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NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS OCTOBER 2004 ARCHIVES

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“They Are Against Whatever We Do” (Posted October 30, 2004)

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 October 30, 2004)

Though I slam France on occasion, I do recognize that while France may try to screw us over in some areas, especially Iraq, that does not mean that France is wholly useless. As Sensing notes:

One reason President Bush has refrained from criticizing the French is because while Chirac's government is no ally in Iraq, it is an important ally in Francophone Africa, where French intelligence is very active and effective. Africa, you may recall, is the coming thing in al Qaeda's operational base.

In general, I try to take the long view in our coalition of the willing in the fights in Afghanistan, Iraq, and globally. While some allies shrink from helping in some areas, they are helpful in others. These are willing partners after all, and help willingly given will be worth more than compelled help. Spain could be more helpful in the future. So could Germany. So could the Philippines. So too could France. Of course, just as France opposes us when they think it is in their interest; we should look to our interests when dealing with France and others. After all, where they cooperate with us, they are doing so because it helps them—not as a favor to us. We owe them no favors. We could consider doing them a favor when they do something to help us even when they think it won’t help them. That’s what being an ally means. France should look into that.

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.

Of course, France has a way of drawing attention to itself as an opponent of the US in the most obnoxious fashion possible. They choose to be a lightning rod so they shouldn’t be too shocked that Americans like myself are upset with them.

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“Is Osama Happy?” (Posted October 30, 2004)

So after three years of the US and our allies fighting back against Osama’s mad version of Islam, is Osama happy at the scene he surveys from his lovely cave?

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 United States was ignoring Afghanistan, wasn't occupying Iraq, and was committed to negotiating Palestinian nationalist and religious aspirations through the Oslo Accords. We know that Osama bin Laden used as a tocsin call American retreats from the Middle East; that the defining moment for him, and perhaps for his movement, was President Clinton's "Black Hawk Down" withdrawal from Somalia.

 

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 United States). In a newspaper or magazine article we get a quick quote from some European intelligence official telling us that al Qaeda has been revitalized by the American invasion, but what we don't see or hear, at least not yet, are European officials and responsible academics who actually visit the Muslim communities they write about, screaming over the postwar radical deluge. (And we would hear the Europeans, particularly the French and the Germans, frantically pressing this with U.S. officials and reporters, yet all seems rather quiet.)

 

NOW FOR WHAT we are beginning to see in the Middle East: The Iraq war has intellectually convulsed the region. The war and President Bush's statements about the need for greater democracy in the Middle East have provoked a vibrant conversation about democracy in the region and in the influential Arabic press published in London. This conversation is still in its infancy, but the range of the discussion, and the extent to which even the controlled presses in dictatorships have been forced to engage it, are impressive.

 

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 New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Let me post this nice summary from The Corner:

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 everyone in Philadelphia this week), lobbed a few ineffectual cruise missiles on a single day. Big rocks were turned into smaller rocks, but there was no meaningful effort -- none, zilch, nada -- to hunt down and kill Bin Laden even though everyone in the administration acknowledged that al Qaeda was planning more attacks on the United States.

 

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 Clinton administration knew exactly what they were trying to do. Did Senator Kerry ever convene a congressional hearing to probe why the Clinton administration was not using the Defense Department to hunt down and capture or kill Bin Laden? Did he ever demand answers for why the response to al Qaeda attacks in 1998 and 2000 was so pusillanimous? I must have missed those.

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 Soviet Union to worry about and could not get bogged down in a lesser threat. Bush 41 had managing the collapse of the Soviet Union and German reunification not to mention the Persian Gulf War. But what was Clinton’s excuse? We were supreme in power and prosperous at home. Perhaps the American people would not have answered the call to fight hard, eager to find a happy, normal, post-Cold War world. But we’ll never know. Our president did not try. So during the’90s the Islamists trained and rested and spread out to fight us, killing us where they could and finally hitting a medium jackpot with the 9-11 attacks. They are eager for bigger and better attacks.

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 Afghanistan gaining freedom, the questions will grow. With Iraq gaining freedom, the questions will grow harder. Certainly, the Moslem “street” is quiet and the issue of freedom has been broached. We have done well in the short run and the signs are good for the long run, too. My, Osama must be a happy cave camper.

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 Iraq. No war is guaranteed in its outcome. If we walk away—they win. And they will draw encouragement from it. See VDH on this.

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 October 29, 2004)

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 Afghanistan.

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 Iraq take priority over his own war in Afghanistan.

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 California nutcase dressed up in his “My Little Terrorist” outfit. Osama spent 3 years running and hiding and all he can do is beg us to leave him alone in exchange for him leaving us alone.

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 October 28, 2004)

I’d mentioned in the invasion of Iraq that I thought there would be a race by our intelligence services with those of allies and others to grab information in a collapsing Iraq. I was off on my timing:

American and European intelligence agencies believe that between January and March, 2003, Russian intelligence and commando units went to Iraq to destroy, as much as possible, evidence of Russian aid to Saddam Hussein during the period of the UN embargo. For over three decades, Russia has been a major supplier of weapons, and weapons technology, to Iraq.

Well that would explain a lot, now wouldn’t it? Everybody assumed that Iraq had a lot of stuff he wasn’t supposed to have. Yet we faced no chemical weapons in the invasion and although we’ve found plenty of damning information, supplies, and equipment, there has been nothing the press has been willing to call a smoking gun. I disagree strongly with that assessment by the press, but there it is nonetheless.

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 October 28, 2004)

Our troops in Iraq are fighting off a Ramadan surge of Baathist and Islamist attacks. Last year in November, we faced another Ramadan offensive.

But didn’t Western experts on Islam insist in 2001 during the Afghanistan campaign that we had to halt our offensive during the holy month of Ramadan? Didn’t those experts assure us that fighting during Ramadan was so contrary to Islam that the street would rise up against us if we fought in that time?

Where are those experts now? Why aren’t they imploring the Iraq terrorists to halt their attacks during this sacrosanct time of peace and reflection?

Or does their advice change depending on whether it would harm the United States?

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“Hey. It’s My Birthday Today” (Posted October 28, 2004)

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 Alaska or scattered Pacific islands, but if you know somebody there, tell them to click on this site just to round out my global coverage. Yeah, it’s a small thing but that would be a nice present too!

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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Excuse Me. I Have a Question” (Posted October 28, 2004)

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 plastic Turkey story trying to tell me that the Baathists could grab something this important as the war swirled around them with death raining down on any Iraqis moving in the open? Are the critics saying that something so important as to dwarf the other munitions we’ve destroyed or secured in vast numbers since Baghdad fell was overlooked by the Baathists until the US Army had overrun the site?

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" (Posted October 27, 2004)

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 Iraq are linked tightly together," he told a Fallujah-based Iraqi reporter. "We've got to work to change the election, and we've done so. With our strikes, we've dragged Bush into the mud."

 

Mowafaq Al-Tai, a London-educated architect and intellectual, said different types of resistance fighters have different views of the U.S. election.

 

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 Spain would delight them, but I had a problem thinking they would incorporate it into their strategy. Still, as the article states, the feeling is hardly monolithic though the insurgents I believe are the real problem—the Baathists—want Bush out.

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 October 26, 2004)

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 World Trade Center failed; bombs targeted US ships and barracks; overseas embassies blew up; and Americans died in relatively small numbers here and there. We went on happily with our lives only dimly aware that predators circled just outside the light of our campfire waiting to pounce on and kill the weak.

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 Iran, could soon be equipped with enough machines to begin large-scale enrichment.

 

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 Iran would share the weapons or technology with.

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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“Right War. Right Place. Right Time” (Posted October 25, 2004)

This article runs through the case for the Iraq War quite nicely:

The American and coalition intervention in Iraq was the right war, at the right time. By all means, there remain legitimate grounds for questioning the Bush administration’s prosecution of the war and reconstruction. Rich Lowry’s latest cover story in National Review, entitled “What Went Wrong,” provides some interesting and well-source observations on that score. But don’t let the revisionists, isolationists, and anti-Bush ideologues rewrite history through selective quotation, innuendo, and outright fraud and deceit. Saddam Hussein represented a grave danger to the United States, was a common denominator in the threat of anti-American terrorism and of the use of bio-weapons against us, and was one of the cruelest dictators of the 20th century.

Damn right. But damned if I can remember where I saw this first.

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“Designing the Military” (Posted October 25, 2004)

I read on NRO that the Europeans have 2 million men under arms but only 15-20,000 deployable troops. Sounds about right. Afghanistan and the Balkans pretty much tie down the non-British European deployable military force. The continentals designed their militaries to defend Europe itself in the Cold War and so didn’t have to do anything more logistically complicated than drive out of their parking lots and start shooting Russians.

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 North America to global hotspots, whether West Germany or the Persian Gulf. We have unmatched logistical abilities.

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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UNfreakingbelievable” (Posted October 25, 2004)

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 October 25, 2004)

In another flash, hundreds of tons of explosives are missing in Iraq. Without these 380 tons, the Sunni Triangle would be as quiet as the Shia and Kurdish areas. They may have been missing since March 2003 but no matter.

Inconveniently for opponents of the Iraq War, they were in Iraq for Iraq’s non-existent nuclear ambitions.

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“There Will Be No Outrage Over This War Crime” (Posted October 24, 2004)

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?

How indeed.

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“There Is No Outrage Over Saddam’s WMD Plans” (Posted October 24, 2004)

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 Iraq, Saddam's scientists were performing deadly experiments on human guinea pigs in secret labs.

 

To what end? The overlooked section of the Duelfer report could not have put it any clearer: "Iraq would have been able to produce mustard agents in a period of months and nerve agent in less than a year or two." While Saddam had abandoned his biological weapons programs, he retained the scientists and other technicians "needed to restart a potential biological weapons program," and he "intended to reconstitute long-range delivery systems [that is, missiles] and . . . the systems potentially were for WMD." These conclusions were based on interviews with Saddam Hussein, his closest advisers, and his weapons scientists, along with the kind of industrial equipment the Iraqi government imported and maintained.

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 America for standing up to this challenge in the face of morally depraved opponents who see us as the bigger threat and greater monstrosity.

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“This is Our Enemy” (Posted October 24, 2004)

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 Iraq, apparently the victims of an ambush as they were heading home on leave, Iraqi authorities said Sunday.

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 US and that puppet regime of the 90% of Iraqis who used to be on the neck end of the Baathist boot-stomping-on-necks regime?

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 Baghdad byline and wouldn’t risk giving their audience actual news as the price of maintaining that access.

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 October 23, 2004)

Is the enemy in Iraq engaged in a Tet-style offensive to undermine our morale in the US prior to our election to compel us to withdraw? That is what this article (via Real Clear Politics) argues:

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 North Vietnam’s intention to fight our home front?

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 facilities, Hanoi sought to undermine the morale and will of Saigon's forces. Through a collapse of military resistance, the North Vietnamese hoped to subvert public confidence in the government's ability to provide security, triggering a crescendo of popular protest to halt the fighting and force a political accommodation. In short, they aimed at a general uprising.

 

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 northern provinces, the North Vietnamese Army stayed on the sidelines, poised to exploit success. While hoping to spur negotiations, Communist leaders probably had the more modest goals of reasserting Viet Cong influence and undermining Saigon's authority so as to cast doubt on its credibility as the United States' ally. In this respect, the offensive was directed toward the United States and sought to weaken American confidence in the Saigon government, discredit Westmoreland's claims of progress, and strengthen American antiwar sentiment. Here again, the larger purpose was to bring the United States to the negotiating table and hasten American disengagement from Vietnam.

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 Battle of the Bulge did not lead to a crack in our morale but depleted the enemy’s armor and paved the way for victory in Europe.

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 October 23, 2004)

Supply shortages in Iraq that appeared in fall 2003 pale in the face of the reality shortage it inspired.

This article noted a report that generated a fair amount of hand wringing:

The top U.S. commander in Iraq complained to the Pentagon last winter that his supply situation was so poor that it threatened Army troops' ability to fight, according to an official document that has surfaced only now.

 

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 Rhine, artillery rounds had to be rationed. At one point, the infantry replacement pool for the entire European Theater was down to one very lonely soldier.

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.

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Rumsfeld Weighs In” (Posted October 21, 2004)

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 Afghanistan. His network was dispersed throughout the world and had been attacking US interests for years.

 

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 Libya and North Korea – has been exposed and dismantled. Indeed, Pakistan, once sympathetic to al-Qa'ida and the Taliban, has under President Pervez Musharraf cast its lot with the civilised world and is a stalwart ally against terrorism.

 

NATO is now leading the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and is helping to train Iraqi security forces. The United Nations is helping set up free elections in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 60 countries are working together to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

 

Three years ago, in Iraq, Saddam Hussein and his sons brutally ruled a nation in the heart of the Middle East. Saddam was attempting regularly to kill US and British air crews enforcing the no-fly zones. He ignored 17 UN Security Council resolutions.

 

Three years later, Saddam is a prisoner, awaiting trial. His sons are dead. Most of his associates are in custody.

 

Iraq has an interim constitution that includes a bill of rights and an independent judiciary. There are municipal councils in nearly every major city and in most towns and villages. Iraqis now are among those allowed to say, write, watch, and listen to whatever they want, whenever they want.

 

Have there been setbacks in Afghanistan and Iraq? Of course. But the enemy cannot win militarily. Their weapons are terror and chaos. They attack any sort of hope or progress to try to undermine morale. They know that if they can win the battle of perception, we will lose our will and leave.

 

These are difficult times. From the heart of Manhattan and Washington DC, to Baghdad, Kabul, Madrid, Bali, and The Philippines, a call to arms has been sounded, and the outcome of this struggle will determine the nature of our world for decades to come.

 

Today, as before, the hard work of history falls to the US, to our coalition, to our people. We can do it knowing that the great sweep of human history is for freedom – and that it is on our side.

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.

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“I’m Nervous” (Posted October 21, 2004)

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.

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“Zero Plus Zero” (Posted October 21, 2004)

The UN thinks our invasion and liberation of Iraq was illegal. They disdained US protection in the aftermath of the war and had their headquarters blown up for their carelessness.

As the UN re-enters Iraq, they hope for the protection of the vaunted international community. States that refused to liberate Iraq in high-minded internationalism were supposed to join the vanguard of the international community to protect them from the thugs the UN used to deal with in the oil-for-food scandal. Well guess what?

The United Nations no longer objects to American soldiers to guard its staff in Iraq after the search for separate contingents from around the world failed, diplomats and U.N. sources said on Wednesday.

Well, well. The international community won’t come through for the UN? Once again it will fall to the United States of America to bail out the UN and make their words mean something. But the UN still has to be the bunch of a-holes we have come to know and loathe—they no longer object to our odious presence near them! As if we should now feel honored to protect those rogues and incompetents.

But we’ll do it. France and Germany sure as heck won’t. Though they are proper international citizens.

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.

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"Revolution, Intervention, or Acceptance" (Posted October 21, 2004)

This article (via Winds of Change) argues that Iranians are likely to resent any US military intervention or US support for a revolution against the Iranian mullahs.

The regime-change idea is greeted with skepticism by many Iran experts. A high-profile task force at the Council on Foreign Relations, headed by former Carter national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA director Robert Gates, published a report this summer casting doubt on the prospects for a democratic revolution in Iran any time soon, and recommending that Washington therefore pursue a focused dialogue with Tehran on its nuclear program and other regional security issues."

 

Despite considerable political flux and popular dissatisfaction, Iran is not on the verge of another revolution," the CFR report said. "Direct US efforts to overthrow the Iranian regime are therefore not likely to succeed. The ferment of recent years demonstrates that the Iranian people will eventually change the nature of their government for the better."

 

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 United States could help revolutionary efforts among Iranian exiles and dissidents along. This won't require military action, he insists, just "money, communications gear and good counsel."

This is the gist of it. Regime change will happen eventually if only we don't poke our noses into Iran and those who think we could succeed don't understand Iran. We should just learn to love the Iranian bomb and move on. No matter that Iran could get nukes before that inevitable day Iranians "naturally" overthrow the mullahs. One day happened in the Soviet Union. It might happen in North Korea. Heck, by this logic it would have happened in Saddam's Iraq and the Taliban-run Afghanistan. Unhappy people always revolt eventually, right? And in time to make a difference to us, right? Heck, no mullahs with nukes would consider lobbing them off as the peasants storm the castle. Really, only paranoids get worked up over Iran with nukes.

Look, I don't know what the future has in store for Iran. But an aerial attack on Iran seems unlikely to do anything but kick the can down the road. Containing the Iranians won't work—it hasn't worked to keep North Korea from getting nukes and the Pillsbury Nuke Boy doesn't even have high-priced oil to tempt the world with. Regime change is the only way to go. I don't think we have the horses to pull off a straight invasion without mobilizing all the Guard combat units for several years and making service "for the duration." But with so many Iranians unhappy with the mullahs, supporting a revolution seems the only alternative left that doesn't leave our safety in the hands of Islamist nutballs.

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 Afghanistan and Iraq did not cause the regime opposition to rally to the government. On the contrary, they eagerly took our help and today they fight on our side. So, the article's contention is not supported by recent history. And the article concludes in a way that undermines the thrust of the article:

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 Iran will hardly be determined solely in Washington. A year after NATO bombed Serbia to halt Milosevic's brutal crackdown against the Kosovo Albanians, Serbian students led a peaceful struggle to overthrow Milosevic. The forces that lead to regime change are often unpredictable -- and not easily suppressed.

The article itself cites the case of Yugoslavia in 1999 where we intervened against a dictator in support of Moslems who the Serbs hated and carved off that chunk of land from Serbian control in the rump Yugoslavia. Despite this, Serbs managed to put aside rage at the US to overthrow their dictator the next year. Shouldn't the Serbs have stayed rallied to Milosevic? As the author notes, forces that lead to regime change are not easily suppressed. It seems that even support from the United States for those forces does not suppress such forces to help evil regimes stay in power.

Regime change in Tehran: 2005. Before they get nukes.

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“Giving Them What They Want” (Posted October 19, 2004)

The Spanish pulled out of Iraq when the Islamists threatened them with violence, with the Madrid bombings to emphasize the point. That should have been that, right? The Islamists would obviously honor the "deal" and leave Spain alone. Well. no:

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 Iraq are just immediate wants. And by “us” I mean anybody not a nutball Islamist and that includes the vast majority of Moslems.

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.

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“The Princess Secretary General” (Posted October 18, 2004)

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?

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“Oh Good Grief” (Posted October 18, 2004)

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 Washington down.

This is throwing the opposition to the Iraq War in Britain into a tizzy? They are upset that we are moving the Brits from the quiet Shia south to the Baghdad region.

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 Iraq is aflame—until the Brits are asked to move a single battalion north from the safe area. Labor member Robin Cook said:

"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.

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“Fighting Outside the Box” (Posted October 18, 2004)

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 Iraq from the Ft. Irwin National Training Center, near Barstow.

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 Iraq — reflects a shift in Army training policies. The Box once served as a battleground for simulated fights between nations, often with the Soviets as the enemy. Now, military officials say, the emphasis is on urban battlefields without front lines or uniforms.

 

"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 Iraq. And when the 11th returns, it will have real world experience that will provide even better training for our troops in the future in this type of fighting. The fighting just isn’t so intense that it will destroy the regiment. The regiment will be blooded and experienced.

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.

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“High Sticking” (Posted October 17, 2004)

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 “Monte Carlo” analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!

 

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.

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“Winning and Transforming Under the Next QDR” (Posted October 17, 2004)

The military will have a new quadrennial defense review next year to focus the military in the light of our current strategic situation. This opinion piece from the Army War College highlights the challenges. The article thinks we pay too much attention to a peer competitor (like a rising China):

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 Iraq and Afghanistan where we are currently engaged in battle.

I want to avoid the problem of failing to balance transforming with winning the current war. In Vietnam, one general noted that he was not going to wreck his Army to win that stupid war. That is, he didn’t want to destroy the Army needed to defend NATO by turning it into something optimized to win Vietnam. This makes some sense in that defeat in Vietnam did not destroy us while defeat in NATO had it come to war would have been a disaster. The problem is, defeat in Vietnam did wreck our Army for a good ten years. So it isn’t always a neat choice.

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 America in the Persian Gulf War and was crushed in a lightning campaign.

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 Iraq and Afghanistan. But I cannot forget that conventional war is the best way to inflict decisive defeats on us.

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:

  1. The active conventional Army with its heavy, light and airborne divisions;
  2. Special Operations Command with active and reserve groups and Rangers;
  3. The Army National Guard heavy and motorized combat divisions;
  4. The Army National Guard enhanced separate brigades (infantry and heavy); and
  5. The Marines (infantry with armor support).

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 Inchon in Korea, is obsolete. While MEUs remain valuable, divisional amphibious assaults are not going to happen. The Marines should refocus on the Three-block war concept of stability operations where Marine units in close proximity in space and time may be delivering aid, patrolling, and assaulting enemy strongpoints.

But the idea that we need a sixth army to be composed of constabulary units seems ridiculous to me. We already have five armies.

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“Bugger Off” (Posted October 17, 2004)

Pro-Baathist/Islamist and anti-trade protesters marched in Britain:

Many of the marchers said they hoped to send a message to American voters ahead of the Nov. 2 U.S. elections through the demonstration.

 

"I think our message to Americans is simple: Don't vote for Bush," said Emma Jane Berridge, a London resident.

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 Iraq was better off under Saddam. And it is simply astounding that these Brits would pine for a vote in America when they are about to give up their freedoms to the EU superstate that the Brussels apparatchiki are constructing under their noses! In ten years they’ll be protesting to be heard in the EU corridors of power. In fifty they’ll be begging for us to liberate them.

They will surrender on the beaches. I can imagine their ilk giving a lovely inspiring speech to their backers in Trafalgar Square:

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.

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“Discipline” (Posted October 16, 2004)

Some members of a Reserve transportation unit in Iraq refused to go on a convoy mission. The members say that the vehicles were in poor shape and not up to withstanding an attack. Other members of the unit carried out the mission.

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.

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“Buying Time” (Posted October 16, 2004)

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 Iran to go nuclear!

"Iranian leaders got together after the Iraq war and decided that the reason North Korea was not attacked was because it has the bomb. Iraq was attacked because it did not," the [non-US] diplomat said, citing intelligence reports gathered by his country.

As if Iran had nothing in place and no intentions prior to March 2003! Must be a French diplomat.

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 Iran could be on the verge of nukes less than two years after the war, how much quicker could Iraq have done it? But of course, there is no point in going down this path since Iran has obviously been pursuing nukes for a couple decades, even during lip-biting sensitive administrations

Iran may fear us, but they are not about to give up their nuclear programs for promises not to attack them and whatever else the “many things” they want encompass.

Just say no to conferences in Switzerland. Regime change in 2005. I do hope we’ve spent our time wisely building up Iranian resistance to the mullahs. A revolt in December?

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"Plans for War" (Posted October 16, 2004)

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 Iraq where we could be fought in a manner that negates our conventional war advantage. I thought the idea was hogwash. I should reevaluate this based on some new information, I suppose.

The NYT has an article on Saddam's plans for fighting the US in an insurgency:

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.

 

Some 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 Iraq. But what now appears most likely, the report said, is that "what Saddam actually had in mind was some form of insurgency against the coalition.''

 

American intelligence agencies have reported since last fall that the broad outlines of the guerrilla campaign being waged against American forces in Iraq were laid down before the war by the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

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:

By 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 Baghdad. "He failed to consult advisers who believed otherwise, and his inner circle reinforced his misperceptions,'' the report said. "Consequently, when Operation Iraqi Freedom began, the Iraqi armed forces had no effective military response.''

 

"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 Baghdad in the first month.

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 U.S. could stomach the casualties of an invasion to depose him, and then "thought the war would last a few days and it would be over." Said Aziz: "He was overconfident. He was clever. But his calculations were poor."

So even though Saddam thought a US-led invasion would take a month to defeat his military and even then fail to capture Baghdad, he didn’t really expect an invasion. Even into March 2003, press reports that we had only three divisions in Kuwait (3rd AD, 1st MEF, and the British division) could have led Saddam to believe a ground invasion was not our plan. As I noted repeatedly before and since the war, this was a false image. First of all, the Marines had more than two division’s worth of units. The Army mechanized division had nearly 4 brigades of troops. This 3-division guess also ignored a brigade of the 82nd AB and the entire 101st AB that was moving into Kuwait as a follow-up force. It also excluded separate battalions. We had 70+ line battalions of infantry, armor, and reconnaissance (from memory, about 30 Army, 30 Marine, and 10 British) in the area—the equivalent of seven divisions—assuming that we were using air power to replace artillery and that we were skimping on supply dumps (“iron mountains”) and relying on near just-in-time supply. And I don’t even consider 4th ID in this number

I also read and posted some time ago the report that Saddam expected that any actual ground invasion would kick off from Jordan. In addition, I’ve read (and I assume posted) that Saddam thought that France and Russia would use their Security Council vetoes to protect Saddam’s Iraq from an invasion.

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 Jordan and Kuwait (he couldn’t ignore our troops there) to hit him from the west. With Saddam’s troops deployed to the east and north, they’d be largely safe from such an invasion axis of advance and thus preserved for the post-crisis security mission. Our troops would advance into the Baghdad area where Saddam’s more loyal troops would fight us at the red line,  if necessary pulling into the cities as a last ditch defense where soft Americans would not pursue him. By sending important people and material to Syria prior to the invasion reaching the Baghdad area, Saddam would negate the advantage to us that American control of the west of Iraq would normally mean in terms of cutting Saddam off from his Syrian friends.

With Americans stalled outside Baghdad out of fear of inflicting civilian casualties and enduring American casualties, the imported Islamists supplemented by loyal Baathists using arms caches scattered around the country would harass American and British forces. The Baathists would have plenty of money, too, thanks to the UN and some of our so-called friends. And speaking of the international community, in the UN the bought French and Russians and Chinese would push for a ceasefire to halt the humanitarian crisis amply broadcast by al Jazeera, CBS, CNN, and all the other gullible, hostile, or docile (to stay in Iraq) news media.

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 America in an insurgency. Saddam just isn’t that good a strategist, people. And I don’t think that would work anyway. People advancing this thought are looking at the past and assuming cleverness in creating it. Saddam had multiple defenses that he thought would hold at some point and keep him in power. Saddam was wrong and now he is up for trial by a free Iraq. That was quite the diabolical plot, eh?

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:

The [Duelfer] 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 Iraq were ordered to move and hide weapons and other military equipment at off-base locations, including farms and homes.

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:

Overall, 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 Baghdad. Time to sow anger and fear to a degree that America will stop the war. Once America is stopped, Saddam Hussein and his sons will be safely entrenched. There just won't be a third try absent use of nuclear weapons against us.

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 Iraq in the fall of 2002. By the time I started my blog in July 2002, I assumed the end of December 2002 give or take a couple weeks. When it dragged on to March 2003 without an invasion, I worried about what Saddam would do with the time we gave him. And was amazed we delayed so long. We need to remember that time is a weapon and speed overcomes it. When we choose to go to war, we will go up against an enemy with their own plan, their own ways to hurt us, and their own conviction that they will win. We are not so powerful that we can consider war merely a live-fire exercise. Fight to win. Move like we could lose—or at least suffer heavily while winning.

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Beslan Response” (Posted October 14, 2004)

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 Soviet Union, the Russians have wanted to maintain control over the oil-rich and strategically important Caucasus region and especially over the neighbouring republic of Georgia. The Georgian government, now assisted by the presence of some US military personnel, has always resisted these Russian advances. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the Russians now hope to reimpose control over Georgia. It is rather convenient that they can do so by using the same justification that the Americans are using elsewhere in the world. But, more importantly, Russia’s pre-emption doctrine represents a free-for-all for its secret agents. For years, the Russian government demanded the extradition of Chechen political leaders who sought asylum in other countries, claiming that they were terrorists. Without exception, courts in Western countries rejected these claims as unfounded. Well before the school massacre, however, the Russian security services adopted a new technique — that of simply assassinating such people. The former Chechen president was assassinated in the Gulf state of Qatar in February and further assassinations are sure to follow. Yet again, the Russian authorities will claim that they are doing nothing different from what the US Central Intelligence Agency has done. In practice, however, the Russians are targeting all those Chechens with whom a peaceful deal to the crisis can still be negotiated — far from eliminating terrorism, they are eliminating the chances for any political settlement.

 

Our prediction: Wholesale assassinations of Chechen protagonists and Russian bullying of Georgia. Do not expect Western governments to say anything about it either.

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 Palestine after all. They captured the Jordan-held West Bank and Egyptian-held Gaza. But I digress.

The Russians will respond to Beslan. I wish them well in this endeavor. But their wider objectives to recover as much of the old Soviet Union as they can should be resisted by us.

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“September 10th Thinking” (Posted October 14, 2004)

The eagerness of some to oppose the way we fight the war on terror is old thinking. Opponents want to get out of Iraq though our military victory was absolute and our counter-Baathist campaign is holding the line as we stand up a new free Iraq. They prefer stability and a reduction of our deaths to some acceptable level that we can call mere nuisance, though our offensive against terrorists and their state sponsors is killing terrorists and pressuring state sponsors. And our efforts to stop nutball regimes from getting nuclear weapons are all unsettling to opponents of the war as it is being fought. They prefer UN negotiations, non-existent mystery allies, arrests, and an increase in funding and preparation to cope with the loose nuke or bio weapons that gets through our defenses. Some call this September 10th thinking. Thinking unchanged by the 3,000 dead that our enemies made on a down payment to the 4 million Americans they believe they are entitled to murder. And should they kill that many of us, it will be just the beginning. Give them what they want and they’ll leave us alone, indeed.

But while this is September 10th thinking, it is not September 10, 2001 thinking. It is just as much September 10th 1989 thinking.

On September 11, 1989, our entire strategic environment changed when Hungary opened up its border completely, thus allowing East Germans who could get into Hungary to flee to the West. Although not publicly announced until October, this action revolutionized the strategic environment that the US operated in.

Until the Cold War and the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation, when America went to war, we went to war to achieve our objectives. Independence in the Revolution and the Part Deux War of 1812; for land in the Mexican War; for the union and freedom for slaves in the Civil War; to expel Spain from the Western Hemisphere and free Cuba in the Spanish-American War; to defeat German militarism in World War I; and to crush the Axis powers in World War II.

The Korean War was a transitional war. We entered the war to preserve South Korea and when that was done after Inchon and the Pusan breakout, we attempted to achieve total victory by crushing the North Korean regime. But China intervened and the Soviets loomed over Western Europe. Suddenly we were in the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead of victory, we sought peace before something worse could happen. We still deal with the results of this inability to pursue victory in Korea. Subsequently, in Vietnam and in countless crises around the globe as we and the Soviets squared off, controlling conflicts to prevent escalation to nuclear war was the highest priority rather than victory. Only in Grenada in 1983 did we see what victory looked like again. Though only a small taste of total victory, we liked it. Or some of us, anyway.

In 1989, as the Berlin Wall was crumbling unseen, we achieved total victory in Panama too, by overthrowing Noriega with a lightning military take down. Even when the Berlin Wall was physically torn down and the Soviet Union was teetering, old habits died hard and we eagerly accepted a partial and narrowly defined if decisive military victory over Saddam Hussein by expelling his army from Kuwait in 1991. Stability and fear of the unknown if war dragged on led us to declare a well-deserved military victory and pull our army out short of total victory. But there was no external limit on our military. The Soviets supported us in the war as did the UN and France and even the Syrians. Whether we could have endured the casualties needed to defeat Saddam totally in 1991, I do not know, but the point here is that we were self-deterred under the lingering effect of Cold War nuclear caution. When The Soviet Union itself went under in August 1991, the change was complete.

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 Afghanistan in 2001, with the memory of 9-11 still strong, we pursued total regime change instead of mere revenge from high altitude. And when we decisively beat Saddam’s legions in 2003, and since then slowly grind down the UN-funded Baathist resistance while creating new Iraqi governmental and security organizations out of the Shia, Kurdish, and sane Sunni majority, a sizable portion of our people still fear the consequences of a war that drags on. Every day, they expect the Moslem street to erupt, or the Iraqis to pull a Sepoy Mutiny, or the French to scold us severely, or the Islamist terrorists to get really mad at us. They fail to see that only we can lose our wars for the foreseeable future by faltering in our determination to win.

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 September 11, 1989 world where the constraints on our power imposed by fear of nuclear war are gone. We are limited by our own objectives. Of course, perhaps their reflexive grasp for the UN’s approval or some global test given in perfectly accented Left Bank French are reflections of their desire for an external constraint on our power. They are the ones strangely nostalgic for the Cold War that they didn’t want to win then. They inexplicably trust the Security Council more than our Congress. They trust Paris more than Peoria.

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 Version)" (Posted October 12, 2004)

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:

  1. Overthrow the Taliban (American task): check.
  2. Kill and disperse al Qaeda (American task predominantly): check.
  3. Keep the Taliban and al Qaeda remnants quiet in the countryside (Coalition of the Willing task): check.
  4. Keep Kabul quiet (NATO task): check.
  5. Register to vote in the face of terrorist threats (Afghan people task): check.
  6. Accept—even reluctantly—that elections are the means to compete (Afghan leaders task): check.
  7. Keep polling stations safe on election day (Coalition /Afghan task): check.
  8. Vote (Afghan voter task): check.
  9. Procure the permanent ink (UN task): not so much a check; but it will do considering it was the job of the vaunted international community.

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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“Complex Insurgency?” (Posted October 10, 2004)

This article says that we are facing a complex insurgency in Iraq and that we are losing the war. The author goes on:

Independent analysts say 16 months of escalating warfare by U.S. troops with little practical experience in fighting insurgents have made clear the difficulty of defeating militants who mount attacks while hiding and moving among civilians.

While quoting a US officer who notes correctly that history is filled with insurgencies that failed, the author gets to the Vietnam Nostalgia Tour he is eager to embark on with this line:

History is also replete with insurgencies that triumphed. Vietnamese guerrillas ousted the United States in 1973. Afghan militias similarly embarrassed the Soviet Union in 1989.

Then of course we get to the heart of it:

"It's more complex and challenging than any other insurgency the United States has fought," aid Bruce Hoffman, a RAND counterinsurgency expert who served as an adviser to the U.S.-led occupation administration.

He also says:

"Vietnam was not easy, but it was certainly far less complex and more straightforward."

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 Afghanistan comparison since that was a resistance by most of the population against a minority puppet government. The insurgents had a sanctuary in Pakistan and a superpower patron. The Soviets also had to worry about a global contest with us that they could not ignore while they fought in the Afghanistan mountains. China too was a threat that could not be ignored.

But the heart of it is Krane’s Vietnam comparison. Most basically, Vietnamese guerrillas did not oust the United States in 1973. By 1973, South Vietnam was largely pacified with indigenous Viet Cong long dead and replaced by North Vietnamese fighting as pretend insurgents and in big units. We were exhausted in pitched battles that killed nearly 60,000 of our troops in the previous 8 years. We weren’t pushed out. We turned around and left. And when South Vietnam fell, it was to North Vietnamese regular units spearheaded by armor that conquered the South.

The statement that Iraq is more complex and challenging than any othe insurgency we’ve fought is unclear to me—especially the idea that Vietnam was far less complex and more straightforward. Excuse me? We faced a communist insurgency/irregular fight; a regular army operating from sanctuaries in North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos; and a corrupt friendly government with Buddhists and Catholics vying for power. We had our enemies backed by the Soviet Union and communist China who shipped arms, provided training, and limited our escalation; with Europeans screaming at us for waging war in Vietnam. We had the USSR looming over Western Europe and the Chinese looming north of North Vietnam and North Korea, potentially able to intervene in both locations. This is less complicated than Iraq? I think the expert is being confused by the apparent simplicity of history already written down and the confusion, complexity, and uncertainty of history being written.

So what makes the Iraq insurgency so complex?

In other U.S. wars, the enemy was clear. In Vietnam, a visible leader — Ho Chi Minh — led a single army fighting to unify the country under socialism. But in Iraq, the disorganized insurgency has no single commander, no political wing and no dominant group.

This just stuns me. Normally, unity of command is an advantage in war. But in Iraq, the fact that the enemy is a disorganized insurgency with no commander, no political wing, and no dominant group is somehow an amazing advantage! Gee, we should hope that they unify, declare a political strategy, and subordinate themselves to one faction and then we will be living large and kicking ass? Let me say this clearly so I am not misunderstood—it is good that our enemy is disorganized, lacking a single commander and political wing, and fragmented with no dominant group. It is good.

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 U.S. military believes they want to turn Iraq into an anti-Western stronghold that would export Islamic revolution to other countries in the region.

 

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 Iraq. Indeed, I think their presence has made it easier for us to rally Iraqis to our side by painting all insurgents as murderers. This example of Sunni love of Iraq does not help in persuading Shias or Kurds to rally to their side.

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 Iraq and smuggled in from Iran and Syria, military and intelligence skills, experience in brutal thuggery, and a dose of fear over what might happen to them if their former victims get their hands on the Baathist thugs to inspire them. While they are persistent, the casualties they are inflicting are not enough to break our ground forces and they are confined to Sunni areas rather than being a nationwide Iraqi resistance. Nor are they slowing down the creation of an Iraqi government and security forces.

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 Iraq. Like any war, we could lose this war. But only if we break here at home in our determination to win. Nothing about the Iraqi insurgents and terrorists is inherently too tough to beat. I think we are winning.

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“If Genocide Isn’t Enough” (Posted October 10, 2004)

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. Iraq, of course, is a case in point. One may argue over whether the invasion was wise (I think so) but to argue it was immoral in the face of the massive death, torture, and oppression that the Saddam regime was responsible for is just out of bounds.

Darfur is certainly a humanitarian crisis:

The UN Security Council passed a resolution in September threatening sanctions against Sudan's vital oil industry for failing to rein in pro-government Arab militias accused of atrocities in Darfur. The UN says 50,000 people have died since a revolt erupted in February last year, and another 1.2 million made homeless.

But Sudan has also had a history of support for terrorism and the usual suspects of France, China, and Russia are running interference for the Khartoum government. In addition to this guilt by association, we have further proof that Sudan is seeking Candidate Status for the Axis of Evil:

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami arrived in Khartoum to start a three-day visit to Africa's biggest country whose government has come under pressure to act over what the United Nations terms a humanitarian crisis in the western region of Darfur.

 

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]

Secret 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 France, China, and Russia to run interference on the UN Security Council.

I think that an intervention to split Darfur away from the butchers in Khartoum is warranted. If the Europeans can take the lead with Tony Blair placing emphasis on Africa this year and the EU possibly eager to use their newly established intervention force in a non-US-led intervention, I could see a post-election move to mount a joint EU-African intervention through Chad with US logistical help and perhaps US air power and small US ground forces—perhaps a reinforced parachute battalion—for local base security in Chad and a backup force just in case.

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“The Threat Beyond the 24-Hour News Cycle” (Posted October 9, 2004)

David Brooks is a must read today:

Saddam 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 Israel and America.

 

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 Clinton administration. They deny seeing it now. What changed?

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Thank You, Australia!” (Posted October 9, 2004)

John Howard has been returned as the PM of Australia pledging to remain in the Coalition to win in Iraq and beat terror. At a bigger than anticipated margin. Funny it isn’t getting more attention here.

Australians are made of sterner stuff than many over here hoped.

With Afghans 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 Spain. And even with Spain (and France and Germany, too, for that matter), their return to the war could be another election away.

There is no substitute for victory. Or liberty.

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“Self-Deterred” (Posted October 9, 2004)

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 Kuwait was wrong. Their opposition to war in 1991 when the aggression by Iraq against a sovereign member of the international community, Kuwait, was clear; when the international community voted to reverse that conquest; when our alliance included troops from France, Egypt, and Syria in addition to Britain and smaller allies; when we went in with overwhelming numbers of troops; and when our allies such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Japan largely financed the war, makes a mockery of their current claim that they would of course defend America if we pass their hurdles. Despite all this, the vote for war was quite close in Congress.

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?

Face it, there is no possibility of a foreign or UN veto of America going to war if America under their leadership will never decide to go to war.

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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North Korea First?” (Posted October 9, 2004)

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 North Korea first means never dealing with anybody else ever. Since our options are all limited in what they can provide or what they would cost, how could we ever solve this problem first?

Via Winds of Change, Power Politics discusses US options in North Korea:

  1. Military option. An aerial offensive to destroy North Korea’s nuclear facilities and their conventional artillery that threatens Seoul. Or, I would add, possibly an invasion to conquer North Korea.
  2. Isolation. The world could make sure that North Korea does not have access to energy, aid, or trade.
  3. Negotiation. We could try to persuade North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons by offering them alternatives—such as energy, aid, and trade.
  4. Containment. We could accept a nuclear North Korea and wait them out, building anti-missile defenses.

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 North Koreas from destroying Seoul at the very least. It is good to have military options, but they can only be reasonably used if North Korea attacks or collapses—or if it looks like the North Koreans are about to strike and we have no choice but to hit the nuke sites.

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. Seoul sees aid as a guarantee that the North won’t collapse.

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 U.S. military would stage a powerful force presence in the general area (particularly naval wise), and would station overwhelming forces in South Korea. This would deter North Korea from attempting to annex South Korean territory (such as outlying islands), and would keep Pyongyang in line when it comes to maritime matters (the North has been making trouble for shipping in the area for some time). Second, smart sanctions would be instituted against Pyongyang. It would be completely banned from exporting CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) technology or components. It would be banned from importing such components, or other advanced weapons systems. Preferably, it would also be prohibited from exporting advanced arms (such as missiles), or sharing missile technology with rogue regimes. These measures would be backed by American naval power, and enforced through aggressive inspection protocols. Intelligence would keep tabs on air and sea shipments, which would be intercepted and searched if considered potentially compromised. Ships and airplanes believed to be violating the sanctions would be unofficially destroyed. Third, American allies in the region would be protected by a robust, interconnected missile defense grid. This grid would be comprised of ground-based surface to air missiles, ground based kinetic energy kill vehicles, and sea based anti-missile vehicles.

 

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 Washington to address the crisis.

I’ve advocated such a course for a long time. North Korea is nutso but they are not part of the Islamist jihad. They want to survive and so at some level they can be deterred. At worst, they are a source for nukes but as long as the nutballs have Iran, they don’t need North Korea for nukes. North Korea is well suited for containment as the last Cold War-era Stalinist regime around (I’m not sure what you’d call Cuba…) and has little to offer anybody. Nobody outside of a few history departments on Western campuses is a loyal follower of Kim Jong-Il.

South Korea’s willingness to wait out the North is clear in their plan to move their capital out of vulnerable Seoul to a point south.

Our long-term 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 South Korea, deploying our units away from their hostage-position on the DMZ, and making sure combat power is increased (which, with ground troops moving out, means air power).

We are also putting missile defenses around the Korean peninsula and in Alaska. The Japanese are also looking for missile defense.

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 North Korea:

The 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 U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island September 27 through October 1.

 

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.

 

PSI 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 May 31, 2003.

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. North Korea can never be first. If it was, we’d be stuck there for a long time. Isolate them and move on to the next objective: Iran. We still have time to keep Iran from becoming a problem too hard to solve at an acceptable cost. But not much.

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“No Lesson from Beslan” (Posted October 7, 2004)

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 Tehran might be trying to develop atomic weapons.

I mean, this is safe, right? Because Iran’s mullahs are perfectly trustworthy. And even if Iran slipped a little nuke to Chechen terrorists, they would never use it on the Russians, right? Shooting little kids in the back is one thing, but truly mass murder is out of the question for the Chechens and their jihadi buddies who’ve joined them, right?

No, it is much better to make a couple bucks selling the mullahs the knowledge and facilities they need to make nukes. Moscow would never ever ever possibly be the target.

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Spain—Islamic Puppet State” (Posted October 7, 2004)

Having run away from Iraq after the Madrid bombing like good little tame infidels, the Spanish continue to align their actions to please their Moslem rulers:

In another dig at the United States, the Socialist government has dropped plans for U.S. Marines to march in a high-profile parade commemorating Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World.

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 Paris from Nazi occupation

As if the French had anything to do with the liberation of France from the Nazis. The French troops might not know whether they are celebrating or mourning the defeat of the Nazis. But as a leader of the new surrendering class of Europe it makes perfect sense.

What has become of the Spanish?

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“Justice in Peru” (Posted October 7, 2004)

A stupid 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 America, now. All she’s learned is to dress like a nice little girl. Maybe another decade in prison will teach her that plotting to murder innocents is not a college directed studies course in practical communism.

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"Did Invading Prevent Saddam from Getting WMD?" (Posted October 7, 2004)

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 Wisconsin. "He was doing so with the intent of restarting his weapons program once the world looked away."

Opponents of the war have seized upon the confirmation that we have not found stockpiles of WMD in Iraq since invading to argue that the war was an error and that sanctions and inspections should have continued instead.

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 Iraq’s WMD programs and stockpiles was irrelevant given Saddam’s determination to have WMD. Even before the war, I had concluded that nothing short of regime change could end the Iraqi threat. From my January 30, 2003 post "Averting War" I looked at options short of war for forestalling Saddam's WMD threat to us. This is what I wrote about one option:

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 Iraq will dare tell us anything knowing we let the thug escape—yet again.

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 Iraq on the eve of war, this is a concern over intelligence and not our intentions and ultimate goal. I assumed there were chemical weapons in Iraq and while finding them would make the argument over the war easier, the opponents of the war are being disingenuous in seizing on the lack of WMD as a new reason to oppose the war. For when even they assumed Saddam had WMD, they still opposed the war. If we had found them, the opponents would still say the war was wrong. But as I said before the war, the key to preventing a grave and gathering danger in Iraq was always regime change.

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 October 7, 2004)

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 October 6, 2004)

Orson Scott Card has an excellent article with a lot of good points.

I’ll just highlight one:

But the American people remember: President Bush landed on that aircraft carrier at the end of major force combat in Iraq. The initial mission was to destroy organized military resistance and topple Saddam's government. That mission was indeed accomplished, in remarkably quick time and with astonishingly few casualties on both sides.

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 October 6, 2004)

American forces are on the offensive in the Sunni Triangle:

With Samarra under government control, American and Iraqi troops have now moved to Babil province, just south of Baghdad, and arrested 160 people suspected of criminal activity. The roads in this part of Babil province (where the ruins of ancient Babylon are) have been the scene of many ambushes, road side bombs, kidnappings and robberies. A den of thieves, as it were. American and Iraqi intelligence forces have collected a lot of information on who has been doing what in the Babil area. There is a long list of people the police would like to talk to. Some of those people turned on to be heavily armed and not interested in getting close to police interrogators. Fighting is expected to go on for several days. …

Meanwhile, Muqtada al Sadr's armed followers in Baghdad, where most of his gunmen always came from, have been getting pounded by American smart bombs and troops for the past week.

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 Samarra also validates my bandaid off fast rule—it is better to strike hard and get it over with than to let the enemy adapt, get set, and call in the al Jazeera and CNN news crews to spin the fight for the insurgents:

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 Samarra. We have to implant effective Iraqi government control, too. So moving American troops on to the next hotspot can be for naught if we fail in this part of the fight. This author notes correctly:

The assault on Samarra by coalition forces over the weekend was probably the first step in a broader offensive intended to quell insurgent hot spots before the Iraqi elections in January. It was a promising start, as American and Iraqi forces quickly swept through the city, in the Sunni triangle north of Baghdad. Now comes the difficult part: establishing an effective government to prevent the return of the insurgents.

Though I dispute the idea that Samarra must be peaceful and secure before taking on the next sanctuary—those other sanctuaries if left untouched will be used to strike Samarra—as a concept he is right about the next non-military steps. Austin Bay describes it this way:

Bullets, money, ballots: Call this trio of words the highly condensed version of coalition strategy in Iraq, with recent operations in the Sunni-Triangle town of Samarra as a pertinent example.

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:

The terrorist movement in Iraq, at times graced with the label of "insurgency," is in no position to impose its will on the nation. With the help of its outside backers, it could, to be sure, continue kidnappings and killings for years.

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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"That 70's Alliance" (Posted October 5, 2004)

We are supposedly involved in a unilateral fight in Iraq and against Islamist terrorists. I think this is a ridiculous charge but this isn't what is bugging me. What bugs me is the assertion that this unilateralism is in stark contrast to the broad NATO alliance that we had backing us in the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

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 Western Europe by Euro-communists and their nuclear freeze friends.

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 that France kicked NATO out of France.

It requires you to forget that Greek hatred of Turkey undermined NATO defenses in the eastern Mediterranean.

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 Western Europe with American soldiers in large numbers and our whole military was geared to rapidly reinforce from the continental United States. We also had the role of resisting the Soviets in the rest of the world. While the Cold War was a global struggle, NATO was not in the business of acting "out of area." That's why NATO's tiny mission to Afghanistan is so significant—it is out of area.

So what did our broad alliance assisting us in the global Cold War do for us outside of Europe?

Well. Not much. Who helped us in Korea? Individual nations like Britain, Australia, and Turkey who contributed small numbers of troops. Who helped us in Vietnam? Well the Australians, the Thais, the South Koreans, New Zealanders, and some others who contributed anywhere from a battalion to a corps. Who helped us in fighting the Libyans in the 1980s? Ok, France did from their foothold in Chad but that was to defend their quasi-colony. We were really helping them in this. When it came to helping us by just opening up their precious air space in 1986 so our bombers in Britain could strike Khaddafi, the French said no. Where were the Europeans in the Middle East? In '56 they were invading Egypt without our approval; and slaughtering Algerians. When we needed help in '73 to face down the Soviets in the October War crisis, only the Portuguese were helpful by opening their Azores bases to our planes. Ok, the Europeans did help us with naval forces in 1987-1988 when we went into the Persian Gulf to stop Iranian attacks on oil tankers, but this was still as individual nations and not as NATO. In any number of Cold War crises, our NATO alliance was nowhere to be found if it was outside of Europe. As in the Iraq War, individual allies decided to help on their own.

So when our current alliance that is joining us in Afghanistan, Iraq, around the globe at sea and in small deployments, and quiet intelligence work is contrasted with the "broad alliance" that helped us win the Cold War, please remember what NATO did and where it did it. Mind you, I'm not disrespectful of what NATO accomplished during the Cold War in preserving Western Europe from the Soviet conquest, but let's not try to pretend it was more than that. We fought the global war. NATO defended their front yard. So let's not denigrate what we've accomplished today in mobilizing support by comparing it to some non-existent past performance.

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"U Store It" (Posted October 4, 2004)

So why would Saddam send WMDs or components to neighboring countries? That's what Daniel Chisholm of New Brunswick asked me after reading my "We Will Find Saddam's WMD" post.

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 Iraq. He styled himself a conqueror and natural leader of the Gulf, the Arab world, and of Islam. He invaded two countries in an effort to bring about this glorious state of affairs and he had not given up getting it for himself or his gruesome sons. Having been thwarted in two wars and ground down under sanctions, Saddam saw WMD as his ticket to glory.

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 US troops. Our attention could fade if Saddam could drag out the crisis long enough, while the Iranians would always be right there. I was not too worried about chemical weapons on the battlefield given our good defensive capabilities to fight in a chemical environment. I did not worry about missiles with chemicals or conventional warheads. They had a harassing value only. I assumed there were biological weapons efforts going on and that their progress was unknowable since bio programs could be easily concealed. I thought it possible but not likely that Saddam had bugs weaponized. I also assumed that Saddam did not have nuclear weapons but that Saddam wanted them. Given our failure to detect the extent of Saddam's nuclear programs prior to 1991, there was room for a big surprise here. In summary, Saddam would eventually get nuclear weapons and the timeline—while not imminent—could have been much shorter than we assumed. Given the consequences of Saddam with nukes, this was an area that we could not take a chance on being wrong about. Nor do I believe that the entire Iraqi WMD organization was involved in a campaign of lies to deceive Saddam about non-existent WMD programs. These nerds (no offense) were going toe-to-toe with the master of torture, rape, and plastic shredders for people? I don't think so.

Second, Saddam did not really expect us to invade and march on Baghdad. At worst, he thought he'd have to endure further inspections. US power could insist on in the latter while the Russians and French would block the former. Having endured inspections before, Saddam knew that he could hide most of what he had; although he also knew that given enough time or just luck, inspectors might catch Saddam in some violation. Thus, Saddam did not need WMD for war and only needed to hide them until this latest wave of US attention waned. Heck, with UN sanctions already porous and weakening, a failed round of inspections might kill sanctions for good. When we did invade, the visible remnants of the programs were scrubbed (by Iraqis or Russians?) as the destruction of certain computers and the evidence of facility removal even after the fall of Baghdad reveal. Remember also that we've found several dozen chemical shells in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad, including one that was detonated as a roadside bomb. While not of recent origin, their presence in Iraq proves that WMD could be in Iraq somewhere even right under our noses.

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 Iraq, but they could be discovered. A single person in the know could blow it wide open. If even part of the WMD program was found, Iraq would be set back even if sanctions were lifted in the belief we had finally found everything. And discovery of WMD might have reinvigorated sanctions instead. As Daniel noted, Saddam did send his best warplanes to Iran at the start of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Tehran repainted them in Iranian colors and kept them. The mistake of banking everything on one partner just as devious was probably clear from this episode. But Saddam's options were limited. Iraq had little choice but to count on the fact that times were different. Iran was also a charter member of the Axis of Evil and fear of US action to defang both of them could easily have prompted a new Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of their own. But history was not irrelevant and the Sunni Arabs in Iraq had to worry about Persian Shias. So who else could be entrusted with Iraqi WMD to spread the risk? Turkey? Not even the newly Islamist government would go for that. Kuwait? I think not. Jordan? Too weak to stay bought. Saudi Arabia? Like that could be hidden from the Americans who permeate the country. That leaves Syria. Sure, Syria supported Iran in the Iran-Iraq War and Syria's Baathists despise Iraq's Baathists as only kindred spirits can hate one another. But Syria, too, was worried about American actions. Further, chronically impoverished Syria could be bought with hard cash. And once Syria is in on the game, Lebanon is in play as a wholly owned subsidiary of Damascus.

So we have Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and the vastness of Iraq itself to hide WMD and components. And we have the human knowledge base sitting in Iraq to use it all or reconstitute any part that fails to return home after the crisis. Our victory could have negated all this and the WMD sent into hiding are still out there.

Of course, we don't know where else Iraqi WMD could be. Sudan? Reports of recent Syrian tests of chemical weapons on Darfur civilians and our 1998 strike on the so-called medicine factory indicate another possible basket for Saddam's deadly eggs. And given Daniel's mention of the still unsolved 2001 Anthrax attacks in the US (because a domestic loner has kept quiet or because professionals did it?) and the exotic attempted Osmium Tetroxide attack in London, where else might Saddam have shipped his WMD? Do those terror ties that some refuse to see have a role here?

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 Cooperation" (Posted October 4, 2004)

Iran wants nukes. I don't like it that Iran wants nukes. Nothing good can come of it.

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 Algeria at the invitation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, said such a dialogue was "a necessity for everyone's future" and that "dialogue and good neighbourliness were the characteristics of civilisations."

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 Iran has to be our objective. And we have little time.

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Iraq Tests” (Posted October 3, 2004)

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 U.S. intelligence official said authorities were able to determine with "high confidence" that the tape was authentic.

 

"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 Afghanistan.

The other thing to note is South Korea’s alert over the threat. While some South Koreans with no sense of history for our sacrifice may have doubts about fighting with us in Iraq, with the Pillsbury Nuke Boy looming to the north, South Koreans can ill afford to show weakness in the face of threats. If a couple beheadings and car bombs can frighten Seoul, what will Kim Jong Il think he can accomplish with thousands of artillery tubes pointed at Seoul and a few nukes to brandish? Seoul can’t afford to pull a Madrid. This is bigger than 2,800 ROK troops in Irbil. Weakness in Irbil could kill tens of thousands on the DMZ if Seoul sends the wrong message.

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“More Intense—But Not Spreading” (Posted October 2, 2004)

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 Iraq revealed what had long been taken for granted, over 80 percent of the attacks took place in just four Sunni Arab provinces. Another three provinces with large Sunni minorities accounted for another 15 percent. The other 11 provinces were pretty quiet, each having a dozen or fewer incidents a month. Interrogations of captured gunmen has made it clear that most of the attacks are planned, and the attackers recruited, by the gangs that have found refuge in the "outlaw" towns like Samarra and Fallujah.

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 Baghdad that the Shias and Kurds are with us should be heartening. The fact that the Sunnis have been unable to fool the 80% majority of Iraqis into siding with them should be instructive. Apparently not for a lot in the West who prefer to see defeat.

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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Poland in the Iraq War” (Posted October 2, 2004)

Polish special forces participated in the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Please note:

IT CAME AS A SURPRISE to many when the U.S. postwar plans for Iraq were finally revealed. Like Gaul, Iraq would be divided into three parts: an American zone, a British zone, and a Polish zone. But what role did Poland play during the war? It turns out a very important one--albeit one that was kept mostly secret.

 

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 Iraq would have been nearly impossible for the coalition. Not long after the start of the war, the port was secured--in large part thanks to GROM, Poland's elite commandos

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 October 2, 2004)

The traveling exhibit of 1,000 pairs of boots to represent our casualties in Iraq was in Lansing this week. I did not go to it though I was tempted. Paying my respects to the memory of the thousand soldiers, Marines, and other service members who died is something that I certainly would have liked to do. They have died to keep me safe. To keep my family and nation safe. On the surface, the display seems to mirror the military’s own practice of using boots, rifle, and helmet to honor a fallen soldier.

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 Berkeley where I’m sure it will be well received.

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“My Global Test” (Posted October 2, 2004)

My global test for whether to attack our enemies is twofold:

  1. Did somebody attack us or are they acting like they are going to attack us?
  2. Are they somewhere on the globe?

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 October 1, 2004)

The Russians just made the Europeans very happy:

Russia's Cabinet on Thursday endorsed the 1997 [Kyoto] agreement and parliament is expected to ratify the document by the end of the year. Without Russia, there would not be enough signatories for it to come into effect worldwide.

 

"Russia's green light will allow the climate train to leave the station so we can really begin addressing the biggest threat to the planet and its people," said Klaus Toepfer, the head of the U.N. Environment Program.

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 Russia will earn selling their emission excess (though they won’t mind the cash).

No, I think the Russians are about to do some serious Chechen pounding and Moscow wants to mute the sanctimonious EU reaction by making them worry that Russia will not ratify the agreement by the end of the year.

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“Make Them Worry” (Posted October 1, 2004)

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 Samarra, leaving only pockets of resistance after more than 12 hours of combat, according to the U.S. military and Iraqi authorities.

 

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 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. 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 charge in Samarra. While I don’t care if these areas are calm enough to vote in—that’s a Sunni decision if they want to blow their chance to participate early—I do care that they be eliminated as sanctuaries that are used to send out terrorists to attack us and blow up innocent little kids happy to get some candy to brighten their day.

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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