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.