Monday, July 31, 2006

Dying For Your Cause

The comment Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden's former bodyguard, made on 60 Minutes on July 30, mentioned in the post below, that he hopes his young son will die a martyr was the most interesting and important point made during the interview.

How do we fight people who want to die? There have been few instances where a fighter has sought out death, normally the point is to kill the other guy and go home.

I paraphrase:

"The idea isn't for you to die for your country, but to make the other son of a bitch die for his," is the famous quote from General George Patton. He told this to his troops prior their going into battle.

This brings up the question, is an army or group filled with people that want to die effective? I don't mean an army comprised of those willing to die, but those who seek out death. There is a huge difference between the two. All soldiers are supposed to be ready and willing to sacrifce themselves to protect their nation and families and those people who believe dying for their god is the highest level of service they can achieve.

Does this approach make a fighter more or less effective? Can an army comprised of such people win a war?

I believe less effective is the correct answer, but with several caveats. A soldier who wants to die, presumably to start dating his waiting 72 virgins, cannot be as concerned with the outcome of the mission he or she is assigned to complete. This line of thought does not bode well for an organization's long-term plan to win their conflict.

For proof it seems to me that Islamic terrorists are just as happy with a a colleague who died attempting to kill Americans as with one who actually accomplished the task. The person died in Allah's service and that is enough. Yet his death accomplished nothing.

In much the same fashion that it's difficult to defeat a force willing to fight to the death, it is proving difficult to dismantle a force comprised of those who want to die.

For example, generally in war death is something to avoid. Having an army where the vast majority of the soldiers stay alive makes it easier to recruit newcomers and gives faith to the other soldiers that there is a chance for them to get home to their families once the war is over. However, the terrorists have used their religion to turn what is usually war's worst outcome, death, into something essentially enjoyable. Basically, it is not a deterrent to the terrorists if our soldiers on guard duty kill every would-be suicide bomber prior to their detonating. That person is a martyr and all that is now needed is another explosives belt and a human carrier. The terror group's leaders can point to the dead suicide bomber and say, "he is now with Allah and happily chatting up his first virgin." For them that is better then a recruiting commercial shown during the Super Bowl.

So we find ourselves essentially using the wrong tactics to defeat the terrorists. Killing them is a mistake. We are giving them exactly what they want. Death.

So how do we defeat or make the terrorists shift tactics? To me it will take a respected Muslim, to come forward and state that dying for Allah is wrong. Unfortunately this is not likely to happen as most respected Muslims keep calling for more martyrs.

So this brings us to the second question. Can an army filled with would be suiciders win a large scale conflict?

At first blush my answer was no, but upon further reflection I have come to a slightly different conclusion. In sports it's sometimes said that a team did not so much win a game as the other team lost it.

So an army of death wishers cannot directly win a war, but it can force its enemy to capitulate because it tires of taking casualties. This means we can only lose the current war if we quit. However, we will not necessarily win if we stay the course.

The UN Will Save Israel

Mario Loyola suggested on National Review Online today that the only way Israel will ever be safe from Hezbollah missile attacks is to place its trust in the UN.

This is one of the most outlandish suggestions I have come across published by a respectable news organization. The UN is Israel's second worst enemy, after the various terror groups trying to destroy it. The UN constantly condemns Israel whenever it defends itself.

Anyway, here is the note I sent along to the author.

Dear Sir:
Your faith in the UN is admirable, but totally misplaced. The UN is helpless when faced with a country or group that simply ignores its resolutions. Not only does it lack the military strength to enforce is rulings, there is no committment to use what little force it has at its disposal. The only time UN resolutions get enforced is when the U.S. takes it upon itself to do the heavy lifting, and then the EU comes down on us for acting independently.
The Syrian and Iranian leadership will follow Saddam Hussein's path and do as they please until somebody decides enough is enough and removes them from power.
Instead of looking to the UN for answers you should have suggested that the Israeli Air Force bomb the Syrian missile factories. That would cut off part of the supplies and let the Syrians know that the game is now being played with new rules.

CBS News' Bob Simon, Traitor Or Hero

To help my reader's make a decision here is what Simon did on the July 30 episode of 60 Minutes. He interviewed Abu Jandal, a former personal bodyguard of Osama bin Laden.

Jandal now lives in Yemen. Bin Laden dispatched him to there to help scout out a future base for al Queda in case its operation in Afghanistan was forced to relocate. Jandal made the trip, bought a wife for Osama, which Osaman felt would help ingratiate himself to the local Yemenis, but then bin Laden couldn't make the trip because he was a hunted man after Sept. 11.

Simon goes to great lengths stating how Jandal no longer totes a gun for al Queda, but instead is trying to become a civilian in his new home. However, Jandal did "happen" to be in Yemen when al Queda attacked the USS Cole, killing 17 sailots.

Some coincidence, huh?

One of Jandal's final comments was he hopes his young son can die as a martyr fighting for Islam. Great guy.

If, after the interview was conducted and Simon was safe, he did not contact the State Department, CIA or another government agency and tell them where this son of a bitch lives then he should be labled a traitor. However, if Simon did the right thing and turned over what he discovered then he considered a hero. Of course, such a move could not be mentioned during the show, but I am going to keep a close eye on the news to see if Jandal is picked up. Then we will know for sure. This could take months, but eventually the news will come out.

Jandal would certainly be a font of information if he were dragged to a prison and questioned. Any tidbit that could be derived that might lead to bin Laden or help stop another attack is crucial.

You can read the shows transcript at 60 Minutes.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The 15 Things I Would Do If President

Just because I have nothing to do for the moment, here is my 15-step plan for solving most of the worlds problems....

I would go on national TV and explain to everyone why we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and why Hezbollah must be destroyed. I would tell the audience that we are involved in a war of national survival. Islamic fundamentalists want us dead or converted to Islam. Period. They have stated that fact in so many words, but the world simply has not taken them seriously.

Figure out a way to have Congress officially declare war on terrorism. Then the nation should go onto a war footing a la WWII.

Open up every oil and gas field on U.S. territory, while pushing for more nuclear power plants and better alternative fuel ideas, not just ethanol, which studies show will never fulfill our needs.

I would require national gas mileage standards for all vehicle types.

I would let Israel do whatever it wants to the Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorists. If the EU screams, don't listen.

I would tell Kofi Anan that he has 60 minutes to resign as head of the UN or the U.S. will leave that organization in 61 minutes. After 62 minutes are up I would pull out of the UN whether he quits or not.

I would abandon the No Child Left Behind Act. It is foolish to believe that every child can reach the same educational level. Some people are simply smarter then others and by forcing equality you lower the chances of the smart kids getting ahead in the world.

I would tell Pakistan it's time to allow our troops to search anywhere in that country for bin Laden. We all know he is there.

I would stop Saddam Hussein's trial after this first case is completed and just shoot him. He does not deserve a world stage to posture.

I would hold a joint session of Congress and tell the collected representatives that the vast majority of them are doing a rotten job. Not only are they driving the country apart with partisan politics, but they are blowing to much money. I would demand a line item veto, if refused I would set up a 5-person panel to review every line in the budget and then publish on the web how individual senators and representatives are wasting tax dollars. Perhaps public humiliation and getting voted out of office would slow the spending.

I would tell the Iranian leadership that if a nuclear weapon goes off anywhere in the world we will consider it an attack by Iran on the U.S. and will retalliate in kind.

I would push to further develop missile defense systems so we can shoot down North Korean missiles 10 seconds after the launch. This way the flaming wreckage will fall on their heads. Also, I would stop all NK ships at sea for inspection, stop sending fuel and food. Then I will wait for Kim to die or be killed by his starving peasants.

I would recognize Taiwan as an independent nation. When China cries and threatens invasion we can tell them to grow up or suffer a trade embargo with the U.S.

I would repeal most farm subsidies.

And no list would be complete with out ordering the repeal of the designated hitter rule.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

German Army On Israel's Border, Oprah Attacks Iran

No the Wehrmach is not attacking, but in a case of how stupid can a government Germany offered its troops to participate in any multinational peace keeping force that is sent to separate the Israelis from the Hezbollah terrorist.

Of course the Israelis were appalled and rightly so. Who knows if some Nazi-engineered DNA might kick in once the German troops are on the border forcing the Germans to invade. The Israelis would shred the once vaunted German Army, but still.....

The other bit of news from bizarro land comes from Time Magazine. The story's topic is to look at how Iranians view the Lebanese situation, but this paragraph is what caught my eye.

Parvin Heydari, an Iranian mother of two, was flipping back and forth between the nightly news and Oprah when a bulletin on an Iranian state channel caught her attention.

I cannot believe the Iranians can watch Oprah. No wonder they hate us. All that talk about Dr. Phil and her boyfriend Sted whatever, that is why they are attempting to build a nuclear missile. To take out Oprah's studio.

So at least we now know how to cool down that crisis.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Here is a very interesting interview from Fox News.

The ex-CIA official Bob Baer has some interesting comments regarding Israel's ability to find and destroy Hezbollah.

Never Burn Your Bridges

A sharp eyed UK official stopped this wonderful human being Omar Bakri from escaping Beirut.Save Me ... Bakri in SOS plea to Britain

According to Gateway Pundit, he was begging to jump onto one of Her Majesty's Ships to escape the fighting. He was refused entry and cannot return to his Syrian homeland because he tried to overthrow the government there at some point in his past. Bakri had praised terrorists and the Sept. 11 attacks, but for him its easier to encourage others to die then face possible death himself.

I guess those with the biggest mouths are also the biggest cowards.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Perception and Time Magazine

Time Magazine is running an interesting/poorly written story about soldiers downloading home videos ont0 YouTube.

The story's harps on the fact that the videos paint a bleak picture of what is going on in Iraq, thus backing up Time's viewpoint that the war is a mistake.

What Time either decided not to include in the story or simply did not consider is that any soldier in any war is going to give a horrifically gloomy report about what they are experiencing. Whether a war being fought is universally accepted by the home population, and truly only WWII falls into this category, or if there are weekly riots taking place to halt the fighting, the guys on the front line are not likely to be happy.

The difference now is they can directly show the world what they are experiencing through sites like YouTube. This is a truly remarkable capability and hands the soldiers a great deal of personal power. For example. would the Roman Empire have existed if the average Roman saw the entire population of Carthage being slaughtered or if a video was sent home of Germanic tribes killing 25,000 Roman soldiers in a day. Maybe not.

Battle front photos by Matthew Brady during the U.S. Civil War caused a furor in the North. The sight of dozens of corpses spread around the Gettysburg battlefield severly hampered the North's desire to keep up the fight.

So without any thought Time decides that select YouTube videos show morale in Iraq is shot and the soldiers hate being there. Well, duh. Did anyone in the 101st Airborne want to be surrounded in Bastogne in December 19944? No. Being on the front line sucks, period. Who in their right mind wants to get shot at on a daily basis. Just because a person is a soldier or Marine does not mean they want to be where they can get killed.

It would also have been nice if Time bothered to discuss the other videos on YouTube. While not necessarily uplifting they something other then guys upset that they are guarding cheesecake deliveries. There are hundreds of these, but evidently not worth Time's time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Joey Buttafuoco Effect Strikes Again

Just for kicks I checked my StatCounter account this morning to see how many people came to read my very wise take on the Middle East situation. Instead I found 39 hits generated on July 12, which I thought strange because I had not posted anything that day or all that week.

Luckily StatCounter tells you what the search parameters were used by those who visited your site. All but two included the words Joey Buttafuoco, Amy Fisher or Mary Jo Buttafuoco. A quick web search found that Joey managed to get his dumb ass thrown into the clink on July 12, thus generating a quick burst of interest in Long Island's biggest fool.

Good old Joey was bagged for falsifying insurance claims at his San Fernando valley auto collision shop and then police found ammo inside his home. A no-no for a felon. love the picture)

So now Joey gets to spend a year fighting for his life in a California jail. But on the bright side my site is now more popular then ever.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

War Or No War

There is an important question that I'm sure is being bandied about in the White House and Pentagon this week. Will the battles raging along Israel's border expand across the Middle East on their own and if not should we consider spreading the battle ourselves?

I seriously doubt the war will increase in scope past the point of the Israeli Defense Force once again occupying a strip of southern Lebanon. First, Israel would need additional provocation from Syria or Iran to warrant attacks on those nations. Yet the IDF has not done so even with the evidence in hand that Syria has supplied the rockets now hitting Israeli cities and that Iran supplied the anti-shipping missile that struck the Israeli warship last week.

On the other side Syria and Iran know if they were to lend a direct, helping hand to Hezbollah they would be defeated by the IDF. The IDF is possibly the most professional and deadly armed force in the world outside the U.S. and UK. So any attack by Syria or Iran would result in the total destruction of Syria. Iran being farther away is safer, but also less able to directly strike Israel.

The part of the question that may also be under consideration is whether the U.S. should push to spread the war. The can of worms opened by such a move would be huge, but the possible payoff would be equally as impressive.

Radical Islam has never gone to the negotiating table in good faith. The best example is that of the PLO. The PLO was offered a sweet deal to end its conflict with Isreal through the Dayton Accords. It's response was to start a war that used hundreds of suicide bombers to attack Israel.

So if you cannot talk sense then you must use force. Radical Islam must be destroyed. Starting last week Israel got off to a good start on this job by attacking Hezbollah. That group made the classic military mistake of provoking and then deciding to take on a world power in a more or less conventional fight. A fight it can never win, even with Allah's help.

However, even if Israel crushes Hezbollah in Lebanon and forces its survivors to flee to Syria the group will come back to fight again another day. As long as Hezbollah, Hamas and al Queda have the support and safe haven offered by Syria and Iran they cannot be eliminated.

That means the support system must be cut.

This opens another Pandora's Box of problem. Primarily what to do with a defeated Syria and Iran. Iraq has not proven to be as easy to fix as originally thought. Of course, much of our grief there has been caused by Iran and Syria supporting the militants.

That leads to the thought of how much of the terrorist tumor must be excised from the Middle East to stop the cancer from returning? Are there any other nations that can take over their role? Libya has apparantly gone straight. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have actually denounced Hezbollah during the past week and Pakistan has enough problems of its own with India.

I think it might very well be in the world's best interest to finally take out Syria and Iran. This is no simple task. Our military is dangerously over stretched right now. It would require the activation of most of our National Guard and Reserve forces, not to mention the temporary disruption it would cause to the world's economy.

People forget that everyone, not just the troops, must deal with shortages, high prices and other stresses during a time of war. There was massive rationing during WWII, something similar might have to be imposed again. But if such an action could undercut the terrorists for once and for all it would be worth the effort and financial cost.

There are

Monday, July 17, 2006

Israel vs. Hezbollah

It's no contest. Hezbollah loses.

I disagree with all those who say Israel is over reacting with its retaliatory attacks against the Lebanon-based terror group. Terror groups inherently understand violence. It is their currency. So massive attacks are the best method of dealing with even the slightest incursion.

The only point I think Israel failed to cover was in dealing with the democratically elected Lebanese government. The Lebanese cannot be happy that the southern portion of their country is controlled by Hezbollah. Israel should have offered a helping hand to the badly trained and supplied Lebanese army saying it should join Israel in a joint attack to eliminate the terrorist. This would have killed two birds with one stone and made the massive attacks more palatable to the world.

Israel still has time to make this offer, one Lebanese officials can hardly afford to disregard. It will be another day or two until enough Israeli troops are mobilized and readied for the ground phase of this operation. One that is certain to take place unless the UN manages to place troops along the border, something that is very unlikely since the US is the only nation capable of moving large numbers of soldiers on short notice.

Israel should publicly apologize for the damage being done to Lebanon's infrastructure, but state that it is necessary in order to eliminate the terrorists. Then follow up with an offer to help rebuild the country once the bad guys are sent fleeing to Syria.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wall Street Jitters

I still don't understand how Wall Street traders interpret the news.

Today the market did poorly and oil prices shot to a new high all because of North Korea's missile launches. If Iran were to launch a missile I could see the problem. It sits next to most of the world's oil supply.

North Korea, on the other hand, is possibly the worlds least important nation. So naturally oil futures shot up and the market dropped 80 points on "geopolitical jitters." This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Every freaking day there is a problem some place in the world.

North Korea has no natural resources, no international economy to speak of and it's main export is starving North Koreans who seek refuge in China. Now, any country whose population heads to China looking for a better way of life really must suck.

On top of it all the one important missile tested failed. The ICBM that could possibly hit the U.S. exploded 40 seconds into its flight. The other six missiles fired into the sea of Japan were smaller Scud type missiles. These have no targeting ability. They simply hit whatever is underneath them at the end of their ballistic arc. The U.S. response was to call for a diplomatic solution to the North Korean problem. Hardly, sabre wrattling.

So why all the anxiety on Wall Street?

The only reason I can come up with is that the average Wall Streeter responsible for buying and selling has no concept of what is important in the news. They simply react without any effort to put the day's news into any type of context.

If the U.S. had shot down the missile or if the North Koreans had hit Japan or South Korea thus initiating a regional war then I would say the market would have every reason to react as it did today. But the only thing that happened was the UN met to consider a resolution demanding santions against the North. Sanctions that would cut exports of oil and food to that pathetic nation, hardly effecting the rest of us except for making more food and oil available for the world's markets.