Monday, October 15, 2007
Retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez recently gave a press conference, the full text of which can be read here. (HT: Belmont Club)
When I first heard about the conference on the radio news, the narrative was stated in such a way that Gen. Sanchez was yet another in a long line of military brass that simply don't like Bush or his policies. If the media chose to report factually, rather than to support a political agenda, they might learn something. In this case, they might learn that both the Federal Government AND the MSM are quite simply really screwed up. News flash: when I say "Federal Government," I mean ALL policy members - not just the Executive Branch - are doing a piss-poor job at supporting the U.S. military in its efforts in Iraq.
The General's comments are spot-on. Would that there were more history majors that became journalists - then there might be some understanding of the power that information plays in warfare.
The U.S. Military is doing the best they can within the circumstances. The main difficulty of the circumstances is that the military must be as forthcoming as possible so as not to be presumed as hiding bad news, while simultaneously being subjected to a nitpicking news media that presumes the military is always dishonest - being an arm of the EE-VILLE Bush regime, of course.
The General is also correct in that the Bush administration has done an extremely poor job of communicating the importance of the Iraq campaign within the wider war against Islamic Militants. Although I do have to say that it's extremely difficult to get one's point across when those who distill and summarize one's message already have a preconceived idea of one's motivation. Not only that, but those messengers seem to posses a world-view in which any and every idea about human self-government is just as good as any other.
Okay, so I can sorta see the point of the MSM; that they should report news without showing any bias to a particular world-view. But what the MSM fails to recognize is that the world-views outside of their own situation leave much to be desired in regards to individual liberty, i.e. freedom of the press.
The biggest point the General makes, without explicitly making it, is that the officers (non-com's, too) in the U.S. military are light-years ahead of the MSM in understanding the lessons of history, the meaning and importance of individual liberty, and the role that information and intelligence play in both wartime and peacetime. He slapped the MSM upside the head, metaphorically speaking, and the MSM still didn't hear what he said. I don't suspect that the MSM will get the message until the lovely new NYT building is destroyed by Islamic militants (note to Lefty pundits that wish to presume otherwise about conservatives: I do NOT condone or support any such attack). But Islamic militants are much smarter than the MSM - they understand the value of information as much as the U.S. military does.
I fear a horribly fractured and violent time must be weathered before we can remember that the ideals expressed in the founding documents of the United States are humanity's best shot at realizing humanity's true potential for good.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Today I had my once-every-four-weeks haircut. I’ve having it cut by the same nice woman for the past 15 years. Usually we talk about child-rearing or movies or something harmless. We talked politics for the first time today. Well, not really – she just expressed the determination that she would take her family to Canada if a draft was re-instituted in order to protect her young son (and possibly daughter). This was followed up by some brief expressions about how “wrong this war is.”
She’s probably in the majority here in
On the way back from my appointment, I came up with this one: “One is always free to choose whether or not to fight. But a fight always involves two adversaries. And your adversary, facing the same choice, may just choose to kill you regardless of your choice.”
Then I came up with this one: “Would it be better for your son to be forced to believe in a certain god than it would for him to be drafted?”
The problem I have is that both of these statements, while very obvious to me, are not so obvious to most of the people I encounter. I often feel like nobody even considers such things to be possible in modern
Those statements I make are often met with hostility – either because the other person completely disagrees with the statement, or more perhaps because any statement that is outside of the person’s world-view is automatically met with hostility. Perhaps I should be clearer in such discussions by saying that it is not my intent to force somebody to believe as I do, but to ask that they see the situation from a different viewpoint.
Am I that bad in the art of verbal persuasion? Or are the people I correspond with so unwilling to hear another viewpoint that polite discourse isn’t possible?
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I was walking down the street here in Moscow-on-the-Willamette a few days ago, when I observed a middle-aged woman getting out of her Subaru wagon (I think middle-aged leftists are issued these particular vehicles when they arrive in Portland). Most of these Subarus have idiotically trite bumper stickers on them, like "Buck Fush", "Hate is Not a Family Value," etc. This wagon, however, had the most short-sighted bumper sticker I've ever seen: "I'm Already Against the Next War."
News Flash (which won't make it to those who need to hear it): one's decision to engage or not engage in warfare has no bearing upon another entity's desire and/or determination to engage in warfare against you. How about this - since you're not going to do anything to prevent the destruction of my civilization, I suggest you get out of the way so I can put a cap in that Islamic Militant suicide bomber that is standing next to us with his thumb on the detonator. That's a metaphor, mind you; let's hope it doesn't become an actual incident somewhere.
Juxtapose this idiocy against a headline I saw in the USA Today this morning: Guard Passes Goal For Recruits. Wait a second - I thought that the military was supposed to be hard-up for body-bag occupants. The article goes on to say that, as it turns out, appealing to patriotism and "emphasizing the warrior-soldier" are good selling points. Who would have thought? You need committed, combat-minded people in order to be victorious in combat?
Pick a side: the one that won't fight and will therefore lose (and lose pretty much everything of value to them), or the one that will fight and will win if s/he has sufficient will to win.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
(re-printed with permission of townhall.com)
The daily functioning of Marine Officer’s Candidates School (OCS) is hinged on “the Word.”
“The Word” is the culmination of instructions that guides the conduct of the next event. It includes uniform, time, method of transportation (usually the Shoe Leather Express, or individual buses), other equipment, such as rifles/packs/etc., and any special instructions. Much of OCS, after push-ups and bends-and-muthas, is spent waiting for the Word.
The Word has its pre-determined pathway. The Company Commander reviews the training schedule and expresses any special instructions to the Company Executive Officer. The XO distills those instructions into a language most Candidates should be capable of understanding. (This is often a challenge, for the stress of OCS easily scrambles the nimble minds of college juniors and sends errant neurons rebounding inside 250 helmets). The Candidate Company Commander processes the Word, as he understands it, and passes it on to the Candidate Platoon Commanders, who in turn pass it on to their 40 or so Candidates, all hungry for the next set of instructions.
While nearly linear in its design, and efficient looking on paper, this system is often simply a higher form of the game “telephone.” Typically (in my experience), by the time the Word reached the last man of the last squad, having been impacted at each level by the neuroses of Candidate leadership, all afraid of getting the Word wrong, the Word was a garbled mess. Invariably one of the six Candidate Platoon Commanders would get some minute detail of the uniform wrong, and that platoon could make a sore thumb blend in at formation.
Then it would come, in waves. All the platoons would be sent scrambling into the barracks to undergo yet another uniform and equipment inspection, after a new, clarifying Word was issued. For those on the upper floors the scramble to get 160 Candidates up the stairs ensured that no platoon would make the impossible three minute deadline set by the company staff.
Invariably, the new, clarifying Word would have confused at least one platoon, and after falling back out on the deck outside, all 240 Candidates would be sent back in the building, up the stairs, with more, new, clarifying Word on what the uniform and equipment would be.
Bayonet on the deuce gear. Bayonet off the deuce gear. One canteen. Two canteens. Poncho, no liner. Liner, no poncho. First aid kit. Soft covers, no helmet. Helmets no soft covers. Helmets and soft covers. Mathematically it could go on for some time. And it often did.
We called it “Put your canteen on you war belt, take it off.” It could be sang to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands,” and it often was, and with great sophomoric fervor.
This mocking was a by-product of the staff’s inability to translate simple instructions into coherent and uniform action. It reflects the frustration that those on the end of the whip feel when simple things bog down, or fail to be executed properly. The mocking signaled a lack of confidence in the leadership abilities of the staff, and the constant changing of the Word, further eroded that already weak confidence. After ten or twelve times up and down the barracks stairs in one morning, a change of Candidate leadership was often a welcomed event.
Sometimes a change of Candidate leadership made it better, sometimes it got worse.
I remember little of the details of OCS, except the funny parts, many unprintable here, but I clearly remember the negative effects that confused, or countermanding leadership can have on unit morale. I am sure most of the rest of those who graduated didn’t forget either. Such it likely is with every batch of Candidates. Yet I still cringe every time I witness bewildered or muddled leadership. I marvel at the obliviousness of such leadership and their inability to grasp the fallout of their actions. They fail to recognize that confused messaging reverberates amongst the troops like taiko drums in a steel shed.
As it was again this week with the Pentagon leadership. On Monday the acting Secretary of the Army Pete Geren left the door open for longer tours in Iraq,
“"It's too early to look into the next year, but for the Army we have to begin to plan,” Geren told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We have to look into our options."”
Hmmm. “Put your canteen on your war belt,…”
Followed by Secretary of Defense Gates who changes the Word a day later,
“ Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday he does not anticipate extending U.S. troop deployments in Iraq beyond 15 months, calling the idea a "worst-case scenario."”
“…take it off.”
Aside from the disturbing disconnect between the SOD and the SOA, and their inability to firm up the Word, I am disturbed by the lack of coherent staff action within the Pentagon in formulating a manpower plan that supports our actions in Iraq out into the future; a future according to General Patreaus that may be as long as a decade. It is a disconnect that erodes the confidence of the troops and breeds the worst kind mockery and dark humor. It fosters a downward spiral of morale that ultimately echoes service and DOD wide.
Extending tour lengths or not extending them is no long term plan for ultimate success, or relief for our troops. The Pentagon needs to present to the President and Congress long term force structures that are committed to the idea of “taking care of our troops.” This includes spreading the burden across a larger number of troops, and trying to negate the long term effects of extended combat tours. Ultimately this means increasing the size of our ground components.
This increase in force structure should be wrapped around the idea that we need to balance the exposure of our troops to the long term effects of combat with our expectation of the ultimate length of the mission. To date the Army is guilty of trying to skim by OIF II with the force structure that they entered the war with. To still be at first base with force structure four years later, reeks of ineptitude and/or indifference.
How about DOD and DOA getting their messaging on the same track? And that message should be that we acknowledge that we will be engaged globally to a great extent out into the future and that we need a force structure to support such action. And that those force structure requests will be adequate and responsive. And that we will take our best data regarding the long term well-being of our troops and apply that data to our force structure development plans. We need to think ahead, for once.
Plainly put, DOD needs to get a workable plan together and firm up the Word, in order to re-establish the confidence of the troops in their leadership.
Anything less a Candidate could accomplish.
© Michael McBride 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
This is both an appropriate metahphor for Islam's view of the role of a free press, and a harbinger of the harsh realities that will follow should we continue to underestimate their Sharia intentions.
Wake up MSM, and America, it is time to overhwhelm these terror groups with the disdain and scorn that their brutal and lethal methods deserve. It is time to isolate them for being the mentally disturbed, megalomaniacs that they are, and quit lending sympathy to their bent causes. They are brutal killers and silencers of the truth.
That is nothing to tolerate.
Update: 09:53 am PST
Captured Indonesian terrorist, Sharia law supporter, and death merchant Abu Dujana, clears up any ambiguities concerning the peaceful "teachings" of Islam, and Islamic extremists' peaceful intentions in the following prison interview...
"Abu Dujana said bin Laden was well respected then and helped him and others realize that it was permissible to kill people to defend Islam.
"I didn't read it in the Koran. It's based on the teachings of our teachers, clerics, especially what Osama bin Laden first said," Abu Dujana said of the tactics.
"Because of America's arrogance, many in the Muslim world know, believe, it's permissible to kill American soldiers. It's halal; it's permitted." " (Emphasis added)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
(re-printed with permission of townhall.com)
Victor Davis Hanson wrote an extremely important piece last week on D-Day. As the preeminent historian of our time, he reflected on D-Day and he legitimately highlighted, in spite of all of the hype about its successes, that on many levels D-Day was not the huge success that it is acclaimed to be. He cites failed topographical analysis, the ultra-human expectations that planners demanded of tactical units, and the everyday confusions and cross-ups that occur in major operations. He reminds the reader of the realities of the day, and that the utter randomness of combat can make a slot machine look like a sure thing.
His message was that the trial and tribulations we are experiencing in Iraq do not sit in solitary isolation in our military history, but that they may indeed be more indicative of our military operations than we either know or care to believe.
In short, he did not sugar coat the ultimate success that was D-Day by leaving out the bad parts. He did not hide the horrible miscalculations of the day in the bright light of our ultimate success. He leaves the reader with the reality of D-Day, not the lore, not the myths. It was published in the Papersaurus edition of the Oregonian last Saturday, a shock in and of itself.
And because it ran here in Portland it was no surprise that on Sunday, many readers responded with letters to the editor. The first line of one caught my eye,
“Our military has not suffered many debacles in its history…” It went on to explain how our effort in Iraq was, by far, the worst political and military debacle in our history.
I was reduced to mouth-breather for several minutes; perhaps I damaged my jaw when it hit the counter. To the non-historian, to the non-military student, to the casual observer, to the blind partisan, to the unstudied, to the myth believer, this may seem true; but it is false on dozens, if not hundreds of counts.
- The first two years of the Civil War failed to produce one strategic victory for the Union forces. Until the victories Gettysburg and Vicksburg, which occurred just a day a part, the Union armies could claim no important victories. Even on the heels of the Gettysburg victory, General Meade horribly failed to exploit his victory, likely extending the war by a year or more. If not for Joshua Chamberlain’s fortuitous and timely arrival at Little Round Top, and his unit’s determined charge into the face of an equally determined rebel force, Gettysburg may not have been a Union victory at all.
- The unmitigated disaster of Pearl Harbor can hardly be called anything but a debacle. Nearly all of our assumptions about warfighting, except for Naval Avaition and amphibious warfare, were proven archaic and out-moded by the summer of 1942.
- The performance of our combat units early in the Korean War reflect an over-confidence bred from the successes of WWII, poor training and discipline within the services following the close of WWII, and our continued prejudices against the abilities of the Asian warrior. The result was the Pusan Perimeter, and our nearly losing the Korean peninsula altogether. Unparalleled retreats marked the movement of American forces down the length of the Korean peninsula.
In fact our military history is replete with examples of incompetence and folly, but we have generally overcome our deficiencies by adapting to the situation, applying competent leadership to the effort, and using our vast resources in support of our efforts, which was VDH’s larger point.
His column drew another ponderous missive today. Submitted by yet another brilliant Oregonian reader who viewed the “classicist’s” piece (even though he admitted to not knowing what a classicist is) as a shill for President Bush, and he supported this assessment with his own illustrious background as a “news junkie” and pop culture artist. He completely missed VDH’s point on the errors of D-Day as compared to our tactical and strategic errors in Iraq and he concluded brilliantly, and categorically, that our entry into Iraq was dissimilar to our entry into WWII. Thanks for that valuable clue.
I guess it takes a classicist to understand one.
Today’s letter, combined with his compatriot’s miss a week earlier illuminate our ever increasing belief in lore, pseudo-history, and shallow pop-analysis.
We have become a nation of Cliff Note reading news junkies that absorb the biased and unstudied drivel that passes for news in this country, and give it the same credence as if it were the scientific writings of Albert Einstein. We have come to view Oliver Stone and his fictional construction of history as the modern equivalent to the libraries of Alexandria. We gravitate to the unproven and illogical, at the very same time we reject the studied reason of a “classicist” as if it were the remnants of partially chewed Cheerios spewing from the mouths of babes.
Our gravity towards the false or unproven is seen in the success of US, People, The Enquirer, the Brit tabloids. We lap up gossip and paparazzi driven “news” and other trivial events as if they have some meaningful impact in a world where terrorists continue to threaten to kill us at the next opportunity, and an insane leader of a country seeking nuclear weapons promises to use them if he can complete development. We see gaps in information as full blown conspiracies. We accept a trip to rehab as some kind of reputation rehabilitator instead of the grueling withdraw from addiction that it should be.
We have become a nation of the un-studied and easily duped. We skim the surface of educational opportunity and fail to leverage it into a true education or real knowledge. We accept top level analysis and fail to want to understand the underpinnings of the underlying conditions in our efforts to find true pathways to workable solutions. Our Congressional leaders don’t read the National Intelligence Estimate.
We have become so ignorant and gullible that we need a TV show to prove that you can’t electrocute yourself by “peeing on the third rail of the subway train,” or that no one probably flew to the moon with a rocket pack fueled by carbonated beverages and Alka-seltzer, and that there are no traces of urine in Corona beer. We have become a world of un-educated dolts with a propensity to absorb trivia, illogic, and pure fiction at a rate that that neither the Mythbusters nor VDH will have much success in slowing down.
The result will be a monumentally weak electorate that will put this nation on a wandering, if not entertaining, path downhill and on its way to its eventual demise. For if nothing else, democracies are dependant on a responsible, educated, and informed electorate, and we appear to be on the verge of supplanting ours with Paris obsessed, culture fueled, intellectually lazy, Twinkie-like spongebots that are incapable of logical thought and reasoned decision making.
Call me crazy, but I’ll take the reasoned thinking of Professor Hanson over an internet fed, self-proclaimed “news junkie.” But that is just me.
© Michael McBride 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Well, well, well, N.C. panel disbars Duke prosecutor,
Once again we see that popular 'truth' is in the eye of the besmircher!
RALEIGH, N.C. - District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred Saturday for his "selfish" rape prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players — a politically motivated act, his judges said, that he inexplicably allowed to fester for months after it was clear the defendants were innocent.
"This matter has been a fiasco. There's no doubt about it," said F. Lane Williamson, the chairman of the three-member disciplinary committee that stripped the veteran prosecutor of his state law license.
Ultimately facts, however, have a funny way of deposing 'truth!'
Friday, June 15, 2007
I have refused to donate to the GOP during the last fifty or so active solicitations, including the phone call I received two nights ago. The solicitor had to listen to my many frustrations with the GOP and the fact that the GOP politicians that now inhabit the Congress are more interested in keeping their jobs and prestige than they are in passing meaninful legislation; especially a truly comprhensive immigration reform bill that balances some kind of regularization with REAL border security. And, if GOP leaders (?!!!???) keep up this kind of irreality,
"Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”The GOP will go into the next election cycle penniless. Remember this, abandon your base and give up your leather chair.
At some point, Mr. Lott said, Senate Republican leaders may try to rein in “younger guys who are huffing and puffing against the bill.”
Friday, June 08, 2007
Portland's annual Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade is schedule to commence tomorrow at 10am. And per tradition, groups and families have, over the last several days, taped off areas of downtown sidewalk in reserve for viewing this spectacular event. This practice has gone on for as long as I have lived in Portland, and probably as long as anyone here can remember. If one considers it for a moment, it is an extremely civilized way people have adopted to view the parade, and avoid the chaos of last minute congestion, confusion and conflict.
But all of that ends tonight, compliments of Portland's own alternative class of anarchic lunatics. The Portland Mercury News has declared war on common civility, promising to send out their thugs tonight to pull up the 'unfair' tape. Calling it "some form of ancient Portland code of ethics, " and backed by Portland city councilman, Randy Leonard, the Mercury News whines, " Rose Parade Tape isn’t 'Fair' !"
So, a self-adopted community standard of organized behavior has now been labeled as an 'ancient Code of Ethics' and then denigrated as such. I should think that any form of ethics, ancient or otherwise should be appreciated by everyone, and most certainly by members of the civil establishment, if they respect the idea of self-government at all. Afterall, the traditional method of accepted reservation is far superior to some Saturday morning mob event whereby people charge downtown at 2am to begin battling for the best viewing locations, clogging streets threatening disorder and promising violence. Is this the nature of fairness Leonard and the Mercury News would prefer? Ask yourselves, then what is it they would actually prefer to common civilty. The answer might be both frightening and obvious.
I submit this as further evidence that what Randy Leonard and the Mercury News respect, is something akin to authoritarianism which dictates which person will get what position; or they desire the chaos of morning riots to lend position... for this family event. Both these choices are obviously anathema to ethics, ancient or otherwise. So ask yourselves, just what system of government does Portland's class of alternative lunatics and civil servants support?
Monday, June 04, 2007
On the one hand, the Associated Press seemed determined to bang on Texas over the weekend. 'Hayseed' central afterall, having given the nation President Bush, it must be home to equally worse environmental calamity, right?
Is it any wonder, Vermont intends to secede? They go on,
The Associated Press analyzed state-by-state emissions of carbon dioxide from
2003, the latest U.S. Energy Department numbers available. The review shows
startling differences in states' contribution to climate change.
The biggest reason? The burning of high-carbon coal to produce cheap electricity.
_Wyoming's coal-fired power plants produce more carbon dioxide in just eight
hours than the power generators of more populous Vermont do in a year.
Texas, the leader in emitting this greenhouse gas, cranks out more than the nextIn fact, California purchases a significant amount of energy from other States, like Oregon. Yet while the State does have one of the lowest per capita energy consumption rates in the country, that can be attributed in no small part to mild weather that reduces energy demand for heating and cooling year round. Nevertheless, California imports more electricity than any other State.
two biggest producers combined, California and Pennsylvania, which together have
twice Texas' population.
Pennsylvania, is a net energy producer as a leader in nuclear energy production. But don't let's forget Three Mile Island. And while we're at it, note that Pennsylvania profits from the production of virtually all of the Nations’ supply of anthracite coal. While that is the cleanest-burning form of coal, the State is one of the top coal-consuming States in the Nationwith bituminous coal dominating the State’s power generation market. Next to lignite, that's the dirtiest form of coal.
What the story fails to mention is that Texas is also a net energy producing State, consuming what it produces and distributing the rest to other States. Texas leads the nation in oil and natural gas production, as well as overall total electricity production. And while it also leads the nation in overall energy consumption, its economy is far more sustainable, given its balance of production and consumption than California.
On the other hand, the Associated Press reported previously that Texas now leads the nation in wind energy production, perhaps the cleanest form of renewable energy produced,
DALLAS — Long known as a top oil- and natural gas-producing state, Texas has gained new energy acclaim by becoming the nation's top producer of wind energy.
Texas capacity stands at 2,370 megawatts, enough to power 600,000 average-sized homes a year, according to a midyear report released Tuesday by the American Wind Energy Association.
That puts Texas slightly ahead of California, the nation's leader since 1981. California has 2,323 megawatts of capacity. The total U.S. capacity is 9,971 megawatts. So far this year, Texas has added 375 megawatts, or 46% of the total 822 megawatts brought online nationwide.
Last year, wind energy generation grew 35% nationwide, adding 2,431 megawatts, but that fell short of the projected 2,500.
The wind association believes it can add 3,000 megawatts nationwide this year, even if that means another 2,178 megawatts by year's end.
This, I'd say is a bit of an inconvenient conundrum... Texas being both a leading contributor and a leading corrector of so-called global warming. Not bad for a bunch of redneck Capitalist hayseeds who are allowing the market to drive improvements. You see while California has implimented many of the most stringent energy policies anywhere in the United States, much to the detriment (in money and freedom) of its citizens, it remains one of the leading consumers of energy and creators of filth. Its relative energy production continues to fall, yielding a unbalanced condition of dependency and vulnerablity. So, while Texas may be a leading producer of carbon dioxide, the State nevertheless is well on its way to a cleaner, independent economy of lower environmental impact and genuine sustainablity... and greater per capita joy. Which is more 'Green?'
But that's not really the goal of the purveyors of the Global Warming meme, anyway... is it?
Reuters reports today that a purple frog is among 24 new species found in Suriname ,
A purple fluorescent frog is one of 24 new species found in the South American highlands of Suriname, conservationists reported on Monday, warning that these creatures are threatened by illegal gold mining.
The discovery of so many species outside the insect realm is extraordinary and points up the need to survey distant regions, said Leeanne Alonso of Conservation International, which led the expedition that found the new species.
"When you go to these places that are so unexplored and so remote, we do tend to find new species ... but most of them are insects," Alonso said by telephone from Suriname's capital, Paramaribo. "What's really exciting here is we found a lot of new species of frogs and fish as well."
24 new species found in one survey of one place alone. It makes you wonder, in the midst of the man-made global warming catastrophe meme, if the number of species discovered is ever added to number of species lost, to determine a net species gain. That is of course assuming that anyone really knows the historical average overall rate of global species replacement in the first place.
Welcome to Earth, little guy.
Friday, June 01, 2007
This original post was published here in September of 2004, just after the massacre of young school children by Muslim fanatics (so-called Chechen Rebels) in Beslan, Russia. Long since forgotten by most Americans, if they ever really acknowledged it all all, the horific events that unfolded on September 1st of that year should serve as a stern and chilling reminder of what might happen any morning in any town in America. A sobering post from wretchard this morning over at The Belmont Club, reminded me like a prescient brick to the head, of the terrible possibilities that lay in wait this or any other day if we don't stay vigilant... and possibly even if we do. Being prepared, does not necessarily provide one with the ability to prevent tragedy. It also imparts the constitution necessary to survive beyond the disaster.
Note that the only thing that has changed since this post, is that the London massacre has since occurred.
The Ghosts of Beslan...
The events and details of the massacre at Beslan have all but unfolded for the world. Unfortunately, the sins of a cursed political season have yielded little coverage of the savagery from the mainstream America media outlets, who have addressed the event superficially and reluctantly, if at all. More images of the carnage and sorrow have circulated on Free Republic, it seems than all newspapers and television news combined. Together with in-depth analyses from Bloggers like wretchard at Belmont Club and The Command Post, the horrors of the event have been mostly realized for those concerned, yet detached observers…. Mostly! Yet, while the profound horror of tortured and murdered children may be conveyed through reporting to the rational mind, short of the actual experience, a tangible empathy is only possible with the aid of literary vision. There are few instances of similar horror so boldly recorded. And there are certainly none so penetrating as James Fenimore Cooper’s singular account in his novel, The Last of the Mohicans, of the beginning of the massacre of British troops and Colonials at Fort William Henry after their surrender to French and Huron forces in 1757.
The Huron savages under French command, no more represented the totality of the Native American peoples than do the butchers of Beslan or madmen of Manhattan represent the people of Islam. And yet the good people of that once-proud religion may do well to learn how the ghosts of those massacred victims seared a distrust and vengeance into the American spirit so profound as to doom all aboriginal occupants of the continent a century beyond one act of unconscionable barbarism on the shores of Lake George. Many have debated the historical accuracy of Cooper's fictional analysis of the historic event. Yet, accurate or not, his conception of the horror conveys a visceral comprehension of the misery and rage of the ghosts haunting Beslan today. Most mothers and fathers there were not spared the horror of loss with a similar blow to their skull. Their blow comes each morning anew as waking lights the flickering memory of a smile dashed out of existence by Islamic fascist butchers. Like it or not, we are again and in fact, engaged in a struggle for existence on the frontiers of civilization with brutal savages that would just as soon dash the head of our infants against a rock, as they would shoot them in the back, burn them alive, or shred them with shrapnel by the hundreds. And regardless of the inability of some to see beyond their own sophomoric delusions, the consequences of error are real and final. The ghosts of Fort William Henry and of Beslan will join with those of Manhattan, and Madrid, or even Seattle, Dallas, LA, Des Moines, Columbus, Pittsburg, Portland, and perhaps even London and Paris as grim reminders that capitulation to terror is an invitation to slaughter.
The savages now fell back, and seemed content to let their enemies advance without further molestation. But, as the female crowd approached them, the gaudy colors of a shawl attracted the eyes of a wild and untutored Huron. He advanced to seize it without the least hesitation. The woman, more in terror than through love of the ornament, wrapped her child in the coveted article, and folded both more closely to her bosom. Cora was in the act of speaking with an intent to advise the woman to abandon the trifle, when the savage relinquished his hold of the shawl, and tore the screaming infant from her arms. Abandoning everything to the greedy grasp of those around her, the mother darted, with distraction in her mien, to reclaim her child. The Indian smiled grimly, and extended one hand, in sign of a willingness to exchange, while, with the other, he flourished the babe over his head, holding it by the feet as if to enhance the value of the ransom.
"Here-here-there-all-any-everything!" exclaimed the breathless woman, tearing the lighter articles of dress from her person with ill-directed and trembling fingers; "take all, but give me my babe!"
The savage spurned the worthless rags, and perceived that the shawl had already become a prize to another, his bantering but sullen smile changing into a gleam of ferocity, he dashed the head of the infant against a rock, and cast its quivering remains to her feet. For an instant the mother stood, like a statue of despair, looking wildly down at the unseemly object, which had so lately nestled in her bosom and smiled in her face; and then she raised her eyes and countenance toward heaven as if calling on God to curse the perpetrator of the foul deed. She was spared the sin of such a prayer for, maddened at his disappointment, and excited at the sight of blood, the Huron mercifully drove his tomahawk into her own brain. The mother sank under the blow, and fell, grasping at her child, in death, with the same engrossing love that had caused her to cherish it when living. (Chapter 17)
It wont take much chaos to cause the hollow spirit to crumble like an empty crysalis. Then we'll see if America has the same reserved grit deep within as it did December 8th, 1941. Unfortunately there has been a tremendous political effort spent over the last 7 years dividing this nation to its core. And we know what Patrick Henry warned about that. We'd hope to never recall those ghosts again. But some horrors do not like to be forgotten or ignored; so much so they are determined to haunt repeatedly until their terror is fully manifest in a way that their spirit never can be.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
(re-printed with permission of townhall.com)
Politicians don’t make laws, lawmakers do. And sadly we have plethora of politicians and a dearth of lawmakers.
Laws order societies. They provide guidelines for commerce, social behavior, governmental administration, and public safety. Laws often find their roots in, and are forced to meander back to their relevant guiding document, such as the US Constitution or the English Magna Carta. The limiting of the force of laws by such documents guarantees personal freedoms ensures a certain orderliness in that society that reflects the founders’ vision, and places boundaries to lawmaking by the limiting and sharing of governmental power.
Effective lawmaking requires a vision for improvement, a congruous and coherent pathway to that vision, and an implementation scheme that ensures the functionality of the law over time. Successful implementation plans include appropriate administrative guidelines, adequate levels of funding if required, and enforcement provisions as necessary and relevant exceptions if appropriate. It is the singular responsibility of lawmakers to ensure that any legislation that gets passed, meets those base requirements, is Constitutional, and functional. That would be responsible lawmaking.
The functionality of legislation can be measured in myriad of ways. Was the law found un-Constitutional? Is more than one aspect, if any, bogged down in the courts? Did it survive the weight of its own administrative requirements? Did the funding meet the envisioned or actual expense? Is the program sustainable over time? How big is the administrative tail? How well is it functioning? Is anything positive actually being accomplished?
Often, in today’s climate, a lack of concern over the functionality of newly passed legislation seems to be the only area where bi-partisan agreement can be reached. Which is the crux; we no longer have legislators or lawmakers inside the venerated halls of congress, we simply have politicians. And politicians don’t seem to want to, or care to make very good laws.
Political agendas today are dominated by complex vote-buying legislation, and where real, necessary legislation is consistently avoided over time. The new immigration proposal as an example of the former, and the failure to correct the wonton ills of the Social Security system provide and example of the latter.
The disconnect(s) between the altruistic goals of the McCain-Kennedy immigration embrace, and its functional elements are striking. Hugh Hewitt, and others have done yeoman’s work in parsing the behemoth into digestible bites, but the striking part to me are the many parts of the bill that appear to be a pathway in an Escher drawing.
-Who is going to conduct 12 million plus background checks, and where is the funding, where is the creation of an administrative arm to accomplish it, and the manpower to complete it? A gap this wide in legislation reveals either completely incompetent law writing or a complete indifference as to whether the checks are completed or not. Either way we have incompetent politicians writing laws who show little regard for actually providing border security for the country.
-The Border Patrol math doesn’t add up either. From a BP agent email to HH,
“Fact: The U.S./Mexico Border is 1951 miles long. We need 4 agents per mile.We would need to deploy 7804 Agents per shift, 3 shifts per day. Totalrequired manpower: 23,412 Agents per day. Projected BP staffing level:18,000.”
I am not exactly sure how the “new” math works inside the DC moat called the beltway, but I am pretty sure that between one room full of 435 Representatives, and another room full of 100 Senators, someone would be able to discover a five thousand man shortfall in the manning of the Border Patrol; if they were sincerely interested. Their lack of vetting belies their lack of interest in the enforcement provisions of the legislation.
-And the inclusion of provisionary status for most illegal aliens, after a mere 48 hours, while the flawed provisions of this bill are being played out, only re-enforces the idea, that all of the enforcement measures and procedural triggers will be rendered useless as the administrative requirements cannot be met because of the gaping holes in the legislation itself. In other words, these politicians were more than willing to let the real security aspects of the bill be overcome by events, in order to expedite the regularization of those who have been in this country illegally. And does this make sense when Islamist extremists are targeting our southern order for exploitation?
The point is not whether immigration reform should be passed or not. This country needs to put together a comprehensive and complete package that provides security for the country, provides a path to citizenship, is revenue neutral in its cost to social security and other entitlement programs, and works to such a degree that future “immigration reform” bills are unnecessary.
The point is politicians are incapable of providing us with such legislation. Our current crop is so pre-occupied with preserving their status, or the lineage of their voting record for their Presidential run in 2016, or merely making it through the 2008 elections, that they have no real interest in passing responsible legislation; their only interest is in pandering to 12 million potential new voters they can’t wait to schmoooz.
Further proof lies in the lack of Social Security reform. Yes, sorting out Social Security will be painstaking and political suicide, but the necessity of viable reform cannot be put off until the system collapses under its own weight in 30 years and starts writing checks that the rest of the economy cannot cash. Politicians will continue to hit the birdie back over the net until they are comfortably lounging in their retirements, leaving working class America looking for answers to their unfilled promises. Of course, this crop of politicians will be long forgotten, their names never to be reviled as appropriate.
Lawmakers, if there are any left by then will be actually fixing Social Security, and passing laws that are competently assembled and meaningful to their primary objectives; public safety, commerce, and advancing the founding principles of this nation.
When we are attacked again, and establish that the perpetrators leveraged the gapping holes in our immigration system, we won’t be “connecting the dots” to the resident of the White House, the dots will be connected throughout the halls of Congress. Lawmakers, step up and be counted. Politicians go home.
Monday, May 28, 2007
To-day, across our fathers' graves,
The astonished years reveal
The remnant of that desperate host
Which cleansed our East with steel.
Hail and farewell! We greet you here,
With tears that none will scorn--
O Keepers of the House of old,
Or ever we were born!
One service more we dare to ask--
Pray for us, heroes, pray,
That when Fate lays on us our task
We do not shame the Day!
Rudyard Kipling, 1907
Thank You, all for your willful sacrifice on our behalf.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
While this started out as a comment to Mike's latest column at Townhall (SM Link), it began to take on a life of its own as my thoughts on the subject spread along the tangent. Mike discusses Islamphobia as it is claimed to exists in the United States with a purported trend of religious and ethnic persecution post 9/11. Mike correctly points out, however, that no such phenomenon actually exists, despite media claims and the chortling of pro-Islamic groups like CAIR, OIC and others.
Even despite decades of violence, murder, mass-murder, terrorism, and outright warfare conducted on the West and specifically America in the name of Islam people in America exist in relative harmony... the vitriolic hate spit forth daily from the Left notwithstanding. Afterall, do let's be clear, sadly there are historical incidences of violent persecution (religious, ethnic and otherwise) in this nation's history by which we may compare to what is happening today. But as yet, I see nothing comparable in the last five years to Salem (ca.1692), Wounded Knee (ca. 1890) , Nauvoo (ca, 1848) , and certainly there are no roving bands of white hooded vandals ransacking taxicabs and convenient stores nationwide. And yet, even as a war rages cautiously with the fanatics of Islam, no perceptible hostility actually exists in the United States against Muslims - citizens, nationals, nor immigrants. So, I think we can confidently put the persecution issue to bed, at least and until the next murderous domestic attack, after which all bets may well be off. Because if anyone's animosity and bigotry, given the historical record, is to be understood, it should be that of the Americans if it actually existed. For in addition to Mike's extended list of atrocities committed by Muslim fanatics in the name of Islam (by their very own words, claims, and treatises), let us not forget the additional acts of warfare directed at us over those previous decades -the taking of hostages, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, and the nearly forgotten missile attack on a US Frigate. Some may recall in May of 1987, two Iraqi missiles ripped through the hull of the the USS Stark on routine patrol in the Gulf prior any direct hostilities, killing thirty-seven sailors and injuring another twenty-one. Its just a few hundred more for the tally, and quite enough justification in itself for a War that came by all accounts, 14 years late.
That being said, people, even groups of people, are solely responsible for the consequences of their actions... or in this case actions taken on their behalf. When that group fails consistently to distance itself from the collective malevolence, it becomes guilty by association. It is certainly not up to me to offer my trust in anyone nor anything. It must be earned. Then it is maintained as such... as TRUST. Yet, once it is shattered, it may only be reassembled by my grace alone. That being said, trust does not equal blindness, anymore than caution should render paranoia, or disagreement treated as depravity. For trust is a virtue, built on the concept of experience, yet exercised like faith. And as I said it can be shattered, but only then should there be the pressumption of animosity. With regard to Muslims, the faith of the West may be cracking. But, it is hardly shattered.
Mike makes this point profoundly enough, so finally here's, my tangent...
In his column, Mike offers the following rhetorical apology,
Sorry if I am more afraid of Muslims than I am of, let’s say, you run of the mill yokel who made some anti-Muslim remarks on 9/12. Those serving the Prophethave a much higher kill ratio than the Christians, the secularists, the atheists, the agnostics, the Jews, and the Wiccans combined.As for my fear of the 'run of the mill yokel', it grows with each passing day as their venomous hate-filled minds ferment to insanity with irrational rage. Their's however is not directed at Muslims. It is directed intensely at Christians, feverishly at Jews, increasingly at Mormons, and generally at all American's regardless of creed. It is indeed a phobia, as described by Webster... “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation...” especially given the lack of basis for that fear. One might call it Ameriphobia, in fact. And its spreading worldwide like few other plagues mankind has known. Currently 1 in 5 Democrats shares this affliction as evidence by their belief that the 9/11 attacks were conducted by the US Government as part of a Zionist conspiracy. From what I can tell it could be as many as 1 in 3 here locally. Considering the demographics of cities on the West Coast (and my previous jesting aside), it might actually mean that 2 out 7 people that you pass on the street here in Portland are thus infection, while 3 of the remaining 4 might agree with them simply politically. So, with that in mind, given the religious furvor clearly visible on behalf of a phobia zealously embraced, who seems more capable of violence in America today?
Given that and recent comments logged right here on this forum, it would seem that Ameriphobia has escalated from fringe political fanaticism, to the brink of quasi-religious crusade. In other words, consider that 'some' Americans (1 in 5 Democrats) believe their Nation and countrymen to be purely evil, and capable - nay GUILTY - of holocaust. Is it not 'their' responsibility to liberate their region, the nation and then the world of that enemy by any means necessary?! Dare we assume from their furvor 'their' efforts are not already being implemented?
Afterall, for them, time is short, the tumor malignant, regional popular opinion is in favor, and 'the' enemy of 'their' enemy may not be a true friend...
...but it will serve as ally to 'their' purpose for the time being.
Whose time? Whose being?
Ameriphobia may be irrational, but the fear and its potential manifestation are quite real.
Monday, May 21, 2007
(reprinted with permission of townhall.com)
Phobia, as described by Webster... “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.”
Foxnews.com picked up on an Arab News story coming out of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday that describes Islamaphobia as “the worst form of terrorism” and the OIC was asking for steps world wide to curb it.
The OIC describes Islamaphobia as the “deliberate defamation of Islam and discrimination and intolerance of Muslims.” The OIC alludes to Islamaphobia as a concern well before 9/11…“Islamophobia became a source of concern, especially after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but the phenomenon was already there in Western societies in one form or the other…” They offer no specific examples.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the variety of the world’s non-Muslim countries cultures’ mix with Muslim culture like water and oil, but prior to 9/11; in spite of dozens of aircraft hijackings and the murders associated with many of them, in spite of the 1972 Olympics; in spite of the Achille Lauro (1985), in spite of the first WTC bombings (1993), in spite of the bombings of the Khobar Towers (1996), in spite of the indiscriminate killing of hundreds in the US Embassy bombings (1998), in spite of the USS Cole (2000), Muslims were able to live peacefully throughout the world without fear, harassment, nor threat of persecution.
In fact it is nearly impossible to directly associate any link between 9/11 and an increase in crimes against Muslims in the US. The best accounting I can find is here at religioustolerance.org, where the outrageous attacks on Muslims after 9/11 translates to 3 dead, one beaten, some threats made, and some property damaged.
Seems pale in comparison of the carnage that lies in the wake of motivated Muslims…twelve innocents dead in Munich, one innocent dead on the Achille Lauro and dumped into the sea, six dead and over 1000 injured in the first WTC bombing, twenty dead and 372 injured in the Khobar Towers bombings, over two hundred dead and 4000 injured in the US embassy bombings, seventeen dead in the USS Cole attack. Add in 2973 dead in the 9/11 attacks, 191 killed and 2050 injured in the Madrid bombings in 2004, Theo van Gogh murdered in the streets of Amsterdam 2004, fifty-two dead and 700 injured in the London bombings of July 2005, several killed and property damage worldwide in the aftermath of the Danish cartoon scandal of 2006. By my count that is nearly 3500 innocent people killed by those purporting to be believers in the religion “of peace.”
Sorry if I am more afraid of Muslims than I am of, let’s say, you run of the mill yokel who made some anti-Muslim remarks on 9/12. Those serving the Prophet have a much higher kill ratio than the Christians, the secularists, the atheists, the agnostics, the Jews, and the Wiccans combined.
I am at a loss to figure out how being afraid of Muslims, because they happen to be the world’s largest generator of terrorists, is a greater form of terror than the actual terror than that which is being perpetrated by Muslims extremists on the rest of the world’s population nearly everyday of our lives. This is like castigating an assault victim for being afraid of their attacker.
The OIC is clearly engaging in a classic “desensitivization” and “relativism” spin in trying to compare the brutal savagery committed by Muslim Jihadists over the past 35 years to the actual fear generated by those attacks. They are attempting to carve inroads into and place limitations on, our rights to free speech. And they are seeking an exceptional governmental deference towards their religion. All of which flies in the face of logic when compared to the body count that extreme Islamic Jihadists have racked up. Muslims need to be held accountable for those murders, not venerated as victims.
Is it irrational to fear shoe bombs, dirty bombs, homicidal bombers, homicidal hijackers, anonymous Muslim car bombers, armed kidnappers, video-taping beheaders, truck bombers, airplane crashers, hotel bombers, train bombers, subway bombers, ship bombers, when all of these terror methodologies have been used or attempted in the recent past?
The OIC needs a little perspective. As the second leading inter-governmental organization, behind the UN, it needs to understand that by condemning “discrimination and intolerance,” but not condemning murder and terror, they prove themselves the second biggest hypocritical inter-governmental organization in the world, also still behind the UN. It is inconceivable that an organization supposedly speaking for 57 nations and various other interested parties, can berate other countries for discrimination, while providing no proof or significant harm, but then fail to mention in the least the devastation that has been wrought on the rest of civilized by society by Muslim extremists.
To have murderous behavior defended by oblique attacks on the societies that have been victimized by such attacks is ludicrous in the extreme. Moderate Muslims, if they are who they claim to be, cannot put the loathing of terror and it perpetrators in the same category of wonton murder and terror upon innocents.
If fearing terrorists, Jihadists, wahabists, etc. and et al., because of their brutal and indiscriminate killing sprees, makes me irrational AND an Islamaphobe…then, I guess I am one.
And sorry OIC…the worst form of terrorism is indiscriminate murder, not “defamation and intolerance.”
© Michael McBride 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
The MSM was successful in securing Paul Wolfowitz's resignation from the World Bank today...after months of pursuing him on allegations of inappropriately leveraging his status to get his girlfriend a better job. Good work...pat yourselves on the back tonight at Happy Hour.
Then hide your heads in shame as you gave Sandy Berg(l)er a pass on his theft and destruction of critical 9/11 documents just prior to his important testimony before the 9/11 commission. Berger acquiesced yesterday, and agreed to the forfieture of his unused law license in part of an agreement that kept him from testifiying before a panel of lawyers about his actions. Big sacrifice, he hadn't used his law license in 15 years...that would be like me giving up a tennis racket.
And lastly...as the MSM flunkies are congratulating themselves for righting the ethos of the World Bank...maybe they could go back and do a better job of investigating the UN's Oil for Food Program run by their poster child Kofi Annan. They could pat themselves even harder if they did that.
But they won't...he wasn't part of BushCo. And they don't have standards.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Nothing grinds me more than MSM hypocrisy, and the Oregonian served up a heaping helping yesterday.
The big, I guess little O, has been running an “expose” all week on the dangers of ATVs, and the toll they take on kids and families. The four part series has been replete with heart-wrenching stories about serious injuries and deaths caused by ATVs over the past couple of decades as their popularity has increased exponentially.
Yesterday’s ATV slam was particularly obtuse, as the writers bemoaned that fact that those injured by ATVs were being denied large settlements because the ATVs came with very precise manufacturers warnings…such as…no passengers, avoid steep slopes, recommended ages for use. And interestingly enough, the main example in yesterday’s story, a compelling case involving a 14 year-old girl who was critically injured seven years ago, and now requires continuous care, was a case generated by a lack of adult supervision and the girl was riding with an underage driver and with another passenger.
How sad that the parents can’t sue the ATV manufacturer’s deep pockets because they did not leave the care of their seven year old (at the time) with someone responsible, or leave precise enough instructions with the care giver to insure that their daughter was not a passenger on a vehicle, against the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Of course, the little O, thinks the parents should be able to sue someone…and they did, the care giver’s insurance company…too bad the settlement was so low.
But the acme of the little O’s hypocrisy comes on page B-3…for you News-paperosaureses like me, where the Oregonian proudly posted one of their photographer’s pictures of last year’s Oregon City’s BMX bike, tricks competition winner.
Nice picture…the 26 year old was about six feet in the air with his bike…no helmet, no pads, no gloves…no manufacturer’s warning…no “professional stunt rider, don’t try this at home” warning… just the empty message that getting your bike six feet in the air is cool. And not the least bit dangerous.
For those parents whose kids suffer injuries in the upcoming weeks while they are BMXing…sue the Oregonian…they love law suits.
In the interest of full disclosure...I have never owned or ridden an ATV.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
(reprinted with permission of townhall.com)
Wars have always had their discernable differences. Some extremely nuanced, some extremely dramatic. Strategists have been able to draw on tactics and strategies from previous wars or engagements and adapt them to modern principles and equipment. Other wars have demanded radically new or deeply evolved strategies and tactics to overcome or leverage operational developments and tactical and strategic shifts.
Had the Allies not perfected the complex, integrated tactics of amphibious warfare, first attempted in the modern age at Gallipoli in World War One, they would have not been successful moving across North Africa, Italy, Europe, and the entirety of Asia in defeating the Axis powers in World War Two.
Carrier warfare was birthed, developed, mastered and integrated into our national strategic plans in less than twenty years. It changed the face of naval warfare forever.
In its simplest form, World War Two was an engagement on two foreign fronts, a modest defense of the homeland, sustaining of supply and logistics lines, and propaganda (support) effort at home. Fought successfully on all five above fronts, the Allies could be expected to defeat the Axis and claim victory.
The Cold War was fought remarkably different. It was fought with weapons development, brinksmanship, and propaganda, occupation of territory, political alignment, time, and economics. In the end, the winning of the Cold War ended up being a strategy of containment, economic depletion over an extended period, and the capability to project a ready and competent response to attack.
It is critical to outline the broad fronts in the Global War on Terrorism in order to lay out a competent, long-term strategy for victory. The fronts that we must engage on, and win on, in order succeed against terror are as follows…
The war in Iraq must be sustained until either Al Qaeda is defeated, they abandon the battlefield in Iraq, or the combination of Iraqi armed forces and Iraqi police forces can provide stability in the country, from both internal and external pressures. Al Qaeda cannot be “given” a victory in this battle. They will not go home if they successfully force our withdrawal and claim victory in Iraq. They will simply test our strength and our will in another spot on the globe, using any uncontrolled areas in Iraq as training grounds.
The effort in Afghanistan must be continued until the Taliban is no longer militarily or politically viable in Afghanistan. As with Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Taliban must be denied even the smallest influence in Afghanistan. The remnants are a nuisance, and they occasionally enjoy some success on the battlefield, but we have already experienced life under the threat of a terror enhancing regime in control in Kabul. Terrorists would have unrestricted access to training and support, and economic viability via the opium trade.
Forces must remain in place which promote long term stability, and a denial of a resurgence to the Taliban.
Iran must be denied the acquisition of nuclear arms at all costs. We know that the mullahs, via Ahmadinejad are incapable of rational, international intercourse, and that their objective is to enhance their status in the world through the successful development of nuclear arms.
They have proven themselves exasperatingly irrational over the past twenty-eight years, and in adding a nuclear capability to their arsenal, they would only attempt to twist the rest of the world to their influence through an unspoken, yet inherent threat to use nuclear weapons in order to achieve their political objectives.
Iran is the main backer to Hezbollah, and their myriad of terror activities, it is a logical step for Iran to let aggressive, semi-rogue terror groups to do their nuclear bidding for them. Certainly, Iran would arm their surrogates with nuclear weapons, and then the world would become a free-fire zone for nuclear detonations.
Border protection/immigration enforcement
The US must aggressively pursue coherent and responsible immigration and deportation strategies that add to national security. Borders MUST be controlled to the extent that we know, for certain, who is in this country and under what pretenses. We cannot protect ourselves against Al Qaeda mimickers, if we do not have a rational understanding of who is in this country and for what purpose. This requires a serious and immediate action. Failing to plug this gaping hole in our national defense is a symbol for our collective malaise toward our own security and will make us vulnerable into perpetuity should we fail to take appropriate action…control the borders, enforce current laws, deport immigration rules violators without exception, aggressively pursue those here illegally.
Continue with aggressive domestic and international screening of airline passengers. Through diligent and continued screening we re-enforce the idea that we have not forgotten 9/11, and that we are aware enough to continue to provide some measure of security to intra- and international travel.
We must aggressively step up our screening of cargo containers entering into this country. We must have an understanding of what is in each and every container that comes through our borders. Certainly this will take some time to fully make operational, but we must continue on the path and complete this critical piece in the continuity of our effort to protect ourselves from further attack.
Engage moderate Muslims
We must begin to develop a much improved working relationship with moderate Muslims. Because of the violent nature of Islamic terrorists across the globe, it is easy to understand the reluctance of some moderate Muslims to step forward and support governmental initiatives in the anti-terror campaign. We must be able to ensure the physical security of moderate Muslims who assist us in our goal to eliminate terrorism.
We need to work with moderates to gain access to networks that harbor or fuel insurgents. We must cultivate them for long term roles as operatives, analysts and interpreters. In short, we must engage moderate Muslims in our effort to eliminate terror, and be prepared to take extraordinary measures to ensure their physical security. The combination of cooperation and protection will begin to break down the existing barriers that are keeping moderate Muslims on the sidelines.
Strengthen domestic surveillance and security initiatives
Key elements of the Patriot Act must remain in place in order to ensure that our domestic terror prevention efforts shift away form the “lucky” and are driven into programmatic success. By limiting access to banking, billing, internet, cell phone records, and other predominate terror pathways of communication and exchange, we hamstring our efforts, and reduce our chances of programmatic success, and shift back to a dependence on luck or fortune.
We will not always be presented with fidgety drivers crossing over from Canada, or copy-cat cells stupid enough to take their training videos to Circuit City for conversion to DVD. At some point the strength of our domestic counter-terror programs must be unearthing these plots, and we must diminish our dependence on stupid terrorists and heads-up store clerks.
We must actively begin a communication program that highlights how important citizen involvement has been in protecting us from further attacks. A concentrated media campaign should be a base element of our public information dissemination well out into the future. This campaign, should resemble the Civil Defense ads of the fifties, and alert our citizens to the very real threats that are beginning to infiltrate our neighborhoods, as these “home-grown” Al Qaeda-like cells begin to gain a toehold on our home turf.
Counter Information operations
We must deny any terror organization the initiative in Information Operations. We must recognize that their objective is to operate inside our information OODA-loop and to co-opt our media outlets. They will continue to leverage the format and content of the evening news to gain air time and to present the images they want to the American public.
We must be aggressive in countering these messages, and devise a coherent and innovative strategy to deny them the unfettered use of our airwaves in this critical element of the GWOT.
Political agreement to these principles
None of the above will work, until there is a bi-partisan agreement to this approach in fighting the GWOT. Each and every time we waver in our effort, the enemy views our divisiveness as an offensive opportunity.
Al Zawahiri is giddy in Iraq at the possibility of the Dems setting a timeline. They operate more freely when we relax our surveillance of bank transactions or incoming cell phone calls. Until both parties can agree to this list as the fronts of this war, we will have no chance of winning it…no matter how much money we spend, or how much energy we expend.
The GWOT is mature enough that a strategic review of our methods and objective is called for. And while this list may not prove to be all inclusive, it is certainly the baseline for achieving success in the long term.
If we can’t figure out, or acknowledge on which fronts we are fighting, we are doomed to be engaged in a long, losing struggle to terror. If we are able to put together a comprehensive fight on all of the fronts described above, we are in for a long, winning struggle against terror.
© Michael McBride 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
1. Get brainwashed by a hateful ideology
2. Get an AK-47
3. Do a little target practice
4. Videotape your practice sessions with the hopes of inspiring others and yourself
5. Take said videotape to a store to have it duped to DVD
6. Plan an attack on a local facility
7. Make sure the facility is populated by people who are not only trained in the use of automatic weapons, but who also are currently in possession of automatic weapons
8. Mix lack of judgment with a healthy dose of masculine bravado
9. Fake a pizza delivery to the facility and try to attack the gun-wielding guards at the main gate.
Imagine what could have happened if these rocket scientists had decided to attack, say, a college campus full of unarmed students. . .
So get ready for the lack of factual reporting: the MSM will do all it can to de-emphasize the attackers' religious beliefs (i.e. their prime motivation) by pushing the "Ethnic Albanian" theme as a replacement. Religion as a motivator for murder? Only if you're a serial killer or a fundamentalist Christian.
Then get ready for the spin, implicit or explicit: these guys wouldn't have planned the attack had we not illegally invaded the peaceful country of Iraq. Or was is Yugoslavia? Or was it Albania? Wait - the U.S. attacked the Serbs to save Muslim Albanians? Dang! Well, whatever - they're infidels: let's just kill 'em anyway.
Friday, May 04, 2007
(reprinted with permission fo townhall.com)
Conventional wars are tests of nations. It is manpower versus manpower. Logistics versus logistics. Lethality versus lethality. Mobility versus mobility. And the nation with the most advantages across the spectrum usually wins. Typically, the one better at all of the combined elements of modern warfighting claims victory.
Insurgencies are different. They are fought across many spectra unrelated to those that compose the fighting of conventional wars. They are contests between competing ideologies. They are contests of uneven resources and continually evolving strategies and tactics. And they are fought across time. They are fought with information.
Typically insurgencies are birthed from moral ideologies. It is not hard to see the morality in an uprising against perpetual colonialism. It is not hard to imagine an insurgency against oppression or forced imposition of religion. In fact, it is easy to support a cause rightly rooted in moral virtue. Insurgencies born of high moral standing will have strength and longevity. And they will be hard to defeat.
Insurgencies born on immoral premises will be only slightly less difficult to defeat because support is not gained through a moral belief, but through intimidation and random violence against the innocent. Over time, the immorality of indiscriminate or ruthless tactics will provide a tactical gap for exploitation. So defeat of immoral insurgencies, while still difficult, is more likely because the base of support will not be as well grounded.
Modern insurgent tacticians have garnered much from the patient nationalist insurgencies of Southeast Asia. They recognize that to win with inferior numbers, it takes a combination of time and high-yield tactics. The Vietnamese patiently waited out the French, the Japanese, the French again, and the Americans to fulfill Ho Chi Minh’s vision of nationalistic communism.
The “Troubles” in Northern Ireland resulted in neither victory nor defeat, as time proved the ultimate winner. It was the erosion of both sides’ will across the long spectrum of time that brought peace to Northern Ireland. Fierce, indiscriminate tactics eroded the morality of the both of the competing ideologies, and time brought a weariness among the population that would not sustain the efforts of either side.
The Vietnamese fought the first truly modern insurgency when they began leveraging the acceleration potential of modern media. They used the nightly broadcasts of the American MSM as an accelerant in their campaign to erode the will of the American public. Previous to this, news accounts of wars and battles involved months, later weeks, then days, but in Vietnam it shrunk to inside of twenty-four hours. This meant that the American public, could be bombarded daily with news headlines, and that these “headlines” could be leveraged to the insurgents’ advantage. And leverage it they did.
With the help of our MSM, the Vietnamese were able to turn military defeats such as Ap Bac, I Drang, and Hue into tactical victories. Not by their success, or lack thereof on the battlefield, but by the visible and measurable erosion of support back in America. They viewed, correctly, that the will of the American people was their target, and attacks on our forces, and the leveraging of our MSM biases were simply the conduits to accelerate the erosion of that will.
The Vietnamese correctly viewed information operations (IO) as a critical part in winning their nationalist insurgency. They understood early on that the major factors in winning would be their nationalistic ideology implanted through both national pride and brutality, and the erosion of US will. They correctly played for time by balancing their use of conventional and unconventional tactics. And they eroded our will by generating enough casualties to have the body bags played night in and night out on our television sets. They achieved their goal, ironically…first in Congress, then with the public. In 1975 they claimed victory vis-à-vis a conventional fight against the South Vietnamese.
They recognized and mastered modern media warfare in less time than it takes most armies to field a new combat rifle.
And thirty-two years later our Army shows it has no better understanding of how to fight in an IO centric world. In fact, by cutting off milblogging yesterday, they have regressed into an era that no longer exists, AND ceded and enormous IO advantage to a brutal and net savvy adversary.
Ostensively the Army’s motives are to increase force security through improved operational security, but this doesn’t wash in the real world. In order for there to be a “harm,” there must be a significance to that harm…Debate 101. And certainly then, the comparative harm of OpSec breaches must exceed the overwhelming good that credible milboggers have done in painting the real picture on the ground in Iraq, vice the MSM negativity that most of the Green Zone lounge lizards masquerading as MSM reporters have been able to manage. Not likely.
Don’t get me wrong, OpSec is important…sometimes.
In Desert Storm I was asked to pull out my daily authenticator after instructing a flight of Air Force F-16s to go to a holding fix while I was controlling other aircraft and actively engaging targets on the ground. They were within their rights to ask for authentication, and OpSec purists can pound their chests with righteousness, but I was a little busy exchanging fire with a couple of ZSU-23/4s, so I told the F-16s they could either go where I told them to go, and hold for further instructions, or they could go back to base. At that point, and likely with the information that the Army is trying to protect today, the OpSec “breach” could not be exploited and likely held little or no tactical value to the enemy.
So, their justification doesn’t’ wash with me. While OpSec is important…it is unlikely that the breaches that the Army is concerned about resulted in any actual harm to our troops in the field.
This is most likely a knee-jerk response to the sharp criticisms Army brass has received in the past few weeks over their extending of the tours of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The supporting commands within the Army have failed to provide a sustainable manning plan for their deployed forces, and they were rightly held to account for that …from those of us on the outside and by some milbloggers on the inside. And generals do not like to be criticized. Justified or not.
What is so striking about this decision is it compromises these same generals on a number of other levels. It shows they are willing to take one of their most effective tools in fighting this war off the table, simply to reduce the internal criticisms of their questionable policies.
It shows they do not understand that mastering IO is a critical element in winning an insurgent conflict, and the initiative in this arena cannot be surrendered under any circumstances. It shows a stagnation of strategic thought in an arena where IO dominates. It shows the generalship in the US, in spite of myriad of War Colleges and advance degree programs, has not evolved with the modern nature of war outside of conventional strategies and tactics. It signals that the Army brass is now in the damage and reputation control mode, vice a full press victory mode. This defensive posture of the general officer ranks is the harbinger of defeat, and signals its onset.
And worse, in ending internal milblogging, the Army is now relying on the biased MSM to provide the public a “balanced” picture of the situation in Iraq. Not happening. Hasn’t happened. Won’t happen.
The Army, rather than getting a handle on how to effectively use, milbloggers, bloggers, and the blogoshpere, is opting to return to dance with the devil they know. They are choosing to partner with a known adversary, one who has contributed to a past defeat, rather than to gain an understanding of how to better use the myriad talents possessed by the same soldiers who are performing gloriously in the field.
They fear what they have not yet mastered, so they choose instead to return to their complex, yet completely ineffective choreography with the MSM. They default to this strategy simply because it is a game plan they know, even if they know it is not a winning dance, they find comfort in knowing the steps. It signals a surrender of the initiative and repose towards accepting defeat.
The silencing of the milblogs uncovers the breadth of the ineptitude that permeates the top levels of the military command elements. They are discarding one of their most valuable tools in order to protect their reputations. They show they have little understanding of, or aptitude for, modern IO centric, counter-insurgent operations. And their reliance on partnering with their old nemesis, the MSM, for message dissemination, reveals the depth of their deficiencies.
And sadly by silencing the milbloggers, the Army relegates our soldiers to simply being trigger pullers for the generals, not voices in the effort that they sacrifice so much else for.
© Michael McBride 2007