War and Politics

Over the last few days, we citizens have had an opportunity to watch our US Senators in action, as they stake out positions on the next step in the Iraq War. I have not, in my watching, had occasion to compare our current gaggle of elected officials with the likes of Clay, Calhoun, Goldwater, or any other "lions" in the history of the Senate.

The link takes us to a definition of gaggle, to wit: "An unorganized group doing nothing", which, I think, describes the state of the Senate today. Unwilling to follow the war policy of a President whose approval ratings are in the low 30s and high 20s, declaring that such numbers indicate a failed policy and voter alienation, some Senators cannot, apparently, read further down the page that describes their approval rating as below that of the President.

One might think, given the existence of common sense, that some of those "bright lights" taking down their recently enhanced pay package might take their low approval rating as evidence that the public does not support their positions.

Which leads me to an editorial in today’s Washington Times:

The Senate is emitting an embarrassing level of emotional policy
twitching on the topic of Iraq. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can’t
take the war any more. He "knows" it is lost. Sen. Olympia Snowe has
just about had it with the Iraqi government. If they don’t meet her
benchmarks — that’s it. Sen. Mitch McConnell thinks "that the
handwriting is on the wall that we are going in a different direction
in the fall and I expect the president to lead it." Who authored that
wall graffiti, he doesn’t say. After talking with grieving family
members of one of our fallen warriors, Sen. Pete Domenici "wants a new
strategy for Iraq."

I haven’t seen such uncritical thinking
since I hid under my bed sheets to get away from the monsters back when
I was 3 years old….

But the debate today in Washington is about none of these strategic
concerns. It is exclusively about Washington’s political timetable and
when the president will bend to such political necessity. For
self-admitted politics — rather than national security — to be driving
decision making in wartime Washington is not only an unpatriotic
disgrace — it is a national menace…

What we need from politicians in Washington is something more than the emotional response to crisis. What we need is men and women whose moral fiber, intestinal fortitude, and commitment to the best interests of our country rise above their petty, venal quest for political advantage.

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Propaganda – The New Air Power

Ralph Peters continues to produce insightful analysis of events in the Middle East, with his laser vision  focused on the operational aspects of the US Military. His credibility comes from the particularly well-suited arc of his military career, and from the hindsight that lends truth to his writings.

Writing today, in the New York Post, he again provides an analysis so clear that we wonder why he was not the only choice to be the War Czar for the end days of the Bush Administration.

Peters reminds us that the singular achievement of the US Military in the years since WW II has been its ability to completely dominate the air battlefield. The fly in the ointment is that the "air" of his column has transformed from the atmosphere, a place of aircraft and precision guided munitions where the US reigns supreme, to the spectrum, the electro-magnetic milieu of television, radio, and the internet, where the enemy has clearly gained the upper hand. The new "air" has become the high ground of the War on Terrorism Radical Islam, and shortsightedness of the part of US strategists has yielded that strategic position to our foe with hardly a shot fired.

Peters on the enemy in Iraq:

Oh, they went through trial-and-error phases, including ill-judged mass
confrontations with U.S. firepower. But they ultimately proved more
adaptable than we’ve been: We restrict ourselves to supposedly humane
theories of counterinsurgency warfare that have failed us for 60 years;
our enemies simply do whatever works…

The terrorists’ immediate goal is to get us out of Iraq. Their
actions against us at every level of warfare contribute to that
purpose:

* At the tactical level, they concentrate on killing
and wounding our soldiers and on restricting our movements. Their
weapons, such as roadside bombs, contribute to both objectives, while
suicide bombings against civilians make the streets we can’t drive
ungovernable.

* At the operational level – the hinge between
tactics and strategy – they exploit the media’s appetite for
sensational images and anti-Americanism to get out a message that
amplifies their power. Their tactics directly support this operational
effort.

* At the strategic level, they leap over our forces to
influence our population and, through them, our government. The
operational-level focus on the media directly supports the strategy…

The terrorists know they can’t beat our forces on the battlefield.
Their purpose in engaging our troops is to generate a body count,
graphic images and alarmist headlines. They’ve created a new paradigm
of warfare that’s cheap, effective and defiantly hard to defeat.

Meanwhile, our own military isn’t even allowed to slip stories to the
bribe-driven Arab press. And the global media credit every perfunctory
claim by the terrorists that the target we just hit was another wedding
party.

It may prove impossible to win by today’s rules. We,
too, need a new warfare paradigm. The bad news is that there isn’t any
sign of one.

Meanwhile, it’s disheartening to see a sound
tactical approach to security in Baghdad at last and Sunni tribes
turning against al Qaeda in Anbar province – but an enduring strategic
vacuum in Washington.

Given the recent reports that the Department of Defense has enlisted the aid of science fiction writers in the search for quantum-leap ideas in military technology, wouldn’t it be an even better idea to enlist the support of the world’s greatest marketing companies in a campaign to overpower the propaganda of the insurgents with some "product" of our own?

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Now Bernard Lewis….

A few posts back, we noted the comments of Ralph Peters on the lack of will on the part of the US in the battle against Muslim fundamentalism in Iraq. Today, Bernard Lewis, writing in the Wall Street Journal, adds his thoughts (of the same vein) to the forum. His conclusion:

More
recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S.,
are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first
assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a
little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether
they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the
consequences–both for Islam and for America–will be deep, wide and
lasting.

Read the whole thing, and weep…….

Continue reading “Now Bernard Lewis….”

Recidivism?

We’re regaining the upper hand in the fight for moral superiority. Slowly but surely, our legal system is overwhelming the administration’s fight on radical Islam. We fully expect full Habeas Corpus protection for all prisoners of war in the next administration. It is possible to expect that bail may be granted, et cetera, et cetera. Meanwhile, it appears that our attempts to rehabilitate prisoners in Guantanamo are no more effective than in our general prison population. It is after, all, our fault.

Behold the former inmates.

Yes, indeed, better to be morally superior than alive.

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Death From The Sky

There may be a lack of will on the home front, but it appears that American tenacity and ingenuity, and, yes, technological superiority still carry the day in Iraq. From In From the Cold a detail in the war that lends some perspective.

A taste:

As we’ve noted in the past, our enemy in Iraq is adept at shifting
tactics and procedures to meet a changing operational environment. But
unfortunately for the bad guys, we can adapt too, usually with deadly
consequences for the terrorists.

Read the whole thing………….

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Sanity

We are very near the tipping point in Iraq. The anti-war party "claims" a mandate, which is really just another way of saying that they are in control of perception, and the incumbent president and his backers seem to be losing their will to prevail.

To restore some clarity to the issue, Ralph Peters, again makes an appearance:

Above all, we have to maintain a
strength of will equal to that of our opponents. War demands
consistency, and we’re the most fickle great power in history. We
must focus on defeating our enemies, brushing aside all other considerations.


At present, we let those other considerations rule our behavior: We
overreact to media sensationalism (which our enemies exploit
brilliantly); we torment ourselves over the least mistakes our troops
make; we delude ourselves that mass murderers have rights; we take
prisoners knowing they’ll be freed to kill more Americans – and the
politicians and Green Zone generals alike pretend that "it’s not
whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game."

That’s the biggest lie ever told by a human being who wasn’t a member of Congress.

Winning is everything. Fighting ruthlessly may not please the safe-at-home moralists, but it’s losing that’s immoral.

How can we win if we won’t fight to win?  Are we so  European  that we have to look for nuance in everything that we do?  Have we, as a nation, lost the core of our beliefs to the extent that we cannot see the way clear to victory?

In the same vein, Peters continues:

Consider just one of the many issues about which we’re insistently naive and hypocritical: torture.

Earlier this month, our Army released the results of an internally
initiated survey of soldiers and Marines in Iraq. The results showed
that almost half of our troops would condone torture in a specific
instance if it saved their buddies’ lives.

The media were, of course, appalled. I was shocked, too – surprised that so few of our troops would condone any action that kept their comrades alive.

Torturing prisoners should never
be our policy, both because it’s immoral and because it’s usually
ineffective. But it’s madness to declare that there can never be
exceptions.

Forget the argument about the "ticking bomb" and
the terrorist who might have information that could save numerous
lives. Let’s make it personal.

Whether you’re left, right or
in between, ask yourself this yes-or-no question: If torturing a known
terrorist would save the life of the person you love most in the world,
would you approve it?

If your answer is "no," you’re not a
moral paragon. You’re an abomination. And please make your position
clear to your husband or wife, mother or father, son or daughter. Just
tell ’em, "Sorry, honey, but I’d rather see you dead than mistreat a
terrorist. It’s a moral issue with me."

There are countless
other ways in which we elevate the little immoralities required in war
above the supreme immorality of losing. Leftists loved My Lai – they
just adored it – but they were never called to account for the
communist atrocities after Saigon fell. Pol Pot’s butchery was never
laid at the feet of the self-righteous bastards who shrieked, "Give
peace a chance."

And no one on the left will discuss what might happen if we fail in Iraq. The truth is that they don’t care.

We face merciless, implacable enemies who joyously slaughter the
innocent with the zeal of religious fanaticism. Yet we want to make
sure we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

We’ve tried many things in Iraq. They’ve all failed. It’s a shame we never really tried to fight.

What are we doing to ourselves?






 

 

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Technology Driven Alternative Energy Sources

We’ve posted on this subject before, and, even though the Department of Defense procurement specialists yield to no one in terms of bureaucratic complexity and myopia (ala Walter Reed), there just might be the faintest glimmer of hope on the alternative energy front in the warzones.

Check the link:

SkyBuilt Power

H/T: Danger Room

Powered by ScribeFire.

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Profiles In Courage

From the Blogosphere, two profiles in courage. One from a stratum of society that may still hold with the values of personal courage and duty regardless of cost, The other from a stratum that holds with the values of the post modern, morally relativistic world that confuses venality with principle.

Quotes:

He’ll be a huge target for Al Qaeda Iraq, and he knows it. The thought
of Harry, abandoning his life of incredible luxury, to stand up and
defend the crown gives me goosebumps. That’s leadership, folks. There’s
simply no other word to describe it.

And:

Mr. Murtha said he would attach language to a war funding bill that
would prohibit the redeployment of units that have been at home for
less than a year, stop the extension of tours beyond 12 months, and
prohibit units from shipping out if they do not train with all of their
equipment. His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to
“stop the surge.” So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of
the appropriations bill — an action Congress is clearly empowered to
take — rather than try to micromanage the Army in a way that may be
unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations
that he is trying to do what he is trying to do. “What we are saying
will be very hard to find fault with,” he said.

Sic Transit Gloria.

H/T: Neptunus Lex

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Our “Informed” Congress

We all understand and accept principled opposition to our beliefs and opinions. When pressed, your scribe will also allow that strong dissent, well reasoned, can help us achieve a stronger, more balanced position on any issue.

Where the disgust level, and the suspicion meter, rise is on those occasions when opposition and disagreement seem based on petty politics and/or gross ignorance.

John Murtha, D-PA is witness number one in the case listed above. Leading the charge against the Administration’s policy in Iraq, he proposes "solutions" that reek of politics and are void of principle. Known in the Congress as an "operator" and an "appropriator", his term in office has been defined by his sailing up to, and sometimes across, the line of ethical propriety. Known not for legislation, but for his skill in using the "process" to curry friends and favors, he does not seem to be the shining example that the Democrats in the House would push forward.

The proof of this assumption comes from the Washington Post, certainly no supporter of the Administration in the War in Iraq, in an editorial in today’s paper:

Mr. Murtha’s cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about
conditions in Iraq. He continues to insist that Iraq "would be more
stable with us out of there," in spite of the consensus of U.S.
intelligence agencies that early withdrawal would produce "massive
civilian casualties." He says he wants to force the administration to
"bulldoze" the Abu Ghraib prison, even though it was emptied of
prisoners and turned over to the Iraqi government last year. He wants
to "get our troops out of the Green Zone" because "they are living in
Saddam Hussein’s palace"; could he be unaware that the zone’s primary
occupants are the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy?

This portrait of misinformation brings to mind the utterances of the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Silvestre Reyes, D-TX, who has had a bit of trouble understanding the nature of the conflict.

Principle or politics? Is there any difference? Does it matter?

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