“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

When the Truth Hurts. Is the US Not Up to the Job?

For some time, we have argued on these pages that the US military is too small. The money spent is for grandiose expensive systems, when we need troops, not billion dollar bombers. We start missions that domestic politics will not support. Every decision is made by looking at the political calendar. That is happening this morning.

Is the US too divided to be a steady force in the world? The only time that changes is when we are attacked and put on defense, and then it appears to last for fifteen minutes.

The US has not won a decisive HOT war since WWII. That my friends is sixty one years ago.

There is a very sobering blunt edititorial in this mornings Telegraph. I highlight the main points and pose a very serious question. Is Niall Ferguson right? If so what do we do about it? If not,tell us why. This should make you angry.

There are 300m Americans, but still not enough to rule the world

By Niall Ferguson Telegraph
  • Before the First World War, the population of Britain was 46 million, barely 2.5 per cent of humanity. And yet the British were able to govern a vast empire that encompassed an additional 375 million people, more than a fifth of the world's population. Why can't 300 million Americans control fewer than 30 million Iraqis?
  • Just why is the world's third-most populous country so short of boots on the ground? The obvious answer is that, considering the size of the US population and the Pentagon's vast budget, the American military is a remarkably small outfit. In 2004, the total number of Department of Defence personnel on active duty was 1,427,000, substantially fewer than the country's 2 million-strong prison population.
  • The number of troops currently in Iraq is less than 140,000. That's roughly as many soldiers as Britain sent to the same country to defeat an insurgency in 1920 — at a time when the population of Iraq was a tenth of what it is today.
  • Donald Rumsfeld, we now know, who repeatedly dismissed expert advice that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to ensure the stability of post-war Iraq. It was he who insisted on downsizing the military, at the very time when there would have been safety in numbers.
  • American foreign policy suffers from a similar pathology. The primacy of domestic politics, in the form of bureaucratic in-fighting and electoral manipulation, explains why the Iraq enterprise has, from the outset, been so chronically undermanned.
  • The United States was unlikely to be as successful or as enduring an imperial power as its British predecessor for three reasons: its financial deficit, its attention deficit and, perhaps most surprisingly, its manpower deficit. Rather cruelly, I compared the American empire to a "strategic couch-potato… consuming on credit, reluctant to go to the front line [and] inclined to lose interest in protracted undertakings".


  1. This fellow's a bit late to the party.
    Attention deficit,
    Mr Bush should call the Surgeom General,
    "Ritalin!, give 'em all a round!"

  2. Duece,

    Great post!

    While it would be comforting to see the administration suffering from a treatable malady such as attention deficit, the administration's attention is fully focused on what is important to it: contemporary, post-modern, American liberalism. They have never missed a beat in support of liberalism. They only SEEM to be out of step to genuine conservatives, who take the administration's rhetoric seriously.

  3. hey Rat!

    did ja know that A.D.D. is recognized by only one country?

    You guessed it - AMERICA!

    Allen - you've hit the NAIL ON THE HEAD!

    this administration is L-I-B-E-R-A-L !

    ... which, of course spells INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST!'s a good thing they believe in making money!

  4. Oh! Forgot to mention ...

    The article is D-E-A-D on!

  5. The Brits at 2.5% of the population could control an empire of 375 million becausethey had.
    1. Knowledge
    2. Communication
    3. Arms
    4. Will
    5. Navy

    Mankind has gained something like 90% of his current knowledge base in the last 100 years, really most in the last fifty. The Brits were the leaders in acquisition of new knowlege and implementing it.

    Communicatons was the exclusive domain of the British world wide. They were prevented during WWI, by Congress, from buying GE because it would have given them a huge advantage in worldwide communication deemed too important for our Navy. "During World War I the patents of the major companies involved with radio in the United States of America were merged to facilitate the war effort. All production of radio equipment was for the military. The seizure of the assets of British-owned American Marconi by the United States Navy and the cooperation between General Electric, United Fruit and Westinghouse Electric Corporation laid the groundwork for the Radio Corporation of America, RCA."

    "After the war, many saw radio as a natural monopoly. The United States Navy tried, but failed, to gain the monopoly for the Navy. Owen Young convinced the U.S. Congress to entrust in his company, General Electric (GE), together with American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), a monopoly of international radio." (wiki)

    The Brits had the best military and arms. Nobody came close.

    The Brits had a homogenous island empire void of large enclaves of colonial workers. They had the collective Rousseauian "will" to carry forward their plan for empire.

    The Brits controlled the worlds oceans and seas, unchallenged in any real sense, thus further controlling lines of communication.

    The USA circa now hasn't any of these advantages. Avarice and greed have sold off our technology by both private corporations and government officials.
    We control none of the other aspects listed above because we lack, in spades, #4, the Will to do so. We're fat, dumb, and for the moment relatively happy. Give it another five to ten years.
    We'll be a France & England. Glory gone, A shell of what was. Wasted, like a termite eaten house. Nice paint but nothing really there.

  6. Habu1 post 12:41PM, awesome post tator would be proud.

  7. FYI folks. Discretion impels me to remove my profile from public view. Nothing else changes. A lot follows.

  8. Well, unfortunately for those who beleive slavery is over need to check Africa where it is alive and well.
    Mauritania has a thriving slave trade, which makes one wonder where your Jesse Jackson's, Al Sharton's I guess they're aren't enough deep pocket corporations to shake down to make their black brothers and sisters in the "Homeland" a priority.
    Also mentioned in various reorts by organizations including the totally honest UN are Bolivia, Burma, Cambodia, Cuba, Ecuador, Jamaica, Kuwait, North Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Togo, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
    Anti-Slavery International (ASI) presented a paper to the United Nations Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery which met in Geneva to confirm these countries.
    By some estimates there are 30 MILLION people working under various forms of slavery.
    Slavery gone ... not in Africa.

  9. James Wolsey, ex CIA Direcector
    We do not have advisors at the platoon or Company level of the Iraqi Army.

    Failure all around.
    Still the same old song

    The military option has failed.

    Must have heard that half dozen times in the last hour, on FOX.

    The Military has failed the Administration and the Country.
    Whether they "bought in" or were "only following orders".

    They didn't win the War,
    and so we'll head down the trail of blame, once again.

  10. The Buck never stops in Modern America.
    The left and MSM are blamed for the results of an administration that is the wussiest in my lifetime:
    Savage played Adlai Stevenson at the UN holding the USSR to account and he sounded like Harry Truman to Bush/Condi/Bolton's Mr. Rogers.

    He also had a caller back from second tour in Iraq, confirming everything that 'Rat has said since getting the dope from his son and the rest of us able to think from him, Yon, et-al:
    As time goes on, the rules get worse.
    Fight to win, fight to survive, expect to be court-martialed.
    Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Reservists going back for third tour as the country becomes ever more DISTANT from them, just the OPOSSITE of some of the brilliant musings at BC.
    Norko's and Abracadabra go Nuke in our time, what a legacy we leave.

    " In 2005, University of Michigan median SAT scores for admitted students were
    1160 for blacks,
    1260 for Hispanics,
    1350 for whites, and
    1400 for Asians.

    Median GPAs followed the same pattern:
    3.4 for blacks,
    3.6 for Hispanics,
    3.8 for whites, and
    3.9 for Asians.

    Blacks were about 70 times more likely to be admitted than whites with the same SAT scores.

    But this is the way many people want it: A recent radio ad attacked the ballot initiative, saying that “the elimination of affirmative action” would be a “national disaster” comparable to Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.

    Those comparisons are transparently grotesque — but then, this is exactly what we have come to expect from those who cling to the Left’s favored racism

    National Review “Window on The Week -- 11/20/06”

  11. Remember back to Mr Yon's story from Mosul, doug, LTC Kurilla's shooting.
    At BC the thread began with excerpts of the story and the link.

    The comments, how "cool" the SgtMajor looked in his Raybans.
    What studs those soldiers were, that type of thing.

    All missed the story, though.

    That the shooter had been caught, in regards a Mosul messhall bombing, and had
    subsequently been released.

    "Catch & Release"
    was exposed. And people wonder why the Army will not allow Mr Yon back into the enmbed program, nor anyone else, for that matter.

    Now this latest Shiite Mahdi Warrior's capture and release.

    Same old story
    same old song.

  12. Doug and DR, It caught my attention early. DR took some heavy abuse from some of the doctrinaire cheer leaders. Glad you hung in there Rat I learned a lot.

  13. So you bekieve we should be averaging down, rufus.
    Lowering the mean, by decree?

  14. Rufus,
    Before the lib/Welfare State took over education with all the justifications you just gave, Blacks and the rest got good educations wherever they had the chance to compete as EQUAL HUMAN BEINGS.
    Would the World be better or worse off if we had not proved our Anti-Colonial Credentials by giving the the source of Global Money and Energy to a Bunch of 9th Century Barbarians/now Nazis?

  15. The terrible treatment Black Males have gotten is from the very people that quote that bilge:

    Condescending liberals that have destroyed the family, eliminated incentives, and rewarded sloth and resentment.

  16. Leaving the whites and asians as the "smart" ones, the blacks there to fill a quota.

    Leaving equalliy qualified whites out in the cold, due to the sins of your father.

    No one in my family tree was a Slaver. Nor wvwn "Southern".

    My family already paid the butchers bill for Bobby Lee & Company's bigotry.

    Long ago and far away.
    We owe no interest on that debt.

  17. The average real literacy/numeracy levels of Blacks was higher in the 60's than it is now.

  18. One BC Post that would be great to find about the time of Ltc Kurilla, touted our incredible networked/technological/moral superiority that was SO great
    that we could AFFORD
    to insist on losing rules of engagement.

    The gathered literati and geniuses ate that one up, and no doubt Aristiedes did a thesis or two for the Govt about it.

  19. Sharp:
    This Administration does not prosecute traitors, spies, and 5th columnists at the service of the enemy.

    We can't see the 9-11 jumpers, but we CAN see a Snuff Film of our Warrior provided by the MSM/ROE Complex.

  20. What make discrimination by skin color
    The Right Thing?

    In one case or one hundred?

  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  22. Yesterday the reasons for racial discrimination were wrong.

    Today the reasons for racial discrimination are right

    Tomorrow we'll find some new reasons for discrimination, since today's reasoning is as wrong as yesterday's.

  23. Sharp,
    Duncan Hunter, CA, head of the appropriate committtee, has called for revoking CNN's right to be there.
    Instead, CNN gets to stay and Yon and his Medal of Honor friend Walt are excluded.

  24. Rufus,
    There's a REASON why men are down to 40 percent of College Students.
    THAT is a sizeable number, all courtesy of liberal corruption and discrimination.

  25. I thought Bush would stand for School Choice, like a Majority of Black parents want.
    I thought a lot of things about Bush:
    Instead he stood with Teddy Kennedy, Federal Education, and the NEA.

  26. ...and he has so wussified the atmosphere, that school choice would mean MORE dollars for Muslim Hate Centers.
    Rove would approve.

  27. Common Name, Uncommon Valor
    Common Name, Uncommon Valor
    The story of Paul Smith,
    the Iraq War's only Medal of Honor recipient so far.
    Wednesday, March 29, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST
    Walt has a Purple Heart and Distinguished Service, or some such.

  28. This guy Sarkozy gets it. Imagine the howl if this were done at JFK.

    PARIS, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday that 43 workers at the Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris had been stripped of their security clearance.

        "I cannot accept that people with radical practices work in an airport," Sarkozy said at the Sorbonne University, which was holding a day of debates with a number of officials.

        "Regarding those with access to runways, it is our duty to ensure they don't have links near or far to radical organizations," the minister said, referring to the recent removal of security clearances for several dozen mostly Muslim airport workers at the Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris.

        Sarkozy said authorities had clear reasons to deny them security badges.

        A trade union has filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of Muslim workers.

  29. Women and sissified men are taking over the Newsrooms also, so we see sniper footage but no jumpers.
    The Feminization/Race Gender Victimization of America may be the latest greatest thing, but it is is one of the reasons WHY we don't win wars anymore.

  30. Lawrence Summers is no longer at Harvard for BOGUS reasons, not valid reasons.
    ...and the upshot is more dollars for more LIES in the name of "Science" and "social justice."

  31. But if one watches the News and reads below the fold, there have been a spat of train derailments, lately.

    But I'm alway just full of negativism, but coincidences are usually not.

    Training is everything
    Everything is training

  32. AK-47: The Weapon that Changed the Face of War
    Even in the hands of untrained children who have no idea how to maintain or aim the crude weapon, the AK keeps banging away, and when a bullet hits flesh, there’s a good chance someone will not get up.”
    Author and war correspondent Michael Yon evaluates a new book on an old rifle that still finds favor over all others in combat.

  33. Funny, Barrons and I came to the same Electoral prediction of Dems winning small.

    We'll see.

    What are those three Carrier Groups up to, now?

  34. Doug,
    I trained in the Corps with the M-14 and loved it. I qualified expert at Quantico on several occasions.
    The M-16 penetrates the body too quickly to do the massive damage an M-14 can do so you don't get an instant body down. But, as mentioned it was heavy and the ammo was too compared to the M-16 and it's varients. Well the Delta people,Seals , and other special units wanted more knockdown power so they developed a 6.8mm round for the M-16 that has the knock down power. I just bought one. I does the job. I got the carbine from a top manufacturer and am ready to rock and roll.
    I already took down a fairly large pumpkin at 25 yards...wasn't pretty.
    I'm just gett'n ready for the coming decade.
    And handguns,,ugh..why the forces went to a 9mm over the 45 is way beyound me. I'll stick with my 1911 .45. It will stop a man immediately in his tracks.

  35. DR,
    I hope those carrier groups are near or on station BUT looks like the drinks are gonna be on me.
    After months of blogging with you guys it'll be a pleasure.

  36. Watched those Senators on FOX News.
    Warner and the other Republican fellow, as well as Biden.

    Mr Bush's policy is up shit creek, regardless of the Election results.
    Only difference is will he have a paddle or have to use his hands.

  37. Habu,
    orwoody :
    As one who once carried the M-14 in the weeds and who has used the civilian version of the M-16 for competitive shooting, it pains me to say that of the two, the current M-16 is far superior in most every way. It is only deficient in its knockdown power. And, that is critical in the Iraq theater.

    Unfortunately, there is at least one remedy that is not particularly difficult to implement, but won't be. That is, change the caliber to one that is shown to be far superior to the lightweight cartridge now used.

    Currently, there are two contenders, each having an advantage over the other in one area or another. They are the 6.8 Remington and the 6.5 Grendel. The 6.8 Rem. may be the slightly better caliber when up close and personal, but gives up way too much when the distances between shooter and shootee increase.

    The M-16 is a fine rifle even in the 5.56x45 caliber, and all it takes to put a harder hitting bullet on target at almost unbelievable distances is to swap the barrel and the bolt. The magazines for the Grendel are slightly different, but that isn't a major problem.

    I have used the 6.5 Grendel out to 600 yards and it gives up nothing to the 7.62 round of the M-14 in terms of accuracy or knockdown power. If I had to carry lots of hard hitting up close ammunition and still retain some serious hurt potential at long distance, there wouldn't be any hesitation for me to choose the Grendel over all others.

    And, I would do it with the M-16.

  38. Actress Jane Wyatt of TV's “Father Knows Best” dies at 96...

    good role model TV.

  39. Habu,
    Did Tater get the Pumpkin Entrails?

  40. SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R), NEBRASKA: I think it's important to stress another dimension, and that is there's 40 to 60 percent unemployment in Iraq. The oil production is going down; there's corruption there.

    In essence, even if you had a military solution or stability, it's not really clear how people pay for their government, physically how it continues on.

    And therefore, as a part of the planning, we're going to have to rethink the reconstruction of the country in a way we haven't. We've sort of zeroed out in appropriations this reconstruction group at the State Department, even though the Defense Department is willing to give us some money. That's a critical element of this, because the stability of this is going to come about when people are employed, Iraqis are employed, reconstructing their country. Quite apart from the division of the oil money, if there isn't very much oil money, that becomes academic. And I just stress that as a part of this planning.

    We've sort of zeroed out in appropriations this reconstruction group at the State Department,

  41. If we had 50% unemployment here, we'd put Iraq to shame!

  42. How were they going to win those "Hearts and Minds" if Reconstruction appropriations have been
    "Sorta zeroed out"

  43. The Master Plan has
    "Sorta zeroed out"

  44. 'Rat,
    This Gal
    Because They Hate
    Says Hamas has more folks hiding out here than anyone else.
    ...Which we talked about on our local forum before it became
    "Sorta zeroed out"
    By the local RacialFeminazis.

  45. With strident confidence, American Congress for Truth founder Gabriel rebukes the American public for being "weak, asleep or careless" in the face of Muslim terrorism. A Christian survivor of the vicious civil war between Lebanese Christians and Muslims in the 1970s, Gabriel leans on her own terrifying experiences to condemn Muslims

  46. ...says they get paid for coming up across the border.
    As Rufus would say, we're giving them a chance to catch up.
    Deservin it all for being guilty slavers, ya know.

  47. TWAT
    "Sorta zeroed out"

    better then bein' "petered out"
    I guess.

  48. The .308 Win is the 7.62 Nato

    So neck it down, you're still humpin' the 7.62 brass.

    The '47 fires a short 7.62x39mm round as opposed to the 7.62x51mm NATO.

    The AK-74 fires a 5.45x39.5mm, even lighter than the 5.56mmx45 that is the US round.

  49. So do I believe a sitting Republican US Senator or what Hussain al-Shahristani told Al Arabiya television?

    I stand with the Republican Senator unless a better source is found to refute him.

    Arabs in the Iraqi Government are untrustworthy and corrupt. I read that here, somewhere.

  50. Actress Jane Wyatt of TV's “Father Knows Best” dies at 96...

    That's Spock's momma.

  51. I don't bet money, rufus.
    Time & Life, but hardley ever money.

  52. There's a REASON why men are down to 40 percent of College Students. THAT is a sizeable number, all courtesy of liberal corruption and discrimination.

    No, it has to do with the fact that girls are doing their homework and sending out college applications while boys are playing "World of Warcraft" or chillin' with their homies.

  53. Chalabi discusses 2007 Iraq oil forecast
    February 1, 2006 - Iraq's deputy prime minister said Tuesday that his country will be pumping 1.57 million barrels of oil a day in 2007
    Iraq sees oil output at 3 mbpd by year-end
    September 1, 2006 - Iraq's oil minister has said Baghdad plans to raise its oil production to 3.0 million barrels per day (bpd) before the end of 2006.

    So, rufus, in just seven months the new Minister was able to double current production to double what had been the February projections for '07?

    Who is kidding who?

    I'll believe Lugar and Chilabi over what Hussain al-Shahristani told Al Arabiya television

  54. All while the violence increased?

  55. Doug,
    It was cute. I had a dowel stuck through the pumpkin and a deal with P-tater. If he'd harness up and pull the pumpkin he could have the goodies.
    Sucker went for it, know'n I wouldn't hurt my main marsupial.
    He's gone down to the bog to watch the hogs chow'n on a muzzie. said he might take a new friend, Ms. Killa Armadilla ...
    I said ,you gett'in strange? he just grin and gone on.

  56. Stark Reality
    (In Simple Terms)
    "Lets look at it in very simple terms...
    We catch them and let them go...
    They catch then decaptitate us and or drag our bodies through the street...
    burn us and hang us from a bridge

  57. Ms. Killa Armadilla would know.

  58. AK,M-14,M-16 thing I think we need to keep in mind is availability of ammo. If we need it here on our turf then I'd guess, that's guess, we'd have more standard M-16 ammo around. Nothing like having a weapon you get to swing like a bat cause you ain't got no ammo.
    Someone earlier mentioned an American Foreign Legion ...I like it but they're gonna have to up the age limit, lower the hearing and eyesight measures, no backpacks but pull golf carts or solar powered follow me golf carts..Marines had an we could have nano-modified Ontos.


  59. Winchester Model 1897 Pump Shotgun will not fail and nothing beats it for close quarters or heavy brush

  60. DR's Winchester or that Remington 870 can't, just can't go wrong..

  61. Rufus,
    Check out some ammo you might need.


  62. The most current data that I could find within the time restraints from a US Government source

    "... The US Energy Department's data arm, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), estimates exports averaged 1.6 million barrels a day for September, and domestic consumption somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 barrels a day.

    EIA production for September was estimated at 2 million, the same as capacity. ..."

    Then from
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Apr. 28, 2006

    (AP) With oil prices above $70 a barrel fouling the world economy, dismay is focusing on Iraq, whose exports have slipped to their lowest levels since the 2003 invasion.

    "Iraq could be making a tremendous difference," said Dalton Garis, an economist at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi. Instead, its shortfall is "a significant contributing factor to the high price of oil," he said.
    In 2005, Iraq's exports averaged just 1.4 million barrels a day, which earned the country about $26 billion. This winter proved disastrous, with January exports failing to reach even 1 million barrels a day, said George Orwel, an analyst with Petroleum Intelligence Weekly in New York.

    "It's a mess," he said. "At some point Iraq is going to be back in the picture, but it's been a very bad couple of years. They're missing out."

    In 1990, probably its peak production year, Iraq extracted about 3.5 million barrels a day. Restoring production to that level would require years and a $30 billion investment, Orwel said, even in the "best case scenario."

    Those figures suggest misplaced optimism by Iraq's oil ministry, which in 2005 predicted crude production would reach 2.5 million or even 3 million barrels a day by the end of 2006. Analysts have called that prediction a pipe dream.

    Up until the new Government, Iraq was moving along at 1.4 million bbl per day.
    Now they've doubled that, in six months, with out the infrastructure investment.

    Or the Minister is not a honest man
    Now let me think....

  63. With the Winchester you can hold the trigger and the weapon will fire as it is cycled

    The 870 does not have that feature, it is "safer".
    The trigger must be released and squeezed again.

  64. The EIA estimates Iraq refining capacity at nearly 600,000 barrels a day. "However, it is unable to produce much of the kind of product that it needs, so it imports refined products from its neighbors," the EIA said. "Imports varied recently from 20 percent of kerosene requirements to 50 percent of gasoline."

    The EIA said, however, the closest Iraq came to Shahristani's recent outlook - in fact, since the run-up to Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s - was 2.47 million barrels per day for a week between August and September.

    Priddy said he estimated exports at around 1.7 million barrels per day, so there's "absolutely no way" Iraq is producing 2.86 million.

    His colleague at Eurasia Group, Peter Khalil, who also served as director of National Security Policy for the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, said Shahristani needs to qualify his estimate.

    "He likes shooting from the hip about figures, doesn't he?" said Khalil about past announcements proven way overstated. "If it's accurate, that's very good news for Iraqis, of course."

    Khalil said any increase in production would look good to foreign investors, investment which Shahristani is seeking during planned trips to Australia, Japan and China.

  65. Iraq Oil Pipeline Behind Schedule
    Key Project Has Largely Gone Unmonitored, Report Says

    By Griff Witte
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, August 1, 2006; Page A12

    A project to build a critical oil pipeline in northern Iraq has fallen more than two years behind schedule, costing the Iraqi government $14.8 billion in revenue and jeopardizing the safety of local water supplies, according to a report by U.S. government auditors released yesterday.

    The 31-mile pipeline, designed to connect Iraq's northern oil fields with a major refinery, is intended to replace an old, decrepit line that has been leaking oil for years. But because contractors were unable to finish construction of the new pipeline by March 2004 as scheduled, oil is pooling in the open air rather than being sped to market, auditors with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction say.

  66. I'm just gonna stay in my crib in Montana.

  67. nit Possum-Tater, you dog you