Archive for War

“Be With You in a Minute, Mr. Peabody!”

Cineastes will recognize the title of this post as the line repeatedly shouted out by Cary Grant in that screwiest of screwball comedies, Bringing Up Baby, as he chases Katherine Hepburn and a leopard around a country estate. Mr. Peabody is the potential donor to Grant’s paleontological studies, but poor Cary can barely catch his breath, let alone his quarry, the eponymous Baby the leopard.

President Obama can relate. Can’t a man take a two-week Martha’s Vineyard vacation—interrupted by a bachelor party—followed by a weekend wedding and several fundraising appearances without the world falling apart? To quote from another great film, The Incredibles, “No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved, you know?”

So I just have to ask, do we have a strategy for this?

Ukraine’s president has said his country is “close to a point of no return – full scale-war”.

Petro Poroshenko was speaking in Brussels, where he said a meeting of EU leaders had agreed to prepare more sanctions against Russia.

Outgoing EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton earlier accused Russia of “direct aggression” in east Ukraine.

Russia denies that its forces are backing rebels, who have been gaining ground on Ukrainian forces.

Mr Poroshenko said Ukraine was a victim of “military aggression and terror”.

He said: “I think that we are very close to the point of no return. Point of no return is full-scale war.

Because it would appear this is Putin’s strategy:

Ukraine military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists in Kiev that Russian tanks had entered the small Ukrainian town of Novosvitlivka on the border with Russia and fired on every house.

“We have information that virtually every house has been destroyed.”

That strategy would appear to be: first they came for Crimea, but we did not speak up because we were not Crimean; then they came for Donetsk, but we did not speak up because we were not Donetskan; then they came for Novosvitlivka, but we did not speak up because we were not Novosvitlivkan.

That strategy appears to be working so far.

Our strategy…well, maybe we’re playing the long game:

President Obama was among the guests at the wedding of White House chef Sam Kass late Saturday, according to a White House pool report.

Obama, the first lady and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, attended the ceremony at a farm-to-table restaurant in Westchester County, New York.

The first family departed Blue Hill at Stone Barns at 1:05 a.m. Sunday morning after spending six-and-a-half hours at the wedding festivities, according to a reporter traveling with the president.

The Obamas returned to the White House shortly before 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning, approximately two-and-a-half hours behind schedule.

You say two and a half hours, I say two and a half years. But we can all agree that this sort of behavior has no place in the 21st century. Okay, Vlad? So, just cool it.

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Israel Guilty as Charged

Of going too easy:

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beytenu) has called on the government to take a much firmer hand with Hamas, just hours before a ceasefire is rumored to go into effect Monday.

Aharonovich made his comments following a “difficult” visit to the Tragerman family, whose four-year-old son Daniel was killed in a mortar attack on Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel on Friday.

“With a terrorist group you need to deal in a far more violent and harsh way, to defeat it. I have said this already a number of times in the past.”

“What is important to us is to return security to the residents of the State, with an emphasis on the south,” he continued.

Hard to argue with that.

And I don’t dispute this:

Barak Seener, an Associate fellow at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, thinks Israel is “choosing not to win” the war in Gaza.

“In general,” he explained, “modern warfare is not geared towards protracted conflict, and thus Israel should have initially gone in harder. This was prevented by a lack of extensive sound intelligence of tunnels and the whereabouts of Hamas operatives. Israel’s diplomatic standing will decline as Europe does not anymore understand the power of ideologies, let alone a genocidal, zero sum game Islamist and suicidal ideology.”

“There is so much that has been reported in Israeli news outlets but has not been reported in European outlets. This includes Hamas executing Fatah members, children digging tunnels, concrete being redirected to building tunnels rather than hospitals and schools, the affluence of Hamas’s leadership who divert funding to the Palestinians to their own personal accounts, even pictures of tunnels were reported by the Washington Post a few weeks earlier than Reuters.

“The main issue is that Israel should take exactly the same initiatives (not more) as Allied forces have done in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. While it is natural that Israel should seek to avoid civilian casualties, its priority is to its own civilians and soldiers.

I dispute only this: “Europe does not anymore understand the power of ideologies, let alone a genocidal, zero sum game Islamist and suicidal ideology.”

Europe understands all too well: James Foley’s executioner was British. Europeans are just praying that the Islamist threat will spare them if they ignore or submit to it. Which is how Europe deals with most threats. Israel does not have that “luxury”.

PS: If there is such a thing as a “just war”—and I believe there is—the irrevocable defeat of Hamass would have to qualify. Not a truce or a stalemate (during which Hamass would merely rearm), but an unqualified, unconditional defeat. Hamass has not amended its genocidal charter; it has not softened its warcraft. Indeed, to indiscriminate shelling of Israeli civilians they have now added human shields to their tactics. No mosque, school, or hospital is safe from their militarization. Where is the morality in leaving even a trace of such a regime? The “war crime” is in leaving it intact.

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Good Morning!

New day, new Hamass atrocity:

A “humanitarian ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas has broken Friday, after Hamas fired yet another salvo of rockets on Israel despite the bilateral truce.

Heavy fighting has now broken out between Israel and Hamas in southern Gaza, according to Palestinian sources, who also claim that eight terrorists have been killed since 10:00 am.

Rocket fire from Hamas and Islamic Jihad has resumed.

Mortar shells have been fired in the Eshkol region; no injuries were reported, but a brushfire started and is spreading. Firefighting teams are working to stymie the blaze.

The Iron Dome missile defense system also shot down two rockets over Ofakim Friday afternoon.

“Once again the terror organizations in Gaza flagrantly violating the ceasefire to which they committed themselves, this time to the US Secretary of State and the UN Secretary General,” a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said, without pointing to a specific incident.

Earlier, Hamas fired a salvo of rockets at the south just before 7:00 am Friday; two rockets hit open areas in S’dot HaNegev and in the Merhavim area. No injuries or damage were reported.

Additional rockets were fired at Ashkelon and Ashdod, just after 7:30 am. Two rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over Ashdod; there are no reports of injuries or damage.

Yet another salvo was fired, just five minutes before 8:00 am, at Gaza Belt communities.

The barrages were fired just minutes before a 72-hour ceasefire was to take effect, in a UN and US-brokered deal slated to begin 8:00 am Friday.

There is even a report that an Israeli soldier was captured.

I ask John Kerry and the striped-pants brigade to please dispense with the peace “processes”. Israel has a job to do; fifty-six soldiers have died to protect their country. How about for a change you let Israel win?

As others are asking:

“We call on the Prime Minister to return Israel her sovereignty,” MK Miri Regev (Likud) stated Friday. “We must stop these cease-fires – they give over a message of hesitancy.”

“We must not accept a single condition in a cease-fire,” she continued. “We must either demilitarize or retake Gaza; there is no middle ground. Now is the time.”

Regev’s statements surface after weeks of similar statements from ministers, many of whom have conveyed disappointment over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s willingness to dabble in the demands of the international community regarding a cease-fire.

Another voice in the chorus:

Feiglin does not believe in going after rocket launchers or tunnels. Gaza should be retaken in whole, he said, by directly attacking the Hamas leadership and striving for victory, and doing so according to Jewish law, without sacrificing soldiers in order to save members of the local population, which voted Hamas into power.

Once this is accomplished, the terrorists who fight Israel must be destroyed, he said, and the remaining population should be encouraged to leave through monetary compensation. Surveys show that 80% of Gazans would like to leave the Mediterranean coastal strip and move elsewhere in the world. The minority that decides to stay will be allowed to stay and gradually receive a status similar to the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem.

We see in the short term (overnight) that Israel can’t trust or work with Arab occupiers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. The chronicle of the last 65 years or so demonstrates they can’t trust or work with them in the long term either. If Kerry and his ilk really wanted peace they’d support the single state of Israel from the river to the sea. Anything less is just a Jewish ghetto.

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Arab EMTs

When the going gets tough, the terrorists scatter like so many cockroaches:

But as pathetically humorous as it is to watch the little Arab rats scurry and hide, it’s nowhere near as pathetically humorous as watching the little Arab rats play-acting:

Hee-hee. Pallywood really ought to sell tickets for these comic shorts. They’re blockbuster.

There are a few among the dead whose deaths I’m sure I regret. A few. But if Hamass fires off missiles and mortars from behind the skirts of Arab grannies, Israel not only can fire back, it must. Chalk up all deaths to Hamass.

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D-Day

Charles Durning (he begins at about 1:30):

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The Odessa File

You know what happens when Israelis around in a crisis.

The doctor (or medical student) is in:

A few hundred Israelis studying abroad in Ukraine have been treating victims of the violence between government forces and pro-Russian militants.

Gonen, a 25-year-old from southern Israel studying medicine in Odessa, described the mayhem that has engulfed the city since Friday. “Yesterday noon the hostilities started. An activist friend of mine asked me and my friends to help treat the wounded.

“We set up a command and control center just like Magen David Adom (emergency personnel) and brought in the victims. We were three Israelis and four Turkish nationals. We treated about 30 people across the city.”

Gonen, a second-year medical students who served as a medic in the IDF, said local residents bought the team bandages and disinfectants: “You can’t rely on the Ukrainian authorities from a medical point of view. There were few ambulances so we arrived at different places and simply treated people in the street.

“We treated them until nighttime. We saw fatalities; this usually-pastoral scene became a war zone. I treated one wounded man while he was surrounded by corpses and people crying and screaming.”

“I felt safe until now, but I won’t walk around the city anymore. There are pro-Russian militants carrying Israeli flags to provoke the population. The Israelis here just want to go home,” said Gonen.

Sadly, in this world we live in, home is where you belong.

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Kung Fool

Some say President Obama has been beaten up for his lunch money by Vladimir Putin. We reject that charge.

Beating him up for his lunch money is what China is doing:

China is waging political warfare against the United States as part of a strategy to drive the U.S. military out of Asia and control seas near its coasts, according to a Pentagon-sponsored study.

A defense contractor report produced for the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s think tank on future warfare, describes in detail China’s “Three Warfares” as psychological, media, and legal operations. They represent an asymmetric “military technology” that is a surrogate for conflict involving nuclear and conventional weapons.

The unclassified 566-page report warns that the U.S. government and the military lack effective tools for countering the non-kinetic warfare methods, and notes that U.S. military academies do not teach future military leaders about the Chinese use of unconventional warfare. It urges greater efforts to understand the threat and adopt steps to counter it.

“The Three Warfares is a dynamic three dimensional war-fighting process that constitutes war by other means,” said Cambridge University professor Stefan Halper, who directed the study. “It is China’s weapon of choice in the South China Sea.”

The study concludes that in the decade ahead China will employ unconventional warfare techniques on issues ranging from the Senkaku Islands dispute in northeast Asia to the disputed Paracels in the South China Sea.

For the United States, the Three Warfares seek to curtail U.S. power projection in Asia that is needed to support allies, such as Japan and South Korea, and to assure freedom of navigation by attempting to set terms for allowing U.S. access to the region.

The use of psychological, media, and legal attacks by China is part of an effort to raise “doubts about the legitimacy of the U.S. presence.”

Let us amend our assertion that China is beating up Obama for his lunch money. He’s handing it over of his own free will, saying they deserve it more than he does. Besides, China is just a “regional power”, acting “out of weakness”.

If this were a good world in which everyone could be trusted, there might be no need for the US to project its strength around the globe, But his is a world with China, Russia, Iran, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, etc. in it. There are consequences for weakness, perceived or real, but unless the Russians lob a nuke onto the 17 green at Andrews Air Base, Obama will never have to face them.

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Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

I don’t have a lot of time for John McCain anymore—haven’t since 2008—but he makes a point worth pursuing here:

Giap was a master of logistics, but his reputation rests on more than that. His victories were achieved by a patient strategy that he and Ho Chi Minh were convinced would succeed—an unwavering resolve to suffer immense casualties and the near total destruction of their country to defeat any adversary, no matter how powerful. “You will kill 10 of us, we will kill one of you,” he said, “but in the end, you will tire of it first.”

Giap executed that strategy with an unbending will. The French repulsed wave after wave of frontal attacks at Dien Bien Phu. The 1968 Tet offensive against the U.S. was a military disaster that effectively destroyed the Viet Cong. But Giap persisted and prevailed.

The U.S. never lost a battle against North Vietnam, but it lost the war. Countries, not just their armies, win wars. Giap understood that. We didn’t. Americans tired of the dying and the killing before the Vietnamese did. It’s hard to defend the morality of the strategy. But you can’t deny its success.

He’s right. Giap was right. And it is a strategy adopted without change by jihadists around the world. Islamofascists play the long game, long as in eternity.

[A]s I turned to leave, he grasped my arm, and said softly, “you were an honorable enemy.”

America may have been honorable, My Lai and Agent Orange notwithstanding. But how honorable is the strategy of burning human life like cordwood? Worse, that was Communist ideology in peace as well as war—see Russia, China, Cambodia, Cuba, etc., etc. “Immense casualties” and “near total destruction” are tenets of totalitarian beliefs, Marxist or Mohammedan.

This is not “honorable”; it’s not humane. Is it even human? But this is the nature of our enemy. And by “our”, I mean everyone.

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Obama’s Big Speech

Got the popcorn ready to go? We’re going to be treated to a Very Important Speech™ about Syria this evening. Our hapless Secretary of State appears to have handed the reigns of the Middle East off to Vladimir Putin, and it looks like we can all pretend that the “international community” will scoop up the WMD’s and no one will ever, ever, ever use poison gas in war again. Ever.

But I have a dream to share. President Obama stands before the television cameras, clears his throat, and begins the usual long-winded, pointless pronouncements, filled with faux feelings and unintelligible thoughts. He’s rambling, you’re dozing.

“My administration has avoided war,” blah, blah, blah… when Wait!! Seriously, Wake Up! Holy Moly, he’s talking about needing to spend more time with Michelle and the girls. He’s tired. He’s given it his all, but his all just isn’t enough. No one man, no matter how brilliant, could do all this.” (He’s in over his head, and he’s letting us know he knows it.)

“And so, I have decided to hand over the Presidency to my able Vice President, Joe Biden.” (Biden runs up to the podium, fists punching the air, like Rocky.)

Oh, I hear you. Aggie, what are you drinking? That’s none of your business.

I can dream, can’t I?

- Aggie

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Arnold Palmer for SecDef!

Like UFO sightings and panda matings, pictures of President Obama playing golf while the world around him plunges into chaos are few and far between.

But the truth is out there:

President Barack Obama faces a high-stakes week of trying to convince a skeptical Congress and a war-weary American public that they should back him on a military strike against Syria.

His administration came under pressure Saturday from European officials to delay possible action until U.N. inspectors report their findings about an Aug. 21 chemical attack that Obama blames on the Assad government.

Foreign ministers meeting in Lithuania with Secretary of State John Kerry did endorse a “clear and strong response” to an attack they said strongly points to President Bashar Assad’s government. Kerry welcomed the “strong statement about the need for accountability.” But the EU did not specify what an appropriate response would be.

They didn’t? No way!

But let me skip ahead a couple of paras (the 12th to be exact):

Dozens of people opposed to Obama’s call for military action demonstrated outside the White House. Speakers chanting “They say more war. We say no war,” said the picket line marks a line Congress should not cross as it prepares to vote on the issue.

Obama left the White House during the protest, traveling by car to Andrews Air Force Base to play golf with three aides.

There it is! That’s our man!


We’ll march into Damascus! And then Tripoli! And then Beirut! We’ll be greeted as liberators!

Maybe if he were seen playing soccer instead of golf. It’s a more global game. These excitable folk in Brazil, for example, might be less promiscuous with the lighter fluid:

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One, Two, Three, What Are We Fighting For?

Don’t ask the Pentagon, because they don’t have the slightest idea:

The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. As Secretary of State John Kerry’s thundering voice and arm-waving redounded in rage against Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities, Dempsey was largely (and respectfully) silent.

Really? Is that fair? Can a picture really tell a tale?

Yikes! It seems it can. I’ve seen more eager expressions in a dentist’s office.

This was Dempsey in his own words on August 19:

In an August 19 letter to Congressman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Dempsey writes that the US military had the capability to destroy the Syrian air force and thus shift the balance of the two year old war in favor of the rebels. The General however doubts the reasonability of doing so.

“The use of U.S. military force can change the military balance,” Dempsey said. “But it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict.”

In his letter, Dempsey points out the factionalism of the Syrian opposition, not all of which shares the Western vision of the country’s future.

“Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides,” Dempsey says. “It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor. Today, they are not.”

Dempsey described Syria’s war as “tragic and complex”, which has been supported by the recent developments there.

“It is a deeply rooted, long-term conflict among multiple factions, and violent struggles for power will continue after Assad’s rule ends,” he wrote. “We should evaluate the effectiveness of limited military options in this context.”

Dempsey thus supported the Obama administration’s current policy of providing humanitarian assistance and some limited help to moderate opposition, saying that would be “the best framework for an effective U.S. strategy toward Syria.”

Doesn’t sound very gung-ho, does it? (Though it does sound exceedingly well-informed.) Off topic, but one reason the film Dr. Strangelove falls flat for me is the one-note tune it plays on the US military. Portraying generals and servicemen as psychos and cowboys may have been just the thing in the early 60s, but it’s as dated as Myrna Loy’s hemlines.

This is today’s army:

[W]hat follows represents the overwhelming opinion of serving professionals who have been intimate witnesses to the unfolding events that will lead the United States into its next war.

They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.

They are repelled by the hypocrisy of a media blitz that warns against the return of Hitlerism but privately acknowledges that the motive for risking American lives is our “responsibility to protect” the world’s innocents. Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. The U.S. military’s civilian masters privately are proud that they are motivated by guilt over slaughters in Rwanda, Sudan and Kosovo and not by any systemic threat to our country.

Speaking of dated, who remembers this president?

Our most respected soldier president, Dwight Eisenhower, possessed the gravitas and courage to say no to war eight times during his presidency. He ended the Korean War and refused to aid the French in Indochina; he said no to his former wartime friends Britain and France when they demanded U.S. participation in the capture of the Suez Canal. And he resisted liberal democrats who wanted to aid the newly formed nation of South Vietnam. We all know what happened after his successor ignored Eisenhower’s advice. My generation got to go to war.

General Dempsey, in his own words, echoed the wisdom of Eisenhower. But as a soldier, he’ll do as he’s told, no matter how callow the commander in chief:

Over the past few days, the opinions of officers confiding in me have changed to some degree. Resignation seems to be creeping into their sense of outrage. One officer told me: “To hell with them. If this guy wants this war, then let him have it. Looks like no one will get hurt anyway.”

Soon the military will salute respectfully and loose the hell of hundreds of cruise missiles in an effort that will, inevitably, kill a few of those we wish to protect. They will do it with all the professionalism and skill we expect from the world’s most proficient military.

President Obama is a fool. How many missiles do we need to fire to tell us and the rest of the world, including our enemies, what we already know?

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Syria Fatigue

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting to the point of not giving a [bleep] whether we do or we don’t bomb the damn place. Wearing my ass out.

So, now I just want to have some fun with the story:

A statement issued Friday by a bare majority of the G20 — 11 of its 20 members — said that “the evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime.”

I guess that “evidence” wasn’t so “clear” to everyone, was it?

Putin said the leaders in St. Petersburg were split nearly “50-50″ over whether to intervene militarily.

He said that action against Syria without U.N. Security Council approval would be illegal. Russia and China, which has also opposed military intervention in Syria, have veto power.

Citing Security Council “paralysis” on the issue, Obama said countries should be willing to act without the council’s authorization.

“If we are serious about upholding a ban on chemical weapons use, then an international response is required, and that will not come through Security Council action.”

But he said he was encouraged by the discussions in St. Petersburg. “There’s a growing recognition that the world cannot stand idly by,” Obama said.

A growing recognition: maybe tomorrow 12 countries will sign his worthless piece of paper.

Hey, I’m really sorry the Syrians got gassed (if they got gassed—I wouldn’t mind actually seeing the inspectors’ report), but this is great theater. Obama is like Nick Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream, complete with donkey head. As with the weaver of the play, we should call this “‘Bottom’s Dream’, because it hath no Bottom”.

Just an ass.

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