Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Beating Defeatism

To beat defeatism out of American political elites, the president should take a leaf from Churchill’s book and encourage a shared sacrifice in an honourable cause that the US has no choice but to fight.

The sudden collapse of the morale of the US Congress is surprising, but not unprecedented – after Hitler’s WW2 blitzkrieg, only the Btits stood fast while all the other nations folded

Flawed Ex-Soldiers

Defeated soldiers can react either by becoming collaborators like Petain after the fall of France, or by redoubling their resistance, like Churchill after Dunkirk. The Congressman lobbying for immediate withdrawal is in the Petain category.


It’s said that only half of the members of Congress have passports, so they’re ignorant of the world. In responding to the unpopularity of the war, they lack the experience to see how America’s enemies and allies will respond to its defeat, and how this will harm their nation.

Fear Of Long Wars

Over 50% of the US people don’t want to finish the job in Iraq, after less than 3 years and with less dead than from one big WW2 bomber raid.

Perhaps this is because successful recent US wars have been short - for the US, WW1 lasted a year, and WW2 under 4 years. The only long war was Vietnam, which was lost.

By contrast, Brits are accustomed to long and ultimately successful wars. Londoners were enduring saturation bombed by V2 rockets in 1945, after over 5 years of war. The Brit defeat of the Malayan insurgency took over 6 years.

So perhaps there is a legacy of Vietnam – the American people think that long wars will end in defeat.

Painless Defeat

The defeat suffered by the US in Vietnam had no direct impact on American civilians. Until 9/11, no American city was bombed (and 9/11 was small compared with European bombings). No US town has been occupied and its people have not starved. No Americans have been drafted as slave labourers or sent to concentration camps, and American women have not been been systematically raped. And yet terrible consequences do face the US for nuclear-armed Middle East dictators.

So here are my suggestions for the president:

1. Follow Churchill – give more inspirational speeches.

2. Use his political capital to eliminate the Congressional defeatists.

3. Educate Americans on how they will be harmed by a victorious Muslim enemy.

4. Above all, demand sacrifice from all Americans, not just those families who have kin fighting in Iraq. If that means cutting expenditure or raising taxes, do it.


The Congressional loss of will is having its expected effect – Iran has weighed in with its own demand for the US to withdraw from Iraq, Iraqi Army killings of Sunnis have begun and the EU is baring its tooth. The administration must turn this around quickly - suggestions in the next post.

Iran’s top Mullah, apparently
reading directly from the Congressional Record:

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged visiting Iraqi officials yesterday to ask U.S.-led forces to leave their country and pledged Tehran's cooperation in restoring security to Iraq.

If Iran did intervene militarily in Iraq, the overwhelmingly Shi'ite nation would be expected to assist the Shi'ite majority against a wave of violence perpetrated mainly by the Sunnis, who lost power with the ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein.

"Iran considers the United States to be responsible for all crimes and terrorist acts in Iraq and the suffering and misery of the Iraqi people," Ayatollah Khamenei was quoted as saying after a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

"The Iraqi people may ask the occupiers to leave Iraq by setting a timetable for them. ... In the end, Iraq and its neighbors will remain in this region, while the U.S. will only be there temporarily," he said.

The good news is that he didn’t threaten to wipe the US off the map.

The Iraqi army has possibly taken to heart Senator Warner’s order that “you have got to come to grip with your internal problems” and today murdered a senior Sunni leader in his home, together with his 3 sons and his son-in-law.
Scrappleface predicts Congressman Murtha will now call for a Muslim pullout.

And here’s a small harbinger of things to come. The lawyer advising the EU Court of Justice says that the
privacy of EU citizens trumps US border control laws – an excellent example of how weakness encourages small acts of defiance:

AIR travel from Europe to the United States could be thrown into chaos after a key transatlantic terrorism measure was declared illegal by a senior European Union lawyer.

Philippe Léger, the Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice, the EU’s supreme court, called for the annulment of an agreement requiring EU airlines to give US authorities access to a wide range of confidential data on passengers before they travel.

Although all 25 EU governments and the European Commission gave full backing to the agreement, aimed at helping US authorities to investigate terrorists while protecting passenger confidentiality, M Léger said that it lacked an “adequate legal basis”.

The Advocate-General’s advice is not binding on the court, but is followed in about 80 per cent of cases.

The president has to turn this round before the world’s perception of US weakness spins out of control.

Posting From the Past

It’s snowing heavily here in Umbria and the magnificent scenery looks like an outtake from Bruegel’s Return of the Hunters.

To complete the historic experience, the dialup is really slow, even with an accelerator doing compression.

So apologies for the short and lightly well linked posts

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Englishman's Home

Blair’s government just announced it won’t give Brits more legal protection to take down burglars in their homes – it says they’re free to use “instinctively necessary” force. In practice, almost all homeowners will need to use a shotgun to take down a burglar and the last guy that tried that was jailed for 5 years.

Home Secretary (Brit Attorney General) says that all the law enforcers agree with him that Brit homeowners don’t need more legal protection to defend their property:

"I believe the law as it stands does not need to change. It already provides householders and shopkeepers with the powers they need to protect themselves, their family and their property.

"The Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service have made clear that the law will protect anyone who fought back using whatever force they think is instinctively necessary in the heat of the moment.

Let’s take a look at what force is actually necessary.

The assailant will be male, between 16 and 28, in the bottom quartile of intelligence, dressed in working clothes, of a violent disposition, probably quite strong, armed at least with the tools he used to gain entry (and probably a knife), and possibly drugged.

The homeowner will, on average, be older, weaker, and possibly female; will have just woken up, be dressed in sleepwear, and untrained in physical combat. They may not have their glasses on/contacts in. So in almost all cases they’re going to come of worse from any kind of “instinctive” combat.

Since law-abiding Brits can’t keep handguns, the only feasible defensive weapon is a shotgun, which can still be legally held by some citizens. Two rounds into the torso at about 3 yards will take down any assailant, probably forever.

But I rather doubt that The Home Secretary, Chief Police Officers and Crown Prosecution Service would regard this as “instinctively necessary” force, since it requires propositioning of a loaded weapon, selection of aiming point, and - to prevent them being rushed - firing without warning.

Still, hopefully a stout citizen will take the Home Secretary at his word.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Light Blogging and RINOs

We travel to Italy tomorrow, after which (Telecom Italia willing) it's dial-up for a couple of weeks, so blogs may be terser.

It looks like the cut-and-runners may back off, so there's hope yet. James Lilek's is even madder than I am, see his interview on the Hugh Hewitt show, hat tip Betsy Newmark on Michele Malkin - it has this excellent rant:

If it's more important for them to be elected Senator, so they can live a nice, comfortable life, ensconced in Washington, with all the perks and privileges, while the future of the country actually goes circling down the rat hole because they were too busy worrying about their pensions, well, then, maybe it's time for them best to step aside. At this point, I'm on board with a unicameral legislature. I'm frankly okay with just bricking up the door to the Senate entirely, and letting the lower house figure things out.

Those pesky RINOs are getting to us all - I vented my irritation by brutally kicking an inoffensive dehumidifier, with seriously bad effects to my big toe - as I write this, said toe is elevated and wrapped with a pack of frozen peas.

Anyway, if Lilek need help in walling off the Senate, I can lay a neat brick - not Flemish Bond or anything fancy, but nobody will get out...

Note for Brits: RINO = Republican In Name Only


People elect Conservatives to defend the national interest. Now Senate Republicans have abandoned the Iraqi people, demoralized US allies, put US lives at risk at home and in Iraq, and given encouragement to America's enemies.

Senate Republicans passed this (WSJ, subscription, my emphasis):

The resolution -- which passed 79-19 -- sounds innocuous enough: It calls for 2006 to be "a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for the security of a free and sovereign Iraq, thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq."

That's pretty much exactly what the White House has in mind assuming next month's Iraqi elections go smoothly. But the harm of the Senate adding its voice here is that it turns the sound strategy of Iraqification into a suggestion that the U.S. might cut and run if the terrorists can prevent things from moving forward exactly as planned.

That was the barely veiled threat from GOP Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, who drafted the resolution. He said he wanted to send a "strong message to Iraqi people and the Iraqi government that you have got to come to grip with your internal problems. . . . It's a signal to the Iraqis that we mean business."

The only interpretation of Warner's "we mean business" is "we will cut and run, leaving you to your fate". He's earned a place in the history books next to Chamberlain - here's what will now happen.

Iraqis will stop helping the coalition

The Iraqi people face savages who do this:

The homicide attackers targeted the Sheik Murad mosque and the Khanaqin Grand Mosque in Khanaqin, 90 miles northeast of Baghdad, as dozens of people were attending Friday prayers, police said. The police command said 74 people were killed and 75 wounded in the largely Kurdish town.

Iraqis have worked with the coalition at great personal risk - remember these men? That made sense if it was going to stick by them until they had stability - as the Brits did in Malaya. But with the US heading for the exit they must protect themselves and their families - they know what happened to South Vietnamese supporters of the US. Starting today, exit informers, translators, election workers and every other Iraqi the coalition has been relying on.

Our soldiers will avoid risk

The Iranians, al Queda and the Baathists now know that all they have to do is keep killing and the US will bolt.

Our armies will go on the defensive. Until this resolution they believed that their risk and sacrifice was buying something profoundly worthwhile - the freedom of an entire people, bringing with it wider democracy and peace in the Middle East, and so reduced risk to coalition homelands.

Now they have reason to fear that they'll be withdrawn whatever the outcome, so only fools will put themselves in harm's way. Look for a return to fortified bases and defensive patrols.

The coalition will dissolve

Brits, South Koreans, Italians, Poles, Australians, Japanese, Danes, and soldiers of other nations are fighting and dying in this war. Their leaders believed that the aim was worth the human and political costs. Now it isn't - the US cutting and running leaves them high and dry. So look for them to withdraw as soon as decently possible.

The Iranians will take over southern Iraq

With the Brits gone and with no reliable US protection, moderate Shiites must look to Iran as their defender against the Sunni onslaught.

The Sunnis will be slaughtered

Iran has over 500,000 troops so is quite capable of exterminating Iraq's Sunnis.

The Kurds will secede

The Kurds can look after themselves, and will do so.

Al Queda will attack the US again

Clinton's weakness convinced Bin Laden that he could stage 9/11 and get away with a slapped wrist. The defeat of the US in Iraq will encourage him to return to the offensive.

All US enemies will be emboldened, and all its friends endangered

China, France, Russia and a strengthened Iran will observe that the US can be beaten by inflicting negligible casualties. They will act accordingly - Taiwan, Israel and Afghanistan are now seriously at risk.

There's no good news here - 13 Republicans voted against this resolution, but so what? The damage cannot be undone. If the Dems take a page from Tony Blair's book, they can use this to put the Republicans out of power for a generation. And it'll be a long time before the world again trusts the US to be steadfast in adversity.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Second Thoughts On Gordon

I opined earlier that Brown is the only non-moron in Blair's cabinet. I was wrong - he thinks that raising taxes doesn't cut consumption!

The Brit economy is declining towards German growth levels and the £ is sliding. Here's the Governor of the Bank of England:

Higher taxes introduced by Gordon Brown have contributed to a slowdown in the economy, Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, said yesterday.

Shoppers had stayed away from the high street because higher taxes had left less money in their pockets. "There was a sharp rise in the ratio of taxes to household income. There has been a two percentage point rise in the last couple of years," he said.

Mr King said that consumers had also been hit by the cost of paying off debts, and that council tax, rent, insurance and utility bills had risen much faster than inflation.

The collapse in high-street the main reason for the weakness of the economy.

Mr King's comments will be highly embarrassing for the Chancellor.

Mr Brown has sought to blame higher oil prices and a slowdown in demand from Britain's trade partners for having to downgrade his growth forecasts. This year, the economy is expected to grow by about 1.6 per cent.



Fox News has jumped on the Global Warming bandwagon. It needs to jump off.

Sunday's hour-long program titled "The Heat Is On: The Case of Global Warming," included a verbal disclaimer by Fox News warning viewers that only one side of the scientific debate would be represented.

Only giving one side of a debate is neither fair nor balanced. Still, it did irritate a climatologist into putting an neat bullet into GW:

"The American people are being hoodwinked not just by the green activists, but by the scientists who get billions of dollars for creating global climate models that can't even forecast backward, let along forward," said Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues

"We are in our third warming in recorded human history. We had the Roman warming and the Romans thrived," Avery said. The second warming was during the medieval period, when "most of the castles and cathedrals of Europe were constructed ... because there was more food and thus more people and more labor."


a) The GW climate models don't pass muster (to do so, you'd have to run them using data up to, say 1990, and then show that their predictions matched exactly what's happened since).

b) GW has been around for much longer than industrialization, and

c) It's good for humanity.

I'm looking forward to Fox screening this rebuttal, but not holding my breath.

A Real Intelligence Scandal

Something is rotten in the US security services - the CIA caused millions of dollars to be spent investigating the "outing" of an insignificant Langley desk jockey while Chinese nationals were stealing priceless US military information using unclassified documents. The nation and its allies need reassurance that this broken system is being fixed.

The original story is here, and the latest is here (my emphasis):

...documents obtained from Mr. Mak's home in Downey, Calif., show that China obtained valuable intelligence that will allow Beijing's military to attack U.S. warships electronically, the officials said.

One document that investigators think was passed to the Chinese military was a listing of the electronic vulnerabilities of a U.S. warship. Knowing the vulnerabilities will help China's military, which is in the midst of a major buildup, to conduct electronic attacks on U.S. ships and knock out Global Positioning System guidance systems, the officials said.

The document was among thousands of pages of sensitive but unclassified documents found at Mr. Mak's residence. A preliminary review of the compromises indicates that the Chinese have learned extremely valuable details about U.S. weapons systems, from submarines to aircraft carriers, that could give China's military a strategic advantage in a conflict, the officials said.

The documents reviewed in the case so far show that they were restricted from export and considered sensitive but unclassified military information. Mr. Mak obtained the information while he was employed at defense contractor Power Paragon, which was involved in more than 200 Navy contracts.

Information that enables the enemy to sink US ships is unclassified? That's ridiculous!

Here are the rules that I had to follow as a Brit defense contractor during the Cold War:

1. The military decided how each document was classified - they knew it's value to the enemy. Any information that the enemy could use to our military disadvantage was classified at least as "Secret".

2. Civilians could access classified documents only after they'd been positively vetted, signed the Official Secrets Act, and demonstrated a "need to know". Years later, I'm still bound by the OSA.

3. There were strict rules for the handling of classified material - leaving your secure filing cabinet unlocked was a serious offense. And of course you never got to take classified material out of the facility.

4. The rules were enforced by security officers, mostly ex-military and decidedly old fashioned in their attitude to miscreants.

It looks like none of the above was in place in this case, and that merits a major inquiry by the Pentagon followed by public reassurance that the problem is fixed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Darn, They Didn't Leave The Party

To my great disappointment, the US refusal to give the UN control of the Internet didn't trigger a breakaway by the fear states and crooks. So we're going to have to make life really uncomfortable for them.

The debacle:

A U.N. technology summit opened Wednesday after an 11th-hour agreement that leaves the United States with ultimate oversight of the main computers that direct the Internet's flow of information, commerce and dissent.

Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge, through a quasi-independent body called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.

That averted a U.S.-EU showdown that threatened to derail the so-called World Summit on the Information Society.

Although Pakistan and other countries sought a takeover of that system by an international body such as the United Nations, negotiators ultimately agreed, as time ran out, to a create an open-ended international forum for raising important Internet issues. The forum, however, would have no binding authority.

Getting the world's creeps and dictatorships off the Internet is a good thing, since it enables us to build better defenses against their cyberattacks. To make them secede I suggest ICAAN unilaterally changes their country suffices as follows:

Germany and France get to share .wsl
Iran, Pakistan and China get to share .rat
Russia gets .crk

All other suggestions welcome.

True Martyrdom

To a Muslim, martyrdom is murder/suicide, but to a Christian it's suffering for their belief. Since Christianity created the modern world and Islam is confined to failed societies, the Christians seem to have the better strategy, as their current persecutors in North Korea and Saudi Arabia will discover.

The readiness of early Christians to face terrible deaths in the Roman arenas rather than give up their religion converted the Roman empire to Christianity and created our societies. But martyrdom didn't end there, and barbarians have been torturing and killing Christians ever since.

North Korea:

A woman in her 20s executed by a firing squad after being caught with a Bible. Five Christian church leaders punished by being run over by a steamroller...

The congressional report detailing this is here and the president tells the world:

"Satellite maps of North Korea show prison camps the size of whole cities," Mr. Bush said. "We will not forget the people of North Korea."

Saudi Arabia (my emphasis):

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) -- A court sentenced a teacher to 40 months in prison and 750 lashes for "mocking religion" after he discussed the Bible and praised Jews, a Saudi newspaper reported yesterday.

A 2003 report by the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, the world's only government-sanctioned entity to investigate and report religious-freedom violations, named Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest violator of religious liberties.

These two depraved societies are going learn the Roman lesson - oppressing belief makes it stronger.

How The UN And EU Became Corrupt

The EU auditors just rejected its accounts for the eleventh year running and the UN reinstated its only staffer fired for the Oil-for-Food scandal. They highlight a dysfunctional feature of international organizations - they become as corrupt as the people running them.

Any company whose auditors qualified its accounts this severely, would have to cease trading:

The European Union's financial watchdog yesterday refused to give a clean bill of health to the EU's annual accounts - for the 11th year in a row.

The European Court of Auditors said it was unable to give a formal statement of assurance on the 2004 budget of almost £70 billion.

David Bostock, the UK member of the court, said that for the first time, IACS had "reduced the risk of error for most agricultural expenditure to an acceptable level". But, he went on, it was still not possible to sign off EU spending on aid for poorer regions, aid and diplomacy, consumer protection and other areas, including "more complicated areas of agricultural spending".

EU auditors did provide some examples of apparent fraud. They cited a Greek farmer who claimed to have lost 501 sheep to disease and wolves between 2002 and 2004 and had certificates from the local veterinary office confirming his losses. Yet he was also claiming that his herd was unchanged in size - a phenomenon he could not explain, when pressed.

And a management that oversaw the biggest fraud in history and didn't hold
one employee responsible would find itself in jail, Enron style:

The United Nations reinstated the only U.N. official who was fired over the Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal, after an internal appeals body ruled that he had done nothing wrong, according to a letter made public Tuesday.

The decision was made Monday and Joseph Stephanides, fired May 31, received the letter Tuesday maintaining that he violated staff rules by showing preference to one bidder for an Oil-for-Food contract but essentially acknowledging the punishment was too harsh.

Stephanides, a 60-year-old Cypriot national, had been scheduled to retire in September and the move gives him his pay up to that point.

Many staffers on international institutions are from low-trust societies where corruption is normal. People from low-scoring nations aren't necessarily personally corrupt, but will have been conditioned to accept business practices which Anglo societies consider dishonest. Here are some UN and EU actors with their home countries'
2005 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI - least corrupt scores 10, most corrupt scores 0):

RoleCountryCPI Score
Prime MinisterUK8.6
UN Secretary GeneralGhana3.5
UN Head of Oil-for-Food Cyprus5.7
UN Reinstated StafferCyprus5.7
EU PresidentPortugal6.5
EU VP Anti-FraudEstonia6.4
EU DefrauderGreece4.3

This explains why the UN is corrupt - its leader comes from a place scoring 3.5 - the same level as Mexico and Turkey. The CPI scores of the countries of the EU leadership are not as low, but is still lower than all the EU northern members and closer to the more corrupt southern members.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pan-European Civil War? Probably Not

Mark Steyn opines that nations with two cultures have civil wars, and that's where Europe is heading. I think he's wrong to write off the whole of Europe - the problem is the Franco-Germans.

Take Fiji - not a comparison France would be flattered by, though until 1987 the Fijians enjoyed a century of peaceful stable constitutional evolution the French were never able to muster. At any rate, Fiji comprises native Fijians and ethnic Indians brought in as indentured workers by the British. If memory serves, 46.2 per cent are Fijians and 48.6 per cent are Indo-Fijians; 50-50, give or take, with no intermarrying. In 1987, the first Indian-majority government came to power. A month later, Col Sitiveni Rabuka staged the first of his two coups, resulting in the Queen's removal as head of state and Fiji being expelled from the Commonwealth.

His key point is the lack of intermarriage. He argues that low levels integration combined with high immigrant and low native birth rates will create Fiji-type situations in most European countries in a few decades.

American immigrants have huge incentives to integrate - once they look and sound America, they are treated as 100% American. Brits do it differently, but, with the exception of some Muslim communities, equally effectively. So although both the US and UK have high immigrant rates, high immigrant birth rates and low native birth rates, it doesn't matter - the babies are American or British.

The US solved the problem of immigrant assimilation because it was central to their idea of nationhood. The Brits because, as a tiny nation living by trade, they had no choice but to co-opt from other nations. (Gibbon says that in 1776 there were just 5 million Anglo-Welsh compared with 20 million French and 20 million Germans).

The Dutch have a similar history to the Brits, and so I think they too will build a single identity out of their diversity - after a poor start they're getting real.

France and Germany are the problem. Their native cultures are racially homogeneous, and historically they haven't had to develop models for cultural assimilation - hence the French ghettos. Declaring immigrants to be French and then walling them off was never going to work.

Germany has a smaller problem numerically, but big cultural issues - try talking to a German about Turkey!

Italy has a fast declining birth rate, a very distinctive culture and a boatload (pun intended) of immigrants. But it's a highly civilized society that's been assimilating immigrants for 2,000 years, so I'm hoping they will make it.

So civil wars are possible in France and Germany but the rest of Europe should pull through.

The US, John Bolton And The UN

The UN suffers from the disease of consortia - it's been captured by its secretariat. John Bolton, the US ambassador, proposes the classic cures:
a) change the staff,
b) get the members back in the driving seat,
c) put it under competitive pressure.

Since the US only has 1 vote out 191, options a) and b) won't happen. But c) can, and the president will probably ask Bolton to focus on building up alternatives to the UN.

Consortia fall under the control of their staffers because of focus - the consortium is the entire world to the staffers, but only a small part of the world of its members. So the staffers work 24*7 to build their empires, and the members invest whatever time and people they can spare.

Talking to the Washington Times:

U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton said repeatedly that the Bush administration requires nothing less than "a revolution of reform" at the world body, encompassing everything from U.N. Security Council engagement to management changes to a focus on administrative skills in choosing the next secretary-general.

The ambassador said he would like to see change within the "P5," the powerful conclave of five permanent U.N. Security Council nations. Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States must work more closely to craft powerful resolutions and make sure they are enforced, he said.

Mr. Bolton also wants to see the 15-member council to address the underlying causes that have spawned 17 active peacekeeping missions, including a half-dozen that are decades old. "The biggest change that we should try and make is to have the Security Council play a larger role in solving these problems, rather than turning them over to the Secretariat and special envoys," he said.
Mr. Bolton said...that the United States pays 22 percent of the regular U.N. budget, yet has only one vote out of 191 cast. "We have one-half of 1 percent of the total [votes], meaning we pay 44 times more than our voting power," he said. "My priority is to give the United States the kind of influence it should have. Everybody pursues their national interests. The only one who gets blamed for it is the United States."

Obviously, change has to start with replacing Annan. But he's pretending the Volcker report never happened, and since the US and UK are the only nations making waves, he's and his acolytes are likely to stay. Plus, the chance of the US engaging Russia, China and France is nil.

So that leaves competition. I suspect the president is setting this up so that he can admit defeat and ask Bolton to leave the UN and work on building up competitive agencies. Long term, that may actually force UN reform, and if it doesn't, so what?

Bigger Bullets And The Internet

Many readers will have been troubled by Michael Yon's description of an infantry engagement in which an enemy combatant kept fighting after taking multiple M4 rounds - these are 5.56mm, (22 caliber). Now, serving soldiers are using the Internet to lobby for something closer to the 303 caliber our fathers used, and procurement is listening.

Yon's report:

Prosser shot the man at least four times with his M4 rifle. But the American M4 rifles are weak - after Prosser landed three nearly point blank shots in the man's abdomen, splattering a testicle with a fourth, the man just staggered back, regrouped and tried to shoot Prosser.

I was surprised by this - US instructors recommend a heavy caliber for personal protection - one shot stops your assailant.

Turns out the infantry want bigger bullets too:

While the 5.56mm bullet was OK when used in an automatic weapon, it is much less useful when you have so many troops who know how to shoot, and can hit targets just as easily with single shots. In addition to better shooting skills, the troops also have much better sights, both for day and night use. It’s much more effective to fire less often, if you have troops who can do that and hit what they are shooting at with the first shot. Most American troops can.

Moreover, the 5.56mm round is less effective in urban fighting, where you often want to shoot through doors and walls. The 5.56mm round is not as effective at doing this as is the heavier 7.62mm bullet. And the troops have plenty of 7.62mm weapons available...(lots) of 1960s era 7.62mm M14 rifles have also been taken out of storage and distributed.

...the heavier 7.62mm round does a better job of shooting through cinder block walls, and taking down bad guys with one shot. Too often, enemy troops require several 5.56mm bullets to put them out of action.

A decision on the army’s new assault rifle will probably come sooner, rather than later, because the troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are making a lot of Internet noise over the issue.

All of which is another example of the way the Internet improves upward communication in hierarchies.

Monday, November 14, 2005

McCain Plays Games

John McCain showed great courage during his captivity by the North Vietnamese communists. But his criticism of coalition strategy in Iraq amounts to telling our forces to do something they're already doing. Playing political games in time of war demeans him.

Here's his suggestion:

Instead of trying to shift forces around the country to secure all of Iraq from insurgents, he said U.S. troops should concentrate on securing and holding insurgent strongholds. "Our forces would begin by clearing areas, with heavy force if necessary, to establish a zone as free of insurgents as possible. The security forces can then cordon off the zone, establish constant patrols, by American and Iraqi military and police, to protect the population from insurgents and common crime, and arrest remaining insurgents as they are found," he said.

Senator McCain said in this newly secure environment, reconstruction could proceed without fear of attack and sabotage, and political meetings and campaigning could take place in the open. In short, he argued, civil society could emerge.

The Senator said such a strategy would require more troops, and would result in more casualties. But he said it was necessary to stabilize the country.

But what he proposes is exactly what the coalition is doing, except rather than pour in more US troops, they're training up the Iraqi army - the only long term solution. Here's what's happening on the Syrian border (my emphasis):

Iraqi Army soldiers and Marines, Soldiers and Sailors with Regimental Combat Team –2 began a new phase of Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) today by entering the town of Ubaydi.

Ubaydi, located on the banks of the Euphrates River, is only 20 km from the Syrian border, and was the site of Operation Matador last May.

The towns of Husaybah and Karabilah were cleared earlier in the operation and permanent Iraqi-U.S. presence has been established.

Operation Steel Curtain differs from Matador in the respect that a permanent presence of Iraqi and U.S. forces will be established in the city.

The goals of Operation Steel Curtain are to restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraq-Syria border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout the Al Qa’im region.
This offensive is part of the larger Operation Sayaid (Hunter), designed to prevent al Qaeda in Iraq from operating in the Euphrates River Valley and throughout Al Anbar and to establish a permanent Iraqi Army presence in the Al Qa’im region.

Getting the Iraqi army trained has been incredibly hard, and good men have died in the process. The current progress makes the effort and sacrifices worthwhile.

Nuclear Reactors Are Tough, Terrorists Are Dumb

The reported plot by Islamic terrorists against an Australian nuclear reactor tells us that the terrorists were stupid, not that nuclear plants are vulnerable.

The story (my emphasis):

Eight Sydney men arrested on terrorism charges may have been planning a bomb attack against the city's nuclear reactor, police said on Monday.

Their Islamic spiritual leader, also charged with terrorism offences, told the men if they wanted to die for jihad they should inflict "maximum damage," according to a 21-page police court document.

The document outlines how the men, arrested last week in the nation's biggest security swoop, bought chemicals used in the London July 7 bombs, had bomb-making instructions in Arabic and videos entitled "Sheikh Osama's Training Course" and "Are you ready to die?"

Under the heading "Targets," police said three of the men were stopped near Sydney's Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in December 2004. A security gate lock had recently been cut.

To do any damage to a nuclear reactor, you need much more than a cut padlock and some backpack bombs. Reactors containers are designed to contain the worst credible failure, meltdown, which would leave them full of molten uranium at over 2,000 degrees (my ellipsis and emphasis):

(Nuclear reactors are) protected by at least three feet of reinforced concrete.

A ground attack is...unlikely to succeed. Even if terrorists could penetrate the normal security barriers, they would find that the control personnel had shut down the reactor. Turning it off can be done quickly (you hit a Big Red Button). And even if a meltdown could be produced, the thick concrete containment structure prevents the escape of radioactivity into the environment. Chernobyl had no such containment.

In the extremely unlikely event of a total reactor accident, the consequences are less severe than generally pictured.

We have already seen the worst scenario that one can imagine: Even so, Chernobyl killed only some 30 people -- those who were directly involved in putting out the fire. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the subsequent health effects have been minor: no increases in leukemia or birth defects; only cases of thyroid cancer that could have been avoided by taking protective potassium-iodide pills. Certainly, more people died from the panicky reaction to Chernobyl, including thousands of abortions by women in Western Europe who feared the consequences from the release of radiation.

Since terrorists are just criminals with "Islamic spiritual leaders", this daft plot demonstrates the strong inverse correlation between criminality and IQ (mean criminal IQ is 10 points below normal).

Al Queda Is Finished In Iraq

The Jordan bombing shows that al Queda in Iraq is now incompetent and without allies in the Sunni community. Incompetence and self destruction are features of defeated armies, so the war is won and it just remains to nail Zarqawi.

Mao observed that guerrillas must swim in a civilian sea - once exposed, they're easily defeated. In Iraq, parts of the Sunni population provided that sea for al Queda, but by killing Sunnis in Jordan it's stranded itself.

For brevity, I've pulled the essential facts from here and here.

1. Jordan is 95% Sunni Muslim.

2. Four killers entered Jordan from Iraq on November 5th and rented an apartment in Amman.

3. Each brought with them an explosive/shrapnel suicide bomb designed to maximize death and mutilation.

4. The killers spent 4 days reconnoitering the 3 hotels they'd targeted then on the evening of November 9th they attacked - one man took one hotel each and the husband and wife team the third.

5. One of the killers (Days Inn) tried to detonate in a restaurant and failed. He was chased out of the hotel by security, finally detonating outside.

6. The husband and wife team targeted a wedding of a couple from Jordan and Palestine, dressing smartly to ensure they could join the party. The husband successfully detonated, killing many of the party including the fathers of bride and groom.

7. The woman's detonator failed, and she fled back to the apartment.

8. al Queda in Iraq then boasted of the killings without knowing if all bombers had detonated, and said that two of the bombers were husband and wife.

9. The Jordanian police were very efficient. They knew that there had not been a woman bomber (bomber's heads are blown off in a characteristic way) and they tracked down the woman in the apartment.

10. Now she's singing.

This tells us the following about al Queda in Iraq:
It has has turned on the Sunnis.
Its weapons are shoddy, so they don't have competent armorers left.
It's killers are amateur and easily panicked.
It doesn't have people to observe its bombing attempts (even the IRA managed that).
It has no backup in Jordan.

This is an organization on it last legs, thanks to the bravery and skill of the coalition and Iraqi armies and Iraqi police. Now we need to drive a stake through its heart, killing or catching Zarqawi.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ten Million Lawyers

The London Guardian reports that 1,100 lawyers have left Saddam Hussein's defense team. This suggest a solution to Boeing's problem is imminent.

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Some 1,100 Iraqi lawyers have withdrawn from Saddam Hussein's defense team, citing insufficient protection following the slayings of two peers representing co-defendants of the ousted Iraqi leader.

In a statement obtained Sunday, the lawyers did not say whether Saddam's chief Iraqi attorney, Khalil al-Dulaimi, was among those who withdrew. But the statement said other members of the team in Baghdad were continuing their duties ``under complex and dangerous circumstances.''

I'm guessing the danger is either from homicidal killers trained by their client, or homicidal killers getting revenge. So how many lawyers are left?

Support lawyers for Saddam's team in Jordan were not immediately available for comment.

If they were holed up in hotels there, they probably never will be available for comment.

Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial in a special Iraqi tribunal, charged in the 1982 deaths of 148 Shiite Muslims in Dujail after an assassination attempt against Saddam in that town north of Baghdad.

So, let's see. Guess he has 500 lawyers in reserve, meaning he started with 1,600 to defend him against a charge of murdering 148 people. But he actually murdered 1 million people, so to deal with all charges he'll need 1,600*(1,000,000/148) = 10,810,810 lawyers. He'll need every trial laywer in the US!

Ten million lawyers in a war zone full of homicidal mass murderers, what's not to like?

Italian Slurs

A new development in the Italian CIA terrorist kidnapping case- prosecutors now claim the CIA kidnap team was not 13 but 22! Guys, the CIA may be overstaffed, but this is ridiculous.

The report:

Prosecutors have requested Italy seek the extradition of 22 suspected CIA agents over the kidnapping of a terrorism suspect, grabbed off a street in 2003 and taken abroad, a judicial source in Italy said on Friday.

Prosecutors in the northern city of Milan believe that the CIA was behind the disappearance of Egyptian-born imam Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar.

They say he was grabbed off a Milan street and flown from a U.S. air base in northern Italy to Egypt, where they suspect he may have been tortured under interrogation by Egyptian security officials.

A Milan judge has issued an arrest order for Nasr, who is believed to be still in Egyptian custody.

At 22 kidnappers for each of the estimated 10,000 Muslim terrorists in Europe, that's 220,000 kidnappers. Assuming that each kidnapper needs the support of 5 people at CIA in Langley (leaking against the administration, filing lawsuits, writing exposes, recommending family members for assignments, lunching the State Department etc), that's 1.1 million just in the kidnapping business!

Where do these Italian guys think Langley is? Brussels?

Pesky Italians (1)

(This post in June vanished from this blog, this reinstates it).

The Italian judiciary has a diction problem - instead of being nice to tourists (turisti) and nasty to terrorists (terroristi), they're doing the reverse. Guys, go easy on the grappa!


On-the-spot fines of 10,000 euros have been imposed on three tourists for buying fake designer goods on the Italian riviera.The first of the tourists to be caught, a 60-year-old Dane, had bought a pair of bogus Dior sunglasses. Another victim, a 27-year-old Frenchwoman, nearly fainted after being handed the fine by uniformed police for purchasing a fake Louis Vuitton handbag.


An Italian judge has ordered the arrest of 13 people linked to the CIA for "kidnapping" an Egyptian terrorism suspect in Milan and flying him to Egypt where he said he was tortured, judicial sources said on Friday."

In the judge's order, it (the abduction) is clearly attributed to the CIA," a source said.

Foreign intelligence officials believe (the suspect) had fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia before arriving in Italy in 1997 and obtaining political refugee status. When he disappeared, he was under investigation in Italy for suspected ties to terrorism, including recruiting militants for Iraq.

Trial Lawyers For Airbus

Boeing, a huge US exporter, is in a fight to the death with Euro-subsidized Airbus. Trial Lawyers have just taken $72.5 million of its assets, which means about $2 billion of future production and these parasites just ate thousands of jobs.

Boeing is a key US exporter:

...Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony before Congress yesterday that the U.S. economy is on ``relatively firm footing.'' Strength in exports from manufacturers such as airplane-maker Boeing Co. led some economists to raise growth estimates, and the dollar climbed to a nine-month high against the euro.

It has to invest every cent it has in new products and lower-cost production, so doesn't need this (WSJ subscription, my ellipsis and emphasis):

Boeing Co. has agreed to pay $72.5 million to thousands of women to settle a class-action action sex-discrimination lawsuit, according to documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

About $15 million will be deducted from the total settlement to cover attorneys' fees and other legal costs.

(What's left goes to)...more than 20,000 current and former female employees out of a potential pool of 29,000 said Boeing discriminated against them at Seattle-area plants between 1997 and 2000.

The lawyers argued for the socialist "equality of outcome" - groups of women must be paid the same as groups of men for doing "similar" jobs.

According to company documents obtained by the plaintiffs, women typically earned $1,000 to $2,000 less each year than men for similar jobs -- a disparity magnified over time by the company's policy of calculating pay raises based on an employee's salary.

In the real world, people in similar jobs get paid a wide range of salaries depending on their performance - skills, readiness to work long hours etc. Many employers find that women don't want to put long hours in, and so perform less well. An honest trial would have looked in detail at the performance reviews of each of the men and women involved. But of course it didn't - women, although over 50% of the population are deemed a minority, and the mere fact of them not getting the same pays means discrimination.

And note the weasel words that women "typically" got paid less - that means some got paid more.

Here's the cost. I look for a return on investments of at least 3, so $72.5 million should yield a return of $217.5 million. If Boeing's margin on commercial planes is 10%, it has to sell $2.175 billion of them to get that return. That's over 40 planes that - absent the $72.5 million - will now be built by Airbus.

On the bright side, the lawyers sharing their $15 million may fly back to their mansions in an Airbus that loses its tail-fin.

Batty Brit Bishops

The university town of Oxford has a long tradition of clerical eccentrics. The latest one thinks Brits should apologize to Iraqis for liberating them from Saddam Hussein. We need eccentrics, but this one would do better helping Muslim families in his own diocese.

The Jerusalem Post opines:

The Church of England's latest opinion on Middle Eastern affairs ranks among its most bankrupt.

A recent report commissioned by the church's bishops endorsed apologizing to Muslim leaders for the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.

That invasion removed a sadistic tyrant who bragged publicly about paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers - who intimidated his people by tossing them into shredders, allowing his sons to rape their choice of women and gassing entire villages.

Yet to the authors of the report, "Countering Terrorism: Power, Violence and Democracy Post 9/11," none of that matters.

"We do believe that the church has a visionary role for reconciliation beyond that of any government," one of the authors, Bishop Richard Harries of Oxford, told BBC Radio.

Last week we posted on this story from the town of Oxford:

Chomir Ali, 44, a Bangladeshi, had intended his daughter Manna Begum should marry someone else and he recruited his sons, aged 16 and 19, to kill Arash Ghorbani-Zarin, an Iranian by whom she was pregnant.

Mr Ghorbani-Zarin, 19, was stabbed 46 times after he was ambushed as he drove to meet Miss Begum, also 19, at her home in Oxford.

The jury at Oxford Crown Court took five days to reach its unanimous verdicts...

The Bishop should spend more time with his flock.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Lessons Of The Brit War With The IRA

A Brit intelligence officer who served in Northern Ireland suggests the US army in Iraq should adopt a softer approach and needs better intel & more troops. This advice is not credible since, in spite of its courage and skill, the Brit army in Northern Ireland was sold out by Brit pols so the IRA won.

Saying the IRA won may seem a little extreme, so judge for yourself. The leaders of the IRA, one of whom I believe to be a murderer are now Members of Parliament. The IRA gangs run the Catholic community in NI and murder with impunity. All IRA killers have been pardoned. The Brit government is criminally investigating soldiers who served in Northern Ireland. It has disbanded the police force that opposed the IRA and replaced it with a politically correct group that doesn't have the word "Royal" in its title. And they've disbanded the Brit army's Northern Ireland regiment. Oh, and the majority population of the province has been pushed to support extreme politicians.

Bearing this in mind that we lost, here's what the guy said (my ellipsis).

Don't use heavy force

The term “collateral damage” doesn’t explain the emotional damage and animosity that the death of innocent civilians can create. The classic example is the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident, when 13 demonstrators were killed by British soldiers. Garfield said the incident has haunted the British Army and British government for 35 years.

According to an ex-member of the IRA, Bloody Sunday was an IRA set-up. The expert ignores the fact that terrorists always blame their killing of innocents on the enemy - look at the Palestinian propaganda every time they kill an Israeli kid, and their justifications for 9/11. Get used to it.

Finally, the Brits used this "softly softly" approach with the Shias in Southern Iraq and let the Iranians in.

Provide massive intelligence support

A counterinsurgency campaign requires heavy intelligence support. In the British Army today, he said, an armored brigade has six or eight intelligence professionals to support each 5,000-man unit. The numbers are similar for U.S. Army brigades. In Northern Ireland, the British had 400 to 500 intelligence professionals to support a brigade-sized force (about 10,000 men).

Those intelligence analysts cannot be on short-term rotations, he said: Most intelligence professionals deployed to Northern Ireland were there for two years on individual, not unit, rotations, so they could build continuity. Many of the intelligence professionals in more sensitive and difficult areas served even longer.

This is fine, although again, judged by results, it didn't help a lot.

Deploy more US soldiers

In Northern Ireland, British Army numbers rose as high as 22,000, relative to an Irish population of 1.5 million, a Catholic population of 500,000, a hard-core republican population of 100,000 and 500 terrorists.

This is the opposite of the successful Malayan experience, and it's worth investigating why. Eliminating 500 terrorists was perfectly within the capability of a small number of Brit troops. However they weren't allowed to do this, and tried weight of presence instead. But, prevented from acting aggressively, they never took the initiative and so the IRA continued to murder away.

Taking the initiative would have involved shutting the border with the Irish Republic, which provided safe haven and logistics, tracking and targeting the 500 in exactly the same way the New York police did when they turned that city round. No deaths squads, just aggressive policing.

So, lessons the US can learn from the Brit war with the IRA are:

1. Don't do what the Brits did, or you'll end up with Saddam in the Senate and the USMC indicted.

2. Go on doing what you're good at, which is vigorous warfare.

3. And continue to avoid killing civilians, keep building your intel network, and building the Iraqi army. Not that you need reminding.

4. Trust the competence and bravery of the Brit army but don't trust their leadership.

Beating Insurgencies

Two critiques of current coalition operations in Iraq have surfaced, one from a Brit and the other from John McCain. They raise different issues, and I'll post on them separately. First, it's instructive to look at how the Brits defeated the Malayan insurgency in the 1950s. Compared with the Brits in Malaya, the coalition in Iraq is much stronger relative to the enemy, but has three disadvantages it still has to overcome.

Here's a summary of the Wikipedia account of the Malayan insurgency (my ellipsis).

Like the Iraq Sunnis, a minority was fighting for dominance

The Malay Races Liberation Army (MRLA ) was a guerrilla force...led and dominated by ethnic Chinese communists.

The actual conflict began when the MCP...decided that an armed conflict would be the only way to bring the communist revolution to Malaya...

Like the Sunnis, only part of the ethnic group supported terror

Support for the MRLA was mainly based on around 500,000 ethnic Chinese then living in Malaya (there were 3.12 million Chinese in total); the ethnic Malay population for the most part did not support them.

Unlike the Sunnis, the communist supporters were not a previously-dominant minority

The MRLA raised the support of the Chinese because they were denied the equal right to vote in elections, had no land rights to speak of, and were usually very poor.

Six Key Brit Tactics

1. Draining the swamp

Part of the British attempt at resolving the situation was...the resettlement of people - especially 400,000 Chinese - living in jungle areas to the relative safety of new, partially fortified villages with full round-the-clock armed sentries. People resented this at first but some soon became content with the better living standards in the villages. They were given money and ownership of the land they lived on.

2. Hearts and minds

In 1951 some British army units begun a "hearts and minds campaign" by giving medical and food aid to Malays and indigenous Sakai tribes.

3. Aggressive patrolling

At the same time, they put pressure on MRLA by patrolling the jungle. Units such as the SAS, the Royal Marines and Gurkha Brigades drove MRLA guerrillas deeper into the jungle and denied them resources. The MRLA had to extort food from the Sakai and earned their enmity. Many of the captured guerrillas changed sides.

4. Promising an exit route

(The Brit governor's) most important deal was a promise of independence once the insurrection was over.

5. Better Intel

He also instituted financial rewards for detecting guerrillas by any civilians and expanded the intelligence network.

6. Good allies

Australia was willing to send troops...and the first group of Australian troops arrived in 1955... New Zealand sent NZSAS soldiers (and air support), and other Commonwealth members also sent troops to aid the British.

The Outcome

In the end the conflict involved some 35,000 British and 100,000 Malay troops against a possible army of 80,000 communist guerrillas.

The last serious resistance from MRLA guerrillas 1958. The remaining MRLA forces fled to the Thai border and further east.

During the conflict security forces killed 6,710 MRLA guerrillas and captured 1,287. Of the total number of guerrillas, 2,702 surrendered during the conflict and about 500 at the end of the conflict. There were 1346 Malayan troops and 519 British military personnel killed. 2,478 civilians were killed and 810 recorded missing as a result of the conflict.

The coalition is following 5 of these tactics, so it's instructive to look at the differences between Malaya and Iraq.

The coalition has a much bigger qualitative and quantitative advantage over the Iraqi insurgents

The largest number I've seen for the Iraqi insurgents is 30,000, and the coalition (including Iraqi army) fields about 300,000 - an advantage of 10 to 1. The Brits and Malays had only about 50% more men then the insurgents. Plus the Brits soldiers were conscripts not volunteers.

Draining the swamp is harder in Iraq

Unlike the landless Malayan Chinese who supported the insurgents, the Sunnis ruled Iraq for 80 years until Saddam went down. They're comparatively wealthy, and resettling them is not feasible. However garrisoning their townships is.

The US MSM plays up American deaths more than Brits do theirs

For comparison, Brit deaths in Malaya scaled for population equate to over 3,000 US dead,

Brits (including their MSM and pols) are more phlegmatic than Americans about casualties, perhaps because they and their empire lost 1.4 million dead in 20th century wars - over 2% of their populations.

Foreign Support

The insurgents in Iraq are supplied and given sanctuary by the governments of Iran and Syria. If the Chinese had been strong enough to support the Malayan communists, the Brits would have had a much harder job.


Malaya took about 7 years. However the coalition is most of the way to defeating the insurgency, so I don't consider the time difference significant.


In summary, compared with the Malayan operation, the coalition is further ahead and has an enormous qualitative and quantitative advantage. However it can't lock down the Sunni population that harbors terrorists, is fighting proxy wars with Iran and Syria, and is opposed by the US MSM. To complete the victory, these three problems need to be fixed.

Late Autumn In The Southern Med

Skies still blue most days, but daytime highs down to 70, which feels quite chilly.

The first rains found a leak in the roof, which in a house that has been evolving for 200 years and has 1 to 2 foot thick stone walls, ceilings and floors represents a major diagnostic challenge. I eventually tracked it down using multivariate analysis and fluid dynamics.

The fruit trees in our yard are looking very fruitful. The oranges here are small, but - being home grown - taste excellent!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Greater Love

Today Brits marked Remembrance Day with a 2 minute silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - when the First World War ended in 1918. Despite claims to the contrary, the war was necessary to prevent Germany subjugating Europe, and was fought as well as it could be with the technology available. It was won at terrible cost - 1 million Brit and Empire, 1.4 million French, 460,000 Italians and over 100,000 Americans died.

The War produced some memorable poetry. I think the best was by Wilfred Owen, a Brit patriot who fought at the Battle of the Somme, and died in the last week of the war advancing across a canal at Ors. His mother received the telegram informing her of his death on this day 1918.

Greater Love

Red lips are not so red
As the stained stones kissed by the English dead.
Kindness of wooed and wooer
Seems shame to their love pure.
O Love, your eyes lose lure
When I behold eyes blinded in my stead!

Your slender attitude
Trembles not exquisite like limbs knife-skewed,
Rolling and rolling there
Where God seems not to care:
Till the fierce love they bear
Cramps them in death’s extreme decrepitude.

Your voice sings not so soft,—
Though even as wind murmuring through raftered loft,—
Your dear voice is not dear,
Gentle, and evening clear,
As theirs whom none now hear,
Now earth has stopped their piteous mouths that coughed.

Heart, you were never hot
Nor large, nor full like hearts made great with shot;
And though your hand be pale,
Paler are all which trail
Your cross through flame and hail:
Weep, you may weep, for you may touch them not.

Wilfred Owen