Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
The Neutralist is stymied by this. Such restraint across the board from the MSM to the Neocons to Chomskyite crazies is amazing, but can it last?
The Neutralist has decided to take the bull by the horns. We therefore announce a contest. The first media person to equate Ron to Dolph will have a prescription of whatever psychotropic substance has been legally prescribed him or her paid for by the Neutralist.
Can we be more fair?
Friday, December 28, 2007
Dear Mr. Remnick,
I am writing to inform you of a problem your magazine may have. One Virginia Heffernan has recently had a hit piece about presidential candidate, Ron Paul, published by the New York Times. It appears that this woman's idea of what is a "fact" may be a problematic.
I believe the lass was once employed by your magazine as a "fact" checker. You may be wanting to do two things. First, check through all her work to see that she actually did the job she was assigned. Second, you might want to review your hiring procedures so that you are sure those whom you take on board for the position in question actually know what a "fact" is.
I know you will want to do this as the reputation of your publication is at stake.
All the best.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
John Derbyshire wrote the words above for the article, The U.S. Will Not Go to War Against Iraq. The title and the date, May 20, 2002 insure that no future religious book will ever refer to him as the Prophet Derb. The article is not without interest, the man can write. Sometimes, the conclusions are stupid as above, but he has style.
Unless my memory fails me, I believe Mr. Derbyshire done a few mea culpas about the war, though I can't swear to it.
Between 2002 and his current attainment of enlightenment, he has made statements that the Neutralist would put, if forced, the label, mindlessly barbaric on. On the other blog, the voice of humility we commented on Derb in a post titled Hard as Nails
I agree with Gene Healy's agreement with Julian Sanchez's take on John Derbyshire. "his views are, often as not, absolutely vile. But he's exceptionally sharp and learned, and expresses his thuggish views without cant or sugar coating, which I suppose is a virtue. It's almost as if a team of genetic scientists took a mouth-breathing, beer-swilling, Pak-bashing specimen of pure Cockney trash and raised his IQ by 100 points. How can he fail to be interesting?"
Mr. D is in trouble with some people for giving up religion. An ability to argue Episcopal theology is absent here so others can have a go at him for that. I did read his un conversion story and it seemed reasonable enough. I get the feeling he stayed as long as he did out of filial piety or he was no longer in his comfort zone. Anyway, now that he has left his up scale (in American eyes) denomination, it may be easier to think of him as that lager lout.
No, I found something else to to discuss. Actually, he makes a pretty good case for his having that genteel thuggish side in his review of Mark Steyn's America Alone,
"I am, in fact, willing to confess myself a collateral-damage armchair warrior, who would be happy to see us trade in our inventory of smart laser-guided precision munitions for lots and lots and lots of old-style iron bombs, and fleets of great big iron planes to deliver them. Remember those photographs of mid-1945 Berlin, fragments of broken wall sticking up out of vast drifts and dunes of pulverized masonry? Now that’s rubble.
Oh, and we won that war."
That is certainly refreshing. He just loved the Hun suffering. Ooh, forgot to mention that arm sticking up through that rubble.
Of course, that his point is ridiculous goes without saying. No expert has ever suggested that conventional bombing won the war in Europe. I hate to jog anyone's memory as I know of my own early onset, but it was the Big One that ended the Pacific War.
So, okay, you might think from a neutralist point of view he's a no hoper. Now, I would not say he is actually a neutralist, it is the distance he has traveled. He has come out for Ron Paul. I called him a chickenhawk in my post above. I take that back as he came out for Ronnie at NRO online, a hotbed of neocons who can't be to happy about JD's conversion which is the biggest turn of a coat since Paul traveled the Jerusalem-Damascus Interstate.
Anyway, His article, Liberty! Liberty! is worth reading. Best line, "If those people are crazy, though, I want to be crazy with them. I’m for liberty, too. That’s why I’m for Ron Paul. And why do we have 75,000 soldiers in Germany?"
The Neutralist confers the award as stated in the title of this post and pronounces John Derbyshire sane.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Glen Greenwald may be a lefty, but so far there is little in the foreign policy area where the Neutralist disagrees.
I doubt that we shall be really helping Mr. Bruce Schneier by linking to him, but as he linked to the Downsize DC website, well he will have to suffer the ignominy of a link from the Neutralist. He was linking to a particularly interesting article.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The big question is why are we pushing this now as we don't have all that many cards. Here is George Friedman's take on it,
The re-engineering of the Balkans always has assumed that there is no broader geopolitical price involved. Granting Kosovo independence would put Russia in a position in which interests that it regards as fundamental are challenged. Even if the West doesn't see why this should be the case, the Russians have made clear that it is so -- and have made statements essentially locking themselves into a response or forcing themselves to accept humiliation. Re-engineering a region where there is no risk is one thing; re-engineering a region where there is substantial risk is another.
The Germans have neither the resources nor the appetite for such a crisis. The Americans, bogged down in the Islamic world, are hardly in a position to deal with a crisis over Kosovo. The Russian view is that the West has not reviewed its policies in the Balkans since 1999 and has not grasped that the geopolitics of the situation have changed. Nor, in our view, has Washington or Berlin grasped that a confrontation is exactly what the Russians are looking for.
George is dead on, but let us take a warning from history as given by Nebojsa Malic,
When Otto von Bismarck called the Congress of Berlin in 1878, he hoped it would resolve the Balkans crisis. It ended up destroying his alliance with Russia, and setting the stage for the Great War in 1914. Austria started that war hoping to crush the pesky little Serbia and establish hegemony in the Balkans. Serbia survived, if just barely. Austria-Hungary did not.
Somehow, I don't think the lads at State or in the White house are doing an adequate risk/reward assessment
The Neutralist is posting this to bang the drum again, that an interventionist foreign policy inevitably causes more problems then it could ever solve and will eventually lead to the disaster of self defeat.
As a little note, the propaganda war against Vladimir Putin since Time anointed him has intensified with the ludicrous David Frum on Marketplace. This is the man that coined the Axis of Evil buffonery. He is after Vlad for getting rich in politics, Writing puff pieces for Presidents and American state radio is a living, but I can see where he might be jealous. He laments,
Russia, which once seemed to be evolving into something like a normal country, has retreated into enigma and authoritarianism.
Oh, gee, when was that evolution occurring? Was it that era when sharpies were looting commie property and driving all of Russia into poverty?
The man is an embarrassment.
As an aside, we oft hear of the Islamic practice of Taqqiyah which I guess might be loosely translated as lying for the cause. Such an idea is loathsome. When we ended the Bombing of Serbia, we agreed Kosovo would remain, at least de jure, part of Serbia. That was a deliberate lie. We have taqqiyah, in a subtle sort of way.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
As you drive through the Granite State you see the words "Live Free or Die" on License Plates issued by the DMV. You now see them defiantly proclaimed by lads risking life and limb to do it. Maybe not the Battle of Bennington (The New Hampshiremen were at least armed) but it's something.
There are also some lassies holding signs about gender problems. Nothing as important as worrying about heteronorming at Hahvud. The Persian girls only have little stuff to worry about like being partially buried and stoned.
The Neutralist always subscribes to the doctrine of John Quincy Adams that "America is the friend of liberty everywhere but the guarantor only of our own." We do not wish to send the fleet and army to end the current theocracy. If we did it would taint the effort that the people of Iran must do for themselves.
Still, we admire the cause and wish it well. As a former resident of New Hampshire, and by the authority not invested in me, I hereby constitute the Order of General Stark and induct the lads holding the sign as charter members.
"Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils."
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
"Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous, and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon," he said at the White House.
"What's to say they couldn't start another covert nuclear weapons program?"
Yup, time to reopen the search for Judge Crater as well.
Of course our Pres is not the only one to feel the the Persians may still need some discipline. Justin Raimondo over at Antiwar.com has a ball with the NRO corneristas and others. My fav little bit, "Podhoretz has "dark suspicions," he confides, that the intelligence community is "bending over backwards" to avoid the mistakes it made during the run-up to war with Iraq. Naturally, he avoids mentioning that he, Norman Podhoretz, was just as wrong as they were, if not more so – so why, given his own Bizarro World logic, should we believe anything he says?" Do ya think Justin just might be a tad hard here? You go boy.
What most warmed the cockles of my heart this cold morning was a bit from the Antiwar blog, Ron Paul Vindicated on Iran. I have debate fatique at this point and could live without seeing another one. Still, it would be nice to at some point have the questioner say to Ronnie, "We owe this to you, if you wish, you can take a minute to gloat."
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The Neutralist is happy with the announcement that,
We judge with high confidence that in the fall of 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program
Isn't that lovely. Is it possible that the conclusions of our intelliegence are policy driven and policy has changed? Let us quote George Friedman Strafor article of December 3, 2007 entitled The NIE Report: Solving a Geopolitical Problem with Iran
In looking at the report, a number of obvious questions come up. First, how did the intelligence community reach the wrong conclusion in the spring of 2005, when it last released an NIE on Iran, and what changed by 2007? Also, why did the United States reach the wrong conclusions on Iran three years after its program was halted? There are two possible answers. One is intelligence failure and the other is political redefinition.
Also, from the article's previous paragraph,
The NIE release represents a transformation of U.S. policy toward Iran. The Bush administration made Iran's nuclear weapons program the main reason for its attempt to create an international coalition against Iran, on the premise that a nuclear-armed Iran was unacceptable. If there is no Iranian nuclear program, then what is the rationale for the coalition? Moreover, what is the logic of resisting Iran's efforts in Iraq, rather than cooperating?
So does someone high up say, "Today the alliance is between Eastasia and Oceania and we need an intel estimate reflecting that." Nothing so crass, I am sure.
Mr. Friedman's article goes through the problems of collecting and using intelligence. They are many and varied and reading his article will give more detail. Suffice it to say, in our overseas adventuring (not wishing to cause a hissy fit amongst those offended by calling our having troops, fleets and aircraft in all corners of the Earth imperialism)intelligence must serve policy and propaganda as well as actual knowledge of other countries intentions.
This is why we beat the drum constantly (if not frequently enough) for a neutralist national ethos. If we are less places the need for political uses of intelligence will go down, as well as, one hopes, costs and corrupting influences.
Friday, November 30, 2007
There were all the lower tier candidates being ignored on the CNN Youtube festival of silliness when McCain, without really needing to, went after Ron Paul for the sin of causing Adolph Hitler.
We allowed (Adolf) Hitler to come to power with that attitude of isolation
I suspect the congressman from Texas might not have been alive or certainly only a child at the time Dolph started to rise to power. No matter, it gave my boy Ronnie a chance to try and undim the Senator by explaining his position,
I want to trade with people, talk with people, travel, Paul explained. But I don't want to send troops overseas using force to tell them how to live.
This is a good shorthand explanation of neutralism. As to what brought about Hitler and WWII, the Neutralist has explained it all before. If you have John's phone number and want to explain it to him, you can read to him from America's greatest 20th century victory, relevant passage here,
There was WWI, The Great War. I've wondered about that name, "The Great War." It is doubtful that the lads who spent all those years in the trenches would have thought it so great. We got into it because the president at the time, Wilson, wanted to "make the world safe for democracy" by fighting "the war to end all wars." Now sober reflection - an endeavor, I used to avoid like the plague - would tell one that such comments were moronic. Certainly, history has proved Mr. Wilson wrong. Still, it led our country to send enough men over to pull the Allies' chestnuts out of the fire. Wilson, fresh from a rhetorically successful Mexican adventure gave a war message that went something like this, "Oceania is at war with Eurasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia." No, well close enough.
Did our country get anything out of this? Of course: war dead, left where we had no compelling national interest. Worse, while our troops were overseas, the early twentieth century version of the soccer moms managed to slip through a constitutional amendment prohibiting the sale and use of alcohol. In a way, this brought about a continuation of World War I on the home front (Let me digress a second, religious Jews were allowed wine for certain holidays. I can see the handwriting on the wall. Maybe someone will want to join me in starting a new religion with bacon and other high cholesterol foods as sacraments so we can be ready when the health Nazis ban them.)
There were other results from that "Great War" including Hitler. Yes folks, without Woody, Dolph would have probably spent his declining years raving in a Bavarian old soldiers' home. By demonizing Kaiser Bill and getting rid of the Imperial German Government we insured instability in Germany. Maybe an Allied victory did not lead to Hitler in an algebraic equation (Allied victory + German defeat = Hitler) but it is impossible to imagine the Third Reich, the holocaust, etc. had the Kaiser stayed in power after a peace of exhaustion.
Please let John know we are here for him. We don't want to see him ever again make himself look as silly.
Friday, November 16, 2007
So check the lad out.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Look kids, if a non interventionist foreign policy scares you that much, the voice of humility will tell you how to kill my boy's candidacy the easy way. All you have to do is bring up his ideas about Social Security.
"We’ve all heard proposals for “privatizing” the Social Security system. The best private solution, of course, is simply to allow the American people to keep more of their paychecks and invest for retirement as they see fit." American voters won't be scared about Ron Paul's thoughts on the gold standard, but they do get worried when you tell them they might not be getting a "free" check no matter how inflated the currency it is paid in.
This method of attack is also dishonorable. Still, it is preferable than using up the term anti-semite. Reserve that for people who really deserve it.
Friday, November 09, 2007
America does not border the Islamic world. It has a statistically insignificant Muslim population that is better assimilated than that of any other Western nation. America is bounded on its east and west by vast oceans and to the north and south by two militarily weak and predominantly Christian nations.
The irony resides, of course, in the fact that despite these blessings, America is the nation doing most of the fighting against radical Islam.
When analyzing the likely course of these civilizational struggles – and plotting a strategy for America to deal with them – one must also recognize another important fact: The ultimate outcome of Islam’s civilizational wars has already been determined. Radical Islam is not a viable paradigm upon which a modern society can be built. It is destined, like communism before it, to collapse from within. The trajectory of political Islam can already be seen in Iran, where it first came to power. As a governing system, the Islamic Republic has been discredited in the eyes of the masses and survives mostly by repression and manipulation. Economically and culturally, it is an utter failure.
Furthermore, radical Islam is not now, nor will it ever be, a civilizational threat to America. Nor will it conquer the world or overturn modern civilization. These goals are simply beyond its capacity
When these two ideas are considered together (i.e. the lack of geopolitical conflict between America and Islam, and the inevitable collapse of Islam as a political ideology), America’s most prudent path becomes obvious: The United States should withdraw from the Middle East and declare itself a non-belligerent in Islam’s civilizational wars. In so doing, America can avoid the casualties and ruinous costs of wars which have nothing to do with our national survival.
Given the immediate proximity of numerous, ancient enemies (and the many bloody divisions that exist within the body of Dar-al Islam itself), the Muslim combatants will not long bother themselves with a non-threatening nation on the other side of the planet. America’s tragic involvement in these wars was wholly the product of our wrong-headed, interventionist foreign policy. When that provocation is removed, so will the cause for enmity.
While obviously beneficial to America, this strategy leaves open the issue of what will happen in the aftermath of our withdrawal.
In all probability, the civilizational struggles between Islam and its neighbors will progress along their natural trajectories.
And what would those trajectories be? Well, when the West had nothing to worry about as regards the non west, we managed to slaughter each other in the two big Twentieth Century conventional intramural contests. Maybe the Islamic world can return the compliment and show us how they can kill each other in fourth generation contests amongst themselves. Or, maybe, without us there, they will stabilize and built a great international civilization. Maybe not. We do not predict the outcome, but believe the world would be no worse and ourselves much better under Neutralism.
We might feel differently if the nations of the region possessed carrier fleets. As it is, all we need do is not let in lads who want to go to flight schools with a non landing curriculum and overstay visas along with a general tightening up of immigration policies and practices.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
So we hardly get over containing the Turkish intervention brouhaha and now there is the Pakistan neo coup.
Of course, many of the brainiacs over at foggy bottom probably view this as an opportunity rather than a crisis. Breathes there a Georgetown or Kennedy School graduate with soul so dead that they can't whip up an op ed for Wapo or NYT in a trice?
Of course, surely there is someone ahead of the game who is already working on the book rights for Who Lost Pakistan.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
A possible U.S. attack against Iran has been a hot topic in the news for many months now. In some quarters it has become an article of faith that the Bush administration intends to order such an attack before it leaves office. It remains a mystery whether the administration plans an actual attack or whether it is using the threat of attack to try to intimidate Iran -- and thus shape its behavior in Iraq and elsewhere
So the well informed (after all it is his business to be in the know) Mr. Friedman is not certain that the attack is going to happen. This, pour moi, is cause for some optimism.
Most of his piece is a discussion of what the shape of an attack could take and the drawbacks. There is no dearth of negatives and Mr. Friedman takes the time to point them out. It is starting to get cold up here in Nova Anglia so he is at his most scary when he states,
consider the Iranian response. Iran does not expect to defeat the U.S. Air Force or Navy, although the use of mine warfare and anti-ship cruise missiles against tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz should not be dismissed.
So heating the old homestead should increase in cost if the Persians get some mines out and a few lucky hits, eh. Actually, they don't even have to do that, according to George,
A campaign against economic infrastructure would take some 4 million barrels per day off of the global oil market at a time when oil prices already are closing in on $100 a barrel.
Which means that all those wishful thinkers who believe that the Iranian people are just waiting to see the regime end and will be grateful to the Great Satan should think about Mr. Friedman's follow up,
Such a campaign is more likely to drive a wedge between the American people and the American government than between the Iranians and their government.
Tellingly, he says,
The United States is stretched thin, and everyone knows it.
Especially the Iranians. They have not budged and they don't appear scared. My guess is (and George seems to agree) they've done their homework and when they hear us huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down, their reaction could be something like, "yeah, you and what army?"*
George ends with this,
The United States could have defeated North Vietnam with a greater mobilization of forces. However, Washington determined that the defeat of North Vietnam and the defense of Indochina were not worth the level of effort required. Instead, it tried to achieve its ends with the resources it was prepared to devote to the mission. As a result, resources were squandered and the North Vietnamese flag flies over what was Saigon.
The danger of war is that politicians and generals, desiring a particular end, fantasize that they can achieve that end with insufficient resources. This lesson is applicable to Iran.
What is unsaid is the level of commitment we would have to make. Massive increase in defense spending (really, offense spending) and a draft. That is not on. From a neutralist point of view, this is a stupid idea. Truly, to anybody with an intelligence above minimally conscious, it should be a bad idea.
Mr. Friedman's article is well worth your time.
*I know, I've used this before.
Friday, October 19, 2007
What the heck is going on here? Have libertarians been sneaking past recruiters? Or do real soldiers support ending the war? Gee, maybe there are no phony soldiers, just phonies with microphones.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
A warrior like yourself cannot let this pass. A fellow by the name of Ricardo Sanchez is going around claiming to be a lieutenant general. Not only that, he proclaims that The U.S. mission in Iraq is a "nightmare with no end in sight."
Rush, a true warrior like you cannot let this stand. Expose this fellow for the phony soldier he is.
Yeah, that's the ticket.
Hat tip to antiwar.com.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Anyway, Fab gives us the goods:
A well-intended but colonial attitude might be unavoidable in these wars. In Vietnam we spoke highly of our loyal South Vietnamese allies, our “little brown brothers.” Forty years later we treat the Iraq government with a similar friendly contempt, which its own people see and imitate. Their rebellion to foreign occupiers (like us) is a natural, if counter-productive result.
He describes a “Kiss of Death” syndrome” on slide 22. This powerful label also applies to our relationship with local governments under current COIN doctrine when we get too helpful. We take control, which diminishes the government’s legitimacy, which strengthens the insurgency, which incites us to try harder, which starts another cycle.
The government becomes seen by many of its own people as lackeys or even quislings, only regaining legitimacy by opposing us – as they do today over symbolic issues like the role of Blackwater, or passive aggressive behavior (e.g., failure to pass the oil exploitation legislation we require).
I think that "Only gaining legitimacy by opposing us" says a mouthful.
Fab wonders if Kilcullen is having his audience on. I hope he is as the alternative is that a very smart man is intentionally stupid.
Friday, September 28, 2007
The article is worth reading because of the way your man elaborates on the go statement. He writes well,
Politicians, for the most part, have accepted statements about withdrawal requiring anywhere from one to two years. They want to be “responsible”—that’ll be the day. Some may have calculated that slow withdrawal might better disguise defeat and thus be more politically palatable, but I don’t think many are that Machiavellian. I think instead that, with a few honorable exceptions, they’re profoundly ignorant of war and thus have to blindly accept anything the professional military says. That ignorance is, of course, one of the reasons we got into this mess in the first place. That goes double for columnists: in pundit-land, a military expert is someone who thinks that the phalanx is cutting-edge technology.
It seems to be raining Greg Cochran lately. The Neutralist is okay with that. If our budget were larger, ah, if there were a budget, we would commission him to write for us.
Watch for the glossy print version of The Neutralist, coming within a millennium.
We have been remiss in not including The American Conservative in our links and that shall be remedied immediately.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Where's Snow White? We've got the Dwarves...
One Greg Cochran left a comment:
There is no threat out there that can be usefully addressed by a larger ground army. In fact, there's not much of a short-term threat out there at all. Except the threat from within: crazy people. That one is serious, as always.
You have to have physical power to be a substantial short-term threat, and jihadists don't have any: not one tank, not one jet, no money, no industrial base, no scientists. Oh, and I forgot, no _country_, no state. No nukes and no prospect of getting any. Shit, if they had the entire Arab world under their imaginary caliphate, they'd still be weak as a kitten: the contemporary version of the Ottoman Empire.
In the longer run, someone without physical power can sometimes make a difference (i.e. cause trouble) with ideas: but of course the Moslem world doesn't have any. "No major invention or discovery has emerged from the Moslem world for well over seven centuries now." They haven't even managed to come with up with fast-selling bullshit like Marxism or psychoanalysis. _I'm_ likely to cause more of that kind of trouble than all the Moslems on Earth without even trying.
This is essentially the Neutralist analysis and therefore we appropriate it, giving proper credit to its author.
As if that were not enough Mr. Cochran submitted to questioning from Michael Blowhard. Mr. Blowhard characterized Greg Cochran as:
It's eerie how right his predictions have been, and it's impressive that he arrived at them not from some uninformed political point of view but from a practical, fact-driven, and down-to-earth one. No one can accuse Gregory Cochran of being a sentimental, knee-jerk leftie, let alone a frisee-munching, Manhattan-dwellin' metrosexual, that's for sure. Cochran looked into the facts, he assessed the facts, and he reached conclusions that have so far proven to be 100% correct.
The interview, in two parts is worth reading. Our takeaway was provided by Steve Sailer quoting the Blowhard interview in his blog:
2B: As far as Mideast policy goes, how could we do better than we do?
Cochran: I think we have little chance of running a practical Middle East policy. The political class is ignorant and / or crazy (and also lazy) and seems to enjoy being manipulated by groups whose interests are not closely aligned with those of the United States. For example, Bush Senior had Prince Bandar try to prepare Junior for the world stage. Why the hell would anyone pick a fat Saudi thief as a political science instructor? Why not someone on our side? And when Rudy has Norman Podhoretz as a foreign policy adviser -- Norman who wants to invade Arab countries that haven't even been discovered yet -- well, I tremble for my country.
2B: So what's the right general course of action for the US as the world's premier power?
Cochran: Do little. Stay strong -- although this can't possibly require the current high level of military expenditures. If I were picking an actor to represent the right policy, it'd be Jimmy Stewart -- a nice guy that you never, ever want to threaten. A mix of "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Winchester '73."
2B: What are some basic things that you wish more Americans understood about the mid-east, and about their own government?
Cochran: 1. Iraq is a Seinfeld war -- a war about nothing. 2. The Mideast isn't that important. 3. The people running the country have no idea what they're doing.
Steve Sailer wrote in his own blog comments
Well, at least Prince Bandar isn't dumb. And that Ahmad Chalabi guy, with his Ph.D. in Math from the U. of Chicago, is downright smart.
Figuring out a foreign policy that's in the best interest of America ... a job Americans just won't do anymore!
I have been reading Mr. Cochran's astute comments for years now. I've always been impressed by his agreement with my viewpoint:) He expresses it with a better analysis than I could. He knows the science, and even some of the insiders.
I explained how I knew in a prior posting
I'm sorry, I was against this war from the beginning. I knew it was a fraud from well before day one. How you may ask could a nobody from a backwater know such a thing. I was born and raised in a state unexcelled for its culture of corruption. Politicians from Louisiana could learn a few tricks. A lot of it is done without any bribery. No, it is done much more smoothly. first, someone starts mentioning un met needs. Then, the newspapers have articles that morph the un met need into a crisis. State reps and senators start using phrases like " we need to do it for the children" and "the kids are our future." Soon enough there is a new state agency and cronies are being hired all over the place.
It was a little bit different with the war drumbeat. First, we have Iraq mentioned as part of the Axis of Evil. Then, do we remember the Anthrax scare? I do. I remember pundits hot for action, for others of course. As I live up on a hill, I can get Boston stations on the car radio. One talk show host, Jay Severin was shilling for the war big time. One afternoon he breathlessly intoned that it was reported that the anthrax involved in the letters had the footprint of an Iraqi lab and that if it did have that footprint, then, "We are at war with Iraq." Cut to a break.
The anthrax scare faded away but the drumbeat continued. I remember some peacenik type acquaintances talking about going down to New York for a march and hearing them hopeful about stopping the juggernaut. I remember telling them that the people who want the war, can have the war and that is that. Of course that was discounted, but that is life. If common sense had ever prevailed in this country, the slogan would have been, Forget the Maine. Contriving a war has a history here.
Some of the propaganda was so obviously stupid that it embarrasses me as an American to think it was said and quoted. Condoleeza Rice's remark about the smoking gun turning out to be a mushroom cloud was, maybe, the worst. A few unfortunates might have believed that Iraq was somewhat near the bomb, but no one suggested they had any inkling of a delivery system. So, Condi, how were they to get it to a target? "Quick Achmed, get it on to the donkey cart, we will get it on a cargo ship as part of a shipment of dates and when it gets to New York Harbor, it gets set off. I volunteer you, Achmed, for this important mission."
Anyway, it does not matter how you attain your "Neutralismo," only that you get there.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Okay, Monica, let's go over this slowly, OBL's minions, as far as we know, attacked us and baited us into a war that turned out to be a loser. Then we thought up a war against Iraq and that is going just as swimmingly. The people of the United States allowed control of the Congress to pass to a party that implied it would do something intelligent about the war. That party is doing its best now to make itself look as bad as their sworn enemy George W. Bush. I am not the greatest admirer of our electorate, and I have no truck with the Democrats as I regard them as no more than a cargo cult masquerading as a political party. No matter, voting Dem was less stupid than voting Republican this time.
Now work with me Monica. That OBL slickly endorsed the donkey's campaign policy and chides them for not making it work, does not mean he is wrong.
This is like the trick that was pulled on Walt and Mearshimer. Call David Duke and ask if he agrees and then tab W & M as Grand Kleagles.
Okay, Monica, I assume you believe that 1 + 1 = 2. You know what, David Duke does too. Maybe you want to call him and order a sheet. I bet the Dalai Lama counts the same as DD, though his holiness does not believe it is real. I suspect Alan Dershowitz counts that way as well. Alan, Dave you have so much in common with Monica.
OBL was being glich francach caca laca (Irish saying translated as cute as a shithouse rat). He would portray himself as Thomas Jefferson if he thought he could confuse us. That does not make Thomas Jefferson wrong. Wake up Monica. I'd love to catch him and see him tried and hung, but El Jefe Maximo Jorge W blew that. I don't see not finding him in another five years while losing American lives in the Afghanistan or Iraq as all that productive.
Monica, like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh et al, pretends to be a conservative. I don't claim to be conservative, but I do follow a conservative line in foreign policy. Major General Smedley Butler said it all this in a speech in 1933,
There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
Monica, this is conservatism. Spreading democracy, which we are not doing, is not.
If you decide to set aside your statist baggage, and embrace this, you too can be a conservative in foreign policy. If David Duke wants to set aside his racial baggage, he is welcome also. Heck, if Al Sharpton wants to set aside his racist baggage, come on in. if Al the Dersh wants to drop neoconnery, he's our man. It's not a big tent yet, but it could be.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Let's look at the last paragraph of his article, What's the opposite of the sunk cost fallacy?,
The NVA tried a tentative offensive in December 1974, following the Democrats midterm election triumphs, found that the US wouldn't provide air support, so launched a massive offensive in March 1975. The South Vietnamese collapsed about as quickly as France in 1940.
Now, if a tentative offensive is begun in December and the crusher launched in March, what was the ARVN doing in between? I don't think they were starved for equipment as I remember all the stuff the NVA captured after the fall of Saigon. If the South was going to survive, it would always be as some kind of welfare case. We are better off gone.
In a prior article, Vietnam, he makes this claim,
Today, with American air power so unchallenged, it seems strange that the Democrats didn't want to allow air support of the South Vietnamese. After all, a couple of decades later, a Democrat President got involved in an internal dispute of negligible significance to America, and bombed Yugoslavia into ceding control of its internationally-recognized Kosovo province, at minimal cost in lost aircraft.
Actually, the FRY had ceded this before the bombing. what caused the war to start was their rejection of this paragraph in the Rambouillet Agreement,
NATO personnel shall enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters. This shall include, but not be limited to, the right of bivouac, maneuver, billet, and utilization of any areas or facilities as required for support, training, and operations
The war ended when NATO (i.e. us) surrendered on this point. If anyone thinks being able to stay in occupation in the Balkans, let alone the Middle East is a victory, well, good luck with that.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
A One Paragraph Lesson in International Relations, or this guy will never be teaching at the Kennedy School
"These countries were so small! One of the more marvelous atrocities of our time was the way in which the self-created problems of these countries, and their arrogant way of dealing with them, made them seem larger, like an angry child standing on its tiptoes. They were expensive to operate, too; they had vast armies; they indulged in loud and ridiculously long-winded denunciations of their neighbors. All this contributed to the illusion that they were massive. But no, they were tiny, irritating, shameless, and vindictive; and they occupied the world's attention way out of proportion to their size or importance. They had been magnified by lobbyists and busybody groups. Inflation was the theme here, and it was just another tactic for quarrelsome people to avoid making peace."
--Paul Theroux, The Pillars of Hercules
Monday, August 27, 2007
Mr. Sailer discusses Vietnam and Korea as well as Kosovo. He really does not come to the conclusion as to what we got out of those adventures, which is of course nothing. Well, it is of course The Neutralist's contention that we got something out of Vietnam. We got to leave.
His final paragraph makes another neutralist point,
In contrast, Islam has virtually no appeal to anyone above the lowest orders of society if they weren't born into a Muslim family. There is no single Islamic superpower to provide direction to the squabbling Muslim states, and most of these governments are more or less averse to the extremists. Even taken together, all the Muslim states in the world have only a small fraction of America's military might. For example, there is no Muslim aircraft carrier. Technologically, Pakistan is 50 years behind America in the development of nuclear weapons, and the rest lag even farther.
Any problems we have with militant Islam are immigration problems. It cannot be said too often, 911 was an immigration failure. We were not attacked by a carrier fleet. A jihad army did not land Normandy style. We are essentially fighting ourselves.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Now unlike most Americans, I do not believe George is a dummy. As noted previously, I think he is smarter than he is given credit for. This attempt at manipulation is as cute as all the cool people who are trying to shift us into Darfur and as believable. When George Clooney raises a battalion and leads them into the Sudan, he will get some cred. There is nothing our current commander in chief can do to gain any.
Well, he could tell the truth.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, I come before you to take full responsibility for what can only be called a disaster. There were no weapons of mass destruction, the intelligence was flimsy and contrived. The regime was changed but the dynamics of Iraqi politics have not changed and therefore I cannot say we can hope to leave a stable democracy in place. The constant death and mayhem that takes place in Iraq today, could accelerate. This is my fault and I apologize to the you my fellow citizens and to the Iraqi people and our allies."
No, I know that's not going to happen. I just hope no one buys the real statement of President Chutzpah. I never go into Pottery Barn and I resent being blackmailed into paying for stuff I did not drop.
Oh, and if anyone in the FBI is reading this, there is a nutcase named Stu Bykofsky who is lamenting our lack of national unity and thinks he knows a way to get it back. You want to keep an eye on flight training schools and costume stores that might stock Arab headgear. The lad does not sound all that stable.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
This is a bit of a mess for the nation that claims leadership of what is sometimes called the Free World. We have had a longstanding alliance with the Turks going back to the early postwar era when an American fleet called in at Istanbul to signal the Soviets hands off. The Turks reciprocated by sending men to stand with us in Korea.
Our relationship with the Kurds has been a bit different. If I wanted to use a word to describe how we have treated the Kurds, I would not rule out betrayal. Henry Kissinger used them to pressure Iraq in the seventies and dropped them when he had struck the deal he wanted. Now we are friends again with the Kurds and they are building a modern state with a market economy. You only need read the gushing reports from neoconnish reporter Michael Totten, here, here and here. His Middle East Journal articles portray the Kurds admiringly and seem to suggest we plight our troth to them. Of course, Mr. Totten does not paint his picture, warts and all. The Kurds may be closer to modernity than Shia and Sunni, but they still have some bad habits.
The Christian Science Monitor reports on the quaint practice of Female Genital Mutilation. It persists in Michael Totten's ultra advanced Kurdistan. To be fair, many Kurds are facing the problem, but the government can be touchy on the subject, "The [Kurdish] Ministry of Human Rights hauled us in for questioning," says Assi Frooz Aziz, coordinator of WADI's Germian medical team. "They accused us of publicizing the country's secrets." Hey, even we can be rather shy about our blemishes, but the Kurds do need a tad of work on that open government thing."
So there we are, the benevolent hegemon, hunkered down in Iraq having to do what all imperiums have to do eventually, decide whom to betray. It's a no brainer. Stratfor has an article in their free service that tells us just how strong, both militarily and economically, th Turks are in the Middle East. Also, it is not in their character to wet their pants when someone, including us, barks at them.*
So according to Robert Novak, we've done a deal with the Turks. In order to forestall the invasion, we'll cooperate in setting up the Kurdish separatists. Well, I for one am not surprised. We have some good experience in Kurd betrayal. It's been done before and will be done now and will probably be done again. After all, the Turks have options. The Kurds have only us.
Just another mess to clean up.
Hat tip to Justin Raimondo at Takimag.
*I don't remember the book's title. It might have been "This Kind of War," Anyway, it describes an engagement in Korea where the Turks were about to be overrun. The officers threw down their caps and said they would not retreat behind them alive and led their men into the Chinese. They were of course destroyed. I think the book continued with a comment about how the PLA did their best to avoid the Turks after that.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Enough digression. Let's look at the relevant passage.
no sitting senator has won the presidency since Kennedy. The reason is, again, simple. Senators make speeches and vote, all of which are carefully recorded in the Congressional record. Governors live in archival obscurity and don't have to address most issues of burning importance to the nation. Johnson came the closest to being a sitting senator but he too had a gap of four years and an assassination before he ran. After him, former Vice President Nixon, Gov. Carter, Gov. Reagan, Vice President Bush, Gov. Clinton and Gov. Bush all won the presidency. The path is strewn with fallen senators.
That being the case, the Democrats appear poised to commit electoral suicide again, with two northern senators (Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama) in the lead, and the one southern contender, John Edwards, well back in the race. The Republicans, however, are not able to play to their strength. There are no potential candidates in Texas or California to draw on. Texas right now just doesn't have players ready for the national scene. California does, but Arnold Schwarzenegger is constitutionally ineligible by birth. In a normal year, a charismatic Republican governor of California would run against a northern Democratic senator and mop the floor. It's not going to happen this time.
Instead, the Republicans appear to be choosing between a Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, and a former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. Unless Texan Ron Paul can pull off a miracle, the Republicans appear to be going with their suicide hand just like the Democrats. Even if Fred Thompson gets the nomination, he comes from Tennessee, and while he can hold the South, he will have to do some heavy lifting elsewhere.
The Edwards hypotheses fails as he is really no different from Thompson. They are essentially the same grade phony. If one has a problem, the other has the same.
Thus, unless the Republicans want to commit suicide and leave the nation executiveless for four years, their only choice is Ronnie.
How come only guys with the name Ron can save that hapless party.
Ron Paul is the only real neutralist and the only one who can win.
Monday, July 02, 2007
“I am sure you can see far enough beyond the one-dimensional media coverage of Iraq to understand that the terms "winning" and "losing" fail to describe the complexity of the engagement in Iraq.
There are an incredible number of interests being promoted and represented in the Iraqi theatre of operations. Yet the media fails utterly to portray the complexity of the conflict(s) there.
My point of view has little to do with "winning" or "losing" in Iraq. I suspect that arabs cannot be reformed from their bloody-mindedness. Even more ominous, is the demographic theory dealing with the "young male bulge" theory of national and international conflict. I suspect that there is an incredible amount of prognostic potency in that theory.
So, think in "complexivision." There is a lot to learn. I'll try to present sides of the issue that the media studiously ignores.”
So boil away all the verbiage above and you get 'it's complex so we have to stay.' Yuh. I thought this a bit meaningless. I just guess I'm an either you won or lost type of guy. Staying because it's complex is just LBJ's hunkering down. Hardly a strategic vision."
Still, I wanted to be fair so I asked him a question,
“I've got a "complexivision" question for you. Is it more important to keep diddlin' in Iraq or to secure our nation's borders?
Also, if the amnesty is passed, will there be any point to Iraq?”
“It would be better not to conflate Iraq with illegal immigration.”
Ah, yes. The event that started us off on all these adventures was perpetrated by pilots who took off from carriers off the coast of NY and DC. No, it was immigration failure that let the perps of 911 in. Now I am happy to blame Bill Clinton for his goofiness in giving away the store, but our current maximum war leader wants everyone in the world to come here, so no help there. You score the easy points first and securing the border and fixing immigration is the first step, not the last. Maybe, Simplivision (a neologism for Occam's Razor) would help our friend.
I also asked him,
“if you have the grand strategic vision that you can express in a word other than complexivision, please go for it.”
“Iraq, it is proving very useful for training US marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen for the expanding world jihad. What you see in Gaza and Lebanon (and Iraq) today, you are certain to see in European cities tomorrow.”
Ah, if you have the border secure, the Jihadis will fight each other because they can't get here. Anyway, if past is prologue, those trained military will have been wasted by the ongoing leadership incompetence, spending years in VA facilities or working for Blackwater. My hope is that they get to enjoy their pensions whole and live easy like the warbloggers. As time goes on, more and more of the new enlistees will be CatIVs and the less intelligent. Using them as cannon fodder will be counterproductive and, as they will be less competent, even closer to murder than the current misuse of our military is now.
And then of course he took refuge in an ad hominem,
“Of course, if you don't think the jihad is worth worrying about, then there is no need to prepare, and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi may make sense to you. In that case, I cannot be of help to you.”
Actually, I don't think wasting well trained infantry against people whose death solves their salvation problem and lessens their countries unemployment burden is a good idea. Fighting a war that favors the strategy of the enemy is hardly grand strategy at its best. If he believes that, no one can be of help to him. Anyway, he should phrase it now to include Lugar and Warner with Nance and Harry.
He asked me about my military experience. I told him of my inglorious Vietnam Era service. I asked him his. He did not answer the question, but accused me of rambling and closed the comments.
So what do I make of such people. He may have shut off debate because he was bored with me. Fair enough. Still, he had no real answers. He is a smart lad, so to be so willfully wrongheaded takes effort. This so called War on Terror is so obviously a scam in the same manner as the War on Drugs with a lot of privatized profits and socialized costs that to believe in it, an intelligent person has to be getting some benefit or has to torture logic brutally in his own mind.
I have a problem with his skating on the question of his military service. Now is this important? I believe so and eventually, I shall devote a whole post on the chickenhawk thing. If you are going to cheerlead for the overseas adventures, and you have never put yourself at risk, there is a high degree of hypocrisy as was seen in the song and dance of the exposed Jonah Goldberg. If Al is a veteran of active service in the combat arms or blogging after going off duty in in the Sunni Triangle, he has my abject apology. If he is just a cheerleader, well, res ipsa loquitur says it all.
Anyway, my comment that got him started was,
"Yep, we're winning. Winning now. Winning next month, Next year, two years from now. Five years from now. Maybe longer.
Then we shall leave, having accomplished zip."
All the happy talk from the war bloggers won't change that.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Well, someone does. That someone has nukes, hydrocarbons and a bone to pick. Russia has seen the US meddle in its "near abroad" for awhile now and, according to Stratfor, they have an opportunity to push back. Bismarck may not have thought the Balkans worth a Pomeranian Grenadier, but Merkel and her homies don't think it is worth one cold winter's day. Maybe George is out by himself on this one.
So George, after a few years of tapping the hornets nest, has to worry that maybe the swarm might decide it is time to do some stinging of its own.
Putin does not embody the spirit of Thomas Jefferson. I may not want him for president of my own country, though other than Ron Paul, the current crop of candidates is worthless. I can see how Russians might see him as their best bet.
I recommend Stratfor's article and I also recommend that Vladamir bring his own chef to Kennebunkport.
Kosovo, another interventionist non success.
*The Neutralist Institute has not seen any increase in its current endowment of $0. Therefore, Stratfor's free service is all that can be afforded at this time.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Words of War
"They made a desert and called it peace."
"Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice."
"There was never a good war or a bad peace."
"I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward."
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same in any country."
-- Hermann Goering
"The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
-- Adolf Hitler
"Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play."
-- Joseph Goebbels
"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media."
-- William Colby, former Director of the CIA
"War is a malignant disease, an idiocy, a prison, and the pain it
causes is beyond telling or meaning; but war was our condition
and our history, the place we had to live in."
"War is a catalogue of blunders."
-- Sir Winston Churchill
"Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."
--Sir Winston Churchill
"Regardless of whether we say so publicly, we will go to war, because Saddam sits at the center of a region with more than 60 percent of all the world's oil reserves."
--Anthony H. Cordesman, Senior Analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
“I don’t think the neocons really give a shit what happened in Iraq and the aftermath. I don’t think they thought it would be this bad. But they said: Look if it works out, let’s say we get Chalabi in, he’s our boy, great. We don’t and maybe there is some half-ass government out there, maybe a strong man emerges, it fractures, and there’s basically a loose federation and there’s really a Kurdish state. Who cares? There’s some bloodshed and it’s messy. Who cares? I mean, we’ve taken out Saddam. We’ve asserted our strength in the Middle East. We’re changing the dynamic. We’re off the peace process as the centerpiece and we’re not putting pressure on Israel.”
--Retired General Anthony Zinni
"We've got the basic strategy right. . . . Our objective is victory, and that's the road we're walking down. . . . It may not be popular with the public. It doesn't matter, in the sense that we have to continue to do what we think is right, and that's exactly what we're doing. We're not running for office; we're doing what we think is right."
--Vice President Dick Cheney
War is not nice."
"When I take action, I'm not going to fire a 2 million dollar missile at a 10 dollar empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive."
-- George W. Bush
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
"Support the troops", with its seductive appeal to the romance of martial heroism, the obsequious and pointless genuflection it compels of all, constricting discourse, is a death spiral. It is the nuclear option of debate, the napalming of one's own position, the burning of the village in order to save it. It would not be deployed if not for the hopeless logical and factual position of those who use it.
People do not propose entering into a war in order to support the brave men and women who fight it (though the appeal to glory is always implied); but they can always be counted on to insist on continuing a war, no matter how pointless or unjust it is revealed to be, for this very reason.
I could quote and highlight all of the article, but it is his. Go and read it. Read it to the end.
It's time to become conscientious objectors refusing the call of "support the troops." No one is "against the troops"; this phrase is a content-less redundancy, obscuring more than revealing. It's time for a discharge. Call it a reduction in forces. These words have lost all meaning, one more casualty of our new culture of war. They have been left on the front lines of a meaningless war, sacrificed for the goals of the corrupt and cowardly, just like their real world counteparts.
Here's one more heresy for you: our greater obligation is to the truth, not the troops. They, and the rest of us, will be just fine if we can only honor this.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I was driving home this morning from the not so big city. The radio was playing George Bush's answering of questions. I was vaguely listening when one fellow asked the president in effect, if Osama is so bad in Iraq now, isn't that because we invaded as he was not there before. I'm not too clear, but that is the sense I got.
Now the true answer to that question is, Hell, yeah. George did the only thing he could. He didn't answer the question. His reply, as best I remember it was, "So what you're saying is, the option would have been to let Saddam stay there." He then went on to cite the litany of all the works of evil of the late President.
It was a tour de force of what in another language they call being glich francach caca laca, or, cute as a shithouse rat.
Alright, I grant it is a low sort of cunning, but no matter. He was not talking to the people on the White House lawn or rose garden or wherever. He was talking to the people who hate the guy who asked the question. I am not sure even they are listening anymore, but it was the people he needed to talk to.
It's too bad he can't talk to them about immigration.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
AL FIN I
On May 11, 2007 he quoted approvingly from another blog,
The U.S. military currently possesses command of the global commons. Command of the commons is analogous to command of the sea, or in Paul Kennedy’s words, it is analogous to “naval mastery.” The “commons,” in the case of the sea and space, are areas that belong to no one state and that provide access to much of the globe. Airspace does technically belong to the countries below it, but there are few countries that can deny their airspace above 15,000 feet to U.S. warplanes. Command does not mean that other states cannot use the commons in peacetime. Nor does it mean that others cannot acquire military assets that can move through or even exploit them when unhindered by the United States. Command means that the United States gets vastly more military use out of the sea, space, and air than do others; that it can credibly threaten to deny their use to others; and that others would lose a military contest for the commons if they attempted to deny them to the United States. Having lost such a contest, they could not mount another effort for a very long time, and the United States would preserve, restore, and consolidate its hold after such a fight. ...
The United States enjoys the same command of the sea that Britain once did, and it can also move large and heavy forces around the globe. But command of space allows the United States to see across the surface of the world’s landmasses and to gather vast amounts of information. At least on the matter of medium-to-large-scale military developments, the United States can locate and identify military targets with considerable fidelity and communicate this information to offensive forces in a timely fashion. Air power, ashore and afloat, can reach targets deep inland; and with modern precision-guided weaponry, it can often hit and destroy those targets.
He then writes,
"Most people who comment on the state of the world lack even a basic understanding of the firmer layers of reality beneath the media facade."
Yeah, so what. The last part of the last paragraph tells us
“At least on the matter of medium-to-large-scale military developments, the United States can locate and identify military targets with considerable fidelity and communicate this information to offensive forces in a timely fashion. Air power, ashore and afloat, can reach targets deep inland; and with modern precision-guided weaponry, it can often hit and destroy those targets.”
Well, the rest of the world knows that and there are precious few who are interested in taking us on in that realm. That does not mean no one wishes to take us on. A heck of a lot do. They are just more subtle about it. Those planes and ships don't do us much good against the suicide bombers. Anyway, the great beneficiaries of our world service are the Chinese*, who get to safely send all the exports to us and the oil producers who can ship non Texas Texas Tea here without fear of any piratical mishaps. What are we sending out of the country. The jobs don't travel by tanker.
Some may argue that this trade is win win. I am a free trader, but I think there is an analogy with the US auto industry here. The car makers made deals with the workers that insured future costs would be a drag in competing with foreign competition. As we are the only nation seriously paying for the security of the commons, this is a competitive cost we impose on ourselves that leaves us at a disadvantage. Of course there are many other ways we shoot ourselves in the foot. Will our excessive spending across the board lead us to disaster. That is for another day and for the black magicians of the occult craft of economics to discuss.
*I believe Al is on firmer ground as regards China here.
AL FIN II
In the second Al Fin post he presents a youtube video of Uncle Jimbo. Uncle Jimbo is presenting a rant wherein he explains the difference between a peacetime army and the army in time of war. Now, I know I disagree with Uncle Jimbo on the war. I do feel some sympathy with the lad, though. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin and gets to hang out in a la la land. I know what that is like as I get to spend a good deal of time in the Five Colleges area in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts. I believe our adventure in Iraq is stupid. Still, spend enough time in a university town and even though one can't justify the war, you would almost want to support it in the same way that the moralizing about smoking makes me want to take up cigarettes so I can blow smoke in someones face. Of course, he continues to live there, so he must in some way enjoy it.
UJ's little talk is not bad. It reminds me of de Tocqueville's commentary, Causes Which Render Democratic Armies Weaker than Other Armies at the Outset of a Campaign and More Formidable in Protracted Warfare. He is right, the less adept are replaced by those more competent. People move up to where they belong.
Where he is wrong is that de Tocqueville wrote about how, when the peacetime army goes to war, it is at a disadvantage with all the time servers. As the battle rages and the homeland is threatened and other avenues of advancement in the nation are cut off, the military becomes the only outlet for ambitious people to rise. This is not happening here. The bright lad will not forego the position at the hedge fund to serve in Iraq. Yes, we have good men fighting, but one must doubt that there are going to be a lot more gushing out of the pipeline. In fact, we have even increased the number of cat IVs* we are enlisting.
If anything, time in this respect is on the side of the enemy. Poor, uneducated and with few prospects, there is no dearth of lads who do not see a glorious death as that horrible compared to their current meager existence. Amongst that pool of recruits, there are probably many who are officer material and will rise in their society in the way de Tocqueville outlines for a democratic army facing a foe with the potential to dominate its homeland. These unlucky ones will miss out on Jihadi suicide and will have to make do with all the mundane aspects of gathering intelligence, planning strategy and keeping up the level of mayhem. With us there, they have no reason to ever give up.
All wars are different and doing too much Vietnam analogizing is probably unhelpful. Still, if these guys think that a twenty year field exercise in a desert country is going to be in any way a victory, then they have no right to call anyone else a moonbat. That is simply the truth.
*Low scorers on the qualification exam.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I know my president, hearing this has ordered the building of the fence post haste.
Except it is kind of gone now. The Jersey Boys destroyed that. Actually, they are not really from Jersey, but they reside there now. These fellows never understood that according to the rules of the game, they were required to attack us in Iraq. If they attended New Jersey schools, then the heavens cry out for reform. Or, maybe they are just kinda garden variety dumb. What is it that people feel the need to video themselves.
Except for that little Faux Pas, they did seem on their way to producing some mayhem. Now, for there to be any truth to the we must fight them there so we don't have to here, then Fort Dix has to be defined as part of Iraq. Here, I am on fairly solid ground in disagreeing. Fort Dix is my alma mater. I spent eight happy weeks there. Well, I spent eight weeks there preparing to fight all the battles of the Viet Nam war that took place in the continental US.* Not once did I see a sign, either in English or Arabic, stating that the facility was the property of the Iraqi govenment.
So I am guessing that a reasonably intelligent person would say, if you don't want Jihadis here, you don't let people from Jihadi breeding areas into the country. These lads did not come ashore as frogmen. They probably landed at an airport, went through immigration after some documents were presented and disappeared. Obviously, your government does not really care.
So there is no reason to think our troops are going to do any good over there. Come home boys.
*I was particularly stalwart in the campaign against boredom.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
In large part, our military (and policy) failures stem from two sources.
Number one: The American people really don't possess the necessary zeal for full-scale imperialism. Yes, yes, we're willing to turn a blind eye to our leaders interventions abroad (so long as we or our children don't have to paqrticipate directly), but we're made a bit queasy by such activities, and we'd rather not know the details of what's actually involved. Ours isn't the sort of poulation that will, with enthusiasm, engage in sustained imperial adventures. We're perfectly comfortable with idea of Walmart spreading globally, but that's capitalsim, not military conquest. Resistance groups say that, with enough time and bloodshed, we'll leave; and they're right. We soon wonder what the point is, we don't have long attention spans anyway, and since we soon forget our own blunders, we assume everyone else will as well.
Number two: Our leaders insist on using military force for purposes which military force cannot achieve, i.e. altering the politcal and social structures of other peoples. Military forces can kill people; they can depose foreign governments, as was demonstrated with great speed in Iraq. They cannot persuade people to accept a political system which is inimical, or simply foreign, to their interests. This folly is compounded by the fact of America's alleged fondness for representative government. We then recoil, more in confusion than in horror, at what representation in other parts of the world produces.
We've no reason to believe that Muqtada Al Sadr (sp?) isn't a genuinely popular politcal figure with a widespread base of support. His miltias my be actively involved in kidnapping, torture, and extortion, but who is to say that this tarnishes his domestic image.
In short, we keep trying to use a chainsaw to conduct brain surgery. It's not going to work.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
It is an informative piece. The Kurds have set up an effective nation in all but name. They have suffered since forever and if ever a people deserve to have a secure and peaceful homeland, it is the Kurds.
Totten is informative and brave. What is never answered by him, is why is Kurdistan our problem? In his piece he is told by Kurds, they want to be our friends. That is all well and good. If any American is stuck in Iraq, he would be a fool to want to be anywhere else but Kurdistan.
As an article it is good propaganda, unless you ask the question why a US- Kurd alliance. We don’t need one more set of dependents.
The Kurds produced the most sagacious Muslim commander ever, Saladin. They are an intelligent people. Surely, there are enough of them who remember their last great alliance with the US in the Seventies. Henry Kissinger sold them down the river over the Shah and the Shatt al Arab. The Kurds suffered horribly. It was as shameful an episode in American history as any. If the Kurd’s trust us, they’re nuts.
I hope the Kurds remember Lord Palmerston's axiom: nations have no permanent allies, only permanent interests. Heck, I hope we learn it. Our country’s welfare, not the Kurd’s or any other country’s is our interest and it is best served by Neutralism.
The Kurd’s fighting force is impressive, but without an airforce or a very effective air defense system, they’ve got a big problem.
Monday, April 09, 2007
One interesting article from Spiked Online. It seems media outlets in our mummy country were reporting wild Persian mobs calling for blood. The mob turned out to be eleven orderly lads outside the foreign ministry in Teheran.
I did see a picture of angry people calling for something on the Drudge site. What they were calling for, I can't say as it was a still photo. I guess they were Iranian because the caption said so. Just looking at that photo, I could tell that crowd was on something. My guess is Geritol. Maybe they have multiple dependencies and are popping Centrum Silver as well. Clearly the Iranian Revolution as a popular force is spent.
There may be only one thing and one man that can unite that country. A bombing campaign by George Bush. Maybe that is why the mullahs have not backed down. No matter what we threaten they seem to be defiantly yelling back at us, "Yeah, you and what army?" Maybe they think our land forces are so thin now that they can deal with an invasion. I don't think they are fearing a bombing campaign. Surely they have dispersed what needs to be dispersed by now. A lot of bombs constantly falling for a few weeks or months on what? Watever old armament they possess is probably more valuable to a scrap metal dealer than on a battlefield. No, the stuff they need to keep is the stuff that could turn Iran into one big Sunni triangle, except they are Shia.
Clark Stooksbury says it best, "Once you get past aircraft carriers, B-52 bombers and Cruise Missiles, our power is rather ordinary and we have racked up numerous failures to prove it."
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Kipling, The Young British Soldier
The Neutralist is going out on a limb and speculating that Faye Turney's recruiter never recited Kipling's verse as the proper attitude of the British serviceman or woman facing capture. We speculate the subject of capture never came up at all. Now as Yanks, it is possible that we have the Queen's forces all wrong and the selling point is the danger. Thirty years or so ago, it was different, but some got the wrong impression.
Colonel Come in, what do you want?
Private Watkins enters and salutes.
Watkins I'd like to leave the army please, sir.
Colonel Good heavens man, why?
Watkins It's dangerous.
Watkins There are people with guns out there, sir.
Watkins Real guns, sir. Not toy ones, sir. Proper ones, sir. They've all got 'em. All of 'em, sir. And some of 'em have got tanks.
Colonel Watkins, they are on our side.
Watkins And grenades, sir. And machine guns, sir. So I'd like to leave, sir, before I get killed, please.
Colonel Watkins, you've only been in the army a day.
Watkins I know sir but people get killed, properly dead, sir, no barley cross fingers, sir. A bloke was telling me, if you're in the army and there's a war you have to go and fight.
Colonel That's true.
Watkins Well I mean, blimey, I mean if it was a big war somebody could be hurt.
Colonel Watkins why did you join the army?
Watkins For the water-skiing and for the travel, sir. And not for the killing, sir. I asked them to put it on my form, sir - no killing.
From Monty Python
Watkins just did not get it. How kind of his colonel to set him straight that death might occur. Now, no war stories here, but thirty five years ago in the US Army, I would not have seen the colonel. I would have been lucky to see the first sergeant who would have been happy to explain that someone might be killed and by the way, that latrine might need some attention. I have left out some of the nouns and adjectives that he would have flavored the discourse with.
Of course that was all a long time ago and the marine recruiter,who spoke to my high school graduating class in assembly did apprise us of the opportunities, “We lost twenty five men on a hill last night and we need some recruits to replace 'em.”. It was a brave show and we all laughed. I doubt any recruiter is doing that these days, if they even get into a school.
It appears the Brit captives faced overwhelming force and resistance would have been suicidal. You might think that the captured British personnel would have defiantly given only name, rank, serial number and date of birth. I don't know if any did but Faye Turney spoke on TV
“Obviously we trespassed into their waters,” British sailor Faye Turney said on the video broadcast by Al-Alam, an Arabic-language, Iranian state-run television station that is carried across the Middle East.
“They were very friendly and very hospitable, very thoughtful, nice people. They explained to us why we’ve been arrested, there was no harm, no aggression,” she said.
Turney, 26, was shown eating with sailors and marines. At another point, she was seen sitting in a room with a floral curtains, smoking a cigarette.
“My name is leading sailman Faye Turney. I come from England. I have served in Foxtrot 99. I’ve been in the navy for nine years,”
Now, Sailman Turney I am sure faced duress and may have made statements to mitigate treatment of the other crew members captured with her. Had you or I been there and faced mistreatment I suspect sooner or later we would give in.
This is a problem for us and our Anglo allies (probably soon enough to be our non allies). It looks like it will be more so as time goes on if we wish to fight more of these little foreign adventures. Somehow, a “mum”* writing to her babies won't do much for a government's polling numbers.
The US.Army uses a computer game to recruit. All high tech and antiseptic. My son is a nerd and I went with him to Wired's Next Fest at the Javits Center in Manhattan. We were a bit disappointed as it was mostly just gadgets, but the display by the Army's Natick lab was instructive. They were demonstrating the completely connected soldier. I asked the guy in charge the purpose. His reply was that if someone needed to takeover command it could be approved at higher headquarters and they could keep tabs on the battlefield. Yup, those of you who were worried that there was an impending shortage of bureacracy in your nation's forces, be at ease. Centralize upward. Scene a few years from now: “President Pelosi, Spec 4 Lars Vijayswarti here. Colonel McSanchez was just killed along with everyone else in the Officers' Club Humvee and I am taking command. Over.” “Spec 4 whoever you are, President Pelosi here. Keep me informed and when you surrender, please observe protocol. You will be liable for any breach of courtesy to your captors. Over”
The Japanese were harsh on their own men in their fight to the death cause your dead if you are captured policy. I don't think it is preferable to honorable internment as a POW, but it beats being part of the Oprah show that went on in Iran.
Thanks to President Ahmadinejad the captives are going home. It was a bright move on his part, reminiscent of Paul Kruger's letting go of Jameson's buffoons. I suspect the Persians knew what they were doing. Brownie points on the world stage and they would not have to put up with whining self absorbed, entitled westerners.
* Text of purported letter from captured British Faye Turney to her family, including husband Adam and daughter Molly:
"We were out in the boats when we were arrested by Iranian forces as we had apparently gone into Iranian waters." "I wish we hadn't because then I would be home with you all right now." "I'm so sorry we did because I know we wouldn't be here now if we hadn't. I want you all to know that I am well and safe." "I am being well looked after, I am fed three meals a day and I'm in constant supply of fluids." "The people are friendly and hospitable, very compassionate and warm." "I have written a letter to the Iranian people to apologize for us entering into their waters." "Please don't worry about me. I'm staying strong. Hopefully it won't be long till I'm home to get ready for Molly's birthday party and with a present from the Iranian people." "Look after everyone for me, especially Adam and Molly, I love you all more than you will ever know."
Not wanting to be overly tough on Faye, but is that why you spend a lot of time on a ship on the other side of the world when you love them more than they will ever know. Not wanting to sound sexist, well not caring all that much if I do, but she does not look like the type one would say, “Yer mother wears combat boot,” about. There was a reason why armies had men with tough guy personnae. Oh well, at least she had her constant supply of fluids.