Friday, April 27, 2007

A Christmas Eve visit from the Ghost of Carl von Clausewitz

A fascinating article has appeared in the Armed Forced Journal that offers a blistering critique of the Amerian military by calling into question what has always seemed to me to be the most sacred of military cows, the approach to warfare of the post Vietnam, and more specifically the post Gulf War, American Military.
Despite paying lip service to "transformation" throughout the 1990s, America's armed forces failed to change in significant ways after the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. In "The Sling and the Stone," T.X. Hammes argues that the Defense Department's transformation strategy focuses almost exclusively on high-technology conventional wars. The doctrine, organizations, equipment and training of the U.S. military confirm this observation. The armed forces fought the global war on terrorism for the first five years with a counterinsurgency doctrine last revised in the Reagan administration. Despite engaging in numerous stability operations throughout the 1990s, the armed forces did little to bolster their capabilities for civic reconstruction and security force development. Procurement priorities during the 1990s followed the Cold War model, with significant funding devoted to new fighter aircraft and artillery systems. The most commonly used tactical scenarios in both schools and training centers replicated high-intensity interstate conflict. At the dawn of the 21st century, the U.S. is fighting brutal, adaptive insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, while our armed forces have spent the preceding decade having done little to prepare for such conflicts

It has always seemed to me that it is Gospel, never to be questioned, that the American military of the post-Vietnam era is the best ever, period. No one is taken seriously that questions their doctrine, their approach to unconvetional warfare, their force structure or the leadership qualifications of their top leaders. This guy drops the hammer on every sacred cow in the services.

I was particularly intrigued by his recommendations for the advanced degree qualifications for Senior Leaders at the Pentagon:
Congress should also modify the officer promotion system in ways that reward intellectual achievement. The Senate should examine the education and professional writing of nominees for three- and four-star billets as part of the confirmation process. The Senate would never confirm to the Supreme Court a nominee who had neither been to law school nor written legal opinions. However, it routinely confirms four-star generals who possess neither graduate education in the social sciences or humanities nor the capability to speak a foreign language. Senior general officers must have a vision of what future conflicts will look like and what capabilities the U.S. requires to prevail in those conflicts. They must possess the capability to understand and interact with foreign cultures. A solid record of intellectual achievement and fluency in foreign languages are effective indicators of an officer's potential for senior leadership.

Give the article a read...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I knew I liked Sheryl Crow for a reason (besides her musical awesomefuleness)

Apparently they decided to really dumb-down the White House Correspondent's dinner Saturday night, after Steven Colbert brought the beat down last year. They're still talking about his masterpiece from last year.

So they got that old dried up un-funny man Rich Little to make some half-ass attempts at humor, all of which made a very large smoking crater every time he opened his pie hole.

But there was one bright spot:
"One highlight: singer Sheryl Crow, on a cross-country global warming awareness trip, got into it with Karl Rove. Jawing like a baseball manager and an umpire arguing a call, Crow and Rove were disagreeing over global warming, with Crow’s pal, Laurie David, offering support."
You know, watching Sheryl Crow put Karlos the Jackal in a headlock and give him Indian burns until he agrees that science is real, that's worth the price of admission right there...

That's right monkey, that's rock and roll...

mojo sends

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

St00pidest Things Ever Said...IX (how long could it possibly have taken to hear from The Big Rager edition)

I am almost ashamed to call myself an American this week in the wake of the shooting at V-tech. I have friends back east who are alumni and as a current college student, my sympathies are with those of us who are just trying to get through and get our degrees without having to deal with the truly unhinged who manage to walk among us without much notice until...

Speaking of which, I was fairly certain I would hear Wingnut land variations on "Al Qaeda Devil Robots: when ferriners attack..." and the denizens of the drool-mob have not disappointed. Get on over to Free-Salt-Lick and check out some of the takes. These people want this guy to be some kind of Muslim extremist so bad they can taste it. They are actually rooting for Islamofascist terrorism, because it will prove they were right... er sumthin'...

This was expected. I even expected it from the hive brain in the Echo Chamber and the word to seep out of the pipes of the Mighty Wurlitzer in the night to infect the living blogosphere with their terrible viral memes...

But then Michelle Malkin decided to sound off...Here is what I was not expecting:
"There's no polite way or time to say it: American college and universities have become coddle industries. Big Nanny administrators oversee speech codes, segregrated dorms, politically correct academic departments, and designated "safe spaces" to protect students selectively from hurtful (conservative) opinions—while allowing mob rule for approved leftist positions (textbook case: Columbia University's anti-Minuteman Project protesters).

Instead of teaching students to defend their beliefs, American educators shield them from vigorous intellectual debate. Instead of encouraging autonomy, our higher institutions of learning stoke passivity and conflict-avoidance.

And as the erosion of intellectual self-defense goes, so goes the erosion of physical self-defense. [...]

Enough is enough, indeed. Enough of intellectual disarmament. Enough of physical disarmament. You want a safer campus? It begins with renewing a culture of self-defense—mind, spirit, and body. It begins with two words: Fight back."
That's right... it's those darn stupid hippies' fault for not being armed themselves; hell, they practically had it coming...

I wish I could say this was an isolated opinion. But The Big Ragegasm herself is only parroting The Collective right now in saying that since V-Tech had publicly taken a stand about keeping guns off campus, that the victims were somehow morally culpable; deluded suckers who got what they deserved. You know, like gays and AIDS...

This is a level of sophistry that would have made Socrates gnaw off one of his own limbs had he been subjected to that kind of ignorant rhetoric. This is right up there with "An armed society is a polite society..."

Blaming the victims of the most horrific mass campus shooting for not being armed themselves is an act of cognitive dissonance that shocks even me. It really points out that there is no rhetorical floor for these people. There is no depth to which they can not and will not sink.

Yes, Michelle, College should not resemeble "Animal House"... It should be more like "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome." Two go in, one comes out. That is a great model for American higher education, instead of a campus book store, the grounds should just be littered with sheet metal shanks and axe handles, and have a big bone pile out in front of the library where the slow and dumb get their final grades... a post-apocalyptic b-movie starring everyone's favorite 13th century Catholic anti-semite.

mojo sends

Friday, April 13, 2007

Why Imus Matters...

I am going to take a slightly contrarian view from many out here in West Blogovia right now, and say that the Don Imus firing is an important story that has been worthy of coverage.

Note that I say "worthy of coverage" not "worth the coverage it's getting..." The coverage itself has been a mish-mash of half-assed celebrity reporting mixed with the pious chest beating of those who are in fact just a heartbeat away from being Imus themselves. Nevertheless, this is an important story and it needs to be addressed.

Let's just be right up front... Don Imus is, was and probably always will be a misogynist, racist a-hole. There, I said it. This is not the first time he has popped off on the mic, and been called for it. (...anyone remember when he called the WaPo's Howard Kurtz "that beanie-wearing Jew-Boy?")

And let me dispense with a couple of the current right wing memes making the rounds of the echo-chamber, most notably:
"What about Imus' freedom of speech. I guess liberals don't believe in that."
Attention morons! Don Imus has the same ability to speak his mind as anyone else. What he does not have a right to is a. make a living from being two-bit hack, and b. to be free from criticism for being a two-bit hack.

But the bigger lie right now is:
"well, they talk like that in rap songs, and no one complains about that, or fires them...they're just being hypocrites."
That is incorrect. People do complain about, and primarily highly visible figures in the African-American community, such as Bill Cosby and Sen. Barak Obama.

But let's pretend for a moment that this particular talking point is not complete horseshit. Let's say that the all African-Americans look the other way... are we saying "well, I guess it's okay for Imus to do it then." That is lame with a lameness.

That's still not the point though, and it brings me to the subject of why this matters. Don Imus is (or was, rather) part of the cannon of American political broadcast discourse. And I am not sure why he was. He's always been Howard Stern's retarded kid brother, yet policy makers and luminaries line up to be on his show, I guess so they can reach a national audience. Like him or not, disagree with him or not, he was part of the national discourse. And he has abused that position again, and again, and again.

Imus, and others like him, are part of the reason the public discourse has been dumbed down to the lowest common denominator in this country. It's to the point where our national Algonquin Round Table is now made up of those who just don't shit themselves in public.

Al Sharpton promising to protest in front CBS I believe had less to do with the decision to toss Imus under the bus than the fact that advertisers were threatening to pull serious ad revenue and some folks at CBS finally seemed to evolve a moral compass that at least points towards some sort of enlightened self interest.

And this is the important part. Hopefully this signals a change in the broadcast industry that they are losing their tolerence for hate-filled spewage from the likes of Don Imus (or the Big Oxy, or Michael Weiner, or Don Levin, or Glenn Beck, or any of the rest of the right-wing drooler brigade).

This should be our cue (I'm looking at you Spocko!) to renew efforts to pressure broadcasters and advertisers that the listening public is fed up with this. I, for one, am pleased with the amount of play the Imus story is getting. For a long time, guys like Imus have been thought about in broadcasting as "untouchable;" that as long as they raked in the phat stax of mad-ad-bank they would be allowed latitude.

Afterall, the entire genre of so-called "Shock Radio" is based the premise that you can suck up the criticism and write the occasional check to the FCC, because people will tune-in just to hear what happens next.

And as long as it was confined to goofballs like Howard Stern, or Mark and Brian, frankly, I didn't care. But when broadcasters started to adopt that paradigm as a way to promote our national socio-political discussion, then at that point they are hurting the country and betraying the public trust on which their broadcast license is based.

With any luck... those days are ending...

mojo sends

Friday, April 06, 2007

Where I say something nice about local affiliate news

And in case you didn't know, I hate local affiliate news with the burning hatred of a thousand suns.

Via Josh Marshall, apparently the U.S. attorney story escaped from the gravity well of the Beltway, and has seeped into local affilaite news in a way guaranteed to give Karl Rove heartburn. Essentially, beyond the headline reading that local newscasters do when reporting stories coming out of Washington, a local affiliate in Minneapolis did some original reporting (I'm just as shocked as you are folks) and broke a story about Senior attorneys in the Minneapolis office resigning in a group because, and get this:
Four of her top staff voluntarily demoted themselves Thursday, fed up with Paulose, who, after just months on the job, has earned a reputation for quoting Bible verses and dressing down underlings.
(Emphasis mine)

Paulose is a 34 year old Federalist society lawyer given one of the most important prosecutor jobs in the country, and it looks like she was completely unqualified for the position. What separates this story from the rest of the revelations screaming out of the front pages of the major papers, is that its breaking on a local affiliate. The news that most people actually watch, and in a state where a critical Senate race is coming up. This is the demographic that doesn't read papers or watch political junkies shows. If this story is getting in depth coverage on a local broadcast, Karl Rove is not going to be happy. This story is really starting to get loose on the White House. If Alberto the Gold doesn't come up big before the Senate, this might escalate beyond his resignation.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

St00pidest Things Ever Said...Eighth Iteration

Time once again for the game sensation that's sweeping the nation...

You know, the following is st00pid on so many different levels, it's hard to grasp really.

here... go read... it's short... I'll wait...

So, I guess this is why recruiting is down, huh?

I mean, besides the obvious -- that this is some kind of hoax --I am really kind of amused that a recruiter would actually put that kind of venomous bile in writing. You would think that anyone with a low animal cunning and self preservation instinct might be tempted to just tie off the bloody stump of the relationship instead of practically goading this kid into ... oh, I don't know... saving the emails and making you into a news story...

Also, dosen't it just tell you all you need to know about the current attitude of military personnel about the rest of us hairball civilians? Sure she could be all solicitous when she thought the boy was perhaps fit cannon fodder, but once he is found wanting, then apparently he is worthy of naught but contempt...

mojo sends

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Past is Prologue...

DoD Announces Major Unit Deployments to Gulf

DoD Announces Force Adjustments

The Department of Defense announced today additional major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The announcement involves one corps headquarters, two division headquarters and one brigade combat team consisting of approximately 7,000 personnel

Specific decisions made by the secretary of defense include:

XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, Fort Bragg, N.C.

1st Armored Division Headquarters, Wiesbaden, Germany

4th Infantry Division Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas

1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

Additionally, the Department announced that the 25th Infantry Division headquarters will have its tour extended by approximately 45 days.

Other combat-support and combat-service-support units consisting of approximately 2,000 personnel have also been identified to deploy in support of operations in Iraq.

More combat-support and combat-service-support units may be deployed should commanders determine additional support forces are required.

These deployments reflect the continued commitment of the United States to the security of the Iraqi people. The Department recognizes the continued sacrifices of these units and their family members.
Well, there you have it...

At the same time, it would appear that the fear pimps are jacking up the Iran nuke fear...
"Iran has more than tripled its ability to produce enriched uranium in the last three months, adding some 1,000 centrifuges which are used to separate radioactive particles from the raw material.

The development means Iran could have enough material for a nuclear bomb by 2009, sources familiar with the dramatic upgrade tell ABC News.

The sources say the unexpected expansion is taking place at Iran's nuclear enrichment plant outside the city of Natanz, in a hardened facility 70 feet underground."
In the event of an emergency, please note the planet's emergency exits... oh, wait...

mojo sends

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Never forget...

We've told you so... again, and again, and again...

Here, reposted for your edification, are a couple of bits and bobs from the mojowire from the past two years...[c.f. here from Aug. '05 and here from Sept. '04]

van.mojo: No More Bets Please...

This is President Bush on October 16, 2002:
“Like the members of Congress here today, I've carefully weighed the human cost of every option before us. If we go into battle, as a last resort, we will confront an enemy capable of irrational miscalculations, capable of terrible deeds”

This is President Bush on May 3, 2003:
"The use of force has been, and remains, our last resort," he said. "Yet all can know, friend and foe alike, that our Nation has a mission: We will answer threats to our security, and we will defend the peace."

And this is also President Bush:
"All options are on the table," Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, said in the interview broadcast on Saturday. Asked if that included the use of force, Bush replied: "As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country."

However, this statement was made yesterday, August 13, 2005 and in this last quote he is referring to Iran, not Iraq.

That's it ladies and gentlemen, the bones are rolling, no more bets...

mojo sends

J. In March of this year, our Maximum Leader took the little noticed action of declaring in executive order 12957 a National Emergency regarding the "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of the Government of Iran."

Not much to think about there, these things are generally pretty rote. For instance, an official "state of emergency" has existed with regards to Iran since 1979.

At first glance, the creepy thing about this order is the language that mirrors reasons for the Iraq emergency declration made July 2001, two full months before 9/11. But then you read further, and then something even creepier (at least in retrospect) appears: "the emergency declared by Executive Order 12957 constitutes an emergency separate from that declared on November 14, 1979, by Executive Order 12170."

This creepiness was injected directly into the brain stem last week when the Los Angeles Times and several other papers across the country carried the Max Boot piece about how the President needs to take off the kid gloves regarding Iran and get them to respect our authoritay! In a sparse 760-word essay, specific references to terrorism or terror groups: six. And he was very careful to evoke the 9/11 frame and tie Iran to that heinous crime.

At first, when I brought this to Mojowire Editorial Board, we generally agreed that this was just more of Max Boot's dark military fantasies, wet dreaming their ways onto the nation's op-ed pages, especially given that they want to change the conversation right now given that much of that hive brain is currently embroiled in an Italian-Iranian-Israeli-Neocon spy scandal.

We also thought that this was possibly something out of the West Wing; an attempt to stir the jingo pot given Dick Cheney's assertion that the next plane that flies into a building will be piloted by John Kerry.

Then I started to look around and I came up with a few more disquieting bits of deja vu. The President and his inner circle talking about "Iranian links to 9/11" -- which the CIA has already openly discredited, or at least cast serious doubt upon, and Iran's unremitting push to get the bomb, as well as other weapons of mass destruction, and of course casting a righteous light on Iran's deplorable Human Rights record.

This stuff is not coming from the Political Office, though, much less the hideous belching pipes of the Mighty Wurlitzer. This is coming out of Doug Feith's little kingdom in the Office of Special Plans. Literally, the first rock we looked under, and we find John Bolton sucking a smoldering chair leg and sounding off on the way of the world; action, now, against Iran. Interdiction, interruption and control.

But through it all the language of the administration has not necessarily been that of regime change. Yet that will apparently be the new policy of the Bush Administration if they manage to falsify another election. The same phrases appearing in speeches by Condi Rice, Bolton, W and in the op-ed pieces of the likes of Boot, the "grave and growing threat," "links to the 9/11 attacks," "can't afford appeasement."

From the Sunday Herald in Britain on July 18: "A US government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that military action would not be overt in changing Iran, but rather that the US would work to stir revolts in the country and hope to topple the current conservative religious leadership. The official said: 'If George Bush is re-elected there will be much more intervention in the internal affairs of Iran.' "

This langauge has been ratcheting up all summer, only now to come full circle. On Monday, the President is going to go the IAEA and ask for a declaration of non-compliance as a step on the way to the U.N. Security Council to get one of those resolutions that he can twist into military intervention.

S. You might be remembered, Wireheads, that about this time last year, the dread Doctor Strychnine dropped a beat down on us all, reminding us why such a war on a conventional scale, like we are fighting in Iraq, is going to be a doomed enterprise right out of the blocks in Iran.

Let's revisit the frightful Dr. momentarily... He pointed out that Iran's military is about 4 times the size of Iraq's, it’s a much larger, richer country that has not been suffering under sanctions and unlike the agreeably flat and mostly water rich Iraq, Iran is a a big giant mountain crag surrounded by a completly arid plane and 2.400 miles of coast.

Yeah... geographically, it's Mordor by the sea.

And as the good doctor also pointed out, it is highly likely that this was the "red team" that handed U.S. military geniuses a public beating out on the town square during the Millenium Challenge War games of 2002.

So why on Earth would these stupid gits pick a fight with these guys now?

Well, for one thing, that question assumes a certain amount of reality in the thinking of the people in OSP. But I think our experience with their strategerie in Iraq has been enough to cure of any delusions regarding Doug Feith's relationship to reality.

Then there's the Israel card. Israel is already conducting operations in Northern Iraq, and the Likudniks currently in power in Tel Aviv would love nothing better than a reason to take out Iran, which backs Hezbollah. We already have the troops ready to stage in theater, and the potential assitance of a newly frocked Iraqi army.

Between the American Israeli Committee for Public Affairs, evangelicals in Department of Defense and a Petroleum industry connected to the White House that would love to see $100 bucks a barrel, regardless of what it would do the economy... yeah, that's a recipe for disaster.

The talk of 9/11 connections to Iran will continue to increase as we get closer to the election, along with Iranian intransigence on nuclear inspection. This will help W get a better handle on the electorate by by scaring them with tales of Iranian death rays mounted on the heads of endangered sharks off the eastern sea board.

In the meantime, the Bolton doctrine being run out of the office of special plans and Doug Feith, the actors are being put in place right now to create an incident that might make military intervention plausible or necessary. At the same time, goading the hardliners to crack down on reformers by continually expressing our support, and making reformers distance themselves more and more from Western engagement.

Then after the election, we start the real march, but make no mistake. This war has already started.
How about that oracular gang at the mojowire, huh?

Hey s9, can you find some of the stuff you've written on Iran?

Stay tuned wireheads, there will be a mojowire broadcast this Saturday with all the updated information you will need...

mojo sends