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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘enemy’

No Such Thing as a Bloodless Victory

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Obama’s clean war in Libya, the one that was won by lying to the U.N. and then dropping bombs and flying away while ragged bands of fighters whittled away what was left of the decrepit Libyan military, doesn’t look so clean anymore. The bloodless victory has seen its first blood shed as those same fighters coddled and protected by American jets and drones tore into the temporary consulate set up to liaise with the rebels, set it on fire and dragged the body of the ambassador who had helped their rebellion succeed through the streets while posing for snapshots with his corpse.

Those four dead Americans in Libya won’t be the last casualties because there is no such thing as a bloodless victory. Afghanistan and Iraq were both won with fairly light casualties through devastating displays of firepower. But what the United States is willing to do in the opening stages of a war, it is rarely willing to do once the dust has settled and its planners have drawn up flowcharts of how to get the local electricity grid back on line again. The rabble shooting off their captured machine guns know that they just have to wait a few months and then those boys in their shiny flying machines will come down to the ground, learn a few words of Arabic, smile at everyone and set themselves up to be killed in some dirty alleyway.

This is what our wars look like and it is why military cemeteries and V.A. wards are full of soldiers killed after the hostilities had officially ended. And even in a “clean war” like Libya where there was meant to be no occupation and no soldiers patrolling alleyways, there were still Americans to kill. The brave people of Benghazi, the ones whose deaths Obama told us, in the speech full of lies that he delivered in a belated defense of his illegal war, would shake the moral conscience of the world, got around to killing some of the men who were there to help them. And that too is an old story.

We came to help the Somalis only to die at their hands and not satisfied with that, we admitted record numbers of them to the United States, where they have tried to carry out their own local versions of Black Hawk Down, including the attempted bombing of the Portland Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. We came to help the Afghanis and Iraqis and the Libyans and they kill us here and there and we learn nothing from the experience.

On September 11, the latest such date, our great victory in Libya began turning to ashes because the brave Libyan people we came to liberate bravely stormed our consulate and set it on fire, and then the even braver Libyan security forces tipped off the brave Libyan people where the safe house where the staff was evacuated to was located and the more of the brave Libyan people showed up determined to kill some Americans.

Government officials are busy telling us that the mobs in Benghazi and Cairo represented only a tiny fraction of a small percentage of an extreme minority of the population and their actions are in no way representative of the brave Egyptian and Libyan peoples who love us a great deal and would happily chase after us and pose for photos with our corpses if it wasn’t for the trouble they have getting American visas.

We have spent a great deal of time hearing similar reassurances about the brave Afghan and Iraqi peoples who were also not represented by the tiny minority with the guns. In Iraq, the Sunni insurgents and the Shi’ite death squads and the Al-Qaeda splodeys were in no way representative of anyone or anything at all. And these days they’re still killing each other, after several elections, but that is still in no way representative of the people they elected to shoot each other over sectarian differences.

In Afghanistan, if the Taliban were ever to run for office in a fair and clean election, the odds are very good that they would clean the clock with the opposition as thoroughly as the Muslim Brotherhood did in Egypt, Al-Nahda did in Tunisia, Hamas did in the Palestinian Authority and the AKP did in Turkey. And yes, quite a few of those women with the sad eyes who sometimes appear on magazine covers, would vote for the Taliban, because once the fighting stops and they take over, there will finally be order, even if it is the order of the whip, the cage and the grave.

It is rather important that we understand what the British understood, that while the Jihadi fighters of various flavors may be bastards, some are even foreigners, they are still their bastards. We are not their bastards and no matter how much we smile, how we grow out our beards, learn Arabic and hand out candy to children, they will steel ululate and cheer when they drag our corpses out into the street. A few will feel bad, some of them will even do something about it, but it is these people who are the true tiny minority that is not representative of the country and its people.

If we truly want a bloodless victory, then we can have it, so long as we understand how that’s done and what price there will be to pay for it.

Removing a tyrant and replacing him with the organized chaos of democracy will not be bloodless, it will be quite bloody, until the dust settles, and elections or no elections, a new tyrant places his fat ass on the throne. Once the tyrant is in power, it will be possible for us to open embassies and walk the streets, it will not be absolutely safe, but the sort of people who would be tempted to drag our bodies down the street will be dissuaded because they know that their nearest and dearest will then be dragged down the street, not by us because we’re too fussy and principled to act that way, but by the secret police of the tyrant.

If we do decide to get rid of one tyrant, it would be a very good idea to have a tyrant in mind to replace him. This new tyrant will not be our friend, but he might be sufficiently frightened of us to do what we say. In Libya, we already had a tyrant like that, and we hunted him down and watched him be sodomized to death by the brave Libyan people in the name of freedom, democracy and apple pie. And then nearly a year later, the brave Libyan people were playing with our ambassador’s corpse the way that they had with their tyrant’s– because once you unleash the savages, they don’t just go back to hoeing olive trees and dragging sacks of sand through the desert. Why would they, when they can make ten times as much by enlisting in a militia and burning our consulates to the ground?

The best to win a truly bloodless victory is not to set food in the bloody county or to allow anyone from their bloody county to set food in our country. It’s called a Cordon Sanitaire and it’s one of the surest way to keep that victory bloodless, at least on our side, once we’ve leveled the appropriate portions of the country that had it coming last. But even then war is not truly bloodless, once the fighting begins, then sooner or later blood will be shed.

Our technology is quite impressive. We can send a drone from around the world to take out a car winding around a dusty track in the north of Yemen. And a mob of savages can break into our consulate, use low tech firebombs to torch it and drag the body of an ambassador who died of smoke inhalation into the street and take photos of him with smartphones and then upload those photos to the internet in a fraction of a second.

That’s the problem with technocrats who imagine that technology makes things simple and clean. It doesn’t, it just makes everything happen that much faster. The same technology that has given us incredible firepower and reach has also brought the enemy and their propaganda that much closer. The society that can produce massive amounts of smartphones is also the one that produces massive amounts of bleeding hearts that pine for a bloodless victory and turn on the cause at the first drop of blood.

Technology does not make war cleaner and neither do ideals. The Chicago Progressives thought that they could fight a cleaner war by keeping the occupation out of it. They were wrong. They chose to use locals to guard a consulate that was not fortified so as not to upset or alienate the locals with a show of force. And now the Marines are coming to Libya and drones will patrol the country for Jihadist camps. Libya is becoming Iraq, just as Iraq became Afghanistan and Afghanistan became Somalia and every conflict fought against savages on civilized terms recapitulates the same terms of the same war whose lessons have still not been learned.

As the photos of the ambassador’s body showed up on the news, somewhere in the White House, fresh off the campaign trail, Obama probably rubbed his forehead, looked at the bloody mess and wondered where something as simple and clean as removing Gaddafi while letting the locals run the show had gone so wrong. The whole thing may pay off for him in the polls, an international crisis is usually good for a few points, but it will look less good when there are a few thousand US “advisers” patrolling Tripoli and trying to hold off the complete collapse of the Libyan government.

It’s not certain that this is what will happen and that is also the point– in war nothing is certain and the enemy gets a vote. War is not a story where one side determines the plot, takes the initiative and carries it through all the way from beginning to end. It is a stumbling struggle, like most real life fights, it is a clumsy exchange of vicious blows, many of which never land, but some of which do to surprising effect. Violence is not predictable, but sometimes it is necessary, and when it is necessary, it is best to do it swiftly and devastatingly, and then to dispense with the humanitarian gestures if your enemies have hardly gotten past the point of murdering their own daughters and are not at the cultural level to appreciate when you show up with water filtration equipment and portable generators.

Victory is rarely bloodless but it is achieved by deciding whose blood should be shed. War is the  pursuit of military goals through military means. For the last two decades, the United States has doggedly pursued humanitarian goals through military means and it is no wonder that our leaders are unable to choose whose blood to shed or to understand that making that choice is what war is. That crippling imbecility is why Al Jazeera is broadcasting photos of our ambassador being dragged through the street, it is why two-thousand Americans will not be coming home from Afghanistan, but the Taliban will be in Kabul in a few more years, and why we won Iraq and then lost Iraq, as we have won and lost every other war since the last time we fought a war as a ruthless and decisive campaign.

There are no bloodless victories, but we can choose whether to bleed our enemy or to bleed our hearts. And when our hearts bleed for the enemy, than the blood sooner or later stops being a metaphor and becomes a sticky dark red liquid on the boots of the brave Afghan people, the brave Iraqi people, the brave Libyan people or the brave Syrian people and all the other brave peoples we will set out to save from the hells they make for themselves.

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The Post-Structuralist Version of the Sermon on the Mount

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Ms. Butler fights the regressive “my side, right or wrong” with the liberating “your side, right or wrong.” It’s the post-structuralist version of the Sermon on the Mount: “Love thy enemy more than thyself.” But what if that enemy embraces a savage form of loving themselves and hating us? What if it takes an extreme interpretation of Muslims’ edict to “love and hate for Allah’s sake”? This enemy makes all our utopian and multiculturalist projects impossible. — Benjamin Weinthal and Richard Landes, “The Post-Self-Destructivism of Judith Butler.”

Judith Butler is an American academic (philosophy) known for her quick mind, impenetrable prose and anti-Israel activism. The quotation is from an article about the controversy surrounding her selection by the city of Frankfurt to receive its important Adorno Prize for excellence in philosophy, music, theater and film.

I’ll leave it to Weinthal and Landes to describe the particular trouble with Ms Butler and the Germans, and to others to evaluate her academic work, which (despite my philosophy degrees) is far beyond my understanding.

But I find the quotation above perceptive, illuminating perfectly how Westerners fail to conceptualize the struggle that we find ourselves in (or don’t recognize!) today. Despite our obsession with diversity, we fail to understand precisely how some cultures are diverse.

Virtually all humans favor their own family members, especially their children, over unrelated humans. This is an innate characteristic that can be explained as a result of natural selection: those humans who behave like this are more likely to pass on their DNA to future generations.

Tribalism is an expansion of this ‘family’ preference to larger groups — extended family, tribe, people, nation. The evolutionary argument to explain it is a bit more complicated: those groups made up of individuals who tend to favor members of their own group and to display hostility to other groups are more likely to dominate others, obtain choice land and hunting grounds, and survive as groups, thus promoting the survival of their members, who will pass on their ‘tribalist’ genes.

What we call ‘patriotism’ is a fellow-feeling that applies to a very large unit, the nation. It is an extrapolation of the same feeling that we have for smaller groups.

Natural selection works because of environmental pressures, so societies in different environments have evolved different degrees of tribalism. Nomadic peoples often come into contact and conflict with ‘strange’ groups that they must either dominate or be dominated by. Settled agricultural peoples, on the other hand, rarely meet strangers, and can even obtain an advantage by cooperating with neighboring tribes rather than fighting with them.

The Hebrew Bible is (among many other things) an expression of tribalism along with rules for cooperation when appropriate (e.g., treating the stranger who dwells among us well).  The ancient Hebrews were a nomadic people and behaved like one; later, the Prophets spoke to a primarily agricultural population.

Christianity and liberal Judaism went much further, suggesting that the favored treatment previously reserved for tribe members should be expanded to all humankind. Judith Butler and other Jewish anti-Zionists often claim that their anti-Zionism is based on Jewish ethics — by which of course they mean a very liberal or even Christianized Judaism, one which depends on a special way of reading the Torah (or often on not reading it).

Today, as has happened numerous times before in history,  massive cultures or empires are coming into conflict with one another. One side is radical Islam, whose basic principles are drawn directly from the culture of nomadic Arabs of the Seventh Century. Many of their leadersare Arabs, who are only a few generations removed from a nomadic lifestyle and whose culture reflects this.

On the other side we have people of European heritage, formerly farmers, whose culture was profoundly influenced by Christianity (even if they reject it today).

Both sides imagine their place on the spectrum of tribalism as an absolute moral principle. The Islamists are certain that the proper world order is for the infidels to submit, and violence and war in order to bring this about is not only not wrong, it is profoundly right.

The West, on the other hand, believes in peace and above all, cooperation. It believes that war is only justified in self-defense, that it is possible to solve all disagreements by negotiation and compromise, the way a farmer negotiates the location of a fence with his neighbor.

US annd Egpytian Air Forces to Practice Together

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

In the upcoming days, the US and the Egyptian Air Forces will run a joint 10-day training exercise. The goal of the exercise is to share knowledge and expertise on joint offensive actions. There is no word on who the joint imaginary enemy will be.

The US team arrived yesterday at the Egyptian army base Gnaklis in Alexandria.

Israel, Iran, And The Shiite Apocalypse (Third of Three Parts)

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.
– William Butler Yeats,
“Easter, 1916”

The primary point of Israel’s nuclear forces must be deterrence ex ante, not preemption or reprisal ex post. If, however, nuclear weapons should ever be introduced into a conflict between Israel and one or more of the several states that still wish to destroy it, some form of nuclear war fighting could ensue.

This would be the case so long as: (a) enemy state first-strikes against Israel would not destroy the Jewish state’s second-strike nuclear capability; (b) enemy state retaliations for Israeli conventional preemption would not destroy Israel’s nuclear counter-retaliatory capability; (c) Israeli preemptive strikes involving nuclear weapons would not destroy enemy state second-strike nuclear capabilities; and (d) Israeli retaliation for enemy state conventional first-strikes would not destroy enemy state nuclear counter-retaliatory capabilities.

From the standpoint of protecting its security and survival, this means Israel should now take prompt and immediate steps to ensure the likelihood of (a) and (b) above, and the unlikelihood of (c) and (d). As was clarified by Project Daniel’s final report, “Israel’s Strategic Future” (www.acpr.org.il/ENGLISH-NATIV/03-ISSUE/daniel-3.htm), it’s always in Israel’s interest to avoid nuclear war fighting wherever possible.

For Israel, both nuclear and non-nuclear preemptions of enemy unconventional aggressions could lead to nuclear exchanges. This would depend, in part, upon the effectiveness and breadth of Israeli targeting, the surviving number of enemy nuclear weapons, and the willingness of enemy leaders to risk Israeli nuclear counter-retaliations. Significantly, the likelihood of nuclear exchanges would be greatest wherever potential state aggressors, especially Iran, were allowed to deploy ever-larger numbers of certain unconventional weapons, without eliciting appropriate and effective Israeli preemptions. This point was frequently overlooked by those who persistently opposed still-timely forms of anticipatory self-defense by Israel.

Should enemy nuclear deployments ultimately be allowed, Israel could then effectively forfeit the non-nuclear preemption option. At that point, its only remaining alternatives to nuclear preemption would be: (1) a no-longer viable conventional preemption; or (2) a decision to do nothing, thereby relying for security on the increasingly doubtful logic of nuclear deterrence or “containment,” and the inherently limited protections of ballistic missile defense.

This means, at least in principle, that the risks of any Israeli nuclear preemption, of nuclear exchanges with an enemy state, and of enemy nuclear first strikes, might still be reduced by certain Israeli non-nuclear preemptions.

While still unrecognized in Washington and Jerusalem, there is no greater power in world politics than power over death. The idea of an apocalypse figures scripturally in both Judaism and Christianity, but it very likely appeared for the first time among the Zoroastrians in ancient Persia. Interestingly, but probably without any current conceptual significance, this is basically the same geographic region as modern-day Iran.

For President Ahmadinejad, still in power, and very deeply concerned with power over death, there could be a recognizably “terrible beauty” in transforming the “world of war” into the “world of Islam.” For all who study present-day Iran, this bitter observation is incontestable. After all, for this Iranian president – and more importantly for his assorted clerical masters – an “end of the world” struggle spawned by any such transformation could enticingly open the way, at least for true believers, to a life everlasting.

What promise could conceivably be more satisfying? Though still largely inconspicuous to the generals, the professors, and the political analysts, there can be no greater power on earth than power over death, the incomparable power to overcome mortality. It follows that soon-to-be nuclear Iranian decision-makers, joyously imagining an utterly endless landscape of enemy corpses, could emerge prepared, enthusiastically and unhesitatingly, to become collective martyrs.

In the final analysis, however, we must recall that “irrational” is not the same as “crazy” or “mad,” and that even an irrational Iranian adversary might still be subject to alternate forms of deterrence. Therefore, Iranian leaders who might be willing to sacrifice millions to bring back the missing Twelfth Imam, or Mahdi, could still maintain a consistent and transitive order of different preferences.

In this hierarchy there would be certain core religious institutions and expectations that demand protection. It follows that even an “irrational” Iranian leadership that is willing to absorb massive enemy military strikes against its populations might still not be willing to absorb serious harms to presumably essential core elements of its One true Faith.

Israel, Iran, And The Shiite Apocalypse (Second of Three Parts)

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

For Israel, and also its cross-pressured U.S. ally, there would be very difficult problems to solve if an enemy state such as Iran were permitted to go fully nuclear. These problems could lethally undermine the conceptually neat, but probably unrealistic, notion of balanced nuclear deterrence in the region.

The multi-fragmented Middle East could likely not sustain the sort of comforting equilibrium that once characterized U.S.-Soviet relations. For example, it would be hard to imagine such an area’s successful and long-term reliance upon MAD, or Mutual Assured Destruction.

Whether for reasons of miscalculation, accident, unauthorized capacity to fire, outright irrationality, or the presumed imperatives of jihad, an enemy state in this fevered neighborhood could sometime opt to launch a nuclear first-strike against Israel, in spite of Israel’s own obvious and forseeably secure nuclear capability. A Cold War “balance of terror” could not readily exist in the Middle East.

After absorbing any enemy nuclear aggression, Israel would certainly respond with a nuclear retaliatory strike. Though nothing is publicly known about Israel’s precise targeting doctrine, such a reprisal would almost certainly be launched against the aggressor’s capital city and/or similarly high-value urban targets. There would be no assurances, in response to this particular kind of authentically genocidal aggression, that Israel might limit itself to striking back against exclusively military targets.

But what if enemy first strikes were to involve “only” chemical, and/or “minor” biological weapons? In that case, Israel might still launch a presumptively proportionate nuclear reprisal, but this would depend largely upon Israel’s calculated expectations of follow-on aggression, and also on its associated determinations of comparative damage-limitation.

Should Israel absorb a massive conventional first strike, a nuclear retaliation could not be automatically ruled out. This argument is plausible if: (1) the aggressor were perceived to hold nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction in reserve; and/or (2) Israel’s leaders were to believe that non-nuclear retaliations could not prevent national annihilation.

Recognizing Israel’s exceptionally small size, its calculated threshold of existential harms could be considerably lower than Israel’s total physical devastation. In 2003, this precise judgment was contained in the Project Daniel final report, “Israel’s Strategic Future” (www.acpr.org.il/ENGLISH-NATIV/03-ISSUE/daniel-3.htm).

Facing imminent attacks, Israel, even if it had delayed launching defensive first strikes, could still decide to preempt enemy aggression with pertinent conventional forces. The targeted state’s response would then largely determine Israel’s subsequent moves. If this response were in any way nuclear, Israel would assuredly undertake prompt nuclear counter-retaliation. And if this enemy retaliation were to involve “only” chemical and/or biological weapons, Israel might still plan to undertake a quantum escalatory initiative.

This sort of initiative is known in military parlance as “escalation dominance.” It could be necessary, even indispensable, to Israel’s preservation of intra-war deterrence. Here we need to bear in mind that deterrence would not necessarily cease functioning upon the commencement of hostilities. It could, in fact, continue to play a very different, but still more or less productive role, during any ensuing conflict.

If an enemy state’s response to an Israeli preemption were limited to hard-target, conventional strikes, it is improbable that Israel would ever resort to nuclear counter-retaliation. But if the enemy state’s conventional retaliation were an all-out strike directed toward Israel’s civilian populations, as well as to Israeli military targets, an Israeli nuclear counter-retaliation could not be ruled out.

Such a counter-retaliation could be excluded only if the enemy state’s conventional retaliations were entirely proportionate to Israel’s preemption; confined entirely to Israeli military targets; circumscribed by the legal limits of “military necessity”; and accompanied by explicit and verifiable assurances of no further escalation.

It is almost inconceivable that Israel would ever decide to preempt any enemy state aggression with a defensive nuclear strike. While particular circumstances could arise where such a defensive strike would be completely rational, and also be entirely lawful according to the authoritative 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (which refused to prohibit certain residual resorts to nuclear weapons that are presumed essential to national survival), it is still implausible that Israel would ever permit itself to reach such distinctly all-or-nothing circumstances.

Also worth mentioning is that Israel remains pledged to a military doctrine of “purity of arms” and to incomparably strict compliance with humanitarian international law, especially the imperative minimization of collateral, or non-combatant, harm.

A Helping Hand

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Soldiers from the Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit practice saving civilians trapped under a collapsed building in Zikim, the Home Front Command’s training base.

The Israeli Home Front Command (Hebrew: Pikud Ha’Oref) is an IDF regional command, created in February 1992 following the Gulf War, in which civilian population centers faced significant enemy threat.

It is currently headed by General Eyal Eisenberg.

General Salami Warns Enemies’ Interests “Within Range” of Iran’s Missiles

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Mehr quotes the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) who said that Iran’s enemies’ strategic interests in the region are within the range of Iranian missiles.

“In our strategic planning, we have defined a radius named the radius of deterrence, which includes all strategic interests of the enemy in the region, so that we can manage the battle at any level in case of the outbreak of war,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami said during a televised interview broadcast live on Iranian television on Saturday.

Salami said that the IRGC is capable of destroying the enemy’s moving military targets using its domestically produced ballistic missiles.

According to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Iran’s newest missile has a range of at least 1,200 miles, which would include Israel, as well as and Iraq and the 134,000 U.S. troops stationed there. The radius also includes U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, all of them Sunni Arab-dominated countries that are rivals of Shiite Iran.

In May, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned of a new regional “arms race.”

“I say with certainty that we are able to hit all moving targets using ballistic missiles which follow a curved path, travel several times faster than sound after entering the atmosphere, and can hardly be tracked and destroyed,” Salami said.

In addition, he said that the Naval Force of the IRGC has been equipped with cruise missiles which are radar-evading and enjoy advanced capabilities in terms of range, precision, and maneuverability.

Big Men, Little Man

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

The Combat Engineering Corps is greeted by a jubilant little fellow after completing their treacherous trek for their gray berets.

The Combat Engineering Corps symbol features a sword on a defensive tower with a blast halo on the background.

The Combat Engineering Corps official motto is “Rishonim Tamid” (“Always First”). Its unofficial motto is “We’ll do the hard stuff today, the impossible tomorrow.”

The corps’ roles include mobility assurance, road breaching, defense and fortifications, counter-mobility of enemy forces, construction and destruction under fire, sabotage, explosives, bomb disposal, purifying nuclear, biological and chemical threats, and special engineering missions, which include identifying and demolishing smuggling tunnels.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/big-men-little-man/2012/06/19/

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