Saturday, December 16, 2006

On Keeping Pace

"My major conclusion? Simply that it's not enough to acquire first-class technology. You also need the right organizational structures, training, and leadership to take advantage of that technology. Today, the U.S. is the undisputed leader in high-tech hardware but our government bureaucracy is still designed to fight mirror-image adversaries from the Industrial Age not nimble, decentralized foes like Al Qaeda. We need to transform the government in order to realize the potential of Information Age warfare and avoid the fate of previous superpowers, from the Ottomans to the British, which saw their influence wane because they couldn't keep pace with Revolutions in Military Affairs."
"No doubt Kerry also lectured Mubarak about once hyping the WMD threat (“Mubarak lied, thousands died?”). Remember, the Egyptian strongman, as part of his reservations about Iraq, had warned our generals that American troops would be targeted with gasses of all sorts by Saddam.

Kerry also called for new talks with Iran—a rogue state presently in the middle of uranium enrichment, supplying IEDs to the militias in Iraq, promising to wipe out Israel, and hosting a Holocaust denial love fest in Teheran. Surely if the senator once denigrated our own soldiers as terrorizing Iraqis he can at least say that Iranians do the same?
Jimmy Carter is publicizing his indictment of Israel as an apartheid state, this apparently awful democracy that is the only country in the present Middle East where Arabs freely vote in safety, publish their views without censorship, and enjoy a material existence unknown in the West Bank.

Perhaps he can offer suggestions on how to deal with Iran, since the last time he entered into that diplomatic arena he sent Ramsey Clark as an official envoy to apologize for American sins, to offer a new partnership, and in vain to beg for the return of the hostages. And we know the results of that gambit—and the subsequent moral careers of both the sender and his emissary.

The Iraq Study Group insists that it is not in the long-term interest of either Syria or Iran to perpetuate the present chaos (i.e., Americans soldiers and Iraqi reformers being blown up) in Iraq. But Iran’s own military commanders praise the present violence there for tying down American forces, and presumably giving them a pass to continue their bomb-making, whether nuclear or IEDs. Among the most prominent who praise Iran’s positive role is David Duke, who at last has found a kindred host government.

So all in all, it’s been a strange week, in a strange war."

Friday, December 15, 2006

"One more problem with increasing the size of the Army: where do you put all those troops? A good number of the bases where troops were stationed during the Cold War simply aren't there anymore. Ft. Ord, CA, the former home of the 7th Infantry Division, for example, is now part of the Cal State University system. And the bases in Germany that once housed elements of 5 divisions are, or soon will be, gone, with a just a couple of exceptions.

Even going halfway back to the roughly million-man Army we had during the Cold War would mean adding another 250,000 troops, requiring another 5-10 major installations. Not sure where you're going to find that-and when you do expect enviro-socialists to protest turning the habitat of the southern tigerspotted swamp tree newt into a tank range. And people who don't want to live next to the sounds of gunfire and artillery, or low flying helicopters."

A LOL Amen with Sharansky

"The chief agreed and the menorah reappeared. Sharansky then said a lengthy prayer, part of which he made up, and which he repeated to keep the service going as long as possible. Since he was praying in Hebrew, the prison chief didn't realize that Sharansky was repeating himself. Soon wax from the candles was dripping onto the chief's beautiful desk.

At the end, Sharansky prayed that he would soon be able to celebrate Hanukkah with family in Jerusalem and added, "may the day come when all our enemies, who today plan our destruction, will stand before us and hear our prayers and say 'Amen.' On cue, the chief, relieved that the service had finally ended, echoed "amen."

UPDATE: It is well known that President Bush has been inspired by Sharansky's book, The Case for Democracy. Sharansky said today that American Jews (among whom number many world-class Bush haters) tell him all the time that Bush has not really read the book. However, Sharansky reports that whenever they talk, Bush discusses the book in a way that makes clear his complete familiarity with it."

On The Difficulties Caused By The Self-Esteem Of Lunatics

"It's impossible - or very damn close to it - to negotiate with someone who is interested more in his self-image than in any objective thing that may be achieved in the negotiation. Because no matter how the matter is settled, each party to a good settlement feels somewhat wronged.

And if that feeling of wronged-ness is the driver...well, getting to a negotiated settlement is going to be damn difficult.

There are a few difficulties there, not the least of which is that the Israelis may decline to be sacrificed on the altar of Arab male self-esteem, and may do so in a way that leaves quite a mess.

At that point, self-esteem may be the last thing Arab males have to worry about."

Sherman on the Press

"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are.

If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"Almost all Holocaust deniers follow in Hitler’s footsteps, share Hitler’s two-faced view of Holocaust denial: They deny it happened but are glad it did. Mr. Ahmadinejad has taken this one step further, I’d argue: He denies that it happened, is glad that it happened, and wants to make it happen again."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

You Can Have Asphault Parking Lots -- Or Glass Ones ... Most Likely Some Of Them With U.S. Zip Codes

"To put this plainly: the “strategy” in Fallujah should have been to make it into a parking lot, and build a Wal-Mart at one end. There would have been great loss of life, but the message to our enemies and their supporters everywhere would have been, “We will not be toyed with.” Civilians whose sympathies are with the enemy cannot be won over, and have not been, by the “candy to children” approach. They must be taught that sheltering the enemy -- even involuntarily -- means sharing the enemy’s fate. (The distinction between what is voluntary and involuntary soon changes under those conditions.) And this, in the longer run, is what saves millions of lives.

The strategy against the insinuation of foreign jihadis and supplies, into Iraq across international frontiers, should have been -- should now be -- extremely hot pursuit. And the chief reason to build the allied force structure in the region is to prepare, and be seen to be preparing, for a much wider conflict. For the war in Iraq cannot be isolated.

As important as military might, is the consensus behind its use. What can I say?

That this is why wars must be fought quickly. We could never afford to have Iraq drawn out for longer than the U.S. stayed in WWII. Nor did we defeat Nazi Germany by “winning their hearts and minds”. It was done by insuperable violence and intimidation: the way wars have invariably been won in the modern world. And “bombing Dresden” was (for more reasons than I have space to expound) a necessary part of that mix.

What worked on the Nazis, would be not less but more immediately effective on an enemy conditioned to methods of war in which he feeds exclusively on weakness of will, exploitating our fear, hesitation, and cowardice; who reads every pulled punch not as decency but as a confession of allied weakness." [ Glass parking lots ho! says Mr. Ahmedinejad... Your counterarguments are that he is really just a bluffer or too incompetent to build a nuke or both. And like Chamberlain, you're willing to bet my children's lives on it... -ed. ]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Today's Comforting Polonium-210 News

"Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138 days, necessitating the replacement of the triggers every six months. For this reason, the suitcase nukes are far from maintenance-free. In addition, the nuclear core of these devices emit a temperature in excess of one hundred degrees Fahrenheit - - further exposing the weapons to oxidation and rust. Small wonder that al Qaeda operatives including Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who are spearheading "the American Hiroshima" have received extensive training in nuclear technology.

Polonium-beryllium triggers are packaged in foil packs about the size of a package of sugar on a restaurant table. When the twin foil packages are crushed, the elements mix and the neutrons are emitted. A courier transporting nuclear triggers could have had a mishap causing the packages to rupture and a trail of contamination to occur.

Polonium-210 is a fine powder, easily aerosolized. Litvinenko could have inhaled the powder, or had a grain or two on his fingers when he ate the sushi."

What Holocaust? That Would Be THIS One...

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday told delegates at an international conference questioning the Holocaust that Israel's days were numbered. James Baker's would-be negotiating partner said that "just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out." The Soviet Union wasn't wiped out, of course; it dissolved. I don't think that's what Ahmadinejad has in mind for Israel."
"I have praised a “reformed” Human Rights Council that functions as a complete farce. I have demanded “peace” deals and pushed for a brand of morally blind diplomacy that has paved the way for a terrorist takeover of Lebanon, worsening turmoil in the Middle East, and a nuclear-armed Iran. In contradiction of the U.N. charter, which describes my role as the U.N.’s “chief administrative officer,” I have styled myself, in my own phrase, as “chief diplomat of the world,” setting up a vast array of opaque trusts, projects, partnerships, and programs which have massively expanded the U.N. beyond any provisions for oversight, while providing me with opportunities for patronage, and places to park my cronies. At the same time, while entrusted with a budget of billions, and a world stage, I have shirked all responsibility for my own failures, shifting blame especially to the United States." [ Gotta love that Kofi. Billions and billions served doesn't even begin to describe him... -ed. ]

Monday, December 11, 2006

"And such media as CNN (perhaps unfairly singled out), persist in airing a worldview tantamount to blaming the police for the existence of crime. For the consistent argument of the talking heads amounts to, “We may need more troops on the ground in the short term, but the long-term answer is to get out.” Translation: “We may need more cops in the short term, to deal with the mess they’ve already stirred up, but the long-term solution can only be to let the criminals get on with it.”

To the criminal mind, even working on low wattage, the response to that has got to be “wait them out”. To the mind I call “gliberal” -- to distinguish it from the honourable and responsible tradition of liberal thought -- the very concept of a mortal enemy is beyond processing. Even those who recall what happened on Sept. 11th, 2001, have persuaded themselves that we are only a target because, after that fact, the U.S. went into Afghanistan and Iraq. The unspoken assumption is, withdraw from there, and our problems are over.

It is true that our problems there will be over, if we withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq. Well, perhaps the advantage of doing so would be, to show the Western electorate what comes next."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Inane Strategy Guesswork -- Not The Half Of It...

"With the Times story as background, I don't see how another spin with the insurgents will work. They would not likely trust us enough even to take a meeting, given our work with the Maliki government this year. Even if we put some distance between ourselves and Maliki -- which, given the Shi'ite majority in Iraq, would probably be another mistake -- our entreaties would not likely move the leaders of these groups. After all, the ISG just told the world that we should turn the future of Iraq over to a regional conference, a group that would be dominated by Syria and Iran. That would be an even worse situation that Maliki taking the reins in Baghdad.

The ISG panel didn't note any of this. Khalilzad comes up once in the ISG repot -- in a listing of embassy personnel. Ansar al-Sunnah gets zero mentions. It seems that we keep discovering how little their contingent actually discovered during their study period, and how useless their slate of recommendations are

Where's NOTA When We NEEDYA?

"And then when he's convicted, the House should refuse to seat a replacement. The Democrats don't need the seat for their majority, and both parties should make it clear that consequences will follow from knowingly sending a corrupt politician back to Congress. That might discourage the "he's our crook" thinking in the future." [ A great idea. But of course, this has as much of a chance as "NOTA" voting being allowed. Somewhere between zero and never... ]

Another Shocka

"In the wake of the final Ethics Committee report on the Mark Foley scandal, we have discovered what we expected -- that the Republicans shrugged off the scandal until it blew up in their faces, and that the Democrats knew about it long before the October Surprise release (in September, in this case) prior to the midterms. It shows both parties in a poor light, both of them sublimating ethical concerns and the safety of the pages to electoral interests. On page 76 of the report, the Ethics Committee makes clear that the Democratic House leadership had copies of the e-mails as early as October 2005 -- and withheld them."


"Many adults never metamorphose into moral manhood; if they cannot take the step from moral dependency onto the dry land of political maturity, then they are in an infantile predicament indeed. For dependency will always find a political father to exploit it, as the history of absolutism sufficiently shows. And if a man does not become his own small part in the state, then the state must always seem to him an omnipotent external power. --Weston Labarre

I'll just speak for myself and say that where I live in the vertical, none of us are really “left” or “right,” but overwing, so to speak. Our problem with the left is that it isn't really left, but "underwing," at least from our vantage point. From here, the left doesn't look progressive at all; it's like looking through a reversed telescope. They're very far away from here. Not as far as the Muslim world, but sometimes it's hard to tell, because they're both moving backward at such a high rate of speed. Either that, or time is whooshing past them so quickly that it makes them look as if they're falling backward. As for the right, they’re just sort of static at the moment, essentially “keeping up” with time. --Petey" [ Gagdad strikes again. LOL -ed. ]

Steyn Again: Inane Strategy Guesswork ... LOL

"Oh, but lest you think there are no minimum admission criteria to James Baker’s “Support Group,” relax, it’s a very restricted membership: Arabs, Persians, Chinese commies, French obstructionists, Russian assassination squads. But no Jews. Even though Israel is the only country to be required to make specific concessions — return the Golan Heights, etc. Indeed, insofar as this document has any novelty value, it’s in the Frankenstein-meets-the-Wolfman sense of a boffo convergence of hit franchises: a Vietnam bug-out, but with the Jews as the designated fall guys. Wow. That’s what Hollywood would call “high concept.”"
"The long Washington Post article should be required reading for anyone interested in national politics and economics. Members of both parties have vested interests in keeping farm and dairy subsidies in place, and the government-run system has developed over the decades into a syndicate that protects itself rather ruthlessly. The American consumer and taxpayer pays for it all, with every glass of milk and every bite of cheese."
"As I've suggested before, the administration caught a big break when the ISG signed on to James Baker's Middle East fantasies."
"If readers take this as data, not confirmation of any partisan political view, then it is easy to understand why Washington has been so ham-handed in fighting the war on terror. It goes a long way toward explaining why Michael Scheuer of the CIA and John O'Neill at the FBI were voices crying in the wilderness in the days leading up to 9/11. It may provide some insight into why the US officials during the early days of the occupation of Iraq behaved the way they did. Because we didn't have a clue."

Victicrat Voters Want To Keep Right On Being Victimized ... By Their "Leaders"

"One of the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats usually becomes evident when there's a scandal. When Republicans are caught misbehaving, they normally resign. Recall Rep. Livingston who immediately called it quits over a sex scandal. By contrast, Bill Clinton, with the solid support of his party, was clinging to power even though he had committed perjury in connection with a sex scandal. If such Republicans aren't inclined to resign, the odds are good that either their caucus or their constituents will promptly toss them overboard.

It doesn't seem to work that way for Dems, though. In the latest example, the good people of Louisiana's second district have resoundingly re-elected their corrupt Democratic representative William Jefferson. His margin in the run-off election with fellow Democrat Karen Carter was 57-43.

Jefferson is the subject of a bribery investigation. When the FBI raided his congressional office, it found $90,000 in $100 bills believed to have been paid as part of a bribe to help a Kentucky firm expand its business in Nigeria. A Louisville businessman has pleaded guilty to paying Jefferson $400,000. A former Jefferson aide has also pleaded guilty in the bribe scheme."
"In answer to the question posed in the heading, Carter would lie and then keep right on on lying."
"In a Nov. 29 blog, "Will the real Ramadi please stand up?" I observed that three articles on conditions in Ramadi and al Anbar Province had appeared within a week of each other giving entirely different points of view. Mine and one in the Times of London said we're winning the war in Ramadi; a Washington Post A1 story co-authored by "Fiasco" author Thomas Ricks claimed exactly the opposite. The difference, I said, could be explained simply. I and the Times writer reported from Ramadi. Ricks and his co-author have not only never been to Ramadi, they wrote their piece from Washington. Well now the WashPost has printed another article on the city, this time an upbeat one. What gives? You guessed it.The second one was reported from Ramadi. Case closed, thank you very much. Unfortunately, it's little solace knowing how few journalists ever leave their safe little hovels in Baghdad hotels or Washington, D.C."

Still Crazy After All These Years...

"Gulf Arab leaders are also concerned about Shiite Iran's growing role in Iraq and its standoff with the West over Tehran's nuclear program, although GCC Secretary General Abdulrahman al-Attiyah said the GCC states do not feel threatened by the Islamic republic.

"The United States talks openly of the danger of Iranian military activity in the region, but our countries do not feel threatened by Tehran. Iranian officials assure us that their nuclear program is peaceful," Attiyah said." [ But be sure and take their word for it ... they're not crazed at all... -ed. ]