Wednesday, November 15, 2006
1. V Said
You somehow seem to define "imperialism" to mean, "conquer and occupy ground". That isn't necessarily true. Dominating a region, telling people what to do and when to do it, is still Imperialistic. America has been a VERY Imperialistic country from the early days of the Revolution.
Democracies fight wars like women: we fight in emergencies and we fight to the death. No, "well, if you give me Lorraine, then we'll call it even." Our leaders therefore have to keep ANNOUNCING that The Nation is faced with an Emergency that REQUIRES the expenditure of the Nation's blood and treasure. When the voters realize that they've been lied to AGAIN, they get REALLY ticked. After that point, the point at which the voters realize that they aren't getting an explanation from their leaders about what "victory" MEANS, well, if America doesn't plan to WIN the silly war, then there's no point in playing at all.
Some decades back I heard a most instructive comment on Vietnam. What happened in the late '60s was NOT that America wanted "peace". What happened instead was that Middle America concluded that the idiots in Washington, and the generals in Vietnam, had no plan or intention in WINNING over there. Washington was willing to commit enough forces to keep the bloody thing GOING, but they were NOT willing to commit enough force, including diplomatic force against the French and English who were still trading with North Vietnam, to WIN. The American people then only wanted to know 1 thing: when do you plan to bring the boys home? As always, the "leaders" refused to answer this question because they stupidly believed that it somehow weakened our negotiating position. Real governments objectively assess the situation and fish or cut bait. The Germans concluded before Christmas 1914 that WW1 could not be won, and they IMMEDIATELY began sending out peace feelers. France and England were of course not interested in peace. They were going bankrupt fighting the war and could only pay their creditors (i.e., the silly Americans) if they got HUGE reparations from the Germans. Both sides understood the situation. The Allies simply lied about it in the newspapers.
2. R Reply
This preamble – seems to establish that you know a lot about a lot; but it is wrongly placed to infer that the rest of the letter is true. It stops making sense here.
3. V said
I have seen NOTHING to indicate that Saddam had any WMD, except perhaps some leftover poison gas that RUMSFELD sold him back in the '80s. We invaded a sovereign state and deposed a government with less justification than Hitler had for invading Poland or Russia.
4. R Reply
This paragraph is poppycock. 1. I read Seth Carus’s “The Genie unleashed” in the mid 80’s and know exactly how the Iraqis made their poisons. He draws a flow chart of the ethylenes, etc., and which European nation/company sold what. 2. The US enhanced Saddam and we owed it to society to unmake him, please see Ahmadinejad’s (yes the Iranian President) letter to President Bush.
5. V said
The Iraqis, and the rest of the world, don't believe for a second that the US invaded Iraq to "give them Democracy". Everybody knows that the US invaded Iraq because we felt like it and Saddam was easy pickin's. We come off as a bully, not a Liberator.
6. R reply
The theory was isolation. Isolate Iran and Syria (see the geography) with one more war. Sorry. The goal is to cause Hairabahists to have to cross many unfriendly borders. I think. I saw this right away.
7. V said
As proof of this, for the foreigners who rationally analyze facts, North Korea was a bigger threat to the world in 2003 than Iraq, and still is. If the US was aiming to save the world, our cowboys would have knocked off North Korea. But they would have put up a FIGHT.
8. R Reply
Probably a bigger threat in 2003 – certainly they could have provoked a response. Are you inferring that Iraq isn’t weaker because we attacked them? Seems confusing. Isn’t the goal of giving NK some space to try to help China practice on the world stage? NK is an area close to their homeland that they can practice on. They are awkwardly stumbling forward, but are making progress – but I do have great hopes. I think some of their behind the scene actions are pretty cool.
9. V said
So we picked on a guy who couldn't defend himself and was not a threat. It's pretty bad when the Pentagon is using intel that's so obviously faked that ITALIAN intelligence is laughing at it.
10. R Reply
Attack weakness is often a sound strategy. Get the Hirabahist crazies to come to you. Fight ‘em with warriors not civilians. But this is the essence of a strategy that has to be unstated. The Saudis were initially quite happy to lose their rebels; they opened their border and said that they weren’t. Unfortunately for the Saudis, their surviving veterans come back after eighteen months of combat training (about one in ten) and these rebel leaders are many times better than they were when they left.
11. V said
The US defends itself PRIMARILY by being the strongest ECONOMIC power on the planet. We are SO big and SO rich that most foreigners are happy to just figure out a way to make money trading with us. Beyond the money, they look on us as stupid, boorish, uncultured and a prone to military adventurism. Um, kind of like how our comedians tell us we should view the French.
Atheist America can't fight a Crusade, especially if it's going to take more than a year or 2.
12. R Reply
Last two paragraphs are mostly correct. Except our comedians probably don’t think of the French as being adventurous anywhere except with schoolgirls.
13.Liberty or Death Reply to V
I agree with almost everything you say Vince. I would quibble with terminology that "Dominating a region, telling people what to do and when to do it, is still Imperialistic" is Imperialistic, but it happened and I don't care about semantics.
Your comment on WMD needs to be qualified. Your logic does not add up. The question is not whether the WMD existed, but where is it? It existed in1991. We destroyed a lot of it in Shiite Iraq. You are proposing that Saddam destroyed his existing WMD stockpiles and made no others from 1992-2003. Not finding WMD is not proof that it does not exist.
There are other people in the Intelligence business other than governments. Its big money. Jack Wheeler runs the most successful private service. His MO is humint, which he developed over 30 years. His clients are many of the world's leaders including the US. Unlike the CIA if he does not deliver good poop then he does not get paid. He is rich, because he delivers. He stated that the WMD was moved to Syria in 2003 before the invasion. Very believable. There is precedence for this in 1991. Saddam moved his Air Force to Iran even though he lost it. Why Iran? Syria was part of the 1991 coalition and would be obliged to shoot them down. Also General Sada, a top Saddam man said on Fox News Monday “Saddam moved his WMD to Syria before the war”.
Based on the facts, the best you can say is we don't know where it is. Wherever it is, it is not in the hands of friendlies. Plus it is academic. Syria has and had their own WMD stockpile. So does Iran. Iran has 16 nuclear weapons that they got from the old Soviet stockpile that is still unaccounted for. These are small tactical nukes, not city busters. They are very patient. They think time is on their side and they are very busy building weapons grade plutonium and have 1000 Russian nuclear advisors to help them make nukes that work the first time, not like Korea.
Korea is an indirect threat to the US. They cannot harm us directly. They can harm us indirectly by selling weapons. That is why they fired off their new missile and tested a nuke. In order to sell them, you have to prove that they work. At this point they are not worth a dime. When Bush announced his axis of evil he was signaling to the world that we had the right to wack three countries. What did he do? He wacked one, using conventional means. He and Rummy have not a clue what asymmetric warfare means.
Korea is very easy to punish. Baby Kim stays in power only as long as he can pay off his circle of supporters. The guys with the guns. This cannot be done with Korean money; you can't buy anything with it. His lifeline is the selling of commodities, mostly weapons in return for luxury goods and cash. 90% of this trade goes by ship. Japan was a major trading partner in non-weapons commodities. China does not want the world to discover they are the main accomplice in Korea's illegal arms trade. A complete naval embargo can be easily and cheaply put in place. We have had a lot of ships there already. No casualties. But the world would howl. The Korean people are starving. Not our problem. The Korean people all sincerely call Kim "Dear Leader". There is no internal opposition. But we could create one by cutting off the circle of power's access to goodies. We also tell China and the world it is China's responsibility to feed the Koreans. Any starvation is one their hands. Korea is China's client state. There is nothing China can do. Their economy is totally dependent on trade with us. We are just too stupid to leverage that vulnerability.
But Bush blew his one chance. He threw away all of his chips in Iraq. Right after the axis of evil speech he could have done anything. Now he can't do anything.
14. Liberty or Death Reply to R
Russ "Hairabahists". Are they something new to me or do you mean Wahbbists. The waco Saudi clerics.
I agree with most of what you say but I hope you don't agree with the theory to attract all the wacos to Iraq so we can fight foot soldiers against foot soldiers. Fighting a war of attrition against an enemy with unlimited foot soldiers, even at a 10 to 1 ratio is a losing proposition. The most important weakness of the American military and the politcos who misuse them is the will of the American people and the American press.
One lesson of Vietnam was that America could no longer fight a war that was not won in 6 months to a year. The whole world has become expert in using the media and disinformation to undermine the will of the American people. This last election was the price of ignoring that lesson. When we need to use military force we have the capability to stomp anyone in 6 months or a lot less. 3 weeks for the Iraqi army and 3-4 months to round up the Bathists.
Any strategy that requires Americans to be in harms way for years is a political non-starter. If Bush's strategy was to create a democratic buffer between the bad guys, he failed before he started. The Kurds are no problem to the US. With the right support they could be allies. The Sunnis and the foreign fighters and to a lesser extent radical Shiites are the source of all the American casualties. Bush failed to understand the Shiites are going to kill the Sunnis; either with us there or after we are gone. We should have used that to our advantage. We should have independently cut deals with the moderate Shiite clerics in the South and the Kurds. We should have withdrawn from Sunni land and let the Shiites and Sunnis go at it. We should have trained armies for the Shiites and Kurds. All the oil is in the North and South. We needed to kiss up to the Shiites regardless of how distasteful, to keep them from coming under the influence of Iran. This would have succeeded because of all the Middle East countries; Iraq has the strongest nation identity and the least control by the clerics. They don't want to be controlled by a foreign power. But I suspect that opportunity has now been lost.
What will happen is a disaster. Miliki won't let us touch the Shiite militias. Our refusal to support the Shiites has driven them to Iran. When the American people and the Dems pull us out, there will be a new American enemy vice an ally of convenience.
In spite of a brilliant military, Iraq will be another American disaster. One man is to blame, Bush.
15. R Reply to Liberty or Death
Hirabah is the Arabic term for Unholy, Unjust War. It is starting to be used instead of Jihad. The Wahabbists are the ultra reactionary guys who started in the 1800’s in Arabia and supported the Saud family as you say.