Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Turning Surge Into Victory

Major Mike
(reprinted with permission from Townhall.com)

Update: Who won the Super Bowl?

The Indianapolis Colts who could've been written of at half-time of the AFC Championship game...being down by 18 points.

Original Post

When I cracked 1776 on Wednesday to give it its long overdue read, there were two pleasant surprises. I found that it was autographed by the author…something I am appalled at myself for not remembering. And secondly, alone on the inner leaf just prior to Part One, I was greeted by a simple and profound quote from General George Washington…

Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.”

I should grace the elegance of his words by stopping now, but I fear that my editor is expecting more, and that my semi-conceited verbosity cannot be held in check.

Why Surge?

Developing synergy, while not one of the nine generally accepted “Principles of War,” is an essential element in warfighting. Synergy is developed by having sufficient resources available to conduct all aspects of warfighting required to complete the specific mission to an overwhelming effect.

Too few troops… and units will not be able to conduct all the necessary ops required to fight and win a counterinsurgency struggle. They will not be able to simultaneously hunt down armed and indiscriminant murderers, protect logistical lines of support, conduct aggressive patrolling operations, conduct community confidence building and infra-structure re-building efforts, and deliver the expected results to an impatient Congress in a timely manner.

Too many troops… and a discontinuity of effort between units can develop, the logistical tail can outgrow the size of the dog, and the cost to deliver the expected results to an impatient Congress can exceed their expectations and diminish their support.

Getting the proper sized force in place is critical to ensuring that a lean, aggressive force can break the enemies force and their will, ensure its own security, build confidence amongst the local populace, and do so in a timely and efficient manner.

Three years of combat operations in Iraq has greatly diminished the capabilities of the insurgents in Iraq. Yes, they have become more lethal with their explosives…this is simply an outgrowth of the ability to get their hands on better technology, but they are not becoming a better organized, or more effective combat force. Indeed, I think it is very safe to say that if we pulled out today, the insurgents would not be the winner, as they are nearly spent and exhausted, but some third party would likely step into the vacuum that their diminished ranks could not fill.

The goal of the Surge is to complete the task of breaking the will of the insurgents, at the same time, having enough forces available to discourage the rise of a non-governmental third party from interrupting the growth of this fledgling democracy. A simple principle, and well within the norms of our current warfighting capabilities. Situations in combat change and often commanders must be prepared to adapt their strategies and underlying tactics mid-course…this, however is no cause for alarmist, defeatist behavior.

What should the Surge look like?

The Surge should be aggressive in its combat action. It needs to be forceful, lethal, and determined. It needs to re-establish our military supremacy over the situation in Iraq, and in doing so it will re-establish a determined Iraqi populous support for our efforts and their democracy.

Forget hearts and minds, winning insurgencies is about winning the confidence of the general population. If you fail to build a confidence in your inevitable victory and the chances for a long lasting piece, they will waffle in support, biding their time until a clear winner emerges.

Insurgent forces are usually unimaginably brutal in their tactics, not so much to garner support, but more in their efforts to establish security around their ruthless operations. Populations paralyzed in fear, typically do not act against insurgent forces that have a hope in prevailing. Our Surge must extinguish any ray of hope that a post-US Iraq will degenerate into a vengeful free-for-all amongst all the competing political and military entities. To do so, we must crush the ability of our enemies to threaten the general population.

Secondly, we must completely isolate Iraq from any outside political, military, or any other de-stabilizing influences. This includes the harsh interdiction of Iranian, Syrian, Al Qaeda-ian, or any other foreign entity that desires to affect the outcome in Iraq.

This means securing cross-border routes from Iran and Syria, with extreme military measures if required. Lethal combined air-ground operations are likely required to eliminate these as routes of re-supply and re-enforcement. Constant patrolling and interdiction is the order of the day, and this requires a significant number of resources to execute across long international boundaries. This will greatly reduce the combat power of the insurgents and force them to rely solely on “popular” support, which is likely minimal.

This action will additionally have a negative impact on the morale of the insurgents. In order to defeat them, they need to be, and feel, isolated. Isolating the battlefield, aside from providing additional security for our forces, will have an immeasurable effect on the ability of the insurgents to effectively recruit for, and conduct operations within Iraq. The more isolated they are, and they feel, the less effective their operations will be. They need to be impressed with an overwhelming sense of isolation and hopelessness. For, as anyone who has gone through SERE (Survival Escape Resistance and Evasion) training knows, the sense of isolation is a powerful corrosive on the human will. We need to firmly impress the sense of isolation on the insurgents.

We need to win the information war. We need to quit dancing around this one.

The military and the Administration need to redefine this part of the war, and they need to do everything in their power to communicate to the Iraqi people and to all Americans, that we are, even to this point, winning this war. We need to redefine the measureables, swarm the conservative talk shows, and embed as many conservative bloggers over the next few months as possible. Instead of dead US servicemen dominating the MSM, the American public needs to hear about kilowatt hours distributed across the Iraqi power grid. They need to hear how many small businesses opened up last month. They need to hear of dead insurgents, traffic volume, GDP, oil sales, school openings, local elections and everything else that peaceful societies take for granted and fail to appreciate. The public needs to be inundated with every bit of positive news that can make its way out of Iraq. To fail to do so, simply isolates our troops in their efforts and forces them to carry the enormity of their task solo, while the pack wolves known as the MSM circle like vultures waiting for failure. We have to gain traction on this aspect of the war, it is critical to keep the definition of the fight out of the hands of the defeatists….both MSM and Congressional.

How long will the surge last?

Until victory or until the perseverance and spirit of the American will erodes. Victory in Iraq is achievable by our amazingly capable and determined Armed Forces. Their effort will only be undercut by self-serving politicking and pointless impatience.

If we decide we want victory we will have it. If we quit on our effort, we will have defeat.

How did Indianapolis get into the Super Bowl?

Spirit and perseverance.

© Michael McBride 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

My Letter of Disgust to Senator Gordon Smith, R- OR

Major Mike

Dear Senator Smith,

As a Republican and retired Marine Officer I am deeply concerned about your non-support of our President and our troops in this time of war. I find your vote to confirm General Petreaus, then to waffle on giving him the troops he needs to execute a plan he helped developed, grossly hypocritical in the least and disingenuous at its best. You are sending him to Iraq as a pre-positioned Senatorial scapegoat. Shameful.

Your maneuverings, and the similar maneuverings of some of your Republican counterparts, are obvious ploys to straddle the issue in an effort to preserve your places in the Senate, and they do no service to this country, or to our troops in the field. This kind of weather-vaning is not the hallmark of a leader, but more a representation of a self-preservationist trying to play all sides at the same time. I find it gutless and reprehensible. Stand up and be counted, this is no time to abandon the sacrifices that have already been made, or to squander the foothold of democracy that those sacrifices have carved out.

Unless you can find the courage to see our effort in Iraq through, you and the Republican Party will receive none of my support out into the future. You will not receive a vote from me any time out into the future, and furthermore, I will do everything in my power to block your re-election. The same will go for the Republican Party…I will not squander my contributions to the political process on feckless Republicans serving their own interests, and who are more committed to their seats in the Congress, than they are in doing the right thing for this nation and its servicemen and women.

Wake up Senator…find the moral courage to see this fight through…your vote put us there, now have the guts to back your vote.

Very Sincerely,

Michael E. McBride
Major USMC (Ret.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Killing the All Volunteer Force

Major Mike
(Re-printed with permission from Townhall.com)

I suppose I come from what’s left of America’s warrior class. Not the noblesse oblige style warrior that dominated the officer corps from the Civil War to World War II, but a working class stock of martial warrior who serves for a sense of individual purpose, and who coincidentally comes from a line of previous warriors.

I was raised in the martial culture, and was drawn to its machinations, as many boys are. As I grew, I came to understand the necessities behind the ceremony and discipline, and I began to feel the heartbeat behind its marital rhythms. I was attracted to the rigors of the military and the sense honor that comes with service. It was my attraction to the elemental foundations of martial service that put me on my career path.

My grandfather served as a Sergeant in World War I with the AEF. He was (reportedly) a tough, feisty Scots-Irish man who earned his citizenship for his service with the artillery corps. He was scarred by mustard attacks, and died before I was old enough to speak, his lungs no longer capable of supplying him oxygen. His service (along will hundreds of thousands of other Americans) shortened the war, and helped save the lives of thousands of more Europeans on both sides, and should be noted as the heroic endeavor that it was. I wear his well-worn and smoothed “Past Commander” American Legion ring on special occasions.

My father served as a pilot in the Marine Corps for thirteen years. He quit college to enter the Naval Aviation Cadet Program. He graduated, re-trained into fleet aircraft and was shipped to Korea. He eventually flew missions into Vietnam as well, but left the service in 1966 when he failed selection to Major. He served because it was part of his persona…he “fit” the military. His service restored South Korea’s borders and extended American policy in Southeast Asia. I wear his well-worn Marine Corps ring, the one that served as his wedding band, on special occasions as well.

I took my first oath of office in 1974 as a Midshipman at Tulane University. It was a course that was neither chosen for me, nor pushed upon me. It was a choice made from a deep seated respect for the martial lifestyle, and from a sense that this country provided the entirety of my immigrant genealogy with opportunities that Ireland and Holland could not have, and that some measure of payment was required. This is a debt that is not settled simply by one generation, but it is a debt more akin to a type of generational mortgage. A debt that should be continually worked off, generation to generation, in return for the opportunity and prosperity this country has offered, and provided.

It makes sense to sacrifice for a greater cause. Truly, generations of Americans have sacrificed again and again in order to improve this nation, and to defend its democratic principles. We have all reaped the benefits of those sacrifices, and we have all been graced with the opportunities that come with democracy, freedom and capitalism. It makes sense to sustain those efforts, and to sustain our founding principles.

But, for how long will it make sense to those like my family to sacrifice when their efforts are being squandered by the political machinations of 535 elected office holders scrambling for another two to six years on the public dole? By 535 self-serving windbags that have turned the Congress of the United States into a franchise of the Waffle House?

This is the question that Hugh Hewitt actually posed when he posted this essay by another retired serviceman. Another, who like me, has selflessly executed the national will via legal and congressionally sponsored military action. And, who like me, is becoming sickened by the maneuverings of a self-serving political class that uses the military and its members as vote getting props when the wind is blowing one direction, then mercilessly rakes them over the coals, when the wind blows in a different direction.

This is not a national security issue, this is an unemployment issue…the potential unemployment of 535 political weather vanes. And their continued politicizing of serious national security issues is going to wring the will out of the last remnants of our serious warrior class. A class of American that willingly and capably provides for its defense.

But this is also a class of American that is not stupid or na├»ve. They know they will never own Jon Carey’s twenty-five mansions, or get off on manslaughter charges because their brother was President. They know that it will be a generation or more still, before their heirs are millionaires and enter the privileged class. And they know that the best chances for their heirs to realize that vision, is to defend this country when it, and its values, are under attack. They are proud of their defense of this nation, and are not ashamed to say so. And they have shown that they are willing to do something about it…physically.

They will sacrifice all that they have in order to see that promise fulfilled to another generation. At the very least they sacrifice precious moments of their lives to their country. And at the most, they sacrifice the entirety of their lives for this country. Neither of these selfless acts should be manipulated by 535 ego-maniacs that fear diminished status far more than most of our servicemen fear getting a bullet between the running lights.

Congressional Republicans are squandering the support of this warrior class, and it will not be easily retrieved. Ronald Reagan was able to revive its spirit, because it was predominately squandered by the Democrats in the Vietnam era (The Nightingale’s Song by Robert Timberg is a good reference here). When Republicans diminish the efforts of our warrior class, the volunteer and enthusiastic effort that is the hallmark of our services today will have to be replaced by the Rangle draft, and our military will be incrementally less capable, and less reliable. The end of the republic will then be nigh.

For when the jobs of 535 politicians become more important than defending this nation and our word around the world, then we are doomed to collapse.

In the meantime, I think I’ll discourage my nephews from entering the service. And the rest of the warrior class should withhold its volunteer services until the chuckleheads in Congress can come to take the world, and its many difficult issues seriously, an not politically. We should hide our families, and time the birth of our children, as Pelosi suggests, so that we never have to support the defense of this nation, nor take any personal risks in its defense. We should take our chances with a draft lottery rather than volunteering for the services. And we should stand idly by as 535 politikers sell this nation’s future short for fifteen more minutes of fame and celebrity.

We’ll do that, but don’t come to my house asking for guns and ammo when the enemy is at the gates. And please, don’t ask me to come to the defense of your home…it won’t be happening.

© Michael McBride 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

Welcome to Oregon...Give Me Some More Money

Major Mike
(Re-prineted with permission of Townhall.com)

The Oregonian’s Steve Duin, has yet to meet a profitable company that he likes. In an inane, painfully shallow, and vitriolically sarcastic “commentary” he lambastes Nike; who last week gave over $9M to local schools, and who happens to be the Oregonian’s number one target for its State fundraising “commentaries,” for having successfully lobbied the State legislature (along with other Oregon companies) to change the basis for the calculation of their corporate income taxes.

Nike (along with other Oregon companies that Duin fails to mention by name) successfully lobbied to have the basis of their State income taxes determined by their in-state sales, vice total company sales revenue. This is known as the single-sales factor. And it indeed, lowered Nike’s income taxes from $16 million to slightly over $1M…according to Duin…I’ll accept that as fact.

In the interest of full disclosure I am a Nike stockholder, and I was a Nike employee for five years. I was the Facilities Operations and Property Manager for the Nike World Headquarters from 2000 to 2005. I have some knowledge of Nike and its practices. And so that I am not taken as a shill for Nike, I did not leave on the best of terms with my boss, which should go a long way in clearing up any misconceptions on why I would go to bat for the Goliath of sports companies. Regardless of my disputes with my superiors, Nike is a decent company that gives back far more than the $16M that Mr. Duin is crying over.

But before we get to that, Mr. Duin needs a schooling.

First and foremost he needs to be taken to task for his math skills. Any “journalist,” “commentator,” critic, should be able to divide the $16M that Duin weeps for, by the massive State budget of over $15 billion…billion with a “B”… and figure out, in the two thousand words or so he spewed onto page B1, that the resultant would comprise a whopping .10666% of the total budget. I guess they don’t have calculators at the Oregonian.

Additionally, any superior journalist type should be able also calculate that Nike’s stinginess is costing school districts a gargantuan $28 per student, per year. I am certain, in light of the nearly $10,000 per student the state will spend next year per student, that Nike’s miserliness will cause the demise of each and every student in the State of Oregon. No wonder Duin is apoplectic.

Duin singularly claims that Nike is to blame for these tax changes because they… “…lobbied viciously and successfully for the single-sales factor…” Guess he is also taking a swipe at Nike’s free speech rights, and the independent nature of the Salem legislature. Duin certainly doesn’t take narrow aim when he writes a “hit” piece.

Furthermore Duin’s myopia, centered simply on the figure of $16M, fails to consider the enormity of the economic impact that having Nike headquartered in the greater Portland area. Of course, that would take some in-depth analysis, some actual digging for something more than one dimensional facts, and coming to some alternative conclusions based on the whole picture, not just a single pixel in the left margin of a snapshot. His shallow and vacuous “analysis” is well below journalistic standards, and hits far below the belt.

I am not privy to the actual figures, but I will not be far off, and I will certainly not be exaggerating. Consider for a moment that the average salary for the 6000 Nike employees in Oregon, is likely around $40,000…average…don’t get excited. Add in about 50% for their generous fringe benefits, and Nike puts about $360M into the local economies via employee salaries and fringe benefits. Nike salaries bring in additional doctors to service these employees. Additionally, these 6000 employees require dentists, supermarkets, gas stations, schools, houses, banks, credit unions, teachers…all the goods and services that 6000 people use in the course of their daily lives. The $360M that Nike employees earn and distribute within our communities is multiplied across the families that are supported in the spending of those wages.

Is it possible that Nike is already doing its part in generating revenue for the State of Oregon? Those same Nike employees likely contribute about $12M, or more, to local property taxes (if you average a low estimate of $2K per year), and likely another $21M, or more, in state income taxes (Oregon rate of 9%). How is it possible that a simple History major can figure this out, but a professional journalist can choose to ignore this kind of analysis when writing a scathing rip on a responsible corporate citizen?

What else did Duin miss?

One of my additional duties while at Nike was to manage Business Energy Tax Credit Pass Through Program. Nike was approached by the State to be the first company that would directly sponsor school energy projects, in return for equivalent tax credits taken over five years. In the three years that I managed the program, Nike invested $2M directly into school districts and their physical improvements. Of course this was essentially a revenue neutral proposition for Nike, but by investing in energy efficient projects, though an outlet not previously available, school districts could reduce their operating costs year-to-year…returning dollars directly to the districts’ operating budgets. I personally delivered those checks to School District Board meetings in Gervais, Douglas, David Douglas, Klamath Falls, Lane County, Astoria, and a half a dozen more. Those districts were not full of Duin’s venom, they were appropriately grateful and appreciative. On more than one occasion, I got re-thanked for the districts’ new Nike track, although that wasn’t my program.

Nike’s leadership eventually brought more businesses into the BETC Pass Through Program, including US Bank that committed over $40M in Pass Through dollars. The energy savings garnered by this direct infusion of money into the districts, bypassing the State’s inefficient monolithic monetary system, returns millions of dollars to the classrooms through reduced operating expenses. The State’s own figures estimate that over $215M a year is being saved by schools. Many other companies had the opportunity to participate, but declined. Nike’s leadership in this program is more than making up for the $16M that Duin is missing from his wallet. How selfish of Nike.

Nike enthusiastically participates in myriad of popular Oregon endeavors…SOLV, Hood to Coast (sponsoring over 50 teams, including car rentals…etc., etc.), matching volunteer hours with dollars, youth fitness programs, and school and community sports facilities upgrades.

Nike paid matching dollars for my volunteer hours on the Beaverton School District Long Range Plan Committee, even though I am not a resident of that district. They matched my participation as a Board Member on the Oregon Trail Chapter American Red Cross Board of Directors, and supported my efforts while serving on the State Buildings and Codes Structures Board. All endeavors that required time away from my position at Nike, time they never seemed eager to recover. These hours were gift from Nike to this State, and its local entities, which was given without the expectation of re-payment. Duin misses this by a mile. Oh, and by Nike employee standards, I am probably a slacker when it comes to volunteering my time.

He fails to consider the millions the headquarters brings to the community in dollars spent on sales meetings and other extravagant events.

He fails to consider the prestige the area is lent, by having a world class campus within a stones’ throw.

He fails to mention that Nike was stiffed by the City of Beaverton in over $300,000 in legal fees, by an overly generous judge who took mercy on the taxpayers of Beaverton and refused to punish them for the misdeeds of their city leadership. At Nike’s expense.

He fails to consider that Nike, as a publicly traded company is expected to return as much value to its shareholders as possible, within the confines of all corporate governance requirements. Lowering your tax payments is considered one of those proper business objectives.

He fails to mention that Nike is one of a handful of companies that has been sincerely working with the World Wildlife Foundation, through the Climate Savers program, at a considerable corporate expense, to reduce its overall impact on the earth’s environment. This is an onerous commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to pre-1998 levels…independent of growth, and since Nike’s presence in Oregon has grown about 20% over the last seven years, this is no cheap commitment.

Duin simply fails to do a journalist’s job in finding a righteous platform from which to deliver his sanctimonious sermon.

Duin represents all that is wrong with the left and with journalism these days…they take an ounce of fact, mix it with a gallon of prejudices, and spew their over-baked conclusions onto the pages of a non-thinking paper. Nike, nor any other company, is on this planet to be the cash cow for the myriad of liberal causes dreamt up by the left and espoused by the leftie MSM. They are simply another business trying to do business in the increasingly, business unfriendly, liberal world.

Lay off.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Sensational Blame Game...


The name of the game of modern sensational journalism is blame. And self-righteous reporters have made sport of throwing it around like bowling balls. Local Portland media today is currently energized over two stories... one old and one new. The latest tragedy of their sport is the death of a nine-year old Washington girl named,
Madison Gecho. Madison was accidentally killed Tuesday, when the inner-tube she was riding slammed into a brick bench in Felida, Washington just north of Portland. Her father, in an act of forgiveable stupidity fostered by the family's excitement about the fresh blanket of snow, was towing his daughter and a friend behind on a tube tether to his pickup along a snow-covered road. Madison suffered fatal injuries and was rushed by her father to a local hospital for treatment. She died shortly after.

That is how the story should have been written. But, of course there was more to report according to the rules of modern journalism's blame game. And
Bob Heye of KATU news, like many others looked to strike. They reported, that alcohol may have been involved and charges were to be filed against Madison's father for her 'murder.' Local news sources have been reporting that story in the same manner for nearly two days, savaging Peter Gecho; a man no-doubt greiving insufferably at his own stupidity.
Although alcohol is suspected to have played a role in the death of a 9-year-old girl who was killed in an inner tube accident, authorities will not be pursuing drunk driving charges...

...Police believe alcohol may have played a role in the accident, but because of where Madison was taken, to Oregon, a blood sample that could have shed light on whether Gecho had been drinking was not taken.

But, of course, when no evidence of their claim surfaced, the sensational game continued just the same, as did the torment. They blamed Mr. Gecho for his judgement, they continued to report the accusation, they blamed him for not calling 911 and for rushing his daughter to the wrong hospital. And they continue to call it 'murder,'
However, all may not be lost if prosecutors hope to build a case against Gecho. Authorities have learned there were as many as four people riding in his pickup at the time of the accident and their testimony may be used to pursue charges.
What's the matter Mr. Heye, you don't think this man has been punished enough? Madison's father is only guilty of one thing; an unforgiveable degree of bad judgement. And he is the one who will never forgive it as long as he lives and recalls the face of his beautiful little girl. As for you, you self-righteous pharisee... where's your sty, sir? For your sake, I hope it never matches his splinter, although you would certainly deserve it.

And although that would be enough for one week, there's still more... and from the very same source. Again, KATU does not bear sole blame for the sensational pathology that dominates modern journalism. But, they do love that game. Today, the Investigative Review was released regarding the tragedy of the Kim family. If you recall, The Kims were a San Fransicso familyreturning home from Seattle through Oregon. They got lost on a backroad in the Coastal Range during a snowstorm. Although the family was finally found stranded a week later, father, James Kim, had perished. That's the story.

But, its just not sensational enough for modern journalism, according to
Associated Press reporter, Jeff Barnard, and the other vultures of local media who regurgitated it throughout the day - how local rescuers did not do enough quickly enough.. There was confusion and delay that likely led to Jame's death. And oh by the way it was his wife's idea to keep driving into treacherous conditions. Barnard's story reports on the findings,
Investigators have no way of knowing whether San Francisco online editor James Kim could have been saved after his family took the wrong fork of a backcountry road in Southern Oregon, triggering a massive search, a sheriff's association review concluded Thursday.

The review concluded the search was marked by "frequent confusion" over who was in charge, and searchers could have gotten on the ground near the Kims earlier on the day after James Kim set out on foot for help - if they had worked through the night with new information from cell phone records. (emphasis mine)

His definitive delivery of blame in the second paragraph, is negated by the official's statement in the third,

But there is no firm evidence they could have reached the Kims in time to save James Kim's life, said Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger, who headed the review by the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association.

Not that it mattered. Local news played their blame game with the inference all day long, casting suggestive aspersions on the dozens of men and woman that mobilized and volunteered for a week to find a tiny needle in an immense and snow-covered haystack. They were the one's who ultimately saved Kati Kim and her daughters.

What did you do that week, Jeff?

The story goes on to blame others,

Before reaching Bear Camp Road, they stopped at a gas station in Merlin for directions, Evinger said. James Kim returned to the car frustrated because the attendant did not seem to understand him but got no indication the road could be dangerous in winter, Evinger added.

After stories in The Oregonian newspaper suggested officials in Josephine County did not make effective use of tips about what road the Kims might have taken, the Josephine County Sheriff's Patrol Search and Rescue, a nonprofit group of volunteers, asked for the review.

It found confusion about who was leading operations - the state police, the Josephine County Sheriff's Department, or someone on the ground. One time the command center was closed before search teams left the field, and they were not debriefed. Only once did search commanders prepare plans for the next day.

And of course, they blame the Kim's themselves,

Kati Kim told investigators the family took the left fork, staying on Bear Camp Road, but returned to the fork by backing down a hill after seeing snow ahead. They narrowness of the road, with steep dropoffs, made them afraid to turn around to return to the freeway, Evinger said.
"The road to the right is paved as well, and actually wider than the correct road," Evinger told The Associated Press. "So they chose to get to a lower elevation to get out of the snow. So they went to the right."

They followed that logging road 21 miles and stopped at 2 a.m. to save gas for warmth, Evinger said. They became stranded when more snow fell the next night, he said.

Local media ran with that one, somehow translating it to suggest it was Kati who got them stranded, thus striking her with even more guilt and sorrow than she no doubt feels already for her and her husband's tragic lapse in judgement.

Indeed it was another week of sensational journalism in the Pacific Northwest. And I don't mean fabulous. Far from it. A free people depend on information to make sound autonomous judgements about daily existence. Reporting the 'News' was one means to gain needed information. An objective transmission of daily events, joyful or tragic, is the healthiest method to create an intelligent society of competent individuals capable of sound independent judgement. But, modern journalism spreads conjecture, opinion, and inuendo like a disease, infecting everyone who listens. To them it is a game. To civilization, their game is a mortal pestilence...

...and journalists are its vermin.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Kinematics of the Spear

Major Mike
(reprinted with permission of Townhall.com)

The pointy end of the spear. Often those of us in combat units would muse about “being on the pointy end of the spear.” Often it was frightening…the post-Vietnam malaise that lasted until about 1988 or so, often brought an uneasy chuckle when we referred to being “on the pointy end of the spear.”

We understood that there were many things about our institution(s) that were wholly imperfect, and many things about our training that were hollow or ineffective. We understood that the steel point was somewhat corroded and fragile. We were not making our readiness rates, and not meeting our basic individual training requirements. Marines were not going to the rifle range in any regularity, and subsequently, we were unprepared for the rigors or demands of war. We were the point…we were determined and hardened, but we were not ready for war.

Our training requirements were not aligned with the Training and Readiness Manual requirements for our combat readiness measurements. In the base requirements…we did not have enough flight hours to do the training that was required for us to be successful when we went to war. We might as well have been tin foil strapped to a bent willow branch…we simply would not have been in effective in the big fight.

This did not keep us from being successful in Grenada and Panama or Desert Storm, or somewhat successful in the USS Mayaguez rescue, but it reared its head in the Iranian Embassy takeover, Desert One, Lebanon, and the streets of Mogadishu. We were simply not aligned enough with our missions, capabilities, and tactics to execute to the level required being successful in those missions. But we were very close in each case to achieving our objectives.

What was missing? Where was the rest of the spear?

A javelin thrower is a spear throwing machine. Success does not entirely depend on the aerodynamic design of the javelin itself. A well designed javelin will pierce the air effortlessly and pierce neatly and deeply into the point of impact. The pointy end will do its part, set on the right course. But success is dependent on the application of power, through a complex interaction of human systems, and it can be heavily influenced by other fleeting factors such as rain, wind, and will. Such it is with today’s military.

From everything that I have witnessed…from the tenacity and battlefield preparation of our air forces in Desert Storm, to the integrated blitzkrieg of the ground forces in Desert Storm, to the unparalleled successes of our troops in executing Operation Iraqi Freedom I, I have seen nothing that indicates that the tip of the spear is anything but carbon steel…penetrating and deadly. The point is capable of lethal penetration.

The human interface…the National Command Authority, is also on track. Faint of heart, and weak of thought…go back… if we don’t deny the integrated Islamacist threat training opportunities and real estate, they will train to inflict more damage upon us than they did on 9/11. Fact. No discussion. Warriors, as the Islamofascists are, seek to train, and then they seek to impose their physical will and damage on others…such it is with unrestrained warriors. Kid yourselves if you will, but with Afghanistan denied, the Islamofacsists would have turned to Iraq for a safe haven for training and re-tooling…which they did…in fact.

The spear is sharp. The brain is taking aim. The body must heave.

Such it was with the American public, which clearly understands the necessity of attacking instead of defending. The American public prefers to fight abroad, and has supported that concept for over one hundred and forty years. Americans understand that fighting on our turf is logarithmically more expensive than fighting abroad. Americans know that reacting to an aggressor is logarithmically more uncertain than engaging him on the battlefield of our choice. Americans know that when we unsheathe our weapons abroad, we do so, so that our country does not again experience the anguish of Manassas, Antietam, Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, and New York City.

The spear is sharp. The aim is true. The body throws.

Then the wind and the rain influence the flight of the spear.

Since Walter Cronkite influenced the outcome of the Vietnam War, the press has been influencing the flight of the spear. They have been trying to influence its trajectory and shallow its impact…neither of which enhances the chances of our national strategic objectives succeeding. In fact, the case can be made…over and over…that their main objective is to sell more papers and air time, rather than to see the eventual success of our national, and Congressionally supported, policies. They are the wind, influencing the trajectory of our national policies.

They are diminishing the flight and impact of the spear. They are wasting its energy.

That brings us to Congress. The same feckless, poll-floating heathens that engage our military by nearly unanimous margins, then begin to immediately back-pedal, poll watch, and wind vane respond, as they release the spear…they are the rain.

They are the shameless politicizers of highly trained steel. They will limply commit to a trajectory, and then seek to correct course back to the safety of the gym bag once the spear is loosed. They will sacrifice all of their tosses, so that they can say they “competed” well, while our youthful athletes are left dead on the battlefields of Vietnam and Iraq. If this feels “right” to anybody…speak up.

Tom Ricks, noted author, confirmed this with Hugh Hewitt earlier today with…

What I think I missed was the crucial role of Congress in civilian/military relations. Everybody tries to focus on the White House relationship with the generals. But where Congress can really help is in formulating and examining strategy, and that the one place where we really have tied our shoelaces together on the ground in Iraq is strategy. It’s done very well tactically, but often without meaning, because good tactics without strategy are like a Ferrari without a steering wheel. It’s powerful, but it doesn’t get you where you want to go. And so Congress, because it’s been asleep at the wheel, really, since 9/11, abdicated that crucial role of saying okay now, what’s your strategy, what means are you going to use to achieve what goals?” (my emphasis)

Iraq is not lost…it simply takes the will of the country to loose the pointy end of the spear, and to support the throw…not to try to reel it back in once tossed. Winning is the objective…not competing or simply showing up. Congress committed…it is time to back that up…rather than politicking…for the politicking is being done in Congress, not by a determined President or military. And the trajectory of the spear and the effort behind it is additionally being subverted by the press.

The pointy end of the spear…the best we have…is being wasted by people who simply can’t vote the same way twice, and by an elitist press who cannot connect in the least with where it is that their right to publish is actually earned.

If this is OK with anyone…raise your hand…if you can’t, hunker down and get ready for a fight, if you have the stomach for it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

When Liberal Worlds Collide...Welocme to Oregon, Part II

Major Mike

Icons have become a staple of our lives. We move them about on our “desktops” with impunity. They help us master our electronic, computer filled world. We routinely use icons in place of dozens of words, or to convey nuanced meanings that icons can capture effortlessly. Our institutions become icons representing our collective societal persona.

Oregon is no different. University of Oregon is well known for its liberal thought, and is in direct competition with Cal to see which institution can consume more tin foil than the other. U of O hasn’t met a liberal cause it couldn’t embrace…nuclear free zones, global warming, anti-war protesting, are all staples for intramural activities for the Duck student body. It is an iconic representation of the rest of Oregon.

There are others. OMSI, the Oregon Museum for Science and Industry, is appropriately a showpiece for Oregon. They are often innovative in their exhibiting, and they strive to keep the museum alive and lively. They aim for progressive exhibiting, and they get it. Other museums might cringe at the thought of putting on some of the exhibits that OMSI does, but the “Grossology” and Star Wars exhibits were huge local favorites. It stands as an icon for Portland and Oregon.

Oregon Health and Sciences University is also on the list. It serves its function as the main training center for medical professionals in the State of Oregon, but it prides itself in its innovative treatments and its high profile in the paper and in the community. It serves Oregon well, and it also serves itself well. But it is one of the institutional icons that both represents Oregon, and is representative of Oregon.

And that brings us to the Oregon Zoo. Again, aside from the usual, liberal nature of zoos in and of themselves as conservation and interpretive activities, the Oregon Zoo also finds time to hold a unique summer concert series that captures the likes of the Indigo Girls, Hapa, and Shawn Colvin. The Oregon Zoo is an idyllic setting that could turn the coldest from the right into vegemite munching, organic sprout growing, pan flute playing lefties. It is, again, a cultural representation of the blueness of the state, and unashamedly so. And no one minds.

Which is why it came as a great shock to me to read yesterday that In Defense of Animals, the same foil wearing space travelers that forced Schumacher Furs out of downtown Portland (see “I Just Want To Negotiate”), is now gearing up to take on the Oregon Zoo. What Leftie v. Leftie Icon? Pass the popcorn.

And for irony, it is all over the foot care of pachyderms. That’s right. The left in Oregon is about to square off over, get this…the pedicurical practices of the zoo staff , on the preeminent icon of the right…the elephant. More butter, more salt, please.

This highlights two things about leftie thinking.

First they attack in all directions, all the time, which means, they will never be satisfied with sticking to the main themes of their particular agendas. In this case, IDA is attacking a beloved icon of the city that tacitly supported their out-of -bounds efforts against Schumacher Furs. After chasing the dastardly fur seller out of town, IDA turned right around and snapped at the hand of their feeders…liberal animal lovers…a group in Oregon that loves the zoo. Ouch that has to hurt.

Don’t get near the nasty liberals when they are feeding. I hope the City of Portland will arrange some hasty “negotiations” so that the pachyderm herd can start leasing property in the burbs next to Schumacher Furs.

These types of cannibalistic attacks eventually erode support and cause deep fissures in the promulgation of the leftie agenda. I am not weeping, it just comes as a shock that a group that succeeded in one of their endeavors with the help of the Portland Protesters Local 101, would turn around and attack such a highly regarded, local institution. It shows all the political astuteness of a Teddy Kennedy presidential campaign.

Secondly, liberal “watchdogs” consistently fail to get the point that Zoos, governments, police forces, fire departments, the military, etc. and et.al., are all populated with human beings. Human beings, as in the case of the Oregon Zoo, who have the same love of animals as the IDA, but have the same shortcomings of all people and organizations…they make mistakes, and they are imperfect.

Any single human with the best intentions will make mistakes and often fall short of set goals. Such it is with our institutions. Because all organizations are populated with imperfect humans, imperfect results will follow. I think a fair examination of the Zoo’s records will reflect that they are aware of all of the problems that IDA highlights, and are doing their best to treat the symptoms and alleviate the conditions that caused the great pachyderm podiatry uproar of 2007.

The uber-left will begin eroding support for their causes, and indeed cause an unwelcome backlash, if they cannot come to understand that the constant attacking of the well-intentioned does not add to their support…it only diminishes their base, and splinters their efforts. People tire of being lectured to by professional protesters who bear no responsibilities, and produce no tangible product. Why not volunteer for nail trimming duty, rather than pouring over piles of elephant footie records? That would be helpful. The continual harping of responsibility-free protesters wears thin on those who actually produce results through labor and direct action.

When the left starts feeding on themselves, they fracture far more deeply than the right, and they have a hard time stabilizing back to center-left. Dean, 2004?

It will certainly be entertaining watching the cosmic results of the impact of two liberal super-novas. Perhaps the Hubble Telescope could be re-directed in order to help us catch some masterpiece photos resulting from the impact between California based furry animal lovers, and tofu eating, organic fruits and vegetable growing, mineral water drinking, latte sipping, music loving, hemp wearing Oregonians. More salt please.

Welcome to Oregon.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Embassy Attacked Via Anonymous...


The AP Reports this morning that the American Embassy in Athens was attacked,

ATHENS, Greece - A rocket struck the U.S. Embassy early Friday, exploding inside the modern, glass-fronted building but causing no injuries in an attack that Greek authorities said was probably carried out by a domestic terrorist group.

The small anti-tank missile narrowly missed the large blue-and-white U.S. seal on the embassy's facade and pierced the building above the front entrance shortly before 6 a.m. It damaged a bathroom on the third floor near the ambassador's office and shattered windows in nearby buildings.

"There were no injuries and very minimal damage," U.S. Ambassador Charles Ries told reporters outside the embassy.

Any act of terrorism is of course of particular concern. It is why I was attracted to the headline in the first place. But, it was the following two paragraphs that caught my attention,

The Pentagon has received a report on the attack but no request for any action, a military official said in Washington. There is no reason to believe that it was al-Qaida-related, but rather involves a separatist group, said the official, who is not authorized to speak on the subject and requested anonymity.

A U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, said there is no information that suggests a follow-up attack. That official also spoke on condition of anonymity.

(Emphasis Mine)

Might we simply assume, given the AP's reputation, and its unlimited supply of anonymous sources, that any statement reported by the AP on condition of 'anonymity' actually means...

"We made this part up?!"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Welcome to Oregon

Major Mike
(re-printed with permission of Townhall.com)

For those of you who haven’t had an opportunity to live in Oregon, you are about to get the “virtual” experience.

Oregon is indeed a picturesque state with wondrous mountain views, glorious Pacific beaches, and beautiful high desert plains. It is inviting in dozens of ways, which is why its population continues to grow. And while in geographical measures, the conservatives cover more ground in the state, the population is overwhelming liberal. And, not unlike other population centers, it has become a Mecca for liberals on Hajj, granola eating Birkenstockers looking for lost brethren, and pandering foil wearing politicos looking for tenure in their careers as professional solons.

With Oregon as the pitre dish, Portland becomes the colony of study. It is the unabashed epicenter of the liberal vortex in the Pacific Northwest, and it fuels itself everyday with massive doses of mineral water, organic tofu, and designer coffees in its effort to wrest the title of liberal Shangri-la away from Berkley, California. It may soon happen.

I don’t doubt the sincerity of liberal thought for a second. I often get into lively debates with pseudo-liberal savants at parties, and there is no doubting the passion of their compassion. Compassion is what drives liberal thought. Unfortunately it drives logic out past the nadir of practicality, and this is typically drives liberal politicians to positions that, while compassionate, don’t work well with the stark realities of everyday mathematics. Sometimes, most times, liberal wishfulness, good intentions, and Birkram yoga, don’t meld into practical solutions. Indeed, as President Johnson and his “Great Society” have discovered, sometimes they fail miserably in the doggedly pragmatic, real world.

Portland is no exception. And I am not the only one standing by to point this out.

Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, a company headquartered in the greater Portland area has noticed as well. In an on point opinion piece, I am frankly surprised that the Oregonian printed, he points out all of the deficiencies of ineptly supported compassionate governmental programs. All visible without a microscope.

He laments about our education system…

Three weeks ago, I was talking with a talented potential employee about joining our company, Columbia Sportswear. After going through rounds of interviews, the man began focusing on the potential for his children in Oregon. In particular, he and his wife believed that our public school system had been heading in the wrong direction and would have a negative impact on their son. This wasn't someone relying on distant news stories and Doonesbury cartoons; he used to live in Oregon and had once considered it a wonderful place to raise a family. No more, from his perspective, and he's decided not to move back.”

Because he is in business he understands that defining problems and solving problems is the true path to success. Flooding money into broken processes does not solve problems…even though this is the left’s modus operandi, especially when it comes to “solving” problems in our schools.

He continues on about our feckless and overly scrutinized approach to law enforcement…

Within days of those conversations, Columbia Sportswear hosted a group of employees from our office in India. That country's economy is becoming one of the world's major powerhouses, and the exchange of talent between Oregon and India has been and can continue to be a major benefit to both locations. Unfortunately, our Indian employees will take home a dim view of Portland after they were robbed at gunpoint downtown.”


At the same time our Indian colleagues were about to report their armed robbery, The Oregonian was publishing stories about the unopened Wapato Jail and about mismanagement of other jail facilities in the region.”

And he swings for the fence when he correctly points out the chasm between good intentions and results…

More important, what makes these recent experiences so disconcerting is the disconnect between what is happening on the street and so many of our public policy debates.”

And he scores a knockout with…

The political community can chase the latest fads and headlines, or it can responsibly craft and manage budgets to deliver critical needs, and in so doing it can demonstrate that the corporate kicker can be put to better use in the hands of government than in the hands of the private sector.”

For those still on the “virtual” tour, Oregon’s Constitution (voter referendum supported) requires that all funds collected in excess of two percent above the budget projections (the “kicker” he refers to), MUST be returned to the taxpayers and corporations of Oregon. Giving money back in boom times runs counter to the main themes of liberal thought, but it keeps budgets from ballooning out of control when the state hits bust times…ala California’s $35 billion deficit that got the Terminator elected.

Tim Boyle is doing a simple thing; he is challenging the State of Oregon and its municipalities to govern responsibly, which means getting results, not just pandering to the flavor-of-the-month lefty cause. This does not require the vegetable munchers to lose their passion; it just requires them to translate that passion from the esoteric realm of the ideal, through the very pragmatic realities of demanded of everyday life, and into results. A concept not always captured while chasing organically grown butterflies, or hunting for naturally diverse ocean kelp.

Welcome to Oregon.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Clausewitz...2007 and Beyond

Major Mike

Translating influential texts from their originally penned language has been a Pandora’s box for millennia. The limitations of translation are fairly obvious if studied. Dissimilar cultures breed dissimilar lexicons. Cultural biases can subtly influence the word choices of the translator. And translators can be simply wrong in deciphering the true, intended meaning of the author. Each of these types of translational errors could be expected to occur dozens of times in a complex text. Thus the translator can, intentionally or unintentionally, skew the meaning from whence the original author intended.

The content of hieroglyphics, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Bible, have all been hotly contested in the translation of their source documents. Prussian military strategist and philosopher Carl von Clausewitz’s “On War” is no exception.

Originally written in Clausewitz’s native German, its interpretation is influenced by a number of factors. Widely viewed as an uncompleted work, many call into question the validity of the conclusions military strategists have derived, and have used in the development national warfighting strategies for the last one hundred and fifty years. Differences in interpretations abound simply because the author was unable to provide his own conclusions. Compounding the true meaning of the document is also its translation from German to English.

Why put “On War” in the same category as the Bible? The Hieroglyphics? “On War” has been the preeminent treatise on strategic warfighting over the last century and a half. It is likely only second to Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” in its overall influence on military thought, and such documents need to be revisited as our nation stands on the precipice of re-thinking its strategy in Iraq.

As happens in most of the works listed above, a preponderance of the overall texts are accepted as being translated as nearly to the intended meaning as possible. But as also happens there are unintended grammatical ambiguities that often find themselves at the center of the discussion as to the true meaning of the entirety of the work. “On War” is a case in point. A meaningful discussion can be wrapped around two words, in their German form, “politik” (policy, politics) and “fortsetzung” (setting forth).

Christopher Bassford offers this as a crucial point in interpreting the “true” meaning of the book. In his excellent essay “John Keegan and the Grand Tradition of Trashing Clasuewitz,” Bassford more clearly defines war, not as the Keeganesque “war is an extension of politics,” but more appropriately, that war can be a primordial response of violence and hatred, it can occur by chance, and that it should usually be subordinate to rational policy…politics. Not as crisp and clean as the catchy “war is an extension of politics,” but it more closely defines the types of ways that the world has found its way to war over the thousands of years of recorded history.

Primordial violence is an apt descriptor for ancient tribal warfare, inter-tribal conflicts between the native American tribes, much of the violence that fell upon Europe in the middle ages, and the dominate role of the samurai culture in Japan prior to its being influenced by western culture in the 1800s. War was the politik of the day for these cultures. Eventually the politik of continual warfare was swallowed up by the “civilization” of these cultures, and the primordial nature of warfare was muted world wide.

No better example of the idea of chance or randomness bringing societies to war exists than the onset of World War One. Rational nations intertwined by seemingly rational treaties became entangled in a deadly war that stole nearly a generation of men from Europe. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand is validation alone that remote events can trigger a maelstrom of violence and war in which extrication is nearly impossible.

And lastly, it makes perfect sense that war should be subordinate to all rational policy. Rational and responsible governmental policies, by their very nature, should steer countries away from war. Rational behavior by the nuclear powers of the age, kept the looming specter of nuclear war at bay, while these same countries grew their nuclear warfighting capacity. Rational behavior ended World War One and the Korean War, even though those events were precipitated by irrational behavior.

With this understanding of Clausewitz in mind, it is appropriate to describe the motivations of the parties that have brought us to war since the release of “On War.” A close examination of the major wars since its first publication in 1832; shows that only the American Civil War, truly a war of politics, and World War One, a war derived by accident, are excepted as wars that were not about expanding power or cultural domination.

And while Clausewitz is still relevant, he failed to anticipate that the strong, martial countries of his era would become the bloated, selfish “political” entities they are today. He did not anticipate that weak governments would create power vacuums in a world that was rapidly becoming populated with cheap arms, radical political and religious ideologies, and egotistical megalomaniacs. It is easy to understand, these entities could not have been rationally envisioned in the heart of the Prussian age.

War now is about power and domination, and less about politics. It is more about the use of power, the intentions of those who seek it, and the legitimacy in which that power is viewed on the world stage. It is about politiks, not about its policies.

Wars are actually started in one of four ways…the rational use of stable, legitimate power; the rational use of stable, but illegitimate power; the irrational use of stable, legitimate power, which de-legitimizes the base of that power; and the irrational use of force by those seeking to destabilize and upend, legitimate power. It is the combination of rationality and legitimacy that helps governments or international bodies to recognize the righteousness of the conflict, and then to subsequently form a broadly supported course of action.

In the absence of rational thinking and support, countries that find that they are rationally engaging their forces in a legitimate cause, can come to view their actions as validated, regardless of whether or not they garner the affirmation of an international community that seems incapable of coherent, rational thought. Legitimate, rational engagement of forces enables nations to support the effort, even though the effort may be unpopular or protracted, or both. Rational application of legitimate power that is the moral basis for the initial incursion exists as the moral justification for continued effort, as long as the objectives and methodologies of the combatants remain moral. The American Civil War, World War II, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom serve as examples.

The rational use of stable, illegitimate power can best be illustrated by the Iranian defense against Saddam Hussein’s invasion. Even though they have been a rogue government since the overthrow of the Shah, they were certainly within their rights to defend themselves against the illegitimate, invasion of their country.

Countries such as Iran however cannot be relied on to restrain themselves with rational thought. Stable countries that advocate irrational use of their power must be contained in order to avoid the potential, irrational use of their power. International conventions and pressures must be used to harness their military power, and prevent its irrational use. When the failure of such conventions is evident, rational power can be used to minimize the potential of state induced conflict and chaos.

The irrational use of stable, legitimate power, as Japan during World War II, has the effect of diminishing the legitimacy of the power, and jeopardizes its longevity into the future. It is acceptable for stable, legitimate powers to oppose these irrational excursions in order to defend themselves. These conflicts will necessarily require replacing the regime that pursued the irrational policies, with one that is anticipated to pursue rational policies into the future. This may require a change in the style of the original form of government.

That brings us to those that use illegitimate power irrationally…terrorists, jihadists, separatist groups, must be denied any success this style of warfighting. By allowing these types of groups success in warmaking, they can evolve into stable, illegitimate governments that may be impossible to dislodge at a later time. Unfortunately, most of the violence perpetuated in the world today is induced by the irrational use of illegitimate power. This is what we need to design our strategies and tactics against out into the future.

Combating these forces requires immediate international recognition and broadly supported counter-tactics. Hollow referendums and feckless efforts will not thwart the efforts of these power seekers. It requires determination, perseverance, and a great deal of violence. It requires a stalwart approach by a stout nation, or coalition. There efforts are vulnerable to fissure and erosion of support, and it must be buoyed by the notion that the movement to war was rational and legitimate. Looking back and second guessing, will produce the results of Vietnam.

The formulation of stable governments occurs in four phases. First is the absence of any central power or authority. It is recognized by the frequent and routine changing of authority or governmental type. Its hallmark is lack of central administration and no governmental services. This is emblematic of a total governmental collapse. It is indeed chaos, and instability personified. Many African nations fall into this category.

The second phase is the attempted consolidation of weak and unstable power. This stage is characterized by the emerging presence of stable international support, the forming of some central services, a preponderance of military forces must that be used to stabilize the government, and the government being vulnerable to minor or moderate external threats. This is the typical post-revolution, post-coup phase.

Governments successful at power consolidation, move to become viable transitional powers. These powers are increasingly providing centralized services, have stable governmental practices and ideologies, and are improving their national defenses. They are still vulnerable to anarchy and chaos, induced by parties outside the organized government. These destabilizing forces can be internal, citizenry supported factions, or they can be interlopers from other nations, factions, religions, or ideologies. These are viable, but vulnerable governments.

Lastly, governments become stable with solidified central power. Their power is derived by their ability to promote stable political processes, their ability to defend themselves from outside influence and aggression, their ability to provide reliable essential services, and they receive the general support of a majority of the population.

As a guide, illegitimate entities in this century will target vacuums of power, weak and unstable governments, and viable transitioning governments. It is important for us to anticipate where they will strike next and thwart their efforts via foreign aid programs, non-governmental organizational support, and by military force if necessary. In the hierarchy of justification for the use of force, and in the true interpretation of Clausewitz’s ideals, this is the best case for the legitimate use of force in the twenty-first century. It is the basis for justification for protracted involvement in the formulation and stabilization of legitimate and rational governments.

Governments that recognize the value of the Bassford interpretation of Clausewitz, one that recognizes that rational governments can, and should, engage in wars against irrational and illegitimate forces seeking the to overthrow and destabilize legitimate or transitioning governments. The UN needs to take a focused role in providing non-military stabilizing strategies, pro-active prevention policies, an unambiguous approval for military intervention when required. Governments possessing the military capacity to do so must counter with military force if required. They also must be prepared to sustain these efforts until the anarchistic forces are neutralized…regardless of the cost in terms of time and men. Failing to acknowledge this will only result in more casualties and a more protracted engagement in the future…likely with an irrational, and illegitimate, stable government. The most dangerous kind.

Clausewitz remains…relevant in 2007.

This article was inspired by the content of Col Snodgrass’ article, in the American Thinker.

© Michael McBride 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I Just Want To Negotiate...

Major Mike
(re-printed with permission of Townhall.com)

The best part of living in the People’s Republic of Oregon, Portland District is that I don’t have to go far to get my finger on the pulse of liberal thought. If I can make it to the end of my driveway every morning, I can get my daily dose of the liberal agenda, fed to me directly by my paper source, The Oregonian.

I can usually get the recommended daily allowance from the front page, and by page A-4 my morning breakfast has slid off the slope of the kitchen counter, predictably to the left, and neatly into the garbage can. I get my fill from the likes of …

Unraveling in Iraq doomed U.S. plan” “A mighty big hug for a might big tree

I am not making this up!!

Saddam now likely to become a martyr” “Bigger school budget won’t end crowding” “Black hat? Or white hat? Bush wears both

But some days, you have to venture into the depths of lefty MSM drivel to get to the real nuggets. Some days you have to mine the pages to find those pearls of wisdom that get you into the depth of the liberal mind. Often, with the Oregonian, that brings you to the editorial page. Don’t be afraid…you can actually read it without getting any on you!

Predictably the Editorial Board never disappoints as a liberal agenda monger…global warming and polar bears, suggesting strategies to overturn voter approved conservative initiatives on spending limits and property rights, advocating liberalizing immigrations laws while using Europe as the model, a continuous stream of anti-war/anti-Bush commentary…we got it all.

Occasionally, however you still have to “mine” a nugget. You have to link a couple of editorials together in order to fully comprehend the full deflection of the galactically liberal.

Nothing reveals the liberal mindset more than their zeal for negotiations. Their addiction to negotiation solidifies the manifesto that form is more important than function; that feelings are more important than results; and that cooperation and intercourse are favored above workable solutions.

In November I posted on the failed “negotiations” between the City of Portland, Schumacher Furs, and some fringe animal rights group. My observations at the time…

It is representative of liberal City leadership blindly supporting an uber-left liberal cause, and leaving an innocent business owner as the victim. It is not representative of a City "working hard" as a force for moderation. And we get to the crux…what of those “negotiations?”

Painting the windows with an opaque paint…requiring Schumacher to display a large tag inside of the garment proselytizing the bible of some fringe animal rights group whose entire membership may constitute a number somewhat less than that of a men’s synchronized swimming team…and generally allowing a business to be bullied by protestors can hardly be considered fair “negotiations.”

But that IS what the left considers “negotiation,” and they are smug about it.

The Oregonian editorial board chides Schumacher …Maybe the Oregonian editorial board should read their own mailbag, where support for the Schumacher’s was published at four-to-one for Schumacher and against the naked, paint throwing, death threatening, sidewalk obstructing, peaceful furry animal defenders.”

I continued on, relating this example to John Kerry’s enthusiasm for negotiating with Iran and Syria as the ISG recommends…

Beware America…Kerry, the Dems, and their liberal membership don’t want solutions, they want “negotiations,” and the results, as Schumacher proves, don’t really matter…it is all about feigning an effort, and moving the ball forward on minority driven, liberal causes…the good of the country and the rights of others be damned. This is a harbinger on how liberal officials implement their minority driven, liberal agendas, and how they approach problem solving. They don't actually solve problems they negotiate, defer, delay, deny, and then the innocent party becomes a victim of their malfeasance.”

So, I was not surprised to see this recommendation by the Editorial Board last Saturday regarding the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia to rid the country of its Islamic Fundamentalist parasitic occupiers…

On Wednesday, Somali Islamic leader Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys told a European Union envoy that he was willing to return to peace talks with a willing Somali transitional government.

Excellent. Military action has been helpful, but it's really no long-term solution to this situation. On the contrary, the last thing the world needs is more violence and instability in the Horn of Africa, so near the sea lanes critical to the export of Middle East oil.

The Ethiopian incursion serves as a reminder of how quickly violence can erupt in a geo-strategically vital part of the world we too easily choose to forget. This week's flare-up will be useful only if it gets Somalia's Islamic extremists back to the negotiating table and prompts both Europe and the United States to address this tinderbox and potential safe haven for terrorists.”

Oh, I get it…the one thing that actually corrected the problem; direct military action is only “helpful.” The real solution lies with negotiation?!?

What the negotiating addicted left continually fails to grasp is that you legitimize the existence of those at the table when you negotiate with them. When consent is given to negotiate, all parties at the table can be treated as equals…even the deadly, oppressive, intolerant, cockroach-like invading, uninvited Islamic extremists in Somalia. Negotiate?

Soon I am going to need a W-L record of how well negotiations actually have worked on the international scene…I guess the border between North and South Korea remains intact. I guess that Khadaffi is still in favor after he negotiated away his nuclear development program. Any others? Bueller? Bueller?

How many Nobel Peace Prizes garnered through negotiation have been flushed by subsequent events? How many UN resolutions garnered through feckless “negotiations” have been abject failures?

Why is the left addicted to a methodology that produces only spotty and unreliable results? Because the leftie agenda proselytizes for “inclusion” in all matters, and since a large portion of their constituency is extreme on the issues, negotiation is a methodology, by its very nature, that legitimizes the extreme left edges of their agenda. They “legitimize” their issues everyday, simply by insisting that fringe players are allowed at negotiating tables across the globe.

When will we learn that only when all parties come to the table with sincere, selfless interests that long term solutions can be garnered from negotiating tables worldwide? When will we quit legitimizing violent and deadly fringe groups by offering them a place at the table? When will we learn that there is “right” and “wrong” in this world, and that sometimes negotiations can only come after the wrong or evil are vanquished, not while the “wrong” still wields illegitimate power?

Negotiations under conditions that are not shaped for success from the outset, only delays the inevitable future conflict that will arise from the friction derived by half-hearted agreements, “negotiated” between modestly willing participants. Negotiations are not to be viewed, as the left does, as “successes” in and of themselves, but as potential pathways to success, and under the right conditions.

As soon as the left learns this, they may be ready to govern again.