Target Centermass

10/11/2006

Army Plans to Maintain Current Troop Levels in Iraq

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:44 pm

This is a beautiful example of an entirely accurate but extremely misleading headline.

The Army is making plans to keep its current troop levels in Iraq through 2010 if they’re needed, the Army’s chief of staff said Wednesday.

But Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker cautioned against putting too much emphasis on the Army’s plans, saying that conditions in Iraq would dictate force levels. He said it would be easier to pull troops “off the table” or shorten their tours in Iraq rather than to add more forces later on.

“This is the way you’d expect us to operate,” Schoomaker said, speaking to reporters. “This is not a prediction that things are going poorly or better; it’s just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine (so) that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot.”

The general’s remarks came as sectarian violence in Iraq between Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias showed no signs of relenting. U.S. casualties have risen sharply while domestic political support for the war continues to slide.

There are currently about 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, with the overwhelming majority from the Army. Schoomaker said Army troop rotation plans for 2008-2010 call for keeping the current level of 15 combat brigades in the country.

But the general said that in order to sustain current levels, the Army would have to continue to rely on the National Guard and the Army Reserve.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld slammed the notion that Schoomaker’s remarks meant U.S. troops would be in Iraq in 2010.

“Schoomaker did not, of course, say anything like that, and it’s unfortunate that stories go out mischaracterizing what people say,” he said at a Pentagon press conference.

Of course we are planning for such a stay at such a level. Actually, I’m quite certain numbers are being crunched for increased and decreased deployments as well.

Unfortunately, not too much can be done about the headline, and that’s just about all that people will see. Luckily, that is one of the better headlines to be found above this story when compared to other versions. Currently, above this version of a similarly-hedged article is the following decisive but completely erroneous heading:

Army: Troops to Stay in Iraq Until 2010

Jeez, that is only close to the content of the story in that the Army and 2010 were involved.

Mixed Reviews of Iraq Death Toll Study

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:47 pm

655,000, give or take hundreds and hundreds of thousands. Needless to say, but I’m very skeptical.

President Bush says he doesn’t believe it. Some experts have a problem with it. But several others say it seems sound.

Such was the varied reception for a controversial new study that estimated the Iraq war has led to the deaths of nearly 655,000 Iraqis as of July.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad derived that estimate from a door-to-door survey, conducted by doctors, of 1,849 households in Iraq. Taking the number of deaths reported by household residents, they extrapolated to a nationwide figure.

The researchers, reflecting the inherent uncertainties in such extrapolations, said they were 95 percent certain that the real number lay somewhere between 392,979 and 942,636 deaths.

That is quite a range of uncertainty, and does not speak well for any confidence in the work.

Even the smaller figure is almost eight times the estimate some others have derived.

The new study – which attributes roughly 600,000 of the deaths directly to violence and 55,000 more to other war-related causes – was released Wednesday on the Web site of The Lancet, a respected medical journal. But just how good is its conclusions?

“I don’t consider it a credible report,” President Bush said Wednesday.

Neither does Gen. George W. Casey, the top American military commander in Iraq.

“That 650,000 number seems way, way beyond any number that I have seen,” Casey said. “I’ve not seen a number higher than 50,000. And so I don’t give it that much credibility at all.”

And neither does Michael E. O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, which also tracks Iraqi deaths.

“I do not believe the new numbers. I think they’re way off,” he said.

Other research methods on the ground, like body counts, forensic analysis and taking eyewitness reports, have produced numbers only about one-tenth as high, he said. “I have a hard time seeing how all the direct evidence could be that far off … therefore I think the survey data is probably what’s wrong.”

[…]

Donald Berry, chairman of the statistics department at the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said he believes the study was done “in a reasonable way.” But he said the range of uncertainty given for the estimates was much too narrow, because of potential statistical biases in the survey.

While it’s impossible to calculate a better range that accounts for that, he said, it wouldn’t be surprising if the low end dropped about four-fold to 100,000 deaths. A wider range of uncertainty would make the 655,000 figure less meaningful, he said.

Even the latter, somewhat supportive statement recommends even greater uncertainty.

For it’s part, the Iraqi government has politely called the numbers exaggerated.

Meanwhile, LGF questions the timing of what could be a wildly inaccurate political hit masquerading as a study based on the fact that, well, it is right before an election and these same people put out a similarly questioned “study” right before a previous election.

10/4/2006

Al-Qaida’s Narrative of Doubt

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:22 pm

Austin Bay examines a recently released piece of captured intel and shows how it demonstrates growing doubts about success in Iraq, but these are not the kind of doubts that have been repeatedly trumpeted from the mainstream media and Congressman John Murtha (D-IsForDefeat).

Several declassified al-Qaida documents — one discovered after the June 2006 air strike that killed al-Qaida’s Iraqi emir, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — strongly suggest al-Qaida’s leaders fear they are losing the War on Terror.

On Sept. 18, Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwaffaq al-Rabi released a letter from al-Qaida commander “Atiyah” (a pseudonym) to Zarqawi. West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center (ctc.usma.edu) has the letter archived online.

The letter features al-Qaida’s usual religious panegyrics, but also contains strong evidence of fear, doubt and impending defeat. It seems five years of continual defeat (and that is what the record is) have shaken the 9-11 certitude of al-Qaida’s senior fanatics.

Let’s establish the broader context of Atiyah’s letter.

Accurate insight into an enemy’s assessment of an ongoing war is immensely valuable to political leaders and military commanders. With notable exceptions, such “mid-conflict” insight is also quite rare.

[…]

That’s why the National Security Agency and other present-day spy shops release captured al-Qaida communications with great reluctance.

They should be less reluctant. Here’s why. Information Age media — swamped with ideological and political Sturm und Drang — are a key battlefield in this war.

In America’s open society, people constantly take public counsel of the fears. Sowing doubt about current leadership is a fundamental opposition tactic in every democratic election.

Thus America’s “narrative of doubt” tends to dominate the global media — with a corrosive effect on America’s ability to wage ideological and political war.

[…]

Which is why the rare glimpse, like Atiyah’s letter to Zarqawi, is truly big news.

“The path is long and difficult,” Atiyah writes, “and the enemy isn’t easy, for he is great and numerous, and he can take quite a bit of punishment, as well.” Atiyah’s assessment seems to be a major change in tune and tone. Previous al-Qaida documents touted the Clinton administration’s withdrawal from Somalia as the template for American action.

Atiyah adds that al-Qaida’s leaders “wish that they had a way to talk to you (Zarqawi) … however, they too are occupied with vicious enemies here (presumably in Pakistan). They are also weak, and we ask God that He strengthen them and mend their fractures.”

[…]

Al-Qaida’s leaders also fear they are losing the war for hearts and minds. Atiyah senses a souring of “the hearts of the people toward us.”

Hat tip to Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette, who earlier provided his thoughts on the captured letter.

10/3/2006

Tonight’s Good Reads and a Video

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:41 pm

Just a little link dump on what I feel I should recommend among my readings and watchings today.

97 Reasons Democrats Are Weak On Defense And Can’t Be Trusted To Govern In Wartime

Today’s Democrats are nothing like Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy, who with courage and decisive action kept on top of their jobs and aggressively confronted one national defense crisis after another.

Jimmy Carter, elected during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and (1) believing Americans had an inordinate fear of communism, (2) lifted U.S. citizens’ travel bans to Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia and (3) pardoned draft evaders.

Only 94 more to go as the column begins chronicling the ways in which the modern Democrats suffer in comparison to their historical predecessors, fine figures that I may have had domestic disagreements with but showed major spine on the international stage on our country’s behalf. Hat tip to Hyscience.

Big differences seen in party views on patriotism

There is no doubt about Americans’ patriotism. We consistently score higher than other countries on polls gauging how patriotic citizens are. We see this every Fourth of July as Americans proudly display the flag and sing the national anthem and watch fireworks.

However, there are some who are weary of our patriotism and they are not shy about telling us so. Howard Zinn, the leftist historian, advised us on the Fourth to “put away our flags” and to renounce “nationalism.” Mark Kurlansky, a popular historian, wrote how he was sick and tired of the Founding Fathers. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks opined that she just didn’t “understand the necessity for patriotism.”

I myself have no discomfort in questioning the patriotism — or wisdom and common sense, for that matter — of many of my fellow Americans on the far left. Hat tip to Wizbang!‘s Lorie Byrd, who receives a prominent plug in the piece.

The New Detainee Law Does Not Deny Habeas Corpus

There are innumerable positives in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the new law on the treatment of enemy combatants that President Bush will soon sign. Among the best is Congress’s refusal to grant habeas-corpus rights to alien terrorists. After all, the terrorists already have them.

That the critique on this entirely appropriate measure has been dead wrong is given away by its full-throated hysteria. Typical was Richard Epstein, a distinguished constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, who admonished the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Bush administration and a compliant Republican Congress were unconstitutionally “suspend[ing]” the great writ. The New York Times editorial board, in its signature hyperbole, railed that “[d]etainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment.” What bunkum.

First, Congress cannot “suspend” habeas corpus by denying it to people who have no right to it in the first place.

Quite right. It should also be noted that the overwhelming bulk of the detainees in question should not legally fall under the domain of any protections based upon the Geneva accords to which the United States is actually a signatory. In other words, both under domestic and international law, screw ’em. Hat tip to Raven at And Rightly So.

Traitors to the Enlightenment

The first Western Enlightenment of the Greek fifth-century B.C. sought to explain natural phenomena through reason rather than superstition alone. Ethics were to be discussed in the realm of logic as well as religion. Much of what Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and the Sophists thought may today seem self-evident, if not at times nonsensical. But that century was the beginning of the uniquely Western attempt to bring to the human experience empiricism, self-criticism, irony, and tolerance in thinking.

The second European Enlightenment of the late 18th century followed from the earlier spirit of the Renaissance. For all the excesses and arrogance in its thinking that pure reason might itself dethrone religion — as if science could explain all the mysteries of the human condition — the Enlightenment nevertheless established the Western blueprint for a humane and ordered society.

But now all that hard-won effort of some 2,500 years is at risk. The new enemies of Reason are not the enraged democrats who executed Socrates, the Christian zealots who persecuted philosophers of heliocentricity, or the Nazis who burned books. No, they are a pampered and scared Western public that caves to barbarism — dwarves who sit on the shoulders of dead giants, and believe that their present exalted position is somehow related to their own cowardly sense of accommodation.

What would a Socrates, Galileo, Descartes, or Locke believe of the present decay in Europe — that all their bold and courageous thinking, won at such a great cost, would have devolved into such cheap surrender to fanaticism?

Victor Davis Hanson is greatness once again, this time turning his guns on the Euro left and their current betrayal of the virtues of historical liberalism. Hat tip to Rightwingsparkle.

Video: “No Excuses For Terror”

Dovetailing nicely with the above VDH piece is a video in four parts from Britain’s Channel Five. So far I’ve only watched the first part but will catch the rest shortly. Already the piece does an excellent job of pointing out pointing out a wealth of historical hypocrisy coming from the Euro and global left, and I feel I can already label it as a must-see. Maybe it’s not a case of “know thy enemy,” but it certainly appears to be a case of “know those among you who play quite useful idiots for thy enemy.”

5000 Years of History in 90 Seconds

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:38 pm

Here’s an animated look at the history of the Middle East. As a history buff, I find it interesting to watch as civilizations wax and wane through the region up until the creation of the outwardly-imposed artificial borders that play no small part in the area’s current state of unrest.

Hat tip to Viking Pundit.

9/28/2006

Al Qaeda in Iraq Leader Speaks, Calls for Help

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:24 pm

4000 foreign fighters slain

More than 4000 foreign fighters have been killed in Iraq while fighting US-led forces and the American-backed government, al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq said in an audio tape issued on the internet today.

“More than 4000 muhajir (foreign fighters) and many more of the supporters of righteousness (Iraqi fighters) have given their blood to Iraq,” said the speaker, identified as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.

Iraqi al-Qaida chief calls for kidnapping foreigners

Abu Ayyub al-Masri, chief of the al-Qaida in Iraq, called on his followers to capture foreigners in a bid to free a Muslim cleric jailed in the United States, said an audio tape issued on Internet Thursday.

“I call on every holy fighter in Iraq to strive during this holy month (of Ramadan) … to capture some Western Christians to exchange them for our imprisoned sheikh,” al-Masri said in the tape whose authenticity could not be verified.

He was referring to the Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was jailed in the United States since 1995 over charges linked to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.

Al-Masri also urged Muslims to make the holy month of Ramadan a “month of holy war”. Ramadan began last weekend across the Muslim world.

Al-Qaida seeks to recruit nuclear scientists

The new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, in an audio message posted on a website yesterday, called for explosives experts and nuclear scientists to join his group’s holy war against the West.

“The field of jihad (holy war) can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases (in Iraq) are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call them,” said the man, who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir — also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri — the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.

They are bleeding, and rather badly at that, but they are desperate and dangerous and always looking to up the stakes.

In the Bullpen‘s Chad Evans has a good bit more analysis on the tape and also looks at an apparent splintering in Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi “army.”

9/26/2006

British Troops Kill al Qaeda Fugitive

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:12 am

The bastard escaped captivity in Afghanistan only to reach his own death in Iraq.

British forces killed a top terrorist leader yesterday, an al Qaeda leader who escaped from a US prison in Afghanistan and returned to Iraq.

Omar al Faruq was killed in a predawn raid on his home in Basra by 250 troops from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. He was killed after he opened fire on British soldiers entering his home, said Major Charlie Burbridge, a British forces spokesman.

The Ministry of Defence said al Faruq was closely linked to terrorist activity such as murders and kidnappings.

“We had information that a terrorist of considerable significance was hiding in Basra. As a result of that information we conducted an operation in an attempt to arrest him,” Burbridge said.

“During the attempted arrest Omar Faruq was killed, which is regrettable because we wanted to arrest him.”

He said he could not comment on whether Faruq was the leader of al Qaeda’s southeast Asia operations.

However, a Basra police officer said it was the same man, adding al Faruq was an expert bomb-maker.

The officer said al Faruq was living in Basra under the name Mahmoud Ahmed and had entered Iraq three months ago.

Neighbours said al Faruq was a member of al Qaeda and had received training in camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Al Faruq was one of four al Qaeda suspects who broke out of the prison in Bagram, the main US base in Afghanistan, in July 2005. The escape was an embarrassment for the US military, and the Pentagon waited until November to confirm it.

Al Faruq and three other escapees later appeared in a video sent to the Dubai-based television station Al Arabiya and boasted of their feat.

The story rang familiar and piqued my curiousity and, yes, I had blogged the original news of the escape. At the time, I stated that I hoped to be able to follow up on this story. Well, here I am and here, more than fourteen months later, is the follow-up: scratch one bad guy.

It does appear that al Faruq, a.k.a. Mahmood Ahmad from Kuwait, was a bigger dog in the fight than we realized at the time. That, or he was just a rapid promotee in opening-rich environment that we have bloodily provided the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh yeah, despite some that insist that the conflict in Iraq is still a separate fight than the war against Islamist terror in the Afghan theater, this little story of an enemy’s commute to a new office should end such an argument … but sadly it won’t.

9/25/2006

Hariri Probe Uncovers Links to Other Assassinations

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:40 pm

The sticky strands of a murderous web are on the verge of being brought into light as an assassination investigation leads to links of others in Lebanon.

A U.N. investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has established links to 14 other political killings in Lebanon. A new report on the status of the probe says investigators are developing new leads as they move closer to pressing formal charges.

An interim report by Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz confirms that a suicide bomber detonated the massive truck bomb that killed Rafik Hariri. The 22-page report says crime scene evidence indicates the bomber was a man in his early twenties who probably was not from Lebanon.

Mr. Hariri and 22 others died in a massive blast in a Beirut suburb on February 14, 2005.

Earlier reports by Brammertz’s predecessor Detlev Mehlis had implicated Syrian intelligence officials in the attack. Mehlis criticized authorities in Damascus for failing to cooperate with investigators. Syria has staunchly denied involvement, and condemned the assassination.

The latest Brammertz report avoids naming suspects, and says Syria’s cooperation in recent months has been generally satisfactory.

Brammertz does, however, confirm earlier indications that the assassination was a carefully orchestrated operation carried out by a team of professionals. He says his investigators have uncovered evidence of what he calls “a complex network of telecommunications traffic between a large number” of suspects.

Brammertz also suggests the possibility of high-level involvement, saying his probe is closing in on what he calls “those who participated at different levels”.

The Security Council, which authorized the probe, earlier gave Brammertz permission to expand its scope to include other political killings in Lebanon at about the same time. America’s U.N. Ambassador John Bolton says the latest report establishes clear links that may shed light on who is behind all the assassinations.

“The evidence coming out in the investigation about the linkages among these 15 assassinations is significant,” said John Bolton. “This is something that Mr. Brammertz himself has deemed to be important because evidence that one can uncover about all 15 investigations can have a cumulative effect in showing the pattern, the activity and perhaps the direction and control of who actually ordered the assassinations as well as how they were carried out, and who carried them out.”

Bolton says the investigation appears to be moving into the final phase, when the prosecutor will present his evidence in a Lebanese court.

Yes, it certainly appears that the investigation is muddling through a rather sprawling web of bloodshed and victims. Anybody want to guess who is the spider lurking in the middle amongst the Lebanese bodies?

It should also be noted that, besides the expected fingering of Syria that should stem from this investigation, the bold assassination also resulted in the surprising backblast that was the Cedar Revolution. That was certainly a miscalculation that I’m sure is greatly regretted by some key folk in Damascus.

9/7/2006

Links o’ the Day

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:14 pm

Link dumps — the I’m-watching-football-tonight way of blogging.

Dean Esmay: Helping Us Through A Crisis
Help this fine member of my blogroll out if you can.

Iraq takes control of armed forces

British and United States troops yesterday handed over control of Iraq’s armed forces to its own government – a move described by US officials as a crucial step, but which still leaves most of the country’s security under direct coalition control.

[…]

The US-led multinational forces in Iraq, commanded by General George Casey, have been giving orders to the new Iraqi armed forces via a joint chain of command. But now the chain of command flows directly from the Iraqi prime minister in his role as commander-in-chief.

The Iraqi army is made up of ten divisions, now numbering about 130,000 troops, and the Iraqis are expected to take over more divisions from the coalition in the coming months, although there is no exact timetable.

Maj-Gen William Caldwell, a US military spokesman, has indicated that the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, will make the final decision on how quickly his military assumes control over new divisions.

“They can move as rapidly … as they want. I know, conceptually, they’ve talked about perhaps two divisions a month,” he said.

Mr Maliki described the move as a great step forward. “The Iraqi army now, by the courage of its people and its sons in the Iraqi army, rebuilds itself again,” he said.

In a word, significant.

U.S. Air Force officer goes missing in Kyrgyz capital

A U.S. Air Force officer stationed at the air base near Bishkek disappeared while shopping in the Kyrgyz capital, the U.S. military said Wednesday.

Maj. Jill Metzger, of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing, was separated from a group of servicemen while visiting a department store on Tuesday afternoon and has not been seen since, officials at the Manas air base said in a statement.

It said a group of 22 U.S. military investigators and logistics officers were searching for Metzger together with the U.S. Embassy and Kyrgyz security and law enforcement services.

Op-For‘s John has more on the story, including an interesting cultural aspect of the country that could play an ominous, though I feel highly unlikely, role.

Iraq Hawks: Getting “Outside the Narrative”

Now that we’ve established the worldview and analytical tendencies of the “dead-end Iraq War supporter,” also known as “me,” an honest reassessment of the war requires stepping outside of comfortable narratives while avoiding seductive replacements. Without diminishing the value of the struts that support my established point of view – distrust of the media, patience, a belief in the subtlety of deep trends that come to dominate large historical changes, etc – the challenge is to establish an emotionless, rational framework for analysis; a framework that goes deeper than both the BIG philosophy and the splintered, conflicting snippets of war’s progress.

Give it a read to see where he’s coming from and exactly where he hopes to reach. INDC Bill has just set himself to large task, and the road could be interesting to follow.

Three Indicted for Sending U.S. Secrets, Equipment to Yemen

Three naturalized U.S. citizens were indicted by a federal grand jury in California for allegedly acquiring secret U.S. defense information and stolen military equipment and conspiring to send them to Yemen.

The four-count indictment for conspiracy to possess and transmit defense information, attempted unlawful export of defense articles and related charges was handed up Aug. 31 and unsealed today, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said.

The men face five to 10 years in prison and fines of $250,000 to $1 million on each count.

“We will use all appropriate legal means at our disposal to detect, disrupt, and hold accountable those who seek to do us harm, whether they act within or outside our borders,” Scott said in a statement.

Ahmen Ahmed Ali, 56, of Bakersfield, California, allegedly received secret defense documents from a government undercover agent and transmitted them to Yemen by fax or courier between June 2005 and August 2006, according to the indictment.

He allegedly conspired with Mohamed Al-Rahimi, 62, of Bakersfield, to receive stolen government property, and with Ibrahim A. Omer, of Fort Worth, Texas, to ship military items such as body armor and chemical protective suits to Yemen.

Though the names might hint at something, as would the ties to Yemen, don’t think for a second that any particular religion will be mentioned in the story.

After 5 Years, OBL Releases New Video with 9-11 Killers

Maybe This Will Stop the 9-11 Conspiracy Theorists!…
How many time does OBL have to take credit for these murderous attacks on innocent Americans before people get it?

Gateway Pundit, though a fine blogger, obviously doesn’t understand conspiracy theorists. They only need a target; the route to that destination can be ever changing. Now it can be claimed that Osama was but a pawn. He was made better, stronger, faster by that evil and far-reaching New World Order comprised of Bush (either, any if one includes Jeb), Cheney, Halliburton, the famed military-industrial complex (the violent video game and car magnet industries included), and Pizza Hut. Hey, scoff if you will at that last one, but I’ll wager a lot of pizzas were ordered as America was generally glued to its TV sets in the days following 9/11. I don’t know, maybe it was Domino’s. Pizza Hut sucks too much to attain the level of evil required.

Chafee Delays Vote on Bolton Nomination

Sen. Lincoln Chafee has pulled the plug on a push by his fellow Republicans to confirm John Bolton as U.N. ambassador, saying he had more questions that needed to be answered.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was expected to vote along party lines during a committee meeting Thursday to approve Bolton. But the panel postponed the vote after Chafee, R-R.I., expressed doubt.

“Sen. Chafee said he still had questions that were not answered,” said the senator’s spokesman, Stephen Hourahan.

Boo! Hiss! C’mon, confirm the man already. Despite earlier concerns, Bolton has represented U.S. interests well so far at the worthlessness that is the United Nations and has not yet, as previously feared, threatened other diplomats for their lunch money or gone on a well-deserved wedgie-spree. The man’s restraint has been remarkable.

‘Goat-free roads made me speed’

A Swiss man caught speeding on a Canadian highway has blamed his actions on the absence of goats on the roads.

The man was caught driving at 161 km/h (100mph) in a 100 km/h (60mph) zone.

A traffic officer’s notes said the Swiss driver had said he was taking advantage “of the ability to go faster without risking hitting a goat”.

Canadian police spokesman Joel Doiron said he had never found a goat on the highways of eastern Ontario in his 20 years of service.

“Nobody’s ever used the lack of goats here as an excuse for speeding,” Mr Doiron told the AFP news agency.

“I’ve never been to Switzerland, but I guess there must be a lot of goats there,” he said.

Headline of the freakin’ day. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

9/1/2006

Disproportionate Response

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:04 pm

Steven den Beste, one of first bloggers that I began regularly reading, has surfaced again with a look at the evolution of warfare and how this applies to the recent engagement between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Pre-industrial warfare, as typified by Napoleon, pretty much came to an end during the 19th century, to be replaced by what I refer to as industrial warfare. The American Civil War was the first major industrial war, and what set it apart from previous wars was the overwhelming dominance of logistics in deciding the conflict. The South has the majority of the best generals, but the North still won because of its overwhelming logistical superiority. (Of course, it required Lincoln to understand that he had to fight a long war, and it took a general ruthless enough to sacrifice enough of his own men in order to win.)

By the early 20th century industrial warfare dominated war all over the world. It was only in the last part of the 20th century that a new form appeared: information-age war. But right now the US is the only real practictioner of this way of war, and in the rest of the world industrial war remains the norm.

Industrial war can be summed up this way: God fights on the side which has the biggest pile of ammunition and the fastest rate of replacement of expended ammunition. Like any general principle it’s not absolutely unconditionally true, but that’s the norm.

In response, two new strategic doctrines of war were developed to make it possible for small logistically-poor forces to contend against large logistically-rich forces without getting instantly crushed: guerrilla warfare and terrorist warfare. Both of them seek to nullify the logistical advantage of their richer opponents by maintaining initiative, so as to control the tempo of the war at a level low enough to not exhaust the logistics of the poorer side. For the rest of this discussion I’ll be concentrating on guerrillas.

Go read it all. Hat tip to Chap.

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