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"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

Sunday, February 27, 2005

It's Catching On 

First we had elections in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian Authority, (however imperfect), and now Egypt:
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in a surprise reversal, yesterday took a significant step toward democratic reform in the world's most populous Arab country by ordering that presidential challengers be allowed on the ballot this fall.

Mr. Mubarak made the announcement in a nationally televised speech, surprising even some in his inner circle, one source close to the presidency said.

Touting "freedom and democracy," Mr. Mubarak told an audience at Menoufia University, north of Cairo, that he had instructed parliament and the consultative Shura Council to amend the constitution's Article 76 on presidential elections.
It seems like this democracy thing is catching on.

Yes, I know; the elections are far from perfect, and there is a long way to go in each of the aforementioned countries. It is also hard to establish cause and effect, so one cannot "prove" that the invasion of Iraq was the impetus. Still, I am hopeful, and it would be a stretch to say that the invasion and successful elections had nothing to do with what's happening. |

Friday, February 25, 2005

Was a Japanese Invasion Possible? 

One of the central theses of In Defense of Internment: The case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror by Michelle Malkin was that after Pearl Harbor policy makers had reasonable cause to fear a Japanese invasion of the West Coast.
The central thesis of this book is that the national security measures taken during World War II were justifiable, given what was known and not known at the time. It is unfair to judge the decison-makers of the time as though they had all the knowledge that we do today.

We know now that Japan would not invade or launch a major attack on the West Coast. We know now that the Battle of Midway of June 1942 would be a decisive victory for the United States, and a turning point in the war.... We know now that Allied forces would defeat Hitler's forces in Europe. We know now that we would develop the atomic bomb before our enemies. None of this was known at the time.
We've seen much second guessing of the invasion of Iraq. Many act as if they knew all along that Iraq did not have stockpiles of WMD, that there would be an insurgency, on and on. Most of them are completely disingenuous.

We need to consider the situation that policy makers faced after Pearl Harbor in light of what they knew at the time also. The purpose of this post is solely to consider whether an invasion or attack by the Japanese of the West Coast was possible and whether U.S. policy-makers had cause to believe it was possible. I will discuss the issue of internment and profiling in later posts.

Japanese Objectives

The reason the Japanese fought the war in the first place was to secure access to natural resources. Their initial attacks focused on Manchuria (1932) and China (1937). Both of these provoked U.S. outrage, eventually leading to sanctions being placed on Japan. Japanese planners believed that to secure natural resources, they needed hegemony throughout the western pacific. They sought to achieve this through the creation of a "Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere". In reality, of course, this entity was to be run entirely by Japan, with the subject nations they conquered ruled in a brutal fashion.

Japan saw the U.S. Navy, and U.S. bases, as the primary threat to their goals. British bases were a threat also, though to a lesser degree. The point is that they attacked our fleet at Pearl Harbor to rid themselves of this perceived threat. Why, therefore, would they have wanted to attack the continental United States?

Why Attack the Continental United States

In order to achieve their goals Japan had no reason to occupy any part of the continental United States. They did not even have to occupy Hawaii.

However, one may argue that in order to completely neutralize the threat posed by the United States, and force us to sue for peace, they needed to destroy or severely damage west coast facilities. At the time the United States had, in addition to the obvious port facilities themselves, several aircraft manufacturing plants within easy range of carrier-borne aircraft that might sail up and down our coast. These were centered in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

As I mentioned, attacks on our West Coast would not only achieve physical damage, but might prompt Washington to sue for peace.

But Could They Have Done It?

Did the Japanese have the ability to conduct raids on our West Coast, and more importantly, did U.S. policy-makers believe that they did?

This is a complicated issue and I won't be able to cover everything in this post.

It is said that amateurs discuss strategy, pros discuss logistics. While perhaps overstated, this aphorism does have much truth in it, for the question of whether Japan could have conducted raids along our coast depends on an answer to this question.

Many at the time seemed to believe that actual invasion by troops was a possiblilty. The facts are that it would have been just about impossible for Japan to have carried this out. Let's briefly go over some principles for amphibious attacks.

The general rule is that the larger the invasion force, the closer (to the target) one needs their jump-off base. In other words, you can travel a long way with a small invasion force, but only a short distance with a large one. We needed a huge force to attack Normandy, and it was assembled in Britain, only a few short miles away. No way this force could have traveled from the U.S., for example. Likewise, the entire rational for our invasion of Okinawa in 1945 was to secure a base for the invasion of Japan proper. We could not have sailed the necessary fleet from our bases in the Marianas, for example.

Likewise, the various U.S. invasions of islands in the Pacific (Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, etc) were relatively small-scale affairs, at least when compared to D-Day in Normandy, or to a possible invasion of Japan proper. Therefore we could sail our invasion fleet for some distance before attacking.

Most of this was known at least in theory during the initial days of the war. Even with a jump-off point of Hawaii it is hard to see how the Japanese could have invaded the continental U.S. However, there was much "concern: (really bordering on hysteria) in the country following Pearl Harbor, even among otherwise sober policy makers. Some of them can therefore be forgiven for imagining that Japanese troops might land on our beaches.

As for coastal raids, that is another matter. In order to have carries out these raids the Japanese would have needed to occupy Pearl Harbor. The object of their December 7 attack was not to do this, but to simply cripple our fleet so they could take over the western Pacific, which they did over the course of the next six months. They did not invade Hawaii at the time because they lacked the logistical capability to do so, and because the US still had substantial forces in the western Pacific.

Midway - In June of 1942 Japan sent a large naval and troop force to occupy the island of Midway. Midway is so named because it lies midway between Japan and the continental United States. Their objective was to occupy Midway, and use it for a base for further attacks on Pearl Harbor. They had not developed any actual plans as of yet for invasion of Hawaii, it was on their minds.

As it was we won the battle of Midway in what was one of the most dramatic episodes of the war. We now see it as the turning point of the Pacific war.

Yet had the Japanese won the battle of Midway our situation at Pearl Harbor would have been almost untenable. We lost most of our aircraft and many surface ships in the Dec 7 attack. We only had three carriers in the Pacific, to the Japan's nine (they lost one at Coral Sea for those of you why are counting). Assuming a Japanese victory at Midway, we would likely be down most or all 3 of our carriers, with the Japanese retaining most of theirs. The Japanese had a huge superiority in all categories: aircraft (land and carrier-based), aircraft carriers, and surface ships (battleships, cruisers, and destroyers).

Had the Japanese been able to occupy Pearl Harbor they would have also been able to further consolidate their position in the western Pacific. They could eventually have mounted raids on our West Coast. It would have still been a very difficult task, given the distance from their supply depots in Japan. But from what I know of all this I believe that it would have been possible. U.S. policy planners knew it too.

Did Japan have Plans to Attack the West Coast?

No they did not. But we did not know this, so it does not matter.

True, we had broken the Japanese diplomatic code (MAGIC), and had partially broken their naval code (purple) but these intercepts did not tell us everything (the did not directly warn of the attack on Pearl Harbor or attack on Midway, for example), so it would have been foolish to assume that just because something was not mentioned in the cables it was not planned.

My Conclusion

No it's not based on a any specific research, just what I have learned over the past twenty-five years of reading about this stuff.

I conclude that U.S. policy planners had good cause to fear Japanese coastal raids, which I define as attacks by carrier-borne aircraft, and shelling of West Coast targets by surface ships sailing off-short. Actual invasion was not really a practical possibility, but I am not totally sure if planners realized this, given the attitude of near-panic of the time. |

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Syrian Agent Caught 

Earlier this week I said that we ought to strongly consider limited military action against Syria if they don't stop aid to the terrorists in Iraq. In case anyone needs any more proof, here you go
Iraqi state television aired a video yesterday showing what the U.S.-funded channel said was the confession of a captured Syrian officer, who said he trained Iraqi terrorists to behead people and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.

He also said the terrorists practiced beheading animals to train for decapitating hostages.

Later, Al Iraqiya aired another round of interviews with men it said were Sudanese and Egyptians who also trained in Syria to carry out attacks in Iraq.
Iran is one thing. It is a large country about to get the bomb. Attacking them would have huge repurcussions, as they could retaliate by attacking shipping in the Persian Gulf. But Syria must be put on notice that they need to shape up or face the consequences. |

Worse and Worse at the UN 

The situation at the United Nations just goes from bad to worse. While Oil-for-Food is perhaps the best reported scandal, it is only the tip of the iceberg. There are several sex scandals that are almost unbelieveale.

On of the worst UN horror stories took place in the Congo. The allegations are that UN peacekeeping troops raped literally hundreds of women.

Steve Harrigan is currently leading a Fox News team in the Congo:
Our team here in the Congo found another group of girls who say they have been raped by U.N. peacekeepers. We've been interviewing four or five a day. It is easy to get hardened or callous after three of four days of it. The first girl, age 11, sat down and told her story. It was mesmerizing. She said she was going downn to the lake to wsh cloghes when she was taken. She sat in the chair and spoke Swahili in a soft voice. After 10 or 12 girls it was hard to take in.
I'll bet. It's hard enough to read about it.

It's your tax dollars at work, too. Since 2000, the U.S. has contribued some $759 million to MUNOC (U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Michelle Malkin is all over the story. In a Feb 16 column, she tells us that
Fifty U.N. peacekeepers and U.N. civilian officers face an estimated 150 allegations of sexual exploitation and rape in the Congo alone. Last Friday, ABC's 20/20 program aired a devastating expose by investigative reporter Brian Ross highlighting some of the worst alleged crimes.

The accused include Didier Bourguet, a United Nations senior official from France charged with running an Internet pedophile ring in the Congo. According to ABC News and others, pictures taken from his personal computer contained thousands of photos of him with hundreds of girls. Police say Bourguet had turned his bedroom, plastered with mirrors and rigged with remote-control cameras, into a stealth porn studio. He was caught in a sting operation while allegedly preparing to rape a 12-year-old girl.

But UN General Secretary Kofi Annan is aggressively investigating and punishing those responsible, right? Well, not exactly.
Annan's spinners would have us believe that the problem of U.N. sex predators is confined to a tiny band of rogues and locals beyond the control of headquarters. But according to Bourguet's lawyer, there was an entire network of U.N. personnel who had sex with underage girls in Congo and the Central African Republic. Investigators are now digging into claims of U.N. infiltration by organized pedophiles
Strategypage has some excellent background and a timeline of events. Check it out.

ABC News has done some great investigative journalism, and deserve much credit for their reporting.

Unfortunately, this sort of behavior from UN officials is nothing new. We had this in Bosnia too
In 2001, American whistleblower Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska policewoman who worked for U.N. security in Bosnia, uncovered scores of sex crime allegations and prostitution rings in the Balkans involving her fellow U.N. employees. Girls were forced to dance in bars for U.N. personnel and beaten or raped, Bolkovac reported. After being fired from her job for "time sheet irregularities," she told a British tribunal that Mike Stiers, the international police task force's deputy commissioner, flippantly dismissed victims of human trafficking as "just prostitutes."

Then there's U.N. refugee chief Ruud Lubbers. Earlier this week he resigned over allegations of sexual harassment of a female employee.

. |

Symposium Question

Refugee Obligations 

From the newly wedded Jeremy at Pacetown comes this weeks Homespun Symposium question. By way of background, Jeremy refers us to the Council of Sudanese Churches here in the U.S. and their efforts to aid those in Darfur.

What moral obligations, if any, do Sudanese emigrants, now in the United States, have to aid those who remain in Darfur?

The entire issue of "obligation" is something that we hear in the United States, too. It's usually portrayed somewhat differently, but the issue is the same; if a person works there way out of a poor neighborhood and achieves success, do they then have an obligation to "give something back" to that community from which they came?

The issue of "obligations" is all the same, whether it's about a person from Sudan or a person in the U.S.

I'm not really sure I have an answer here, so comments are most welcome.

Some say no, there is no obligation. The idea of "giving something back" implies that you took something, which is false. Since you didn't take anything, there is nothing to give back.

Others say that this is selfish. You should work to improve the lot of those who for whatever reason could not escape their country or neighborhood.

My initial inclination is to split the difference and say that you should, if you could, do something to aid those who are not as well off as you. We all have an obligation in this regard. Whether it is time or money is up to you, but I do believe that all of us should do something.

On the other hand, I'm wary of those who demand specific obligations from us. And indeed there is nothing to "give back" when, far from taking something in the first place, you escaped a bad neighborhood or country.

So I'll say that in general, yes, we do have an obligation to help those not as well off as us. But no, you have no specific obligations.

But I'm open to change so let me know what you think.

And lastly, I guess I'm assuming you're familiar with the situation in Sudan. If not, go to Jeremy's site, as he's got some good links. |

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Iraqi Heroes 

Some of the bravest men in the world are those who volunteer to serve in the new Iraqi police forces. Today's Washington Times has a story about them that is a must-read.
Terrorists routinely drag Iraqi policemen from their work or homes for grisly executions, or send car bombs to their stations to blow them apart.

But the recruits keep lining up for one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, putting their lives on the line to rebuild their shattered nation.

"If today they kill a police officer, tomorrow there will be more recruits, so they have done nothing," said one veteran police officer who asked not to be named.
Dozens are assassinated each week, and 1,500 have been killed in the past two years. Their recruiting centers are bombed by the terrorists, yet the recruits continue to line up.

Armed largely with AK-47s, flak jackets, and helmets, they ride around in pickups and cars. They do not have the armor of a Bradley or Striker fighing vehicle to protect them. Their training is short and to the point. Then it's onto the streets.

Certainly many join simply because they cannot find jobs. Many have quit in the face of continued terrorism. But slowly but surely, their ranks continue to grow.

Was it really much different with our early patriots? I'm no expert on the Revolutionary War, but I do know that many soldiers in the Continental Army left when their enlistments ran out or when pay was not forthcoming. That there was still a British army to fight did not seem to matter to many.

They are all heroes, and deserve our praise. |

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Strategic Offensive III:

The Next Step 

Last August I posted an article titled "The Strategic Offensive I: What We have Achieved in the War on Terror" on this site. In it I made the case that by invading Iraq we had achieved far more than what most people seemed to think.
What we have done is nothing short of revolutionary. We have gone to the heart of the enemy camp and destroyed his headquarters. We have seized his leaders and forced the others to flee for their lives. We have grabbed them by the throat and are slowly but surely strangling them.

No more are we probing the enemy listening posts and attacking selected, weakly defended targets. No more are we simply skirting around the periphery.

For a new Iraq, secure in it's borders and with a new spirit of freedom, will shine a light to the countries in the rest of the Arab and Muslim world. That light has already revealed those regimes to be decadent, corrupt, and uncaring towards their own citizens.
The theses of the article were threefold:
  1. We must strike directly into the heart of the enemy camp, and not be content with "contaiment or piddling around the edges
  2. By invading and thus seizing the strategic offensive "...we have forced them to fight where we want to fight, at a time and place of our choosing."
  3. This will result in a new democratic Iraq, which will in turn spread democracy throughout the region.
During the Cold War we had little choice but to adopt a strategy of containment. Now we have the opportunity to act before our enemies get nuclear weapons.

Not to toot my own horn (at least not too loud) but I believe that the recent elections in Iraq, and other events around the Middle East have vindicated me.

Writing in the Feb 28 print edition of National Review (a digital subscription is required for on-line viewing), historian Paul Johnson seems to agree:
By taking up the leadership of the War on Terror, and by insisting that America would act unilaterally if necessary, Bush showed he was eager to take full advantage of America's vastly increased relative power. The results are now coming in. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, fair and free elections have been held for the first time. What a half a century of exhortation had failed to do, the judicious use of military force achieved in two years — to bring democracy to the Muslim Middle East.

In the process, America obliged the leaders of international terrorism to concentrate all their efforts on preventing democracy from emerging in Iraq. By inflicting defeat on them there — where they were strongest — U.S. armed forces have dealt a blow to terrorist morale from which it may never recover. The families of American and Allied soldiers killed in Iraq should take comfort from this. The operation has succeeded. Terrorism is now on the retreat, and countless innocent lives may be saved in consequence.
Certainly I do not imagine that Mr. Johnson reads The Redhunter (although a little fantasy every now and then can't be so bad, can it?).

The results of the election, and the way the Iraqi's have handled themselves, is encouraging. No one group got over 50% of the vote, and thus enough power to rule by themselves. There have been many reports of how the Shia have "reached out" to the Sunnis, recognizing that they must be brought into decision making. There is evidence that some or many in the Sunni leadership have seen that they made a mistake by staying out of the elections. Many average Sunnis would have voted were it not for fear of terrorists. Indeed, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's own approved electoral list included 30 Sunnis.

Far from provoking a civil war, Zarqawi seems to have provoked cooperation. This alone will be his undoing. For once the Iraqis have a government by them and for them, they will fight for it.

That Arabs in neighboring countries are taking notice is much in evidence. David Pryce Jones (same NR print edition) tells us that
Iraq's version of a round table is already having positive repercussions. In Beirut, Rami G. Khouri, one of the most prominent and articulate Arab commentators, writes that the sight of Iraqis enthusiastically choosing their leaders from among a wide range of options is causing many Arabs to reassess the political implications of developments inside Iraq. Except for the usual collaborators and quislings, the Lebanese actively want an end to the Syrian occupation of their country, and may use the elections as a means of showing that they too can choose leaders able to hand their state to them.
Even in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia we are seeing the beginnings of reform;
Bahrain is to hold legislative elections this year. As for Saudi Arabia, it takes pride in maintaining its Muslim identity and absolute rule, but even there the retrograde royal family has agreed to hold municipal elections, limited, to be sure, because women will have no vote and a proportion of candidates are to be appointed rather than elected. Still, nothing like it has ever taken place. Nor has anything ever taken place in Morocco like the commission now trying to establish the extent of injustice and torture in that country's concentration camps under the previous ruler.
All of this is very encouraging. To be sure, we're not out of the woods yet. Much could go wrong to thwart our plans.

And two of the things that could go wrong are meddling by Iran and Syria.

What to do Next

Some, like Johnson, think that the best way to deal with Iran and Syria is to eliminate the threat from North Korea first. His rational is that since it has been proven that they supplied uranium hexaflouride to Libya, they may supply it to others as well. Uranium hexaflouride can be enriched into weapons-grade levels by use of centrafuges, and is thus uniquely dangerous material.

Either way, the point is that we need to stay on the offensive and not sit back. That Iraq has proved harder than expected must not deter us. Although our ground forces may be stretched thin, our Navy and Air Force do not have much to do. We need to make use of all of our resources before it is too late.

North Korea

Some advocate immediate air strikes on North Korea. I am wary of this, as the DPRK could easily destroy the South Korean capital with the massive amounts of artillery that they currently have hidden in caves just north of the border. The resulting damage would be tremendous. While there may well come a time when this step is necessary, I think it premature to act now.

Iran

There are several problems with regard to Iran. One is that although the people there seem to like the United States and oppose their government, they don't want us to attack militarily. It is problamatic as to whether air strikes will significantly set back their nuclear program, and may turn the people against us as well.

However, if we continue along the current path of endless negotiations and limited sanctions, we are only delaying the inevitable. While the people may revolt, it is too thin a reed upon which to place much hope. We need stronger action.

We should strongly consider a naval blockade, perhaps of selective items, perhaps of everything, including oil.

Tough? Yes. Risky? Certainly. Will we have the support of the "world community"? No. But which is worse, these or a nuclear-armed Iran? You know my answer.

Syria

While Syria has no nuclear program, they are armed with chemical and perhaps biological weapons. The real threat from them, however, is their aid to terrorists within Iraq. This is intollerable and must be made to stop. Beefing up border security will not be enough.

Syria has a relatively weak military. They have a small army and air force, and most analysis I read does not think much of their abilities.

We need to inform Bashir Assad, the current dictator/strongman (he doesn't deserve to be called by whatever his title really is) that he stops his aid to terrorists or else. And that "or else" is air attacks on his country. At first we should hit suspected terrorist camps, but as many are probably unknown to us (or hidden within populated areas), we should hit some of his bases as well.

Again, tough stuff, I know. Yes it will be an "escallation," with risks. But if we do not stabilize Iraq the game is up anyway. Assad's position is not strong, and he knows it. I believe that he can be made to see reason, unlike his cohorts in Iran and North Korea.

Saudi Arabia

They are not direct threats in the same way that the others are. But for far too long we have tolerated their export of radical Wahhabist ideology to many countries, including the United States. They did recently hold elections for municipal government. Granted, they were very imperfect elections, with no women voting, and only approved candidates on the ballot. But they did occur, and it is a good start. We must hold their feet to the fire on this, and especially on ending their support to clerics who preach Wahhabi hate ideology. Business as usual must end.

Staying on the Offensive

Whatever we do, we must not simply sit back and think that the business-as-usual of negotiations and sanctions will work. That Iraq has tied up more of our ground forces for longer than expected must not deter us. No I am not arguing for new military adventures, mainly for judicious use of force.

The choice is not between a stable status quo and stirring things up. The choice is between taking calculated risks or living in a future that is much worse. |

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Jimmy Carter 

The submarine, that is.

Yes, our newest and most powerful submarine is none other than the U.S.S. Jimmy Carter.
The USS Jimmy Carter joined the Navy's fleet yesterday as the most heavily armed submarine ever built, and as the last of the Seawolf class of attack subs that the Pentagon ordered during the Cold War's final years.

The 453-foot, 12,000-ton submarine has a 50-torpedo payload and eight torpedo tubes. And, according to intelligence experts, it can tap undersea cables and eavesdrop on the communications passing through them.

It can reach speeds of more than 45 knots and carry Tomahawk cruise missiles and anti-submarine torpedoes, and it is engineered to be quieter than the other two Seawolves, making it better for surveillance.
What a country.

You do have to wonder what those guys in the Navy must be thinking. Most of them are, well, not exactly fans of the sort of politics that Jimmy Carter represents. Lest we forget, he invited Michael Moore to sit with him at the Democratic National Convention last summer. ugh.

And for the jokes you've all been waiting for but didn't want to admit it
(taken from a survey around the Internet)

Perhaps it will also lust after other subs in its heart

Wonder if it'll attack the US like it's namesake?

Hmmm, I wonder what type of military equipment they could name after slick Willy?

Odds are it'll sink right out of the gate, just like his presidency...

This will be the first submarine to beach itself in the middle of some Iranian desert somewhere..

In a tribute to President Carter and his accomplishments The sub will immediately be given to Kim Jong Ill as part of a new "appeasement for dictator" strategies.

Does the sub come equipped with a white flag?

CAPTAIN: "Seaman, load that torpedo!"
SEAMAN: "Sir, I'd like to...but I have this feeling of malaise..."

The good news here is that there will not be a super carrier with the name Jimmy Carter

Let us not forget the Carter Administration's greatest accomplishment: the Reagan Administration.

Then there are its unique missiles:




--- I was actually going to write a serious piece about submarine warfare but got lost in the jokes. If you really want to know about Navy subs, go here. But if you're like me and want even more humor, go here. |

Friday, February 18, 2005

Right Analysis 

Victor Davis Hanson has it all right in his analysis on the War on Terror in general and Iraq in particular. He provides the historical context and background that is so lacking in much that passes for informed writing. We know the symptoms;
Reading the pages of foreign-policy journals, between the long tracts on Bush’s “failures” and those on neoconservative “arrogance,” one encounters mostly predictions of defeat in Iraq, laced with calls for phased withdrawal and — throughout — resounding criticism of the “botched” U.S. occupation and innuendos of petroleum imperialism.

Platitudes follow: “We can’t just leave now,” followed by no real advice on how a fascist society can be jump-started into a modern liberal republic. After all, there is no government handbook titled, “Operation 1A: How to remove a Middle East fascist regime, reconstruct the countryside, and hold the first elections in the nation’s history — all within two years.” The idea of perfection is always the enemy of improvement, as if American-sponsored reform were no better than what preceded it under a Noriega, Milosevic, the Taliban — or Saddam.

He calls them "The Impatient Caucus," and asks "Have we forgotten that winning a war takes time?" Apparently some have.

(Note: to view the article in its entirety you must be a paid subscriber to National Review)

This used to exasperate Alexander Haig, too. I recall watching some TV show where he'd be a guest, and eventually he'd start almost shouting at his opponent "You don't know any history!"

Hanson writes about how the critics try to have it both ways. A few of his examples will suffice;
From the oscillating analyses of Iraq, the following impossible picture emerges from our intelligentsia: It was a fatal error to disband the Iraqi army. That reckless act led to lawlessness and a loss of confidence in the Americans’ ability to restore immediate order after Saddam’s fall. Yet it was also a fatal error to keep some Baathists in the newly constituted army. They were corrupt and wished reform to fail — witness the Fallujah Brigade that either betrayed us or aided the enemy. So we turned off the Sunnis by disbanding the army — and yet somehow turned off the Shiites by keeping some parts of it.

Elections should have been held earlier; no, they must be now delayed since they come too soon when the country is still unsecured. No, this is the proper time after all. If 100 percent participate, then it is a sham and reminiscent of Saddam’s forced turnout; if 55 percent vote, sectarian violence is inevitable, as if such similarly dismal participation rates in the United States prompt violence or reveal illegitimacy. The Sunnis will spoil the democratic experiment — as if 20 percent of the population who cannot or will not stop the violence have the right to impair the hard work of the other 80 percent who are eager for reform, ready to brave fire to vote, and in possession of most of the country’s petroleum, ports, and pipelines.

We were after cheap oil, but gas prices somehow climbed almost immediately after we went in. We snubbed the U.N., but the U.N. — hand-in-glove with others — helped to loot Iraq. Democracy won’t work with these people, but somehow we are seeing three successive elections in the wake of the Taliban, Arafat, and Saddam.
On and on it goes. It would be funny if it weren't so serious.

We have a tendency, I think, to view wars in which we have been successful as glorious crusades in which we all linked arms and marched off to defeat the enemy. Were that it was the truth. While this attitude is symptomatic of the Revolution and Civil Wars, never is it as pervasive as it is with the granddaddy of all wars, World War II.

We're all familiar with Pearl Harbor. Many of us know about the Bataan Death March and Wake Island. But didn't we turn things around at Midway? Yes, but our mistakes were not limited to the first six months of the war.
Most of our armored vehicles were deathtraps, improved only days before the surrender. American torpedoes in the Pacific were often duds. Unescorted daylight bombing proved a disaster, but continued unabated. Amphibious assaults like Anzio and Tarawa were bloodbaths, plagued by terrible planning and command. The recapture of Manila was clumsy and far too costly. Okinawa was the worst of all operations, and yet was begun just over four months before the surrender — without careful planning for kamikazes, who were shortly to kill nearly 5,000 American sailors. Patton, the one general who could have ended the western war in 1944, was earlier relieved and then subordinated to an auxiliary position with near-fatal results for the drive from Normandy. Mediocrities like Mark Clark flourished and were promoted. Admiral King for far too long resisted the life-saving convoy system and thus unnecessarily sacrificed merchant ships; Admiral Bull Halsey almost lost his unprepared fleet to a storm.
If anything, Hanson doesn't go far enough. Our tanks had gasoline engines, our enemy had diesels in theirs (gasoline explodes, diesel burns. Take your pick). Fully 80% percent of the torpedoes were duds, making our submarines and torpedo bombers useless the first year or so. B-17 raids were suicidal until the arrival of the P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang fighters, yet we pressed ahead anyway. We never did develop an effective defense against the kamikaze, one reason our planners so feared invading the Japanese homeland. In August of 1945 Japan still had some 5,000 aircraft, and thus 5,000 kamikazes. The "storm" that Halsey drove his fleet through was a full-blown typhoon (the Pacific equivalent of a hurricane). And the action in which he did this left our landing fleet at Leyte unprotected, which would have been totally destroyed by Japanese battleships had not a few U.S. destroyers driven them off (yes you read that right).

And try this on for size: During one of the practice landings for D-Day in Normandy, several German E-Boats (their version of a PT boat) got in among our troop ships and sunk several of them. Almost 750 Americans died. In a training accident.

But weren't things better once war ended?

The war’s aftermath seemed even worse — to be overseen by an untried president who was considered an abject lightweight. Not-quite-so-collateral damage had ruined entire European cities. Europe itself nearly starved in the winter of 1945-6. Millions took to the road in mass exoduses. After spending billions to destroy Nazi Germany we had to spend billions more to rebuild it — and repair the devastation it had wrought on its neighbors. Our so-called partisan friends in Yugoslavia and Greece turned out to be hard-core Communist killers. Soon enough we learned that the most of the guerrillas in the mountains of Europe whom we had idolized, in fact, fought as much for Communism as against fascism — but never for our notion of democracy.

But at least there was clear-cut strategic success after all such sacrifice and disappointment. Oh? The Second World War started to keep Eastern Europe free of Nazis and ended up ensuring that it was enslaved by Stalinists. Poland was free neither in 1940 nor in 1946.
Don't believe that the occupation of Germany was viewed as a disaster at the time? See here, here, and here. As Hanson says, the war ended with half of Europe under the thumb of a dictator at least as bad as Hitler. That Stalin, or Khrushchev didn't grab the rest of the continent has more to do with American nuclear power and their own post-war exhaustion than anything else.

How about the atomic bomb? Wasn't the Manhattan Project an example of American know-how? Definately. The bomb, however, was built to counter a perceived threat from Germany. And oops, it turned out that they didn't have an atomic bomb project, much less an actual weapon, after all. Here's my take on how a modern day liberal Senator would have reacted.

But of course, World War II was not a failure:
Yet our greatest generation thought by and large they had done pretty well. We, in contrast, would have given up in despair in 1942, New York Times columnists and NPR pundits pontificating “I told you so” as if we would have been better off sitting out the war all along.
And so it takes time. The side that makes the fewest mistakes is the one that wins. Lincoln thought he might lose the election of 1864 because of how poorly the war was going. George Washington and other American generals presided over a series of disasters before finally defeating the British.

If you want to know what we're doing right in Iraq I can think of no better resource than Arthur Chrenkoff's "Good News from Iraq" series. As for Hanson, he explains how "our enemies are facing their own paradoxes"
The terrorists have a glaring problem: Seventy-five percent of Iraqis want elections. The Sunni clerics — who either cannot or will not stop their brethren from trying to derail the voting, through which their own cause will be defeated — wish to nullify the elections. But these Sunni appeals appear increasingly empty — almost like the Secessionists complaining that Northern voters in 1860 might imperil the Union. And no one is all that sure that there really is a purist Sunni block of millions of obstructionists, rather than just ordinary Iraqis who want to vote and are in fear of extremists who claim their allegiance. Saudi Arabia unleashed terrorists to stop democracy in Iraq — and now worries that their young Frankenstein monsters hate their creators just as much.
We're not out of the woods yet. But we are well on the road to success. Analyzing our mistakes and putting corrections into place is good. Dwelling on them to the point of all-is-gloom-and-doom is not.

The other side

Wrong Analysis is on my other blog site. |

Advice for Harvard 

Christina Hoff Sommers tells us where Harvard President Lawrence Summers went wrong, and has some advice for the faculty

Summers’s mistake was to think he could talk freely about gender issues on which campus ideologues have staked out very definite positions. He had been assured that the talk was merely for provoking discussion and that it was to be off the record. But by entertaining the hypothesis of innateness, before an audience with a fair number of gender-is-a-social-construction dogmatists, he left himself vulnerable to a feminist attack. Now he has been forced to recant and atone. He has apologized not once but three times. “I was wrong to have spoken in a way that has resulted in an unintended signal of discouragement to talented girls and women.” Harvard professor Ruth Wisse has compared him to a prisoner in a Soviet show trial.

But of course Lawrence Summers is not a prisoner in a closed society. He is a powerful, intelligent man in an important leadership position, with a well-deserved reputation for being independent and courageous. It is in fact quite uncharacteristic for him to behave as he has. That he feels constrained to do so attests to the inordinate political power of the gender warriors on American campuses.

Instead of apologizing, Summers should have considered sending the Harvard Faculty Standing Committee on Women copies of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, with the suggestion that they read it carefully and take its teachings on open discussion to heart. As for those in his audience who style themselves “the country’s most accomplished scholars on women’s issues,” he should refer them to some elementary texts on the canons of scientific evidence.

Here here.

Note: You'll need to be a paid subcriber to National Review in order to view Dr. Sommers article in it's entirety. |

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Homespun Symposium XIII 

This week's question comes from Solomonia.

Do you believe there is a downside to encouraging nations to move toward being free societies? Can all nations benefit from the move from dicatorship to freedom, or are some cultures simply incapable of it and why? Might they end up worse off? Also, do you believe these shifts are always in America and the West's interests, or will we simply create democratic enemies that are worse for us than the dictators they replace?

An excellent series of questions.

I do not believe that there is a downside to encouraging nations to move towards being free societies. I also believe that all peoples are capable of it. Further, while we must expect that some democracies will not be in agreement with us on all or even many policy issues, there is good reason to believe that there not be any wars with them. They will not be worse than the dictatorships they replace, but better.

However, there are significant risks, and if not done right nations might end up worse. This is what occurred with Iran and Nicaragua in the late '70s. Due to the inept policies of Jimmy Carter, they went from the frying pan into the fire. Fortunately, one has since been rescued. So, there is no direct "downside", but there is a risk in adopting such a policy.

During the Cold War many believed that it was foolish to encourage the people of the Soviet Bloc to seek their freedom for several reasons; when they did they were brutally crushed (Hungary 1955 and Czechoslovakia 1968), the conditions in their countries weren't right (no middle class) and without any history of freedom they "couldn't handle it."

We have seen this to be incorrect. While Russia is moving back towards authoritarianism, most of the rest of Eastern Europe is solidly democratic.

The same is true with regards to Central and South America. Their progress towards democracy in the past thirty years has been nothing short of astounding. Some countries, no doubt, have a long ways to go (Venezuela and Cuba in particular), and others are in the middle of a protracted civil war (Columbia), the situation there is far better than it was in the late '70s.

So we see that in situations were we do not think democracy is possible, it can in fact take root.

Natan Sharansky has famously written about this in his influential book The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror. I've written much about his book and my belief that democracy can be adopted by all people around there globe (see here and here), so readers who want a more complete explanation can read through those posts.

In the book Sharansky presents his formula for success as one that links relations to countries with those countries treatment of their own citizens. He uses the Soviet Union as an example:
When freedom's skeptics argue today that freedom cannot be "imposed" from the outside, or that the freed world has no role to play in spreading democracy around the world, I cannot but be amazed. Less than one generation has passed since the West found the Achilles heel of the Soviet Union by pursuing an activist policy that linked the rights of the Soviet people to the USSR's international standing. The same formula will work again today.
During the Cold War, this link was established though the adoption of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and Helsinki Accords. In order to succeed today in the Middle East, for example, we must adopt similar measures.

But is The Desire Universal?

It is easy to be skeptical. One reads story after story in the MSM that gives one reason for despair. But it must be remembered that this is nothing new. We have been through this many times before. It was once taken for granted that the Japanese, Germans, and Italians would never accept democracy. Yet those are three of the most solidly democratic countries on the planet today.

Sharansky explained why he believed that democracy can be adopted by all people in his book:
The source of my confidence is that freedom truly is for everyone is not only that democracy has spread around the world, allowing so many different cultures and peoples to enjoy its bounty, my confidence also comes frojm living in a world of fear, stydying it, and fighting it. By dissecting this world, exploring the mechanics of tyranny that operate within it and analyzing how individuals there cope with it, one can undeerstand why modern history has witnessed a remarkable expansion of freedom. There is a universal desire among all peoples not to live in fear. Indeed, given a choice, the vast majority of people will always prefer a free society to a fear society.
The Risk

However, as I said earlier, there are significant risks in adopting a policy of encouraging democracy. President Jimmy Carter adopted human rights as the guiding light behind his foreign policy. Although this may have been laudable, the way in which he acted had the opposite effect from the one he intended.

In Iran, the Shah was deposed by the Ayatollah Khomeini and other radical clerics. In Nicaragua, we saw the Somoza dictatorship replace with the Sandinista communists. With Iran the country was definately worse off under the mullahs, with Nicaragua arguably so (it was certainly not better off).

We face a similar risk today, most notably with Saudi Arabia. The country is home to a large number of radical Wahabbist mullahs. It is hardly inconceiveable that if the regime were to collapse the radicals could seize power, with diasasterous results.

Can Democracies Fight Each Other?

The current thinking among Sharansky and those who agree with him is that democracies will not fight each other. This does not preclude the possibility that there will be serious disagreements among them, but they will refrain from outside warfare.

Sharansky's theory (which which I agree) is that in order to survive, dictatorships must have an enemy. In order to control their people they must give them some enemy, domestic or (preferably) foreign. In revolutions, the enemy is initially within, but sooner or later they find an external one. They use this enemy as an excuse to repress the people

Democracies, according to Sharansky, have no such need. Their leaders are forced to moderate their actions by a free press and active opposition.

I am going to qualify this a bit and say that mature democracies will not fight each other. New ones might well do so as their traditions are not well established, and ones that have not completely given freedom to their people (or to all of them, say women and minorities) might well be suseptable to warfare.


In conclusion: All people are capable of some form of democracy, democratic governments do not go to war with each other, but if if we are not careful, we may push a country into a worse form of tyranny. |

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Rangel Looses It 

In case you thought that the Iraqi elections were a success, Charlie Rangel tells us otherwise. You see, he thinks that it was a success only for the Republican Party
"I don't believe that the American people think that it was worth the lives of 1,200 Americans and 25,000 men and women in the armed services wounded, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis dead,"

Mr. Rangel, a Korean War veteran, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the war in Iraq is a "fraud" and that the United States cannot and will not bear the price of its children's blood to spread democracy abroad.

"I'm telling you, we went into Iraq not for elections. We went there to knock off Saddam Hussein, but the American people thought it was connected with 9/11, there was weapons of mass destruction, there were connections with al Qaeda. It was all a fraud," Mr. Rangel said
There is so much wrong here that one hardly knows where to begin. Since I don't have the time or patience this morning to go through it all, I'll have to leave it where it is.

Sorry if I made you loose your breakfast. |

Monday, February 14, 2005

Just War Series - Probability of Success 

Summary and Outline:

Introduction to Just War Theory

I. Recourse to War - jus ad bellum
  1. Just Cause
  2. Competent Authority
  3. Comparative Justice
  4. Right Intention
  5. Last Resort
  6. Probability of Success
  7. Proportionality
II. Conduct in War - jus in bello

1. Discrimination
2. Proportionality

There must be a reasonable probability of success (victory) before a way may be considered just. This does not mean that victory must be certain, only that one must not start a war unless there is a reasonable probability of success. Offensive wars fought in vain are traditionally considered unjust.

The Meaning of Victory

First we must define victory. It has been my observation that all too often people see warfare and victory in terms of World War II; invasion of a country, total defeat of it's armed forces, capture of it's capital and leaders, and occupation of the country until a new government is installed. As an accident of history would have it, we live in a time in which we are involved in another such total war in Iraq. It would be a mistake, however, to view all war as if it occurred this way.

The reality is that most wars are fought using limited means for limited goals. "Total War" is the exception, not the rule. Rarely does victory involve the total destruction of the enemy and occupation of his homeland. Nineteenth century Prussian general turned military and political philosopher Carl von Clausewitz wrote that
In war many roads lead to success, and...they do not all involve the oponent's outright defeat. They range from the destruction of the enemy's forces, the conquest of his territory, to a temporary occupation or invasion, to projects with an immediate political purpose, and finally to passively awaiting the enemy's attacks....

Bear in mind how wide a range of political interests can lead to war, or ...think for a moment of the gulf that separates a war of annihilation, a struggle for political existence, from a war reluctantly declared in consequence of political pressure or of an alliance that no longer seems to reflect the state's true interests. Between these two extremes lie numerous gradations. If we reject a single one of them on theoretical grounds, we may as well reject all of them, and lose contact with the real world.
The point, of course, is that the definition of what constitutes victory depends on one's objectives, and the objective need not be total war. It need not even involve actual fighting. Clausewitz explains:
Combat is the only effective force in war; it's aim is to destroy the enemy's forces as a means to a further end. That holds good even if no actual fighting occurs, because the outcome rests on the assumption that if it came to fighting, the enemy would be destroyed.
(emphasis added) In other words, if we can achieve our goal with a credible threat of force, then so much the better.

Therefore, to determine the probability of success, one must ask, "Success in achieving what objective(s)?"

Pyrrhic Victory?

In the past many or most nations were generally not so concerned with the amount of damage that they caused to an enemy, as long as the objectives were met. There are many reasons for this, not least among them is the advent of television which brings the horrors of war to your living room in living color. It is not our purpose here to examine this, but to examine the concept of victory in our modern age.

World War II was perhaps the last war in which major democracies could wantonly and deliberately kill huge amounts of "enemy" civilians, and cause tremendous damage to the enemy's homeland without domestic repercussions.

Even with precision weapons and careful targeting, civilians will be killed and property will be damaged. We do try and limit this, but it will occur (Note; we will discuss this in detail in Part II of this series, Conduct in War: Discrimination and Proportionality). Success in war is to a large extent dependant on how it is reported, and opinion counts, not just at home but abroad. Now, it is equally true that no matter what we do, many will believe the worst about us, encouraged by news outlets such as Al-Jazeera. The point is that we must be cognizant of domestic and world opinion as never before, and therefore must take as many precautions as possible against unnecessary damage (again, this will be discussed in detail in future posts)

So today we do not simply ask "victory at what cost to us?" but "victory at what cost to us and to the enemy?"

Better Dead than Red?

One question that theorists used to struggle with is whether it is just to put up a defense if defeat is all but certain. Back when few if any countries were representative democracies one could reasonably ask if "defeat was all so bad" when compared to the amount of death and destruction that would occur in a war. One could do a utilitarian analysis and come up with an answer in mathematical terms.

During the Cold War, many debated over whether victory had any meaning in an age in which nuclear weapons could kill most or perhaps all of the citizens of the warring nations. Since this scenario is largely behind us, and would take much space anyway, so we will not consider it here.

However, we may well go to war with a nuclear armed China, North Korea, or Iran. Would we be justified in going to war over Taiwan, for example, when there was a chance (however small) that we might lose Los Angeles (as a Chinese general once threatened)? I will try and answer this and more questions in future posts.

War on Terror

As we saw in a prior post, a war declared only to exact retribution is unjust. With regards to terrorism, war may be declared to prevent future terrorist acts. Al Qaeda operated from Afghanistan, and had a declared intent to do as much damage to the United States and our interests as possible. They also had a history of staging attacks against us ( ex: possibly the first World Trade Center bombing, our Embassy in Kenya, the USS Cole) we were justified in going to war to destroy them and their Taliban protectors. By doing so we reduced their ability to conduct future operations.

It is also just to take even preemptive action to destroy terrorist bases and those who harbor them. If we determine that other nations are harboring terrorists who wish to harm us or our allies, we would be just in destroying them (as long as all other criteria of Just War are met).

The Iraqi War

One can only make decisions using information available at the time. One cannot make decisions based on information that only becomes available later. I realize this sounds obvious, but as some seem not to understand these concepts they need to be said.

The relevant question, therefore is: Did the war advocates have reasonable cause to believe that a war would be successful?

In light of the criterion outlined above, my answer is "yes." Given the information that we had available at the time, we had a reasonable expectation of success. We had reasonable expectation that we could find and destroy Saddam's WMD (which we had good cause to believe existed), destroy his armed forces, and set up a representative government.

Like all wars in history, the Iraq War has not turned out exactly like the planners had hoped. Then again, it hasn't turned out totally differently, either. The planners got some things exactly right, like the ability of the U.S. military to destroy the Iraqi military (this contrary to some critics; remember the "Battle of Baghdad" that never took place?).

However, the size and scope of the terrorist insurgency was not anticipated. Further, it has been harder to get a representative government in place than we anticipated (and success is still not assured). Few anticipated that the Iraqi strategy would be to go over to guerilla/terrorist warfare, and even if they had, it wouldn't have mattered, for I believe that we are indeed on the way to defeating them anyway.

It is impossible to fight a war and totally avoid civilian casualties and destruction of property.
However, we have made vast strides since Vietnam, let alone the Second World War. Our forces to go great lengths to avoid unnecessary death and destruction, as is evidenced from a perusal of honest sources about the war.

Further, although it is not clear that war advocates were too optimistic with regard to support from the Iraqi people, the recent elections demonstrate clearly that they are on the road to success.

All in all, therefore I believe the war in Iraq meets the Just War requirement of Probabililty of Success

Update

Blogger Mark O asks
How about the American Revolutionary War? Given the size and strength of the British Empire at the time, we had no reason to expect success unless the English were sufficiently distracted by foreign powers, i.e., the French. However one could argue that at the outset we had little cause for believing in a probability of success in that war. Was it Just?
Excellent question. I believe the answer lies in whether the Founding Fathers had reasonable cause to believe that they would be successful.

According to the article on the American Revolution in Wikopedia, in 1775 the British had a standing army of about 50,000 men. During the course of the war, they were able to hire 30,000 Hessian mercenaries. However, the total British strength in America never exceeded 32,000 at any one time.

As for the Americans, Perhaps 250,000 Americans served as regulars or militia men during the war. The maximum serving at any one time, however, was never more than 90,000. Washington himself never commmanded more than 17,000 in his Continental Army at any one time.

We never had much of a navy, only sending forth small ships and frigates, whereas the British had the most powerful navy on earth. The advantage to the British was twofold; they could move troops up and down the coast at will, and they could wreck trade and imports of arms from Europe.

According to another article, here are the advantages each side enjoyed:

--British advantages

*Stronger navy

*Better trained army though officer corps not at same level of expertise as naval officers. Army officers were promoted not on merit, but by purchasing their ranks.

*Financial structure

*25%-33% of Thirteen Colonies= population, called Loyalists or Tories, probably supported the British (plus another third of population who would waver until they saw which way things are going-thus if Britain achieved battlefield victories, these undecideds would stick with the crown). Probably 30-50,000 Loyalists fought with the British.

*Motivation: questionable, had to hire German mercenaries (Hessians) to fight.

--American advantages

*Conditions of victory more easily achievable-- British must achieve outright victory, Americans must merely avoid losing.

*No center of gravity exposed to British

*Militia availability

*Britain had to utilize navigable rivers in order to supply troops.

*Britain had world responsibilities to cover at the same time.

*Motivation: fighting for their lives and for a cause

*Selected foreign officers came to support the patriot cause (Lafayette, von Steuben, de Kalb)

* Leadership of George Washington

How aware of all this were the Founders? I found a 1777 letter by Alexander Hamilton that suggests that they did believe that they had a reasonable probability of success. Here are some relevant excerpts:
We should not play a desperate game for it or put it upon the issue of a single cast of the die. The loss of one general engagement may effectively ruin us, and it would certainly be folly to hazard it, unless our resources for keeping up an army were to end, and some decisive blow was absolutely necessary; or unless our strength was so great as to give certainty of success. Neither is the case: America can in all probability maintain its army for years, and our numbers though such as would give a reasonable hope of success are not such as should make us intirely [sic] sanguine. A third consideration did it exist might make it expedient to risk such an event-the prospect of very great reinforcements to the enemy; but every appearance contradicts this, and affords all reason to believe, they will get very inconsiderable accessions of strength this campaign. All the European maritime powers, are interested for the defeat of the British arms in America, and will never assist them.
...
On whatever side it is considered, no great reinforcements are to be expected to the British army in America.
...
On our part: we are continually strengthening our political springs in Europe, and may everyday look for more effectual aids than we have yet received. Our own army is continually growing stronger in men arms and discipline. We shall soon have an important addition of Artillery, now in its way to join us. We can maintain our present numbers good at least by inlistments [sic], while the enemy must dwindle away; and at the end of summer the disparity between us will be infinitely great, and facilitate any exertions that may be make to settle the business with them.
Certainly the war could have gone either way. I'm no expert and don't have time to do a thorough analysis. Many Founders were quite nervous about war with Britain and I'm sure someone can unearth letters to that effect. My brief research and knowledge of the subject says that the Founders had reasonable cause to believe that they would be successful. |

New Conserva-Puppy 

Warmest welcome to Kat, newest member of our Warm 'n Fuzzy Conserva-Puppy joint blog. She's got her first post up, in which she explains her journey from Democrat to Independent, currently affiliated with the Republican party.

Her personal blog is The Middle Ground. Make it a regular stop on your blog-tour. |

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Lenninist Lynne 

As I noted in a post below, attorney Lynne Stewart was convicted Thursday of conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists, defrauding the government and making false statements. She had been representing Egyptian sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. Rahman is the "blind sheik" who was convicted in 1995 for conspiring to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and destroy several New York landmarks, including the U.N. building and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels.

We heard the expected garbage from her lawyers (I know, it's also in my post below, but it's so good I just have to quote them again)
"It's a dark day for civil liberties and for civil liberties lawyers in this country," attorney Ron Kuby said Thursday. "In the post 9-11 era, where dissidents are treated as traitors, it's perhaps no surprise that a zealous civil rights lawyer becomes a convict."
Stewart says that "political motivations" were driving the prosecutors.

Most news outlets simply described her as a "veteran civil rights activist". A few, to their credit, went farther, characterizing her as a "left-wing activist", but that's about as far as most stories I've seen go.

Civil rights activist my foot.

She's on record as supporting the worst communist dictactors that the twentieth century had to offer.

Some know the truth. Attorney Scott Johnson of the Powerline blog calls her conviction "a milestone in the war on terrorism." He's right. Stewart is a Fifth Columnist, seeking to destroy us from within. Her motivation for helping the sheik is simple; she hates this country and wants to see it destroyed.

Frontpage Magazine, edited by David Horowitz, someone who knows the left better than most because he was once a member of it, described the importance of the trial this way;
Yesterday’s trial – which was in many ways a trial of the Left itself – will not still the anti-American fanaticism of Stewart’s and Yousry’s campus cult-worshippers. Their hatred of this country blinds them to its greatness just as it excused their evil deeds – and will probably cause them to overlook the pro-terrorist actions of Stewart’s comrades in the future. What the verdict did guarantee is that those who flaunt their country’s laws and help terrorists shed innocent blood will not escape serious consequences, anymore than their terrorist heroes have.
Who exactly is this Lynne Stewart?

There is no better way to understand who she is than to quote her directly. From the invaluable David Horowitz' latest book, Stewart is quoted as saying that
"We have in Washington a poisonous government that spreads its venom to the body politic in all corners of the globe. We now resume...our quests...like David going forth to meet Goliath, like Beowulf the dragon slayer...like Sir Galahad seeking the holy grail. And modern heroes, dare I mention? Ho and Mao and Lenin, Fidel and Nelson Mandela and John Brown, Che Guevara who reminds us 'At the risk of sounding ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.'"
(emphasis added)

And how does she view "Muslim fundamentalists"?
"They are basically forces of national liberation. And I think that we, as persons who are committed to the liberation of oppressed people, should fasten on the need for self-determination....My own sense is that, were the Islamists to be empowered, there would be movements within their own countries...to liberate."
As for violence;
"I don't believe in anarchistic violence, but in directed violence. That would be violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, and sexism, and the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions, and accompanied by popular support."
I think we know how she sees capitalism, but let's just be sure. She describes corporate capitalism as
"...a consummate evil that unleashes its dogs of war on the helpless; an enemy motivated only by insatiable greed...In this enemy there is no love of the land or the creatures that live there, no compassion for the people. This enemy will destroy the air we breathe and the water we drink as long as the dollars keep filling up their money boxes."
Oh but she's a great "civil rights activist," right? In an interview with Monthly Review, she "was asked to imagine that she ws part of a revolutionary government that had 'liberated' its people from the horrors of capitalism. If stewart herself were to become part of such a government, the interviewer wanted to know, was there a point at which she would think that monitoring and controlling the counterrevolutionary adversaries of that government was acceptable?"
"I don't have any problem with Mao or Stalin or the Vietnamese leaders or certainly Fidel locking up people they see as dangerous. Because so often, dissidence has been used by the greater powers to undermine a people's revolution"
Got it?

(All comments taken from David Horowitz, Unholy Alliance )

Horowitz describes Stewart as "...a protege of William Kunstler and Ramsey Clarke," two icons of the radical left, and both America-haters.

Want more? Check out Scott Johnson's (Powerline blog) "Face to Face with Lynne Stewart"
Johnson sat next to her at a debate on the Patriot Act, hosted by the National Lawyers Guild.
Stewart referred several times to 9/11 as providing the "pretext" or "excuse" for snuffing out idealistic "activists" such as she. Her indictment, she acknowledged, was not brought under the PATRIOT Act but, according to Stewart, it resulted from the same "aura" of hatred directed at Islam in the wake of 9/11. Stewart never once acknowledged the reality of the war against the United States or the peril that those such as her client the blind sheik pose to it. Stewart's conclusion articulated her theme in the old Guild tradition, accusing the Bush administration of accomplishing the "usurpation [of civil liberties] by voracious corporate government."
Enough. I can't take it anymore!

Update

Ok, so I lied. Here's a bit more.

Guess who funded her defense?

Rachel Friedman tells us that she'd like to see mainstream liberals condemn her more forcefully.

Wretchard provides good analysis and perspective

The Nation doesn't seem to have much to say on this. No articles since Dec 23, from what I can tell.

And, hold the presses: the National Lawyers Guild calls for a "Day of Outrage!" in support of Stewart. |

Friday, February 11, 2005

This Morning's Notables 

This morning's post is a bit different for me. I started on the next in my Just War series, but it will take too long to complete before I have to run off to work. So I'll make note of a few things I've seen recently

Belmont Club - The best site for War on Terror analysis, period. Today Wretchard discusses radical lawyer Lynne Stewart, and how she has been charged with helping imprisoned terrorist suspect Abdel Rahyman. Stewart is a member of the Fifth Column that I wrote about in a post a few months ago. Earlier posts this week include a discussion of North Korea and Christopher Hitchens.

Update: She's Guilty. But of course. Predictably, her defense lawyer is saying that "It's a dark day for civil liberties and for civil liberties lawyers in this country," and that "In the post 9-11 era, where dissidents are treated as traitors, it's perhaps no surprise that a zealous civil rights lawyer becomes a convict."

What loosers.

Wesley Pruden is at his best this morning:

That Super Bowl commercial, of American soldiers getting a round of applause as they walked through the passenger lounge of an airport somewhere deep in Middle America, is squeezing tears from the eyes of millions.

But it's driving some folks nuts.

Internet Web sites are seething with the anger of dingbats who ought to be grateful for a little relief from the fatigue of their full-time jobs of hating George W. Bush. They're getting encouragement from the usual suspects, such as Teddy Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi with their ritual sneers at good news from Iraq. A columnist in the London Guardian, searching the ladies room for a fainting couch, sums up the anger on the looney left:

"Pass the sick bag, Alice," writes one Stefano Hatfield. "I was too stunned by the [commercial] to really take in the full import of a beer company waving off 'our boys' (and girls) to battle. But battle? Where? The war in Iraq's over, isn't it, or so they keep telling us? ... Pure propaganda, and it picked up on one of the themes of the night: patriotism."

The contents of one knave's spleen does not a consensus make, nor the racket on the Internet an anvil chorus of any size, but it brings into sharp focus the reality that's driving the anvil chorus crazy. A certain kind of nut imagines he's a hostage at the Nuremberg rally every time he sees the flag on the breeze, or hears the sweet and innocent notes of a hymn to the home of the brave and the land of the free. But these scamps and skeesicks had best get a life, because it's true, patriotism is back, and with it the traditional appreciation for the sacrifice of the soldier.
Read the whole thing.

Victor Davis Hanson has a new column up over at National Review Online. It's a must-read, as always. Today he gives us "Ten Reasons to Support Democracy in the Middle East"

I know, it sounds obvious, right? But there are a variety of naysayers


Neoconservatives hope that a democratic Iraq and Afghanistan can usher in a new age of Middle Eastern consensual government that will cool down a century-old cauldron of hatred. Realists counter that democratic roots will surely starve in sterile Middle East soil, and it is a waste of time to play Wilsonian games with a people full of anti-American hatred who display only ingratitude for the huge investment of American lives and treasure spent on their freedom. Paleoconservatives prefer to spend our treasure here at home, while liberals oppose anything that is remotely connected with George W. Bush or refutes their own utopian notions of a world to be adjudicated by a paternal United Nations. All rightly fear demonocracy — the Arafat or Iranian unconstitutional formula of "one vote, one time."
Yet for all its uncertainties and dangers in the Islamic Arab world, there remain some undeniable facts about democracy across time and space that suggest with effort and sacrifice it can both work in the Middle East and will be in the long-term security interests of the United States. So why exactly should we support the daunting task of democratizing the Middle East and how is it possible?

1. It is widely said that democracies rarely attack other democracies. Thus the more that exist in the world — and at no time in history have there been more such governments than today — the less likely is war itself. That cliché proves, in fact, mostly true.
...
Read the...oh, you know that already.

The Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiller continues to skewer the left in a way that is laugh-out-loud funny.

And, of course, check out the latest over at the Warm 'n Fuzzy Conserva-Puppies. We don't roll over for anybody. I am pleased to announce that we've got a new member who will be joining us shortly! |

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Condi Rocks 

Condoleezza Rice has been making waves at home and abroad. She's following up on President Bush's Inaugural Address and State of the Union speech by articulating the principles of freedom abroad. Lawrence Kudlow compared her with her predecessor this way
Colin Powell wasn't much of a public diplomat. He didn't travel often and seldom spoke the language of freedom and democracy. But now the nation's chief diplomat appears to be in full support of presidential policy. Bravo, Miss Rice.
I have nothing but respect for Colin Powell. He was a better general than secretary of state, however. My initial thoughts are that Powell represented an older "protect the status quo" style, while Rice more represents George Bush's views, which have been recently influenced by Natan Sharansky. It's not just the Syrians and Iranians who have been put on notice. The Saudis have held sort-of elections recently, and, while they are at best a little bit of progress, and at least something. We should push them to continune reforms.

Helle Dale, also writing in the Washington Times, had this to say about our new Secretary of State's trip:
Especially impressive is the fact that Miss Rice's staunch defense of American principles and policies — couched in forthright terms, but said with a smile — seems to be causing soul-searching in European capitals. As she stated during her first stop in London, "There cannot be an absence of moral content in American foreign policy." She added: "Europeans giggle at this, but we are not European, we are American, and we have different principles."

Mr. Bush and Miss Rice have articulated a powerful vision for American foreign policy, based on the spread of freedom, which is hard for Europe's far more cautious technocrats to compete with.

The European instinct is to negotiate and avoid confrontation at all costs. This is understandably in some ways after the experience of two world wars on European territory. When action is called for to set wrongs right, it falls to the United States to take the lead. During her European trip, Miss Rice made clear that there is a division of labor between Europeans and Americans that is real and here to stay.
Out with the old and in with the new.

We need to hold the Administration to their word; reform of Saudi Arabia and the various gulf states is just as important, and perhaps more so, than dealing with Syria and Iran. It is not by accident that the most pro-American population can be found in Iran, and the most anti perhaps in Saudi Arabia. The most popular explanation that I have seen is that the Iranians appreciate American opposition to their hated mullahs, while the Saudis hate the U.S. for proping up their corrupt leadership. Makes sense to me. It's time for a change, and a fresh breeze is blowing.
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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Inside Centcom 

A few days ago I finished Inside Centcom: The Unvarnished Truth About the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq by Marine Lt Gen Michael DeLong. Gen DeLong was Tommy Franks' second-in-command during both wars. It was a fairly good read, although nothing special. I got it pretty much on a whim while buying several other books. DeLong makes a few interesting observations and revelations, although if you have to choose definately go with Tommy Franks' American General. I blogged about it fairly extensively a few months ago. Check out the "best of" link at right for a few of those posts.

Here are some of the interesting parts of the book;

on Tommy Franks

Gen Franks is portrayed as very tough and very fair. Franks is the last person you want to cross and the first one you want on your side.
He was hard on his staff, but he loved and respected them. He was a loner, yet he rarely made decisions alone. He wasn't trusting, yet he delegated tremendously. Franks was one of the few men I couldn't figure out, but then, nobody else could either.
He didn't suffer fools gladly, either.
He knew exactly what he wanted, how he wanted it; he was detail oriented and one of the most focused people I'd ever met. His mind grabbed onto a subject like a pit bull; god help you if you tried to deviate from it. He said he had absolutely zero tolerance for digressing from the exact topic he wanted discussed.
His statement to Delong at the end of their first meeting;
"I know how to be professionally mean"
Over the course of the next few years, many lesser ranking generals at Centcom would find out exactly what that meant.
I tried - not always successfully - to act as a buffer between Franks and the staff. Many one - and - two - stars wanted face time with Franks, which they didn't really need, and I tried to discourage them because I knew that Franks didn't like having people hand around. He could see though an agenda instantly, and God help the person who wasn't prepared. If the generals insisted, I let them enter. When they came out, time and again, they wished they hadn't.
on Richard Clarke

Gen. DeLong pretty has the same opinion of him that Gen Franks had, which is to say not very good. I wrote about what Franks had to say in a post a few months ago. Clarke, you'll recall, was a Clinton and Bush terrorism expert who has had little good to say about the Bush Administration.

While DeLong was not as harsh as Franks in his assessment, he says that Clarke
...specifically told us how comfortable he was with all that the President (Bush) was doing for the War on Terror. But he was not an insider. He was not included in any of the numerous video teleconferences I attended with President Bush. I suspect we might have had better knowledge of existing intelligence from the Middle East than Clarke did.
Tora Bora

DeLong confirms what most of us who have studied the matter know; we didn't screw up the operation as John Kerry said we did. It wasn't as if we deliberately "outsourced" the operation, we simply couldn't get a large number of troops into the area. For that matter, neither could our Afghan allies. We did what we could with what we had.

The French

This will surprise some readers, but it shouldn't, for reasons I'll review shortly.
The French were instrumental in getting the new Afghan army off the ground. Not only did they fund it, they even trained every third batallion. the didn't let us forget it either. Later, whenever France was publicly criticized by anyone in the U.S., I'd get a phone call from the French chairman of their Joint Chiefs.

He'd say, "You recall that we helped you with the Afghan army, don't you?"

I would answer, "Yes sir, I do. And we love you."
The French can and have been at times extremely helpful in the War on Terror. At the same time they will turn right around and stab us in the back. One need only recall stories of the French made anti-tank missiles with "2003" stamped on them that we found in Iraq. And don't even get me started on Oil-for-Food. What gives?

The French will do whatever is in their interest to do. National interest unvarnished by "sentimental" concerns such as spreading democracy.

Conclusion

A decent book, overall, if nothing particularly special. After reading Franks' book I wanted to get another perspective on him, which was my main reason for reading "Inside Centcom". It served that purpose well.

Next up: In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror by Michelle Malkin.
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Polls and Demographic Trends 

A battle royale is developing over whether Social Security should be reformed, and if so, what should be done. What do the people actually think? I'm sure there are all sorts of polls out there, and frankly I do not have time to research them all and examine their methodology. A few recent ones struck me as important, however. Here's a report by Donald Lambro on two recent polls, the Annenberg poll and a Zogby poll:
An Annenberg poll last December showed that 54 percent of Hispanics support the concept of "allowing workers to invest Social Security funds in the stock market."

A more recent poll by John Zogby found that more than 50 percent of black voters who liked the idea wanted to invest as much as half of the payroll tax in individual accounts to get a better return on their tax contributions.

"On Social Security reform, you are looking at younger voters, union members and minorities that find this idea popular," Zogby told me. Democratic leaders "are not talking to their own base, let along the rest of middle America," he said.

The biggest surprise in his poll, Zogby said, was that nearly one-third of all Democrats said they liked Mr. Bush's idea.
Greg Pierce, also of the Washington Times, reports on a column by Dick Morris that describes that support for the president's plan varies by age;
"Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that support for private investment skews dramatically by age group. Those aged 18 to 29 back it by 65 percent to 22 percent. Thirtysomething voters support it by 63-28; those in their 40s, 59-30.

"But voters between the ages of 50 and 64 oppose the private-investment option by 49-41, and those over 65, by 63-27.

"So the only voters who oppose private investment are those whom the reforms won't touch. Those for whom the changes are real, generally support them." Mr. Morris said.
I don't have time to check this morning, but something tells me that the AARP will produce a poll showing just the opposite. Intuition and everyday observation, however, tells me that the Rasmussen poll has it right.

The Democrats may well succeed in blocking the president's proposals. But although they may win the battle, it is hard to see how they can win the war. As long as they persist in being the party of "no" to private accounts, demographic trends are not in their favor.
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