Politics

Macro and Micro Relations

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The new way of American foreign relations is the stick and the carrot; we whack our allies with the stick and dangle a carrot in front of our enemies.  The thought is that by offering money to countries that dislike us, we can change their attitude. 

This seems to be failing miserably.  We’ve given billions to Pakistan, only to have their intelligence service and military harbor international terrorists and subvert our attempts to capture or kill Islamic militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.  In Afghanistan, billions more have been poured into the nation, in hopes the people would come to like America and thus hate our enemy, the Taliban.  This, too, failed to materialize.  Instead, ruthless warlords stole our money and killed our soldiers.  The idea that “The People” are a sacred entity came into question.  The people took our money and helped the Taliban when we weren’t looking. 

Meanwhile, we’ve done little to help India, a powerful ally that at least tries to do things right and a country that has felt the sting of Pakistani terrorism.   Moreover, Eastern European countries, once under the thrall of the Soviet Bloc, are ignored in an attempt to appease the Russians.  I can attest from first hand experience, that the people’s of Poland and the Czech Republic love Americans and are thankful for American help in throwing off their former Soviet masters. 

Something that our politicians and diplomats should think about is that the way we handle our relations with nation states need not mirror our relationships with individual people or smaller groups of people.  Just as Quantum Physics jams a thumb in the eye of Einsteinian Relativity, and micro economics have distinctly different rules from macro, we should expect different rules when dealing with nations as opposed to friends, family and associates.

Alexander in the Af-Pak War

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America no longer has the will to fight and win wars.  If our enemies are able to weather our airstrikes, we are wholly unprepared at nearly every level to place sufficient pressure on fanatical guerrillas whom find war a preferable state to peace.  Never in history has an army enjoyed such a monopoly on firepower and mobility as does America, and yet been so unwilling to use it. 

We are blessed by the geographical bulwarks of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and cursed with partisan demagogues in Washington who know little of military history or the culture of war.  Perfectly willing to start a war, the politicians don’t want to hear what it takes to win it.  No matter how much data multi-million dollar computer networks feed those in the Pentagon and Congress, few of the recipients of that data can feel our wars; the data crunchers and politicos can know the wars, but the visceral sensations of ground commanders and grunts will always be beyond them, as thus we can assume that almost all of their decisions will prove inadequate.  When war does not fit into comfort zones or proffered theories, many believe we just need to try harder to make the theories work.  Few would question the theories themselves lest horrible answers become truths.  

Washington’s elites are safe when we lose.  The 25 year old squad leader in Afghanistan is not. 

The quaint mythologies of counterinsurgency theorems have us following a Yellow Brick Road paved by Non-Governmental Agencies and State Department aid money.  We hoped that Oz was a place where suicidal zealots laid down their rifles and stopped making bombs in exchange for a school house and a new pair of shoes.  When the curtain was thrown aside to reveal the Wizard, we saw his bloody hand raised skyward, grasping the severed head of the school teacher.  And even when the sheer brutality and power of the Taliban terrorist revealed itself, we refused to believe what we saw.  We prefer to think that all men want peace, that brutality doesn’t work, and that killing cannot be the answer.  Convenient dreams for those in Washington whose greatest daily danger is a Tweeted revelation of sexual misconduct.  We question ourselves whereas the men of old, seeing the world more clearly than do we, quickly identified the problem and dealt with it.  Swimming is oceans of information, we find it more difficult to choose proper paths, but the ancient warriors of yore, though lacking technological aids—perhaps because he lacked those aids—instinctively discerned human psychology. 

Enter Alexander The Great.  Imagine for a moment that future technologies could spring the Macedonian king back to life and the modern social and political delusions that prevent decisive victories in war have vanished by the wayside.  Now place Alexander in command of history’s most powerful military and charge him with defeating the insurgency in Afghanistan.  First, we’ll have to listen to Alexander give us a history lesson.  Contrary to revisionists whom extol the invincibility of Afghans fighters, Alexander was never defeated by the people inhabiting the land we now call Afghanistan.  And then he would tell us that his tutor, Aristotle, wasn’t about giving peace a chance; the father of Western philosophy implored young Alexander to force Hellenistic ethnic supremacy upon the world of the barbarians. 

To the Neo-Alexander, defeating the Taliban begins with an offer to meet insurgent leadership at the bargaining table.  And here’s the offer: Submit or die.  This language resonates with the Taliban at a far deeper level than does the current Coalition Force offers of reintegration and power sharing.  A reasonable man, Alexander offers the Taliban their religion and way of life in exchange for their weapons.  The sovereign lines of the Pakistani border mean nothing.  They are semi-porous membranes that hold back American power and allow insurgents to move freely to and from their safe havens in Pakistan.  In response to each suicide bomber making his way from Western Pakistan, Alexander orders biometric identification through DNA testing, and using covert CIA intelligence cells seeded throughout Pakistan, identifies the village from which the suicide bomber originated. The Macedonian orders B-2 bomber and Reaper drone strikes on all known Madrassas in the village.  No apologies are offered for civilian casualties.  The retributive strikes are timely and painful.  The suicide bombers quickly transform from heroes to sources of great pain in the villages.  Soon, being a suicide bomber is disgraceful, not honorable. 

The terrorists resort to using their greatest weapon: The media.  In response, all media embeds are ordered to leave Afghanistan.  Journalists stream into North and South Waziristan, hoping to document American atrocities.  Members of the Haqqani Network set up ad hoc repeater stations, hoping to broadcast propaganda from small, handheld Motorola VHF radios.  America counters by dropping electromagnetic pulse bombs at random intervals into the tribal areas.  These weapons destroy any modern electronic equipment, leaving journalists to their pens and notebooks and Haqqani insurgents to courier communications.  

As for terrorist infiltration along the Pakistan border,  Alexander knows that not every infiltrator can be stopped.  However, it is possible to make crossing into Afghanistan too painful a gamble.  Areas along the border are declared free-fire zones.  Approximately 5 kilometers on each side of the border are free-fire; that is, since the areas are assumed cleared, anyone in those areas can be fired on.  The 5 kilometer range allows for ranges of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and Haqqani Network rocket fire, such as which killed two American Soldiers at FOB Salerno in May of 2011 (with no punitive action taken by the US military out of respect to our Pakistani “friends”). 

Entire villages will be held accountable for the actions of individuals that live within them.  Villagers in Afghanistan always know what goes on within the village.  Villages where US forces are attacked will be subject to curfews and those found to be involved in insurgent activity shall be given a field trial by US military officers and if found guilty, executed.  Special Operations night raids and air assaults will be constant in areas infested with Taliban, al-Qaeda and Haqqani fighters.  Protests by villagers about the night raids will be ignored, as most of these protests are spawned by agitated insurgents. The cooperation of local villagers is the goal, but America under Alexander will place the safety of her troops and the destruction of the insurgency above the safety of villagers.  Civilian casualties will be avoided when possible, but local Afghans will need to provide intelligence and information to American forces in order to ensure that America kills the right people.  Otherwise, the insurgents will merely use civilains as living shields.  Cooperation will help both the Afghans and America.  The “sanctity” of the people will no longer be assumed; entire populations can be just as evil as individuals.  The terrorists will be held to the same standards that the US military is held.  All war crimes will be prosecuted in the field if possible. 

The shrines of dead al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters will be closely monitored by payed CIA informants.  Sympathizers who come to venerate terrorist grave sites will be followed, and at a convenient time, interviewed and their biometric data entered into a huge data base known as BATS–Biometrically Automated Toolset.  These people will be placed on watch lists, denied entry to US bases, and denied the possibility of serving within Afghan government security forces for 5 years.  Individuals assessed to be of a higher threat level shall be denied access and government work on a permanent basis. 

Alexander will reward the friends of America.  India, the largest democracy on Earth, will be provided special trade rights.  She has earned it.  A full embargo of Pakistan will commence.  We have treated our enemies better than our friends in hopes that our goodwill would bring them to our side.  But they mistook our goodwill for weakness.  Those who fought bravely beside us, such as Britain, did not get 4 billion dollar rewards, such as did Pakistan. 

Every chance will be given to those in the Federally Administered tribal Region of Pakistan to formally surrender Siraj and Jallaludin Haqqani, the familial leaders of the Haqqani Network.  America will make war for a better peace denied her by maniacs.   Letters will dropped in each village in North and South Waziristan, telling the inhabitants to give up their weapons and submit to searches of their residences.  Aggressive actions taken by Pak military units will result in 5,000 lb GBU-28 Penetrator Bombs being dropped on all Pakistani nuclear missile sites, which have been carefully tracked by the National Ground Intelligence Center and the National Geospatial Agency for years.   Alexander–a genius at war–knows that this war will escalate.  All wars escalate.  But no one can out-escalate the United States Military.  

Villages not wishing to submit to search will be given 24 hours notice to evacuate.  Then the village will be razed by Fire Support Teams (FIST) utilizing 155 mm Howitzer fire and B-52 Arc Light strikes and tactical airstrikes under the guidance of Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) teams.  Not only will there be no apologies for these actions, Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) units will broadcast images of the destruction to other villages, warning them of the implications of resistance. 

Anything less than the above guarantees an American defeat in Afghanistan.  If our leaders cannot do what Alexander would do, they should save the blood of our Soldiers and Marines and bring them home.  And they should never again begin or escalate a war for political gain if they don’t intend to win it. 

 

 

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My time walking through the Old Testament

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I’ll be writing several entries on my blog about my experiences in Afghanistan.  Look for it soon.  It’ll include photos and several vignettes.  Not everyone will like what they read; we screwed the pooch on this one.

Repost

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I’m reposting this article because I see what I see…

The Coming Anarchy

Robespierre, Julian Assange, and the tyrrany of the individual.

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To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is barbarity.~Maximillien Robespierre

The West so easily believes the propaganda of its own enemies. America, forged in the heart of individual freedom, now falls prey to the lies of psuedo-freedom fighters whom throw around the words fascists, tyrants and murderers as if they were play-things. George Bush was a fascist, remember?

And any such individual now becomes the defacto hero of Berkley-ites, mindless anarchists, and 16 year olds with a laptop surfing the internet in Mom’s basement. Unfortunately, the Right falls for it, too. Afterall, who likes tyranny?

But who elected Julian Assange as the arbiter of justice in America? While we hold individualism in sacred honor, in this networked modern world, the individual is capable of nearly as much tyranny as a government. This is not to demote American ideals, only to point out that an individual has no more rights than any other, and that Rule of Law is what our Democracy is founded upon; not mere liberty, which in the hands of some becomes an excuse to do anything they please and hide their lawlessness under a self-woven cloak of freedom.

Government surely should be checked. It must serve its people. But it should not serve a lawless, self-righteous, mob. Our Founding Fathers considered their actions with sober intelligence.

Assange is a modern incarnation of Robespierre, capable of swaying large swaths of people with talk of liberty and denunciations of tyranny. He works knowing that people will fixate on those two words without stopping to consider what they actually mean. But in the end it is a mere self-satisfying power-grab. Also like Robespierre, Assange is capable of almost unspeakable brutality, a brutality that hides itself in the digital, information based world we live in. He is willing to throw away the lives of people he doesn’t even know in order to raise up an ideal in which he doesn’t himself even believe in. And many worship him because he’s one man against a government. They drank Assange’s Kool-Aid. And that Kool-Aid has created a new generation of enrage’s.

Robespierre was willing to slaughter anyone that stood in his way. So is Assange. He is in fact what he accuses the government of being: A Machiavellian construct.

Let’s end with another quote from Robespierre, which one can easily imagine coming from the lips of Assange:

The goal of the constitutional government is to conserve the Republic; the aim of the revolutionary government is to found it… The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation; it owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death… These notions would be enough to explain the origin and the nature of laws that we call revolutionary … If the revolutionary government must be more active in its march and more free in his movements than an ordinary government, is it for that less fair and legitimate? No; it is supported by the most holy of all laws: the Salvation of the People

Beautiful words which poured from the lips of an utterly brutal ideologue.

Assange: 4th Generation Enemy

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Recently, the question has arisen as to if Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame is a terrorist. In truth, this semantic issue is only important to the lawyers who may, in the future, find themselves either defending or prosecuting individuals who use cyber-attacks to deny service, or spread confidential or secret information.
 
The actions of Julian Assange are an expression of 4th Generation Warfare, a term coined by William Lind. For those not familiar, Lind classified war into 4 generations as follows:
 
Gen. 1) Line and column, Napoleonic warfare
Gen. 2) Dependence on firepower and linear attack and defence; WW1
Gen. 3) Mobility used to attack weak points in the enemy’s rear ie Blitzkrieg, Desert Storm etc.
Gen. 4) Non-linear, guerilla warfare, non-massed attacks, using a full spectrum concept of  political attacks, undermining cultural legitimacy, deception, terror, and cyber-attacks etc.
 
Because of the immense power of state military structures, the 4th generation fighter seeks every loophole available, in the true concept of Sun Tzu. Legal loopholes are exploited, the media is fully employed as a weapon for shaping the enemy and friendly population’s opinion.
 
Some argue that the generation classifications of warfare are themselves, mere semantics. That guerillas have always exploited the weaknesses of behemothic state war machines. This is true of course, but we are not only talking about guerilla warfare. What we are witnessing is a concerted effort to use our very strengths against us. Our laws, technology, openness to outside points of view and freedom have now become a sword in the hands of our enemies.
 
Despite our cynicism about government, the state finds itself bound more by laws than the non-state actor. Combining the delegitimizing of the state; technological advances which have catapulted the potential of the individual to previously undreamt of levels; the 24 hour news cycle; and the collapse of the bi-polar, Cold War, world, the 4th generation of warfare will be cause for trouble and concern for decades to come.
 
The 4th generation of warfare blurs the line between politics, crime and war. That is why there is so much talk about these issues now. Terrorism and cyber-attacks not only damage our system, they call into question the very ethos upon which our system is built. Witness the legal aspects of terror detainees, trial locations for those captured in the War on Terror, the moral and legal uncertainties of drone attacks in Pakistan.
 
We must come to the realization that our enemies are attacking our weaknesses, not our strengths. We are held captive, much as the British were in the American Revolution, by archaic and mythological honorable forms of war. We hope that Rule of Law can control the primeval passions of stateless idealogues and that static legislation can cup the liquid nature of intelligent enemies.  
Our enemies read and know Sun Tzu. Our leaders read the results of recent polling.

A pig with lipstick is still a pig

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According to this report, the Whitehouse has banned the use of the word Islam when it comes to describing or reporting Islamic terrorists.

This doctrine was proven true, when in the Pentagon’s report on Major Hasan’s assassination of 13 US Soldiers could not even mention the fact that Hasan was a fundamentalist Islamic, or that Islam was a prime, motivating factor in his crime. Here is a man who made contact with al-Qaeda officials approximately 20 times, yelled the name of his Muslim god as he repeatedly drilled lead into men he swore to fight and die with–if need be. Major Hasan was some Soldier’s last hope. He treated people with PTSD who have fought in our wars. He betrayed them. He betrayed his nation.  If not Islam, what was his motivation?

The coffins of Soldiers killed by Major Hassan
The coffins of Soldiers killed by Major Hasan

What a slap in the face to the Soldiers who sought psychiatric care from the Army. Instead of worrying about damaged warriors who put their life on the line, the Pentagon and this administration were worried about offending people sworn to kill us.

The reflexive argument is: Well, just because Timothy McVeigh declared he was a Christian, doesn’t mean all Christians want to be mass murderers.

Is this where we’ve come? Do we not know by instinct whom the enemy is? Sure, it is not all Islamic peoples. This is a Great Strawman set up by people who’ve never been in a real conflict. We don’t–and never have–targeted all Islamic people. We’ve protected them when they were the victims of genocide. Does anyone remember Bosnia? Kosovo? 

We are targeting the men whom are targeting us, and they happen to be Muslims. If you are Muslim, and are not committed to jihad against the United States, then you are not our enemy. Is it not that simple? Can we not see the degrees between one, lone bomber in Oklahoma City two decades ago, and the onrushing wave of thousands of sworn jihadists? How does the label of Christian terrorist stand against Muslim terrorist? About 15,000 dead people since 2001 is the difference. But our incompetant Secretary of Homeland Security worries about backlash against Muslims. Like that’s the way Americans act. She believes that the average American is a raving red-neck with a 2nd grade education, a trunk-load of ammunition and an urge to kill people with mocha-colored skin. I got news for ya, Janet.

And yet, General George Casey, Army Chief of Staff had this to say after Hasan mowed down his own (we thought) brothers:

“What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.”

Diversity? Who joined the Army because of diversity? Most people joined the military because of sameness. They hoped that all of the people that they worked with respected America and its values. They knew that each person standing and fighting beside them had raised their right hand and promised to die before giving up the Republic. They joined not because they hoped everyone was different, but because–despite the differences— everyone could function as a team. General Casey said it outright: Being different is more important than the safety and integrity of the Soldier’s unit. General Casey was saying exactly what he thought this administration wanted him to say. Because Democrats are obsessed with diversity.

Who was the enemy in Germany in 1943? Can we call them Nazis? I’m sure not every person registered tot he Nazi Party actually picked up a rifle and shot at our troops.

In 1864, who was the Union Army fighting? Was it ok to call them Rebels? Or did that just make them fight harder and create more enemies?

What exactly would it take to be able to call the majority of modern-day terrorists, Islamic?

Here’s the ironic thing: The terrorists want us to know that they are acolytes of Islam. That’s why they plead guilty in most of the cases against them. They state clearly that they want the West to clearly understand that they knew what they were doing and that they are proud to be fighting in the name of Allah.

And yet the current administration takes the course of an ostrich; it buries its head and hopes its enemies won’t see its gigantic, bulbous body. We’ll drone on endlessly about Guantanomo. Our elites will smack their lips over lattes in smug agreement. But when Soldiers die, Amnesty International is nowhere to be found.

We can expect that the platitudes will keep flying. Political Correctness is worth dying for to some. But it’s an insult to the intellectually honest.

Republicans play into Dem hands on Steele’s comments

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RNC chairman Michael’s Steels’ recent comments about the Afghan War has Republicans up in arms. The people who are upset say that Republicans don’t politicize war.

Steele’s comment, that the war is Obama’s war, have the the people at MSNBC smelling blood. Jon Stewart, too.  They say the statement is not historically correct. Really? You mean to tell me that as President Obama couldn’t order all of our troops to immediately withdraw? When does anything that is now happening become the responsibility of this administration?

Than I heard Pat Buchanan talking today. I agreed with him, that the Republicans should not squash dissent. But then he said that the Republicans should not let the party be defined by people like Charles Krauthammer. Pat, Pat, Pat. If you read Krauthammer–who’s the most read conservative writer for a reason– you’d know that he was against the surge in Afghanistan.  And I was, too. But I’m not against identifying the real enemy–fundamentalist Islam, unlike our own government, whom in a recent report on  Major Hassan ‘s assassination of 12 US Soldiers, couldn’t be bothered to mention that radical Islam may have been his primary motivation. I guess slaughtering a dozen unarmed people whom you don’t know while screaming “Alahu Akbar!” (God is Great!) was the result of Tourrette’s  Syndrome.

Jon Stewart gave his usual amazed look while talking about Steele’s comments, saying that Steele has no clue about the history of the war. Well, wasn’t this exactly what Obama ran on? Didn’t he say repeatedly that we needed to exit Iraq immediately? So the argument that Obama has to stay in Afghanistan because leaving would hurt American prestige and strategic position doesn’t hold water.

Oil spill bullying

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When I began writing my novel in 2006, my original concept of the main character, Craig Looms, was him being like a cousin of mine, whom I grew up with. My cousin was the target of constant bullying from other kids. Oft times, I was forced to defend him from these other kids. I was a small kid with a big mouth. I too experienced bullying, but I didn’t sit back and take it the way others sometimes did. I did everything I could to make the bully look stupid. I’d make fun of him in front of the class, tease him about his inability to pronounce words while reading aloud, mock his apeish movements.  And guess what? They stopped the bullying. But I knew when the fight was over. I never bullied weaker people, and all of this led to a life-long hatred of bullying. And not just the school yard variety.

My cousin on the other hand, was obese, un-athletic, lacking in hygienic instinct and hickishly unpolitical.

My concept of Craig Looms morphed over time. Originally I wanted to show that when someone is picked on, they are more likely to abuse power if they every gain it, because of all the wrongs that have been done to them. Not only do their own wrongs feel justified, they learn to enjoy the sadism just as their own tormentors did. This is what I saw with my own cousin. On several occasions ,when a small group of knuckle-dragging bullies taunted and tormented him, and even resorted to physical violence, I’d step in to protect him. Mostly it usually just took me standing behind him with my arms folded. I had a rather nasty reputation as someone who was willing to fight.

When the bullies backed off, many times my cousin would immediately begin making things worse. One time, while I stood behind him, the bullies suddenly becoming shy and timid, he threw a raw egg at one brute, covering his pants in yolk. I grabbed him and drug him back to the house. I think I may have slapped him around a bit.

This whole BP oil thing brings much of this past to my mind. Now I know it will outrage some that I can view BP as being the victim in any of this disaster, but I think the politicians and our own public are going way too far. Recently, during congressional hearings on the spills, Republican Pep Joseph Cao of Louisiana suggested that an BP executive kill himself:

Americans are really disappointing me with their words during this spill. What happened to the classic American stoic? The person who rolls up his sleaves, stops pointing fingers after the problem has been identified, and gets to work. Yeah, we get it. BP spilled some oil. Saddam Hussein didn’t get nearly this much attention when he loosed the taps to his wells in the Persian Gulf, creating the largest spill in history. And he lit over 600 wells on fire. Imagine the carbon foot print… But leftists can rarely bring themselves to be critical of America’s enemies, so they let Saddam off the hook.

The politicians have read the political grafitti. Now they’re piling on and punching BP in the gut while the American people hold the oil company down. With each punch, the bully-politicians look for the approval of public. Who can land the most vicious blow? Who can prove they have the biggest cajones? It’s a pack of jackals on a wounded elephant. And oh what an easy target, Big Oil. Every news organization, every politician every pundit–except maybe Rush–is taking their free shots while they can get them. It’s quite pathetic and stands in contrast to past American generations

America–stop whining. Always consider the historical context here. If you destroy BP–which you probably will–you’ll only hurt yourself. Stop embarrasing yourself. You even went overboard with BP Exec  Carl-Henric Svanberg’s “Small People” comment.  Is there anything more disgusting than refusing an apology? That’s what the man was doing.

I guess there is one thing more disgusting: Enjoying your victimhood.