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'.