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Post 20

Sunday, December 5, 2004 - 8:07pmSanction this postReply
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Let me add a comment on this whole notion of Germany and Russia 'depleting; each other while smiling allies sit back and easily pick apart the winner. Its nonsense, both historically and as a hypothosis.

Nazi Germany was overwhelmingly superior to the Soviets in tactics and strategy. Russia's ally was space and manpower. When the 2 finally fought in '41 the Germans cut through the Russian like crap through a goose. They inflicted a 4 to 1 death/wounded ratio that even the larger Russian population could not sustain. They were stopped at the gates of Moscow just barely. A 'just barely' that never would have happened had German units never invaded Greece in the spring of '41 to oust British forces. The extra 3 weeks of clear weather would have been a death blow to the Russians.  In '42 the Germans once again came within a 'barely' of siezing the Caucasus and over 80% of Russia's only source of oil. Had they succeded the Soviet Army would have been an Army without tanks. Once again the 'just barely' element was caused by having to divert Panzer units to Africa against Montgomery and the newly arriving Americans. This was also the begining of the bomber campiagn that would squeeze German aircraft away from Russia for home defense. In both cases the 'just barely' was caused because of Anglo-American involement. In '41, '42, and even as late as '43 the Russians had proposed more than once for a settlement with Hitler. The first 2 were ignored, the last failed from Hitler insisting on too much Russian territory. By '43 the Anglo-American forces had finally gained a numerical critical mass, and were able to open a front in Italy and begin a devastating air campaign. '43 was the true turning point were enormous numbers of German forces began to be diverted West. After the battle of Kursk in July of '43, the Russian began their own offensives that would last until the end of the war.

The 'depletion' sceanrio is one that only holds from 1943 on, the point when German defeat was assured. The Russians complained in '43 that the allies had purposefully not invaded France that year in order to achieve just such a strategy. This accusation was not without merit. But the strategy could never have worked with a neutral Britan and America until 1943. In that case the Germans would have already acheived the destruction of Russian military capability as a serious force.

Even as events unfolded historically, the Germans were able to nearly strangle Britain with their U-Boat offensive alone. Winston Churchill once commented that the only time he was really afraid during the war, was at the height of the German U-Boat campaign in '42. Assuming for a moment that German U-Boat production was a mere 20% more than it actually was in '41 and '42, and the history of that war would have been far bloodier and far more tragic for England.

The Battle of Britain was yet more of the same. It was discontinued in '41 to move air units to the new pending front for war with Russia. That battle brought the RAF  to its knees and was won only for 3 reasons: failure of the Germans to completely destroy the English radar stations by changing the target to London, failure of the Germans to produce enough replacement fighters (caused by production priorities for tanks, and Hitlers interferance with overall strategy. Once again, given a Germany with a virtual free hand against Britain in '42 and '43. A Germany mass producing U-boats, fighters and bombers instead of tanks, and history would have been quite different.

Last but not least, British intelligence had broken the German enigma code in '41. From 1942 on the allies were recieving German troop movement orders faster that the German commanders in the field. Both in '42 and '43 the allies fed the Russian high command nearly every German offensive plan, unit by unit. In spite of this, the inept Soviets still nearly failed to break the German resisitence.

Any scenario that postulates either a Russia or Britain, fighting continously for 2 to 3 years 'one on one' with the Nazi Germany of 1940 to 1942, would be a sceanrio of terrible consequences for the allies. Hitler lost the Second World War 3 times: in '41 by invading Russia and suspending his air offensive against Britain while also not massively expanding his U-Boat arm. In '41 again, by invading Russia late and diverting units from the primary objective. And on December 9th 1941 when he declared war against the United States of America. Change any element here and an American victory is only achieved by an atomic response in '45 (if they could get through mass-produced German Me 262 jet fighters), or a decades long war of terrible attrition with death in the millions between America and Germany. 

The Second World War was no easy victory, and German defeat was never assured until '43.

George

and thus endeth the lesson ------------

(Edited by George W. Cordero on 12/05, 8:19pm)




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Post 21

Sunday, December 5, 2004 - 9:46pmSanction this postReply
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Is it just me, or has this discussion wandered from the question of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons to the Eastern front in WWII?

To return to the question of Iran, if I may:

Chris and the antiwar libertarians (I suspect due to their ideological blinders of viewing every action government takes as eroding freedom) make the mistake of focusing on the dangers and possible unintended consequences or difficulties of preemptively taking out the nukes of a threat like Iran.

And they are correct to point these out, especially given the hard slog in Iraq.

But they do not seem to give proper weight and acknowledgment to the -other- side of the equation:

the dangers of doing *nothing*, allowing them to develop nukes and long-range missiles (and maybe biological weapons?)

George has made a number of good points about the other side of the equation:

i) lack of central control of the nukes, so they slip the leash - the single general acting on his own.

ii) the mullahs diverting an attempted reformist overthrow or movement by starting a war, thereby saving their own hides.

But there are other scenarios:

iii) brinksmanship, threatening the oil fields or our allies or us, thinking their nuclear weapons make them invulnerable.

iv) plausible deniability: selling weapons to Al Qaeda without smoking gun proof they did it, and protected from retaliation by their nukes.

If you are going to conjure up nightmare scenarios regarding confronting Iran, then you had better conjure up nightmare scenarios if we don't.

There is no magic wand called 'deterrence'. It all depends upon the psychology and the perception and the grasp of the situation of the person you want to deter.

There are as many cases in history where deterrence failed as ones where it succeeded.

Do you really want to roll plutonium or smallpox-tipped dice?

Chris, is your policy or view of the dangers of doing nothing regarding Iran one of let's just keep our fingers crossed and -hope- there will be a successful income as there was in the case of the Soviet Union? Sort of a "Don't worry, be happy" view?

--Philip Coates

(Since I assume this is obvious to this audience, I'm not going to repeat here the whole explanation about why countries which are not totalitarian states or fundamental ideological enemies...India, Canada, etd... are not dangerous as nuclear powers.)





Post 22

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 12:20amSanction this postReply
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George,

Had Hitler defeated the Soviets, his ability to crank out aircraft would have been 3-fold. Direct invasion would have been an afterthought, the combined u-boat.air offensive could have starved Briton to death. The resources of Russia plus the German production ability could not be matched by Britain.
With respect, you seem to be conflating two different scenarios. In this hypothetical alternative world (and that is of course all that it is) Britain wouldn't be in the war at this stage, thus there would've been no need to do the above. There would be "variables" on the side of the Brits too, our "war machine" would be more built up, more developed. Even under the historical scenario we could've rearmed much faster than we actually did. Hitler at one stage even offered to maintain the German fleet at 35% the size of the UK's (granted there's no guarantee he would keep to such an agreement, though its hard to see why he would divert resources to boat building if he didn't have to). We wouldn't have to fight the Nazis in the African theater. So if you're correct that the Nazis would've been better off, so would the Brits. I don't agree that any guarantee of security ought to have been given by the Brits to any country in eastern Europe, simply because Britain ought to have gone to war at that time that she was ready, not at the time of Hitler's choosing. Other avenues would also've been open while we prepared fully for war - opening our borders to Jews and other refugees wouldn't have cost us anything, spy operations on the continent wouldn't be beyond our capability etc.

Similarly in your lecture Post 20 you're basically postulating from historical events how things would turn out in a very different alternative scenario, without considering all the possible variables.

Philip is correct though, this thread is way off topic and deep into outright speculation!

MH




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Post 23

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 4:26amSanction this postReply
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On the issue of World War II, I'm not going to say much more because I think we'll get into endless speculation about alternative historical scenarios that don't tell us much because it is impossible to hold certain factors constant---factors that may have changed dramatically if the war had been fought differently. Suffice it to say:  We're still talking about Hitler invading Stalin's Russia.  One mass murderer invading the country of another mass murderer.  The way in which the U.S. entered that theater of war benefited Stalin in a manner that stabilized that regime and empowered the Communists for generations to come.

As for Phil:  I'm not part of the "antiwar libertarians" who have "ideological blinders of viewing every action government takes as eroding freedom." I am not an anarchist.  And I don't advocate waiting to change everything about the current U.S. government before advocating anything to deter or defend against imminent threats to American life, liberty, and property.  Nor am I among those who "make the mistake of [solely] focusing on the dangers and possible unintended consequences or difficulties of preemptively taking out the nukes of a threat like Iran."  I have no problem advocating the preemptive attack on any imminent or actual threat to American life, liberty, and property.  I was one of those "antiwar libertarians" who would have marched into Afghanistan personally, if I could have, to bring down Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and I believe the U.S. should utterly destroy that network of terrorists.  The costs of doing nothing in that instance far outweigh the costs of doing something.

Everything is a cost-benefit analysis in military strategy.  I am of the belief that the U.S. is at war with a fundamentalist theocratic force with which there is no 'hope' for 'compromise.'  But there are ways to minimize and marginalize that force, and there are also ways not to feed into the growth of that force.  The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq led to foreseeable consequences.  Iraq was not, in my view, an imminent threat to U.S. security, nor was it a part of that "fundamentalist theocratic force" with which the U.S. is at odds.  Moreover, one of the foreseeable consequences of invading and occupying that country was the empowering of theocratic Iran as a geopolitical force, and the empowering of the very theocratic elements within Iraq that were held in check by the criminal Ba'athist elements within that country. 

The prospect of brinkmanship does not disturb me if I could be confident that the U.S. government would threaten the total annihiliation of any given country's actual capacity to seriously threaten and/or make war on U.S. targets.  But it seems to me that as long as "pro-war" advocates keep coming up with nightmare scenarios to involve the U.S. in, ultimately, the invasion and occupation of the entire Arab-Islamic Middle East, we are obliged to think twice about the kinds of actions that the U.S. takes and the potential consequences of such actions---and the potential consequences of inaction as well.

No, I'm not a member of the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" school of thought.  But I do not honestly believe that as of this very moment a full-fledged missile attack on Iran would not involve the U.S. in a much larger war that it does not have the capacity to wage.  I believe that it would seriously destabilize Iraq and require the infusion of hundreds of thousands of additional U.S. troops.   Conscription here we come.

And on the issue of deterrence:   I find it amazing that this country spent decades deterring the Soviet Union---the 'mad, crazy Communists' who were 'out to take over the entire world,' and who had a deadly nuclear arsenal equal to the U.S. arsenal, and who had tentacles everywhere from Southeast Asia to Latin America---but that this country suddenly does not have the capacity to deter pipsqueak authoritarians like Hussein or the mullahs of Iran.

We are living in a world where nuclear proliferation is a fact of life.  The days of hanging on to a nuclear monopoly are long gone.  If the cost of stopping nuclear proliferation means that the U.S. will have to atomize all of the potential "enemy" countries that might acquire such weapons, you can count me out of that nightmare scenario.  There are other ways to 'neutralize' threats.  Some of this will require military action.  Some of it won't.  But if being prudent makes me "antiwar," then I'll wear the label proudly.

(Edited by sciabarra on 12/06, 4:28am)




Post 24

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 5:57amSanction this postReply
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Deterrence? Deterrence, while it shouldn’t be ruled out completely, can not be imported from the Cold War to the Islamist War with as reasonable a prospect for success. Communists were atheists who didn’t want to lose the only life possible; Islamists see things otherwise.

However, with the jihadists, let’s not mistakenly assume that their goal is death. Islam, at its core, is an imperialist warrior religion whose goal is land conquest and rule. Dying in battle – not just dying – is an honor and is rewarded in the afterlife. They do value the lives of their love ones, their beloved Arabian sandbox, the extended territory under Islamic control, and success (Mohammad ruled; Jesus did not). They also want Israel, Spain and the Balkans back. And then they believe Allah has chosen them to rule everywhere. A loss of rule is a crisis of faith for the true jihadist Muslim.

Establishing a deterrent after decades of appeasement is not easy nor is it likely to be as secure. During the Cold War you wouldn’t see the covert actions leading to 9/11 for fear of a ‘hot’ war. Muslims do not show such fears. Given our lack of resolve, they are not being irrational. They’ve chosen covert activity after losing conventional wars to Israel. However, the battles of Afghanistan and Iraq now prove that covert activity is no guarantee to avoid our military response. Still, it is not likely that they have given up using covert means so soon.

The big question is: will Bush act against Iranian nuclear facilities. I suspect he won’t. With Iraq he had a policy advanced by the prior administration, 12 years of UN paperwork, a momentary bipartisan “United We Stand” support, and the shock of an attack on our homeland. To act against Iran will require being bold. However, I’ve underestimated Bush before.

By the way, nice article, George. I’m sorry I don’t have the time to join the detailed debate but I thought I’d add the few points above.




Post 25

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 7:41amSanction this postReply
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MH says:
Hitler at one stage even offered to maintain the German fleet at 35% the size of the UK's (granted there's no guarantee he would keep to such an agreement,
That was no offer, it was an actual agreement that Britain and Germany signed in 1935 or 36. It was a masterful manipulation by Hitler, and a disaster for Britain. According to the treaty signed after WWI Germany was not allowed to have a surface fleet with any ships that were battleship class, and they were not allowed to have any U-boats at all. This treaty between Germany and Britain nullified that. The oh so reasonable 35% that was viewed as a means of ensuring British supremacy at sea, simply allowed Hitler to have a decent Naval force where previously he had none. It also was the starting point for U-boat production.

As to the "British war machine", I have never seen any reasonable historical account that suggest that Britain could have ever maintained pace with German war production even to the slightest degree. Britain's great advanatge was an already existing large fleet. 2 years of German expansion east, while a neutral Britain built weapons would simply have seen an even greater disparity than occured historically.

MH says:
simply because Britain ought to have gone to war at that time that she was ready, not at the time of Hitler's choosing.
Not really MH. Britain should have heeded Churchill and laid her ultimatums as early as possible. The earlier that war would have started the worse it would have been for Hitler. German military prowess was woefully inadequate in Hitler's early years. Aircraft production did not begin in earnest until 1936, tank production was low, u-boat construction was pitifull and amounted to less than 36 ships even by the start of the war in September of '39. If at any point during 1936 or 37 Britain and France had jointly gone to war with Germany, the Nazis would have lost in short order. Absorbing the Czechs in '38 added over 300 of the best made tanks to Hitlers arsenal, and the Skoda factories that would crank them out well into the war. The German high command of that era have all written extensively that they did not want a confrontation with the West until at least '40 or '41, they considered '39 far too early. Hitler dismissed their opinions, and had it not been for the stupendously inferior battle tactics employed by the French and Brtish during the first 18 months of the war, Hitler's '39 start of WWII would have gone far more poorly than it did historically. The historical facts are that with each passing day of British and French passivity, Germany became stronger and the military disparity between her and Britain became larger.

MH says:
you're basically postulating from historical events how things would turn out in a very different alternative scenario, without considering all the possible variables.
Actually I am considering the variables, considering them based on the knowledge we have from historians and military commanders of that era. The variables all point towards 'the earlier the war' the worse for Hitler, the later British and American involvement the better for Hitler. This is an opinion formed from years of reading the most respected of historians on this topic, and mostly British historians to boot.

George




Post 26

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 8:17amSanction this postReply
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Let me try to tie in the WWII talk on this thread with my original article. If there is a lesson to be learned from WWII it is that Chamberlain like appeasement of evil only serves to bolster it. Had the French responded in '36 when the Germans marched into the Rhineland, Hitler would have had to surrender! Had Britain and France acted in '37 and '38 during the Czech crisis, WWII would have been much shorter, and the human cost far less.

To their credit, the West finally did act, but at a point where they came far too close to losing the war or perhaps prolonging it for 2 to 3 years more. Depletion scenarios of mass murderer vs mass murderer are only as good as the 2 bastards are on an equal plane. This was not the case between the Germany and Russia of that era. The result would have been a mega-monster that would have been an even more formidible opponent. Supporting the lesser threat between mass murderers was a strategic neccessity. The failure was not in using Stalin to help defeat Hitler, but in NOT confronting him once Hitler was defeated and prior to Soviet atomic capability.

Someone once made comments to the effect of what occurs when one takes a position of moral neutrality in the face of evil, and what happens when good men do nothing. That someone was right philosophically. You must excuse me if I dismiss that someones strategic-military scenarios and defer to Liddell Hart, David Downing, Kenneth Macksey, Heinz Guderian, Winston Churchill and Hugh Trevor Roper in these questions.

The looming crisis with Iran will test the historical memory of those that may have forgotten the lessons that should have been learned 65 years ago.

George

(Edited by George W. Cordero on 12/06, 12:37pm)




Post 27

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 10:58amSanction this postReply
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There is another reason (besides the ones Jason mentioned) why deterrence worked with the Soviets and may not against today's potential threats: If any terrorist attack occurred, any suitcase nukes exploded in American cities or any smallpox were released killing millions, we would have been sure it was the Russians during the Cold War. This was before proliferation to rogue nations who were not satellites or allies of the two superpowers.

Moreover, in the case of any attack, there was no chance the Russians would escape retaliation. We have their zip code. But in the case of Al Qaeda, they don't have fixed addresses and government buildings and dams and factories and cities we can destroy. And in the case of rogue nations giving them the weapons surreptitiously, there would not be the certainty of who did it needed before we launch a counterstrike. Was it Iran or North Korea or suitcase nukes already possessed or recently stolen from Russia by the Chechen mafia?

I'm glad Chris has a more reasonable position than many of the blanket antiwar libertarians. But he still seems to be assuming he knows how much force or (the threat of force) would be needed to disarm Iran or North Korea in this statement: "If the cost of stopping nuclear proliferation means that the U.S. will have to atomize all of the potential "enemy" countries that might acquire such weapons, you can count me out of that nightmare scenario."

Don't forget that the threat of force + economic sanctions are powerful arguments. There are tools short of surgical strikes, let alone full-scale land invasion. Let alone attacking every potential acquirer of nukes.

For example, Iran contains millions who hate the mullahs. Do any of them work in nuclear facilities? Would they be willing to sabotage them or report their exact locations?

Phil



Post 28

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 3:33pmSanction this postReply
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George,

You must excuse me if I dismiss that someones strategic-military scenarios and defer to Liddell Hart, David Downing, Kenneth Macksey, Heinz Guderian, Winston Churchill and Hugh Trevor Roper in these questions.

I do find it a touch ironic that an Objectivist is basically deferring to the views of established historical authority figures ;-) You yourself state that Britain's tactics in the early months were a complete mess...don;t you see that that suggests we weren't as prepared as we could've been?

I also find it amusing that a half serious remark by myself sent this whole thread spiralling this far off topic!! In which spirit, I think Phillip is on to something in suggesting that the western powers could work with the "cultural" rebels within Iran who wish to topple the mullahs. There is actually a long tradition of Aristotelianism within Islamic philosophy (Averrores et al). Perhaps the study of their works could also be encouraged, as a means to secularising the Islamic world?

MH




Post 29

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 4:29pmSanction this postReply
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You yourself state that Britain's tactics in the early months were a complete mess...don;t you see that that suggests we weren't as prepared as we could've been?

There is no such thing as a military that is "as prepared as it should be", if that is the standard you will wait till hell freezes over. The point is that Germany was far more unprepared during '38 than '39 - and so on. Any Anglo-French reponse to German ambition earlier would have wrecked Nazi ambitions. This is established fact of historical record.

I do find it a touch ironic that an Objectivist is basically deferring to the views of established historical authority figures ;-)

LOL Yes, I should guard against such in the future!

I also find it amusing that a half serious remark by myself sent this whole thread spiralling this far off topic!!

I am glad you find it amusing, it makes the headache I got trying to remember all those history books almost worth it!

George

(Edited by George W. Cordero on 12/06, 4:31pm)




Post 30

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 5:25pmSanction this postReply
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There is no such thing as a military that is "as prepared as it should be", if that is the standard you will wait till hell freezes over.

I said "could've been", not "should be". I agree that the latter is a stupid standard.

My comments about historians were poorly worded and appear to have been misunderstood. The point I was trying to make is that simply asserting without question the correctness of the interpretations of those historians you cited (or any other historians of course) borders on being argument from authority.

Shall we try to get back on topic now? :-)




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Post 31

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 6:12pmSanction this postReply
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With regard to deterrence:  Aside from some of the issues mentioned by Jason, let's not forget that the leaders of these terrorist organizations and states do not want to die.  I once talked about a hilarious skit on "Saturday Night Live," showing how the leaders are all very good at imploring others to be martyrs.  (My comments on that skit are here.)   So, I do think there is a deterrent effect that can't be underestimated.

Phil is right about Al Qaeda:  We don't have their zip code.  All the more reason to be relentless in hunting them down, destroying them and their financial networks.  But the truth is, Phil, I don't know "how much force or ... threat of force ... would be needed to disarm Iran or North Korea."  I'm all for threat of force, various sanctions, and surgical strikes, if necessary to disarm any real threat to U.S. security.  I also believe a lot more can be done in augmenting human intelligence behind the lines to engage in the kinds of sabotage that would be necessary to neutralize such threats.  The U.S. intelligence community is going to need a massive overhaul in this regard.

And, of course, I'm all for giving moral support to "cultural rebels" living in Islamic theocracies; it is far preferable, from where I sit, to see these rebels topple those theocracies so as to build freer institutions from within, than to have the U.S. attempt to impose those institutions from without.

Either way, I think it is hilarious that this discussion began with me, Arch Bush Critic, supporting the current go-slow strategy of the administration, while many of you Bush supporters are now criticizing Dubya.  Wonders never cease.  :)



Post 32

Monday, December 6, 2004 - 8:56pmSanction this postReply
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Chris,

Either way, I think it is hilarious that this discussion began with me, Arch Bush Critic, supporting the current go-slow strategy of the administration, while many of you Bush supporters are now criticizing Dubya.  Wonders never cease.  :)
Hilarious?  - I think 'scary' would be a better word. : )

Speaking of alternate scenarios, had someone told me 2 months ago that Sciabarra would infer 'prudence' for W while I inferred 'vacillation', I would have treated them as mentally ill. This thread almost proves the cliche that anything is possible! LOL

George




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Post 33

Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - 11:44amSanction this postReply
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George, thanks for the fine article AND the history lesson.  I enjoyed both.

The fact is America has the military power to completely and utterly annihilate Iran -- and that is precisely what we should do.  We should take down their air defenses and bomb all 350 suspected nuclear development sites, plus we should destroy all of their oil fields, refineries, shipping terminals, gas and oil pipelines, all the major highways and rail lines into and out of the country, every army, air force and naval military base and depot we can identify and every airport of significance.

At the end of our attack, there should be nothing of military significance left in existence and no economic means of rebuilding it.  What is left ought to resemble a 40,000 hole golf course.  Then, we should tell the world that any regime that harbors or otherwise aids and/or sponsors terrorists of any sort can expect the same treatment.

Of course, this is not going to happen, since what passes for Americans today is largely a collection of doubt-stricken pacifists who tremble at the prospects of global disapproval, civilian casualties, U.N. condemnation, and unintended consequences. These Americans would not have fought and won WWII, they would never be able to summon the courage to withstand the 5,000 kamikaze attacks that Japan unleashed at the battle of Okinawa, they would never have the stomach to fire-bomb Tokyo and Patton would have been told to proceed with caution rather than smash the German counter-offensive at the Battle of the Bulge.

I remember the moment when I realized that those wonderful Americans, the ones that stormed the beaches at Normandy, were officially gone. It was the moment that Walter Cronkite declared, right after America's overwhelming victory over the Viet Cong and the NVA during the TET offensive, that the war in Vietnam could not be won -- and Americans believed him. 

America has assembled unprecedented military firepower.  Sadly, we have little willpower. 

I do not agree with this:  "Everything is a cost-benefit analysis in military strategy."  Victory, in the sense of the continued existence of a (mostly) free America, is worth any cost. 

I hope we get the air strike you envision George, I really hope we do.  But let's not lose track of what we actually have the power and the right to do. Some day, the real Americans may come back.




Post 34

Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - 2:16pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

Some of those "real Americans" you refer to were too busy fighting a battle in Fallujah to notice what the media has to say.  I said in another thread that the liberal media does not represent all of America.  November 2, 2004 is evidence of this.




Post 35

Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - 7:00pmSanction this postReply
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Michael Smith, how can you not agree that military strategy isn't based on a cost-benefit analysis?  You advocate it yourself: you feel that the 'benefit' of bombing the hell out of Iran (your conception of 'victory') exceeds the 'cost' of the blowback (potentially tens to hundreds of millions of new recruits for militant Islamist groups, and yet another country the US has to either occupy permanently (which would likely involve a draft), or else allow to become a terrorist sanctuary). 

And these WWII analogies need to stop.  This is not a war between two nation states with leaders operating out of self interest.  This is not a war where one side will eventually waive a white flag.  This war will be permanent as long as mainstream Muslim opinion continues to view US policies as an attack on their religion.




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Post 36

Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - 7:07pmSanction this postReply
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Here is a recent Pat Buchanan article on Iran that is worth reading.



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Post 37

Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - 7:48pmSanction this postReply
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Pete's right, these WWII analogies need to stop, George won that long ago. I always thought Iraq was mostly about surrounding and intimidating Iran. Right now they realize that their survival relies in part on no more 9/11s.
Chris, why would George's air strikes run a risk of the need for a land invasion and conscription? Israel's on Iraq in the 80's did not. It's not enough to say, 'you never know what could happen.' Why would it run that risk?
With 100K+ M16s on the ground in Iraq are they really going to respond by attacking us there or anywhere? You called them "pipsqueaks", so what are we afraid of?

Jon



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Post 38

Wednesday, December 8, 2004 - 7:19amSanction this postReply
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Byron, you are right, of course, there are still some real Americans, especially in the military.  But even the magnificent job our men did in Falluja was hampered by restrictions placed on their tactics. 

Everyone knew going into Falluja that the mosques would be used as munitions depots and sniper posts. As fixed targets with easily identifiable GPS coordinates, we could have put a 2000lb JDAM right through every one of them 5 minutes before the assault began.   This would have killed hundreds of terrorists and destroyed much of their weaponry.

Instead, our soldiers were forced to wait until someone fired on them from the mosque before returning fire, and a number of our casualties resulted from such fire.  I know, I'm just a civilian criticizing tactics from 7,000 miles away, but the thought of American soldiers dying to protect the existence of Islamic places of submission-worship makes me sick.

Of course, someone out there is going to claim that destroying all these mosques would lead to a Sunni revolt.  But there is already a Sunni revolt, and what we need to do is show the bastards that there is absolutely, positively no sanctuary anywhere -- including, incidentally, Syria and Iran.




Post 39

Wednesday, December 8, 2004 - 10:38amSanction this postReply
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Michael Smith, how can you not agree that military strategy isn't based on a cost-benefit analysis?  You advocate it yourself: you feel that the 'benefit' of bombing the hell out of Iran (your conception of 'victory') exceeds the 'cost' of the blowback (potentially tens to hundreds of millions of new recruits for militant Islamist groups, and yet another country the US has to either occupy permanently (which would likely involve a draft), or else allow to become a terrorist sanctuary).
 

Pete, I suppose a more accurate statement of my position is that I oppose using "cost/benefit" as an excuse for inaction or "limited" action -- which is generally the intent of those who invoke it.  

The cost/benefit argument that is advanced is almost always based on these premises: 1) that there is a continuum between "no force/no response" and "total force/total response", and that America can militarily operate anywhere along that continuum;  and 2) that the risks to America increase with increasing use of force.  Once this second premise is accepted, it then leads to the argument that America only go to war by finding the optimum point along that continuum, and then use no more force than necessary.

This is followed by depicting the benefits of any proposed action as tenuous at best, while the costs are protrayed as apocalyptically high.

This kind of thinking has led us to an endless series of half-fought, limited conflicts that have cost the lives of many, many thousands of Americans and untold billions in treasury.  It has led to, at best, the stalemate of  the Korean War, and at worst,  ignominious defeats both large and small, such as the Vietnam War, Somalia, Lebanon, and countless others. It has led to the tragically incomplete, partial victory of the First Gulf War and the subsequent betrayal of the so-called marsh Arabs, who responded to our call for an uprising against Hussein only to be slaughtered, all of which led to a decade of policing no-fly zones . 

In every case, the leftists/pacifists/America-haters were able to summon sufficient fear of "blowback" to convince the powers that be that America should not employ her full military might.  In Korea we were told we dare not smash the Chinese in North Korea because there are too many of them and they'll overrun the South unless we let them have the North. In Vietnam we were told that we dare not invade and destroy North Vietnam because of the potential response of the USSR and/or China. In the first Gulf War we were told we dare not go into Iraq because it would inflame the "Arab street" who would then devour Israel.

Now we are told we dare not destroy the very center of Islamic terrorism -- Iran -- because of the potential of  "tens to hundreds of millions of new recruits for militant Islamist groups, and yet another country the US has to either occupy permanently (which would likely involve a draft), or else allow to become a terrorist sanctuary"

In the first place, we need not occupy anything.  Annihilate Iran and forget it, except for satellite reconnaissance and the occasional flyover.  As long as what remains has no chance of developing nuclear weapons, it is not a threat to us.

In the second place, if all the mid-east terrorists wish to congregate in what's left of Iran, good, we'll go back in a couple of years and send them all to paradise.

In the third place, I am unable to summon any fear of the populations of nations like Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, populations that cannot even defeat the microscopic nation of Israel, despite starting three wars of aggression against her and spending billions of oil-dollars on weapons. If they want to flock to Iran, let 'em. 









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