Sunday, December 30, 2007


The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto has placed Pakistan’s big hope for democracy (From the Western point of view) into question. Fundamental Islamists have the potential to establish themselves as the government of Pakistan. This differs from Vietnam in that the assassination of its political figure was actually acting head of state. The parallel here is that of a major political assassination in the early phase of a guerilla war. At the time, the United States government was supportive of change in Vietnam, while today most were hoping that Bhutto would begin a run of positive change in Pakistan. The reason that I am attempting to compare this assassination with Vietnam is because many of the problems present in Pakistan are similar to those in Iraq. The problems are also similar to those found in Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and many other Islamic countries. One basic problem is that Islamic law is so hostile to that of the ‘West’. Some examples:

1) The penalty for leaving Islam is death.
2) The penalty for a married woman convicted of adultery is stoning to death.
3) Two women testimony equals that of one man.
4) Tribute. Payment of ‘protection’ money made to Islamic authorities by non-Muslim people.
5) Moral obligation to kill occupiers of Muslim lands.
6) The entire concept of ‘Jihad’.
a) Kill infidels
b) Kill apostates
c) The reward for fighting in Jihad is booty in this world, paradise in the next.
7) Islamic electoral policy of "One man (Men only) One vote, Once."

Islam is grappling with these and other issues today. Islamic fundamentalists believe in these laws. The problem is, these laws are considered to be ‘authentic’ by Muslim scholars. This means the laws are Gods words, and were created by God. You cannot change them without becoming an apostate. Another key here is that these laws (These are only some of them) are commonly accepted throughout the Muslim world. Fundamentalists may be a minority in our culture, but by this definition, Islamic fundamentalists are the majority in most, if not all-Muslim countries. Although this is not a completely accurate comparison, the Ten Commandments dictate behavior for those who follow the Bibles teachings. As you can see, many of the laws in the Koran are hostile and incompatible with those of the Bible and indeed the ‘West’.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Iraq – Vietnam combat losses

United States losses in Vietnam were 55,000 killed and 304,000 wounded. The vast majority of these losses occurred between 1965 and 1973. The time period involved is just under 8 years.
United States losses in Iraq to date are approximately 4,000 killed and 30,000 wounded. The U.S. involvement in Iraq has been for just over 4 and ½ years. At that overall rate, it will take the war in Iraq until approximately the year 2060 to equal the number killed in Vietnam. It will take approximately until the year 2048 to equal the number wounded in Vietnam.

Part of the reason that the percentage of wounded to kill being higher is better medical care. What is missed is the fact that in smaller battles, it is easier to reach and treat the wounded. For example, on June 6, 1944 the United States lost more than 1,400 dead and over 6500 wounded. It would challenge today’s medical staff to treat this many injured people in one day. Not to mention captured enemy wounded. We can be certain (Nobody’s fault) that some died as a result of nobody being able to get to them in time.

The obvious conclusion of the overall casualty rate comparison is that the current war in Iraq is a much smaller war than the war in Vietnam.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Neutron bomb

The Neutron bomb is a tactical nuclear weapon. The blast area is small for nuclear weapons. The weapon has such a design as to produce intensive radiation that decays rapidly. This produces a high fatality rate for those who are inside its blast area. Those who are outside of its range can safely enter the area within a short period of time. One argument against this weapon is that it is more likely to be used than the other weapons that are available. This would make the use of WMD more likely. The area impacted by these weapons is relatively small. The use of these weapons would require more of them to obtain the same overall damage. An argument for the use of this weapon is that if you do need to use weapons of mass destruction, then this has the most limited ecological impact in both the short-term and long term. In addition, relatively small targets may not require ‘larger’ nuclear weapons.

We will more than likely see another world war. Human nature almost demands it. The next world war will most likely see the deployment of weapons of mass destruction. Should Neutron bombs be available? The risk of the war becoming more likely is offset by the advantages in potential limits of ecological damage that exclusive use of neutron bombs could realize.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

United States wars:

Included are all declared wars and wars that were undeclared in which the United States lost at least 10,000 dead.

1775 - 1782 Revolutionary War.
1812 - 1815 War of 1812 (Note: The war actually began with the French invasion of Austria in 1805)

1848 Mexican-American war.
1861 - 1865 U.S. Civil War
1889 Spanish-American War.
1917-1918 World War I (War actually began in 1914)
1941-1945 World War II (War in Europe actually began in 1939, Asia began in 1937)
1950-1953 Korean War
1965 - 1973 Vietnam War

The greatest time period between wars is the current period between the end of the war in Vietnam to the present. I put this together to demonstrate how war is common even in democracies. War is a constant factor throughout written history. (I suspect unwritten history as well.) Warfare is human conflict at it’s most violent level. Warfare is part of human nature. We find many reasons to wage war. Defensive wars generally do not require any excuses. But what is defensive war? You may actually start the shooting while acting in a perceived defensive manner. Most people fight and risk their lives to protect their way of life. What is required is to present the war as defense of that way of life. In this case, many times even an otherwise peaceful population will agree to fight.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Saudi King pardons ‘Qatif Girl’.

The case of a woman who had met with an unrelated man has been resolved. (From the point of view of international opinion.) She will no longer be punished by the Saudi judicial system. She and an unrelated man were caught together by 7 or 8 men and both raped. They were then convicted of "improper mingling" and sentenced to 6 months in prison and 200 lashes. This does sound like a set-up. Seven or eight men just happened upon these two, and knew that they were unrelated? And they raped them both? Rape has a rather strong stigma attached to it in that culture. This act appears planned. Possible they were having an affair?

I have searched and searched and have not been able to find out if the man she had been with was also let off. If you have knowledge about this, please leave a comment. It would not surprise me to find out that he is still to be punished. If this case were not so public, I would expect her to be killed within a short period of time. The dishonor she has brought upon her family is, in that culture, punishable by death. (Different from pre-war Japan in that you had to kill yourself.) Not everyone in this culture would kill their own sister or daughter, but many would. In many cases, her own family would likely be the driving force behind her death. In that culture, killing her is an act of penance. Cleansing the family honor. In our culture, it is murder. I think of this as being important because if this is how this culture handles people whom you care a great deal about, how will the same culture handle situations with people who are not close to you? How about people who do not belong within your culture? Most likely, not any better. Possibly, much worse.

How does this pertain to warfare? Although these events are not part of an actual war, the underlying cultural differences are influencing forces behind the conflict. The legal system of the United States and Saudi Arabia (Based upon Islamic law) are so different that they can be seen as being hostile to each other.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I have noticed that the Madrassas that we used to hear about so much after 9/11/01 are not in the news very much the past few years. Madrassa means school, although I am referring to the specific ones that teach ‘authentic’ Islam. Seeing that Islamic terrorists constantly refer to many of the ‘authentic’ laws of Islam, it seems that this is an important part in the ideological war that is taking place. So why little to no news on this subject? I suppose that this subject is not very interesting. Not as news worthy as a bombing which kills 10 people, or an attempt on the life of a major political figure. I have another theory as well.

Waging war is expensive. It costs large amounts of money to pay soldiers, pay for the weapons and training. The men need to eat, and require health care. A wounded soldier is very expensive to care for. Equipment is destroyed and needs to be replaced. Munitions seem to evaporate, through training and use in combat.

The war in Iraq is expensive for the United States for these reasons. Our enemy is also spending vast amounts of resources. Not as much as we are, but in order for them to field the army that opposes us, and supply them, they must be spending much more than they would be otherwise. These resources cannot be sent anywhere else.
In general, the Madrassas that teach ‘authentic’ Islam are free for the students. This is one of the main reasons why parents wish to send their children there. The children are well taken care of, the parents don’t have to support them, and they get an education. (Even if it is limited) The Madrassas cost money to operate. The individuals and organizations that support them now have a choice they have to make. Now that a war is going on in Iraq, money that was funding the Madrassa is not nearly as plentiful. A sizable amount will need to be sent to fight the war in Iraq instead of helping to spread the ‘authentic’ word of Islam.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Civil War in Iraq

One argument against the United States involvement in the war in Iraq is that it is a Civil War. It is not our fight. Although many sides in the war are becoming apparent, the two main groups are Sunni and Shiite. The difference between the two is a result of events that occurred more than 1,000 years ago. They differ in who is the rightful leader of the Muslim world. OK, a number of splits occurred in Christianity over the past millennium. Why are they not killing each other? A major contributing reason is the ‘authentic’ law of Islam that states: "The penalty for leaving Islam is death." The Christian faith may enforce ex-communication, but it is not one of the Ten Commandments. ‘Authentic’ Islamic laws are like the Commandments. They are the basis of behavior, although many other lessons are taught as well.
Sunni’s see the Shiite’s as having left ‘true’ Islam. So they are Apostates. Shiite’s see Sunni’s as having left Islam as well. Not only is the penalty death, but booty is promised to all who fight. In other words, property can be seized. No wonder a Civil War is taking place. However, it is not taking place just in Iraq. The problem is within Islam itself.
A number of laws in Islam are considered ‘authentic’. Authentic laws are considered by Islamic scholars to have been issued by Mohammed himself. In other words, they are God’s laws. If you disagree with other Muslims on any of these, they see you as not believing in God’s laws. Seeing as you are Muslim, you have left ’true’ Islam. If a group of fellow Muslim’s holds your view, it makes sense that organized conflict (war) would result. The promise of Booty encourages this. Both sides see themselves as enforcing Islamic law. Laws to disagree on are plentiful, hence a tendency toward civil unrest and violence. Example: Riots when Nigerian court refused to stone a woman to death when she was married and convicted of adultery.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Terrorists in Jail

One area of argument in the ‘war on terror’ is that terrorists should be prosecuted as common criminals. To do otherwise is to give them a status that they do not deserve. Not to mention the risk incurred by placing them in facilities outside of the law.

The other side of the argument is that prison is a breeding ground for rebellion in all cultures. To place terrorists into the prison population is to run the risk of spreading the ‘religion’ that they believe so strongly in. They don’t carry their arms openly, do not wear uniforms yet use military weapons and tactics to prey on civilians, have no official government support. This argument believes that terrorists are similar to pirates. In past years, pirates were hung. Today, this is not really accepted, so interrogation and separation from society for the rest of their lives seems a more humane way of dealing with them. Besides, useful information may be obtained through means that would not be available to use on civilian prisoners. (I do not necessarily agree.)

One thing that is not commonly known: During World War II, Japanese soldiers were taught to give no quarter. They would kill themselves before being captured. It would be the height of dishonor to be captured. As a result, the United States captured few Japanese soldiers. Usually, they were captured because they had been knocked unconscious. Because they had received no training in prisoner’s rights, they did not know that all they had to say was name, rank and serial number. So it was not uncommon to obtain vital information that saved some of our men’s lives. Terrorists probably have better education in this regard. Have you noticed that the terrorist organizations are not screaming about their prisoners? I suspect that at least part of the reason is that it is so dishonorable. Because they do not have government support, their position is unknown. Giving them civil protections would change this equation drastically.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Osama bin Lauden’s mistake

Osama made a mistake on 9/11/01. He hit us too soon. He really should have waited. I sent an e-mail to the White House (Yea, like it will really make much difference) where I pointed out that if the attack on Washington D.C. on 9/11/01 had been with a nuclear device, our government would have been decapitated. Both houses of Congress were in session, as was the Supreme Court of the U.S. The military of this country reports to the civilian government, so it stands to reason the most, if not all of the top ‘Brass’ was in D.C that day as well. After all, at that level military officers are almost as political as they are generals. The military would have survived in better shape. The organization is designed to run even if portions are destroyed. It would have still been injured. I believe that this is the reason why the Bush administration developed that ‘shadow’ government that we used to hear about. This was a concept from the 1950’s with a modern twist. With the telecommunications of today, key elements of the government do not have to be physically present to conduct the business of the country. In at least one way, the threat of nuclear war is actually much higher today than during the worst days of the Soviet Union. Not because of the number of weapons, but because of the likelihood of use of them if they ever become available to the other side.

The Soviet Union was not interested in suicide. In 1963, it was the Russians who turned their ships around to avoid a nuclear confrontation. Granted, the war that could have resulted could arguably have ended human life on this planet. The war today probably will not, even if terrorists were able to successfully deploy multiple nuclear weapons. Talk about a punitive war. I would expect retaliation from us in this event. No such thing as ‘innocent’ civilians when we discuss this type of warfare. In any case, it will be far more difficult for terrorists to attempt a strike like 9/11/01 with nuclear weapons now that we have been alerted. Surprise has always been a major ingredient in successful military attacks. They will most likely have to use some other method.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Defining Islamic terrorists.

One of the largest problems with fighting terrorists is determining who they are. Just as importantly, who supports them? Maybe it would help to be more specific when defining terrorist. In reference to Islamic terrorists, most if not all appear to be deeply religious. ‘Koran bangers’ if you will. Many speak of jihad. In Jihad, you can kill the ones who are not Muslim. (Supposed to avoid killing women and children.) You may also kill those who have left Islam. (Apostates) You must honor all truces. You must kill ‘occupiers’ of Muslim lands. They view the world as being in the House of Islam or the House of War.

Jihad is an important part of Islam. Pulling its teeth would gut Islam enough to trigger any war. An additional problem is that Jihad is not the only concept that Islam must change. The main reason that people become soldiers is to protect the way of life that they understand. This is a large part of the reason why it appears that we are creating ‘new’ terrorists. Another way of looking at it: The vast majority of Germans and Japanese were good people in 1944. The fact was that the way of life that they knew had to change. Concerning Islam, the United States is demanding that they change. NOW.

The strategic problem is that this change must occur as soon as possible. The threat of WMD only becomes more likely as time passes. Historically, wars have increased the speed of these types of changes. The U.S. Civil War is an excellent example of how this type of change is increased by warfare. Changes were occurring long before Lee's surrender, although the aftermath triggered even more rapid changes.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Arab culture

Arab culture is very private. By western standards, easily offended. In these ways, it resembles the culture of Japan prior to the 1950’s. Both had been relatively isolated from much of the rest of the world for many centuries. (Japan more so) After oil was discovered in the Middle East, Arabs began to travel more. Early experiences during the 1940’s and 1950’s left Arabs who had visited the U.S. shocked by our decadence and lack of morality. Some of these individuals became openly hostile to the west in general and the United States specifically. This trend has been gaining strength ever since. The actions by the United States over the last 50 or more years is relatively unimportant to the Arab world compared to what the United States IS. What we represent. This applies to Israel as well. Believing another culture to be far inferior in ideology can lead to serious underestimation of the opponent’s strength and determination. This can also lead to overconfidence regarding your own military ability. This is what occurred with Japan. The Arab-Israeli wars can be seen to demonstrate this as well.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


One key factor in the war is the election of Hamas. How the Palestinians handle Hamas will help determine the course of the war. True democracy demands elections held on some type of regular basis. Eventually, Hamas would then be defeated at the polls. How will they adjust? Will they go quietly? This is a critical campaign in the Civil War that is taking place throughout Islam. The issues at stake for Islam are:

1) The penalty for leaving Islam is death.
2) Moral obligation to kill occupiers of Muslim land.
3) Tribute
4) Challenging Islamic electoral policy of ‘One man (Men only) one vote, once’.
5) Honor killings
6) The entire concept of ‘Jihad’.

These issues being decided in our favor will bring real, permanent, positive changes for all sides. (Exception: Fundamentalist Islamists)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Suicide attack

Repeated suicide attack was seen for only the first time in of all recorded history in the 1940’s. Japan resorted to this tactic after it was obvious that they were losing badly. Many suicide attacks had been seen prior to that point. However, the intention was that they were not to be repeated. After the defeat of the carrier air groups in the ‘Marianas Turkey shoot’, Japan began to organize suicide groups. The air force is most commonly remembered. However, it took many other forms as well. Among other things, suicide ships and torpedoes were built. Aircraft and other weapons were built to be expendable and cheap to make. "Human bombs" were organized to strap explosives to themselves. The intent was to jump under a tank or into another U.S. position to blow it up. They were given minimal training. For example, the experienced pilots escorted the Kamikaze pilots to the target. This way, the attackers would have protection and reports would be available with the results of the attack. Many missed the target. Japan would run out of attackers from time to time. The supply of aircraft, pilots and men would be used up until they could be replenished.

From the point of view of the U.S., we were faced with a problem: How do you defeat them? Defensively, it was obvious that you must physically blow them apart before they reach you. Preemption took the form of attacks with the objective to destroy the ability to launch new attacks. For example, attacking the air bases that the Kamikazes used to take off from. We did not know the exact bases, so we attacked them all. We attempted to destroy ALL aircraft in the area. This worked fairly well. We also placed more expendable assets in the way. We would place escort ships along the route to our fleet. These ships would be able to defend themselves. Inexperienced pilots would attack them instead of more important targets. This is an important factor as to why we lost so many escort ships in the Okinawa campaign.

The scary part about this is that it took nuclear weapons to put a decisive end to it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Islam and terrorism

Many people believe that all religions have an element of ‘extremists’. Like the ‘bible bangers’ that most people whom I have spoken with have run into. Although most do not become violent, some do support more extreme ideas and public figures that promote more extreme viewpoints. Islam has 1.1 billion people. A common belief is that only a small minority of Muslims supports the extreme ideas in Islam. I disagree, to a certain extent.

Was the overwhelming election of Hamas a surprise? I have believed for a long time (15+ years) that if elections were held in other countries of the Islamic world, many would see similar results. Why? One key reason is because Hamas believes in many of the ‘authentic’ laws of Islam. While the vast majority of Muslims do not want Osama Bin Lauden running their country, they support much of the ideology that he acts upon. Islamic law is hostile and incompatible with the legal system of the United States. It makes sense that the U.S. is seen as being hostile to Islam.

In 1944, the vast majority of Germans and Japanese were good people. Yet they fought for evil. Robert E. Lee did not like owing slaves. He found them difficult to manage and motivate. He fought for evil, and he fought very well and honorably. Can you think of a worse cause to fight and risk your life for?

I am not trying to say that we should go over there and start killing everyone. I am saying that we can expect resistance from good people who honestly believe that their way of life is good. Any number of them can be expected to become violent. We are asking them to change that way of life. I have studied the biographies of thousands of soldiers. By far, the vast majority cites as the original reason that they undertook the life of a soldier was to protect their way of life. This is one of the reasons so many that did not own slaves fought for slavery. I can understand. It will be over my dead body before anyone will send my kids to an Islamic school. We can expect them to feel the same way. One of the ways that extreme Islam can be reduced to a level that is more common with the rest of the world is to change the educational systems. The changing of the educational systems in Japan from 1945 to present is largely responsible for the long-term change in attitudes away from militarism and suicide attack.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Iraq war and Cold War

Few parallels can be drawn between the Cold War and today’s war in Iraq.

Ways they are Similar:

1-2) “Insidious and violent ideological wars” (Philip Gordon)

3) Long term multidimensional struggles against insidious and violent ideologies. (Philip Gordon)


1) Suicide attackers

2) Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) has no parallel with today.

Number 2 is a key reason the Cold War did not become more 'Hot'. MAD will not work with an enemy who uses repeated suicide attack as a weapon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Reasons favoring war in Iraq:

1) Strategic initiative: Bin Lauden must attack the U.S. Army in Iraq. He knows that if the U.S. is successful, the ‘cancer’ of freedom will spread. He must react to our move. Forcing your enemy to react to your moves is desirable in warfare of any type.

2) Better to have enemies who are willing to risk their lives and kill others to attack our army. It is much more difficult to kill someone who is holding a machine gun and has artillery support than a family walking through a shopping mall.

3) The war in Iraq is drawing extremists into Iraq. This stretches the ‘terrorist’ army more than ours. After all, they do not have the numbers we do. Not to mention the match-up. Seems like a good way to get killed, attacking our army. The ‘terrorist’ army does not have the resources that we do. It is expensive to wage war. They can’t match our resources: Weapons, munitions, financial resources. Conventional forces engaged in irregular combat want to force more combat. This allows the conventional side to gain more advantage regarding weapons and firepower, greater numbers, and greater resources. This is the theory behind the ‘surge’. Other wars that Islamic ‘extremists’ would support can’t be supported nearly as well. Sudan and Lebanon come to mind. This viewpoint would expect terrorist activity to fall in other places besides Iraq and Afghanistan. The Palestinian attempt at democracy can proceed with far less outside interference. The Arabs themselves will tell us that the Palestinian-Israeli problem is a key part of the war against terrorism. If the Palestinians can build a true democracy, the Arabs will ultimately win the war against terrorism.

4) The war in Iraq makes ‘terrorists’ and supporters stand out. Many people believe that the war is creating new ‘terrorists’. The other side of the coin is that the war is making them take a public stand. Just because we can see so many more now does not necessarily mean that all of them are new ones. Is this not one of the major problems with fighting terrorism? Knowing who they are and who supports them?

5) Places the war on terror into Arab hands with our support. The worst enemies of the French resistance during the occupation (1940-1944) were not the Germans. The worst enemies were French who were helping the Germans. In Vietnam, the Vietnamese who fought on our side knew the enemy better than we did. In the war in Iraq, the Arabs know who the ‘terrorists’ and their supporters are better than we do. The war is enabling friendly Arabs to identify them more readily and is giving them the ability to deal with them in a more forceful fashion.

6) War in Iraq is a Civil War that is taking place throughout Islam. Many of the people who are fighting us in Iraq and elsewhere believe in the ‘authentic’ laws in the Koran that are so hostile to the rest of the world. Many of the ‘Laws’ of Islam have to change. This is our fight because of the issues involved. The concept of Jihad has to go. No way will Islam ignore this without violence. The world cannot allow a large population like Islam to kill others and seize their property because they are not Muslim. The world cannot allow the belief that you can kill ‘occupiers’ just because they conquered a country that has the same ‘religion’ as you. The law that states the penalty for leaving Islam is death must change. The payment of Tribute because someone is not a Muslim must end. Stoning anyone to death must end. These are some of the issues that are worth risking your life for. The United States government agrees. We have already fought wars over many of these types of issues in the past.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pakistan: Friend or Foe?

The military government of Pakistan is under tremendous pressure today. This is important because Pakistan not only has nuclear weapons but also has missile systems to deliver them. Many people believe that the military government is causing many of the problems. One argument is that if democracy can be installed, many of the problems will disappear. After all, is this not what we are doing in Iraq?

The danger is in the election of Islamic representatives. "Islamic electoral policy has been classically summarized as ‘One man (Men only) one vote, once.’" "Once Islam is selected, there is no going back." (Bernard Lewis) No more voting can take place. The penalty for leaving Islam is death, so they can’t go back.

This is why the election of HAMAS is so important. I am worried about trying this experiment on a country with nuclear weapons and the method to deliver.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Islamic ruling in Saudi Arabia

In the issue of the Chicago Tribune dated 11/16/07, on page 15, an article appeared titled ‘Rape victim’s sentence: 200 lashes’. The article dealt with a recent Saudi court ruling. The court had sentenced a woman who had been convicted of being in the same car as an unrelated man. "The young woman’s offense was in meeting a former boyfriend, whom she had asked to return pictures he had of her because she was about to marry another man. The couple were sitting in a car when a group of seven men kidnapped them and raped them both." "Lashing is a common sentence under the Saudi penal code. Usually, lashes are meted out in increments because offenders could not survive hundreds of lashes at once."

We must be careful. After all, our legal system can be considered barbaric because we do have the death penalty. I do find it hard to believe that in the 21st century, a country as advanced as Saudi Arabia hands out punishments so backward as whipping. And this is not even the worst of it. The woman is by our standards, the victim. The man she was with was convicted as well, and he received the same sentence as she did. He was a victim as well. True, the attackers received sentences ranging from 10 months to 5 years in prison and 80 to 1000 lashes each.

The violence that results from conviction is designed to make people fearful. It certainly would make us all think carefully before we tried anything of the sort. One of the arguments supportive of Islamic law is that criminal behavior tends to be lower in areas where Islamic law is the law of the land. I can see why. The argument is that this is good because it discourages illegal behavior. I would expect to find this is the case in most police states. Also, this sounds like the end justifies the means.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Islamic legal system is hostile to U.S.

The Islamic legal system is inherently hostile to that of the United States. So many of the ‘authentic’ laws have to be ignored in order to be compatible with our legal system as to make it a sure thing that violence will result from any attempt like the experiment in Iraq. A political solution is not available for those who follow the ‘authentic’ law that a married, convicted adulteress is to be stoned to death. You either enforce it, or you do not. No gray area to work with. Islamic law has this problem as a general rule. If you decide not to enforce, you are an Apostate. Islamic law is so precise that it requires a great deal of ignoring laws in order to be compatible with the rest of the world. This places anyone who agrees with this, extreme liberal ‘version’ of Islam in the category of Apostate. No wonder a civil war is going on in Iraq and the rest of the Islamic world.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Islamic terrorism must change.

The moral obligation to kill ‘occupiers’ of Muslim land has to end. This ‘authentic’ law is closely tied to another ‘authentic’ law: The penalty for leaving Islam is death. Islam is a one way street. Once you become Muslim, you cannot go back. Once land is controlled by Islam, it can never become non-Muslim. (In the eyes of Islam.) Once another entity ‘occupies’ it, then a moral obligation to kill the ‘occupiers’ is triggered. This is closely tied in with Jihad. As Bernard Lewis points out: "For most of the fourteen hundred years of Muslim history, Jihad has been commonly interpreted to mean armed struggle for the advancement or defense of Muslim power." If the means for open warfare is not available, irregular warfare is the natural result. It is not a far step to take to become what we consider to be a ‘terrorist’.
These issues can be seen to be important influencing factors in the many Arab-Israeli wars. Unless Islam is expanding, wars will be common. On top of this, once enough people disagree in a significant way about the interpretation of an ‘authentic’ law, the rest of Islam sees them as having left the faith. They have become Apostates. The penalty is death, along with the loss of property (booty) that is the reward for the warriors who enforce the law. No wonder warfare is so common in the areas where Islam is influential.
These issues not only trigger violence and warfare, but also can been seen to be impossible to eliminate without violence and warfare. These issues are combining with the general repressive nature of Islamic law and contributing as to why so much of the Muslim world has such anger management problems.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jihad = Terrorism?

I can understand ‘Just’ war. Even self-defense allows for attacking. However, Jihad appears to justify warfare against anything, including itself. Obtaining booty from Jihad rewards those who survive. This concept alone is just cause to fight a war against ANY Jihad. The concept of Jihad has got to go. Getting a large population to agree with ignoring Jihad will take a long time. This is an ‘authentic’ Islamic law. Any real, effective method of changing the Muslim attitude against Jihad will be a strong incentive to fight that type of change through open warfare. Changes like this causes wars. And this is only one of a number of issues Islam needs to address.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Dark side of Islam part II.

These items will be more difficult to deal with:

1) "In Muslim tradition, the world is divided into two houses: The house of Islam and the house of war." (Bernard Lewis, The crisis of Islam, Page 31. C2003) Want to guess where we are?

2) Tribute. Infidels payment of ‘protection’ money for living in Muslim land. In 1804, the Barbary pirates seized a United States ship. The pirates were demanding payment. The cry went out: "Millions for defense, not a penny for tribute!" The issue from our point of view was freedom of the seas. We sent our fleet over there, killed all that got in our way, released our men and burned the ship. The issue from the pirate’s view was Tribute. Infidel ships passing through Muslim waters. We owed them payment. This issue supposedly died out a long time ago. Last summer, this issue was being discussed by the Iraqi legislature. I do not know how ‘authentic’ this law is, but this issue IS still around.

3) The Moral obligation to kill occupiers of Muslim lands. I know no other requirements. In other words, even if a Muslim government launches what we would consider to be a war of aggression, the defeat of that government and occupation would trigger a worldwide obligation to kill the ‘occupiers’. This can be seen to be a major factor in the constant Arab-Israeli wars.

4) The penalty for leaving Islam is death. (An Apostate) This dooms anyone who is Muslim to death if they don’t interpret the law in the same way on a significant issue. This can be seen to contribute to the constant warfare internal to Islam and a contributing cause of the civil war going on in Iraq.

5) The penalty for a married woman convicted of adultery is stoning to death. Riots occurred in Nigeria last year because the court refused to administer this punishment. The court could be seen as having committed Apostasy. This is an ‘Authentic’ law, so this makes it a critical issue for Muslims.

6) The four legal enemies of Islam are:
(The first two qualify for ‘Jihad’)
"The presumption is that the duty of Jihad will continue (Interrupted only by truces) until the world adopts Islam or submits to Muslim rule." "Those who fight is the Jihad qualify for rewards in both worlds. Booty in this one, paradise in the next." (Bernard Lewis)
Islam can wage war against Infidels, Apostates, Rebels and bandits. This means to kill. And in the case of Jihad, seize property. This could be seen as another contributing factor in the constant Arab-Israeli wars.

7) "Islamic electoral policy has been classically summarized as ‘One man, (Men only) one vote, once.’" "Once Islam is selected, there is no going back." (Lewis) No more voting. This applies to land as well. If land becomes Muslim, it never reverts back to being non-Muslim. (The penalty for leaving Islam is death.) Spain is considered by Islam to be Muslim, because Islam had control there for many centuries. This can also be seen to be a contributing factor in the constant Arab-Israeli wars.

8) Honor killings: This is not a law. However, it makes sense that if you can kill infidels, Apostates, Rebels and Bandits that you can kill members of your family whom are ‘disloyal’. Specifically, women. The Koran’s laws treat women somewhat like property. It can become necessary to sell or kill one from time to time. (Sorry about that. This one really pisses me off.)

9) Fatwa: Lots of arguments on the limits of this one. Since the rise of the nation-state, most Muslims see this as not being compulsive. The Fatwa’s are optional, although not everyone sees it this way. Even a small percentage can create major problems. One problem is that this gives Immans the authority of nation-states. I am certain that Immans did not and do not want to give this authority up. I would expect violence here.

Many of these issues are worth risking your life for. (Or against) The United States government has already fought a small war over number 2. All of these items are hostile to our legal system and our government. No wonder a war is in process in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The DARK side of Islam.

Islamic law has some problems. I am dividing this into two sections. These seven problems are what I consider to be solvable. Either we can accept that Islam is this way, or we could persuade Muslims to either ignore or re-consider the way it is enforced.

1) It is illegal to charge or to be charged interest on a loan. A new, liberal idea is to allow an exception for first time homebuyers. Modern economic theory demands this concept. This is a contributing reason why the Islamic world has such serious economic difficulty.

2) Two women testimony equals one man. This applies only to very specific situations. However, it is insulting for many men in this culture to be treated as or to be thought of as equal with ANY woman. Much in the same way as ex-slaves were thought of during the 2nd half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries. (Somewhat even today.)

3) Beat your wife. OK, this is being debated because the phrase can be read multiple ways. The fact that this argument is so widespread indicates that millions of men believe that physically striking your wife is the correct way to interpret this law. If you can treat your loved ones this way, how will someone like this treat you or I?

4) Mecca and Medina being illegal for anyone who is not a Muslim. Not an ‘authentic’ law that I know of. However, it has been enforced for centuries.

5) Marry for one hour and divorce as long as payment is made properly. I do not know how ‘authentic’ this law is. It is sanctioned prostitution. I don’t personally have an issue here.

6) Multiple wives. OK! Now we are talking!

7) Innovation is taboo. The use of other words (like industrious) to take it’s place. This causes more problems economically.

Islam and Polygamy follow up.

Thank you for the comments on my post ‘Islam and Polygamy’. For those of you who wish to view them, please scroll to the bottom of the post on Nov 6th and click on the section "1 comment link for this post".

Please note that the portions of the post within quotes have been taken from the web site These are the arguments supporting the idea that polygamy is good. I agree with the comments posted by anonymous. I believe that polygamy is NOT good, and I believe that the arguments that "protect the modesty of women" are really intended to maintain control over them. In other words, methods to keep them in their place.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Islam and the Koran

The criticisms of Islam concentrate upon the rules or laws that are written in the Koran. The Koran is a group of phrases, organized in order from the shortest phrases listed first to the longest ones. The Islamic legal system that is being used today has developed and evolved from these phrases over the past 1400 years. Islamic scholars have argued over the years about these rules. The scholars have made clear which laws are considered to be ‘authentic’ and which have been added since the days of Mohammed.

The ‘singing’ of the Koran is said to be inspiring. The way it is spoken brings additional meaning and lifts the heart. In my own personal experience, I have been wary of how things are said. Meaning can and is imparted by how something is spoken. However, I have not been very good at it. I have believed since I was very young that what is said is more important. You can sing ‘beat him and take from him’ to me in very nice tones and even inspire additional, positive meaning(s). However, the message is still violence in addition to taking something that is not mine. We shall look at some of the Koran's laws in the next post.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Islam and terrorism

Why does it appear that so many terrorists are Muslims? All cultures have ‘homegrown’ terrorists. Why does it seem that in the parts of the world where Islam is prevalent so many terrorists are active?
I have noticed that the Islamic world seems sensitive to insult. In our culture, giving one the middle finger is considered an insult. The F word is considered an insult. Why does it appear that the Islamic world is constantly being insulted? And violence seems to result. The Danish cartoons come to mind. I don’t like being insulted any more than the next guy, but I do not become violent about it. Why does it seem that the Islamic world can’t take it very well?

Not long after the fall of the Tailban in Afghanistan, a western news service wished to interview a pro western Afghan. He even agreed to be interviewed by a woman. A list was provided to her that was over 2 dozen items long detailing how she should act and dress. Nobody wanted to even accidentally insult him. She agreed. During the interview, he said something that was funny. She and the cameraman laughed. He stormed out of the room, having been insulted by a woman laughing. It was not on the list provided to her. I am certain that it was just overlooked.
Maybe Islam has nothing to do with this. To be more thorough, I plan to cover Islamic law. Maybe then we will find some answers. Certainly not all of the answers will be there. But maybe we will find some.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Counter terrorism blog

We have conflicts on many levels today. In the war concerning terrorism, one good source is

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Islam and POLYGAMY

POLYGAMY is allowed in Islam. Speaking as a man, I don’t personally have an issue here. Even if I was inclined to, I know that I cannot afford more than one wife. From what I understand, the vast majority of Muslim men have only one wife. Makes sense to me. After all, if you really care about the women you love, you would not commit to more than what you can afford. (While you and I may agree or disagree, Islam places the burden of support of women on the men.)

Some of the reasons Islam allows more than one wife. (Note * I have left some out. For the complete list, please go to under ‘Most common questions asked by Non-Muslims’.)

5. Average life span of females is more than that of males.
7. World female population is more than male population
8. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical.
"Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband."
"Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first.
In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honorable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life.
Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become public property. Islam prefers giving women the honorable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second.
There are several other reasons why Islam has permitted limited polygamy, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women."

The point about women’s option of either being married or becoming public property is of concern to me. What is meant by ‘Public Property’? A more extensive study of Islam is necessary to understand what meanings could be attached here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The good side of Islam

The Kamikaze attack on 9/11/01 woke me to the fact that we are seeing repeated suicide attack for only the 2nd time in all of recorded history. As you know, the 1st occurrence was during the war between the U.S. and Japan. (1941-45) Knowing that war as well as I do, I realized that I needed to study Islam.
Everyone is subject to your own prejudices. I wanted to attempt to get an even view, so I decided to begin by selecting material that was pro-Islam, anti-Islam and neutral. The neutral one was the most difficult. I found some material published by a theologian who had participated in some meetings of his peers from other religions who had discussed the differences between them. Over the past 6 years, I have read 7 or 8 books supportive of Islam, and another 5 or 6 that are critical of Islam. Plus numerous articles in magazines and newspapers.
The pro-Islamic views are basically stories of Mohammed’s life. How he was persecuted for all of those years. How he could not read or write. He visited a cave and 30 days later he emerged and could read and write. How he took care of the wives and children of men who had been killed in battle. Even his enemies wives and children. Many wonderful lessons like the parables in the Bible. Basically, good stories of how you should lead your life. How the Koran is said to be inspiring when read or sung. From a citizen of the United States point of view, the good side of Islam. A good site to check out is:

Friday, November 2, 2007

War as a political solution

Sometimes, the only political solution is war. France and England were caught in this trap in 1938. The political solution to ending slavery in the United States was a major trigger in the civil war. I am not trying to say that this is the case in Iraq. I am only pointing out that non-violent political (and diplomatic) solutions have limitations. To use a crude example:
Someone pulls a knife on you. You have two choices:
1) Give him what he wants.
2) Shove that knife right up his ass.
A good friend replied to me that people behave differently in-groups. Quite true. However, man is still violent when working as a group. In fact, working in a group enhances his violence toward others. Hitler pulled a knife on a lot of people. The United States helped with the eventual placement of the knife. At the same time, we allied ourselves with a government that was only slightly less undesirable than the one we were fighting. The point here is that human nature does not change because we are placed into a group.
Hitler was considered to be far right. The Krupps and other private individuals and groups owned the means of production. Stalin was far left. The government owned the factories. Yet they were the same type of tyranny. If you fear Hitler more than Stalin, you would tend to vote more left. If your fear is from the left, you would lean right. The extremes are the BIG problem seeing that they are basically the same thing. However, extreme situations call for extreme measures. Survival may depend upon taking extreme measures. The balance between the two can be a tough one.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

2 additional reasons to be against war in Iraq

Thank you Dredezp for your additional 2 reasons.

18) By going to war in Iraq, we waste the international goodwill that we obtained as a result of 9/11/01.
19) We are wasting the good will of our young men and women who have enlisted for patriotic and righteous reasons. Now they are policemen and policewomen trying to quell a civil war. You can’t be both a policeman and a soldier. They signed up to be soldiers. Now we need far more monetary lures to entice the eligible enlisting.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

5 additional reasons to be against war in Iraq.

Thank you CLINCHER for your comments.

13) Destabilizing the region.
14) Undermining the security of NATO ally Turkey.
15) Emboldening Iran.
16) Weakening reform movement in Iran
17) Strengthening Islamist militants in Pakistan.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

12 Reasons to be against war in Iraq.

I placed an asterisk in front of #12 because it is a little far-fetched.

1) Breeds new terrorists.
2) Undermines the U.N.
3) Undermines moderate Arabs.
4) Gives POW status to criminals. Civil authorities should handle.
5) Diverts resources away from civil authorities and puts these resources into the military. This is counterproductive.
6) No WMD. War is unjustified.
7) Undermines Civil liberties.
8) This is a Civil War. Not our fight.
9) We are creating new enemies in addition to new terrorists.
10) We took a good leader out and replaced it with anarchy. I am defining anarchy in this case as being constant warfare, chaos and civil strife.
11) Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11/01.
*12) President Bush is a warmonger. He started the war to get back at Saddam. After all, Saddam took a shot at killing his father.

Pretty solid case. Please let me know if you have any additional that you would like me to add.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Iraq a breeding ground

In the 10/25/07 issue of the Chicago Tribune, an article was printed in the Perspective section titled: "Headquarters".
"Without doubt, our security at home is connected to Iraq's future. One can observe radicalized youth from across the region entering Iraq. This serves as an urban training ground for this generation of militants, successors of the Afghan jihad against the Soviets. These mujahedeens will most likely also plan future operations-but our prolonged presence in Iraq will not deter this."
I find this interesting for a number of reasons. Many people believe that the war in Iraq is basically an internal one. Some outside influence is helping the ‘insurgents’, but overall, they originate from within Iraq. So, many militants who what to kill Americans are going into Iraq. There, they are obtaining combat experience and skills that will enable them to go out into the rest of the world and create more problems. The conclusion is that our presence in Iraq will in no way deter this. Implied is the idea that our presence in Iraq helps them.
Some questions to ponder:
If we leave Iraq, where will these guys go? Home? And hang up the guns? The combat experience they now have will enable them to attack schools and shopping malls far more effectively than attacking our men who carry machine guns. Do you believe that they will go home and call it quits? Some undoubtedly will. What about the rest?
The war in Iraq has been going on for 4 and ½ years. This war is breeding new terrorists and building an army of enemies of the United States. I expected this new army to have shown itself by now. Why have we not been hit in other parts of the world during this time? Other countries are being hit. Why not us?
The United States has not been hit directly since 9/11/01, except in Iraq and Afghanistan. I suspect many reasons exist. I have studied thousands of biographies of soldiers. They site countless reasons why they risked and gave up their lives. The most common that I found was that they were fighting to protect their way of life.
Robert E Lee did not like owning slaves. He found them "difficult to motivate and manage". Yet he fought for slavery. He was a wealthy man, and a smart one. Can you think of a worse cause to risk and lose everything? This includes your life. Many southerners that fought and died in the U.S. Civil War did not own slaves. Lee claimed that he fought for Virginia. He was more loyal to the state than the Federal government.
Many southerners were as well. One contributing reason was by doing away with slavery; the social order would be upset. Poor whites could have fought because at least the slaves were below them, in the pecking order. That would be gone, they would be right in there with them. Rich ones depended upon the labor they provided. The southern way of life would be changed, radically. They fought to prevent this. The strange part about it is, the war itself sped up the entire process. Believe it or not, this is not uncommon.
Particularly in modern history, wars commonly have spread technology. Cultural contact is usually increased during wartime. Someone is generally winning, and occupation during and after wartime is common. Cultural contact cannot be avoided. Cultural contact in Iraq is on a large scale. The ex-French president himself said: "democracy is not a process. It is a culture." In other words, we are attempting to implant a foreign culture in an Arab country. The Arab community is far more loyal to the ‘tribe’ and other more local influences than the central government. No wonder a war is going on there. Talk about changing the way of life for the people who live in that part of the world. Protecting your way of life is the leading cause for becoming a soldier. The question that I am struggling with is: Where is the army that this is producing?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stretched military in Iraq.

I am seeing constant reference to how our military is ‘stretched’ almost to the breaking point. This would lead me to believe that we are losing the war. This implies that our military is barely able to handle the war and our commitments. This would seem to indicate that we would be unable to escalate the war any further in order to win it. The side that can keep escalating wins wars. If our capacity is reached, we would be unable to match any further escalating and would by default, lose the war. The logical step is to lower the pressure on our military and reduce our commitments. We would then be able to ‘rebuild’ our military.
During wartime, the armed forces are constantly being stretched. The system is designed to function in this type of environment. The idea in warfare is to push so hard that the enemy cannot push back hard enough to beat you. If the two sides are anywhere near equal in strength and abilities, then the war must last long enough for one of them to get so tired that they either surrender or quit. Are we really that tired? Is our enemy really that strong?
Even if you do not agree that we should have our army in Iraq, you have to admit, this is a war. Standard guerrilla warfare. Compared to other wars in our history, this one is small. Our military has handled far worst disasters than what we are seeing in Iraq. We have lost more than 4000 men in a day. We have sustained far greater losses and loss of equipment that had gone on for years. And we are at the end of our tether?
No. We can sustain a much greater effort if we wish to. The problem is not how our military is ‘stretched’ to the breaking point. The problem is that we believe that the war is not worth it. The war is not worth the losses already sustained. Any additional effort to win is wasted effort and pointless. In this case, we really are tired of the war. Psychologically tired, not physically. I do not buy the hypothesis that our armed forces are ‘stretched’ to the limit. As with all guerrilla wars, we have a stronger military, better training, better weapons, and greater numbers. (Combatants) We may not win the war, but it will not be because our enemy is militarily stronger than we are.

Monday, October 22, 2007

U.S. resolution on Turkish genocide

The U.S. Congress voted in favor of a resolution acknowledging as genocide the Turkish slaughter of Armenians in the period 1915-1918. The timing of this resolution can be for many reasons. One influencing factor is the war in Iraq. If you are dead set against the war, and believe it to be best to leave as soon as possible, placing pressure on Turkey is a good solution. One influential way that the U.S. congress helped end the U.S. involvement in Vietnam was to cut off funding. A substantial amount of the logistical support for the U.S. effort in Iraq is going through Turkey. If we get Turkey to prohibit this, it can help the process of ending our involvement in Iraq. Seems like a good move.

Turkey is an Islamic country. The Islamic world seems to have a great deal of difficulty acknowledging that the Holocaust took place at all. And Muslims had nothing to do with it, other than to be pro-Axis neutrals. Now we are asking them to acknowledge something that one of their own perpetrated. I would expect this to be very difficult, at best. It is certainly worth doing in the long run. On the other side, this event occurred almost a hundred years ago. The Ottoman Empire does not exist anymore. It was broken up after that war. Is anyone still alive that was involved and can be held responsible? I thought that I cannot be held accountable for something my grandfather did.

Yes, Turkey has to eventually come to terms with this. However, by doing this now, we can seriously damage our war effort. We need allies in the Middle East. Apparently, the U.S. Congress does not think that we need Turkish help. Do you agree?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Difference #2 between Iraq and Vietnam

I would like to clarify point #2 in the differences between Iraq and Vietnam:

The government of Iraq had been hostile to the United States for more than 10 years before the U.S. toppled its government. President Clinton went out of his way to avoid war. The U.S. bombings in Iraq during his administration were the result of radar locks on U.S. aircraft by Iraqi forces. The peace treaty signed in 1991 specified this as an act of war. This is thought of as being the same thing as shooting a missile at an airplane.

Vietnam in contrast, involved the United States armed forces to support its government, not topple it. The U.S. had been involved in South Vietnamese domestic activity well before the escalation in 1965. In Iraq, the U.S. did not become involved in domestic activity until after Saddam had been toppled from power. Then it became a matter of establishing a different government.

Many people believe that the war in Iraq is a domestic issue. This is undoubtedly true, although many other factors are of major impact as well.

Vietnam vrs. Iraq

Iraq and Vietnam are similar in some ways:

1) In both cases, we (The U.S.) are fighting a guerrilla war with conventional forces.

2) The enemy has an opposite ideology.

3) In both wars, the enemy is obtaining material support from outside the country.

4) The population of the U.S. is tiring of the war. We are seen as losing the war. Vietnam took 7 years of major commitment before withdrawal. It remains to be seen how long it will take in Iraq.

5) An increase in violence was and is being seen as signs of losing the war.

6) Politically, the wars are disasters for the political party who engaged in fighting in the first place.

I am certain that I have missed many. Please feel free to comment.

Iraq and Vietnam are different in other ways:

1) Opposite overall situation. In Vietnam, the U.S. controlled the cities and villages. The VC and NVA controlled the countryside. In Iraq, the desert is ideal for our army. The fighting is in the cities.

2) The beginning of Vietnam was a gradual escalation. A major escalation was in 1965, but the U.S. had been involved for close to 10 years by then. Iraq was an invasion in 2003 that has gone on since.

3) Vietnam did not see repeated suicide attack. I will cover this subject in future posts.

4) War in Iraq much lower intensity conflict. Much more fighting in Vietnam. Losses in U.S. forces for 7 years in Vietnam were 58,000 dead and 304,000 wounded. Losses in 4 and ½ years in Iraq are 3,800 dead and 28,000. At this rate, it will take Iraq more than 40 years to equal Vietnam’s U.S. losses. (As with any stat, this must be taken with a grain of salt. However, it does give us an idea of how much fighting is taking place.)

I am certain that I have missed some here as well. The overall point is that NO two wars are the same. Significant differences ALWAYS exist.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Evolution of U.S. involvement in Vietnam

Many people are comparing the war in Iraq today with the war in Vietnam. In some ways, they are similar. In others, they are not. It may be helpful to have a condensed recounting of how the U.S. became to be involved in Vietnam:

France controlled Vietnam during the 2nd half of the 19th century, and the 1st half of the 20th. A number of uprisings occurred during this time. They were brutally suppressed. This had been common practice by ‘occupiers’ throughout colonial history. After Paris fell to Germany in 1940, the French control slackened some, and the Vietminh began to resist more openly. Japan overran Vietnam in 1942 and occupied it until the end of the war in 1945. Resistance to Japanese occupation was at a noticeably higher level.

In January, 1944, General Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander in Europe. He moved his headquarters to England. During the next few months, he became familiar with the French resistance. Our viewpoint was from the resistance side. He was exposed to the organizations problems, abilities, and limitations.

After the war, Vietnam was re-occupied by the French. Resistance was at a much higher level than pre-war, and this did not drop off. In 1954, the situation had deteriorated so much for France that a good portion of their army was surrounded at Dien Bien Phu. The French government appealed for direct help, and Eisenhower said no. It fell and Vietnam was divided into North and South.

In 1956, reports began to come into President Eisenhower’s office. Small groups of armed men (Generally, 6 to 10) would enter a small village in South Vietnam and demand food (Rice) and loyalty in exchange for ‘protection’. The villagers were hostile to these demands, but frequently gave in as they were unarmed and wanted to protect their families. President Eisenhower did what any general would do: He took out a map.

Terrain: Swamps and forests. Economy: Agrarian. Population: Spread out in small villages, population generally between 100 and 500 people. One large city, Saigon was the capital. The strategy that was developed and implemented was to select a village. Out of a population of 100, about 10 people would be men of ages 15 to 45. Have a few men (CIA or similar) enter the village; supply them with small arms and training. Enough ammunition and training to enable them to maintain the equipment and to defend themselves. The U.S. men would then go to the next village a few klicks away and begin the process again. Within the first year, this process was showing signs of success. The hostile force was entering the village and was not getting any food. They were also losing a few men in the process. It was a painfully slow process. By 1959, estimates were than the job would be completed by 1970. Then came the election of 1960.

It would have been unprofessional and completely out of character for Eisenhower not to brief his replacement in what he had been doing.

Did you ever see the movie JFK? You know, the movie that claimed that JFK was killed because of a memo that he sent out a week after he took office? The memo said that he wanted the war ended by January 1st, 1964. He was setting a political deadline because he was thinking re-election. (I am guessing here.) In any case, the implication is that he needed to change the plan. Here we have a man whose military experience was command over 10 men for a few months. He had his command destroyed by an enemy ship running over his. He was going to change the military plan that had been created by one of the better military minds that this country has ever produced.

His idea was to use the officers coming out of training in guerrilla warfare and have them speed up the effort in Vietnam. This would allow us to leave by 1964. After all, the military has the assets to do this. These officers began to arrive in Vietnam during the spring of 1961. The result was a reorganization of Vietnam’s military. It was set up as a conventional force. The villages were required to send the men 10 miles up the road into a conventional battle formation. The village had just been stripped of its defense. This placed the South Vietnamese men in a cruel position: Either be patriotic or join the other side to protect your family. The war began to go noticeably worse. Over time, we (The United States) became the enemy. President Johnson took the next step and increased the number of our men that we had posted there.

General Eisenhower knew the army. I am certain that this is why he did not have them get involved in the first place.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I mention Piracy because of it’s similarity with today’s terrorists. Pirates have been around since the dawn of time. They still exist today. Pirates wear civilian clothes; do not carry their weapons openly. They target civilians and use military weapons and tactics. They have no support. No government will openly side with them. The primary difference between pirates and today’s terrorists appear to be overall objective. Pirates attack for personal gain. Today’s terrorists are seen as being political.

How people and governments deal with piracy has been clear for more than 2000 years. I am not advocating that we do this with terrorists, but pirates were generally executed when caught. Some were spared when it was known that they spared people whom they could have killed. Or else it was known that they had rendered other useful service.

Terrorists who are captured are generally of far more value alive than dead. Getting valuable information out of them is tricky, at best.

I know that the civil problem with not allowing terrorists an American version of legal justice is a major concern. However, my specialty is warfare. I know that if we allow suspected terrorists the same legal rights that you and I enjoy as Americans, we will place an additional strain upon our soldiers. It will create the environment where it just may be better to go ahead and kill him than to take the chance that he will get away. Obviously, this can be counterproductive in numerous ways. Food for thought.


Thank you to those who have posted comments. Anthropositor: Please leave site address in comments. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More Violence

I spoke with an acquaintance last night. He has seen this web site and mentioned that my post from Monday, 10/8/07 leads one to believe that I am saying that mankind is becoming more violent. After re-reading it, I agree with him. This is incorrect. Mankind is only as violent as he ever was. I was attempting to point out that because technology is advancing, the wars he wages are becoming more destructive. A full-fledged nuclear war between the old Soviet Union and the United States could have arguably end human life on this planet. No war in all of recorded history could have ended with even being close to this possibility. Some estimates were that the aftermath would see humans set back to the Middle Ages, possibly further. The discussion that I was undertaking was designed to point out how much more destructive the modern, major wars have and can become. This is the trend that I am referring to. The wars of the future will continue to become more destructive as humans discover new, more powerful ways to kill each other.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Warlike trend

The 20th century was by far the most violent century in all of recorded history. The vast majority of that violence was in the first half, namely World Wars I and II. The 19th century had been the most violent century before that. The 18th century had held the record before that. The same reasons that wars tend to become more violent as they progress apply to the larger view over the centuries. Toss in the fact that technology allows for larger armies. I would expect this trend to continue.

It makes sense that after the larger wars, things become quiet for some years. Exhaustion from war requires time to recover. Maybe human violence is like earthquakes. Maybe we need the smaller wars to relieve the stress? Otherwise, WATCHOUT! It has been more than 60 years since the last major war. Not that Vietnam, Korea or some of the other wars were not large. I am referring to the largest of them all, the World Wars. The pattern is that the centuries are becoming more violent, the wars larger and larger. It stands to reasoning that we can expect another world war sometime in the 21st century. Seeing that it has been more than half a century since the last big war, it appears likely to me that this will occur during the first half of the 21st century.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Wartime news reporting

Reading wartime news reports well after the fact can be enlightening. Naturally, the reporters and editors do not have the information that we can have access to many years later. However, it can reveal what they are good at, and what they are not so good at.

Wartime news reporting is exceptionally accurate at reporting the politics of the day. Even during peacetime, reporting is VERY good at this. After all, the information is public knowledge. Reporting also is very talented at political analysis. Almost everything that you see/hear/read has a heavy filter through a political view.

Wartime news reporting is good at reporting friendly losses. Far less information is available to report on in the larger wars. In the smaller conflicts and battles, this information tends to be far more numerous and accurate. Wartime reporting is inconsistent when reporting enemy losses. In low intensity wars, reporting tends to be more accurate. In larger affairs, it is off the mark a great deal more often.

Wartime reporting fails miserably when doing analysis, other than through a political outlook. A classic example is the Washington Post dated October, 15, 1943. The political statements and analysis are first-rate. Militarily speaking, it would appear that although the allied forces were doing well in some areas, the overall situation is not all that bright. I can go into considerable detail here, but at this stage in the war, the allies were so dominate that it is difficult for me to understand how they could have been so far off. Yes, I have much more information that they were denied.

During the Vietnam War, I remember hearing the argument that the U.S. could not win because we controlled the cities, and the VC (Viet Cong) and the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) controlled the countryside. We were contesting the countryside, but we would only control small parts for a limited period. In Iraq today, is the situation not reversed? For many years now, overall reporting has been indicating that the U.S. can not win in Iraq. Something is missing here. Good reasons exist as to why the war has evolved the way that they have in both cases. These are missed by wartime reporting. I have yet to see it, and I am looking.

The ‘Tet’ offensive is another good example. In 1968, North Vietnam launched an offensive. It was an attempt at showing how far they had come. They committed many of the VC cadres that had been painfully built up over 10 years. At the same time, the NVA committed 4 divisions in a conventional battle. It was a military disaster for them. The 4 divisions were wiped out, as were many of the VC cadres. Yet reporting indicated this as being a stunning defeat for the U.S. Politically, this was the case. Militarily, reporting got it exactly opposite. A more recent example:

Remember the 30 day war between Israel and Hezbollah last summer? The news that I was watching and reading reported that Israel lost and Hezbollah won BIG-TIME. (Exception: The Wall Street Journal was careful to point out that the views were political in nature.) Yes, on the political front, this was the case. Looking at it from a different view leads me to question this. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) numbers more than 150,000 men and women. (I am guessing to a limited degree here.) All the estimates of Hezbollah that I have seen indicate a number of between 7000 and 7500 men in Lebanon. (Combatants) Loss of life for the two combatants was published at 158 lost for Israel and around 2000 to 2200 lost for Hezbollah. In other words, Israel lost about .1% of its combat strength. Hezbollah lost somewhere around 25%. Many well-trained combat units have broken and fled the field in disorder after suffering far fewer losses than 25%. Hezbollah is far from being a well trained organization. At best, morale took a major hit. Hezbollah got hurt. BAD. Even if figures are off quite a bit, it will take them a year or more to recover. Please note how seldom they have been appearing in the news over the past year. The overall point is that wartime news reporting is really bad at military analysis. The reporters and editors have very little to absolutely no understanding of the warfare that they are covering.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


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Flushing out the enemy

On I found an article titled 'US forces lure Iraqis with bait.' US snipers have been planting munitions in Iraq and shooting people who attempt to take it. Three snipers are being held for court martial for planting evidence upon individuals after they had been killed.

It stands to reason that if the enemy suspected this might occur, they will do one of two things: Coerce someone to do it for them. Or pick someone who is more expendable. In both cases, make certain that they do not have any evidence upon them that will allow us to determine which is which. From our point of view, we really will have no way to know. The main problem here is that the choice is: Are you a policeman or a soldier? In combat situations, you cannot be both. Deception and ambush are long established valid tactics in warfare. However, entrapment by police is illegal. Are we going to make our soldiers be policemen, or be soldiers?

I am guessing that in Iraq, it just may depend upon where you are at the time and what the situation is. The problem for us in the U.S. is how can we really tell? My own personal opinion is that Iraq is a war zone. I believe that we have to trust our men over there. My life is not dependent upon this. Our soldier’s lives are. If the war was here, I might feel differently. I don’t know. I just do not ever want to find out.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Civilians in war

Historians view the American Civil war as the first of the modern wars. They cite many reasons for this. One reason is Sherman’s march to the sea. He waged war against civilians. After his march, the war lasted only 5 more months. Throughout history, armies fought primarily against each other. Civilians did get in the way, and at times they were targeted. The vast majority of the time, the enemy army was the primary objective. Punitive wars were fairly rare. In sharp contrast, modern warfare has waged war directly against civilians on numerous occasions. One obvious reason is that the more technology has advanced, the more the entire military is dependent upon the civilian economy. Modern warfare has far less tolerance for ‘innocent civilians’ than at any time in the past. This trend can not only be expected to continue, but to accelerate. Sooner or later, another large war will break out. WMD will almost certainly be used. Almost certainly, cities will be the primary targets.

Joe Six-Pack

Sorry I did not explain this: I am Joe Six-Pack. I use this name that President Clinton had used for 'Joe Citizen'.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Modern weapons and tactics

Innovation in weapons and how they are used have caused massive inequalities throughout history. A classic example is the Panzer Division and how its use impacted modern warfare. The Panzer Division was a group of 200 to 300 tanks within a 2 or 3 square mile area that operated as a unit. Starting in 1939 and throughout 1941, this tool was decisive in winning battles. By 1942, all other major powers had adopted this idea and the effect was reduced substantially.

The concept of an advantage because of innovation applies to weapons as well. An excellent example is the match-up of the U.S. Sherman tank against the German Tiger tanks, 1943-1945. Many Sherman tanks were up-gunned in 1944 with the 90-mm, which helped. However, the Sherman was still far inferior in the ability to take a hit. What many people do not know is that the Tiger tanks were built with the intent to fight the Soviet T34. In 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the Germans were alarmed when they found that the Soviet T34 and KV1 tanks could drive right through its vaunted Panzer Divisions without being seriously injured. Point blank range shots bounced off. This mismatch was far more pronounced than the later Sherman-Tiger mismatch. The Sherman gun (Even the 76-mm) could penetrate even the frontal armor of the Tiger at ranges further than point blank.

I keep hearing about how our forces in Iraq are not properly equipped. Yes, they were not and probably are not today. However, this problem is endemic to modern warfare. Foresight can prevent many of these problems, but they still occur, no matter how much you plan.