Saturday, December 31, 2011

The U.S. lost the war in Iraq?

Recently, I received a message from a person who believed that the United States had lost the war in Iraq. Apparently, he believes that our losses exceeded that of our enemy and we failed in our objective of defeating our enemies in Iraq. This is my reply:

Dear Mr. X,

Be careful about accusations. They tend to tell more about the accuser than the accused.

BTW. I believe that you referred to Pyrrhic victory. (279 and 280BC) You know the victories that cost so much that it contributes to losing the war more than winning. (Actually, the Roman losses were higher in both battles. The Romans were able to replace their losses more readily than King Pyrrhus was) And if you believe that we lost in Iraq, you really can not know all that much about warfare. Of course, by our leaving, this places the position in jeopardy, but then I am certain that many people (Fox news included) don't understand the fundamental causes of the war.

I have been studying warfare for more than 40 years. Example: Do you know how heavy ammunition is? And that this is a major reason as to why in 2007 and 2008 we were in fact winning the war? If you like, I can send a complete discussion as to what the U.S. really did in Iraq. News reporting has historically been accurate about facts, like losses, but at the same time have shown a VERY low level and backwardness of analysis of warfare. About a 5th or 6th grade level, at best. (Including Fox News)

Another example: In 1971 I read a Chicago Tribune article that stated that the U.S. could NOT win in Vietnam because the enemy controlled the countryside and we only controlled the cities. (Not entirely accurate, but close enough) Yet we were losing in Iraq when the situation was reversed. (Actually, we dominated the desert far more effectively than the NVA and Viet Cong did in the countryside at any time during Vietnam.) We apparently could not win either war. WRONG.

I have studied news reporting in just about every major war since the invention of the printing press. Facts like ships sunk (Allied, not enemy) or planes shot down (enemy losses are notoriously inaccurate) and men killed and/or wounded tend to be fairly accurate. Analysis is almost ALWAYS inaccurate, inept and outright wrong.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are far more than what is actually going on in BOTH countries. This war has not really even begun yet. Just pray that it stays contained, because wars have a VERY NASTY habit of going out of control.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Economic danger

The U.S. and indeed, the entire western world are in economic danger. The debt is almost unmanageable. The Fed will not raise interest rates, simply because they CAN’T. Just think of the U.S. debt as a large A.R.M. (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) Many people get into trouble because the interest rate can rise after the initial period of the loan. The payment goes up very rapidly if rates go up quickly. And the debt the U.S. government has issued is so large that if the interest rates go up any significant amount, the payment due will explode exponentially. The only way to pay will be to issue more currency. The risk of hyperinflation could easily become a reality. So the Fed will not raise the rates unless absolutely forced to. The big question is, how much time do we have?

It can only be a matter of time before interest rates begin to rise. It is a natural cycle and cannot be held off indefinitely. The situation could be made much better if the various governments went on large restricted spending diets. This would probably cause economic disruption and a major downturn in economic activity. However, it would be far more limited in impact and duration than if forces outside of our control triggered the downturn, particularly if hyperinflation becomes a reality.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I am the problem

I have to admit, I had not ever thought of myself as being the problem American. I have bought into the American dream hook, line and sinker. I have bought into the American value system of hard work and nobody else to blame for my problems except for myself. I believe that America was great because of the economic freedom that our country provided to its citizens. We revolted from England because we saw the injustice of the taxation that England placed upon us and we determined that as a country, we would all be best off if our government allowed us to own the methods of production. We would all benefit from not just the ownership of the means of production, but benefit from the work that we were willing to put into doing whatever we wanted with it. I believe that the history of our country has proved this to be the best economic system ever devised. And yet, we are CHANGING this system.

President Obama is only the most recent and most extreme version of the pattern of CHANGE in our economic system. It is apparent to me that he and his followers believe that our economic system was and is so badly flawed that it requires ‘fundamental CHANGE’. I admit, NO system devised by man is without flaws. But what I am seeing is a complete dismantling of our private economic system in favor of an economic system driven by government decision making. President Obama is being successful in his efforts to CHANGE America. This is where I am now the problem.

One of the current issues is the tax cut extension. The solution that I favor is to implement the tax cuts as permanent. OK, politics will not allow for this, so we settle for a year extension. President Obama and Democrats want a two-month extension to give us more time. A problem I see here is that the programming can’t really be set up all that easily and this change would require more than two months to write up, test and implement. Not to mention that this would be expensive. Setting this aside, I have another idea:

Let’s pass a law that makes the tax cuts permanent. After President Obama signs it into law, HE can figure out what it does. I would expect him to say ‘take a hike’. And I am now the problem for having the same reaction to government takeover of close to 1/5th of our economy? (Health Care) If this makes me the problem American, then YES!

The Health Care bill was passed as opposition was growing. (Similar to the opposition that defeated both Republican efforts to modernize Social Security and the first attempt at a nationalized Health Care system) The Health Care bill was passed, “So that YOU can find out what is in it.” The Health Care bill is a permanent part of our legal system now, like Social Security and Medicare. It will take dictatorial power to rid us of this law. On top of this, we really don’t even know what it will be doing until well after the 2012 elections. The Health Care bill was passed because Democrats have wanted to nationalize Health Care in this country for more than half a century and they had the majority to do it. That was their best opportunity and they took it.

I guess I really am the opposite of Michele Obama. For the first time in my life, I am NOT proud to be American. I have never felt so pessimistic about my country. We have really CHANGED. Our government no longer does what we want. Our government does what it wants to so that WE can find out what it is doing. This is not what I think of when I think of my country. This is fundamental CHANGE indeed. I want to stop this, NOW. No more putting things off for 60 days and then decide what to do. No more putting things off until after the next election so that we don’t know what we really have until it is too late to change the people who bring it to us.

I really am the problem. I don’t like the way that President Obama and the Democrats have been running our country. The election of 2010 indicated to me that Americans in general agree with me. Well, I can’t blame President Obama for not changing his views, but I still don’t want to see any more CHANGE that he wants. In fact, I would rather have NOTHING done at all until after we are rid of him. I don’t want his signature on anything. No Deals that do not provide everything that I want, so that HE can figure out what it does after he has left office. President Obama has been successful. I have ‘fundamentally CHANGED’.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Suicide weapon

We are not seeing the high profile suicide attacks recently. The suicide attacks are still occurring. With all of the unrest throughout the Middle East, I have been expecting otherwise. Maybe the needs of the populations are being met. More likely is that the suicide attackers are not needed right now. Suicide attacks have a high attrition rate, so you don’t want to use them unnecessarily. The following post is from 4/25/09 and contains many of the reasons that I believe that what we are seeing is a lull in suicide attacks.


“Today the popular belief is that the Japanese who took part in banzai charges, flew kamikaze missions, piloted kaitens and shinyo ‘bang boats’, or served as human mines, were all fanatics. Because many of the banzai charges were ordered on the spur-of-the-moment no doubt there was an element of fanatism in the army’s operations. But the kamikazes, kaiten and kairyu men were dedicated individuals whose calm acceptance of death illustrates the impact of ideological persuasion.” (A.J. Barker, Suicide Weapon, C1971, Page 157)

For the past 25 years or so, we have been seeing only the 2nd occurrence of the use of suicide as a weapon of war. The point here is that many of us believe that our enemies are only a very small minority of ‘fanatics’. Just the idea of a small number of ‘fanatics’ is incorrect. ‘Ideological persuasion’ is required to overcome the most basic instinct of all living things, survival. The suicide attacks we are seeing today are spread all over the Islamic world. They tend to be concentrated within areas of open warfare, but suicide attacks are occurring in many other parts of the Muslim world as well. Just the very size of the geographical area indicates that this ‘ideological persuasion’ is much more pervasive than a very small minority of ‘fanatics’.

Of large concern is that the suicide attackers are coming from such a large population. This population can be expected to produce far more suicide attackers if the need became obvious. It is also very unlikely that this ‘ideological persuasion’ can be altered in any significant way without some very large, traumatic event.
The first occurrence of the use of suicide as a weapon 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 and end the war.) The educational system of the culture that produced this first wave of suicide attackers was altered severely and thoroughly.

I expect that WMD will be used long before this current war of ‘ideological persuasion’ is over.

End Post

It does not seem possible to me that the issues at the core of suicide attacks have been resolved. Islam is a major part of the ideology of the suicide attackers and is showing little to no reversal of the basic teachings that inspire the attacks. Maybe I am wrong, but I just do not see democracy (As repulsive as it is to Muslims) taking root all over the Middle East. After all, much of the reason that Israel is so despised is because it IS a democracy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Slavery and capitalsim

I am of the view that capitalism was a major driving force behind the elimination of slavery in the United States.

The fact that mechanization reduced by significant amounts the amount of hand labor required in the farming industry is long accepted. The inventions of the reaper and cotton gin reduced the amount of people required to harvest these two important crops. In the North, this resulted in more manpower being available in the cities to work other tasks. Generally, it is accepted that in many cases, these new tasks required more skillful labor. In the South, the slaves that were no longer needed to perform this work were re-allocated to other tasks. The key here is that education and improvement of skill levels of slaves is discouraged. This would only tend to make the slaves more dangerous and more likely to desire to throw off the institution that was binding them. At the same time that capitalism is creating a demand for a more skilled labor force, it is providing the time to develop the view that slavery is an outdated and immoral concept.

I believe that President Obama is of the belief that capitalism was the driving force behind slavery. It is true that capitalism provided the ability to capture and export the slaves from one area of the globe to another. Profit was the motivation for the slave ships existence. Yet after slavery had been eliminated from the United States, capitalism flourished and slavery did not return. Slavery had been around since the dawn of man, and capitalism had only been thought of in the past 100 years. If you look at the world today, the areas of the world that still have slavery are controlled by autocratic governmental systems. The areas that capitalism flourished, slavery had disappeared almost immediately. The constantly expanding need for more advance skills in the labor force would prevent a return to a society that demanded a significant portion of the population remain functionally illiterate. And I will argue that capitalism provided the means to rid our country of this plague in the first place.

One of the major reasons that the U.S. Civil war was won by the North was because so much of the manpower in the South was unavailable to wage the war. At the same time, that same manpower that was unavailable to fill the ranks of the Southern armies was also limited in its ability to produce as much per hour of labor as the capitalist North. It is a well-known fact that the North was much more industrialized than the South. Slavery was a major part of the reason that the South was not as industrialized and capitalism was a major reason as to why the North was. And this is leaving out the human side of the equation.

On a psychological level, it makes sense that those living in the North desired to end the limiting factor in the growth of the country as a whole. As a person has more free time, they have the time to debate morality on a different level. Survival is not as all consuming. As wealth accumulates, people can afford to question the way that the system works and the values that they hold. Bondage of any type would become a target. For example, the right for women to vote became a target beginning in the early to mid-19th century in America. Eventually, this process resulted in the Civil Rights movement beginning in the latter part of the first half of the 20th century. The economic freedom that resulted from the success of capitalism was a major driving force behind these changes.

(This view could also be extended to the Islamic world. ‘Fundamental’ Islamic nationalists hate capitalist societies the most. Islam allows for all sorts of bondage. I am of the view that this is a major contributing reason as to why the Islamic world is so economically underdeveloped and hostile to the rest of the world, particularly the most prosperous parts of the world. The South did begin the war by attacking the North because the North was going to begin to actively prevent the growth of the bondage that the economy and society the South depended upon. The ‘nation of Islam' is constantly attempting to CHANGE the rest of the world. And Islamic nationalists are targeting the ‘West’ most in particular. I believe that much of the reason for this is because that is the most free and prosperous portion of the world. And capitalism is most if not all of the reason for this prosperity)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Pakistan is continuing to deny NATO transit of Pakistani territory to supply troops in Afghanistan. In addition, Pakistan is establishing a working relationship with the Taliban, a relationship begun before the Taiban takeover of Afghanistan in the late 1990’s. I am unable to confirm a report that Pakistan has released 130 Taliban prisoners recently. But we are getting conflicting reports of Pakistani cooperation with the Taliban AND Pakistani willingness to talk with NATO. No matter which way Pakistan eventually wants to go, it would make sense to calm NATO down by offering to talk. And with the U.S. and NATO drawdown in Afghanistan, Pakistan could easily shift back to its old self with desires to influence and control elements within Afghanistan.

I am also hearing that the U.S. draw down in Afghanistan is not just on schedule. The U.S. is considering a more rapid withdrawal in light of the supposedly stabilizing security situation in Afghanistan. This would fit my assessment that President Obama wanted to be out of both Iraq and Afghanistan prior to the election cycle of 2012. Well, so far he will meet the requirement of being out of Iraq and although not out of Afghanistan, the drawdown of the ‘surge’ troops will be completed by the end of this year with an accelerated schedule of withdrawal for 2012. This will only lead to a shift in the war that our enemies are waging against us.

We can expect a more aggressive stance by our enemies in Afghanistan as a direct result. The way the war is going with our withdrawal from Iran, we can expect more aggression throughout the world as our enemies re-deploy and expand their capabilities. The energy, manpower and material resources that were being burned up attacking our military will now be available for other activities. It would make sense that the overall level of violence throughout Iran and Afghanistan would fall. The targets now being hit will be on a more personal level, combined with political activity to consolidate the gains. At the same time, a massive drop in attrition due to less combat against our military will enable our enemies to expand their capabilities elsewhere. I would expect a fairly quiet period with relatively few major attacks of between one and three years in duration. After that, we can expect a return to the accelerated pace of attacks that we were seeing in the late 1990’s with an increase in the effectiveness of these attacks as our enemies escalate the war. This is another of wars bad habits, the way that you win is to escalate the war until your enemy is unable to continue. This is a major reason as to why wars have a habit of going out of control.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Health Care exemption for Islam

This may be old news, but it is important. Our Health Care bill that was passed in order for US to find out what is in it contains exemptions for ‘religions’. Those who follow beliefs that are in contradiction to the mandated payments of the Health Care bill are exempted from making such payments. This has been used before.

The Amish have been exempted from mandates in the past. Conscription is the largest issue that comes to mind. I believe for good reason. The problem here is that the one size does not fit all applies again. A number of other ‘religions’ are also exempted including Islam. I really don’t have a problem with the ‘other’ exemptions, but I do with Islam. I must admit, Islam is an exceptional ‘religion’.

Unlike the Amish, (I will use the Amish as the example for comparison) Muslims are attempting to install their religious laws into our governmental systems. Also unlike the Amish, Islam is fielding an army to project its sovereignty. Nowhere do I hear about the Amish defending ‘occupied’ land. Actually, the population of the Amish is so small that they would be overrun in short order if they attempted any such thing. The followers of Islam have a population that is many times the greater of our entire country. And Islamic nationalism is just as real to them as the government of Japan, or France or the United States. In fact, even more so as the ‘religion’ of Mohammed does not recognize ANY modern national government. (Including those host governments where Islamic law is the basis for that legal system) At least the Amish recognizes the government and authority of the United States. And this is where violence is the result.

Islamic nationalism IS the root cause of the violent conflict. If you look around the world, Islamic law is causing violent confrontation in ALL areas, including those places where Islamic law is the base for the laws of the land. Islamic law is malignant. Just look at what implementation of Islamic law is doing in Europe and specifically, England. This process is not as advanced in the United States, but we are seeing the beginnings. Only one example is Judge Charles in New Jersey. He was overruled, but that very ruling has spawned numerous states to attempt to prohibit the implementation of Islamic law. And this reaction is for good reason. The Constitution is the supreme law of our land. Islamic law does not recognize our legal system. It works to overthrow it. This will start a war EVERY time. As it should.

Tolerance of ‘religious’ belief is an important concept in our legal system. We have no trouble with a ‘religion’ that requires a believer to pray 5 times a day, or to travel to its holy sites, or to fast. These are individual choices that are protected by our legal system. We DO have a conflict when that same ‘religion’ is imposing its governmental system upon others and at the same time is fielding an army to spread and protect its sovereignty. It is against Islamic law to pay insurance. That is just too bad. It is against Catholic law to have an abortion, yet that IS the law in the United States. And the Catholic Church is NOT fielding an army to impose its hostility to abortion upon our government and people. And this is the difference between Islam and all other ‘religions’. It is no coincidence that violent conflict is most prevalent in areas where Islam is contesting the authority of the government when attempting to impose Islamic law over that of the existing national government. And this is precisely what Islam is attempting to do here in the United States. Islam is at war against our government, our legal system and us. I am against the Health Care law anyway, but to allow exemption for Muslims in our legal system is aiding our enemy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Enron and our government

I read the following article in the Chicago Tribune dated Sunday, December 4, 2011.

“Mistakes of Enron keep repeating.”

The author, Paul Rosenthal is blasting the corporate culture that created the Enron disaster. And he is seeing this same problem in other companies today. The basic accounting problem of hiding debt in order to borrow more to the point that debt caused a rapid collapse. This all sounds familiar to me.

Is not our Federal government facing the same problem? Are not our state governments also dealing with a massive debt problem? How about our city governments like Detroit who is threatened with takeover by the state of Michigan? And let’s not talk about the local governments and counties. This problem is much more widespread than our corporate executives.

Our entire society has been going this way for decades. My father told me back in the 1980’s that when he was a young man, you shook hands and your word was good. Even if the deal turned out to be a mistake, you went ahead with it unless the other party agreed. I read an article in Time magazine around the same time (Mid 1980’s) that said in the culture in American today, it was acceptable to lie if it was to your advantage. You know, about that used car you are selling with the bad brakes or transmission.

I only lend any of my property out to certain people. Others just do not take the time or effort to return what I have lent them. I myself go way out of my way to return others property, but this is not a two way street. I had an acquaintance who I approached to borrow something. He refused, but I told him that if anything happened, I would buy him a new one. He was surprised and asked me: Really? So he lent it to me (I guess he knew my word was good) I returned it intact. If anything had happened, I WOULD have replaced it with a new one. Our society is not generally like this anymore.

It makes sense that we see this in our company leadership as well as our government. After all, our leadership is only what we are. We elect others who are like us.

What surprised me about the article was how he did not even mention the massive debt our local, city, state and Federal governments have. I guess the author’s focus is corporations. What is concerning is that our government debt is Enron multiplied many, many times over. And we have not hit the wall yet. And just like Enron, when we do, it will come quick and fast.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The war agaist Islamic nationalism: An overview

So far, the war on terror is a classic guerrilla war. Irregular troops are pitted against civil authorities and the military of various countries. If you listen to what the terrorist organizations are saying, it becomes apparent that the motivations for terrorist actions are based upon Islamic doctrine and culture. The wild card here is the repeated suicide attacks. This is only the 2nd time in all of recorded history that this phenomenon has been seen. The 1st occurrence had its basis in the culture of Bushido. This prior occurrence was eventually defeated through massive violence. The entire political, educational and economic systems of the area that produced these attackers were changed completely. It is unlikely that this type of change will occur in the areas that are producing the current crop of suicide attackers.

The widespread occurrence of this phenomenon indicates that the population that is supplying these attackers is so large that it is most likely to continue into the indefinite future unless some cataclysmic event occurs. The population that is supplying these attackers is so large that it would take World War III for this event to take place. The eventual spread of weapons of mass destruction makes the likelihood of another world war almost inevitable. Warfare is a basic part of human nature. As technology increases, our ability to kill each other is enhanced. As a result, our wars are becoming more and more destructive.
How do we prevent the next BIG war?

I like to use the analogy of earthquakes. If you keep having small ones, you are probably OK. Once you notice that it has been some time since the last one, WATCH OUT. This is because the pressure is not being released, and a build up occurs. Human nature is not so precise, however it does not change. It has been more than 4 generations since the last world war. People forget what it is like. They forget how it happened, and how it could have been prevented. Although history can never repeat itself exactly, patterns do emerge. Warfare is a part of us, despite the fact that most people do not want it to occur. The issues that trigger war many times cannot be resolved except through warfare. Slavery in the United States is one obvious example. No political solution was available to end slavery. This is a common feature with most wars. The issues that are underlying the current war on terror today likewise will not be resolved without violence. Attempting to stall the resolution or preventing the violence that it triggers just may end up making the overall effect much larger than it already is. The fact that so many people are involved in these issues already can be an indicator of just how large this war can eventually become.