Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Wretchard at the Belmont Club blog has an Iraq post about “is the glass half full or half empty”. It prompts this post.
As always, wretchard makes us think. Thank you.
First the emotional vent stuff about Iraq reporting. Any reporter using a trip with a general as his reference is getting points at home, and losing respect with me. People like me know the higher up the chain of command you go, the less you know about what is really going on, and the slower you know it. The report of the general’s opinion is the only news. I am not trying to be sarcastic. Any reporter who uses the usual green zone photo report spots for TV reporting is also suspect to me as to credibility. I assume many use local stringers who we already know are suspect as to credibility. Last any reporter using another reporter is probably doing what I call reverberation reporting…just bouncing around the same old report to fill a hole/make a report/keep themselves safe.
Let’s move from Iraq back to the USA. Let’s skip BBC and Reuters and their staged news problems.
People at this blog are good. We do a lot of reading and research, and are well educated in the historic sense. Our judgment as to the source and credibility of media reports is a relatively new requirement, I suggest.
So I offer questions, more than ideas, about American media as you read and think.
Like in a Hillary Clinton analogy, is there was some vast XXXX conspiracy to do political and agenda reporting?
Is the 24/7 news cycle on TV skewing the whole profession to do timely investigative reporting with two sources?
If old fashioned investigative reporting can’t make money, is it time for government funded news?
Has the education system that teaches journalism as a profession missing the point that reporters should know something about which they report? The idea is to ask the correct question, and know when something is BS or smells wrong. It helps to know things like the difference between a Major and a Major General, as a simple example.
Is American media just one more symptom of the dumbing down of America?
While I want to bite on the “half empty half full” question, I won’t just yet. I need to read more and sniff more, and now and then listen more. All the while I will use the source and credibility criteria mentioned in this post.
Monday, August 28, 2006
As a school boy, I learned about Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler, and Galileo. Mostly I learned about their individual contributions to advancing scientific understanding. Also I learned about their persecutions for rocking the boats of others. The others tended to be religious leaders who disagreed, were threatened by change, or just sponsors who just did not want to get involved.
Being right or wrong was not important. It was what you thought and how you said it.
As a school boy in the 1960s, I confidently told myself that we humans were beyond this. Persecution for scientific ideas was a thing of the past. Thought control was an ancient problem based on ignorance.
Later in adulthood, I gained hobbies, one being prehistory. This hobby exposed me to persecution for other ideas. Human history is replete with histories of inquisition, murder, burning, and destruction by groups suppressing ideas and customs foreign to them. The Roman Catholics’ burning of the Cathars in France during 1244, and the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001, are two other examples of such behavior over a long period of time.
My report card is: you decide. Here’s some evidence compiled by myself.
First my subject matter expertise or lack thereof. I aced thermodynamics at GaTech (albeit the second time) and later graduated from there with an engineering degree. I read a lot, mostly engineering and scientific articles for laymen. And I read a lot about prehistory, my hobby today. I am pretty good in GIS (geographical information systems), astronomy, survey, orienteering, and use of the internet for research. My 20 years in the Marines exposed me to much and taught me much. One thing at the local level was the importance of politics in selling ideas, since all were generally correct and the main friction was how to proceed.
Now we have the discussion about global warming. Just so you know, I am cynical because of all the aforementioned.
For those old enough, there was the years of 1970’s reporting of the earth’s cooling and the coming ice age. I think even Time Magazine had a cover story on this. (Maybe this is part of why it is failing today?)
Now the fad seems to be global warming. I define a fad as the local flame restaurant or meat market bar for those who care about such things.
Here’s my little bit of science before I go onto my main point, the human aspect.
The greenhouse effect is how the world works. At the end of the last ice age New York City was ½ mile or more under the ice. The earth’s cycles of warming and freezing have cyclical historical precedents that are known. There are many other greenhouse gases with much more power than CO2, but seldom mentioned to the public by subject matter ignorant reporters and Al Gore. Methane is the main culprit, and cows and third world rice fields are main sources of methane. Add in the chaos theory of “sensitive dependence on initial conditions” and ocean salinity’s influence on ocean flows such as the Gulf Stream, and it is a bleak future. And don’t forget methane hydrates.
But is it man’s fault? No. Will man’s contribution advance the problem? Yes, probably by a week or two. That’s my guess.
More on science. Evolution is both gradual, and sometimes cataclysmic. The comet or whatever cataclysmic event ended the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago , or such a similar event, can happen anytime. Perhaps we could have a combo, that is mother nature and humans. Imagine a big lake induced earthquake that breaches the upcoming Three Gorges Dam, floods the ocean, changes the local salinity and temperatures, and changes the ocean flow patterns that changes the weather. Maybe I should write such a novel. Except it has already happened when a great ice dam gave way and the Laurentian ice lake flushed down the St. Lawrence River.
By the way, some changes can be for the better. Change is not always bad.
More on the science side. Those who use or report computer models are well intentioned people at best. We have all heard of garbage in, garbage out. We all know the weather forecast three days out is not something we would plant on. And the global warming computer models tend to be either discreet, or dynamic. The discreet approach needs a super computer to process programmed interactions at the level that tries to approach the real world, but never the less, reduces the world to cubes of maybe 1KM, which is not how God runs the world. And the Heisenberg (uncertainty) principle comes into play. The dynamic approach is thriftier, and uses the programmer's assumptions about interactions. I like this approach because I can play God on the cheap. Last, in all models, there are assumptions that are seldom reported. Assuming the sun remains constant is a common one. Assumptions about how things interact is the norm.
More on the science side; seldom do I read about the influence of releasing the earth’s internal energy into the world. In simple terms, I mean heat. Heat can be from electric generating plants (only 2/3 becomes electricity…the rest is wasted), fires, cars driving, planes flying (90,000 plus flights daily), etc. A good and simple graphic says much when you look at a night satellite photo of the world: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap001127.html A lot of those bright lights in the middle of no-where are gas field burn-offs. My time in Saudi Arabia showed me H2S fields that were hot 1KM away.
Last on the science side, seldom do I read about the impacts of the vastly expanding world population of humans.
Until we find a person or God who can predict correctly, I suggest reverting to doing what we think is best.
Back to humans, and any common citizen doing homework.
Sadly, I have come to think that most global warming articles are reported by subject matter ignorant reporters who listen to fad or politically influenced scientists, or others like Al Gore. Even his movie reviewers have published opinions.
There are wonderful articles about global warming. Most report more senior scientists whose careers are assured, as if they are not intimidated. Here are two links I like: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st/st285/ and
And last to the human element and the homework assignment about the evolution of human scientific thought.
It appears to me little has changed since the times of Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler, and Galileo.
My evidence is the long standing paucity of scientific information and articles about all the other factors that contribute to the possibility of man induced global warming. Until then, I remain cynical.
Persecutions and intimidations still go on for the same reasons as existed for Galileo and the others. The only change is we no longer burn people or excommunicate them from a religion. Instead we assassinate people’s characters and play hardball with distribution of the vast public monies available today.
The evolution of western science thought? … If so, for the better? …Or worse? ...About the same?
So do the oaths we take
I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Recently I have had to think about both, that is, foreign and domestic.
And recently I perceive a domestic and sarcastic disregard for oaths and words, unless parsed by public relation and politician types.
And also recently I perceive a look down on the ruled population by those in the ruling class. My sense is that they exploit the poor public education in civics and history in our country, and amplify their power using the pitiful ignorance of the media reporters and their usual reverberation reporting. This divide, while always present, is the greatest I have studied in our history, or observed in my lifetime.
Fortunately, this is a nation full of local eateries and other places where we all talk. And the citizens there are from all generations and all with their own common sense. And the old and young all talk, and listen to each other. While this image is what is really happening, it is too often not what is being reported by the national media in New York and D.C. and the dispersed national media company outlets.
If the preceding seems correct, then allow for a good dose of educated fools, do-gooders, and citizens with good intentions to balance it somewhat.
Back to words and oaths. Legal immigrants take an oath of allegiance. The act of marriage in most cultures includes an oath.
Oaths are constructed with a purpose. My military oath was to support and defend a constitution, not an individual, not a party, not a religion, and not any identity.
The concept of an oath is as old as mankind. Yet it seems to me many today take the concept of an oath as a quaint protocol from the past that is to be immediately forgotten as another guide for the future.
Last, in my country, the USA, it seems like the Constitution is under attack because it is so difficult to change. This difficulty was built into the Constitution by its writers. It is not an accident. And so any effort to “do-a-runaround” that is led or supported by any individual who took an oath to support the Constitution is immoral and wrong to me, and no amount of word parsing will change this.
Such a person appears to be a domestic enemy (well intentioned or not) , at least to me.
If you can’t take an oath in good conscientiousness, then don’t pursue the position, or try to change the oath using the system of government as it exists today.
Words matter, and so do oaths.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Now I have had to think about Islam and me
Like most, I continue to do my homework on Islam and what I thought was its cause against the west.
Now I am coming to think the attack on the cultural west is led and financed by less than a 1,000 humans. These 1,000, probably more like 200 to 300 leaders, are a cabal of religious zealots (some already dead) and select family tribal financiers using their oil powered dollars to protect themselves as they try to finance our destruction.
I also am coming to think that the majority of our small cabal of enemies are Sunni Moslems (95% of Islam). The Iranians tend to be Shiite Moslems (5% of Islam), and often distract us as to figuring out who our enemies are.
The Iranian theocracy and president are part time players. Even then, we must respect them for their efforts, and the probable three nukes they bought in autumn 1991 from Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Khazakhstan.
That Russia belongs to the eastern world is part of history as it covered up all this Khazakhstan episode. That it still influences some of these now Iranian possible nukes is the problem of the present Russian leaders. Who really knows in the west? And I did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday.
I also have come to believe the vast majority of young Islamic martyrs are created by the horrible failure of a civilization and culture called Islam. Nothing in the West to date has changed this state of failure. In my poor analogy of east and west, lack of upward mobility and opportunity for young people is like being in the military when you know you will probably be dead in the near future. Then I will do some crazy and wild things. (Of course this is theoretical since my times in the Marines never placed me in such a mental state, and I was not in the 8th Air Force or the Kriegsmarine’s U-boats in WWII).
Rather than use my words about the failure of Islam as a civilization and tribe, I offer three links for those who want to read other opinions.
One is by the UN and is written by Arabs: http://www.meforum.org/article/513
The second is by an Israeli academic: http://samvak.tripod.com/brief-middleeast01.html
The third is by a columnist I like: http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/arabs_last_chance_opedcolumnists_ralph_peters.htm
I have also come to believe the cabal of our enemies is concentrated in Arab lands, Pakistan, and “old” Europe. Even the Iranian element is dominated by Arabs, not Persians.
That there are Islamic cells in other countries such as the Philippines (Moro) and Indonesia is a reflection of their more local frictions. But in my homework on finding enemy locations, the cabal is not there.
That the Arab world’s young people are so ripped off by its religious despots, dictators, and the royal families who keep most of the oil cash is their shame.
Our shame is the strong presence in the west of yellow journalism, propaganda, parachute journalism, and the embarrassing gullibility of dealing with deceit.
Here is the fault line to attack…Never have so many been threatened and attacked by a cabal of so few.
The terrorist mass attacks on civilians is statistically small, but huge in its impacts on our way of life, and our own politics, and our finances.
Before we attack, consider this.
Time is on our side. Most opponents are losers (as in small despots, criminals, ideologues , and anarchists). Strategies to exploit their weaknesses will save us a lot of effort, money, and distraction. This assumes our leaders are savvy enough. And the relatively recent oil income of theirs will eventually fade away, in decades.
Time is on our side another way. The traditional western media outlets are collapsing of their own weight. As more locals read news by outsiders who report nothing like what is going on or thought, then the locals will find other sources of “just the news”.
Our western culture idea of nation states has been so abused by tribal and criminal elements that new control of many small nation states will be change for the better of the west.
War 101. The Powell doctrine is always appropriate. To me it appears in our national interest to protect our way of life, and so to commit to such an effort is a good deal.
We must attack and hopefully quickly eliminate most of the cabal that plots our demise. They are not our moral equals. This is a military attack, not a legal attack. This is not assassination, this is war. President Jefferson did it against the Barbary Pirates, and we can do it again.
Expect the normal hand wringing by those ideologically opposed to our way of life, or the military approach.
I expect the attack to be: quick, timed, probably from the air and space and undercover, deadly to the 200 to 300 targeted people, fraught with mistakes by us (mostly in strategic intelligence) , and subject to later counter attack.
In “old” Europe, whether the cabal types have accidents, go to the dungeons, or are tried by local standards that truly take them out of the game, is a wash to me. Mission first.
And the vacuum created by such an attack will unleash monumental forces of Islamic young people that will result in many small wars (a strategic goal of OBL), but almost all to the west’s advantages as the yoke of Islam’s failures are replaced by still volatile nation states with more western exposures. That such movements can be manipulated by those cabal follow-on types is part of how we fight this war.
Don’t be surprised if other local frictions become physical, as in internal-China, China-Taiwan, North Korea-Japan, Japan going nuclear, and Kashmir. After all, WWI prompted a revolution in Russia.
I think change is good. It’s getting there that is difficult.
I do hope Iraq becomes three countries, that Kurdistan and Baluchistan become countries, and generally things become more tribal. Having served in Turkey (an ally), most there would disagree with me about the Kurds. Maybe they are right.
And maybe just giving things almost infinite time will allow things to somehow sort out. Maybe the vast Muslim populations will take out this cabal. Maybe we can pay tribute as did President Jefferson’s predecessors.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Many urban land and farm owners are familiar with the plague of fire ants and similar aggressive ants, and their ant hills.
After much thought, most tend to let the ants work like the devil to built up their local ant hills, and then every so often go in with some kind of poison to kill the ants and their ant hills. This strategy conserves the land owners time, expense, and efforts. While the ants are seldom eradicated, they are always set back.
Perhaps this is our national strategy for Iran and its nuclear program.
I used to live in Georgia where fire ants are a real problem. Now I live on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee and we don’t have a fire ant problem here. What we do have is a yellow jacket problem, and they live underground and are a lot more devious. But I still get them, usually after a few stings first. After the sting, the wound hurts, and then itches for four days.
This is about me.
Jogging, and riding a tractor is my time to think about what is important to me.
Recently the tractor option has become number one to me.
Tractors are scary. It is easy to be killed or maimed on a turn-over.
Tractor riding is a means to an end. The attachments are a big deal to this end. My objective is to restore wild quail so I can hear them calling while I sit on the front porch.
In this end, I am failing. If I can become more patient, I might win.
All the PhD experts say I should do three things: change the habitat, feed, and trap predators. And do it aggressively.
I am not aggressive enough, but persistent as if given enough time, will change things if I persist.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I’ve got my thoughts and history, but that is not why I post this entry.
Bits of perspective to add to the Hiroshima stuff follows.
The last time I visited the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima a bunch of kids on a school trip there rushed up to have their pictures taken with me. I felt sheepish (for historical reasons), but then the light bulb went on for me. These kids saw me as part of some distant past they read about in school. Their world was way past WWII and Hiroshima. So I posed for a bunch of pictures, and still feel funny telling this story. And you would not know Hiroshima today from the post bomb pictures. Kind of like why Atlanta citizens joke about Sherman being the first Atlanta urban renewal person.
Well, just a little while later I am in Pearl Harbor at the land and later ship museum for the USS Arizona. There must have a been a gazillion very young Japanese tourists at both sites, and the same feeling of the world-has-passed -me-by-historically crosses my mind. These nice young people were not enemies, just tourists visiting historic sites. Kinda hurts my feelings, you know.
With age, does come wisdom. But the world does not stop.
To date myself, prior to my first visit to Hiroshima and the Peace Museum, I had been in Tokyo when the Japanese police were rehearsing for the upcoming G-8 conference. They were throwing up roadblocks and screens everywhere as part of the training. Even though I and my buddy kinda looked like middle east types, and we were Marines on the way to run the Kintai Marathon near Iwakuni, and I expected to be detained, it never happened. And my buddy, from Boston, really did look middle eastern to me.
And on filtering press reporting, all the adverse reporting of the US military presence in Okinawa is understandable to me. What is never reported is the Okinawan objection to the Japanese Self Defense Force people there with the US. To me the Okinawans object to all militaries, not just the US people. I attribute this to poor reporting, as opposed to agenda reporting.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
1. The US is under attack by well motivated and financed Islamic extremists.
2. The western world and culture is also under attack by these same people.
3. The main motivation is religious domination by the elite leaders.
4. In the history of mankind, the Arab/Muslim model is a failure to its citizens. This is by any measurement, to include the UN. http://www.meforum.org/article/513
5. The main financing of this war is oil money.
6. Many allies see it differently, probably from their national interest point of view.
1. Defend our US way of life.
2. Attack this very very small minority by all military, legal, financial, and political means.
3. Advance western concepts in the Arab nations community with money, information, and women’s rights.
4. Let the Arab nations write their own future ticket.
1. Prosecute the world war on terror from the US national interest. This means preventing attacks on our homeland, and preventing US civilian casualties.
2. Attack the bases of terror. These bases are geographical and financial, primarily.
3. Know the middle east war between the Israeli’s and the surrounding arab nations is a small war, not the world war.
4. Blur the distinction between criminals, tribal leaders, quasi nation state leaders, and nation state leaders in killing those who seek our demise. National interests will almost always ignore these despots since most are about their territory and egos, and not us. This paragraph is about those who can hurt us. This is also my double talk about killing people who want to kill me or my kids.
5. In the best American way of making war, we are going to treat third world allies as equals, which of course they are not. They grew up their own way.
1. Proceed as a military point of view.
2. Assume a US national approach.
3. Avoid a world/European/UN approach.
4. Assume no funding from allies.
5. Carefully try to force the State Department and the Defense Department to work together. Good luck.
Tie goes to the Defense Department based on results. If the history types (like me) want to read, get the Small Wars Manual by the USMC about 1940. It pretty well covers the friction between the State Department and the Marines, in the small wars arena over decades. Or read some of Paul Bremmer’s reviews of his work on his watch.
1. Assume US secure communications at the local and tactical level.
2. Assume US secure communications at the Iraq to DC level.
3. Assume the other side knows anything else we are plotting and planning.
Will we commit sufficient resources to win?
Are the objectives clearly defined?
Will we sustain the commitment?
Is there reasonable expectation that the public and Congress will support the operation?
Have we exhausted our other options?
Do we have a clear exit strategy?
Here are my words in reviewing the Powell Doctrine.
Only act in the U.S. national interest.
The frictions and factions in the world distract U.S. citizens as to national interest.
Educated fools and those who over-intellectualize confuse us as to national interest.
Media reporting appeals to our American instincts to “make it better“.
The world is busier than what is reported. Some of what is not reported is about the U.S. national interest. I offer as an example the criminal activities of some nation-states. Another example is the abuse of western respect for nation states by nation states that are controlled by tribal and criminal elements with low respect or concept of a nation state.
Backing off to put things in perspective is always best. Myopic media reports take perspective away, especially as to U.S. national interest.
Emotion and good intentions are bad paths to be on and to follow.
Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. Do not succumb to fighting war on the cheap. It is always a long term mistake. Attempts to minimize causalities always cause more causalities in the end. If we can’t take up front casualties for political reasons, then don’t get involved. Tolerate the alternative.
Support of the Congress is one thing. Support of the American people is everything. The astute senior military leader will gage both before agreeing to a military commitment to war. Early retirement or a forced resignation with later public opinions is honorable when acting in the national interest as perceived by the senior military leader.
Planning to win the peace is mandatory. Planning to win the war seems easy in comparison. Civilian leaders who do not discuss how to win the peace when recommending war are lacking, or in a hurry.
There are no bad soldiers, only bad leaders. One analogy is that of the US auto industry decline in the last 30 years. Those who blamed lazy American workers missed the auto leaders who drove the industry down. Foreign auto companies and their leaders moved into the gap, and look at the high quality cars American workers make today. Wars are won, and lost, by leaders, not soldiers.
A Declaration of War is mandatory. If Congress will not pass a declaration, then we should not be involved.
There are no experts at the beginning of a war. There are experts at the end. There is no school for political leaders fighting wars. Success in prosecuting war in the U.S. national interest comes to those prepared. Failure works for those not prepared. Will and perseverance always win out over good intentions and brains. War is not a “zero defects” game. Like a boxing match, getting back up and learning by mistakes is a big advantage.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Islam’s turmoil from its failing model for its humans, and as led by those religious fascists is serious, and a detractor from other human forces at work.
Their economic numbers and trends are very poor.
If they get the nuke, that is not good for the future of humanity. And even the most liberal peace-at-all-cost types I think are sensing a world war with this fascist minority is becoming unavoidable.
All signs say Europe is more vulnerable to military attack than we, the USA. For my sake, I hope that it correct.
To me, most of the perceived Islamic failure is within the Arab Muslim world community, and no amount of oil within a minority of tribes that have it will change things for the Arab peoples betterment. That decades of long opportunity has passed is a shame.
The path to their future is though the western ideas of universal suffrage, women’s emancipation, and the golden rule (often applied as the “melting pot” idea in any particular nation state). This path can only succeed if led by Arabs in their local area.
Back to heavy rolls, a Navy term.
Many small wars will erupt (take place I would say) in the middle east as Arab populations take charge of their destiny. In the long run, this in good.
The idea that we in the USA can be the self assigned deciders of what is best for this group of today’s failures goes against most American ideals and even self interest. Most of us think the foreigners are not worth one American boy or girl. Let them kill them all themselves in their problems and small wars, we say.
Now for the Heavy Rolls.
The USA should always act in its self interest.
Political debate as to what that means depends.
All the normal frictions between economics, do-goodisms, religion outreach , Hollywood, and even reactionary thoughts to change will come to the front.
The world as I see it will show much eastern invasion of formerly western ideas.
Whether all is this good or bad, I am not sure. But I do know the western approach reinforces success, not failure.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Reporting is a business in the west that embarrasses me.
My eastern friends constantly remind me of this.
Look at the list of reporters at really nifty web sites and I just want to gag. What is their expertise?
That they can write well, are smart, do homework, and are from the west is a given.
Is that it?
And many are on TV, which only amplifies my gagging.
Does reverberation of the news sound like a western experience?
And does the NYT really guide the daily reporting by lazy western reporters, written and TV?
Is anybody doing the old fashioned investigative reporting? Not the embarrassing news, which I want to hear, but also the “news”.
If the regular news does not make money, then that is an argument for citizen/government news that we pay for in order to be informed citizens.
All I seek is a little responsibility, mostly locally.
That the BBC and Reuters leaders have abused their heritage and brought down that which they inherited is shameful. Talk about “killing the goose that lays the golden egg”. Thanks to competition, they will be replaced.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
It appears most of the non-Islam world is reluctantly coming to the conclusion that it is in in a war to the death.
Our cultures, our children, and our religions are to be defended. The attackers are a small minority of Islam-financed-by-recent -oil -income from all of us. I think the targets are Christians, Jews, and Hindu’s. In the defective mind of the attackers, all other religions will be mopped up later.
In such a war, we are at an normal historical disadvantage in America.
The Europeans are leagues ahead in their experience in their former colonial empires. The Europeans are also leagues behind in their experience with all other third world tribes, primarily in south America. Add in their Asian colonial empires which are different.
Yes, the world has changed for all of us.
The Europeans and others so educated and exposed to their culture (yes, I am generalizing) use an approach generally foreign to us non European types. Their blend of history; money, deceit, and post WWII regrets seem to still apply. I case it as “buy off the enemy long enough to think about it later“.
Given enough bribery and criminality in politicians, we can still have a foreign policy for many of “old Europe”.
The present president of France will become the obvious example when he loses his political position. Only his current position and French law protects him right now. Then he will go to jail, I hope.
That the world is so much bigger than Europe and north america says, well, it is the world.
I don’t know as much about world history as I think I should know, but I try. And I do think about it, a lot. I do think that the Inka conquests were larger than Alexander’s conquests, but I have not been taught all this in my education. And I don’t believe in the “noble savage” idea either. My education is lacking, and I am making up for it with self education.
For self education, I have run the numbers. The percentage of the 1.4 billion Muslims that is radical enough to want to kill me is somewhere between 00.01% and 00.30%. That is a group of people, mostly males, between 140,000 and 420,000. Now I have a number I can work with.
Kill ‘em all. With some savvy.
Friday, August 18, 2006
One’s take on the following sayings probably shows how and what they think. If they have not thought about all these sayings, then make up a sub-list as a homework assignment.
The noble savage
One man’s criminal (or terrorist) is another man’s freedom fighter
Address the underlying cause
Diplomacy will work if given enough time
Sympathy for the underdog
Only white people can be racists
Good intentions count
Ignorance is bliss
Take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes…Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more… (from the Matrix)
The Pied Piper
United Nations Charter Preamble
All men, tribes, and nations are not morally equal
Let ‘em kill them all (or themselves)
The United States cannot or will not tolerate a long war
They all look alike
The fourth estate
Pocket book issues
Kill the goose that lays the golden egg
The golden rule
War is an extension of politics by another means
Foreigners are dirty
Corruption is normal
Criminality is part of the social fabric
The world is a finite place
The end justifies the means
Men and women are equal
Rule of law
Lowest common denominator
Repeating it often enough makes it true
Carbon based fuels
Translating words is easier than translating meanings
Males cause most of the world’s problems
Nation building works
The tribes are back
The pen is mightier than the sword
Hope as a policy
Hate as a policy
Marriage is between a man and a woman
Family is the building block of society
Everyone wakes up in the morning wanting to do a good job
Money is the root of all evil. Sex is the root of all evil. Money and sex are the roots of all evil.
History is what is written
They all think alike
What you think about deceit depends of where you are from
Don’t trust anyone over thirty
East vs. West
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Five wise blind men describing an elephant that has wandered into a village of blind people
Wars are both large and small
The truth will set you free
End of the world as we know it
Double standard. Double standards applied
Agenda oriented reporting
Capabilities and intents are different
The times they are a changing
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The dynamics of human action are “all over the map”. Understanding them contributes to formulating practical policies of the present. Understanding them helps individuals make a path through the forest.
The lessons of history must be relearned by every generation.
The subset of the previous is that the lessons of Pearl Harbor must be relearned by our enemies every generation ( from tereista at the Belmont Club blog).
The present world war started by Iran and extreme Islam is necessary to bring debate, confusion, obfuscation, evasion, and hope for talk-to-work to a conclusion. All attacked countries will unite to fight back. The attacked countries that don’t fight back militarily will have the government removed by the people.
The western predilection towards isolationism, pacificism, self-indulgence, welfare, and tolerance will become stronger.
The western concept of nation state will be ameliorated by the human preference for tribes first. Earlier boundary commission borders will change. Horrible small wars will happen as a result. The example of the breakup of British India and today’s continued fighting on the sub-continent are the obvious example, today.
The western concepts of nationalism , universal suffrage, and women’s emancipation will continue to spread to future nations and tribes.
The establishment of the state of Israel is permanent in our lifetimes. For a thousand years, I don’t know. This includes the USA and the rest of the world.
The expansion of the human population will exacerbate political, religious, and resource friction.
Numbers count. If a tribe has 1 billion members, then 00.01% of that tribe is 100,000. That’s a lot of people.
Breeding rates of tribes do affect history.
Wars are started by people who suffer from overconfidence and misinformation. Megalomania is almost always a factor, also.
Wars are both large and small.
For war, think of Russians and Germans at Stalingrad, as in millions of people in a battle. If you want to think of a downsized war, as Sergey Gorshkov discussed in his book “Red Star Rising at Sea” , then think of the USMC and Navy, and Japan’s Army and Navy, at Guadalcanal. In his book, he put wars in his perspective based on the numbers of fighting men.
Wars have to be paid for. Savvy to understand how wars are fought at all elements and levels will be expanded (compared to the past), to include finance when this element can be exploited in large wars. In the east, local loyalties (albeit temporary) can also often be bought in small wars.
The present vast oil income by middle eastern countries and tribes has a finite end. This end will cease the financing of the extreme minority of Islam trying to dominate the world today.
Multi-culturalism is a failed concept for nations and tribes. Melting pots are back in.
Globalization is a mostly failed academic theory (now often still applied as policy) to homogenize the world. Nations and tribes are in it for the foreseeable future, though. Then it will ebb. Much friction will come.
The nuclear genie is out of the bottle. God help us all.
School education of humans (males and females) will increase in numbers. This expansion will take generations (on average about 30 years per generation) and what to teach young people will always be a debate within nations and tribes as to knowledge vs. propaganda vs. customs vs. religion.
Media reporting will change. Western media will evolve towards subject matter standards based reporting ( “just the news” will be predominant), and eastern government reporting will evolve towards western standards. Western media as a big business will also evolve towards the standard of review to ensure the “news only” is reported. The era of the media as the fourth estate and a war fighting influence will winnow down.
Hollywood’s heyday is on the ebb. The Hollywood culture as advanced by the people who make the movies is being rejected in the USA and the rest of the world.
Astute reading of media reports will help put things in perspective. For example, if reports of attacks in Afghanistan mention a 20% increase in violence, and we only had 10 attacks, then a 20% increase is statistically not very significant. For another example, if there are 90,000 (+) commercial aviation flights daily in the world, then a theoretical 1% increase in incidents is a different matter.
The western world’s consumption of drugs will end many western cultures as they are today.
The western consumption of drugs pays the incomes of those drug producing humans who are tribal at best, and defeats efforts to establish nation states in the third world where these people live.
There is a fair amount of corruption in the world, and the rule of law is often lacking in a nation state or parts of the nation state. And there is also a significant amount of criminality in many countries, which can also be violent places at times. Always consider the criminal element in their simple role in the social fabric of many countries. (Our USA’s banana wars in the 20s and 30s understood this, exploited this, and prosecuted this though the Marines, Navy, and State Department.)
History is change. Change can be exploited. And change is undeniable.
Change is usually gradual, and periodically cataclysmic. Change can be from an act of God, or humans.
The movement of humans (often called immigration) is part of human history. The main reason is family. Fathers and mothers will do what needs to be done to promote their progeny. The primary reason is work and peace (quality of life in modern western talk). Knowing an Afgani friend quite well, giving his daughter a western opportunity is also a factor for her and his tribe. That the trend is from the third world to the western countries says much for: the golden rule, the western standards, opportunity, and being tolerant.
The immigrants’ fear or avoidance of returning home is also a factor. This has been taught to me by Somali and Vietnamese friends working hard in the USA.
The path to the human future is through western ideology. This ideology provides a good chance for we humans to continue to exist. Elements of this ideology include social, economic, political, cultural, technological, and war fighting practices.
The best of eastern ideologies, of which there are many, are constantly being meshed with western practices in all nations and tribes.
The path of ideologies is a two way path. The paths are not the same size.
All people, tribes, and nations are not created equal. Promoters of moral equivalency are morally ignorant, educated fools, or both.
The chasm in thought, how and what to think, between western and eastern peoples, is wide, and bridgeable.
The concept, practice, and respect for deceit is a major cultural chasm between the eastern and the western peoples.
People of all nations and tribes will always unite to fight to protect their families.
Suppression of one group by another within a nation state or tribe is untenable in the long run. Unchecked power of one group within a nation state or tribe is also untenable in the long run. Eventually a rebellion, civil war, or breakup will occur. The creation of Bangladesh is a recent example of this perspective. Cuba may be next based on Castro’s death.
The concept of a United Nations or League of Nations to replace wars, rebellions, or civil wars as a means of diplomatic redress is another failed idea. The acceptance of world government is not even close to political reality.
Leaders, both individual and party, of nation states and tribes, always seek the positions of power; and then usually formulate actions and policies to perpetuate the status quo. Those that think of documents such as constitutions or policies that promote the peoples’ futures are few and far between.
Honest people can disagree. Honesty never over comes ignorance, agendas, cultural chasms, and megalomania.
Don’t trust anyone under thirty.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Reading and listening to experts, pundits, columnists, academics, bloggers, government officials, lawyers, and politicians, I feel like the person listening to the five wise blind men describing an elephant that recently arrived in their village of all blind people.
Most of us have not lived in the third world. Most of us think that having running water and forced air heat is a right, not a privilege. And most of us have a classical western history of the world. Few of us have been well exposed to how the eastern half of humanity lives and thinks about things. Most of us have not been in the military and educated by that method, especially the USMC that has specialized in the third world.
One classical quote I often use is: “For lack of knowing what to do, we do what we know”. This classical quote is western and from the last two hundred years. As leaders get more senior, the impacts of this quote become more serious.
And then there is H.G. Wells’ book “Outline of History” first written in the late 1920’s. His stated objective is to record the “other “ history of the world, though as I read it, it is mostly about Europe, central Asia, the sub-continent, and the Chinese part of the world. South America, Antarctica, and Australia are almost nonexistent in this book as Wells reconstructs the history of Europe, Asia and to a lesser extent, Africa. Yet this is a good book to start with when pursuing eastern history, values, and religions.
And to be trendy, there are always the references to Sun Tzu, who I have read (first time in 1966) and still don’t buy much of his military line. Musashi and “The Book of Five Rings” is a better read, to me.
Back to the Marines. Learning what is important to the other side, how they think, and how they organize and operate is a big deal. When one Marine’s published thoughts about an enemy capability and an enemy intent can be a career stopper it gets my attention. I expect this also applies to the CIA, etc.
One story from the Marines in the 1930‘s comes to mind. Evans Carlson, both a son of New York and a Congregationalist minister, was sent by our USMC to travel with Mao and his march army, and we, the USA, got the best information and intelligence we could hope for. Much of what Mao did had some effective outcomes from his point of view, and the resulting reports and leadership styles from Carlson often bit him in the rear end, later. At least the phrase “gung ho”, “working together“, came out of all this, be it a Evans Carlson translation of the meaning.
Sometimes leaders make mistakes. Sometimes, with hindsight, other courses of action or selection of other leaders might have made things better in accomplishing our mission. I suspect reports of poor performance, poor planning, or poor understanding of the third world on our part, still exist for those such as Carlson or even more normal western civilian and military leaders. In the case of war, the enemy always fights us and compounds our mistakes. But no enemy is ten feet tall, and we can do the same to them.
Recently, on a blog, I saw a Marine be criticized for his report of his opinion. No sweat I think in my old way of life. The process is healthy and that is what is important. I also did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday, so I readily admit my naivety in promoting the benefits of honest discussion in any decision making process.
Of course if I have a mission to accomplish, then I will be ruthless and selfish in my pursuit of information, and intelligence (processed information). But like the person listening to the five wise blind men describe the elephant, it is always a difficult process and fraught with errors. This is especially difficult when I am western trained and I am dealing with those from eastern up-bringing. And, by the way, there is no monolithic eastern way of thinking. As in politics, most things are local.
There are no experts in war at the beginning of any war, especially when there exist elements of east vs. west. Much of the previous discussion suggests why. At the end of the war, there will be experts on that war. Hence the expression that humans are usually preparing to fight the last war has a basis in history. And “for lack of knowing what to do, we do what we know“. And war is not a “zero defects” art.
That we are in a world war with a radical minority of the Islam is obvious to me. Apparently, it is not as obvious to many fellow citizens, be that in the war’s existence or possible deleterious effects on my country, the United States of America. This radical minority of Islam is not our moral equivalent, either.
The war I refer to is a world war, not the present middle east war, currently in a cease fire for now.
I do believe we have something unique here in the USA, it is special, is always in need of improving, can and is being improved from the inside (to include prosecution of the war), and is worth preserving. The emigration trend line from the third world to the USA (in the millions) says the same thing, albeit in another way.
Am I missing something, better informed, or skewed by my western up-bringing?
Saturday, August 12, 2006
That Islam spread from a bunch of desert tribes and Mohammed to become the 1.4 billion strong religion it is today says legions. One blogger asked a good question recently. Is it them or us? What made the desert origin of Islam as taught by Mohammed spread over much of the world? That it did spread implies acceptance by those who converted. How did this happen? The implication is that this is good because people accepted it. The swath of Islam from Spain to the Philippines says much.
My answer to my homework assignment is like a multiple choice question on a test. The answers are:
1) Military conquer of weak tribes
2) Astute rule of some of the conquered tribes
3) Assimilation into the local tribe/culture primarily through marriage
4) Criminals wrapping themselves in revolutionary clothes
5) All of the above
The history of Islam as I study it shows it to be people-oriented. That says it all! Some people are better or worse than others.
The worlds history is full of megalomaniacs. This applies to Islam as well. The spread of Islam was an “all of the above”. So there are both good and bad impacts.
Take all this to today’s times. Many bandits often guise themselves in the name of revolutionaries or guerillas. This principle has applied throughout history.
When Muhammad died in 632, he left a raft of religious problems which we still suffer from today. While I doubt he might recognize much of what is happening in the name of Islam today, I think he did leave a political and military organization adrift, to include succession and even the vision of his revelations.
Many of us in the world are under attack by mullahs and politicians from a small portion of the Islam religion. By attack I mean some of us will die. Over time, I expect the vast Muslim population will kill this minority. In the meantime, this very minority group, this desert mafia, this band of criminals guised as mullahs and revolutionaries, will continue to implement “answer one” above.
Friday, August 11, 2006
A recent WSJ article on August 8th by Bernard Lewis, a professor emeritus of Princeton, suggested Iran may have some Armageddon-like event planned around August 22nd, involving an Islamic end of time type event hinted at by the Iranians, and initiated by them. Here is a link to his article: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008768
The article is an attention gainer in its frightening prospects. Mr. Lewis implies to me a good guess is that such an event would be a nuclear explosion in Israel. The source of such a device could be Iran, Russia or one of its former states, or North Korea. In the latter two cases, Iran would have bought the weapon or materials.
This article has had me stewing for the last few days. Here is my speculation. While the date may be wrong, the implications of such an attack seem too possible to me.
Such a device would be the size of a Hiroshima bomb (20 KT). It would be one bomb with a ground detonation or very nearby ocean detonation.
While one bomb would not blow up the entire nation, its devastation would be enormous in or near a population center, probably Tel Aviv. The downwind contamination effects in Jordon, and probably Saudi Arabia would be terrible depending on the weather at the time. The prevailing weather patterns should protect both Syria and Iran.
The political prospect of a shooting world war coming out of this attack are too obvious. Once things spin out of control, who knows what to speculate about. It is almost certain to me that the United States will be caught up in all this.
Mr. Lewis’s article also suggests retaliation by Israel is probably preplanned should political and military command and control be lost. I would agree, and almost certainly Israel has nuclear weapons. The VELA event in the Indian Ocean in 1979 is good evidence. See this link for details: http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/israel/nuke-test.htm
What scares me the most is the pattern of behavior of Iranian leaders since the Shah was thrown out, what the Iranian theocrats and politicians have gotten away with internationally (beginning with the Marine and French bombings in the early 1980‘s) , and the probable resulting overconfidence and misjudgments that always result. Now I add Mr. Lewis’s article suggesting the religious aspect, and I am scared.
I imagine Israel and all other concerned nations have government people that have already thought about this possibility, and what to do.
The obvious effort is to stop the delivery of the bomb. Iran is 1,000 miles away from Israel, and the land and sea in between is not friendly to Iran. So I suspect the device would come in by air to Syria and then to be flown or smuggled in to Israel. Since all this is too obvious to the Israelis and the Europeans and the Americans and the Syrians, I suspect this path is being monitored very well.
Iran does suffer from divided interests. The Persians and the conservative military have to tolerate and even compete with the more Arab-like theocrats and politicians and their Army of God (250,000 strong). In my mind, the theocrats and ruling politicians and their Army of God are the ones I worry about. This friction line between the two elements does provide another possible way to prevent delivery of a bomb.
Plan B for the Iranians is to achieve their tactical mission in their local area. This means closing off middle east oil through the Straits of Hormuz (and trying to make it permanent) most likely using cruise missiles from various Iranian coastal areas, primarily Busheur and Bandar Abbas. In my speculation, this Plan B lacks the end of the world aspects Mr. Lewis’s article guesses at.
Plan C for the Iranians is more likely than Plan B, and maybe concurrent with a Plan B. I would expect the Iranians to use a nuclear weapon delivered by a bought and paid for European built diesel submarine (their Russian diesel submarines are too noisy to do the delivery). The nuclear device would take out a US Navy aircraft carrier, or perhaps an amphibious carrier. In either case, the intent would be to prompt the shooting world war mentioned earlier.
The most thoughtful articles recently by Victor Davis Hanson about today and the 1930’s come to mind right now. I always wondered what my ancestors and others thought about events as Hitler and the Japanese told us what they were going to do. Here is a link to one article: http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson080406.html
It seems much the same today as the theocrats in Iran, the president of Iran, and many other aggressive mullahs tell me they are going to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, destroy my western culture, convert me to their religion, and assume dictator like powers. I don’t think they are fooling.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The basics first.
War is an extension of politics by another means. This oft quoted line from Clausewitz is relevant as always because it involves humans.
Wars mean imposing ones will on another.
The usual way is death to the other sides’ combatants, occupying their land, and restoring civil order according to the winners requirements. The bottom line is always enforcing the winners way of life, business, and culture.
Since I am a from the western point of view, this usually means when we win we are as kind as we can be, to the point of moral equality and tolerance often taken to a politically embarrassing extreme.
Wars can also end when both sides wear themselves out. The politicians and diplomats then negotiate the end of hostilities. Later the hostilities often take up where they left off.
Israel is fighting for its right to exist in the Middle East, and their war is right on the mark.
The larger and concurrent Islamofascist Muslim war against western culture is also against our western right to exist, and our world war is also on the mark. Yes we are in a world war.
99.99 percent of all Muslims are like most humans. They worship a god, have families and hopes, and work hard for their future. 00.01 percent (about 140,000 I figure) are the ones who we must wage war with. This means killing them to me. Most are not Arabs, by the way. There is no hearts and minds approach with these people. They are willing to die for their cause and we must send them on their way.
Unfortunately for most of us, it will only probably be done 20 or 30 or maybe 100’s (as in Hezbellah) at a time. But this is like interest, it adds up over time.
So has war changed? No. So have people changed? No.
Media today is both big business and national, depending on the country or tribe. China and Iran are a good example of government medias. The American giants are good examples of business medias. The BBC is an example of the combination.
Media humans (script, TV, radio, or internet) today mostly are employees of companies or governments who fail us common citizens in passing on the actual news. Thank goodness for bloggers ability to report the actual news of we humans.
The media today often tries to decide who is right or wrong about a war between peoples, and even tries to dictate ends to human conflict. I imagine many are well intentioned from their places from both the west and the east. I also imagine many in the west have agendas, and that many in the east have government and tribal paid points of view.
But here I depart.
There is no moral equivalency between the western sense of humans and treatment of women, and hope for the future (young men going forward) and the decayed theocracies of the Imans and their tribes.
The omnipresent international demands and media reports, reverberated for Israel to quit its military efforts, in time to save the attacker to regroup and fight another day, have finally fallen on deaf ears in Israel and people like me.
Most of the western media people that I read also write and report as if how the effort comes out from their point of view, especially the mission as they define it, as if what is written will decide the outcome. Who wins their media war is the definition of victory. They have a point of view.
What moral indifference, or worse, moral ignorance.
Not all people, tribes, nations, or religions are created equal. And some want to dominate the others and are fighting for their cause.
Israel is fighting for its right to exist.
And I believe this western person is also fighting for his and his progenies right to exist.
Words don’t count, in the end. War is war.
When I am defending my right to exist, all these media people are not worth much to me. I assume their salaries are worth much to them.