Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israeli attacks

I am seeing a number of reports that anger in the Muslim world is at dangerous proportions because of the recent Israeli attacks. This is not much of a surprise given the amount of attacks. Officially, many Arab governments are not giving HAMAS the support that the Palestinians are accustomed to. However, the common view is that Israel is the aggressor and should be forced to halt.

The Palestinians elected HAMAS – Fair and square. (By a very large majority as well) The ‘cease fire’ was officially lifted on December 19th, 2008 and attacks upon Israel have shot upward. This means that HAMAS has resumed open war against Israel. Israel should not be allowed to respond to an open attack from another government? I am guessing here that the response has been considered to be too much. It should be more restrained. This violates one of the basic principals of warfare: In order to win, you must raise the level of conflict to a point that your enemy either cannot or will not match. "Irregular" warfare depends upon maintaining an ‘army’ that survives long enough to outlast the enemy’s will to win. Israel is a conventional military. Now the world expects them to behave like their enemy? NO. It is obvious that no matter what action Israel undertakes (Outside of surrender) will be acceptable. I do not envy them, particularly with a new U.S. President about to take office who is no friend of theirs.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Islamic law - An eye for an eye

An Iranian woman who had been blinded by an acid attack is seeking Islamic justice by having her attacker punished by having acid poured into his eyes. I can sympathize. However, it is counterproductive. In general, Iranians do not favor this type of penalty. In this case however, public opinion is in favor of having her assailant permanently blinded, as she was. This is literally, an eye for an eye.

Most of us already have our reasons to disagree with the eye for eye penalty. Speaking on a strategic level, it would require that after World War II, we would have had to exterminate millions of Blond, blue eyed Germans, as they supposedly caused the holocaust. This would have made it almost impossible to rebuild that country into anything like it is today.

Revenge is not a good quality to encourage. Chopping off hands to punish theft would appear at first glance to make sense. It would discourage people from stealing in the first place. A problem that this creates on a national level is a sense of blaming others. In some cases, others really are to blame. On many occasions, the blame can be targeted and become a scapegoat for your own problems. If they do ANY injustice to anyone who you sympathize with, then this justifies a like act. We are seeing this occur throughout the Middle East. Particularly regarding violent acts, like bombings and shootings. The cycle of violence cannot be broken without the eye for an eye concept becoming unacceptable by society. An additional problem here is that getting rid of the eye for eye concept could very easily trigger open warfare. An additional reason why warfare is so common throughout the Islamic world.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

War in Afghanistan requires a tourniquet

The Chicago Tribune, 12/23/08, Section 1, Page 6. Title: "Obama staff briefed on war plan".
The beginning of paragraph 4 reads: "Right now there is a sense you need to apply a tourniquet of some kind. Said a senior defense official"

This is reference to the war in Afghanistan. The article goes on to point out how this has been a record year for our troop losses in Afghanistan. Applying a tourniquet to a wound would slow the bleeding down to a level where the person could survive. For me, this implies that our losses are unsustainable. And that the best course of action is to slow down the war thereby slowing down the bleeding. What this article demonstrates to me is a 2nd grade level understanding of the war.
1) If you added up all of the losses in Iraq and Afghanistan plus the wounded, you would arrive at a figure of troop losses that the U.S. has lost in just a few days in wars in the past. While I do not like to lose ANY soldier, our losses today are those of a low level, minor war at best.

2) We need to slow down, if not stop the bleeding? This is NOT how wars are won. We will win by accepting that our enemy is stronger and will now talk to us on our terms? No, we will be talking to them on their terms. This is how wars are lost.

The quotes I took from this article are only part of the picture. Please read the article as I am analyzing the big picture that is being attempted to be painted.

On a side note: President-elect Obama must not believe this either. He is talking about sending additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan. This is escalating the war, not slowing it down.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Islam was born in hostile environment

The desert is one of the most hostile environments on Earth. It makes sense that many of the ideas presented within are harsh and authoritarian. Survival depended upon strict separation of tasks. It would require stringent rules to control excess, as very little to no excess could be tolerated. No wonder that so many rules are so rigid that little to no evolution can take place. After all, the desert is not very flexible nor is it forgiving. The Koran was apparently designed so that it could not be modified. The concept of the Koran as the final word of God makes this clear. These are additional ways the Koran is in direct contrast and conflict with the systems that rule our lives. We based them upon ideas of being flexible so that we can adjust to changing situations.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Iraq did not attack us

Yes, Iraq did not attack us. Being attacked by another country is not the only good reason to wage war. England and France declared war against Germany in September 1939 because they were attacked by Germany? This was wrong? North Korea did not attack the U.S. in June, 1950. It was a mistake to fight in this war where we had not been attacked? England did NOT attack the U.S. in 1812. Why DID we declare war against the country that was fighting the 19th century version of Hitler? We ended up fighting on HIS side. Yet we had a damn good reason.

Why did the Confederacy shoot at the U.S. at Fort Sumter? It started the U.S. Civil war. It certainly was NOT because the U.S. attacked them. And that war was certainly worth fighting, for both sides.

Iraq HAD attacked Iran AND Kuwait. We waged war after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and it was demonstrated over the following 8 years that not taking out the government of Iraq was a major mistake. It never mattered to me if Iraq was not even remotely responsible for the attack on 9/11/01.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Arab insult

The Chicago Tribune, 12/15/08, Section 1, page 1. A picture on the first page shows President Bush dodging a shoe that had been thrown at him by an angry Iraqi journalist. A thrown shoe is a major insult in the Arab world. We can add this to the list of Arab insults. As if we need another one.

The Arab culture is easily insulted. And easily pissed off. Anger management is a major problem throughout the Muslim world. The severity of the restrictions on economic activity, creativity, personal behavior and sexuality serve to keep the population on the verge of boiling over. This is the opposite of capitalism and democracy, which through openness allow many types of expression and release of creativity that channels aggression into much less harmful activities. (Such as our preoccupation with sports, which is an excellent, constructive outlet for human aggression as opposed to violence against other individuals and ‘irregular’ warfare.)

No wonder the Islamic world hates us. We are opposite in just about everything. They don’t have many outlets for many human qualities so they take it out on everyone else. They even take it out on each other, including the ones that they love. It makes sense that such a restrictive culture would tend to be insulted easily. This is one of the few outlets for many of the qualities that are so strictly repressed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The appeal of the Islamic legal system in failed states

Failed states are vulnerable to implementation of the Islamic legal system. Although the Islamic legal system is very restrictive and harsh, it can be seen as a valid source for law and order. Islamic jurisprudence has been around for more than 1400 years. Many scholars and legal experts are available throughout the Muslim world. Most political and legal systems that are restrictive have a great deal of strength. They require strict enforcement to keep the population in line. Islam is no exception. In a state which has failed, anarchy rules. Islam can defeat this situation and install order relatively quickly. Even though many would not like it, the positive benefits would gain loyalty within a short period of time. This can occur even within progressive nations. Germany in the 1920’s is an excellent example. Hitler and the Nazi organization had the country working within a very short period of time. A primary reason why Hitler was ‘Man of the year’. In the end, the cure was worse than the disease, but before it was ended, the Nazi organization had commanded unusual loyalty from a population that was well educated and modern in most, if not all respects.

It makes sense that terrorism and ‘irregular’ warfare is a major weapon of those who seek Islamic domination. If an existing system can be broken down and anarchy triggered, then another much stronger system would be required and desired. If Islam is already somewhat accepted by the general population, it would be a natural progression.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pakistani villagers deny knowing terrorist

The Chicago Tribune, 12/8/08, Page 1. "Village: Terrorist doesn’t live here’.

Officials have tied the only surviving terrorist from the Mumbai attacks last week to the village of Faridkot, Pakistan. Villagers have denied knowing the family. "It is as if the Qasab family never existed".

Here lies a major problem at getting to the root of terrorism. In prison, everyone is innocent. Using the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ rule of law enforcement makes it almost impossible to effectively combat terrorism through law enforcement. This is one reason why I believe it is necessary to wage offensive warfare. Force them to attack you on ground of your choice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Islam under siege

Islam IS under siege, from the modern world. A large percentage of Muslims worldwide believe in many of the issues that are worth fighting and waging organized warfare against. Although many interpretations of the Koran are agreeable with us, many ‘authentic’ laws are so hostile to us and to the rest of the world that ‘irregular’ warfare can be expected to continue indefinitely. So hostile are parts of the Koran to the rest of the world that just interaction with any other culture would explain the ongoing violence as change is resisted. This would also place pressure upon those who either supports or is against these ‘laws’. Looking at it from inside Islam, it would be apparent that the entire world is picking on you. It would look as if everyone is against you. And to a certain degree, they are.

Islam must change. Those who believe in many of the ‘authentic’ laws that are so hostile to the rest of the world are causing much of the violence. There is no alternative way to interpret the penalty for leaving Islam. You either enforce the death penalty, or you do not. It is worth waging war to end this practice. It will trigger violence when enforcement is ended. Take the example of stoning a convicted adulteress to death. Riots occurred in Nigeria in the summer of 2006 because the court refused to administer the penalty. (Nigeria is about 50% Muslim and 50% Christian) In 1804 the Barbary pirates seized some U.S. ships and demanded Tribute. Under Islamic law, Tribute is to be paid by all non-Muslims living in Islamic governed land. These ‘pirates’ expanded that law to include non-Muslim ships traveling through Muslim waters. The U.S. sent our fleet over there, killed all that got in our way, and burned our ships. We fought for freedom of the seas. Think that this is an old, dead issue? In 2006, the Iraqi government was debating implementation of collection of Tribute from all non-Muslims living in Iraq. I don’t know what eventually happened, but this ’law’ is still considered valid. We fought against this ‘law’ then and we should today.

These ‘laws’ are under siege, as they should be. The war will not end until the entire Muslim population is convinced that these laws are invalid or should be ignored.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nuclear 'football'

The Chicago Tribune, 12/5/08, Section 1, Page 47. Title: "Nuclear ‘football’ carries global arms woes".

The article describes how the idea and responsibility for ‘the football’ has been difficult for previous presidents to absorb. (The briefcase that carries the codes for our nuclear weapons is called ‘the football’.)

I have been reading the news since the early 1970’s. I don’t ever recall any article even remotely connected to this subject being published prior to ANY president taking office. I find it very interesting that this article comes only a few days after the report that indicates that ‘time is not on our side’ and that a WMD attack is likely to occur by 2013. In other words, near or just after the end of President-elect Obama’s first term.

One primary reason that we went to war in Iraq was to prevent the war from reaching us. This was successful. Even though many disagree, the fact remains that we have NOT been hit since 9/11. This is a period of more than 7 years. We had been hit 5 times in the 8 years prior to 9/11. Taking the offensive may not have been popular, but it has been effective. Well, President-elect Obama has promised change.

If President-elect Obama follows through on what he has said, he will be placing the U.S. on the defensive. These articles appear to me to reflect the appropriate rise in the risk of not just being attacked again, but with the possibility of WMD used against us also at a higher level. What I have been telling others is that if you live in New York City, Washington D.C., L.A., or Chicago on January 20, 2009, you will then be in the front line. Our enemy may have many more targets than these cities, but you can bet that these are a high priority. Of course, the police may be able to stop them.

To have a good defense against terrorism we only need to look at Israel. Here we have a country that cannot permanently defeat its enemies through military means. Israel is simply not big enough. Israel has adopted a strategic defensive posture because it cannot end the war by defeating its enemies. Israel is permanently under siege. I have never been there, but I know enough that I would not like to have our police walking around with automatic rifles. Our police today would not last 5 minutes in a terrorist attack such as Israel has had to endure on a regular basis. A six shooter up against automatic weapons? And surprise is NOT on your side? A death sentence. No wonder we are seeing articles in the paper about how the threat of WMD attacks upon the U.S. are closer at hand and why the ‘football’ is even being brought up.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

General Patraeus or general betray us?

Remember this one?

This to me demonstrates one of the major political problems we have in this country today. History demonstrates time and time again how the military is usually much more loyal to the government than anyone else. The holders of the view that general Patraeus was a bad guy must really be much more afraid of the internal threat our own military represents than any external enemies. I find it consistent that these same individuals constantly underestimate today’s Islamic militancy threat. The very people who have the ability to defeat the enemy in open combat are the greater threat. Well, this needs to change.

President-elect Obama is going to take the military and show them whose boss. We don’t need them in this war, so he needs to put them in their place after the free hand the military has been given under the Bush administration. Like the good soldiers they are, they will obey orders. JFK had an attitude similar to this when he took office. As with any parallels, a number of differences are present. This is not a good one to be similar to given how today’s threat is much less immediate, but much more likely to evolve into events.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Time is NOT on our side

The Chicago Tribune, 12/2/08, section 1, page 6. Title of article is "Bio attack likely by 2013, report says." Former Senator Bob Graham: "We think time is not our ally."

I am pleased that our government is finally going public with this view. I find it interesting that they are predicting an attack by the end of President-elect Obama’s first term. Placing our military on the strategic defensive would appear to be moving up this date. It makes sense that we will need to bolster our civilian ability to respond to attack seeing as it will be more likely.
Prior to a new attack on the U.S. mainland, I would expect to see the frequency of attacks increasing in other parts of the world, similar to the one staged in India last week.