November 29th, 2006

The paradoxial dangers of “humane war”

Varifrank has written about our modern way of warfare and our attempt to wage it with greater respect for human life. Please take a look.

Respect for human life is a good thing, right? I would be the first to say so. War is an affront to that respect because it inevitably involves wholesale killing–not only of the military, but of civilians.

The history of warfare is of one horrific mess of slaughter and destruction. In ancient times whole cities were routinely razed, their inhabitants slain or sold into slavery. Those traditional Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse–Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death–rode together for a reason, because the deliberate killing of warfare was often accompanied by disease and starvation.

The First World War represented a new crescendo in terms of military casualties (take a look; it makes shocking reading even now). World War I could aptly be described as a carnage that destroyed a large percentage of the best and brightest of a whole generation of Western Europe, and all for a cause that remained murky. That war, in particular, represented a turning point in the whole idea of war as a glorious endeavor, and replaced it with the notion of war as a dreadful and in many cases pointless slaughter.

This new idea, of course, did not stop the world from entering into an even worse conflagration in just a few years. I say “worse” because of sheer numbers and scope, as well as the much higher number of deaths within the civilian population. During World War I most civilian deaths had been at the hands of the ancillary Horseman of Pestilance: specifically, influenza. During World War II most civilian deaths were from the widescale aerial bombardment of cities.

Pacifists like to say that war has never solved anything. But that is most manifestly untrue. Certain things have indeed been solved by war, such as the ambitions of Adolf Hitler, and/or the ownership of certain territory.

It depends, of course, on one’s definition of the word “solved.” Human nature is such that the lion permanently bedding down with the lamb seems highly unlikely. Conflicts continue and almost certainly always will. New tyrants rise up–and, strangely enough, those tyrants tend to resist efforts at talk and/or reason and/or compromise. The call of power and violence always beckons.

But we have become reluctant to respond by killing on the scale of previous wars. That seems a good thing, an example of progress in the way people look at each other–not as cannon fodder, but as fellow human beings. At the same time (and this is no coincidence) we have been able to develop weapons so smart that we can come much closer than ever before to realizing our humane goal of reducing casualties, especially civilian ones.

It’s a one-sided development, however, and therein lies the rub. The enemy doesn’t seem to share it; and, although they also don’t yet share our possession of nuclear weapons, they are determined to acquire them and no doubt they will do so in fairly short order.

What’s more, the enemy has learned how to use our reluctance to harm civilians to their advantage, by the use of human shields and the purposeful targeting of civilians on both sides. This enemy doesn’t just not care how many of us they kill; they are positively delighted to do so, and revel in it; and they are not at all reluctant to kill a goodly number of their own civilians, either directly, or by letting us do them the favor as they carefully position those civilians in harm’s way.

Good intentions are something, but they are not everything. As the proverb says, they often have a tendency to backfire and lead to their opposite. The enemy doesn’t see our kindly attitude as an example of what nice guys we are; they see it as a weakness to be exploited. And exploit it they do.

So we are left with a dilemma. Our kindness will probably lead to widespread killing–if not now, then later; if not by us, then by others. So many make the argument that if we are to wage war, it must be waged with greater vigor and ruthlessness than we seem able to muster lately.

Varifrank points to how the Allies in World War II managed to “persuade” European civilians to cooperate and turn in insurgents hiding in their midst: by artillery barrage of the town itself. He also points out that our failure to do this sort of thing in the current situation of assymtrical warfare with the present enemy leaves civilians open to the tender mercies of those enemies. And that unfortunately, is no mercy at all.

If you haven’t yet read Meade’s essay on the Jacksonian tradition, please do. The Jacksonian strain in American culture is not eager to go to war. But it argues that if one does do so, it can’t be done with halfway measures. And this is not because Jacksonians are especially bloodthirsty. Rather, they believe that, in the end, a polite and respectful war leads to more bloodshed, and fails to resolve even the limited number of problems that wars can resolve.

This doesn’t mean that every war requires the no-holds barred use of every weapon in our arsenal. But the Gulf War is an excellent modern-day example. Our failure to topple Saddam did no favor to anyone, and some of the distrust sown in the civilian population of Iraq for our reneging on promises bore fruit in their reluctance to trust us in this later, and linked, war.

The official combat phase of the present Iraq war was so quick and inflicted so few casulaties on us that people often fail to realize that one of the reasons for this was not just our superior firepower, but the fact that the enemy had learned that conventional war was not the best way to engage us. So it laid low and made plans for an “insurgency” that would have absolutely no mercy on the civilian population. This would not only have the effect of terrorizing that unforunate group, but of sapping American will, already considered weak.

Speaking of that weakness, one would do well to ponder this statement by Joseph Stalin, made to Zhou Enlai in 1952 and quoted in the book Vietnam the Necessary War by Michael Lind (an author who, by the way, defies attempts at right-left categorization):

No, Americans don’t know how to fight. After the Korean War, in particular, they have lost the capability to wage a large-scale war…They are fighting little Korea, and already people are weeping in the USA. What will happen if they start a large scale war? Then, perhaps, everyone will weep.

And so it still plays out. Whether the Jacksonian impulse will reassert itself in American life–what it might require to get to that point, what form the response will take, and how many will weep as a result–is anybody’s guess. It won’t be pretty–but then, war never is, despite our best efforts to make it so.

87 Responses to “The paradoxial dangers of “humane war””

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    It must be noted that war has also solved women’s suffrage and the integration of blacks into the military and the greater civilian life. Wars break down prejudices, if only because it requires an honest look when in a life and death situation.

    If we had not been at war with Islamic Jihad, we would not see the core of their evil and abuse of human beings, now would we. Words, lies, illusions, all have greater reach during peace time than during war time. The fact that you see so many liars and propagandists floating around this conflict, is because too much emphasis is on the media and not enough on how many people can we kill.

    You take war out of the hands of the honorable and duty bound soldier, and give it to the spy and assassin who knows no honor nor duty except greed and ambition. The very fact that you allow hostage takers to make millions upon millions of dollars taking people against their will, instead of finding these people and making examples out of the kidnappers, is one example why the less killing there is in war, the more power that propaganda, lies, and ideology derive.

    One can make an argument that ideology and false myth is more of a lethal weapon than bombs, given Nazism and Communism. And I believe that argument to be true. War is at its heart, nature’s way to remind the human race that we just can’t float up to utopia and decide that whatever we like, will work. There are laws that even the human race must obey, the most powerful of nature’s children. When some ideology comes up, we fight about it. Sometimes with words, sometimes with swords. Each side gives their all, and the losing party admits defeat and the strength of the victor. Sort of like a democracy, except the rules are set down by nature, not a Constitution.

    When you try to change the nature of warfare, the one thing you cannot change is the nature of humanity. You have not the power of Nature or of God. All you may succede at is changing the nature of warfare so that spies and assassins have more power than soldiers. Not quite a good idea in my view.

  2. anon Says:

    Easy to be a “jacksonian” hero in your safe little house. Meanwhile other people die at the rate of hundreds a day. How many more do you want to see killed before you think America is conducting war to your satisfaction?

  3. Steve Says:

    In World War Two, the “insurgents” in Europe were called “partisans” and the Germans dealt with them with a ruthlessness and cruelty that they have only in the past 20 years come to recognize with shame. Moreover, the only thing they got for it was some 60 years of hatred. I really don’t think we should be following that example.

    The argument gets confusing because there are two ideas of war and three scenarios going on.

    The war in Iraq, as a “war” involving one state versus another state is long over. To the extent that there is still a “war” is because there is no competent state to replace the one we overthrew. But it is not “war” in the sense that, I beat your army, now do what I say. There is no army, just a bunch of gangs and mobs. So, if we go into a place like Sadr City, and threaten to (say) bomb an apartment complex, the only thing we will accomplish is add to the climate of violence and lack of security and order. The gangs will not meet us on open ground, and the people will not turn them in, either out of fear, or out of loyalty. If we just, say, kill a few hundred K Iraqis in some urban center we might kill some insurgents, but we won’t stop the insurgency, and we will surely gain the enmity of any survivors. I guess what I am saying is that our failure to “pacify” Iraq is not an issue of not killing indiscriminately enough. We are well past that point.

  4. Ymarsakar Says:

    One resource you should read/reread, Neo, is Sherman’s letter to Atlanta. It portrays Fallujah in a new light if you know what to look for and where to compare.

    Varifrank doesn’t provide the link, but he should.

    link

    That’s history straight from primary sources, neo.

  5. Steve Says:

    Then again, there are at least 3 scenarios we are talking about.

    #1 – Iraq. The main problem in Iraq is that there is no peace or security. Some people advocate just bombing some Iraqi city to instill obedience. Obedience to whom? Maliki? We can’t control Iraq. Let them kill each other, if they must.

    #2 – Israel. The Palestinians know that if they can get the IDF to kill some civilians they get PR points. That’s all this is about. The Israelis can no more impose order on the Palestinian populations than we can in Iraq; they’ve been trying for some 20 years.

    #3 – Iran. Some people are convinced that we have to bomb Iran. Others are not. We’ll see what happens.

    We are having trouble imposing order on the ME not because of a lack of brutality. We are having trouble because we as a nation are not committing enough resources to the job.

  6. Steve Says:

    By the way, the Sherman-Atlanta analogy also folds, because there was a war on: the only reason Sherman marched to the sea was to destroy confederate logistics. Once the confederate armies surrendered, the Union largely withdrew to its own cantons, and did little to stop the evolution of the KKK, or the “second serfdom” of the African American population of the south.

  7. anon Says:

    go on then steve, how many resources? how many dead people until you are happy? Do you people ever think where all this is leading?

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    I will say one thing, and that is that steve is wrong because he misunderstands what is actually being advocated and he misunderstands the available options. Sheer unwillingness to use those millions upon millions of troops that steve prefers to have, is no excuse for being unable to see what is scattered across the battlefield.

    The direct connection between Sherman’s evacuating and burning of Atlanta, is Fallujah. As Neo and Co well knows, the evacuation of Fallujah allowed terroists to scatter to Mosul and other places to strike again. However, you could still evacuate Fallujah and achieve Sherman’s psychological damage if you destroyed Fallujah with a nuclear device after you had evacuated and cleared it with US Marines. As a psychologist, Neo, you obviously know the Pavlovian response in human beings. People do what they get rewarded for, and avoid what they get punished for.

    The harboring of terrorists in Fallujah must be met with ruthless psychological warfare as well as material damage to the terrorist infrastructure and command chain. If Fallujah was taken down in the manner that I described, and it is not so much different from what actually happened if you recall neo, then you will have a breathing space. A breathing space in which to push your enemies faster and harder, until they collapse into the dust and die of heat stroke. Immediately following Fallujah, you must, you must I say, find another city to pacify. Except you give that city even less time to evacuate. You escalate the danger and the fear. The people who favor more troops and the bigger hammer approach, are constitutionally incapable of understanding how to use limited resources in a surgical and smart manner that breaks the will of the enemy. You can either choose from the stupid brutality and ruthlessness of the Russian assassins and the German extermination squads, Neo, or you can choose from the American model. William Tecumseh Sherman.

    You could always go Chamberlain, but for some reason I don’t think you will do that.

    Eventually, after 2 or 5 or 10 cities in the Sunni Triangle had been pacified, people would start to realize that America doesn’t play around. That if you see a terrorist, you had better kill him with your bare hands, because if the Americans find him with you, they will obliterate you without mercy. Intelligent and effective ruthlessness requires hard action to be taken, but it also requires ethics. You’ve said before that the best propaganda is based upon the truth. Well the best ruthless tactics are based upon ethics. Sherman offered the people of Atlanta and Georgia his protection, if they would give up the war. He combined incentive with punishment. Rewards with decentives.

    Absolute horrendous punishments must be enforced and used. And yet, justice and ethics must hold sway over those who deserve it. Those who do give up, those who do want peace, those who do side with us against war and terror. Absolute terror with absolute rew

  9. Steve Says:

    Anon: I know exactly where this is going, it’s going to end up in a war for the control of oil, and it behooves the US to win that fight. We will not win that war by dropping bombs on people alone. We will have to have a large army to defeat our opponents armies and to occupy the land. We need a bigger Army, and more Marines: NOT for Iraq, but for the region in general, and for the future.

    You must have me confused with that other Steve. ;-)

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    reward. Absolute punishment with heavenly rewards. Such is the manner that the raw material of the human race, may be shaped into a thing of beauty. That is the American model, used against Japan successfully in WWII. That is the model successfully used against the Navajo and Comanche warriors.

    You can follow the American model or you can follow the model of Ralph Peters. Your choice. Bush doesn’t like either, so he seems to like sitting on the fence. Bad idea.

  11. Steve Says:


    if you destroyed Fallujah with a nuclear device

    The harboring of terrorists in Fallujah must be met with ruthless psychological warfare

    Immediately following Fallujah, you must, you must I say, find another city to pacify. Except you give that city even less time to evacuate. You escalate the danger and the fear

    Eventually, after 2 or 5 or 10 cities in the Sunni Triangle had been pacified, people would start to realize that America doesn’t play around.

    Now, how can I argue with that?!?

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    We will have to have a large army to defeat our opponents armies and to occupy the land.

    It never changes with you steve, it never does. You are still thinking in old school terms about defeating our opponent’s armies, as if they had armies worth beating or simply beating the armies would accomplish anything.

    I could give a General 500 million soldiers with a 50 to 50 ratio in combat trigger pullers, and he’ll still lose because he was fighting the last war.

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    Now, how can I argue with that?!?
    Steve | 11.29.06 – 4:33 pm | #

    You don’t even know what I’m talking about. You were never one who prefered contributing much time to thinking about psychological warfare. The old army has always believed that large Army Corps with armored columns could take and hold any terrain. This was Cold War mentality, and the Iraqis proved quite recently that the old let’s push to the capital with tanks, doesn’t work. Times are changing, steve. Will you change with it?

  14. Trimegistus Says:

    Okay, Anon: you’re obviously a sooper-genius about Mideast policy, so enlighten us. How will abandoning Iraq to chaos and terror _prevent_ deaths? How will giving in to terrorism _prevent_ future terrorist acts? How will giving way to Iran’s imperial ambitions _prevent_ the spread of radical Islam?

    You’re like someone complaining about the blood in an operating room while the surgeon is trying to save someone from cancer.

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    Look, even Brits see it. albeit a rare Brit

    You don’t need a doctorate in Military Science to get what this war is about at heart.

    Why we are losing

    Michael Novak makes the absolutely vital point that the war against the free world is not primarily a military or terrrorist onslaught but a psychological war, a war of ideas and hearts and minds and confidence and will. And in this war, the media of the free world are the jihadis’ biggest weapon against that free world:

    Besides, brothers, there seems to be a psychological tic in the minds of American journalists, which prevents them from understanding that our terror is ultimately aimed at them. Today, yes, they think it is aimed at their government, and will cripple their political opponents within that government. Without qualm or fear, therefore, they do our bidding day after day. Willingly, gleefully, with much self-congratulation, they pump our storyline into the bloodstream of the Western public. This is far easier than anyone ever taught us. This is our new discovery, our contribution to the history of warfare. Before our very eyes, the West grows fainter and weaker every day.

    We design these images to show that our fighters will go where the United States will not, that our brave martyrs have harder linings in their stomachs than anyone in the West, and that our ferocity and determination, day after day, cannot be resisted. The aim of our terror is to induce surrender before the great battles are even fought. This is the true meaning of ‘asymmetric’ warfare. The weaker side in military strength may demonstrate conclusively that it has a stronger stomach for relentless, unstoppable acts of terror.

    The terroists are babes compared to the stomach of a Sherman. But then again, Bush ain’t a Sherman.

  16. epaminondas Says:

    I go with WT..

    War is cruelty and you cannot refine it

    Every attempt to make war safer and convenient will meet with humiliation and disaster

    The very object of war is to produce results by death and slaughter, but the moment a battle occurs the newspapers make the leader responsible for the death and misery, whether of victory or defeat (June 6 1862)

  17. justaguy Says:

    #2 – Israel. The Palestinians know that if they can get the IDF to kill some civilians they get PR points. That’s all this is about. The Israelis can no more impose order on the Palestinian populations than we can in Iraq; they’ve been trying for some 20 years. – Steve

    Oh yeah, that is what that is all about. Jeeebuss.

    “Okay, Anon: you’re obviously a sooper-genius about Mideast policy, so enlighten us. How will abandoning Iraq to chaos and terror _prevent_ deaths? How will giving in to terrorism _prevent_ future terrorist acts? How will giving way to Iran’s imperial ambitions _prevent_ the spread of radical Islam?” – Trimegistus.

    What evidence do you have of Iran’s “Imperial designs” please? And please, no airy speculation from neocon nutjob pundits who’ve been wrong about everything before. Some actual evidence.

    And,

    In a State Department poll published in September, huge majorities (of Iraqis) say the U.S. is directly responsible for the violence. The upsurge of bloodshed in Baghdad seems to confirm the Iraqis’ view, at least by inference. The much-publicized U.S. effort to bring troops to Baghdad to quell sectarian killing has accompanied a period of increased mortality in the city.

  18. snowonpine Says:

    I have always wondered how anyone could believe the bumper sticker idea that “war never solved anything.” War, in fact, has settled a lot of things—Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan are merely the more recent major cases of such settling in a long line stretching back to Carthage and, I am sure, into pre-recorded history. The President of Iran, Ahmenidijad, to listen to his words, is certainly counting on war to solve his problems with Israel and the Jews and, then, with the United States.

    The supposed Churchill statement that “To jaw, jaw is better than to war, war” i.e. “We should always be willing to talk” is another mindless slogan that is just assumed to be correct on humanitarian principles. When an opponent has clearly stated that he wants to kill us over and over again, and he has proven over and over again, that he is dishonest and will violate any possible agreement no matter how earnestly he says he will abide by it, it does absolutely no good to talk to him unless we get a major, concrete, measurable benefit from such talks. Such talks have to be strictly controlled by us, with a definite timetable and goals that, if not met by our deadline, spell the end of such talks; this seems to be the antithesis of how our State Department conducts negotiations. That is why talking to North Korea and now Iran is a waste of time and serves only their purposes; it puts our naivety and weakness on display for the whole world, it buys them more time to plan and arm, serves as a great propaganda vehicle for them and prevents us from actively fighting them when to do so would be more advantageous to us.

    We likewise do neither ourselves nor anyone else a favor when we pull our punches in the belief that we are being more humane. This extends the conflict, drives up the misery and body count and as we see in Iraq, could get us out-maneuvered and thwarted in our aims. I’m afraid that this generation of Americans will have to learn the bloody lessons of WWII all over again. One of those lessons was that in war fighting moderation, hesitation, “humanity” often gets more of us killed, prolongs the war and also means that when we do learn and apply the lessons we have bought at great cost in lives, it will go much harder on our opponents.

    I also see absolutely no comfort in being defeated but knowing that we “occupy the moral high ground.” I would much rather win, to live, be free and then deal with whatever fallout comes from our ruthlessness.

  19. justaguy Says:

    “The official combat phase of the present Iraq war was so quick and inflicted so few casulaties on us that people often fail to realize that one of the reasons for this was not just our superior firepower, but the fact that the enemy had learned that conventional war was not the best way to engage us. So it laid low and made plans for an “insurgency” that would have absolutely no mercy on the civilian population. This would not only have the effect of terrorizing that unforunate group, but of sapping American will, already considered weak.”

    Actually what happened was that the Iraqi volunteer military was not disarmed but dismissed summarily and sent off to seethe in unemployment while the US forces failed to address the growing lawlessness.

    The CRA also dismissed the so called ba’athist technocrats and civil service who had the necessary experience, knowledge and skills to run the country’s economy and infrastructure and replaced them mostly with young Republican political appointees whose only qualification was to fund raise for the Republican party back home.

    The invasion was illegal, the occupation has been criminal in its incompetence and outright stupidity and large scale corruption.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    What Saddam did was he gave orders that if communications from him failed, for the entire infrastructure of the Iraqi government to disperse, on punishment by Saddam Fedayeen death squads.

    This prevents the US from filling in the power vacuum. And it is a pretty smart strategy. It didn’t work for Saddam, but it still caused problems.

    You have to understand the enemy if you want to defeat him. And Neo has made great progress in this regard, for herself and for others.

  21. pete Says:

    The various neocon declarations about the “war” in Iraq should be remembered
    at this point. “The war would pay for itself” they said. “WMDs” they said. “Spreading midlle-east democracy” they said. “Oh don’t be a shrill liberal, it will never be anything like Vietnam” they said.

    Those of us who remember Vietnam recognize Neos latest argument something we have heard many times before. “We just didn’t kill enough
    of them” they say.

    The problem, Neo, is that there is simply no reason to be killing Iraqis. There was no reason in 2003 to begin the killing and there is no reason now to escalate the killing. What you propose is an effective solution to a phantom problem.

    But you know that. Don’t you.

  22. mary Says:

    Easy to be a “jacksonian” hero in your safe little house. Meanwhile other people die at the rate of hundreds a day. How many more do you want to see killed before you think America is conducting war to your satisfaction?

    It’s easy to be a pacifist hero in your safe little house. Meanwhile, people die or are enslaved at a rate of thousands per day as a result of pacifist inaction in places like the Sudan, Rwanda, Mauritania. How many do more do you want to see killed?

    The problem in Iraq isn’t our humane tactics, it was our complete lack of tactical or strategic planning.

    The Arabs/Muslims learned from the Six Day war that they can’t win fighting conventionally. Now they respond to every attack by being easily defeated, then by sending in insurgents to fight the ‘occupation’ with a terrorist ‘insurgency’. That’s how the Palestinians have been fighting for years. That’s how the Saudi-sponsored Taliban fought. Our government went into Iraq without planning for the inevitable insurgency. I still don’t understand how they could do that.

    We don’t have to kill more people, we just need to kill the right people. 9/11 was an act of war, paid for and sponsored by our Saudi Wahhabi allies. It was also paid for by Iran. Al Qaeda was sheltered by the Sudanese government. Of all of the kleptocratic leaders in the Middle East, Saddam had the least connection to 9/11 and to the sponsorship of terrorist groups. He was a threat to the stability of the area, but so is every leader there. The majority of the population is primed for war. That’s what happens when an area is ruled by tribes and gangsters – and when they have the money to kill the neighbor’s they’ve hated for centuries.

    If we were going to go to war with these gangsters, we should have treated it like the removal of a hornet’s nest – get rid of the whole mess all at once. They’re militarily weak, it wouldn’t have required the effort of WWII, and simultaneous attacks would prevent them from forming terrorist insurgencies.

    If we did it now it still wouldn’t require that much effort. But we won’t do that. We’ll rely on our homicidal Saudi alllies to maintain the peace, they’ll be ineffective because the Muslim world hates them, Iran and Syria will gain power, they’ll get nukes or at least they’ll threaten to get nukes. Sunni nations like the KSA and Egypt will also threaten/get nukes, Iran’s supremacy will be challenged by someone and the whole place will blow.

    The best course of action – try to protect our real allies in the area, like Israel and Kurdistan, try not to get hit by the debris and develop alternatives to oil

  23. pete Says:

    Should read:

    an ineffective solution to a phantom problem.

  24. pete Says:

    “If we were going to go to war with these gangsters”

    That’s some Freudian slip there mary!

  25. pete Says:

    It was people like Mary that lit the obvious powder keg and now they are
    astonished that it blew. And she expects anyone to take her seriously?

  26. justaguy Says:

    It was also paid for by Iran – Mary

    Mary, Al Qaeda are sunni extremists bent on killing Shias. Iran is a Shia theocracy.

    Do you see a problem here?

    “We don’t have to kill more people, we just need to kill the right people”

    That is exactly the neocons plan in Iraq.

    It isn’t working.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t think I’ve read as much ignorance and stupidity in one post and one thread since I’ve been on this site.

    I’m repulsed and tickled pink at the same time.

    But it’s a redundant theme amongst psuedo-thinkers of the neoconservative persuasion – who forget that they’re about democratization and liberation and stability.

    But for the uneducated, unthinking drones who think that Iraq will be pacified by massacres and blitzkreigs – I remind you.

    These kind of things have a way of pissing people off – all over the world.

    And sure – you don’t care. But even your half-brained military planners know that it’s not effective for long-term American security.

    It’s incomprehensiable that somebody would spend an afternoon ‘thinking’ that if we just terrorized the population of Iraq more they will just cave and suddenly acccept American domination.

    Not gonna happen folks.

    Vietnam proved clearly that despite wiping out entire villages, raping killing, burning, killing babies and all imaginable types of atrocities, killing civilians in the millions – nobody is going to accept you occupying their land.

    Especially not in Muslim countries.

    They’re frikkin’ nuts over there I hear…

  28. justaguy Says:

    The best course of action – try to protect our real allies in the area, like Israel and Kurdistan, – Mary.

    Yeah, creating an independent Kudistan will really cool things down. Israel’s number 1 ally, Turkey will be real happy.

  29. Sally Says:

    Mary: If we were going to go to war with these gangsters, we should have treated it like the removal of a hornet’s nest – get rid of the whole mess all at once.

    Good comment in general, Mary, and a good point. You’re right in that it’s the region as a whole that is the problem — it’s a porous, pestilential breeding ground for terrorists, artificially sustained by oil money, and supported either actively or passively by an assortment of tyrannies, theocracies, and thugocracies. But singling out Iraq, as opposed to taking on the whole region at once, made sense for a variety of reasons — it was arguably the worst of a bad lot, it had actually used WMDs in the past and could reasonably be suspected of using them in the future, it was the most hostile to US at least, it occupied the strategic heart of the region, and it harbored a number of terrorist organizations and training camps (as did, and do, others, admittedly). However, that focus only made sense if Iraq were to be used as a base and vantage point from which drain the entire swamp, starting with Iran and Syria, and moving quickly to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria, the Sudan, etc. And yes, to do that, neo’s quite right that it would have taken — and still will take — a much more thorough-going and determined military effort than we’ve been able to muster so far. The point isn’t, as you say, just to kill people — it IS to be determined to kill the right people even if others are in the way. We still have time to learn this lesson now, when the costs to everyone can still be kept relatively low; if we wait for another 9/11 or worse, it will be too late.

  30. justaguy Says:

    Oh jolly good, I expect we can declare imminent your parachuting into Tehran for a spot of swamp-draining?

    Seriously Sally, you really are a ridiculous fantasist and an unreconstructed and overt racist.

  31. justaguy Says:

    “Iran and Syria, and moving quickly to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria, the Sudan, etc.”

    - Sally

    How many tens of millions of troops do you have? There will be no more coalitions after the Iraq SNAFU, you know, and democratic elections will bring many more islamic parties to government, and to a man, hostile to US imperial aims.

    BTW how is selling oil an “artificial” activity? Don’t countries get to use their resources to their best advantage in the neocon new world order?

  32. Steve Says:

    Justa: I don’t mean to dismiss the Israel-Pali conflict, just that the resolution of that conflict is obvious — a blended state — and it’s a pity that people have to be terrorized and killed in the meantime.

    To recap, the Palis in the West Bank and Gaza are totally dependent on Israel, because Israel has seized all of the water sources. The infrastructure of water and power services all of the Palis as well as the Israelis and it is controlled by Israel.

    Israel doesn’t want the Palis to develop their infrastructure independently, because there are limited amounts of water and power available, and it’s a zero sum situation. But all that does is increase the dependency of the Palis on Israel on the one hand, and increase the wealth differential between the Israelis and the Palis, on the other.

    Now, when you have a situation where about 50% of your population is doing generally OK and is officially recognized, and about 50% of your population is rather, if not extremely, poor (and malnourished), what happens? Well, what happens historically? You have uprisings. Of course, the Palis aren’t asking for civil rights yet. But they will. And when they do, the left in Israel will eventually give them those rights. In fact, the Israeli government and its judiciary is very gradually ceding such rights, not only to non-Jewish Israelis, but even to the Palis in the West Bank.

    Since Sharon was stricken, the Palis bear most of the responsibility for current violence. They should knock it off and get control of their people. Then the long and painful journey will continue.

    People who propose radical solutions, or exclusive solutions, on both sides, aren’t helping. That just supports more violence. Both sides have got to live together, and they have to recognize that over the absolutism of the zealots.

    Meanwhile, the rest of it is show, and a sad show it is.

    I was never fond of Sharon but he did say something a few years back that stuck with me. Something like, “Neither my people nor the Arabs are ready for what the future will be.” If I read him right, I agree, and people should just knock it off and get along.

  33. Steve Says:

    I would like to add two other wrinkles to the violence in Iraq, as I think it must be.

    #1 About half the population in the Arab world is 15. There are enormous numbers of teenage boys hanging out with nothing to do. Now suppose your homeland was occupied. How long before your teenagers started making their bones by trying to take out one of the occupiers? Killing Americans is a sport to many Iraqi youth, I am sure.

    #2 Most of the world opposed our invasion of Iraq. Most of the world does not want the US invading countries whenever it feels like it. It is, therefore, in the strategic interest of most of the countries of the world that the US be humiliated in Iraq, and also be bogged down in Iraq. I wouldn’t be surprised, therefore, to find that most of the rest of the world is supporting the insurgency in one way or another.

  34. mary Says:

    It was people like Mary that lit the obvious powder keg and now they are
    astonished that it blew.

    Yes, with our billions of dollars and our magical ability to travel freely through all dimensions of space and time, people like me made it all happen. Some people call us the enemy but most call us figments of pete’s fevered, unmedicated imagination.

    If you knew something about history, you’d know that the powder keg was lit by men like Ibn Saud, Jack Philby and Zbigniew Brzezinski. It was lit when the Brits gave Mecca and Medina to the hated Wahhabis, it was lit when Carter decided to ally with the Islamists to fight the commies, but it hasn’t blown yet.

  35. mary Says:

    Mary, Al Qaeda are sunni extremists bent on killing Shias. Iran is a Shia theocracy.
    Do you see a problem here?

    yes, you’re a ridiculous fantasist who never reads the news

    From the Washington Post:

    Financial officers of al Qaeda and the Taliban have quietly shipped large quantities of gold out of Pakistan to Sudan in recent weeks, transiting through the United Arab Emirates and Iran, according to European, Pakistani and U.S. investigators.

    The sources said several shipments of boxes of gold, usually disguised as other products, were taken by small boat from the Pakistani port of Karachi to either Iran or Dubai, and from there mixed with other goods and flown by chartered airplanes to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

    European and U.S. intelligence officials said the movement of gold also highlighted three significant developments in the war on terrorism: the growing role of Iranian intelligence units allied with the country’s hard-line clerics in protecting and aiding al Qaeda; the potential reemergence of Sudan as a financial center for the organization; and the ability of the terrorist group to generate new sources of revenue despite the global crackdown on its finances.

    :::

    I guess the Washington post printed this because they’re racists.

  36. justaguy Says:

    Steve, I’d like nothing more than a single non-religioethnocentric democratic state there, with compensation paid to those who lost their land, and a genuine reconciliation process. This is the position of Hamas and Iran, in my analysis. It is along the lines of what Edward Said was saying I think.

    I really don’t think it is possible though in the medium term. My view is that a peace process can only begin if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders and releases all political prisoners and guarantees recognition of Palestinian’s rights to self determination and security. Only then could any real peace process begin. There must be some measure of equality in any successful negotiation.

    There never has been a peace process and Israel’s stance has always been to deny one. This has been done with Washington’s full backing. The propaganda offensive in the US has been more important than the military action on the ground. Israel is not defending itself, it is colonizing the Palestinian Territories and defending an occupation.

    The water situation is the clearest example of Israeli duplicity and systematic humiliation of the Palestinians.

    I’ve been to the West Bank quite a few times and each on trip the situation was worse. If Americans knew the reality of the situation, the government would be forced to withdraw support for Israel I believe. Nobody could support it in good conscience.

    I fear it is too late though. The apartheidt wall is the beginning of the end game IMO.

    In the long term, I believe it will be the catalyst for the destruction of Israel. Ironic indeed.

  37. mary Says:

    However, that focus only made sense if Iraq were to be used as a base and vantage point from which drain the entire swamp, starting with Iran and Syria, and moving quickly to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria, the Sudan, etc. And yes, to do that, neo’s quite right that it would have taken — and still will take — a much more thorough-going and determined military effort than we’ve been able to muster so far.

    If the American people had been running the war, that probably would have been the plan, and we’d probably be done with it by now. But we’re not.

    From their actions, it’s pretty obvious that our government’s goals were to stabliize the area and get rid of Saddam. Members of our government, Democrats and Republicans, trust our Saudi and UAE allies wholeheartedly. They will never attack them. Cheney seriously expects Saudi Arabia to maintain stability in the Middle East.

    If their (impossible) goal is to maintain stability, they’re probably just going to plod along, following the same path they’re on now, whether a Democrat or a Republican is in office – and that path leads to a more powerful Iran and a big mess in the Middle East. Unless, maybe, Rudy Giuliani wins the 2008 election :-)

  38. justaguy Says:

    Oh yeah Mary, I’ll believe an unsourced rumour in the Washington Post over logic every time.

    And all those think tanks and their experts are making this rubbish up all the time. And people like you, although you’ve been duped already, will gladly believe it if it conforms to your bias.

    Didn’t you notice that all the US press went along with the neocon’s Iraq fantasy too? They’ve gladly gone along with uncritical support for all the neocon and Bushco mirages. Not a good track record I feel.

    Read between the lines Mary and look at the history. The rhetoric is all smoke and mirrors and designed by the same people as gave you mobile weapons labs etc etc

    Sudan has history with Osama Bin Forgotten, Iran has not. They are enemies, just like Saddam was.

  39. justaguy Says:

    Am I alone in thinking that the neocons actually designed the mess in Iraq?

  40. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Anonymous: But for the uneducated, unthinking drones who think that Iraq will be pacified by massacres and blitzkreigs – I remind you.

    These kind of things have a way of pissing people off – all over the world.

    Yes, but oddly, only if the US is involved. Nobody cares enough about Darfur to do anything — or are you going to lead the resistance there? Your flight leaves when?

    And sure – you don’t care.

    And sure, you don’t care, either. Of course not. As long as it’s not you, no problem.

    It’s incomprehensiable that somebody would spend an afternoon ‘thinking’ that if we just terrorized the population of Iraq more they will just cave and suddenly acccept American domination.

    I know it. Just as incomprehensible as stuff like ‘phased redeployment,’ or talking it over with Iran and Syria, or letting Saddam stay in power after 9/11. Idiotic!

    Vietnam proved clearly that despite wiping out entire villages, raping killing, burning, killing babies and all imaginable types of atrocities, killing civilians in the millions – nobody is going to accept you occupying their land.

    Funny thing, that. The groups that really were brutal, like the Khmer Rouge, Mao’s communists, and Stalin’s bunch, occupied whatever they wanted. It’s actually pretty clear that if someone is brutal enough to gun down or starve millions to death to make a point, people tend to forget all about resisting. Real brutality, if you make it clear you’ll kill all of them if you need to, does work.

    That’s not what I think we should do, just as it wasn’t what we did in Vietnam. Counterinsurgency warfare isn’t about killing, it’s about convincing, but when your own media and a lot of leftist idiots are rooting for you to lose and supporting the enemy, well, that just keeps the blood flowing. It’s good for media ratings, and good for lefty propaganda. And laughs for you, of course.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    “. Counterinsurgency warfare isn’t about killing, it’s about convincing,”

    How do you propose to do that?

    70% + of Iraqis think you are the problem and you should skulk off, beg for forgivenness and pay to rebuild their country.

    Most of the world agrees with them I’d say.

  42. pete Says:

    “If you knew something about history, you’d know that the powder keg was lit by men like Ibn Saud, Jack Philby and Zbigniew Brzezinski. It was lit when the Brits gave Mecca and Medina to the hated Wahhabis, it was lit when Carter decided to ally with the Islamists to fight the commies, but it hasn’t blown yet.”

    Why stop there Mary. It was lit when we crawled out of the primordial ooze. And ever since then creatures like you have been stoking the flames.

    “Yes, with our billions of dollars and our magical ability to travel freely through all dimensions of space and time, people like me made it all happen.”

    Mary you should simply take responsibility for your limited participation in the Iraqi genocide. Omnipotence is not what anyone accuses you of. Believe me, nobody thinks you have subparpowers let alone superpowers.

  43. pete Says:

    Isn’t this a metaphor for the mess the neocons finds themselves in. I guess Neo and Mary would just settle the whole thing by nuking the neighborhood.

    NYTimes: Denver – Peace is fighting back in Pagosa Springs.

    Last week, a couple were threatened with fines of $25 a day by their homeowners’ association unless they removed a four-foot wreath shaped like a peace symbol from the front of their house.

    The fines have been dropped, and the three-member board of the association has resigned, according to an e-mail message sent to residents on Monday.

    Two board members have disconnected their telephones, apparently to escape the waves of callers asking what the board could have been thinking, residents said. The third board member, with a working phone, did not return a call for comment.

    In its original letter to the couple, Lisa Jensen and Bill Trimarco, the association said some neighbors had found the peace symbol politically “divisive.”

    A board member later told a newspaper that he thought the familiar circle with angled lines was also, perhaps, a sign of the devil.

    The peace symbol came to prominence in the late 1950s as the logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a British antiwar group, according to the group’s Web site. It incorporates the semaphore flag images for the letters in the group’s name, a “D” atop an “N.”

    Other people have said the upright line with arms angled down, commonplace in the United States in the Vietnam War, especially, has roots in the early Christian era, representing a twisted or broken cross.

    Mr. Trimarco said he put up the wreath as a general symbol of peace on earth, not as a commentary on the Iraq war or another political statement.

    In any case, there are now more peace symbols in Pagosa Springs, a town of 1,700 people 200 miles southwest of Denver, than probably ever in its history.

    On Tuesday morning, 20 people marched through the center carrying peace signs and then stomped a giant peace sign in the snow perhaps 300 feet across on a soccer field, where it could be easily seen.

    “There’s quite a few now in our subdivision in a show of support,” Mr. Trimarco said.

    A former president of the Loma Linda community, where Mr. Trimarco lives, said Tuesday that he had stepped in to help form an interim homeowners’ association.

    The former president, Farrell C. Trask, described himself in a telephone interview as a military veteran who would fight for anyone’s right to free speech, peace symbols included.

    Town Manager Mark Garcia said Pagosa Springs was building its own peace wreath, too. Mr. Garcia said it would be finished by late Tuesday and installed on a bell tower in the center of town.

  44. Sergey Says:

    Nobody here tried to consider Russian successes in pacifying Chechnya and North Caucasia against the same adversaries that US are fighting in Iraq: Wahhaby and al-Qaeda sponsored jihad insurgency disguised as national liberation movement. And these lessons are important.
    1) At initial stage of invasion use army and air force in overwhelming numbers and firepower to destroy urban enemy strongholds.
    2) In urban warfare for cleaning up pockets of resistance use small, mobile, highly trained special forces commando units.
    3) After this initial stage when territory is effectively occupied, redeploy army units into fortified, well guarded garrisons, and use them later only as fire support in emergency situations.
    4) Do not play democracy where it does not belong – at least seriously. Use democratic procedures only for propaganda aims. Real power in tribal societies always belong to strongmen, clan liders. Choose such guys that are ready to cooperate and give them weapons, cash and free hand to establish their rule.
    5) Hunt and kill leaders of insurgency and especially foreign emissary. Use only special forces commando for this, plant agents for intelligence gathering and killing of big bosses.
    6) Have patience and consistency – this is a long war indeed. Ignore opposition rants.

  45. Anonymous Says:

    “Yes, but oddly, only if the US is involved. Nobody cares enough about Darfur to do anything — or are you going to lead the resistance there? Your flight leaves when?”

    PJ – Don’t know what that means, mate. We’re talking about Iraq – a U.S endeavour. Sudan? Why would I lead a resistance there? What are you talking about man?? It isn’t ‘nobody’ who doesn’t care about Sudan -it’s the world’s indominatable leader who isn’t up to the job of spreading good cheer in the middle east right now – let alone having any influence in Sudan – besides, there probably isn’t any good targets in Sudan.

    “And sure, you don’t care, either. Of course not. As long as it’s not you, no problem.”

    As long as it’s not me being a bloodsthirsty idiot advocating murder and mayhem – your right, I don’t care. That’s my first priority.

    “I know it. Just as incomprehensible as stuff like ‘phased redeployment,’ or talking it over with Iran and Syria, or letting Saddam stay in power after 9/11. Idiotic!”

    Is phased redeployment idiotic? I didn’t know that. But it looks like your hero’s are going to do that very soon, so take it up with them. And nevermind the talk lets hurry up with the Armegeddon already. Very smart!

    “It’s good for media ratings, and good for lefty propaganda. And laughs for you, of course.”

    Well you are losing – not because of the media – because there was nothing to win. You lose ’cause your stupid.

    And yes, I would laugh if it wasn’t innocent people dying – but I will pause to have a laugh at you and your ridiculous chest thumping….

  46. Anonymous Says:

    “Am I alone in thinking that the neocons actually designed the mess in Iraq?”

    No.

    But let’s give credit where it’s due. The ability to transcend politics, religon, human rights, the U.S constitution, the UN any and all forms of law – is quite an achievement, when you really consider it.

    And drawing together all manner of immoral interests together in one gulag of death and exploitation – corporate bloodsuckers, oil oligarchs, power mad ideolouges or just good old fashioned racists – appealing to the most violent aspects of American culture so that American power can exploited to allow Israel to continue it’s crimes in the middle east.

    So while American crashes and burns these traitors say the problem is we’re not killing enough people or being to ‘politically correct’.

    They are leeches who will attach themselves to any group who supports that goal – much like the early Zionist movement before and during WW2.

  47. Isaiah Hunahun Says:

    The U.S. led coalition saved Iraq from being invaded. Iraq was an imploding state which had lost its sovereignty and was a ward of the international community. Once the implosion had started, Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia would have moved in, and a Rwanda-like blood bath would have ensued. That did not happen thanks to the mercy of the coalition for ‘holding the ring’ – a ring of protection that could have been stronger if others in the pursuit of human liberation would have joined us, but how could they? Their hands were already dirty. We are seeing the results of their non-participation today. No more Rwandas — no more “war is not the answer” advice. The cold truth is that, sorry, but sometimes war is the answer. Particularly with the never-before-seen patience of the coalition through the 90′s. No more capitulation to tyrants and thugs.

  48. mary Says:

    Oh yeah Mary, I’ll believe an unsourced rumour in the Washington Post over logic every time.

    Yes, you trust the stuff in your own head over trusted and long-established, well-researched news publications every time.

  49. mary Says:

    Mary you should simply take responsibility for your limited participation in the Iraqi genocide.

    The Iraqi genocide? Why stop there? When the next Lancet report comes out declaring that eleventy-million Iraqis have died because Americans breathe and their evil capitalism still exists, we can declare the Iraqi apocalypse.

    After the next next Lancet report comes out, we can mourn Iraqi interplanetary warfare.

  50. Trimegistus Says:

    Anon? Still waiting.

  51. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Russians were quite incompetent and corrupt about how they handled Checnya. They aren’t the example to look towards, and I think Neo finds that just satisfactory.

    Someone else here was talking about how the British was doing the Indian colonial ruthless game, I think bugs, in Basra and how it was effective. As I said before, it’ll be effective when I see some actual benefits. If what we see in the South of Iraq is due to British effectiveness and ruthlessness, I don’t want to see what will come out of British ineffectiveness.

    Russian techniques don’t even work for the Russians. And it won’t work for America because America fights wars totally different from the Russians. It is a case of a difference in national character. America can’t use spies and assassins to the extent that Russians do, so we have to remodify our tactics according to our resources.

    So long as the Left keeps being ignorant and opening that big hole of ignorancy by speaking about Sunni extremists killing Shia theocracies, the more they stay in denial using rationalizations. They won’t get the wisdom that Neo has acquired, because they absolutely refuse to understand, for understanding hurts them to their very cores.

    I’ve been reading Mary’s comments and position for awhile now. The problem with Mary’s position, distilled down to the fundamentals, is that I believe Mary is rather tunnel visioned on Saudi Arabia and the madrasses. Everything seems to go back to Saudi Arabia. It is not the humane tactics that are a problem, it is the US not attacking Saudi Arabia that is the strategic problem. This tunnel vision produces predictability, and by that I mean if someone offered up to Mary a deal in which the US would attack Saudi Arabia, how much would Mary sacrifice to get that deal up? There are such things as priorities, and Mary has obviously prioritized certain things above others.

    There is nothing particularly wrong about the basic strategy of cleansing the Middle East through Spartan warriors or with allying with Kurdistan to have the Kurds purge the region under the aegis of American nuclear weapons, funds, and training. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. However. Tunnel vision causes people to always talk about what they want to talk about, instead of dealing with the situation we have now. We aren’t going to go anywhere, if the situation is not dealt with, and you can’t deal with the situation in Iraq if all you are thinking about is getting your pet theories in power.

    America has always been alone. People want to talk about how the world is against America because of Iraq. Well, welcome to planet Earth people. The entire world has been against America since day one. It ain’t anything new unless you just came from out of the solar system.

    70% + of Iraqis think you are the problem and you should skulk off, beg for forgivenness and pay to rebuild their country.

    A question to the question. How do you convince a lot of Southerners

  52. Ymarsakar Says:

    that they should bow down to the Union concerning slavery?

    America can destroy most of the world, fortunately America isn’t the Draka. Or maybe unfortunately depending upon who you are talking to.

    1) At initial stage of invasion use army and air force in overwhelming numbers and firepower to destroy urban enemy strongholds.

    This from Sergey. That is simply the Russians trying to cover their weak arse. Because the Russians gave up trying to do CQB house to house fighting almost from the beginning. So all they are left with is artillery and air power. That is a weakness, not a strategic decision chosen because it was better than others. In fact, I found a very good analysis of Russian techniques in Checnya, I’ll post it at the end.

  53. Ymarsakar Says:

    link

    It is a PDF document but I quoted some interesting bits.

    It said quite clearly that Russia gave up on training their soldiers for house to house fighting. The opposite of the US Marines. There’s nothing wrong with combined arms. Bomb then go in and clear. But the Russians can’t send troops in. Not only because of lack of training but because they only have like what, 20 to 50k troops that are trained? The rest are conscripts and troops they can’t use for fighting.

    I remember that the Russians sent in a company or battalion in Chechnya once, and it just disappeared.

  54. mary Says:

    Russian techniques don’t even work for the Russians. And it won’t work for America because America fights wars totally different from the Russians. It is a case of a difference in national character. America can’t use spies and assassins to the extent that Russians do, so we have to remodify our tactics according to our resources.

    We can and we should use spies and assassins. Those are perfectly legitimate weapons of war and their use results in fewer civilian casualties.

    This tunnel vision produces predictability, and by that I mean if someone offered up to Mary a deal in which the US would attack Saudi Arabia, how much would Mary sacrifice to get that deal up?

    Nothing. I’m sure that Iran would be happy to attack Saudi Arabia, but it’s foolish to empower Iran.

    The reasons Saudi Arabia bugs me include:

    1.they the primary sponsors of 9/11
    2. 95% of Sauds sympathize with Bin Laden
    3. the majority of Muslims hate them for the way they’ve destroyed sacred relics in Mecca and Medina

    – yet our government trusts them to protect our interests and maintain stability in the Middle East. This just isn’t going to work.

    Our alliance with the KSA, the UAE and the Sudan cripples our efforts in this war. But no, I don’t think anyone should target the KSA, Iran, the Sudan, Syria or even Hezbollah unless they have plans to simultaneously attack the rest of the Islamist/fascist regimes.

    Attacks wouldn’t even have to be large scale military actions. Wars have been won by destroying an enemy’s economic infrastructure (or, in the case of the Cold War, allowing an enemy to destroy its own economic infrastructure). Properly carried out, assassinations of higher level plus mid level enemy groups could also work.

    You can’t win a war against X by allying with X. If we want to win a war against Islamofascists, we can’t ally with Islamofascists. That’s just common sense.

  55. Ymarsakar Says:

    We can and we should use spies and assassins. Those are perfectly legitimate weapons of war and their use results in fewer civilian casualties.

    Oh, the Russian use of radioactive poisons? Or are you thinking of Predator UAVs? They aren’t the same assassination methods for a reason. You want to use the Russian techniques, you then need to actually use them.

    Nothing. I’m sure that Iran would be happy to attack Saudi Arabia, but it’s foolish to empower Iran.

    That’s not a challenging scenario. A challenging scenario is if you could destroy Saudi Arabia by withdrawing support from Kurdistan and indigenous support in Saudi Arabia. A sacrifice is something you are willing to give up in return for something you value greater. If you automatically don’t value aiding Iranians over destroying Saudi Arabia, but want both, then it is easy to say you won’t sacrifice one for the other.

    You can’t win a war against X by allying with X.

    Are you talking about WWII? Or are you saying that we are in a position from which we need no allies. That is two different positions. Thus they have different supporters.

    I leave off talking about Saudi Arabia because until the US uses unrestricted submarine warfare against Iran or Syria, SA is unfeasible as a target. If the world was as I waned it to be, then SA wouldn’t be a problem. But reality is a bit harder to change than that. That is why I prioritize dealing with the problems in Iraq first, with considerations for secondary targets, but not considerations for the final target.

    If you don’t see Iraq won, Mary, SA won’t ever be a target. It is basically the island leaping strategy for Japan in WWII. Take one island, jump to the next. SA is a bridge that we’ll cross after we burn it.

  56. Walid Nasrallah Says:

    I was going to say something serious and profound, but then I realized that you and your sypmathetic commentators do not consider Arabs to be fully human. Sherman at least granted the Atlantans the recognition of being fellow Americans. If Sherman had written “You Atlantans understand nothing but force” or “I am used to you Sutherners hiding your guns behind the sick and infirm among you.” then his letter would have been indistinguishable from anytihng Hitler or Stalin might have written.

    To argue with rational people as opposed to co-fanatics, you have to understand why evil is evil, rather than just use a glossary that gives pat definitions “Hitler=bad, Sherman=good, Patton=good, ROmmel=bad…)

  57. Sergey Says:

    Why US can not use in WOT tactics that they already routinely use in drug control police force? Controlled shipments of drugs, double agents, provocation, recruitment of informators among drug dealers are their standard technique. Even FBR agents propose bribes to senators (for Murtha, as I read). Basaev was killed by controlled shipment of ammo with planted bomb; Hattab was poisoned by his cook recruted by FSB; Abu Havs was killed due to information from his aid.
    And read this:
    Arab terrorists from Chechnya led by Abu-Valid were involved in the most notorious terrorist acts in Iraq (the explosion of the Jordanian Embassy, the UN mission and Imam Ali Mosque in Al Najaf), the Al-Qabas newspaper (Kuwait) reported referring to a well-informed source.

    According to the data of the Arab special services, Abu-Valid (Abd Al-Aziz al-Hamidi from Saudi Arabia) was Khattab’s deputy in Chechnya till March 2002. Later he led units of Arab and foreign terrorists. He might have penetrated to Iraq via Georgia, Turkey and Syria two months ago. All in all, about 3,000 terrorists from Al-Qaeda and other Islamic military units penetrated to Iraq since May, the newspaper said.

    After the arrival of Mujaheddins, the actions of the Iraqi resistance which were earlier limited to separate attacks on US servicemen have boosted and acquired acute sabotage character.

  58. mary Says:

    Oh, the Russian use of radioactive poisons?

    The Russians have their own reasons for using radioactive poisons, but there’s a wide range of weapons that are not radioactive.

    Predator UAVs are not useful in urban counterterrorist warfare. We do have the world’s strongest military, but we would be a lot more effective if we’d just try to wrap our brains around the concept that one can use weapons that are not bombs.

    A challenging scenario is if you could destroy Saudi Arabia by withdrawing support from Kurdistan and indigenous support in Saudi Arabia.

    It’s a challenging scenario because it doesn’t make any sense. There’s no reason to withdraw support from Kurdistan and there is no real indiginous support in Saudi Arabia.

    SA is a bridge that we’ll cross after we burn it.

    If you look at the current state (and the history of) US-Saudi relations, you’ll realize that this will never happen.

    Are you talking about WWII? Or are you saying that we are in a position from which we need no allies.

    If you want to fight X, you need allies who are not included in group X. Again, that’s just common sense.

  59. mary Says:

    If you want to fight X, you need allies who are not included in group X.

    Of course, I’m talking about official alliances between states, not alliances with random informers or militant groups within group X.

  60. Sergey Says:

    These text dates by September 2003. Source:
    http://newsfromrussia.com/accidents/2003/09/03/49763.html

  61. Sergey Says:

    And this text named “Chechnya’s Abu Walid And The Saudi Dilemma”

    http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=23471

  62. troutsky Says:

    Im trying to figure out just what this exercise is that occurs on this blog, thread after thread after thread, for the two years I have read it? Each “debate” exactly the same model of fruitless expounding and quoting and sourcing, each thread drifting off into the cliche ideological battlefields of the “lessons” of past war,the “history” of US power, etc.,always leading back to the inevitable hardening of positions and unresolvable mindsets. Yet you all plod on!I have never seen any consensus reached or any position softened, any admission of analytical error or factual misrepresentation. And thats what keeps me coming back. The fascination of watching anti-politics as practiced in cyber-space. And always Neo,priming the pump with her pre-framed subjects, her already -limited conjectural starting points. “Human nature being what it is…”

  63. Sergey Says:

    Yamar, it is pure suicide to do CQB house to house fighting in five-storied apartment blocks city where each window turned to machine-gun nest. It is impossible use tanks in the streets because RPG launchers. We tried to do this in the first Chechen war; losses were awful. Here only Hama option makes sense. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hama_Massacre

  64. mary Says:

    Yet you all plod on!I have never seen any consensus reached or any position softened, any admission of analytical error or factual misrepresentation. And thats what keeps me coming back. The fascination of watching anti-politics as practiced in cyber-space.

    But what is the meaning in a meaningless world? We are only a collection of individuals who, through this pixellated gestalt, communally decide what content to put within this structure of Authentic Existence. It’s no surprise that its reaches are beyond your means of comprehension.

  65. mary Says:

    Sergey, I read “Chechnya’s Abu Walid And The Saudi Dilemma”, and I read your post about the tactics Russia uses against the Chechens…and there’s Russia’s alliance with Iran. Russia makes the same dumb mistakes the US does.

    We both ally with terror supporting governments who throw us a bone every once in awhile to maintain plausible deniablity. We both use our self-destructive alliances with Islamofascist governments to take useless pot shots at each other. We both ignore the fact that if the US and Russia were geniune allies, we could eliminate terrorism, Iran, Syria, the KSA and the Chechen rebellion in a relatively short time. We could also stop worrying about oil for a while (although I think the Saudi wells are running low).

    You mentioned the ‘opposition’. The most powerful opposition to the war against Islamofascism isn’t the Left, it’s ‘realists’ like Kissinger and Baker, who still think they’re fighting the cold war. I guess Russia has a lot of holdouts too.

  66. Steve Says:

    I post here because it’s a pleasant location and because the level of discourse is pretty good.

    Think of a blog like a cocktail party at someone’s house, and everyone will sit around and talk politics. Thinking of the commentators I followed to get here, I see Roger Simon’s as a drafty, empty hall, with no refreshments, and people coming in off the streets and then leaving. I see Jeff Goldstein’s as a being basically pizza and beer party where Jeff will go off on a PoMo rant after he gets stoned.

    In comparison I see Neo as running a rather cultured show. Everyone is completely dressed, there’s coffee, tea, and even petit fours! Everyone putting their best foot forward. That’s the way it feels to me, anyway.

    On the uber-subject of why, well, in my case, it’s to put my opinions in orbit and see if there are any bites. I mean, at bottom, we’re trying to influence each other (I would hope.) But that cannot be done if you attack your opponents.

    One main theme I have had since February (when I first posted here) was that our military establishment was inadequate to the challenges we face, not only in Iraq, but in general. I note with satisfaction that that idea is now being championed by many. Did it have anything to do with me? Probably not, but who cares? I advocated the position, it is being adopted, that’s all that matters.

    Now, when General Mills gets around to reducing the number of flavors and the amount of sugar in Trix and Lucky Charms back to 1960′s levels, I will be able to claim another personal triumph.

  67. Ymarsakar Says:

    We all have a theme. Which is why when I heard Peter Pace, he absolutely denied that the military was stretched. But then I don’t use CNN.

    Yamar, it is pure suicide to do CQB house to house fighting in five-storied apartment blocks city where each window turned to machine-gun nest. It is impossible use tanks in the streets because RPG launchers. We tried to do this in the first Chechen war; losses were awful. Here only Hama option makes sense. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hama_Massacre
    Sergey | 11.30.06 – 12:23 pm | #

    It is not pure suicide because the US Marines have proven that CQB is possible, with low casualties.

    THe RPG launchers could not stop the M1A2 Abrams tanks, either. Now if Russia doesn’t have the adequate equipment, I can’t help them there.

    It’s a challenging scenario because it doesn’t make any sense. There’s no reason to withdraw support from Kurdistan and there is no real indiginous support in Saudi Arabia.

    Actually there is, because the Kurds are one front on the war. I’m not refering to withdrawing support, I’m refering to sacrificing the Kurds to get what you want. Saying you don’t think it will happen, is not the same as saying there are things you won’t sacrifice. Anything from deals made with Turkey, to giving the Kurds nukes to have them take the brunt of world pressure, is possible.

  68. Ymarsakar Says:

    About your cocktail party theme, Steve. It might seem like one to you, where you can score points by conversing with the upper ton, but that’s a rather frivolous use of time for entertainment purposes.

    Probably not, but who cares? I advocated the position, it is being adopted, that’s all that matters.

    Any solution you came up with is months old and was not made with the situation in mind. If you think that’s how you plan a war, that’s an interesting point of conversation you have there.

  69. Mitch Miller Says:

    Dear justaguy:

    Obviously, the meaning of “apartheid” has changed from when the Nationalist government of South Africa was in power, so I’d like you to help me understand the new meaning.

    Back then, “apartheid” meant that people could not live where they wanted, i.e., that blacks were confined to black areas, whites to white areas, even mixed-race people (“coloreds”) to their own areas.

    Now, in Israel, any citizen, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, aethist, or whatever, can buy a house and live anywhere he (or she) wants. In the Palestinian Authority territory, not only cannot a Jew not live, but it is a death-penalty offense to sell real estate to a Jew. Obviously, under the old definition, the PA is the apartheid state and Israel is not. So your definition of apartheid must be reversed from the old one, right?

    But perhaps you’re talking about apartheid as having something to do with citizenship?

    Maybe a couple of questions will help me understand better.

    In Mexico, it is illegal for non-Mexican citizens to own land within a certain distance of the borders and coastlines. Under your definition, is Mexico an apartheid state?

    Any person of “ethnic German” ancestry is entitled to automatic German citizenship. Under your definition, is Germany an apartheid state?

    Puzzled

  70. george hoffman Says:

    Well, you can thank President Bush for trying to sanitize the brutality of his darling little wars, which is typical for a civilian politician worried about his approval rating among the voters back home from the war zones.
    Of course, war has always been a beast with an insatible appetite for human flesh. That’s just the nature of the beast, always has and always will be.
    By the way, that quote from Stalin about the Korean War would also hold true for the Russian misadventure in Afghanistan and the two misadventures in Chechnya. The Russian mothers and fathers weep for their dead soldiers in a country, which lost an estimated 20 million soldiers and civilians against the Germans in the Second World War.
    Television has changed our entire world. I know, I was a medic in the first living room war, Vietnam. You can no longer censor by government control the brutality of war, despite President Johnson’s and now President Bush’s feeble attempts to accomplish that goal.
    As a war veteran, all that I have learned from my experiences is that I am so thankful to wake up in the morning and have my arms and legs attached to my torso so that I can get out of bed under my own free will. Also, I think indoor plumbing is a much greater invention than Guttenberg’s moveable type, and I still detest camping in the great outdoors. Oh, I also hate that bumper sticker that proclaims: “Freedom isn’t free.” Why? Because that’s the basic attitude of a blissfully ignorant civilian, very hardcore about sending his fellow citizens off to war to defend his freedom.
    All kidding aside, there is a classic book on the First World War. It’s called The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell, an English professor at the University of Pennsylvania. It was the mother of all wars, and its red ripples are still washing over the postmodern consciousness in America, Europe and the Middle East. To Fussell, war is the abridgement of hope. Just think about that phrase before you decide to go off to war the next time. The abridgement of hope, yes, it is.

  71. mary Says:

    Paul Fussell also described why it was necessary to fight fascism in Germany. He said:

    evil demands retribution if we are to retain our sense of what it means to be human

    There’s a phrase that should be hanging over what remains of the WTC.

  72. Anonymous Says:

    mary,
    I really understand and sympathize with the horrific carnage inflicted upon American citizens during the 9/11 attacks. But do we really do justice to the memory of those victims by killing so many innocent Afghani and Iraqi civilians?
    I treated so many innocent Vietnamese civilians during my tour of duty in Vietnam. They had nothing to do with the VC guerillas nor the NVA soldiers. Robert S. McNamara estimates that we killed between 3 to 3.4 million Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War. If you take that estimate as a percentage of the total population in south and north Vietnam and transpose that percentage on the population of American during the years of the war, if the Vietnam War has been fought in America there would have been between 27 to 30 million innocent civilians.
    Paul Fussell also wrote an essay entitled “Thank God For the Atom Bomb.” Do you want that banner also placed over the footprints of the Twin Towers?
    In the propaganda campaign leading up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. President Bush and his adminstration officials based their reasons for war, primarily, upon Saddam’s WMDs and clear links to Al Queda terrorists. But even then there were reports in the media that they had cherrypicked their intelligence on these two issues and discarded any intelligence reports that contradicted them. Now, as a Vietnam veteran, their actions reminded me of how President Johnson used an ambiguous encounter in the Gulf of Tonkin to justify a military escalation in the Vietnam War.
    And I think that one foreign policy debacle in my life was enough. But now we are experiencing another foreign policy debacle, which certainly rivals the one that I served in and may just possibly exceed it if the implosion in the civil war in Iraq spreads through the region and the Middle East.
    By the way, mary, I know how you feel. After I left Vietnam, about a year later, the hospital where I had served was mortared killing and wounding both injured American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians. That’s just the nature of war as it spins out of control.
    We have no reason to be in Iraq. President Bush has squandered the blood and treasure of our volunteer armed forces.

  73. justaguy Says:

    Now, in Israel, any citizen, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, aethist, or whatever, can buy a house and live anywhere he (or she) want

    Not true MM. You are assuming this is the case. It isn’t.

    There is no Palestinian State and the Territories are under Israeli Military law. The territory being stolen in the occupied territories is available to Jews only, there are Jew only roads etc.

    Palestinians cannot move freely around the territories.

    I’m sorry, but you are living in a fantasy world regarding what is actually happening and the reality of life there.

    I urge you to seek the truth.

  74. snowonpine Says:

    Haven’t been back to this blog for some time and I see from this thread that trolls have now developed an anti-truth weapon that throws up a blinding wall of crap.

  75. Steve Says:


    that’s a rather frivolous use of time for entertainment purposes.

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was preventing you from doing something really important here.

  76. Justaguy Says:

    “Yes, you trust the stuff in your own head over trusted and long-established, well-researched news publications every time.
    mary | Homepage | 11.30.06 – 9:14 am | #

    The day when US journalists do research again, as opposed to passing on the Republican talking points and intentional leaks, I’ll be the first to pay them their due.

    The leaked “report” Mary, makes absolutely no sense. None.

    If you weren’t so paralysed with irrational fear of Muslims you’d see that. I hope.

  77. mary Says:

    But do we really do justice to the memory of those victims by killing so many innocent Afghani and Iraqi civilians?

    Innocent Afghani civilians? How many innocent Afghani civilians did we kill? Are you using Marc Herold’s overinflated estimates or are you using Noam Chomsky’s seditious lies about America’s plans for genocide? Here’s a hint – both estimates are wrong.

    The majority of Americans, even the majority of Leftists, did support the war in Afghanistan.

    We have no reason to be in Iraq. President Bush has squandered the blood and treasure of our volunteer armed forces.

    We have reasons to be in Iraq, but I agree that there should be an end to realpolitik wars. Wars shouldn’t be waged to play outdated cold-war games, wars should be fought to win victory. Wars should be carried out for the same reason justice is carried out – because retribution is a form of self-defense, a way to punish the guilty and save the lives of their innocent potential victims. As another great warmonger said:

    I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

    Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

    With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.

    When we fight for victory against the perpetrators of an unprovoked act of war, we can get the determination of the people to back us up.

    When we fight a realpolitik war against an enemy who was not directly involved in the attack, when we ally with enemies who were involved in the attack, we lose support; because the majority of people have common sense. That’s why democracy works.

  78. mary Says:

    The day when US journalists do research again, as opposed to passing on the Republican talking points and intentional leaks, I’ll be the first to pay them their due.

    LOL. I’d guess that the latest conspiracy theories from Scoop.co.nz are coming through now. Better adjust your tinfoil hat.

  79. Ymarsakar Says:

    But do we really do justice to the memory of those victims by killing so many innocent Afghani and Iraqi civilians?

    No, which is why those who are killing so many innocent Afghani and Iraqi civilians should not get any help from people like you. What say you?

  80. Ymarsakar Says:

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was preventing you from doing something really important here.
    Steve | 11.30.06 – 8:33 pm | #

    it is about your use of your time for entertainment purposes, steve. Not about what I choose to do with mine. You were talking about yourself, not about what other people were doing at Neo.

    While not everything is about you steve, this certainly is by your own admission.

  81. Ymarsakar Says:

    And you really need to stop cutting yourself off in mid sentence, what I said was.

    It might seem like one to you(cocktail party), where you can score points by conversing with the upper ton, but that’s a rather frivolous use of time for entertainment purposes.

  82. Justaguy Says:

    Pretty ironic, having seen your site and given the utterly ludicrous conspiracy theory that you are suggesting between Iran and Al Qaeda, that you suggest that I have a tinfoil hat.

    Good one.

    Better get back in your little panic room, Mary.

  83. Justaguy Says:

    What’s wrong with Scoop anyway?????????

    I just had a look and can’t see anything that qualifies as a conspiracy theory. You do come out with some doozies, Mary.

    As one of very few people that take notice of and converse with Yma, Mary, I’d be a bit selective about who you are suggesting is a conspiracy theorist.

  84. mary Says:

    What’s wrong with Scoop anyway?????????
    I just had a look and can’t see anything that qualifies as a conspiracy theory. You do come out with some doozies, Mary.

    Justaguy, are you kidding me? We just had the Scoop discussion a few weeks ago. Scoop is staffed by a bunch of 9/11 Truthers. They’re conspiracy theorists. Don’t you remember?

    Since you don’t remember that, I have to assume that you’ve never heard of the concept of pan-Islamism, the idea that Sunnis and Shi’ites should join together. This concept has been around for, like, a century, but the news probably never got around to you.

    If you only read Scoop, I’m sure that you also don’t know that terrorism is a multi-million dollar underground economy managed by ‘peaceful’ groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Like most members of underground organizations, terrorist Shi’ites and Sunnis are willing to work together if there’s a payoff, like the Gottis and the Gambinos. When there’s no payoff, they fight.

    Terrorism is a thriving, multiculti business. Of course the Sunnis work with the Shi’ites – they also work with African terror groups, European groups, etc., and they all store their money in offshore banking accounts. This is common knowledge, but again, I’m sure it’s news to you.

  85. Ymarsakar Says:

    I don’t agree with mary on some details of her plans, but I’m for the same goal. Can’t really say the same for just and co.

  86. Mitch Miller Says:

    justaguy, your facts are wrong and you’re still evading the question: How is Israel an apartheid state?

    The Palestinian Arabs decided they wanted their own state. Well and good. Land use in PA territory is controlled by PA law, just as land use in Mexico is controlled by Mexican law. That seems to be a problem for you.

    Sure, if the US and Mexico were one country, then I suppose I could complain about Mexican land restrictions. But they’re not, just like Israel and the Palestinians. They wanted their own state, they got it. They can pass any laws they please. So can the Israelis.

    Before the first intifada, 300,000 Palestinians were working in Israel, and most of the rest were making or growing things to sell to the Israelis. The Palestinian economy was booming. Then they decided they’d rather kill Jews than engage in productive behavior.

    And what did those pesky Jews do? They refused to just die! They actually fought back! (That must really upset you, justaguy, Jews who don’t know that their role in history is to be the passive victims, ever suffering, never responding.) They said, no, fellows, if you want to kill us, you can’t come in here and work. We won’t buy your produce, either. The nerve of them sneaky Jews!

    Even when the Palestinians were given economic resorces, like the greenhouses in Gaza, they preferred destruction to production, violence to peace, death to life. And now they’re starving? What a surprise!

    All the Palestinians have to do to end “Israeli military rule” is stop killing Jews. That’s it. They do that, and the Israelis are gone. The next night. Are the Palestinians going to do that, give up the dream of killing all the Jews, driving them into the sea? Not on their lives. So be it.

    You talk about “the territory being stolen in the occupied territories.” I assume you must live in Antarctica, because as far as I know, there’s no inhabited place on Earth that hasn’t been conquered by its current owners from somebody else.

    I live in California. The US took it from Mexico, who took it from Spain, who took it from the Indians, who took it from the mammoths and sabre-tooth tigers. I’m sure that wherever you live has a similar history. But of all the places on Earth, the only place that bothers you is Israel. (Just coincidence that it’s the one place on Earth that’s run by those sneaky Heebs, right?)

    Tell me I’m wrong, justaguy, show me that you’re a fearless advocate for a Basque state, a Kurdish state, an independent Tibet, South Molocca, free Tamils, free Azeris, free Nagorno-Karabachians, free Quebecers, etc., etc., etc. Then I’ll beleive your concern for the Palestinians is something other than outright anti-Semitism.

  87. Ariel Says:

    Mitch,

    You forgot how the Kiwi’s stole the land from the Maori’s too.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>








Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge