26 March 2007

Thoughts on Iraq

I posted this over at the Wargamer.com Forums, but I wanted to archive it here, too, since I think it pretty well sums up the points I want to make.

Without writing a long Foreign-Affairs style article, I want to toss out a few points to consider in the argument:

1. We need to change terminology. We're not fighting "terrorism". Terrorism is a method. It's like trying to fight "snipers". Lots of people use snipers. Lots of people use terrorism. This particular war is against a particularly violent, intolerant, and conservative brand of Islam. This particular movement has no nation-state from which they can act in any official manner. They lack an organized military capable of direct or indirect battlefield action, and they lack the infrastructure to create one (tho admittedly, they were probably pretty close in Afghanistan). Because they lack the ability to employ forces in any other fashion, they have resorted to terrorism as their method of choice. But we are not fighting "terrorism".

2. I would argue that in this fight, the center of gravity is not a physical point on the ground, or even a political entity to be eradicated or altered. The center of gravity is the religion of Islam that tolerates the behavior of its extremists, and apologizes for their behavior rather than lambasting and excoriating it. When some nut job uses Christianity as an excuse to kill an abortion doctor, the major Christian demonimations disavow him. When a nut job uses Islam as an excuse to blow up a civilian market because the bulk of the customers pray with their left hand instead of their right, half of Islam openly cheers, and preachers call for more from the mosque. That's your center of gravity - the support of intolerant Islam and the methods its chosen to pursue goals it could not otherwise achieve.

3. I'm willing to bet that if you really got into most American's heads and drilled down to their exact thoughts on the war in Iraq, you'd find the following opinion:
"I understand that the forces in Iraq are fighting to assist the Iraqi government in securing their country against intolerant islamo-fascists and other anti-American martyr-wanna-bes. I also understand that if we bail out too early, Iraq will dissolve into a greater disaster than it already is. If Iraq turns into a new geographic hard point for training islamo-fascist-terrorists, it will be more dangerous than Afghanistan was, because Iraq is closer to, and more connected to, nations with whom the US has great ties.
However, I no longer trust the Bush administration to properly plan and execute the strategy for winning the war, because they have failed to define a measurable end point against which we can measure the success of our soldiers; they have repeatedly misinterpreted, misused, and misdirected the intelligence collection and analysis in the theater; they have repeatedly miscalculated and misjudged the behavior of the Iraqi public; and they still, four years later, have yet to secure the borders of Iraq!"

I really think it's not the war in Iraq, but the conduct of it, that bothers most Americans who no longer support the war effort.

13 March 2007

Prepare to repel protesters!

Top U.S. general calls homosexuality immoral: report
The chairman of the U.S. military Joint Chiefs of Staff said he backs the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" limits on gays serving in the military because he believes homosexual acts are immoral, the Chicago Tribune reported in Tuesday's edition.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace told the newspaper he felt the immorality of homosexual acts was comparable to a member of the armed forces having an adulterous affair with the spouse of another service member.

Because the professional indignation crowd won't allow him to have an independent opinion...
And no, I don't necessarily agree with him. But I don't begrudge him the right to his opinion.

02 March 2007

Real danger? Or CYA by the cops?

nbc4i.com - News - 'MacGyver' Type Bombs Recovered At Apartment Complex
Police described the explosives as 'MacGyver type devices' that don't need lighting to explode.
'(The bottle) starts to expand and it can't hold any longer and the bottle explodes,' said Columbus Division of Fire Battalion Chief Doug Smith.
Authorities said the devices were 2-liter bottles filled with hazardous chemicals.

I'm sure every person who's been in the field with the military was chuckling at this. Sounds just like someone crumbling an MRE heater into 20oz soda bottle, dumping some water in it, and screwing a cap on tight. What's really fun is watching some E4 with an attitude pop them around a tank ammunition supply point, and then watch the E5 in charge go ape-shit as little explosion pop off every 20 minutes.
MacGyver indeed... These things are only dangerous if you try to swallow them.