31 July 2007

Links on Iraq, John Doe, The Most Disturbing Statement I've Seen all Week

OK, first there is the John Doe protection bill that died in committee.

Here's a rundown on it. I picked that rundown because it is favorable to the bill, yet not nearly as inflammatory as it some of the Conservative blogs out there.

For the record: In the Case of the Flying Imams, I do believe the passengers were justified in being nervous. I do believe that the airline acted reasonably. I do NOT believe that Middle Eastern Military-age Males praying in public, moving around an airplane and congregating together, and requesting seat belt extenders that look like ready-made weapons is a negligible threat.

On the other hand, whenever someone says, "Allahu Akbar," I reflexively duck, then go after the shouter with the intent to detain at a minimum.

On the other hand, there are obvious abuses which spring to mind. Let's say Joe and Jane Arab, or Persian, or Indonesian, are law-abiding homeowners in the suburbs. Let's say Joe Indonesian has a card game on Thursday nights with a couple of his buddies--who also happen to be Indonesians, or Pakistanis, or whatever. Maybe they all know each other from their mosque, where they go more or less out of family tradition and because they believe it is 'good for the kids'. Let's further suggest that Joe Indonesian has an ongoing dispute with his neighbor, Bob Sixpack. Maybe Bob's kids won't stay out of Mrs. Indonesian's flower garden. Maybe Bob's daughter turns her stereo up too loud and Joe complains about it. Whatever. Petty neighborhood disputes are as American as blatant xenophobia and ignorance of other languages.

So Bob Sixpack calls his local FBI office with an anonymous tip about the "cell" of "Arab" terrorists.

What then? Does FBI Agent ignore it and risk his career? Do Joe and Jane get a no-knock warrant executed on their front door on Thursday evening?

Even if you set aside malicious intent, there's the question of knowledge. I have a pretty good idea what to look for in a suicide bomber. Do you? Does Fred All-American know the difference between a Costa Rican who owns a construction business taking his family to Disney World, and Jamal abu Jihadi who is taking a one-way flight to the afterlife? Hell, no. Most American's can't peg the ethnic group of someone with a dark complexion more than half the time. Most Americans cannot pick the potential suicide bomber out of a crowd. Part of that is because they have not been educated--because of liability issues, who wants to take responsibility for saying that a Middle Eastern military-aged man with a freshly-shaved beard, smelling of flower water, who is either nervous or stoned, wearing unseasonably bulky clothing, is most likely to be someone you want to tackle now and ask questions of later?

I'm not sure that everyone needs the blanket legal protection implied in this act. I think it could have been better thought out.

Here's another thought-provoking article, which asks where the universal Leftist allegations of voter fraud we heard from the Left were utterly absent in 2006? The point is raised that, unlike the allegations of Bush's cheating, the questionable nature of the 2006 elections is underscored by instances of voter fraud in Seattle, Florida, New York, and other locations across the country. I guess it comes down to the question of whose ox is being gored?

Meanwhile, in the news on the actual war. . .

The New York Times admits there is great progress in much of Iraq.

I'm shocked that this saw publication.

"The political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

"Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with."

Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack have left the reservation?

"American advisers told us that many of the corrupt and sectarian Iraqi commanders who once infested the force have been removed. The American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners (at least for as long as American forces remain in Iraq)."

"In war, sometimes it’s important to pick the right adversary, and in Iraq we seem to have done so. A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army."

"These groups have tried to impose Shariah law, brutalized average Iraqis to keep them in line, killed important local leaders and seized young women to marry off to their loyalists. The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the Kurdish areas). Today the Sunni sheiks there are close to crippling Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Just a few months ago, American marines were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its streets without body armor."

What? The New York Times is saying what Conservative milbloggers have been saying for months now?

I guess that once in a while, journalism happens even the most corrupt places.

Tigerhawk points out an implication of the last paragraph that some of you might have missed, though I've been saying this for years.

"It has begun to dawn on even lefties with a couple of brain cells to rub together that we ain't fighting Iraq here. That war is over. We won. Saddam ain't the winner if we leave. He and the Baathists are dead. We are allied with "Iraq" in a fight against Salafist Al Qaeda. We had to figure out how to create our ally -- literally recreate Iraq -- and General Petraeus seems to have figured out how to do that. And furthermore, that ally has in turn figured out that in Petraeus and his strategy, Iraq has a capable friend in the US."

"The corollary is that if we leave, Al Qaeda wins. Not Iraq. Not Saddam. Al Qaeda. Got it?"

Blackfive ties this NYT piece, the above-mentioned question, and the congressional testimony of Francis J. West into a coherent whole.

Let me quote from Mr. West's testimony.

"It makes a vast difference to our self-esteem as a nation, to our reputation around the world and to the morale of our enemies whether we say we are withdrawing because the Iraqi forces have improved or because we have given up.

"That issue towers above any discussion of tactics, logistics diplomacy or even timing. The Iraqi Study Group and former Secretary of State Kissinger have suggested that negotiations might yield an honorable withdrawal - some sort of compromise that extracts American soldiers while not precipitating a collapse inside Iraq. But it's not clear what convergence of interests with Iran or Syria would persuade them to cease supporting insurgents. And inside Iraq, the Jesh al Mahdi extremists and al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) must be destroyed, not placated.

"Separate from AQI, though, there are a dozen other Iraqi insurgent groups. At the local level, there have been productive negotiations with the tribes, undoubtedly including some of these insurgents. These bottom-up understandings, focused against AQI, occurred because military action changed the calculus of the tribes about who was going to win. Successful negotiations flowed from battlefield success, not the other way around."

His final points are excellent.

"First, General Petraeus is our wartime leader. He has a smart, experienced staff. He will provide to you a fulsome, balanced assessment in September - far superior to anything you will hear in the interim."

"Second, how you, our elected leaders, depict our withdrawal will have profound consequences. To a very large extent, you will shape the narrative, determining how our great nation is perceived and how friends and enemies respond to us."

"Third, if the rationale for withdrawal is because Iraq seems hopeless, then leaving behind a residual force is fraught with peril. You cannot quit, and expect to manage what happens after you quit. Iraq, if it perceives it is being abandoned, could fly apart quickly."

"Fourth, the rationale for withdrawal drives everything that comes thereafter. Why are we withdrawing? Is it because we as a nation have given up, concluding that full-scale civil war is inevitable; or has our military succeeded, allowing Iraqi forces to maintain stability?"

The Belmont Club provides commentary from yet another angle, looking at a potential catastrophe in Iraq (for al-Qaeda, not us) as a possible death-knell for that organization and hopefully its ideology.

"My own guess is that by attacking al-Qaeda, the US took engaged not only the most fanatical force in Iraq but the one with the most powerful narrative. And by shrewdly matching kinetic warfare with political warfare, organizing the victims of al-Qaeda's depredations, it brought the myth down to earth. As long as al-Qaeda remained an "idea" it might be regarded as invincible, a mystical will o' the wisp. But once this mystical force was forced to materialize in Iraq, it became embodied in the likes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his henchmen, who, viewed up close, turned out to be nothing more than brutal gangsters of the lowest and most sadistic type instead of latter day Companions of the Prophet. Even Zawahiri, despite his pretensions to refinement, could not avoid discrediting himself as he proved unable to resist threatening to gouge people's eyes out if they did not follow his bidding. It is said that no man is a hero to his own valet. Familiarity with the genuine article brought disillusionment, contempt and finally hatred for al-Qaeda."

Finally, at least for the Iraq Question, let me share two links to day-to-day looks at what this war is like:

Stars and Stripes tells the story of an anti-crime operation in an area formerly an insurgent stronghold.

Michael Totten shares his experiences on a raid.

The Most Disturbing Statement I've Seen all Week?

It comes from a Livejournal post. Most of it talks about economics, which frankly I'm not terribly interested in. Stock market collapses, I still have a job. Civilians worry about that stuff. I try and keep the barbarians from burning down Wall Street. It's a living.

The disturbing bit?

"Hard for me to even imagine an Army that isn't staunchly Republican, but before Viet Nam apparently is was about 1/3 Republican, 1/3 Independent, 1/3 Democrat."

Ummm. . . wow. I don't even know where to begin with that. I need clarification before I can decide HOW it creeps me out, but I know it does.

If he means he can't imagine a Democrat deciding to defend his, her, or its country, that says something about Democrats. Something that would have Harry Truman rolling over in his grave.

Then again, nowadays Harry Truman would be considered about the center of the Republican Party. I understand that Yuripup is younger than I am (I'm all of 29) and so he certainly doesn't remember a time when the Democratic Party and the politicians affiliated with the party had anything resembling respect for the Armed Forces. Which explains why we generally return the same contempt and disgusts in their direction. :)

Reinforces what I said before, here.

EDIT: Upon recieving further information, I stand corrected. Yuripup is a decade older than I did, but only began following politics closely enough to concern himself with the Armed Forces in 1985. Which makes sense.

30 July 2007

'Nother Toby Keith

29 July 2007

Amazingly nearly prescient

John Barnes had an interesting take on the Scott Thomas B. thang before his identity was revealed.

Note the date on this, the 24th.

"Scott Thomas", however, writes exactly like the mid-20s macho MFA student who is lying about an adventurous background. That list of symptoms I gave above is what every one of them I have encountered – probably around 50 in my lifetime – has written like. The point of those stylistic tics and content-fetishes is the same as the point of all the bizarre stories of mayhem, cruelty, and sheer shit-headedness that they tell in the bar after writing workshops: to confirm their role in the MFA program social system. Among the benefits of that role are free passes on certain kinds of bad behavior in class, sexual attractiveness to some other grad students (those with a thing for bad boys), and the maintenance of their interior movie in which they are played by some combination of James Dean, Bob Dylan, the younger Norman Mailer, and Hunter S. Thompson.

He continues on the same vein on the 26th, after PV2 B. came out of the proverbial closet.

Interesting. I've never heard of semiotics, but there must be something to it. . .

28 July 2007

Oh, Wow. What a freakin' week.

During the week, I (having a full-time-and-then-some job training snot-nosed privates) have little time to follow the blogosphere, media, and other nonsense.

First off, we have Retard of the Week, Private Beauchamp, a stunning specimen who proves the truism that even pond scum can make it through Basic Training if they try hard enough to hide their real nature.

He's been debunked, lambasted, and torn to pieces. It's been revealed that the main reason he was published is that he's married to a writer at New Republic, and "Franklin Foer Doesn't Want To Tell TNR Staffer Elspeth Reeve Her Husband Is A Liar". Of course some folks on the Left can't accept that he's a liar. . . But there are folks who discuss this better than I can.

His motives?

In his own words,

I’m Scott Beauchamp, in the army, living in Germany, and this is my life, and I’m going to be treated like shit today and do landscaping and janitorial work and practice killing people and there could be no other way to appreciate what I had or what I’m going to have once I get out other than enduring this now when all I really want to do is teach history and lay around and read and hustle around and repair the world (tikkun olam) and sift through knowledge and improve culture and learn how to sail and work in soup kitchens and start a family and really, I mean REALLY study the best the western civilization has to offer and facilitiate the mystery and power through everything I do, but I cant do it without getting through this army experience first, which will add a legitimacy to EVERYTHING i do afterwards, and totally bolster my opinions on defense, etc, and of course its making me a lot less lazy, just because im not use to being lazy any more, etc

ill return to america an author
bavarian stories in some sort of rounded metaphysical order...personality death stories intersecting with poesy home memory reflections. You begin with a place and an action and let it carry in every direction till the words are vibrating on the page, dripping in thick robust delapidated barnhouses of adjectives and pronouns...no time for the subtle gray faced calculations of a PERFORMED intimacy...go...but remember what Kerouac forgot: revision is spontaneous also.
a brief coming back to america introduction, stories about soldiers, prositutes, innocent students rendered featherless by dark rivets of experience and the decadence of human pursuits in every vein...and then there's the veins...follow 'em.

He now has the undivided attention of his First Sergeant, who is a scary-looking mo' fo' if I do say so myself.

JD Johannes, AFAIK the first person to pin down his unit precisely, points out the real tragedy of this story, that it obscures the heroism and honorable service of the Soldiers out there fighting the fight without attention-seeking fictions.

I can't imagine one of my Soldiers pulling a stunt like this. However, he's garbage. He's a PV2, according to AKO (invariably accurate--it pulls data from the pay system) but was, in September, a PFC.

Translation for the military-impaired? Before this whole thing blew up, he had already gotten in enough trouble to get busted once.

No big thing--everyone I know who's worth anything has gotten busted before, to include myself. But this, combined with the drivel from his blog pins him down perfectly for me. A Soldier who is convinced he is Special, smarter than anyone else, better, by virtue of his political beliefs or education or alleged writing talent (I can at least spell mostly correctly, use mostly standard grammar, and punctuate). He feels unappreciated for his obvious genius, and engages in attention-seeking behaviors to compensate.

In other words, nice blog, shame about your penis.

Meanwhile, Jack "Semper I" Murtha lies, evades, and insults the father of a Marine who was charged with murder in Haditha, but whose case has been dismissed.

Ward Churchill is suing because he got fired for academic dishonesty, plagarism, etc. As a progressive once told me in regards to Rush Limbaugh, Freedom of Speech is not a guarantee that one will be paid for using one's speech. I guess Ward never got that memo.

Remember the Lancet study? I didn't buy it then. A couple (flaming liberal anti-war) folks tried to tell me that the statistical methods were impeccable, but apparently David Kane disagrees. A lot.

Mike Yon has a look inside some TOCs.

Finally, a lot of folks have been blogging about Diyala Province and the spread of an Anbar-style Awakening. The Stars and Stripes is reporting a formal agreement along those lines. This is how lasting peace will be achieved.

25 July 2007

Their War--My War

The Washington Post published (I'm shocked) an excellent article on the disconnect between the American warrior class and the mass of the (largely unarmed) public.

I'm going to cherry-pick a little. Overall, it friggin' rocks.

"Infantrymen, on the other hand, learn that the military's basic job is to break the enemy's will by killing him, or threatening to. Looking at their training from the inside, infantrymen conclude that their job hasn't fundamentally changed since the days when naked men threw spears at one another to protect their families. It's an ancient role, and they're proud of it."

It's hardly infantrymen alone, though their job has changed least. At the basic level, Soldiers are killers, regardless of how you dress it up in fancy words. The difference between a Soldier and a bandit is in intent and restraint. We kill those who deserve it, bandits prey on the weak regardless.

"But these days, that part of the job apparently makes America's civilians uneasy. World War II headlines celebrated accomplished military killers and called them heroes. Second Lt. Audie Murphy mowed down dozens of attacking German soldiers, won the Medal of Honor and went on to become a movie star. Today, U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who win medals for successfully doing their jobs while obeying the laws of war might get local coverage. But the brightest national spotlight is reserved for killers who are war criminals, such as the alleged perpetrators of the Haditha massacre, or heroes who are victims, such as prisoners of war. American civilians no longer seem comfortable labeling a soldier as both a killer and a hero.

"In fact, they're not particularly comfortable with the military in general. "

Yeah, ain't that the truth. You know who actually is tracking on what the Armed Forces are for? Little boys. About 12 or younger, they generally will ask, first thing, a Soldier returning from Iraq, "Did you kill anyone?" They understand why we are. The rest of the country does their best to ignore it. God forbid you actually admit that you really do enjoy that part of the job.

Part of it is the politically-correct pacifistic twaddle where no one is ever judged on a moral basis. Because for killing to be heroic, for it to be morally just, it requires a determinate of who is just and unjust. And that requires judgment between right and wrong, with no mealy-mouthed phrases making both sides in a conflict somehow equivalent.

Part of it is that American society has become removed from death. They experience massive quantities of cinematic "death" substitute, while removing themselves further and further from the reality of death.

Anyway, I meander.

"The military is at war, but the country is not," warns University of Maryland sociologist David Segal. "And the military resents that."

Well, you know, that's only half true.

I do resent hypersensitive civilians whining about how awful the war is when they aren't actually at war by any definition I can comprehend.

"When recruiters began approaching the teenage sons of Montgomery County peace activist Pat Elder, he turned his energies to counter-recruiting. He and a few other parents were upset that recruiters had free access to students during lunch period at Walt Whitman High School. They
succeeded in restricting recruiters' visits to the guidance office, where interested students now must make an appointment."

Yeah, but if we recruit black kids, then we are racist. And if we recruit from lower-income demographics, we are "taking advantage" of the poor. Never mind that the Army has a 98% high school graduation rate, 14% better than the general population. And never mind that the really poor and uneducated generally can't handle the training.

"But in the past 30 years, the officer corps has undergone a revolution. In the most recent comprehensive study, conducted in the late 1990s by the Triangle Institute for Security Studies, Republican officers outnumbered Democrats 8 to 1. In 2006, only 16 percent of Army Times active-duty readers, who are mostly senior in rank, declared themselves Democrats."

Let me throw out a semi-random guess that should someone bother to break the studies out by officer/NCO/lower enlisted, the NCO Corps would pretty much look like the officer corps, at least politically.

"There's clearly some self-selection going on, too, because nearly half of all Army recruits are following in the footsteps of a parent who has served. We seem to be creating an American warrior class."

If the idea of a hereditary warrior class doesn't concern you greatly, you're not familiar enough with history to be permitted in an adult conversation regarding politics. Of course, the only way to change that trend would be for some rich liberal bastards to join my beloved Army. I'll enjoy that way more than some of you might guess.

"But Segal worries that the military's low visibility in American society is leading to estrangement. 'People say they support the troops, but I don't know how long one can sustain that if one doesn't know what a soldier is.'"

Given the lack of Soldiers in most communities, this is probably not going to change any time soon.

"In a nation of more than 300 million people, less than 1 percent serve in all the armed forces combined, active duty and reserve. Compare that to previous wartimes: 4 percent served during Vietnam, 12 percent during World War II, 11 percent during the Civil War. "

No kidding. I've said that before.

"Faculty and student leaders argued that ROTC was an academically limited program that shut
down discussion instead of broadening the free and open exchange of ideas. In 1969, the Yale faculty voted to stop giving academic credit for military science courses, which are taught by the military officers who run ROTC and are open to any student, not only cadets. In response, the military closed down the Yale ROTC programs. The same thing happened at many leading schools nationwide."

Then they wonder why your average Soldier has no use for liberal idiots who don't understand what they are talking about when it comes to things military.

"The consequences appear to be suspicion and stereotyping. Those Triangle Institute for Security Studies surveys reveal that only 1 percent of military leaders think civilian leaders are very knowledgeable about the military. More than one-third of civilian leaders believe the military is dishonest, and fewer than half believe it's attracting high-quality recruits."

The second statistic explains the first.

"Today, only a very few of our top leaders have a family member in harm's way. The faces of the children of America's policy and opinion makers are missing from the mirror our military holds up to us. When they join the military, it makes news, not a difference."

No kidding. The Bush twins probably wouldn't be worth a damn as privates, and Chelsea wouldn't last 20 seconds in boot camp. But I'm sure that someone in Congress has offspring who might be worth having my unit. But here's my question--what's in it for them? Very few people join the Army for basically sociological reasons. I mean, why would rich snots put themselves through the difficulty of military service in the hopes that it would reverse a trend over 50 years in the making? I have a hard time believing this would ever happen. And coercing it--a draft--would be as catastrophic a policy as possible.

"It disconnects the people from the kind of commitment and sacrifice that goes into this. You ask the question, so what? So what is: You then raise another generation of Americans thinking they have no obligations, thinking they have no responsibilities, thinking that they're born into this world as an American so we'll pay these kids over here to go join the armed forces. That's the real danger here. Service. Citizenship. What is the responsibility of a citizen?"

Damn good question. I don't have an answer anymore. It's no longer a given that a person will defend his family and home, much less his nation.

One final note:

"That's patriotism," Close says. He acknowledges that outsiders, those who haven't lived this iconic moment, can hear about casualties and feel sad and make the connection between the policy decision and the end state. "But the families give up the one they love for their country. It's the families, the way of life. If you don't serve, you don't understand."

If Patton were alive today.

22 July 2007

Catching Up a little

First, Mike Yon talks about the integration of former insurgents into local self-defense militias which operate under the aegis of the ISF/CF. The basic point is that, hysterical articles in the New York Times to the contrary, the US is hardly arming terrorists to go kill other terrorists in some sort of Cold War-esqe 'enemy of my enemy'. The 1920 Brigade and other organizations have realized they have more to gain by NOT fighting Americans than by fighting them, so as long as they play by our terms, that's fine with us.

This is what defeat looks like in Counter-Insurgency. Unfortunately for the American Left, it isn't what American defeat looks like, but insurgent defeat.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are going rings around their local homegrown Islamic insurgency. Talk about a question of who to root for? Oppressive, genocidal tyranny, or the folks who are pissed because they aren't permitted to set up an Islamic oppressive genocial tyranny? The Belmont Club asks some questions about what that means in terms of strategy for the Islamists and the West.

Meanwhile in the United States, the New Republic is "supporting the troops" by publishing fiction (allegedly journalism, but that's provably false) that claims that US Army troops regularly commit war crimes and generally act like assholes.

Town Hall
Democracy Project
Foreign and Domestic
The FOB Falcon PAO as reported by Milblogs

I love the American Left--most especially "journalists". Without them, we'd have much fewer topics for mocking posts about stupidity and ignorance.

Square 9mm cartridges and Brads you can see to the right from the driver's hatch?

Would it be too much to ask for the editors of The New Republic to spend 5 minutes on Wikipedia checking these things out?

I'll do their research for them:
Beretta 92 pistol which fires 9mm rounds. Note the shape of the bullets.
Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and note the placement of the driver's hatch in the front.

Debunked enough for me!

Found a cool article suggesting that ObL is dead in a cave somewhere and al-Qaeda is prepping for an announcement thereof. I wouldn't mind one bit.

And finally, the funniest thing I've seen all week.

21 July 2007

How to Read Government-Speak

Section 1.

(a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3), and (4)), or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, all property and interests in property of the following persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,

(i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section include, but are not limited to, (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, and (ii) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

As usual, the hysteria over Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq is spearheaded by folks on the left who, apparently, can't read.

George decided to authorize himself to freeze the assets of folks doing business with murderers. It's sort of like RICO, but for terrorists. Now, of course, RICO has been around for 37 years and folks whistle and cheer when the due process of mobsters gets trampled.

Now, of course, the new executive order does the same thing to folks who behead little kids and blow themselves up in marketplaces.

But, cry the Libr'ls, it freezes the assets of everyone who is threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq!

Nice to see an acknowledgment on the left, finally, that their agitation against winning in Iraq is also agitating in favor of the various terrorist groups to eventually gain control of Iraq and turn it into a Taliban-like state which produces terrorists en masse as a primary export. (Insert Rimshot here)

Sorry folks, couldn't resist the obvious cheap shot.

Nope. You all, ordinarily intelligent folks, have forgotten how to read Government writing. Sections have paragraphs which have subparagraphs, etc. That bit about threatening the peace or stability of Iraq is under the bit about "acts of violence."

Try not to blow any Iraqis up, and you shouldn't have much to worry about.

What's all the rest of the verbage for? "Islamic Charities". Organizations whose alleged charitable purpose is a smokescreen to raise money for terrorist activity. Muslims in the United States donate heavily to these organizations, with enough winking and nodding that they can claim to be unaware that these organizations use the money to buy weapons and make payments to terrorist fighters. Pardon me if I don't weep much more than I do for any other sort of mobster who falls under RICO.

"materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence"

I seem to recall a couple folks of the libr'l anti-war persuasion arguing in this blog that demonstrating in favor of terrorists and using one's speech to support those terrorists was not treason as treason required 'material aid' rather than a Smith Act sort of standard. So, using the same logic, as long as you are 'merely' using speech rather than actually buying LRCT base stations to use as IED detonators, you shouldn't fall under this executive order.

Folks, due process is fundamental right.

However, due process has long since been modified by the 'needs' of the situation. The perpetual "war on drugs", the RICO-led attacks on the Mafia in the 1970s and 1980s, all have pretty much created a large class of people whose due process rights can abrogated more or less at the discretion of the local District Attorney. The IRS, as near as I can tell, is not bound by the Constitution in any way and can seize assets of a person or business more or less on a whim and not release them for years. If these are all acceptable measures to control the population of a society, then where does anyone get off with saying the extension of this category of unprotected persons to those who try to kill American Soldiers in combat and provide the logistical tail enabling those attacks is the end of the World as We Know It?

It is one or the other. Either due process is a fundamental right and you decry the arbitrary confiscations of assets by the IRS and as part of the "war on drugs", or due process can be abrogated due to circumstance. If you agree that due process should be reduced in any circumstances, then extending those circumstances to terrorists is just plain common sense.

18 July 2007

What the hell was the topic under discussion?

Dude, seriously, take a copy of your speech, put it in front of a public relations expert, or perhaps a randomly selected teenager from Middle America, and ask if you are going to make yourself sound even stupider than the norm for Congress.

Although, honestly, all the intercourse I've been having lately as a Non-Commissioned Officer has been the best. . .

14 July 2007

Ain't Right

Catching Up with miscellaneous Stuff

OK, the debate with Bill McD (and others) on my previous post is interesting as all hell, but I have been neglecting Regularly Scheduled Blogging in its favor. Keep commenting--this ain't over by a long shot, and as long of y'all of the Leftist persuasion keep it civil and rational, feel free to comment on other posts as well.

We've got Mike Yon's report on the surge thus far.

Money quote:
"Well, you know, al Qaeda’s not been wiped out of Iraq by any means, and there’s still some serious fighting to do. But what we have seen is if you give al Qaeda time, they will alienate the local population for us. So I mean, they almost prep it for us to get rid of them. You know, a lot of them that were not killed or captured here in Baquba in the last three weeks did move out to other places. So they’re not gone. I mean, so there’s some truth to what Mick Ware says. However, there are fewer and fewer hiding places for them to go. They can’t go to the south in Basra. They’re not welcome there. They can’t, there’s only a few places they can go to in Anbar, and those are drying up. There’s fewer places in Diyala, and what is left is drying up. They certainly cannot go to the Kurdish regions, because they will be killed. So they can still go to Nineveh, but the ISF in Nineveh is up where Mosul is the capitol. They can go up there, but the ISF, or the Iraqi Security Forces up there are pretty well advanced, and they can hold their own now, and I saw them doing it again earlier this year when I was back in Nineveh. You know, I spent a good part of 2005 up there. So you know, I’ve seen tremendous progress in different parts of Iraq, but this is not going to be solved in six months or a year. We’ve just got to settle in for the long haul, but you know, if you’ve been here long enough, you can see that progress is being made."

Dadmanly discusses the editorial in the Washington Post, which questions whether we can judge the progress of the war as quickly after changing strategy as certain critters in Congress wish to. Of course, we already know what the verdict would be if the media got their way. Just ask the US News and World Report. If half of the benchmarks aren't met, then half of them are, right?

Of course, these 'benchmarks' are questionable anyway, as the Wall Street Journal reminds us. After all, we don't have to live with the consequences of withdrawal.

"You can't build a whole policy on a fear of a negative, but, boy, you've really got to account for it," he said. "In the States, it's like we're in the last half of the third reel of a three-reel movie, and all we have to do is decide we're done here . . . and we leave the theater and go on to something else. Whereas out here, you're just getting into the first reel of five reels, and ugly as the first reel has been, the other four and a half are going to be way, way worse."

Jules Crittenden takes the media to task for their portrayal of events on the ground. Most notable is the AP, which writes about Buqabah in a manner described thusly:

"The story is all about failure. The failure to control this village. The failure of Iraqi forces to provide follow-on security in areas U.S. troops have cleared. It tells us, “Fleeing insurgents appear to be trying to capture more territory farther north in Diyala, where Iraqi security forces are fewer.”

"It doesn’t say why. Because they have been run out of Baquba, after being run out of Baghdad and Anbar. The three-week operation to clear Baquba has been highly successful, with the loss of one soldier, according to Michael Yon. Can this possibly be true? One soldier killed in three weeks of what is routinely described as bitter fighting in Baquba, fighting that has run al-Qaeda out of the much-vaunted IED-saturated stronghold where al-Qaeda was executing people in the city square. How is that not a screaming headline?"

J.D. Johannes has another report on the Surge. He's of an opinion with Mike Yon and others regarding ground reality. Of course, it doesn't seem to matter much what we do.

"According to Pew Research, the percentage of Americans who opine that America's military operations are "going well" slid from 38% in May '07 to 34% in June; those who believe our military operations are "not going well" increased from 57% of respondents to 61%.

"The same Pew poll found that only 30% of the public could identify General David Patraeus and only 27% could identify Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. 59% of respondents were unaware that Shi'ites constitute the majority religious group in Iraq. Precise knowledge of the war's progress is obviously scarce. Yet 95% of respondents have defined opinions on the success of our arms."

Pardon me while I vomit heavily.

Why is this pessimism and half-empty approach?

"The Media Research Center defined as "optimistic" coverage that "reported on achievements or victories" for coalition forces. It defined as "pessimistic" reports that emphasized "setbacks, misdeeds or pessimism about [coalition] progress in Iraq."

"The MRC report, "The Iraq War on Cable TV," concluded the following:

Ø On Fox, pessimistic coverage outweighed optimistic coverage 3-to-2;

Ø On MSNBC, pessimistic coverage outweighed optimistic coverage 4-to-1; and

Ø On CNN, pessimistic coverage outweighed optimistic coverage 6-to-1."

In fact, what American mainstream media most strongly resembles is a propaganda machine for the enemy. In past wars, the enemy had to put out their own propaganda. This is no longer the case.

And it ain't just the media! Congress gets in on the act, too. Of course, no one wants to listen to either the professionals nor those most involved in the question.

The Army Lawyer is one of the few people I read with an opinion of Congresscritters almost as bad as mine. He's right.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, the Taliban/al-Qaeda loons are getting stronger. I thought the deal was that we don't press for removal of Pakistan's Islamist dictator on the ground that he fights terrorism. Not with the understanding that he could concede huge chunks of his nation to them as a safe haven. I could be wrong.

The Grey Dog, a long-time reader (as I am of his) has a modest proposal for how to fix this mess, or at least guarantee that no Democrat could get elected in 2008.

The Navy has decided to join the war in Iraq in serious force. Navy advisors have been present in Iraq attached to Army units for reasons I can't discuss. Seabees have also been a big part of the construction effort in Iraq on FOBs. But this is new.

On the lighter side, the Brits provide a case of the least subtle method of terrorist infiltration, ever.

The Iranians have taken stern measures to prevent Western infiltration of their homeland. One wonders when the latest detainees will be paraded on TV.

You want to know how to screw the morale of a Soldier or Marine and embarrass him for life? Write a whiny, self-pitying letter to the editor. Get over yourself, honey. Your Son is a Marine. He volunteered, he's a grown man. He isn't the kid you knew ten or twenty years ago, and all this nonsense is a pathetic attempt to garner sympathy. All you're doing is embarrassing him.

And finally, Military Motivator gets it right once again.

12 July 2007

Liberals and Conservatives, the rationality question

So syberghost, who I have known online for some years now, mentioned on my wife's Livejournal that he considers liberalism to be a form of mental disorder.

Brief interlude:

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr's definition of liberalism:
"the conception of a social welfare state, in which the national government had the express obligation to maintain high levels of employment in the economy, to supervise standards of life and labor, to regulate the methods of business competition, and to establish comprehensive patterns of social security."
Further, as Wikipedia observes, the term is associated with:
support for freedom of speech and freedom of religion, reproductive rights for women, a progressive income tax, the right to privacy, equal rights for homosexuals, equal rights for the disabled, affirmative action, the reduction of poverty by government intervention, affordable quality health care for all as provided by government intervention, and the protection of the environment and of endangered species.

Just so we are clear on this.

Ideologies--especially those founded on Marxian principles as modern liberalism is--tend to be, among true believers, more or less indistinguishable--at the layman's level--from certain mental disorders. This is because they force a framework on a person and requires that all facts be filtered through that framework. Liberalism is furthermore fundamentally non-rational in that it is a gnostic religion.

For those of you not familiar with the concept, the idea is all of society is corrupted and only those possessed of 'special knowledge' or 'greater enlightenment' are worthy to redeem society from its myriad flaws. This knowledge is what sets apart the True Believer from the masses around him. The appeal is obvious--who wouldn't like to think that he or she is superior to those stupid rednecks in 'fly-over country'?

All facts not congruent with the received wisdom are ignored. The typical method is to ignore the facts utterly and attack either the person presenting them, or the manner in which they are presented. Typically, because liberalism exalts a person's feelings as a guide to behavior, these dismissals boil down to, "your facts make me feel bad and are therefore false." or "You are a bad person and therefore all your facts are false."

Now, here we have disclaimers.

Disclaimer 1: Not all liberals are so thoroughly wedded to their ideology as to justify this line of argument as a blanket statement. There are many ordinary decent people who adhere to liberalism for any number of other reasons. They are sincere, misguided folks who are capable of acknowledging ideologically 'incorrect' facts when bludgeoned with them. The old saw about a conservative being a liberal who got mugged applies.

Disclaimer 2: There are those folks on the "right" whose worldview has, contrary to the alleged basis of that worldview, become an ideology. They engage in this behavior also. There is a difference. That difference is that Marx, Engels, and liberal thinkers and leaders to this very day advocate ignoring facts and dismissing, harassing, silencing, and ultimately killing those who differ from them in any particular.

Disclaimer 3: There are a lot of people whose political affiliation has nothing to do with the seating chart of the French Republican legislature. Nazis, for instance. Also, libertarians.

Example time:

Haditha. The received Liberal wisdom is that as America is the font of evil in the world, and as non-whites are inherently virtuous, the allegations against eight Marines were definitely true. They were proclaimed as true by Congressmen before investigation into the objective facts was done. The objective reality did not and does not matter, what matters is the dialectic. Hence because it was ideologically correct that American Marines would kill civilians, it became Received Wisdom, dogma accepted on the basis of faith, that Marines had killed civilians.

Every time a Liberal berates a religious conservative for attempting to force his religion on others, he shows himself a self-loathing hypocrite.

Anyway, in Objective Reality Land, a second Marine has had his Article 32 Investigating Officer recommend dismissal of charges.

You see why a well-intentioned layman would confuse this Alternative Way of Knowing with a real mental disorder.

Aggravating this tendency is the nature of the internet. Liberals and Conservatives tend to gather in incestuous little circles on the internet where their views are reinforced. Absent a reason to engage in reasonable, rational dialog, they don't. Just like any other form of inbreeding, it tends to produce mutants. Protected by anonymity (side note: I know the real names of far more Conservatives than liberals on the internet), insulated from forming any sort of human connection, the Internet Liberal becomes more dogmatic and ideologically correct than he probably would be over a cup of coffee. (free-trade organic soy latte, of course)

It is of interest to me that the vast majority of liberals who I know and like on the internet aren't people I met first through politics. They are gamers, or Christians, or folks who knew my wife before they knew me. At any rate, they started to know me a little as a person, rather than as an ideological construct (Liberalism denies individuality, but that's a rant for another day). Therefore, we could overcome the immediate impulse of some Liberals in their natural state, which is to attack, slander, and defame any who hold opposing views. Moving past that first instinct, you can actually hold a dialog which can result in communication of ideas and perhaps the acknowledgment that maybe, just maybe not ALL Conservatives are really closet fascists who dream of world conquest, eat babies with hot sauce, and think freeing the slaves was a bad idea.

10 July 2007

Compare and Contrast

FDR, WWII: Oh, I'm sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we're coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How's that going to feel?

CHURCHILL, WWII: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We'll be in the pub, flipping you off. I'm slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I'm sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.

CURRENT US AND BRITISH ADMINISTRATIONS, NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike ... NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!

Gakked from a cartoonist's LJ.

09 July 2007

We return to the regularly scheduled blogging

From Mike Yon's Latest:

No one can claim with certainty that it was al Qaeda, but the Iraqis here seem convinced of it. At a meeting today in Baqubah one Iraqi official I spoke with framed the al Qaeda infiltration and influence in the province. Although he spoke freely before a group of Iraqi and American commanders, including Staff Major General Abdul Kareem al Robai who commands Iraqi forces in Diyala, and LTC Fred Johnson, the deputy commander of 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the Iraqi official asked that I withhold his identity from publication. His opinion, shared by others present, is that al Qaeda came to Baqubah and united many of the otherwise independent criminal gangs.

Speaking through an American interpreter, Lieutenant David Wallach who is a native Arabic speaker, the Iraqi official related how al Qaeda united these gangs who then became absorbed into “al Qaeda.” They recruited boys born during the years 1991, 92 and 93 who were each given weapons, including pistols, a bicycle and a phone (with phone cards paid) and a salary of $100 per month, all courtesy of al Qaeda. These boys were used for kidnapping, torturing and murdering people.

At first, he said, they would only target Shia, but over time the new al Qaeda directed attacks against Sunni, and then anyone who thought differently. The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, “What did he say?” Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.

My apologies for the graphic nature of the last paragraph. It's hearsay. It's unsubstantiated. But it is in line with the piles of children's skulls referenced previously. Of course, it isn't going to be in the New York Times any time soon. . .

Meanwhile, Badger 6 draws your attention to two articles on al-Anbar Province, written nine months apart.

Situation Called Dire,


Showcase and Chimera.

He's also got a friend, Jack Army, who gave an Iraqi associate a chance to write an open letter to the American people. Part I and II are both up.

Oh, and I recently got to experience a little of what FOD talks about here, on Arab mentality. Muslim mentality, really but it has occasionally infected other Arabs as well. Conspiracy theories are a side effect of this mindset. Unfortunately, there is truly little one can do when dealing with conspiracy theorists. I just nod and walk away.

Finally, Lawdog takes on the Scooter Libby case in a way I can add about nothing to.


You know, every time I engage Leftists in an attempt at reasonable dialog it ends horribly.

Let's tally up the score, cut and paste from the comments section:


he may have that wingnut welfare gleam in his eye.

I’d like that seven minutes I spent over at The Marching Camp back, please.

So please, understand that those who have been brutalized are going to be here, needing lots of help. They are victims, too. We need to give them sympathy, and we need to help them get out.

Thank God for steely-eyed Objectivist rocket-men.

Fat lot of good real manliness will do when the real hunter seeker androids start being mass produced and introduced into the War on Terra by all the industrial powers in about 15 years or so.

We are lucky that 70% of us have taken the time to understand why we don’t want to become a nations like Palastine and Iraq, but want to return to what we were before the Bush regime began corrupting our freedoms.

do come back, so we can get a taste of what the libertarian military are indoctrinating themselves on.

Chaos is the plan. Whoever is the last man standing gets the oil. Not you, of course. Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton. Or whoever the Carlyle Group subcontracts the Imperial State out to when the last man is standing.

because i do believe in the nobility of the soul, and i mourn its loss, even in you, decurion.

I hold, too, that the 3500 USer troops killed (so far) in Iraq may have died in the uniform of their country, but they were killed in the interests of the oiligarchs, and pollutocrats, the fascists, and the corpoRat cabalists who cared not a whit whether they lived or died…
They did NOT perish for their ’country,’ but for the vanity, greed, and power of the PNAC and a ’permanent Republican majority.’

at the same time, i feel more and more inclined towards the idea that in this country, we must have another civil war. i don’t want that to happen, but as time passes and the crimes of our oligarchic masters increase in scope and in terms of how evil they are, i find “peaceful” solutions less and less likely, and effective even were they tried.

You come off as a mercenary in service of prejudice.

Unwitting tool of fascism.

Likely paid troll.

None of the “tinfoil hat” stuff on disinformation, please. I can’t imagine that you haven’t heard of the White House Iraq Group, but if you haven’t, study up.

You can not “win” without genocide.

The game being played is combat until Cheney & Company controls all the oil. In Iraq. In Iran, if we let him. And eventually Saudi Arabia, if he can.

In fact, there’s all that Russian oil and the people RedRum sfeld regarded as our inevitable enemy, China.

Hey Decurion, good luck when you “professional soldiers” have to take on half the human race. You know, the half that already has all the liens on the American financial industry. You just might find your checks start bouncing.

Woops, no problem… you’ll just fight for the other side, then, right? ’Cause you’re a professional.

You, sir, are no sort of a gentleman, and lack both common decency and honor.

You are an angry, frightened man, and I am sorry that you and your family have been put through enough to make you the way you are. Please get some help.

Maybe it’s necessary to make people angry and frightened so they’ll participate in war.

But when someone spouts a lot of illogical crap, refuses to listen to kind people who try to point out the fallacies is his premises, and then threatens them, I stop being polite.

Seriously; rage, contempt, rudeness and incoherency are hallmarks of untreated PTSD.

Get some help.

Making, and refuting, the ad hominem attack is good, clean, earthy sport, what?


There you have it folks, the mind of the American Liberal in sum.

There's a reason that I don't generally waste my time with that nonsense.

I, of course, find it hysterical every time I see a liberal making noises about a civil war in America as if it were a good thing.

Who do they think owns 90%+ of the guns in this country? Not Democrats from New York City.

07 July 2007

Progressives. . .

So I have a couple left-o'-centrists who read this blog, and a few more who read my LJ. Some of them are really wonderful people whom I happen to disagree with on subjects political. I like to flatter myself that occasionally I make them think about things from a different perspective than the usual internet ideological circle jerk (you know, where the comments on any particular blog tend to be all wingnuts of the Left or Right and there isn't any actual thought going on). Once in a while, their perspective is interesting illuminating. Doesn't often change my mind outright, but they certainly make me tighten up my arguments!

Anyway, so one particular wingnut posted an in-depth rebuttal of a journalist who wrote a positive story on Iraq. Got over a hundred lickspittles to post comments glorifying him for having the immense cleverness to call a journalist a "wanker". So this progressive fellow dares to comment differently, to wit:

"Thing is, there's a possibility he's not full of shit, for once. The perspective of a number of the guys 'in the shit', as it were, is that yeah, what's being done now IS working, and while the administration's been spinning their wheels and being utter idiots about it all, the military has not.

"A good example of this is The Marching Camp, which is the blog of a friend-of-a-friend who's done multiple tours in Iraq and is of... a markedly different opinion than many here on what progress is being made.

"And on just about everything else, too, but it's worth a read. After all, having more information is always good."

Now, I'm not a Progressive wing-nut, but from my perspective this appears to be a reasoned and civil comment. Do not that this comment is, near as I can tell, the longest in the entire comment section and almost the only one to use proper English for the entire thing. :)

So, of course, he gets called a troll a couple times for his troubles, and there is no acknowledgment whatsoever that either he or I have anything worthwhile to offer. After all, I'm not "Progressive" so I must be a genocidal monster or whatever.

But I do get one nice comment (on my Most Depressing Tribute Song post) to wander over to a reader's blog to answer some questions she has.

What do I find when I get there? On the "Chicago Dyke's Blog", there is, tagged with the label 'Fascism Rising,' a link to my blog. Her verdict on me?

"I believe that many of this stripe in the military have come to understand that unstinting loyalty to the Bush party means a lifetime of wingnut welfare after service, and this is the reason they continue to serve willingly and happily in what is an obvious military disaster. We’ll see if Decurion is brave enough to come by here and explain to me if I’m wrong."

You know, it's really hard to pretend there is much worth discussing with the Left if this is what they honestly believe. I posted a comment which I doubt will ever see daylight, and of course the Chicago Dyke's loyal flying monkeys will gleefully congratulate her for 'speaking truth to power' or whatever the buzzword for trollery is in the Leftist blogosphere. I'm going to, because I'm basically an idealist who wants to believe the best of people, attempt to have a civil conversation. I'm going to attempt to convey what it is I believe and why. But I will keep you folks updated because I already have the very strong feeling that this is going to be a giant waste of time--as is speaking to the True Believers of any religion.

05 July 2007

Most depressing tribute song. Ever.

04 July 2007

Independence Day

There's a lot of Independence Day stuff floating around the internet. The Declaration of Independence is on several blogs that I read semi-regularly. There's more than a few tributes to US GIs and our families who keep that 4th of July possible, too. There are a couple riffs on the signers, some debunked and some better researched.

Meanwhile, half a world away, Soldiers are celebrating with fireworks of the less decorative and more dangerous type. Never mind that the enemy's fireworks are, essentially, a tactic of last resort and are incapable of creating decisive results in a strategic, operational, or even tactical sense. It still sucks to be sitting on one when it goes 'boom'.

Of course, that level of suck is pretty much the only thing being paraded across your screens these days. Unless, of course, you can find a story on alleged murders committed by American troops.

I find it interesting that Abu Gharib got literally thousands of new stories non-stop for months, and still manages to get mentioned in stories on Iraq. The alleged "massacre" in Haditha--which "massacre" doesn't have enough evidence to convict anyone yet and does not seem likely to ever have enough--has been a mainstay of media coverage as well. Yet when our enemy engages in documentable massacres, what is the MSM's reaction?

Deafening silence.

Kinda makes you wonder what side they are on. And make no mistake, there are no neutrals in this war, any more than the Swiss were truly neutral as they stored gold fillings yanked from Jewish corpses for the leadership of the Nazi Party.

But I digress. Or do I?

Thank God for men who are totally aware of what side they are on, and don't pussy-foot around.

Anyway, I've taken enough of your time. I'm stuck on Staff Duty (my $.02 contribution to the festivities) and may blog more. But please, in the name of sanity, get out of your house, set off some fireworks, drink some beer, hang out with your friends, family, or simply those who will tolerate you, and celebrate. Party like you mean it.


"I will not permit a defeatist attitude to raise its ugly head in this command. We are going to win this son of a bitch."

CSM Neil Ciotola
MNC-I Command Sergeant Major

What we are fighting and how.

Probably two-thirds of the blogosphere has now read Michael Yon's Bless the Beasts and the Children. If you haven't, click on the link at your own discretion. In short, Mike and C/1-12 Cavalry run across a town near Buqabah and discover the scene of a massacre. In order to use the town as a base of operations to attack a US convoy route, al-Qaeda had systematically and deliberately killed every man, woman, child, and animal in the town. We will never know why or how, other than as an example of the ruthless evil our enemy engages in because his "Allah" tells him to, explicitly, in the Koran. The entire world view of much of Islam is oriented towards a dichotomy between implacable enemies and devout Muslims and there is no middle ground. While a few Muslims call for another understanding of their religion, they are few and far between.

Threatwatch points to this and asks whether or not the United States still has the courage to engage the enemy--Islam in its virulent politicized cancerous form, as expressed by al-Qaeda and similar organizations--in his self-proclaimed "central front" of Iraq.

I argue we have no choice.

We have, over the past week, watched as a terror plot in the United Kingdom has unfolded, showing a diverse group of Muslims from across the Middle East who joined hands to attempt to execute a coordinated series of attacks. Only their technical ineptitude saved the UK from a horrific scene of hundreds of casualties. I assure you that only a damned fool with no explosives experience could fail to produce a working device of the type described in the reports. I work with explosives, and I could throw together something of that kind without any difficulty. The Middle East has lots of professionally trained terrorists--all it would have taken would have been one member of the Syrian intelligence apparat, or a Hamas or Hizbollah veteran, or an Iranian Quds Force member, or a single trained al-Qaeda operative advising the cell to have gotten the technical side of the attack right.

Should we fail in Iraq, Iraq will become a breeding ground for these terrorists who will not be satisfied with the home of the ancient Caliphate, but will wish to expand it to its historical limits and then beyond, eventually encompassing the world. I do not think this is really probable, but it is messier to allow this disease to take root before cleaning it up. Besides, when dealing with well-rooted totalitarian diseases of this kind, we find ourselves settling for answers which I find aesthetically unpleasant, if morally justified.

But, cry the nay-sayers, what about Iraq? Isn't there nothing there but chaos and destruction? Attacks are up, US deaths are up, blahblahblah.

Attacks on US forces are NOT an indicator here, folks. We are going after their strongholds. We are finding the enemy and engaging him. That is inherently dangerous. After all, it is a basic military principle that if you can see him, he can shoot you. But for you to understand and evaluate what is happening in Iraq, you have to understand the strategy behind the surge. It is the universal refrain of those opposed to winning the war in Iraq that we aren't going to get anywhere with "stay the course".

"Stay the course" was never intended as a plan of action on the ground in Iraq. Stay the course is what the United States as a whole, as a nation, as a people must do. We must remain firm in our resolve to defeat al-Qaeda, to destroy or marginalize extremist militias, and to create a secure environment for Iraq to work out Iraq's destiny. The folks on the ground have been innovating and experimenting like mad since 2003 to figure out what would work and what wouldn't as far as the operational and tactical stuff, as well as figuring out how to build power structures that would survive Iraq's often violent political culture. Along the way, we've written a spiffy new manual.

If you haven't read it, please do yourself the favor of shutting up about what the Army is or isn't doing on the ground and how well it works or doesn't work, and what they should or shouldn't do, especially if your only source of information is the mainstream media and statements by Democratic politicians. While you can argue about whether those folks meet the technical definition of treason, they certainly are incompetent, hostile, ignorant, apathetic or a combination of those.

02 July 2007

Right. That's wonderful.

In case anyone ever wondered why there "Palestinian Question" is insoluble, short of measures the Jews are too fundamentally decent to undertake, here's a good bit of your answer. Raise your kids on this sort of hatred, and do it for two generations, and you end up with permanent war.

Oh, well. Fortunately there is little hope of the Palestinians ever having any effective offensive military capability.