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