Saturday, October 28, 2006
Let me begin by first saying there are no absolutes in human behavior. Which when applied to warfare means tolerable behavior is gray, not black and white. However, the society you live in puts constraints on the ROE of the troops. That is the correct lesson of history. What the Romans could do and what medieval knights could do were two extremes.
Who determines the society-imposed mores? Your society, today. Even if you could become the "warlord for a day", your troops come already pre programmed by the society that raised them. And after the bullets fly society will judge you. Let's not even count the pope pronouncing to Catholics among your troops whether the war is just.
This becomes an extreme hardship when a more "moral" society ends up in a fight with a far less "moral" society. Re today's Iraq. We are arresting troops for almost anything, and our opponents are beheading civilians. These behaviors are imposed by starkly different societies.
There are two phases to most warfare between societies. The battle phase and the occupation phase. The ROEs imposed by society are quite different for each phase. Let me work backwards. In the occupation phase if the winner wants to have the losing society to remain and be viable, then more rules apply. This was true even for the Japanese, who wanted the Chinese and Philippines to survive and be essentially a slave labor force. Germans did the same thing. But even they, with their very limited societal imposed mores imposed their own limits because their leaders wanted a viable slave force. So both Japan and Germany had to put up with guerrillas. Terrorism skips the battle phase and begins with the occupation ROEs. What is the lesson here? Occupation is a bitch and should be minimized or eliminated so your warriors can remain warriors and not be harassed by essentially peacetime laws.
The current US is in a unique position with regard to occupation. We don't want anyone else's land or societies. So we have the choice to never "occupy". We can conduct the battle phase and immediately leave. There has never been a time in history when this would work until now and only with the current US military.
First, as a society we just want to be left alone to pursue our dreams. Second we have a military that can win anywhere with an unprecedented low number of good guy casualties. In Iraq and Afghanistan 5% of the casualties occurred in the battle phase. We don't need to occupy anything. If the bad guys rise up again, we hit them even harder. Use warriors only as warriors. If the Soviets or Chinese tried that against us today they would go home with 99% casualties. We are the only nation who can do this.
Foreign policy lesson: If attacked, even a trade center type attack, the American people want somebody punished. The president identifies the enemy and we go stomp them. Acceptance? After the battle phase of Afghanistan, Bush and the military were heroes. Bush I’s popularity after the Kuwait liberation was 90%. There was a victory parade. But what would his popularity have been if he chose to occupy Iraq with troops on the ground? He would be in the same mess as his son is now.
America is the only nation in history that can guarantee an overwhelming battle phase victory. How brutal can that battle phase be? With the right education and motivation of the American people, it can be whatever is necessary. Remember images of the world trade center falling would motivate the American people to accept significant damage on the enemy, even total destruction. The key lesson: use the battle phase to accomplish your objectives; do not enter an occupation phase.
What if the enemy refuses to initiate a battle phase, such as less than "obvious state" sponsored terrorism. This is the worst-case scenario for any society, especially a more "moral" society. The key to the answer is open foreign policy. Terrorist live somewhere, if here, they came from somewhere. Terrorists require complicit societies in order to function. The need arms, training and money. To combat these guys you cannot kill the foot soldiers, there is an unlimited supply of them. You have to kill their sources of arms, training and money. How do you do this? Hold those societies that arm, train and finance terror accountable.
The best scenario is to be able to publicly say to any society if you don't solve your terrorism problem we will destroy you. We need them to be so convinced that we will wipe them off the map that they will do anything to stop the terrorists. Notice I did not use the word nation. Holding national leaders accountable is useless. In the case of Arab or Persian Muslim terrorism, the whole society of Arab and Persian Muslims should be held accountable. The people, all the people, need to be scared to death when we threaten destruction.
If the president had made this threat after the world trade center disasters, the American people would have bought it and the Islamics would have been somewhat impressed. Regrettably, our threats are not taken seriously, because our track record is one of weakness. Our own foreign policy of the last 30 years is the reason we are being attacked. Ronald Reagan was the first modern president who started this chain of weakness. Paradoxically, he also applied the first use of brutal retaliation. His doing nothing in response to the Beirut Marine bombing began the slide to weakness. His bombing of Libya and killing Qadaffi's daughter got Libya's attention.
Nonetheless, a threat today would not be believed. Therefore, after the world trade center The American people (after the right education by the president) needed to teach the Islamic societies a hard lesson. Wipe the society most responsible for the attack off the map. This would be either Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia or both. I would have chosen both. Nobody in the Middle East cares whether the people of Afghanistan exist.
With Saudi Arabia reduced to rubble and 90%+ of the people dead. We could creditably threaten the rest of the Middle East with their destruction. "You have 12 months to get rid of all terrorists or we will destroy one or more of your societies." If they hit us again, and they will, we need to follow through. Don't threaten leaders or nations. Don't even mention them. Directly threaten societies.
However, to gain American acceptance of this policy today, the president needs to spend the next 6 months preparing the American people so that when one of our cities is attacked with WMD, or terrorist cells begin destroying bridges, oil refineries and power plants the president will have the moral authority of the American people to wipe a society or societies off the map.
Specifically, when Bush addressed the nation after 9-11 he doomed us to a war of proportional response. "Islam is a peaceful religion". "This is the work of a few hot heads including Al-Qaeda". His speech should have been to highlight all the evils of Islamic Middle Easterners and hold the whole of Middle Eastern Islam accountable. This speech would have been accepted and given him the authority to wipe any Islamic society or societies off the map. He or the next president will get a second chance. We will be attacked again.
Liberty or Death
Friday, October 27, 2006
The following is a simple idea for cutting the Gordian Knot preventing congress from enacting tax reform. The Gordian knot of tax reform is that, "all proposals are seen by someone in the US as hurting them or favoring others". They are unconvinced that by slogans such as “tax neutral”.
The problem is how to take the first step. That is, "change without removing a single provision in the existing code".
As you know the purpose of taxes was to collect the funds necessary to run the federal government. This used to be simple before personal income tax and 6 feet of special provisions, most of it social engineering causing one behavior to pay more and another to pay less. The founding fathers did not envision the tax code to be used for social engineering. In fact there was no personal income tax. The American public no longer knows any better.
Solution, take a first step that will change the mindset of the American people forever. Break the tax code and forms into three sections without changing ant content. Section one has two lines. Income, Tax. Section 2 has all the current provisions that add to and subtract from what you owe, like dividends and home mortgage interest. Section three has three lines, Tax from section one, adjustments from section 2 and what you owe/tax refund. Have the IRS create the new forms and administer all three sections, just as they do now.
What will this accomplish? Two things. It separates the definition of tax collection from social engineering, establishing in the mindset of the American people that they are and always should have been separate functions.
Second it frees the collection of taxes from social engineering so that alternative tax collection methods can be proposed independent from rocking the benefits/additional requirements boat. Perception is everything. How the forms are labeled and explained are critical to the changing of the mindset of the American people. 5 years should do it, and the American people will be receptive to real tax reform.
Maliki laid his cards on the table today. "We either support the Shiites, including Sadr or they will oppose us and turn to Iran". Does not have to be. We now can opt for a 2 state solution that is much better for Americans and is what the Iraqis are going to create whether we like it or not. So let us use this pent up anger to our advantage.
This can be a major victory for the US if we have the political courage. How? Pull our troops to the North and South. Break up the Iraqi army and government along cultural lines. Train and provide material support for the Shiites and Kurds. Cut the American hating, Bathist, insurgent harboring Sunnis loose. The Shiites will deal with them. Point the Shiites to helping the Arab Iranians who are being persecuted by the Persian Iranians. The Kurds need no incentive.
Outcomes: Sunnis, Bathists and insurgents gone; two stable American leaning states. Give the hot head Shiite militias including Sadr a useful American goal, giving Iran a major headache. American material support, but no more American dead.
Note: the millions of Arab Iranians live on top of all of Iran’s oil. There is also a well-established smuggling operation in place to carry our arms to Iran.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The Bush administration is letting another opportunity in the Middle East go by. He blundered, through the ignorance of his advisors, into moving the Shiite population of Iraq closer to Iran. Just the facts ma’am. Bush is attempting to create one nation out of 3 cultures that hate each other. Fact. The Iraqi Shiites, in particular hate the Iraqi Sunnis and for good reason. Shiites and Sunnis do not like each other in general because their Imams hate each other due to a theological schism. Second, Saddam being a Sunni favored the Sunnis and persecuted the Shiites. The Bathists are almost all Sunnis. A lot of them are still around. Shiites are fomenting the sectarian violence between the Sunnis and Shiites. It is payback time. The Kurds could care less.
Bush created an inclusive government that forces the Sunnis and Shiites to work together and play nice. The Sunnis who ran the Iraqi army were the benefactors of a lot of the arms after the army was disbanded (we did not disarm them) and also receive help from Syria (Sunnis) and the foreign insurgents (Sunnis) and Al-Qaeda (Sunni) plus Saudi money (Sunni). The Sunnis give shelter to the insurgents as payback against the Americans for forcing an unworkable government that moves them from top dog to last place and to help them with the Shiites. The Shiites need material support from someone, not us; we are neutral so they turn to Iran. Given three years to fester and organize, we now have ourselves a civil war, excuse me sectarian violence. The central government and the army are dominated by Shiites. Just a matter of numbers in a democracy. They have no interest in stopping the Shiite militias. What a surprise. We are driving the dominant culture to Iran and a minority culture to Syria (where Saddam’s WMD are buried).
Why couldn’t the Bush administration see that coming? They did, but chose, in their mind the lesser of evils and created one government not 2 or 3. Why not two? Free Kurds are unacceptable to Turkey, Iran and the old Soviet Union. The Soviets are friends and the Turks are NATO Allies. The Sunnis have no oil. Bush, with a very strong streak of fair play wants a strong democracy friendly to America that could stabilize the entire region. He wants all three cultures to play nice. He wants too much. If he wanted a single, stable nation then he should have created and armed a pro American dictatorship. But he also wanted a democracy. The Arabs have no problem with democracy. Democracy comes with freedom, including the freedom to kill. Works for them in Iraq as democracy works for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Bush and friends had all the good intentions in the world, but he failed to understand the cultures and he failed to foresee the actions of external forces.
We cannot expect our president to be a middle east expert, nor be able to game out all the what ifs, but we should expect him to seek the advise of experts, especially ones not in the CIA and State Department. Everyone knows or should know that the vast majority 200+ million Islamists in the Middle East hate us. That is religious and is not going to change in the near future. Even our own CIA should know that the Soviets covet the Middle East and are arming our enemies and have 1,000 nuclear advisors in Iran. Iran has openly stated it wants to be the Caliph of the whole Middle East. Syria and Egypt hate us; the Saudis hate us and are the biggest funder of Islamic terrorism and the Madras schools. The Palestinians, Hamas, Hesbollah, Al-Qaeda and all the other wacos really hate us. Turkey, a fellow NATO member refused to help us against Saddam because of the Kurds. Jordan’s love for us is just the government. They are 70% Palestinian in population. The king needs American help against Al Qaeda who killed his father and who also want his hide on the trophy wall. All this was known or easily predictable in 2003.
But this mess we are in was preventable and still can be. In fact conditions are better for us today than in 2003. You think I am nuts. How? Read on. First redefine victory in terms of what is best for America. Second, forget fair play; that is for football. Also forget any illusion that the Middle East can be populated with American loving peaceful Islamists. Get all Americans out of the Middle East; it’s a war zone. The whole place. What we need and can have with diplomacy alone is temporarily stable populations that we can use to pursue our mutual interests, but don’t expect that to be forever. There is no forever in foreign policy. We fought 2 wars against our best ally, Britain. So what are our interests? First destabilize Iran, work hard to effect regime change. They are extremely dangerous in the near term. Second keep Soviet influence out of the Middle East. They are nothing but trouble and are working to grab the oil of the Middle East. Keep Israel viable. They draw off a lot of Islamic hate that could be directed at us.
How do we win? Use the natural hatreds of the people against one another. Forget the Sunnis in Iraq. Write them off. Let the Kurds in the army join the current Kurd militias. Let the Iraqi army and the Shiites wipe out the Sunnis. It is going to happen with our help or Iran’s help. Who do you want the Iraqi Shiites allying with? Guess what bye, bye insurgents killing Americans.
Support two governments, Kurds and Shiites; they are ones with the oil. The Sunnis have nothing we want, hate us and hide the foreign insurgents that are killing Americans. Place American troops with the Kurds to keep the Turks, Russians and Iranians at bay. Place American troops with the Shiites to arm and train them. The killing of Americans stop and we have to eager but temporary allies. How best to use them. Pour in arms and material support so the Iraqi Kurds can unite all of the Kurds, Soviet, Turk and Iranian. They only need our material help. No troops.
Same with the Shiites. Support, but no troops. We give them a task in their interest as well as ours to do. First some more facts. The west coast of Iran is inhabited by Arab Shiites. Why is that important? A Persian Shiite majority dominates Iran. They are persecuting the Arab Shiites. Persian culture trumps Shiite religion. There are millions of Arabs who want to fight back and have strong ethnic ties with Iraq Shiites. A golden opportunity to make Iran’s Persians and government miserable. Iraqi Kurds arming and helping Iranian Kurds. Iraqi Shiite Arabs aiding Iranian Shiite Arabs, not Iranian Persians helping Iraqi Shiites. All done on the cheap and no American casualties. Bush could implement this in 6 months. Announcing the change before the election would guarantee a Republican victory.
The facts and inspiration comes from Jack Wheeler a world wide respected foreign policy (ex intelligence) expert that has spent a lot time on the ground over there http://tothepointnews.com/. The analysis is my own. Your thoughts?
Liberty or Death
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
This is a work in progress. Your comments, particularly well reasoned and fact-backed comments are needed to shape the final version. This is Revision 1, Oct 24 2006.
Note: my use of absolutes is for hyperbole. I know there are no absolutes in human behavior. A summary of my proposal as it stands now:
1. A US foreign policy that is open and clearly understood by the American people and the people of the world.
Foreign policy is no longer established nor controlled by the State Departments of nations. 99% of what comes out of Foggy Bottom falls on deaf ears, worse other diplomats. Only one person can set foreign policy, the national leader, and only when speaking visually to world where everyone can hear his tone and look him in the eye. Recognize that visual media is now world wide. For the first time everyone is watching so speak directly to the people of the word. Bypass their leaders. Speak daily and pound home your most important points. As the leader of the only super power you will get all the air time you need. Be aware that when you are silent other foreign leaders and the mass media speak to your audience and they set the agenda. Do not let harmful statements by other world leaders go unchallenged. Your words trump all others. Be the super power leader. Our way of living and literally our lives depends on your words and actions. Does anyone know China is attacking our satellites with lasers? Should it change our relationship with the Chinese government? Bush has known for a year. If he has said anything to the Chinese, does anyone know what that is? It is not working.
2. Never bluff in foreign policy. We are the world’s only super power. We hold a hand of four aces. It is those nations with a pair of 8’s that need to bluff.
America is being directly threatened by weapons of mass destruction. The people in the nations seeking our demise need to know what our response will be. National leaders may be willing to accept huge casualties, but the people of the world who will die will not accept death quietly. Threaten massive retaliation to all. Do not be bound by finding the guilty culprit. Inform all the mischief makers that they are all responsible for controlling their wacos. One nuked American city and they are all gone.
3. Use military force as a last resort, but then use it decisively. Overwhelm our opponent. If there is any doubt about the outcome either bring more force or not use it at all.
4. Never leave troops behind after a battle.
Bring them home immediately. Militaries kill and smash, they do not keep the peace. The American military does it better than any other. Do not leave them as targets for guerrilla warfare. In Iraq A few millions of bad guy dollars are tying up 80B of good guy dollars. Guerrilla warfare is very effective and can be done on the cheap, especially when you have source of highly motivated recruits and safe havens.
5. Do not label nations as either friends or enemies.
Take our whole foreign policy down to the next level. Measure the actions and behavior of the world as either helpful or harmful to our national interests and foreign policy objectives. Act on specific behaviors and actions, not whole nations. Stop calling Russia a friend. The whole world knows that is crap. Russian arms deals and nuclear technology transfers are the biggest threat to world peace. Call them on it. Demand that they stop. You do not have to call them enemies, but you do have to inform the world of their behavior and where you stand. Silence is viewed as acquiescence not strength. Always praise good actions, but never let harmful actions go unchallenged. Strive to eliminate all miscalculations. All wars are begun by leaders who think they can win. Wars are rational calculations. The only irrational leader today may be Kim Il. Knowing you will punish them if they start something will give pause to a rational leader. If it does not, always follow through.
6. Recognize that cultures cannot be changed from without, only from within.
Stop trying to coerce people to change their culture with foreign aid or democratization. In fact eliminate all foreign aid, almost none of it goes to the intended purpose. Arafat died a multimillionaire at US expense and our government knew it. We were trying to buy behavior change. We failed.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Yesterday Toni Snow (read George Bush) put an end to the mystery of how America is going to win in Iraq. He dumped the problem on the next president. He said two things that are critical. One, we are not leaving until we achieve victory. Two, he ruled out partitioning Iraq. Why did he do this yesterday?
First his top general on the ground said in as strong a words as he is allowed to, that we can’t win with this (read Bush) strategy. That strategy cannot be his own or he would change it rather than criticize it. So Washington is tying his hands. Bush had to respond and said “nothing but victory”. Remember his victory condition is an Iraq capable of policing itself. Is that possible? With an integrated army, No! If all they were fighting were non-Iraqi combatants, the foreign insurgents, victory could be possible. This does not mean the enemy is crushed. Only means that the Iraqi army can successfully fight the insurgents. The insurgents are no longer the main combatants. Sectarian militias are. The bell weather to watch there is Muqtada al-Sadr, the most visible Shiite militia leader. A quote from USA Today, “One of the largest Shiite militias, the Mahdi Army, is loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical cleric whose forces have battled the American military. Today, al-Sadr's political organization is a key part of the coalition government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Al-Sadr's organization controls 30 seats in Parliament and four Cabinet posts.” Another quote from USA Today, "At some point, from the coalition side, we have to say (the Mahdi Army) is a terrorist organization that must be dealt with by the Iraqi government and the U.S.," said Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard, head of the Iraqi Assistance Group. The Mahdi Army "hasn't seen the full weight of what we could put on them." General Dana Pittard knows there is no chance that a Shiite dominated government directing a Shiite dominated army is going to go into Shiite Land and kill Muqtada al-Sadr. As long as he deplores the violence he is untouchable. That means sectarian violence will continue to the Sunnis are all dead (long after Bush leaves office).
Meanwhile Bush continues to stick American troops in the crossfire, where they are not wanted and generate body bags. Another USA Today quote, “The State Department, meanwhile, has conducted its own poll, something it does periodically, spokesman Sean McCormack said. The State Department poll found two-thirds of Iraqis in Baghdad favor an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces, according to The Washington Post. McCormack declined to discuss details of the department's poll.” Just whom are we helping?
Second, Bush had to respond to the leaks from his own “Baker Commission”. In essence he has condemned his own report for recommending a split along sectarian lines before it is released. This was his only chance to end the sectarian violence long enough to pull out and declare victory on his watch.
So what should Bush do, since victory is no longer possible? Why is that you may ask? Even a second lieutenant knows you defeat the enemy by destroying his centers of gravity (sources of power). Who is the enemy? The Shiites and Sunnis? Yes, but they are politically untouchable. The foreign insurgents, the Saudi, Syrian, Egyptian, Palestinian, Pakistani and Jordanian hot heads? Is Bush going to do anything to these centers of gravity? No. He is going to continue to have our foot soldiers fight their hot heads. A no win scenario that generates body bags.
Also, another quote from USA Today, “BAGHDAD — U.S. and Iraqi military forces battling militias in Baghdad often must seek permission from Iraq's government before launching even routine missions, complicating efforts to loosen the grip of religious violence in the capital.” Our Army is no longer calling the shots.
Only alternative, within the very narrow Bush rules of engagement (stay until we win); pull all Americans out of the cities, where the insurgents have the advantage. Place them in well-defended laagers in the middle of the desert where our technology can defeat any fools who try to kill us. Zero body bags for the next two years. Dump the problem on the next president.
I write this with no joy. I am not a Bush basher, but a patriot who cares more about our troops than politicians. Yesterday was a very sad day in American foreign policy. Assured defeat.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The American people had incredible patience with World War II; giving all their sons and proudly bearing years of rationing. Today’s Americans barely know anyone in Iraq. They sacrifice nothing. But ask yourself why?
The best training course I ever received in my career was one entitled, ”You are what you were when”. What the instructor was saying is there is a time in everyone’s life when he is open to influence from external events. The stronger the events, the more indelible the impression. The depression had a profound influence on my parents. But the most profound one was sacrifice and patience. That made the heroic behavior of World war II Americans possible. They had incredible patience and a willingness to sacrifice to achieve the common good. But there will never be a generation like that again and they are almost all dead. I am 60 and grew up with the Cold War and Vietnam and racial violence. Air raid sirens, nuclear survival drills, the draft, tent city, but a great respect for authority figures. I have a strong patriotic streak that I inherited from my father, but it was sorely tested by Vietnam.
It was this event that for the first time left me with a great distrust for elected officials. It is my generation that is in power now. They are imbued with the same experiences as me. But what about those who are younger? The cold war was over, Vietnam not even a memory. No crisis to leave an indelible mark. What filled the vacuum? All the excesses of our culture of images. TV, rock stars, Hollywood, and instant gratification by doting parents who did not want them to experience the times of sacrifice, immanent destruction and ugly wars. My generation grew up in a era of fair play. This generation grew up in an era of winning.
Our leaders and I need to take the mindset of the current American people into account when setting expectations for acceptance of our foreign policy, particularly the War in Iraq. What is the mindset of many Americans with regard to war? Mine was Vietnam. My kids saw Granada, Libya, Panama and Gulf I. Wars won in 1-2 weeks and you go home. I never want to see another Vietnam. My kids think wars should be over in weeks.
We won Gulf II in three weeks, but 3 years of occupation and body bags are upsetting to both the Vietnam generation and the young. Today no one is taught the correct lessons of history. When you site World War II there is no one alive to agree with your arguments. My generation is now a minority. Our foreign policy needs to consider the mindset of the current American people. Our military actions need to swift and overwhelming. Then get out. The vast majority of Americans want things over with in less than a month. The want to be left alone to pursue their busy lives. They are very vulnerable to images and emotional songs, but have a short attention span to rhetoric. This president grew up with my generation. He does not understand the power of images and sound and the futility of words. No one in Washington does, except the liberal media.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Last night, 16 Oct. Bill O’Reilly aired an interview with our President. He asked some tuff questions about Russia’s support for Iran. In particular arms support. Bush categorically said no, at least nothing substantial. He said why would Russia support Iran’s nuclear program. Putin knows missiles can go north as well as east and west.
The Blog Sites have been all over this issue. I’ll pick just one to quote. Joel C. Rosenberg, author and blogger has an in depth article on Russian support for Iran. Here are 2 quotes from his web site:
“Putin has sold Iran and North Korea billions of dollars worth of arms and even nuclear technology. He is arming America's worst enemies for war, and in so doing, Russia has joined the "Axis of Evil." Yet on this critical issue, official Washington seems to be in a true state of denial.”
“Russia signed a $1 billion arms deal with Iran in December 2005, providing the radical Islamic regime in Tehran high-speed missile and other high-tech weaponry, despite Ahmadinejad's call to annihilate the U.S. and Israel two months earlier. Russia is building nuclear facilities for Iran, training over 1,000 Iranian nuclear scientists, and running political interference for Iran at the U.N. to prevent us for imposing economic sanctions that could slow down Ahmadinejad's feverish bid for nuclear weapons.”
You should read the whole article on Joel’s website. It is well documented.
What missile defeated the Israeli top rated defenses and hit the Israeli ship in the Lebanon War? A missile made by Hesbollah? At best Bush misled the American people. At worst he lied. Why would Bush say something on national TV that could easily be refuted? Answer, he is trapped by his foreign policy where he has labeled Russia as a friend and Putin as a personal friend. Friends do not harm friends. This is “old 2 super power foreign policy” thinking. Caught by a tuff question by O’Reilly he reverted to a canned answer. On the same night as O’Reilly, Bill Marr and guests touched on the same failed policy issue. Essentially, stop labeling everything as black and white. The world is not that simple. For once Marr was right on. We can at the same time praise Putin for support on Korea and condemn him for supporting Iran.
If we are to survive as nation in this dangerous 1 super power world, we need to start acting as the only super power. We should label harmful behavior of any leader as such and call on him to stop. More importantly, the American people and the world need to hear straight talk from the leader of the one super power. Third-rate nations need to walk on eggshells; the United States is the only nation that can tell it like it is. Bush proved he is not up to this task. He is still a captive of our failed 2 super power foreign policy.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Where are the serious threats to America? Are they the Taliban in Afghanistan? Insurgents and Iranian proxies in Iraq? No. Essentially a few thousand bad guys and a few bucks are tying up 300,000 front line troops and 80B dollars (150,000 in theater and 150,000 readying for deployment) that are not available for elsewhere in the world. Who are we killing? Foot soldiers and low-level leaders. Will they run out of the them in 10 years? Nope. They come from the dregs of the Middle East and there is an endless supply. The Iraqis may become self sufficient, but will the bad guys leave when we leave. Absolutely not. They will intensify their efforts. They think the can beat Iraqis and Afghans. Why not? They are getting support from Iran, Syria and Pakistan and the Soviet Union.
What are we doing about Iran, Syria and Pakistan? Nothing. There is no penalty for their involvement in the war. The Soviet Union and North Korea are supplying arms. What is their penalty? Nothing. Iran and Korea are now are expanding their nuclear capability with Pakistan assistance. At what penalty? Nothing. Pakistan provides a safe haven for the Taliban and Al-Quaeda. At what cost? Nothing. And what is China doing? Shooting lasers at our satellites, building a huge navy and army, far beyond their defense needs, supporting North Korea and screwing us economically, with devalued currency and getting rich off American greed for the cheapest price while becoming the biggest contributor to our trade deficit. At what penalty? Nothing. Saudi Arabia, privately is the biggest financier of world terrorism and world hate (Madras schools teaching Wahhabi hatred). What is their penalty? Nothing.
Of the seven nations I mention as directly harming us, Bush calls 4 of them friends. They have most favored nation trading status. Our enemies are harming us on the cheap, while we invest a fortune in manpower and treasure to kill the dregs of the Middle East. Afghanistan will never be able to take on the Taliban without our help. Afghanistan is more a collection of autonomous tribes than a nation state. Iraq will become self sufficient in manpower, but still will require enormous funding and material support from the US just to maintain the status quo.
What about our goal to stabilize the Middle East with a friendly democracy? Terrorism is the most cost effect form of warfare invented. Second comes guerrilla warfare. Conventional forces are very expensive. Can Iraq be considered a stabilizing force while under constant attack? Who will be positively affected? Will anyone in the Middle East want to become the second Iraq in 5 years? 10 years?
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Our current foreign policy of “friends” and “enemies” has taken the Military Option out of the US diplomacy tool kit. By making South Korea a “friend” after the Korean War the US obligated itself to listen to South Korea when making foreign policy in the Far East. By forming open-ended alliances the US is forced to subordinate it’s interests to that of South Korea. Case in point, North Korean nukes.
“Baby nukes”, less than 1 KiloTon, are a far greater threat to the US than they are to South Korea. Baby nukes are perfect terror weapons that could be sold to the highest bidder. North Korea has a policy of military technology proliferation. Now that the world knows it works they can sell one for 10 times the amount 3 months ago. Does anyone believe Al Qaeda would hesitate to plant a nuke in an American city? Yet we no longer have a military option short of total destruction against North Korea. Why, because of the very real threat that North Korea will attack South Korea in retaliation. President Bush was left without a preemption option. He was forced to say “If the US is attacked by a North Korean nuke, the US will hold North Korea accountable”. Does anyone think this speech will impress Kim IL? Our foreign policy of 50 years ago has left us with retaliation as our only option. That means after a US city is destroyed, we will act. Too late for 2 million Americans.
What should we have done? We need a new foreign policy. See the post below. We are the world’s only Super Power. Friends are now more a liability than a help. That does not mean that stopping an attack on South Korea is not in our national interests. We don’t need South Korea to have this policy. We could chose it or drop as our national interests dictate. It means we should be free to choose saving a US city over the interests of South Korea. If the US and South Korea were decoupled, the North would no longer have an incentive to attack South Korea. The US is North Korea’s enemy. The North wants to grab the South for its own, not destroy it.
This president has followed the tradition of presidents since FDR. We label countries as friends all too easily. Bush has labeled the Soviet Union and China friends since he took office. Both the Soviet Union and China have been working towards our downfall for years. Bush has kept this news from the American people because “they are our friends”. Friends do not work for your undoing. Has Bush withdrawn the “friend” status of China or the Soviet Union? No. Do the American people have a clue what these guys are doing to us? No, a failed foreign policy that is still based on a 2 super power world.
Monday, October 09, 2006
I have been deeply troubled by the conversation on the chat site concerning Mark Foley. He quickly resigned because he felt it was the honorable thing to do. We all quickly agreed. But was it the honorable thing to do? More importantly to his base, Christian Conservatives, was it the Christian thing to do? What message does resigning send? One interpretation is the person believes he is unfit to do his job. Another is that he does not want to face the public ridicule, but would prefer to just fade away. By doing so he escapes public justice.
My contention is that resigning is taking the easy road, but not the Christian one. Mark Foley’s deviant behavior as a congressman is subject to the ethical rules of the congress. As a Christian, God can only judge him and that judgment is not in this life. So what are his responsibilities as a congressman and a Christian? As a congressman his fitness to serve is to be judged by the people of his district and the congressional ethics committee. As a Christian, his duty in this world is to admit his sins, repent and seek atonement.
Mark Foley has a responsibility to behave, as we would want any public Christian to behave. He should set the example for all public Christians. Rather than resign, Mark Foley should surrender himself for justice. First he should tell the whole truth publicly. He should apologize to anyone that he has hurt and beg his or her forgiveness. He should go before the ethics committee and accept their judgment with humility. He should go to the polls in November and let the people of his district determine his fitness to serve. Surrendering himself to justice is by far the harder road. The public stoning he will receive will be more painful than hiding in seclusion.
The best examples of public figures in the New Testament committing a public sin are St. Peter and Judas. Peter denied his God three times. And what was his judgment? Did Jesus remove him from the 12 Apostles? Did he remove Judas? No, Jesus allowed each to seek his own justice. Peter chose the more difficult road, to remain an apostle and serve his God and faced crucifixion. Judas took the easy road.