Track Record

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

What President Obama and his “advisors” seem to have forgotten is that Iranians are not like other people living in the Middle East such as the Palestinians or the Libyans. They’re not a motley bunch of towel-headed A-rabs waving AK’s in the air.

They’re Persians.  They are the physical and intellectual descendants of the people who ruled the known Earth for centuries, under names like Darius, Xerxes and Alexander the Great.  They are the religious descendants of the Umayyad Caliphate that conquered Europe as far North as Tours, nearly to Paris.

Giving them nuclear capability is not a mistake.  It’s a blunder.

Joe Doakesd now mu

One of the reasons that other Arab countries – Syria, Egypt, Iraq and the like – have been such relative military pushovers against the likes of Israel and, in the case of Iraq, the US, is that none of them have a tradition of being anything but beaten senseless at war.  The Egyptians and Syrians are 1-4 since World War II (their only wins coming as they sided with the US against Hussein in 1991); the Iraqis were a Tampa Bay-like 0-7, and seem to be headed for 0-8.

The Iranians – and to a lesser extent, the Jordanians (who are 2-1-2 since 1948 notching a win against Syria and another against Iraq, and a loss and two draws against Israel; they were beaten, but alone among Israel’s Arab foes never humiliated) have no such history.  In addition to their storied history of dominance through history, Iran (fighting via proxies) fought Iraq to a draw in the Iran-Iraq war, and, fighting through proxies, have essentially conquered Yemen, Lebanon, Libya, and are in a good position to be the dominant power in Syria and Iraq today.

My Telethon

The usual suspects in the media are soiling themselves over this story – Americans who are going to Iraq to help teach Iraqi Christians how to fight against the ISIS butchers who are shooting, beheading and burning them alive.

Mainstream Christianity has not been an especially martial faith for the last 500 years or so. Mainstream American Christianity in particular fairly wets itself at the thought of individual self defense; I can see an ELCA Lutheran congregation in Edina shooting steam out it’s ears at the thought of arming and training fellow Christians against those who, you know, are killiing the men, raping the women and selling the children into slavery (when they’re not burning them alive).

The Jews – and for that matter, Irish Catholics – haven’t had the leeway to be as stupid over the centuries.

My million dollar idea for today: a national telethon of Christian radio stations to raise money for the Christian resistance in the Middle East.

We are, indeed, our brothers keeper. Mercy and forgiveness are wonderful qualities – when your children, and Our children, aren’t under immediate threat.

Signs

Even if the United States were not being led by the pusillanimous and incompetent Obama administration, it would be high time for Middle Eastern and NATO countries to start picking up some of the burden of dealing, financially and militarily, with the terrorist threat they face.

And time will tell whether this story checks out, or is more than a token effort.

It’s worth noting that the Reggimento San Marco is the Italian version of the Marine Corps.

Branding

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The media is full of news about ISIS attacks. The President wants authority to bomb ISIL.

Wait a minute – that’s not the same name. Did I miss a corporate merger, or is the President using shyster tricks to limit his request to The People’s Front of Judea while ignoring the Judean People’s Front and all the other Crack Suicide Squads? “So sorry, can’t do anything about that group, they’re not ISIL, hands are tied, damn those Republicans.”

With George Bush, I never had these doubts.

Joe Doakes

On the one hand, it’s good to bespecific about ones’ enemies, since it’s easy to create more of them.

On the other hand, one doesn’t get the impression that’s why the Obama Administration is being obtuse…

Everything You Know About ISIS Is Probably Wrong

And me, too.

This piece – “What Isis Really Wants“, by Graeme Wood, in that noted conservative tool The Atlantic – explains ISIS in political, social and theological terms better than any single thing I’ve ever read.

It’s a long read, but a valuable, even vital one.

The entire piece is essential, it was almost pointless to pull out a quote.  But in a nation that is tired of war, with significant antiwar political movements on the left and right, and with people from all political perspectives engaging in much wishful thinking about ISIS, I thought this was the essential bit:

We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

One can neither reason with nor rationally deter an inbound kamikaze pilot.

I try to avoid the old blogger’s crutch “read the whole thing” – so when I say it, I mean it.  By all means do.

Too Good To Want To Fact-Check

The rumor spread yesterday that Jordan’s King Abdallah, enraged by the grisly, medieval murder of Jordanian fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, is personally leading, or even flying, combat missions.

It’s apparently not true, causing at least part of the US media to spring into action against an enemy they hate vastly more than ISIS.  And I can’t imagine many air forces that’d be too keen on having a 53 year old fighter pilot (even if he were rated on combat aircraft, which according to several Arabic newspapers, he’s not; he’s an infantryman who is rated in civilian aircraft and unspecified helicopters), to say nothing of their chief executive flying directly into harm’s way.  .

On the other hand, after six years of a President who can’t be inveigled to condemn extremist Muslim terrorism today without comparing it to Catholic terror from 700 years ago, who equivocates between all sides in every issue (unless it’s Democrat vs. Republican, naturally), who is like hot air in that he equalizes himself across all available intellectual and moral space, I can see why the idea of a leader who leads, who makes moral judgments and personally drops 2000 pound GPS-guided judgment on the guilty, is so seductive.

An Appeal For Honesty

Some of my fringe-libertarian, as well as “progressive”, friends are fond of chanting “Anti-Zionism isn’t Antisemitism”.

Give to the “National Metaphor Society”.  Because a mind that stops developing its metaphorical facility in fourth grade is a mind the world doesn’t need to have unleashed on it.

That’s a little like saying “I endorse the policies that involved the destruction of Native American culture, the near-extinction of their people and the carving of their conquerors’ chiefs’ faces into their holiest piece of real estate – but I sure *admired* the Lakota”.

Not Just In The “Success Is The Best…” Variety

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Revenge. Don’t hear many World Leaders talking about that nowadays. Refreshing.

The article asks if Abe has some plan to enhance or create an ability for Japan to actually make good on the threat of revenge. Hmmm: does the phrase “ninja assassin” ring any bells?

That would be a great video. Ninjas beheading some terrorists as they are huddling in their caves. I’d pay money to see that.

Joe Doakes

Wow it sounds like fun, there’s a complication; if there’s a country in the world that has done more than Germany to mothball it’s warrior past, it’s Japan.

Rules Of Chaos

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Everybody knows warfare has changed since David’s tribe fought Goliath’s tribe.
Persians, Greeks and Romans developed large-group tactics for soldiers and ships.
European nations adapted tactics to weapons (volley fire for muskets, artillery fire when machine guns made marching in rows suicidal, then rapid movement by horse, truck or helicopter to outmaneuver and encircle the enemy).
Earlier generations of warfare depended on draftees forced to obey orders. The Geneva Conventions are based on the notion that common soldiers aren’t the driving intellect behind the war and so should be treated decently when captured.
What to make of groups that don’t fit this model? Take the Vietnam Anti-War “movement:” Students for Democratic Society held teach-ins, Weather Underground bombed government offices while Symbionese Liberation Army robbed banks and blew up police cars . . . all generally intended to change American policy at home and abroad, but fought with no conscript soldiers or top-down organization.
How should we deal with groups united by a common belief, staffed with volunteers, trained and willing to kill to influence policy but wearing no uniforms and following no “Rules of War,” selecting their own targets and loosely affiliated with – but not controlled by – any central authority? American Revolutionary Minutemen. French Resistance. German Wolverines.
Muslims Jihadis?
Joe Doakes

The traditional answer? Fight them with more of the same…

Paging Alanis Morrissette

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A school play condemning suicide bombing was blown up by a suicide bomber because . . . it was insulting to Islamic values.

Can’t wait for them to bring more Diversity to Minnesota.

Joe Doakes

Being as passive-aggressive and provincial as Minnesotans are, I have a hunch that if there was any sectarian violence among immigrants, Minnesota would turn about as tolerant as mid-sixties Ulster.

Fakery

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A “zero day” is a bug in a software program that allows hackers access. The NSA says they don’t search for these and stockpile them to use against terrorists. Why the hell not? And why lie about it, unless that’s your top-down management style?

Joe Doakes

That’s the thing about the whole espionage, counter-espionage, cryptography, counter-cryptography, terrorism and counter-terrorism thing; it’s all about head-faking the other guy.  Constantly.  And sometimes, we are “the other guy”.

Prayers, Eh?

Word arrives to us that there’s been a shooting at the Canadian War Memorial, with more shooting apparently inside the Canadian parliament building. 

We are reminded that two days ago, one Canadian soldier was killed and another injured when they were run down by a car in Quebec.  The driver, according to Canadian news sources, had “Jihadist sympathies”.

UPDATE:  Here’s the CBC’s live blog:

UPDATE 2:  From the blog, a CBC reporter tweets:

2 men with long hair and scarves ran off after man wearing ceremonial guard uniform shot at War Monument this morning. #ottnews

UPDATE 3:  Highly unconfirmed reports from Twitter say one shooter is dead.

UPDATE 4: CVT news is rpoerting another shooting on Parliament hill.  This is unconfirmed. 

UPDATE 5:  Reports say “several dozen”, perhaps “30 to 50″, shots were fired in the Parliament after the shooting of the Canadian soldier at the War Memorial.   As of a minute ago, it’s still an active shooter situation.

UPDATE 6:  Following situation on Twitter.  The Ottawa Police don’t have any better luck with perimeters than CTU does on “24”; the perimeter for an apparently second (or more) gunman/men has been widened.  Photos of police searching cars on bridges around Ottawa.

UPDATE 7:  Reports say one shooter is on the roof of a building about a block from Parliament.

UPDATE 8:  A reporter shot this video from inside Parliament as the police found one shooter.

All that marble – the echo alone is a weapon…

I can’t imagine the training it’d take to make one run toward that noise.

UPDATE 9: The shooter in parliament was apparenetly shot by the Sergeant at Arms, a Mr. Kevin Vickers.

UPDATE 10:  The NYTimes reported that the Canadian soldier shot at the War Memorial had died.  This is disputed by Canadian sources.  I’ll bank on the Times being wrong, as always in these situations.

UPDATE 11:  The CBC is naming the shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. 

Clearly a Parté Québécois terrorist.

Scrimmage

Over the weekend, I heard NPR intoning with worried voice that ISIS was working on getting some captured Syrian jet fighters operational.

This, the worried NPR reporters told us, would be a worrisome development in the developing war in the Levant. 

A Syrian Air Force MIG-21. 

And I thought “well, maybe to NPR reporters.  But I have a hunch I know one crowd who’d just loooooooove it if ISIS were to cough up a plane or two”:

“I’d sell my first born to engage all three… by myself,” one highly experienced U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot joked. Another Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle pilot said, “Send me in, coach! There’s no way they get those airborne!”

A Syrian MIG-23.  During the skirmishes with Israel over the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon in 1981, several Syrian Mig-23 pilots ejected from their planes the moment they saw that Israeli F-4s’ air-to-air radar had locked onto them. 

Western, non-Israeli fighter pilots haven’t had any air-to-air combat since the first Gulf War, 20-odd years ago – and even that was rare.   The Iraqi air force largely buried itself in the sand (not making that up) or flew to…Syria and Iran in 2003. 

The ISIS “air force” apparently has two MIG-21s – infamous dogfighters in Vietnam, which led to the design of the F-16, forty years ago – and a single MIG-23, a Cold-War-era mainstay of the Soviet air force. 

Both were designed in an era where either planes were fighters, or bombers – not both:

“We’re not talking about aircraft that are extremely effective at delivering ordinance both in terms of equipment and training,” said one U.S. Air Force official. “It’s simply not worth it beyond an easily discreditable propaganda ploy.”

The MiG-21 does not carry a huge amount of weaponry and was originally designed to fight other aircraft. Meanwhile, the MiG-23 is a much bigger and more complex jet that requires a professional pilot to operate properly.

Oh, make no mistake – they both require professional pilots.  If not to fly them, then to survive in combat long enough to say they were in combat. 

There are a fighter pilot or two among the regular commentariat here at SITD.  I’ll invite their feedback…

Integrity

Democrats who ran four-square against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – including Al Franken – have suddenly turned into war-hawks.

Which sorta answers the question “where are all those peace creeps now that the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner is in office?”.

So it’s almost refreshing to see that the official Miss Bloodyshirt USA 2007, Cindy Sheehan, is not only still anti-war, but still batspittle crazy:

Sheehan said the left anti war movement is being ignored by the democrats because they are “reverse racists” who are supporting Obama only because he is an African-American.

 

She said, “I think that there are some people on the so called left, who might say we have to circle our wagons around the first African American president, and to me that is racism in reverse because his policies are actually still the racist policies of empire.”

I said she was crazy.  I didn’t say she was all wrong.

Kurd Is The New Pole

I can write off most of what the Obama Administration has done as stupidity born of extremist ideology, or incompetence. 

But his Administration’s betrayal of the Kurds?  That’s beyond stupid, beyond depraved.  I’ve added emphasis. 

While we spend tens of millions bombing “ISIS oil refineries” that are little than moonshining stills costing thousands of dollars

As these lines are being written, some 400,000 Kurds in and around the town of Kobane in northern Syria, on the Turkish border, are being besieged and assaulted by massed legions of Islamic State killers armed with scores of tanks, armored personnel carriers, and heavy artillery. Against these, the Kurdish defenders have only AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. The Kurds have called on the U.S. to send in air strikes to take out the jihadist forces. In response, the administration sent in two fighter jets Saturday, which destroyed two Islamic State tanks and then flew away.

For all the yapping that both sides are doing about “boots on the ground”, the Kurds are there, and are more than ready and capable of doing the job. 

But can our idiot administration get even that right?   While we pour arms and supplies and aid into the centralized Iraqi army – originally formed to help perpetuate the lunacy of unified Shi’ite/Sunni/Kurdish Iraq that has never existed except as an administrative boundary enforced at gunpoint by successive waves of Ottoman, British and Ba’athist rulers – we’re letting the Peshmerga, the motivated, experienced, capable Kurdish military, die on the vine:      

 The Kurds are begging for arms. The administration has not only refused to send arms, but is exerting pressure both on our NATO allies and on Israel not to send any either. Over 150,000 Kurds have fled their homes to try to escape to Turkey, but they are being blocked at the border by Turkish troops. Meanwhile, Turkey is allowing Islamist reinforcements to enter Syria to join the Islamic State, while Islamist elements of the Free Syrian Army, funded and armed by the United States, have joined forces with the group in the genocidal assault on the Kurdish enclave.

The author, Robert Zubrin, compares the situation with the Warsaw Uprising, where Stalin sat on the banks of the Wisla River across from Warsaw and let the Nazis kill off the Polish freedom fighters for him. 

Mr. “President”:  Get the Turks in line, or kick them out of NATO.  Let NATO and the Israelis arm and help the Kurds, if you’re not smart and brave enough to do it yourself. 

For most of Obama’s cosmic stupidity, I can nod my head and say “see you at election time”.  That’s American politics.

This?  This is depravity. 

And for this?  If you support this clown car of an Administration on this depraved policy, then my contempt for you is a seething, visceral, boiling-hot mass you are not ready to face. 

More on this on the air Saturday.  Much, much more.

In Praise Of The French

Conservatives love ripping on the French. In the aftermath of 9/11, when W was building his coalition to go to Afghanistan and then Iraq, the French were famously reticent – which bade many conservatives to start referring to The French as “cheese eating surrender monkeys”, among other things.

(As we’ve noted in the space in the past, this is also a reference – largely mistaken – to World War II. As illiterate as Liberals are about history, let it not be said that some conservatives don’t have their blind spots as well).

Conservatives who criticize the French are blinded to the key fact that the French stance was not a bug – it was a feature.

In 1986, the great military historian Edwin Luttwak wrote the classic, seminal book “The Pentagon and the Art of War”. In the book, Luttwak affixed the blame for five straight American military debacles (Vietnam, the Mayagüez incident, Desert One, Reagan’s Lebanon operation and the successful but sloppy and costly invasion of Grenada) to the fact that America had no strategy – or, rather, an underlying strategy that was entirely based on refighting a worldwide conventional war, like World War II.

In short, America’s defensive posture did not have a clear goal that related to the world we were in in the 1980s,  and our military was not built, equipped or trained to accomplish the things it did face.

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Line Up That Second Peace Prize!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember when all President Obama planned to do was cure the sick, end joblessness, slow the rise of the oceans, heal the planet, end war, secure our nation’s borders and restore our nation’s image abroad?

That was nothing.

Now he’s going to “eliminate the the schism between Sunni and Shia that has been fueling so much of the violence in Syria, in Iraq.”

As Powerline asks:“Whoa! We are going to ‘eliminate the schism between Sunni and Shia?’ The schism that goes back to the 7th Century? And we are going to “eliminate the schism” through diplomacy?”

No. Not “we.” President Barack Obama, possibly assisted by Secretary of State John Kerry. After all they have promised to accomplish so far, why would you have any doubt? Nobel Committee, call your office.

Joe Doakes

In a side note, in re last night’s speech, a friend of mine texted me in re the President saying ISIS – the “Islamic State in Syria” – “wasn’t Muslim” [1]; apparently their name is…

“Innocent Separatists Impacted by Sophistry”.

Naturally.

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Defense

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama will address the nation Wednesday, September 10th, outlining his plans to fight Islamic terrorists.

Islamic terrorists have hit America twice on September 11th. If they have something lined up and hit us again on Thursday, right after President Obama tells the world his grand plan to fight Islamic terror, the entire world will him revealed as a clueless but arrogant poseur. No Greek playwright would have written a character with that much hubris, the audience wouldn’t have believed it.

Do I want to see American interests hit by terrorists just to see Barack Obama humiliated? As Jack Benny used to say: “I’m thinking.”

Joe Doakes

I get Joe’s point – but I’m not thinking about it.  Of course not. 

The problem, of course, is that the questions “to attack or not to attack?”, and “where and when?”, are questions that belong to those who are on the offensive; those who have what in strategic and tactical circles is called “the initiative”, or in sports circles “momentum”. 

Say what you will about the US’s actions between 2002 and 2008 – the human, financial and moral costs, the politics, the morals of the tactics and methods and the whole enterprise – but we were on the offensive.  We, largely, chose when and where the war would be fought. 

We’re on defensive now.  We – Barack Obama – lost the initiative; squandered the “momentum”. 

The other side chooses whether Barack Obama spends tomorrow in the Situation Room or on the Golf Course. 

I’m praying for Golf. 

The problem is, they’ll choose it the next day, and the week after that, and the month after that…

…and “ensuring that we’re the ones who make that choice – and make it a moot one through sheer force of diplomatic, moral and if necessary military power” is one of precious few legitimate reasons to have a government.

Two Steps Back

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The UN has peacekeepers acting as a buffer in the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel. Syrian rebels associated with Al Qaeda demanded UN troops from Fiji surrender, which they did. The Fijian troops were taken hostage.

Syrian rebels also demanded UN troops from the Philippines surrender, which they refused to do. The Syrian rebels attacked the Pilipinos, who retreated into Israel as Irish UN forces covered their retreat and Syrian government forces shelled the Syrian rebels to prevent pursuit.

The captured Fijians remain captured. The Pilipinos want an investigation into why the UN commander from India ordered Phillipino and Fijian peacekeepers to surrender to terrorists. Now the officer who refused to surrender to terrorists has been placed on leave.

And that’s the problem with the UN peacekeeping idea in general. Nobody cares if the other country’s guys get killed defending some worthless land in somebody else’s back yard. It isn’t our country so we’re not going to let our guys die for it. But if yours do, well, that’s okay.

Bad enough when it’s UN troops. Worse if it’s American troops. Let Israel off the leash and the problem will be solved in days, if not hours.

Joe Doakes

“Peace” is not always synonymous with “absence of shooting”.

Reindeer Games

Sweden – which has been slowly drawing down the strength of its air force, once the world’s fourth-largest, since the end of the Cold War – is buying more fighter planes

And Finland – which has fought two wars with Russia in the past century – is noticing more Russian incursions into their airspace

Good thing we’ve got President Obama’s crackerjack diplomacy to ease tensions around the world, huh?