TCS Daily


"War," What is it Good For?

By Gregory Scoblete - April 5, 2006 12:00 AM

America is at war. - George W. Bush, National Security Strategy, 2006.

President Bush's use of the word "war" to describe the attacks of September 11th and America's response has always been problematic. A wide range of critics, including conservatives, complained early on that the formulation was unduly vague and misapplied. Wars are waged against nation states and armies, they argued, not techniques and inchoate ideological movements.

Some scholars, such as Francis Fukuyama, see the President's use of martial rhetoric as his original sin, responsible for a series of misjudgments culminating in an unnecessary invasion of Iraq. Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski claimed in a speech last week at the liberal Center for American Progress that Bush's militaristic description was a "fundamentally misleading definition of reality," a "Manichean polarization" that has contributed to the "emergence of a fear-driven nation, a self-isolating nation."

Let's ignore for a moment the nauseating irony that it was Brzezinski perhaps more than any other U.S. policy maker who played the most direct role in fomenting international jihadism (to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan) and who, in 1998, naively dismissed the phenomenon as so many "stirred up Muslims" -- was Bush's characterization of 9/11 and the threat from radical Islam "fundamentally misleading?"

It's a question fraught with more than mere semantic problems. Our present approach of treating terrorism as a war informs a host of issues -- the legal status of detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, interrogation policy, the scope of executive authority to order "warrantless wiretaps" -- that are still contentious and unresolved five years since the 9/11 attacks. Any change in how the U.S frames the threat has serious implications for a host of current and future policies. If Brzezinski's speech and Fukuyama's "After Neoconservatism" are any indication, another groundswell is building against the President's preferred formulation.

Give it a Name

On February 26, 1993 a bomb detonated in an underground parking garage of Tower One of the World Trade Center. Six people died and over 1,000 were injured. The following day, in his weekly radio address President Clinton (who had been in office for a little over a month) devoted three paragraphs to the attacks, promising that the full brunt of "federal law enforcement" would be brought to bear on the "investigation." Several pro-forma condolences later, he was discussing "economic security."

To Ramzi Yousef the then-President's remarks must have been curious, if not downright absurd. His goal was not to carve out a hole in a parking garage, but to topple Tower One into Tower Two, leveling both. In a single stroke this "criminal" would have killed roughly 35,000 people working in the buildings and likely thousands of visitors and nearby spectators. In the minds of Yousef and his accomplices, they were not committing a mere crime, they were launching a military strike against an enemy nation.

Throughout the 1990s the United States, its personnel, allies and interests were subjected to a string of military attacks - some successful, others not. Our reaction to those assaults is illuminating. Since the Clinton administration refused to frame the threat of terrorism in military terms but rather as a criminal matter, there were self-imposed restraints on America's response. We now know, thanks to former C.I.A. official (and vociferous Bush critic) Michael Scheuer, that those limits almost certainly cost American lives.

Writing in the Atlantic Monthly under the pseudonym "Anonymous" Scheuer noted that the "CIA's Bin Laden unit repeatedly and formally requested assistance from the U.S. military to help plan operations against Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. We needed and asked for special operations officers. After pressing for eighteen months, we were sent two non-special operations individuals who had experience only on Iran. The Bin Laden unit received no support from senior Agency officials vis-à-vis the U.S. military."

And later:

"The CIA officers working Bin Laden at Headquarters and in the field gave the U.S. government about ten chances to capture Bin Laden or kill him with military means. In all instances, the decision was made that the 'intelligence was not good enough.' This assertion cannot be debated publicly without compromising sources and methods. What can be said, however, is that in all these cases there was more concern expressed by senior bureaucrats and policymakers about how international opinion would react to a U.S. action than there was concern about what might happen to Americans if they failed to act. Indeed, on one occasion these senior leaders decided it was more important to avoid hitting a structure near Bin Laden's location with shrapnel, than it was to protect Americans."

Former Clinton Administration officials, Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin recount in their book, The Age of Sacred Terror, that a submarine patrolling the Persian Gulf was twice put on notice to ready a cruise missile assault against bin Laden. The missiles were readied to the point were the gyroscopes were oscillating in final preparation for launch, but in both cases the launches were scuttled. Those gyroscopes were a fitting metaphor for the U.S. response to Islamic terrorism: we spun our wheels indecisively, more worried about the nebulous concept of "hearts and minds" than about safeguarding American lives.

It was only until the awful morning of September 11th, 2001 that America's perception of the threat was fundamentally transformed. Terrorists intent on battlefield-scale casualties and destruction could not rationally be described -- let alone treated -- as criminals. They were warriors. The argument that prevailed in the 1990s -- that calling terrorists "soldiers" unnecessarily dignified them and their cause -- had been turned on its head. The only people fooled by this semantic demotion were us.

If it was clear that the prevailing law enforcement paradigm was vastly inadequate to the task at hand did it necessarily imply that the U.S. was at war? I don't believe so, if for no other reason that when you look at where the long-term solution for defeating and discrediting radical Islam lies, it's in the political, not military, arena. I think the president was correct to invoke martial rhetoric early, to summon the nation to the requisite seriousness demanded by the attacks, but the description itself is ultimately flawed. Wars are resolved by battlefield defeats against nation states. No one, not even the president ("there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox"), thinks that radical Islam will ultimately be defeated on the battlefield. Instead, the solution to defusing radical Islam is largely political, as the president's second inaugural address expressly acknowledges.

Writing in the Boston Globe, Jonathan Morgenstein and Eric Vickland, argue persuasively that the threat of radical Islam better resembles an insurgency: "Insurgents hide, wait, and strike on their own timetables. They wear no uniforms and they utilize tactics of deception, ambush, and terror. The insurgents strike weaknesses and dictate the terms of the fight."

Combating insurgencies combines hard-power, such as the recent Hellfire missile attack in Pakistan with efforts to drain public support from the insurgents' cause. While the authors criticize the president's attention to the latter, they do acknowledge the necessity of the former.

Radical Islam-as-global-insurgency may be the most apt metaphor, but it is not without draw-backs. According to Morgenstein and Vickland, insurgents depend on local populations for cover, support and recruits but with the Internet, al Qaeda and its radical off-shoots do not need sympathetic villages and communities to shelter them. Militant Web sites provide a virtual community of global sympathizers that are impossible to co-opt with public works projects or similar "hearts and minds" campaigns. Insurgencies, moreover, are fought for discrete, territorial objectives. While certain radical Islamic groups do piggy-back on such grievances (like Hamas), al Qaeda serves as an umbrella, uniting these disparate goals under the banner of a global jihad to reclaim, and eventually expand, Islam's territorial inheritance. To craft political concessions that would peel support away from al Qaeda would trigger a cascade of political change completely unacceptable to the U.S., Russia, China, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Spain, to name a few.

The global nature of the radical Islamic insurgency also lowers the moral inhibition to using catastrophic weaponry. Hamas, for instance, would be unlikely to deploy a nuclear weapon against Israel and irradiate territory it wishes to re-inhabit, yet al Qaeda has a professed desire to acquire WMD. It's important to recall that bin Laden's "innovation" in terrorism was the concept that attacking the U.S. ("the far enemy") in the U.S. would help Muslims reclaim the Middle East. It would not make sense for al Qaeda to unleash anthrax against Saudi Arabia and kill a population it professes to liberate, but it is perfectly acceptable -- desired even -- for al Qaeda to attack the U.S. with germs and chemicals for maximum casualties.

There is also the issue of U.S. domestic terrorism laws and civil liberties. We have laws of war, and we have laws of peace, but where does an open-ended global insurgency figure into our legal calculus? Is there a finely tuned legal straddle between the two that can simultaneously accommodate the urgency of WMD terrorism yet acknowledge that we are not, properly speaking, at war?

Finally, and perhaps fundamentally, is the question of whether the "insurgency" framework can sustain the will and attention of a democratic populace. While inappropriate, the war metaphor is at least a check against the bureaucratic timidity that elevated the physical integrity of adjacent buildings over military action against America's enemies. Refashioning the war as an insurgency carries the very real -- and very dangerous -- possibility that unpopular but militarily successful strikes such as those carried out in Pakistan late last year - would be over-ridden by nervous politicians. In a battle for hearts and minds, can the U.S. retain the necessary will (absent in the 1990s) to launch military strikes against key terrorist targets where there is a certainty of civilian deaths and uncertainty about the intelligence?

As we grope toward a workable definition, it's interesting to note how this debate mirrors the argument over whether the U.S. is an "empire" in any meaningful sense of that word. Perhaps our difficultly in framing both America's global role and the threats she faces are two sides of the same conceptual coin; evidence that we are living in times with no historical analogue and that attempts to find one obscure more than they clarify. Events rush forward, our language limps behind.

Gregory Scoblete is a senior editor at TWICE Magazine He writes regularly about technology and politics at www.gscobe.blogspot.com.

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60 Comments

The war on ourselves
An excellent case can be made for the notion that the war we are now engaged in is actually a war against America.

1) It is a war without end, and is by that definition unwinnable. The principle result of our war abroad has been to make increasing numbers of people hate and fear us. It does not reduce the numbers of those who oppose us.

2) The war is fabulously expensive. But not wanting to pay for it, we have pushed off the cost of repayment onto our national credit card. It's our children who will have to repay these costs, which will rise into the trillions when there is still no end in sight.

3) It requires that we occupy the entire planet with huge military bases into the indefinite future. This is an unattainable goal and will bankrupt us.

4) All our actual or potential enemies who may have a genuine military capability-- not just the Taliban and the street corner insurgents-- now realize that the mightiest military machine the world has ever known can be stalemated trying to tie down a fourth rate nation of only 25 million people. This is not the lesson we wanted to tech the world.

5) Our war machine is now running flat out, and is running out of troops. What next? Tell everyone finishing their fifth tour they are re-upping for a sixth tour? The military is incapable of further action until it brings back the draft. At that point we have the Sixties all over again.

Hard to imagine how strategists so seemingly brilliant could have painted us into a corner like this, isn't it?

Good piece
I think you're right that insurgency may be the best fit for our current scenario, although the Iraq conflict certainly complicates that.

The Klingon way
If we acted like our enemies and attacked without regard to non-agressors, we would certainly be hated more, but we would also be feared as well.
Maybe that should be the strategy. If one IED kills one US soldier then 2 square miles of teritory around that IED would be leveled.

But no, we have to respect human life and only try and kill those who are trying to kill us.
The Klingon way is more efficient, swift, immediate and total anihilation of anyone attacking the USA.

That is correct.
America was winning every war it fought in its history fighting the traditional way and what did that get us? VICTORY!! Forgive the word, but it was not until we started FARTING AROUND in Vietnam, Korea, and now kowtowing to islamic apoligists that America is dragging out conflicts that should have been wrapped up months ago. Why did not we show the same political "correctness" to the German civilians and Japanese in WW 2??? We bombed them until they were obliterated and guess what...we won the war. It was mainly civilians that suffered and nobody here in the USA at that time was boo-hooing and acting like skirts. Today, now these morons are saying we need to be nice to terrorists captured in civilian clothes. They should be made to suffer a 1,000 deaths for murdering our peopole. (Actually a famous islamic saying) If any of those intellectuals would read, they would see they are not entitled to any protections under the Geneva Convention. They officially can be shot on the spot for waging war and attacking our troops WEARING CIVILIAN CLOTHING. If you are not an official serviceman wearing uniform, lights out and bang. I saw multiple documentaries where Germans were shot AFTER SURRENDERING WEARING UNIFORM. It was usually done in the heat of the moment and at that time there were no goofballs in the USA as today crying out tears or sympathy. Why would we show mercy to terrorists who are caught out of uniform. Don't like it, that is the reality. Wars are where people die until the winning side wins with the most troops still standing. Remember, the USA did not start this war it was actually back on Clinton's watch in the early 90's with the FIRST ATTACK on the twin towers. I find it interesting that Mr. Bean in his comments above is so knowledgeable about conflicts. Let me ask Mr. Bean were you trained by Generals Patton, MacArthur, AND Field Marshall Rommel? It is amazing that armchair intellectuals know more than anyone else in the Pentagon but this is America.

Semantics v. Reality
We also currently define war as a period of conflict with a defined goal to be accomplished within a general time-frame, using this many resources and limiting the number of casualties to a certain politically acceptable figure.

But our adversaries do not look at war this way. War is waged in relationship. This struggle needs to be seen through their eyes as well as our own. For many of our jihadist opponents, the war actually began sometime in the 12th Century, just after Mohammed was thrown out of Mecca by the pagans who controlled it. Over the centuries, various muslim factions have been warring with people of other religions - and each other - ever since. The Islamic extremist view of war is simply this: Win at all costs, by all means, in all places, no matter how many years it takes.

We may not wish to be in a perpetual state of war, but apparently they have no problem whatsoever with it. It is to our own detriment that we choose to define war in our limited way and drive our geopolitical activity through such a narrow definition.

Another tragic mistake was our buying into the arrogant, narcissitic illusion that a gaggle of benighted little brown men could never in a million years hurt us the way they did, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary: These are the people who sent our economy into a tailspin in the 1970s by simply closing the oil taps. These are the people who humiliated us before the world by holding 54 Americans hostage. These are the people who sent us packing by sending a truck bomb into a barracks full of sleeping Marines. These folks have been "at war" with us far longer than we would like to admit, and through our own stupidity and cowardice we have handed them victory after victory. These are the people who, din the face of international opposition and the highhest-tech surveillance, have acquired and are acquring nuclear weapons capabilities before our very eyes.

To engage in a squabble over the definition of war while these guys are busy kidnapping, beheading, torturing, car-bombing and plotting the next big bang is to busy oneself tuning the fiddle while the flames are spreading around Rome.

Make no mistake: We are at war until they say we are not. To think otherwise is to hand them the initiative and invite another American tragedy.

Poor Roy...
so very confused.

1. The war is won when Islamofascists are reviled by the moderates that everyone claims make up the majority of Islamic followers. This is accomplished by planting the seeds of democracy and capitalism. Once Muslims realize that they can accomplish more through empowering their people and allowing them to reach their potential unhindered by the archaic rules of their religion they will be less likely to allow their children to strap bombs on themselves and blow up the local Sbarro. A long and hard war but not unwinnable.

2. This is the same argument that people had against Reagan's military build-up and deficit spending. Our economy has the amazing capacity for recovery. Even now the economists are lowering the time it will take to pay off the deficit because of our growing economy. This is mere fear-mongering.

3. Occupy the entire planet? Europe? Canada? Mexico? How about Japan? Get real and stop being a drama-queen.

4. Actually the entire world is noticing that the mightiest military machine the world pales in the face of the mighty liberal defeatists that can't stand to see a victory in Iraq. The elections, 3 of them now, took place. Libya gave up its WMD programs. Saddam no longer funds terrorism or corrupt UN officials. Multiple Middle Eastern governments are holding elections, not perfect ones but the seed has been planted. Hardly a stalemate by any definition of the word.

5. We are not running out of troops. This was the same rhetoric that occurred before the Iraq War. Not enough troops. Not enough equipment. All false. Our forces a all-volunteer and will remain that way so put away the draft bugaboo. Although I am sure that many wish for the 60s once again when the elite, liberal few held control over the news...

The Islamists are the ones in the corner. The UN and EUs opinion of us means very little since they didn't think much of us before 9/11. If you believed as much then you really are delusional.

The freedom of Iraq and Afghanistan are mere starting points. People like the taste of freedom once they have experienced it. This is why the Islamofascists are so very frightened. Their power to intimidate and subjugate through the use of religion is at an end and they know it. They will have no choice but to join the modern world or be destroyed.

Alternate lifestyles
Liberty and freedom is just a lifestyle. Some may choose slavery, servitude and tyranny, but that is just another alternate lifestyle choice is it not?

Replace the middle east.
History seems to show that islam and its followers are set for self-destruction They live to kill, enslave, steal, etc. It is in the muslim nature to destroy themselves as they war against the entire world. Do not give these goofballs credit for being warrior. They attack and kill civilians when possible and rollup like toilet paper when faced by a modern army. Your oil taps comment can be cured with a simple suggestion if the spineless government would agree. America needs to construct multiple oil refineries on our western coast which would than be out of the way of any hurricanes. Second, we need to maximize Alaska and squeeze out all the oil we can. Third, Colorado reportedly has massive oil deposits just no company is rushing to find it. Fourth, we need to import oil from other nations as Canada, Venezuel, and Russia. We need to drop all middle eastern imports down to zero. Russia, allegedly has more oil than the scums in Saudi Arabia, it just has to be brought to market. Regarding the war, WE will decide not those racists and bigots when it will be finished. We beat the Germans and Japanese, a few ragtag, civilian killing, roadmining cowards can only irritate us. The western world will continue to grow richer, progress, and the muslims will continue to be left further behind in history. You can not make a living by killing people as you will only make more people hate you and the religion they claim to follow.

Nice post
I agree and I would take even further. We've been letting the middle-east of the hook since the 19th century. Should have taken care of the persian gulf issue then and we would not be here now. Then there are the several interventions since.

The U.S. has always been good a fighting, never been good at interventions or "nation building."

I don't know the answer here, but "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" is real tempting.

The Anbar campaign
In Anbar we seem to have adopted the Klingon approach you appear to favor. I don't think it has obtained the desired results for us.

Initially, several of the desert tribes came to us to call our attention to armed elements crossing the border from Syria. These elements were occupying their villages and they had insufficient arms to drive them away, so they requested arms and assistance. We thanked them for their input and told them we would take care of it.

Then we called in air strikes and blew those villages off the map, killing the very people who had offered themselves as our allies. After the fact one FACS controller was asked whether he was aware that the villages he had obliterated were full of friendlies.

The guy was devastated. He had been told only that they were ID'd as insurgent strongholds. And so it goes.

Painted into a Corner
An October Surprise?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
The American Conservative, April 10, 2006

...the Bush Doctrine and Cheney ultimatum have PAINTED US INTO A CORNER. Either Iran's nuclear program is shut down, or the Bush Doctrine will have been defied by Tehran and Pyongyang, leaving Iraq as the Bush legacy. All this has led to speculation that this summer or fall, Bush, his options having been exhausted, will order the air strikes.

...What are the risks? Iran could push its Shia allies to attack British and U.S. troops and send Revolutionary Guard "volunteers" in, which could mean a U.S. debacle, unless we responded with more American troops. Tehran could make us pay a price in blood in Afghanistan. Tehran could also send its agents into the emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia to attack U.S. installations, setting the Near East ablaze and oil prices soaring to $200 a barrel, plunging the West into recession.

Thus a pre-emptive war on Iran, while a political triumph for the president this fall, could, LIKE THE INVASION OF IRAQ, PROVE A LONG-TERM DISASTER ... According to the Washington Times, Iran's clerical and political elites want no war with America and are moving to curb the power of President Ahmadinejad.

...Bush is the commander in chief, not King George. He has no power to launch U.S. air strikes on Iran, an act of war, unless Congress authorizes war...

http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_04_10/buchanan.html

America the Beautiful
Isn't it interesting that whenever America has entered into a just war (the two World Wars and the Gulf War) she prevailed? And whenever she entered into, or started, conflicts where she had no clear business being there, she has floundered? I would cite Korea, Vietnam and Iraq as conflicts where we really should have kept to our own business.

In your posts you display the classic face of jingoism in that you conflate EVERY Islamist radical with all Islam. No matter that Saddam was a secular despot, and in no way Islamic. To you he was "one of them"-- identical to the nineteen dead guys who actually did the deed.

If all of Islam is to be held accountable for that tiny band's actions, let's blame all Christian Americans for the crimes of Timothy McVeigh. That makes exactly as much sense.

BTW wars are not where people die until one side wins with the most troops still standing. In an asymmetrical war, the only thing the insurgents have to do is to hold out until we collapse from the effort. If it takes ten or twenty years, as it did in Vietnam, they have the patience to outlast us. It's a dumb thing for us to have ever entered into.

Finally, it seems characteristic of you to approve of shooting uniformed POW's. May your side, whatever it is, receive the justice it is due.

Planting the seeds
We have abundantly illustrated to the world of Islam what happens when we plant the seeds of democracy. Nationwide civil war and chaos. The breakdown of law and order so that criminal elements operate with impunity. The absolute corrosion of all civil institutions. Near-total unemployment. The deterioration of basic infrastructure. And the inability of the afflicted country to even begin to form a government.

I'm sure they each have their own opinions on the desirability of repeating that experiment in their own countries.

"People like the taste of freedom once they have experienced it." I guess that's why eighty percent of the Iraqi public think armed resistance against the Americans is justified.

As for our occupation if the entire planet, we now have military bases in 117 countries. I think that only leaves Vanuatu and Belize unoccupied. What sort of payoff are we expecting for this scale of expenditure?

0 for 5
1) So what's the alternative, surrender now?
The claim that more people hate us now is not and never has been backed up by real facts. The number who oppose us have been killed by the 10's of thousands, with no evidence that they are being replaced in like numbers.

2) The war is easily affordable, it is only a few percent of what WWII cost. What's unaffordable is the huge welfare structure that has never done any good and has in fact destroyed many lives.

3) I'd love to know where you get the claim that we have to occupy the entire planet.

4) That massive militaries have trouble dealing with insurgencies has been known for at least 3000 years. It's hardly a new development. It is not the war that is bankrupting us, it's the massive welfare structure that is bankrupting us.

5) Once again, you are letting your imagination get in the way of reality.

just war
I notice that it's only when we are fighting his fellow communists that roy has a problem with the US military.

Then who deals with Iran?
If we don't it is evident the U.N. will not. The IAEA called out the problems in Iran and the U.N. is doing nothing. Iran is a signator to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty of 1970 (signed in 1970) and the U.N. should be screaming for their destruction if they don't respond immediately.

Because they are signators, the Iranians have a moral and legal obligation to allow inspections and decease and desist all nuclear weapons programs and all programs leading to the develpoment of nuclear weapons. To not do so is a treaty violation.

This is too important an issue to be left to the school yard "you have them so we should" arguement. If the U.N. will not act, the U.S. must.

Israel, Pakistan and India are not treaty signators; niether, I might add, is France. Yet, especially in the case of Pakistan and India (as their program was developed after the treaty was first agreed on), something should have been done, signator or not. Israel is a different case as their program was fully developed before the treaty.

Who supplies most of these reactors? What is Iran working on? Why would they violate this treaty and/or not allow inspections?

Yeah, Iran wants nukes strictly for defense!! That is the best joke I've heard in months. LOL

Hitting Iran may be an act of war, but their work in iraq is also an act of war. Can't pick nits if your going to make this arguement. Therefore the President can act to protect U.S. troops and interests without congress.

Lets not forget North Korea, another signator to the treaty. They need them with long range missles for what?

I say nuke them both and let them deal with the horror of the genie they want to unleash.

The NPT
Oh, puh-lease!

The US is also an NPT signator. So why are we developing a new generation of battlefield nukes, in clear violation.

Neither Pakistan nor India nor Israel are members. Yet do we have a single word of condemnation for them? Is there any sign that we are urging them to curb their programs? In both cases, no.

Now we hear that Pakistan is about to offer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia-- another violation. What do you predict the US response will be?

All parties to the treaty agree that under US leadership it has become a joke. It is too blatantly politicised to have any respect in the eyes of a world badly needing controls against proliferation.

Everybody wants to rule the world
The day the U.S. gets tough on Saudi Arabia is the day I have respect for the "blame-Iran-first" crowd. Iran is just the next stopping point on the Neo-conservative agenda. After what they did in Iraq, they don't deserve another opportunity to damage our nation in the name of defense.

What have you been reading (or smoking?)
"In Anbar Province, an insurgent hotbed that borders Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, US and Iraqi officials say they have a new ally against the Al Qaeda-inspired terrorists: local tribal leaders like Jadaan and home-grown Iraqi insurgents.

"The local insurgents have become part of the solution and not part of the problem," US Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told reporters at a press conference last week.

Until recently, many of the Sunni Arab tribes in Anbar and local insurgent leaders collaborated with Islamic extremist groups whose funding and manpower is thought to come largely from abroad. They had a common goal: drive out the Americans.

But Mr. Zarqawi's indiscriminate killing of innocent Iraqis has alienated many of his erstwhile Iraqi allies. His shadowy militant group, known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, is believed to have assassinated four prominent Anbar sheikhs. And in January when hundreds of Anbar men turned up at an Iraqi Army recruiting depot in Ramadi, the provincial capital, a suicide bomber killed 70 would-be soldiers."

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0206/p01s01-woiq.html

So it's all BS to you and everyone should have nukes
Come on…

You are full of it. India a Pakistan were condemned, for all the good it did. Israel developed their weapons before the treaty and were also critized. Rhetoric is useless and the U.S. is trying to pressure Saudi away from this course.

And this: "The US is also an NPT signator. So why are we developing a new generation of battlefield nukes, in clear violation."

That's stupid and has nothing to do with that treaty. Have you read it? The U.S., U.K. and Russia were the authors and there was nothing holding them to any limitations. Further treaty negotiations to limit the arms race were held and adhered to by the U.S. where appropriate. (SALT I, SALT II, etc.)

And then there is this: "All parties to the treaty agree that under US leadership it has become a joke. It is too blatantly politicised to have any respect in the eyes of a world badly needing controls against proliferation."

That's total BS. 185 nations are party to the treaty and only a very small minority would ever critize the U.S. leadership under it. I guess France and Germany are "All Parties".

Come on Roy, your better than this. Please don't resort to silly rhetoric.

You may believe things could have been handled better and I will agree India and Pakistan should have been dealt with harsher than they were. But Signator nations like Iran and North Korea deserve to be dealt with in the harshes terms possible. They said they would not do this and put it in writing for the international community to see.

Nuclear disarmament by the U.S. is a seperate and unrelated issue, using it in this contest is intellectual pandering at best; just plain dishonest at worst.

Roy you are hopeless and typical of liberals blaming America for everything. I am sick of explaining
What do you mean UNIFORMED POW'S? They were caught in civilian clothes those Taliban and al-quada friends of yours. It sounds like you have an issue with what is covered and not covered in the Geneva Convention. I am talking about your buds caught in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you think they need protection and rights than go fight with them. You have made it clear you are anti-western so why do you talk here. You are part of the problem. You cite Vietnam and Korea where we had no business being there. You are a putz and uneducated. In these items they call books, it was thoroughly documented that Vietnam was getting help from China AND Russia. Who was to help the poor South Vietnamese from Red aggressors? Do you have an answer? Of course not. How about South Korea, again you say we had no business? Thank God you are not in charge of anything except a keyboard in your mosque. South Korea, our ally, WAS ATTACKED IN JUNE 1950 and no thanks to your kind we intervened and it is still a free nation today. Yes, every muslim is radical. Can you prove otherwise. I can. Have you EVER seen a single muslim turn in another muslim to stop an attack on western targets? NO! Muslims did not warn London about the train attacks. Muslims did not warn the Spainish about those civilian murders. Nobody warned the US from the islamic world that air attacks were scheduled. Your kind all stick together because WE are allegedly evil. It is ironic that you use this website on the internet to spout your hatred when it was westerners-Christians that invented it. Sadam was a despot, I will not deny it but what has replaced him is much worse. At least when he was in power there was stability no dead American troops-which you do not love, and low oil prices. Iraq was a gamble, I was against it in the beginning but now we must stay until we have TOTAL VICTORY. The dead of this nation can not be in vain. How can you blame all Christians for McVeigh...that has nothing to do with anything. He was part of a group that is extremist, but they are not trying to enslave women, force religion on anyone, or having followers outpopulate locals as your family in Europe today. BTW numbers do make the difference in war...try telling that to the Russians in 1945 when they stood in the ashes of Berlin. Hitler had less troops-but better quality-and he lost. Everything you say is easily defeated so why do you continue to talk, unless you like to hear yourself talk.

roys definitions
He probably means that civilian clothes are their uniforms.

In roy's world, the US has no business opposing communists.

What is dumb
"In an asymmetrical war, the only thing the insurgents have to do is to hold out until we collapse from the effort. If it takes ten or twenty years, as it did in Vietnam, they have the patience to outlast us."

What is dumb is believing one side can win if it doesn't do everything to defeat the enemy.
The US won the military side in VN after the TET offensive.

If we want to win against the Islamic radicals, we need to find them and kill them and hold governments that protect them accountable as well.

What is your alternative to representative government?
"We have abundantly illustrated to the world of Islam what happens when we plant the seeds of democracy. Nationwide civil war and chaos. The breakdown of law and order so that criminal elements operate with impunity. The absolute corrosion of all civil institutions. Near-total unemployment. The deterioration of basic infrastructure. And the inability of the afflicted country to even begin to form a government."

I guess you don't like democracy much.

"Jihadists" not "radical Islamic insurgency"
Why does the author refer to the "Jihadists" as the "radical Islamic insurgency"?

Our enemies are at war with us and we are fools if we relate to them in any other manner.

Tough
What do you expect the US to do in Saudi Arabia?

Until our economy finds alternative energy supplies not dependent upon the market price of oil, Saudi Arabia will be tolerated. If we push the royals too hard, they will fall, run away to Switzerland, and a theocracy will take over.

So, all of you greenie weenies and NIMBYs out there who opposed nuclear power, drilling off the coasts and in AK, are finally getting your rewards.

Saudi Appeasement
The "War on Terror" can never be won as long as we appease Saudi Arabia. It's Al Qaeda's recuritment and financial center, exported throughout the world.

I guess you don't understand ....
how the kingdom works.

Close extremist Mosques & Madrasas, pretty please?
Thicker Than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia
by Rachel Bronson
Council on Foreign Relations/Oxford University Press, 2006

As it pursues its war on terror America faces the central and difficult question of what policy to build vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, especially as the Cold War justification has fallen away. New issues, including counterterrorism, political reform, and stability in Iraq, populate today's political agenda and are rarely interpreted the same way by both capitals.

Saudi Arabia's religious credentials, something Washington once deemed a strategic asset, are today a much more obvious, controversial, and potentially dangerous issue. At the same time, the kingdom poses one of the toughest challenges to the George W. Bush administration's political reform agenda, one of the administration's highest priorities. The kingdom lags behind on almost every indicator of political openness, and REFORM THERE WOULD HAVE AN IMMEDIATE POSITIVE EFFECT THROUGHOUT THE REGION.

Yet because the kingdom figures so prominently on issues such as oil, Iraq, and counterterrorism, there are limits to how hard the United States can push. Reformers inside the kingdom also worry that a frenetic push toward reform will backfire and result in increased religious radicalism, as occurred in Iran and Algeria, or outright chaos, as in Iraq.

...For years the royal family had manipulated Saudi domestic politics to manage Cold War challenges. To build domestic legitimacy and rebuff external aggression, Saudi leaders had catered to the most radical elements of the kingdom's religious establishment. It was not that Washington had ignored Saudi Arabia's proselytizing, but rather that WASHINGTON ACCEPTED, AND AT TIMES ACTIVELY ENCOURAGED it to secure shared geo-strategic ends. There was a long-term price to pay for such policies. ON SEPTEMBER 11, THOSE COSTS CAME DUE.

...One of the most important things Washington needs from the kingdom is for its leaders to aggressively monitor and shut down Saudi-based funding streams that underwrite mosques, schools and other institutions promoting intolerance, xenophobia and anti-Americanism.

http://www.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/Excerpts.pdf

Not true
" Saudi leaders had catered to the most radical elements of the kingdom's religious establishment."

Catered is the wrong word. Appeasement is a better word.

Change is not easy. They have made significant progress in the past 20 years.
Change is not easy for most people and even more so for those who water their camels at well dug centuries ago for the caravans from Bahdad to Mecca.

Saudi Reform
Even as they confront pressures for political and economic reform, they are cracking down on suspected al-Qaeda cells in the kingdom, while pledging to eliminate intolerance from the mosque and the classroom.

The debate about reform has official backing. Over the past few years, Crown Prince Abdullah, who has run the country's day-to-day affairs during the prolonged illness of his half-brother, King Fahd, has publicly committed himself to political and economic reform.

As a result, the state-guided media have become freer in debating where the country is going. Journalists are reporting with a new candour on issues such as crime, drugs, Aids and domestic abuse which in the past were ignored or downplayed.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/3241657.stm

Notice the date. The Crown Prince is now King.

As you appease
Appeasement -- precisely. The Saudi Kingdom appeases the terrorists and their support systems (although royals actively promote it) while we appease Saudi Arabia. The same thing is going on in Pakistan

Al Qaeda has nothing to fear as long as we keep appeasing.

No such thing a friendly fire
Remember Roy these freaks believe that every Iraqi killed is a terrorist/insurgent that has trained for years in a terror training camp. They believe the US has not put a foot wrong if things haven't gone to plan it's someone else's fault.

The NNPT and CTBT
Funny, it was just in the news. In Fearless Leader's latest tour, India and Pakistan were both praised. India, lavishly. Pakistan less so. Not a word about the Paks' plan to give nuclear technology to the Saudis.

Articles I and II state that nuclear nations agree not to give such technology to non-nuclear nations. This lies at the core of the NPT. What's happening here?

Article IV "acknowledges the "inalienable right" of NNWS to research, develop, and use nuclear energy for non-weapons purposes. It also supports the "fullest possible exchange" of such nuclear-related information and technology between NWS and NNWS." Iran claims privilege under this clause, as no clear evidence can be shown that they are using the technology for weapons development. However Israel, the thorn in everyone's side, has never been under any pressure to desist in their own weapons program.

I know this makes perfect sense to you. But as they are a belligerent neighbor in the Middle East, it doesn't make such sense to many other countries. And they have a legitimate gripe. If the US worked as hard to force Israel to shelve their fully developed nukes as it works to thwart the programs of selected other countries (not including, apparently, Saudi Arabia) we would be held in much higher esteeem over there.

The US has been the principle nation scuttling efforts to make the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty work, because we reserve the right to develop new nukes and test them as we see fit. China, the UK and France are nearly as bad in this as we are, of course, and we have provided no leadership to convince them to curb their ambitions. Certainly not leadership by example.

Testing would, of course, be in violation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and without testing our drive to develop new nukes would have no purpose. So we have lost the moral high ground on this one.

I'm sorry if you see this as "intellectual pandering". I was not discussing the US disarming, and don't support it, but rather was pointing to the development of new nuclear weapons programs. If we're slinging insults, I guess this would be a bit of "misrepresentation" on your part.

BTW, the North Koreans have withdrawn from the Treaty.

What do I mean,uniformed POW's?
But those are your own words. You said, above, "I saw multiple documentaries where Germans were shot AFTER SURRENDERING WEARING UNIFORM. It was usually done in the heat of the moment and at that time there were no goofballs in the USA as today crying out tears or sympathy."

And I said you appear to endorse this kind of thing. I don't see a problem with this characterisation of your stance in the matter. If the Yanks do it, it's fine. Anyone else, it would be a war crime. Right?

Winning the battles
Amazing! Then I guess we won in Vietnam. And we're winning now in Iraq.

So what's all the fuss about, if we can win oveer the world by killing enough of them?

Non sequitur
Your comment, "I guess you don't like democracy much." has nothing to do with my comment you cite. It's not whether I like democracy or not-- I wish we had it ourselves. It's what our efforts have established in Iraq in place of a stable government.

As much as Saddam was hated, Iraqis everywhere call attention to how much worse things have grown under American rule. They were really hoping things would improve. The "democratic experiment", of you want to call it that, has been an utter disaster so far. And we have no plans to change it in any way, but only plan to Stay the Course. This is insanity.

America's leadership role in world events has been so badly damaged a generation won't be long enough to get this foul taste out of everyone's mouths.

snatched from the jaws of victory
"History now shows that the assumptions of General Giap, NVN's famous strategist who engineered the victory at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, were completely wrong and that militarily Tet was a disastrous defeat for the North and the VC. Giap was relieved in disgrace. But a funny thing happened on the way to the war. The American media reported the event as a major DEFEAT for the US and the South.?History now shows that the assumptions of General Giap, NVN's famous strategist who engineered the victory at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, were completely wrong and that militarily Tet was a disastrous defeat for the North and the VC. Giap was relieved in disgrace. But a funny thing happened on the way to the war. The American media reported the event as a major DEFEAT for the US and the South."

http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/001600.php

Tet was a flop
It's funny, the delusions we cling to to make sense of our lives. I'll bet you also think we were winning the war until the Librals pulled our feet out from under us.

The Texas Rangers have a saying: "Little man'll whup a big one every time, if he's in the right and keeps on coming". Translated, that means that every time we invade SOMEBODY ELSE'S COUNTRY and presume to tell them how we think they should be living their lives, we're going to be in for a world of grief until the day we decide to leave. That has been our history. Let's repeat it again and again, why don't we?

I missed that one…
I didn't know we had done any "live testing" in many years. A Lot of computer model testing I know about.

GW was not out to antognize either nation, but the government has pushed the Saudis (this has also been in the news over the past few weeks) to not develop weapons.

Remember, Pakistan, Israel and India, as well as France, are not signators so they are not legally obligated to abide by the treaty. (Morally is another issue, we won't go there because I believe the U.S. is morally obligated to give them a taste of what nuclear horror is all about; this is especially true of signator nations, whether the withdraw or not.)

While I don't mean to give those nations a pass on this; short of "unprovoked" war, what are the options? Diplomatically we can't legally be too heavy handed with non-signator nations. This is also an issue, to some extent, in regard to North Korea, since they pulled out. With the Koreans it is a bit different, as they pulled out after their weapons program was almost completed.

As for Israel, how short our memories are. First, they do not acknowledge they have a single warhead. Second, in the 60s, the U.S. tried to stop Israel from producing a weapon. Third, as a non-signator nation, they don't legally have to allow inspections. Fourth, Who built that breeder reactor? Could it be our good friends the French? Fifth, back to the U.S. who didn't even know a nuke plant was being built until it was nearly completed. After that the U.S. inspected the plant in the 60s but could find no evidence of a weapons program. (The israelis were very good at hiding this fact.)

Roy, why is everything that Israel is and does a U.S. issue? The United States refused to back Israel in any way until the late 60s and didn't give them full backing until after the 1973 War. The Israeli reactor was built in the early/mid 60s; they "probably" had a weapon by 1966.

BTW, if the U.S. was developing and testing bigger city busters and "dirtier" weapons, I would agree. I consider development of smaller, cleaner weapons a form of "limitations" development.

I don't know about the entire arsenal, but I know in my area they downsized the weapons in the silos a few years back. Taking out the big 12 warhead MIRVs and putting in smaller 6 warhead missiles with lighter warheads (50-100 Kt vs the old 1Mt warheads) I'm not sure why this stuff doesn't make the national news. I'm not sure why the government doesn't tout it more to make the liberals and the world happy; but I personally watched a couple of these new missiles get loaded in the silo so I know they did it. (We have 4 missile launch sites within 40 miles of my house. Not sure exactly how many silos.) They also reduced the number of silos in use (fewer missles in the bullpen). To do that here alone is a significant reduction in the number of warheads in the missile fleet.

These are the reason I don't buy the arguement that the U.S. is not taking a leadership role and that we are not leading by example. But, you are right about one thing, if the word isn't getting out, then how does anyone know.

Who is delusional?
Name me a major battle lost in Vietnam.

From "The History of Vietnam: "The Tet Offensive and Khe Sanh may well have reminded Johnson and Westmoreland of the Duke of Wellington's dictum:
"If there's anything more melancholy than a battle lost, it's a battle won". Giap had been frustrated at Khe Sanh and defeated in South Vietnam's cities. NVA/VC dead totaled some 45,000 and the number of prisoners nearly 7000. But the shockwave of the battle finished Johnson's willingness to carry on. Westmoreland was pressuring Washington for 206,000 troops to carry on the campaign in the South and to make a limited invasion of North Vietnam just above the DMZ. As the battle for Hue died out, Johnson asked Clark Clifford (who had recently replaced a disillusioned McNamara as Secretary of Defense) to find ways and means of meeting Westmoreland's request.
Clifford and an advisor group looked at the war to date, and among others, consulted CIA Director Richard Helms who presented the Agency's gloomy forecasts in great detail. On March 4th Clifford told Johnson that the war was far from won and that more men would make little difference. Johnson then turned to his chief group of informal advisors (which included among others, Generals Omar Bradley, Matthew Ridgway, and Maxwell Taylor; Cyrus Vance, Dean Acheson, and Henry Cabot Lodge). Johnson soon found that they too, like Clifford, had turned against the war. According to Thomas Powers, Johnson's "wise old men" had been told that recent CIA studies showed that the pacification programme was failing in forty of South Vietnam's forty-four provinces and that the NLF's manpower was actually twice the number that had been estimated previously. Not only had Tet shown that the optimism of the previous year had been an illusion, but it now seemed that the enemy was far stronger than anybody had thought, and that the long efforts to win Vietnamese "hearts and minds" had largely been a disaster.
If Tet wasn't a full-scale shock to the American public, it was at the very least, an awakening. The enemy that Johnson and the generals had described as moribund had shown itself to be very alive and, as yet, unbeaten. America and its ARVN ally had suffered over 4,300 killed in action, some 16,000 wounded and over 1,000 missing in action. The fact that the enemy suffered far more and had lost a major gamble mattered little, because the war looked like a never ending conflict without any definite, realistic objective. The scenes of desolation in Saigon, Hue, and other cities looked to be war without purpose or end. Perhaps the most quoted US officer of the time was the one who explained the destruction of about one-third of the provincial capital of Ben Tre with unintended black humor: "It became necessary to destroy it," he said, "in order to save it". For many, this oft-quoted statement was not just a classic example of Pentagon double-think but also a symbol of the war's futility. Westmoreland became the parody "General Waste-mor-land" of the anti-war movement.
Being against the war became more-or-less politically respectable for liberal elements. Robert Kennedy spoke of giving up the illusion of victory, and Democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy challenged Johnson for the Presidential nomination on a peace platform. He was supported by thousands of students and young Americans opposed to the war. Vocal elements of the extreme right largely supported the war, but condemned the Administration for not going all out for victory. The JCS backed Westmoreland but convinced him to settle for half of the over 200,000 additional troops he wanted to take the initiative. The JCS then reported to the White House that the extra men were needed to get things back to normal following the battles of the Tet Offensive.
When the Tet Offensive began, many US officials believed that the NLF had offered the Americans a golden opportunity by fighting a pitched battle where it could be defeated in open combat. In effect, the NLF was "leading with its chin" and the massive losses it suffered bear this out. The VC was not broken by the Tet Offensive but it was severely crippled by it and, from then on, the North took on the main burden of the war. Further fighting in 1968 and the increasing activity of the Phoenix Program further decimated the NLF's ranks and the role of the North grew even larger. The northern and southern parts of Vietnam had ancient cultural and social differences, and while the communist cadres at the center of the NLF had managed largely to suppress these natural antagonisms, there still were basic differences in goals and approach. The NLF had gone into the Tet Offensive in the hope of giving a death-blow to the Saigon Government and, if it couldn't capture power directly, it could at least gain a coalition leading to ultimate authority. The NLF's dream vanished in the rubble of South Vietnam's cities, and it would be Hanoi that conquered Saigon.

The facts are undeniable. Without support from Hanoi the VC wouldn't have been a big problem. Early on it was estimated that two divisions could sweep through and take Hanoi. Early in the war it was decided to fight this to a demarcation line (the DMZ) as was done in Korea.

The difference, no major offensive above that line. In Korea, the U.S. had showed a willingness to take northern territory and chase retreating forces; in Vietnam that was not the case. Why? the U.S. was there to "secure the south" after the French had lost their bid to maintain control of "French Indo-China" and were a part of a multi-national effort. The U.S. took over the majority of the effort after the second Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964. Even at that, the U.S. didn't become more than half the foreign fighting force until after 1965.

Also…
You said - "I'll bet you also think we were winning the war until the Librals pulled our feet out from under us."

This is absolutely true; beyond a doubt. American protests and political division was actually cited by General Vo Nguyen Giap as a reason "We knew we would win." Had the U.S. showed 1/100th of the resolve we had in Korea or WWII the Hanoi government would have sued for peace. When Johnson refused to run for president after Tet, it emboldened the North as they knew that, whoever the next president was, he would be willing to negotiate.

Giap on the Tet Offensive:
The Tet Offensive is a long story. ... It was our policy, drawn up by Ho Chi Minh, to make the Americans quit. Not to exterminate all Americans in Vietnam…
For a big battle we always figured out the objectives, the targets, so it was the main objective to destroy the forces and to obstruct the Americans from making war. But what was more important was to de-escalate the war -- because at that time the American were escalating the war -- and to start negotiations. So that was the key goal of that campaign. But of course, if we had gained more than that it would be better.
And [after Tet] the Americans had to back down and come to the negotiating table, because the war was not only moving into the cities, to dozens of cities and towns in South Vietnam, but also to the living rooms of Americans back home for some time. And that's why we could claim the achievement of the objective.

I don't understand why you don't get this. It is absolutely a fact that anti-war liberals and protesters in the U.S. were the only reason the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam and handed the country to Hanoi. In hindsight, most involved in the war in the U.S. have acknowledged this, the Vietnamese have openly pointed it out and it has become the main plan to thwart U.S. efforts every since.

Want to bet we have some major insurgent incidents in Iraq this summer? If the U.S. remains committed, and the insurgency still exists, I will guarantee an all-out offensive in late 2007 or early 2008.

tet was a flop
The military commanders, on both sides of the war have stated unequivocably that the Tet offensive was a major disaster for the VietCong.
Do you believe that the Battle of the Bulge was a major German victory as well? The two battles a very similar. In both cases one side took most of their available supplies and used it in single attack. In both cases, they were able to gain ground. In both cases, they were not able to hold that ground. In both cases, after the battle, the battle lines were the same, but the attacking army had used up most of it's available supplies.

The leaders of Vietnam have been quoted as saying that they were ready to sue for peace, until they heard that the American military was spinning the offensive as a US defeat.

What are our options?
I feel very strongly about this one, so take a deep breath.

Since 1945, all the nations of the world (other than the old Soviet Bloc) have looked up to us as the leaders of the Free World and the chosen, special nation that will lead everyone into a better future, where all can have the equal opportunity and freedom from want that the US alone enjoyed. They've all bought into the dream and we've bought into the dream.

We've let them down totally. By our actions and our avowed intentions we show them daily that we're no better than the rest. Entrust us with power and we bully small nations, driving them back to the Stone Age at our whim. You can argue if you like that this is not really true. Doesn't matter. This is people's pereception of Fortress America, 2006.

We could make an earnest attempt at regaining the high ground by doing what everyone on earth (including the world of Islam) so badly wants us to do. We could exert moral authority.

No more cynical marriages of convenience with the world's worst dictators. Realpolitik has been a brutal tool in our hands, which has enabled undemocratic rulers to ruin the lives of countless millions-- all the while enjoying American aid and our security umbrella against being overthrown by their own subjects.

And no more threats of blowing up nations that "harbor terrorists" by going in with air strikes-- with or without nuclear warheads against a non-nuclear and often nonexistent enemy. This looks bad, and invariably kills more old ladies and little kids than it does actual terrs.

When you think about it, every nation on earth harbors a few nut cases. We even have the occasional John Hinkley or Tim McVeigh. No need to blow them apart and then leave them helpless basket cases, as Iraq is now.

We've done everything wrong. Absolutely everything. If we began to act in accord with our highest principles, everyone would fall into line behind us. As it is, we've got so many enemies now I'm not sure we'll still be there in another thirty years.

Winning the war
Paul-- How many times have you heard that we won every battle but lost the war? Have you ever thought about what that really means?

The Vietnamese did not like us. They would not have liked anyone invading their country and propping up corrupt dictators, but they absolutely did not like us. And they're tough. They had just gotten through licking the Japanese and the French back to back, when we came along for no good reason to give oppression another try. I'm telling you from their point of view. Naturally with your conditioning, you understand that what we did was not oppressive.

And there was no difference between the North and the South. Just an imaginary line people drew on a map. The real issue was only that all the farmers and all the factory workers wanted independence under their leader, Ho. Small minorities of pro-French Catholics and Buddhists demurred. Had the elections taken place fairly, they would have lost big time.

So you may think we're for democracy. But those people tried to create their own nation, after they won their independence. And it took them twenty years to do it.

You can't win hearts and minds with bombs. And that's where the contest is decided, every time.

Your general tenants I can agree with…
But I believe we have tried that to the best of our ability, only to find that the people we try to help stab us in the back. (Cuba is a perfect example, yeah there are arguements on both sides of that too)

Some truth and some BS
Actually, we won the war and lost the chance for peace and a free south Vietnam. After Tet all the U.S. had to do was attack the north decisively. There were a lot of reasons that didn't happen. Fear of Chinese or Russian direct intervention was the biggest. Had we, Hanoi would have sued for peace immediately and we could have dictated terms and left by 1970.

There were many cultural difference between the North and South. After Tet, the insurgency in the south was pretty much over. The government in the South was admittedly gaining legitamancy before Tet, this according to the government in Hanoi.

As for where the contest is decided, that depends on what you are trying to win. In Korea, Vietnam we were trying to stop the violent spread of communism, which the U.S. viewed as a blight on humanity. In Iraq the mission was two fold. 1. End the rule of Saddam and the dangers it was felt he represented and 2. trying to build a free democracy in a region that hasn't had much of that.

Compare that to WWII where the rule was total domination. If killing every German or Japanese was the only way, so be it.

Best of our Inability
When the crowds turn
Media General News Service, April 5, 2006

...The list of critics calling for Rumsfeld's retirement now includes a former head of the U.S. Central Command, the organization that is in overall charge of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Retired MARINE GENERAL ANTHONY ZINNI said he agreed with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the administration had made thousands of mistakes in Iraq. But they weren't "tactical," he said.

"These were strategic mistakes, MISTAKES OF POLICIES made back here (in Washington)," said Zinni. And the person who needs to take the rap for them is Rumsfeld, he reasoned.

Another general, retired MAJOR GENERAL PAUL EATON, who was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, also called for Rumsfeld's replacement.

In their book "Cobra II," which scolds him for running roughshod over all opposition at the Pentagon, Michael Gordon and GENERAL BERNARD TRAINOR say there were not enough troops to seal the victory by hunting down Fedayeen and Baath Party militia, the authors said. And that big mistake looks all the more glaring now, as the insurgency threatens to break into a civil war.

Cashiering Rumsfeld now would probably cost Bush less than at any time in the past and make him very popular in wide swaths of the Pentagon, where RUMSFELD'S SHOCK-AND-AWE TACTICS HAVE NEVER BEEN WIDELY ACCEPTED...

http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=HALL-04-05-06

EVERYBODY HERE JUST IGNORE BEANHEAD...HE IS A BONER!!!
It is MORE THAN OBVIOUS, that whatever any of us says he will just rehash our thoughts incorrectly into liberal jibberish. He constantly misreads our articles and frankly I am sick of holding his hand. Just allow him to belittle our beloved America-I GUARANTEE HE IS NOT EVEN AN AMERICAN BY THE CISSIFIED WORDS AS HE USES THE TERM "KILLING REGIMENTS"! Who is America who is an American will always say we are losing the war, overburdened by the war, or getting our butts kicked. He is an islamo-appeaser and no matter what we should him to be true he will just simply deny it. How did we lose Tet? The VC suffered horrendous casualties and our political leadership broke and ordered the US troops out. I am done with Mr. Bean and will only henceforth respond to intelligent and cohesive debate.

The moral high ground
I'm not following, Paul. Yes, guys we think are in our pocket often play us for stupes, like Manny Noriega. But I don't know of any Cubans we tried to help who stabbed us in the back. Batista? No. Castro? No. Who else is there?

Look, you help a jerk come to power, he stays a jerk. I really think you may have no idea what the moral high ground looks like. Maybe I can put it this way.

It's 1991. Communism just died. On the one hand we have Gorby-- the man who enabled Reagan to act like he killed Communism. On the other hand we have an alcoholic, unstable bum who's momentarily popular because he stood on a tank during a key moment. Which one do we support?

Tick tick. Tick tock. Time's up.

If we knew what democracy was, we wouldn't support either one. We'd tell the former Soviet citizens it's none of our business, and they have to make up their own minds on it like free people. THAT would have advanced the idea of democracy.

Instead, we back the losing horse to the point of being boorish. Don't you think it alienates people when we tell them how to conduct their business? What happens when (as invariably happens) our guy ends up in disgrace? Look at our former client Saddam, for instance.

How many times does it take?

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