Friday, July 08, 2005

But Seriously...

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

-- Benjamin Franklin

But seriously...

I don't really think "charity bombing" would have a lasting effect on terrorism (although I'm certain we could feed and clothe the entire Middle East for less than we're spending on military operations there).

But we need to do something other than what we're doing now because our present strategy clearly isn't working. Bin Laden and whoever else masterminds radical Islamic terrorism have gotten inside of our turning circle. Everything we do or don't do plays into their game plan. The Bush strategists either don't see this or they do see it and don't want to believe it.

So what do we do differently?

I'm not sure, but the first step in formulating any plan is to set realistic, achievable, and tangible goals. Abstract platitudes like "spreading democracy and freedom throughout the world" won't cut it any better than visions of sugarplums dancing through our leaders' heads.

It doesn't take a strategic genius to figure out that the objective of a "War on Terrorism" might need to be something to do with terrorism. Defeating it, beating it, stopping it, ending it, deterring it, preventing it, punishing it...

As we have clearly seen, invading and occupying other countries does not defeat terrorism. So we might not want to invade and occupy any more countries, you think?

The size of the errors in Iraq and Afghanistan is too profound to sweep under the carpet. What we need is an honest to goodness plan to exit those countries. Not necessarily abandon them, per se; but we need to make it quite clear that we won't stick around forever, and that means setting timetables for taking off the training wheels. (This business of comparing Iraq and Afghanistan to America's revolution is ludicrous. We didn't ask the British to stick around for a decade or so while we came up with our constitution.)

We've also seen that unilateral US action cannot defeat terrorism. We need to bring our traditional allies into the game. That's going to involve eating a large helping of crow, but so what? Is the objective to defeat terrorism or save face? (Remember now, it's a war on "terrorism," not embarrassment.)

No war can be won without superior command and control. That means establishing clear chains of command defining who is responsible to whom for what. I seriously doubt anyone has a wire diagram that shows the organization of the countless agencies involved in Homeland Security. If such a thing does exist, it's indecipherable.

Our armed services are not designed or organized to combat terrorism or insurgencies. This has to change. And it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. We can probably re-gear our entire military for the cost of two aircraft carriers, and still retain enough "conventional force" to fight and defeat anyone else's military.

But perhaps the most important thing we need to do in our War on Terror is to declare a War on Bullshit. No more "flypaper theory," no more "with us or against us," no more "bring 'em on," no more "last throes." And no more "what's past is past." Our nation's leaders--especially our elected officials--need to be held accountable for their actions. If our leaders aren't accountable, we truly are defeated.

9 comments:

  1. Doesn't accountability, in this case, equate with criminal responsibility?

    Pure speculation, but perhaps our leaders realize they've crossed the line into criminality, and their lawyers are advising them not to accept responsibility for fear of future prosecution.

    (And what kind of dream land do I live in?)

    ReplyDelete
  2. You could well be right. People don't keep this many secrets unless they have something to hide.

    I think they're very, very concerned about troubled consciences and/or people thinking about cutting deals with prosecutors before it's too late.

    You never know with these characters, but...

    The size of the lie about the yellow cake and the felony's commited to protect it are mighty hard to ignore. (Hey, how long has that elephant been in the living room?)

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11:49 AM

    With apologies for taking a long quote from another article, I've cut and paste from Spencer Ackerman's column in The New Republic here: "...That's because of the unique opportunity the Iraq war presents for an ambitious would-be murderer. In between the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, an Islamic extremist in a place like Europe had little opportunity to gain terrorist expertise to match his aspirations...For months, counterterrorism officials across Europe have been noticing a disturbing phenomenon: Local Islamic extremists are showing up in Baghdad, Falluja, Ramadi, and elsewhere...Iraq is closing the loop between terrorist desire and terrorist ability. David Low, a senior U.S. intelligence official, recently observed to Dana Priest of The Washington Post that Iraq provides "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills" to jihadists..."

    What you've posted today, Jeff, is beyond just true - it's truly frightening. And Doug, I agree with you - no wonder this Admin opposes an International Court, they would be the first tried under its jurisdiction.

    This completely wrong-headed and misguided war in Iraq - that they wanted so badly they lied to us all and then branded anyone traitor who would question their veracity - has completely destabilized the entire world; it has unleashed terror.

    I worry that they are so incapable of realizing what they've done, that they can't possibly change course and we are in for another 3 and half years of this.

    Are they now going to be able to misuse yet another tragedy for political gain and get the American people to rally around their losing cause, or will Americans wake up and force a change in strategy from these stubborn knuckleheads...?

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's getting loonier by the minute. An old prof of mine (a War College prof, no less) thinks it's time for us to start lopping off heads. Like that's going to deter suicide bombers.

    I'm thinking tomorow's post will be titled PAVLOV'S DOGS OF WAR.

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous3:44 PM

    Hmm, they're teaching beheading at the War College these days? Guess they stopped teaching Sun Tzu because it turns out he's a liberal pansy - only liberals, traitors, and surrender monkeys would say the following:

    "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill."

    "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."
    Sun-tzu
    Chinese general & military strategist (~400 BC)

    He also said:
    "If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles."

    Since we clearly don't know the enemy we should be very afraid....

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't think we know ourselves very well either. I listened to an hour or so of Kool Aid radio this afternoon. Whew!

    If you asked a hundred of these people why we're in Iraq, ninety nine of them would give you "flypaper theory" argument. We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here.

    The whole London thing went right over their heads.

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous4:09 PM

    what are you, a sadist?! I would have committed radio abuse had I listened to that shit.

    You are right - the whole of that Sun Tzu quote: "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

    I think the results speak for themselves...which leads us back to your Ben Franklin quote - another liberal, traitorous surrender monkey - he liked the *French* for Pete's sake!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm trying to remember when I first read a bio of BF. Pretty young, I was. I read it about the same time I read Huck Finn.

    If I had to name "the greatest American ever," I think I'd have to go with Mister Franklin. Too bad that he's been reduced to a Santa Claus-like figure in the modern American mindset. And way, way, way too bad his quote about insanity gets credited to that Total Quality Loser Dr. Deming.

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great blog, Jeff.
    The previous Sun Tsu was also spot on. However, being that Sun Tsu advised militarily and wasn't a political hack, I don't think Rove was whispering any quotes in Bush's ear.
    As a former Intel Sgt., my frustration was with my local command's lack of emphasis on LIC and Operations Other Than War. Our MP Bn. was in a perfect postion to train as support for selective missions that targeted the actual players. Send in Special Forces and Civil Affairs backed by personnel specializing in the securing of operations that involve civilians and military (i.e. Combat MP's). We have the model, it's just that it doesn't fit with the Rah-Rah'ers and profiteers of war.
    Basically, we should have been looking at terrorism for what it is. It's behavior closely resembles that of organized crime. And when we go after criminals, SWAT doesn't blow up the surrounding neighborhood to get at them.

    ReplyDelete