War

The Femininization of Everything

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[T]he regime of diversions, surrogates, and tranquilizers that pass for today’s ‘distractions’ and ‘amusements’ does not yet allow the modern woman to foresee the crisis that awaits her when she recognizes how meaningless are those male occupations for which she has fought, when the illusions and the euphoria of her conquests vanish, and when she realizes that, given the climate of dissolution, family and children can no longer give her a sense of satisfaction in life. ~Julius Evola, Ride the Tiger

I miss men. I miss my grandfather.  He was a man. And he wasn’t sorry for being a man. He was never told to be sorry for being a man, or acting like one. He never pondered the “social constructs” of gender. He liked Lawrence Welk, Archie Bunker, knives, guns, boxing.  He welded for a living. He wore flannel. He killed animals and ate them, fed them to his family. He didn’t pop his collar. He used Lava soap to rip the grease off his hands after doing the work men did. For him and his generation, life was not a sterile, over-analyzed bore.

Safety killed us. Such are the heights of the giants’ shoulders we stand on, such were their labors, such were their sacrifices, we were made too safe, too comfortable. We came to hate our betters, just as the Helots hated their Spartan masters. And so we dived into every fantasy, every unrealism, believing the opposite of reality as a sort of revolt. We became lazy, ungrateful. We enjoyed the nectar of being critical, and so criticized to disintegration those who made our free nation: Men.

Women didn’t freeze to death at Valley Forge, storm Normandy, they didn’t rot in Hanoi. And they never will, because the current “integration” of our military is theater and a power grab.  It’s playing doctor, cowboys and Indians at the expense of us all.  The people who want women in military combat arms know woman can’t actually do what men can do, but they enjoy seeing men cringe and squirm over such excesses.  Of course, women won’t pour into such billets, because they are difficult, though even when they end up there, they still won’t find it as difficult as do men, because men will treat them better than they do other men. And the feminized bureaucracy will ensure they have it easier, national defense be damned.

The United States Marines require that men do 20 pullups in order score the maximum points on their physical fitness test. Women are required to do exactly zero.  How’s that for egalitarianism? The Marine Corps tested 318 female Marines, and found that on average, they could do 1.6 pullups.  Yet, when I last tested myself at 39 years old, I could do 20 pullups. Many classically male jobs, such as firefighting and police work have distinctly different physical qualifications for women than men.  Women do not have to register for the draft, but of course their  inferiors–men–do.

The way we fight war itself has become feminized. We treat our enemies like the single mom treats her kids: We try to buy them stuff until they quit throwing temper tantrums.  We don’t win wars any more. The trade schools are considered a sub-par option for those not worthy or capable of the “higher” intellectual pursuits of gender studies. No thought is given by these elite snobs as to who builds their cars, roads, laptops and latte machines.

In a strikingly Nietzschean world, Slave Morality reigns, the Spartans now serve the Helots. As Nietzsche states, Slave Morality originates in the weak and is deployed by the weak as a weapon against the strong.  It is not necessarily drawn as a weapon of righteousness; it’s usually the sword of resentment. Slave Morality–Feminism–does not seek the impossible, that is, to make men and women equal in all things. Instead, it seeks to neuter men and weigh them down with a lodestone that will ensure men cannot surpass women in any meaningful way. The Helots now rule the Spartans.  The feminists used the tactic commonly employed by children on mothers in order to get what they do not deserve: Whining.

The false notion that sexual assault is rampant in our military was predictably seized by the Left, who lose sleep nightly over racial and gender issues.  The number of sexual assault reports in the military this year is up 50% this year, after it became fashionable to be raped. Ignored are studies that show over 40% of rape allegations are false [Kanin, 1994].

Everywhere we look, from our earliest days to our last, we see the philosophy of woman. Television shows, movies, politics, almost all of it aimed at women’s tastes. This is not to say that the feminine, the womanly, or motherhood are bad things, indeed they are good things, but so are classically manly traits. Yet our entire cultural system is bent on making boys more like girls. They must be sensitive, they must sit still, they must not joust. The NFL now celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness by allowing players to wear pink football gear during allotted games. Men must be made aware of female supremacy, that we are being watched, monitored controlled, at all times. Even during our classically male moments, such as playing football. What is the male color by the way? Do we have a color? I’m not sure.  I’m trying to imagine Dick Butkus or Mike Ditka in pink. It’s not working for me. But of course, there are no women in the National Football League, but Americans actually care about their team winning football games, unlike winning wars. We’ve become an unserious country, rolling toward the glue factory.

Oprah decides the fate of nations. One study found that Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Obama resulted in an additional one million votes.   She tells women to go their own way, that they can do anything men can do. Can they? Should they? At the core of the modern feminist movement and others Leftist movements like it, is the the use of pity as a weapon.  Pity is used to relieve people of the duties of a Natural Law they despise. Pity is used to escape the carrying out of some people’s duties, to gain power over those susceptible to pity’s draw. It is a perverse utilization of a subtle Christian ethic, taking advantage of those who lack street wisdom.  Pity has its place, but it can also be misused. We need not agree with everything Nietzsche had to say, just as Nietzsche did not agree with everything that his mentors, Arthur Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner said. This does not mean we cannot glean truth from some of Nietzsche’s writings. The cult of pity, and the misuse of pity as a sordid sentiment has resulted in an American military that is barely functional. First, an army draws its soldiers from a population organic to its nation, thus, it can suffer from many of flaws endemic to that nation. I have a ground-level view of those flaws as an NCO in the Army.  The call for pity is the default setting for many soldiers wishing to avoid Duty.  I’m not averse to having pity on those that deserve it, but I regard those who attempt to avoid Duty by feigning weakness (or the belief that feeling any discomfort at all means that something is “wrong”) as thieves. They are trying to steal something to which they have no right. They long for victim-hood and all its benefits. This perverse inverse of traditional values for women began with perhaps its most troubling aspect: Its loathing of motherhood, of parenting, of homemaking, as if being a housewife were tantamount to slavery. from this root grew the withered tree of cultural demise.  As the German philosopher Oswald Spengler wrote,

“When the ordinary thought of a highly cultivated people begins to regard ‘having children’ as a question of pro’s and con’s, the great turning point has come.”

A proto-feminist, upon reading my concerns of birthrates and modern attitudes toward motherhood, quipped that she did not feel it necessary to reproduce merely to prop up her society. But she misunderstood. The mere fact that she and the rest of the West has asked the question: “Are children worth it?”, means that the fatal seed is already planted and even blooming. Such a question is like asking, “is eating worth it?”, “is the sun rising worth it?”.  So, if Spengler was correct, we are already dying.  When motherhood becomes tantamount to dishonor, count your nation as dead and rotting. The perverse inverse continues in its paradoxical reinvention of what is feminine. Oddly, it is now feminine to be masculine, yet masculinity when practiced by men is demonized. This can only equate to men being deemed as bad. Again paradoxically, the feminist disapproval of motherhood has led to even more doting over children, who are not allowed to take risks common to children of even 15 years ago. We now give “timeouts”, as opposed to concrete discipline. Can youn imagine a child being sent to bed without Doritos, err, dinner nowadays? The typical male response of men from my grandfather’s age was “toughen up”, and parents were not seen as human entertainment machines. It was well established that doting over children ruined them, that even picking them up too often could damage them. Whining and pouting earned a trip to their room, excommunicated for conduct unbecoming.  Now such behavior earns more soda and candy.  The hours spent outdoors by young people in past years is now replaced by hours on a couch.  So spoiled are many of today’s children, that nothing can sate their appetites, nothing can satisfy, nothing can make them content for more than 30 minutes.  Such are the wages of overindulgence and the absence of the classic male response to unjust complaints: Toughen up. We have made children into anti-stoics, the opposite of the Buddhist ideal of the Middle Path.

But perhaps the feminists have overplayed their hand. There is a surge of male unrest, a revolt against the metro-sexual ideal of the sedate, passive man willing to serve his time as house Helot. Some men have realized they don’t want participation trophies, as they have no transcendental meaning, no value. A man’s inner longings are often about value, giving life meaning, about the fact that the things that are earned through pain and blood are the things most valued in life. Some men like emerging from an athletic game, tired, bloodied.  In the feminine society, there is something wrong with this. In the man’s world of old, pain was viewed as the refiner’s fire, moving men beyond the materialism so prevalent today.  To those men, life is not about smart phone apps, the latest fashion, a perfectly comfortable life, Doritos, Starbucks, Oprah, GLAAD, strippers, drugs, Obamacare, or Miley Cyrus. For some, life is about the transcendental state that can only be achieved by doing what is difficult. The feminized society tried to make war safe, against Sherman’s warnings.

I think Camille Paglia is right.  What we’re seeing is the decline of our civilization, but no one wants to move to do anything, because as with the Methamphetamine addict whose body withers and erupts with boils as death approaches, the pleasure felt during our death is too great.  Even those who secretly see the problems at hand are embarrassed to contradict the herd. They are not sufficiently convinced by their own convictions, the modern culture has shamed them into submission. But as for me, count me as Riding the Tiger, the good Roman soldier who stood at his post fulfilling his Duty even as Vesuvius erupted and slew him.

Oswald Spengler: We Are Doomed
Oswald Spengler: We Are Doomed

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.” `~Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics

Again, Clausewitz’ model fails us in Syria

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We’re stuck in 18th century military thinking and we barely do that as well as Napoleon or Sherman.

Clausewitz’ theorem, that all war is extension of politics (or policy) by other means, simply does not hold in the majority of the wars America has been involved in in the last 15 years. War as politics is the brood of RealPolitic , that is that wars have a logical purpose which in the end makes for a better peace.

As Ralph Peters states, modern warfare has largely reverted back to its default setting, before the state became all-powerful. It is now, “Wars of Blood and Faith”, as Peters terms it. Clausewitz assumed that people, army, and government were separate entities in a war. Current engagements involve people fighting that do not represent governments, are not an organized army per se. This is one reason that when we see dead “civilians”, many in America want to do something to stop war crimes, as civilians are not lawful targets in war. But in the case of Iraq II, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria, civilians were in fact the enemy. They wore no uniform and held few conventions that modern armies hold to. A US soldier can shoot a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, and someone can protest: “You shot a farmer!”–and they’d be right. Current laws of war are wholly inadequate in this type of war. The outrage many express at the slaughter in Syria is merely what war always was before the last 200 years. In fact, Qaddafi and Assad are fighting in the only way they can win. Assad cannot throw down his arms, build a school, and quell the insurgency. Historically, this is how insurgencies were stopped: Remorselessly hunt down the insurgents and kill them until they quit. Because of the nature of a “people’s war” the combatants become so marbled with noncombatants, that innocents inevitably die. It’s why America will not win another “small war” in our lifetime.

Our confusion on this matter is clouding the analysis of Syria. It ruined our analysis of Libya and Egypt. If the exact same people fighting against those governments wore uniforms, America would not have sided with them. It was merely our instinct to protect civilians that resulted in US intervention. In both countries, chaos now reigns. In Syria, the most powerful forces of blood and faith are now at work–those of the Sunni/Shia schism. Little talked about, perhaps because Americans do not properly understand the intensity of hatreds that can arise between sects, is the fact that the Syrian conflict is boiling down, just as the Iran/Iraq War, and Iraq II’s insurgency did, to Shia vs Sunni Islam. In the case of Iraq, when the minority Sunni Baathist regime fell, and was replaced by Shia, disavowed Sunni Baathists, desperate to retain power, joined al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). In Syria, a Shia minority, led by Assad, rules a Sunni majority. Iran, a majority Shia nation, backs Assad. If Assad falls, the civil war will rage on. This is not about the despot Assad, it is about Sunnis coalescing power in the form of al-Qaeda, against Shia Assad, backed by Hezbollah irregulars.

Deepening American involvement in Syria threatens to bring much more chaos. Iran is already threatening retaliation, Russia, more intervention. Better to let Hezbollah and al-Qaeda hammer each other.

WMD and the War in Syria

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As of this writing, judging from the tone in the current congressional hearings in regards to attack authority on Syria, it seems that America will soon commence open military operations against Syria.  Secretary of State’s speech seems a time-warp: He argues vehemently for military interdiction in Syria, stating the use of chemical weapons by Assad without international retribution means an encouragement to use more WMD in the future.  Unfortunately, when you draw the “red line” in the sand, you’re stuck on punching those who cross it. Words matter, especially when they’re uttered at a national level.

Largely forgotten and possibly willfully ignored by a compliant media, is the May 2013 event in which members of the al-Qaeda franchise group, Al Nusra Front, were captured in Turkey with a sarin gas canister.

Let us consider the ramifications of setting the WMD “red line”.  The Syrian rebels have been brokering for significant American military support since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.  Announcing the red line to Assad as a potential deterrent to Syria’s WMD deployment also creates an incentive for the rebellion: Utilize WMD to encourage US intervention.  Now the situation in muddled. We know al-Qaeda had sarin  gas, which astoundingly does not alarm the media to any great extant. Further confusing analysis, is the machination of several regional countries vying to affect the Syrian outcome.  Turkey wants the Assad regime removed. It has already hosted Syrian rebels for training purposes. The red line state also forced the American hand; if nothing is done at this point, the President’s words seem empty.

Turkey has for almost two years called for multilateral intervention into Syria, after failing to convince President Bashar Al-Assad to enact reforms and avoid the escalation of violence in his country. Turkey, which shelters hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and houses the main opposition Syrian National Coalition, has also repeatedly called for the establishment of a no-fly zone, or a safety zone, at the neighbor’s 565-mile border.

The Arab world has often snickered behind American backs, astounded at the US’ willingness to do Arab nations’ dirty work. It happened in the first Gulf War. Saudi military leaders knew Saddam had to be contained, and used Machiavellian psychology on the US to minimize Saudi involvement and maximize US firepower employment.

It is a Clausewitzian dictum that all wars escalate.  Present day America’s failure to decisively win its wars is largely the result of its attempt to prevent wars from escalating. Current counterinsurgency doctrine attempts to win without killing. The US government does not understand that oftentimes in war, a monumental amount of force must be applied to get an enemy to quit.  Americans, largely divorced from struggle and strife, have forgotten just how much force it takes to make a determined enemy quit.  We are guilty of mirror-imaging; superimposing our own agendas and motivations on those of the enemy. The typical American is not sufficiently enraged to engage in warfare and has a difficult time imagining the mentality required to become so enraged.  The same American does not understand, that without such a mentality, any war in question would not exist in the first place.  Consider the Iran-Iraq war. That war ended after 7 years, and not before almost 1 million people were dead. Current US COIN doctrine would have us killing a handful of “key leaders” with a drone strike, and then rebuilding schools and hospitals in hopes of pacifying militants. It’s never worked in the past. It won’t work in the future. So, assuming the war in Syria will escalate further with more US intervention, we can assume more people will die. Some of those people will be civilians. US military aid is often imagined to force the enemy to suddenly capitulate. This simply isn’t the case. I often use the arm-wrestling analogy. An arm-wrestler does not suddenly give up when he feels his opponent applying force. If he were that mentally weak, it’s doubtful he’d have come to the table at all. Instead, he applies as much force as he has, in hopes of quickly dispatching his opponent. Each arm-wrestler in turn attempts to match, and surpass his opponent’s force. Finally, the force applied by one arm overcomes the other. Throughout, the force escalated, as each person attempts to summon more and more power–if he can find it. Syria’s military has much more force in reserve. It has thus far restrained much of its military ability, because like most insurgencies, the rebels cannot muster much force themselves.  Increasing the military power of the rebels guarantees escalation by the Syrian military.  In some cases, in other wars, this is a necessary evil. In the case of Syria, we have two enemies of America fighting each other, and there is no concrete American security interest.  So the calculation reveals that non-intervention best serves America. And all of this says nothing about the possibility of Russian intervention, leading to regional escalation.

If and when civilians die as a result of US airstrike, (and even if they don’t), America is likely to lose yet another battle, a type of battle in which the US has proven remarkably inept: The information war.  The information war is a key component in “war among the people”.  Terrorism is only minimally effective without propaganda.

Never could the War on Terror have taken such a positive turn. But leave it to Washington to steal defeat from the jaws of victory.  Strategy, not a strong-point of DC’s intelligentsia for the last 50 years, simply eludes most on The Hill.  Two of America’s great enemies slugging it out, but John McCain and John Kerry aren’t happy.  Instead they split The Prophet’s hairs as to whom’s bad enough and who’s good enough, never realizing that the bad and the good are on the same side: al-Qaeda’s side.  The Left interprets Sun Tzu’s winning-without-fighting maxim as diplomacy.  The ancients knew this also meant letting your enemies slaughter each other, saving your energies for bad men not so occupied.

What’s the desired end-state? Testimony today indicates it’s to degrade Assad’s ability to use similar attacks in the future.  Chemical weapons cannot be bombed with any certainty on controlling the resultant poison plume.  If strikes intend to hit chemical depots, this presents a significant risk for civilian casualties.  More likely targets are the missile launch systems suspected of delivering VX on the civilians. Of course the military could try to kill Assad himself.  Syria’s attack helicopters will be tempting targets while they’re on the ground. If an attack is too weak, it will be meaningless or many even encourage more aggression from Assad. If it is moderately effective, but does not decapitate the regime, it may invite attack from Syria against US targets. Syria is not without significant military capabilities, thanks to huge contracts with Russia. Of primary concern, if the US attacks involve aircraft, is Syria’s s-300 anti-aircraft missiles.

It seems unlikely that a US attack will have any significant effect on the war in Syria. Since success in warfare is largely based on controlling unknowns through good intelligence, and since US strikes are unlikely to impact the outcome of the war one way or another (except that they are likely to bring outrage in one form or another), policy makers must consider the unknowns and not merely focus on punishing Assad. All in all, the intervention in a fight between Syria and a US archenemy seems foolish.

 

Don’t Tread on Me and Don’t Nerf My World

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“He wants his home and security, he wants to live like a sailor at sea. Beautiful loser, where you gonna fall, when you realize–you just can’t have it all…he’ll never make any enemies.” ~Beautiful Loser, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band.

Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.~General John Stark

In the world of video games, there is a term that denotes making something decidedly less potent or dangerous: The term is Nerf. 

My Army and indeed my country is trying to Nerf my entire world. It does this under the pretext of caring so much for my safety. Our obsession with safety is in fact making us weaker and thus less safe.

I cannot say that I expect nothing from my government. I expect it to smash the hell out of any enemy that tries to destroy our way of life. I expect it to maintain internal security so that people can enjoy their families and the things they have worked for.  Thus I expect the government to toss people in jail whom have committed crimes which harm me or my family–or any other American family.  I expect my government to defend its sovereign borders so that my country does not become what others without an American ideal want it to be.

What I do not expect of my government is that it protect me from myself. I do not expect the government to worry about the minutia of dangers that  confront man everyday. The government cannot protect me from myself as well as I can.  The United States Army has become one of the most risk-averse entities in our risk-averse nation.  Soldiers must watch hours of safety videos every few months, many many more hours than they fire their rifles on a practice range, and are expected to wear a reflective belt at times, even when off duty in broad daylight, and must wear knee and elbow pads when in a war zone on patrol. Packing lists for Soldiers readying to deploy easily bring to mind a 5 year Soviet planning cycle.  Make sure you bring your sewing kit. Who the hell is Sun Tzu?  Because of the (most times) well-meaning cry for troop safety, our troops are weighed down with heavy body armor while trouncing over 8000 ft high mountains, exhausting them.  Our enemies dance around in man-dresses and sneakers. In my unit, Soldiers pulling CQ duty (a 24 hour duty in which two Soldiers sit at a desk and communicate any problems to the chain of command), have been ordered to stop any Soldiers whom leave the barracks in shorts, because it’s too cold to be outdoors in shorts.  Yes, that’s right, a military  that helped annihilate the Nazis and nuked Hiroshima is worried about people wearing shorts in the cold during their off-duty hours. Every Friday, Soldiers must endure long speeches from the chain of command about what not to do during the weekend. They must be reminded that slapping their wives is illegal and driving drunk can result in car crashes. If we have Soldiers that are so stupid they require to be told these things every week, well then, I say let them make their mistake and get them out of the Army. Because that guy will probably blow the back of my head off with an accidental discharge from his M4 carbine.  Our gown men used to be able to drink beer while deployed to war. No more. In the Vietnam War, US grunts could bye a 24-pack of beer for $2.40.  We did better in Vietnam than in Afghanistan, according to authoritative writer, Bing West… We couldn’t have that now, could we? Surely American Soldiers would go on mad rampages across the Hindu Kush, slaying everything in sight. Somehow we beat the British with many of our troops half in the bag. As far as I’m concerned, denying a man a beer while he endures war is not just cruel, it’s downright un-American.   The Puritans–those great foes of the Libertine Left– fed kids the stuff for breakfast, but then MADD busted up the party.

Here’s a quote from the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Glenn Beck’s book, Arguing With Idiots: 

Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1980 after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver, but she ended up leaving her own organization. Why? Mission creep. Here’s what she said….

“[MAAD has] become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned…I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol, I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”

“We humble Pilgrims give Ye thanks for our reflective belts, bike helmets, and the heavenly gun-free Mayflower. We never could enjoy this new land without our blessings.”~Quote from the only Progressive Pilgrim who made the tough trip over.

In the same chapter, Beck goes on to explain how legislation has been proposed to install devices on all cars that prevent people from driving drunk. As of now, only people whom have been convicted of DUI can have such devices installed by the government.  He goes on to make the point that if we focus on the person offending, and not the tool of the offense, we do a better job in dealing with the problem, and we don’t needlessly bother those whom don’t drink and drive, since the majority of the DUI problems come from repeat offenders. And it’s the same thing when it comes to gun control. Taking away guns from the 99% is a tyranny. Many want to do it because the modern Left simply has a difficult time calling anyone whom is not named Dick Cheney or George Bush, evil.

The true shame of this, is that in the Army, NCOs are told that they are not leading unless they are micromanaging the private and professional lives of the Soldiers that work for them. I simply refuse to live like this or lead other men like this. As a kid, I did all kinds of dangerous things, and I’m proud of it. I never wore a bike helmet, yet rode my bike everywhere. Most of my bikes didn’t even have brakes; I had to use my foot on the rotting (dangerously so) tires, to slow myself. I proudly displayed the scabs and scars on my hands from the times I went over the handlebars on the pavement.  Myself and groups of other kids engaged in rock fights and BB gun wars. We threw ice-encrusted snowballs at each others face, hoping to give each other black eyes. I carried a rifle around in the woods, unsupervised, at the age of twelve, shooting cute, furry squirrels until I could hear the weeping of bleeding-heart liberals for miles around. And I felt nothing for it except proud of my outstanding marksmanship….I endured 5 knee operations before the age of 25, all from playing that rough, dangerous sport: Backyard football. I boxed and had my brain concussed.

And every one of us boys is better off for having beat the hell out of ourselves.

And why did I do all of it? Because I don’t want to feel completely safe. I never have. I most certainly don’t want someone else making me safe from everything. I mostly want to be left alone to make my own decisions. I want to learn on my own. I don’t want to go to jail, get a fine, or get demoted in rank for failing to make my Soldiers wear knee pads. I want to live in a country that demotes me because my troops didn’t kill enough Taliban fighters, because my troops didn’t make the enemy quit. I know, I know, that makes me a brute. Yet, our addiction to safety helped us lose the war in Afghanistan. Make no mistake, COIN “warfare” is the child of an addiction to safety. It is a system designed to win wars without fighting the enemy. We hope to build the enemy stuff until he quits, we hope that he becomes as sedated with free stuff from the government as this American generation has become. COIN hopes to keep our Soldiers out of danger, but in reality it makes him so at-risk for lack of ridding the battlefield of armed insurgents, that the American fighter spends most of his time running back and forth between villages and friendly bases, instead of rooting the enemy from his enclaves. March to a village,  shake some hands and smile at people lying to you and helping safeguard the people whom will kill you, then hurry the hell back to the base before you get shot.

I enjoy danger in my life. Yeah, there are always things the government could do to make us all safer. But at what cost? Should we make a law mandating all cars be coated in 12 inches of nerf material? I’m sure the guy who gets bumped into at a crosswalk would appreciate it.  I measure my danger with what it can provide me. I understand there are some dangers we want to control. For instance, I argued quite vehemently for increased screening at Airports, but I’m against gun-free zones around schools. Why? Because I believe one does what it’s supposed to and the other doesn’t. If there were two airlines to choose from, one offering increased screening and pat-downs before boarding a plane, and one that did not, I would choose to use the one that offered increased screening.  If there were two schools to choose from, one with a gun free zone and one without, I would choose the one without, hoping the well-vetted principal with 20 years experience in education is well armed and trained. Get it? I lift Russian kettlebells. There is an element of danger in using these, which makes me enjoy them all the more. Throwing around 70 lb iron balls cannot be made purely safe. My hands get torn up, and I’m damn proud of it. They make me a better person, even if I break a wrist.

My kettlebell hands
My kettlebell hands

I don’t want to be told how to pack my rucksack, how many bars of soap to bring with me to Afghanistan, and I sure don’t want to shave my chest, wear pop-collared polo shirts or gloves while weight lifting. I want to be allowed to not wear knee pads. I want to be allowed to fight when I go to war. In short, I want to be a man and not a giant baby. Let me be a big boy so we can focus on the important stuff, and not the things that end up costing us more  in the creation of rules and their enforcement than in any protection we gain. We are a country of laws–too many of them–not of men. Why not think like Bruce Lee, and begin to take away before we add. Less is always more efficient, and maybe we can toughen up a bit and remember what a great feeling it is to be able to do things on our own without having to hope the government will protect us from all evil, and maybe fix our toilet if we whine and play the victim well enough.

Maybe we can teach our kids, again, the value of hard work, self-reliance, responsibility and toughness. A nation of individuals that values those things does not require a government that has to keep them in line.

Hezbollah sleeper cells and imminent war in the Middle East

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The Israeli Minister of Defense recently stated that Israel is prepared for 30 days of war with Iran. In fact, a shadow war, but a very real war never the less, has been ongoing between the two countries for months, with real people being killed by very real government-backed means.

Within the last year, at least 3 Iranian scientists who were working on Iran’s nuclear power program were assassinated.  Bombs exploded in their cars, killing them.  And there was the massively powerful cyberweapon, known as STUXNET, deployed against Iranian nuclear research facilities.  In what appears to be reprisals, terrorists targeted Israelis around the world in places like India, Georgia, and most recently in Bulgaria.  In this case, a suicide bomber walked onto a bus full of Israeli tourists and parked near an airport terminal , then detonated, killing 5 Israelis.  The bombing occurred in a popular Israeli vacation resort near the Black Sea.   Bulgarian domestic security released a video which shows the suspected suicide bomber walking inside the airport.  He is dressed in very casual western style clothing and has a light complexion.  I posted a video of the suspected bomber, below.

As a former law enforcement officer and current intelligence analyst I find the video and the overall bombing very disturbing for several reasons.  First, the bomber’s body language is staggeringly deceptive, offering no clues as to his true intent.  The man obviously received professional training, most probably from Iranian Quds Force and/or Hezbollah.  The man’s gait, posture and clothing are carefully crafted so as to defeat most attempts at profiling.  Secondly, the complexity of this operation was quite extensive.  The bomber had to penetrate an Eastern European country’s domestic security, most likely constructing the bomb there.  The bomber also looks very Western in complexion and mannerism.  Thirdly, a group of Israeli tourists had to be targeted and stalked.  This is different from an operation in which a high profile individual is targeted for assassination.  In that case it is quite simple to know where the high profile person will be, since he or she will be preceded by media reports, has a well known face, and may have an attached security detail.  This operation required extensive surveillance and testing of the existing security systems.  Also, the bomber possessed a fake Michigan driver’s license. 

Fake Michigan driver’s license found at bomb scene
Sketch of suspected suicide bomber in Bulgaria

All of this raises the question as to what Hezbollah has in store for Israel and America should Israel preemptively strike.  Readers should have no doubt that Hezbollah, sponsored by Iran, has placed sleeper cells around the world that are ready to “wake up” should they be called to action.  Though some of them already struck in response to the deaths of Iranian scientists and the STUXNET cyberweapon, it is logical to assume that Iran is holding back a considerable number of suicide bombers and saboteurs so as to control the political aspects of a future war.  It is an established fact that Hezbollah operates an organised crime ring in America, with million of dollars having been funneled to groups in Lebanon.[1]  Iran is the world’s foremost practitioner of 4th Generation Warfare.  Anyone who believes that this type of warfare is ineffective should consider the fact that Iran remained the number one state supporter of terrorism for decades without, until recently, sanctions leveled against it.  Iran has continued on the path of nuclear weapons without a single shot fired against it by the United States.  Iran has held hostage British sailors while parading them on camera against international law.  The Iranian government plotted the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to the US, without any repercussions, not even a strongly worded letter.  Iran provided fighters, bomb makers and Explosively Formed Projectiles  (EFPs) capable of slicing through the toughest of American armor, to insurgents in the Iraq war.  The American government willfully took no action against Iran despite knowing its government was killing American Soldiers. In some cases, American intelligence networks were told to avoid collecting information that proved Iranian complicity in American deaths.[2]  Iran also continues to sow chaos and discord in Iraq, forcing Iraqi prime minister Maliki to form an alliance with the Iranian regime.

There is simply no other way to interpret the lack of assertive action against Iran by the United States other than that the US government  is afraid of Iran.  The fact that the most powerful nation in history is scared of a country like Iran shows the effectiveness of 4G Warfare.  Iran knows it cannot win in a stand up fight against America.  It doesn’t need to, because the American government has little real idea of how to deal with 4th Generation fighters.  American politicians are far more concerned with polls and elections than the lives of American servicemen, otherwise the Iranians would have been taken care of years ago.  Terrorism targets public opinion and every terrorist loves a polling booth.  The proliferation of useful idiots who think that America can negotiate its way out of every bad situation has done nothing but empower Iran’s 4G warriors.

The Middle East is teetering on the edge of war.  The new Egyptian government openly states it is considering violating its peace treaty with Israel, Lebanon and Syria are in chaos, and Iran rushes toward obtaining the ultimate weapon while promising the destruction of Israel.  But perhaps most troubling is the lack of commitment from America as to which side it is on.  Our collapsing culture and post-modern morals  blind our government at a time when moral clarity is imperative

[1] Emerson, Steven, Jihad Incorporated”, pages 219-227, Prometheus Books, 2006

[2] O’hern, Steven, K. “The Intelligence Wars”, Chapter 4: Iran’s Shadow Falls Over Iraq, Prometheus Books, 2008

The growing sense of isolation in the military

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In a recent interview, retired General Stanley McChrystal stated that he believes America should re-institute a military draft, ensuring that all citizens share the burden of war.

I agree with McChrystal and so did Thomas Jefferson: “Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”

In today’s America the idea of a draft is politically untenable.  Many citizens feel the system is supposed to give something to them, but they are not required to give anything to it.  People who think this way call it “freedom.”  One could riff off Tacitus and say, “They made a democracy and called it freedom.”

The sense of community in America is dying, and I can attest that the sense of belonging in the military is a troubling phenomena.  The military is very separated from everyday America, and this is not a good thing.  It is a difficult experience to explain to someone who has never served in the military, but many many people feel very cut off from regular American life.  I can testify to this feeling.  When I first came in the Army and moved to Germany, I cannot imagine a more alienating experience.

The primary difference between today’s wars and the major wars of the past is that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are fought by a much smaller percentage of Americans.  In fact, less than 1% of Americans serve in the military, whereas in WWII, 9% served. When you consider that women did not serve in WWII except as civilians, you can see that a very high number of men were in the military.

A difficult fact to ignore is that America has failed to defeat decisively any foe since the draft was abandoned in 1973.  Some can argue that Desert Storm was a decisive victory, but we had to go back and clean up the mess we left.  Americans no longer have a visceral feel for what it takes to win wars.  This fact drove me crazy in Afghanistan, where I saw a plethora of well-intentioned projects accomplish little.  As my friend, Dr. Scott Catino once said: “We’re throwing million of dollars at the insurgency and hoping it will go away.” Solar panels on the roofs of villagers which were stolen by insurgents and used to power bombs.  Million-dollar “justice complexes” abandoned. Yet the suspicious stares from the Pashtuns continues.  Does anyone believe a member of the military came up with the idea of solar panels as part of the war effort? I think not.  It was a Non-government agency (NGO) who thought that was a good idea, because their job is to come up with solutions that don’t involve killing people.

The increasing separation of people in the military is causing increasingly recurrent visits from what military people call “The Good Idea Fairy”.  The Good Idea Fairy is a font of well-intentioned ideas which are to be carried out by those of lesser rank.  These ideas usually involve taking a rather simple exercise of some sort and transforming it into a confusing, over complicated mess.

The Good Idea Fairy can flourish in places where the negative aspects of bad decisions are not visited upon the person who made the decision in the first place.  And since we have so few people who have served in the military and the number of elected officials who have served before beginning their political careers is growing smaller every election cycle, it seems trouble was inevitable

So now politicians can make decisions about a military in which they and perhaps their father never served.  Political and social ideologues push ideas and plans for the military having little real knowledge about how it will effect our ability to fight.  Women in the infantry is one idea that I’m sure The Good Idea Fairy would be proud of.  While there are women that serve honorably in the military, the Army and Marines prohibit women from serving in the infantry for what every military in the last 10,000 years has thought obvious reasons.  Not the least of which is a wanting physical prowess when it comes to fighting a war.  Watch the movie Restrepo and imagine a woman being in that environment for 15 months.

But winning wars isn’t what’s important to some about the military.  What’s important is the opportunity to push an agenda, to change society by infiltrating its most hallowed halls.  Thus, in 2013 we have women being admitted to the Army’s toughest school–Ranger School.   And every female failure at the school will need to be justified to high level rank.

This honest female Marine Corps Captain writes about her opinion concerning women in the infantry.  She says that even though she was an outstanding athlete in college, and is not in the infantry, her deployment to Afghanistan left her with permanent injuries.  She lost 17 pounds and her body stopped producing estrogen.  And she wasn’t doing half the physical work that a Marine infantryman does.

All of this leads to a growing sense within the military that the troops don’t matter.  Every decision is imposed without asking the people in the military what they think, or if they are asked, it doesn’t matter what they say.  This is what happened with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  Surveys were passed around but the SECDEF made it clear before a single chad was punched: This is getting repealed.

Suicide rates in the Army doubled after 2004.  At that point some Army units were doing back-to-back 15 month tours.  And this wasn’t in areas of the world as sophisticated as WWII Europe.  It was culture shock with IEDs.  With so few Americans serving during this operational tempo, you’d think the Army could have done without the multi-million dollar studies that tried to explain the reason for skyrocketing suicide numbers.  But no.  The studies were again ordered by people who have never been there and barely even care to read about it.

It used to be that the very best served.  In WWII men had no choice, they went.  The entire will of a nation was brought to bear against the country’s enemy’s.  Now, our uber-professional Army can’t decisively beat a herd of toothless goat herders who know more about using fertilizer to make a bomb than using it to grow crops.  America simply hasn’t enough troops to make it work.

The West is fooling itself when it comes to Islam in the Middle East

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All of us here today understand this: We do not fight Islam, we fight against evil.” ~George W. Bush

We are not at war against Islam. We are at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam,” ~Barack Obama

Surely we are not at war with Islam.  If we were, we’d kill everyone who professed the Muslim faith.  The problem with Obama’s and Bush’s statements is that they lead many to underestimate the level to which Muslims in the Middle East and Asia support the jihadists. Throwing out statistics that show only a small percentage of Muslims are responsible for the destruction wrought is a bit like saying that because less than 1% of Americans serve in the US Army, only 1% of Americans support the US military.   People fail to realize the power of both the “our team” mentality and religion, especially in parts of the world where the people have little hope in this world and nation states have been shamed in war by America and Israel.

Many people throughout the Muslim world gain satisfaction when the US suffers a setback at the hands of extreme Islam. Otherwise, the extremists could not exist to the extant that they do. Polls throughout the Muslim world show that Muslims in the Middle East support the actions of the jihadists.  Most Muslims, even those living is Western countries, support Sharia Law, which is fundamentally at odds with Western values.  In a poll of 9 countries, Turkey was the only nation in which a majority of the people said that Sharia should not comprise the law in entirety, or be a “source of legislation.”   Pakistanis, despite the billions of military and domestic aid poured into their country by the US, continue to despise Americans.  Most Pakistanis also wish that bin Laden was not dead.  

People shocked at the recent Egyptian election results should study some history.  I’ve long said that Egypt was the spiritual center of jihadism, not Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia made good fodder for the Left because of oil.  Egypt, in the poll cited above, had the highest percentage of people that believed Sharia should be the sole root of law.

The Muslim countries that have in recent years received the most American aid are Pakistan and Egypt.  Approximately 25% of the money used to fund the Pakistani army comes from American aid.  The top recipients of US foreign aid in 2011 are  Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Egypt in that order.  Egypt has routinely ranked among the top nations in the world in the number of dollars given to it by the American government.

There appears to be an inverse correlation between the positive views in a country when measured against the amount of US aid provided to it.  The argument of course is that America is trying to show these countries that the US is not the enemy.  This method of appeasement is failing.  In a poll published by the Washington Post shortly after Mubarak stepped down, 79 percent of Egyptians viewed the US negatively, with 20% saying they have a positive view of the US.  This is a sharp decline from the Bush years when 30 percent of Egyptians viewed the US positively.

The problems in giving countries like Pakistan and Egypt lots of money are macrocosmic of what I saw happening in local projects in Afghanistan.  The money will always find its way into the hands of America’s enemies because they are the most ruthless, devious and aggressive portions of those societies.  They also in many cases have a monopoly on violence, something the state usually lays claim to–if it is not a failed state.  In Afghanistan the people were not “all in” for the Americans.  They really didn’t care that much, at least in areas far from Kabul, if the insurgents blew up a few American Imperialists.  They’d take five bucks to plants a bombs and be on their way.  In one fell swoop they’d made a month’s wage, killed some infidels, impressed the locals with their “bravery”, and maintained a semblance of national pride.

Egypt’s Mubarak held the forces of Islamic jihad at bay with the only weapon that works against it: Decisive brutality.  As with Saudi Arabia, Egypt was a police state, as much because of the extremists as Mubarak.  Only with extreme vigilance could the Egyptian government survive.  Frankly, Mubarak may have been the West’s only hope in Egypt, but starry-eyed Westerners with a Democracy fetish ran him off, unleashing a hoard of militants, radicals and young men electrified with a rage whose dynamo was built in 1967 and 1973 during the humiliating defeats of the Egyptian Army at the hands of the Israelis.  The effect of these defeats upon the Arab psyche cannot be overstated.

The Arab Spring has generated nothing resembling Western democracy and displays brilliantly the weakness of Democracy itself:  People can vote for any horrific idea they choose.  Hitler was democratically elected.  Muslims have voted and acted exactly how we should have expected them to.  In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists now hold power.  The Salafists in Egypt hold the same views as al-Qaeda and Hamas.  Christians are trying to leave the country, fearing for their safety.    

In Libya, fresh off a democratically generated war crime, insurgents fly al-Qaeda’s flag in Benghazi.  

The revolutions in Egypt and Libya were hardly induced by only few extremists.  In fact,it  seems the revolutions enjoyed the backing of millions upon millions of extremists.  It is the same sort of thing we saw in Nazi Germany.  Many Germans were not Nazis or did not take part in the actual fighting.  But most of them wanted to see the Nazis win.  And so it is with Muslims in Libya, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank  and Lebanon.  The Muslims there overwhelmingly want to thrash Israel and the United States in any manner they can.  If the terror proxies can trounced by the hyperpower or the Jewish state, we can of course expect the “innocent” population of “moderate” muslims to melt back into the woodwork.

Islam unifies people against Israel and the West.  As Mark Steyn writes in his book, America Alone, the draw of Western “McWorld” to the average Arab male is vastly overstated.  Secularism is about as un-motivational as a Rosie O’donnell workout video.  It is meaninglessness and provides no promise of power or life after death, no cloak of righteousness; something that means far more to a poor 23 year old man in Cairo than does the promise of flipping burgers.

Now Israel has a monstrous number of problems on its hand, all coming to bear at once.  Iran wants the bomb and is not far off from getting it.  Egyptians are muttering that they want the Camp David Peace Accord “adjusted.”  20,000 surface-to-air missiles are missing from Qaddafi’s stockpiles.  The current American president’s negative comments about Netanyahu were caught on an open mic.  

The vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East are not jihadists or terrorists.  But most of them support the actions of extremist Islam when those actions are directed against Westerners or Israelis.  Our money and McDonald’s cannot possibly fill the same void that is filled by Islam.  And Democracy, as with any form of government, is only as good as the people that comprise it.

So what is the answer?  Does America have to kill every last Muslim? Not any more than it had to kill every last German or Japanese.  America has only to decisively defeat the front-line troops of Jihad.  But decisive victory may no longer be something the West is capable of, despite its overwhelming superiority in almost every facet of military and economic might.

The Arab Spring has not created Arab states that are more stable or less violent.  It has provided kindling for another 100 years of Jihadist immolation.  Our children’s children will see The Long War continue.