Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Iranian Option (re: re: Act III)

Johnnie's last post illustrates that here at the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel we provide top of the line joint-operations military analysis (he an old seadog, me a ground pounder). I suppose we could balance out our analysis a bit with the addition of someone from the Air Force but really, do we truly want to hear how great those over-rated bus drivers/mailmen believe they are - the Air Force delivers stuff - people, material or ordinance. Johnnie and I can handle any analysis of that.

Seriously though, the potential situation in Iraq vis-a-vis a US attack on Iran is fraught with danger. I am certain that there are many Air Force Powerpoint wizards right now developing a comprehensive list of targets (well actually this is already done, they are just refining their slides at this point). The poor, dumb Army and Marines in the room are forced to talk in positive terms about how ground forces can meet and defeat additional Iranian conventional forces in Iraq (unconventional forces have been there for some time) long enough for the Air Force to kill the head of the beast and destroy any hope of an Iranian resupply.

This all sounds good and the ground pounders that are working out the details are not completely telling untruths. But they are not telling the entire truth either. Consider a bunch of political generals in a room, the Air Force has a rosy optimistic plan for quick victory - all the Army has to do is hold until the Air Force chops up the Iranian strategic command and control centers, their logistics trains and finally the Iranian Army itself. Political generals do not want to be "non-teamplayers".

In those rooms and in those discussions the ground generals are not saying:

"Dammit this is the stupidest thing you idiots have come up with yet! We are losing every place in Iraq that we do not maintain a 24/7 presence and even in some of those places we are having a lot of trouble. The majority of our forces are not configured right now to conduct maneuver operations against a conventional force. Our maneuver element headquarters are all hunkered down in fortified FOB's. To take those brigades and battalions and move them to face a conventional force we will risk several things -

  • we will lose control of the cities and towns we currently control
  • our forces, while on the move will be slow - to avoid asynchronous attack from insurgent forces - we will have to modify our maneuver doctrine to account for this and in doing so lose our technological advantage in maneuver warfare
  • The Iraqi Army is not ready in training or equipment to face the Iranian Army; they would be of no help
  • We cannot pull American units from most sectors and leave the Iraqi Army in control of the fight against the insurgents - the Iraqi Army in many cases would either not fight or simply disintegrate. In either event the insurgents would gain ground

The Iranians could and would penetrate into the south cutting off supply routes from Kuwait, we could and would overcome this but it would take time and we would experience losses greater than we have seen at any point thus far. We do not have the option of waiting for the Air Force to dismember the Iranian Army - US forces in Iraq require those supplies from Kuwait - without them we lose combat effectiveness on a daily basis.

More importantly, the introduction of a Shiite army directly opposing our presence in Iraq - following a US attack on another Muslim country - would solidify opposition to us. It would also allow Iranian special forces to take a direct role in insurgent operations in Iraq, no more secret veiled participation.

So gentlemen, this plan will not work, it is potentially disastrous and it will result in the US being forced to leave Iraq with a strategic defeat."

That is what a brave ground general would say to anyone that proposed an attack on Iran.

Of course this assumes a couple of things that one would assume that little countries have learned by now when fighting the US.

First - you have to use your little air force early and often. We are going to kill it anyway so it is better to let it die by your own hand. Aggressively using all of your air power early will force US air assets to counter you. This will buy your ground forces and command and control centers just a little bit more time. Plus, your efforts just might result in some small success. Use it or lose it - we can only assume the Iranians have figured this out.

Second - the same is true of ground forces - in a conventional fight waiting is disaster when you fight the US. A bold move to cut off the southern supply routes would be just the sort of thing we would have a hard time countering initially. When you fight the US you are not fighting to win all the battles, you are fighting to win the strategic war. If you are going to lose your Army anyway you might as well get some success out of it.

If the US does initiate an air/missile attack against Iran then how it all plays out is completely up to the Iranian - sit and wait = death and defeat, attack = death but victory.

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Act III

I like William Lind and do not generally disagree with anything he says. I do not disagree with his premise in this article about a the potential consequences of a US attack on Iran. I only disagree with two of his assumptions but not his conclusion. (link via Joshua)

What I fear no one foresees is a substantial danger that we could lose the army now deployed in Iraq. I have mentioned this in previous columns, but I want to go into it here in more detail because the scenario may soon go live.

Well before the second Iraq war started, I warned in a piece in The American Conservative that the structure of our position in Iraq could lead to that greatest of military disasters, encirclement. That is precisely the danger if we go to war with Iran.

The danger arises because almost all of the vast quantities of supplies American armies need come into Iraq from one direction, up from Kuwait and other Gulf ports in the south. If that supply line is cut, our forces may not have enough stuff, especially fuel, to get out of Iraq. American armies are incredibly fuel-thirsty, and though Iraq has vast oil reserves, it is short of refined oil products. Unlike Guderian's Panzer army on its way to the Channel coast in 1940, we could not just fuel up at local gas stations.

Inarguable points but if you are reading along and believe that the Air Force could just mount a massive Berlin Airlift redux think again...first the amount of supplies required is enormous and includes a lot more than mere food...second if you cannot secure the cities fully it is hard to secure all of the areas around airports, as in places a few guys with shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles could be fired.

There are two ways our supply lines from the south could be cut if we attack Iran. The first is by Shi'ite militias including the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades, possibly supported by a general Shi'ite uprising and, of course, Iran's Revolutionary Guards (the same guys who trained Hezbollah so well).

The second danger is that regular Iranian Army divisions will roll into Iraq, cut our supply lines, and attempt to pocket us in and around Baghdad. Washington relies on American air power to prevent this, but bad weather can shut most of that air power down.

Now weather is not the sort of problem one might find in Europe or elsewhere but there is the potential that this could hamper the "all-mighty" Air Force's ability to interdict.

Let's take Mr. Lind's scenario and play it out.

First of Iran's 11 million man military they could probably at best deploy 420,000 and more realistically only about 300,000. Beyond that Iran would not have much going for it, a tiny air force consisting of aircraft easily defeated by US forces, no navy etc. etc.

The one thing Iran would have in its favor is that the US military in Iraq is not prepared to fight a conventional force. We are using artillerymen as door kickers, we are positioned in consolidated FOB's that are pretty good at keeping powerpoint rangers safe from harm but would be nothing more than the Belgian and French forts that the Germans had so much fun with in the beginning of WWII.

The Iraqi population in central Iraq is primarily Shiite, there is no doubt that they have grown tired of the occupation by their liberators and would likely support liberation by fellow Shiites (the whole Persian versus Arab thing aside).

There is no doubt that the US would ultimately defeat Iran - but as Lind points out with a pretty high cost - real casualties, a few actual lost battles, casualties in the hundreds per week instead of per month and likely the abandonment of a heck of a lot of equipment that we would have to destroy because we could not easily get it out. And in the end a withdrawal from Iraq.

And of course what we would call this a defeat of Iran they would call a victory - we would not occupy them, in fact the war would end with the US leaving Iraq in humiliation.

Think this a crazy scenario? Hezbollah did defeat Israel you know or do you actually believe Fox News?

The Party of Lincoln

Daniel Larison posts an excellent piece on the Party of Lincoln

Serious conservatives of old (and some still around today) frequently disparaged Father Abraham and rejected the politics that he represented; to the extent that the GOP really was always the Party of Lincoln, conservatives are hard-pressed to ever find a real place in it, since our tradition via the Agrarians and Bradford ties us to the Antifederalists, Jeffersonian Republicans, Southern Democrats and Populists.  At each stage of our history, the revolutionary forces of consolidation wanted to transform and do violence to the settled order of American life and sought to damage the constitutional order as well.  At each stage serious conservatives opposed them and their works, whether it was the Bank, the American System, internal improvements, Yankee imperialism or post-War overseas empire and the corrupt rule of the moneyed interest. 

It is amazing that so few folks actually realize these facts, particularly the Reagan Republicans in the South that still to this day so fervently support the GOP.

The Red Republicans of today could only dream of the sort of dominance the real ”Lincoln Republicans” had after the War of Secession.  To say that those people had no “ideology” or ideas is untrue–their idea was an energetic central government working in tandem with corporations towards a nationalist goal of consolidated, quasi-democratic, quasi-oligarchic government in a united, integrated nation-state.

Of course I have discussed before that two key elements in the rise of fascism are; a strong central government, corporatism. If you add nationalism, socialism and militarism to the mix you have all the ingredients required to bake up tyranny - wait we do have all of that all we need now is a Reichstag fire (real or contrived).

It was only ten years ago that Bob Dole lectured us about how the GOP was the Party of Lincoln and anybody who didn’t like it could get out right now....Lincoln was certainly no conservative or, if he was a conservative, I would not want to have anything to do with such a conservatism. 

Amen to that, amazing how folks that talk about the numerous failings of Lincoln and how he and his ideology was distinctly un-American are labeled all sorts of nefarious things.

Those areas in the South and West dominated by more conservative, “Reagan Republicans” are more likely to remain loyal to the GOP because these people remain convinced that there is some basic harmony between the party and conservatism, when the party’s history and its interests tell a very different story. 

Sad but true, and thus there is much truth to Johnnie's statement that Voting is Stupid, perhaps only People are Stupid.

Monday, October 30, 2006

My Dixie Chicks

Remember this?

During a concert at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, however, on the eve of the Bush administration's shock-and-awe campaign in Iraq, lead vocalist Natalie Maines remarked that she was "against this war, this violence," then cheekily added she was "ashamed" that the president of the United States was from Texas, her home state. Within days her comment was circulated online, and a backlash was born. (Read more)

Perhaps Natialie did not anticipate that her comments would result in the firestorm it did, maybe she knew exactly what she was doing. In either case she demonstrated the courage of a real patriot, and has suffered for it.

The country music world completely shut these girls out and some engaged in outrageous personal attacks - no wonder they are not ready to make nice I do not blame them for their anger at all.




More Dixie Chicks lyrics and videoclips on Lyricspy

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ann Coulter and Indian Politics

I just came across an Ann Coulter interview on the subject of Indian affairs and politics.

First a disclaimer - I am not bewitched by this woman (like many otherwise conservative folks), sure she photographs well but I find her attitude too abrasive and aggressive to properly fit gentile behavior. Beyond that she is an ideologue and straight party-line sort of girl. She simply cannot see beyond the two party system and her loyalty to her party.

I have selected a few quotes from her.

Ann -"Indians are a great warrior people, like Southerners. Their courage is admired by all real Americans."

Well so long as these "warriors" stay on the reservation, enlist in the military in disproportionate numbers and follow the rules (up to the point that the Federal government changes the rules and then the warriors better adapt).

The British Empire was built upon the bones of the Scots - Southerners have filled this role as have the American Indian. Once conquered both of these people served and continue to serve the nation that conquered them.

Ann - "The Apaches and Iroquois were brutal mothers -- not only to the White Man, but to other Indians."

Brutal by what standard? Who set this standard? What is brutality when a people are invaded by a technological and numerically superior force?

The Apaches are the epitome of a people determined to retain their freedom -their's is a story all people wishing to remain free ought to tell around "campfires".

Ann - "Republicans have a good record on Indians because we admire fighters."

How paternalistic and hypocritical. She attempts to make the point in the paragraphs proceeding that the only administration to really abuse Indians what Andrew Jackson's and she points out twice that he was a Democrat. (yes Jackson's treatment of the Cherokee was horrible)

She forgets that it was Republican administrations, seven of them, that conducted the great Plains Indian Wars from 1865 to 1890. In fact it was Union (Republican) generals that conducted these wars at the direction of Republican presidents. Come on Ann, don't feed anyone this nonsense that Republicans have been good to Indians.

Ann - "It was Democrats like Andrew Jackson who were vicious racists toward the Indians. All true right-wingers are big Indian fans."

The thing about ideologues is that they cannot see the truth for their bias. Jackson was bad in his treatment of the Cherokee but the tyranny (the killing part of the tyranny) visited upon the Indian nations by Republicans began in 1862 (when five nations joined the Confederacy) and did not end until 1890. Both parties have something to be ashamed of.

Ann (when asked about the reservation system) - "Yes, the White Man was happy with reservation system when they couldn't imagine why anyone would want to live on them, but as soon as oil was discovered some White Men -- we call them "Democrats" -- reneged on the deal. Add this to your list of reasons why a Democrat should never sit in the Oval Office.

I like the idea of Indian reservations as tax-free zones and support the preservation of Indian reservations as a salute to a brave culture. But ridiculous court rulings have made reservations havens for gambling, which is a real sickness. I'm against that."

Here again she shows her deficiencies in real knowledge of history. Most of the treaties broken occurred between 1865-1890 (not a Democrat issue). This is a straw-man argument - Democrats do not deserve the Oval office for many reasons but neither do the Republicans.

What a silly statement in the second part of her response. The Indian nations that signed treaties with the US government retained sovereignty over internal affairs. I do not like the idea of casinos either but that is an Indian issue, it is for each nation to decide - not the federal courts or Ann Coulter and company.

Resistance to Big Brother in Britain



This is a picture of a destroyed surveillance camera in Britain. As you have probably heard the British government has plans to place cameras all across the Island - in cities, hamlets and country roads - so that British subjects are continually spied upon (for their own safety of course)

It seems that many do not particularly like this idea. This site has dozens of pictures of destroyed cameras just like this. Many are destroyed as soon as they are constructed.

How much you want to bet this is ultimately blamed on "terrorists"?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Restituo Latin

Here is one that will make folks like Jack Chick wild with conspiracy theories and probably make Hal Lindsey a bunch of money (so he can afford another wife).

Joshua points us to an initiative to make Latin the official working language of the European Union. This actually does make a lot of sense. He points out the ease in which folks that speak a Romance language should have in learning Latin and in his words:

as a "dead" language, although new vocabulary may be added, old words do not change their meanings, as they do in languages with native speakers. Thus, a document produced today would be clearly understandable to people a millennium or two in the future.

Of course then there is the very real possibility of Latin Mass returning to Sunday services for Catholics.

I smell a nefarious conspiracy!

End-of-times sort of folks are already convinced that the real enemy in the world will come from Europe via a resurrected Roman Empire (perhaps they never stopped to consider that the American Empire is akin to a resurrected Rome). This will only add fuel to their fires.

Jack- fire up the printing press and get some tracts out on this one.

Hal - I see a sweet book deal, perhaps you can dump wife (what 5 or 6) and upgrade to a newer model on this news.

While I dislike the EU, NAU, UN and sometimes the county council I am not particularly opposed to the revival of Latin. (I need some justification for the time I spent studying it as a young man!) Considering that more than half of Africa, all of South and Central America and Western and Southern Europe speak languages that sprang from Latin this just makes sense (economically and functionally) for the EU.

A Damnable Sin

(From the Seattle Times) "Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" Scott Hennen, of WDAY in Fargo, N.D., asked Cheney on Tuesday. "Well, it's a no-brainer for me," Cheney responded.

Cheney also said he agreed with Hennen that the debate over interrogation techniques was "a little silly," and he praised the information obtained from U.S. terrorism suspects during questioning.

This is not the way MY country behaves.  When I was in Iraq last I demanded of my teams a modification of a tactic that was all too common - a thing I saw over and over again. Here is the scenario.

Your small convoy is traveling through a city and comes to a choke point - generally an area around an intersection with a market likely near-by.  Nine times out of ten traffic becomes congested in all directions.  Occasionally you can jump the curb and navigate the wrong way but not always.

The tactic I saw most folks execute (those damned criminal mercenaries most of all) was thus.  Dismount a few Joes, have them point weapons in the face of every vehicle in the way, one by one if necessary, to clear a path.  This process involves a lot of screaming, shouting and cursing - often at families with women and children present.  You cannot possibly imagine the scene - it is barbarism.

I sat my guys down, team by team and had a heart to heart talk with them early on.  I asked them something simple.  I told them that if any of us were to die that it was our fate but we should do it with honor and dignity and in a way that our friends and families would be proud of. I asked them to face their fate but live like men of honor. 

We changed our tactics, we took risks but we never went to sleep at night with the images of scared women and children.

No decent man wants to live knowing another man was tortured so that he may live.  Only a coward could be happy clinging to such a life.  The only no-brainer in the statement above is how this man or any other man like him can sleep at night. 

There is a judge of these sorts of men that sits above all men, there is a place for men like this and their evil deeds. One wonders how "silly" Mr. Cheney thinks this all is when he answers to that judge for his crimes.

Fathers and Sons

In my profession it is hard to raise a boy to be a good man. I suppose my situation is no more difficult, only different, than other fathers. My father was a career infantry officer, as was his father and his father before him. Despite all of that I believe my family has done a fine job of retaining our roots - we have remained very Southern. We have a family farm in the Upstate of SC, my grandparents still live in the home in Charleston that my grandfathers' father lived in.

When I was growing up my father had two priorities when it came to family. First if we could be together we were - so we moved often. Second, if we could not be together then my mother and sister and I would go home to live, sometimes for a year sometimes just for a few months.

My grandfather had already retired so he spent his time living during the summer at the farm and in the winter in Charleston - thus depending upon the time of year that is where we lived also when we went home to live.

We spent a lot of our time with my father at Camp Lejeune, NC. (not really so different than my life in Charleston -salt marshes, shrimping, and still in the South). Of course we also lived for a time in Japan, Hawaii and Beaufort, SC (just a few miles south of home)

Someone said it and I am not sure who that to be a man you have to know how to ride, shoot straight and tell the truth (I am certain the quote proceeds the book by the same name). There is a lot of wisdom in that simple mantra. In fact you could elaborate on each of those points and categorize dozens of separate items under each of those three points. For instance "telling the truth" encompasses a wide swath of character traits a real man ought to have. Knowing how to ride really deals with being able to do "stuff" that a man ought to know. Being able to shoot straight encompasses all the skills, abilities and attributes a man ought to have to be able to take care of himself and those he loves.

Now as I recall growing up I had ample opportunity to be exposed to numerous things that instilled in me the skills required to master "riding, shooting and telling the truth" - both in the literal and figurative sense. Moving around a lot and being forced to adapt to new environments was indeed helpful - if at times painful. When I was in school it was not a cardinal sin to get in a fight - it was an offense that was punished but boys were boys. If you were always going to be the new guy you had to know how to adapt and if that failed how to fight. (not that grown men ought to go around fighting with fist but we learn as boys that there are some things worth fighting for - we carry this over into manhood in the form of moral courage)

I spent many summers on the farm doing hard labor for the express purpose of bringing perverse pleasure to my task-master (my father or grandfather). We spent vacations hiking and camping the closest mountains, we went home every hunting season at least once just to be with the fellows from home. When we could not go home we hunted whatever was legal and in season in our locality. I played every sport available - even the ones I was not really good at - without any other option.

I am often concerned that I may not be doing as good a job as my father. We took both of our children out of public school a long time ago. Depending upon where we are we either homeschool or send them to private school (if and when we find one we like).

My son (and I) participate in Boy Scouts - Scouting is not really what I remember, he takes taekwondo (really not a fighting art in my mind but good for coordination), I drag him into the woods almost every weekend (which in Korea means hiking a mountain). Over the course of his young life I have taught him every outdoor skill I know - he can navigate pretty well, hunt, fish, build/find shelter, clean and cook game, track (still working on that), ride, shoot and patch up minor wounds.

I encourage (and when that fails I force) him to read extensively books that teach a point, set an example or lay the foundation of knowledge needed later.

All the same, I often wonder if I am failing him in some way. We walk and talk a lot (during our hikes mostly when we are alone) but at times it seems as if he just does not understand me. My wife tells me all the time that a 10 year old is a boy, not a small man. I know she is correct but still I wonder if I have done all I should do.

In most every way I pin a lot of hopes and dreams on my son, my daughter too but I am traditional I suppose and I believe my role with her is a little different. I believe the world (America specifically) will become a pretty nasty place to live within the lifetime of my son. If America is really to have a "greatest generation" I think it will be comprised of today's ten year-olds (the future is up to them). For my son's sake at least I hope I have not failed him.

Friday, October 27, 2006

This is What Happens when Folks Make Illogical Arguments

That our continued liberty ultimately depends on liberty elsewhere seems an inarguable, if inconvenient, truth. ~Kathleen Parker

Daniel Larison makes an excellent argument against the "inarguable".

But just think about the idea for a moment: why in the world would our liberty depend on liberty in any other nation?  It’s not as if there is some gigantic Liberty Web to which we all belong where each part depends on every other part.  There is no liberty in Zimbabwe; does that mean that our liberty will be forever imperiled and diminished until Zimbabwe has been set right?  To ask the question is to recognise that the claim is absurd.

Lights Flickering in the City on the Hill

The next few years are likely to be quite painful for America and Americans, but if the end result is the "Little America" of the Reactionary Radicals, there will be something to be happy about.

Andreas over at The Western Confucian says what more and more folks are saying and many of us have realized for sometime.

I probably lack his optimism in a quick revival of real America from the ashes of the empire.  Bill Kauffman states in the piece linked in Andreas' post above:

I’m grateful to all who contributed to our discussion. Something is happening in our lorn but lovely land. The better America is reasserting itself. Not politically, Lord knows, although that may come. But a lot of good people are looking homeward.

Now I am an agrarian in addition to the other labels I self-tag myself with (Christian, paleoconservative etc. etc.) Agrarianism is certainly not incompatible with paleoconservatisim nor is it completely incompatible with the "Front-Porch Anarchist Draft" - they are paleos too.

I still believe the ultimate collapse will be a slow and imperceptible one - to the masses at least.  Most Americans will be utterly unaware, historians some day will identify and point to the high-water mark, but the mob will continue on long after the real fall to believe they live in the most powerful nation on earth. 

A New Campaign Tactic and The Foolish Mob

(NY Times) Fifty or so other Republican candidates have also been made targets in a sophisticated “Google bombing” campaign intended to game the search engine’s ranking algorithms. By flooding the Web with references to the candidates and repeatedly cross-linking to specific articles and sites on the Web, it is possible to take advantage of Google’s formula and force those articles to the top of the list of search results.

I wrote recently about my reservations about the great new offering by Google to provide an authoritative election guide. The information in this guide is of course based upon the Google index, an item that folks have proven can be externally manipulated.

Google has such great confidence in the robustness of their database that they are unwilling to take steps to correct obvious manipulations.

We don't condone the practice of googlebombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results, but we're also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up.

Chris Bowers, the man behind this latest effort, justifies his Googlebombing plan, “I think Internet users are very smart and most are aware of what a Google bomb is,” he said, “and they will be aware that results can be massaged a bit.”

Of course his assumption that the public is generally smart enough to see through such deceptions is flawed, as is Google's assumption that it is ok to allow such deceptions to stand without correction.

There is another way to view this - these sort of deceptions are what they are, just an extension of dirty politics into the digital world. We could ask for Google to police their index but in doing so we are asking for editorial leeway. Clearly this is not the way we really want things to go.

The Internet opens up a window into the darkest side of "democracy", if deceptions and tricks like this work -and they do - it proves that the mob is not really qualified to make decisions.

Michelle Malkin offers a list of other left-wing Googlebombing attempts.

Other stupid, left-wing Google bomb campaigns:

Google bombing "The Path to 9/11"


Google bombing Bush and "miserable failure"

Google bombing Rick Santorum

Google bombing me!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dr. Clyde Wilson on Neocons and Nazis

Dr. Clyde N. Wilson takes the naysayers that refuse to acknowledge a similarity between the neoconservatives and Nazis to task.

The likenesses between Neocons and Nazis: the same worship of force and equation of force with morality; the same disdain for other people’s ideas and interests and presumption of special and superior vision; the same contempt for law, tradition, and the opinion of the civilized world; the same forced redefinition of history according to a European ideology; the same racialist disdain for the inferior breeds—in this case Muslims; the same manipulation of the public with exaggerated and misplaced fears; the same reliance on propaganda slogans and disregard of truth; the same preference for the Leader over democratic process; the same boastful launching of illegal wars of aggression; the same blundering in military action and occupation.

Hard to disagree there. Wilson is particularly correct in his illumination of racialist disdain. I have served in Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq. I have gone to professional schools with folks from several Islamic countries. I can say with certainty that Islam is not fascism - our enemies are not Islamofascist (we have covered all of that before).

The entire Islamic world has provided a ready target for the neoconservatives in their crusade to "democratize" the middle east - that is absolutely the last place I would like to see democracy take hold. Not because the people are evil but precisely because Islam as an ideology and theology is potentially just as divisive and explosive as Christianity. No people with a passionate religion can long tolerate the burden of democracy. (of course no people regardless of religion should be burdened by the tyranny of democracy).

Of course one of the primary straw-man arguments against the obvious conclusion that there are striking similarities between neoconservative and Nazi tenancies goes something like this. "Well if the neoconservatives are really Nazis":

  • why are you not in one of those KBR prison camps (not commenting on the conspiracy theory that such camps may or may not exist)
  • why not just go ahead and do away with the illusion of rights and a constitution
  • why risk losing an election if these folks are really Nazis

Well like any straw-man these points do not focus on the issue. Dr. Wilson and others claim there is a likeness, not a carbon copy. The situations are different. The US did not lose a major war 15 years ago, we did not suffer humiliation and sanctions or loss of territory, we have not been in the midst of a depression. Americans are not fully ready to accept a Hitler.

Americans are prepared to surrender rights, support an illegal war with no foreseeable end, to allow our executive to rule by executive order, and permit our own government to spy on us - we still draw the line at uniform wearing, goose-stepping leaders (for now).

Wilson concludes that while there is a likeness between the neocons and the Nazis perhaps a better comparison is between Bush and Lincoln.

their presidencies do bear a strong family resemblance: launching of an unnecessary war of aggression, a war largely fueled by greed, government-worship, and the blasphemous equation of God and America; repeated miscalculations in the conduct of the war; disregard for the lives and property of civilians; evasion and misrepresentation of constitutional limitations and abuse of civil liberties; a giant step toward transforming the republican United States into an empire.

Google Has an Eye to Help Us Sort Out Campaign Noise

Second, there are links to news, web and photo searches for candidates for the U.S. House and Senate races on November 7. Now, I think a squirrel could figure out which way to go on our presidential candidates and political parties. But an educated vote does require some Google searching, especially when candidates try so hard to blur the differences.

Google has integrated campaign and candidate information into Google Earth. Now contrary to the fellow that wrote the piece above (Rock the Vote Director) I am not all for easy online voter registration, online voting and "authoritative" voting guides. I am opposed to these ideas because the American populace has demonstrated manifest apathy in figuring out what "right" look like (by right I mean moral, ethical and philosophical right).

However, considering that things are what they are, we live in the era of sound bites and slick political marketing campaigns I suppose I am all for Google's effort to catalog, index and present in a easily accessible way all information available on candidates and their positions.

My fear is that this index will become authoritative - "my Google search says this guy is a _____ (insert whatever)" and that becomes fact. Campaigns will move their smear campaigns to the Internet (they already have) and use spam and googlebombing techniques to push their agendas - sometimes to the exclusion of the truth. This new Google service, if abused like so many other services, may hurt rather than help our democratic republic.

There is great convenience to all of this but also great danger - apathetic voters can now in a few clicks register to vote, go to an authority site and figure out who to vote for and probably soon actually vote - all without really giving the process thought or deliberation.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What is Paleoconservatisim and What Defines a Paleoconservative?

Despite what the term may imply and what detractors of this brand of political and social philosophy may say paleoconservatism is neither tenaciously focused on what was nor is it primarily concerned with conservatism as that term applies to the modern conservative ideology.

Paleoconservatism is a philosophy (a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs) rather than an ideology (the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group). Paleoconservatism is therefore concerned more with how to think about social and political issues rather than what to think.

Paleoconservatives adhere to a belief in natural law and it is practically impossible for a paleoconservative to not also believe in some form of divine law (this is primarily from the Christian perspective although some historical paleoconservatives were/are deist and I know of at least one modern Muslim paleoconservative).

Paleoconservative philosophy is not a descendant of the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment like all current political ideologies (left, right and center). It is rather an answer to those events, a signpost in the road that has in various times and in numerous ways attempted to right the course of human thinking on political and social matters. Paleoconservatives see the inherent deficiency in the power of reason and believe that tradition, culture and accumulated learning must fill the gap where reason fails. This is the primary fundamental difference in paleoconservative philosophy and all political/economic/social ideologies - we know that we cannot know everything and can never hope to build perfect institutions.

This is of course not to say that paleoconservatives disavow all learning and knowledge resulting from the three key eras mentioned above - merely that the ideas and concepts resulting from these events have given rise to dangerous and flawed ideas and ideologies (socialism, communism, fascism, corporatism and democracy) and the idea that human reason - absent any other guiding influence - can solve all problems.

Paleoconservatives are anti-statist, anti-egalitarian and anti-authoritarian. We are concerned with traditions, family, community, civil society and the preservation of culture and identity (a term often usurped by racialist). We have a sense, not just a passing knowledge, of history.

Samuel Francis defined paleoconservatism versus what Americans consider "conservatism" served up by the current political institutions thusly: (Chronicles March 2004)

What paleoconservatism tries to tell Americans is that the dominant forces in their society are no longer committed to conserving the traditions, institutions, and values that created and formed it, and, therefore, that those who are really conservative in any serious sense and wish to live under those traditions, institutions, and values need to oppose the dominant forces and form new ones.

Our philosophy began if not in name certainly in form with Edmund Burke - British MP and supporter of American Independence, opponent of the dangerous French Revolution and leader of the Old Whigs. We owe deep homage to Thomas Jefferson and the anti-federalist as well as to their successors led by John C. Calhoun.

Essentially we paleoconservatives reject the notion that every social problem requires a governmental solution. We believe nations are rightly made up of unique people with unique cultures - we reject the notion of America as a universal nation.

Current paleoconservatives of note (courtesy Chris Abraham) include:

Virginia Abernethy, Mel Bradford, Peter Brimelow, Pat Buchanan, James Burnham, T. Kenneth Cribb Jr., Mark Dankof, Lou Dobbs, Rowland Evans, Thomas Fleming (author), John T. Flynn, Samuel Francis, Paul Gottfried, Kevin Michael Grace, Michael Hill, Russell Kirk, William S. Lind, Donald Livingston, ohn Lukacs, Scott McConnell, Jason C. Miller, Thomas Molnar, Robert Novak, Michael Peroutka, Jerry Pournelle, Charley Reese, William Regnery II, Paul Craig Roberts, Claes Ryn, Steve Sailer, Joe Sobran, Jared Taylor, Srdja Trifkovic, Benjamin Wetmore, Chilton Williamson, Clyde Wilson, John Zmirak

You no doubt notice from that list it includes folks that some mislabel as racist, chauvinist others are labeled by "conservatives" as liberal - that is the problem when an dogmatic and pragmatic ideology meets a philosophy.

What do paleoconservatives read? (certainly not all inclusive) First and foremost Chronicles Magazine, The American Conservative Magazine

Not a regular read but on the list all the same: VDARE, American Renaissance, SOBRAN'S, The Salisbury Review

Most paleoconservatives are regular readers of Lew Rockwell's site (as many paleoconservatives contribute essays there). Of course that is not the only reason, libertarians have ideas about economic theory that we paleoconservatives do well to consider. As such many of us read much of what the Mises Institute publishes. (of course it is not all "good-times" between paleoconservatives and libertarians - Thomas Flemming terms Austrian economic theory as heresy).

Here is a very incomplete reading list of books for paleoconservatives.

Paleoconservative organizations- The Russell Kirk Center, The Abbeville Institute, Free Congress Foundation, National Policy Institute, League of the South, Council of Conservative Citizens, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, The John Birch Society (mostly paleo)

We paleoconservatives stand on the fringes of modern political dialogue specifically because we refuse to articulate a dogmatic ideology. Our philosophy must be explained and learned, it does not adapt well to one minute sound bites. In fact most of our positions when reduced to sound bite form come across as unpalatable. The American populace in general is to ignorant or lazy to learn and understand a philosophy. The very people and culture that paleoconservatives seek to save misunderstand us - they want sound bites, instant fixes to problems and an ideology(label) to make it easy for them to pick a side in each issue. Paleoconservatism will not and cannot offer that simplicity - philosophies are for thinking men.

From the "Crunchy Con" Manifesto (personally I dislike the term "crunchy con" and manifestos in general but this list summarizes most paleoconservative principles)

1. We are conservatives who stand outside the contemporary conservative mainstream. We like it here; the view is better, for we can see things that matter more clearly.

2. We believe that modern conservatism has become too focused on material conditions, and insufficiently concerned with the character of society. The point of lie is not to become a more satisfied shopper.

3. We affirm the superiority of the free market as an economic organizing principle, but believe the economy must be made to serve humanity's best interests, not the other way around. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

4. We believe that culture is more important than politics, and that neither America's wealth nor our liberties will long survive a culture that no longer lives by what Russell Kirk identified as "the Permanent Things" - those eternal moral norms necessary to civilized life, and which are taught by all the world's great wisdom traditions.

5. A conservatism that does not recognize the need for restraint, for limits, and for humility is neither helpful to individuals and society nor, ultimately, conservative. This is particularly true with respect to the natural world.

6. A good rule of thumb: Small and Local and Old and Particular are to be preferred over Big and Global and New and Abstract.

7. Appreciation of aesthetic quality - that is, beauty - is not a luxury, but key to the good life.

8. That cacophony of contemporary popular culture makes it hard to discern the call of truth and wisdom. There is no area in which practicing asceticism is more important.

9. We share Kirk's conviction that "the best way to rear up a new generation of friends of the Permanent Things is to beget children, and read to them o' evenings, and teach them what is worthy of praise, the wise parent is the conservator of ancient truths. … The institution most essential to conserve is the family."

10. Politics and economics will not save us. If we are to be saved at all, it will be through living faithfully by the Permanent Things, preserving these ancient truths in the choices we make in everyday life. In this sense, to conserve is to create anew.

Once a Revolution Begins it Never Ends

Once a revolution begins it never ends until it either fails or a counter-revolution replaces it with the old order. We Americans are taught the wonder and goodness of our "brief" revolution in 1775-1783 and we for the most part believe the revolution began and ended on or about those dates. 

Not true, revolutions are made of ideology and ideology takes time to develop, spread and take hold. The American Revolution was just one by-product of an ideology that was born three centuries previous - an ideology that continues to fuel the revolution to this day.

The birth of this ideology might rightly be dated at the end of the 14th Century with the rise of humanism as a result of the Renaissance.  Renaissance thinkers abandoned the traditional European approach to the world and replaced it with an infatuation with Greek and Roman thinking. 

The next phase of this revolution was in 1517, the year Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg. Luther did not intend to create a revolution - in fact he could rightly be called a paleoconservative, he merely wished to return the church to right practices.  He failed (at the time, although the Catholic Church did begin a Counter Reformation reform movement eventually) and as a result several sects of Christianity arose.

Now contrary to what Baptist Sunday school teachers may say the Catholic Church was not completely corrupt.  There were not small groups of "real Christians" meeting in secret in attics.  The Catholic Church was it, folks found salvation for centuries within that institution - they sat in Latin mass that they did not understand, they had Latin Bibles that they could not read but they had a simple faith (mere Christianity).

The division of Christendom allowed the ideas of humanism to spread into theology and political thought - individual man became central. The Age of Enlightenment was not far behind this development. First in the 17th Century philosophers paid minor homage to theology in their work and by the 18th Century philosophy was strictly humanistic.

Man had become the central focal point of the universe.  Traditions and history could be swept away if they hindered man getting exactly what he wanted.  To the enlightened mind the world could be shaped into any form that man desired, men should be free of bonds and constraints placed upon them by old institutions and long respected traditions.

Our Founding Fathers were students of this tradition.  Just take a gander at the Declaration of Independence. They began a revolution based upon the premise that "all men are created equal" (how idealistic, some are born poor, some blind, some slow - are these equal in any way other than they way their Creator sees them?) and that men have the right to throw off traditions because they merely desire it. If there was a group among them that understood the danger of the beast they were unleashing it was the anti-federalist (a misnomer to be sure, from a paleoconservative perspective these were the only real federalist at the table, thus most modern paleoconservatives are Jeffersonians)

Up to this point paleoconservatives and libertarian only disagree in principle.  Yes it is true we paleoconservatives do not think much of the Enlightenment but it is a fact and we cannot turn back the clock.  However libertarian theory would generally hold that the adoption and subsequent broad interpretation of the Constitution by the Federalist was counter-revolutionary.

I believe that a proper paleoconservative view of this is that the Constitution was a natural extension of ideas of many of the Founders - Enlightenment ideas that said man could shape his world into a utopia - the city on the hill. The Anti-federalist represented the only counter-revolutionary force and they lost.

The revolution continued when

  • states' rights was practically laid to rest in 1865
  • citizenship was appropriated by the Federal Government through the 14th Amendment
  • personal income became the property of the state
  • welfare of others became a responsibility of all
  • the Constitution ceased to be a contract and became a living document
  • men are not only treated equal under the law but given unfair advantages to ensure "equality"
  • the Federal Government decided what is right and what is wrong and who is the enemy
  • rights became a privilege

The revolution has come full-circle.  It began as an attempt six hundred years ago to free the mind of man, morphed into the idea that man should be free and man could build utopia and has come to the reality that only government knows best - man should not be that free, just "trust us and everything will be ok".

 

The paleoconservative does not disavow good knowledge that came from the Enlightenment, neither do we look regretfully at the attempt made by men like Jefferson in the 18th century - these are part of history and the clock cannot be set back.  We simply realize that man is fallible, reason is often flawed.  We accept that man is a social creature and must have government (we depart from our libertarian brothers here) but we are not statist - we generally despise the modern state as a vehicle to accomplish anything (particularly moral and social good). Family, community and tradition have precedence over the individual in the paleoconservative mind.

My point is we must realize that the American revolution did not end in 1783, it is ongoing in more transformational ways than any philosopher of that era could have imagined.  The logical endstate is a tyrannical perversion of Hobbes' Leviathan. That is the elephant in the room that libertarians and paleoconservatives rail against - once that is gone we can go at each other to determine what comes next.  It is time to end the revolution.

A Bit About Paleoconservatives

Recently I asked three libertarians to join us here. We have the paleoconservative perspective covered but I thought it important to add a different voice. Paleoconservatism and libertarianism are two sides to the same coin (yes we come from different histories, libertarians from the enlightenment and the revolutions and real paleoconservatives from a traditional and monarchist origin but we have come to the same point philosophically on many issues)- certainly there are vast differences in outlook. However, considering the ugly elephant in the room and the minority status of those of us that "think different" it is critical to find commonality.

Having said that I spent some time today searching for bloggers of paleoconservative leanings and offer them for your consideration.

Green Mountain Hardright - a paleoconservative supporter of Vermont Independence (I did not know that there were many paleoconservatives in that movement, I assumed most were libertarian) This blogger has moved from Vermont to New York and now blogs at Ordo Et Tradito (Order and Tradition)

Smash the Left-Wing Scum! Paleoconservative Youth Movement caught my eye with a post declaring that Mitt Rommey is not a real conservative choice.

Here is a post from Daniel Larison that argues that currently there are more paleo moments than actual paleoconservatives - he is right with two notable exceptions, one of which is debatable - there are no paleoconservatives on the ballot.

Mark Amesse argues much the same thing that William Lind argues so successfully - paleoconservatives owe their allegiance to the Prussian tradition, not to the tradition of revolution.

[American] Paleoconservatives are, after all, still men of the revolution. For many of them the political world was born in 1776. They are men, for all practical purpose, whose political thought can not pierce through the propaganda of the revolutions, be it the Protestant revolt or the American rebellion.

Here is a post from Dixie Thoughts that clears up any misconceptions that James Webb is a paleoconservative (loved Born Fighting but that does not make him a paleo)

Here is a good post on paleoconservatism in general. And here is another post from the PaleoPundit with a list of paleoconservative links.

Finally here is an essay by Charley Resse that reinforces why it is so important to be a paleoconservative.

Here is my (almost) complete view of paleoconservatism

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Marketing Slogan and Rats Leaving the Ship

I mentioned the other day the Bush and company were to meet last weekend to discuss a possible change in strategy for Iraq.  It seems they did come up with a change - in marketing strategy.  They have a new catch phrase, not a new strategy to wage the war.

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The Bush administration has dropped the phrase ``stay the course'' from discussions about Iraq..

This at a time when more and more GOP enabling lackeys are jumping ship to save face and their precious seats.

(AP) "We're on the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in an Associated Press interview. U.S. and Iraqi officials should be held accountable for the lack of progress, said Graham, a Republican who is a frequent critic of the administration's policies.

Asked who in particular should be held accountable _ Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps, or the generals leading the war _ Graham said: "All of them. It's their job to come up with a game plan" to end the violence.

Lindsey gets it only partially right and thus he does not get a pass, tell the whole truth or say nothing at all Mr. Graham - a senator from my home state ought to know better.  How about kicking every incumbent out of office, firing everyone in the military above the rank of brigadier general, replacing every bureaucrat and appointed official, impeaching the president - and replacing them all with men of honor and integrity (and a grasp of what the Constitution says and means).  That is a good start toward finding a solution.

Google is Not All Bad

Ok I said some pretty nasty things earlier about Google and their inability to keep their index clean and passing this on to unwary bloggers. I could say more nasty things about their dealings with the CHICOMS and the kowtowing to demands to exclude data related to Taiwanese and Tibetan independence from the index served in China...but I won't.

I will instead praise Google for this:

Create picture collages of famous Americans with Picasa. Find out what Virginia newspapers had to say about the Civil War in 1862 with Google News Archive Search. Check out the pyramids in Egypt with Google Earth, and then build your own with SketchUp.

Google Earth is the best of the bunch thus far in my book. I have downloaded satellite imagery, overlayed traditional maps in the 1:50,000 scale and inserted my waypoints and other data directly from my GPS into my laptop all thanks to Google - thing is I paid for the GPS and the laptop but Google provides me with the imagery for free. I have used this for work, for recreation and for creative imagination ( a siege of that mean, nasty old man that owns the place adjacent to my farm back home - but don't ask)

I have yet to really dig into the archive service in detail but what I have done I liked. I have always enjoyed going to the library and just finding stuff to read - old stuff. Of course you are always limited by what archives they have available. No more of that with the Google archive search.

Well they still may be evil, after all I am inclined not to trust anyone with their finger on the pulse of so much vital information - but the market is what it is and you can say one thing for Google, they are at least not the bully that Microsoft became (not yet at least).

Bad Bloggers and the No-Follow command

Ok - so I understand that comment spam is a problem and something must be done about it to keep the blogsphere functional. But here is the deal - why use the "no-follow" command? Are you a minion of Google?

Here are 16 good reasons that Good Blogsphere netizens ought not use the no follow command.

16 Reasons against nofollow

  1. nofollow does not prevent comment spam
  2. nofollow is semantically incorrect
  3. nofollow harms the connections between web sites
  4. nofollow is not useful for humans, just for search engines using PageRank or a similar technique
  5. nofollow could be used to shut web sites out
  6. nofollow discriminates legitimate users as spammers
  7. nofollow heists commentators' earned attention
  8. nofollow could be used to further discriminate weblogs
  9. nofollow prevents the Web from being a web
  10. nofollow eliminates the dissemination of free speech
  11. nofollow was developed in privacy with only search engines companies taking part in the discussion
  12. nofollow allows unethical or ignorant PageRank hoarders to misuse trackbacks
  13. nofollow hurts search engines by taking away context
  14. nofollow allows sites to sell PageRank
  15. nofollow is misnamed to distract from the creator of the link spam problem
  16. nofollow encourages unpaid labor to clean up search engine companies databases

No-follow commands on your comments - or worse in blog post - say that you are just too lazy to implement controls to stop spammers. If you are big enough to get a lot of comments then you ought to be able to afford simple software to help you manage comments.

It also says - hey I do not care what the WWW was supposed to be, i.e. a series of links for point to point -information flowing via contextual links-a web! Hyperlinks are important to more than humans, most web traffic has a search query in the mix somewhere. If you take away the search engines ability to index links you are in effect shutting the door on information flow.

Google's index is Google's problem, sure they have great spiders that grab and index everything. If they want to serve good search results it is up to them to figure out how to clean things up. If they fail to do that, some other company will figure it out. That is called the free market. You, my fellow bloggers and webmasters are acting like unpaid employees of the search engines - get a grip, dump the no-follow commands.

Furthermore, no-follow commands in no way reduce link spamming, it has just forced spammers to alter their tactics. They still spam hundreds of comment sites in the hope that somebody will click their link. They have other nefarious ways to get pagerank.

The only people that no-follow links hurts is the little guy blogger. No I take that back, it hurts the blogshere. We want bloggers to comment on other blog sites with intuitive and insightful comments - the reward for reading and leaving comments should be a tiny link back to one's blog (a link seen by humans and search engines).

Shame on you slaves to Google's wishes - don't give me the argument that it is your blog and you will do as you please - you are either a good blogshere netizen or you are not and no-follow is bad behavior.

I love Firefox - it has a nifty little tool that shows me all you nefarious "nofollowers" out there. Shame on you.

Read more if you are not convinced and again here if you are not convinced yet.

Update: Yes I know it makes sense to bring some sanity to search engine results, otherwise you search for failure and get this. Unfettered comment links could lead to googlebombing. But again, that is Google's problem to fix, we bloggers need not destroy our web of connectivity to fix their problems.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Who Wins, Who Loses? We do!

In my last post I included the entire essay from Kevin Tillman (yes bad blogging form I know) because his words are worthy of being heard.

I have but one point of dissent with Kevin - he believes that the have a democracy in America and he believes that this November there is a chance to set things right. (my points below are directed most specifically to the crowd that thinks voting for someone "new" will fix things - not at Kevin Tillman)

First, The Federal Government is not a democracy, it is a republic. Kevin is certainly not the only person to make this mistake, for some reason the word democracy has come into our language as a good thing - something to be aspired to. Our Founding Fathers knew much better.

Charlie Resse calls the one day when The People take control of their government via the ballot box Magic Day. He makes some good arguments about voter qualification - just when and who decided that jobless morons that cannot even name their state capital get to vote? Bottom line he reiterates that our government is not a democracy, rather a republic - if you really want to change it you have to vote for the right people.

Second, there are a lot of "johnny-come-lately patriots" running around right now proclaiming all that is wrong with US foreign policy - most of these are nothing more than moonbats looking for a way to put their dhimmi marionettes into office next month. They speak the truth in relation to Iraq, but for all the wrong reasons.

If anyone thinks putting the Democrats in power next month will fix anything answer these questions:

  • Where were these wise, noble and brave patriots in 2003 when real informed wise and brave people were speaking out against the war?
  • Just how have things like the Military Tribunals Act and the USA Patriot Act (I and II) passed without Democratic complicity?
  • Just how is it that one man (i.e. the President) has clearly violated the US Constitution by illegally waging war (without a Constitutionally required declaration). Why have these brave and wise democrats not either impeached the president or failing that shut down the government entirely?

None of what the neoconservatives have done could have been done without the help of the Democrats. In fact the Democrats, either through their influence in Congress or control of the White House, are directly involved in our failings in the Middle East and North Korea. Add to that their complicity during the reign of Bush II and you end up with only one conclusion - the Democrats do not get a pass on all of this and it is preposterous for them to now claim they can fix everything. Chuck Baldwin argues that the GOP deserves to lose - he is right - but the Democrats do not deserve to win.

Kevin is right, it is time for a change - his optimism that a mere change in who sits in what seat will really fix anything is misplaced. There is no difference in the Republican and Democratic parties.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pat Tillman's Brother Speaks for Him

(El Cid Note I wrote about Pat Tillman in 2004 and again in 2005, I thought much of this but certainly did not say most of it. Pat made an amazing choice to leave the NFL and volunteer for the Rangers and the certainty he would see a lot of combat. The article below is written by a former ranger, sports team-mate and most importantly brother of Pat. With credentials like that this man has the right to speak for Pat - since Pat can no longer speak for himself. This is an amazingly powerful piece)

From Truthdig

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.
Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mission Failure

On 05 October I commented on an AP article that outlined US hopes and dreams for an offensive to secure Baghdad.  Essentially the article outlined a US plan to concentrate efforts within the capital in hopes of achieving a significant victory a "decisive moment".

Today Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV says the two-month U.S.-Iraqi military operation to stem sectarian bloodshed and insurgent attacks in Baghdad has failed, stating the mission "has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence."

This comes in a week when Bush finally admits that there is a reasonable comparison between Iraq and Vietnam. James Baker and crew come to the amazing conclusion that there is no magic bullet for Iraq (no Stay or The Course are not separate options) and finally Bush is "considering" different tactics in Iraq.

The entire idea of concentrating so much combat power in Baghdad - to the detriment of places like Al Anbar seemed foolish.  To announce that this "Together Forward" campaign might be a decisive moment in the war was just plain insane.  It appears now that the insurgents, not being so foolish took advantage of the situation and decided to claim a town or two for their own. (don't believe the Iraqi minister).

 

Not sure that there is anything I can say that I have not said already.  I am a Soldier, a lot of Soldiers and Marines have died in this recent spike in violence.  These failures do not bring me joy, they make me righteously indignant.

 

A friend of mine (another Soldier and fellow historian) had the opportunity on a long trip today to talk in depth and candidly about our experiences in and views of Iraq.  Anyone that has read much military history knows of examples of failures where the military ultimately blamed the politicians for the failure.  Vietnam is another good analogy. However like any story their are two sides.

To be certain the military was not responsible for conducting the initial invasion on the cheap - but moral generals that knew better could have resigned. 

The military was not responsible for the myriad errors under Paul Bremmer and his group of idiots (giving away thousands of cell phones later used to detonate IED's; disbanding the army - eliminating the one thing the Iraqi people respected; shunning the clerics - alienating the only other power structure; refusing to allow former army members to enlist in the new army - leaving thousands of trained soldiers unemployed; refusing to acknowledge the plight of the Kurds - making an enemy of a former friend).

But the US Military is responsible for being ill-equipped to change to effectively fight and win in Iraq.  As I have stated before we have 150,000 troops in Iraq and probably 100,000 (or more) of them do nothing more than generate powerpoint slides or provide support for desk-jockeys that create endless slides and briefs.  Folks create briefs based upon briefs - it is all a convoluted fantasy would but it briefs well.  It doesn't do a damned thing to win the war. 

Who is to blame?  As the late Col. David Hackworth would say the perfumed princes - the worthless careerist that know nothing about soldiering and everything about briefing well, protecting their worthless careers and making their worthless boss happy. 

Are the politicians to blame?  Darn right?  Does the military get a pass, no way.  In the years to come - after the obvious political shake-up, don't you dare ever say "if only the military had been allowed to fight".  I heard that weak argument all my life growing up reading the history of the Vietnam War.  I know now that the military was sick then, it is sick now. 

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mr. Charlie Daniels

I had the privilege of shaking the hand of Mr. Charlie Daniels this evening. I may not agree with his politics, he is an America right or wrong sort of guy, but I cannot help but be inspired by him. This is not to mention the fact that still to this day he puts on a darn good concert, the man has energy. I can really only hope that when I hit his age that I have the stamina he exhibited tonight.

The second song he performed was "Proud to be a Rebel", some brave good ole boy even brought out a battle flag for the occasion (a sight one seldom sees on a military installation).

I can only say for myself that I sincerely appreciate folks like Mr. Daniels, and I specifically appreciate he and his band for their visit to my little part of the world here in Korea. He made me feel close to my real home and the real people that I love and miss.

  • Skins (best hotdogs in the entire world)
  • The little old ladies that insist you take an extra piece of chicken on your plate at Sunday dinner after church
  • The good ole boys that come out for the first dove shoot of the year; the old men at the barber shop
  • The sweet sound of the most beautiful of God's creations - GRITS (girls raised in the south) - good grief I love southern girls, must be why I am so in love with my wife
  • Hot summer nights; hotter summer days
  • The sound of well-trained Beagle dogs running a rabbit
  • Waving at the driver in the other lane (last time I checked this still occurs in some parts)
  • Shrimping with a cast-net
  • Bass fishing with my father (I dislike Bass fishing because I do not have the patience but I love my dad and this is the only time I can get him alone)
  • Little league (insert sport) it is just so much better in the South, my kids (and I) had a much better time when last we were fortunate enough to be stationed in the homeland
  • The Appalachian Trail - I will finish the entire thing some day
  • The Chatatooga River - need I elaborate?
  • Wednesday night suppers at Church - really what is wrong with the rest of the world?
  • Southern girls -I mentioned it above but just wanted to reiterate it again
This reminds me, Davis Mauldin has emailed me twice asking that I point folks over to I Love Dixie (darn good cartoon series) - so go take a look.

Monday, October 16, 2006

American Conservatism Hijacked

George W. Bush has been vilified by the Left, but his harshest critics should be on the Right. One of the most momentous consequences of the Bush presidency is the destruction of the philosophical core of modern conservatism.

Like most political movements, American conservatism incorporated various strains of thought, some at odds with one another. But the movement had a fundamentally anti-statist orientation. Central was a commitment to individual liberty, limited government, and constitutional republicanism.

None of these principles characterize today's conservative movement and Republican Party, which sells itself as "conservative." The president and his followers denigrate personal freedom, support expanded state power, dismiss constitutional limits, and advance global intervention. Read more....

Spot on commentary by Doug Bandow (HT Western Confucian)

Neoconservatives and Evangelicals

I have always been of the opinion that the alliance between the neoconservatives and evangelical Christians was essentially a one-sided affair, at least for the run-of-the-mill average Christian. I will not deny that access to power is seductive to evangelical leaders but for the millions of otherwise good folks that comprise the army of voters, supplying the neocon power base, there is no benefit. In reality there is a moral cost for their votes that they simply do not realize that they owe.

David Kuo has just released a book entitled Tempting Faith in which he alleges that several senior White House staff members routinely openly ridiculed evangelicals. Kuo was the No. 2 man in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from 2001 to 2003. I suppose he was in a position to know what he is talking about. (Articles here, here and here)

“National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘out of control,’ and just plain ‘goofy,’” Kuo wrote. Top political officials in the office of White House aide Karl Rove referred to the leaders as “the nuts,” he added. (Baptist Standard)

The neoconservative agenda is appealing to evangelical Christians on many levels. Key in the appeal is unquestioned support for Israel (yes the place with a current president as bad as a Clinton/Nixon morph - here, here and here )

The fact that the fascination with the manmade Nation of Israel - as opposed to the Biblical people of Israel - is flawed. This is a point that transcends mere politics, folks that accept Israel - the Nation formed by men in 1949 - as the fulfillment of endtimes prophecies will not easily be dissuaded from such a notion. This issue becomes political only when a group like the neoconservatives use this item to garner support for their candidates and agendas. There is a difference in Zionism and the people of Israel - but this is a topic of another post. (a pretty good essay on the topic can be found here)

I am a Christian, I am a conservative. I see nothing conservative or Christian in the neoconservative worldview.

Blogged at Blog From the Capital

This story promises to continue casting a dim light on the faith-based program, and confirming the worst fears of those of us who have been opposed to this kind of faith-based funding: it folds otherwise genuine religious folks into the cynical world of politics, both compromising and ridiculing religion while also improperly associating whole branches of government with particular religious beliefs.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Conservative Talk Radio

Are you now or have you ever been a ditto-head?

Well I suppose you know that ditto-heads are the regular listeners/supporters of Rush Limbaugh. I use him as a representative of O’Reilly, Doyle, Ingraham, Savage, Beck and the thousands of small time "conservative" radio talkers who shall for the sake of time remain unnamed.

I was a regular listener in college (1986-1990), I don't remember when Limbaugh first came on the air but I am certain I was right there listening. I continued to listed throughout the early 1990's but after the Gulf War I was no longer a ditto-head.

During the Clinton years I listened because conservative radio did a fine job of articulating what was wrong. Don't misunderstand me, I was already freed of any attachment to Limbaugh's philosophy. I recall an afternoon in the early 90's when I first heard him preach the virtues of Lincoln's kind of government and I knew then and there the man was no real conservative. But, as I said, he did speak out against the socialist, morally corrupt dhimmis during the dark middle 90's, so I listened from time to time.

Here is Bill Losapio's take on conservative radio then and now.

When the socialist Democrats held the reigns of power, the message from these talkers, led by Limbaugh, nailed the collectivist power-mongers to the cross. A massive power shift subsequently occurred in National politics where the left has seen its socialist wealth-redistribution rhetoric fall flat on a more informed populace. As opponents of this idiocy, conservative radio talkers were outstanding. Talk radio, along with the Internet, paved the way for “Independence Day,” to quote talker and co-host of Fox News Network’s “Hannity and Colmes” show, Sean Hannity. This “Independence Day” was to see the sun set on the Socialist big-government policies held by the Democrats long fattened by their decades of controlling the feed into the federal trough. Small government, a cornerstone of modern conservatism, would blossom. Broken, tyrannous, un-Constitutional, money-sinkhole programs like the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and the IRS would be tossed on the ash heap of history where they rightly belong. Funding into the Socialist Tyrants Club, the United Nations, would end. Commerce, wealth, and freedom would take root. Confiscatory taxes would drop precipitously, allowing everyone more opportunity to create wealth and prosperity. Less government intrusion into Joe Citizen’s life would be the norm. Read more...

I absolutely could not have said it better myself. I recall thinking to myself after the very odd presidential election in 2000 "what the heck will these guys have to talk about now". I suppose that six years later it is obvious, conservative radio has become nothing more than apologist for neoconservative policies and actions. They act like rabid attack dogs, beating non-issues into the ground, attacking any and all that dare question current policy and basically advocating the very thing I detected way back in 1992 - a Lincoln style national government with extraordinary powers and the proclivity to use the military to go about crushing vineyards and grapes of wrath.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

When the Empire Wants to Strike Back

NY Times: Have Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the men at the center of the twin confrontations that promise to dominate the last years of Mr. Bush’s presidency, looked at an America still pinned down in Iraq — its military stretched thin, its public weary of war — and concluded that this is their moment?

And if they have, is there much that Mr. Bush can do about it?

Last week I wrote that the US military hegemony is not as complete and total as GDP spending, troop numbers, technology etc. would indicate on paper.

Johnny and I are both real fans forward thinking folks that have preached since before 9/11 that the US must understand and integrate Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) into doctrine. Most of the discussion to date centers around operational and tactical application of this philosophy.

There is application to strategic thinking and planning that we have missed also. Sun Tzu might be able better than I to counsel the "deciders" on these points but let me state it as best I can anyway.

The fact is that even the strongest enemy cannot be strong everywhere all the time. No empire in history has ever been able to be completely dominate in all areas, all regions and in all circumstances at all time. (yes I do equate an economic and military hegemon with an empire of sorts so the comparison is fair in this instance).

The entire philosophy of 4GW dictates that you seek the weak spots of your enemy and exploit those. This principle is the same whether you are dealing with squads, battalions, divisions, regional armies or entire nations/empires. It differs from 3GW which concentrated on exploitation by maneuver in that in 4GW you pick when and where you will win, not just when and where you will fight. You attempt not to fight in 4GW in places and at times that you will not achieve something or where you do not have an advantage.

The US foreign policy is still third generational. We can move carrier battle groups, deploy long range bombers and put thousands of boots on the ground anywhere in a relatively short period of time. We exercise power by maneuver. But we cannot be everywhere at once, our enemies realize this.

To the above one must also add the fact of corporate, personal and government debt to the reason the American Empire is just not as strong as some proclaim.

The giant is not as nimble as some think and there are those that have realized this fact.

Socialist Democrats and Fascist Republicans

Whenever some well-meaning conservative Christian takes issue with one of my columns chronicling the abysmal governing record of Republicans, he or she almost always exclaims, "Think how bad it would be if Democrats were in charge." The fact is, however, there has been no redemption in having the GOP in charge of the entire federal government.

The argument of voting for the lesser of two evils, meaning Republicans, loses its credence when one examines the record. And the record is clear: the GOP has developed a philosophy tantamount to fascism. Consider the following recent developments. Read the rest of this article by Chuck Baldwin

I have no illusion that anything I write will make friends with folks that proclaim loyalty to the GOP. Many of those people probably believe that people like me are the real problem. "if folk like me could only just compromise, support the right team - then we could finally put those dhimmis in their place".

Well gosh, Chuck Baldwin has it exactly right, what real choice do either of the two major parties offer? We have socialist Democrats (with fascist tendencies) and fascist Republicans (with socialist tendencies). Think for a moment that this is not true? Then please point me to real facts or articulate in the comments below how the GOP has stood true to the limited scope intended for the Federal Government.

I am a states' rights advocate but in reality the whole notion of states' rights is ludicrous in our current environment. When we are facing issues like the USA Patriot Act, domestic spying, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the virtual death of habeas corpus who has time to worry about the rights of our various states?

(well maybe states' rights is the answer, if we had legislatures in our various states that were willing to defend the original compact and stand up against Federal encroachments AND if the citizenry really cared about their liberty...but alas neither of these requirements are present)

So I attack the flawed policies of the GOP, which includes almost every one of their policies. Their position on social, economic, legal, constitutional and foreign policy fails to meet the criteria of a true paleoconservative agenda in every case.

Fear not GOP followers, if the Democrats were in power (I should say, when they take power this fall and again in two years) I will speak out against their moonbat social programs and mamby-pamby foreign policy. To me there is no difference in the two parties, other than where they want to spend my money and what sector of the Federal government they wish to expand.

Here is a pretty good (but far from complete) articulation of how stupid party loyalty (GOP or DEM) really is and how absurd their infighting is - they are first cousins for crying out loud.