how we were going to maintain sanctions indefinitely.
No, the exact status of
Or there is the full cooperation option. What if Saddam
caves and says, you are right, we have everything you say we have—here it is,
come and destroy it. Even if he destroys it all, what if he has more than we
think? And what happens after he is certified weapons--free and we go home?
With his wealth, scientists, and technical expertise, he begins again. And not
from scratch since the knowledge is the key ingredient. All else can be
purchased with his wealth and hidden even better, with the knowledge of what we
can do. And who in
I worried that Saddam might comply with our demands and if he was disarmed verifiably, the UN would lift sanctions and we would be able to do nothing. Our military would go home and Saddam’s continued rule meant that he would quickly get WMD.
So while I want to know why
we did not know there were no WMD in
We did that and I’m glad of it. Saddam or his lovely boys will not have nukes or bugs or chemicals. And the end of his beastly regime is a humanitarian bonus as well.
And for what it is worth, I still think we will find the WMD. Duelfer could not find evidence of production or stocks. That means either Saddam did not have them or that we did not find evidence of them. I’m betting on the latter. Saddam was awfully stubborn and sacrificed a lot over 12 years for a reason. And if the reason was that he preferred his people to suffer rather than comply, that is surely a good humanitarian reason to have destroyed his regime.
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“I Remember the Day No Planes Flew” (Posted
Bill Whittle has a good post up on the war we are in. What grabbed my heart was this:
I tried to enlist on September 12th, 2001. I knew a little about airplanes; maybe the Air Force would trust me to wash them or something so as to free up useful people. They asked how old I was, thanked me, and told me they’d give me a call if they needed me.
So here I am: feeling useless. But President Bush warned that this was going to be a different war – something unlike anything we had ever seen. The front line now, at this critical time, is in the hearts and minds of our own people. That’s where the real battle is now. That is our weakest point, our breach, our point of failure. We have not made the case to enough people and time is running out.
So maybe now, at this absurd point in this new kind of war, we’re the crack troops, we old and useless pajama patriots reduced to printing up pamphlets to sell war bonds to the weary, to make the case for holding on to an unglamorous, uninspiring, relentless grind because that – not Normandy and Midway – is the face of war in this gilded age of luxury and safety and plenty.
Maybe that’s our job. Maybe we can help cover some small gap in the lines.
We’ll see. But for now, I will take up the sword of the pajamahadeen, and rise up: just another citizen-wordsmith, trying to put words and ideas where they are needed: into the stumbling gaps, exasperated expressions and defensiveness of a brave and exhausted man under a lot of pressure.
I believe I wrote that in the two weeks or so following 9-11, I marched again. I didn’t walk. The forgotten cadences returned and my fingers were curled and I marched like I was a soldier again.
But I was not a soldier. And I could do nothing.
And even when I was a soldier, I was not a snake eater. I was a signalman and a reservist to boot. Not exactly Rambo material, eh?
But in September 2001 I felt guilty that I was not in uniform. That I was not going to be sent to fight our enemies. And yet I was grateful, too. Only a fool would eagerly want to fight and leave a young son behind. Had I been in uniform I would have done so—I had faced that question in 1990 and knew I would go if called. I expected to be called up then and in January 1991 it seemed certain. But in the end, I was lucky. I was not called up and I did not go to war.
But in 2001, our nation went to war and in October we sent our soldiers off to war in turn to destroy the Taliban, to hunt al Qaeda, to crush Saddam, and to struggle in the shadows around the globe out of the media spotlight.
I remained at home. And I could do nothing. And much more is ahead before we can claim to be at peace again.
In time, I discovered the blogsophere. Lileks especially inspired me. And it seemed to offer a way for me to do something useful. If only just a tiny bit. I was a citizen-soldier. Now I am a citizen-wordsmith. I enjoy it. But I also feel I must do it as a duty. That is why I sometimes stay up late writing. I don’t fool myself that I am critical to the war effort any more than I was critical to the US Army as an E-4 signalman. But in each I could play a role along with many others who share my goal. I hope that by standing on the ramparts in this small way that I am contributing to killing our enemies and beating the bastards that made our skies quiet one clear September day in 2001.
I have not forgotten that day. The silence in the skies. Not by a long shot. Nor should any of us. And I do not forget that this war is not yet won. Indeed, it is not even fully settled that we should fight this war. Each of us can do something. This is what I do.
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“The Water’s Edge” (Posted
Orson Scott Card has an excellent article with a lot of good points.
I’ll just highlight one:
the American people remember: President Bush landed on that aircraft carrier at
the end of major force combat in
I should just cut and paste the whole thing. It would be nice if politics did end at the water’s edge.
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"Coalition Offensive" Posted
American forces are on the offensive in the Sunni Triangle:
al Sadr's armed followers in
This military offensive is a necessary component of defeating the Baathists and uprooting the foreign Islamists. As Mac Owens writes in his article on the need to crush sanctuaries and this apparent offensive:
This is good news. It indicates that the final battle against the insurgency may now be underway.
I am tremendously relieved that we are taking the initiative to win instead of hunkering down and trying to avoid losing. In my September 26 post "Are They Fixed or Just Safe?" I was worried that we were fooling ourselves into thinking that letting our enemies have sanctuaries was setting a trap, and concluded:
End the sanctuaries. Now. Because our enemies won’t hold off in October in deference to our election schedule. Better to be going after them than to get hit day after day, reacting to their initiatives. And take that one-man sanctuary, the idiot Sadr, off the streets. I worry that he will eventually succeed in engineering the destruction of a holy site and enflame Shias against us. If the Shias turn against us, we can’t win at a price we are willing to pay. And then our enemies will have a national sanctuary again. But that is good, right? The ridiculousness of claiming we are “fixing” our enemies is evident. End the sanctuaries now.
Our military success in
Speed has been my basic approach to fighting. Take the bandaid off fast, as I say. Fight wars fast to keep public opposition from developing and to crush the spirit of the enemy so they can’t react effectively. While some might think that fighting slower saves our troops’ lives, that is false compassion for our soldiers and Marines. It is better to lose extra men in the short run to win rather than let the battle drag out to give our enemies chances to kill more of us over time. Time is our enemy and if we give our enemies time they may use it.
As Peters put it:
The two-day sweep through Samarra incorporated lessons learned on the ground over the past several months — especially the need to win swiftly in urban settings. Our soldiers performed flawlessly under difficult conditions. Iraqi commandos, backed by our Special Forces, liberated two key mosques before a hostile media could intervene on terror's behalf. The city's population is glad that their oppressors are gone.
Our troops are good enough to
win if we tell them to. And the Iraqis are shaping up nicely,
it seems, to fight the insurgents and terrorists. Still, as I've written
before, military strength only buys us time—it is not sufficient to pile up
enemy bodies. We can't just focus too narrowly on the rapid and successful
conquest of cities like
The assault on
Though I dispute the idea
Bullets, money, ballots: Call this trio
of words the highly condensed version of coalition strategy in
It will take time to defeat even a narrowly based insurgency that is desperate to regain power, is fearful of retribution from the formerly oppressed, has lots of money, and is well trained in killing and instilling fear.
Though it will take time for the fight—increasingly carried out by Iraqis themselves—to win, we should remain confident that we can defeat these insurgents who lack popular support:
terrorist movement in
We need the confidence in our troops and cause to endure brutal bombings of children in order to win. But it all starts with going on the offensive. Nobody ever won a war sitting on their butts.
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We are supposedly involved in
a unilateral fight in
What rubbish. Where to begin?
First, this requires you to ignore the many over here who railed against containment as some type of irrational hatred of a morally equivalent—if not superior—communism. It is funny to see people who used to hate the Cold War while the outcome was in doubt now lament the fact that the Europeans no longer follow our lead.
It requires you to ignore the
rabid protests against American efforts to defend
It requires you to ignore the détente proponents here and their European counter-parts who strove to trade with and aid the Soviets.
It requires you to forget
It requires you to forget
that Greek hatred of
It requires you to forget the constant nagging we had to do to get the NATO countries to spend money on defense.
Most importantly, it requires
you to forget that the only reason that we were able to get a broad alliance to
work with us to resist the Soviets was because the frontline was in their front
yard. Masses of NATO troops stood on the central front in
So what did our broad
alliance assisting us in the global Cold War do for us outside of
Well. Not much. Who helped us
So when our current alliance
that is joining us in
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"U Store It" (Posted
So why would Saddam send WMDs or components to neighboring countries? That's what
Daniel Chisholm of
I may have already summarized my reasons for this opinion months ago. I've certainly raised bits and pieces over the last year and a half. But this question is as good as any reason to attempt to summarize and explain my view on this question.
First of all, I assume that
Saddam wanted glory for himself and
I therefore start with the
assumption that Saddam had WMD and WMD-program components to hide. I assumed
before the Iraq War that Saddam had chemical weapons and missiles in excess of
the range allowed by the international community from the simple fact that
Saddam used such weapons in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War on a large scale. Saddam
probably concluded that chemical weapons saved his butt in that war and there
is no way he was going to go without them even if he didn't think they'd be
effective against superior
Second, Saddam did not really
expect us to invade and march on
Third, in covering his tracks
by hiding his WMD, Saddam wanted to avoid putting all his eggs in one basket. Surely,
some WMD and components could be hidden inside
So we have
Of course, we don't know
where else Iraqi WMD could be.
So I am confident that the chain of Iraq WMD did not suddenly end on the eve of the 2003 Iraq War. Saddam's WMD are out there and I damn well hope we find them before they are used effectively against us or our allies.
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"Buying Time for New Models of
But Iranian President Mohammad Khatami claims that Iran wants to talk with the Western world:
"If we want the dialogue between the two civilisations to open a new page in the world, we must free it from the negative tendency of mutual recrimination with the aim of reaching positive cooperation," he told parliamentarians in Algiers.
Khatami, who is on a
three-day state visit to
I'm sure some here will leap at the chance to have a talk—perhaps even a lovely summit—to discuss our issues.
And while the diplomats chat in French and English, the serious work of building Iranian nukes will proceed apace in Farsi (with Korean heard in the background on occasion).
So how long will those talks last? Well, that depends on how long it takes the Iranians to build nuclear missiles. Make no mistake, the mullahs fear we will stop them from acquiring nukes and they want desperately to buy time to get them. The only question is how much time are they trying to buy.
"It is time to base our relationship on the establishing of new models of regional and international cooperation," he said.
We won't like the models the mullahs have in mind if they get nukes.
Regime change in
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This article has two interesting aspects. First is this statement in a tape to inspire the jihadi nutballs out there:
The audiotape aired by Al-Jazeera
television Friday identified the speaker as Ayman al-Zawahri, an Egyptian-born confidante of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Following a technical analysis, a
"You, youth of Islam, this is our message," the speaker said. "If we die or are detained, continue the path after us, and don't betray God and his prophet, and don't knowingly betray the trust."
"The interests of the Americans, British, Australians, French, Polish, Norwegians, South Koreans and Japanese are spread everywhere," the speaker said. "We must not wait more ... or we will be devoured one country after the other."
Not exactly a “win one for the Gipper” speech now is it?
It seems to anticipate their death or capture and begs others to carry on the fight. It pleads for more jihadi action as the nutballs are hunted down all over the globe. It seems to see the youth falling for the siren song of Western lifestyles and perhaps liberty rather than the suicidal purity of their twisted view of Islam.
It is also interesting that in addition to the usual suspects who are loyal allies that the jihadis hate, we have the Norwegians again, symbolic of the smaller countries that fight at our side; the Japanese and South Koreans who are old friends but new allies on the world stage at our side now; the Poles who are new allies after our win in the Cold War (just as Iraq is becoming an ally in the fight after our victory over Saddam’s regime); and the French, who for all their public hostility toward the US, quietly work with us to hunt the jihadis.
I don’t know what the metrics for victory look like, but
this sure doesn’t sound like the tape of a confident enemy. The jihadis are being tested and they aren’t measuring up. Iraq
can’t be going well for them. Nor can
The other thing to note is
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“More Intense—But Not Spreading” (Posted
While our casualties are inching up each month, the insurgency is not spreading. It is still a Sunni fight against the new reality with help from their jihadi friends from abroad seeking to die for Allah:
A recently published survey of attacks on police and troops in
This fact had seemed apparent to me so the charge that the
resistance is spreading seemed ludicrous on the face of it. Yet the press still
says this. Amazing. The fact that
after the many months since the fall of
And as I’ve noted before, all we need to do is create a Shia-Kurdish-sane Sunni government that can take on the Baathists and the Islamists. We appear to be doing that. This is the key to success.
And we are finally taking on the sanctuaries that the enemy has created. Take those down and the attacks per day will go down as the enemy gets too preoccupied with surviving to fight another day to spend a lot of time figuring out how to strike us. And we’ll have damaged the enemy enough so that our Iraqi friends can take on the scattered resistance.
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Polish special forces participated in the invasion of
IT CAME AS A SURPRISE to
many when the
One of the primary
objectives during the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom was the port at
Umm Qasr. Without it, delivering adequate humanitarian
aid to the rest of
It is apparently still a surprise to a lot of people.
This site notes that Spain and Denmark contributed naval forces to the invasion.
I thank all of them. Even the Spanish who have since turned and fled. They helped then. They may help again.
Just so we’re all clear here.
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“Not a Memorial of Service” (Posted
The traveling exhibit of 1,000
pairs of boots to represent our casualties in
But I could not go. Because the people putting this display on do not do this to honor the sacrifice of our volunteer troops in a just cause. The motivation of the sponsors’ mimicry is a far cry from the motivations of the military’s original tribute. No, the sponsors wish to undermine the war. At best, they think our dead are victims of an unjust war. At worst, they are guilty of war crimes themselves. The sponsors wish to use the deaths of our troops as props to end the war before we win and thereby doom our troops to a futile death as well as undermine our security and condemn Iraqis to more death and destruction by bolstering the Baathists and Islamists as they try to reverse the freeing of the Shias and Kurds from Sunni oppression. And if I went to that exhibit even with pure heart to honor our dead, my presence would have been interpreted as supporting the sponsor’s message of defeat and shame. And guilt. As if we should feel guilt for defeating Saddam. Their level of shame is astounding to me. Are they gleeful when they get to add another pair of boots? Did they hold a party to celebrate reaching 1,000?
Motivation means everything in this case. They can take
their damned “memorial” to
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“My Global Test” (Posted
My global test for whether to attack our enemies is twofold:
Two out of two earns a visit from Mr. MOAB and their snake-eating friends. Or a corps or two. Whatever it takes to defeat the threat.
And if it takes using small yield earth penetrating nuclear weapons to destroy a rogue regime’s nuclear arsenal, I do not think we need to feel any guilt at all wielding them as we tell those rogues to give up their nuclear weapons. We are not morally equivalent. I have no patience with somebody who thinks our possession of weapons designed to destroy enemy weapons is the same as an enemy with weapons intended to slaughter civilians. Railing against our earth penetrating weapons is ridiculous and failure to deploy them means we prefer to give our nuclear-armed psycho enemies the advantage of knowing that their nuclear arsenals are immune to our attack short of large nukes that will irradiate large chunks of their country creating a humanitarian crisis and killing or wounding lots of civilians. What do they care? Just let the world press film it all and the mullahs or Pillsbury Nuke Boy will be delighted.
Destroy our enemies before they kill us. I will not draw a whole lot of satisfaction by killing millions of civilians living in an enemy state in retaliation for their psycho ruler’s successful nuclear attack on one of our cities. And have no doubt about it, if we are nuked, we will have to respond with nukes unless we want to declare open season on US citizens. Destroying those nukes with our own small nukes isn’t quite so immoral in this light, now is it?
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“Hot Air Credit” (Posted
The Russians just made the Europeans very happy:
Russia's decision was welcomed by the governments of Germany, Italy, Britain and Japan, and by the European Union, which have been among the agreement's most energetic backers.
Once the deal enters into force, industrialized countries will have until 2012 to cut their collective emissions of six key greenhouse gases to 5.2 percent below the 1990 level.
Call me cynical, but since Russia is about a quarter under
its ceiling since the ceiling was figured out when the Soviets had lots of
heavily polluting factories that are long gone, I don’t think this has anything
to do with global warming. Nor do I think it has anything to do with the
millions or billions
No, I think the Russians are about to do some serious
Chechen pounding and
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“Make Them Worry” (Posted
We are on the offensive in Samarra, a city that had been dominated by Iraqi insurgents for months:
Backed by warplanes and tanks, some 5,000 troops [3,000 from 1st ID and 2,000 Iraqi army and
National Guard] swept in to seize the
city hall, the main mosque and other important sites in
The city appeared calm late Friday except for American snipers on rooftops firing at anybody appearing in the streets below. Troops ordered residents to stay inside and announced a curfew. Water and electricity services were severed.
This seems to be the beginning of an effort to clean out the
Sunni triangle. The Iraqis are getting some experience with our guys. We’ve
killed a lot of insurgents with few losses. And we will put the Iraqis back in
Oh, and we rescued a Turkish hostage being held in that former sanctuary.
And of course, it is always better to have our enemy more worried about what we are going to do to them than contemplating how they will harm us. Maintain the initiative. Break the sanctuaries. Atomize the insurgents so Iraqi police and security forces can handle them without air strikes and artillery and all the other fancy hardware that we have a monopoly on.
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