Thursday, January 29, 2009

Closing Gitmo

President Obama has now fulfilled a campaign pledge by issuing an order to close the facility at Gitmo.

Politically, this is a very good move. One problem that I have is that we will have to place these people somewhere else. It would be a serious mistake if we contain them within the jail system. This is a very good breeding ground for rebellion in all cultures. One problem here is that these inmates are not common criminals.

We are not speaking the same culture. Taking these people and placing them into our criminal system would be comparable to taking Japanese soldiers during World War II and trying them for crimes. Setting aside all of the obvious differences, (Like wearing a uniform) changing the ideology of the men that made up the fighting forces would have been very close to impossible. If anything, they would be given opportunity to tell their story and convert others who are hostile to our own culture.

The obstacle of what to do with prisoners can and will be settled in a similar way. They will die fighting. ‘A good Jap is a dead Jap’ was a saying that resulted from fighting this mentality. We can expect our soldiers to act in this way. And the real crime will be that this will today be considered a crime! And we will then be forced to enforce this against our own men! This can only undermine the war effort, despite all of the political gain that it will obtain.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reaction to attack

President Clinton’s reaction to the twin embassy bombings in 1998 was to throw a dozen cruise missiles at Afghanistan and into Sudan. This fits his pattern of weak response. This can be seen as not having been very effective:

1) The targets in Sudan turned out to be something else. (At least this is the ‘official’ verdict)
2) Attacks upon the U.S. continued to increase in severity and frequency. In fact, the attacks in 1998 were only the latest in a series of attacks:

1993 – The first world trade center attack
1995 or 1996 – The attack upon the barracks in Saudi Arabia
1998 – the twin embassy attacks

Then two years later:

2000 – The U.S.S. Cole
2001 – 9/11/01

Please note that after 9/11/01, the U.S. has yet to be hit again. Something changed the pattern of events.

Barack Obama is a counterpuncher. He will take action, but will hit back tactically after any direct assaults. To do otherwise is to risk a much larger war. He is averse to taking such risks. Despite his best efforts, eventually this will occur and all we will have gained is time. And time is NOT on our side.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Separation of church and state

You have probably noticed. It is becoming politically correct for our school systems and our government not to show any religious tendency. My sons’ school doesn’t have a Christmas party. They have a winter party, just before the Christmas break. The Ten Commandments are out. This is called separation of church and state, which I agree with. Maybe not all of the details, but overall.

I can see why the Islamic headscarf will be such a problem. Or anyone at work who is allowed breaks for prayers. I am attempting to keep an eye on Islamic law in England and Europe. In a number of places, they are attempting to merge their legal systems. I just do not see how it can be possible. In addition to being a religion, Islam IS a state complete with a foreign policy and a legal system with jurisprudence that goes back for 1400 years. Loyalty to Islam is above government for many observant Muslims. One of the two basic issues decided by the U.S. Civil War was loyalty to the Federal government is greater than loyalty to the state government. States rights.

This along with a number of issues based upon Islamic law is sufficient justification to wage offensive warfare. This is a contributing reason for much of the ‘irregular’ warfare that is common throughout the Islamic world. Other basic reasons contribute but this one is pretty universal throughout the different situations where Islamic ‘insurgents’ are active. I expect this to be the case in many Islamic areas where attacks are at a low-level, if any at all. In other words, like the good Germans, or the good southerners. Many if not everyone, will fight for his or her way of life. Many good people are caught on the wrong side. They are still the enemy. If you fail to see it this way, you are placing yourself at a tremendous disadvantage as well as being harmful to your own effort to win the war. If the cause if worth killing over, then it is damn well worth doing everything possible to win.

Separation of church and state is one of the main issues that this war is about and it will not be resolved through negotiation. History has shown time and again that issues like this one are resolved violently. In other words, suppression of violence will only allow it to build up until it explodes again. Sounds familiar, kind of like the Middle East in general. This is one of the primary reasons as to why this is so. An additional problem here is that time is NOT on our side. We cannot just allow time to pass in the hope that interaction with us and the rest of the world will cause the change that is necessary. It is only a matter of time before one of these Islamic terrorist groups obtains and deploys an effective weapon of mass destruction. It is far better to fight the war today on a conventional level, than to allow this to occur.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Israel versus Hamas

Now that a cease-fire has been called between HAMAS and Israel, we can begin to analyze the results. HAMAS had an estimated 20,000 fighters in it’s ‘army’. The IDF numbers around 160,000. In statistics alone, just to break even, HAMAS needs to inflict 8 times more casualties in the Israeli army. From the estimates I have seen, HAMAS has lost several hundred KIA. Israel has lost about 10. More importantly, more than 90% of HAMAS maintains its combat capability. This is in contrast to the 30-day war that Israel and Hezbollah fought in the summer of 2006.

HAMAS will be able to recover its capabilities more rapidly than Hezbollah for a number of reasons. Not the least is that it has to replace far less of a percentage of its pre-battle forces. In addition, HAMAS has access to far more resources than Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has been quiet for more than 2 and ½ years. This would seem an adequate amount of time to replace losses in material and manpower. They can be expected to become more active in the future, if not sooner.

HAMAS can become more active almost immediately. They did get a bloody nose from this latest fight, but that is all. They in no way took the body blow that Hezbollah took back in 2006. They may not choose to become more active for a number of reasons. However, we can expect HAMAS to become more active in the future, and it can easily be the near future if they chose to do so.

P.S. Politically it is always important to declare victory. Note how the U.S. declared peace with honor after it decided to withdraw from Vietnam. I do not understand politics very well, but it would be natural to tell your people that you won. This makes it easier to withstand the pain of loss and rebuilding.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

I do not envy our new President. He inherits a difficult situation both domestically and concerning foreign affairs. Both the U.S. and much of the developed world are struggling economically. Seeing as my focus is warfare, our new President has difficult challenges regarding successful prosecution of the ‘war on terror’. He does have a short-term advantage in that the ‘honeymoon’ period will enable him to be the most effective he can be from today until at most 6 months from now. After that, fulfilling his agenda can be expected to be more difficult.

Politics aside, I am hoping that he is successful in attacking our enemies. I differ from him in a number of important respects, based upon what he has said during the campaign. However, he may not follow through in a way that I expect and he may be more effective than I believe he will be. On top of this, he may be correct and I can easily be wrong about any number of things. I will be watching and commenting with my analysis of his actions concerning the war.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Israeli Army

Overall, the Israeli military is the best trained, equipped and supplied in the world. Soldier for soldier, the Israeli military is the best in the world. I use the term, soldier for soldier instead of man for man because Israel has done a superb job of incorporating women into its armed services. This applies to combat as well as non-combat units. Until Israel came into existence, the Soviet Union during World War II had the best results using women in combat roles. Israel has not just beaten that old standard; it has established an entirely new level.

Israel has fought 4 major wars and countless campaigns like the one going on today. The only time that I am aware of that an Israeli unit has broken and fled the field in disorder was during the 1973 war. The situation would have triggered an earlier panic in any other combat unit in any army in the world. This is one hell of a record and demonstrates the strength of discipline and spirit within the Israeli military.

It will be wise to keep this in mind whenever you hear or see any reports about how the Israeli army is guilty of any ‘atrocities’. EVERY war has atrocities. We are all human. War brings out the best and the worst in people. As I have stated in the past, a direct relationship exists between the amount of training a unit has undergone and the amount of atrocities it commits. Generally, the more thorough the training, the fewer the atrocities. Seeing as the Israeli military is one of the best trained (If not THE best) in the world, any atrocities that are committed can be judged to be just about beyond what is humanly possible to avoid.

This is not to say that the people who commit them should not be punished. What you want to keep in mind is that because of the training, any atrocities committed by an Israeli unit are far more likely to become public than any adversary they may face. This can and has been used against them. Please also keep in mind that the reverse is also true. The lower the levels of training, not only are atrocities more likely, but the same atrocities are much less likely to become public knowledge.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Terrorism and WMD

During the ‘Blitz’ of England in 1940, the English civilian population was massively in favor of bombing German cities. A popular saying was ‘Give it ‘em back’. They were being bombed and wanted to hit back. Bomber Command did just that and eventually, hit them back far more than they were hit. This is a natural human reaction. Escalation is how wars are won. The winner escalates the war until the other side either cannot or will not match. Sometimes exhaustion sets in on both sides and a cease-fire is established. Typically, this is satisfactory to neither side.

After 9/11, it was not uncommon to hear from the Islamic world that ‘It is good that Americans know fear’. This is a natural reaction to a community who believes itself under attack by the U.S. and the ‘West’. In other words, they are at war with us. This was well before our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. This shows me that even IF we ‘win’ in Iraq and Afghanistan, this war would be far from being over. Our enemy will continue to escalate until their ideology is commonly accepted, or the ideology is so discredited that it becomes a footnote of history. The problem is numbers.

Our enemy has irregular forces scattered throughout the Islamic world. Guerrilla forces are typically manned and supplied from the local population. This is a cause for concern in that so much of the Islamic population is actively supporting these ‘irregular’ forces. The overall population in the Islamic world is so large that it actually enables these terrorist forces with a global reach. This is unprecedented.

This war is much larger than what is being fought. The ideology of our enemy is so wide spread that the war can be expected to continue for decades at the very least. This war will continue to escalate until a decisive point is reached. The only way that I know of that can be decisive and quick is the use of WMD. Sooner or later an effective weapon of mass destruction will be deployed. The use of these types of weapons will escalate because even if we do not begin the process of using them, our enemy will continue to until we decide to ‘Give it ‘em back’.

In order to change the ideology of our enemy, the educational systems of the areas that are supporting these ‘irregular’ forces must be changed. Tell me I can’t send my kids to a school that I want them to attend and teach them the basics of what I believe? I would fight that with bullets myself. This type of change threatens way of life. This is a basic cause of most wars. In order to change the educational systems, the government would have to be implementing these changes. Once again, a basic problem here is that time is not on our side. Change like this will take generations. We do not have this much time, unless we wage offensive warfare in the form of toppling governments that support Islamic terrorism. In any case, the use of WMD and retaliation with use of these weapons can only be a matter of time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

War on terror is a dirty war

World War II holds 2 classic examples of how a ‘dirty’ war can be a product of the enemies who face each other. I define a ‘dirty’ war as a war in which atrocities occur frequently. ALL wars have atrocities. However, the general rule is that the better trained the combatants are, the fewer the atrocities. Of all the major combatants, the U.S., England and Germany had the best-trained armies in the world.

Germany fought England and the U.S. in one of the cleanest of modern wars. Atrocities occurred although by many standards, they were few. Yet the German-Russian war that was fought at the same time on the eastern front was one of the dirtiest wars in modern history. Atrocities were common from one end of the massive front to the other and throughout the war. The care of POW’s was a huge atrocity by itself, on both sides. This is because the POW’s were so poorly treated. Millions of POW’s on both sides died from mal-nutrition and disease.

As stated before, the U.S. fought Germany in a clean war, yet at the same time fought Japan in a dirty war. Prisoners were not taken often, if at all. Japan did not take care of U.S. and English prisoners well. Many died from mal-nutrition and disease brought on by starvation. An exception to this general rule was that the U.S. did take good care of the Japanese that it took prisoner. The reason I consider this to be a dirty war on the part of the U.S. is because we took so few prisoners, intentionally. Add in the firebombing of Japanese cities, plus the nuclear attacks.

The overall point here is that the fighting of a clean war is not dependent upon one side following the accepted ‘rules’ of warfare. It requires both sides to do so. This creates a real problem in the ‘war on terror’ today.

Our enemy today is fighting a VERY dirty war. I have studied warfare for more than 40 years and I cannot think of any war that can come close to the types and consistency of atrocities that our enemy has constantly committed.

Once this war gets as large as I think it will, we not concern ourselves with fighting a clean war. Sooner or later one of these groups will obtain and deploy an effective weapon of mass destruction. Escalation will naturally follow if not by us, then by our enemy. WMD does not lend itself to discrimination between soldiers and civilians. This war could easily become the dirtiest war in history.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Emergency items and planning

In the days after 9/11, I had begun to think about a nuclear attack on Chicago, Illinois. If you named 5 cities in the U.S. that our enemy would like to destroy, Chicago will be on that list. I did not believe that the war would be over in a year or two. It will take decades. The basic problem that I have is that time is not on our side. Sooner or later one of these groups will obtain and deploy an effective weapon of mass destruction. This can only be a matter of time.

I began to put together items that we would need if something like that happened. Over the past 7 years, we have updated our supplies and list about once a year. The biggest advantage anyone can have for the unexpected is to have a plan.

Our plan is that if the attack is with a nuclear weapon, which way is the wind blowing? If out of the east (About 15-20% of the time) we will need to leave the area as quickly as possible. This will be a problem because the EMP will probably disable all vehicles that we would use. If the wind were out of the north and/or west, we would do best to stay at home and wait for 4 or 5 days until the dust settles. If the attack were with a chemical or biological weapon, we would probably hit the road as quickly as possible. The good news here is that cell phones and vehicles would not be impacted by this type of attack. We have to plan for either. Here is a condensed list of what we have so far.

1) Flashlight and radio. Hand crank so no need for batteries and/or backup power supply. Spare candles with matches and/or lighters.

2) Reserve of fresh water.

3) Spare blankets and canned food. We rotate food supply to keep it fresh.

4) Plan of action: Do you leave the area as soon as possible, or do you ‘hunker down’ and wait a few days for the dust to settle before you move out?

5) Where will you go if you had to leave the general area?

6) Backup transportation: The EMP from a nuclear explosion will destroy ALL electronic devices. Cars will be disabled and stop immediately. Can you walk or have bicycle backup?

7) Weapons for defense? People will probably panic. They just may take violent action. Not that anyone wants this to happen, but it may be very useful to have a night club or some other hand held weapon to defend yourself with.

I am looking into a solar power generator that would supply power and recharge any batteries that we would need. This would require an inverter to convert DC to AC power. I have seen articles that say this can be obtained for as little as $300.00.

Many will disagree with this statement, but our President-elect will place the U.S. on the strategic defensive. This means that anyone living in or near a major city will then be in the front line. Hopefully, none of this equipment will be needed. If it is needed, it just may save your life.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Global Islamic terrroism

The global terrorism as we know it today is based upon Islamic ideology. All of these international groups justify their actions based upon interpretations of concepts presented within the Koran. Many people may disagree concerning those interpretations, but the fact remains that all of the global terrorist groups that are currently active are groups that have Islam as their basic foundation.

The Munich Olympics in 1972 is the first example that I am aware of where Islamic terrorism left the immediate area that encompasses the Islamic world. This is mainly the Middle East, although many parts of Africa and Asia are also part of the Islamic world. The 1980’s saw more international attacks, from the aircraft that was destroyed over Scotland to the wheelchair bound American on the hijacked ship that was killed and thrown overboard to the bombing of the disco in Berlin. The government of Libya was active at that time and during the 1990’s backed off of its support of international terrorism. Despite this, the 1990’s saw even more international activity on the part of global Islamic terrorist groups. This activity lead directly to the events of 9/11. After 9/11, global terrorist activity has continued although the U.S. has not been hit directly, except our armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is expensive to wage war. Even more so on an international scale. It is obvious that global terrorism has multiple sources of resources that are supplying the individual groups with the money, manpower and training needed to wage the ‘irregular’ warfare that helps define terrorism. Some states are active supporters of terrorist groups, such as Syria, Iran and Pakistan. These states can only be part of the source of terrorist resources.

Throughout history, guerrilla ("irregular") forces have been the products of local areas. The manpower, weapons and supplies needed to support these forces originate from those local areas where they operate. It is tempting to believe that global Islamic terrorism is only a few widely scattered groups operating independently. While the separation and compartmentalization of the various groups is an inherent part of ‘irregular’ warfare, the overall Islamic ideology is a common feature with all of these global terrorist groups. People who believe as the enemy does and are willing to support them are sending them money to fund their activities. Despite the fact that these groups operate individually, the resources they rely upon are supplied from the area of the world where Islam is at least a major shareholder in the culture. In other words, the different groups may be operating independently and being supplied separately; they are acting as allies and are being supported (Directly and indirectly) by the same overall population. This is why I see this war as being far larger than what is actually being fought.

I use the example of the good southerners that fought for the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil war. Many did not own slaves. Yet their lives would be profoundly affected by the abolition of slavery. So they risked and lost their lives fighting for that way of life that was based upon the evil of enslavement of other human beings. Other examples I use are the good Germans and Japanese who fought in World War II. They too fought for their way of life, even if the government that supplied that lifestyle was acting in evil ways. Nationalism played a part, but impact to way of life has provided the cause for more wars than any other that I can think of. This is what makes the current ‘war on terror’ so large.

Islam is at the root of the problems concerning the ‘war on terror’. Most wars only require one or two really good issues to make it worth the loss of life and destruction that all wars entail. Islam provides many more:

To recap:

1) Separation of church and state. (Loyalty to Islam over any government)
2) Stoning ANYONE to death
3) The obligation to kill the ‘occupiers’ of Muslim land
4) The penalty for leaving Islam is death.
5) Tribute
6) Jihad

Getting rid of any of these issues by a 'liberal' interpretation will trigger organized violence as has been demonstrated time and again. All of the combined represent an undertaking that will take centuries. A large problem here is that time is not on our side. Sooner or later one of these groups will obtain and deploy a weapon of mass destruction. Then the active fighting in the war will closer approximate the actual size of the war in reference to the number of people whose lives will be impacted.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Israeli attacks upon HAMAS

During August 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a 30-day battle. The papers in the U.S. still seem to think that Israel lost. Seeing as the papers in the U.S. are so good at reporting political events, this is what they must have been referring to. On the ground, Hezbollah got its ass kicked.

Estimates of Hezbollahs’ fighting strength in August of 2006 were around 7000 to 7500. Estimated losses were around 2000 to 2500. Around 30%. Some of the best-trained combat units in the world have broken and fled the field after sustaining far fewer losses in percentage. Hezbollah is not a well-trained force. Morale MUST have been hurt as well as combat effectiveness. Note how little Hezbollah has been in the news the past 2 and ½ years.

I expect the same from the news with the current battle that is going on between Israel and HAMAS. Seeing as HAMAS is not a well-trained force and due to a number of other major factors, the mismatch will go in Israel’s favor and I would expect HAMAS to lose at a minimum of 10 or 20 to 1. I do not know what the estimates for number of combatants in HAMAS, but if this battle lasts any length of time, HAMAS will sustain substantial losses that will cripple their abilities for at least the near future.

The two situations are different in that after the shooting stops, HAMAS will probably be able to rebuild faster. The war in Iraq in 2006 and 2007 was draining substantial amounts of resources that Hezbollah needed to rebuild. Today, the war in Iraq is not so active, so resources will be more readily available. HAMAS also has access to additional resources that Hezbollah does not have. The overall point is that although HAMAS may win politically, they will lose on the ground. The news organizations will most likely fail to see this.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Ethiopian troops have been pulling out of Somalia in stages. Islamic ‘insurgents’ are moving in to fill the vacuum. As I have stated in past posts, Islamic law is well suited to establish stability in a failed state where Islam is at least somewhat accepted. Authoritarian measures are easiest to enact and enforce in an area where stability is lacking. Islam has those qualities as well as the leadership and knowledge to establish the legal system in a short period of time. One problem that I see is that this legal system is so hostile to our way of thinking that allowing this to occur will only create additional problems for us in the long term.

Friday, January 2, 2009

International law and civilians

This post is in reply to a comment placed in my last post. "What do you have to say about Kucinich in US saying Israeli attack is violation of section #33 of the Geneva Convention."
I had to do a little research to find out about what Kucinich said. My reply requires some background, please forgive me.

The U.S. Civil War is considered by many historians to be the first of the modern wars. When Sherman marched to the sea, his army not only ‘lived off the land’ but it destroyed anything that could be of value to the Confederacy. He waged war against civilians. The war lasted only a few months after he reached the Atlantic.

In World War I, German U-boat commanders were caught up in international law. The law said that merchant ships were to be approached, boarded and the crew cared for if the ship was carrying contraband and could legally be sunk. Submarines are ill suited for this type of work. They don’t have extra room and carried only a very small surface gun. They were vulnerable to ramming or "Q-ships", which sank a number of U-boats. The English were smart. They equipped a number of merchant ships with hidden guns. (‘Q-ships) When a U-boat approached them, they blew them out of the water. England carried out unrestricted submarine warfare but the issue never came up.

At the beginning of World War II, restrictions were initially placed upon the U-boats, but they were gradually lifted within the first few months. Italy, England, Japan and the U.S. carried out unrestricted submarine warfare throughout the war, and nothing was ever mentioned about this law again.

The trend of modern warfare is to attack civilian infrastructure. The military of today is far more dependent upon the civilian economy that supplies it than at any time in the past. If a world war broke out today, it would most likely involve WMD. These weapons would be targeting cities as the usefulness in using them on any given army or naval unit would not provide nearly the same results.

Section #33 of the Geneva Convention concerns civilians during wartime. It was written and signed in 1948, a few years after World War II. The idea was to hopefully prevent and regulate attacks upon civilians. This is a hope that can only be realized if BOTH sides in any given war actively followed the rules. It takes only one side to make a ‘dirty’ war. Some examples: The eastern front, 1941-1945 was a ‘dirty’ war. Atrocities occurred often, on both sides. The U.S. – Japanese war, 1941-1945 was also a ‘dirty’ war. Many times a rescued Japanese soldier would kill or attempt to kill his savior. The saying sprang up, "A good Jap is a dead Jap". This is why.
Yet the war on the western front with England and the U.S. against Germany, 1940-1945 was one of the cleanest of modern wars. White flags were observed, countless cease-fires were implemented to allow medics on both sides to tend to wounded. In other words, both sides wanted to fight a clean war, and they did.

Fast forward to Israel today. It is obvious that the enemies of Israel (And the ‘West) are not interested in following internationally sanctioned rules. They complain about Israel attacking civilians, yet their primary targets are not the Israeli military. In fact, Israel has shown marked restraint. They could cause far more damage and death throughout the areas under attack if they chose to. Yet they have not, time and again.

The overall point is that it takes both sides to want to follow the rules of warfare. In combat, your side is important. The other side far less so. Attempting to implement a legal framework may be disastrous. The Germans lost many well-trained submariners because they were attempting to follow a law that placed their lives in far more jeopardy than would otherwise have been the case. The folly of that ‘law’ was seen in the inter-war years and the issue just faded away.

In conclusion, I tend to give the Israelis the benefit of the doubt. They have shown restraint time and again even while their enemies have shown few reciprocal gestures. Not that I want to see them violate ANY law. You know the old saying, "All’s fair in love and war". This is true if both sides do not agree to follow the rules.