Thursday, October 30, 2008

Declaring war

Since our inception, the U.S. had waged numerous campaigns without declaring war. In 1812, 1846, 1898, 1917 and 1941 the U.S. Congress declared war. I left out the U.S. Civil war 1861-1865.

The last declared war by the U.S. Congress was in 1941. Since then, the U.S. has waged several large "police actions". The most recent was the ‘authority to use force’ in 2002 that the U.S. Congress gave President Bush. In other words, the permission to wage war against Iraq.
The wars fought 1950-1953 (Korea) and 1965-1972 (Vietnam) were undeclared wars like today. The threats then were thought to be grave enough to wage open warfare, yet too dangerous to declare war against a government. This applies today. If the U.S. had declared war in 2002 against Iraq, it was deemed possible that a number of Arab governments would act likewise to defend their colleague. I still find this unlikely, although the price of getting it wrong would be very steep.

Looking at it another way, the "authority to use force" was a way for the U.S. Congress to get out of the long-term difficulty of having made any mistakes. If all went well, it could take credit for being ‘courageous’. If the war went bad or turned out to be a mistake, it could just take it all back. That sure is a nice position to be in, and we all know how political figures like to pay for their mistakes. The problem that I have is that time is NOT on our side. WMD makes it imperative that we wage offensive warfare to prevent future attacks.

The known nuclear powers in the world are:

1) U.S.
2) Russia
3) China
4) England
5) France
6) Pakistan
7) India
8) North Korea

South Africa had developed nuclear weapons, but has since been in compliance with dismantling nuclear weapon systems.

Israel most likely has nuclear weapons.

If an attack with nuclear weapons occurs anywhere in the world, the aggressors will most likely have come from the Islamic world. The material and/or weapons may have actually been built elsewhere, but the cause of the strikes will be in the name of Islam. This actually significantly raises the risk of WMD being used. Once nuclear weapons are used, openly declared war against governments would become likely.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The U.S. launched a raid into Syria on Monday, claiming to have killed an important ‘terrorist’ organizer. The U.S. has attacked targets within Pakistan and Syria, violating both countries territory. The Pakistani government had given unofficial support to the idea. I am certain that Syria has NOT given any support for anything of the kind.

Senator Barack Obama would most likely end this type of activity. From what he has said, only if Bin Lauden himself were identified would he seriously consider launching raids of this type. Like JFK, I am certain that he would attempt to respect international boundaries. Even if raids were being launched from land that is in another country. This is one of the reasons why Vietnam was considered to be a war that could not be won. I am guessing that this is one reason as to why Senator Obama believes that this war cannot be won by our military and contributes to his list of reasons as to why he believes that it is best to withdraw from Iraq.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Opposition to U.S. ‘occupation’ in Iraq is growing. This is to be expected. One of the ‘authentic’ laws of Islam is to ‘kill the occupiers’. ANY land that was EVER Muslim is to be defended. Many things about Islam must change, and this is one of them. However, it looks as if this will not be the case.

Current negotiations with the Iraqi government are leaning toward a full U.S. withdrawal by the end of 2011. Of course, an Obama administration will speed up this date. With this in mind, the Iraqi government wants to wait. If Senator Obama wins, they will get the withdrawal sooner. In any case, pressure is within and on the Iraqi government to get us out of Iraq.

If the U.S. withdraws from Iraq by the end of 2010, it will have been 7 and ½ years of ‘occupation’. This is about ½ of a generation. This is by no means long enough to rid Iraq of the ‘kill the occupiers’ mentality. This is not satisfactory to me. It takes 3 full generations to rid a behavior. It is not politically possible to ‘occupy’ Iraq anywhere near this amount of time. However, a very strong influence during the 2nd and 3rd generations would probably suffice. No way will the U.S. meet this goal if we withdraw before the end of the 1st generation. A problem here is that the war is far larger than this one issue and one country.

In many of our enemy’s eyes, the U.S. has replaced Israel as the main opponent. What this means to me is that if the war slows down significantly, we could expect much more effective attacks upon our ‘soft’ targets. This new offensive will intensify as time goes on unless we attack forcefully and effectively enough. I find it difficult to believe that a President Obama would wage war effectively enough to accomplish this. He just does not see why I am at war.
The ‘authentic’ Islamic issues that I am at war against are:

1) "Kill the occupiers" The moral obligation to kill occupiers of Muslim lands
2) Loyalty to Islam above ANY government
3) Stoning ANYONE to death.
4) The penalty for leaving Islam is death. (An Apostate)
5) The Islamic electoral policy of "One man, (men only) one vote, once."
6) Payment of Tribute by ANY non-Muslim. And I don’t care if this would exempt them from military service, because loyalty to religion does NOT trump loyalty to the government. (Separation of church and state)

These are issues that we MUST wage war over. To do otherwise is to invite attack. Far too many Muslims are active and passive supporters against us on these issues for them not to wage effective warfare. A strategic withdrawal will only delay and enhance the size of the eventual war. In years to come, we will need those bases that we have in Iraq today. Senator Obama seems to believe that time is on our side. Time is NOT on our side. This is a recipe for surprise attack. It is a recipe for disaster.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blasphemy case in Afghanistan

The Chicago Tribune, 10/22/08, Section 1, Page 15. An article titled "Blasphemy case stirs worry in Afghanistan". The first sentence, "In a case that has illustrated Afghanistan’s drift toward a more radically conservative brand of Islam as well as the fragility of its legal system, an appeals court Tuesday overturned a death sentence for a student convicted of blasphemy but sentenced him to 20 years in prison."

A drift toward a more radical brand of Islam? Fragility of its legal system? Yes, I think you can say this is true.

The Islamic legal system is far more powerful than the version of a western type legal system that is being attempted in Afghanistan. Afghans are used to a much more restrictive system of governance and enforcement. It is natural that a ‘drift’ takes place to move back to where they are more comfortable. If a poll were taken in Afghanistan, I would expect the majority of the population to agree to a severe punishment for Parwiz Kambakhsh. Insulting Islam is no laughing matter. Paragraph 8, "After the death penalty was decreed in his January trial, public demonstrations were held in support of the verdict, and some prominent clerics declared he deserved to be executed for violating the teachings of Islam. "

People like this student are a minority in Afghanistan. This is the case throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world in varying degrees. This is one of the basic issues that this war is all about. I would not be surprised if he were to die in prison. Cultural change can be very slow. And time is NOT on our side.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

President Obama and JFK

Senator Joe Biden recently said that President Obama would be tested within 6 months of his taking office by a "generated" crisis. I agree that either candidate WILL be tested. However, I believe that it will take at least two years before we see a "generated" crisis that will be as powerful as I fear. More likely 2-3 years before the really serious crisis hits. Senator Obama has been compared to JFK. In a number of ways, these are accurate. I just hope that in the case of a nuclear crisis, this is NOT the case. The Soviet Union turned their ships around and avoided the war. I find it very difficult to believe that our current enemies would do anything similar.

Every Presidency is filled with ‘crisis’. They vary greatly in severity and size. I believe that a President Obama will not respond forcefully enough when presented with any warlike ‘crisis’ early in his administration. Wars are won by the side that escalates to a level the other side either can not or will not match. This will lead to a much more serious crisis, as I believe it did with JFK and the Cuban missile crisis.

Monday, October 20, 2008

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 organizational 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 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 10-15 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 that 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 late 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 17, 2008

We have yet to be hit again

Since 2001, the U.S. has yet to be hit again by Islamic terrorists. This is a period of 7 years. During the 8 previous years, we had been hit:

1) 1993 First World Trade Center attack
2) 1995 Riyadh barracks
3) 1998 Twin embassy attacks
4) 2000 U.S.S. Cole
5) 2001 9/11

Please note #2 and #4 took place outside of the U.S. They were hitting our military at places of their choosing.

During President Bush’s administration, we HAVE seen change. It appears to me that our enemy was engaged directly in battle with our military in Iraq. The desert is ideal for mechanized units, which is what our military is primarily. They have cut back the attacks in Iraq because the attrition is so poor for them.

And we want to CHANGE all of this?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Muslim insult

Not long after the fall of the Taliban, a western magazine news crew interviewed an anti-Taliban ‘general’. The problem was that the interviewer would be a woman. She first had to agree to dress and behave in a certain way. A list of things she had to do to avoid potential embarrassment was drawn up. I have not seen the list, but it was agreed that she would abide by all of the rules in the list. I understand the list was lengthy, but only a few of them were of real concern. Because these issues were so important, I am certain that she practiced.

During the interview he said something funny and the interviewer and the cameraman laughed. He stormed out; a woman laughing had insulted him. From what I understand, a woman laughing in this situation was not on the list that she had been provided. Apparently it had been missed.

I am not so certain that our enemy has been defeated in Iraq. This is one contributing reason as to why.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stoning to death

During the summer of 2006, riots ensued in Nigeria because the court would not enforce the sentence upon a woman who had been convicted of adultery. Islamic law on this issue is not only clear, it has generally been enforced for 1400 years. Nigeria is approximately 50% Muslim. A sizable portion of Nigeria is under sharia law. This in effect makes that part of the country a different country in everything but name.

The entire concept of stoning ANYONE to death has to end. And it must end NOW. It is obvious that this will trigger violence. Combined with any other challenge to Islamic law, organized warfare can be expected. We are already seeing this in a number of places where Islamic ideology is making intimate contact with other cultures. History has shown time and again that changes in many viewpoints will result from this contact, as both sides tend to adopt attitudes and behaviors and traditions. Resistance to this type of change is common. What is different concerning Islam is that resistance to change of this type has been so consistent and prevalent. Islam has proven to be particularly resistant to change in general and this resistance is continuing to be violently pursued by Muslims in many parts of the world. This can be expected to not only continue, but to increase as the global economy enhances Islamic interaction with the rest of the world. It is a necessary step to eliminate some of the worst aspects of Islam, and we must begin today.

Time is not on our side. Sooner or later, an Islamic terrorist organization will obtain and deploy effective WMD. The resulting massive loss of life would dwarf the loss of life in the current war. It could easily trigger a much larger war. It is far better to fight a conventional war today. We must begin to force Islam to accept some modern principals. The concept of stoning ANYONE to death is a good place to begin.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Defensive warfare is a mistake

Senator Obama (As do many others) feel that invading Iraq has caused many more problems than it has solved. We took our eyes off of the ball. The war is in Afghanistan and we directed way too much effort into Iraq. We should withdraw from Iraq as quickly as possible, and place a portion of these forces into Afghanistan. No more toppling governments, no more wars of ‘occupation’. In other words, we will wage no more offensive warfare. Only attack when attacked. He will take us off of the strategic offensive and place us on the defensive.

While defensive warfare is an important part of fighting terrorism, wars are not won by playing good defense. The police fill an important part in playing good defense by arresting terrorists in their ‘safe’ houses. Effective defense will prevent attacks on a tactical level. The problem is that taking a strategic stance that is defensive in nature will not change the overall tide of the war. The strategic offensive is required to do so.

Taking the offensive when you don’t have the means usually ends in defeat within a short period of time. However, the United States Military has not been defeated in open battle in a long time. Tactically we have lost; the bombing of the Marine barracks in 1983 is an example. However, at the operational and strategic level, we have not seen defeat since Korea in the early 1950’s. We did not lose a single battle in Vietnam, and we dominated in Gulf War I and II. The defeat of our enemies in open battle in Iraq has forced our enemy to retreat. Switching to defensive warfare after such a victory would throw many of the hard won advantages away. This is the time to press the attack home. This is not the time to allow our enemies to recover and re-deploy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


My observations from the debate last night:
For most of us, I am certain that we saw what we wanted to see. I saw the candidate I do not like mumble about stuff that I did not want to hear. He gave me very few answers that I expected to hear. I saw my candidate do much better, although admittedly, I am not entirely happy with the guy I intend to vote for.

I did note a couple of things. I noted how Senator Obama gave ‘a bunch of government scientists’ credit for the invention of the computer. This makes sense and is revealing in that he favors government over private enterprise. As with his opponent in some cases, this is not entirely correct. Computers were invented over many years with private companies contributing many important concepts. But what I found most revealing is that much of the momentum for the invention of the computer was gained by the large need for them during World War II. Computers began as electronic versions of mechanical calculators. Modern warfare has great need for machines that can make calculations quickly. Artillery firing tables, homing torpedoes, detection equipment such as radar and sonar, rocket guidance equipment all have need for what computers can provide, and all saw great advances during the war as it became increasingly automated. War has a habit of speeding up technological advances. I was under the impression (Possibly flawed) that Senator Obama did not know this. Which leads to my other major observation:

The very last question in the debate was: What don’t you know? Both candidates were tired. They had been at it for well over an hour and I was tired too. This is where you can potentially see how they will handle pressure. Senator Obama went into his background and how he overcame obstacles to enable him to be where he was last night. Senator McCain said simply that he did not know what the rest of us don’t. None of us know what will happen. I like the obvious, so I favored his answer over his opponent. In addition, the greatest threats are those that remain unseen. Senator McCain was pointing this out in that he believes that he would recognize threats (Mainly external) earlier than his opponent. Of course, if you believe him or not is most likely based upon if you favor him over his opponent or not. However, speaking as one who has studied warfare for almost his entire life, Senator McCain understands warfare far better than his opponent does. He will not have to learn nearly as much about the current war if and when he became President. Seeing as I believe the number one function of the President of the United States is Commander-in-Chief, and that we have a war on our hands, I will give him my vote.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Why are we hated?

Remember this question? It came up quite a bit not long after 9/11, but well before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Islam goes against human nature in many ways. The rules limit the individual from pursuit of interests that most likely will be in his/her favor, as well as society in general. Strict rules of behavior limit much opportunity. Islam can be considered a closed system, economically as well as socially. The frustration of being raised and living with such limited options would lead to friction with just about any and all groups (Internal as well as external) and at every level. In this way, capitalism and democracy is quite the opposite. This open approach is repulsive to them. For many of those who move into an open system, it would appear to be anarchy. Because they are used to such limited options and so many rules, having so many options and so few limits would appear to them as if nobody is obeying ANY rules, anywhere, anytime.

This must be one of the basic reasons that we are hated so much. They hate us for what we are. It is a mistake to misinterpret this as being hateful for what we do. This problem has been around for a very long time, long before even Israel became established. Historical pattern indicates that changing this will trigger organized warfare. Even if successfully changed, this problem can easily be seen as being around for many additional generations, possibly centuries.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cost of war

Warfare is ALWAYS expensive. You deliberately destroy what is inherently valuable. Military equipment is expensive and the personnel who use them are for the most part, highly trained in the skill of destroying what the enemy has built. Civilian infrastructure is damaged and destroyed, many times deliberately. The economy of the enemy is a valid target, hence damage and destruction of this vital resource. Prior to the rise of the professional army, pay was what you took when the city was sacked or the enemy defeated. (Booty) Because most armies are professional today, the sacking of cities has generally disappeared. Genocide is quite another matter.

In wars of conquest, you attempt to minimize damage. Particularly when regarding civilians. One of the better examples was the way Romans ruled. Rome was very good at turning former enemies into subjects and/or allies. Punitive warfare is an altogether different type of warfare. Today, it can be called genocide, although punitive warfare involved killing and destroying EVERYTHING, not just people. Rome was good at that one too. In other words, these issues have been around a long time.

Fortunately, while our losses are important, we have not lost any measurable combat capability, on the tactical level or strategic. Unless of course, you count the fact that our forces are committed in Afghanistan and Iraq and much of what is deployed there is unavailable to be deployed elsewhere.

With the loss of one regiment dead (4,500) and two divisions wounded, (40,000) our strength in the field remains the same. Our losses are on a small scale. In past conflicts, we have lost these many in just a few days and those wars went on for years. We have not instituted the draft. Our military could be expanded a great deal, although this would take months to begin to have an effect. Short-term combat capability would drop because portions of the military would be needed for training and equipping the new units.

This war is particularly expensive in terms of financing. We have spent a great deal of resources in the form of billions of dollars. However, in military terms, the cost has been relatively small.

The plus side of this war is difficult to estimate. A few things are certain. The U.S. has not been directly attacked since 9/11. The savings in prevention are very large. The enemy has been unable to hit us again, I am certain that they do want to hit us, BADLY. One reason they have been unable to do so is our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They tried to engage our military in an environment that is ideal for conventional militaries like us. Iraq has proved to be high loss rate for little in return for our enemy. This cannot have any effect other than to reduce their capabilities. Our enemy would love to obtain some effective WMD.

WMD are expensive to make and/or purchase. While our enemy was committing its resources in Iraq, it could not use these same resources to obtain WMD. This could have no other effect than to delay our enemy’s effort to obtain WMD.

The savings from the delay of our enemy obtaining WMD are inestimable. However, even then, it can only be a matter of time before they are successful in obtaining and deploying WMD. The only questions are when and how many. Time is NOT on our side. As expensive as it will be, we must continue to wage offensive warfare.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Repeated 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 the fall of Saipan. The Marianas were part of Japan’s inner defense perimeter. Once this had been penetrated, it was obvious that they were losing badly. Many suicide attacks had been seen prior to that point. All were on the tactical level. The attacks were more on the spur of the moment. It was not to be repeated and they were usually not planned well in advance. After the defeat of the carrier air groups in the ‘Marianas Turkey shoot’, it was obvious that conventional methods were failing badly. Japan then began to organize ‘special’ (suicide) attack groups. A number of influential Japanese were horrified by this turn of events, but they were in the minority.

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. They strapped explosives to themselves with the intent to jump under a tank or into an U.S. position to blow it up. They were given minimal training. The scary part is that it took nuclear weapons to put an end to it. (Many argue that Japan was on the verge of surrendering anyway, but no doubt the nuclear attacks sped up the Emperor’s decision to intervene.)

The 2nd occurrence of repeated suicide attack has been going on for at least the past 20 years. This method has also evolved from conventional methods. The land that made up Palestine was one of the first to fall to Islam, during the 7th century. Islam expanded at a fantastic rate for the next few hundred years. Islam is considered to have reached a peak at the siege of Vienna in 1529 AD. Since then, Islam has been in slow decline and withdrawal. The formation of Israel can be seen as a breach of Islam’s inner defense perimeter.

Defense of that inner area had been as determined and desperate as that of Japan and the Marianas. Conventional Islamic armies were likewise defeated. The defeat was not as clear-cut because the areas from which the attacks were launched were not threatened.

Once conventional methods had been proven to be a failure, unconventional methods evolved. Like the development of the suicide attack groups by Japan in 1944, they boosted the effectiveness of attacks immeasurably. Of large concern is that the suicide attackers are coming from such a large population and geographical area. This population can be expected to produce far more suicide attackers if the need became obvious.