“This site is dedicated to preying on peoples vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Can the US lose its army in Iraq? Say it ain't so.

George Armstrong Custer (left center in light clothing) leads a military expedition into the Black Hills of Dakota Territory in 1874. Custer's incursion violated the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and laid the groundwork for war between the Lakota and the United States when he announced that gold had been discovered in this most sacred of the Lakota's lands. Photograph by William H. Illingworth.

(National Archives 777-HQ-264-854)



This article from The American Conservative outlines the worst case scenario for the US in Iraq. Is there any chance this could play out? Is this possible or is it BDS at the max?

How to Lose an Army
Plow deep into Iraq and dare Iran to strike.
December 18, 2006 Issue
Copyright © 2006 The American Conservative

by William S. Lind
Lose a war, lose an election. What else did the Republicans expect? That is especially true for a “war of choice,” which is to say a war we should not have fought. It is difficult to imagine that, had Spain defeated the U.S. in 1898, the Republicans would have won the election in 1900.

What does the Democrats’ victory mean for the war in Iraq? Regrettably, not what it should, namely an immediate American withdrawal from a hopelessly lost enterprise. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, both of whom now want to get out, desire to go into the 2008 election as the party that “lost Iraq,” which is how taking the lead for withdrawal could be painted. Instead, both parties in Congress and the White House are likely to agree only on a series of half-measures, none of which will work. We will stay bogged down in the Iraqi quagmire for another two years, as the troops caught in Operation Provide Targets continue to die.

A more critical if less obvious question is what do the results of the election mean for a prospective attack on Iran? On the surface, the Democrats’ seizure of both houses of Congress would seem to be good news. Having won their majorities because the American people want out of a war, they ought to be reluctant to jump into a second one.

Regrettably, that logic may be too simple. Because an attack on Iran will be launched with no warning, the Bush administration will not have to consult Congress beforehand. Congress could take the initiative and forbid such an attack preemptively (“no funds may be expended…”). But in an imperial capital where court politics count far more than the nation’s interests, Democrats may prefer to risk a second war, and a second debacle, rather than open themselves up to a charge of being weak on terrorism. The Democrats’ approach to national-security issues through the fall campaign was to hide under the bed and ignore them as much as possible. That worked politically, so they are likely to stick with it.

The Bush administration, for its part, will be tempted to do what small men have done throughout history when in trouble: try to escalate their way out of it. The White House has already half-convinced itself that the majority of its troubles in Iraq stem from Iran and Syria, a line the neocons push assiduously.

The departure of Donald Rumsfeld, which was greeted in the Pentagon with joyful choruses of “Ding-dong, the witch is dead,” may help to avert an invasion. His successor, Robert Gates, has no background in defense and is therefore likely to defer to the generals, for good or for ill. In this case for good, as the generals emphatically do not want a war with Iran. But for Gates to block White House demands for an attack on Iran, he would have to threaten to resign. Is he the sort of man to do that? That’s not how bureaucrats build their careers, an observation that holds for the generals as well.

The elephant in the parlor is, of course, the fact that Israel wants an attack on Iran, and for Republicans and Democrats alike, Israel is She Who Must Be Obeyed. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ran to Washington as soon as the election was over, and the subject of his discussions with President Bush is easy to imagine. Who will do the dirty deed and when? Iran has already announced that it will consider an attack by Israel an attack by the U.S. as well and respond accordingly, so the difference may not much matter.

That response should concern us, to put it mildly, for that is where a war with Iran and the war in Iraq intersect. The Iranians have said that this time they have 140,000 American hostages, in the form of U.S. troops in Iraq. If either Israel or the U.S. attacks Iran, we could lose an army.

How could such a thing happen? The danger springs from the fact that almost all the supplies our forces in Iraq use, including vital fuel for their vehicles, comes over one supply line, which runs toward the south and the port in Kuwait. If that line were cut, our forces might not have enough fuel to get out of Iraq. American armies are enormously fuel-thirsty.

One might think that fuel would be abundant in Iraq, which is (or was) a major oil exporter. In fact, because of the ongoing chaos, Iraq is short of refined oil products. Our forces, if cut off from their own logistics, could not simply fuel up at local gas stations as German Gen. Heinz Guderian’s Panzer Corps did on its way to the English Channel in the 1940 campaign against France.

There are two ways, not mutually exclusive, that Iran could attempt to cut our supply line in Iraq in response to an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. The first would be by encouraging Shi’ite militias to which it is allied, including the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades, to rise up against us throughout southern Iraq, which is Shi’ite country. The militias would be supported by widespread infiltration of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who have shown themselves to be good at this kind of thing. They are the people who trained and equipped Hezbollah for its successful defense of southern Lebanon against the vaunted Israeli army this past summer.

The Shi’ite militias already lie across our single supply line, and we should expect them to cut it in response to Iranian requests. We are already at war with the Mahdi Army, against which our forces in Iraq have been launching a series of recent raids and air strikes. A British journalist I know, one with long experience in Iraq, told me he asked the head of SCIRI, which controls the Badr Brigades, how he would respond if the U.S. attacked Iran. “Then,” he replied, “we would do our duty.”

Iran has a second, bolder option it could combine with a Shi’ite insurrection at our rear. It could cross the Iran-Iraq border with several armored and mechanized divisions of the regular Iranian Army, sever our supply lines, then move to roll us up from the south with the aim of encircling us, perhaps in and around Baghdad. This would be a classic operational maneuver, the sort of thing for which armored forces are designed.

At present, U.S. forces in Iraq could be vulnerable to such an action by the Iranian army. We have no field army in Iraq; necessarily, our forces are penny-packeted all over the place, dealing with insurgents. They would be hard-pressed to assemble quickly to meet a regular force, especially if fuel was running short.

The U.S. military’s answer, as is too often the case, will be air power. It is true that American air power could destroy any Iranian armored formations it caught in the open. But there is a tried-and-true defense against air power, one the Iranians could employ: bad weather. Like the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge, they could wait to launch their offensive until the weather promised a few days of protection. After that, they would be so close to our own forces that air power could not attack them without danger of hitting friendlies. (This is sometimes know as “hugging tactics.”) Reportedly, the Turkish General Staff thinks the Iranians can and will employ this second option, no doubt in combination with the first.

Perhaps the greatest danger lies in the fact that, just as the French high command refused to consider the possibility of a German attack through the Ardennes in 1940, Washington will not consider the possibility that an attack on Iran could cost us our army in Iraq. We have made one of the most common military mistakes—believing our own propaganda. Over and over, the U.S. military tells the world and itself, “No one can defeat us. No one can even fight us. We are the greatest military the world has ever seen!”

Unfortunately, like most propaganda, it’s bunk. The U.S. Armed Forces are technically well-trained, lavishly resourced Second-Generation militaries. They are today being fought and beaten by Fourth-Generation opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan. They can also be defeated by Third-Generation opponents who can react faster than America’s process-ridden, PowerPoint-enslaved military headquarters. They can be defeated by superior strategy, by trick, by surprise, and by preemption. Unbeatable militaries are like unsinkable ships: they are unsinkable until something sinks them.

If the U.S. were to lose the army it has in Iraq to Iraqi militias, Iranian regular forces, or a combination of both, cutting our one line of supply and then encircling us, the world would change. It would be our Adrianople, our Rocroi, our Stalingrad. American power and prestige would never recover. Nothing, not even Israel’s demands, should lead us to run this risk, which is inherent in any attack on Iran.

There is one action, a possibility opened by the Democrats’ electoral victory, that would stop the Bush administration from launching such an attack or allowing Israel to do so. If our senior military leaders, especially the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would go public with their opposition to such an adventure, the new Democratic majority in Congress would have to react. The public that put it in office on an antiwar platform would compel it to answer or lose all credibility. While the Joint Chiefs would infuriate the White House, they would receive the necessary political cover from the new Democratic Congress. The potential is there, for the generals and the Democrats alike.

For it to be realized, and the disaster of war with Iran to be averted, all the generals must do is show some courage. If the Joint Chiefs keep silent now and allow the folly of an attack on Iran to go forward, they will share in full the moral responsibility for the results, which may include the loss of an army. Perhaps we should call it “Operation Cornwallis.”
___________________________________________
William S. Lind is director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation in Washington, D.C.
December 18, 2006 Issue

54 comments:

  1. Senator Lugar is on Fox is sending a blunt message to Bush that he and others want to see a plan and not have it sprung on them. He has mentioned a congressional "lynching party."

    Someone better sit down with Bush. Who?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mr Lind is full of whooey. The ability to fight wars isn't our problem. Our problem is that the American public (Me included) is not going to stand for "Operation Target,) as you so succinctly put it.

    We're catching on that this is a bunch of worthless scum, and there is no future mucking around with them.

    Mr Lind hasn't even caught on yet, that bad weather enables our Army; it doesn't hinder it. And, the idea that a Shitta uprising could cut our supply lines is inane.

    No, don't worry about losing our Army; worry about losing our righteousness. There lies the "Danger."

    ReplyDelete
  3. The entire Army, not likely.
    5,000+ US KIA, possible.

    Despite the losses inflicted upon the Sunni Insurgents over the course of the past 45 months, they have maintained an active strength of aprox 25,000 combatants, throughout. Combat losses have not depleted theri manpower pool.

    The Sunni represent a mere 20% of the Iraqi population. 60% of the Iraqi population, the Shia, have only occasionally operated against US Units. And none of those battles have taken place lately.

    If the Shia added their wieght to anti-US operations, in addition to continued Sunni insurgency and Iranian direct action as well, US casualties could mount quickly.

    Three to four times the current rate of loss, just based on statistical norms. Reaching an additional 5,000 US KIA in a matter of months.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bill Roggio reports:
    American intelligence and military sources inform us the Islamic Courts, al-Qaeda and foreign fighters are also massing at Ras Kamboni [Kaambooni on the map, also see satellite image]. Ras Kamboni sits on the Indian ocean, and is less than two miles from the Kenyan border. This can pose a problem for Ethiopian forces moving into the area, as it will require extra care to ensure the fighting doesn't spill over to the Kenyan side of the border.

    "Until the Enemy is taken or destroyed"

    ReplyDelete
  5. allen, re combat brigades:

    What I was getting at is that reorganization has allowed us to go longer at the current number, which can be maintained until 2010. (Just sign the checks.) As to their operational suitability in Iraq, well, non-conventional personnel for good reason avoid them like the plague.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I believe Gates came in knowing full well what the deal is on Iran. To Congress he said (I paraphrase) that Iran is working in Iraq and Afghanistan; however Iran is not the source of our difficulties in either. Further, the work they do could be a whole lot worse than it has been. Don't give them incentive.

    It made some unhappy. I take it the President was not among them.

    (FWIW, I think Rumsfeld was of the same opinion.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Ethiopians may have succeeded in their initial efforts but the situation in Somalia is far from over. The interested parties in Saudi Arabia will see to that.

    Now the Ethiopians will hone their counter insurgency skills. Westhawk's article on proxy warfare is timely.

    Enter phase two of the long war.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Those darned Palestinians are going to steal my Saddam shirt ideas. I just hate when they do that. In her ongoing empathy outreach to the freedom loving Palestinian people, will Dr. Rice be seen wearing either the T-shirt or sweatshirt? Will she opt to accessorize with the sisal ascot or the rear-facing hang-dog hood?

    Palestinians Mourn Dead Tyrant

    Link

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dr. Rice lost all cachet with me when she co-authored UN 1701. I knew something had gone bad wrong in the Whitehouse.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Who is that Alaskan visitor to the Elephant Bar? Inquiring minds want to know.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Four people were severely injured when they were crushed under the weight of large animals that fell on top of them, it was reported. Another person was hurt when a crane, used to lift an animal, tumbled onto him.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Rat:
    What can you say?

    Insha Allah!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well, allen, when is Israel finally going to cut itself loose from the old ball and chain?

    US-Israel relations aren't going to get any better, only frostier.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Did not post any 2007 predictions on the proper thread but here's some:

    In 2007, the Democrats will strongly oppose any efforts to surge US military in Iraq.

    In 2007, the Democrats will not offer any constructive suggestions or assistance to the White House in regard to Iraq.

    ReplyDelete
  15. With the Shiite cheer leading section, Saddam went down like Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Last words were "Mohammad..", after he cursed the Americans, Persians and Shiites. He had fire in his eye. It justs doesn't get any better than that for martyrdom. World class stuff, better than Che.

    ReplyDelete
  16. trish,

    re: Israeli - American relationship

    Boy, that is a question I hate to even consider. Just glancing causes nausea. But, Muslims being Muslims, they may cross a line that even Dr. Rice cannot ignore.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What gives in Somalia?

    According to all the multi-generational tacticians and the experience of Israel in Lebanon, the Ethiopian armor and air frames should have been easy pickins. Have the Islamists run past their logistical abilities?

    ReplyDelete
  18. "In 2007, the Democrats will not offer any constructive suggestions or assistance to the White House in regard to Iraq."

    If I'm a Democrat, I'm thinking I want little or no part of that mess right now. Let the CIC flail away.

    If I'm GWB, I'm thinking I can keep this thing going two more years and let the next guy pull the plug.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Let's see; 300 Million Acres of Rice in the world. That means we've found an extra ONE HUNDRED "BILLION" GALLONS of transportation fuel.

    AS A "BYPRODUCT."

    It's just kinda, lying on the ground, y'know?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Rice is a devoted water carrier, allen. And State is struggling to reassert itself post-Rumsfeld.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I take exception to many of Lind's points, especially his harsh judgment of Iraq being "a hopelessly lost enterprise".

    I believe that the largest danger to American military capability is not the physical destruction of its Army in ther streets alleys, and deserts of Iraq, but instead a total loss of collective national will here at home, to the point where the United States will not authorize or even consider the use of the military element of national power, even when its neccessity is all but total certitude. Remember, if you will, that even two decades after the Vietnam war, the Congressional resolution authorizing use of force to expel Iraq from Kuwait was a close, along party line vote. This at a time when an important regional ally had been attacked, and major reserves of oil were at stake.

    While an attack from Iran is certainly a threat to be reckoned with, there is little doubt that the military and various agencies are collectively monitoring Iran at this point. There are already critical links between the Iranians and various Shiite militias running amok in Iraq. So it is unlikely that a surprise attack on par with the Egyptians crossing the Suez in 1973 would happen in Iraq.

    While Iran is certainly capable of a conventional offensive causing hundreds of casualties, it would not be able to sustain this attack over an extended period of time before its lines of communications were severed, it was politically isolated, and before the other regional players (Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, et al) intervened in one manner or another.

    Hypothesizing on the operational destruction of our forces deployed in the Middle East is little more than an ill-conceived thought experiment; placing operational arrogance and confidence aside (and keeping myself from smirking at the thought of the Iranians launching a major offensive and seeing their theocracy crumble in the wake of the operational destruction of THEIR military), our forces are dispersed across thousands of miles, oceans,and countries; other than a Tet-like event which would have effects in the political and informational spheres, no Middle Eastern country is capable of an attack of this magnitude.

    Lind's assessment of the US military is ill-informed and inaccurate as well. The Army units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are the best trained, best equipped, most combat-seasoned forces this country has seen in decades. They are not losing on the battlefields of those countries; tactically the hostile forces in both of those countries, whether insurgents, militias, terrorists, or crtiminals, are not a match for this military; it is rather in the realm of the political, the cultural, and in the information sphere that we are in peril of being vanquished.

    Also, Lind's characterization of the United States' relationship with Israel (she who must be obeyed) is the contemptible tripe that one expects from a CAIR spokesperson, or from an illogical university radical perhaps, but NOT from a supposed conservative thinker. It is not worthy of further comment.

    Hopefully, as the U.S. ponders adjusting its strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, the deployment of forces is tied to a strategy that ties all of the elements our our national power to the endeavor, and the Army is not left holding the bag. There is room for constructive, informed debate on what the next steps for the U.S. should be in the Middle East, but Mr. Lind's pessimistic diatribe will provides marginal utility those who must decide what comes next, and is a disservice to those who will be in the field executing that policy.

    I plan to expand on this post at my site as well, for those of you who are interested.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Another nightmare scenario. Nuclear devices on container ships in our major ports are detonated simultaneously.

    Loaded aircraft at the ramps , fully fuelled and loaded with passengers are run into by bomb laden cars. This occurs at LAX,SFO,Dulles,Reagan.Miami,New York,New Jersey. Each airport is attacked by 5-10 suicide cars.
    Hoover Dam is blown and the Sears Tower and the John Hancock buildings are given the WTC treatment via UPS cargo plane hijackings.
    All this occurs during another Nation of Islam Million Man March on DC, a ruse this time to disguise the takeover of the Capitol,EOB,Treasury,and WH and Pentagon.

    Nationwide prisons ,which now house over ONE MILLION inmates are sprung by cadres of Islamists
    Along our southern border Hugo Chavez has distributed the 100,000 AK-47 and 50,000 RPG's to dissident factions who attack all the way to Phoenix and Dallas.
    In the north, Dearborn and Detroit become chaos as riots break out with Muslims killing all infidelsas they fan out along the border, allowing access for muzzies waiting in Canada.
    Major electrical grids are taken down within the first few minutes of the nuclear devices going off.

    With our armed forces deployed overseas there are insufficient forces within CONUS to handle the simultaneous chaos, or even a portion of the described.

    None of these scenarios are undoable.
    Could we lose an Army? Sure. Could the above happen. Sure.
    Happy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Then, There's This.

    Just drive oil down to $40.00/barrel. You'll be "amazed" how fast a lot of this shit will fall into place.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Bob W. can be found here Bob W at Wilsonizer .
    Perhaps we should provide links.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Habu, if they pull "all that" off, I'm converting.

    ReplyDelete
  26. He's a good writer, Deuce; put him on the blogroll.

    ReplyDelete
  27. If the largest danger is the collective loss of will to employ force in the future, you are going to have to restore confidence in the current endeavor and bring it to a satisfying conclusion. Nothing else will do.

    ReplyDelete
  28. That's a hell of a nightmare scenario, habu.

    It wouldn't be al Qaeda. They don't want the shit that'd come with it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Trish said:
    If the largest danger is the collective loss of will to employ force in the future, you are going to have to restore confidence in the current endeavor and bring it to a satisfying conclusion. Nothing else will do.

    Except maybe another 9/11.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm not cleared to blog roll. That's whit's baby. It is a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
  31. FYI:

    William Sturgiss Lind, Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation, is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, born July 9, 1947. He graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1969 and received a Master's Degree in History from Princeton University in 1971. He worked as a legislative aide for armed services for Senator Robert Taft, Jr., of Ohio from 1973 through 1976 and held a similar position with Senator Gary Hart of Colorado from 1977 through 1986. He joined Free Congress Foundation in 1987.

    Mr. Lind is author of the Maneuver Warfare Handbook (Westview Press, 1985); co-author, with Gary Hart, of America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform (Adler & Adler, 1986); and co-author, with William H. Marshner, of Cultural Conservatism: Toward a New National Agenda (Free Congress Foundation, 1987). He has written extensively for both popular media, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Harper's, and professional military journals, including The Marine Corps Gazette, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings and Military Review.

    Mr. Lind co-authored the prescient article, "The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation," which was published in The Marine Corps Gazette in October, 1989 and which first propounded the concept of "Fourth Generation War." Mr. Lind and his co-authors predicted that states would increasingly face threats not from other states, but from non-state forces whose primary allegiance was to their religion, ethnic group or ideology. Following the events of September 11, 2001, the article has been credited for its foresight by The New York Times Magazine and The Atlantic Monthly.

    Mr. Lind is co-author with Paul M. Weyrich of the monograph: "Why Islam is a Threat to America and The West." He is the author of "George W. Bush's `War on Terrorism': Faulty Strategy and Bad Tactics?" Both were published in 2002 by the Free Congress Foundation.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Trish said, "If I'm GWB, I'm thinking I can keep this thing going two more years and let the next guy pull the plug."

    That will guarantee even more lost seats in the House and Senate for Pubs in 2008. If they want to spend another forty years in the wilderness they are proceeding correctly.

    ReplyDelete
  33. American "will". Joke right?
    Yesterday or the day before I quoted a Somalian who said beating AQ was a matter of 'will", that simple.
    I look around at our prosperous porcine nation and read and hear enough to know that we are in a state of ennui as far as a "national will" goes. We're physically and mentally weak beyond belief.
    Look around your neighborhood and ask yourself how many kids do you think could do ONE pull-up? Look at their parents.
    One of the things we can do is put bumper stickers on our cars or the young set affect the "gangsta" way backed up by nothing but baggy pants.
    Discipline in this country..please.

    The point to be made is that our PC and muticulturalism has diluted 'being an American" who buys into a national "will". It's all me all the time. We have not demanded, nor do I believe we will require immigrants to assimilate..they just want the goodies.
    Developing now is the beginnings of CAIR and an Islamic push in this country to force shiara law. I mean wouldn't that be the multicultural way? Hey, don't the American Indians get their own tribal law? Get set folks for an assault on what in our lifetime use to be "the American Way"..no more.
    We're ripe for the pick'in.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Bob W., You are official at The Elephant. Roll em if you got em.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Is GWB thinking of the Party?

    Look, this is the guy who hadn't the grace or foresight to usher his SecDef out in advance of the midterms and announce then the search for a new strategy.

    Frankly, I don't think GWB is enthralled with or very interested in his own Party.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Yup, sir, you are most certainly co-rrect regarding the ripeness of America. History's already plucked it I'm afraid, brushed it against its denim overalls and took a bite. We just don't yet know it, cuz there's a bunch of morphine drip IVs stuck in the apple. Thing is, this ain't no upstanding orchard-tender. No no, history is a druggie orchard tender, whose reeling now from the yankee opiates. He was never interested in the nutrition or the taste. And so those opiates go both ways, you know. We just gotta figure out how to make an apple bite a man.

    I always thought that history was a custodian, sweeping the endless hallway of man's progress, picking up the discarded clothes of naked emperors past.

    ReplyDelete
  37. We will get a raise in the minimum wage, though, ensuring greater demand for cheaper, undocumented workers.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Who knows an exact hour or day when the rot takes hold and the host is prey for the taking?
    If I picked a year for a coalescing it would be 1968..It usually takes a society at least two score to have it's mores and folkways turn. Sometimes the turn is for better, sometimes for worse.
    The Baby Bum Generation failed, their progeny spoiled and even more decadent than the Bummers.

    Citizen responsibility and civic duty require participation in the life of the republic. "Liberty means responsibility," wrote George Bernard Shaw, "that is why most men dread it." Participation means something more than mere grudging payment of taxes or expectations that your neighbor's son or daughter put on a military uniform if the nation calls. It means, at the very least, voting--participation in the selection of leadership, and a majority of citizens do not do that.
    We continue to allow our children go to colleges where we know they will be propagandized by a neo-Marxist left wing faculty. We can expect the next decade to be one of decline,demise and dhimmitude.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Whit/2164th:

    Thanks for linking Wilsonizer to the esteemed Elephant bar; I in turn linked you guys over at my blog as well. I hope your servers can handle the .0038 per cent increase in traffic that being linked to my page often triggers, ha ha!

    My post related to Lind's article is up at my site, FYI. not too different than my original comment, but i think I caught all of my grammatical errors, and i expanded some points.

    A few additional thoughts:

    Rufus: I agree, drop oil down to 1990s levels and half of the problems in the world become much smaller; when that happens, as Garry Trudeau once wrote, we can start worrying more about what Madonna had for breakfast.

    Trish, I believe our government would lose what I refer to as national will by total defeat in the form of unilateral withdrawal from Iraq prior to meeting any of its overall objectives; in my opinion, that is the most immediate strategic threat that the nation faces. hence my desire to see this endeavor to successful fruition.

    habu/aspergers, I disagree with you about us being overly feeble as a nation.

    While the military comprises an ever smaller part of American society, it is still, in my opinion, largely representative of the people as a whole.

    The same guys who charge through a doorway in a compound at night, right after the flashbangs go off, and not knowing what the hell is waiting for everyone on the other side. . .

    were knuckleheads with long hair and baggy pants and crappy taste in music a few years ago.

    I am always pleasantly surprised how little it takes to turn a "decadent American" into a decent Soldier.

    That was another point of contention I had with Lind's article, by the way. I inferred that, like many writers, Lind believes that our technological prowess makes up for a lack of competence/ability/martial spirit or the like on our Military's part.

    I disagree.

    Combat arms Soldiers train all the time with their weapons and on tactics, even when they are deployed to combat. At this point, five years into the war, I would guess there are few rifle platoons without a significant number of combat veterans at this point, always a plus for making the force more lethal.

    Advanced technology makes our military even more lethal, but the force in itself has a solid warrior foundation to start with.

    This is all opinion, of course,and I must admit i am a bit prejudiced towards the military. So sue me!

    Maybe the country is going downhill like habu says; I personally don't think we are, though, and I know that, if the military we can still field is any indication, we are not down yet.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Trish said, "We will get a raise in the minimum wage, though, ensuring greater demand for cheaper, undocumented workers."

    In a July 3, 1984 editorial, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal wrote: If Washington still wants to 'do something' about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.'

    ReplyDelete
  41. Whit,

    The Alaskan 'tis I. Unless there is another?

    Good thread. Hapy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Lucky man to be living in Alaska.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Happy New Year! It has been fun here at the Bar, with an interesting group of people. I look forward to the new year with each and all.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Yes, Lord Acton, you are the one and only Alaskan to my knowledge.

    How's the weather up there?

    It's wet and soggy New Years Eve here, kinda like the mood.

    Happy New Year to all!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Bob W.
    The hosts have greeted you. As a long time patron I extend a Happy New Year to you and yours.

    I also hope you're right and I'm wrong.
    Just a few observations. The "gangsta" baggy pant crowd aren't the ones filling the ranks. They're by and large too dumb and resistent to authority. It's a much smarter armed force now than we've ever had and they weed out most of the gang bangers.
    Our problem isn't at all with the armed services, it's the citizenry.
    Soft, self indulgent in extremis, and lacking any unifying agenda.We're ideologically split about 50/50 with the old hippies and Vietnam war protesters turned suburban small m marxists.

    The Blue states, while few in number have about 85% of all the wealth in this country. The Red states, while represented in Congress as a de jure point don't seem to be able to get their representatives to do what they promise.
    I'm not anti George Bush by any means, the fellas got a tough, very unique situation to handle, but he's made LBJ look like a piker when it comes to spending MY money.

    I recall several years ago here in Jacksonville ,FL the School Board gave a plaque to a school crossing guard for 40 years of service. She said her proudest accomplishment was that she never turned in a single driver. She must have been asleep, cause the law of probability defies that.
    Well Mr. Bush has vetoed ONE bill in his tenure. That defies the conservatives law of probability. He's neck deep in collusion with Canada and Mexico on developing the North American Union...quiet now it's all very much on the QT. That NAU should push our ideas of sovereignty somewhat askew, and his CIC decision making is not up to snuff.
    Now one of the reasons I'm not will'n ta give up on ole George is that hope springs eternal. But I gotta say that the tiny brown spots on the bananas are starting to group up. I'm hoping he has a nice nuke for Iran, a refrain my EB friends have heard me say time and again. Well I've mostly been rambling here so I'll say adios and once again happy to have ya at the the best bar around.
    PS..Ev'r last on of us here is smart'r than a whip and quick'r than a jackrabbit, now what's your poison?

    ReplyDelete
  46. 2146,

    Respectfully, you don't know wet and soggy. We live in Cordova, the northern most point of the Gulf of Alaska. Every low pressure system in the North Pacific ends up here. Had more than 40 inches of rain per month in august, sept, AND october. Somewhere between 150-200 inches this year depending on where in town your measuring.

    When it's not raining, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world, being situated between the Gulf and Prince William Sound with the Chugach mountains in town and the magnificent Copper River delta right out the door. Off the road system, so in and out by plane or ferry only. Outdoor recreation/hunting/fishing out the wazoo.

    The pace of life is nice and slow. The long winter nights really lend themselves to serious reading!

    Have enjoyed your site. Again Happy New Year.

    P.S. vis the post, It is a big mistake to underestimate this nation and her people.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Yeah, and we can do that "invisibility" thing, too.

    p.s. Some of our Honeys ain't too crazy 'bout that jackrabbit part.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Salient post. Agreed that Lind is seriously underestimating the prowress of our army, and the resilience of the national spirit in times of crisis such as this.

    Lind assumes that Iran is able to mobilise its conventional national forces to encircle our troops, but to date, the mullahs have cautiously refrained from employing the national army for fear of a military coup d'etat - in truth, the loyalty of the armed forces is questionable at best, while the Foreign Legions of Hezbollah and the Mahdi Army, including the Revolutionary/Special Guards are much more dependable.

    And I would think that our military is more than capable of operating in inclement weather than the incompetently trained Iranian army. Also, though our forces are dispersed, there should be little doubt as to whether we would be able to effectively mobilise and localise troops wherever necessary - somewhat akin to the novel idea of the General Staff under Helmut von Moltke in Germany prior to the First World War, whereby the stunning alacrity of German mobilisation utterly caught the European powers off-guard.

    It is useful to refer to Lind's article An Operational Doctrine for Intervention.

    I part of Lind's argument when fellow peacekeeper provided the link at the EB a few weeks ago.

    However, now it seems that the second part of the hypothesis requires dissecting.

    We live in a world in which the nationalism that arose in Europe in response to the French Revolution has spread almost universally. Any foreign presence rubs this nationalism the wrong way. The longer we stay, the more we assist our opponents in preaching the case for a national war.

    Yet has Arab nationalism ever managed to successfully galvanise the peoples against foreign occupiers? Forget about Arab statesmen, despots and dictators - truth is, more often than not domestic and foreign policy has been guided by the interests of the Arab elites, not that of its peoples. Elite nationalism thrives, broad-based nationalism flounders.

    Germany had Bismarck, Italy had Camillo di Cavour, France had Napoleon - these men had visions of nationalism, brotherhood and collective consciousness in the belief of shared values. What has the Arab world manage to conjure up? Perhaps they once believed in Arafat or Nasser, but the fact remains that factionalism and segmentalism remain endemic characteristics of Arab societies, and nationalism is a foreign import, a genie in a bottle that Arab elites would like contained as they exploit the divisiveness of tribes and sects for personal profit.

    Even in Iraq, al-Sadr, al-Hakim and Sistani could very well have ordered us out in the name of protecting national sovereignty, yet till today, Sistani fears the Sadrists' influence radicalising moderate Shiites, while al-Sadr fears Iranian interference via al-Hakim's SCIRI, while al-Hakim has to fend off al-Sadr's nationalist credentials in order to earn more seats in parliament and establish a voting bloc to veto any Sadr-led measure that would threaten Iranian influence in Iraq.

    Lind did remark that:

    We can eliminate hostile governments in some developing countries--seize their leaders, take control of their institutions, and turn the levers of power over to their opponents. We can destroy the regular armed forces in those countries, if our own forces can move fast enough to encircle them before they disperse. Once the armed forces are destroyed, we can stabilize the countryside for a certain period of time. In short, we can carry out what might be called an extended coup de main.

    We do not necessarily need to worry too much about the Iranian national army, for it does not embody nationalistic spirit but instead is plagued by divided loyalties, or even vehemently opposed to the regime - that might explain why the mullahs are less than enthusiastic about deploying them to deal with unrest in Kurdish, Azeri and Baluch uprisings within Iran.

    I'm not advocating the invasion of Iran, but what I would like to contribute to the discussion is that Iran's sting is in its predilection for proxy wars and nuclear capability, not direct confrontation. Iranian nationalism is fragile, predicated on the basis of pride in defending its right to nuclear arms; their national will is nowhere as strong and resilient as that of the American people in the event of a prolonged, necessary imperative to establish security and non-violence in the region.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Help, I've fallen into a time warp, and I can't get out.

    ReplyDelete
  50. me too, We found a leak in blogger.

    ReplyDelete