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Bush lost the war

April 10, 2007 14 comments

The real purpose of “the surge”, it occurs to me, may be to facilitate blaming defeat on liberals.  After all, we wouldn’t want people to wake up to the reality that the war was already lost much earlier than that:

if you are a blogger, this is your chance to express the truth that Bush—and no one else—is responsible for loosing the Iraq war. He lost it when he invaded Iraq without a viable exit strategy. He lost it when he invaded Iraq without enough troops to handle the invasion’s aftermath. He lost it when he disbanded the Iraqi military, thus setting tens of thousands of armed men loose without jobs or income, and nothing better to do than form an opposition. He lost it when he failed to rebuild Iraq in a timely fashion. He lost it when he failed to provide the troops to secure Iraq’s borders. He lost it when… You get the picture.
Paul at Cafe Philos: Bush Lost The War

Not sure I agree that it was only Bush, though.  Plenty of room on that leaky rowboat for Rummy, and Rove, and other parties to be named.  But certainly Bush lost the war.  Pass it on.

Categories: defense, Politics

Rumsfeld is a clue

March 13, 2007 3 comments

Mike The Mad Biologist relates an incident in the history of our former secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, in which the first-term congressman went far to the right of a man who advocated first-strike nuclear attacks during the Berlin crisis and the Cuban crisis.  Leaves me shaking my head how he ever got the president’s ear.

Yeah, Rumsfeld is old news but it’s interesting to see what kind of guy thought we could go into Iraq with 40,000 troops and be welcomed as liberators.

Categories: defense, Politics

Attacking Iran

February 19, 2007 23 comments

BBC unsurprisingly reports US plans to attack Iran, though the US denies that the Iran attack plans mean we are planning any attack on Iran.  All clear now?  Well of course we have plans to attack Iran.  Hopefully better thought-out than our “plan” to invade Iraq was.  Doesn’t mean we’ll actually do it but it makes sense to have a plan.

In some ways, this all seems like a dance in which everyone knows their steps.  Need proof Iran is messing around in Iraq, or that they’re building nukes?  I don’t, because that’s exactly what I’d do in their place.  Just look at Iran on a map, and notice the location of the last two countries the US has invaded.  What would you do if you were Ahmadinejad?

If I were him, I’d work on destabilizing the Americans and tying them down on the other side of the border.  And I’d get my scientists into a room and tell them; “Your vacations are cancelled – we need nukes, and we need ‘em now!”

Yes, I do blame the latest debacle on Bush.  We had a legitimate reason to invade Afghanistan, and the world’s backing to do it, but we left that job unfinished to go off on a side-trip where we got stuck.  Afghanistan is slipping back to the Taliban and we’re losing in Iraq.  It’s all over but blaming it on the liberals. 

Leave now, or leave later, there won’t be a good end to the Iraq situation.  If you screw something up badly enough, it just can’t be fixed no matter how many corrupt murderous allies you recruit or how much high-explosive you use. 

But Bush can’t shoulder the blame all himself.  Iran’s revolution ran on hatreds fanned by our old friend, that murderous dictator Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.  But he said he was our friend, he said he was against communism, and he was a check against the power of Iraq, where we were cultivating similar mistakes in similar ways. 

This catastrophe has been a long time in the making.  Anyone who thinks they have the solution – more forces, less forces, a redeployment, a pullout, an all-out invasion of the whole region, whatever… feel free to leave a comment explaining how your mistaken idea will fix everything. 

(One party in control of our government… never again).

Categories: defense, Politics

The impracticality of torture

November 20, 2006 6 comments

Like our more conservative fellow Americans, China is big on the death penalty, and on using torture as an instrument of security.  Now a China official admits to torture, estimating that “at least 30 wrong verdicts were handed down each year because torture had been used.”

Mr Wang’s unusually frank comments appeared to be part of a campaign to tackle problems in the judicial system, and shore up public trust. He said suspects’ rights needed to be protected by stopping the use of illegal interrogations involving the use of torture.

He said illegal interrogation existed to “some extent” in local judicial practice. “Nearly every wrongful verdict in recent years is involved in illegal interrogation,” he said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Even the Chinese think the information you get from torture is unreliable.  But Dick Cheney knows better.  He thinks it’s essential to our national security.

Categories: defense, Politics

Can we call it the Ministry Of Propaganda?

October 30, 2006 1 comment

Rummy can’t sleep.  But a new Pentagon initiative will help:

The newly-established Pentagon unit would use “new media” channels to push its message, a spokesman said.

“We’re looking at being quicker to respond to breaking news,” the spokesman said. “Being quicker to respond, frankly, to inaccurate statements.”

According to the BBC’s Justin Webb in Washington, the Bush administration does not believe the true picture of events in Iraq has been made public. He says the administration is particularly concerned that insurgents in areas such as Iraq have been able to use the web to disseminate their message and give the impression they are more powerful than the US.

A Pentagon memo seen by the Associated Press news agency said the new unit will “develop messages” for the 24-hour news cycle and aim to “correct the record”. A spokesman said the unit would monitor media such as weblogs and would also employ “surrogates”, or top politicians or lobbyists who could be interviewed on TV and radio shows. BBC News: Pentagon mounts ‘media offensive’

It’s OK, Pentagon; knock yourself out.  Here in blogland we can spot Astroturf a mile away. 

Categories: defense, Politics

I have a suggestion for who we can try it out on first

September 12, 2006 4 comments

I hope I’m not revealing anything the Terror!sts don’t already know, but the Penatagon is developing microwave weapons that will inflict catastrophic pain on humans.  But how to test them?  Air Force chief Michael Wynne has a suggestion: Test weapons on testy U.S. mobs.  You know, because…

“If we’re not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation,” said Wynne. “(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press.”

Right – let’s just test all new weapons on American protesters first.  As long as we do that, the press won’t ‘vilify’ us for using it on people in other countries.

Categories: defense, Politics

You certainly are, Hassan

August 27, 2006 1 comment

BBC News reports Hassan Nasrallah says he’s sorry for the scale of the war that resulted from kidnapping Israeli soldiers.  Well at least he’s tacitly admitting it was his organization that is responsible.  It’s a step in the right direction, Hassan, but do you know how long the road is?

Categories: defense, Politics

A mathematician looks at data mining in the War! On! Terror!

August 22, 2006 Comments off

Feel safer with massive datamining looking out for terrorists?  Safer from whom?

Yet another problem is the perennial problem of false positives (about which I wrote here when the Total Information Awareness program was being considered). Even if an accurate profile of potential terrorists is drawn, the fact that such a vanishingly small percentage of us are terrorists means that the vast majority of the people investigated will be innocent.
- John Allen Paulos, Of wiretaps, Google Searches, and handguns

Ask yourself; if the data mining were “an amazing 99% effective” at finding people with terrorist ties, how many non-terrorists would find themselves in a room being interrogated?  Check out the article if the answer doesn’t come to mind after a moment’s reflection.  Given the lack of legal protections for suspected terrorists, it isn’t a comforting thought.

Categories: defense, Politics

What do soldiers have to do to stay sane?

June 15, 2006 8 comments

A US marine has apologised after a video spread on the internet of him singing a song about the killing of Iraqi civilians. Cpl Joshua Belile, 23, said the song had been written as a joke and was never intended to cause offence.
BBC News: Marine ‘sorry’ for Iraq deaths song

Inspired by “Team America: World Police”, it’s a fictional ballad in which the marine falls in love with an Iraqi girl and is then ambushed by her parents.  I’ve seen a few songs/videos on “YouTube” written by American servicemen, and it hardly seems appropriate for those of us in comfort and safety to persecute them for blowing off steam to keep from blowing their corks.

Soldiers have probably always written songs like this; we just didn’t always have YouTube where everybody could see them.  No doubt the song offended a lot of Iraqis and some Americans but the human cranium can only take so much pressure. 

Update: 
See also: Imagine the moment in Fallujah

 

Categories: defense, Politics

Sell F-16’s to iran?

May 17, 2006 Comments off

I can’t remember why we ever sold F-16 jets to Venezuela, but as relations between that country and ours have become strained lately, we’ve stopped selling them spare parts.  So they’re considering selling them to Iran.

Say, what?  Iran can’t buy Russian SU-35’s?  Because that’s what Venezuela is planning to do.  Maybe Russia won’t sell advanced jets to Iran, which should be a clue to Venezuela.

And a clue to us.  When we sell advanced equipment, why don’t we have the ability to disable same by satellite?  We send out a super-duper-secret signal and zap!  Fried computers.  Good luck flying an F-16 without its computers.  The same should work with any advanced weapon. 

Categories: defense, Politics