Monday, June 30, 2008

Update on progres in Iraq

I pulled this from the site ‘’.

"The attack in Karmah comes as Multinational Forces Iraq is preparing to turn over control of the province this weekend. Designating Anbar as Provincial Iraqi Control puts the Iraqi security forces in the lead of security operations. US forces would be in an "overwatch," or supporting role to back up Iraqi forces as needed.
Anbar is the tenth of Iraq's 18 provinces to go under Iraqi control. It was once thought Anbar would be the last to transition to Iraq control. Anbar was written off as "lost" to al Qaeda in Iraq in late 2006. But the rise of the Anbar Awakening, the groups of tribes and former insurgent groups opposed to al Qaeda's theocratic rule, turned the tide in early 2007 and made Anbar one of Iraq's most peaceful provinces."

It is nice to see progress. I will caution you that this war is far from being over. The ideology of the enemy has a base throughout the Muslim world. Islam numbers well over 1 billion people. Cultural change takes time. With so many people involved, we can expect this to take decades.

Friday, June 27, 2008

US Civil war, Iraq war and Arab-Israeli conflict

The two main issues decided by the U.S. Civil war were:

1) Slavery became illegal.

2) States may NOT leave the Union. The Federal Government overrules the state.

The 2nd issue was triggered by the threat of the 1st issue becoming law. (Actually, the states began to leave when they figured that slavery could not expand anymore, which would continuously weaken that position and eventually lead to outlawing it altogether.) The cultural impact of removal of the evil of slavery was so great that many good southerners fought and died defending it. Yet Robert E. Lee did not fight for slavery. He resigned his commission and fought because he was more loyal to his state of Virginia than he was to the United States of America.

In Iraq (Indeed, in many parts of the Middle East) today, many people are more loyal to the clan than they are to the governments that govern them. Yet the trigger for this issue becoming so decisive is something else. I propose that the trigger is the clash of Islam and the openness of democracy.

The ‘occupation’ of Iraq by infidels is of importance because one of the ‘authentic’ laws of Islam is the obligation to kill all occupiers of Muslim lands. This issue in turn brings up others, such as the penalty of leaving Islam is death. This causes problems because any Muslim who agrees in just about any way with the ‘occupiers’ is then an Apostate and is to be killed. This also brings up the entire issue of Jihad and the rewards of booty in this world and paradise in the next. These are some of the reasons that Islamic culture clashes with just about all cultures that it is making intimate contact with. These are some important reasons as to why a permanent peace has been unattainable between Israel and the Muslim world.

The ex-French president said it best: "Democracy is not a process, it is a culture." Islamic culture is inherently hostile to just about all other cultures. Democracy is the most conflicting because of its general openness. Islamic governance is very autocratic and intolerant. The culture that thrives within would naturally adapt to its environment of general intolerance. The Arab-Israeli conflict is a very visible example of the clash between these two cultures. Another example is Lebanon. Turkey is a somewhat different example, although many of the same issues are present there as well.

Now we have the Iraqi ‘occupation’ and the potential of another democracy attempting to live within Muslim culture. Constant warfare has been the outcome for more than 60 years between Israel and Arabs. Democracy and a capitalist economy are a direct threat to the closed and autocratic governance and culture that Muslims have adapted to. Naturally, they are attacking the threat. Resistance in the form of open warfare can be expected to last for decades, maybe even centuries. Historically speaking, warfare tends to speed up the merging of cultures. Maybe this is what is needed. If the Palestinians can build an actual, functioning democracy, it will mark a major milestone in the Arab world’s move toward acceptance and tolerance.

The big question: When will an Islamic terrorist organization obtain an effective weapon of mass destruction?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Islamic intolerance

It is commonly accepted that our major foe in the so-called ‘war on terror’ are terrorists who are Muslim. From what I understand of these terrorists, the overall goal is to rid the Muslim world of Infidels and Apostates and establish Islamic states with a commonly accepted Caliph. (Islamic line of succession or Leadership) Part of the problem with fighting this objective is that at least part of the terrorist ideology is commonly accepted throughout the Muslim world. From what I understand so far, Islam has four schools of legal jurisprudence. One of the many problems is that a number of ‘authentic’ laws that are recognized by all four schools of Islamic law are inherently intolerant of anything that is not Muslim.

The recent vote to outlaw insults of religious symbols is a case in point. The law was to be designed to prohibit insults of Islam. (As well as all religions) The idea was shot down by a substantial margin because it would force Muslim countries to allow greater access to other religions and ideas. Because Islam is not just a religion, but also a system of laws and governance, the intolerance is much more general than just an intolerance of religion. The source of this general intolerance is the Koran. The rules and laws of Islam are based upon this 'holy' book.

Islam has been an established way of life for something like 1400 years. General intolerance is engrained within the culture, hence the sensitivity to insult of the entire culture, not just Islam. This is why so many tend to become violent when Islam is insulted, the entire culture is being attacked. This is not to say that everyone in the Middle East is intolerant and a big jerk.

An additional problem is that even those who are much more tolerant than others are still going to support the overall culture. I will use the example of good Germans and good Japanese in World War II. You will fight for your way of life, and culture is the very center of that way of life. Hence the many good southerners who fought so well for the evil of slavery. Open warfare is a common result of cultural change, or the threat of cultural change. We can only expect this from that part of the world that embraces this culture. We are also caught in a situation that demands change. The culture that is producting repeated suicide attackers MUST change before one of the terrorist organizations that originate from there obtains and deploys an effective weapon of mass destruction.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Definition of terrorist

Strange, I could not find the definition of terrorist in The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I found the definition of terrorism. Terrorism is defined as "The systematic use of terror to coerce by threat or violence." By this definition, terrorism is a behavior. By default, we can define a terrorist as being one who engages in terrorism.

What else do we know about terrorists?

1) Terrorists do not have any "official" government support.
2) Terrorists do not have uniforms, rank or serial number to identify themselves with.
3) Terrorists do not carry their weapons openly.
4) Terrorists use military weapons and tactics and engage in warfare.
5) The primary targets of terrorism are civilian, not military.

The things that we know about terrorists seem to look very much like pirates. The definition of pirate is "one who engages in piracy." Piracy is defined as "Robbery on the high seas or in the air". So pirates are taking property by coercion. Terrorists are coercing people for political objectives.

Speaking for myself, this is a very fine distinction.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Iraqi support of terrorism before U.S. invasion

Frankly, I really did not care and do not care if Iraq had any WMD prior to the U.S. invasion. WMD was a good excuse. I did care that Iraq was openly supporting terrorism. Although no evidence is available to show Iraq was helping al-Qaeda directly, they were supporting terrorism in general.

Iraq was openly sending money to the families of suicide attackers. Support for suicide attack is support for terrorism. HAMAS and other terrorist organizations support the families of suicide attackers because this is a major encouragement for others to repeat what has been done. If you know that your family will be taken care of, you have less to lose. For Iraq to openly do this is to openly encourage more.

Al-Qaeda is not the only terrorist organization, by far. Yet al-Qaeda is the only organization that is being mentioned when we discuss Iraq’s support of terrorism. I suppose that this is because it is accepted that al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11. I am guessing that we should only go after al-Qaeda because they are the enemy. This view must believe ideology has no connection with other Islamic terrorist organizations.

Repeated suicide attack is being seen for only the 2nd time of all of recorded history. "Today the popular belief is that the Japanese who took part in BANZAI charges, flew kamikaze missions, piloted KAITENS and SHINYO ‘bang boats’, or served as human mines, were all fanatics. Because many of the BANZAI charges were ordered on the spur-of-the-moment no doubt there was an element of fanatism in the army’s operations. But the kamikazes, KAITEN and KAIRYU men were dedicated individuals whose calm acceptance of death illustrates the impact of ideological persuasion. Fanatical or not, their actions can only be understood when seen in relation to deep-rooted Japanese traditions and a tyrannical governmental structure." (AJ Barker, Suicide Weapon, 1970 Page 157)

Is this just me, seeing what I want to? Or do you see how this is similar to the culture and ideology that is prevalent in the Middle East?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Terrorist WMD

An article dated 6/15/08 in the Chicago Tribune, Section 1, page 11 was titled "Smugglers reportedly had design for modern warhead".

The article described how in 2006 some computers that were owned by smugglers were found to contain designs for nuclear weapons to fit into a missile body. The design is of an advanced nature. It is unknown if any of this data was ever delivered to anyone.

The overall point is one that I have been making and will continue to hammer on: Time is NOT on our side. It is only a matter of time before a terrorist organization obtains and deploys an effective WMD.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Taliban jailbreak

An article dated Sunday, 6/15/08 in the Chicago Tribune, Section 1, page 11 was titled "Afghan blast kills 4 GIs as jailbreak tally at 870".

The article described how on Saturday (6/14/08) the Taliban attacked a jail in Afghanistan and freed 870 prisoners.

A possible way around the U.S. Supreme Court ruling for terrorists being given civil rights will be for us to place those captured enemies into prisons outside of our country and outside of our jurisdiction. Places where the potential for their escape is much improved than if we held them.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


India was recently attacked by coordinated multiple terrorist bombings. Terrorist attacks have been on the rise in India and Kashmir the past few months. This should not be unexpected. India shares a border with Pakistan. More importantly, terrorist attacks have occurred many times in the past because of Indian control over Kashmir. The obligation to kill the 'occupiers' is in full force in Kashmir and against India because of past Muslim control. With the deals the Pakistani government has made with the Taliban, it would make sense that they would have strength to up the ante against India.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court ruling

The recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court will impact the battlefield.

In general, you want to take prisoners first. It gets the enemy out of the way, sometimes without risking or losing any more of your men. In a more general way, it can be advantageous because of the potential for information. In the war against terrorism, the information gained can be VERY valuable. The ability to gain information is enhanced regarding captured terrorists because the enemy does not have a rank and serial number to work with. Giving captured terrorists rights granted to civilians will change the thought process.

Capturing prisoners in combat can be tricky. Sometimes you must take a certain amount of risk in order to save the enemy’s life. I know of many cases where soldiers risked their own life in order to help enemy soldiers survive. Giving the terrorist rights would not encourage this type of action. In fact, quite the opposite. Part of the reason for "A good Jap is a dead Jap" was because Japanese soldiers would attempt to kill you even when their position was hopeless. You finished them off whenever you had the opportunity. (Unless they were out cold) In the war on terror, our soldiers will be tempted to finish off the enemy whenever they have the opportunity as well. After all, in a civilian court, just about anyone can get off if given the proper defense. Let them go free after you knew they had killed a good friend of yours? This would be difficult in a ‘clean’ war, such as the U.S.-German wars, both 1917-1918 and 1941-1945. In an irregular war, forget it. And the cost is even higher than this.

The potential loss of future information would be great. Captured Japanese soldiers did not withhold information well. They had never been trained in what to do or say if captured. Likewise, captured terrorists don’t withhold information well either. As a direct result of this ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, some terrorists will end up dead instead of being taken prisoner. And those who are taken prisoner will be advised to shut up. This is the opposite of what is needed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pakistan stopping support of anti-terrorism efforts?

On May 25th, I posted about how Pakistan has been making deals with the Taliban. My expectation was that the Pakistani government would attempt to stop our cross-border attacks upon enemy targets inside of Pakistan. The Chicago Tribune (6/12/08) Section 1, Page 10 had an article titled "Border airstrike angers Pakistan".

Within the article, it becomes clear that the Pakistani government is not happy about the more than one dozen bombs dropped by the U.S. within its territory. Reportedly, 11 Pakistani troops were killed. Our side is saying something different, in that those killed were not friendly troops. From a civilian point of view, how can we know if those soldiers were on our side or not?

Apparently, we even presented video showing at least part of the battle. I have not seen the video, but I do believe our side more than the other side. I have been expecting something like this to occur. The deals between the Pakistani government and the Taliban lead me to believe that the Pakistani government is changing loyalties to favor the enemy. If those soldiers were NOT on our side, the Pakistani government would have a good excuse to stop our attacks. Even if those soldiers were on our side, we can expect the Pakistani government to put an end to our attacks into their territory. This trend can be expected to continue into other areas as well.

The next major step I am expecting to read about will be the assassination of Musharraf. Even though he holds far less power than before, he is still an obstacle for the enemy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Turkey and Iran articles

Two articles in the Chicago Tribune (6/10/08) caught my eye. Page 16-17, Section 1. Titles are "Scarves unveil Turkey’s turmoil" and "U.S. presence is your biggest problem, Iran tells Iraq".

These two articles sum up some of the problems that are present within Islam today. Some of these issues are the basis for the open warfare that is taking place. The article on Turkey demonstrates the struggle to keep Islam out of the political area. Turkey is having difficulty keeping Islam at bay, even with the strict laws designed to keep the government secular. "For Islamists, democracy, expressing the will of the people, is the road to power, but it is a one-way road, on which there is no return" "Their electoral policy has been classically summarized as "one Man (men only) one vote, once". (Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam, Page 111)

This is why I am watching closely with how the election of HAMAS works out. Between Turkey, Iraq and HAMAS, these will demonstrate how well the Islamic world can handle this issue.

The second article (Iran talking to Iraq) demonstrates the classic Islamic law of killing the ‘occupiers’ of Muslim land. This law is one of the stronger laws of Islam. Please note that the fact that the invasion of Iraq having or not having been justified is irrelevant in this discussion. Islam is a one-way street. The penalty for leaving Islam is death. (For men) No going back. Once land is Muslim, it cannot revert back to being non-Muslim. (At least in the eyes of Islam. Another way of looking at it: If Germany had been Muslim in 1945, the ‘occupation’ would have triggered a worldwide obligation to kill Americans, British, French and Russians.

These issues alone are worth waging war over. Many wars in the past have been fought over far less important issues and a number of other issues of equal importance are also present. (Like the payment of Tribute.)

These reasons are why it is so important that the U.S. continue to wage conventional and unconventional warfare in the Middle East. They are not only worth fighting. The issues at stake must be decided in our favor before global terrorism is eliminated.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Iraqi Army

A little more than a month ago I posted about how the Iraqi army is growing in an well-organized manner. Some additional details might be of interest. I pulled the following information from

Improvements in the Iraqi Army:

• Initial force planning and the intelligence estimates of the threat in Basrah were incorrect. However, in subsequent operations, in Sadr City, this failure seems to have been addressed.

• The Iraqi Army response, moving a division of reinforcements to Basrah in five days, demonstrated a monumental improvement in operational logistics and mobility over 18 months previous.

• One Iraqi battalion broke, It was a new battalion (1-52) in a green brigade (52nd) that had graduated training a month previously. This was presented in the press as a symbol of the lack of capabilities of the Iraqi Army. What it represented was the low end of the Iraqi Army - the capabilities of recruits fresh out of boot camp. A classic example of why it takes time to grow an army. The 1-52 Battalion has since reformed and is receiving urban combat training. On the other hand, the performance of the experienced units, such as the 1st Quick Reaction Force was significantly better.

• The ability of the ISF to defeat the recent uprising in most of southern Iraq and to contain Sadr City until sufficient forces were available to deal with that area, despite elements from Baghdad, Babil, and Karbala being temporarily deployed to Basrah, demonstrate the improvements to the ISF overall.

• The Army has now demonstrated the ability to simultaneously operate three separate corps level operations (Baghdad, Mosul, and Basrah). Eighteen months ago they did not have a functional corps command.

• The Army has demonstrated the ability to move a division of reinforcements anywhere in the country within a week. It’s a major improvement over 18 months previous.

• The Ministry of Interior has demonstrated the ability to deploy a reinforced brigade anywhere in Iraq in a week. Significant improvement.

• The rapid deployment of Emergency Response Brigades and Iraqi National Police forces to Basrah and Mosul demonstrates major improvements in MoI forces mobility and capabilities, although their logistics are still lagging.

While these are monumental improvements over their previous performance and capabilities, significant weaknesses still have to be addressed:

• Logistics and intelligence are weak.

• The army will not start to acquire its first field artillery until 2009.

• Additional corps and support elements are being built and are needed for current force, but the force does need further expansion of line elements. The Iraqi Security forces are currently adding their fourth corps level joint command, Anbar Operational Command.

• Major increases in armored vehicles, especially tanks, are needed.

• The Iraqi Air Force is a decade from independence. It takes two years to train a pilot compared to only three months for an infantryman.

The ISF is better than many claim, but it still is a work in progress.

The plan for this year (2008) is: "The Iraqi Army will not stand up additional divisions this year as it is focusing efforts on building independent formations, and establishing support formations and corps headquarters."

Some of these new formations are engineering units, capable of building infrastructure such as roads, bridges and oil pipelines. Iraq has great need of these types of units. The recent fighting has demonstrated how the use of the new corps headquarters has helped demonstrate army’s ability to react and coordinate it’s units at a much-improved level. This shows how far they have progressed and also demonstrates that the leadership of the Iraqi army is well aware of their needs and abilities. Also that the leadership is addressing those needs in an organized and well-planned manner.

Even with these improvements, U.S. direct involvement in Iraq can be expected to extend into the foreseeable future. If these improvements continue, it will be less than a few years before the U.S. can begin withdrawing combat units from Iraq and deploying them elsewhere. Afghanistan is an obvious area of need, although I am uncertain as to how effective they will be in the mountain areas.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Resolution to prohibit insults of Islam

I pulled this from an article in

A few months ago, "Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Council considered a resolution calling on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to "work in coordination with Arab and Islamic groups and others at the United Nations to draft an international pact for respecting religions, their symbols and leaders, and prohibit insulting them in any way."

The idea was to make it illegal for Denmark to publish the cartoons that ‘insulted’ Islam and prevent any future tolerance of this type of publication.

"The council overwhelmingly voted down the resolution, 77-33. Critics pointed out that such a pact would recognize polytheistic religions, and that "would be unacceptable." One opponent, Khaleel Al Khaleel, explained his vote against on the grounds that it would create a dangerous precedent for Muslims. "Some consider Buddhism, Qadianism and Baha'ism as religions. Can we make it obligatory for Muslims to respect these faiths and avoid criticizing them?" Another member, Talal Bakri, noted that "if we approve the resolution it will make it obligatory to recognize some religions and will facilitate establishing places of worship for them in Muslim countries.""

Please note how it is implied that criticism is avoided for things that Muslims respect. I guess criticism implies a lack of respect. This would lead to sensitivity to insults. The idea of the resolution was to make insults of Islam illegal. They voted it down because it would force them to become more tolerant of others within their own borders. The price was too steep.

The Muslim world needs a lot more tolerance. Being able to handle criticism is an important part of tolerance.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

See what you want to see

I found another tiny article in the Chicago Tribune (6/1/08, Section 1, page 14) title "Book: Bhutto dealt nuke secrets" that is of some interest. The article talks about a book that a journalist who knew Benazir Bhutto has written. Supposedly, while the Prime Minister of Pakistan, she smuggled in CD’s with nuclear data on them in exchange for missile data from North Korea. Naturally, this is unconfirmed. It is not unusual for sensitive data like this to be unconfirmed. If multiple sources could confirm it, then the secret would not be so secure in the first place. The question here is: How believable is this? It is difficult to say.

The new book about President Bush by Scott McCellen is another case in point. With all of the motives for believing what he says and also for denial of what he says, how can we really tell how much is fact? Be careful here. Remember O.J.?

I like to use the O.J. Simpson case as an example of how we can all be fooled. The verdict was that he is innocent. OK, he did not do it. But it did show that he was a BIG TIME JERK. I had seen him interviewed many, many times and watched him on ‘Monday Night Football’ many times as well. Even if innocent, he certainly was NOT the man that I thought he was.

The main point of all of this is to bring out the fact that we really do not know. In these cases, it is very easy to see what you want to. This is where it is vital that you understand what you want to see. It is impossible to eliminate prejudice. Everyone has their way of looking at things. What is important is to understand what your prejudices are so that you are not so easily swayed. I have heard this called intellectual honesty. It requires constantly working at it. Alas, it cannot ever be completely successful. I suspect that many of us do not do this enough.

This discussion is connected with warfare in that during an actual conflict, information is limited for a number of reasons. False information is planted for obvious reasons as well. Even with the much greater access to information today, the likelihood of false and misleading information is just as great now as it had been in the past. Although we cannot completely get rid of the impact of what we want to see, we can understand how it influences what we do see and hopefully make more sound judgements about what is really going on.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Islamic overview

As with any balanced view, the need is to look at both sides. I have noticed that those who defend Islam discuss Mohammed and how he led his life. They discuss the many stories (Like parables in the Bible) of how you should act personally. These stories describe good examples for everyone to follow. This aspect of Islam is what the ‘moderates’ tend to focus upon. Yet the ‘10 Commandments’ of Islam are nowhere near the ideas that they represent in the Bible. The Koran has more than ‘10 Commandments’ and they are hostile to non-Muslims.

One of the biggest issues that I have with Islam is how Islamic law has been commonly interpreted over the past 1400 years. I have a particular problem with Jihad. In addition, some of the other commonly accepted legal aspects of Islam are so hostile to non-Muslims that I can see why warfare is necessary. People just don't change these types of views without organized violence. This is why I use the example of slavery and the U.S. Civil War. I have noticed that those who are defending Islam do not discuss the legal aspects of the 'religion'. Yet, like the ’10 Commandments’, these legal rules are the basis of society and organized behavior. In a way that is similar to the South prior to the U.S. Civil War, societies will resist outside change with organized violence. Once critical mass is reached and the change is becoming more common, this will lead to open warfare. A large problem with dealing with Islam is that these beliefs are common over such a large population that the war has the potential to get way out of hand. Because nuclear weapons are becoming so commonplace, World War III is a distinct possibility.