Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Neocon Ralph Peters: Kill! Kill! Kill!

I once again find myself aghast at the illogical warmongering rhetoric of Ralph Peters. Retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel Peters is a novelist and an essayist whose columns appear in Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. He is also a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the neoconservative think tank that talked America into its present woebegone war in Iraq.

In his latest piece for the Armed Forces Journal titled "The hearts-and-minds myth," Peters argues, "Sorry, but winning means killing."

As to the proper course to take in our present "war" on terror, Peters says:
We need to grasp the basic truth that the path to winning the hearts and minds of the masses leads over the corpses of the violent minority. As for humanitarianism, the most humane thing we can do is to win our long struggle against fanaticism and terrorism. That means killing terrorists and fanatics.

Peters is right to the extent that war involves killing, and that killing people is not the method of choice for getting them to like you.

But like so many of his neocon cronies, Peters neglects to mention that when you make two or more terrorists for every one that you kill, you're going to have to kill a heck of a lot of people to "win." In fact, you'll have to kill darn near every one of "them," whoever "they" are.

And what will you have "won?"

Kristol's Dogs of War

Peters is a luminary in the stable of neoconservative military commentators who are still trying to cover their sixes for getting America entangled in Iraq. Bill Kristol, PNAC co-founder and publisher of The Weekly Standard was one of the first neocons to throw Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld under the proverbial bus when things started going south in Iraq, saying in December 2004 that our soldiers "deserve a better defense secretary than the one we have."

Kristol seldom mentions that Rumsfeld was onboard the PNAC when it crafted the Iraq invasion policy, and that the PNAC was on board with Rumsfeld's vision to "transform" the Army into a lighter, faster force (see PNAC's Rebuilding America's Defenses, published in September 2000).

Kristol, Peters, and other PNACers like Robert Kagan and Charles Krauthammer are scrambling to save their beloved ideology. They pictured an American global hegemony established and sustained through armed force. History's best-trained, best-equipped military's failure to achieve America's national aims in Afghanistan and Iraq should proven their vision delusional, but these guys are tenacious--the dreams of megalomaniacs die hard.

So it's no real surprise that the neocons, desperate to prove that armed conflict can yet be salvaged as an effective instrument of national power, are egging America into another war with Iran. In a saner age, by this point, the neocon PNACers would have been booed off the stage. Unfortunately, the autistic right is still listening to them, and actually taking them seriously.

Neoconservative punditry is following a predictable formula: ludicrous comparisons of the "war" on terror with World War II, fear and hate rhetoric, sloganeering, bandwagonning and, most importantly, blaming their past failures on the usual scapegoats--sissy "defeatists" the "hostile" liberal media, the Clintons, etc.

All of which masks the underlying principle of neoconservative strategy and policy: Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!…

One would think that having vanquished Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the dreaded Soviet Union, America could think of a better strategy to serve its interests than one that can be summarized in a single word.

But one has to remember that our policy "think" tanks are infested with the likes of Ralph Peters, and they still have the ear of the most powerful man in the world--PNAC charter member Dick Cheney.

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Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.

Related article: The PNAC Paper Trail

18 comments:

  1. What is it with these chairborne warriors of the PNAC? The psychologcally stable man who survives combat understands the evil and waste inherent in war; only the psychopath glorifies it.

    Peters' wiki bio claims 10 years service in Germany as an enlisted man, followed by an OCS commission and retirement in 1998 as an 0-5. It also claims service in MI.

    I didn't spend a career in the Army, but I never met an EM who spent 10 years in Germany. I'd be very surprised to see this claim documented.

    Cheney, of course, is a physical and moral coward who tries to overcompensate for his lack of masculine accomplishments by glorifying war and guns. I've heard it said that his phallic substitute collection contains more than 100 pieces, including quite a few automatic weapons (for that subconscious multiple orgasm thrill.)

    As you stated so ably, Jeff, all this conquering and killing is compensation for an impotent pecker.

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  2. These guys are the stuff of a Peters millitary technobabble thriller.

    They're addicted to moist Cub Scout G.I. Joe fantasies.

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  3. Why do I want to listen to Alice's Restaurant all of a sudden?

    On point as always, Jeff, thanks. By their theory we'll end up needing to kill all of the middle east, half of Africa and half of Asia.

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  4. That's precisely where they're leading us, Zeb.

    And alas, so many are still willing to follow.

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  5. If all "them" could be killed off, they'd have to find a new "them", which would most likely be "us", right?

    It's all so confusing. No wonder Peters et al. love to boil it down to one word.

    Also, it's a lot easier to say and spell than "Dolchstosslegende".

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  6. There's always more of "them."

    And you're with "us" or against us.

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  7. Ralph Peters was an MI guy? The last MI guy I knew was deeply - no sierra - into whips and chains. What gives with these MI types?

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  8. I can't say for sure what gives with MI types, but I sure wouldn't go on a hundred dollar dinner date with one. ;-0

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  9. Anonymous11:57 PM

    There's a fundamental truth that Peters alludes to that does bear some consideration: war only ends when one side has lost their will and ability to continue to resist. Iraq and Afghanistan are fiascos because the other side(s) never lost their will to resist the US, and so continue to battle using a variety of methods conventional and not. At best, the other side took a break to regroup, rearm, and do some fund raising and recruiting.

    The ultimate acts of Rumsfeld's hubris have been the declarations of victory in the absense of the other side declaring that they are defeated. The US administration presumes that because we blew up the other guy's cave, bunker, tank, statue, bridge, wedding party, etc, that therefore we have won, like this is just some game of stratego.

    While I don not advocate this idea, I believe it's possible that the US could kill the current crop of fanatics and terrorists. We might be able to kill the next wave of both that we would create by killing the first wave. But that would require brutality and carnage orders of magnitude worse than we see on the news today. I doubt any republicrats could keep their jobs based on the resulting public outcry.

    So if Peters wants to claim the path to (real) victory in Iraq is the same road that ran through Carthage, well, I agree with him. But I don't believe the cost we'd pay would be worth the result, and I think the politicians masters of the US can't afford to pay the toll anyway.

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  10. Nav, some MI types are perfectly nice fellows and admirable human beings. You'd be surprised. It may be splitting hairs, but I mentioned that Peters' wiki bio claims he was MI. As I said above, I served in Germany during part of the time I believe LTC Peters says he was there as an EM. I've never heard of a ten year overseas tour for an EM. It's just flat against US Army policy to allow "homesteading." Plus, for someone ostensibly serving in MI, it's an open invitation to identification, penetration and co-option.

    There's a pretty critical take down of his post-retirement activities here.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/013058.php

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  11. Let's face it, killing "the current crop of fanatics and terrorists" would be easy, but then it would be a real bitch drilling for oil in the Iraqi desert wearing that radiation suit.

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  12. Good discussions, gang, thanks much.

    Anon, off the top of my head I'll say that this "enemy" is so dispersed that it can never be forced to submit to our "will." What's more, what does "sumbission to our will" consist of? That cuts to the core of "what are our real war aims?"

    The answer to that, I'm convinced, is control of the balance of the world's energy. And as William points out, the amount of anhilation it would take to "kill them all" would be counterproductive to our goals. I don't think even Halliburton wants to tackle pulling oil out of a nuclear wasteland.

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  13. P.S. And yes, I would hope that the American people wouldn't stand for that sort of thing.

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  14. Lurch, after I read your quote from Peters' wiki bio about ten years in Germany, I was wondering if I'd read too many Len Deighton & John LeCarre books until I saw your comment "for someone ostensibly serving in MI, it's an open invitation to identification, penetration and co-option." That's kinda the vector my thoughts were on, too. Curious. And I promise not to lump all MI'ers in the same dungeon as the doofus I knew.

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  15. Thanks, Nav. I'm sure some MI appreciate that.

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  16. Jeff et al:

    Very interesting discussion. I learned very early in my career - as an O-1 on an SSBN - that we had figured out ways to kill massive quantities of "them", but that doing so would not give us much in the way of a victory.

    I was always proud to serve in a force that was strong enough to know it never wanted to fire its weapons.

    You mentioned the importance of controlling the balance of the world's energy. One other nice thing about the part of the force where I cut my teeth is that I learned that there is an energy choice that does not involve oil, emissions or lifestyle sacrifice. Nuclear power is not just good for pushing submarines; it can allow us to stop messing in the internal affairs of far off lands in the vain hope that we will be able to take their oil to power another generation of SUVs.

    Rod Adams
    Atomic Insights

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  17. Anonymous7:23 PM

    In a lukewarm defense of "MI types", I would have to say that some of us weren't so completely reality challenged.

    We are an odd bunch--to this day, I think I may still be the only American to have ever taken a dump on the Berlin Wall and I refuse to leverage booze as an excuse. But we're pretty much like anyone else schlepping for a living.

    Guys like Peters are a dime a dozen in *all* ranks of the military these days. A bunch of simplistic, imperial praetorians who find honor in authority and democracy a messy hindrance to the ambitions of greatness. The guy would hump the thigh of any dictator anywhere. he just happened to be one of ours.

    Nice website. Be well, fellow vets. And let's wage war no more.

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  18. Ralph doesn't give MI types a good name, that's for sure. Thanks for stopping by and posting.

    Best,

    Jeff

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