Category Archives: War Commentary

Did General Sanchez Perjure Himself?

Mark Kraft thinks so. At first glance, that’s how it looks to me, too, but I’d be interested to see what the General or his defenders have to say.

Unlike him, though, I don’t see any basis of inference that Rumsfeld did anything wrong. Of course, I don’t consider any of the things listed in that memo torture, or relevant to the more egregious acts at Abu Ghraib. I am concerned about the possible perjury before Congress, though. As they say, it’s not the act, it’s the cover up.

Living In The Past

Walter Pincus says that the usual suspects are hysterically opposed to US military superiority.

To realize how absurd this is, imagine the response at the time if an article were to appear in the WaPo like this:

Plans by U.S. to Dominate The Seas Raising Concerns

Arms Experts Worried at Navy Department Push for Superiority

April 1, 1938

WASHINGTON (Routers) Arms control advocates in the United States and abroad are expressing concern with the Roosevelt administration’s push for military superiority in the world’s oceans.

A series of Navy Department doctrinal papers, released over the past year, have emphasized that the U.S. military is increasingly dependent on shipping lanes and ocean-based assets for offensive and defensive operations, and must be able to protect them in times of war.

The Department in August put forward a Counterocean Operations Doctrine, which described “ways and means by which the Navy achieves and maintains maritime superiority” and has worked to develop weapons to accomplish such missions.

Earlier this year, Secretary of the Navy Claude Swanson signed a new National Ocean Defense Strategy paper that said the use of the world’s oceans “enables us to project power anywhere in the world from secure bases of operation.” A key goal of Swansons’ new strategy is “to ensure our access to and use of the seas and to deny hostile exploitation of them to adversaries.”

The Navy Department is developing and procuring aircraft that could hit targets almost anywhere in the world within hours or minutes of being launched from ocean-based aircraft carriers. It also is developing systems that could attack potential enemy ships and submarines, destroying them or temporarily preventing them from sending signals.

Michael Dumpeesnik, president emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson Peace Center and a former arms control official, said the United States is moving toward a national ocean doctrine that is “preemptive and proactive.” He expects the Roosevelt administration to produce a new National Ocean Policy statement soon that will contrast with the one adopted by previous administrations.

“We previously adopted the traditional U.S. position of being a reluctant ocean warrior,” Dumpeesnik said. “The seas were to be used for peaceful purposes, but if someone interfered with us, we couldn’t allow that to happen. But it was not our ocean policy preference.”

Dumpeesnik last week attended a conference in Geneva organized by the Japanese and German governments on preventing an arms race in the oceans. Tokyo and Berlin have for years promoted a new treaty to govern arms at sea.

One of those attending last week’s session was Franz von Kliptherschipps, the German ambassador to the League of Nations Disarmament Conference. At a LoN disarmament meeting last year, von Kliptherschipps criticized efforts to achieve “control of the seas,” as well as research into new weapons that can be used there. “It is no exaggeration to say that oceans would become the third battlefield after land and air should we sit on our hands,” he said.

Dumpeesnik said a new treaty is needed because “if the U.S. proceeds to weaponize the oceans, anyone can compete, and that makes sure everyone loses.”

Margaret Atwater, vice president of the Center for War Information, also attended the Geneva session and said a low-ranking U.S. diplomat attended as an observer but did not speak. She said experts there discussed where the issues stood and how one could verify a treaty for ocean security. “That included a code of conduct and even just banning anti-ship weapons,” she said.

Analyzing the proposed Navy Department fiscal 1939 budget just sent to Congress, Atwater and her colleagues pointed to $680 thousand for an experimental XXS ship whose “payloads” could attack enemy ships. Another $60 thousand is earmarked for an experiment that would use electromagnetic jamming technology to disable enemy ship transmissions.

Navy Department officials make no secret that they are working on new defensive systems to protect the nation’s ships.

“I think everybody that I know in the United States military and the Department of the Navy understands the important role that our naval assets play in our national security,” Secretary of the Navy Swanson told the House Armed Services Committee March 10. “One of the biggest issues that we had to deal with was trying to figure out what was happening to a particular capability if the function was interrupted.”

One system under development would be able to identify a ground station or ship interfering with U.S. ships, so that it could be destroyed.

As another defensive measure, the United States last October announced deployment of its first mobile, ground-based system that can temporarily disrupt communications from an enemy ship. The Counter Communications System uses electromagnetic radio frequency energy to silence transmissions from a ship in a way that is reversible. Two more units are due later this year.

Any bets on what language residents of Europe and Asia (and perhaps even North America) would be speaking if this had been the prevailing attitude in the 1930s?

The bottom line is that these folks oppose US military superiority, period. They’re just waging that war on any battleground they can find, and space is the next retrenchment for them. They know that the other theatres are a lost cause, because we’ve long become accustomed to seeing them as military theatres. They are engaging in linguistic legerdemain here to hold the line against any further expansion of US/Anglosphere capability to win wars.

The Terrorists Are Winning

In the Netherlands:

Wilders said: “The people who threaten us are walking around free and we are the captives.”

…The wife of an Islamist militant who is in police custody told a local newspaper that Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, would be slain by Muslim women. “The sisters are patient,” the woman said. They will wait, “even if it takes 10 years.”

The wasp of Islamic totalitarianism has planted its eggs into the receptive body of Europe, and they are starting to hatch.

Bad News In Iraq

…for those looking for bad news in Iraq. But good news for everyone else.

I’m sure that the Lancet will add this to the count of all the “innocent Iraqis” killed because we removed Saddam:

U.S. and Iraqi forces raided a suspected guerrilla training camp and killed 85 fighters, the single biggest one-day death toll for militants in months and the latest in a series of blows to the insurgency, Iraqi officials said Wednesday.

“Among the dead are Arab and foreign fighters, including Sudanese, Algerians and Moroccans, as well as other nationalities,” Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Kadhim told Reuters.

Isn’t that a shame? And they didn’t even get to murder children before they died. Maybe they’ll get their virgins anyway.

If they can keep things up at this pace, I suspect that they will be killing them faster than new ones are recruited, because news like this makes recruiting a lot harder.

Progress In Iraq

Here’s an interesting interview of the incoming Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, by Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: The Sunnis, the second-largest ethnic group in Iraq, were in control of the country until recently, but now they feel forced into a secondary role by the Shiite majority. Many sympathize with the terrorists. A few Sunni religious leaders have even issued fatwas that justify the killing of occupation forces and alleged collaborators.

Jaafari: This is why I am doing everything within my power to convince our Sunni brothers to join us in developing the new constitution.

SPIEGEL: How successful have you been? 80 percent of Sunnis boycotted the elections.

Jaafari: My efforts have certainly been fruitful. More and more Sunni politicians, even religious dignitaries, are now willing to participate in developing our constitution. We want every Iraqi to support the new constitution.

SPIEGEL: What will the constitution look like? Do you envision an Iranian-style Islamic republic, or could Saudi Arabia be a model?

Jaafari: Iraq should become an Islamic state, but without Iran or Saudi Arabia as its godfather. Islam, not unlike Christianity, has many different faces.

SPIEGEL: Will you introduce sharia?

Jaafari: Yes, but only as one of several sources of jurisprudence. That is only natural in a country that is populated mainly by Muslims.

SPIEGEL: Will Christians, for example, be given religious freedoms?

Jaafari: Everyone will have the same rights, even the members of our many smaller religious communities.

SPIEGEL: How do you plan to deal with the many Iraqis who are in favor of a secular state and the separation of religion and the state?

Jaafari: Iraqis are tolerant by nature. No one should be concerned about losing his freedom of expression. I will fight to ensure that every citizen is able to express his opinion, even if I don’t agree with it.

SPIEGEL: Will women be required to wear veils in the new Iraq?

Jaafari: Never. They will be free to choose for themselves.

Read the whole thing. He sounds like a savvy politician. And the civil war, and Islamic Republic so long predicted (and probably, on the part of many, fervently desired) by war opponents seems to continue to be delayed in arriving. Of course, that’s true for almost all of their dire predictions.

What It Was For

Amir Tehari reviews the bidding two years after the toppling of Saddam’s brutal regime.

The most ardent advocates of the anti-war case are remnants of the supposedly revolutionary left that, in almost every other case, regard the law as nothing but a bourgeois prop to keep the masses in check. The spectacle of Leninists, Trotskyistes and Maoists beating their chests about the legality of toppling a tyrant is surely a treat for all students of politics.