Friday, June 23, 2006

SandCastles, Vol. 2...

This week's exchange among Sandmen...

DUELER: my comment just posted at belmont:

There are tactical, strategic and political reasons to release information, or not release information, about Sarin/Mustard WMD's.

The theory that keeping their existence hush-hush was a political calculation to keep France and Russia on the buddy list is very plausible, but not yet proven. the domestic political concerns are probably chump change compared to the international ones.

What is relevant to the immediate situation at hand are the strategic and tactical issues. if the existence of WMD's suddenly became widely known, especially if it was accompanied by a description of what they look like, EVERYBODY would be looking for them - not just the U.S. military. it's the chemical weapons version of the California Gold Rush. everybody wants to get their hands on something valuable - to either use it or exchange it for something of value with somebody who wants to use it.

Coalition forces obviously want to be able to collect and dispose of ALL of it so that it doesn't get used against anybody, miltary or otherwise. if everybody knew they were finding WMD, they would inevitably be scattered around the country, and perhaps the world, to be used by whoever wants to use them, and for whatever reason.

Once the known materials are out of coalition forces' control, they become a tactical obstacle to be overcome in day-to-day actions to restore order and security. will the guys on the front lines have to start carrying their gas masks and plastic bunny suits on patrol again? and how do you protect noncoms from sarin? and that's just the beginning of alterations to the tactical picture.

Their existence also becomes a strategic obstacle, wherein whoever gets them becomes a regional or worldwide "player". that being said, if i was a terrorist, i don't think i'd tell anybody that i had one - i'd let the body bags do the talking for me.

The answer to why they have remained secret could be as easy as the desire to maintain our capability to operate effectively in the theater. hmm - could Bush be that strong of a tactical/strategic thinker?

ATOS: Exactly! When we discussed this issue some years ago, and regarding the challenges of the good Dr., I made a similar point. There is more advantage to playing the situation 'stupid' than to proclaim the obvious. This is information warfare at its best... and by keeping the US in an apparent state of disarray, the President has likely avoided both the acquisition of WMD by terrorists and has spared America subsequent attack. Afterall, why would AQ risk unifying a country they think is disintegrating in their favor.

I'd like to believe key Democrats are in on the ruse. But, I fear if they are... they have long since become Republicans in fact after witnessing the behavior of their constituents. I'm posting this as a general discussion topic. Your comment is an excellent one... although I recall you called it thin back when. But, I confirmed it to be 'very thin.'

Its a little thicker now, is it not?!

MIKE: I am going to finish my counter to the left mantra…hopefully tonight…

Largest point …better to fight in Iraq than on our shores….much like a soccer goalie, sorry football, goalie coming out to “cut down the angle” on an oncoming, opposing player. If he remains in his goal, he has to physically cover all of the area of the goal by himself. If he cuts down the angle, he can defend most or all of the square area, by himself within his physical ability…if he doesn’t…it takes six or seven people to protect the area of the goal. Same as the war in Iraq…it is not cheap, but is a lot cheaper than trying to defend each and every inch of our borders and coastlines in a defensive posture.

Add in WMDs…was it easier AND cheaper in terms of lives to get these 500 units in Iraq, or would it cost more if they started showing up, and going off in our cities? Are we better off having possession of these or not? Of course we are, and to deny it, is reflexively inimical and blindly partisan in the extreme.

We were looking for WMDs. We found 500 WMDs. Therefore…we found what we were looking for 500 times over…simple math. The more we find over there…the less the bad guys have…the easier it is to defend against…we may not defend them all, but these are 500 less running around out there. Period.

ATOS: You’d think that point would be obvious, wouldn’t you?! I mean, I’m no military genius, but its pretty clear to me that Iraq and Afghanistan are extremely strategic positions. And we have honed a fighting force un rivaled in world history. And they are staged exactly where we need them. From Iraq, they enter Iran. From Iran they enter Syria… All the while leaving friendly bastions at their back.

You have to be supremely stupid, or acutely malevolent to ignore that fact.

DUELER: We can all agree on this, but we will obviously be accused of hubris in such musings. from the left's standpoint, it's "Team America - World Police" brought to life. and from a strictly westphalian point of view, they have a point.

But such a westphalian notion assumes that sovereign nations are not despotic, militant dictatorships. it also assumes that nation-states will seek to resolve conflicts and grievances by more conventional means, i.e. by diplomacy or by declaring war and using uniformed troops acting with the blessing of said nation-state.

Furthermore, the peace at westphalia came about in a world where the limitations of communication and travel, as well as the lack of liberal democracy as a viable means of organizing a nation state.

Liberal democracy and the free flow of commerce, people and ideas that it spawned necessitate more unity between nation-states (hence the birth of the EU), except when you're talking about the free flow of people who intend to cause damage in, or to, liberal democracies.

First, we have to decide, within the U.S., that liberal democracy is a societal system that all people should strive for, even (and perhaps especially) people under the weight of tyrannical regimes. second, our "allies" need to decide the same thing, which is not an easy task because half of them want to get on Marxist train.

So what we're really doing here is attempting to defeat an enemy on two fronts: fascists on the right by military means, and communists on the left by ideological means. and i hope that ideological conflict stays that way.

Take a look at this.

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