Thursday, February 26, 2009

The next BIG war

The most likely place for any major war in the world involving the U.S. is the Middle East. It could also be India-Pakistan as these have nuclear capability. Iran and Syria are likely enemies. It is unknown if the Obama administration would back Israel if open warfare breaks out. The U.S. should back Israel to the hilt, including committing our military, but our current government would most likely just support them diplomatically. The problem here is that Israel is just not big enough.

Israel cannot withstand much in the way of WMD attacks. It will not require very many WMD to injure Israel to the point where they will be unable to defend themselves effectively. This poses many problems for the U.S. Eventually WMD will be used. In the event of a WMD attack on Israel, retaliation can be expected. If a WMD attack occurred in the U.S., would we not do the same? Yet the position of the U.S. would be seriously damaged if Israel were to fall. We will need Israel in the next big war as an ally and as a military force to help tie down enemy forces. In addition, we will need Israeli offensive capability and experience. Additionally, the U.S. will need bases throughout the Middle East. It would be far better if we did not have to take those bases by storm. In other words, we will need our bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We should not give up any bases in Iraq. We need to have Iran on a two front war, if hostilities ever broke out. We will need an armed front with Syria just to interdict any forces that would be moving against us from there. India will most likely be an ally, even if just a pro-U.S. neutral.

This is all guesswork. However, history has demonstrated time and again that conflict in the form of open warfare is NOT obsolete. Conflict is as much a part of humanity as breathing and eating. Some conflicts have issues that have no peaceful resolution. Slavery is an excellent example. Sooner or later the issue must be resolved and warfare is the most decisive way to accomplish this end. As a result, big wars break out from time to time. It has been more than 60 years since the end of the last great open conflict. The time cannot be far off, and the issues present within Islam and the Middle East are so important and vast that it can be considered surprising that the constant warfare that is present has not grown to a much larger, more decisive level prior to today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Defensive warfare

This war is not big enough today. As demonstrated in Iraq, our enemy cannot withstand direct combat with our army on the scale that was being fought. Without this attrition to sap his strength, our enemies will be able to develop new capability. This must be prevented, at all cost. This is worth waging war over. In other words, invading other countries. I would pick Syria, but politics make ANY aggressive move like this impossible. The problem is the U.S. government is going in quite the opposite direction.

By allowing the war to slow down, we will allow our enemy more time. Time is NOT on our side because sooner or later the war will come to us. Playing good defense is important when you are losing. The withdrawal at Dunkirk saved a sizable portion of the English army AFTER they had been soundly defeated. As a general rule, when you are the stronger, it is to your advantage to press the issue. You can then decide the tempo of the war and the focus of where the fighting is taking place. You decide what targets to attack and force your enemy to defend what he must. This is called the strategic initiative. This can be lost voluntarily or in many cases, by outright defeat.

Seeing as the U.S. has not been defeated outright, any loss of strategic initiative will be voluntary. The war will become quiet. "The calm before the storm." At that point, our enemies will decide where the attacks will be made and we will have to react to their moves. They will be setting the tempo, not us. When these conditions occur, our enemies can be expected to be developing new capabilities. Once again, it will only be a matter of time before we find out what these new capabilities are.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


News reporting is outstanding when reporting political news. It is world class when doing analysis upon political events. Political news is the greatest strength of reporting. Not even close.
Wartime news reporting:

I have read articles from papers published during the U.S. Civil War, the Spanish-American war, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam and others. These are some observations that I have.

Wartime news reporting is fairly accurate when recording friendly losses. (In a democratic society) In many cases, the accuracy is such that well after the war, the figures stated are not modified by much. Wartime news reporting is inconsistent when reporting enemy losses. In low intensity wars, reporting tends to be more accurate on this issue. In larger affairs, it is off the mark far more frequently and with much greater inaccuracy. Wartime reporting fails miserably when doing any type of analysis.

The ‘Tet’ offensive in 1968 is a good example. North Vietnam launched an offensive to demonstrate how far they had come. They committed most of the VC cadres that had been built up over 10 years. The NVA also committed 5 divisions in an attempt at a conventional battle. It was a disaster. The 5 divisions were wiped out, as were many of the VC cadres. Yet the news media reported this as a stunning defeat. The losses to the enemy were understated. The losses on our side were fairly accurate. Politically, we lost. After all, news reporting is very good at political analysis. A more current example:

Remember the 30-day war that Hezbollah and Israel fought in August 2006? The news then and now is still reporting that Israel lost and Hezbollah won BIG-TIME. (Exception: The Wall Street Journal was careful to point out that these views were political in nature.) Yes, politically this was the case. Looking at it from a different view leads me to question this. The IDF (Israel Defense Force) numbers about 150,000. All the estimates of Hezbollah that I have seen at the time placed them at about 7000 combatants. Loss of life was reported at 158 for Israel and around 2000 for Hezbollah. (This is not counting civilian losses.) In other words, Israel lost about .001% of its combat strength, and Hezbollah lost about 20%. Many well-trained combat units have broken and fled the field in disorder after losing far less than 20%. Hezbollah took a major hit. Hezbollah got hurt, BAD. At best, morale took a major hit. Even if figures were off somewhat, it took well over a year or two to recover. Please note how seldom we have been hearing about them for the past 30 months. Once again, the political view was accurately pointed out, although many other important factors had and are being left out.

I read in the Chicago Tribune in an issue in 1971 that the United States could not win in Vietnam because the V.C. and NVA controlled the countryside and we could only control the cities. In Iraq today, was the situation not reversed? Yet the reporting that I had seen in print as well as on TV all were hinting at how we could not win. Good reasons exist why the situation evolved the way they did in both Vietnam and Iraq.

The hard facts in the form of losses in numbers can be a somewhat reliable source depending upon the size and scope of the war. Not that any figures should be believed outright, they can be fairly accurate. On the other side of the coin, wartime reporting analysis is dismal. I believe that at least part of the reason why is that it is so good at political analysis. Reporting sees the news through a political lens and this distorts more than what is intended. This is important to keep in mind today when we are caught up in an ‘irregular’ war where it is far easier to see what you want to.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lesson from Vietnam

I remember seeing some bumper signs: "My country, right or wrong." "My country, love it or leave it". These were in reference to the war in Vietnam. I believe that today, it is far more accepted to question if you could be going to your death because of a political screwup. If you are going to risk your life and to kill others, the reason for war must be far better.

I am at war with historical Islam because of number of reasons.

1) Separation of church and state.
2) Moral obligation to kill occupiers of Muslim lands. That no other requirements are needed to justify killing is a BIG problem. This is a power to be held ONLY by nation-states. In other words, even if a Muslim government launches what we would consider a war of aggression, the occupation of the country triggers the obligation to kill occupiers. WRONG.
3) Penalty for leaving Islam is death. (An Apostate) Another power of the nation-state.
4) Stoning people to death as punishment. Execution of ANYONE is a power of the nation-state only.
5) Waging war is another power reserved ONLY for nation-states. The four ‘legal’ enemies of Islam. In other words, to wage war against:
a) Infidels
b) Apostates
c) Rebels
d) Bandits
The first two qualify for ‘Jihad’.)

The concept of ‘Jihad’ can ONLY be personal. Changing this will be fought by organized warfare as the general belief that jihad refers to armed conflict has been around since 630 AD and is common today.

This is not a complete list. I attempted to keep this brief. These reasons are more than enough to prevent any political solution outside of open warfare. These are good enough for me to risk my life and kill the enemy. Issues similar to these have been the cause of many wars.

The issue of separation of church and state will unite Muslims worldwide. The rise of the nation-states has been and is today pushing upon Islam and it is winning although slowly. This is one of the most significant reasons why we are seeing repeated suicide attack for only the 2nd time. They are resisting modern advancements with violence. This has no political solution. And time is not on our side. Repeated suicide attacks must be stopped prior to any of these groups obtaining effective WMD. This alone is worth waging conventional warfare to prevent. If we go defensive as our current President is enacting, the war will come directly to us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Summary of energy sources

I did a study on power sources in the late 1970’s and have been interested in energy since. Energy is vital in any modern economy. It is also vital when waging modern war.

1) Coal - The power source from the 19th century. Coal still plays a significant role today. Coal is not as easily mined nor as transportable as oil and natural gas. The industry is the highest in death toll for extraction and development per capita than any other. Even ‘clean’ coal is a heavy pollutant.

2) Wind – Statistics have shown only a few places where this is economical. Harvesting the wind has been around since the beginning of man. The natural pattern is slow movement away from this as an effective source.

3) Geothermal – Not very economical except (Like wind) in a few local places. Not transportable.
4) Solar – Power source is at the far end of a long line. Has economical applications. However, it is better to tap it at the source, the sun. Which is a fusion reaction. Fusion has the potential to supply what today can be considered to be an unlimited power source.

5) Oil and gas – Power source began in late 19th century and is still the most economical and most transportable.

6) Nuclear – created in the mid-20th century. This concept is the opposite of fusion, it has the best potential of all others so far to lead to operational fusion generation plants and has the least amount of loss of lives and damage than any other current source. It has practical economies of scale and is even somewhat transportable, as our nuclear warships demonstrate. The greatest problem here is fear. Particularly in the U.S. people are afraid of nuclear power and weapons. (For good reason concerning nuclear weapons, less so when concerning power plants)

Sunday, February 15, 2009


A suburban Buffalo man who founded a cable TV station to promote better understanding of Muslims in the U.S. has been arrested on charges he beheaded his wife.

One argument about this case is that this is just a man who killed his wife, something that is not all that uncommon throughout the country and the world. As we cannot really know for certain, this argument will always be valid. On the other hand, this case can also fit into the pattern of ‘honor killing’, something that is common throughout the Islamic world, yet is NOT nearly so common in the U.S, nor the ‘West’.

Reports from around the world indicate that Muslims have difficulty assimilating to new cultures and environments. The beheading of a wife is something that much more easily would occur in an Islamic country than anywhere else in the world.

EVERY society has its ‘homegrown’ terrorism. Individuals and small groups of extremist’s views that are rarely if ever repeated. The percentage of the population that holds these views is so small that civil police forces are generally adequate to deal with them. Islam has much more violence internally than all other ‘religions’ combined. This is not even close. And this is excluding the external violence that they have with the rest of the world. A major part of the reason why is because the Koran is so hostile to the ideology of the ‘West’ and indeed, all who are not Muslim.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

President Obama and President Carter

As a general rule, I attempt to avoid politics. Seeing as this is virtually impossible, I still attempt to avoid it as much as possible. This is one of the few times I will venture into politics.

I have two close friends who are Democrats. One is more moderate in his political views. We get along because we do not attack each other. We attack the position the other holds. In early 1979, the less moderate friend noted that President Carter had been a good campaigner. He was not happy that President Carter was not doing well in the polls. I bring this up because it looks to me that President Obama is a good campaigner, and it looks like he is still on campaign. This is a tactic that obtains political advantage and is necessary to help rally support. However, as I have noted before, politics and war do not mix well. Some issues have no political solution.

President Obama has offered to use carrots to tempt a number of hostile governments to become less adversarial. President Carter attempted this strategy as well. It did not work well for him and the U.S., although only time will tell if President Obama can do better. President Obama has the advantage of very low interest rates when beginning his presidency. This should not be a major problem during his first term. Ronald Regan did say in one of the debates with President Cart that it was nice to be liked, but more important to be respected. It is far too early to pass any judgement upon President Obama and the war. We will just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hamas recovery

Notice how Hamas is keeping a low profile these days. Although they were not hit as hard as Hezbollah was a few years ago, Hamas did lose over 5% of its combat capability. Hamas needs to replace the men that they lost, plus all of the weapons and munitions that were expended. It would be unwise to provoke the Israeli army at this point. The Israeli military has lost none of its capability, so it would be best for Hamas to be relatively quiet and rebuild without interference.

As a general observation, I expect terrorist activity worldwide to drop off over the next year or two. Now that the drain of manpower and munitions has fallen off in Iraq, our enemy is basically doing what Hamas is doing. Let things settle down and replace losses. After that, I expect our enemy to begin to develop new capabilities. Unless of course, the U.S. starts another fight that forces them to engage us. I do not expect this, and I would like to point out that Afghanistan really does not qualify. The terrain of Afghanistan is the worst in the world for a mechanized military to engage in battle. The supply situation in Afghanistan is far more difficult and will be more expensive and less effective. It will require far more soldiers than Iraq, given that every thing else is even. Expansions of our combat force in Afghanistan will not reach the level required. In any case it would be an inefficient use of our military. Better to force the enemy to attack us in other places.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Attacks upon the U.S.

The United States was hit in 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2001. The United States has not been hit since 9/11. When I say this, the qualifications that I am using are that the U.S. mainland has not been hit, or any U.S. positions outside of any known combat zone. A colleague and I differed about why the attacks on London and Madrid are not counted. By this standard, I would not be able to count the attack on the barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, nor would I be able to count the attack on the U.S.S. Cole.

In my view, any attack on our military anywhere in the world is counted, unless it is already within a known combat area. Our protectorates are included, such as Guam. I do not include attacks that were not targeted at the United States directly. The attacks in Madrid was aimed at Spain and influencing the elections there. The attacks in London were aimed at England. For myself, their is a difference between setting off a bomb in London and attacking an aircraft carrier. Organizations that are setting off bombs in cities are less of a danger than those who are directly engaging our military are. The very nature of these organizations is that they are decentralized. The same ideology is at root although the actual organizations that perform the attacks will vary. This is why it is vital to force the Islamic ‘extremist’ to engage our military on ground of our choosing.

Our best chance with winning the war lies in our ability to force our enemy to engage our military instead of our civilian population. This applies to our allies as well. Pakistan is a very important area to watch. The capability to deliver nuclear weapons there is of vital concern. The war will flare up from time to time and the areas where the open warfare is worst will vary. This is in part because our enemy cannot maintain constant combat operations for any extended period. This is where we need to draw them out. Now that we know that they find it hard to maintain combat like in Iraq for a full year tells us a great deal about how well we match up stamina wise. Watching this will enable us to more accurately see how the war is really going.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Islam and the path to war

Sooner or later a terrorist organization will obtain and deploy an effective weapon of mass destruction.

It is most likely that the WMD will be a chemical or biological weapon. Less likely would be a nuclear weapon. If it is a nuclear weapon, it is likely that the terrorist organization will not have created the nuke on its own. Most likely, any nuclear weapon would be from a country that already has nuclear capability, although it is possible that only the weapons grade material will be obtained and the terrorist organization will engineer the weapon on its own. So it is most likely that one of the known nuclear powers will have either willingly or not, supplied the enemy with the nuke(s).

The known nuclear powers are:

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

South Africa gave up its nuclear weapons. This has been confirmed by multiple sources.

Israel has nuclear weapons. They are unconfirmed and unofficial, but they do posses them. It is estimated that they posses about 25 nuclear weapons.

I do not see Russia as using WMD except in defense. The old Soviet Union turned their ships around to avoid a potential nuclear confrontation. China is NOT going to attack anyone with nuclear weapons (even Taiwan), except in defense. I believe that England and France would fall into this category as well. Israel is not going to start throwing nukes around unless they are being militarily defeated. I find it very unlikely that India would start anything either, except in defense. This leaves out North Korea and Pakistan. I do not see them using WMD, although it would not surprise me if they helped a 3rd party obtain nuclear capability. Any nuclear attack could originate from Iran as well once they have completed enough development. The weapons themselves could be from any of the countries that have them. Even though the weapon(s) may have been from any of these countries, it is more than likely that the executors of the attack would be from an Islamic country. The key is that the ideology of the organization that launches the attack(s) will be based upon Islam.

The worst reaction is where the U.S. does not hold any governments responsible for the initial attack. The attack itself would likely be somewhere in Europe or Israel. If we did not respond forcefully, the West would probably not be united for very long. They would begin to disagree with each other along with us. If the enemy were not knocked off balance enough, the enemy would continue to build new capabilities. It is likely that the next attack that would follow would not just be one or two cities. I would expect the U.S. to be the primary target at that time. The most important part is the lack of response by the U.S. after the initial ‘crisis’. Unless the counterattack was effective, the enemy would continue to gain capabilities and strength. As the support for the concept of repeated suicide attack demonstrates, our enemy is very likely to use any WMD if they get their hands on them. In other words, threat of retaliation will not be effective.

A strategic defensive posture works when both sides have an incentive NOT to fight each other. If either party lacks this important restraint combined with the desire to engage in warfare, armed conflict actually becomes impossible to avoid. If the conflict does not have enough attrition to drain the resources to a level where it cannot grow, it will build up until it explodes. It has been 70 years since the last Great War. History has shown that human nature requires these conflicts every so often. Maybe we can break this pattern, but I doubt it. The volatile situation we have with Islam is due to the fact that so many issues present are of the type that are worth engaging in warfare to defend or eliminate. This is part of the reason for the rampant irregular warfare that is present throughout the Islamic world and also demonstrates that the conflict is widespread. Repeated suicide attack is occurring for only the 2nd time of all of recorded history and is also present throughout the Islamic world. All of this adds up to my belief that if we do not initiate war against these issues, then the war will surely come to us.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

President Obama as Commander in Chief

My expectations are quite high. I believe that we are involved in a cultural war that unless handled firmly, will explode into a regional conflict involving weapons of mass destruction.

I expect our Commander in Chief to wage offensive warfare to prevent this. Not just kill a few ‘insurgents’ in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Islam must change today. Time is NOT on our side and change of this type will be resisted by organized warfare. Winning the war will require Islam to have fundamentally changed its ideology in terms so strong that it will only resemble the Islam of the past in personal, passive ways. In order to accomplish this, much of the Koran will be ignored and deleted. Fundamentally different schooling will be violently resisted and even though most can’t be blamed, it will require governments to enforce. This means that governments need to be held accountable for terrorist activity and ideology. Iran and Syria are known supporters. HAMAS is an excellent case. I doubt that our Commander in Chief will pursue this approach without having been overtly attacked.

President Obama will play good defense, but will fail to prosecute the war effectively enough to prevent direct attacks upon us. The U.S. has not been directly hit in more than 7 years. I expect the momentum we have gained by our beating up our enemy in Iraq (I do not believe it is over yet) will allow us some time before our new policies begin to open up our vulnerability.
Depending upon how well our enemy can re-deploy; I expect at least a year or two. After that, the probabilities of direct attacks upon us go up exponentially.

The key is to engage the terrorist army with our army. As Iraq has demonstrated, the enemy can’t stand up to combat troops and can’t maintain its forces in the field with the attrition that is ordinary when engaging a trained army. President Obama will not do any of this. He will attempt to negotiate and talk his way out of fighting. This will enable our enemies to recover from their losses, slow and stop the attrition they have been undergoing and begin to build new capabilities.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Islam and conflict

Israel is far more like the U.S. than anywhere in the Arab world. Much of the Arab world would rather be penniless than adopt some of what makes the Israeli system so productive. Change of this type must be a shock to Arab culture, as the constant warfare would indicate. Defending way of life is one of the most common reasons for organized warfare. Islamic ideology has great difficulty adapting to other cultures, as can be seen with its constant violent conflict with other cultures throughout the world. This demonstrates that the problem is NOT the U.S., nor is the problem the West. Islam can’t get along with anyone else. And the problem does not stop there. Islam can’t get along with itself. Most, if not all of the internal conflict is a direct result of one of the ‘authentic’ laws that has been enforced routinely for 1400 years. The penalty for leaving Islam is death. So if you disagree with another Muslim on any basic, ‘authentic’ law, you are an Apostate. Islamic law can be very rigid. It is very difficult to moderate the law that being an Apostate is punishable by death. It is either enforced, or it is not.

These issues make it imperative that Islam undergoes some type of modern reformation. These issues must be put to rest before the constant violence is reduced to a level that is more common in most of the rest of the world. These are issues that make warfare necessary and inevitable.

1) Loyalty to clan or other organization as opposed to the government. Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the U.S. army because his state of Virginia left the Union. One issue the U.S. Civil war decided was that our loyalty is to the Federal government, not the state.

2) Separation of church and state. The Islamic world needs to adopt the idea that Islam can’t determine if you can kill. Nor can you take any of the violent action that is specified within the Koran.

3) Moral obligation to kill occupiers of Muslim lands. This ‘law’ is a contributing reason for the constant Arab-Israeli conflict.

4) Penalty for leaving Islam is death. (An Apostate) All a Muslim has to do is disagree with any of the ‘authentic’ laws and the penalty is death. This is another ‘law’ that must change.

5) Jihad has to go.
"The presumption is that the duty of Jihad will continue (Interrupted only by truces) until the world adopts Islam or submits to Muslim rule." "Those who fight in the Jihad qualify for rewards in both worlds. Booty in this one, paradise in the next." (Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam, Page 31, copyright 2003.)
This is another reason for the constant Arab-Israeli wars. "The most common interpretation of jihad is armed struggle for the advancement or defense of Muslim power".

6) "In Muslim tradition, the world is divided into two houses: The house of Islam and the house of war". (Page 31. Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam, Copyright 2003. ) Another contribution to the constant Arab-Israeli wars.

7) Honor killings. Even if you had proper justification, nobody should be able to take the law into his or her own hands. Many of these ‘authentic’ laws allow you to be judge, jury and executioner. This is part of the separation of church and state issue.

8) Islamic electoral policy has been classically summarized as "One man, (men only) one vote, once."

These are not issues that can be negotiated. These issues are similar to the issue of slavery in that people will fight organized warfare to prevent change. On the other side, these issues are worth waging war to change.