Monday, September 30, 2002

House to House Fighting

The Iraqis are apparently preparing a last ditch defense of Baghdad that will be both their first and last line of defense. The possibility of another Berlin 1945, when the Russians endured horrible casualties, has been raised as a reason for caution.

Can the Iraqis pull off such a defense?

I doubt it.

First of all, the defense of Berlin was so bloody because the Soviets were completely uninterested in minimizing casualties—their own or German. Second, the Germans knew that there would be no quarter granted for surrendering. They were dead and the only thing they could do was exact a price. It was not until 1955 that German POWs were released by the Soviets to go home. Third, the Soviets were in a hurry, fearing the Allies might take the city first. German soldiers surrendered to the Western allies because they knew that surrendering meant they would live.

Would these factors be duplicated in an American assault on Baghdad?

I doubt it. First, we are not the Soviets (nor are the Iraqis even remotely as effective as the Germans) and this is not 1945. We will bring technology and concern that were not even remotely present in the Soviet attackers. Second, although our reputation for high concern for collateral damage may harm our credibility in peacetime, once we are fighting, people will know that surrendering to us means life—not death. We have the advantage of 1991 to bolster this belief. Iraqis who surrendered lived and went home soon after the war ended. The Iraqis have no incentive to fight to the death. Third, if we have to we can take our time taking Baghdad if the Iraqis do make a stand. We are not in a race with anybody else. Unless the Iraqis hope the French will take their surrender they aren’t going to be dealing with anybody but us.

Finally, the Iraqi record is not good. There was only one case in at least recent history where the Iraqis prepared to defend a city even if surrounded. After capturing Iran’s Khorramshahr at great cost in 1980, the Iraqis prepared to hold it in the face of Iran’s furious counter-offensive in 1982 that drove the Iraqis from their 1980 conquests. The Iraqis built fortifications and prepared to defend the city with three divisions—a quarter of their army then. When the Iranians struck, the Iraqis broke and ran rather than try to defend the city.

We must make sure the Iraqis know that the price of resistance is far higher than the price of surrendering. If the Iraqis make the suburbs of Baghdad their first line of defense, we’ve won the war. Our superiority is so great that the Iraqis appear to have assumed we will make it to Baghdad so they might as well not lose their army trying to stop us.

Big mistake. We’ll make it to Baghdad. Their regular army will defect. And their last die-hards will see they have no place to go. I don’t think we face extensive and costly house-to-house fighting. We might. I just doubt it. And if the Tikriti loyalists do resist, send in the defectors to fight. In a supporting role, we’ll suffer far fewer casualties and fulfill the wish of so many who oppose our invasion—we’ll be letting the Iraqis take care of the problem.

Sunday, September 29, 2002


The Iraqis have further refined their concept of "unconditional." "’Our position on the inspectors has been decided, and any additional procedure that aims to harm Iraq is unacceptable,’ [vice president] Ramadan told reporters here." That is, the Iraqis will only accept "unconditional" inspections based on the 1998 agreement between the UN and Iraq that set up completely toothless and hence acceptable inspection procedures. This makes it all the more shameful that the French would consider the mockery of Iraqi-defined "unconditional" inspections acceptable. The French accepted them so fast that it is clear they wanted any excuse to be able to go bat for the Iraqis. (Let me just say thanks to the French for their military’s efforts to protect Americans in Ivory Coast. My frustration with French foreign policy in general does not blind me to the fact that we are friends. It makes France’s attitudes toward Iraq all the more dismaying)

We insist on inspections that actually are unconditional (even as I consider the armed inspections completely silly). But the Iraqis like the old agreement—it clearly does not "harm" Iraq’s ability to develop weapons of mass destruction. It is no wonder that the Iraqis raise objections to inspections that might possibly find something that would give us the excuse to invade. The Iraqis probably are stuck now after denying all knowledge of programs to create weapons of mass destruction. We’d only have to find one lie, and then withdraw the inspectors and attack. The French, supposedly an ally of ours, should be ashamed to consider the Iraqi proposal acceptable.

On the other hand, the efforts of the French, or the three American Representatives from Congress who recently went to Iraq to show their support, for that matter, contribute to Iraq’s perception that they can continue to hang tough and won’t have to face our wrath. If the Iraqis had no hope, they might capitulate enough to stall action for months or years. Instead, the opponents of war serve a very important service for the pro-invasion forces. I kind of enjoy that.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Attacking Iraq Unprecedented?

I don’t mean to question a United States Senator’s logic, but what could Senator Mark Dayton mean when he said, "Yet now Congress is being rushed to pre-approve whatever President Bush decides to do, which includes something no president has done before: start a war. According to researchers at the Library of Congress, the United States has never in its 213-year history launched a preemptive attack against another country. Never."

The good Senator from Minnesota is first of all confusing preemption, attacks, and war. Then he freely transfers arguments between the concepts. He says no president has ever started a war. Did we not go to war against the Barbary pirates? Did we not declare war on England in 1812? Did we not declare war on Mexico in 1846? Did we not declare war on Spain in 1898? Did we not declare war on Germany in 1917? Did we not invade Grenada in 1983? Invade Panama in 1989? Attack the Iraqis in 1991? Attack Bosnian Serbs in 1995? Attack Yugoslavia in 1999? How many of them launched a direct strike against America before we attacked? Which one of these wars would the good senator retract?

Does the senator really think that striking Iraq now, after it has violated the 1991 ceasefire accords and UN resolutions it is required to obey repeatedly, is something completely new for us? Even if we weren’t completely justified in renewing hostilities that were merely suspended and not ended, a war against Iraq is hardly a radical break from the past. I’m afraid the senator will really have to argue against the particulars of this war. He must argue that we cannot tell the difference between stopping a mad man and destroying an innocent nation. He has too little faith in us.

He also argues that striking first would have bad effects on the behavior of the rest of the world: "That principle, which has earned us enormous respect throughout the world, is the cornerstone of international stability. As the world's superpower, we set the standards for international conduct. We lead by our deeds. When we lead the world by our diplomacy and peaceful resolution of conflicts, we make it more secure. But if we attacked another country because it might threaten our national security, how could we dissuade others from doing the same? If nations that have nuclear weapons or that are developing them fear a preemptive strike, what might their responses be? Would the world be more or less secure?"

Earned us enormous respect? Where? The world has had nothing but hostility for us, trusting the motives of Saddam more than ours. Denying us the right to defend ourselves. They see evil motives for anything we do and nothing we do can make them think better of us. We are too big for them to not suspect us—whatever we do. I hardly think the Milosevics and Saddams and bin Ladens and other assorted nut cases have plotted their mayhem only to pause and contemplate, "What would the Americans do? I certainly wish to emulate their example." Please. Let them fear our wrath. We have made the world more secure by force of arms. From smashing Japanese, Italian, and German fascism, defeating Soviet communism, holding back North Korean communism, and beating back Saddam’s megalomania and Serb nationalism, Americans in uniform have carried out these missions. We have yet to launch a preemptive strike, so where is the restraint of others? Violence is the norm and wars are ongoing every day of every year. We lived in a cocoon of peace while the rest of the world slaughtered each other with machetes and hoped for nukes. When we refuse to use our weapons, our enemies see not example but opportunity—opportunity to pillage and kill with nobody to stop them.

The senator goes on. The specific case of taking on Saddam is still not compelling to him: "The profound consequences of these decisions are compelling reasons to make them as carefully as possible. I believe that the president is right about the need to disarm Saddam Hussein before he obtains nuclear weapons and the ability to use them against us. But that threat does not appear to exist today or within the next few months."

Here is the weasel escape. He concedes that Saddam is a threat and should be taken care of –somehow, without us doing anything. Please don’t make me vote. Please, let Saddam stay quiet until somebody else has to deal with him. Let me please retire from the Senate before I must vote.

The threat is now, senator. Saddam and others like him do not strive to be peaceful. They strive to kill. And they fear only our power—not our example. It is up to you to vote. Don’t let us down. Don’t put the lives of our people in your faith in the peaceful nature of the Saddams and bin Ladens and Milosevics of this world. It is no sin to kill them. The consequences of waiting are so great that we dare not take the chance. Start with Saddam. And trust that our nation of laws, based on a two-century old constitution vesting the power of the world’s only superpower in the American people, can wisely decide whether a preemptive strike is wisdom or Hitlerian aggression. We are up to the task. We must be.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

That Was a Debate?

I have read Cohen for years and I usually disagree with him (but not always) but I usually think he is at least reasonable. Lately, his columns have tested my generally positive view of him (I still disagree with him, but I always thought of him in the “we could debate the issue over a beer” way). His column on Thursday on Al Gore’s speech is perplexing to me. Safire’s take on the speech is good so here it is.

That Cohen is not in a reasonable frame of mind is evident as he starts off, by reminding us that Gore won the popular vote. I hate to have to return to this but, first, since electoral votes are all that count in our system it is a pointless fact, although admittedly frustrating for Gore supporters to accept this. I say this with a clear conscience since early on election night, I wrestled with the question. But then, I thought Gore would win the electoral college while Bush would win the popular vote (late deciders usually go to challengers, but not in 2000 as it turns out). I manfully accepted that a Gore win under those circumstances would be legitimate. Certainly, I hold the reverse to be true as well. Second, although Al Gore won more popular votes that were counted, we never did (and don’t) count “every vote.” That is, since we go by electoral votes, if a state shows a candidate winning handily, there is no need to go to the added expense of counting every single vote that is not perfectly cast. Since you could safely assume that it would not change the results even if every uncertain ballot went for the losing side, why try? Sure, counting every vote sounds good, but we don’t really care about raw national totals in our system—just state-by-state totals. Thus, we don’t actually know that Gore won a majority of all votes cast, just a majority of those counted. He may have won a majority of those cast, I admit. But again, it is not relevant.

And Cohen’s claim that Republicans are politicizing the war may or may not be true. But the party that supplied the current to the “third rail” of politics by claiming any Republican trying to address Social Security reform is planning to put grandma on an ice flow does not have too much credibility on politicizing great issues. After all, why isn’t it politicizing war to avoid the debate until after the election because you fear adverse political reactions by the voters?

But on the subject of Gore’s speech, Cohen is wrong. First, Gore’s statement that we should take on Saddam in a “timely fashion” is meaningless. How long do we wait? The eight years Gore was sitting in the co-pilot’s seat were not enough apparently. So how long do we wait? He says until we get an international coalition. How large should it be before you say it is enough? Should any country be a “must have?” What if we don’t get the numbers? What if Saddam gets nuclear weapons before we have the perfect coalition? (Ouch, there goes that “timely” advice) And, would Gore support war once the perfect coalition is assembled? We don’t know.

Cohen cites three retired American generals to support Gore’s contention that we must pacify Afghanistan and wipe out al Qaeda (how much is enough? 70% 80% 99% Is even one surviving al Qaeda member plotting in Hamburg a brake on further action?) But this contention is not supported by Cohen’s own column. Those generals warned against going it alone against Iraq; and that fighting Iraq could detract from the war against terrorism. Fine. We should seek allies; I certainly don’t want to do it alone. And two, yes, there is the potential for detracting from the war on terror. But tell me how. I think it will aid it by putting the fear of God into every regime that thinks harboring terrorists is a risk-free game. I think stopping Saddam is a good thing separate from the war against terrorism. How do the cautions of these generals support Gore’s statements?

Cohen briefly raises the “chicken hawk” issue, giving Gore credit for his Vietnam service. I think this is a ridiculous charge; and I note as I did before that Cohen has previously stated he could support war under certain circumstances. Will Cohen be a chicken hawk then? He does say he is in favor of ousting Saddam. But he says he doesn’t want to annex the Middle East. Huh? Who said that? What is Cohen talking about? Did I miss the Rumsfeld Powerpoint presentation that showed US forces going counter-clockwise from Iraq after we occupy Baghdad to sweep every Middle East regime from power? I concede to Cohen—I too am against annexing the Middle East. (Gosh, I’m getting a buzz from being so agreeable)

Then Cohen goes into the “we’re being suppressed” argument that opponents of the war can’t debate the issue. Again, all I hear and read are voices condemning the administration for wanting to oust Saddam. Who exactly is stopping opponents from arguing? Don’t mistake arguing back for suppression. Cohen complains that Hitler, Appeasement, and Munich are mentioned. Apparently, only the mention of “another Vietnam” is an approved historical comparison. And actually, didn’t the Germans make the Hitler comparison legitimate when one minister compared Bush’s policies on Iraq to Hitler’s?

His final assault is a series of rapid fire attacks claiming a Bush assault on the “truth,” quibbling over the finer points of “imminent threat,” and the blasting the irrelevant al-Qaeda-Iraq link that has not been proven. He claims American unilateralism even as we have slowly brought a number of governments over to our side and dismisses our move to the UN as just being forced. He claims, without any evidence, in his own apparent assault on the truth, that we cannot strike preemptively those who would harm us.

Cohen says that pro-war people should stop shouting “appeasement.” I haven’t heard it. I do hear a lot of talk about how we are trying to create an “empire!” Sheesh. I also haven’t heard any real suggestions by those who “really want Saddam gone” on how to do that. Other than to do that which has failed already—repeatedly. I’m waiting for that proposal. And for Cohen to return to some semblance of reasonableness. I valued his thoughtful (if wrong) essays before. This isn’t one of them. I hope it isn’t a trend.

Oh, and an excellent piece by Ken Pollack on the impossibility of deterring Saddam. It includes a number of items that I had not thought of or known, in addition to reinforcing other views I hold on deterrence. And hold on, this is an unusually good day for links, a good review of Pollack’s book on the same subject.

On to Baghdad.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

War Debate

I like how the unconquerable graveyard of two empires, as described by opponents of fighting the terrorist Taliban regime, has become a "fifth rate" power now that we’ve won. Therefore, it was no big thing to do—no credit should be given to the administration or the military. That from Al Gore, whose relevance is descending to the level of Al Sharpton—to get air time he must claim outrageous things. At least he is consistent. For eight years as VP he did nothing to fight the thugs who want us dead. And if president, he would continue to believe that inaction is the best course of action.

But although Gore does not believe we should eliminate a threat to our country unless the UN blesses it, he is concerned that we have not yet avenged the dead of September 11. Talk about going outside international norms. Is the "avenging" doctrine some Article XXXII provision of the UN charter? Strange to hear someone who has an apparent fetish for UN approval for any action of self defense—which is allowed by the UN, argue for something that is so clearly outside the UN—vengeance.

Oh, and the latest argument against attacking Iraq seems to be to argue that if we do so we will lose our "moral authority" in the world. Wait, didn’t these same critics previously state that the world hates us because of our foreign policy and we have to change that if we are to be liked (and not attacked)? It’s so confusing to follow their arguments. I guess we need to stamp them with a "use by" date so we’ll know when to stop ingesting them lest we get sick to our stomach…

The kaleidoscope of ideas used to justify opposition to war is comforting. Nothing is sticking and the opponents of war are desperate to find something that will get some traction—wrong enemy, not yet, we haven’t debated enough, we’re imperialists, there is no threat yet, war is the last option, it’s about oil, we can deter him, it’s about politics, give peace a chance, give inspectors a chance, give Saddam one more chance—or else.

We will wage war against Iraq and we will win it. And we will be safer for it. We’ll be in Baghdad by January.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Another Shot in the Foot

Saddam Hussein has taken direct command of Republican Guard brigades protecting Baghdad. This is according to the Iraqi National Congress anyway. They also are massed around Baghdad. Apparently some 60% of them. These are two great moves from our point of view. The ruthless dictator, whose subordinates will never tell Saddam bad news, will command the very units that must fight better than they’ve ever fought to try and hold us off! To say that the Republican Guards will be less effective is to underestimate the impact of Saddam’s decision. Massing the best around the capital will also effectively concede the rest of the country to us. And just who will keep the regular army units loyal?

By preparing for a siege, he has guaranteed it. And once his "loyal" troops under siege see the rest of the country go over to us and that they have to face other Iraqis, they may begin to crumble too. Even if they don’t collapse, knowing they are the last holdouts can’t do too many good things for their morale.

This is the best news I’ve heard since the Washington Post reported that we are going in with at least five American divisions.

And speaking of foot shootings, Al Gore, who believes we must have a "final reckoning" with Saddam—but not just yet, "chided the administration for trying to start a new war without finishing the job of hunting down those responsible for the attacks of last Sept. 11 or of stabilizing a post-Taliban Afghanistan." Reason number 27 that the Democratic Party is sweating bullets that Gore might run in ’04. Imagine, taking on the greater threat when the smaller threat is not yet completely defeated! I mean, that’s as if we had reacted to Japan’s attack on Pearl harbor by declaring a "Germany first" strategy and sending the vast majority of our forces to Europe to overthrow the Nazis! I mean, can you imagine that? The Germans didn’t even attack us and the Japanese killed thousands! Clearly, the Gore Strategy in 1941 would have been to focus on Japan; stabilize the post-war Japan (assuming we beat Japan, am I assuming too much?) somewhere around, oh, 1955; and then focus on Nazi Germany! Sigh. He commented negatively on the new strategy of preemption too but I will save a rundown on the administration paper for a later Defense Issues.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Emerging Strategy for Invasion

According to the Washington Post, we will invade Iraq focused on the regime. We will avoid attacks on the country’s infrastructure. Already, Central Command has tapped two heavy divisions and our air assault division. The Marines will send a division and the British send a couple brigades. We have the majority of the invasion force that I wrote about earlier. Add maybe an armored cavalry regiment plus the supporting artillery, aviation, combat support, and combat service support units that would be part of a corps, and you have the southern prong of the invasion force with the British, heavy divisions, and Marines. The air assault division will attack from the north according to the article.

Precision air power will provide anywhere from a couple days of bombing before the ground troops move in up to ten days to two weeks according to more conservative estimates. Again, this is in the ball park of my estimate of one to two weeks, depending on damage done. We want the shorter amount to begin the invasion with less delay—speed, speed, speed is my mantra for this. But if precision doesn’t work as well as we assume, it could drag on. I do think the Air Force is as good as we hope. I’d be shocked if it only took two days of aerial bombardment, but who knows? All we need to complete the main components is a Turkish corps attacking with our air assault division striking from the north in a pinning attack. Although this is still short one division I think necessary in the south, another division is to be on call to reinforce and would probably be closing on Kuwait as the air attacks begin. That completes the main invasion force. Overall, it has more armor and less infantry than I guessed. On the other hand, it has the advantage of having the stuff toughest to move in place (the heavy armor). If we need to fight in cities it will be easier to airlift in light infantry.

The other element is minor for conquering Iraq but important for keeping it a small war. Jordan-based elements will be Army and Marine units for local security and the nucleus of a small invasion. The main purpose will be SCUD-hunting special forces operating out of Jordan to work in western Iraq. We know from Desert Storm that roaming aircraft can’t do the job. Nailing the H-3 Iraqi military complex in western Iraq may have allowed us to send in special forces already. Given Israeli talk of retaliating if Iraq strikes Israel combined with the illogic of using nukes and the redundancy of using their air power to retaliate (just what would the Israelis do that we won’t be?), Jordan is where Israeli talk will go into action. I guess that Israeli special forces will work out of Jordan with us to operate in western Iraq to hunt SCUDS. Effective and quiet.

Despite all the talk of a new kind of invasion, all we’re really talking about is recognizing two changes from 1991—the conscript infantry of Iraq will probably defect or surrender fairly quickly; and our Air Force has tremendous precision today that will allow a much more effective aerial campaign. Otherwise it looks like we will go in with the heavy corps I’ve always though we need. One final note on the difficulty of using numbers of troops rather than numbers of combat divisions when you discuss this. The article says this will be 4-5 US divisions with 100,000 troops compared to 1991 with 9 US divisions and 500,000 troops. We’re clearly skimping on the support units, probably counting on shipping in supplies mostly as we use them rather than establishing iron mountains of supplies in Saudi Arabia (90% of which we took back home in 1991). We can probably also use much less air power since precision weapons will multiply the effectiveness of a smaller number of aircraft. The Navy must be separate from the total too.

I’d rather have the 101st in the south to help with crossing water barriers and send the Tenth Mountain to the north. But all in all, it looks like we’ll commit enough to crush the Iraqis. We are not counting on defecting Iraqis to win, just to make it easy. It could be over in a week of ground fighting if all goes well.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Popular Opinion

For the last year, opponents of invading Iraq have claimed the public does not or would not support that course of action. I’ve disagreed strongly based on polling and the evidence of Desert Storm when President Bush 41 led our nation to support a war against Iraq despite fears it could be too costly in lives.

The threat from Iraq in light of September 11, their history of obstructing us, and the leadership of President Bush 43 have combined to drive pro-invasion poll numbers up from their August nadir when opponents of war had the stage to themselves. They drove the numbers down, but never gained a majority even then. The recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll shows remarkable numbers in support of war against Iraq.

An aspect that is kind of funny is related to the questions on sending ground forces. I noted this to and then thought, wait, what am I doing? I have a blog (albeit one that isn’t read by very many…). I can post this.

Anyway, questions 3 and 4 ask about sending ground troops to attack Saddam Hussein. Fifty-seven percent favor sending ground troops to overthrow Saddam in question 3. Thirty-nine percent oppose it. In question 4, a higher 65% favor sending ground troops to keep Saddam from developing weapons of mass destruction. A smaller 31% oppose this course of action.

The interesting part is then looking at question 8. Here, the pollsters ask what comes closer to your point of view about sending ground troops to Iraq—the U.S. should send troops only if the UN supports it; the U.S. should send them even if the UN opposes it; or the U.S. should not send them at all. Sending troops with UN support garnered 46% of those polled. Sending troops even if the UN opposes it had the support of 37%. Fourteen percent oppose sending ground troops.

Why is there a difference between questions 3 & 4 and question 8? In question 8, a total of 83% indicate support for sending ground troops under somebody’s authority—whether the UN or ourselves unilaterally. There shouldn’t be overlap here since people were supposed to pick one statement that is closest to their view. At the other end, only 14% said they would not send ground troops at all! How could people support ground troops at levels of 57 to 65 percent and then later support it at a level of 83 percent? How could opposition go from 31 to 37 percent down to 14 percent?

I believe the United Nations did it.

The United Nations is not exactly popular here. Questions 5, 6, and 7 essentially reminded those polled that the UN has utterly failed to successfully deal with Iraq over the last eleven years and is unlikely to do anything useful without America. In question 5, 80% of respondents said that the UN has not been tough enough dealing with Iraq. In question 6, 93% believe the UN should pass a resolution imposing a deadline on Iraq to submit to weapons inspections or face grave consequences. Question 7 showed that if Iraq fails to meet a UN deadline, 61% believe the UN should authorize military action against Iraq as opposed to the 35% who favored further diplomatic efforts. By the time those polled were asked quetion 8, they were primed to take out Saddam in spite of UN paralysis.

Fairly amazing. It is arguable that just being reminded by a perhaps bored, monotoned, neutral pollster that the UN lacks the spine necessary to do the job reduced opposition to sending American ground troops by 17 to 23 percentage points! Support increased by 18 to 26 percentage points! I say let the UN debate this and publicize every bit of it. By the time we go to war to overthrow Saddam, about 98% will support regime change and a plurality of 38% will support paving the entire country.

I continue to have no doubt that the United States Army is going to Baghdad.

Nuclear Threat

You know, the periodically made argument that we could just deter Iraq from using weapons of mass destruction against us actually says a lot about the proponents of just leaving Saddam ”in his box.”. They say that after all, we did deter the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Why not Iraq too? On the face of it, it is a plausible argument. But as I’ve argued before, we deterred the Soviets from nuking us. And we deterred them from invading West Germany. Conventional forces had a role there too. But we did not stop them from fighting us through proxies, both nations and terrorist groups hostile to us. It didn’t even stop the Chinese from sending their army against us under the guise of “volunteers” nor did it stop the Soviets from shooting at us covertly during the Vietnam War. We failed to stop them from sponsoring insurrections or invading countries (Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan). In all these things, we too were deterred from responding directly. Most importantly, our nuclear arsenal did not stop the Soviets from wanting to destroy us—needing only the opportunity to strike should we let down our guard.

Is this what we want in our future with Iraq? Someone who is only deterred from a direct, open attack on us? Someone who can, through Saddam’s deterrence of us, sponsor terrorists and revolutions, invade other countries, and seek to hurt us if he gets the chance? If Iraq takes Kuwait again, or gasses the Kurds, or launches a bio attack on a Japanese city, these pro-deterrence people will argue that after having lost so many people, is the price we would have to pay to fight back really worth it?

But back to what the deterrence argument implies about the future reaction of the anti-war deterrence crowd. They claim repeatedly that if Saddam had the bomb, that would be the smoking gun that would allow us to attack. Aside from the problems of attacking once he has the bomb, these people won’t support military action then. The cost of doing so if Saddam fires a nuke at us would be too much for them to bear. Plus, having argued that containing Saddam would work just the way we contained the Soviets, the deterrence people would argue that surely, since we deterred a Soviet Union with their thousands upon thousands of nuclear weapons, we can deter an Iraq with one. Or ten. Or one hundred. Or, you get the idea.

Shoot, if you think about it, the ones who are extolling the value of deterrence now are the ones who, back in the Cold War, wanted us to disarm unilaterally to show an example for the Soviets to follow. They didn’t like deterrence then. Yep, the surrender lobby is clever, I’ll grant them that. Argue whatever you have to, as long as the end result is that our enemies grow stronger.

Oh and one more argument against relying on deterrence to contain Saddam. Israel. Everyone knows that Israel has had nukes since when, the late sixties? Just how much value have these, perhaps hundreds of, nuclear weapons provided in stopping attacks against Israel or Jews worldwide? I think the answer would be somewhere around, oh, zero. Why? Because the Israeli nukes might only deter a march on Tel Aviv itself and Israel’s conventional forces are strong enough to stop that threat cold. And were I the Israelis, I would continue to rely on their conventional forces—I wouldn’t rule out that some fanatic might gain control of a nation and decide that losing 50 million Arab citizens was a small price to pay in order to eliminate Israel. You have to admit, limited conventional attacks and terror have been aimed at Israel with no less enthusiasm because of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Let’s go a little further, too. Opponents of invading Iraq say Saddam will only use those weapons (that he denies having) if we attack. But most say Saddam will not nuke us, but will strike at Israel if we attack Iraq. So how does this behavior square with arguments Saddam only wants those weapons to deter us? We attack Iraq (again, to disarm him of weapons he supposedly doesn’t have). Israel doesn’t attack Iraq. Saddam nukes/gasses Israel. Here we have a two-pack of whoop ass in a can against the deter Saddam logic: Saddam isn’t interested in deterring Israel, just killing some people there (Arab and Jewish, I might add) and Saddam is not deterred from attacking Israel because of Israel’s nukes. (One day, I really should address the Arab-Israeli issue. Right now, I am only drawing conclusions about deterrence)

Case closed. Don’t make me address deterring Iraq again.

Still Foolish

The Carnegie people are still promoting their “or else” inspections regime. What rot. (honestly, will serious policymakers kill this idea before I am forced to write about it a fourth time) Talking about shooting our way into areas denied to us by the Iraqis is a recipe for disaster. First of all, unless the force backing the inspectors is an entire corps, it simply risks being surrounded and pounded if the Iraqis fight. Or take the inspectors and troops prisoner. Ruthless dictators have abused troops enforcing UN mandates before. But the Iraqis don’t even need to do that. They could leak word that a local mosque or cemetery has a bio lab buried underneath it, defend it, resist forced entry, and then film the armed inspectors rampaging through the sacred site.

How long will “or else” inspections last after the first one of those incidents happens? The French will run away faster than you can say “Germans are at the border!” (World War II Germans of course, the modern versions wouldn’t save Sudeten Germans if the Czechs were slaughtering them and the UN authorized the move).

The authors of the article try to prove they are really serious about disarming Iraq by arguing that an American invasion would be justified after the Iraqis obstruct this new and improved inspections regime. Yet the way they list all the risks of doing something (and ignore the risks of doing nothing) it is clear that Iraqi resistance would simply lead to a new “I really mean or else” inspection regime with… what?

Face it, yet another inspection regime will fail and give Saddam time to build his weapons of mass destruction. The Carnegie inspection regime is folly. It pretends to be tough but is really designed to buy time to kill the invasion with delay. String out the inspections long enough and we are in presidential primary season. Too political to debate then! String it out a little more and it is a presidential election year. Too political! Stretch it out a little more and Iraq has enough chemicals, bio weapons, and maybe a nuke or two to threaten too much damage to us or our friends. Too late to do anything.

Oh, except the enlightening congressional inquiry over what went wrong in 2002 and why we failed to act.

Invade Iraq. That will disarm Saddam.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Change of Tactics

American officials, prodded by Afghanis, in early August began considering a new strategy for Afghanistan. Diminishing returns argued against routine air strikes and large ground force operations. Few positive successes are apparent and the occasional mistakes (or allegations of mistakes) have raised tensions and inspired some anger against Americans. Although the two infantry brigades stationed in the country should stay to prevent al Qaeda or Taliban elements from massing to threaten the government, small scale and little-noticed special forces operations should be the main emphasis. The current situation is more police work really—with the possibility of very heavy firefights breaking, out of course, should we corner a high ranking enemy with his body guards. Our infantry brigades can back up the special forces in these cases, too.

We basically achieved our objective in Afghanistan with our attack that brought down the Taliban. Special Operations Command, it has been announced, is taking the primary mission of taking on al Qaeda leaders, leaving regulars to mop up the odds and sods left in Afghanistan and to prepare for war with Iraq. Sounds good to me. In Afghanistan, it is now primarily a manhunt for the leadership and simply killing the occasional handful of enemy foot soldiers is not worth the friction caused by lethal mistakes. We are not invaders (of Afghanistan, that is). Let’s not give anybody there any reason to doubt it.

Heads We Win, Tails You Lose

The cynical Russians and French, who hope their oil contracts with Saddam will bring them big profits once they appease enough to free Iraq from any constraints at all, are opposed to a new Security Council resolution on Iraq because the old ones work just fine. Arab states are siding with this view (and the oil producers among them have their own selfish reasons for wanting the status quo, oil being only one reason) and they all cry for Iraq to be given one more chance. They want to test Iraq yet again as if the past has not already proven Saddam’s level of reliability. As if the clarification of what "unconditional" means hasn’t done it.

But fine, if we can’t get a tough new resolution that will pave the way for our invasion, I say we agree with the French and Russian. We say, "By golly, you’re right! The old Security Council resolutions on Iraq are still valid. And since Iraq has not obeyed them and thus the Persian Gulf War continues, we now consider Iraq in violation of the ceasefire terms and will commence hostilities at the moment of our own choosing." Then we send them a nice thank you note for their fine defense of the validity of the original resolutions and warn them to keep out of our way. Since the Russians and French sold the Iraqis lots of military hardware, if we see anything Russian or French built that looks suspicious, we will blow it away.

Steady under fire, boys. They’re only France and Russia after all.

Overwhelming Force

An excellent piece on using enough force to not only smash the Iraqi military, but make it obvious to anybody brave enough to still be wearing an Iraqi uniform when the Abrams kick off their offensive toward Baghdad, that resistance is futile. Since I too advocate a pinning attack from the north out of Turkey to keep the Iraqis deployed up there busy, I like Trainor’s analysis even more. The key is that if the Iraqis think they might win, they will fight. If they think they will die, they will more readily quit. That difference makes quibbling over precisely how much is necessary, assuming X number of Iraqis will, without a doubt, defect, quite idiotic.

Overwhelm them and we will win quickly. I think Eisenhower said something to the effect: "Give me a battalion, and I will take a hill but with heavy casualties. Give me a division, and I will take it without a loss."

Five US divisions plus the British (a couple brigades) as the major combat maneuver elements, plus allies support units and special forces, will do the trick.

Things can go wrong in war. We can be surprised. But with a good margin of error, instead of being reasons for our defeat, those things going wrong and surprises will simply be lessons to be learned for the next war.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Axis of Evil

The North Koreans admit they kidnapped Japanese citizens to learn language and culture skills to better infiltrate Japan. The horrible nature of this crime, carried out during the 1970s and 1980s, is made all the more horrible by the North Korean statement that the surviving Japanese citizens "might" be allowed to return to Japan!

This small-scale example of North Korea’s nature may be more easily grasped by those who doubt North Korea has earned its label as evil. Launching a bloody war in 1950 was not enough to make the appeasers suspicious. Assassination attempts and terrorism directed against the South was not enough to question whether something might be amiss in the North. Mass starvation because they would rather hide the result of their misrule rather than ask for help was not enough to raise an eyebrow. The gulags and hair-trigger military that soaks up the North’s resources and is poised to invade with little notice is not enough to consider them hostile. Those are all mere bumps in the road to those who would look away. But eleven innocents kidnapped, long denied by the North, might put a graspable human face on the problem of North Korea. They snatched innocents off the streets to squeeze them dry of their knowledge of their homeland in order to destory their country and countrymen. That is evil.

But apologists will instead hail this admission as a sign of wonderful opportunities for constructive engagement or some such rot.

This does not mean we move on to invade North Korea after we take care of Iraq. North Korea is different than Iraq. The problem here really can be contained. There is no Kim Jong Il cult around the world that the North Koreans can incite to violence against us. Their pursuit of nuclear weapons truly does seem more intended as a deterrent to protect the regime. They may be persuaded to curtail missile sales and nuclear weapons development with diplomacy. But other than that cooperation and aid, they should be contained until the government collapses. And it will. It is highly militarized and broke.

The South is hardly eager to absorb the North, especially after watching wealthier West Germany pay the price for absorbing a relatively well off East Germany. The South would be hobbled by the cost of governing the poverty stricken North. The North will collapse, but the South is too fearful of the costs to be eager to foment collapse as long as invasion does not seem imminent.

And Iran is different too. They will overthrow their mullahs and welcome normal relations with us. We do not need to invade Iran, just support the opposition in Iran.

Critics of the "Axis of Evil" statement mistakenly assumed that lumping these states together implied one strategy to defeat them. Poppycock. The original axis was dealt with by invasion and occupation (Germany), nuking (Japan), and defection (Italy). The modern version will be defeated on terms that make sense for each of them. Another difference is that the modern axis is just the first grouping. Others, of a less immediate threat, must be dealt with too. They may not ever even require military means to resolve. But we will defeat them too.

But first, on to Baghdad.

Unconditional Surrender

Iraq’s claim that it has accepted unconditional inspections, even if had been true, is not enough to avert our invasion. Not even close, Saddam. And I doubt that Iraq really will allow "unconditional" inspections. They are now willing to discuss "practical" issues of starting inspections. I eagerly anticipate the greatest legal minds of Iraq and the UN debating whether a "practical" detail is or is not a "condition." Already, word has come out that the Iraqis only meant access to military sites.

Meanwhile, the United States military prepares and deploys. What the heck, this interlude might be a nice cover to deter Iraq from launching those chemicals they claim they don’t have while we deploy. Bad form to attack us while we dicker over "practical" details. And I say we charge the Iraqis for the cost of keeping our military in the region. Get the Navy busy intercepting tankers and then we sell the oil. Or maybe some legal alternative to do the same thing would be better despite the obvious appeal of boarding tankers. Shoot, we’ve been carrying out a creeping stealth deployment; maybe once we’re in Kuwait we can do a stealth invasion. We can move into Iraq to create "inspection bases" to support the ideal friendly inspection regime (US personnel, including ex-Marines—but not Scott Ritter) we will insist on (no UN employees as now set up) but which the Iraqis cannot agree to. We could shave a day or two off the invasion timetable. Something to ponder.

Fundamentally, Iraq made a mistake coming out so soon after the President’s UN speech. They could have waited another month and then sent the letter. Then more weeks to start discussions. Then wait a second, we forgot our pencils, we’ll be back in a week. Etc. But instead, we have plenty of time to expose the farce of Iraqi "agreement." Notwithstanding the immediate French response of unfurling their white flag of surrender as soon as the Iraqis told them the check was in the mail. We shall embarrass the French and their fellow cheese-eating surrender monkeys who live even here by exposing their eagerness to believe the very first lie the Iraqis tell on this issue.

We can always count on Saddam.

Inspections will never work as long as those being inspected do not want to stop building weapons of mass destruction. We will deploy our forces while we expose the Iraqis as liars. Then we’ll invade and hang that paper-hanging SOB from a lamppost.

Monday, September 16, 2002


A member of Congress has visited Iraq. He thinks the Iraqis will agree to unconditional inspections—if non-Americans will mediate disputes. Um, does either party understand what “unconditional” means?

Rep. Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.) said in an interview that meetings this weekend with senior Iraqi officials, including the deputy prime minister and a speaker of the national assembly, left him with the impression that Hussein's government was "very interested" in allowing inspectors to return unconditionally but wanted diplomats from countries other than the United States to serve as independent arbiters of disputes between Iraq and the U.N. inspection commission.

"I feel the Iraqis want to give peace a chance, and I'm convinced the majority of Americans want the same," Rahall said.

Rahall said he told the Iraqi leadership that "in order to give this opening for peace a chance, there has to be total, unconditional and unfettered access" for U.N. inspectors.

"But when Bush talks of regime change, they [the Iraqis] don't want to hear my message," Rahall said. "They say, 'What's the point of letting the inspectors in?' They feel that whatever they do, they're going to get hit."

The Iraqis would certainly like to prevent an American invasion, but in no way are they interested in peace. Iraq’s interest in letting in inspectors has only become apparent as American forces increase their readiness to invade. If we delay invasion by listening to too many people who ask for “one more chance,” Saddam will ride out a short danger period until the UN body politic rejects the recent spine implant that America has performed. The Iraqis will lose their enthusiasm for inspections once again.

The Iraqi threat has been real for years, our interest in dealing with Iraq long-standing, and accusations that this is a wag the dog scenario are ridiculous. If the administration had told Congress it didn’t want a debate until January, opponents would claim the President was trying to avoid facing the voters on a momentous war decision. Opponents of war claimed for months they only wanted a debate (even as proponents made the case, opponents simply replied “debate” at an increasingly frantic pace, rather than actually offer their opinions) and now they have an opportunity.

Actually I’m happy that people like Representative Rahall and governments like Germany speak out against war. They leave the impression that we might not attack if Iraq offers just a little concession to whet the appetite of the gullible people who “reach out” to Saddam. Face it, inspections won’t work. They rely on Iraqi good will which has been demonstrably lacking for over eleven years . The Americans preparing for war are not so easily fooled and are not going to Baghdad.

Congress has what it said it wanted. Debate. Vote.

Then on to Baghdad.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

The March to War

Countries are shifting toward our position and are willing to go to war against Iraq. Only Germany of the major countries in Europe are adamant against attacking. Britain, France, Turkey, Italy, and Spain all seem with us. In the Middle East, Kuwait, Jordan, and Qatar are already with us. Egypt is open to attacking. And even Saudi Arabia has expressed willingness to allow America to use the bases there. The President’s speech to the UN seems to have really done the trick. Already, it was apparent from newspapers that the world was coming to accept the inevitable. Upcoming German elections may reverse the current German position.

Domestic opposition had previously counted on allied opposition to bolster their case against invasion. Now that this pillar is collapsing, they are placed in the uncomfortable position of having to defend the Iraqi regime or argue that the evidence made public thus far does not indicate that Iraq is a threat. Even the pillar of so-called Republican opposition is collapsing as they begin to make clear that they really only opposed action outside the UN. Not exactly the opposition to war that war opponents made them out to be. Now there us only the hilarious recourse by hard core leftists to the superior wisdom of the uniformed military's purported opposition to attacking Iraq! When we do go to war and the military argues for a ruthless prosecution of the war to avoid having to fight Iraq a third time, we’ll see if the anti-war crowd still endows the military with wisdom.

Very soon, Congress will debate the war. They will have a difficult time arguing that war should not be debated before the elections. Are the people who loudly claimed they wanted a "debate" going to now complain that a debate on the war is not a proper thing for Congress to do? Is such a serious question really "too political" for pre-election debate? Really, on such an important issue, a democracy really does have the duty to put its leaders on the record and make them accountable to the voters. Otherwise it is a cynical attempt to avoid voter anger for arguing against taking action against Saddam Hussein, while simultaneously assuming easy victory will erase voter anger in two years the next time an election rolls around.

Congress will authorize war before the election. The UN will demand Iraqi compliance before the election and set a short deadline. Opposition to the war will create enough noise to convince Saddam that he can stiff the UN safely and not have to confront America. Honestly, if everybody had lined up behind President Bush, Saddam might have retreated in fear. With the loud frenzied (but doomed) opposition, Saddam will believe he can win this one as he has for eleven years. That and the fear of his subordinates to tell Saddam that he can’t bluff us again will give us all the excuse we need to invade with UN backing.

Of course, we’ll need to overcome the loyal Saddam lap dog Galloway. With so much going our way, this prosepct makes me almost giddy. Could we really be this lucky? Labor MP Galloway, idiot minion of Saddam Hussein, wants international volunteers to be a human shield to protect Iraq! Sadly, according to the article, "Galloway said he did not intend staying in Baghdad with any volunteer human peace shield."

Darn it all, Galloway is merely anti-American and not suicidal.

Hey chap, by the way, you should know what we in America call "peace shields" in Iraq—it’s called "collateral damage." Really, we couldn’t get away with rounding them up and shooting them as a service to humanity’s gene pool, but if they all gather in Iraq…

On to Baghdad.

Friday, September 13, 2002

What Would Kennedy Do?

Nicholas Kristof cites the Cuban Missile Crisis as an example of facing a threat to America that had to be ended. He praises Kennedy for avoiding war and diplomatically ending the crisis. This is curious, except for the desire by some to run to the Oracle of Kennedy for guidance in every crisis. It is the “What Would Kennedy Do?” school—a secular religion with members every bit as committed as any religious believer.

But let’s look at what Kennedy reacted to. The Soviet Union placed offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba. They believed it would be a counter-weight to our nuclear weapons in Turkey and elsewhere pointed at Mother Russia; and believed the weapons would deter an American attack on Cuba.

So where was the imminent threat to our people that led our president to run the risk of nuclear war? It was judged at 50-50 at the time. He contemplated invasion (which the military favored—were they right then because of their uniforms the way they--the few who have spoken against war, anyway--are given God-like status today by opponents of war?) and carried out an act of war (a blockade called a “quarantine”) to keep the Soviets from pointing those weapons at us. This is lauded now by Kristof.

My memories are not clear on this, but I dare say that given Soviet and Chinese veto powers, we did not get Security Council approval for our actions. In addition, there was no evidence that the Soviets planned to launch those weapons at us. Yet today, opponents of war argue Saddam’s nuclear threat is not imminent. His efforts to deter us are understandable. Yeah. We’ll discount everything he has done and said, and trust him. We are to wait until he has nuclear weapons before we run another risk of nuclear war to end the threat. Luckily for us today, we do not have to rule out invasion to end Saddam’s threats to us the way we had to in the Cuban Missile Crisis because we feared nuclear war. Saddam does not have nuclear weapons yet.

And remember one more thing about our victory. We did not end the Soviet desire to point missiles at us. We made them withdraw the nuclear missiles, but the Soviets just built long range missiles able to strike us from the Soviet Union and put them on submarines too. The desire to keep us under a nuclear threat did not end for another three decades. Likewise with Saddam, he desires to harm us and use his ability to harm us to give him freedom of action in the future. Leaving him in power will allow him to develop a weapon and delivery system able to blackmail us into leaving him alone to carry out his evil plans. Even if we inspect or bomb, we can only delay the realization of his dream. I won’t take that chance. I bet Kennedy wouldn’t have either.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Bits on War

The Iraqis promise to fight us with kitchen knives, sticks, and stones. That’s fine. We’ll use satellite-guided bombs, Abrams tanks, and a bunch of highly skilled killers from the Army and Marine Corps. But hey, give those sticks a shot. Couldn’t do worse than you did with your T-72s last time, eh? And you still don’t have chemicals and bio weapons, right? You proclaim you have none. Talk about “chicken hawks.” The Tikriti mafia is willing to fight to the last conscript Iraqi soldier. We’re coming. Soon.

The world has sympathy for us still, for what happened a year ago. I do appreciate that. I really do. But sympathy is not enough. We will not pretend that our enemies are not trying to kill us. We will not develop a sophistication that accepts attacks on our people as normal. We will not be the perpetual victim for the world to shed tears over. “Tsk. Tsk. The poor Americans. Now the Golden Gate Bridge is gone. And so soon after after Kansas City was evacuated and quarantined because of the nerve gas attack. I shall light two candles this time…”

We won’t stand for a world like that. I am not even angry with Europe at the moment. Their sympathy is real—for what it is worth. But our determination is real too. And our determination will make us secure, not your tears. Cry for us today. And rally against us tomorrow. For we have picked ourselves up and now we are the hunters. Stay out of our way. And the excellent Foreign Media Reaction shows trends going our way. Enough of the world will accept what we do even though they would not approve of it beforehand.

Our President’s speech to the UN concluded thus:

We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in the country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left? The history, the logic and the facts lead to one conclusion. Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take.

Delegates to the General Assembly: We have been more than patient. We have tried sanctions. We have tried the carrot of "oil for food" and the stick of coalition military strikes. But Saddam Hussein has defied all these efforts and continues to develop weapons of mass destruction. The first time we may be completely certain he has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid, he uses one. We owe it to all our citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming.

We are coming for Saddam and his minions.

Typically, because we fight and others continue to abuse their citizens—we are at fault for not stopping them. Good riddance to that horrible person, Mary Robinson. The so-called champion of human rights for the UN. Her term has ended. She saves special ire for America. Others she commends for their progress because they no longer pull all of a prisoner’s fingernails out during torture. She complains, "Now the United States is more focused on getting coalition partners against terrorism and is not necessarily raising human rights." Well, I guess she doesn’t accuse us of unilateralism at least! Imagine, a proper UN type complaining that we spend too much time looking for partners! Not to worry, Mrs. Robinson, we love human rights more than you can know. We’ll carry human rights to Baghdad very soon.

Mr. Viorst says we do not imagine the worst when we say we will invade Iraq. Oh, but we do. We imagine a September 11 with a nuke, or a dirty bomb, or nerve gas, or anthrax, or small pox. One major advantage proponents of invasion have against opponents is our worst case scenarios. Their worst case scenarios envision disasters striking overseas. Ours happen here at home. Try another line of attack, guys. This one doesn’t cut it either.

One year after the September 11 attacks, it strikes me that al Qaeda made the same mistake they mocked us for doing. The Islamist terrorists said all we could work up was an occasional drive by shooting—lob a few cruise missiles and call it a day. They had a point. Now we hunt them down with everything from cruise missiles to soldiers on the ground—every day. What did bin Laden do? He hit us with his version of cruise missiles, those hijacked planes. He killed a lot of us. But he could never defeat us that way. We will wipe his group out doing it our way.

One last thing. I recently saw the “I am an American” public service announcement. In contrast to the horrible “Stop the Hate” PSA by the same people, this simple ad speaks volumes about what is right about America and Americans. Americans of varying hues take turns looking at the camera and proclaiming, “I am an American.” All these people, whether they were born here or not, whether or not their parents or grandparents were born here, proclaimed their citizenship. From whatever culture that birthed them, our culture made them the most free, most productive people on the planet. Our culture accepted them (in time, granted, for our greatness does not mean perfection), and gave them a greater chance to succeed here than their own land ever could—that is why they (we, my grandparents were not born here after all) came here. That is why the Islamists hate us. We transform people into free, thinking, loyal Americans who will go back to the Old World and carry our banner—not their birth country's flag—to victory when we are attacked. It is a beautiful ad. It should be shown overseas. Our enemies will tremble at its implications.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Year One

There is no shortage of commentary out there on this anniversary. In a way, I did not want to add my two cents. I want today to be like yesterday. I want tomorrow to be what today is. I want today to be just another day that we are hunting and killing our enemies. But this is a "war blog" (I discovered I am part of a trend here) so I should comment.

Mostly, I avoided the media. I did not want to wallow in the day. That wasn't tough since I worked today. And then I picked up my son from his mom's parents, so it was just playing and cartoons. Mister is only in kindergarten and I do not want him to see anything about this day yet. He loves planes. How can I explain to him that people would take them and fly them into buildings? He is safely asleep now. Ignorant of this evil.

I guess I was surprised that what little I heard on my long drive home after work could bring me to tears. Tears of anguish at the thought of 3,000 dead. Anguish as I heard the names read off one after another. I could not imagine the horror of those who chose to dive from the towers in desperation. The bastards gave them a choice of burning to death or taking their chances plunging toward the ground. Did they hope they might somehow live? If they hoped for just another minute of life, did they contemplate their life as they fell-a false calm enveloping them? All alone, some two hundred died this way.

I shed tears of anger thinking of the Pentagon dead. They were more in a long line of military personnel killed in recent years. The Marine Beirut barracks, the Air Force Khobar Towers, the USS Cole in Yemen.

My tears also reflected my pride in America. The Flight 93 passengers faced a choice of doing nothing and living a little longer; or fighting and dying to protect our nation from the hijackers' evil plans. They bought us our first victory. And my pride in my country's response continues. Our enemies (and, to my despair, a lot of my fellow citizens too) thought we were too weak willed to fight back. They thought we were sheep to be slaughtered in their perverse rituals of death. We have continued to fight back. And how we have fought! We reached around the globe and smashed the Taliban. We plunged our sword into the al Qaeda scum and grievously wounded them. We continue to hunt them. And Iraq is next. Despite the chorus of doubters around the world who condemn us for fighting, who say we deserved this, who tremble at every shadow that they see, expecting dire consequences of fighting, we prepare to end Saddam's regime. Our forces quietly deploy. We have replenished our war stocks. We will invade and the Devil with our critics. We will not just sit and take this. We will not be victims. We did not deserve this horror. And we will prevail. I am still angry at what they did to us.

Has everything changed? One year after they attacked us, the terrorists haven't taken my life from me. I live it. I enjoy it. I plan for the future. In its details, my life is marked by continuity.

They have given me anger. Anger at them for killing us. Anger at those who are not roused to anger over being attacked. Anger against those who insist we somehow earned this horror. Anger at those who would stand in our way as we fight back.

They also gave me a city to love and embrace. I used to think little of New York City. The people were rude and cold and haughty. I had no need for them. But now, after they became the front line of the first battle of this latest round of fighting against the terrorists, I care about what happens to them. I want vengeance for them-for us.

Is this a petty thing to say? That the terrorists gave me a city? A self-centered thing to consider? I don't know. I don't think it is about me claiming some special impact of the day. As I said, my life goes on. I am fine. I will not sink into a cult of victimhood over this attack. But embracing New York is a refusal to fall back into pre 9-11 thought patterns.

Ich bin ein New Yorker, I guess.

Remember the horror we felt a year ago. Remember the vulnerability that was thrust upon us. Remember the barbarism of our enemies. Remember that our enemies would kill us in the millions if they could and praise God for the glorious opportunity to do so. The tears we shed today must remind us that failure to fight and win will lead to more tears for future victims. Let our enemies cry instead. I don't care. I feel no sympathy for them.

War is thrust upon us. Do not try to understand our enemy's motives. Just go after them. Kill them all. Every damn last one of them. God have mercy on anyone who stands in our way.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Yes, This is War

Of course, Cohen is a sage today compared to Susan Sontag. She is wrong when she says we are not in a real war, this war against terrorism. She may not want to fight it, but it is real. Perhaps we have used the war metaphor for so long on so many ridiculous things that she is having difficulty recalling that actual war involves other people trying to kill us. Our appropriate response is to kill them. There is so much to criticize in her piece—and her thoughts on the war generally for that matter.

She thinks terrorism will never end and so it is not war because all wars end. Even the Arab-Israeli conflict, she says, will one day end and so differs from our war (and I’m an optimist for thinking the war on terrorism will one day end?). Well, much like the idea that somebody somewhere is winning a lottery every week, yet I do not; I am not too concerned that terrorism will go on. I’m just concerned that it should stop being directed at us. And when the targets of our enemies are right here, you’re darned right we must use extraordinary means to stop them. For a decade during the nineties we did refuse to act as if we were at war—both at home and abroad. We prosecuted terrorists as criminals and refused to take custody of bin Laden because we had no charge to file. And what did this approach get us? Three thousand dead and a scar on New York City where the Twin Towers once stood. A slice of the Pentagon wrecked. A crater in Pennsylvania. At long last, is it not time now to defend our homes from those killers?

And she complains that her side is not listened to, that they are suppressed. Do not let them play the noble victim who is silenced because they oppose war. They are not silenced. Lord, sometimes I pray they will remain silent. But they get all the air time and column space they desire. They are not silenced. They are just wrong. How can Sontag argue that we are wrong for saying the Islamist fascists are evil for slamming planes into our buildings? For wanting to destroy us? How is that she attacks our so-called "jihad" talk? Why does she have nothing to say about their jihad talk? Failure to agree with her misguided thoughts does not constitute suppression of dissent. It is merely the debate she and other anti-war people claim they want. What they don’t like is that they are losing the debate.

This is war. We will fight it. And we will win it. Sontag certainly hates that last part the most.

Nuclear Annihilation

So soon after saying king words about Richard Cohen, I must object to this column. First of all, the "chicken hawk" comment is a cheap shot and not an argument. I thought Cohen was better than that. I never felt that President Clinton lacked the authority to command our military because he did not serve (and even used subterfuge to avoid service). I think it would be a sad world if we had to require military service to be president. The large number of World War II veterans is an anomaly in our society. Are we truly saying we would like major extended bloody wars on a regular basis to ensure we have veterans who can serve in government? If "chicken hawk" can be thrown at those of us who never served in combat (I served in uniform but was just a REMF) yet favor war against Iraq, can we say the anti-war crowd is just "chicken?" Could we say the former soldiers who would not have us take on Iraq are "cowards" because they do not want to take on Iraq? I should hope not. War is a serious matter and deserves to be debated. Those who call for debate should not hurl insults as a substitute. Cohen’s stated desire to avoid war now, but perhaps later it would be ok, is confusing. Is Cohen a "embryonic chicken hawk?" Really, he says he is just not willing yet to say we should go to war. Will he become a "chicken hawk" when he agrees with war? So how does this distinction earn derision for those who at this moment think now is the time for war? Cohen’s distinction between "potential" and "imminent" threats is just wrong. Since Saddam cannot lob a nuke at New York to finish the job does not mean the threat is not imminent. Given his track record we cannot say his threat is merely "potential." No, the possibility that Switzerland might develop and use nukes against us is "potential." The possibility that Saddam would use them is "imminent" when you consider the uncertainties of predicting when he would get them and the time it would take to conquer Iraq if we decided he was about to go nuclear. And what if Iraq manages to convince North Korea to invade the South? Or China to invade Taiwan? Or one of any number of crises that could cause us to delay in reacting to his imminent deployment of nuclear weapons? What would we do? What could we do?

Second, the reasons Cohen gives for seeing war in the future as justifiable are perplexing. Just how have the past eleven years failed to show that Saddam has chosen war by refusing to let us "vacuum" his country with inspectors to ensure compliance with the ceasefire terms? Why would four more years (assuming Saddam is five years from a nuke) be meaningful? And why are nukes the only hideous weapon Cohen deems justifying an assault?

And finally, is it really morally superior to avoid war now when Saddam does not have nukes? Did I really just read Cohen argue that our response to Saddam’s use of nuclear weapons against us would be to use our "ample means" to retaliate so that "Iraq would cease to exist." Does he realize what that means? Are we clear that Cohen is arguing for us to nuke Iraq? We’re talking mega-deaths! This is a superior strategy to taking Saddam out now? And if the world would react badly to a conventional campaign against Iraq just how would the world react to an American nuclear strike?! The fallout would be real not just political. Is mass murder really our preferred response?

Invade soon. The threat is imminent in any reasonable definition of the word.


When I see the pictures of the attacks again, I just scream (in my head), “bastards!” I’m still mad. I still want those who did this to us dead.

On the one-year anniversary of this attack, I guess I’ll post an essay I wrote within a week of the attack. I submitted it to one publication but I didn’t get a response on it. I submitted it by email contrary to their policy so I should not have expected too much. I believed time of the essence. I wrote it as a general guide to our war effort and I think it has stood the test of time. I confess I did not think the Taliban would easily fall. I expected we would have to dig out bin Laden while suppressing the Taliban. There is a lesson here too. The Taliban failed to defeat their Northern Alliance enemies completely and let them survive in a small corner of Afghanistan. With our help they swept across Afghanistan. Let us not make the same mistake—win decisively and win completely. No mercy, boys.

Here it is if you are interested.

Monday, September 09, 2002


These people need to get a grip on reality. We are attacked and these people think that the appropriate place to urge peace and a whole buffet of leftist goals is to protest in America? We were attacked, remember? Wouldn’t the nationwide peace demonstrations be better held in Iraq, or Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia? Indeed, let’s just make a list of any countries that had people or regimes cheering the attacks and urging on others to attack us again.

Let us make the upcoming anniversary of 9/11 a time to put forth our vision of a safer, more just world, free of war, nuclear weapons and violence," said Medea Benjamin, founding director of Global Exchange, the San Francisco-based group encouraging and publicizing many events on the United For Peace website.

Yeah, I’ve heard of Global Exchange. A group determined to manufacture evidence that thousands and thousands of Afghanis died because we didn’t care enough to uese the very best precision munitons. Has Ms. Benjamin noticed that the Islamist terrorists have declared war on us, seek nuclear weapons, and glorify violence against us? If she is against war, nukes, and violence, why is she focused on America? I dare her, walk bare-headed into a Wahhabi madrass somewhere and tell them to just chill out and resist violence. And for goodness sake, tell them to resist nukes. Another melon head speaks too:

"If we continue attempting to seek out terrorists to pound with our military force, the events of September 11 will mark a turning to ultimate disaster, to the undermining of global security and the security of the American people," said David Kreiger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

But, Krieger added, if September 11 could prompt U.S. citizens to see the need for international cooperation to tackle global problems of poverty, environmental devastation, human rights abuse, and the threat of nuclear weapons, the events of that day could be seen as a "terrible but critical wake- up call."

Exactly how is destroying the people who killed 3,000 of us; and seeking out others who would do worse if they could, undermining our security? I mean really. And Kreiger sees September 11 as a positive event if we will tackle (in ways he agrees with, I assume) poverty, environmental problems, human rights, and nuclear weapons? Wow. Yep, I do seem to recall the al Jazeera interview with mullah Omar where he just lost it when the host mentioned that Gill Flipped Wallabbee habitat was being degraded in lower Dontkaristan when jack-booted storm troopers ejected peasants from their solar-heated hovels in a local swamp (sorry, “wetland”) to make way for a uranium mine. Or maybe he said something like, “I want to blast you blood sucking infidel Americans into Hell with an atomic bomb”. Whatever. Whatever he said, it proves we are bad, apparently.

I really am just shocked. I thought that seeing those barbarians strike us in such a vicious manner would be the equivalent of being hit in the head with the 2x4 reality board. I thought the attacks would cause some of the people who will go to the over forty events “scheduled in the state of California alone” to pause a moment and say, “Hey! These guys are trying to kill us! Whoa, that is really against the whole spirit of our organization.” Instead, they are probably only mildly annoyed that the terrorists rejected “international cooperation” because nearly all the hijackers were Saudi.

Alas, killing Americans is not against the spirit of these organizations as long as we respond by saving a rain forest, or something. Only fighting back offends them. I dare say few will sympathize with their position. May they rot in Hell--if the Devil will take them.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Determined Idiocy

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace "or else" inspections plan is out officially, apparently, and nobody seems to be willing to say that a group with the word "peace" in it is wrong. So wrong that one must ask what would motivate them to be so blindly wrong? They claim the plan would force Iraq to disarm or else. Haven’t we been saying that for eleven years? Aren’t we at the "else" part now? Finally? After all, in the same article, it reports that Tariq Aziz denies Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Since the Carnegie people seem to at least concede Iraq does have prohibited weapons, doesn’t this statement by the Iraqi deputy prime minister strike the peace lobby guys as indicating that maybe we can’t trust Iraq? Are they stoned when they assert yet another round will finally prove America is willing to go through the UN to solve this problem; and that we’d get world support because "Iraq's intent would have been cleanly tested and found wanting"? Are they honestly confused about Iraq’s intent after all this time? What exactly was missing from the past efforts to test them? And are they serious when they say the 50,000 force they propose could overthrow Saddam "if" Iraq refuses to comply with the latest hopeful plan?

Face it, the Carnegie peace fetishists would oppose an invasion if Saddam went on al Jazeera, caressed a nuclear bomb while dressed in a smoking jacket, and declared his intention to finish off New York. Further, "the endowment argues that coercive inspections could avoid the threat of Saddam using advanced weapons on invading forces or against Israel, as well as questions about whether Iraq would break apart without him in power." Huh? What about the "or else" part? Not surprisingly, they have ruled out offensive action right off the bat. Why would the Carnegie surrender team believe that Iraq would fire off weapons of mass destruction in response to a massive invasion but not in response to the small force they claim will ovethrow Saddam? Hello? There is no "or else." There never will be an "or else" without us.

I suggest every soldier and Marine write "ELSE!" on their helmets. Every armored vehicle crew stencil "ELSE!" on their vehicle. Every ground crew paint "ELSE!" on their plane. Every Navy crew draw "ELSE!" on their missiles.

The else is coming. Dismiss this idiocy-packed Carnegie plan without so much as a by your leave and get back to the serious business of preparing for war.

Idiocy. Sheer ideologically blinded idiocy.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Stealth Preparation

While the Pentagon claims nothing out of the ordinary is going on, the increase in bombings over Iraq is striking. Not long ago, we hit a facility said to observe American activities in the Gulf. Now,. we just struck an Iraqi base in the west, above the no fly zone no less. We are clearly getting a leg up on prepping the battlefield.

With the Army having already moved the brigade set of equipment from Qatar to Kuwait recently, and ships being leased to transport more heavy Army equipment to the Gulf and Jordan, the logistics side is getting set up too. The Navy is also scheduling carriers in such a matter that we will have quite a few operational in overlapping time periods available for attacking Iraq (normally, only a couple carriers, maybe three, are deployed worldwide, with the remainder either gearing up for deployment or undergoing refits).

Now President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are pressing the diplomatic offensive to prepare the public for war.

We are cutting down tremendously the amount of time it will take to move the Army, Marines, and Air Force in place. I do not think it will take three months to deploy five divisions to the Gulf once we publicly announce deployment. We’re better prepared than in 1990 to go from a standing start; and we’ve had months to quietly do some of the work this year.

It is coming. And I don’t think it will be a small affair counting on Iraqi collapse. Despite all the talk of innovate ways to pull down Saddam with special forces wielding McGyver-inspired weapons fashioned from dental floss and chewing gum, I cannot imagine we’d take that risk. I recall that in 1939, the Russians warned their troops about to invade Finland not to violate Swedish neutrality. Three months later, the Finns agreed to fork over some border territory to the Russians after the Finns killed massive numbers of invaders. I think we’ll go with enough to smash Prussians (sigh. why do most of our allies have far more illustrious military pasts…) and be grateful if we face Iraqis.

We start moving overtly in November, not long after the election and only after we cannot hide an accelerated stealth deployment. We launch air strikes by the end of December. We invade in early January. If Saddam can spring some surprises, he may well inflict serious casualties on us or neighboring civilians. Or we might crush the Iraqi military in a campaign that makes the 1991 war look like a brutal war of attrition by comparison. Once shooting starts, much will depend on luck, the troops themselves, and the leadership of the politicians and generals. Rip their hearts out.

Thursday, September 05, 2002


Oh my God. Will delusions never cease? This proposal to avoid invading Iraq while appearing tough (but only appearing) is truly dense.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace gathered some people (some are actually “experts”) who are against fighting Saddam, and they came up with a plan breathtaking in its folly.

Their plan calls for the UN “Security Council to create a ‘powerful, multinational military force’ that would back U.N. weapons inspectors carrying out ‘comply or else’ weapons inspections inside Iraq. The ‘or else’ would be a U.N.-authorized invasion.” Specifically, a 50,000-strong “coercive inspections” force led by America would base at least four air cavalry brigades in neighboring Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, backed by air power, that could shoot its way into Iraq to force inspections. The really good part is [wait for it…] that if Iraq didn’t comply, the Security Council would authorize an invasion! Good grief, this is better than the Onion. Ooh, ooh, and get this—the Security Council would determine what constituted Iraqi noncompliance that would trigger the invasion!

[My side hurts! I’m truly too incapacitated by laughter to go on! But…I…must ..]

So, countries already unhappy with our presence in the area will welcome 50,000 Americans and our stooges (Who else will go with us? That would be a hilarious exercise in futility too, coming up with that list) who will shoot up Iraq at will when denied entry into suspected weapons centers. Yep, we fly in a brigade and the Iraqis run away, properly chastised. They would never try to deceive us—especially after learning their lesson after 11 years of successfully stiffing the UN. They would never take the unarmed inspectors in Iraq hostage in the first place. I’m sure they remember with fondness how releasing Westerners in Iraq after he took Kuwait just swept us off our feet. They would certainly never ambush a brigade flying in, trying to Ia Drang Valley us into a defeat that will send us running. They would also never try to enrage the street against an even larger Western presence in the Arab world. Surely, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will sign on to allow their territory to be used to attack Iraq at will with these brigades and air power. After all, they’ve learned that their opposition to force up until now has been counter-productive. And of course, unlike their lack of reaction to eleven years of Iraq breaking the ceasefire terms of 1991, the UN Security Council will immediately authorize war (that would be us, boys) to overthrow the naughty Tikriti lad in Baghdad. Surely, this time for sure, the Europeans and Moslem world will back the invasion. Let’s have no impolite talk of vetoes by the Chinese, Russians, or French!

Such mind-numbing, slack-jawed, drooling idiocy is truly amazing. Yet it will be released on Friday to an eager world. Reportedly, there are Europeans and members of Congress eager to see the plan. “Comply or else”? Good grief, after 11 years of “Mister, I’m giving you one last chance to give up those nukes! Don’t make me get out of my chair! Saddam! You listen to me now!” one last “or else” will finally do the trick. Yep, you better disarm in compliance with the ceasefire terms “or else” we’ll come up with another plan to ensure your peaceful compliance.

I think I’m going to be ill.

Why It Happened

Richard Cohen is still furious about September 11. He wants the attackers killed and wants an accounting of why our government could not see this coming. I understand his anger at both. I do think a reckoning must be made as to why we did not rouse ourselves from our complacency and fight this threat before September 11. As much as I respect Cohen (even as I disagree with much—but not all—of what he writes), I don’t know what he expects could have been done.

Really, look at the complaints that relatively minor restrictions on civil rights have prompted? Look at the outrage in some quarters that we are actually holding enemy combatants without Mirandizing them? I’m willing to examine the errors of this administration and the past one in confronting the terrorism issue, but what could we have done? Absent a mass murder, could the President really have roused us and the world to launch a full court press offensive against al Qaeda? Sadly, the knowledge of what we faced was out there. I certainly expected a major terrorist attack against us at some point—with nukes if they could get them. But I have difficulty in mustering righteous indignation at the failure to target bin Laden and his brethren in a major way. There simply would have been no fortitude for such a struggle. All the current crop of people complaining about what we are doing after September 11 would have been even louder in their hysterics about us over-reacting to a hypothetical threat.

Sure, inquire about what we failed to do, but remember that we could have changed what we did only at the margins. Even nabbing bin Laden in 1996 wouldn’t have stopped an eventual attack. Suffering some type of major terrorism attack was inevitable, in my opinion.

Let’s just make sure we get them now. Killing them now isn’t over-reacting, right? We do all agree they are willing and eager to kill us, don’t we?

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Enlarge the Army

Mr. Webb is concerned that we could be in Iraq for thirty years and that we would be unable to respond to other threats, such as China.

What a bizarre argument. And I don’t think it is possible to have drawn a more wrong conclusion.

The German and Japanese occupation forces he spoke of were not combat formations initially. They were really constabulary forces ill-suited to large-scale combat. The poor initial showing of these American forces as they were rushed to Korea to stem the North Korean invasion clearly shows this. As for Germany-based troops, they did not become heavy combat forces until the post-North Korean invasion military build up by the United States. The forces in Japan never did become a potent combat force like the German-based military force. The difference lies in the external threat. No land threat against Japan, so the force was a logistics and air power-based force. A major land threat against West Germany, so the Army was beefed up considerably with large Air Force support. Within ten years of winning the Second World War, Japan and Germany were our allies. Mr. Webb takes the course of saying since it did work out, it was easy. Was it really easy to turn fanatical enemies who only succumbed to Atomic bombs or bunker-to-bunker combat in Berlin into friends? I dare say there will be few fanatics in Iraq who will fight to preserve Saddam’s regime.

What of external threats that could keep us in Iraq in significant strength for more than a decade? Certainly, external threats could do that. The external threat of Iraq has kept us in Saudi Arabia for more than a decade, annoying bin Laden in the process. So first of all, occupying Iraq will end our need to deploy in Saudi Arabia. So let’s not just talk about the additional duties. Second, what external threats are there? Kuwait? Saudi Arabia? Jordan? Syria? Turkey? There is Iran, but a revolution in that component of the axis of evil will likely end that threat. So, we will have to occupy Iraq with significant land power, gradually drawing down as in Bosnia over the course of the last seven years. Our allies should help too. Without an external threat, we could be down to a token force in a decade.

But what if an occupation really does hurt our ability to fight the Chinese? Or somebody else? Such is the folly of having only enough force to fight and beat one regional threat (a major theater war: MTW) such as North Korea or Iraq. The last quadrennial review in 2001 ended the much-mocked “two-MTW” standard. We never had an actual two war strategy since most people forgot the “nearly simultaneous” caveat in the pre-2001 post-Cold War strategy. The old theoretical standard at least stopped ridiculous arguments as Mr. Webb makes. With the ability to fight more than one MTW, we were not deterred from fighting one out of fear it was not the really threatening one! Just how secure did the South Koreans feel knowing they were under the lesser threat compared to Kuwait? If North Korea had invaded, we would have been hard pressed with the so-called two-war standard military to fight in Korea and still have enough to defeat Iraq. Now what would we do with a military judged so small that we count on only our most pressing potential enemy attacking us?

If we are deterred from going into Iraq, a state that is undoubtedly a threat to us, the proper response is to enlarge our military. Modernization is no substitute for numbers after a certain point. If we don’t have enough Army troops to occupy Iraq and still be prepared to fight another enemy on the ground, we’d better enlarge our Army. That is the correct conclusion to reach. Not that we should be frozen into inaction at anything larger than Grenada. And I guess I might as well pile on. If Mr. Webb’s contention is that by avoiding all combat we have enough land power to fight China now, he is sadly mistaken.

And further, is he seriously saying defeating Iraq would benefit China? I’d stack up our record in the Moslem world against China’s any day. Mr. Webb’s examples of Chinese success in courting the Islamic world are perplexing (Just what religious group is rebelling against China in the western part of that country?) First, who does Pakistan look to now? And what exactly has China gotten out of Libya? And finally, just how is sponsoring a failed coup against Moslem Indonesia considered courting the Moslem world? Honestly, hand wringers see any foe’s actions as part of an intricate long-term plan that will overwhelm us; and any action on our part as falling into their hands.

Expand the Army.

Take Baghdad.

[NOTE: This is from the former Defense Issues category from my original blog. Also, the link from the original post is dead so I didn't try to enable it.]

Thank You

Thank you Prime Minister Blair. Your support is appreciated. It is appreciated more because it is a rare voice in a chorus of anti-American suspicion and complex thoughts complicated only to the degree to which they make excuses for a barbaric Iraqi regime.

Too often lately, in reaction to the often disgusting hostility that comes from European papers and leaders, I despair that Europeans and Americans can be friends and allies. I want the apparent rift between us to heal, yet it seems that since the Warsaw Pact and then the Soviet Union collapsed, Europe has no interest in cooperating with us. Not to paint a rosy picture of the Cold War years, since strident voices in Europe complained of ours resistance to the Soviets, but the real threat of a Russian invasion at least gave Europe a floor under which it would not fall in its criticism and suspicion of America.

Now, so many Europeans think we deserved September 11. It is good to see a European leader defend us publicly. I am still not confident that Europe will stick with us, but I have some hope.

And the French are being quiet hoping it is driving the Pentagon crazy. Let’s not tell them we don’t care. I’m enjoying the silence.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002


Hmm. We’ve worried about the interlude between when we start to deploy our invasion force to Kuwait and Turkey (and Jordan, but keep that quiet) and when we attack. Our forces would be vulnerable to chemical and possible biological attacks while they sat there waiting to attack. What to do to reduce that vulnerability? Attack with special forces? Attack with a tiny force of armor and paratroopers that marches in to accept the Iraqi surrender when they wet their pants and give up at the first sight of an American uniform? Both require little deployment time so reduce that vulnerable period. Yet both could fail spectacularly. Neither option to me seems wise. A five-division invasion force is the only way to make sure we win decisively and rapidly. It may even reduce casualties significantly.

But if the UN demands unqualified access to Iraq for weapons inspections and gives the Iraqis a deadline while we move in troops “to put weight behind the UN demand,” will the Iraqis strike while they retain home for a way out paved by their friends in Russia and the EU? I think not. They will wait and hope and the American corps will deploy into Kuwait, passing the danger period. Iraq will not accept the terms, and if they do, they will not execute them in a rapid enough timeframe to forestall invasion. Iraqi failure to implement that UN resolution will be all we need from the UN. We won’t go back again for positive approval.

UN passes resolution by end of October.

US starts deploying in November, giving Iraq a deadline of Christmas 2002 to fully implement inspections. Special forces infiltrate Iraq.

Begin two weeks of preparatory bombing and move invasion force to kick-off points.

Invade in January. We are in control of Iraq by the end of the month. We send out our thank you cards to the UN and our allies for their gracious support.

War on terror continues.


As General Sherman said, “Fear is the beginning of wisdom.” With American power on the march to destroy enemies we once ignored, Moammar Khaddafi, dictator of Libya, proclaims he is no longer a rogue state: "In the old days, they called us a rogue state. They were right in accusing us of that. In the old days, we had a revolutionary behavior. We acted like an independent state and we put up with the consequences of our action," He has quieted down quite a bit since the 1980s. And I even am willing to accept at face value his expression of horror over the September 11 attacks. Certainly, Libya may be a test case on a rogue state coming in from the cold on its own. Other states that see it is possible to re-enter the community of nations may be encouraged to follow the same path. (Iraq and Afghanistan will be the counter-examples of states that declare us to be enemies). Ultimately, Libyans will need to clean house and punish the leaders who blasted discos and airplanes (including Khaddafi). We can afford to see if this path is possible since we have other targets.

Yet wisdom is not yet deeply held. Khaddafi expresses an opinion all too common in the Islamic world that drives me batty. In rejecting an attack on Iraq, he said: "If you Americans and Britons continue to provoke (the Muslims), you will regret it." Honestly, Moslem leaders with far more credibility have spoken this same thought. He is essentially drawing a line between the Islamic world and the West and proclaiming no deed is too evil to be defended if the guilty party is on the Islamic side of the Islam-West line. (I confess, I am a little jealous when I reflect on the level of support we get from our allies) If the Islamic world is incapable of seeing evil in one of its own, and admitting it, is it any wonder some in the West see Islam as the enemy? Given the scientific, military, and economic weakness of the Islamic world, you’d think Islamic leaders would be less than eager to promote a clash of civilizations. Go figure.

One last time. We are not fighting Islam. We crushed the Taliban, pursue al Qaeda, and prepare to invade Iraq, all to end the apparatus of terror that has nurtured and supported the evil ones who have hurt us and who wish to do so again. We must pound into them the absolute belief that they are incapable of bringing us down. Suicide in the name of victory is a comforting illusion. Suicide that results in a pauper’s grave and no memorials (and kiss the plethora of virgins in the afterlife goodbye, too) will not inspire the foot soldiers. Decisive victory will end this war.

Next stop, Baghdad.