Saturday, July 31, 2010

U.. Marine Recruit Rejected For Confederate Flag Tattoo

From Confederate Digest:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

U.S. Marine Recruit rejected for Confederate Flag Tattoo

By Lt. Gene Williams

I have always been proud of my time spent as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. I served in the Republic of Vietnam in 1969 and, while I was certainly no “John Wayne” type, I tried to do my duty to the best of my ability and I did bring all of my platoon out of Vietnam alive.

This past summer, the son of a frend of mine was very ‘gung ho’ about joining the Marines and asked my opinion, which I tried to give as honestly as possible, warts and all. I don’t know if my discussions had any influence on him, but he enlisted, completed all of the pre-enlistment tests and physical exams and went to all of the pre-enlistment meetings. To say the least, he was very excited about serving his country in the Corps.

Shortly before he left Nashville for boot camp, he was told he could not serve his country because he had a Confederate Battle Flag tattooed on his shoulder in an area that would be completely covered by a t-shirt, and certainly by his uniform.

When informed of this, I went to the local recruiting station that had processed this young man to see if I were getting the entire story. The recruiter, a staff sergeant, told me, “Yes, sir. The Marine Corps considers the Confederate Flag a ‘hate symbol,’ but if the young man in question had a state or U.S. flag tattoo, that would be acceptable.”

I informed the young sergeant that my family had defended the State of Tennessee (also his home state) against a sadistic invasion under that flag and to call our sacred flag of honour a ‘hate symbol was an insult to ALL southerners, but especially to those southereners who had risked or even given their lives in service to the Marine Corps. Southerners had served at Belleau Woods, at Taraw and Iwo Jima, at Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir, and at Khe Sahn and Hue City, but now we are no longer wanted in the politically-correct don’t-offend-any-minorities military? (This was just prior to the Fort Hood massacre)

He was polite, even sympathetic, but said the flag policy was a Marine Corps policy from Headquarters Marine Corps and not a local decision. After informing the sergeant that it seemed to me that our military was building a mercenary force of illegal aliens while rejecting native-born Americans in order to have a ready force to turn, without question, on American citizens, I asked the sergeant if he had taken out the trash yet. He replied that he hadn’t.

I then said, “Please add these to the day’s garbage,” and returned my lieutenant’s bars, my gold and silver Marine Corps emblem from my dress blues, my shooting badges and my Vietnam ribbons.

I, like many of you, have always been told, “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” and “There are no ex-Marines, only former Marines,” but for me that is no longer true.

I was born in the South. I was raised here. I raised my family in the South and some day, God-willing, I hope to be buried in the native soil of our Southern homeland. I have always considered myself a Southerner first, and will remain so, despite any other organization that I may temporarily join.

I will never make a critical remark about a veteran, from any branch of the service, but from now on, I will do everything in my power to discourage any Southern young man, or lady, from becoming a future veteran. I am now an ex-Marine.

Gene Andrews, ex-Marine

1st Lieutenant 3rd Marine division


This article can be found on the web pages of the Missouri Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, James Morgan Utz Camp. Here is a link:

Posted by J. Stephen Conn at 1:08 PM

New START: Is It A Step In The Right Direction?

from The American Thinker:

July 31, 2010

A step in the right direction?

Debra Baker

Negotiators from the U.S. and Russia recently completed a nuclear weapons treaty cleverly called "New START." Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed it to much fanfare, and as an Advocate of the Air Force Association, I have been very interested in its military ramifications. The treaty mandates limits of 1,550 nuclear warheads and 700 delivery systems (bombers and ballistic missiles) for each side. While the treaty is certainly a step in the direction of reducing nuclear weapons, an important question remains: does it make us safer?

A few facts. New START requires the U.S. to eliminate 80 more warheads than the Russians and to eliminate 150 delivery systems while Russia can add 130 systems, counting older systems it was intending to scrap and as well as adding new ones. The U.S. gets to keep its nuclear triad of delivery systems: 420 ICBMs, 14 submarines carrying up to 240 SLBMs, and up to 60 nuclear capable heavy bombers. If a technical problem arises in one of the triad systems, we can still rearrange its nuclear forces within treaty limits to compensate. The treaty does not address tactical nuclear weapons at all, where Russia is reported to have a 10-to-one advantage.

One important aspect of the new treaty is that the intrusive verification process, ensuring compliance by both sides, continues. Since the original START treaty expired in December 2009, short-notice inspections of both deployed and non-deployed weapons systems and verification of the numbers of warheads carried on strategic missiles have been conducted. This verification process gives the U.S. a way to understand Russian force deployments and contributes to our ability to plan our own modernization efforts. Even if Russia did cheat, the U.S. would still have the ability to deter any surprise Russian aggression. Absent New START, we would have had to rely solely on intelligence estimates.

Of course, deterrence might be affected in the long run if we do not upgrade our aging nuclear infrastructure, find ways to extend the life of the Minuteman III through 2030, and come up with a replacement. It does us no good if this treaty is ratified but we do not modernize the nuclear infrastructure that keeps this nation and our allies secure. And as we draw down nuclear warheads, both sides must install safeguards to guarantee that nuclear weapons and their parts will be protected, recorded and kept away from terrorists and other rogue entities. This is why not addressing tactical weapons in New START is an important omission.

But does all this make us safer? New START is a vestige of the Cold War. Russia and the United States are not the world's only nuclear powers; at least half a dozen other nations- China, France, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom-are known to have nuclear weapons. Several others are thought to have them or may be seeking to acquire them. But the U.S. and Russia are the only nations affected by this treaty. Real nuclear safety will come about only when all nuclear powers are known and all are committed to reducing, and ultimately eliminating, their nuclear arsenals.

The New START treaty is a positive but incomplete step. Even within its context, the United States will need to keep its eyes open at all times and invest in modernizing and securing our nuclear enterprise. Eliminating nuclear weapons is a worthy, but unrealistic goal which will require the participation of more than just two nuclear nations, particularly two which are among the least likely to use them. Meanwhile, the real world remains a dangerous place.

Posted at 01:00 AM

More Details On North Korean Arms Sales To Al Queda

From One Free Korea and ROK Drop:

More Details On North Korea Selling Weapons to Al Qaeda & the Taliban

Published on July 30, 2010 in Afghanistan. 1 Comment

Tags: Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, North Korea.

One Free Korea has more on the North Koreans selling weapons to Al Qaeda and the Taliban from the WikiLeaks report that I posted on a few days ago. Here is an excerpt from the Washington Post report he linked to:

A powerful Afghan insurgent leader and a man identified as Osama Bin Laden’s financial adviser purchased ground-to-air missiles from North Korea in 2005, according to an uncorroborated U.S. intelligence report released by Wikileaks on Sunday.

“On 19 November 2005, Hezb-Islami party leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar [sic] and Dr. Amin [no last name], Osama Bin Ladin’s financial advisor, both flew to North Korea departing from Iran,” the undated report said.

“While in North Korea, the two confirmed a deal with the North Korean government for remote controlled rockets for use against American and coalition aircraft,” said the report, whose origin could not be determined from the version published on the Wikileaks site. [Washington Post]

For those that don’t know Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is considered to be among the most ruthless and extreme of the Afghan warlords and has had deep ties to Osama bin Laden, the CIA, the Pakistani ISI, and the drug trade. So if he is traveling to Iran and then North Korea to purchase weapons, he was doing it with the complicity of the Pakistani ISI. He has also had some success shooting down coalition helicopters. As One Free Korea rightfully points out once again, how come North Korea was taken off the State Sponsors of Terrorism List?

It makes me wonder if the North Korea weapons filled planes and boats detained over the past year headed for Iran had a final destination of Afghanistan?

Anyway those of you that follow North Korea closely probably will not be surprised by this statement from Robert Koehler that sums up North Korea nicely, but it is still useful to continue to remind people why North Korea acts the way it does so brazenly:

Seriously, though, next time you here someone claim North Korea’s just afraid of America, kick him in the nuts, because no country remotely respectful of American might would even countenance selling missiles to al-Qaeda or the Taliban (or transfer nuclear technology to Syria, sink a South Korean warship, etc.). Pyongyang does what it does not because it’s frightened, but because it thinks — no, it knows — not a single bomb will fall on it.

Founding Member Of Al Queda-linked Group In Philippines Pleads Guilty In Kidnappings Of Americans

from Creeping Sharia:

Founding member of al Qaeda-linked group pleads guilty in kidnappings of Americans

Posted on July 31, 2010 by creeping

via Founding member of militant group pleads guilty in kidnapping of 16 vacationers.

WASHINGTON — A founding member of a Muslim militant group has pleaded guilty in the kidnapping of 16 people, including four Americans, at a Philippine resort 15 years ago.

During an appearance in federal court Wednesday, Madhatta Haipe admitted that he and several armed members of the Abu Sayyaf group kidnapped the vacationers for ransom.

Haipe was extradited from the Philippines to the United States last year, and at his sentencing Dec. 14 he will face up to life in prison on each of four counts of hostage taking.

Abu Sayyaf is suspected of having received funds and training from al-Qaida and is on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

Its bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings of hostages have made it the Philippines’ most brutal rebel group.

More – it’s just a short leap from professor of Islamic studies to waging jihad full-time:

Considered a bomb expert, Haipe, 48, was the Abu Sayyaf’s secretary general and finance officer. He is also a former professor of Islamic Studies at Mindanao State University and a member of the Moro National Liberation Front

Haipe told the court that he organized the kidnapping of four Americans, one US permanent resident and 11 Filipinos who were vacationing in the forested and mountainous Traan-Kine Spring Resort near Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, on Dec. 27, 1995.

Haipe said he told the hostages that they would be held for ransom. He warned the group, which included six children, that Abu Sayyaf members would track and kill them if they told anyone about their kidnapping after their release.

The hostages were forced to march up a mountainside. Some of the adult hostages had rope tied around their hands or neck.

Four hostages were released shortly after being kidnapped to allow the group to collect a total of P1 million in ransom, a statement released by the US Embassy in Manila said. Four days later, the remaining hostages were freed.

Haipe is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Richard Roberts on Dec. 14, and faces up to 25 years in prison as part of a plea agreement.

The Abu Sayyaf, a US-designated terror organization, was founded in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network to fight for an independent Islamist state in Mindanao.

Its members often resort to kidnappings, mainly targeting foreigners and Christians, to raise funds from ransoms. Failure to pay ransom often results in the beheading of the hostages.

The group is also capable of much bigger strikes, such as the bombing of a ferry in Manila Bay in 2004 that claimed more than 100 lives. It was the nation’s worst terrorist attack

Three Kenyan Men Charged With Bombings Which Killed 76 Ugandans Watching A Soccer Game

from Gateway Pundit:

Three Kenyan men charged with Uganda bomb attacks

Posted by Lady Liberty on Saturday, July 31, 2010, 7:56 AM

The three men did not speak during their court appearance

Three Kenyans have been charged with the murders of 76 people killed when bombs exploded as they watched the World Cup on TV in Kampala, Uganda.

And remember, President Obama says they’re RACISTS!

Hussein Hassan Agad, 27, Mohamed Adan Abdow, 25, and Idris Magondu, 42, were also charged with terrorism and 10 counts of attempted murder.

They have yet to enter pleas and will remain in custody until their next court appearance on 27 August.

Al-Shabab, a Somali Islamist group, said it carried out the attacks.


The three men, all residents of Kenya, appeared on Friday in a Kampala magistrates court.

The charge sheet identified Hussein Hassan Agad as “a preacher of Islam”, while Idris Magondu was identified as an employee of a trading company in Nairobi, Kenya.

The men were charged with 89 offences. They face 61 counts of murder for those killed at the Kyadondo Rugby Club and 15 counts for those killed at the Ethiopian restaurant.

The charges also include three counts of terrorism and 10 counts of attempted murder.

The men did not speak during their court appearance.

The three will reappear at the magistrates court on 27 August, but will not be permitted to plead to the charges until Uganda’s Directorate of Public Prosecutions decides the case is ready to move to the High Court.

The three men were remanded in custody.

The BBC’s Ignatius Bahizi, who was in court, says the men were arrested on 12 July, the day after the bombings.

There was no indication of how long they had been in Uganda prior to the attacks, he added.

He says at least 27 people have been arrested by an international team of investigators, including the FBI.

Police said they will bring more suspects to court in the coming days.


Interpol Releases Images of Uganda Bombers From Heads Found at the Scene

Obama Concerned that Al-Qaeda Is Racist After Africans Are Killed in Bombings

BOMBINGS IN UGANDA KILL 64 – Al-Qaeda Affiliate Suspected

The Lebanese Flotilla Farce

from The middle East Affairs Information Center:

The Lebanese Flotilla Farce

On 07.31.10, In Anti-Zionism, Gaza and Westbank, Humanitarian Aid, Islam Fundamentalists, Israel, Jew-Hatred, The Gaza Flotilla, The Lebanese Flotilla, Posted By Crethi Plethi.

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Thu, July 29, 2010
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
the Wall Street Journal
By Danny Ayalon

A Palestinian refugee collects metal and plastic objects at a garbage dump in the Palestinian refugee camp of Beddawi near Tripoli. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Flotilla Farce

Whether they are from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate reek of hypocrisy

In an Op-Ed published in the Wall Street Journal today (July 29 2010), Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon discusses the hypocrisy behind the flotilla from Lebanon, and notes that with over 400,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon deprived of their basic rights and treated like second class citizens, it is truly ironic that a Lebanese flotilla is organizing to leave the port of Tripoli in the next few days to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Furthermore, with over a hundred armed conflicts and dozens of territorial disputes around the world, with hundreds of millions around the world living in abject poverty without access to basic staples, it seems quite extraordinary that hundreds of high-minded “humanitarian activists” are spending millions of dollars to reach Gaza and hand money to Hamas that will never reach the innocent civilians of Gaza – an attitude that exposes the dishonesty of the whole flotilla exercise.

While Israel’s policy is to continue to see that all civilian needs are addressed, it cannot allow Hamas to rearm and use Gaza as a base to attack Israel and beyond. For this reason, Israel initiated a blockade, fully legal under international law. Despite this, organizations that wish to deliver goods or aid to Gaza are welcome to do so through the Kerem Shalom crossing. DFM Ayalon adds that anyone seeking to break the blockade is interested only in provocation. If these confrontational flotillas – which have nothing to do with humanitarian concerns and everything to do with delegitimizing Israel – successfully open up a shipping lane for arms smuggling, then not only will the entire region suffer, but the peace process will be endangered as well.

From the Wall Street Journal:

A couple of years ago, a Palestinian refugee camp was encircled and laid siege to by an army of tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers. Attacks initiated by Palestinian militants triggered an overwhelming response from the army that took the life of almost 500 people, including many civilians. International organizations struggled to send aid to the refugee camps, where the inhabitants were left without basic amenities like electricity and running water. During the conflict, six U.N. personnel were killed when their car was bombed.

Government ministers and spokesmen tried to explain to the international community that the Palestinian militants were backed by Syria and global jihadist elements. Al Qaeda condemned the government and the army, declaring that the attack was part of a “crusade” against their Palestinian brothers.

While most will assume that the events described above took place in the West Bank or Gaza, they actually took place in Lebanon in the summer of 2007, when Palestinian terrorists attacked the Lebanese Army, which struck back with deadly force. The scene of most of the fighting was the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Northern Lebanon, which was home to the Islamist Fatah al-Islam, a group that has links with al Qaeda.

At the time, there was little international outcry. No world leader decried the “prison camps” in Lebanon. No demonstrations took place around the world; no U.N. investigation panels were created and little media attention was attracted. In fact, the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon garners very little attention internationally.

Today, there are more than 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon who are deprived of their most basic rights. The Lebanese government has a list of tens of professions that a Palestinian is forbidden from being engaged in, including professions such as medicine, law and engineering. Palestinians are forbidden from owning property and need a special permit to leave their towns. Unlike all other foreign nationals in Lebanon, they are denied access to the health-care system. According to Amnesty international, the Palestinians in Lebanon suffer from “discrimination and marginalization” and are treated like “second class citizens” and “denied their full range of human rights.”

Amnesty also states that most Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have little choice but to live in overcrowded and deteriorating camps and informal gatherings that lack basic infrastructure.

In view of the worsening plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon, it is the height of irony that a Lebanese flotilla is organizing to leave the port of Tripoli in the next few days to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. According to one of the organizers, the participants are “united by a feeling of stark injustice.”

This attitude exposes the dishonesty of the whole flotilla exercise. Whether it is from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate in these flotillas reek of hypocrisy. There are currently 100 armed conflicts and dozens of territorial disputes around the world. There have been millions of people killed and hundreds of millions live in abject poverty without access to basic staples. And yet hundreds of high-minded “humanitarian activists” are spending millions of dollars to reach Gaza and hand money to Hamas that will never reach the innocent civilians of Gaza.

This is the same Gaza that just opened a sparkling new shopping mall that would not look out of place in any capital in Europe. Gaza, where a new Olympic-sized swimming pool was recently inaugurated and five-star hotels and restaurants offer luxurious fare.

Markets brimming with all manner of foods dot the landscape of Gaza, where Lauren Booth, journalist and “human rights activist,” was pictured buying chocolate and luxurious items from a well-stocked supermarket before stating with a straight face that the “situation in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur.”

No one claims that the situation in Gaza is perfect. Since the bloody coup and occupation by Hamas of Gaza in 2007, in which more than 100 Palestinians were killed, Israel has had no choice but to ensure that Hamas is not able to build up an Iranian port on the shores of the Mediterranean. Until Hamas meets the three standards laid out by the international community, namely renouncing violence, recognizing Israel’s right to exist and abiding by previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Hamas will continue to be shunned by the international community.

While Israel’s policy is to continue to see that all civilian needs are addressed, it can not allow Hamas to rearm and use Gaza as a base to attack Israel and beyond. For this reason, Israel initiated a blockade, fully legal under international law, to ensure that no items can be appropriated by Hamas to attack innocent civilians. Organizations that wish to join the U.N. and the Red Cross to deliver goods or aid to Gaza are welcome to do so through the Kerem Shalom crossing or even through Egyptian ports. Those that refuse and seek to break the legal blockade to boost Hamas are interested in provocation. If Israel allows these confrontational flotillas to successfully open up a shipping lane for arms smuggling for an Iranian proxy, then the region will suffer from continuous conflict. Actions that embolden the extremists will be at the cost of the moderates and this will pose a grave danger to moving the peace process forward.

The latest flotilla preparing to leave from Lebanon fully exposes not only the hypocrisy but the danger of these provocative vigilante flotillas. The Lebanese flotilla, whose organizers claim injustice while ignoring the dire human rights situation of the Palestinians in Lebanon, amply demonstrate that these flotillas have nothing to do with humanitarian concerns and everything to do with delegitimizing Israel.

Mr. Ayalon is Israel’s deputy minister of foreign affairs.
From Bare Naked Islam:

PAYBACK for rocket attack on Israeli city, IDF airstrike kills Hamas commander

Hamas vows revenge. Israel yawns. (Bring a knife to the fight and we will bring a gun)

AFP GAZA CITY– Hamas vowed revenge on Saturday after Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed a senior militant and wounded eight other people. The overnight Israeli raids came after a rocket fired from the strip hit a southern Israeli city and prompting sharp criticism from the United Nations.

One Hamas militant was killed in an airstrike on a caravan near the Magazhi refugee camp in the centre of the Palestinian enclave, a Hamas official said. The Israeli military said the site was “a weapons-manufacturing warehouse.”

In a statement on Saturday, the military wing of Hamas identified the man as Issa al-Batran, 40, and said he was a senior field commander. ”These new Zionist crimes will not pass without answer,” the statement said.

July 31, 2010

Thank God For The Whistle-Blowers

from Truthdigg and

Robert Scheer's Columns

Thank God for the Whistle-Blowers

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Posted on Jul 27, 2010

AP / Maya Alleruzzo

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew, left, and Adm. Mike Mullen at a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, on Tuesday. Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters he was “appalled” by the leak and “there is a real potential threat there to put American lives at risk.”

Q & A - Live Chat with Robert Scheer

A live Q & A session related to this column took place on July 29, 2010 at 11:00 am PT.

Click here to view the transcript.

By Robert Scheer

What WikiLeaks did was brilliant journalism, and the bleating critics from the president on down are revealing just how low a regard they have for the truth. As with Richard Nixon’s rage against the publication of the Pentagon Papers, our leaders are troubled not by the prospect of these revelations endangering troops but rather endangering their own political careers. It is our president who unnecessarily sacrifices the lives of our soldiers and not those in the press who let the public in on the folly of the mission itself.

What the documents exposed is the depth of chicanery that surrounds the Afghanistan occupation at every turn because we have stumbled into a regional quagmire of such dark and immense proportions that any attempt to connect this failed misadventure with a recognizable U.S. national security interest is doomed. What is revealed on page after page is that none of the local actors, be they labeled friend or foe, give a whit about our president’s agenda. They are focused on prizes, passions and causes that are obsessively homegrown.

Our fixation on al-Qaida has nothing to do with them. President Barack Obama’s top national security adviser admitted as much when he said last December that there were fewer than 100 of those foreign fighters left in Afghanistan. Those who do remain in the region are hunkered down in Pakistan, and as the leaked documents reveal, that nation is just toying with us by pretending to cooperate while its intelligence service continues to support our proclaimed enemies. As Gen. Stanley McChrystal made clear in his famous report, the battles in Afghanistan are tribal in nature and the agendas are local—be they about drugs, religion or the economic power of military blackmail. The documents contain a steady drumbeat of local hustles that are certainly deadly but rise to the level of a national security threat against the U.S. only when we insist on making their history our own.

It has ever been so with the Afghans, and our continued attempt to bend their passions to our purposes will always lead to horrid results. That is, in fact, just how their nation came to be the launching pad for the 9/11 attacks, which is the ostensible purpose of our occupation. We meddled in their history in a grand Cold War adventure to humble the Soviets by attacking the secular government in Kabul with which Moscow sided.

When presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs intones, “We are in this region of the world because of what happened on 9/11,” he is mouthing a dangerous half-truth. The opposite is the case: 9/11 happened because the U.S. was in the region, and not the other way around. Entanglement with Afghanistan has been based on a tissue of lies since day one, when Jimmy Carter first decided to throw in with the religious fanatics there, as current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates revealed in his 1996 memoir. Gates had served on Carter’s National Security Council and in his book exposed what the publisher touted as “Carter’s never-before revealed covert support to Afghan mujahedeen—six months before the Soviets invaded.”


Our government recruited terrorists from the Arab world to go to Afghanistan and fight in that holy war against godless communism with even greater enthusiasm during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who proclaimed the Muslim fanatics “freedom fighters.” As the 9/11 Commission report stated, those freedom fighters included Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks.

Three years before that attack, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security adviser, was asked in an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur if he regretted “having given arms and advice to future terrorists,” and he answered: “What is most important to the history of the world? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”

One of Carter’s advisers back then was Richard Holbrooke, now Obama’s top civilian adviser on Afghanistan. Clearly he knows quite a bit about stirring up Muslims, and someone should ask him about the brilliant decision to give heat-seeking Stinger rockets to those same fanatics who then turned them against our side, according to the recently disclosed documents. They never learn. It was Holbrooke who helped design the Vietnam-era assassination programs exposed in the Pentagon Papers and now replicated in the Afghanistan documents.

Thanks to Daniel Ellsberg, who risked much to make the record of the Vietnam War public, we learned about the madness that Holbrooke and others were creating. We should be grateful to the whistle-blowers who gave us the Afghanistan war documents for once again letting us in on the sick joke that passes for U.S foreign policy.

Wikileaks: Who's Hiding What And Why


WikiLeaks: Who's Hiding What and Why

by Fred Reed

by Fred Reed

Recently by Fred Reed: Psychopathy Legitimized

Two ways exist of looking at WikiLeaks, the site that publicizes secret military documents and videos. The first is held self-interestedly by the Pentagon and by Fox News, the voice of an angry lower-middle class without too much education. These believe that Wikileakers are traitors, haters of America, who give aid and comfort to the enemy and endanger the lives of Our Boys.

Implicit in the Foxian view is a vague idea that the leaks give away important – well, stuff. You know, maybe frequencies of something or other, or locations of ambushes or, well, things. Important things. The Taliban will use this information to kill American soldiers. The notion is vague, as are those who hold it, but emotionally potent.

The other view, held usually by people who have some experience of Washington, is that the Pentagon is worried not about the divulging of tactical secrets, but about public relations. WikiLeaks doesn’t endanger soldiers, insists this way of looking at things, but the war itself, and all the juiceful contracts and promotions and so on entailed by wars.

Which is obvious if you look at what the military (the president, remember, is commander-in-chief) actually does. Remember the military’s frantic efforts to suppress the photos of torture at Abu Ghraib, photos of prisoners lying in pools of blood while grinning girl soldiers play with them? These had zero tactical importance. They did however threaten to arouse the Pentagon’s worst enemy.

The American public.

In recent decades the military has almost achieved its wettest dream, the separation of wars from the American population. The fielding of a small volunteer army prevents the riots on campus that helped to end the adventure in Asia long ago. “Embedding” reporters with combat units pretty much prevents coverage that might upset people. The media for whatever reasons are now complicit, declining to air what really happens on the ground. All of this allows ghastly behavior, which is what wars always produce, to go forward with little opposition.

Ah, but leaks, YouTube, holes in the wall of silence – these pose real threats to the flow of contracts.

If you don’t think that contracts – money – have a great deal to do with wars, reflect that all those hundreds of billions of dollars end up in pockets, and those pockets do not belong to soldiers. Makers of body armor, boots, ammunition, helicopters, on and on, are rolling in gravy. All this half-watched loot flows in cataracts at the price of at most sixty dead American kids a month (and lots of brain-damaged droolers, but what the hey). A bargain. Afghans don’t count.

Note that the Pentagon’s orchestrated screaming has not been about technical data that might in fact get GIs killed, but about revelation of the ugly things the US is doing to people. Consider the footage of an American helicopter gunship killing pedestrians in a city street, and apparently having just a swell time doing it. This didn’t reveal military secrets. But it showed the gunship crew as the butchers they are. Bad juju for the military. PR is all.

The pattern holds. Remember when the White House furiously suppressed video of torture? The Taliban would have garnered no tactically devastating details. But men screaming, choking, crying, bleeding, begging – even the patriotic might gag.

Why are the fun and games at Guantanamo kept secret? Watching a man die under torture does not make it easier for the Taliban to ambush Marines. In no way would it endanger American forces. But it would endanger the war. The golden goose.

Then there was the photo of the hideously wounded and dying GI that was (miraculously) published in the New York Times. SAD Robert Gates (Secretary of Alleged Defense) said that the publication was “irresponsible.” Oh? How so? The Taliban could have gotten no militarily useful pointers from seeing an expanse of red gushing meat (the leg looked to have been nearly severed). But people in Kansas might look and think twice about the war.

The whole profitable circus rides on keeping things abstract. The war isn’t children looking at their entrails in brief puzzlement as they bleed to death. (Just what do you think happens when you bomb a village?) No. It is about Islamo-fascism, the Gates of Vienna, national security, the War on Terror, and it is done with precision weapons that kill only the evil ones.

Remember when Bush II forbade the photographing of coffins coming back into Dover AFB (I think it was)? That lamentable president said the prohibition was to “protect the privacy” of the dead. (The inside of an anonymous coffin isn’t private?) Those photos contained no military information – but they could have made the public think. Bad. Very bad.

The Taliban can keep the war going, which is fine for the military, but they can’t end it. The American public could. No more contracts.

Can you think of a single instance in which the information to be revealed was of military value? The detailed workings of an IED detector? The name of a Talibani secretly working with the US? The date and place of an attack by a team of Special Forces? Or is the suppression always aimed at keeping Americans in the dark?

There is of course a great deal to hide in any war, but particularly in one such as that in Afghanistan. In any guerrilla war, the soldiers quickly come to hate the locals. In Afghanistan, as in Viet Nam, virtually no American speaks the language, the “intelligence” outfits are clueless, the troops don’t really care who they kill, and pilots bomb according to their own or some intel weenie’s guess as to who they see on the ground. Atrocities, intended or not, occur daily. All of this has to be lied about, concealed, papered over. Concealed from the American public, I mean. The Afghans already know about it.

It works. A decade into the war, Fox cheerleads onward, interviewing former CIA thisses and military thats, generating a warm glow of togetherness aimed perhaps more at liberals than at the Islamo-whatevers. The Wickileakers are putting Our Boys in danger as they risk their lives for Freedom and Democracy.

Next to sex, the strongest human instinct seems to be to form groups and hate other groups. I have long suspected that the bulk of humanity has more glands than neurons. It never changes. I need a drink.

July 31, 2010

Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well and A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be. His latest book is Curmudgeing Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung Beetle. Visit his blog.

Copyright © 2010 Fred Reed

The Best of Fred Reed

Gingrich At AEI: This Is Not A War On Terrorism....This Is A Struggle With Radical Islamists....

from Jihad Watch:

Gingrich at American Enterprise Institute: "This is not a war on terrorism. Terrorism is an activity. This is a struggle with radical Islamists in both their militant and their stealth form."

"...The stealth form believes in using cultural, intellectual, and political [means]. But their end goal is exactly the same."

While the emphasis on "radical Islamists" sidesteps the fundamental ideological cause of Islamic jihad -- the teachings of the Qur'an and the sayings and example of Muhammad -- there are several promising moments in this six-minute segment. Most of all:

"One of the things I am going to suggest today is a federal law which says no court anywhere in the United States under any circumstance is allowed to consider Sharia as a replacement for American law."

Of course, Oklahoma was mocked for attempting this at the state level. But on the other hand, it would come too late for the New Jersey woman in whose case a judge sided with the husband who raped her because Islam forbids wives to refuse their husbands' sexual demands.

Posted by Marisol on July 30, 2010 4:58 AM

Ft. Hood Jihadist Can't Find A Bank That Will Give Him An Account

from Jihad Watch:

Banks won't take Fort Hood jihadist's paychecks

One would think that murdering thirteen Americans in the name of Islamic jihad would at least get you suspended without pay, but no such luck. "Banks won't take Fort Hood shooting suspect's paychecks, by Jeremy Schwartz for the American-Statesman, July 29 (thanks to Roger):

As he sits in the Bell County Jail, accused of the Nov. 5 Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead, Maj. Nidal Hasan continues to receive his monthly U.S. Army paycheck, which based on his rank and experience is probably more than $6,000.

That's standard procedure for soldiers who are confined before military trial, according to Army officials.

But Hasan, charged with a shooting spree that shocked the country, is not a standard defendant. And he's having a hard time finding a bank to take his money.

According to his civilian attorney John Galligan , Bank of America notified Hasan last month that it was closing his account and no area bank so far has agreed to open an account for the Army psychiatrist. Military regulations require soldiers to be paid through direct deposit, making a bank account indispensable.

"I think it's just another example of the prejudice that he's been exposed to," Galligan said. "It's money that he's entitled to, that he has a right to."...

A right to? For reporting his patients for war crimes? For murdering Americans? For jihad?

Posted by Robert on July 30, 2010 6:03 AM

Obama Influenced PM Cameron's Attack On Israel

from Jihad Watch:

Geller: Obama got Cameron to attack Israel

Not surprising. "Obama behind Cameron's attack on Israel, by Pamela Geller in the Daily Caller, July 29:

Speaking in Turkey on Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron slammed Israel and called Gaza a "prison camp." (Apparently Gaza is the first prison camp with luxury shopping malls.) The British Foreign Office has been taking the blame for this betrayal of Israel, but they're claiming they were as surprised as anyone. Now, a high-placed and knowledgeable source has informed me that it was Obama's people who put the slamming of Israel into Cameron's speech.

Cameron also said that "the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable." He didn't mention the ties of the Turkish-backed IHH "activists" on the flotilla to global jihad terror groups. He didn't mention that the "activists" on the Turkish flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, were chanting, "Khaibar, Khaibar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return" - a chant that refers to Muhammad's massacre of the Jews at the Arabian oasis of Khaibar.

And now we learn that it was the Obama camp that put Cameron up to this. It comes as no surprise. Obama himself termed Israel's defensive action against the jihad flotilla "tragic."

Just as Blair was Bush's "puppy," Cameron is Obama's lapdog.

Obama's use of Cameron as his sock puppet points once again to Obama's obsession with destroying the Jewish state. Obama is doing nothing less than warring against Israel. When Sean Hannity asked me on his show Tuesday night if I thought Obama was an anti-semite, I said yes. He is. It sounds harsh. But the evidence is clear and extensive: it's all meticulously researched and set out in my book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War On America, which is just out this week.

In the book I profile Obama's many, many anti-Israel playmates: not just Jeremiah Wright, but also Rashid Khalidi (who is also tied to the jihad flotillas and just named a new one after Obama's book The Audacity of Hope) and William Ayers: in the book also I expose the blatant Judeophobia of the terrorist couple Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn in their book Prairie Fire.

It is increasingly clear that the Islamic anti-Semitism taught in the Koranic classes of Obama's youth in Indonesia and the subsequent adult years he spent with the likes of demagogues and Jew-haters like Wright, Ayers, and Louis Farrakhan have made him the man he is....

The evidence is there. Read it all.

Obama behind Cameron’s attack on Israel

By Pamela Geller
Published: 2:38 PM 07/29/2010
Updated: 2:47 PM 07/29/2010

Speaking in Turkey on Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron slammed Israel and called Gaza a “prison camp.” (Apparently Gaza is the first prison camp with luxury shopping malls.) The British Foreign Office has been taking the blame for this betrayal of Israel, but they’re claiming they were as surprised as anyone. Now, a high-placed and knowledgeable source has informed me that it was Obama’s people who put the slamming of Israel into Cameron’s speech.

Cameron also said that “the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable.” He didn’t mention the ties of the Turkish-backed IHH “activists” on the flotilla to global jihad terror groups. He didn’t mention that the “activists” on the Turkish flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, were chanting, “Khaibar, Khaibar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return” – a chant that refers to Muhammad’s massacre of the Jews at the Arabian oasis of Khaibar.

And now we learn that it was the Obama camp that put Cameron up to this. It comes as no surprise. Obama himself termed Israel’s defensive action against the jihad flotilla “tragic.”

Just as Blair was Bush’s “puppy,” Cameron is Obama’s lapdog.

Obama’s use of Cameron as his sock puppet points once again to Obama’s obsession with destroying the Jewish state. Obama is doing nothing less than warring against Israel. When Sean Hannity asked me on his show Tuesday night if I thought Obama was an anti-semite, I said yes. He is. It sounds harsh. But the evidence is clear and extensive: it’s all meticulously researched and set out in my book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War On America, which is just out this week.

In the book I profile Obama’s many, many anti-Israel playmates: not just Jeremiah Wright, but also Rashid Khalidi (who is also tied to the jihad flotillas and just named a new one after Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope) and William Ayers: in the book also I expose the blatant Judeophobia of the terrorist couple Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn in their book Prairie Fire.

It is increasingly clear that the Islamic anti-Semitism taught in the Koranic classes of Obama’s youth in Indonesia and the subsequent adult years he spent with the likes of demagogues and Jew-haters like Wright, Ayers, and Louis Farrakhan have made him the man he is.

Now that Obama is in the White House, he is taking this Jew-hatred to a whole new level, bringing it to the international stage. In the book I give the details of a little-noticed but pivotal Obama speech that former UN Ambassador John Bolton called “the most radical anti-Israel speech I can recall any president making.”

Obama’s advisers and appointments as president are consistent with this: Robert Malley, Samantha Power, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Susan Rice, Rosa Brooks, Chuck Hagel… One anti-Semitic appointment may be an accident, but five and counting is a trend – and Obama has surrounded himself with Jew-haters.

Then there is Obama himself. In The Post-American Presidency I give the shocking details of how, during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama’s website, Organizing for America, hosted a series of vile anti-American, Jew-hating posts and pieces.

The anti-Semitic onslaught was overwhelming. It included numerous, heinous calls for Jewish genocide and incitement to hatred. And it continued after the election, into the fall of 2009 – on the official website of the man who supposedly is the leader of the free world, and who has editorial control over the website.

And now Obama’s relentless persecution of the Jews by way of an anti-Semitic approach to Israel has now reached a fever pitch with the lines he has fed to his willing stooge David Cameron.

One Israeli intelligence official summed up Obama’s policy toward his country in a nutshell: “Obama wants to make friends with our worst enemies and until now the worst enemies of the United States. Under this policy, we are more than irrelevant. We have become an obstacle.”

An obstacle … but to what goal?

It will only get worse for the tiny Jewish state. And as I show in The Post-American Presidency, everyone who voted for Obama should have seen all this coming. The warnings were clear. They were ignored. The price will be high.

Pamela Geller is the founder, editor, and publisher of the widely popular and award-winning website, which has broken numerous important political stories. Geller and Robert Spencer have a new book out this week, “The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America.”

Read more:

Read more:

Posted by Robert on July 30, 2010 6:14 AM

Dutch Forces Leaving Afghanistan, Taliban Pleased

from Jihad Watch:

Dutch leaving Afghanistan, Taliban pleased

Which is not to say that they ought not to leave. What did they hope to accomplish there in the first place? With no clear mission or goal, and no understanding of the jihad doctrine or Sharia, the whole thing was foredoomed. "Taliban 'greet' Dutch on Afghan pullout," from AFP, July 30 (thanks to Twostellas):

THE HAGUE: The Taliban has congratulated the Netherlands government for the imminent pullout of their troops from Afghanistan, according to a newspaper interview with a spokesman from the group.

"We hope that other countries with troops stationed in Afghanistan will follow the Netherlands example and withdraw their troops," said Qari Yusuf Ahmadij, who was described as the Taliban's spokesman for west and south Afghanistan. This was said in an interview given to the Dutch daily Volkskrant.

The deployment of about 1,950 Dutch troops in Afghanistan ends after four years on Sunday amid concerns about the void it will leave....

"Once again we call on European countries that have soldiers in Afghanistan to leave the country. Because it is not your war, but a war of the United States, which aims to reach their imperialistic objectives in the world and especially in this region," he said.

Right. Because for them, Islamic imperialism is the only acceptable kind.

Posted by Robert on July 30, 2010 6:19 AM

Uncommon Knowledge: Charles Hill

From Human Events And The Hoover Institute:

Uncommon Knowledge - Charles Hill


This week's video is with Charles Hill, a career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service and cochair of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order. He discusses his new book "Grand Strategies" and the deterioration of U.S. foreign policy since the end of the cold war. Find out why he says "Obama does not understand America."

Wikileaks: The Pakistan Connection, Part 1

from The Real News Network:

July 29, 2010


Gould, Fitzgerald, authors of "Afghanistan's Untold Story" discuss WikiLeaks Pakistan Taliban connection

Wikileaks: The Pakistan Connection, Part 2

From The Real News Network:

July 31, 2010


Friday, July 30, 2010

General Jones: Not A Useful Idiot

From The American Thinker:

July 30, 2010

Gen. Jones is Not a Useful Idiot

By Ken Blackwell

Gen. James Jones is not a "useful idiot." He's a well-educated, most respected military professional. He's also a highly decorated Marine. He is President Obama's National Security Adviser. Ordinarily, that would be good news for all Americans.

That cynical "useful idiot" phrase comes to us from Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik revolutionary who overthrew Russia's democratic government in 1917. Lenin set up the world's first Communist regime. Soon after taking power in Moscow, the Communists saw famine overtake their new Soviet Union. Everything was rationed. All property was owned by the proletariat -- and soon, everything was in short supply.

Beset by shortages, invading Germans, and civil war at home, Lenin presided over one famous Kremlin meeting during which he renewed his assurances that capitalism was on its last legs. "We will hang all the capitalists," Lenin pledged. His comrade Martov bitterly answered: "Under our great new socialist government, we couldn't even find enough rope to hang them!" Lenin, ever humorless, responded: "When I get ready to hang the capitalists, those useful idiots will sell me the rope -- on credit."

The Washington Post celebrated July 4th with an astonishing front-page story. In it, the entire national security apparatus of the United States was laid out. The daily -- and nightly -- routines of Defense Sec. Robert Gates, Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano, and Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, as well as Gen. Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta, were described in detail. Was that wise?

In the article, Gen. Jones is described as someone who feared the Soviet Union when he was a boy. The Post tells us that when the 6'4", strapping general was growing up, he was never afraid of the dark, but he was afraid of Russia. "His parents would talk soberly of the Iron Curtain," the article informs us. "The image 'terrified me as a child. Millions of people in prison, behind a so-called curtain.'"

Now, we are told, the general calls Sergei Prikhodko, the Russian national security adviser, many nights. Gen. Jones believes that by regularly interacting with Prikhodko, he can better defend Americans from the threats we face today.

Can we? Another recent press report -- this one from Reuters -- informs us that Russia is cooperating with Syria in building a nuclear power plant. The builders of Chernobyl. Russia never reported, however, any difficulties building nuclear weapons.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, with whom our President Obama chowed down at Ray's Hell Burger recently, told a news conference last May that "cooperation on atomic energy [between Russia and Syria] could get a second wind."

Syria is widely viewed as a client state of Iran, whose own nuclear ambitions have the world -- even the normally impotent U.N. -- so alarmed.

Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism.

But here is Gen. Jones conferring almost daily with Sergei Phikhodko, calling him in his Kremlin office.

During World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Josef Stalin in the Kremlin. Stalin was rude, even abusive. He told Churchill that if the British fought the Germans harder, they wouldn't be so afraid of them.

Churchill was outraged. He went back to the British Embassy at night, where he dictated a cable to London, telling his Deputy Prime Minister everything that had happened. Churchill's private secretary, Patrick Kinna, later recalled a British Embassy official telling Churchill: "Prime Minister: I must warn you that everything you say is being recorded by the Soviets. Everything. Even here in the Embassy."

Instead of being quiet or more circumspect, Churchill raised his voice, telling London that if Stalin's abuse continued, he would be forced to break off negotiations and head back home. The uneasy alliance between the Communists and the West would be in jeopardy.

The next day, Stalin was quiet, polite, almost cooperative.

Everything that Gen. Jones says to Prikhodko is being recorded. Everything. And everything he says is being checked by Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, the grim, gray eminence in the Kremlin, against what his spies in the U.S. are telling him.

Gen. Jones, the Post informs us, is a light sleeper. Reading how closely he is working with his "opposite number" -- as he calls Prikhodko -- is enough to cause all of us to lose sleep.

Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He serves on the board of directors of the Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union, and National Rifle Association and is co-author of The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency.

The Mom Thing: On Arlington National Cemetery

From The American Thinker:

July 30, 2010

The Mom Thing

By F. Owen Smith

One morning when I was scrubbing for a surgery in the California hospital where I work, one of the staff nurses approached me and, knowing of my interest in and knowledge of firearms, asked what kind of gun she ought to buy her seventeen-year-old son for his introduction to arms.

She told me her boy had recently been to a range in Texas with an uncle who had shown him how to shoot, and now he was keen to select a college in that state because he liked the open attitude of Texans toward firearms.

I suggested that if her son was that interested in firearms, he might also be thinking of the military, and if so, Virginia Military Institute might be a good choice for college.

No sooner were the words out of my mouth than she screwed her face up into a tight frown of distaste with "I don't want him in the army."

I asked her if she believed, as I did, that no citizen can enjoy clear title to the benefits and privileges of a society unless he or she has worn the uniform to defend that society. She hesitantly said yes, but she said she still wanted to keep her child far away from the military, saying, "He's my little boy; I got the mom thing going on."

I then inquired if she thought our country should have a strong military or even a military at all, and she again reluctantly said yes, but then repeated her "mom thing" caveat.

I asked if she understood that if her child failed to do his uniformed duty, then the slack would just have to be picked up by some other mother's son or daughter, but she only repeated her mantra a third time, and a bit testily.

Our conversation ended, but for the rest of the day, I reflected on the "mom thing," knowing, of course, that as a male, I could never have firsthand knowledge of motherhood. But then it suddenly occurred to me that I might actually have seen and experienced -- up close and personal -- the phenomenon my nurse friend was talking about.

It was on a cold drizzly December day a few years ago when I witnessed the "mom thing." I was following the mom of one of my son's VMI classmates as she marched slowly through the rain behind the horse-drawn, flag-draped caisson that bore the body of her "little boy" to its final resting place.

A mournful, muffled drum marked cadence.

At graveside, the honor guard did their part in the "mom thing" as they smartly folded and presented the tri-corner flag to the fallen hero's mom, who stood straight and true, her body flinching slightly at the sharp cracks of the rifle salute.

The piper, on a grassy rise behind the undulating rows on rows of crosses with the stark walls of the Pentagon as backdrop, droned an Amazing Grace as the soundtrack to this sad woman's "mom thing."

And then, from the near distance, the bugler blew the final notes of this "mom thing": the familiar and haunting twenty-four notes of Taps.

Yes, maybe I did understand something of the "mom thing."

Maybe it was the "mom thing" I experienced during the year my 82nd-Airborne, Ranger son commanded a combat infantry platoon in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when, in the late evening, my doorbell would ring unexpectedly, and my world and heart would stop -- literally.

And maybe it was the "mom thing" I lived during the seven long months my Marine daughter served in Al Anbar, Iraq, and in the long, silent periods in which I would receive no calls or e-mails, my mind would turn -- back to Arlington.

Yes, maybe I did know the feeling, but I guess if I called it anything, it was the "dad thing."

But what does it matter the name we assign to the most powerful feeling we humans can experience -- the love and the fear of the loss of our children?

And now, to that young nurse who saw her "mom thing" as a call to keep her little boy away from the military and safe at home, I say only: You owe me no explanation.

But there may be someone to whom you do.

Next time you visit our nation's capital, take a walk down the Mall from the Washington Monument, past the World War One Memorial, the World War Two Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Women's Memorial, and "The Wall," and continue walking across the bridge, the one just behind the Lincoln Memorial, to Arlington National Cemetery, and please explain your "mom thing" to another mom's little boy, the young captain from Idaho we buried on that gray, brooding December day -- ironically, the seventh.

And when you go, please take your own little boy along so he can hear what you have to say, for I'm sure he'll carry and perhaps even treasure the memory of your words for the rest of his life.

You'll be looking for Section 60, Site 8081, and the hero's name is Luke Wullenwaber, Virginia Military Institute, Class of 2002.

And you needn't bother calling ahead, because he knows you'll be there -- someday.

Because Arlington is the biggest "mom thing" there is.

Disgraced Blumenthal, Who Lied About Military Service, Leads In Connecticut Senate Race

From The American Thinker:

July 30, 2010

Disgraced Blumenthal leads in Connecticut senate race

Greg Halvorson

With disgraces rolling off the public-policy conveyor like poison Hershey Kisses, bitter pills these days have become commonplace and generic; yet, once in awhile, one bobs to the surface (like the shark in Jaws) to highlight how far we've gone off the rails.

An update on Dick Blumenthal (D-CN) provides proof. This moron, running for Senate - as a Dem, go figure - was the "man," you'll recall, who addressed veterans groups by declaring himself a Marine, implying combat experience, and pretending, humbly, to have endured Vietnam.

It turns out, though, that the closest he got to Southeast Asia was a take-out order of rice in D.C. Blumenthal lied, time and again (excuse me, "wasn't clear"), while generating the impression among media (no less than eight articles attested to him being a veteran of the war) and the public that, as a man of honor, he served his nation.

"We have learned something important since the days I served in Vietnam," he told a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens. "And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it - Afghanistan or Iraq - we owe our military unconditional support."

"When we returned," he told a group of families honoring veterans, "we saw nothing like this. Let us do better by this generation of men and women. I served during the Vietnam era, and I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even the physical abuse."

What honor. Coming from a broom-pusher who pulled strings to serve stateside, what a disqualifier, too. Anyone with a soul would run and hide, for nothing - and I mean nothing - is less forgivable in the public sphere than receiving credit for false service and using it for political gain. According to the (hold your nose) New York Times, Blumenthal, from 1965 to ‘70, received FIVE military deferments before landing a spot as a reserve Marine. There, he bravely conducted drills (in New Haven), focused on "projects," and organized toy drives-though it must be said that some of the toys may have been weapons!

The question, of course, is why, having been outed, is this putz still around? How does it end, does it, and to what corner of purgatory does he slither and cry?

Well, if the latest Quinnipiac poll is any indication, the answer is, it ends well, and he doesn't cry but celebrates coming victory. Character, it appears, is of less import to Connecticuns than the willingness to pander, because Dick leads Linda McMahon, a GOP punch-line, by SEVENTEEN POINTS.

As disgraces rate, I can think of few larger (the Ground Zero mosque?), but the underlying issue precedes the candidate. The real insult lies with the People, the "useful idiots," willing to blindly vote, regardless of character, for the prize Party Stooge. This isn't about party, it's about principle.

And America has lost that. Between government schools, a leftist media, and the attack on morality, America has not only "gone off the rails," it has swapped virtue for vice. A moral people does not embrace scoundrels. Blumenthal personifies "scoundrel," a soulless cretin willing to lie for votes, who when caught in a lie, breezily sidesteps.

One would hope this wouldn't stand, not in a Republic, but we're really no longer a nation of laws. In the public sphere, vice is rewarded, welcome, and it's nothing to lie about serving your country. Country is subject, foremost, to rule. And what really matters is serving yourself.

Greg Halvorson is the founder of Soldiers Without Boots, and hosts Freedom Warrior Radio on Blog Talk Radio.

Posted at 07:04 AM

Senator Barbara Boxer, California: Serving In Uniform Just Like Being A Politician

From Big Government:

Barbara Boxer: Serving in Uniform Just Like Being a Politicianby Paul Chabot

During a campaign stop in Inglewood, California this past weekend, Barbara Boxer’s disrespectful attitude toward our armed forces was on full display when she equated the experiences of Members of Congress with the experiences of those who have put their lives on the line serving our country in uniform.

Boxer said this, at an event during which she was supposed to help break ground on new housing for homeless veterans:

“We know that if you have veterans in one place where they can befriend each other and talk to each other. You know when you’ve gone through similar things you need to share it. I don’t care whether you are a policeman or a fireman or a veteran or by chance a member of Congress. Maxine and I could look at each other and roll our eyes. We know what we are up against. And it is hard for people who are not there to understand the pressure and the great things that go along with it and the tough things that go along with it.”

She followed this up by appearing later in the day at a campaign fundraiser featuring none other than “Hanoi Jane” Fonda.

Barbara Boxer has never been loved by the military, veterans, their friends or family. She has a history of voting against troop funding and opposing military missions undertaken abroad. She voted against condemning’s disgraceful, full-page New York Times ad that attacked the integrity of General David Petraeus. More recently, of course, she dressed down a brigadier general on national television, insisting that he call her “senator” instead of “ma’am.”

But her suggesting that the rigors of campaigning for public office and sitting through Committee hearings on cap-and-trade are on a par with being shot at offers a fresh insight into her distorted worldview. On the one hand, she’s sufficiently out-of-touch with reality to think this is a message that would be well-received at an event focused on veterans. On the other, she’s sufficiently uncurious to ponder the patently absurd nature of her comments.

There are a lot of reasons why Barbara Boxer is not well-loved by her constituents. However, for members of the military and veterans, she added to them this past weekend.

The Post-American Presidency

From The American Thinker:

July 30, 2010

The Post American Presidency

Thomas Lifson

Pamela Geller, publisher of Atlas Shrugs and frequent AT contributor, has just published, with co-author Robert Spencer, The Post American Presidency, available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and at book stores that are Sharia non-compliant. Pamela has an interesting interview with Jamie Glazov today at Front Page Magazine, on the background of the book. Excerpt:

The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War On America is the product of three years of research I've done on Barack Obama: his socialist internationalism, his ties to America-haters and anti-Semites, his race-baiting, and more. As president, Obama is presiding over America's decline, and is in many important ways the apostle of that decline. He is betraying Israel; warring against free speech; refusing to take real steps to stop Iran's nuclear program, despite the many genocidal statements Ahmadinejad has made against Israel, and the open contempt the mullahs have shown for his efforts to reach out to them.

Obama is turning allies into enemies and enemies into allies; submitting the U.S. to international law; bankrupting us with socialist schemes both domestically and internationally; bypassing the democratic process and the system of checks and balances by governing through a proliferation of "czars"; and using global warming as a pretext to redistribute wealth from the First World to the Third World.

He has appointed numerous proponents of the primacy of international law over U.S. law, including Harold Koh, legal adviser for the State Department; Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and now Elena Kagan; John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) - that is, the science czar; Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change - that is, the global-warming czar; and Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, or Regulatory Czar.

Posted at 10:35 AM

Al Queda Preparing An Army Of 12,000 Fighters, Threatens Security Forces

From The Long War Journal:

Al Qaeda prepares 'an army of 12,000 fighters,' threatens security forces

By Bill RoggioJuly 30, 2010

A military commander for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed the terror group has raised a 12,000-man army in southern Yemen and will continue to attack security forces in the region.

Mohammed Said al Umdah Gharib al T'aizzi, a senior military commander in southern Yemen, released an audiotape on July 29, titled "Comment on the Recent Events in Aden and Ma'rib." The tape was produced by AQAP's media arm, Al Malahim, and distributed to jihadist websites by the Al Fajr Media Center.

"We have a good news for the Islamic nation, that an army of 12,000 fighters is being prepared in Aden and Abyan," T'aizzi said, referring to two southern strongholds of AQAP. "By this army, we will establish an Islamic Caliphate," T'aizzi said, according to a translation of the tape provided by Xinhua.

T'aizzi said the Yemeni government was complicit in allowing the US to conduct Predator and cruise missile airstrikes in Abyan and Marib, and vowed to attack the government and security forces for working with the US.

"This is a message to the Yemeni government security and the National Security Service: our swords are ready and we are resolved to cleanse the land," T'aizzi said.

"You are covering for American crimes to subjugate the people of this country to serve U.S. interests in the region," he said. "These crimes will be responded to decisively."

T'aizzi said AQAP was behind the recent attack on a Yemen security service headquarters in Aden as well as the attempted assassination of the British ambassador in Sana'a.

The US has carried out several airstrikes in Yemen, including a cruise missile attack on Dec. 17, 2009, that killed 14 al Qaeda operatives and 41 civilians.

Yemen has become one of al Qaeda's most secure bases as well as a hub for activities on the Arabian Peninsula and in the Horn of Africa.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is based in Yemen and carries out its attacks against the Saudi government from there. The group is known to operate terror camps in Aden, Marib, Abyan, and in the Alehimp and Sanhan regions in Sana'a. It has conducted attacks on oil facilities, tourists, the Yemeni security forces, and the US and British embassies in Sana'a.

The terror group has also been instrumental in supporting al Qaeda's operations in Somalia, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal. Yemen serves as a command and control center, a logistics hub, a transit point from Asia and the Peninsula, and a source of weapons and munitions for the al Qaeda-backed Shabaab and Hizbul Islam.

Over the past years, two terror attacks directed at the US have been traced back to Yemen: the murder of 13 soldiers at a deployment center at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, by a Muslim US Army major; and the attempted bombing of an airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day by a Nigerian trained in Yemen. Both attacks were inspired by Anwar al Awlaki, a US citizen who has been designated as a terrorist for supporting terror activities. Awlaki is currently sheltering in Yemen.

"Yemen is Pakistan in the heart of the Arab world," one official said last year. "You have military and government collusion with al Qaeda, peace agreements, budding terror camps, and the export of jihad to neighboring countries."


• Al-Qaida wing claims to form 12,000-strong army in southern Yemen, Xinhua

• Evidence presented of US involvement in 2009 airstrike in Yemen, The Long War Journal

• Yemen: New terror camps as a city falls to jihadists, The Long War Journal

• Al Qaeda opens new training camp in Yemen, The Long War Journal

• US adds Anwar al Awlaki to list of designated terrorists, The Long War Journal

Read more:

Taliban Spokesman Says They Will Hunt Down And Kill Afghan Informants Revealed In Wikileaks Documents

From Gateway Pundit:

Taliban Spokesman says They Will Hunt Down and Kill Afghan Informants Outed in WikiLeaks Documents

Posted by John Schulenburg on Friday, July 30, 2010, 12:49 PM

A Taliban spokesman has issued a warning that all US Spies revealed in the documents will be hunted down and killed.

via the Telegraph

The Taliban has issued a warning to Afghans whose names might appear on the leaked Afghanistan war logs as informers for the Nato-led coalition.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said they were studying and investigating the report, adding “If they are US spies, then we know how to punish them.”

The warning came as the US military’s top officer, Admiral Mike Mullen said that Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, may already have blood on his hands following the leak of 92,000 classified documents relating to the war in Afghanistan by his website.

“Mr Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family,” he said.

The countless lives that have been put in danger because of the leak of these documents is unprecedented. Who knows how many names are in those docs.

And it’s not just Julian Assange who will have blood on his hands because of this leak. A Wall Street Journal article yesterday reported that Investigators found concrete evidence that PFC. Bradley Manning was the source of the leak.

Investigators have found concrete evidence linking Pfc. Bradley Manning with the leak of classified Afghanistan war reports, a U.S. defense official said.

A search of the computers used by Pfc. Manning yielded evidence he had downloaded the Afghanistan war logs, which span from 2004 until 2009, the official said. It’s not clear precisely what that evidence is.

hattip WZIP

Building A Grand strategy

From Big Government:

Building a Grand Strategyby Uncommon Knowledge

Our latest guest is Ambassador Charles Hill, former advisor to Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz. Mr. Hill claims that US Presidents over the past two decades have been completely inept in foreign policy. Bush 41 and Clinton tried to get international issues off their back in order to regain control of the news cycle and stake their claim as domestic policy presidents. As a result, we lost our focus and understanding of our position in the world, completely missing the rise of Islam and now, failing to strategically face it.

Islamists are just like Communists, Hill argues, hoping to spread their way of thinking to the world, overtake the present world order, and set in place their values and structures.

Many will agree with Hill’s accusation that President Obama has no appreciation for American exceptionalism, meaning Mr. Obama must not actually understand America. Everything about the history of the United States, its promotion of individual freedoms and democracy, is exceptional.

Hence Hill suggests a reading list for the President. He insists the President read Virgil’s Aeneid, saying “Obama is like Aeneas – things happen to him, he doesn’t make things happen.”

Watch the full video below

Who Didn't See This Coming?

From The New Ledger:

Who Didn’t See This Coming?by Pejman Yousefzadeh

Raise your hands if this story is surprising in any way:

North Korea’s football team has been shamed in a six-hour public inquisition and the team’s coach has been accused of “betraying” the reclusive leader’s heir apparent following their failure at the World Cup, according to reports.

The entire squad was forced onto a stage at the People’s Palace of Culture and subjected to criticism from Pak Myong-chol, the sports minister, as 400 government officials, students and journalists watched.

The players were subjected to a “grand debate” on July 2 because they failed in their “ideological struggle” to succeed in South Africa, Radio Free Asia and South Korean media reported.

The team’s coach, Kim Jong-hun, was reportedly forced to become a builder and has been expelled from the Workers’ Party of Korea.

The coach was punished for “betraying” Kim Jong-un – one of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il’s sons and heir apparent.

Andrew J. Bacevich, Author Of Washington Rules: America's Path To Permanent War, Is Giving Up On Victory, But Not War

From Informed Comment and Tom Dispatch:

Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, Giving Up On Victory, Not War

Posted by Andrew Bacevich at 9:20am, July 29, 2010.

If you ever needed convincing that the world of American “national security” is well along the road to profligate lunacy, read the striking three-part “Top Secret America” series by Dana Priest and William Arkin that the Washington Post published last week. When it comes to the expansion of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), which claims 17 major agencies and organizations, the figures are staggering. Here’s just a taste: “Twenty-four [new intelligence] organizations were created by the end of 2001, including the Office of Homeland Security and the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Task Force. In 2002, 37 more were created to track weapons of mass destruction, collect threat tips, and coordinate the new focus on counterterrorism. That was followed the next year by 36 new organizations; and 26 after that; and 31 more; and 32 more; and 20 or more each in 2007, 2008, and 2009. In all, at least 263 organizations have been created or reorganized as a response to 9/11.”

More striking yet, the articles make clear (admittedly a few years late) that no one has a complete picture of the extent of the American intelligence quagmire -- from its finances (announced at $75 billion but, the authors assure us, significantly higher) to its geography, its output (the 50,000 top-secret reports it churns out yearly that no one has time to read or track), its composition, or even its office space. (“In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001.”) And keep in mind that all of this and more was created not to keep track of or fight a series of covert wars with another major imperial power like the Soviet Union, but to track and hunt down a rag-tag terrorist outfit with a couple of thousand members, including modest-sized groups in countries like Yemen and small numbers of individual wannabe terrorists like the “underwear bomber.” In much of this, as anyone who bothers to scan front-page headlines knows, the IC has been remarkably unsuccessful. Such staggeringly out-of-control expansion should, of course, be a major scandal, but along with our constant wars, it’s already so much a part of the new national security norm that the publication of the Post series is unlikely to have any significant effect.

All this has, in turn, been driven by Fear Inc. To fuel its profitable if cancerous growth, it has vastly exaggerated the relatively minor and largely manageable danger of Islamic terrorism -- since 9/11, above shark attacks but way below drunken-driving accidents -- among the many far more serious dangers this country faces. If the IC actually worked as an effective intelligence delivery system, we would be a Mensa among states. But how could such a proliferation of overlapping agencies and outfits, aided and abetted by a burgeoning privatized, mercenary version of the same, provide “intelligence”? With more than two-thirds of all intelligence programs militarized and overseen by the Pentagon, itself driven to paroxysms of spending and expansion since 2001 (despite the fact that all major military challengers to the U.S. are long gone), labeling this morass “intelligence” should be considered a joke. However absurd, though, don’t expect any of those organizations or agencies to disappear any time soon. They’re ours for the duration.

It’s into such national security institutional madness that Andrew Bacevich, author of the bestselling The Limits of Power, strides in his latest work, to be published this week, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. It is the single best source for understanding how Washington came to garrison the planet, intervene regularly in distant lands, and turn war-making -- and not even successful war-making at that -- into an American norm. It’s simply a must-read. Think of today’s TomDispatch post as a little introduction to just a few of that book’s themes. (And while you’re at it, catch Timothy MacBain’s latest TomCast audio interview in which Bacevich discusses his new book by clicking here, or to download it to your iPod, here.) Tom

The End of (Military) History?

The United States, Israel, and the Failure of the Western Way of War

By Andrew J. Bacevich

“In watching the flow of events over the past decade or so, it is hard to avoid the feeling that something very fundamental has happened in world history.” This sentiment, introducing the essay that made Francis Fukuyama a household name, commands renewed attention today, albeit from a different perspective.

Developments during the 1980s, above all the winding down of the Cold War, had convinced Fukuyama that the “end of history” was at hand. “The triumph of the West, of the Western idea,” he wrote in 1989, “is evident… in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism.”

Today the West no longer looks quite so triumphant. Yet events during the first decade of the present century have delivered history to another endpoint of sorts. Although Western liberalism may retain considerable appeal, the Western way of war has run its course.

For Fukuyama, history implied ideological competition, a contest pitting democratic capitalism against fascism and communism. When he wrote his famous essay, that contest was reaching an apparently definitive conclusion.

Yet from start to finish, military might had determined that competition’s course as much as ideology. Throughout much of the twentieth century, great powers had vied with one another to create new, or more effective, instruments of coercion. Military innovation assumed many forms. Most obviously, there were the weapons: dreadnoughts and aircraft carriers, rockets and missiles, poison gas, and atomic bombs -- the list is a long one. In their effort to gain an edge, however, nations devoted equal attention to other factors: doctrine and organization, training systems and mobilization schemes, intelligence collection and war plans.

All of this furious activity, whether undertaken by France or Great Britain, Russia or Germany, Japan or the United States, derived from a common belief in the plausibility of victory. Expressed in simplest terms, the Western military tradition could be reduced to this proposition: war remains a viable instrument of statecraft, the accoutrements of modernity serving, if anything, to enhance its utility.

Grand Illusions

That was theory. Reality, above all the two world wars of the last century, told a decidedly different story. Armed conflict in the industrial age reached new heights of lethality and destructiveness. Once begun, wars devoured everything, inflicting staggering material, psychological, and moral damage. Pain vastly exceeded gain. In that regard, the war of 1914-1918 became emblematic: even the winners ended up losers. When fighting eventually stopped, the victors were left not to celebrate but to mourn. As a consequence, well before Fukuyama penned his essay, faith in war’s problem-solving capacity had begun to erode. As early as 1945, among several great powers -- thanks to war, now great in name only -- that faith disappeared altogether.

Among nations classified as liberal democracies, only two resisted this trend. One was the United States, the sole major belligerent to emerge from the Second World War stronger, richer, and more confident. The second was Israel, created as a direct consequence of the horrors unleashed by that cataclysm. By the 1950s, both countries subscribed to this common conviction: national security (and, arguably, national survival) demanded unambiguous military superiority. In the lexicon of American and Israeli politics, “peace” was a codeword. The essential prerequisite for peace was for any and all adversaries, real or potential, to accept a condition of permanent inferiority. In this regard, the two nations -- not yet intimate allies -- stood apart from the rest of the Western world.

So even as they professed their devotion to peace, civilian and military elites in the United States and Israel prepared obsessively for war. They saw no contradiction between rhetoric and reality.

Yet belief in the efficacy of military power almost inevitably breeds the temptation to put that power to work. “Peace through strength” easily enough becomes “peace through war.” Israel succumbed to this temptation in 1967. For Israelis, the Six Day War proved a turning point. Plucky David defeated, and then became, Goliath. Even as the United States was flailing about in Vietnam, Israel had evidently succeeded in definitively mastering war.

A quarter-century later, U.S. forces seemingly caught up. In 1991, Operation Desert Storm, George H.W. Bush’s war against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, showed that American troops like Israeli soldiers knew how to win quickly, cheaply, and humanely. Generals like H. Norman Schwarzkopf persuaded themselves that their brief desert campaign against Iraq had replicated -- even eclipsed -- the battlefield exploits of such famous Israeli warriors as Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin. Vietnam faded into irrelevance.

For both Israel and the United States, however, appearances proved deceptive. Apart from fostering grand illusions, the splendid wars of 1967 and 1991 decided little. In both cases, victory turned out to be more apparent than real. Worse, triumphalism fostered massive future miscalculation.

On the Golan Heights, in Gaza, and throughout the West Bank, proponents of a Greater Israel -- disregarding Washington’s objections -- set out to assert permanent control over territory that Israel had seized. Yet “facts on the ground” created by successive waves of Jewish settlers did little to enhance Israeli security. They succeeded chiefly in shackling Israel to a rapidly growing and resentful Palestinian population that it could neither pacify nor assimilate.

In the Persian Gulf, the benefits reaped by the United States after 1991 likewise turned out to be ephemeral. Saddam Hussein survived and became in the eyes of successive American administrations an imminent threat to regional stability. This perception prompted (or provided a pretext for) a radical reorientation of strategy in Washington. No longer content to prevent an unfriendly outside power from controlling the oil-rich Persian Gulf, Washington now sought to dominate the entire Greater Middle East. Hegemony became the aim. Yet the United States proved no more successful than Israel in imposing its writ.

During the 1990s, the Pentagon embarked willy-nilly upon what became its own variant of a settlement policy. Yet U.S. bases dotting the Islamic world and U.S. forces operating in the region proved hardly more welcome than the Israeli settlements dotting the occupied territories and the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) assigned to protect them. In both cases, presence provoked (or provided a pretext for) resistance. Just as Palestinians vented their anger at the Zionists in their midst, radical Islamists targeted Americans whom they regarded as neo-colonial infidels.


No one doubted that Israelis (regionally) and Americans (globally) enjoyed unquestioned military dominance. Throughout Israel’s near abroad, its tanks, fighter-bombers, and warships operated at will. So, too, did American tanks, fighter-bombers, and warships wherever they were sent.

So what? Events made it increasingly evident that military dominance did not translate into concrete political advantage. Rather than enhancing the prospects for peace, coercion produced ever more complications. No matter how badly battered and beaten, the “terrorists” (a catch-all term applied to anyone resisting Israeli or American authority) weren’t intimidated, remained unrepentant, and kept coming back for more.

Israel ran smack into this problem during Operation Peace for Galilee, its 1982 intervention in Lebanon. U.S. forces encountered it a decade later during Operation Restore Hope, the West’s gloriously titled foray into Somalia. Lebanon possessed a puny army; Somalia had none at all. Rather than producing peace or restoring hope, however, both operations ended in frustration, embarrassment, and failure.

And those operations proved but harbingers of worse to come. By the 1980s, the IDF’s glory days were past. Rather than lightning strikes deep into the enemy rear, the narrative of Israeli military history became a cheerless recital of dirty wars -- unconventional conflicts against irregular forces yielding problematic results. The First Intifada (1987-1993), the Second Intifada (2000-2005), a second Lebanon War (2006), and Operation Cast Lead, the notorious 2008-2009 incursion into Gaza, all conformed to this pattern.

Meanwhile, the differential between Palestinian and Jewish Israeli birth rates emerged as a looming threat -- a “demographic bomb,” Benjamin Netanyahu called it. Here were new facts on the ground that military forces, unless employed pursuant to a policy of ethnic cleansing, could do little to redress. Even as the IDF tried repeatedly and futilely to bludgeon Hamas and Hezbollah into submission, demographic trends continued to suggest that within a generation a majority of the population within Israel and the occupied territories would be Arab.

Trailing a decade or so behind Israel, the United States military nonetheless succeeded in duplicating the IDF’s experience. Moments of glory remained, but they would prove fleeting indeed. After 9/11, Washington’s efforts to transform (or “liberate”) the Greater Middle East kicked into high gear. In Afghanistan and Iraq, George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror began impressively enough, as U.S. forces operated with a speed and √©lan that had once been an Israeli trademark. Thanks to “shock and awe,” Kabul fell, followed less than a year and a half later by Baghdad. As one senior Army general explained to Congress in 2004, the Pentagon had war all figured out:

“We are now able to create decision superiority that is enabled by networked systems, new sensors and command and control capabilities that are producing unprecedented near real time situational awareness, increased information availability, and an ability to deliver precision munitions throughout the breadth and depth of the battlespace… Combined, these capabilities of the future networked force will leverage information dominance, speed and precision, and result in decision superiority.”

The key phrase in this mass of techno-blather was the one that occurred twice: “decision superiority.” At that moment, the officer corps, like the Bush administration, was still convinced that it knew how to win.

Such claims of success, however, proved obscenely premature. Campaigns advertised as being wrapped up in weeks dragged on for years, while American troops struggled with their own intifadas. When it came to achieving decisions that actually stuck, the Pentagon (like the IDF) remained clueless.


If any overarching conclusion emerges from the Afghan and Iraq Wars (and from their Israeli equivalents), it’s this: victory is a chimera. Counting on today’s enemy to yield in the face of superior force makes about as much sense as buying lottery tickets to pay the mortgage: you better be really lucky.

Meanwhile, as the U.S. economy went into a tailspin, Americans contemplated their equivalent of Israel’s “demographic bomb” -- a “fiscal bomb.” Ingrained habits of profligacy, both individual and collective, held out the prospect of long-term stagnation: no growth, no jobs, no fun. Out-of-control spending on endless wars exacerbated that threat.

By 2007, the American officer corps itself gave up on victory, although without giving up on war. First in Iraq, then in Afghanistan, priorities shifted. High-ranking generals shelved their expectations of winning -- at least as a Rabin or Schwarzkopf would have understood that term. They sought instead to not lose. In Washington as in U.S. military command posts, the avoidance of outright defeat emerged as the new gold standard of success.

As a consequence, U.S. troops today sally forth from their base camps not to defeat the enemy, but to “protect the people,” consistent with the latest doctrinal fashion. Meanwhile, tea-sipping U.S. commanders cut deals with warlords and tribal chieftains in hopes of persuading guerrillas to lay down their arms.

A new conventional wisdom has taken hold, endorsed by everyone from new Afghan War commander General David Petraeus, the most celebrated soldier of this American age, to Barack Obama, commander-in-chief and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. For the conflicts in which the United States finds itself enmeshed, “military solutions” do not exist. As Petraeus himself has emphasized, “we can’t kill our way out of" the fix we’re in. In this way, he also pronounced a eulogy on the Western conception of warfare of the last two centuries.

The Unasked Question

What then are the implications of arriving at the end of Western military history?

In his famous essay, Fukuyama cautioned against thinking that the end of ideological history heralded the arrival of global peace and harmony. Peoples and nations, he predicted, would still find plenty to squabble about.

With the end of military history, a similar expectation applies. Politically motivated violence will persist and may in specific instances even retain marginal utility. Yet the prospect of Big Wars solving Big Problems is probably gone for good. Certainly, no one in their right mind, Israeli or American, can believe that a continued resort to force will remedy whatever it is that fuels anti-Israeli or anti-American antagonism throughout much of the Islamic world. To expect persistence to produce something different or better is moonshine.

It remains to be seen whether Israel and the United States can come to terms with the end of military history. Other nations have long since done so, accommodating themselves to the changing rhythms of international politics. That they do so is evidence not of virtue, but of shrewdness. China, for example, shows little eagerness to disarm. Yet as Beijing expands its reach and influence, it emphasizes trade, investment, and development assistance. Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army stays home. China has stolen a page from an old American playbook, having become today the preeminent practitioner of “dollar diplomacy.”

The collapse of the Western military tradition confronts Israel with limited choices, none of them attractive. Given the history of Judaism and the history of Israel itself, a reluctance of Israeli Jews to entrust their safety and security to the good will of their neighbors or the warm regards of the international community is understandable. In a mere six decades, the Zionist project has produced a vibrant, flourishing state. Why put all that at risk? Although the demographic bomb may be ticking, no one really knows how much time remains on the clock. If Israelis are inclined to continue putting their trust in (American-supplied) Israeli arms while hoping for the best, who can blame them?

In theory, the United States, sharing none of Israel’s demographic or geographic constraints and, far more richly endowed, should enjoy far greater freedom of action. Unfortunately, Washington has a vested interest in preserving the status quo, no matter how much it costs or where it leads. For the military-industrial complex, there are contracts to win and buckets of money to be made. For those who dwell in the bowels of the national security state, there are prerogatives to protect. For elected officials, there are campaign contributors to satisfy. For appointed officials, civilian and military, there are ambitions to be pursued.

And always there is a chattering claque of militarists, calling for jihad and insisting on ever greater exertions, while remaining alert to any hint of backsliding. In Washington, members of this militarist camp, by no means coincidentally including many of the voices that most insistently defend Israeli bellicosity, tacitly collaborate in excluding or marginalizing views that they deem heretical. As a consequence, what passes for debate on matters relating to national security is a sham. Thus are we invited to believe, for example, that General Petraeus’s appointment as the umpteenth U.S. commander in Afghanistan constitutes a milestone on the way to ultimate success.

Nearly 20 years ago, a querulous Madeleine Albright demanded to know: “What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?” Today, an altogether different question deserves our attention: What’s the point of constantly using our superb military if doing so doesn’t actually work?

Washington’s refusal to pose that question provides a measure of the corruption and dishonesty permeating our politics.

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. His new book, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, has just been published. Listen to the latest TomCast audio interview to hear him discuss the book by clicking here or, to download to an iPod, here.

Copyright 2010 Andrew Bacevich