THE DIGNIFIED RANT
NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS JUNE 2003 ARCHIVES
Return to The Dignified Rant
Return to National Security Affairs
Return to National Security Affairs Archives
We are sweeping
Sunni areas in
American forces carried out an aggressive series of predawn raids across central Iraq today, aiming to root out groups that have been attacking American and British soldiers and to project an intimidating display of power.
Carried out by the Army's Fourth Infantry Division and Task Force Ironhorse, the raids involved thousands of soldiers and hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles. Army officials arrested more than 60 people, and seized several caches of weapons and documents.
Notice how the offensive sweeps are targeted and police-like (albeit with tanks in support). This is no blundering about using firepower. Those peddling quagmire already (again) can breathe easier for now—no search and destroy mission here. This can help win the post-war phase by tracking the killers without trashing and killing the countryside. It's a tough job as it is. Why pretend its harder?
Secretary-General Kofi Annan
kept up pressure on the
West African countries pledged troops for a peacekeeping force Sunday, but they want help from the United States to prevent a bloodbath in the capital and end nearly 14 years of violence that have infected the impoverished region.
are lots of expectations that the
So how imminent is the
Liberian threat? And is
So let's all remember what
should be the beginning of every conversation about
I'm at least glad Annan admits that intervening is a "sovereign
decision" for the
Honestly, don't we have enough problems without a peacekeeping mission in some backwater?
"Reconstituted Lies About Reconstituting WMD" (Posted
A nice defense of the "Cheney Lied" charge (based on a statement made in a Meet the Press interview) by the anti-war types:
If people actually looked at the entire transcript — or even searched for the word "nuclear" — they'd see that throughout the interview, Cheney was acknowledging that Saddam didn't yet have nuclear weapons ("Done absolutely everything he could to try to acquire that capability," "trying once again to produce nuclear weapons," "his pursuit of nuclear weapons," and especially "only a matter of time until he acquires nuclear weapons.")
What's more, the quote about "pursuit of nuclear weapons" comes immediately before the question in reply to which Cheney mentioned "reconstituted nuclear weapons." The one quote that people seize on must surely be Cheney misspeaking, not trying "to mislead the American public" or "reckless[ly] exaggerat[ing]."
Cheney is no fool; he wouldn't acknowledge several times in one interview that Saddam didn't yet have nuclear weapons, and then try to contradict himself right there. Rather, he must have made a slip of the sort that people often make when they're in an extemporaneous conversation. And this explains, I suspect, why Rumsfeld didn't think that Cheney said Saddam had nuclear weapons: Rumsfeld must know that Cheney doesn't believe such a thing, and that Cheney wouldn't intentionally say it.
I really am shocked that this is a staple of those still fighting the Iraq War debate. Those repeatedly making the Cheney-lied charge are themselves at worst lying through their teeth to suggest that this was anything but a slip of the tongue. For those convinced of the massive scale of the administration's deceit in tricking us into war, relying on such a false "smoking gun" is outrageous. And I bet very few will stop using the quote when they (if they) read the context. That would be twisting the record to further a partisan point, wouldn't it? Speaking of WMD…
A former inspector, Rolf Ekeus, weighs in on the WMD question. He answers a question I had on the lifespan of Iraqi chemical weapons. I suspected this was true but did not know for sure. According to him, it made no sense for the Iraqis to store chemical weapons:
During its war against Iran, Iraq found that chemical warfare agents, especially nerve agents such as sarin, soman, tabun and later VX, deteriorated after just a couple of weeks' storage in drums or in filled chemical warfare munitions. The reason was that the Iraqi chemists, lacking access to high-quality laboratory and production equipment, were unable to make the agents pure enough. (UNSCOM found in 1991 that the large quantities of nerve agents discovered in storage in Iraq had lost most of their lethal property and were not suitable for warfare.)
Thus the Iraqi policy after the Gulf War was to halt all production of warfare agents and to focus on design and engineering, with the purpose of activating production and shipping of warfare agents and munitions directly to the battlefield in the event of war. Many hundreds of chemical engineers and production and process engineers worked to develop nerve agents, especially VX, with the primary task being to stabilize the warfare agents in order to optimize a lasting lethal property. Such work could be blended into ordinary civilian production facilities and activities, e.g., for agricultural purposes, where batches of nerve agents could be produced during short interruptions of the production of ordinary chemicals.
combination of researchers, engineers, know-how, precursors, batch production
techniques and testing is what constituted
He has other interesting
suggestions—such as that Saddam wanted WMD for regional domination and not for
use against us. This confirms his threat to the region if one still needs
convincing. (This has the bonus of making the defeat of Saddam a good reason
We will find the programs. Regime change—not fruitless inspections—was the only way to stop Saddam from getting and using—again—these weapons.
"No Evidence They Are
Aware Of" (Posted
This is what the article headline says:
U.N. Terror Committee Finds No Evidence Linking
I know what you are thinking: "Aha! the best minds at the UN have spent these past months poring over captured Iraqi documents and have declared the link to be a lie!" What the article actually says is that nobody brought the UN committee any evidence to show it:
has come to our notice that would indicate links between
committee first heard of alleged ties during Secretary of State Colin Powell's
February presentation to the Security Council ahead of the
had never come to our knowledge before Powell's speech and we never received
any information from the
They "never received any information"! Even worse, despite the headline, is this committee admission:
committee saw no need to investigate Zarqawi's
movements and deliberately stayed away from investigating
This far different from
what the headline implies, now isn't it? The committee didn't investigate and
didn't even consider
Well, I have received no information to back the assertion that the UN is composed of sentient humans. And since this really isn't my line of work, I'm not going to look into it. Nonetheless, I can safely assert that, "The UN is staffed by blithering idiots who'd eat kittens if paid a Euro." Send me information to the contrary if you get a chance.
I'd say that's evidence of a link. Sadly, this headline, without admitting the actual content of the story, will be used by opponents of the war to slam the war effort. All from a sloppy headline. Oh, and a willingness—nay, eagerness—to believe we lied to go to war.
article by Keegan on order in
A better solution is that of recreating an Iraqi national army, as the British did in the 1920s. There is plenty of raw material -- the 200,000 unemployed soldiers at present not under orders and only erratically paid. Their discontent is fuelling the disorder.
It must be a matter of priority to enlist as many as possible, give them Western training and use them to replace the American and British soldiers patrolling the cities and countryside. That program will take several years until it is completed. Casualties among the Western occupation forces will, meanwhile, continue.
Strategypage.com has a good take on the situation, too:
The battle against Baath
will go on until Baath runs out of activists and
money. This could take a while, for Baath had over a
hundreds thousand core members. Most of these were opportunists, willing to
serve Baath for a price. But at its core, Baath was run by some ruthless men who killed on a large
scale to sustain their power. They are still willing to kill, and terrorize
Iraqis into supporting them, and are expert at playing the media. The
opposition is staffed by former members of Saddam's secret police, Republican
Guard and Baath party leadership. These are the men
who committed uncounted atrocities against the Iraqi people for two
Yes, we are battling ruthless
thugs who play for keeps, but I think Keegan is at the pessimistic end. (And
note that the key to winning is getting our troops off the front lines. What
are some experts saying we should do in
If you want confirmation of
the usefulness of our "tripwire" presence on the DMZ in
North Korea's Rodong Sinmun, the official mouthpiece of the ruling party, said the long-term redeployment plan was "a very dangerous military move which should not be overlooked".
They have a point, of course.
It does free us up a bit. But not a free hand by any means since
Pull our ground troops south. If the North Koreans are going to believe we are always on the verge of attacking (and they say this even now with our troops on the border), we might as well have the capability to match their paranoia. Otherwise we get the worst of both worlds: their paranoia and our vulnerability.
With any luck, somebody in the North is going to notice that nuclear weapons are bringing vulnerability and not security to the regime.
Some experts are questioning our military victory over Saddam's regime:
The wave of more sophisticated attacks
Excuse me, but this is just silly.
Yes, attacks on US forces
must be stopped. But when we were prepared to take hundreds of casualties if
urban fighting had been tough or Saddam had used chemicals, losing 2 or 3 to
hostile fire a week is hardly a crisis. The need to de-Baathify
Honest to God, some people
will shriek and jump on a chair over anything. This isn't a game where we
capture the flag in
Although some predict
escalating violence and resistance on a scale that could drive us out of
Wolfowitz said the Iraqi opposition is doomed because it is operating without two essential forms of support. "They lack the sympathy of the population, and they lack any serious external support," he said. "Basically, they're on their own."
Remember, most rebellions
fail. And though money and arms are plentiful in
We have work to do. It is
certainly appropriate to question our policies and adjust our policies based on
our experience. But the credibility of the rampant defeatism among many who
criticize the very low level fighting going on is undermined by the doom these
same critics predicted before the Iraq War. And before
Put away the white flags, people. They'll get their strip malls eventually.
"A-10 Lives On"
I had earlier written about my worries that the A-10 Warthog (officially Thunderbolt II) would be mothballed. Apparently not according to Defense News cited on globalsecurity.org:
The Air Force plans to keep the A-10 Thunderbolt II flying until 2028, said the general who was alleged recently to have ordered a subordinate to research how the service could justify mothballing the fleet of 363 ground-attack aircraft
Although it is not going to
happen and the Air Force denies plans to explore ditching the plane, the larger
truth is that the Air Force institutionally prefers to fly its own war and not
support the ground forces. Not that they didn't do a tremendous job in
But the important thing is that the A-10 lives! Hooah!
"The Right to
We are a democracy and exercise our God-given right to complain all the time. God knows I do.
But how can I take the "Bush lied" people seriously? Such opponents of fighting the war on terror have already displayed inconsistencies when they demand to know why the administration failed to "connect the dots" with pre-9-11 intelligence and simultaneously demand to know why we were wrong about Saddam having chemical weapons in firing condition—that we connected the dots that everybody agreed on before the war.
Now, these keen thinkers are
upset that American troops aren't patrolling
But to be fair, MoveOn-niks probably just want us to withdraw from
One of the
documents, from 2001, was titled “Document burial and U.N. activities in
Gosh, the Iraqis would hide stuff? They'd deceive the UN? I must have missed that part of their complete declaration to Blix.
U.S. officials said the discoveries did
not constitute final proof that Saddam had rebuilt his banned weapons program,
as administration officials alleged in justifying the invasion of
.The war was right. We stopped a threat to the region. We ended his torture. And we did prevent Saddam from getting nukes, bugs, and all the gas he wanted. Or are the opponents of war going to argue on what the meaning of the word "is" is? Will they really say that having plans, raw materials, scientists, and technicians ready to go as soon as the international community was dragged away by the French doesn't count as a program?
And we haven't even been searching for very long. Far less than the years the opponents of war were willing to give to easily fooled UN inspectors. Clearly, more people with knowledge need to lose their fear that Saddam (get Saddam!) will return and that we will run, leaving the Iraqis to the tender mercies of the Baathists.
I eagerly await more news.
When this is nailed down, the opponents will continue to debate the war and
complain. I'm almost giddy trying to anticipate the next "failure" of
Wage the war. Kill our enemies.
Our defense industrial base has deteriorated during the 1990s procurement "holiday" in which few weapons were built. We got by because our armed forces shrank in size, allowing us to use the excess weapons meant for a larger military. The problem:
defense cuts of the 1990s, a dismal era which HASC chairman Duncan Hunter (R.,
Calif.) calls "the procurement holiday" devastated many of the
industries that supply the U.S. military. Many firms dropped out the business
of building parts for weapons systems due to lack of work. Many were bought up
by foreign interests who wanted
Congress must approve a House Armed Services Committee proposal to rebuild our industrial infrastructure to keep key industries in American hands. We know that even our allies are not always reliable partners. Another unseen part of the war on terror.
"Bin Laden" (Posted
Bin Laden is probably
But in a lengthy meeting today with Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, here at the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains, Mr. Bush said he would not provide the F-16 fighters that Pakistan has sought for 14 years. A senior administration official said that Mr. Bush had made clear that the new package of aid was dependent on continued cooperation in battling terrorism and a permanent end to assisting the North Korean nuclear program.
I imagine bin Laden's head on a stick is the price for getting the F-16s
"It's the country that worries us the most," one official said in an interview last week, "because it's the only nuclear power in danger of falling into the wrong hands."
Of course, this ignores
But back on point, somebody
We may not have gotten any of Saddam's family in that strike from last week at Muger Addib near the Syrian border, but something is going on:
At dusk today, a convoy of more than 20 military transports arrived with earth-moving equipment and pulled into the circle of Bradley fighting vehicles that guard every approach to this sandy knoll littered with broken masonry and bomb-damaged homes.
A lot is going on unseen as reporters focus on the attacks on American forces. This unseen work will be what wins this post-war phase. It will be what convinces those who still fear Saddam's return that this will not happen and that it is not only safe to cooperate with us but wise for their future. This is already happening but it is not locked down yet.
"Our Friends the French—Again"
It seems the French are letting
Hamas raise funds in
State Department and White House sources
tell TIME the
The French have been in bed
with the Islamist terrorists for a long time now. Since the
A genealogy of Anti-Americanism by James Ceaser is interesting. It helps to dispel the ridiculous notion that if only we had a nice, ineffective president, who said kind things about the UN and France, then all would be well in trans-Atlantic—or world relations.
anti-Americanism is a construct of European thought, it would be an error to
suppose that it has remained confined to its birthplace. On the contrary, over
the last century anti-Americanism has spread out over much of the globe,
helping, for example, to shape opinion in pre-World War II Japan, where many in
the elite had studied German philosophy, and to influence thinking in Latin
American and African countries today, where French philosophy carries so much
weight. Its influence has been considerable within the Arab world as well.
Recent accounts of the intellectual origins of contemporary radical Islamic
movements have demonstrated that their views of the West and
This reflex in the world was not based on the 2000 elections, or our response to 9-11, but to an enduring bias against what we stand for. The thoughts and quotes discussed in the article from decades and even centuries ago still sound like they come from foreigners and their fifth column of supporters over here.
Do we deserve criticism on
occasion? Should we try to undo anti-Americanism? Sure. But we should not
succumb to the siren song that says all will be well if we just halt our
policies that enrage the world. If we wore berets, prayed to
The childishness of this anti-American attitude reminds me of the poll on foreign attitudes of America. Amusingly enough they want our economic opportunities and technological/scientific innovations but not our economic system! How do they think we acquired prosperity and technology? They want the fruits of hard work yet still think they have a God-given right (if they still believed in God, of course) to 6 weeks at the beach at public expense. They act, in short, like moody teenagers who want all the latest stuff but are horrified that mom and dad suggest they get a job. And mom and dad, who pay for their stuff, are just "stupid" and don't understand the perfect little safe cocoon they have built in the EU-land.
Ledeen, as he has, advocates supporting the protesters in Iran. The protests and crackdown are continuing against the mullahs. Of most interest is his taking on of those who say our support would undermine the rebels—that they must succeed without any outside aid (or perhaps just without our uniquely tainted support):
for democratic revolution comes naturally to Americans, and we all thrill at
the spectacle of brave people challenging corrupt tyrants in the name of
freedom. Yet a surprising number of commentators and policymakers are fighting
against the prospect of open American support for the Iranian revolutionaries.
Their most recent argument is that open approval and, worse still, modest
material support from the
sort of argument is not new; we have heard it whenever we have had a president
brave enough to speak the truth to tyranny. We were told that it would be
counterproductive to denounce the gulag system and support the Soviet
dissidents, that the Jackson-Vanik law (linking trade
silence is simply another way to appease tyranny, and a tactical retreat in our
life-and-death war against the terror masters. Those who are fighting against
support for the Iranian revolutionaries have it exactly backward. The silence
they advocate would be a demoralizing blow to the Iranian people, and to our
democratic soul. President Bush has advanced our interests and our honor by
condemning the wicked regime in
Moral support is the easy
part. We should also assist with communications and other support to bolster
the democratic elements seeking to bring down the mullahs. And with revolution
in the air, any thought of short-term threats to use the former Saddam-backed
Iranian rebels in
But what do we do when the serious revolt occurs and the mullahs shoot to kill? A successful campaign of repression will solidify the mullahs for a generation, perhaps. Without a doubt the mullahs will have their nuclear bomb. Would we stand aside as in 1991? We could not. Air power and special forces could be enough to stomp forces that side with the mullahs and tip the balance. We could keep Iranian air power off the rebels. We may also be able to smash the nuclear program facilities at least, in the chaos, providing some benefit even if the mullahs win the showdown. The mullahs hate us already, so why not?
The big question is do we intervene with ground forces if the mullahs seem to be winning. In this case, I say no. The Iranians have rallied to repel invaders despite internal differences before. Besides, we'd have a division of Marines and maybe a brigade of Army armor that we could quickly wheel around from Iraq and send into Iran. That's not very much. We might end up reinforcing failure, since by the time we decide we need to intervene with ground forces, it may all be over. This could move very quickly and only the Iranians themselves, our air power, and special forces/intel people will be able to fight the critical battles to topple the regime.
I do not think we will look away when the people rise up.
"This Law Does What?!" (Posted
The foreign minister of
A small opposition party
said it had filed a suit against Foreign Minister Louis Michel for authorizing a Belgian
company to sell arms to
Michel is outraged. Said the article about the minister's reaction:
outspoken critic of the U.S.-led war in
extremely irresponsible. It's completely crazy and irrational," Michel
told reporters at a European summit in
These are sad days indeed when being against the American-led war against Saddam doesn't shield you from the wrath of the self-proclaimed pure of heart.
Couldn't have happened to a nicer minister.
Hanson of course has an excellent piece on why we should be optimistic rather than pessimistic about our war on terror:
[F]or all the doom and gloom we are making amazing progress. If on the evening of September 11th, an outside observer had predicted that the following would transpire in two years, he would have been considered unhinged: Saddam Hussein gone with the wind; democratic birth pangs in Iraq; the Taliban finished and Mr. Karzai attempting to create constitutional government; Yasser Arafat ostracized by the American government and lord of a dilapidated compound; bin Laden either dead or leading a troglodyte existence; all troops slated to leave Saudi Arabia — and by our own volition, not theirs; Iran and Syria apprehensive rather than boastful about their own promotion of terror; and the Middle East worried that the United States is both unpredictable in its righteous anger and masterful in its use of arms, rather than customarily irresolute and reactive.
The press may only notice the
problems when the trends are positive, but that doesn't make them right.
Indeed, read Steyn for a complaint by Care International alleging
that the situation in
The record of these critics
in being wrong should comfort us all as we press forward to victory. After all,
in their "sophisticated" criticism of a morally equivalent
We must help the Iranian protesters
as much we can. I don't think we have the horses to use the military option
And if the Iranian
students fail? At some point we
will have to take out the mullahs' nuclear installations. We may not be able to
nail bio and chemical facilities, but the nuclear facilities are a lot harder
to hide. We simply cannot have
We are winning this war, people. Try not to be too depressed about it.
Hoagland puts well what I had posted earlier about speaking softly and carrying a big stick.
Armed force, however, is not a self-fulfilling policy. It must be accompanied, guided and eventually tempered by effective diplomacy. American strength alone cannot impose a durable international imbalance-of-power system.
This is no appeal for multilateralism or the more aggressive French variant, multipolarity. These have become code words for systematically restraining American power, a goal that will not bring global stability or spread freedom and prosperity. Such options are no more meaningful than are dreams of empire at the other end of the political spectrum.
Ultimately, massive military power must be coupled to a set of values, precepts and understandings to which other democratic nations can plausibly subscribe -- even if they do not uphold every one of those values every day or join every campaign.
A great power may legitimately refuse to be bound by the ambitions or needs of its friends. But it will almost always be wise for that power to make it possible for those friends and for others to claim plausibly that they too count, even as they lose the argument. That is the essence of diplomacy.
We are the most powerful nation on the planet for now. We are not more powerful than the rest of the planet. That is a difference that is all too often forgotten. And even if we were the latter, would we really want to pay the price in lives and treasure to go it alone? And if we did, how long would we be the most powerful nation on the planet?
Be ruthless with our enemies, without a doubt; but court our friends and neutrals, too. Politeness counts. Even with the French.
"Allied Help in
is on the way for stabilizing
In time, allies, American MPs, and Iraqi troops and police properly trained will take over garrison duties freeing American troops to deal with Saddam holdouts.
This report says the Council
on Foreign Affairs and the Asia Society want the
Don't even go there.
Yes, there is some resistance
as the defeated Taliban and al Qaeda thugs recover
from their crushing defeat. But do we really want to unite the people against
us by deploying foreigners throughout the country? Resistance is thus far small
scale and our few troops are effectively fighting them without creating lots of
targets and inspiring resistance by their mere presence. And the warlords must
be brought inside the tent—not crushed.
We have much to do in
rebuilding the state and creating an effective national army. We must stop the support for the Islamists that comes out of Pakistan. They still find refuge in Pakistan's 'wild west.' We could lose
this still, I concede. Yet the CFR/AS proposal seems like a recipe for making
"This Just Sickens
The Saddam regime staged dead baby parades and was the real culprits behind dying babies.
And this part should finally show Saddam as a liar for his pretensions to defending Islam:
Doctors say hospitals were forced to keep the bodies of babies who had died prematurely or of natural causes for up to two months until Saddam had enough to stage a parade of the little corpses, with women bussed in to act as "mourners", screaming insults at the US in front of television cameras.
"All 10 hospitals in Baghdad were involved in this and the quota for the parade was between 25 and 30 babies a month, which they would say had died in one day," Dr Hussein al-Douri, deputy director of the Ibn al-Baladi hospital, told the Telegraph.
Muslims traditionally bury their dead immediately, so keeping the bodies of the babies added to the grief of their parents.
"The mothers would be hysterical and sometimes threaten to kill us," said al-Douri, "but we knew that the real threat was from the government. They would have killed our families."
Such a basic Islamic tradition of burying a dead person immediately was violated for propaganda. The next time you read about some former Baathist Sunnis complaining that our troops enter homes without removing their freaking boots, remember Saddam's compliance. I dare say our "cultural sensitivity" exceeds Saddam's.
The doctors quoted also confessed that they know that Saddam—and not the sanctions—killed those children who did die. They knew the money existed. They knew the regime favorites had all the medicine they needed.
It just depresses me that so
many—even here—are so ready to believe the worst about
I can't even work up outrage right now.
"The Human Shields Went
Home Too Early" (Posted
In an article
about Sunni/foreign jihadist resistance in central
Additionally, some of the violence has been directed at power plants, water systems and other important services. It bore hallmarks of strategic sabotage rather than common crime, officials said. In one case cited by Collins, attackers entered an electrical plant filled with machinery and knew enough to locate and take away a critical generator.
I know the human shields were
so concerned about the welfare of the Iraqi people that they feared we would
strike power plants and electrical plants. I mean, it wasn't hatred of
Oh right, they are packing
their bags for
In response to American
efforts to peacefully resolve
"There is no guarantee that this blockade will not lead to such a serious condition as a full-scale war," said Rodong [the main state-run newspaper]. "If war breaks out between the North and the United States, it will not be limited to the Korean Peninsula but all the areas where aggressors are lurking will become our targets."
If war is not the answer, would the human shields please show up at South Korean and Japanese power plants and other civilian buildings that the North might strike? Coming after their stunning success in protecting Iraqi orphanages, bunny farms, and hospitals from American bombing, a new glorious mission awaits! A state that insists on threatening war before it has exhausted all—or even any—peaceful methods is on the loose! I don't know how the shields have been able to restrain themselves thus far given the obvious rage they must be feeling.
Gosh, it's not like I'm asking anybody to defend Americans, so this shouldn't violate the Human Shield Code's first rule. Any takers?
[sound of crickets]
Another reminder of why we
cannot let up in the war on terror. Destroying regimes that can make them more
effective is not the only front. Taking out the governments of
Cesium and strontium, which have medical and industrial applications, also are considered likely ingredients for a so-called "dirty bomb," in which conventional explosives are combined with radioactive material.
Police also found a dark brown liquid later determined to be nerve gas concentrate.
Even without the resources of
a terroristic state, terrorists can gain the means to kill in large numbers and
sow fear. And Americans and Belgians and Saudis are all vulnerable. These are
the reasons our allies cooperate against terrorists even though they opposed
So to keep governments cooperating in the war on terror, we must heed wise advice to speak softly and carry a big stick. Do what we must quietly while saying the nice words that soothe our allies. After all, the survey of world opinion showed people more torqued at us over style rather than substance. That may not be very sophisticated behavior for such worldly people as they claim to be, but we can sure exploit it.
And speaking of sophisticated thinking, when such horrible weaponry components can be ferried about in a taxi, will those who bemoan our failure to devote more attention to the non-state actor side of the war on terrorism (so they say, anyway) at least consider how that admonition conflicts with their equally heartfelt complaints that we are trampling civil liberties in pursuit of the terrorists? There is a line somewhere in the security/liberty debate that should be our goal. I don't claim to know where it is, and wherever it is it changes over time and by location, but at least admit the conflict.
Resistance by the privileged
oppressors in the Sunni heartland continues at a low level. United States Army forces
to root them out. It is clear from the casualty reports that the pro-Saddam
people are fighting us still. War opponents cite this as evidence that the
people oppose us. What rot. We always knew that some Iraqis—namely Sunnis at
some percentage—supported Saddam. We are seeing the result of this support
linger on. Note that casualties are almost always reported from the central
region. Rarely from the northern Kurdish areas or the
southern Shia regions where the Marines and British patrol.
Even in Shia areas closer to
So have a little patience before you haul out the white flag and surrender to the Baathists. It will take some time before we can organize de-Baathified Iraqi military forces to take on the burden.
The Washington Post has a good story on the destruction of the 507th Maintenance Company's column in Nasiriyah. This is the unit PFC Lynch was part of. In many ways it is an ordinary war story, made famous because of the rescue of a small ("waiflike") blonde female American soldier who was captured in the fight. No, she did not blaze away, pulling grenade pins with her teeth and cursing the Iraqis as she lost consciousness. And no, the rescue mission was neither staged nor a Rambo bloodletting. What it was was a minor setback for V Corps as it blitzed north. The fog of war even in the information age led the unit to be unaware of the alternate route they were supposed to take. A unit got lost in a city. It was attacked by Iraqi thugs who violated the laws of war. The American, all rear echelon types, attempted to escape and fought, sometimes bravely, to repel the attackers and save their comrades. In the end, the strung out column of soft vehicles defended largely by small arms, was overrun. Such determination is normal even for our technicians. Equally normal was the Iraqi shooting of prisoners and posing with our dead soldiers smiling proudly for the cameras. Just as normal was the professionalism of the special forces who rescued Lynch without leveling the hospital or harming any of the staff in the process. Sadly, the political attacks, accusing the administration of "lying" over the incident when all it was was inaccurate initial information is also normal.
I suspect the correction of history will not gain much traction since those most likely to complain also liked having the story of a warrior female soldier to support their efforts to open combat slots to women.
One man in
Remember, he hid in fear for 22 years. He came out after American soldiers arrived.
"Iran Protests Continue" (Posted June 15, 2003)
The protesters keep coming out and the regime accuses America of orchestrating the attacks.
Wild clashes between students seeking an end to Islamic rule and hard-line vigilantes subsided in Tehran Sunday, but sporadic violence was reported elsewhere in the country with one person being reported killed in a southern city.
Sure, we want them to succeed, but orchestrate? This highlights-as if the recent Iraq War shouldn't have-that in the absence of reality, lies will do for dictatorial regimes (but no, administration critics save their charges of "lies" for our government). Even if we did absolutely nothing, the regime would accuse us of being behind any setbacks.
I find it interesting that the police are protecting the protesting students from pro-regime vigilantes who have been attacking the students. Is this significant? Are the police under orders from the regime to do this for some reason-to keep the violence under control? Or are the police sympathetic to the protesters or at least unwilling to attack the protesters? The Shah fell when his police and military refused to suppress demonstrations. Will the Iranians follow the same path?
If so, we may need to stand ready to send military units in to destroy or secure nuclear materials and labs. Or it may be that a quiet CIA/special ops mission can do the securing. Or maybe the new regime will disarm to reject the mullahs' policies.
July 9th could be a major step toward the downfall of the Iranian dictatorship. And the crippling of Islamofascist terror directed against the United States.
And if Iran goes down, will Pyongyang be scared enough to disarm or attack?
The Americans halt shipments
of fuel oil to
Fortunately, we don't need to
do too much to put
Formal sanctions could be the Red Line that would prompt an invasion. Quietly done operations like this that do the same thing may not cross that line.
Doing the same old extortion game sure won't do.
"Iranians Gearing Up for
July 9th" (Posted
Protests in Iran are taking place with the protesters emboldened to harsher words against even the so-called reformers in office:
Two nights of
protests by a few thousand people in
Unlike most previous
unrest in recent years against
"In the past the demonstrations were more disciplined and had specific demands. This time is more dangerous because it seems to be a reflection of pent-up anger," said a local analyst who declined to be named.
The protests also
come amid heightened pressure on
"I came here to send a message to (U.S. Secretary of State) Colin Powell that we want change," said 46-year-old Parvin near the university campus in the early hours of Wednesday.
But analysts downplayed the
Although recent US pressure, both overt and the mere fact of our military presence on their borders to the east and west, has been called counter-productive even before this development, these protests appear to be spontaneous. Our pressure did not snuff out the protests. Yes, overt intervention prior to a crisis point could be counter-productive. But just as true, we should not be afraid to support the enemies of the mullahs. July 9th could be crucial. Will we really stand by and let the mullahs crush the demonstrations and snuff out regime change for years to come?
Krugman insists that the President lied to the nation to trick us into war. Truly, Krugman is not remotely qualified to write on the topic. Krugman would write on the subject just as I vowed no more on this subject for a while. Luckily, most points about Krugman's distortions for a political purpose that I wanted to address are in this article. But since I started, I'll press on a bit.
First of all, it is funny to note the outrage that Colin Powell, once the anti-war left's only reasonable official in the Bush administration, is now one of the enemy for declaring that accusations he lied to get us into war are outrageous. If you're with them, you can do an intern and be called heroic for lying. Oppose them, and you're just a house slave as the esteemed Mr. Bellefonte slurred.
Let's start with Krugman's
first complaint: that President Bush "rhetorically linked" Saddam to September
11." He then goes on to say there is no evidence linking al Qaeda to
Krugman also gives us the tired "imminent" charge—that is, that the administration said Saddam was an imminent threat for using WMD against us.
This is from the President's speech to the UN in September 2002:
We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left? The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take.
A "grave and gathering danger" is clearly not imminent, as in days or weeks. But the threat was sure, regardless of the timeline. Given the clear uncertainty of intelligence assets and interpretation, why would opponents of the war still insist on the imminent standard when we know the threat—eventually—is real?
Krugman also cites the British paper The Independent, which in a March 2002 article asserted that the British Joint Intelligence Committee "found no evidence that Saddam posed a significantly greater threat than in 1991." So, after 11 years of inspections and sanctions, Saddam's threat to us was not reduced. Not even held to the same level. Indeed, the source only says that the threat was not "significantly" greater. I don't know how one defines that qualifier but it concedes he was a greater threat in 2002 than in 1991.
He also quotes Cheney out of context as claiming Saddam had nuclear weapons (as do lots of anti-war types who use this quote, I discovered). The linked article goes into this but it is so good I have to comment. I found one anti-war site that quoted the exchange:
On NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday,
NBC: "And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency said he does not have a nuclear program, we disagree?"
Cheney: "I disagree, yes. And you'll find the CIA, for example, and other key parts of our intelligence community disagree. Let's talk about the nuclear proposition for a minute. We know that based on intelligence, that [Saddam] has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He's had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. El Baradei frankly is wrong."
Clearly, Cheney was responding to the question of Nuke programs—not actual weapons. He used the wrong word—period. The administration was always clear that we would attack to prevent Saddam from getting nukes.
This conclusion from the President's UN speech is no less true today than it was then:
If we fail to act in the face of danger,
the people of
And let this please be my final comment for a while: Critics of the war say that the host of information indicating Saddam had WMDs and programs to build them (not the "scraps" that Krugman alleges—unless he wants to level the same "lying" charge against every leader in both parties for the last 5 years) was a fabrication and that somehow we should have seen some small piece that said Iraq didn't have actual chemical weapons in place in March 2003 and then called the whole war off. At the same time they complain that the administration did not "connect the dots" prior to 9-11 when those dots were in a sea of dots and only apparent after the fact. Both lines of criticism also ignore the record and statements of the prior administration and fail to hold "their" president accountable.
Thanks Krugman, now I have a headache.
This is why I rarely read him. He subtracts value from anything he comments on and ultimately is just a time suck
The Islamist coup in
The concept of the European
Union is not in
The Bush administration charged the European Union with actively undermining U.S. efforts to shield Americans from prosecution by the International Criminal Court and warned that the impact on transatlantic relations will be "very damaging" if the EU does not stop.
The EU will stifle freedom in a bureaucratic dictatorship and within the next fifty years there will be a civil war as one of the countries of the EU has a change of heart and tries to withdraw. The Brussels-based rulers will declare their own Brezhnev Doctrine and use force to stop withdrawal. The economic decline of Europe relative to America due to population loss and lack of competitiveness with our economy will lead Europeans to blame America and the long holiday from threats to our security from Europe that began in 1991 when the USSR collapsed will end.
We have intervened in
Say no to the EU and by all
means, give European states—especially the British—a reason no to join. A
Actually, given that al Qaeda is still determined to
kill as many of us as possible—with WMD if their wet dreams can be made
reality—could the human shields who believe violence is never the answer please
hang out at our power and chemical plants? Our bridges and
tunnels? Our skyscrapers? Said a
We judge that there is a high probability that Al Qaeda will attempt an attack using a CBRN weapon within the next two years," it said.
A radiological weapon is a so-called "dirty bomb," which uses traditional explosives to disperse radioactivity. Such bombs could use lower-grade radioactive material which can be more easily produced or obtained than the high-grade uranium and plutonium used for nuclear weapons.
We will know nothing but war against this scum for the rest of this decade. Don't ever forget that the first priority is to kill or imprison them until they lose all hope for victory. The historians of 2050 get the task of "understanding" them. But until then, the terrorists will seek to kill American in large numbers. And if that isn't possible, Britons. Or Belgians. Or Norwegians. Or even French. And Moroccans and Pakistanis and Saudis and Tunisians and anybody else not pure enough in their Moslem faith will do, too. Doesn't matter much to them.
So in the spirit of human
shieldom, come on over you Euro guys and gals and bed down at the Statue of
Liberty. Remember your slogan: "No
Blood for Allah." After all, if war is never the answer, this lofty
position must also hold true when the target is what the so-called "peace
activists" claim is an "imperialist"
Apparently, our own State
Department is determined to preserve the Baathists in Iraqi positions of power despite Paul
Bremer's efforts to rid
In his first major move, Bremer signed a broad order, designating that anyone from the top-four echelons of Saddam's Baath party — some 15,000 to 30,000 people — would be banned from holding any public office, including schools and hospitals. The move was cheered by many in the Pentagon and the White House, but despised by most Foggy Bottom officials, who favored the "pragmatic" approach of using top Baath-party officials whom they claimed had the exclusive knowledge and experience to help make the transition to a new government as smooth as possible.
It's bad enough that our
enemies are working to undermine
Get rid of the Baathists so they cannot undermine us from within. Maybe we should get rid of the top four echelons of State Department, too, just to be safe.
"Could the Human Shields
Please Go to
The local press could
use some help in staying free. Amazingly little coverage is being given to
the Chavez brutality in
I'm honestly getting tired of
posting on the ridiculous conspiracy charge that we invaded
The LA Times backs my suspicions written earlier about the "rises from the ashes" nature of the Iraqi WMD program—no smoking gun but maintain the people and knowledge ready to roll when international scrutiny dissipated:
Saddam Hussein's intelligence services set up a network of clandestine cells and small laboratories after 1996 with the goal of someday rebuilding illicit chemical and biological weapons, according to a former senior Iraqi intelligence officer.
The officer, who held the rank of
brigadier general, said each closely guarded weapons team had three or four
scientists and other experts who were unknown to U.N. inspectors. He said they
worked on computers and conducted crude experiments in bunkers and back rooms
in safe houses around
He insisted they did not produce any
illegal arms and that none now exist in
"We could start again anytime," said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he said he fears for his life. "It's very easy. Especially biological."
"The point was, the Iraqis kept the
knowledge," he explained during a lengthy interview Friday in which he
offered tantalizing details of secret programs. But
But the idea that we were lied to in order to justify invasion is hogwash. Robert Kagan says it well.
Give me strength to post no more on this until we present our evidence of the Iraqi WMD programs.
"We May Have 'Lost' Mauritania" (Posted June 8, 2003)
A coup in Mauritania led by Islamists against the anti-Islamist government may be giving the Islamists a win. A small one, but a win for them nonetheless. This is something I warned we must guard against in my essay of September 2001 on the coming war. The CIA and other Western intel services must help states resist Islamist forces.
Setting up a base in the region, which is growing in importance as it becomes a source of our oil imports, may be necessary to cope with the Islamist threat in the area. The biggest prizes are thus far secure but the loss of a minor player-if it is indeed lost-is a warning. We are at war. Our enemies want to win, too. The extremists will continue to fight even as our successes discourage the "street" from wanting to support the extremists who are willing to kill them, too (as in Morocco and Saudi Arabia), if they can't reach Americans.
We must counter-attack in Mauritania. The Islamist regime must be overthrown by indigenous forces. This is France's backyard. I hope they will work on this with us.
"Victims of the War" (Posted June 7, 2003)
A group of people in Iraq is suffering from a loss of prestige as the result of the overthrow of the Baathist regime. Check this out:
Backed by their patron, Saddam Hussein, Sunni Muslims were Iraq's power brokers for a generation. But in the new pecking order of U.S.-occupied Iraq, they have lost much of their influence. Though there is no indication of organized resistance yet, they're angry.
Ah, the ones who wore the boots that stomped on the throats of those below them are now "power brokers." Their ability to steal the resources of others and kill their enemies at will is now called a "pecking order." One gets the impression that we are to feel sorry for their anger at their loss of "influence."
Can you imagine an article bemoaning the loss of influence of whites in post-apartheid South Africa or Nazis in post-World War II Germany? Of course not. But in a world where America can accomplish no good because we do it, overthrowing a brutal minority dictatorship is somehow a civil rights issue.
"Remember the Outrage? (Posted June 7, 2003)
Remember the outrage of the looted Baghdad museum? Remember how critics of the war seized on this, asserting we should have been more forceful in stopping looting to protect our cultural heritage? I wondered how many Iraqis we were supposed to have killed to stop the looting. The critics never really answered that question, just asserted that somehow we should have stopped the looting. Somehow they expected some magical, non-specific, but surely non-lethal method to effectively protect the museum.
Of course, it turned out to be one big zero of a crisis. It fit perfectly with the mind set of the critics: dumb American soldiers too uncultured to realize that mere people must be sacrificed to protect cultural heritage. If only Baghdad hadn't been liberated, these priceless objects would be there for us to see and study. Saddam provided security, you see. One day soon we may find a special mass grave reserved for those Iraqis who crossed the rope line and got too close to some shard of pottery. Why not, there seems to be at least one for every other identifiable group.
Anyway, here's the latest reckoning of the crisis that should have been suppressed with gunfire:
Of the 170,000 initially thought missing, only 3,000 objects remain unaccounted for. Of those, 47 are main exhibition items but most of the others, including small shards of pottery, are not worthy of museum display.
Good thing we didn't refrain from liberating Iraq on the grounds that our cultural heritage would be lost. Even better that we didn't shoot a dozen people to protect the 47 exhibition items currently unaccounted for. Sad as the fact that 47 are missing may be, I don't think they are the bulk of our cultural heritage.
"Moe, Larry, and
The desperate fighting to
secure the supply line of 3rd ID as it drove into
TF 3-15’s job was to secure the avenue of attack and main line of communication from the south along Highway 8, by holding three key intersections -- Objectives Moe, Larry and Curly. The most southern, Curly, was considered the least defended and dangerous of the three, so it was given to TF 3-15 headquarters elements augmented by one mechanized platoon from Company B, 3-15 Infantry. Company B, 4-64 Armor was given Objective Larry, and Company A, 3-15 Infantry was given Objective Moe. (The remainder of Company B, 3-15 Infantry, had the initial mission to secure the 2nd BCT’s rear that day, but another of its platoons would reinforce Objective Curly when the outcome teetered in the balance.)
Lt. Col. Stephen Twitty, the TF 3-15 commander, in a radio call to all elements as they lined up on the highway said, "They know we’re coming. We’ve been probing, clearing mines, and we just shot MLRS (multiple-launch rocket system) rockets. They definitely know we’re coming." They did. Throughout that day, TF 3-15 would be engaged in some of the most intense close-combat fighting of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
I used this battle as an
example of some of the difficulties our Army will face despite transformation
(already rejected, I'll send it elsewhere soon) and as I read more I am more
and more impressed with the quality of our soldiers. Those loony toons who
boast that if only they could fight us on the ground their martial spirit will
overwhelm the soft American soldiers should read about this battle. Since
Our soldiers fight and win decisively when others would succumb, surrender, and face massacre. Yes, I had no doubt that we would win decisively and that yes, it would be a cakewalk in the grand scheme of things. But I knew hard fighting by skilled soldiers and Marines would be necessary to do that.
When I read about battles
like this, I get angry with snide comments about how 3rd ID failed
to transition to stability operations once major combat in
Our soldiers are just freaking awesome. Keep them this way.
"No Protection" (Posted June 6, 2003)
Being Western, no matter how willing you are to surrender to the Islamists, marks you for death in the eyes of the Islamofascists.
So exactly how would changing our foreign policy to one that "understands" their anger protect us from such lunatics?
Hunt them down. Imprison or kill them. They will keep coming at us until we do.
The US and ROK have
agreed to withdraw the 2nd ID from its forward position along
the DMZ (wow, that's a lot of abbreviations). Hooah. The North Koreans are
upset because they liked the American troops conveniently within range of their
artillery. Tough. We are hardly doing this in
preparation to attack; yet it is true that North Korean threats will have less
meaning now. We will be able to inflict far more pain on the North Koreans than
they can inflict on us if it comes to a showdown. Of course,
"The Case Against Iraq-1998" (Posted
The latest effort to re-debate the Iraq War over purported lies sure has inspired me to post more again. I hope the administration pulls together and releases the details of Saddam's programs before I lose more time that I should be using to write for published articles…
As I said before, the reasons
This is not a time free from peril, especially as a result of the reckless acts of outlaw nations and an unholy axis of terrorists, drug traffickers and organized international criminals. We have to defend our future from these predators of the 21st century.
The DOD press conference also addresses the growing firestorm over allegations the Bush administration lied about Iraqi WMD programs:
Now on this issue of intelligence judgments -- now to get to my second topic, the intelligence judgments on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Secretary of State Powell talked about our intelligence sources when he gave his presentation on February 5th to the U.N. Security Council. He played tapes of Iraqis who were discussing -- these were intercepts of Iraqi communications in which there were discussions of the concealing of weapons of mass destruction from U.N. inspectors. Secretary Powell cited the reports of witnesses and informants. He discussed the
government's knowledge of U.S. procurement efforts in the weapons of mass destruction field. And he cited the old U.N. inspectors organizations reporting on weapons of mass destruction, for which Iraq had never accounted adequately. And these judgments were based on intelligence that -- intelligence reports and intelligence analysis that not only went back years but predated this administration. Iraq
In February 1998 President Clinton said, "Iraq continues to conceal chemical and biological weapons and the missiles that can deliver them, and Iraq has the capacity to quickly restart production of these weapons." Secretary of Defense Cohen, in -- also in 1998, said, "I believe that Iraq is developing them, because they've used them in the past. The acquisition of these types of weapons does make Saddam Hussein a major player in the region. He's concerned about the power, and the opportunity to have nuclear or biological or chemical weapons gives him the status and the ability to project that power to intimidate the neighbors in the region." And there are similar quotations from Vice President Gore and others. The -- it -- from our perspective, it's pretty clear that the intelligence community's judgments concerning Iraqi weapons of mass destruction did not undergo a major change between the Clinton and Bush administrations. And that's – without regard to the issue of whether the officials from the previous administration agree or disagree with the policies of this administration about how to deal with the problem, the basic intelligence reports did not undergo any kind of change from the previous administration to this one.
Suggesting the Bush administration lied about WMD (see this article ripping Krugman's foaming rant—I especially like the part that reminds us that the anti-war side was the one saying the threat had to be imminent. And how would the CIA know this?) requires critics to go after the Clinton administration for lying also. Face it, intelligence is a fuzzy thing. If not, we wouldn't have bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant in 1998. I want to know how the intelligence on Iraqi WMD compares to what we find on the ground. But to raise this into a partisan attack on the basis that Bush lied is outrageous. Max Boot has a good column on the ridiculousness of this charge.
For all the problems I had with the previous administration's approach to foreign policy, I never marched in the streets in protest of the 1998 air attacks. I thought a brief bombing campaign was pointless but never unjust, and certainly not based on forged evidence, lies, or a conspiracy to trick us. If the anti-war left wants to continue the debate over fighting Iraq over WMD, I suggest they go back to 1998, retract all they said that year, and resolve that debate first. Then they can finish the '02-'03 debate if they wish. And then we can compare the results of Clinton's solution to the WMD problem and Bush's. The main difference? After '98, Saddam was free to murder and plot. Today he is dead or hiding and his people can freely express their views.
So why the different attitudes of the anti-war side now and then? Oh, I get it. The President in 1998 was way more sophisticated in his analysis. President Clinton raised the threat of an unholy axis. Clearly, "unholy" is way different from "evil." And "axis" was fine when linking terrorists, drug traffickers, and organized international criminals; but a distortion of history when used about Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
The predators of the 21st century did strike us. And we are finally fighting to win now. Iraq was a win.
The Chinese are coming to see
that it is not
in their interests to have a rogue nuclear-armed
Maybe we shouldn't have caved
in to North Korean ranting after all, eh? With
"So How Does Pressure Work?" (Posted June 4, 2003)
On NPR yesterday, a
discussion of a poll of foreign views of the
When dealing with our opinion of foreign states, the logic is somewhat different: We don't like them. We tell them we don't like them. It is our fault. We must change.
talks about American pressure to change the thugreocracy
avalanche of criticism has not only sparked a hawkish response from hard-liners
"The more pressure the reformists feel -- especially if the pressure is coming from outside -- the greater the negative impact on their capacity to mobilize, especially in domestic politics," said Hadi Semati, a political scientist at Tehran University, in a telephone interview. "It's hard when you're in a national security situation to undermine the constitution and institutions. It's going to be very difficult for [Khatami] to be combative."
If only foreign criticism of American policy led all Americans to close ranks behind our government just a tad more instead of leaping up and saying we must be doing something wrong. Khatami is less than useless in engineering reform.
Who knows, if
July 9 is getting closer.
"The Threat Was and
Remains Imminent" (Posted
The issue of an inquiry into intelligence capabilities concerning Iraqi WMD has been whipped into an issue of whether we were lied to since we have not yet discovered Iraqi WMD. Opponents of the war, wrong so often in their pronouncements of doom and failure, have latched on to this as proof Saddam was not an "imminent" threat.
Again, let us remember that
before the war we all agreed
I never bought their
definition of "imminent." In light of the clear intelligence failure,
those who argued we could have afforded to wait until Saddam was poised to
field weaponized chemical, biological, and nuclear devices have a lot of
explaining to do. Remember the surprise over
I think we will pull together the evidence of the programs. We have the labs. We've found dual use materials. As one analyst noted, did the Iraqis really stockpile enough raw material to make more fertilizer than they use in a decade? Is it only a coincidence that these chemicals can also be used for chemical weapons? But for our invasion, we are to believe, the Iraqis were apparently poised to end the oil for food program and embark on a massive agricultural self-sufficiency policy. Right. We will pull the pieces together.
I still think we will even find the actual WMD. I hope we find them before some of Saddam's still loyal minions can unleash them on our troops in the region or on a civilian target. Revenge, like the assassination attempt on Bush I, is a high priority for the Baathists thugs we turned out of those palaces. We must find the remaining Baathists, too, before they strike with those WMD. That is the last way I want our war to be vindicated in the face of the skepticism that will not die. But our government should not be distracted by the latest cries of outrage from the foes of the war. We have a war on terrorism to win.
We ended Saddam's terrorism. We ended his wars of aggression. We ended his bloody oppression that we under-estimated, if anything. His body count of Moslem victims would make the most bloodthirsty Crusader weep with envy. And we did end his blind and destructive pursuit of WMD.
The foes of the war have been wrong so far and will be wrong on the WMD issue, too.
"The Myth That Will Not
Michael Gordon, in an otherwise fine article on how the Army is stretched in its deployments, makes this statement:
The toppling of Mr. Hussein's government was essentially carried out by two to three divisions' worth of troops backed up by punishing air attacks.
I don't know how he can say this. He speaks of the assault being led by 3rd ID, implying that everything else was supporting. Since this is an article about Army strength, is he talking about the Army? If so, it is accurate enough as far as it goes since two division flags (3rd ID and 101st AB) commanding seven brigades plus two separate airborne brigades (173rd AB and a brigade of 82nd AB) fought in the war. But what of the two or three divisions of troops in First Marine Expeditionary Force? What of the British division? Plus a Ranger regiment and assorted Special Operations Command troops and allied special forces. A total of about seven divisions worth of troops was sent. This is completely consistent with post-Cold War plans that called for five Army divisions and one or two Marine divisions to win a major theater war.
Although Gordon argues that
the Army needs to be bigger based on the insufficiency of the troops to occupy
Yes, the Army is too small. But please stop referring to the tiny ground force that toppled Saddam. God forbid we should start to believe this myth.
"Not So Much of a Hindrance" (Posted June 2, 2003)
Another of the anti-war
side's arguments against overthrowing Saddam has collapsed. Remember when they
argued that attacking
of the G8 club of rich nations Monday pledged to widen and intensify the fight
against international terrorism in a bid to avoid a repeat of the recent
On the second day of their summit in the French resort, heads of state from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States also agreed a raft of measures aimed at boosting nuclear safety and curbing the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
"We recognize that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery poses a growing danger to us all," the leaders said in a statement. "Together with the spread of international terrorism, it is the pre-eminent threat to international security."
An interesting idea that is
always controversial. Send in the mercenary
companies to pacify
In an age when non-state
actors who plunge states into chaos on a regular basis, what is the problem
with using non-state mercenaries to end the toll? The armies fighting in
I'm not terribly comfortable
with the idea of mercenary outfits, but
Actually, the African Union
(I had to Google this to confirm that the AU did
replace the OAU—it's great to have this service at your fingertips to check
memory. NOTE: the first three sites I found were inactive or broken—not a good
sign) needs to end the policy of defending all states in their current borders.
They simultaneously claim the colonial legacy has kept them poor but refuse to
accept any border changes.
Give the mercs
a chance. Seriously, just how much worse could they make