Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cry havoc: binding up the dogs of war

He's done it again; here's a must-read post from Wretchard of Belmont Club.

It was sparked by an article by Robert Kaplan appearing in the Atlantic (subscribers only), entitled "The Coming Normalcy." This, in turn, was a sequel to an earlier article by Kaplan that appeared twelve years ago in the same venue, entitled "The Coming Anarchy."

The theme of the earlier article was:

...the institutional collapse of Third World countries owing to ethnic and sectarian rivalries, demographic and environmental stresses, and the growing interrelationship between war and crime.

In his new piece Kaplan is revisiting these issues in light of what has happened in Iraq so far. Since I don't have access to the new article, I went back and skimmed the old one, which I recall reading a couple of years ago. A great deal of it is about Africa and about the role of future environmental pressures causing further societal meltdowns. This may all come to pass, but it's not the subject at hand.

These predictive bits were interesting in light of later developments:

[W]ar-making entities will no longer be restricted to a specific territory. Loose and shadowy organisms such as Islamic terrorist organizations suggest why borders will mean increasingly little and sedimentary layers of tribalistic identity and control will mean more. "From the vantage point of the present, there appears every prospect that religious . . . fanaticisms will play a larger role in the motivation of armed conflict" in the West than at any time "for the last 300 years," Van Creveld writes....

[T]echnology will be used toward primitive ends. In Liberia the guerrilla leader Prince Johnson didn't just cut off the ears of President Samuel Doe before Doe was tortured to death in 1990--Johnson made a video of it, which has circulated throughout West Africa...


Sound familiar? It certainly did to me.

The thrust of Kaplan's new article and Wretchard's post is the question of how to tackle the problem of anarchy in societies and in nations. Although twelve years ago Kaplan saw the situation as very dark, he now sees at least a tiny glimmer of light.

Most people, of course, see the war in Iraq as evidence of increasing anarchy, whereas Kaplan sees it as a release of anarchic forces that have existed for a long time but were previously contained only by the strong and vicious arm of another pernicious force, a tyrannical dictator (in this case, Saddam). Now, finally, we are actually trying to counter those forces of anarchy; not an easy task, to say the least.

"Rebuilding" Iraq differs from, and may be more difficult than, rebuilding Germany and Japan after WWII. It seems to me that it may have been easier to counter the forces of the latter--political opinions that had been tried and proven wanting, and a population exhausted from fighting and virtually out of ammunition but which had a previous tradition of being law-abiding and cohesive--than it ever would be to counter the forces of societal anarchy in a country such as Iraq, which has been spiraling down for quite some time now, and was never cohesive as a country to begin with.

I remember reading, prior to the Iraq War, that Saddam had released the criminals from his jails. It increased my sense of grave foreboding; Saddam seemed to be saying, "Cry 'havoc!' and let loose the dogs of war."

Havoc. Definition: "widespread destruction; devastation; disorder or chaos." Unfortunately Saddam had plenty of time during the long buildup prior to the war to plot his course and intentionally amplify havoc (which was increased post-war by the actions of neighbors such as Iran and Syria). But chaos and anarchy were simmering under the surface anyway, and their extent was probably underestimated.

It puts me in mind of the end of the Soviet Union. Back in those days, when I didn't spend so much time thinking about politics, events there caught my attention nevertheless. When the Soviet Union fell in such a surprising and sudden way, a fair amount of anarchy ensued rather than the more hopeful visions of the future that many had shared. Crime, for instance, had never been a problem in Soviet Russia; now it was a huge and even sometimes controlling factor.

When I thought about it, I went back to my college days as a student of anthropology (yes, I had a minor in anthropology as well as that major in psychology. Just a touchy-feely type, after all). The idea was that, once a society becomes chaotic, it's a Humpty-Dumpty situation: very difficult to go back and put that smashed egg together again.

But in Iraq, and in Russia before it, the egg was apparently quite broken to begin with. Totalitarian regimes are often both a response to a situation that is somewhat chaotic already (that is how many dictators come to rule) and, as time goes on, a means of increasing the underlying chaos while appearing to contain it. But, as we've learned over and over again, that appearance is illusory and temporary.

What are some of the ways dictatorships increase the tendency towards the breakdown of societal cohesiveness, and increase underlying chaos? By stifling initiative and murdering those who show it, or who show bravery and the willingness to speak out; by dismantling local governmental and cultural institutions and replacing them with top-down bureaucracies; and also by fostering suspicion, fear, bottled rage, and the desire for revenge.

So Iraq was already broken, as is much of the third world today. And into the breach has marched a criminal element, as it did in Russia back in the early 90s.

We should not underestimate the prevalence and influence of crime and criminals in the so-called "insurgency." As Wretchard writes:

Kaplan describes how much of what passes for an insurgency is actually crime which had escaped the modus vivendi it had enjoyed under Saddam but had now been dislocated from its old containing vessel. Reining in this chaos meant constructing a new order to replace Saddam's.

Here, for example, is how it works in Iraq:

"You're dealing with a gang mentality,” explained Captain Phillip Mann of Antioch, California, a thirty-two-year-old intelligence officer and graduate of Fresno State University. "There is a pool of young men in Mosul without jobs who sell drugs, and do kidnappings. With a high inflation rate and little economy, being an insurgent pays. You've got to make the insurgency a very unattractive profession to these people, who are not motivated by religious ideology.”

And here's the solution, or at least part of the solution:

"We've adopted a gang-tackle approach,” Mann went on. "If we get shot at, like in Palestine [a retirement community for former regime generals in southeast Mosul, which supported the insurgents], we surround the area and go house to house, every time. We keep doing this till people get tired and start helping us. Our message: ‘We don't give in—we're not going away, so work with us.'

According to Wretchard, it's not just Bush's fault that our present tools are not always effective in dealing with these problems:

One of Kaplan's recurring assertions in The Coming Normalcy is that the American shortcomings for dealing with situations like Iraq -- which he views as prototypical of an anarchic Third World society -- go far beyond any defects in planning for the invasion of Iraq peculiar to the Bush administration. In Kaplan's view the long-established bureaucratic instruments are simply structured wrongly: they are too monolithic and uncoordinated to effectively transform any typical anarchy into democratic order. He thinks the armed forces, whose lives are at stake, have adapted most by pushing responsibility downward to the brigade rather than the divisional level. "Flattening" the decision-making and intelligence cycle process has helped the Army and Marines get on top of the military aspects of the insurgency, but it hasn't helped reconstruction much. Everywhere he went, soldiers and Marines asked, 'where is USAID, where is the State Department?' And the answer unfortunately, was that neither USAID nor the State Department had the money or the bureaucratic configuration to fight a joint battle with the military against the chaos of post-Saddam Iraq.

I can't improve on the way Wretchard has phrased it, so I'll quote him (emphasis mine}:

Saddamite Iraq, like most terrorist-supporting states threatening the world today, are like the landscape of 1812 in that they were cauldrons of anarchy given a semblance of shape by fragile, yet brutal shroud-like states... after September 11 the problem grew too big to ignore, yet the question of how to destroy anarchy, already by definition in a shambles, remained...

It would be a serious mistake to think that the problem of confronting national security threats within the context of anarchy is limited to Iraq
. Iraq is simply where the West must come to grips with The Coming Anarchy because it cannot step around it. And it is not the only place. An earlier post noted how the eviction of the Taliban from Afghanistan has simply shifted the fighting to Pakistan, the country in which the Taliban was first born. The real metric in any war against rogue "states" will not be the reduction of strongpoints, like Tora-bora given such prominence by the media, but the reduction of anarchy which constitutes their energy core.


The answer--the long, hard slog of an answer, although it only takes a sentence of Wretchard's to state--is, "learning how to use force to allow indigenous order to emerge."

This, to me, was always the goal of the Iraq War, and the war on terror as a whole. It's why I have never seen it as a police action, as do those who believe we just need to go after Al Qaeda and Osama and all will be well again.

Perhaps, in the end, that's the greatest difference between those who are hawkish on this war and those who oppose it: the former believe the unleashed chaos was not avoidable, and needed to be dealt with sooner rather than later, because dealing with it was inevitable and waiting would only allow those forces to build. The latter didn't see the problem as systemic or deep, and thought the best approach was piecemeal, sporadic, and should be more or less in line with previous policy but a bit intensified. Those on the left who were against the war thought that any chaos involved was the fault of our government and its actions, and that we had created and were responsible for it. Those on the right who were against the war felt that taking the lid off would be a cure worse than the disease.

In the end, one's position on the matter probably depends on how one diagnoses the disease. Was it a small set of carbuncles that could be easily lanced (police action), or a chronic illness that just needed some intervention here and there but nothing drastic (isolationist and/or realpolitik)? Or was it a lethal illness that had probably already metastasized, and needed a strong dose of powerful and dangerous medicine to have any hope of cure (neocon, interventionist)?

On September 11, it became to me for the first time--although in retrospect it should have been clear far earlier--that havoc was abroad, and the dogs of war had been loosed. I believed then, and still believe now, that binding them up was going to be a long, hard, difficult, and worldwide effort, one with many hazards along the way, one that would not be perfectly executed--and one that would have to confront the underlying problem of chaos and failed states if it ever was going to be successful.

43 Comments:

At 4:00 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger DaveM said...

On a recent business trip to Ghana we got a chance to talk with people about the region. These ranged from our clients to taxi drivers etc. Once past the obligatory can you help me get a US visa, you got a clear impression that they feared any thing that fostered the lawlessness of neighboring countries. Clean relatively corruption free government was high on their list. If the government was honest, it would tamp down the tendency to anarchic crime. More subtly you got the impression that a 'colonial like' stablizing armed force would be highly welcomed. A UK or US force working quietly with the local armed forces would provide a degree of confidence that things would not collapse again.

 
At 4:09 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Or was it a lethal illness that had probably already metastasized, and needed a strong dose of powerful and dangerous medicine to have any hope of cure (neocon, interventionist)?


If you look at the war the way Americans typically look at wars, where it is a case of evil leadership and people "yearning to be free", combined with some bad ideas, then the solution to the Muslim world is simple. Invade, regime change, then leave. And indeed, that was the (advertised) model for Iraq.

The reason why substantial number of conservatives -- not just me, but people who matter like Will, Buckley, Derbyshire, Fukuyama, etc. -- opposed the war is because they are deeply skeptical of the concept of nation-building and because they question whether the US really has the will (translated into men and women to do the job) or the wherewithal (translated into money) to accomplish the mission.

On the other hand, if you feel that the problem is "systemic", i.e., has to do with empirical issues like demographics, infrastructure, etc. then you are going to feel that the Muslim world is a big problem, and will probably continue to be a big problem, especially among themselves, until some new kind of structure emerges.

So, from my point of view it's not a question of providing a "dose of powerful medicine" it's a question of WHAT medicine? Certainly, after 9/11 we had to do something: but was this the best something to do?
I can accept the idea that Saddam's Iraq was a 'failed state', but it is also a failed state today; and if the main aim of the WOT is to protect Americans, then I think we are better protected by Muslim police states (Saddam's Iraq, but also Pakistan) than by radical Muslim theocracies or Muslim anarchies -- the latter two being the apparent options for Iraq as we speak.

The problem with these kinds of articles is that while they are lower expectations (I think a good thing), they are also trying to sell a line that "no one could have foreseen ...." "no one is responsible ...." for the chaos now existing. OK, history won't buy it, but that's not the problem. The problem is that it's a line of argument that is not going to help to get the majority of the American people back behind this war: the tipping point for has come and gone, all the American people want -- according to all polls, and if one wants to deny all polls, let's see how the November campaign is phrased -- is out as soon as practicable, and no more foreign adventurism.

 
At 4:41 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

I think the terrible weapons technologies of the near future cannot be allowed into the hands of the anarchists and the murderous terrorists. This is why I support the speeding up of the process of allowing order to emerge, as opposed to standing back and letting order emerge very slowly, over a long period of time.

I suspect Iraq will become a long-term democracy, because I believe: "Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come." I believe the time has come for Iraqi democracy. I could be wrong.

If I am wrong - if the time has not come for Iraqi democracy - OIF will still have been worthwhile for the lessons it has taught the U.S. about dealing with anarchic situations, and for the changes I hope those lessons will engender in our nation.

As Wretchard points out, the military has shown great adaptability to the changing conditions they have encountered. Despite the military's status as worldwide media whipping boy, the U.S. military has done a historically outstanding job at dealing with the challenges they have faced. The military is completing their transformation from a force designed to face down large armies, to a force designed to deal with modern threats.

The State Dept. and the CIA are, apparently, stuck in Cold War mode. Each has committed unpardonable sins:
1) Each dept. has actually waged war (via deft media leaks) against the White House, and against America's national goals in Iraq.
2) Each dept. has been stunningly ineffective at their job.

The military is well on its way to being capable of facing future threats to America. I hope the failures of the State Dept. and the CIA force massive changes upon those organizations. For the good of our nation, we need the State Dept. and the CIA to be prepared to face modern day threats. If OIF does nothing more than force change upon America's institutions, then OIF will have served a valuable purpose for our nation.

 
At 4:55 PM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous Marty H said...

Neo-

Insightful, as always. You and Wretchard make a good tag team.

Steve-

I want America to get out as soon as practical, but the time is not now, unless you want to guarantee one of those anarchies you so fear.

Marty H

 
At 5:05 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Unfortunately Saddam had plenty of time during the long buildup prior to the war to plot his course and intentionally amplify havoc (which was increased post-war by the actions of neighbors such as Iran and Syria). But chaos and anarchy were simmering under the surface anyway, and their extent was probably underestimated.

I've given many brain hours to this subject and the ramifications thereof. I've traced the progenitors of this "multilateral" strategy quite a few chains back, with the important people being Colin Powell and Blair, the people who Bush actually listened to as opposed to his "unilateralist" critics.

My conclusions are not a shining light. For one thing, not only did the 6 something or more months give Saddam enough time to plan his Fedayeen and Baathist infrastructure for a Black Hawk Mogadishu style guerrila warfare It also prevented the Shock and Awe necessary to win a war. The fact that the news media toted up Shock and Awe as something popular the American people would love to see, support, and cheer on, was part of the systematic propaganda compaign designed to demoralize Americans while France humiliated us in the UN and Saddam planned to humiliate us by killing us Black Hawk Down style.

The thing is, he failed, Like all retarded plans, it never had a chance of working to save Saddam and his henchemen. What it did do was allow foreign terroists and nation-states like Syria and Iran, who had an interest in Iraq and preventing it from becoming a US ally and launching point for military bases and invasion forces, to create a true guerrila war. Because the arms caches, the criminals Saddam released, and all manner of cash deposits could not have saved Saddam, but it could be used by other people and by Baathists on the run to cause chaos and death for their own purposes.

The generals were so focused on the war warplan, that they forgot that the enemy's plan was for after the war and that this was what they should have planned against in terms of contingency plans and backup plans and fallback positions. Our military brass is not dumb, they just tended to fight the last war, which was Gulf War I for all intents and purposes. They thought all they had to do was crush Saddam's military like last time and then we'd just cruise on in like we should have done back in the first GW, and everything would be all right. What they didn't realize or didn't want to realize, was that this war ain't the last war. In fact, most wars aren't anywhere near close to the last war. Bush, with his totally trusting personality of the military, and his total distaste of micromanagement, didn't question anything the Generals did. When the Generals told Bush this and that was going to happen and this should be done, Bush did it and didn't ask much of anything since Bush didn't intend to change anything. (Edit, obviously the State Dep couldn't even do what they told the President they would do.)

If someone had told Bush that the military was never designed to EMpire build, which was what was actually going to have to happen, the American people would not have been caught so off guard. With the stories of Shock and Awe, with the statues falling down, cheering Iraqis, and all this shit and shizza, the American people were at an all time morale high. And then came the drop of the other shoe. IEDs started blowing up, this and that was killing American troops, then Fallujah, and the morale of the American people kept getting lower, lower, and lower. The systematic shock of such morale degradation from such a morale high, is totally devastating. And the civilians in America had never taken psychological defense courses or been trained using US military discipline to withstand chaos and confusion in war. We got slaughtered, and even with the victories with the Iraqis going to vote, it is not enough. Too many people doubt the Iraqis, as too many Iraqis doubt the Americans. The troops have much higher morale because they get to actually do their job and fight the enemy. They see the sacrifices by Iraqis, they know the realities and the possibilities. We don't, for the most part, we have to get most of our news second hand from the troops themselves. The ones the Army Information Department lets happen that is.

The truth of Operation Iraqi Freedom requires the criticism of George W. Bush, but because most of the current criticism is so insane, supporters of GWBush tend not to want to come up with their own criticism of Bush. It is not that most Republicans don't support the President or feel betrayed, like the fake liberals felt betrayed by their own media of cheering Iraqis, it is just that Republicans have this feeling but they don't have any avenue to discover why they feel the way they do about the war and the President. That is simply because the Democrats betrayed America, in betraying their duty to be the loyal opposition, they have sealed off the only avenue of self-improvement available to America as a whole. Which is criticizing past actions and improving upon them. We could not do this in the face of Michael Moore and Dick Durbin and various other apparati. We could not criticize the President and improve upon his agenda, simply because of the fact that we were too busy defending him from his insane critics. Our energies, instead of being united as they were in World War II under Roosevelt and Truman, both Democrats for more than 5 terms, were instead devoted to fighting ourselves. And the terroists learned, they understood, and they adapted. While we were busy fighting the domestic enemies in our midst, the foreign enemies were gearing up to slaughter women, children, and anyone else that got in their way. If our military hadn't been as strong, as honorable, and as virtuous as it is, Iraq would have exploded and there would have been nothing to pick up afterwards for "reconstruction".

So now we get people like Aqua, and they're still in the way, just not as much as they were before since we have blogs and real information now. But the damage is done, and it is irreversible.

It puts me in mind of the end of the Soviet Union. Back in those days, when I didn't spend so much time thinking about politics, events there caught my attention nevertheless. When the Soviet Union fell in such a surprising and sudden way, a fair amount of anarchy ensued rather than the more hopeful visions of the future that many had shared. Crime, for instance, had never been a problem in Soviet Russia; now it was a huge and even sometimes controlling factor.

The movie Lord of War is a very interesting, and I think honest, portrayal of chaos and war. The entire Soviet apparatus of weapons now had no enemy to fight against, since they lost. Yet the US didn't control Soviet territory. So all the Hind attack helicopters, RPGs, AK-47s, and etc were sold to international arms dealers. And they profited mightily from wars in Africa and the Middle East. As the main char put it, he sold Jewish made Uzis to Muslims, which then probably used them to kill Jews in Palestine.

It's one reason why most of the weapons in Iraq ain't from the US, Soviet and Chinese surplus weapons are totally less expensive and totally legal to buy, as opposed to the strict sanctions and laws forbiding American sale of weapons to such and such. And given the corruption in China and Russia, arms sales were basically everywhere you could look. They'd sell the weapons, and then they'd order the factories in Russia to make more. They're still doing it too, the Russian Mob probably has a huge arms sale international wise.

Hell, a lot of Americans already have Ak-47s in dug out weapons caches in somebody's backyard. Not only was the Ak-47 perfect in the maintenance sense, there were also a lot of them to get rid of.

You've got to make the insurgency a very unattractive profession to these people, who are not motivated by religious ideology.”

Mass executions and making examples of people are very effective tools in crushing terroist and guerrila warfare organizatins, whether that is Iraq, Syria, Iran, or even the American South back in post-Reconstruction days.

If you're not willing to do so because of whatever, then I suppose you're just going to have to watch while women, children, and men are torn apart in gang violence, tribal violence, and terrorism.

Without the Witness Protection Agency here in the US, mob violence would have reigned supreme. And there is no WPA large enough to cover all the people in Iraq, which is kind of the problem. While you can't protect everyone through relocation, you can slaughter and kill off the terrorists if you really decided to do it. All power have limits, and it usually has to do with how you may use and apply it.

We keep doing this till people get tired and start helping us. Our message: ‘We don't give in—we're not going away, so work with us.'

Effective, for when the enemy aren't terroists and hardcore fanatics and supported by Syria and Iran. Not so effective, as we can see, when they are.

To fight a multi-tiered guerrila warfare insurgency requires a layered approach. Separate the hardcore from the softcore, make deals with the softcore, give them asylum. For the hardcore, take off the gloves. For the really hardcore, start executions right away and demonstrations of your side's will and power.

We've somehow stopped at the second tier. Which means we leave the Syrian Baathists, the Iranian insurgents, and the Al-Qaeda terrorists pretty much alone. If Bush does allow our military to take those guys on, and he does, then he told them to treat them with Geneva Conventions and the same way we treated local Iraqi insurgencies. Now, that might work in 20 years, but I don't think Bush is going to be around in 20 years. But most of America would be around in 20 years and so would the Iraqis who would have to live in terror for the 20 years it would take Bush's tactics to actually work.

Never fight an attrition war with idiots who don't care how many people die. Just don't do it. Avoid it at all costs, preferablly to the enemy and none to your own side.

Btw, terrorists aren't gangs, they don't care about their territory or community. If you want to deter them, make them die in very painful ways and show everyone else what will happen. Two can play the video star got hacked by a big knife, game. Hardcore tactics for the hardcore people. That's just common sense. The punishment fits the crime. Death penalty for murderers and serial rapists, community service for misdemeanors. Even President Bush can figure that out.

And the answer unfortunately, was that neither USAID nor the State Department had the money or the bureaucratic configuration to fight a joint battle with the military against the chaos of post-Saddam Iraq.

I could have told you people that even before I read the article. Which I kind of did, since I'm reading this and commenting to Neo's post at the same time. We do not have an Empire building bureacratic setup. We just don't. We don't go into foreign countries, setup a Governorship, recruit locals into the US army, setup a security apparatus loyal to the Governor, and then have the people vote for incorporation as the 59th State of America. America ain't an Empire, we don't practice Colonialism, and that's why the Iraqis are suffering. We do not the experience or the willpower to help them as we could have, with the power at our disposal. We are learning at the same time the Iraqis are learning. It is a painful experience for both of us. You see it on the news everytime, and you hear it from the wails of American and Iraqi mothers who hold their children's mangled body in their hands. Or maybe you don't, and that's sort of the point, you don't see it but it happens. It happens everyday, and if you ever felt fully their pain, you would go insane. FOr man is not intended to feel the pain of a thousand losses at once, in full HDTV detail.

The answer--the long, hard slog of an answer, although it only takes a sentence of Wretchard's to state--is, "learning how to use force to allow indigenous order to emerge."

The Japanese with their "when there is a will, there is a way" and the United States Marine Corps' saying that "pain is weakness leaving the body" could teach the bureacrats much in this war. But, they won't listen, and the media doesn't understand enough to report it, even if they had wanted to.

On September 11, it became to me for the first time--although in retrospect it should have been clear far earlier--that havoc was abroad, and the dogs of war had been loosed.

In an age without the internet, and reliance on legacy media, there is a big problem if our leaders are behind the times. They still are, but with the internet and tools available, American ingenuity and independence are functioning at full speed. With or without the President's approval and endorsement.

I suppose if I had studied the Soviet selling of weapons to the world, I might have gotten a drift of the chaos to happen before 9/11. But I wasn't paying attention, to tell the truth. I didn't even know what the R and D stood for in front of people's names the few times I did watch the news. Ignorance tends to be curable however, death is however, not so curable.

Will, Buckley, Derbyshire, Fukuyama

They don't matter at all.

opposed the war is because they are deeply skeptical of the concept of nation-building and because they question whether the US really has the will

I question whether they actually have the will, which obviously they don't. The blind telling everyone else that they are the blind ones, I see.

So, from my point of view it's not a question of providing a "dose of powerful medicine" it's a question of WHAT medicine?
You've been asking the "what solution" question for awhile now. It's obvious that you don't have any solutions, but you also don't like the solutions Bush has implemented.

Which to me, doesn't seem useful but a hindrance.

OK, history won't buy it, but that's not the problem.

History usually will be consistent with what I wrote in the beginning. It's how historians think, they like to connect the dots, and so do I for that matter.

As Wretchard points out, the military has shown great adaptability to the changing conditions they have encountered.

We have the best military in the entire history of the god damn planet, what did you expect? So long as the bureacrats and the lawyers get out of the way, which President Bush tends to support, the military will do a magnificent job. So long as you don't talk about crap like the Geneva Conventions, that is. That's a policy issue, not a military one.

And it shows, boy, does it show.

 
At 5:09 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Marty: I have not said we should just cut and run. I have said #1 we should find which side we want to back, give them guns, and hide: I'm tired of our guys and gals being sitting ducks for IED's. #2, once someone takes power, and I don't care WHO, as long as he isn't our enemy, we leave, or else withdraw to strategic cantons.

In fact, that's probably what will happen.

Anarchy that I so fear? The anarchy in Iraq is killing and maiming a lot of our young men and women, in attacks where they are utterly and completely helpless. Moreover, anarchy facilitates the clandestine transfer, development, and delivery of WMD's to rogue terrorist elements. That is why it is in our national interests not to allow anarchy, or to create anarchy.

 
At 5:36 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger still realizing said...

I have trouble believing in Anarchy as a first principle, as something that can simmer invisibly. But then, I never studied psych or anthropology.

I think Islamic civilization is undergoing a revitalization due soley to the influx of oil money. Reawakened, it revs up its primary themes, imperialism, jihad and dhimmitude. That's the story. Without oil money, Saddam would have been of no interest -- just a tin pot dictator somewhere.

 
At 5:47 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Ymar: One reason I keep asking for different solutions is because I want serious short-term solutions and long-term solutions.

What I keep getting here are recommendations to use massive force. What I am hearing right now is that we should engage in retributive killings. This goes nowhere.

For whatever reason, retributive killing of civilians in order to achieve order is no longer acceptable in the West. It used to be; but not in the last couple hundred years. The United States is not going to do that, so, let's just put that aside.

Nor are we going to be able to exact retribution in the form of massive bombings, either. In World War Two, we were able to fig-leaf that by saying that it either damaged the war production of the enemy (as in Germany) or brought the war to an end (as in Japan.) However, you know and I know that if we flatten any town and cause thousands or more casualties there will be CNN and Al-Jazeera crews all over the site in about ten minutes, and that will not only destroy domestic support for the war, it will also isolate the US vis a vis the rest of the world. So, again, set that aside.

I want to hear about some solutions that are not vague, and which don't involve simplistic "kill them all" rhetoric which frankly is totally beyond the pale of serious discussion of these matters.

 
At 6:30 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

What I keep getting here are recommendations to use massive force. What I am hearing right now is that we should engage in retributive killings. This goes nowhere.

I've already told you and other people, that massive psychological force is not dependent upon killing people.

Fallujah for example. All you had to do was evacuate people as you did, have video cameras on every Marines head or whatever, send them in to clear out the mess. Gather the intel, as they did. Photograph the terror cells and torture chambers, with video and blood and all that good stuff. THEN, and only THEN, do you either salt the earth, blow Fallujah up with a tactical airburst nuke, or just set it on fire as Sherman did to Atlanta.

Retribution killings have nothing to do with it. Retribution killings is what idiot thugs and tribes do in their endless civil wars and gang violence.

What I advocate is called war. The complete and utter devastation of the enemy's will to fight and their capacity to do so.

The United States is not going to do that, so, let's just put that aside.

I don't think you understand the options available here.

I got to go so I have to cut this short.

 
At 6:34 PM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Marty: I have not said we should just cut and run. I have said #1 we should find which side we want to back, give them guns, and hide: I'm tired of our guys and gals being sitting ducks for IED's. #2, once someone takes power, and I don't care WHO, as long as he isn't our enemy, we leave, or else withdraw to strategic cantons."

See, now, there's your problem. You're stuck in the same Cold War mindset that produced Saddam in the first place.

Two problems with that. First, now that we've had a decade of not having to worry about Mutual Assured Destruction, most of us Americans will be damned if we're going to go back to living under the spectre of nuclear annihilation.

Second, if you think MAD is going to deter Islamists the way it deterred Communists, you are going to find yourself quite dead wrong.

 
At 8:03 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Rose Nunez said...

Great post, as always.

One quibble: Around paragraph 10, Kaplan suddenly becomes Kagan...

 
At 8:35 PM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous Mike said...

Thomas Barnett (Pentagons New Map) had a similar opinion of failed territory eventually becoming our problem wither we want it or not. The book is a bit old, 2002, and I have heard the magazine artilce was just as good, but the Core/Gap division of the world makes modern conflicts seem alot more sensible.

 
At 8:43 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

Oops--thanks rose nunez. Will fix.

 
At 8:44 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger KeithM, Indy said...

You all need to check out Barnetts new book, Blueprint for Action, where he spells out a possible way of transforming failed states into states where the citizens are secure, prosperous and free.

The solution he spells out includes having a community of world powers (such as the G20), banding together to first approve of entering these states, then providing the man power to do the nation building. The US would have the role of taking out rouge regimes, should the need arise.

It really does present a plan for "a future worth creating", the subtitle of the book.

Highly recommended.

 
At 9:17 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

Steve

I want to hear about some solutions that are not vague, and which don't involve simplistic "kill them all" rhetoric which frankly is totally beyond the pale of serious discussion of these matters.

In other words, you want people to tell you what you already believe? Sorry to disappoint you.

By any sane definition, Iraq was a failed state long before 2003. It housed and trained terrorists, cocked a snoot at the UN and its own cease-fire obligations, and had lost contol of much of its own territory.

But in any case, "failed states" are not really a threat to the US. Hostile states are. And Iraq, and Iran, and Syria, and a few others, are/were hostile states and have been waging a low intensity war on us for a few decades now.

So I'd like to hear some non-vague proposals from you on what you think should be done about this, given that you think any solution which involves people dying is unacceptable. Or is setting up dictatorships across the Middle East really your solution?

PS

The opponents of the war confidently predicted massive carnage would result from invading Iraq. (And Afghanistan.). To date, that has not happened. In response, the opponents have "defined carnage down", essentially claiming that any deaths or unrest in Iraq proves them correct. Sorry, I'm not buying. The opponents were wrong. We lost far more dead in a couple of hours at Gettysburg than in three years in Iraq. Try to keep a little perspective on things.

 
At 9:35 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

I had dinner with a fellow vet over New Year's, we were discussing casualties, he said, well, we lose more people in traffic accidents. To him, it was no big deal. But I don't like it.


given that you think any solution which involves people dying is unacceptable.


This isn't a question of "people dying" it's a question of our casualties, with thousands of Americans killed or permanently maimed. I am not happy about this. I want our people out of harm's way.

This isn't a case of "When we take Berlin, we're done." This is an insurgency, and there doesn't appear to have been a whole lot of progress either in terms of restoring infrastructure, increasing oil production, establishing security, or getting the sides to stop fighting each other. I can accept that there is going to be low-level conflict for some time. I just don't think we should be right in the middle of it, having 2-3 Americans knocked off sitting tight in an APC or whatever and then be, basically, murdered with an IED. I want them out of harm's way.

As for the retributive aspects, it's tiresome. Because it will never happen. This isn't a question of "people dying" it's a question of us killing a lot of people. We're not going to do that.

Nor are we going to take an exemplary city in Iraq and reduce it to rubble, and then salt the ground. Please.

 
At 10:13 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

To him, it was no big deal. But I don't like it.

As I said before, veterans of bloody pocking wars are prepared psychologically for massive casualties and demoralization attempts by the enemy. You, however, lack the will for one primary reason, which is simply that enemy propaganda works on civilians the best and is quite capable of destroying the morale of civilians who were never trained to take psychological attacks and who were never trained for military discipline and who have never experienced the brutality of war and the will it takes to win it.

Like any training, anyone can acquire it with enough effort and time. A person with no experience in war, straight out of high school, can know what war is with a great drive for understanding and lots of reading. Mark Bowden can speak Delta to the Deltas, and he is a writer and not part of the SF community, which is one hardnosed freaking closed in society of people who don't say jack and appear to know nothing.

I am not happy about this.

Nobody is saying you have to be happy about anything. Just like we don't tell wounded Warriors after they wake up from a 2 week concussion induced coma after being throw out of their vehicles by the IED, that they just need to "be happy, everything is going to be okay". We tell them their life isn't over, that they can adapt, with time and effort.

I want our people out of harm's way.

That's the primary difference. Type A personalities want to win, they want to succede at their objectives. The Rangers and Delta in Somalia were ready to go right back in there after Black Hawk Down, because they still had a mission to complete and they still had comrades out there. They felt more sadness for their comrades in arms than civilians like us would ever imagine, yet they had the will and the drive to keep going past the limits of all human endurance. You want people out of harm's way, because your will is corroded by every single enemy propaganda picture you see. Mines and others, are not.

If they have the fracking will to go back in there, then I tend to think that I personally, owe them the same. If they won't give up on me and their mission, then I sure as hell won't give up on them and their mission. It's a thing of honor and duty and loyalty, and I don't expect most people to agree or understand it. But nonetheless, it is just as strong for being so.

It is quite irrational, when you think about it. But nobody said war was rational.

Unlike you, the military in Iraq are hitting back with their own offensives. They have a way of letting vent their hostility and anger. You need to find some constructive way to do the same, with whatever emotions you have and of which I have no interest in naming.

Because it will never happen.

You had best get used to the fact that Americans will keep on dieing for awhile. Because it ain't going to happen, whatever else you may prefer.

This isn't a question of "people dying" it's a question of us killing a lot of people.

You just don't get it. Because you don't want to get it, and your will is just not there. Do us the favor of refraining from telling the rest of us that it is we who lack will, rather than yourself and your comrades in belief.

You are a demoralizing influence.

Nor are we going to take an exemplary city in Iraq and reduce it to rubble, and then salt the ground. Please.

You don't got what it takes to win. You don't have the ruthlessness, you don't have the creativity, and you sure as heck do not have the willpower and determination.

Nobody's going to be able to give you those qualities by answering your questions. It's up to you to find whatever answers your soul and heart demands, it is not up to the rest of us in figuring out a way to meet your whims and wants and wishes and desires in this war. War ain't a culinary restaurant and you're not the client.


What I keep getting here are recommendations to use massive force. What I am hearing right now is that we should engage in retributive killings. This goes nowhere.


As I told you before, you're wrong. And anyone reading both of our comments can easily see why.

For whatever reason, retributive killing of civilians in order to achieve order is no longer acceptable in the West. It used to be; but not in the last couple hundred years. The United States is not going to do that, so, let's just put that aside.

Let's set this false belief aside for once. It is you who are not willing to do that, it is you who are not going to do that. Don't confuse your will and lack of determination, with the rest of the 300 million Americans. You can't begin to comprehend the manifold differences that are in America.

It is best not to claim knowledge, of which you have none of.

To finish on the comments I left incomplete before.

it will also isolate the US vis a vis the rest of the world.

I suppose that we have the world backing us like brothers today, eh? Let the world try to isolate America, they'll just be cutting their own throats. And isolate us with whose navy, by the way?

I want to hear about some solutions that are not vague, and which don't involve simplistic "kill them all" rhetoric which frankly is totally beyond the pale of serious discussion of these matters.

Allow me to answer you in your own language, given the amount of diplomacy I do.

We are not going to do that.

 
At 10:36 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

I am going to present here now my predictions on the Iraq War in 2003 along with what I feel is the reasonable approach to the war.

However, before I do I want to thank Ymar for so solicitously giving me a lecture on military discipline, as well as assuring me he will continue to present me with more video game scenarios about how we will kill, destroy, salt the ground, and in general, strike from every pylon and obelisk whatever it is we are pissed at.

These were my predictions on the war, arrived at while discussing
it with a former Army lieutenant (I am a former 0311 USMC NCO) in February and early March 2003:

#1 The approach march would probably go along the outside of the desert perimeter of the Tigris valley and converge on Baghdad
(Half True.) Our supply lines would be vulnerable, not only
during the invasion but also afterwards. (Our supply lines have
been vulnerable throughout.)

#2 If Saddam had any WMD's, which I doubted, he'd save them for
the Baghdad perimeter. (He didn't have any.)

#3 If they fought in Baghdad, it could get very messy. (False, they didn't fight in Baghdad.)

#4 Once we took over the country, we'd be responsible for establishing order. We don't have enough boots on the ground for
that. (True.) I did not anticipate the looting spree in Baghdad.

#5 We don't have enough boots on the ground to seal the borders.
(True.)

#6 I doubt if the Iraqis will actually greet us with flowers
(True), but, if they do, it won't be long before they start
blaming us for everything that's wrong with their country (True.)

#7 Any government we install, like, say, Chalabi, will be viewed
as a puppet or a Quisling and will not work. (True.)

#8 The longer we're there, the more they're going to resent us,
and the more they're going to start picking us off for sport.
(True.)

#9 The longer we're there, the more likely our people are going
to have to face a low level guerilla war (True), and whatever we do to try and stop it, will be an international PR failure
(True), and if we put too much stress on our troops and
especially on our reserves we run the risk of ruining our
replenishment capabilities (already happening, according to
some), and it is quite possible that the stress will cause them
to commit war crimes (not true, yet, but it did lead to Abu
Ghraib and associated abuses which were another international and
domestic PR catastrophe.)

#10 If we really try to democratize them, we're going to have to face the fact that you have many minorities and three major groups, all of whom are going to jockey for position and oil. (True.)

#11 If as a consequence, Iraq goes under, we're going to have
the Shi'ites in the hip pocket of the Iraqis, the Kurds attempting to break away with the Mosul oil, which will create a conflict with the Sunnis and an international crisis with the Turks. (in process.)

#12 Once we go in, I don't think we'll be out in three months
(True) and I'm afraid we'll be there for a long time (True), and
the American people haven't been made ready for that (True), so,
we'll probably just install a strong-man who can maintain order
and then leave. (Hanging Fire.)

#13 I doubt if the invasion will promote democracy in Iraq or
anywhere else in the Middle East: to have democracy you have to
have devolved economic power, how can you have that when most of
the people in the region are on oil money welfare? (in process.)
Also you need a civic culture conducive to democracy, and I don't think Iraq -- or any Arab country -- has that yet. (Appears to be true.)

#14 I sincerely doubt that the war will pay for itself through
Iraqi oil revenues. (True.)

#15 It won't do anything to stop Palestinian terrorism or revive
the "peace process." (True)

#16 Worst case scenario, the war will drain our resources and
make it impossible for us to launch a credible land threat
against any other country, it could turn out to be a tar-baby
that will prevent us from effecting positive change elsewhere, it could reduce our international prestige, and our international influence, and probably all the other countries in the world will covertly support the insurgency because it will make the US look bad and keep our hands tied while the Chinese eye Taiwan and North Korea, etc. etc. (Jury's out.)

Conclusion: We should just go with the current inspections, use
diplomacy to get the rest of the world behind us for possible future collective actions, promote regime change in AOE covertly,
strike terror apparatus with pin point strikes, and recognize
that, in as in chess, the threat is always stronger than the
execution.

And, BTW, that's what I would recommend now. The Muslim world is in for "interesting times", we'll probably be monitoring it for the rest of our lives, and our children's lives.

 
At 10:41 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Senescent Wasp said...

Objective: Remove the threat. Do what must be done to make sure that the threat is reduced. Rinse Repeat.

What we want, as an outcome, is a state that is motivated to, and can prevent exportation of violence that threatens the United States. Doing an Iraq style mission in each one is ridiculous.

Robert Mugabe and his entire regime is an odious piece of crap. But, not a threat to the United States. The Sudan is ruled by criminal gangs and routinely provides resources to terrorist groups and allows itself to be used as a sump for evil. Does it require US military intervention? No.

With the stroke of a pen and some relatively low level actions, the Sudan could be starved to death. We have the power to blockade not just sea lanes. We have the power and technology to blockade land routes, inhibit cash flows, block communications and reduce a states ability to function at anything higher than a very low flicker.

Don't want American troops put in harms way? Don't want to see pictures of flag draped coffins? How many pictures of starving people are you willing to put up with?

We have the ability to selectively reduce states to penury by selective destruction of their tangible and intangible infrastructure. It's hard to do your year abroad as a jihadi when you're worrying about how to fill your bowl with food. It's hard to make and plant an IED when you have to get up real early and hoe weeds in the family patch and maybe eat the weeds when you're through. It's even harder when there are no suitable targets for the IED within 100 kilometres.

I'm in favor of any methods that will keep my brothers and sisters in arms hale and hearty and that reduces the dangers to my fellow citizens.

One or two of these operations would go a long way to "encourage the others". Do you have the will to support this kind of "total war" while ignoring the outraged shrieks of the pudgy, hand wringing eunuchs?

 
At 10:51 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

The Sudan is ruled by criminal gangs and routinely provides resources to terrorist groups and allows itself to be used as a sump for evil. Does it require US military intervention? No. With the stroke of a pen and some relatively low level actions, the Sudan could be starved to death.


I'm sorry, are you telling me that we should starve the Sudan pour encourager les autres? Is that what you are saying? It isn't going to happen, of course, I just want to make sure I read you right.


We have the ability to selectively reduce states to penury by selective destruction of their tangible and intangible infrastructure.


What countries, and how do you propose going about doing it.


Do you have the will to support this kind of "total war" while ignoring the outraged shrieks of the pudgy, hand wringing eunuchs?


Long term, no, I don't think it would be wise to engage in "Total War" like that. But who knows, maybe that will happen, and then we'll see how it turns out.

 
At 11:28 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The anarchy in Iraq is killing and maiming a lot of our young men and women, in attacks where they are utterly and completely helpless.

I missed this comment, and it was a particular brand of victimization of our military, of which I could never stand to hear.

So I'm going to a mil blog site and try to find a link to demolish this victimization of our military. Wait here, people.

Here we go

Even our women will kick terroist ass. The days of being helpless are over, my fellow Americans. It's time to cry havoc and stiffen the sinews.

For if we do not finish this war, such true believers as this woman will be ash at the end.

Video of a woman fighting Al Jazeera

Notice the Arab rhetorical style. Very powerful, with strong cadences and very simple logic. Their ululating style seems to be very effective at motivating people as to their ideas, whether jihad or peace.

Our military police women kicks insurgency ass. Our Marines go through them like radioactive rods go through water. Our Special Forces go through them as a monomolecular blade.

Please stop talking Bullshit about our military being completely helpless.

 
At 11:29 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Pancho said...

When the Soviet Union fell in such a surprising and sudden way, a fair amount of anarchy ensued

Unfortunately one of the negative sides of the Soviet demise was that anarchy was also able to arise in their former client states where there was no longer Big Brother there to exert some sort of control over the despots in charge.

 
At 12:31 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

more video game scenarios about how we will kill, destroy, salt the ground, and in general, strike from every pylon and obelisk whatever it is we are pissed at.

Some people need to study their history.

Gentleman: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of the cause, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have peace, not only at Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat the rebel armies which are arrayed against the laws and Constitution that all must respect and obey. To defeat those armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose. Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter; and, therefore, deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes in inconsistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufacturers, commerce, or agriculture here, for the maintenance of families, and sooner or later want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting till the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scenes of the past month? Of course, I do not apprehend any such things at this moment, but you do not suppose this army will be here until the war is over. I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what we propose to do, but I assert that our military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible.

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the South into rebellion, but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.

You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.


Repeat yourself steve, what video game fantasy world did you say you lived in, again?

These were my predictions on the war, arrived at while discussing
it with a former Army lieutenant (I am a former 0311 USMC NCO) in February and early March 2003:


I was wondering when you would pull that out.

Because you, see steve, I'm not one of those people who put the military on a pedestral, contrary to what my rhetoric may seem to suggest. I know very well there are rotten apples in the military, that being an organization based upon humans and human nature, that there will always be failures as well as successes.

I have always valued will, experience, and direct contact first and foremost.

And Murtha's experiences in the Marine Corps has never and will never fool me into believing that a Marine in today's Marine Corps is anything remotely similar. Things change, they will always change. 5 years old, the National Guard were fit only for helping disasters, now they are the world's premier reconstruction and infantry army, right next to the regulars.

Because you see, the military may fool civilians who worship what the military stands for and sometimes wrongly, but I know very well just how pocked up the military can really get when they put their minds to it.

In the sense that I call you a civilian steve, it is quite accurate. Anyone not in the military is a civilian. But I don't really mean it in the legal sense. I mean it in the sense that there are civilian virtues and then there are military virtues.

And I think there is a lot of overlap, but primarily that there are also a lot of differences as well.

I want people to understand, since the logic is inescapable. If civilians can learn what military training is, then military people can fail to learn military training. I know, it's hard to visualize, but you have to understand that the military is the best it is because it gets rid of people who don't fit their standards. The Marine Sniper school has a 50% failure rate, there is no shame in failing to meet the standards when they are so high. Besides, the last time I checked, only the Special Forces trained people in how to withstand psychological damage and stress, the SEALS with their Hell Week of no sleep. Talk about psychological torture.

The difference between a soldier in the normal military and a Special Forces operator, is that the SF acts more like a civilian than you would ever imagine. They just don't look military from everything I've seen and friends who live next to the Special Forces home base have mentioned. And there is a reason for that. Because the military teaches soldiers to be part of the team, not to act on themselves. American civilians, must always act among ourselves as independent folks. So it is natural that lone wolf Spec Forces Teams will seem like civilians.

A club of civilians, except they are no where near as pacifist.

We don't have enough boots on the ground for
that. (True.)


I'm pretty sure more troops would have stopped the rioting, given that nobody at the brass or CINC level told the soldiers to do anything about shooting the rioters.

Steve, thinks this makes his predictions true, right Steve? People who think that magically getting more people will make it true that the order for order to be restablished would be given, are fooling themselves.

And, BTW, that's what I would recommend now. The Muslim world is in for "interesting times", we'll probably be monitoring it for the rest of our lives, and our children's lives.

Steve, you talk about mass murder, but you're the greatest supporter of mass murder in history who will sit by and see iraqi/arab children and women be slaughtered in the thousands, the tens of thousands, perhaps even the millions and you will lift not one single finger to stop it.

That is not going to happen, Steve.

Semper Fidelis, Steve? Faithful to what, steve, what have you been faithful to?

Chill out Steve, it is not going to happen, you might as well support your Corps brothers and sisters in their mission.

Retreat is not an option. In death ground, fight.

Cut and run is not a solution.

When 50% of an Iraqi brigade quits on the first payday, Fox News acts all hysterical. I act joyous, because it means the standards are high.

In the military there is a lot of disagreement, it just doesn't seem apparent because of the military discipline. You can't undermine your officer's authority for example, or the President's authority, while in uniform. So it just seems all the military agree with each other, although that's probably an illusion.

Anything is game when you're out of uniform of course, except for some hard held codes.

I swear, the Marine Corps is one of the weirdest organizations I have ever seen.

I've met a former Marine that didn't believe that the most lethal weapon was a Marine rifleman. He didn't believe, for a fact, that lethality was in the person and not the weapon, even though he served 4 years in the Marine Corps... Stunning.

Then there was Murtha, which we all know.

Then there was Ricks dude, who worked for Al-Jazeera, to do propaganda that got Marines killed. He was an officer from what I recall, in fact one of the generals once asked him "Whose side are you on" before he voluntarily retired himself.

The Marine Corps is one weird organization. For something that small, it tends to have a person of everything in it.

One of the SEAls trainers once mentioned this interesting factoid about training soldiers and sailors into SEALs. It was that soldiers were too used to having someone tell them what to do, that their job was to make them start thinking for themselves and taking personal initiative.

One of the benefits of the Iraqi guerrila insurgency is that it has made the entire military much more flexible and initiative focused than it once was. It still sucks compared to the Spec Ops guys in Afghanistan, of course, but historically it is much better.

It's quite stunning. Because if you were to ask me, what branch of the military Steve was in considering his rhetoric, I would have said the Air Force. With their bike PT, and stuff, you know.

Men and women in the military... being helpless. The Marine warrior philosophy has always been that you are a warrior even if you are naked, hence you are not helpless even when naked because you still have your hands and feet to use as weapons in martial arts.

For a former Marine to believe, as you do Steve, that our men and women serving are helpless against terrorist attacks is... beyond the pale.

Anybody reading this can make up their own minds. The arguments are now pretty clear, finally.

We have steve's stand back and let them kill themselves position because steve cares for the helpless Marines in the Marine Corps. And we have mine position, which is to keep on fighting, because when there is a will, there is a way.

It is a very interesting dichotomy I might say.

Not to belabor the point, but, I never really believed that being in the military made anyone inherently superior. I'm not a supporter of military dictatorship after all. But I do believe that the military mindset, the hardcore fight till we die philosophy, attracks a lot of people of that kind of mindset to the military, especially the Marines and the Special Forces community.

And I still believe, that enemy propaganda has worked wonders on the civilian population. Regardless of the fact of what you may have done early on in your life.

It's what you do now that matters.

Watching that interview with the Rangers and Delta that served in Somalia, was... enlightening. The History Channel always have such goodies in store for those interested.

One of the good things about military discipline is it allows you to be calm in stressful situations, like internet arguments. But not even military discipline will make you right. Not a panacea after all.

 
At 1:05 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

Steve

I want our people out of harm's way.

No offense Steve, but what was someone with your mentality doing in the Marines? You don't like the idea of us killing them, and you don't like the idea of them killing us. Did it never occur to you that a military career was not quite right for you?

Being in "harms way" is what you sign up for when you enlist.

 
At 6:14 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Steve, I appreciate your still being here and pushing your views, most of which I disagree with. Ymar gets a bit long-winded, even when I agree with him.

I quite liked your list of predictions -- but you're quite a bit too fast to claim "true" on many negatives.

"the more they're going to start picking us off for sport." for instance -- more than what?
What is the US body bag rate now, (weekly average?) last year, year before?
And how many would be "good"/ "acceptable". Either you're unwilling to support a war with ANY US casualties, not even one, or else you need to have some way of saying how many.

I've long claimed, somewhat arbitrarily, that if Bush gets an Iraq democracy with less than 2500 Americans killed, while he's in office -- he gets an "A". It's looking to me like he'll be getting a B, B+, by the end of 2008 -- but that depends on how ruthless the increasingly confident Shia majority will be in their Iraqi "interrogations" of, especially, Sunnis suspected of supporting terrorists.

Expect to see a bunch of Amnesty wailing about the US allowing the Iraqis to do torture. It's their country; we liberated it / not occupied it. Yes, before they were "ready" -- because they weren't on a path of getting ready.

Your #13 is key, for most anti-war Leftists: "I doubt if the invasion will promote democracy in Iraq or
anywhere else in the Middle East:"
And it is, demonstrated by not one, not two, but three elections already, false, false, false.

Of course, democracy is not the same as human rights. The real goal. When will Amnesty and other Bush-hating, genocide enabling Leftists compare human rights in Iraq vs. Darfur? Or Syria or Iran? Or Saudi Arabia?

Finally, your "worst case" is woefully unimaginative: the worst case was Kerry getting elected, and Israel then deciding it HAD to start fighting against Iran, because the US / UN wasn't going to stop Iran from getting nukes.

Most of the world prolly believes Bush when he says "Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons" while he's President (which I understand, but not sure it's an accurate quote.)

I was wishing for regime change in Sudan, first (stop the genocide!). It's still not too late -- maybe led by Indian troops with US material and Japanese funding?

The root cause is too many dictators -- and democracy, hard as it is to impose, is the only reasonable solution I've seen.

A world of peace IS possible -- after it becomes a World Without Dictators.

 
At 8:47 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

Tom, it has already started, i.e. the hue and cry over human rights abuses by the host government of Iraq, newly created by force of US arms. This shows IMHO a clear turning point, that Goody Two-Shoes now has a venue and a platform. I note that Human Rights groups can't much blame anyone unless there is an organized structure to blame. My take is that the Left is finally conceding that a legitimate government is in place in Iraq and there to stay.

Thugs are thugs and people tend to view them just as that and react to them for what they are. Why wouldn't saddam have released criminals? It is no different than evicted tenets doing structural damage before exiting the house they have been evicted from. It is nothing new. Don't think for a minute that many of the violent Iraqi men are seen by the people in the mosques and are seen in daily prayer or giving charity to needy people. They are extorting, intimidating, stealing and murdering, just as they have always historically done in any society. Most of the violent Iraqi men are not seen by Iraqis as freedom fighters out to liberate their fellow Iraqis. Why else could there be the progress that continues to unfold, despite MSM's attempt to hide it? Why cluck our tongues when many of our own decent citizens of the inner cities can't go out at night? Are Iraqi thugs that much different than our looters during disasters and riots?

We always forget history because we want a quick fix to everything in our lives. A brutal regime is overthrown and we expect all to be well in 50 days, or at most in a year. We go so far as to pretend that the reconstruction of Germany was ever-so-nice, that there was no violence and chaos once the armies stopped shooting. Regimes fade away, they just don't all of a sudden stop and disappear. Isolated SS units held on for quite some time. There was retaliation and assassination and sabotage and extortion and corruption, lots of it and on top of a totally devasted infrastructure.

"Technology will be used towards primitive ends" Yeah, like Ghengis Kahn making huge piles of human heads to send a message to those who would oppose him, or catapulting dead enemies back into the cities under siege or poisoning water sources or like Sherman burning a 100 mile wide swath on his way to Atlanta during the US Civil war or eradicating the buffalo herds of the Native Americans or the use of gas to exterminate 6 million Jews. Gee! imagine the human species using guns to kill each other when so many clubs are available! I see no radical departure from the course of history and human evolution in Iraq or anywhere else.

 
At 9:03 AM, March 09, 2006, Anonymous Andrew Zalotocky said...

You may find this interesting - Street Gangs: The New Urban Insurgency, which discusses "the linkage of contemporary criminal street gangs...to insurgency in terms of the instability it wreaks upon government".

 
At 10:39 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Senescent Wasp said...

Andrew: You would be surprised how many copies of Max Mainwaring's book that you cite have filtered down to battalion level in The Sand. Pre-publication gallies were copied and circulated via the samizdat network in the military well prior to official publication. Many of his insights became practice in the 3rd ID, one of the most effective formations in Iraq.

 
At 11:21 AM, March 09, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

I just don't think we should be right in the middle of it, having 2-3 Americans knocked off sitting tight in an APC or whatever and then be, basically, murdered with an IED. I want them out of harm's way.

Steve, we all want them out of harm’s way. The problem is that every once in awhile we have to use the military to do various jobs that might get some of them killed.

I think we are better protected by Muslim police states (Saddam's Iraq, but also Pakistan)

I had a good belly-laugh when I read this. Yes Steve, & the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny & Santa Claus will visit you tomorrow, right after Saddam & Musharraf get through protecting us.

For whatever reason, retributive killing of civilians in order to achieve order is no longer acceptable in the West. It used to be; but not in the last couple hundred years.
In World War Two, we were able to fig-leaf that by saying that it either damaged the war production of the enemy (as in Germany) or brought the war to an end (as in Japan.)


That an ex-Marine would say this means the leftist has succeeded at least partially in its 60-year attempt at the rewriting of the history of WW2. It’s sad, very, very sad.

We should just go with the current inspections, use diplomacy to get the rest of the world behind us for possible future collective actions, promote regime change in AOE covertly, strike terror apparatus with pin point strikes, and recognize that, in as in chess, the threat is always stronger than the execution.

The above was what Clinton did for 2 terms. It didn’t work.

 
At 12:54 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

It's a good thing to know that the military is doing their homework, Senescent. Another book I heard about from Michael Yon and the LTC he was imbedded with, was Gates of Fire. I read that book, and I could see how a hardcore Marine would love to read it.

The LTC is so funny. I imagine some guy confusing LTC with LT and getting reamed for it. Especially if the LTC isn't wearing his rank badge and insignia.

One of the things I don't like about the internet is the constant going forth and back, like a telephone. Wastes a lot of time in my opinion. Might as well just put all your positions on the table after you know enough about your opponent's. That way, some things get streamlined after awhile.

This is the first time in a long while, that I've seen Grackle use a first person to refer to someone he is talking about/to.

I don't know a lot of Marines that play chess. I mean, personal combat isn't like chess. Personal combat is sort of like, who's the guy standing at the end. Chess has a lot of logistics factors in it, but personal combat is all about the offense. That is the whole point to the existence of the Marines. They are shock troops, assault troops. They have high esprit de corps and high discipline, because they are intended to take heavily fortified beachheads. Therefore you need a combat unit that can sustain 95% casualties and still be willing and able to fight.

This ain't the Army. You can't just setup a tent on a beachhead and pray the artyy takes out the fortifications, machine gun nests, and whatevers. If you stay on the beach, you're dead, it is as simple as that. Therefore to get not dead, you have to storm the machineguns through withering fire.

Rangers lead the way anyone?

Chess is a lot more about strategy than let's say, tactics and pure drive.

The assault mentality will get you pwned in chess, but it saves lives at Omaha, Gaudacanal, Saipan.

So, the idea that we should be like chess, and threaten but not attack, is so strange to hear from a Marine. Hence, why I tended to think steve was Air Force.

Here we have one of the greatest combat commanders in recent history, LT General Mattis talk about how it is a hoot/fun to kill Taliban who slap their wives around. And then we have others saying, "get real, please, we are not going to do that".

Oh, yes we are.

 
At 1:23 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

But after September 11 the problem grew too big to ignore, yet the question of how to destroy anarchy, already by definition in a shambles, remained.

I was reading Neo's links, and Wretchard is good. He's a wretched purveyor of headlines, but an excellent source of analysis.

How do you destroy anarchy? Other than reconstituting order through what steve calls 'retribution' killings and I call psychological operations designed to revitalize the morale of our allies and destroy the morale of the enemy.

I tend to see it as a physics problem, entropy vs enthalpy.

High order systems vs low order systems.

For low order systems, the lower you get and the more entropy/chaos you get, there seems to be some kind of inherent order that appears. Call it Chaos Theory, fluid dynamics, I don't know, physics majors help me out here.

The way I see it, if you pump enough chaos into a war zone, if you pump enough violence into a cycle of violence, eventually something breaks and Order is the product. Magic? Perhaps.

Assuming the worst, what I would suggest to Bush is to get some military officers he trusts, and basically give the military officer a fiefdom, in the form of their AOR or AOE or whatever.

Therefore an LTc like Kurrila would basically own Mosul or whatever, as his own personal fiefdom. He would be responsible for the people, the security force from Mosul would answer to him and only him. There will be a civilian council to advise of cours, but that is only a transitional process until security is restored.

Now the Army brass would shit an Abrams tank, but if the President told them to do, they would do it. Like good little soldiers.

When the LTC Kurrila has to leave, then Kurrila simply finds someone else and transitions the government. This would give his "followers" an opportunity to see a peaceful exchange of powers, inherent in democratic stability.

Kurilla won't speak out at the Iraqi national congress of course (he has mil duties), for that he gets someone the community trusts, like a Muftwhatever or Sayeed or whatever the Iraqis have as local leaders.

This would work wonders to destroy corruption, raise the morale of our allies and give a much better image of American iron fist stye government.

What's the alternative, seeing children blown up in the streets and their blown strewn bodies carried by American servicemen? Get real.

For Iraqis meeting with Americans in Mosul, the name "Abu Ghraib” had a different connotation than it did in the United States. Here it meant not brutality but American weakness and lack of resolve.

I feel we have dishonored ourselves in failing to do our duty to protect the Iraqis, who give us tips and try to save our lives and their family's lives as well. It is a stain upon not only our honor, but the honor of the Presidency and of the rest of America as well.

Some people call it a fantasy that America can use force on the scale of WWII. After seeing the suffering of the Iraqis, only a sociopath would be unwilling to do what it took to help.

And the key he hints, is learning how to use force to allow indigenous order to emerge.

A tricky question. It requires a study of history, military science, the art of war, psychology, psyOps, propaganda, deception, human nature, politics, guerrila warfare, and violence.

Who here is up to the task of finding the solution to such a problem?

If Napoleon wrought the army-killer in the 18th century as the answer to his strategic dilemmas, America must invent a anarchy-killer in the 21st; or a globalized world in which boundaries are ever more tenuous will be permanently at risk.

Excuse me, but how are we going to get an anarchy killer when most of my energies are focused on defending against anti-war Leftists, anti-war Rightists, and anti-war international citizens?

Solve that, and maybe Bush might have some energy to devote to creating a "Warlord system" of empowering United States officers to gain fiefdoms.

Feudalism came about because of a reason, people. After the fall of the Roman Empire, chaos and shit was going on all the time, and feudalism (the ability of one warrior to protect his people) was the only thing around to save the masses.

History.

 
At 5:34 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger PatCA said...

Excellent post. Ali at http://afreeiraqi.blogspot.com/ talks about the anarachi nature of the "insurgency" as well, from inside Iraq. Keep scrolling down to Blame It on the Sunnis, especially.

 
At 6:04 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Just heard on Fox, the Iraqis executed 13 terrorists. Good stuff. That's the biggest victory I've seen so far, apart from the elections.

 
At 5:01 AM, March 10, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Some numbers to consider, if like Steve, death makes you uneasy, or you feel people you like shouldn't die. Discussing death in this manner runs the risk of others viewing you as callous, or worse- but one has to put losses in perspective, or they truly are meaningless. (I'm surprised Ymarsakar hasn't done this yet).

At Gettysburg, over 7000 killed in three days (both sides).

In ONE DAY, the Romans lost approx. 65,000 dead to Hannibal's forces at Cannae. ONE DAY.

Saddam may have killed as many as "between 70 and 125 civilian deaths per day for every one of Saddam's 8,000-odd days in power"
http://wais.stanford.edu/Iraq/
iraq_deathsundersaddamhussein42503.html
That's 780,000 give or take a few ten thousand.

In 2002, in the United States, for the age range of 16-34 (covering the main ages of our military casualies in Iraq), 27,267 died just from Motor Vehicle Crashes and Homocides. More than four times our yearly average KIA in Iraq.

Does it really make sense to say things that imply that our military personnel are getting killed in unacceptable numbers in Iraq? Each individual death is a tragedy, immeasurable in it's own reach- but one has to see things in context... Death can mean something, and should- but if we do not look at it closely, and understand it, and get over any irrational fears about it, we will be paralyzed into inaction. If we are willing to allow 17,706 people from 16-34 to die in a year so we can drive cars, then we sure as hell can risk losing a few thousand in four years to change a dangerous world.
If one still holds to belief that our losses in Iraq are too great, than I am sure you would also believe that over 17,000 deaths of 16-34's per year is far too many, and automobile transport should be severely limited, or even eliminated, right?

 
At 4:19 PM, March 10, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

It's never been about the numbers. Psychologically, Stalin was right, one death is a tragedy while a million is a statistic. Because psychologically, numbers alone cannot make someone understand or comprehend the depth of human suffering or loss. Since human minds shut off at about, probably, 100 deaths. Because 100 is about the maximum we can imagine losing, assuming a person has a family of 100 and knows most of the people there.

There are ways to make people understand and comprehend the numbers, but they involve intense psychological pain, mental anguish, and extreme personal loss. Such things as 9/11, can be comprehended, by taking any personal losses you had and multiplying it by 3,000. That is the only way a person can even come close to understanding the pain of a 1,000 or 3,000 people. As I said before, if you ever felt fully the pain of a 1,000 or even a 100 people, in full HDTV color, you'd go insane from the grief.

Humans are not empaths, therefore not only are we insensitive to emotional pain but our minds also have failsafes designed to prevent mental damage.

The methods by which you can make a person feel the emotional pain of other people, has to do with visual images and that's probably about it.

Since you can only write on the internet, and visual images are hard to communicate just by writing comments, talking a 7,000 dead at whatever compared to whatever dead at Iraq, makes no significant difference.

Either you already understand the significance and I don't need me to tell you, or you don't understand the significance and never will just by reading what I try to tell you.

An easier to understand example is if someone told you that you now have 200 trillion dollars. Do you really comprehend how much money that is?

Do you have in your mind, exactly what you can buy with that money? Do you have in your mind, exactly how many cars and of what type and color, 200 trillion dollars can buy?

No, of course you don't. 200 trillion is an abstract number, it is a statistic. It isn't the same with 1 million, 1 million can buy 4 250,000 dollar houses. Everyone understands that.

Just as everyone understands what it is like to lose a child, or imagines what it would be like to lose their child. So they see the deaths in Iraq, the stories, how young the soldiers are, their pictures, and so on, and they attach emotional connections to these people that they can comprehend. So when they die, not only are the immediate family members affected, but the rest of America as well.

You cannot counter-act that very subtle and effective propaganda effect with simple written words. That's like firing a gun using only your thumb.

You just don't have the leverage. And without the leverage, it won't be moved.

Does it really make sense to say things that imply that our military personnel are getting killed in unacceptable numbers in Iraq?

Yes, it does make sense to me to answer your question.

Even though it may not make sense to anyone else.

The psychological aspect of humanity is pretty diverse. For example, I could make Saddam's whatever understandable to someone, by giving them the context. The context in this sense, would be actual videotapes of the torture and rape rooms.

You see, to give human context, requires human pain. So if I were to make a propaganda film to combat the media's propagandization of American deaths, I would probably start with happy day style pics of the Kurdish or Iraqi family, hopping around in a bright sunny day. I'd show their compassion, their wit, and their kindness. Then I'd show how Uday or Qusay would pick the family up and torture them to death.

That would supply the necessary context. If Fox ran the propaganda film as I would design it, the approval for the Iraq war would jump about 10 to 20 points.

It might jump more if I could fit in American soldiers and their stories, lives, and deaths with the Iraqi ones. That would be harder however.

It's not hard to do. The Marines found boatloads of torture and execution films in Fallujah. I wouldn't even have to make anything up.

No lie is ever as consistent as truth is.

But the President won't do propaganda, so you have people talking about 2,000 American deaths and not anyone else's deaths.

It is as simple as it is immutable.

 
At 4:44 PM, March 10, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

In 2002, in the United States, for the age range of 16-34 (covering the main ages of our military casualies in Iraq), 27,267 died just from Motor Vehicle Crashes and Homocides. More than four times our yearly average KIA in Iraq.

?

I thought the yearly average KIA in Iraq was like 800. Or are you counting friendly Iraqis as well?

 
At 1:53 AM, March 11, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Maybe he added an extra zero place on accident.

2,726

It does support my contention that large numbers are abstract in basis, and that if you try to manipulate them in your head, it becomes non-intuitive.

 
At 12:27 PM, March 11, 2006, Blogger Moved Elsewhere said...

Duly noted at islamicevil.blogspot.com.

"The neo-neocon, a former liberal mugged by the reality of 9/11, offers an extraordinarily insightful analysis of what we face in our struggle against Islamic evil. Deep thoughts for deep thinkers."

 
At 5:18 AM, March 12, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Ooops, not four times the yearly average KIA in Iraq- A little late night math... more like TEN times more 16-34 year old victims of car crashes and homocides than our total KIA thus far in Iraq (around 2,300 US KIA).

Y- I agree that it is difficult to fully comprehend what the numbers mean, but there are ways to bring it into the realm of understanding- for instance when I posted the number of Saddams victims in this format:
Saddam may have killed as many as "between 70 and 125 civilian deaths per day for every one of Saddam's 8,000-odd days in power"
That's 780,000 give or take a few ten thousand.

780,000 is a big number- but 70-125 per day is pretty tangible (2-4 high school classrooms), and 8,000 days is only 22 years- certainly tangible to anyone over 35 or so.

And a little context for this:
In ONE DAY, the Romans lost approx. 65,000 dead to Hannibal's forces at Cannae. ONE DAY.
That's nearly double what we lost in Korea in three years, and about 7000 less than we lost in Viet Nam in around eight years. I think that gives it some perspective- and I'm just asking for a statistical understanding, not an emotional one. In fact, that was the whole point of my post- if you step back from the emotional reaction of people like Steve, and look rationally at the numbers, how can you take a position like Steve's?

And then a little perspective for this:
In 2002, in the United States, for the age range of 16-34 (covering the main ages of our military casualies in Iraq), 27,267 died just from Motor Vehicle Crashes and Homocides.
I think everyone knows someone firsthand who either died as a result of a motor vehicle crash or a homocide. Multiply that personal tragedy times the population of Laramie, Wyoming, and you start to get the picture. Every year America wipes out a Laramie in car crashes and homocides, and that's just 16-34 year olds.

I didn't expect it to do much to you, Y, you already know this stuff I'm sure, and you get it anyway, but what does Steve think? I'd love to know.

 
At 1:13 PM, March 14, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I understand the statistics you are attempting here, of course. I just tend to think it doesn't work for people like steve or others. If they could rationally step back, as you say, and look at it this, wouldn't they already have done so?

I don't have the power to make people do what they don't want to do. That requires hard power, execution squads, and Marine Regiments.

I think one reason why I favor emotional impact over rational statistics is just that, I just tend to think it is more effective. In the end, you get the same results anyway. What does it really matter if someone feels one person's pain or knows a million died, if that person fights to end it? We are talking about the same problem here, after all, only different methods to communicate the problem.

Bookworm was writing about this pile up at San Fran because it snowed and the roads got ice on it. Huge crash, 300 + cars. If people could do the math, perhaps they could have calculated how much time extra their brakes would need on a close to frictionless surface? But they don't. If people did the numbers rationally, then they would not go broke and would be king of the stocks and have 50 mutual funds. They also wouldn't go bankrupt after winning the lottery.

I just have to recognize that rational numbers don't win a lot of people over as pure emotional impact would. I'm a pragmatist at heart, so as a rational thinker, I end up supporting emotional impact.... hrm, why does that sound ironic.

Romans at Cannae was something I was always amazed at. Link

Because not only did they lose so many people. But they then just recruited a bigger larger army afterwards. Then they LOST that army, the new one, and then they kept fighting. It was surely the most supreme time of the Roman Empire, when the Republic was strong in virtue and in patriotism. I cannot help but wonder that if those Roman citizens had lived, would the Roman Empire had lasted longer?

Analogous to us. When Rome had most of the world, she got weak. America is now the topdog, and we act like we're 5 month old kittens. And I cannot help but think this is due primarily to the fact that our casualties were very very low compared to what they might have been. (Soviets in WWII)

I can't really say what Steve would think about the numbers, douglass. It is as you say, the numbers make sense to me, but I am unable to see it from another person's perspective where the numbers don't make sense.

Well, the thing I can say, is perhaps steve believes that any loss of life is bad and that relative margins don't matter. So if he can stop the lives lost in Iraq, American lives, then that is good. Regardless of Iraqi lives lost or whatever.

I don't speak for steve of course, and I'm probably wrong. But I just tend to think, that for some people, isolationism is still strong and the idea that all lives have equal value is not something they believe in. Neither do I for that matter, but I at least believe all lives have instrinsic equal value.

 
At 1:55 PM, March 14, 2006, Anonymous Jorg said...

Michael Yon provides Kaplan's entire article for free as a pdf file:
http://michaelyon-online.com/media/pdf/ComingNormalcy.pdf

Enjoy!

I am a big Robert Kaplan fan, but I limit my blogging to transatlantic affairs, especially German-American Relations. I write with two other German Fulbright Alunni for the Atlantic Review http:atlanticreview.org and organize the quartely carnivals of German American Relations http://america-germany.atlanticreview.org/

Perhaps you are interested in participating. That would be great.

 
At 6:09 PM, March 15, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Thanks for the link to the pdf.

 
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