Let’s You And Him Fight – A Realistic Plan For World Peace

War might be the inevitable condition of mankind.

By this I’m not saying humans are bad. Humans are humans. Even if you believe they were built by G-d, keep in mind they were built of the “clay of the Earth.” In a more evolutionary sense, we have, in our construction, lizard and ape and from what my son tells me, when he discusses structures in the brain, some of which still cause us to react, other things, too, like fish, and shrew.

Upon all this, we impose a structure of rationality and we say we’d like to have peace. (Like who wouldn’t? War sucks.)

But Freud, wrong on most things, was right on one thing at least – our thought processing doesn’t go on at the rational level, or at least not most of it. There’s a ton of stuff going on at the backend, stuff we’re not even aware of except vague feelings and ideas.
Complicating the situation for lasting world peace are two problems: the first is that most people aren’t really well acquainted with the contents of their own mind. This also isn’t a criticism. No, seriously. It’s a professional hazard that I have to spend way too much time examining how I think and come to decisions – because it’s important to create characters that sound real.—Spend too much time in the grey stuff, and you start being able to justify just about anything. If you haven’t had a very strong formation, you will entertain five heinous things before breakfast. OTOH spend too little and join in tribalism and the effects on group cohesion of attacking the same person, and war at any level is all too easy.

The other problem is that there is no over-authority that can prevent this. Every hope that an international body would do it missed the fact that international bodies are made up of humans in tribes. So, in the end, they worsen it.

Blame for war after the long war in Europe was placed on many things. The Europeans think it’s the fault of nationalism, and so have refused to stand for their own homelands, have instituted open borders to hostile immigrants, and have generally been committing suicide.

They blame all sorts of other things, too – militarism, the existence of armament’s, science (“If only we hadn’t invented the nuclear bomb.”) etc.

But none of that matters, because what causes us to go to war is what causes us to be humans. There are good sides to tribalism: without it we’d each be loners in a state of nature and the species would long since have died out. And there’s good sides to bellicosity. Without it, that mutant shrew who’d lead to us would have been someone’s lunch and we wouldn’t be here.

The same war like impulse that kills unprovoked, also defends the defenseless. The same nationalist impulse that caused the Nazis to goosestep (and frankly focusing on nationalism as the driver there is insane. As well focus on New Age Theories.) causes a country to provide mutual assistance to the weakest people, and to try to make their territory safe for their citizens. (And btw, the impulse to help others goes down as the surge of unrelated – blood or beliefs, including national allegiance – people come in.)

So even the best, most benevolent overseeing body in the world couldn’t stop war. It could at best, make them regional, smaller, and probably more vicious.

Actually we know exactly what a benevolent body can do. The US, poor Aspergers nation among nations, took seriously the “peacekeeper of the world” mission. Americans have not only bled in battlefields where there was no American interest involved, they’ve bled in contravention of objective American interest. For those following along at home and impressed by the “No blood for oil” slogans, it might interest you to know not even our oil companies benefited. We let France and Russia take all the contracts. Which either makes us prize patsies or well meaning people. Or yes.

And what the US has done is a) keep bleeding and dying b) impoverish itself while nations that no longer needed to defend themselves called us war-mongering. C) botched a few things, because in war as in commerce, you can’t make a decision for other people on what they want. Not in the end.

Which is why at long last, the US elected the man other nations wanted us to elect, the man who would make us just the same as the other nations. One in the group.

So, we’re disarming while Russia is on the march, China is testing weaknesses, and the middle East burns.

The first impulse is to say “well done, you prize idiots” and to step in and calm things down. You see, we don’t want war anymore than anyone else. And if we step in and calm things there will be fewer/smaller wars.

But here’s the thing: we’re broke. And the rest of the nations of the world haven’t been particularly thankful. In fact, they predictably hate us for not letting them slug each other to death.

Fine. If we’re going to be a peer among peers, we have to do something other nations have done since the dawn of time, to secure a generation or two of peace: “Let you and him fight.”

I.e. Russia and China? If they’re fighting each other we’re (relatively) safe from them. The Middle East? Protect Israel (our ally. Allies are important when we need them, and we will because war is inevitable.) and let the others fight.

Unsightly you say? Heartless? The world will burn and there will be piles of dead? And think of the children?

Look, bub, I don’t like war any more than you do. And I have very strong objections to dead children.

But there is no third option. Humans are not malleable. They can’t be posed into something they’re not.

There’s been war since Ogg beat Mogg over the head and stole his mammoth steak. There will always be war.

We’ve proven – and proven and proven – there’s no such thing as an impartial international body, and the US has done better at being impartial than the rest of those organizations.

So, you can let the US be the world’s policemen, with all the ugly stuff that entails, including anger and resentment from those we protect.

Or you can promote “lets you and him fight” and tend our garden, and look after ourselves, while the rest of the world burns.

Both solutions are unpalatable, but no one ever said life was fair, and heck, this administration might have closed the other door for us, and we might be down to “lets you and him fight.”

Most of us haven’t lived in a world without Pax Americana, and if we have to, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

But it could work, which rubbing the lamp and wishing for peace doesn’t.

As could – as does – Pax Americana. It doesn’t work perfectly, but it works better than anything else.

So – what is it going to be? Unpalatable one or unpalatable two?

A hated giant bestriding the nations, or a meek equal quietly saying “Let’s you and him fight?”


326 thoughts on “Let’s You And Him Fight – A Realistic Plan For World Peace

  1. A contributor on my original; mil-blog once compared America as the designated driver at a party where everyone else was getting totally plastered, resentful and hostile. We were keeping hold of the car keys, trying to do the sensible thing, and talking reason and sense to drunks who were b*tching and moaning about what bad sports we were because we weren’t getting plastered right along with everyone else.
    Honestly, I am just about enough tired of listening to the rest of the world b*tch and moan about horrible, warmongering AmeriKKKans, that I can see why the temptation to take one’s car keys and just go home and let them shred each other is so strong.

    1. And then one night, we are overcome by madness/overwhelmed by pressure of work, etc, and we get wasted and end up puking all over the car seat and everyone spends the night in the bar parking lot. And everyone still acts like it is all our fault.

  2. Or a Strong SOB telling the world “fight it out among yourselves and don’t bother me”.

    Of course, there’s also “You want me to fight on your behalf? Sure, but the price is a veto in your internal/external affairs”.

    Too many foreign idiots whine about the US being an Empire. They deserve the US acting like an Empire by telling their nations what to do or else. [Frown]

    1. What really bothers me are otherwise generally sensible Americans (like libertarians) who buy the Howard Zinn America-is-an-evil-empire.

      No, just let America entirely retreat from the world stage. You’ll see what a real empire is then, and we look like angels compared to that.

  3. For what it is worth, I am one of the “let them fight” group. Unless one of our few allies is involved, we need to take a step back. Why were American lives lost to protect Bosnia or Somalia? We had no National interests in either conflict – at least none that I am aware of.

    It is high time we started paying as much attention to our own back yard as we do someone else’s yard.

    1. You had, and have, exactly the same interest in Somalia that the British had in Malaya when they founded Singapore: Piracy is bad for business, and you cannot survive as an industrial power without oceanic trade.

      You had no particular interest in Bosnia, but you did have a responsibility, arising from the fact that Yugoslavia was one of Woodrow Wilson’s harebrained ideas. Having built the bomb, you had a certain responsibility for cleaning up after it went off.

      1. I just “love” that argument… Not.

        We cleaned up Europe’s mess in two world wars.

        Perhaps since we “cleaned up the messes” we should take complete charge of Europe.

        It’s obvious that they can’t run things without our help. [Sarcasm]

        1. iirc, the intervention in Yugoslavia actually started out as an European show. It was supposed to be Europe’s big chance to show that Europe was ready to take its proper place on the world stage as a united continent and world power.

          Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it worked out in the end…

          1. Dig a little deeper with your research along the causal tree: Most of what happened in Yugoslavia actually started a lot earlier than you’re thinking, when the geniuses in our State Department ignored the developments with the Milosevic crew, thinking that the whole problem was academic now that the wall was coming down. They were warned by people who were experts on the situation, but they ignored the recommendations.

            To be honest, a good deal of the problem started under Reagan and Bush I, but you can make a strong case that the worst of what happened in Bosnia and Kosovo was still preventable, had we gotten off our asses and actually done something. As it was, we didn’t, and the power vacuum was filled by the Europeans who promptly did everything they could to get the results beneficial to themselves, not the Yugoslavs. Do note that the Germans were mostly interested in their investments in Slovenian and Croatian industry, as well as getting those markets opened to their trade. As a result, the German government green-lighted the two of those former Yugoslav republics going their way, promising support and diplomatic recognition. Without that, it’s hard to say what would have happened–A good deal of what happened in Yugoslavia looks a lot like economic looting in a disaster zone, from some perspectives. Serbia was partially right, in that they felt that they’d been screwed over by the rest of the Europeans. That’s because they had been–Yugoslavia’s economy depended heavily on the two republics that had been stripped away, and it’s really hard for the whole system to keep working when that happens. It was sort of the same thing that went on with the fall of the Soviet Union, but on a much smaller scale.

            1. If you dig deep enough, and study the area long enough, you’ll find that the problems in Yugoslavia go back about 1650 years, to the breakup of the Roman government of Thrace. Some historians say the conflicts go back even further, to the first settlements of the area. The only time the area has had ANY “peace” has been when it was under a strong leader — the Romans, the middle years of the Ottoman Empire, and under Tito. The internal conflicts didn’t end, but the strong leadership kept it to acceptable limits. “Yugoslavia” was another of those fictions created by the slow collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the willful interference of the Europeans and Woodrow Wilson through the League of Nations. Most of the mess in the Middle East, where states were created with little consideration of millenia-long feuds between Sunni and Shia Muslims. We’re (modern western civilization) left to clean up the muddle.

              1. Yugoslavia was fairly well stabilized, up until the post-Tito era. What tore it apart, more than anything else, was the sense that the Slovenes and Croatians had that they were getting screwed by the rest of the federation, along with the Milosevic-encouraged Serbian irredentism. Serbia has always felt like they had a “right” to rule the rest of that region, and under Milosevic’s clique, they were encouraged to believe that. Most Serbs of my acquaintance were talking about the reawakening nightmare they were in, due to all this coming back with the Milosevic faction using it as an opening wedge to gain more power.

                Yugoslavia may have been inherently unstable. What it wasn’t, however, was automatically doomed to failure. Had the Reagan and Bush State Department been paying attention, and actually listened to the regional experts, it might not have. With everything else that was going on in Europe during those years, however? Nobody was at the desk. In the aftermath of all that, the Clinton era idiots did nothing to put the lid back on, and by-and-large abdicated their responsibility to do something.

                I grew up with a bunch of Yugoslav expats, one being my stepdad. I know the region and the culture pretty damn well, because of it. Without the lure of outside economic aid to enable the secession of Slovenia and Croatia, and absent the Serbian revanchism that Milosevic created as a power ploy, there’s nothing to say that Yugoslavia had to collapse the way it did. Our State Department’s feckless attitude towards the region, and the inept European blundering did more to make that happen than anything else. Once Tito was out of the picture, incentives needed to be applied to the Serb politicians to keep them from going over the edge into madness. We didn’t bother, just like we didn’t bother to do anything in Afghanistan, once the Soviets were gone. A vacuum wants to be filled, and it will inevitably fill itself with something not to our advantage, if we don’t participate in the filling.

                1. I would submit that it goes back to the beginning of the 20th century, and the events leading up to the assassination of archduke Ferdinand – well before America got involved. The region has been a hot bed for the past century.

                  1. True, it was a hotbed. However, it was a stabilized hotbed on the way towards something else–And, then Tito died.

                    A little careful, responsible statesmanship, and Yugoslavia might still be there, or there might have been another “Velvet Divorce”. The root problem was that there was never enough time where the various ethnic groups felt “together” enough to forge any real kind of national identity. They’d had that started about the time of the German invasions, and then the Italians and Germans re-lit all the fuses for the ethnic hatreds, which Tito mostly stomped out by main force. After he went, the unnatural monster he’d created was barely stable, but at least all the ethnic groups would describe themselves as “Yugoslavian”, and they were intermarrying again with great glee. After Milosevic? All of a sudden they weren’t Yugoslavs, anymore, they were Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and Slovenes. You could watch the fault lines split, practically in real time, with every phone call home, where they’d hear the latest outrage from Mom and Dad, or whatever. It was strange to watch, from the vantage point of the US expat–All the old fraternal organizations which had been jointly Serbo-Croatian and so forth split along ethnic lines, and where you’d had one, you now had two or three.

                    I still say it didn’t have to happen, and had we been doing our job, it might not have.

                    1. “If we had been doing our job”

                      Our job? What job? To police the world?

                      I disagree. This is exactly the time period I was talking about – America joining with the NATO Forces. It is not, should not, be OUR responsibility to go around the world playing playground supervisor and getting involved in other country’s civil conflicts.

                      A nit-pick:
                      There is George Herbert Walker Bush and George Walker Bush. Since they do not have the same name, they are not Senior and Junior, any more than John Quincy Adams is referred to as John Adams Jr. To say Bush Sr (or I) is lazy and imprecise.

                    2. There is George Herbert Walker Bush and George Walker Bush. Since they do not have the same name, they are not Senior and Junior, any more than John Quincy Adams is referred to as John Adams Jr. To say Bush Sr (or I) is lazy and imprecise.

                      It is traditional, and quite clear, when referring to two men who have the same last name, to separate them by picking a difference (frequently age, if they are father and son) and calling them (last name) (denotation). If the subject of the sentence is (lastname), then you modify it by (denotation) and later (denotation.)

                      It may not be common around you, but it is neither lazy nor imprecise; not sure how the origin of it goes, but I know for dang sure that several dozen folks did not mistake me for my father when they were calling him (Lastname) Senior!

                    3. Such are differences. It isn’t done where my family comes from.

                      No one ever called my father or his brother, -name- Junior or my grandfather -name- Senior. They were referred to by their names or as Julian’s boy, Ken or Sherm.

                      Same is true with my brother. In fact, if someone were to refer to him as -name- Junior, I rekon he’d get down right offended.

                    4. Erm, I omitted my sur name for privacy reasons. Perhaps I should have said _Last Name_.

                    5. Yes.

                      I know that the Left uses Bush I (or Sr)/Bush II (Jr.) as an insult, implying that they are interchangeable. While I don’t care for either one of them, I do see them as two different people.

                    6. And thus you thought it was a great idea to insult the other folks here?

                      For something that is pretty basic, since former presidents are routinely called by just their last names?

                      The Left uses everything as an insult, including quite a few complements.

                    7. I’m sorry you were offended by my saying the action was lazy.

                      I shall endeavor to remember that it is considered acceptable for people other than those on the left to refer to G.H. Bush and G.W. Bush in such fashion.

                    8. Goodie, a gratuitous assault over a minor matter, escalated to salting the opened wound. Are you trying to drive new participants away?

                    9. I have to give it a rest — I’m busy dealing with this timber in my eye.

                      Doesn’t stop me from occasionally noticing a mote in somebody else’s eye, though.

                    10. Human nature at work. It’s always easier to see other people’s problems than your own.

                      Not that I have any problems. [Sarcastic Grin]

                2. “we didn’t bother to do anything in Afghanistan, once the Soviets were gone.”

                  It’s not so much that we didn’t bother to do anything in Afghanistan, it’s that part of the agreement getting Soviet troops out of Afghanistan was that we wouldn’t do anything there. The Soviets went in to establish a client state on their border, they damned sure weren’t going to let us set one up there.

                  1. The way the power and reach of the Soviet Union has simply slipped from collective memory is impressive. Head-desk inducing, but impressive.

                    It’s like looking at, oh, the 1700’s, and instead of seeing “international empire with a seemingly unlimited supply of silver” one was to think of Spain in modern, dinky-Euro-backwater, vacation-spot terms.

                    Of course (assuming a linear view of history) it is even worse to look towards the future and assume all power and resources remain distributed as they currently are.

      2. I wasn’t referring to the *recent* events. I was referring to events in the Clinton era.

        1. If you think the Clinton Ear is not “recent” then you’re playing short ball.

          1. Eh? 20+ years isn’t recent. We’ve had an entire generation born and raised since those events happened.

  4. And the one handful of nations that’s particularly grateful for us – i.e. some (but not all…) of the Eastern European nations – are quickly realizing that trying to sign on as an ally of the US might not be such a good idea for their long-term interests. Our foreign policy can’t be relied upon, and a rock-solid alliance can be overthrown a couple of years later by the results of an election in the US.

    That last sentence is a pretty good paraphrase of what one high official in Poland said within the last couple of weeks.

  5. In my darker moments, I have wondered what the world would look like if we Americans were really as baldly imperialistic and “cruel” as our critics overseas would paint us.

    After thinking about it, I realize that in such a world, I wouldn’t have to listen to their blathering, because they’d mostly be dead. And, if not dead, then silent from outright fear.

    An interesting thing to consider: Many republics go through a true “imperial phase”, if you will. Happened to the Romans, happened to a few others over the years. The US has yet to experience this part of its history, but I do see the usual suspects cuing up the balls for such a course of events. Anyone care to guess what the results would look like, with an Imperial America running things?

    It’d be interesting to consider what that would look like, and how far it would go–I could certainly see a post-WMD terrorist strike America doing some very unsavory things, which was why I was entirely on-board for G.W. Bush’s attempt to follow a low-impact response curve. I don’t like the idea of participating in multiple genocides, which is where I see the other path ending. Unfortunately, the following presidential administration chose to piss that low-impact response away, and I can now see a very strong likelihood of us using nuclear weapons in resolving the whole problem in the Middle East. Ah, well–No doubt, they’ll blame the then-current President, poor bastard, notwithstanding the fact that Jimmy Carter and Mr. Obama set him up for having to do so.

    The Caliphate ain’t going to happen, one way or another. Either the Sunni and Shia wind up killing each other over who leads it, or we’re going to have to stop them ourselves. Likely, with nukes. Most of the region they dwell in is full of nice, convenient little targets for nuclear weapons that would do a lovely job of depopulating the region. Blow the Aswan High Dam, and kiss goodbye to Egypt. Drop a nuke on specific targets in Iraq, and there goes the entire former Fertile Crescent. You wouldn’t even have to target the cities–Just take out the dams and flood control projects, and the current populations become unsustainable. We wouldn’t do such a thing, of course, but our successors very likely will.

    The calculus of Empire is vastly different than that of Republic. The rest of the world would do well to remember that, and take such things into account when dealing with the US. A flip of the coin could change things immeasurably for the worst.

    1. I have wondered what the world would look like if we Americans were really as baldly imperialistic and “cruel” as our critics overseas would paint us.


      1. After about 5 generations, sure. Getting there would be a bit more…eventful.

        1. If the State department was running things, yeah.

          If you let the military do it right more like 2-3.

      2. Assuming, of course, that Kansas was flat, black, and glowing in the dark… Which it might be, after whatever precipitated our change in attitude.

        1. I saw that TV movie in 1983.

          “This is Lawrence, Kansas. Is anybody there? Anybody at all?”
          – The Day After

          1. *warped grin* I have a good friend who went to Kansas State U, and who keeps hoping for a sequel where the bad guys come back, skip KC, and flatten Lawrence.

        1. Flat and boring? Well, maybe so. As I recall, the difference between western Kansas and eastern Colorado is about 5 feet of elevation.

        2. Eastern Kansas is quite nice – the drive up from Wichita to Kansas City through the Flint Hills is picturesque… although not on the level of the Rocky Mountains.

          1. And in Eastern Colorado 86 between Castle Rock and north of Limon is a pretty drive.

    2. “…I could certainly see a post-WMD terrorist strike America doing some very unsavory things, which was why I was entirely on-board for G.W. Bush’s attempt to follow a low-impact response curve.”
      Did you ever read Bill Whittle’s essays at Eject! Eject! Eject! in which he made that argument? Essentially, IIRC, that if we don’t fight now for a moderate and peaceful Islam then we will later have to fight a war with an ever-more-militant and dangerous Islam that will require us to kill tens of millions of Muslims, and he would like to avoid the latter.

      1. I was reading Whittle back in the time frame I was coming to these conclusions, and I still think he summed it up quite well. I arrived at my opinion independently, but I think his conclusions are utterly valid. The mentality that these 7th Century idiots have is not amenable to living in the modern world with. They want the Caliphate, and the rest of us to be paying the tax owed by the infidel. Push comes to shove, the options are to either submit, or to die. I prefer that they be the ones doing the dying.

        Islam is a filthy, nasty religion as practiced by all too many of its adherents. There are aspects of beauty in it, but the problem is that the believers are far too interested in using it to justify the evil that they do. I don’t think that the rest of us can live in peace with these idiots, in the near or long term. So, better to have our war and win it, without killing the millions that would die when it becomes necessary to do our surgery with megatons of nuclear weapons. I really don’t like Mr. Obama, because he’s made it all too likely that this will become necessary. Like Jimmy Carter, the damage he’s wrought will be felt for generations to come. I personally feel that every death in the Middle East that stemmed from the Iranian Islamic Revolution should be laid at the feet of Jimmy Carter, and I include all that died in Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq War, because both of those conflicts would likely never have even happened, had the Shah remained in power over a more-or-less secular Iran. Jimmy-boy’s little exercise in moral superiority caused the quite literal death of millions, and he should be held to account for those. And, as I’ve said before, I’m not even too sure that he didn’t do it for the money. There are way too many unexplained and highly suspect connections between him and the Arab money world for me to think it was entirely a “moral issue” for him. I think the bastard was paid off, to tell the truth. At the least, the Arab money that saved his damn peanut farm and got him elected had far too much influence on policy in his government, and we’re all paying the price for it. The Iranian revolution didn’t have to happen. Hell, if Carter had put on his big-boy pants, and told the French to keep a lid on the Ayatollah, odds are that the Shah would have died of cancer in a few short years, and his far more reasonable son would have been running the place. From there, who the hell knows? Maybe worse would have flowed, but I seriously doubt it.

        Fact remains, Carter sold out a long-standing ally, and we have the results to show for it. Never should have happened–The Iranian people would have been a lot better off, and so would most of the rest of that region. No matter how bad things were with SAVAK, the Shah still killed fewer Iranians in his entire period of power than did the mullahs in their first year of running the place. They were out assassinating Iranians around the world, while the Shah was happy just exiling the trouble-makers. If he’d done what the mullahs did, he’d still be in power, and Khomenei would have been dead in a ditch, just like all those secular Iranian officers and senior enlisted were. We betrayed the Iranians we’d been working with, on so very many levels.

      2. From the inimitable Steven Den Beste:

        “I know my nation. I know my people. We don’t want to destroy you all. But if you (I mean “Muslims”) place us in a position where only you or us can survive, it’s going to be us, and you’ll all be dead. We can do that; we’ve had that capability for a very long time. We don’t want to, but we will if we must.

        But it would be better, for you and for us, if it did not come to that.”


        1. I think that one reason the Muslims are playing the way they are is that they basically sat on the sidelines during WW2. They don’t really understand the implications of what can happen to them. They haven’t had their entire countries leveled. Or felt they had to rework their country to make sure that it didn’t happen to them. The radical Progressives are just as bad. They were coddled and pampered, allowed to play their little treason games while the adults stared scared at an enemy across an abyss that nether side wanted the world to plunge into. The military of the US is fully aware the power they hold and they do NOT want to have to use it. I don’t think that islamists understand that we have been playing nice with them. They are getting our Bruce Banner military and not the Hulk military.

          1. If I were President, I would have Sherman’s letter to Atlanta translated into Arabic and dropped all over the Muslim world.

            Maybe go Dresden (Harry or 8th Air Force, it doesn’t really make a difference) on a city in Iran, just to show that we mean business.

            1. I don’t think they’re particularly impressed by technological capabilities like that.

              We’ve been bombing the piss out of them both one-at-a-time and in events like the opening to both Iraq wars, and it doesn’t matter.

              The second clearing of Fallujah OTOH got their attention.

              As one marine put it “We basically told them we’re going to be here at this time, bring it”, then we went man to man, door to door, block by block and stacked the bodies like Hulagu Khan. Well, almost like him. We didn’t cut the heads off and stack them.

              But we should have.

              The US Government is especially risk averse when it comes to troops, we prefer to spend material and equipment rather than put men in harms way. This comes from two orthogonal impulses–one is that bodies in bags are bad press, the second is that sophisticated weapons systems lead to (and from) defense industry lobbyists throwing money and luv at you.

              I’m firmly of the opinion that Marines, Rangers and Special Ops types, given ROE of “Please try not to kill civilians” and let loose on an objective will do more to pacify the middle east than a couple Dresden style bombings.

              Remember the Persian/Arab mindset is basically that the people *belong* to the ruler (this isn’t just Persian/Arab. Oblamo seems to have a bit of that notion as well) rather than the other way around. This means that they will tolerate losses that we would not (remember the child soldiers and trench warfare between Iraq and Iran in the freaken *80s*?).

              I’m mostly of the mindset that with modern technology (internet, global air traffic etc.) that we will never be free in this country until they (for everywhere values of “they”) are both free and respect the freedom of others.

              The question is how this freedom gets implemented and (irony alert) enforced. The current denizens of the State Department (and not just the political appointees, I mean all the way down) have no interest in promoting freedom, they’re a bunch of socialists, progressives and assorted f*tards. Since they are involved in everything international we’re screwed (this is part of my why I think a collapse is coming and we’re unlikely to get a second chance at freedom for many, many generations).

              There are lots of ways of getting people to do what you want. Putting a (literal or figurative) gun to their head is just one way.

              1. Part of the effectiveness of Fallujah derives from the fact we got down in the dust and fought them according to their rules and still beat the snot out of them, even having ceded the advantage of allowing them to fight on their turf, from entrenched and prepared positions.

                America’s technological advantage doesn’t especially intimidate them — there’s a degree of the Warrior Code still with them. Our airborne munitions may scare the crap out of them but deep onside them is the belief that “if we had the nifty toys we”d kick their butts.” They discount the technological acumen and sneer “the Americans are afraid to fight us man-to-man” — as if they ever meet us face on.

        2. These writings from Den Beste turned into “the three conjectures” formulated on Belmont Club. What has been called the
          Golden Hour is almost over and Islam may well commit suicide unintentionally through our self defense.

          I think Ripley had the best idea.

    3. Of course, if you depopulate the region, that population will go elsewhere. (And likely be extremely pissed off.) Think the Islamists in North Africa and Indo-China are bad now? Think muslims are destabilizing Europe? Just wait until your project is undertaken.

      1. All the more reason to curtail Muslim immgration to the West.

        I heard recently that more young Britons are going abroad for jihad than are volunteering to the British armed forces. Our multi-culti cultists are causing us terrible harm.

        1. On the Briton thing… not exactly. IIRC, it wasn’t the military enrollment that was being compared with the jihadis. It was more of a local defence force. But I don’t know much about that sort of thing in the British Isles, so I can’t provide further clarification.

          1. Even if you cannot provide clarification a “hey that’s not quite accurate” is useful for alerting us that we need to check further before citing something.

            1. Yup. The last thing we want is for someone to triumphantly deploy it in a discussion/argument… and then get shot down by someone who’s aware of what really happened.

      2. It’s not “my project”, it’s the almost inevitable outcome of the policies espoused by the idiots we have running this country, right now.

        With the psychotic elements our leaders have enabled, there is no compromise–Either you follow their faith, or you pay the price. You want freedom? You want to live your life in peace? You’re going to have to kill them, and kill them all. You might want to take note of how their language spells it out: Within Islam, they describe it as “The house of submission”, and outside it? “The house of war”. That’s how they break it down: You’re either with them, submitting to them, or in a constant state of war with them. Once they have the power base, that’s what we can expect. Keeping the loonies from the levers of power was all about what the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan was meant to accomplish, but now that both those efforts have been pissed away, we’re going to have to deal with that whole issue all over again. And, I seriously doubt that we’re going to do it conventionally, and with a modicum of mercy. What’s going to happen is that the idiots here in this country and elsewhere are going to write the whole thing off for a generation or two, allow the issue to fester while the loonies get more and more power, and then they’ll use it on us. At which point, we’re going to be faced with that choice of either submitting to them, or killing them. Whichever it is, I wish y’all much joy of your choices in the 2008 and 2012 elections. You’re getting everything you deserve of your electoral choices. The rest of us just got screwed, that’s all.

        And, just how do you think those refugees are going to reach sanctuary, anyway? Walking across the Sahara? That ain’t happening, just like an evacuation of the greater Los Angeles Basin ain’t happening, if things should ever go seriously wrong down there. The vast majority of the population of the region is living on borrowed time, I’m afraid. Either they defuse the stupidity, or they are going to suffer the inevitable consequences of being the poor fool standing next to the guy with the gun, when the police show up to put a stop to his stupidity. Bad things happen to the bystander, when you start throwing nukes around. Especially when you live in a region where most of the agriculture is based on a few easily struck water features like the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates river complexes. We’re about due for another Ghengis Khan level of human culling again, and it’s interesting that the Islamic world is queing itself up for the same treatment, yet again. The very dictionary definition of “too stupid to live”, if you ask me. Probably a result of all that cousin-marriage and the resultant inbreeding. You’d think they’d learn not to piss off their neighbors, but there it is… They don’t seem to learn, although the remnant population of the Ismailis would argue that some of them can.

        1. Are our leaders idiots? Yes.
          Are the folks at the State Department rank incompetents? Again, the answer is yes.
          Has our government systematically downplayed the threat of Islam? Yes.
          But you’re presupposing that all this is going to change.
          I don’t think it will.
          Are muslims commanded by their faith to conquer and subjugate the world? Yes.
          Fortunately, they haven’t been good at it for quite a long time. (In a world where the French are derided as being “cheese eating surrender monkeys” for the events of the last 70 years. A reputation as a fearsome warrior culture has a half-life on par with gratitude.)
          Between all this, a great deal of the populace isn’t going to be willing to face the obvious. We’ve been rubbing their nose in it for 30-some years, and doing so intensely for over a decade. If they haven’t grokked it by now, it’s safe to say they never will.

          That said, muslims have emigrated everywhere. Going to war against Islam would be the largest genocide ever attempted, necessarily cover nearly the entire earth, and would require a sustained effort lasting many generations.
          Even if you could successfully wipe out 90% of the muslims in the Middle East at a stroke. (Which is optimistic beyond belief.) Such an effort is almost certainly destined to fail.
          Oh, yeah. Pakistan has nukes of its own. Iran is close. And I’d be shocked if Saudi Arabia hadn’t acquired a few. I doubt they’d be passive in the face of such an attack.

          1. The point you’re missing is not their competence, but their utter incompetence that is the essential problem. When you’re sharing space with a kid who likes playing with matches inside a recently-emptied gasoline tank, full of vapor, you have a variety of options: Either take away the matches, and keep them away from him, persuade him to give up on his firebug inclinations, or you strangle him. We gave up on option one about the time we allowed nukes to proliferate in Pakistan, and option two is failing as we speak. That leads to the inevitable use of option three, or we’re going to watch these assholes immolate our world with us still on it. That’s got absolutely nothing to do with their competence, real or imagined.

            It ain’t pretty, it ain’t what I’d like to do about it in an ideal world, but it is the almost unavoidable outcome after the current lot of idiots in government get done with their programs, policies, and plans. And, when it’s all over with, they’ll be standing in the ruins and assuring us that they didn’t intend for this to happen. We’ll be dealing with the aftermath, nonetheless.

      3. I think you might be missing a subtext in Kirk’s scenario. Depopulate does not necessarily mean move the population out, or allow them to move out.

        Note his genocide remark, it’s unlikely the population will be going elsewhere if the worst comes to pass.

        1. I understand that genocide would necessarily be the focus.
          I just don’t like euphemism. Depopulate is a passive construction, when what we’re talking about is committing genocide and salting the earth.

          Trouble is, the population is already elsewhere. There will inevitably be refugees escaping (who will necessarily be the nastiest of the bunch) and be sheltered by the diaspora.
          Turn the entire Middle East into a glass parking lot, and we’ll still be fighting muslims following their holy command to conquer and subdue the world.

          1. Euphemism? It comes from Latin. Probably from one of their verbs for mass murder. The Latin “populate” can be translated to English as “Y’all Massacre”.

          2. The scale of the fight would notably be different.

            Believe me, I’m not advocating for the scenario, nor is Kirk (as I understand him). I’ve spent more than a little time in ME and Muslim countries, and I’ve no taste for slaughter.

            Doesn’t change the calculus, though. Our actions, and the actions of the current .gov, are shaping the future. Barring adjustment, that future could become terribly unpleasant for militant Islam, and no picnic for us.

            1. I delayed my military retirement by five years, and mostly because I felt that I owed at least the attempt at avoiding the likely results to any Islamics of good faith. I had a feeling we were wasting our time, but I’m really not happy to discover that the wasted effort would become wasted because of the actions of our own incompetent politicians.

              At this point, I’m kinda like “Well, we gave them a shot at it… They couldn’t manage it, even if we didn’t do absolutely everything we could have–We still gave them the chance to fix themselves, even if they pissed it away all on their own…”. So, now? I’m completely OK with uncanning the canned sunshine. Back then, I wouldn’t have felt completely at home with it, but they’ve made more than evident that they just don’t care enough to overcome their inherent corruption and the evils that can be inherent to their creed.

              It’s really ironic, when you think about it: If the genocide happens, it’s mostly going to be due to decisions made by their “good friend” Mr. Obama. And, even more ironic? Most of the world’s surviving Muslims are probably going to be Israeli and American citizens…

              Strange world we live in, sometimes.

              1. It was pretty clear in 2003 (Mosul, for me) that this was not going to be a short-term project. We’d moved past “wreck their gear and walk away” and on into rebuilding. This put us in the position of embarking on a generational project or failing.

                It didn’t take long to figure out we were going to choose failing. The .gov didn’t have the political will to explain the situation at the time, and the new .gov didn’t have the mental chops to understand the situation. They still don’t understand the situation, nor do I expect they ever will.

                Willful military occupation and civil restructuring with foreign control of the major governing organs was the only way it was ever going to be a positive, for the people of Iraq or us. Nobody had the balls to make that case back here in the States, though.

                The solution in Afghanistan is the same as in Iraq only much, much moreso.

                The only way either of these situations reached a happy ending required the U.S. to look everybody in the eye and say “We’re fixing this, you can help or you can sit down and shut the f@&* up. Pick, now.”

                Anybody think that had a chance to happen?

                1. Oh, we knew it was a generation-long project. My boss on staff was sitting down in Kuwait, waiting to go north in early 2003, and he laid out for us exactly how the next few years was going to go. The only thing he got wrong? When the insurgents would integrate EFP warheads into their operations–He had them doing it far earlier than they managed.

                  Without the decades-long commitment of US troops, which would have had to have been spelled out from the beginning in order to have the effect it needed to, the Bush program of trying to bring about an Islamic Reformation was doomed to failure. The idea still had to be tried, and we did so. The problem was, he was committing us to an effort much like that with which we turned Germany into what it is today–Sixty years of occupation and alliance. Likely, were that program still in effect, we’d be at the point now with Iraq where we were with the Germans in the 1950s–Rearming and repurposing them against the Syrian and Iranian threats to their nation.

                  To those who voted for Mr. Obama in 2008, I extend thanks and congratulations–I never really believed that we’d repeat the idiocy of the Vietnam era, but you made that possible. I now fully understand on a visceral level how the Vietnam-era guys felt, watching the evacuation of the embassy in Saigon. Over the last five years, we’ve pissed away everything positive we managed to achieve, after 9/11. Hope you’re proud, and I hope you like the world you made. Because it’s going to be a profoundly ugly one, here in a few short years.

                  1. I think the rapidity of the military collapse (even after the first foray under Bush 1) threw a lot of people off.

                    We could go off on a diversion discussing misusing air mobile (I use the older term inclusively) assets, letting the opposition dismount, disrobe and melt into the civilian population, but why?

                    We prepped for a conventional war, initially, and that war ended a little too quickly, for many purposes. It lead far too many people to believe short-term goals were consonant with long-term goals. Not quite “It’s over, we won!” but certainly a little too much “That was easy, let’s mop up and head home.” We consolidated into larger camps with limited patrols to reduce our exposure far too quickly.

                    Additionally, I have heard it creditably argued that the initial pacification efforts were too successful and the follow-on units were a bit lax in maintaining control, thus flare ups and increasing unrest.

                    I distinctly remember a few stare-downs in the streets with belligerent men whose bearing was a bit too military. We let the core of armed opposition free to pursue war by other means, and they did.

                    Eh, neither here nor there. Obumbler handed anything we fought and bled for away. May he burn for our dead.

                    1. It wasn’t the military collapse that really shocked most of the professional military types I was working for–The ones who were senior commissioned officers, full Colonels and on up. What shocked the shit out of them was the fact that there was no “there” there, when it came to civil matters. The entire government just evaporated. That was something which was not planned for, appreciated as a possibility, or really, even conceived of.

                      Everything we did in planning was predicated upon the idea that the civil side of the Iraqi government would continue to function, at some value level of “function”. It never occurred to anyone, for example, that every single governmental body from water plant operating authority to the Oil Ministry would just evaporate after Saddam fell. I mean, literally–We’d show up in a town outside Tikrit, and the water plant would just be abandoned and looted. The locals would be going “We need water, give us water…”, and our guys would ask “Where’s the guy who used to run the plant? What happened to it? Who looted it and destroyed the system?”. The locals would look at us in innocent confusion, and say that the central government did all that, and since we’d taken away Saddam, it was our problem, now.

                      You would literally go out into the country, and try to get all these “minor little things” running again that mean the difference between anarchy and civilization, and there would be nobody there. The plants were abandoned and looted, and the people next door would act all innocent about the whole thing, all the while standing next to the looted equipment and materials that were needed to operate the damn thing. Nobody would accept responsibility for the issues, either–It was all central government responsibility.

                      You read the after-action reports, and you really get a feel for what is meant by the term “watershed empire”. Literally nothing happened in Iraq unless the central government in Baghdad made it happen, and nobody down at the very low levels would self-organize to make it happen. I really don’t think you’d see the same result, anywhere in the Western world–Even in Germany, after Hitler, the local governments like city mayors and water plant operators kept things going as best they could. In Iraq, the locals were like little children–Even if the operators could be found, they’d be like “We can’t do anything–We weren’t told to…”.

                      That was the really big blindspot we had–Nobody on our side had conceived of such a state of affairs being possible. I dare say that if the Germans or Japanese had been as inept as the Iraqis, we’d have likely had just as hard a time with the occupations of those countries, as well. You just can’t comprehend how bad it was, unless you were there. Imagine going into a mid-sized US city, and trying to get it working, while the entire population is just standing there and looking stupid while you try to fix their water plant or sewage system. That’s what Iraq was like–And, the scary thing was that it was, at least initially, not a function of the insurgency. They really did not understand how to take care of themselves in these matters. Hell, one water plant we went into hadn’t been refurbished or fixed since the British left it there, operational, some fifty years earlier. No replacement of the sand filters, no new charcoal, no nothing–They’d just kept operating it, pumping unfiltered water into the city lines, as though nothing was wrong. The operator, when found, tried to blame it all on “sanctions”, but the fact was, nothing had been ordered, procured, or replaced/replenished since sometime in the early 1960s. When we got it operating properly again, the incidence of child mortality and other deaths went down in that community went down by exponential numbers, and of course, it was all due to Allah’s will.

                      F*sking idiots, the lot of them. I really don’t have a lot of respect for a bunch of the Arab world. Some of them are decent people, but the majority of them, acting as a group? Biggest bunch of dimwits on the planet, short of the Democrat electorate in this country.

                    2. I can’t speak for senior staff, they weren’t inviting me to their meetings. 😀 But a lot of the feeling going around was that battalion and brigade command staffs were particularly frustrated that we weren’t getting more penetration and taking more steps to prevent some of these units from hanging up their uniforms and dissolving. Some of that is the inevitable “put me in the fight” talk and no doubt a lot of it is groundless speculation. Because — Joe gonna speculate.

                      But you’re absolutely spot on regarding civil affairs. I don’t think we really had a feel for it driving up through An Najaf, Kerbala, Baghdad (side trip to Haditha) and eventually on to Mosul and the surrounds. Once we settled into Mosul, though…

                      I’ve never really found an example that clicks with people regarding how little civil awareness the average Iraqi citizen has. We start looking to straighten out Mosul and realize there are no services running and everybody is — doing nothing. We had to secure the origin facilities for fuels (including cooking fuel, which everybody needed, there being no municipal gas service), procure shipping and secure distribution points because everything had evaporated.

                      The people in charge of such had disappeared (Either with forethought, or in the middle of the night and unexpectedly. Given what many of them did with their little empires and the rampant abuses of power, I suspect there were more unexpected disappearances than forethought ones.) And everybody — did nothing.

                      The most obvious story about how Iraqis view civil structures, civic responsibility and their ‘neighbors’ comes out of our efforts to establish waste disposal services. Everywhere you walked in any major population center there was trash piling up. Empty lots in Baghdad (one in particular comes to mind, next to the elementary school, where all the kids played soccer) are covered in garbage, rotting trash. You began to get an inkling of the trash thing in Baghdad. But it really became clear in Mosul.

                      Most Iraqi homes are built as “compounds,” certainly the ‘middle class’ and up. They wall their property off and build the house inside. So you’re moving around on patrols and you can see these apparently nice homes beyond the walls, and you see these fancy cars pulling in and out of the compounds and yet the streets are covered in trash. Then you see somebody come out of the gate to their compound, walk across the street and dump their garbage out in the gutter. Inside the gate, clean and neat, outside — not my problem.

                      Well, we’re gonna fix it, right? A landfill area is set up, trucks are bought, drivers hired, large dumpsters bought and delivered to some of these trash covered empty lots. Everything is handled all that needs to happen is people dump their garbage in the handy dumpsters. We go back by, and there’s trash piled up around the dumpster. Not much in it, you understand, just piled up around it. It’s outside the compound, and it’s not their problem.

                      And this applies to everything. If it’s not their family or extended family, maybe clan, they don’t care. They’ll bitch about it, but they’re not going to do anything about it.

                      To be fair, for decades they couldn’t do anything about it. And they didn’t really dare bitch about it.

                      But changing that? That was never a short-term project.

                    3. Oh heck, I see that here in North Damolina — attend a downtown city festival, 4th of July, Christmas X-mas S-mas & Channukah Solstice Winter Lights Festival, whatever … wherever you see a trash barrel you see a pile of garbage from folks too lazy to put it in the bloody barrel.

                      Except around here there will be some folks who pick it up rather than leave it for the city trashmen (thus denying valuable seasonal OT to those dedicated employees.)

                    4. Small scale, RES, small scale.

                      And some worthy will pick it up, as you said. And there’s city trashmen…

                    5. See, the thing that gets me about all the “Well, we should have kept the Iraqi Army in existence…” folks is that they just don’t want to acknowledge precisely how FUBAR that whole thing was. If the civil government was as assed up as it was, why does anyone think that the military was any different? The whole Iraqi state, by that stage in the game, was entirely willed into existence by the Saddam regime. They were very much what the Nazis would have looked like, after thirty or forty years of one-party state. It was like destroying a theocracy, not a normal government like we’re used to.

                      If you’d done to Texas what we did to Iraq, there would still be functional civil authorities at the city, county, and state levels–They’d all be functioning, and doing their thing, processing water, holding courts, and so forth. Only in a totally-effed up former totalitarian state do you find things like what happened in Iraq, and I honestly can’t blame Bush or anyone else for how unprepared we were. You can say “We should have known…”, but until you’ve experienced the whole thing for yourself, you just can’t comprehend it. I can’t even think of a good analogy, here in the US–The situation was that alien. For us, the destruction of the regime in Washington, DC would be meaningless, so far as the water system authority in Durango, Colorado. For the Iraqi system, it meant that everything was done, over with–And, they were expecting the conquerors to replace their dysfunction, instead of taking the responsibility and power to do it themselves. Very much a slave mentality, I’m afraid–One of my bosses likened it not to a liberation of a formerly free state, but to a domestic violence situation where the wife had been under the total control of an abusive and domineering husband. The Iraqi people were so totally accustomed to living in a cage that they couldn’t even conceive of the bars being gone. And, I speculate that it’s been like that for generations, perhaps going back to the time of the Akkadians–There’s not one iota of a tradition for self-government and local responsibility.

                    6. Aw, now you know they don’t care whether their complaints are valid, merely that they sound credible. Their only real complaint was BushCheneyRumsfeldAshcroft, but they had to wrap that up for public consumption because even with a complicit media 85% of the American public knew who were the bad guys.

                      So every mis-step had to be blown-up waaaaayyyy out of proportion but tied, albatross-like, around the administration’s neck.

                    7. Yeah, I don’t know how we would have kept the Iraqi Army in existence. They slipped away like every other government organization.

                      I was more of the “pin ’em in place so we can take ’em apart” mindset. Though, I’m sure we could have found gainful employment for a bunch of former military Iraqi men…

                      The Iraqi people were so totally accustomed to living in a cage that they couldn’t even conceive of the bars being gone. And, I speculate that it’s been like that for generations, perhaps going back to the time of the Akkadians–There’s not one iota of a tradition for self-government and local responsibility.

                      This is really the key idea. And it reflects in all kinds of ways. Back when the insurgents started grabbing folks and cutting off heads I made the observation that if somebody started acting up in, Louisiana say, and cutting off somebody’s head in the name of Cajuns — well, there’d be some well fed gators, in short order. Because you don’t speak for us, y’hear?

                      In Iraq? They’d know the guys that set the bomb that killed a bunch of Iraqi citizens while trying to hit a U.S. target and they’d do nothing.

                      They were/are so far from believing they have any power, any ability to affect their environment, any hope of making lasting change… They keep their heads down and trudge on.

                      Now, it’s clear trusting anybody else to stabilize the country and let them find a way out of such a mindset would have been foolish, so…

                    8. But the Iraqi army didn’t “slip away”; they were sent home by what Jerry Pournelle calls “the worst proconsul in the history of the world (Paul Bremer)”.

                    9. That was later. During active hostilities several instances of expected resistance did not materialize because the units that should have been meeting us didn’t show up. They hung up their gear and went civvie. It was by no means “all of the army” just enough to be frustrating.

                    10. I think one reason every one associated with government or military slipped away is what you’re seeing now with the ISIS. They expected–because that’s what always happens–us to line them up, shoot them and toss them in a mass grave,

                      But is there a good example of a hostile culture being converted to western behavior through occupation? In Germany there was resistance, but it was a small portion of the population. Japan, which could have been a complete nightmare, you had obedience to the emperor.

                      Islam + arab tribal culture? I don’t see it happening.

                    11. But is there a good example of a hostile culture being converted to western behavior through occupation? … Islam + arab tribal culture? I don’t see it happening.

                      Impossible to say, definitively. Certainly not for the whole country. But I talked to a number of people excited about the future and hoping to rejoin the modern world.

                      Iraq was not as tribally divided nor as — backward, as Afghanistan. Most of their day to day division from Western modernity was imposed from above. It was interesting to watch the satellite dishes go up, and stay up, when they realized we weren’t going to hammer them for watching non-Iraqi TV. A lot of those dishes had been around a while, just hidden.

                      The civil problems have been touched on, but culturally? I can see Kuwaiti or UAE sorts of modernity taking hold in Iraq. It’d probably be easier with Iraq being a larger country, because part of the key is the more reactionary elements self-isolate in their own enclaves.

                      Long term? It’s problematic. Istanbul was surprisingly secular (for homogeneous religious tradition values of secular), but the reactionary elements still existed and it’s creating some turmoil, now. If you’re in the UAE enjoy Dubai, but don’t go to Sharjah.

                      There’s tension in the system, and given how much of the insurgency was foreign I’m not sure anybody was going to let that system be established and maintained. But the potential was certainly there.

          3. Luke, you might be right about the follow-on issues with the survivors. I’m thinking, however, that the accompanying riots and massacres that will inevitably accompany the loss of a major European or American city to an Islamic-sourced attack will likely solve that particular problem. Here in America, there are an awful lot of armed and practical people who are going to look at the Islamic faithful in their midst as a potential fifth column. Either those Islamics will see the handwriting on the wall, and speed to make themselves innocuous “good citizens”, or they’re going to die in large numbers. It’s that simple. We don’t do “live next door to threats” that well, in this country. If Mexico behaved like Gaza or the West Bank? Mexico would be devoid of Mexicans, and the only likely remnant of their presence would be place names. Disbelieve? Ask the Plains Indians, the Comanche, or the Apache. They’ll all ruefully tell you that it’s not a good idea to keep up with the warrior-band raids on settled farmers. Eventually, you piss off the farmers, and they come for you with a dedication that is awful to behold.

            In Europe, on the other hand? Oooooh, boy… I don’t want to even begin to think about it. Rwanda on a much bigger, more thoroughly televised scale, maybe? Rolling over, and surrendering? Maybe. Either way, it’s going to be interesting. I don’t see Notre Dame becoming a mosque, either way you look at it, though–The ethnic French will likely destroy the place, first.

              1. And may be again, despite secularization and restoration efforts aimed at showcasing its dual history.

                Not like they need it, there’s no shortage of mosques in the neighborhood.

              2. The native French have high explosives and nukes. They’ll rubble the place before it becomes a mosque, along with the rest of Paris.

                Just wait until the handwriting on the wall becomes undeniable for the majority of the ethnic French. At that point, I’m predicting that the knives are going to come out, and the immigrant flow is going to suddenly start going the other way.

                Of course, with the way the Socialists are driving the young away from France, maybe that won’t happen. Who the hell knows? I just know that the last Frenchman in Paris is probably going to be carrying a target designator or a backpack nuke, and one of his targets is most likely going to be that church…

                1. If France is like Portugal, it feels like one vast nursing home, where the only young people are immigrants, often barely literate immigrants.

                  And write that damn story, Kirk. Don’t make me come through the screen. No, no magazine will buy it. Thank G-d for indie.

                  1. You might ask me to write a story based on what I’m about to say, but I would find it too depressing, and too scary even for me. Two tropes among the politcally proper types from fiction: 1. “On the Beach” by Neville Shute. If there is a nuclear war, we all should take potassium cyanide, ’cause, what’s the use. 2. If there’s a limited nuclear war, we should all take potassium iodide to limit the effect of radiation.
                    If your kids are in public schools, and there’s any kind of nuclear panic, don’t let them go to school. If the panic hits while they are at school, warn them NOT TO SWALLOW ANYTHING THE TEACHERS OR STAFF HAND OUT even if they say it’s potassium iodide. Especially if they say it’s potassium iodide.

            1. Here in America, there are an awful lot of armed and practical people who are going to look at the Islamic faithful in their midst as a potential fifth column.

              In 2001 I lived in California. I started carrying every day (almost) everywhere on 11 September for the reasons you note.

              Ain’t seen any reason to stop, and the proliferation of moslem dress in Denver doesn’t incline me to change. In fact, if I don’t go abroad again soon a SBR with a folding stock in .300 blackout is under consideration. Fits in a small backpack and stops SJS in it’s tracks.

              Either those Islamics will see the handwriting on the wall, and speed to make themselves innocuous “good citizens”, or they’re going to die in large numbers.

              “We ain’t started to play Cowboys and Muslims yet”.

              If Mexico behaved like Gaza or the West Bank? Mexico would be devoid of Mexicans,

              Yeah, well recent events…

              1. soon a SBR with a folding stock in .300 blackout is under consideration Why eliminate the AR platform? What do you have in mind? AK variant or SCAR or?

                1. Why eliminate the AR platform?

                  1) Folding stock (not collapsable, folding) shortens the package considerable (no buffer tube).
                  2) Hate hate hate the M16 charging handle.
                  3) Buffer tube. Don’t like feeling it when I shoot.

                  What do you have in mind? AK variant or SCAR or?

                  Sig 556xi. I’ve got a 556 already, and it’s a pretty nice piece of work. The XI comes in 300 blackout and you can get a factory short barrel threaded for a suppressor.

                  Because this is the United States of I want, not the United States of I Need.

                  1. Looks like a great value – assuming SIG supports it with all the cataloged parts and options.

                    Certainly I want one though not a need (I’m happy with a box stock 6920 so old the lower and magazines are marked LEO only which might help show prior possession in states like Colorado.)

                    A nice SBR papered with lots of subsequent variation possible. I’d suppose paperwork delay may mean the gun is actually available to suit about same time as the paper – do you have a time for delivery on the SBR? Plain vanilla is on the street but I’d be surprised if anything else has a promised date?

                    Was there any input/comment from Gabe Suarez and the Force on Force people you’d care to share? Mr. Suarez is known for liking SIG long arms. I don’t see anything much from One Source.

                    1. I am not actively pursuing that option right now–I’m currently focused on getting my debt down to a more manageable level and then I’ll worry about such nice to haves. That, and I might be going overseas for work again, which means it would sit in a locked box somewhere.

                      Was there any input/comment from Gabe Suarez and the Force on Force people you’d care to share? Mr. Suarez is known for liking SIG long arms. I don’t see anything much from One Source.

                      I gather that sometime last year production caught up with demand and demand started dropping, so he’s not focusing so much on moving rifles now.

                      He still thinks that the Sig 556 is what the AK should have evolved into, but after he realized he’d never be able to make the AK a tier one rifle he started looking around at other options. Right now I think he’s focused on making money, and in America that really means the AR platform. It’s been hacked over enough that it’s a reliable platform, and that’s where the interest is. I could, however, be misinterpreting his statements.

                      Me, I really don’t like the M16/AR stuff for reasons mentioned up thread. I don’t think it’s bad, I just think that the Sig (as an example) is a far better fighting gun.

                      The PTR 91 is Not Pleasant to shoot, but it runs like a very heavy duty sewing machine.

                    2. Thanks for the answer. Agreed on the making money aspect – nobody here is going to object to market driven . Mostly red dot sights on pistols in the current mailings – I use an RMR on a S&W M&Pc in 5Shot leather myself – David Bowie did the slide strongly recommend – I see much more marketing of the Steyr Aug (and maybe FS 2000) than action in the crowded AR market by Mr. Suarez.

    4. “Anyone care to guess what the results would look like, with an Imperial America running things?”

      Let us assume, for just a moment, that a truly Imperial America would be run by a Caesar and not a Congress. I can see a large crater where Mecca used to stand, and a smaller one in Medina. I can see our Israeli allies running not just Palestine but Jordan (and both territories benefitting thereby). I can see prisons stuffed with Progressive Intellectuals whose “Radical Chic” games were suddenly taken seriously enough for prosecution. And I can see a lot of politicians around the world breathing deep sighs of relief, as America starts to react predictably; according to its interests.

      1. Except, we’ve already got a Caesar. The main question is how long before Congress is dismissed and the Capitol Building turned into a mosque.

          1. Said guns would be also in the hands of the rank & file of our military. The High Command might be loyal to Caesar but I doubt that the rank & file would support Caesar.

            1. The high command — might surprise us. I’d have been more confident a few years ago, but in the intervening time my doubts have crept up.

              1. And then there’s the arming of every frigging federal department in existence. Too many police departments who act like the KGB. Which way are they going to jump? I’m horribly afraid we are approaching a point where they are going to have to decide.

                1. Yeah, there’s a point, and I think we’re getting distressingly close to it.

                  Those officers who still see themselves as ‘good guys’ are gonna have to choose.

                2. A couple weeks ago I was shooting a Homeland Security officer in the face at a training event (force on force training).

                  Don’t be so certain that all of them are loyal to (as one acquaintance of mine puts it) Mugabe.

            2. The rank & file are largely comprised of those our current Secretary of State views and dumb and uneducated, the kind who got “stuck in Iraq.” They are so dumb they probably take their oaths to the Constitution seriously rather than ironically* and believe the literal meanings of their words matter.

              *I am trying to envision a “hipster army” but it seems very French.

    5. The one major thing we need to get out of the habit of is trying to fight a war with kid gloves. It takes three times as long, and our enemies don’t respect us even when we beat them. A six- or nine-ship ARCLIGHT strike on Dera Adam Kehl would have both the Taliban and the Pakistanis running in terror, especially if we “accidentally” allowed a target map with four or five hundred cells drawn, covering every major city in those two countries. The North Vietnamese admitted they almost gave up when we started using them. If we’d dropped those weapons in the North, the South would be free today. If we ever fight another war, we need to use every weapon we have available to us, including fleets of B-52s armed to the teeth with conventional munitions.

      1. Oh, I fully agree with you. Turn Pakistan into a test-range for 50 years, and invite the world. One could also turn it into a hazardous waste dump, and get rid of all those nasty chemical weapons…

        And, no, I don’t like the Pakistanis at all, particularly the nice people running the ISI and their government. If they didn’t have actual participation in 9/11, they sure as hell had awareness of it. Or else, the quid-pro-quo for allowing it wouldn’t have been the death of Ahmed Shah Massoud…

  6. As long as we carefully choose our allies (which would support our interests like Israel) and support them, I am all for this. There is a difference between Isolationism and “Don’t screw with me and mine and everything will be fine.”

    1. The problem is that a significant portion of our political class assigns virtue to a country by how strongly it opposes the US. How else is Israel evil, and the source of unrest in the Middle East? How else is Japan “provoking” China. By golly, how dare those Poles and Czechs be pissed that we sold them out?

      1. I believe this post was in the nature of a thought experiment, investigating what would be the best way to handle things, not a claim that this is going to become the policy any time in the near future.

  7. I’m very much in the “let them fight” camp; even in a best case scenario, we need time to rebuild and recharge. But does our not getting involved make it more, or less likely that the loser in one of those fights will unleash something — chemical, biological, or nuclear — that won’t stay on that battlefield?

  8. My concept of military intervention is pretty simple: Either don’t do it at all, or do it overwhelmingly. That would fit in with this idea pretty well, though it would probably require a re-vamp of our standing military and of the reserves (send just about everybody through some form of basic training that gives them a bit of knowledge but also evaluates usefulness, then offer reserve status to the ones that best fit the profile, and only have certain folk in a more permanent status, like good coordinators. Yes, it’s weird. And I don’t know if it would work.) You know—”we don’t want to get involved. And you don’t WANT us to get involved, because we’re Bruce Banner if we have to get involved.”

    1. Swiss model, if it can be sustained. I doubt it can – give us a decade to rationalize some of our economics and over-regulation, to rebuild just a modicum of confidence and strength, and we’ll go to the defense of either some semi-allied government or an enemy’s oppressed people, again.

      1. The Swiss model looks more appealing from a distance I think. The Swiss boy scouts have used a compass graduated in artillery mils and ordnance maps and army mess kits and such but several Cantons are moving to a pattern of civilian disarmament.

        The Swiss have a major problem with a national defense model based on the National Redoubt – there’s nothing there worth defending. The arc of industry based on Zurich along the Northeast would have been a walkover for the Germans – and so was effectively Finlandized during WWII – many of the Swiss thought the bombing of Schaffhausen was not only deliberate but somewhat appropriate. A war of movement in the Bernese Oberland makes more sense in terms of stopping an invasion from the East – after ceding the industrial base – and so it goes.

        Similarly for the United States it’s been observed and I think still true that

        All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years.

        But as noted elsewhere in this thread that says nothing about the vulnerability of our ports – and I’d include Chicago as having ample access to the sea.

        But mostly notice the Swiss rolled over and played dead for Napoleon and as I heard it did the same for the Allies just after WWII when the US pointed out Switzerland was entirely surrounded by troops who would have no problem letting no coal at all into Switzerland over the coming winter.

        I was there for the national level war games when the Swiss moved from their straight pull bolt guns to the Stg 57. Talking to a Major in Ordinance the consensus supported a move to full auto only after people were satisfied the first hit probability lying on a hillside shooting at 300 meters was as good with the new selective fire as it had been with the straight pull bolt guns. This works well for a bunch of reservists fighting close to home. I have a vague memory of British paratroops dropped well clear of the regular forces and fighting a reserve German force of over-aged Jaeger troops on the reservists home ground – where mobility was not an issue – and the reservists did well against the cherry beret types.

        I argued for the Swiss pattern with an instructor who quickly persuaded me otherwise – he took an experienced but all reserve battalion to Korea and had his men killed for lack of current training. I do believe I’ve read similar things about the need for recent intense training from Colonel Kratman.

        See e.g. Dr. Pournelle for what I (not saying what Dr. Pournelle might have intended with this example) take to be the consequences of the Swiss style with an army of reservists:

        In the Army a soldier may have a long career without firing a shot. Or like a corporal in Korea who had survived WW II, and was nearly 50 years old, when told to hold a position while the unit retreated said
        “Hold it how long, Captain?”
        “I guess I just need you to hold it. We’re running for our lives. Choose a volunteer.”
        “Right. Harvey it’s our turn in the barrel.”
        “Jeez, Corp, and we got through Casino together. OK, it’s our turn.”

        September 18 – 24, 2000

        Not my ideal.

    2. It really is a pity that we didn’t pull out of Iraq the moment that Saddam’s government fell. No Nation Building, no foot scuffing and “well, we really should be going”. Just; “We’re here to take down a government that annoyed us. If the prick in charge can make a comeback, so be it. Don’t annoy us again, or we’ll be back.”

      1. It would have been pointless to do that, and the United States we know doesn’t do punitive expeditions.

        The intent was to trigger a political renaissance in the Islamic world by turning Iraq into a functional, multi-ethnic federation. Unfortunately, we drastically underestimated how primitive the Iraqi society was, and how much work it would take. Even so, there are signs that the strategy would have worked–Or, do you think that the Arab Spring came out of nowhere? If Bush had been in office still, we likely would have seen sufficient support for the Iranian student insurgency so that the Iranian mullahocracy was severely damaged in terms of capability, and a bit more finesse with everything else across the whole region. As an example, Khadafy should have been eased out, into exile with his family, and the weapons stockpiles taken under control by our military. Since that wasn’t done, we have the Benghazi travesty, and a totally destabilized region in Africa.

        My only critique of the Bush strategy was that he didn’t plan for his successors to actively seek to destroy everything he accomplished, nor did he manage to set the stage for its success by explaining it fully or getting buy-in from the American people. If he’d been blunt and up front, as our commanders were, we’d have all known that we were in for a sixty-year plus commitment, just like with Germany and Europe. You don’t fix generations of misrule in a mere half-decade, nor do you abandon such a project in mid-flight. We still have troops in Germany, for God’s sake, sixty or more years after the war. Why did anyone with a brain in the civilian sector think that Iraq would be any different?

        1. Yeah, stoo-pid Bush; he never imagined what a !@#*$ bunch of Einsteins would follow his administration, nor how inimical to America and Western Civ they could be. Mebbe he shouldda read the newspapers instead of taking his data directly from the sources.

        2. If he’d been blunt and up front, as our commanders were, we’d have all known that we were in for a sixty-year plus commitment, just like with Germany and Europe.

          He stood up pretty good at first, but eventually, he started backpedaling when they mocked him about such things. I can’t remember the exact quote, but someone asked about that kind of scenario, and they were told, No, no, we’re not going to stay there 40 years…

          Or, my memory could be tricking me again, and that interview could have been with someone else.

          1. There was a huge disconnect between what the politicians were saying, and what the military was saying down where the rubber met the road. I don’t know why that happened, but I can say with assurance that nobody I worked around had any illusions about going in and getting out quickly. All of my bosses were taking the long view, that we needed to be prepared for the long haul, and that’s precisely what they did. Why that didn’t get up to the national command authority, and why that wasn’t a part of what Bush was telling the nation, I will never understand. We knew it, why the hell didn’t they? They wanted an end state that included a peaceful, successful Iraq, and making that happen was a project of generations. If anyone had any illusions about just getting rid of Saddam, and handing things over to a grateful Iraqi people, those were shattered about the time we saw conditions on the ground.

            You wanted to actually fix Iraq? You’d have to do what the Turks and British didn’t bother with, the entire time they ran the place: Change the culture, and change it permanently. I think there was good chance for success, right up until we pulled out in 2011. Now? I can’t think of a single reason why the Iraqis would trust us. The only tool left that we have is mass destruction, and that’s tragic. We’re going to have to do a lot of killing, in order to prevent the worst side effects of what’s coming, and an awful lot of that killing is, by nature, going to be very indiscriminate. Mr. Obama has the blood of millions of future deaths on his hands, and they were all so tragically unnecessary.

            I need a drink. Hell, I need an entire bottle, to tell the truth. I’m beginning to understand at a gut level why so many of the Vietnam guys hate the government, and the Democrats in particular. Nothing like being made a retroactive mass-murderer by policy decisions in the here-and-now…

            1. The quote I was thinking of appears to be from Dick Cheney:

              This is an existential conflict. It is the kind of conflict that’s going to drive our policy and our government for the next 20 or 30 or 40 years. We have to prevail and we have to have the stomach for the fight long term.

              And then someone, probably Kos (as Foxfier said below), started wailing about being in Iraq for 40 years.

              This is what I said from the beginning that we should plan on. Go in, take over everything, then teach the next two generations, while holding people responsible for their actions, and putting down more terrorist activity with extreme prejudice. But I pretty much knew that wasn’t going to happen, and it just twisted my stomach whenever I thought about it.

          2. All the phrase brings up is a lot of Kos kid type shrieking about how FascistMcChimppyHitlerBush wants to go to war for 40 years.

  9. Speaking of “you and him:” apparently ISIS (Suni) has announced that it will invade Saudi (Suni) and flatten the kabaa (or however you spell it) because the House of Sa’ud is encouraging the worship of a rock. http://en.apa.az/news/213369 (H/T Weaselzippers)

    1. Well, that’s probably disinformation. But if it’s true, it’s the logical end of all the Wahabi anti-idol destruction of the tombs of Islamic holy men and women, and of all the Saud regime’s appeasement of the Wahabists by destroying pre-Islamic and early-Islamic historical sites.

      1. I noticed that the speaker is not described as being one of the ISIS leaders or spokescritters, but as you say, it is a logical progression. And it certainly fits the “we’re purer than thou” arguments within the Dar-al-Islam. After all, if ISIS wasn’t doing the right thing for All@h by leveling all the tombs and shrines, they wouldn’t be winning, would they? So obviously, et cetera, et cetera.

  10. I fully expect a nuke to be used in an act of aggression, war terror whatever, fairly soon. Far end of the window perhaps five years from now, near end sometime tomorrow. And there are certain arguments that make it most likely in the next two years, sometime before Obama leaves office. Given his track record, if the perpetrator is not surely and immediately identifiable, he will freak out and do nothing. Or quite possibly over react and attack the wrong party. Lots of incentive there for an entity desirous of the creation of serious terror and uprising in the global community.
    Should my fears come to fruition I will also hazard the speculation that someone, not Obama himself, but someone, will demand that in this time of crisis we must maintain continuity and leadership, so simply postpone the 2016 elections until a future time to be determined once things settle down. Pretty much exactly what the fringe left said they feared Bush would do, so we know it’s on their minds.
    Should such an event really happen I suspect we would react in much the same way that the Italians finally dealt with Mussolini. As I recall some parts of historic Washington D.C. still have very convenient decorative lampposts.

    1. The Clintons want Hillary in the White House too badly, and hate Obama too much (if Hillary ultimately decides not to run), to ever allow their wing of the party to endorse keeping Obama in the White House. And without that support, Obama could never be expected to pull off the necessary legal hoop-jumping needed to allow him to continue in office beyond 2016.

      1. Hillary in the White House isn’t happening. There, I said it: She utterly lacks what it takes to be a successful candidate, and the most likely outcome of her getting the nomination is the Democrats losing the election. She’s utterly tone-deaf, and comes off as a complete bitch. Bill is that ne’erdowell uncle everyone has in their family, and loves because he’s a rakish, charming bastard. She isn’t, and there’s no way she’s going to win the election. If the Obama campaign could knock her out the way they did in 2008, she’s nowhere near as savvy or skilled as everyone says she is.

        My guess is that the most likely Democratic candidate is going to be Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Joe for the charm, and Warren for the ideology. And, they’re not likely to win, either.

        Whoever is President next is going to have to spend significant time just cleaning things up, and they’re likely to be doing so after another 9/11 or something on the scale of the Iranian hostage crisis on the international scene. It’s not going to be a Democrat, unless the next two years is completely uneventful. Which it ain’t likely to be, my friends.

        1. Hillary’s medical history alone would be enough to make me have grave doubts about her candidacy, even if I agreed with her politics.

          1. I honestly expect her to make a vanity stab for it, again, and then withdraw due to “health reasons” after the stress of it all. Assuming that things haven’t gone so far south by then that she just washes her hands of the whole idea.

            1. I haven’t ever thought Hillary would run in 2016. For one thing, she & Bill are smart enough to see the crumbling coming and know that whoever is in the White House when this Jenga tower falls is gonna take the blame just as Hoover took the hit for the Depression. OTOH, by looking like a potential probable nominee in 2016 Hillary and Bill get to maintain their high speaking fees and other perks that come with being the likely nominee — once she is no longer a candidate won’t hardly nobody care what she has to say, certainly nobody will care a quarter-million for an hour speech worth.

              1. And she can’t look like a candidate if Obama announces that he’s going to stay in office.

                Also, as the Clintons are known to hate the Obamas, I can’t see them supporting a bid by Obama to get himself more than eight years in office. And the Clintons still hold enough power that, combined with the Republicans, they could shut down a bid by Obama to circumvent the 22nd Amendment.

        2. How in the name of Bubba Ho-Tep did those two get together anyway? That’s one match I can’t even picture in my sickest imagining.

    2. Looking on the bright side, terrorism is a symbolic attack, and it’s used against symbolic targets.
      If a US city is nuked by terrorists, it’s unlikely Washington D.C. will still have decorative lampposts.

      1. If an Amaerican city is hit with a major bomb (nuclear, fuel-air, something big), it will very probably be one with an incompetent or wholly overwhelmed police department. DC seems unlikely; too many Federal paranoids. I’m thinking Detroit.

        That assumes a placed bomb, but that seems likliest.

            1. “Well, sir, there was definitely a flash, and the rad counters are going nuts, but I’ve got Street View up on my pad here and looking around, there’s really not much difference.”

              1. Surely the debris of Detroit would have been disturbed and re-distributed in the wake of the devastation?

          1. Detroit isn’t a likely target, it being ground zero for the majority of Islamic immigrants here in the US. Same-same with Dearborn–Too much chance for collateral damage on their coreligionists. Can you imagine the results stemming from the survivors of a strike on Detroit, in the confusion of the aftermath? Every Muslim in reach of the survivors would likely wind up victims of the ensuing pogrom, and I don’t think the authorities would be in a position to stop it, even if they wanted to.

            1. Seattle or San Diego.

              I would say Chicago, but they don’t have the sea routes.

              I really don’t want to believe it, but San Diego is the most likely– probably around the Coronado Bridge, God forbid. (I have family and friends there.)

              Lots of military to make it attractive, lots of border, the cops are not as high quality as they could be, there are already smugglers and pretty much every direction is a possible route in. I think the Navy at least is smart enough to have nuke detection measures going on in a useful if random pattern, and really hope the feds are too.

              Maybe LA, I don’t know how up on US culture they are– or what odd biases they have. (The world trade center really didn’t mean much to me until it was gone. If they’d hit the Statue of Liberty, I’d expect the “nuke them all” reaction, because that’s just a non-rational blow.)

              1. Thing is, the purpose of the attack won’t be the effect on America. It won’t be an opening move in a war on America. The whole purpose is to show off to the rest of the Islamics that _you_ are big and brave enough to kick America, and therefor they should all rally around you and follow _you_.

                So what do the foreign Islamics think of, when they think of America? What do they _know_ about America. New York City–take out the two tallest buildings. The Boston marathon, another high profile, well known event.

                Personally, I think Disney World/land would be prime targets. The Super Bowl, everyone’s fav.

                The Houston area’s oil infrastructure would make sense as far as crippling the US, but have minimal impact on the perceptions of the other Islamics, so it’s probably unlikely.

                For the same reason I tend to discount the west coast targets. San Francisco, possibly, as it has a “evil gay sex” reputation. But would it give street cred in the Middle East?

                “See you in New York.”

                1. Boston Marathon was only picked because the terrorists were locals– they know America.

                  It’s possible the terrorists will be REAL American-savvy, but that also means they’d be caught because the folks trying to catch them think like Americans– dams, power plants, pipelines.

                  I picked Seattle and San Diego because they’ve got lots of military pictures– Norfolk is a good target in theory, but on the same theory as the power plants, not likely to succeed.

                  Disney makes sense for body count, but an airport would make sense for bodycount and diseases would work better there, too.

                  It’s hard to figure because we’ve got to figure out what their values are– the method has to be “right,” a visceral and immediate sort of harm rather than just dead. The target has to be “impressive”…. but freaking MARKETS count as “impressive.”

                  1. I always thought if you really wanted to terrorize America and have a big impact, drive a truck into some malls on the Friday after Thanksgiving in about four mid-sized cities like Des Moines or Ft. Collins or Boise or Charleston. You’d want to hit middle America and you’d want to hit the economy.

                    Granted we’re all probably now on the NSA’s watch list but that’s nothing new for me. WAY too many theoretical discussions like this over electronic media.

                    1. I try to make sure I don’t post anything I haven’t already seen discussed elsewhere.

                      I think the more damaging and terrifying would be randomly exploding garbage cans in malls. Don’t pick specific days, or even only big malls– just randomize it. Probably focus on foodcourts for the body count, but do some that are just random stores.

                      That was actually a major worry near Pensacola when I was in training there, right after 9/11. You never saw the garbage guys at the mall watched so close by so many large, short-haired men. 😀

                    2. Country Club Plaza in KC when they do the Christmas Light thing, plus one or two tanker truck “accidents” on the Interstate and river bridges near downtown. (And before anyone starts looking at me funny, this is purely a thought experiment, and highly unlikely at best, since the bad guys are going for show in their corner of the world. And they’ve probably scoped the area and gone “No way dude, that neighborhood’s not safe!”)

                    3. Stephen Hunter’s Soft Targets features a terrorist attack on The Mall of the Americas, IIRC. I can think of few things better calculated to engender disgust among America’s enemies (external and internal) that a giant shopping mall.

                2. Grr, just thought of something– maybe they aim at the markets because they know everyone needs it, but they don’t understand us enough to identify a similar need here. (Bomb WalMart and we’ll just go to Target; hit Target and we’ll go to Safeway; hit Safeway and we’ll go to Fred Meyers… or just go to the Walmart that’s on the other end of town….)

                3. Okay, as a bonnafide once-alien: America is NYC, Los Angeles, MAYBE Dallas, and MAYBE Chicago. The rest? Bah.
                  You aren’t tracking how they know America. It’s MOSTLY through tv shows, not news. Okay, so Miami and other places that had a CSI might be at risk, but perhaps not considered “big” enough.
                  Also, they’re startlingly naive. And these are Portuguese, okay? Who are technically a western country.
                  For instance, if something is called First National Bank, they THINK it’s the first NATIONAL bank, and therefore bigger than all the rest. This is why they anthraxed the media company that owns the Enquirer because they are “American Media Company.” My brother can’t GRASP that our media isn’t controlled and censored. Okay, under Obama, he might be right, but it’s more a matter of they’re left, he’s left, they cover themselves with the same bedspread. BUT Alvarim thought this under Bush. So. And he’s educated, etc. Why? Because even other western countries say they have “freedom of the press” but the government still controls everything “to prevent danger.” So, yeah, part of the reason they think we’re so bad is that they look at our wretched media and think it is what the government lets go through because it’s less …

                  Do you guys want a post on this?

                  1. I’d be interested. It’s something you’ve talked around the edges of, and something we’ve batted around in the comments, but it’s not been comprehensively laid out.

                    And my experience of it in Europe and the ME is as an American. It’s hard to shake the little doubt that they’re having you on, or being willfully obtuse to make their point.

                  2. If a bad guy tried to mess with the traffic in Dallas, would anyone notice? The highways look like a war zone, or “Invasion of the Orange Lane Snatchers” as it ls.

                    1. Yes, I’d like to hear Sarah’s take on how Europeans and Middle Easterners generally “see” the US. I know that what they see is distorted like a fun-house mirror … but seeing what rationale they would have in picking a particular target could be very interesting. I’ve always thought that Hollywood – and any big city that has featured in a long-running TV show might be seen as very important. Much more important than they actually might be, considered strategically from our point of view.

              2. They could pick a target the way the Japanese chose to invade the Aleutian Islands. They thought their invading ANY piece of US territory would drive us crazy, so they chose an easy target. US fleet feinted toward the Aleutians before heading straight to Midway.

          2. A couple of hundred thousand citizens. No infrastructure to speak of; nothing we’d be hard put to replace before we could make blood war. But enough people to make us seriously angry.

            I’ve mentioned before, but it bears repeating, that after 9/11 I was told by several Lefties that we were “lashing out in unreasoning anger” (or words to that effect). I would always say “Ridiculous, and I can prove it; Mecca still stands.”

            The terrorists do not have the capability to destroy us with explosives, even nuclear ones (germs are another matter). What they CAN do is make us angry enough to go all Hiroshima on their ass, and throw all the anti-war twits into jail indefinitely. I’m not saying that that would be a GOOD thing, mind.

            Anybody want to go back to the days of the British Raj?

            1. That argument always makes me wonder what would be reasoning anger and if they’d be okay with that?

              Mind you, I didn’t want to nuke Mecca; I thought our target ought be Hollywood, for making all those films about how corrupt, decadent and generally unworthy America is. Sure, there’d have been innocents killed as collateral damage (losing Nick Searcy would grieve me) but probably not so many as a strike on Mecca.

              1. Even less than nuking Mecca do I want to run Mecca, which is (at least, I hope) the reason that we haven’t attacked the Saudis. If we were to attack them we would win, and if we won, Mecca would then be OUR headache.

        1. The actual calculus, in terms of targeting, is only going to be apparent in retrospect. High-value? DC. Accessible? Any major port city. Whatever lunacy prevails amongst the plotters? HellifIknow…

          All I can tell you is this: If you live in a major city, you’re stupid. Look around you, and ask yourself “What here would attract the attention of a terrorist, from their perspective, not mine?”. And, if you see something they’d like to destroy, and you don’t leave for less attractive quarters? You’re a damn fool.

          This isn’t something as rational as the Soviet threat to obliterate the US during the Cold War. The commissars were amenable to the logic of MAD, and were uninterested in destroying life on earth. Review, if you would, the ideology of most of these lunatics espousing the various brands of fantasy Islam, particularly the so-called “Twelvers”. Read what they believe, and if you’re not at least somewhat concerned by the idea of those sorts getting nukes, you’re a Grade-A Idiot. It is almost a foregone conclusion that nuclear weapons in their hands automatically implies the use thereof, and probably on us. Although, they’ll probably also be nuking the ever-loving hell out of their fellow Muslims, as well.

          1. If one were to chat with certain Saudis about their plans, were the nutjobs across the gulf to actually get nukes, one might get an idea that the Arab neighbors might be the ones doing the nuking, instead of the Persians. They’ve certainly got the cash to make it so…

            1. Who do you think financed the Pakistani nuclear program? And, why, do you suppose, there are those Chinese IRBMs sitting out in the Saudi desert?

              There’s also the plan to destroy the oil infrastructure in KSA when and if the regime feels threatened, which is a large part of Bush II was so careful to plan around not giving them a reason to activate it. I still think he should have bitten the bullet, and taken the Saudis down, along with the Pakistanis. The indirect approach was far too subtle, and too long-term in requirements. A pair of punitive expeditions, smash-and-grab for reparations, and leave the wreckage behind for them to rebuild on their own under punitive sanctions.

              Frankly, the Saudis are extremely fortunate that they had Bush to deal with. If I’d been the guy at the helm on 9/11, come 9/20 or so, when we had good evidence for who was responsible, they’d have gotten an ultimatum, followed by a declaration of war and considerable destruction. I’d have probably been impeached when I was done, but the point would have been made: Don’t attack America. To this day, the Islamic world fears the Mongols, and for good reason. Khwarazim, anyone?

              That’s really the only way you make an impression on denizens of the 7th Century, I’m afraid. And, despite the veneer of modernity, that’s what most of Islam is–A vestigial remnant of those primitive times.

              1. And the Mongol Empire is the model the rest of the world should expect an America that sheds it’s inhibitions to emulate: Treat honestly and we’ll mostly leave you alone; do anything that bothers us or attracts our interest in any way and we unleash all the highly mobile forces we’ve still got at hand, with the objective of eliminating the irritation.

                Best bet: Don’t push to that point. And don’t count the the current idiots as being representative going forward – the pendulum always swings.

          2. All I can tell you is this: If you live in a major city, you’re stupid. Look around you, and ask yourself “What here would attract the attention of a terrorist, from their perspective, not mine?”. And, if you see something they’d like to destroy, and you don’t leave for less attractive quarters? You’re a damn fool.

            Or, like the majority of the U.S. (or any Western nation) population, you’re tied to metropolitan areas by livelihood and necessity. We can’t move the bulk of 314 million Americans to small rural towns, ’cause then they wouldn’t be small rural towns anymore…

            1. The decisions made by the nation are naturally going to be different from the decisions made by individuals. Our government is not taking the steps necessary to preclude, or at least reduce the chances of such an attack, so you do what you must on a personal level. Systemic, national-level protective measures are the responsibility of the national government, and they’re not doing their jobs. Hell, if anything, the policies of this administration are schizophrenic–They’re simultaneously trying to get more of us to live in the big cities, while their foreign policies are making it increasingly likely that one of those cities will face partial or total destruction over the long term.

              Do the calculus: If the risk of living at ground zero of a potential terrorist target is outweighed by the financial rewards and benefits of living there, that’s your choice. My choice is not to risk suffering that fate, thankyouverymuch. If I did live in a major city/target, I’d have a serious bug-out plan in place, including weapons, vehicles, and a place to head for in case the worst-case happened. And, even then, some cities are just not on the list–Los Angeles, for example.

              In a major attack/disaster, that city is a deathtrap for millions, and there’s not a damn thing to be done for the population, unless they’re the lucky few who manage to get out right at the very beginning. The rest will die, and likely die horribly. Starvation, thirst, and epic levels of social dysfunction are the future, for a Los Angeles suffering a serious WMD attack. Done properly, you could kill millions with a few thousand pounds of conventional explosives that were judiciously set. The support systems for that city are just not all that robust. Cut the water, cut the fuel, cut the transportation lines, and it’s all over with. Past a certain tipping-point, and you’re not even going to get the disaster relief personnel out of there before the whole place turns into a giant graveyard.

              Some place that’s not sandwiched between high-mountain desert and the ocean, you might be able to escape. Memphis, Tennessee, for example. Some place like Las Vegas? Mmmmm… You’re screwed. Seattle? Wrong time of year? You’re screwed, again, only in a different way.

              1. Given my druthers? I know several plots at a decent remove, good sight-lines, limited access, reasonable terrain features, natural resources…

                Nobody’s given me my druthers, unfortunately.

              2. Even in winter, Seattle wouldn’t be LA bad to get out of.

                Yes, even if the passes are closed– it would royally suck, but you could walk south without freezing to death.

                Depending on the damage done, people panicking would be the issue– not so much really being trapped. There’s a freaking amazing amount of agriculture near Seattle. Including apple and potato storage areas, at the very least, and I believe carrots as well. And those places do have fuel tanks.

              3. depends on the exact WMD attack, and where it is, and what you consider to be ‘Los Angeles’.

                1. For this purpose, “Los Angeles” should be the entire unified megalopolis that stretches along the coast from Malibu to Tijuana. People who haven’t lived there, and even people who have, just do not understand the scale of the “city” that Southern California has become. Farther east, Americans group themselves into discrete cities and towns separated by stretches of rural territory. In Southern California, you often pass from one city to the next without noticing, and there is no practical difference to compare one city to the other.

            2. Look around for the most likely targets, routes in and routes out; part of why my husband and I chose our current area is because, yeah, it’s next to a military base– but there is a LOT of dirt and rock between us and the most likely routes for a dirty bomb, and we’ve got a fairly straight shot out of town if worst comes to worst. Plus the base we’re near would be a horrible target for a dirtybomb…..

              1. Don’t worry about a dirty bomb. As long as you’re not camping in the crater, there’s very little long-term risk. The amount of radioactive material necessary to generate significant airborne over a large area is just this side of rediculous (as in you’d receive a fatal dose from the assembeled bomb in a matter of minutes.

                1. Was too tired to keep things straight– the mountains/hills thing was for the “nuke(s) in a shipping container” situation.

                2. I am more worried about an EMP … shutting down the chips controlling almost every automobile engine in a blast radius would not be pretty.

                  Is anyone confident that, Jimmy Carter having decided against its development, there are no neutron bombs in existence?

                  1. Ooh… John Ringo brought up EMP in one of his panels at Liberty Con. he said that the studies he looked into, which were in-depth studies done by DOD and DHS, and he said that EMP is not nearly as much a thing to worry about as people think.

                    And as for cars, I think a lot depends on whether your car has a metal shell or a plastic/fiberglass one, because a metal shell will protect the electronics quite a bit.

                    1. A lot of “hardening” has been going on since folks figured out it could be a problem, over a decade back. Was already well underway by the time I hit tech school, just a few months after 9/11.

                      Coast to Coast AM has been on about the problem of Solar Flares since before the Y2K fright.

                    2. It was funny – he said he was looking at this map they did, based on a 25megaton EMP blast over Philadelphia, and there was a red oval around Philly, then a yellow oval outside of that. But the bottom (south end) of the oval had a little divot out of it. It puzzled him for a bit, until he saw that that was the edge of the Tennessee Valley Authority infrastructure. Apparently, their infrastructure is so overbuilt that the study concluded it would not be affected by an attack over Philly.

                      And there are tons of people sharing these doom predictions that the entire country could lose power due to a single attack.

                    3. And there are tons of people sharing these doom predictions that the entire country could lose power due to a single attack.

                      *shrug* Magic thinking happens. As long as they’re not the ones designing our plans…..

          3. I’ve always been of the opinion that the reason the World Trade Center was attacked was that it was called the “World Trade Center.” Somehow it never sunk in that the WTC wasn’t the WORLD trading center, but just another office building. In a way terrorist attacks are like the American Indian tradition of “counting coup,” done mostly as a status attack. This is the sort of thing a tribal war is like, small attacks for status that don’t have a lot of collateral damage.

            1. And, that worked out ever so well for the American Indians, over the long run, didn’t it? It’s a large part of the reason we herded them onto reservations, got them hooked on cheap booze, and then destroyed their independence via the destruction of the buffalo herds.

              Primitive tribal mentalities don’t integrate well with civilized neighbors, and the inevitable conflict almost always results in the destruction of the primitive tribal sorts.

              Islam would do well to study the fate of the American Indian, and consider what sort of future they want: Genocide, reservation, or integration into the modern world. There aren’t any other options, with the easy availability of WMD enabled by modern technology.

  11. King Log or King Stork? The problem with fables – especially Aesops – is that they do too good a job of defining human behavior.
    King Log is what the US typically plays. We may get involved and whop ass, but they we try to fade back into the background.

    And people complain. And groups hate us. They call us the big bully, then act as though we are the big wimp. Seriously?!? If the US was the Big Bad Wolf they descibe us to be, they’d be first on the list.

    The opposite is King Stork. And we know how he acted. Do they REALLY want that?

  12. For years I have felt that our military should only be used as the stick of our foreign policy, only committed when absolutely necessary, and then committed with extreme force to hit an enemy hard enough to get their undivided attention. None of this, we’re going to keep you peaceful until we can remake you into a mirror image of ourselves. If we’re going to fight, we need to go in, break the hell out of the other side’s military, and leave. If they want to push us to that point, then they can deal with the consequences of us breaking their military toys. You harbor the terrorists who kill American tourists on a Mediterranean cruise line, we are going to smash your navy and air force, and possible your army, then go on about our business, leaving you with a grand military tradition of getting your asses whipped. And if you try it again we can have a carrier there in a couple of days to do our part of the equation again. Where we lose is where we try to occupy foreign lands and make our soldiers act like beat cops, We don’t lose a lot of people buttoned up in Abrams or flying over in B2s. We take casualties when we have walking patrols through the cities and ground convoys to supply them.
    Sure, there is some collateral damage to such a policy, and I really don’t like the idea of hurting and killing people who had no input into the decision making tree that led to the crisis. But we can’t free everyone from bad governments, as is being proven now in Iraq. They have to do it themselves, and if the government keeps stepping in it by antagonizing the military powers, maybe they’ll get tired of it and do something. Then maybe we can aid the rebels, but history has proven we must be cautious there as well, because sometimes the people who are freedom fighters end up hating the people who helped them just as much as the people they have just overthrown.

    1. “we are going to smash your navy and air force, and possible your army, then go on about our business, leaving you with a grand military tradition of getting your asses whipped. And if you try it again we can have a carrier there in a couple of days to do our part of the equation again. Where we lose is where we try to occupy foreign lands and make our soldiers act like beat cops, We don’t lose a lot of people buttoned up in Abrams or flying over in B2s. We take casualties when we have walking patrols through the cities and ground convoys to supply them.”

      The problem is that a lot of these guys view us as the world’s bully. They don’t have to win against us, just be alive at the end, to declare victory.

      1. That’s how Hezbollah declares victory against Israel.

        “They didn’t beat us as quickly as they expected, and some of us were still alive! We won!”

    2. re: collateral damage. If your policy were pursued wholeheartedly and consistently, I suspect the two or three days between a foreign nation becoming culpable and the actual American response would be occupied with a massive, panicked civilian exodus from the vicinity of obvious targets.

      1. Starvation or death by thirst in the deserts, it’s all the same. One would hope that whoever is running things possesses the mercy to simply kill refugees with later small-scale strikes on the places they collect, but I don’t think they’ll bother for various reasons.

        The whole thing will probably be quite Biblical, to tell the truth. And, not the happy-friendly New Testament, either–Straight-up Old Testament Wrath of God ™.

    3. For years I have felt that our military should only be used as the stick of our foreign policy, only committed when absolutely necessary, and then committed with extreme force to hit an enemy hard enough to get their undivided attention. None of this, we’re going to keep you peaceful until we can remake you into a mirror image of ourselves. If we’re going to fight, we need to go in, break the hell out of the other side’s military, and leave.

      That’s what we did (and then some) in WWI. We were back in 20 years to do it all over again. The second time we stayed to rebuild a civil (more or less) society.

      In Korea we stayed, and they’re pretty good neighbors. Philippines too (although weren’t really at war with them). Much of Central America we invaded, did what we wanted and left. Now look at them.

      1. In most of the instances you identify, there was an outside party involved at some point. South Korea was invaded by its northern neighbor. The Phillipines were occupied by Japan (admittedly in between US occupations…). And we took the islands from Spain. In short, we were seen as liberating the locals from another outside group – a very repressive outside group in at least two of the cases I identified (I’m not sure how the Spanish treated the locals). That wasn’t the case in Central America.

      2. I was going to say, I rather like Japan and would appreciate more countries like it being formed from the… rather horrific starting point.

  13. My visceral inclination is, and has been for a while (including a fair amount of the time I spent in Iraq), let ’em fight and leave us alone.

    My more considered inclination is to understand that geopolitics is frighteningly complex, fluid and inherently unstable. Our national interests are not simple matters of commodity assessment and allies, there are interrelationships to consider. More so when we evaluate economic interests. Relative isolationism weakens us in ways not always readily apparent (the consequences of our mishandling of Iraq are greater than I’ve seen anyone cover in one place, to date).

    Then we’re back to the visceral. I’ve seen firsthand and very intimately the attitudes held by some in the rest of the world regarding the U.S. I’d very much like to leave it to them to sort out.

    In the near term, as noted, I think it unlikely I’ll need to resolve the two positions. The current .gov has significantly reduced our options.

    In the long-term, I fear something similar to Kirk’s scenario. But I don’t think imperialism is necessary as a starting point. I think an event flowed by “we said leave us alone!” could precipitate some vigorous military response.

    I don’t think the world is smart enough to avoid kicking the sleeping dog. Much less avoid antagonizing the wolf that’s walking away.

  14. I’m all for “Lets You and Him fight.”
    I’m tired of wasting American lives and treasure on ingrates and incompetents. Let them slaughter each other on an industrial scale.
    We just need to protect our borders and our interests and let the rest of the world burn.

    1. In addition, our interests, an NOBODY ELSE’S should always be paramount. Kill or imprison American? Get ready for retaliation on a mind boggling scale.
      There should be a completely wrecked prison in Mexico, with lots of dead Mexican cops, and a Marine home safe in the US. Ditto for the lady and her family in the Sudan.

      1. Yeah, well… I’m not so sure that that Marine isn’t paying the price for Fast and Furious. Until we prosecute Holder for those three hundred dead Mexican nationals, I’m kinda thinking this thing is a quid pro quo for Mexican law enforcement.

        And, ya know? I’m also not sure I blame them. I’m really not.

        1. I’d be happy to arrange an exchange. Eric Holder can rot in a cell in Mexico, and we can let the Marine be Attorney General.

              1. Thank you both for your endorsement. The present administration has already shown itself willing to make dubious exchanges of prisoners; I think this exchange would be more fruitful. Who do we have to talk to make it happen? 🙂

      2. A 16-year-old American citizen was kidnapped and murdered, and the White House says:

        I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.

        (On the other hand, leaving Hamas intact has been shown to “destabilize the situation.” Is 0bama asking Israel to “refrain from” such unconscionable restraint?)

        1. I read that the White House had called for Israel and the Palestinian “We don’t need re-elections ll we get it right the first time” Authority to work together to find the parties responsible for this.

          In other news, Michael Corleone has pledged to work with the authorities to find the murderers of his brother, Fredo Corleone.

  15. “…tend our garden, and look after ourselves, while the rest of the world burns.”
    Which bears a certain Candide-like resemblance to the conclusion of Heinlein’sFriday.

    1. Our situation reminds me more of the Terran Empire of Poul Anderson’s Flandry stories. A lot of us very much just want to pull back and live and let live, but it can’t happen. There are too many actors out there with real grudges, imagined grudges, ideological goals, or just a desire to count coup on the Great Satan for the bragging rights.

      1. Oh yes, I agree. It’s just that the “tend our garden” passage suddenly reminded me of where Friday ended up while the Earth put itself through Armageddon.

  16. I think there’s an argument that “peacekeeping”, particularly peacekeepign through strongman/occupation is a lot like forest fire prevention. All you do is store up trouble until you get a really big conflagration that you can’t control. It may be unpleasant but it is probably better to have many small conflicts than to suppress them all until you can’t do so anymore. Iraq, Syria and Yugoslavia are all examples of what happens when the suppression runs out.

    1. Iraq, Syria and Yugoslavia are all examples of what happens when the suppression runs out.

      No, Iraq, Syria, and Yugoslavia are what you get when you let feckless children run your foreign policy. All three of these “issues” came about because of rampant stupidity on the part of idealistic children running things in the State Department and government. Iraq’s history would be far, far different had Carter not decided the Shah of Iran was a bad, bad man, and needed to be replaced by a nice religious sort, who he probably thought was just like his local Baptist preacher, at heart. Yugoslavia went to shit when the Clinton State Department decided to ignore the place, and the implications for it going up in flames. None of the nastiness surrounding the Balkan wars needed to happen, and it wouldn’t have, if our State Department had been paying attention. The only reason that Milosevic and his cronies did what they did was that the US more or less gave them the impression that we didn’t give a f**k what they did with the place. Had someone clearly told Milosevic what the consequences of his actions were going to be, he’d have been very unlikely to do what he did, and if he had, he’d have been removed by his peers. As it was, our silence was taken as acquiescence. Sometimes, doing nothing is as damaging as outright seeking to do evil.

      Syria? Do I really need to spell out what happened, for you? That whole mess is a result of the State Department trying to have their cake, eat it, and donate it to the poor. The policies have been so schizophrenic that it’s not even possible to even explain them rationally. It’s like we have three different high schools running some kind of perverse student United Nations, and they’re the ones running the decision-making. Who the hell are we supporting, and why? Can anyone tell you? Nope. Because they don’t even know…

      None of these situations needed to end the way they did/are. It’s strictly due to incompetence, on our part. The Arab Spring and the preceding Iranian revolt in 2009 were brought on by the more-or-less successful Bush policies in Iraq. Had he been in power, still? I think things would have ended a lot differently. As it was, our dear leader almost deliberately and with malice aforethought, did everything possible to make the whole thing turn out against our interests. Starting from his speech in Cairo, right down to how he handled the whole Egyptian affair, he’s been criminally incompetent to a degree that borders on ludicrous. I’m at a point now, where it would not surprise me to find out that he’s actually an enemy agent, to tell the truth–It’s that bad. Had we had troops still on the ground in Iraq, much of this would not be happening, because we would have been able to exert influence to make sure that the Sunni were not mistreated, and that the endemic corruption in the Iraqi government did not destroy their army. As is? All those lives, all that money, all that effort–Pissed away. If you voted for the Obama crew, you’re morally responsible for all that waste, just like the assholes who enabled Teddy Kennedy’s betrayal of South Vietnam were responsible for wasting the 50,000 lives that the Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson expended in that war.

      Rat bastards, every one. I never thought I’d come to the point where I almost regret committing to the decades of service that I did, but I’m right there, right now. I kinda feel like all I did was enable these assholes, to tell the truth, and that the best thing that could happen for this country was for the brutal consequences of all this crap to come home to our shores for everyone to see and experience for themselves, so they wouldn’t support these vicious political scumbags any more.

      1. Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, thrice is enemy action.
        Author of quote unknown

  17. Staking out the middle ground…
    Let foreigners be horrible to each other (with a few notable exceptions such as Israel, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, the UK…).
    But keep the sea lanes open.

  18. Sigh. I’d least prefer the Europeans not start anything until fall of 2015 when my brother is safely home.

  19. ” I personally feel that every death in the Middle East that stemmed from the Iranian Islamic Revolution should be laid at the feet of Jimmy Carter, and I include all that died in Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq War, because both of those conflicts would likely never have even happened, had the Shah remained in power over a more-or-less secular Iran. ”

    The ground for Carter’s ineptitude was very well fertilized. I remember, for example, a cover article in New York Magazine explaining how the Shah was about to invade and conquer the entire MidEast with his American weapons to corner all the world’s oil and assume global hegemenony.

    1. The ground for Carter’s ineptitude was very well fertilized. I remember, for example, a cover article in New York Magazine explaining how the Shah was about to invade and conquer the entire MidEast with his American weapons to corner all the world’s oil and assume global hegemenony.

      It would be interesting to know who paid for that article to be printed, or who influenced the author. My money would be on the Saudi’s, whose incompetence and venality has often come back to burn them in these areas.

      Carter didn’t just “happen”. He was manipulated and influenced by some very shady characters, and was just greedy enough and foolish enough not to realize what was being done through him. Nobody in the government at that time could understand what the hell was going on with regards to the shift on the Iranian policy, or where it was coming from. Someone made that happen, and it came from the top. Why? Well, you’ll have to ask Mr. Carter, and I don’t think he’ll be making any confessions short of his deathbed.

  20. Even before I start to read through the comments, I want to make two observations:

    First, in a conversation on another blog several months ago, someone made a comment asking “How much more developed would we have been, had we not been so violent?” The answer was “We very well could have been a lot *less* developed!” and someone pointed out that the history of metallurgy is largely the history of war. I would also go so far to say that any species intelligent enough to do arithmetic is likely intelligent enough to figure out when it is advantageous to go to fight.

    Second, why can’t we be both the ones who “let them fight it out” and “be the policemen, sort-of”? We do this by refusing to provide military aid, but then encourage our Evil Gun Merchants of Death to make sure that all sides of a given conflict are well-armed. Of course, we can’t do that, either, because small arms proliferation is Evil and will only lead to more war! And this, because, well, guns possess evil spirits that make their wielders want to commit war, even against people as well (or better) armed than said wielders!

    Ok, I’ll add a third observation in for free: I think it ought to be clear to the world now that you cannot trust America to fulfill its promises. We change leadership too quickly to ensure that, and have no mechanisms to force a new leader to fulfill the wishes of the last one. As it should be, because sometimes we elect a new leader so that those old promises *could* be broken! But this makes for unreliable foreign policy as well….

  21. There was a German gentlemen living in England who brought up some examples of what Germans were lead by their media to think Americans were like. It was self evident to everyone involved in the discussion that the ideas were a hilarious misfit.

    If they were true, and the Germans were deeply and sincerely certain of that, Germans would never think of crossing the United States unless they were prepared to die. One doubts that many of those Europeans who objected to the America invading Iraq were acting on that level of conviction.

    Thing is, perhaps we can change so that those stories become true.

    Suppose every American has a strong desire to kill twenty people.
    Suppose we do not care about even our own law and principles.
    Suppose we would trespass on another country for a wooden nickel.
    Suppose human life means nothing to us except to count coup.
    Suppose we divert our interest from business and sport to to fight.
    Suppose we care not from whom the blood flows, so long as it flows.

    The American bogeyman in the hearts of international leftists wears some big shoes. Perhaps we can grow to fill them.

    1. I sometimes long to be the villain the left paints me to be. Just for two weeks. Then we’d never hear their complaints again.

      1. Yeah, I’ve heard too much of conservative Christians being called the American Taliban. I’d love to see how those idiots would like it if conservative Christians treated them just as the Taliban would treat their foes. [Very Big Evil Grin]

        1. Christee N.: “You think leaving bacon on the mosque steps is a hate crime? Honey, you ain’t seen anything. Remember that cross on the war memorial and the nice marble Ten Commandments from the courthouse steps? In nomine Patri” *bang* “et Fili *bang*

          Associate: “What about the Holy Spirit?”

          Christiee N. “The Lord provided. And I’m a better shot than Fr. Martin is.”

          Associate: “Amen.”

          1. Well, my first target would be the High Church Atheists. IE “Oh, you don’t like crosses on public property, STFU or you’re dead”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

      2. I sometimes long to be the villain the left paints me to be. Just for two weeks. Then we’d never hear their complaints again.

        It’s hard to complain from a mass grave…

  22. Sadly, I do not think this an answerable problem. I am torn between the idea that America is incapable of following a coherent foreign policy (for reasons which do not need explanation and also because their explanation could be a week of blog posts) and the belief that whatever foreign policy America might adopt is almost certainly going to be badly thought out and badly executed. An effective foreign policy requires a stamina, a long term perspective that America only seems to produce in the wrong people to be put in charge.

    Part of the problem is that many Americans (our news media especially so) are apparently incapable (unwilling?) to view things in perspective and to recognize the application of an ounce of prevention. Had Reagan followed our intelligentsia’s advice Grenada would likely now be a major locus of anti-American terrorism — bout we Americans are very poor at looking at the splinter in our finger and seeing the gangrenous infection to come.

    Given my druthers we would be like the stern but indulgent parent, letting the young’uns tussle and knock some sense into one another whilst they are still too small to inflict major harm, with the looming threat of “Don’t make me come down there!” when they get too boisterous (or too quiet.) But I think G-D His-own-self has given up on that and expect America as Daddy would have a few extra Buds and get frisky with Momma while the kids drill through the basement foundation en route to explore China.

    Short version: face it, we’re screwed, the World has fallen and can’t get up and until it accepts a walker all we can hope for is to muddle through. Meanwhile, keep our ammo fresh, our powder dry and make sure that while the world don’t have to love us they d-well better fear us. It wouldn’t hurt to throw the occasional “We’ve-had-enough” tantrum, kick some butt and leave toe tags with names on ’em. As Reagan recognized, constructive ambiguity* is a mighty effective policy.

    *In place of Carterian “proportionate response” I much prefer Reaganite “He’s just possibly crazy enough to do it!”

    1. I am torn between the idea that America is incapable of following a coherent foreign policy … and the belief that whatever foreign policy America might adopt is almost certainly going to be badly thought out and badly executed.

      This is pretty much where I’m sitting right now. I have been in favor of America being the “world’s policeman” since about 5-6 years ago; can’t pinpoint when I started thinking that way, but it’s been pretty firmly grounded in me since then. Zimbabwe? We should have removed Mugabe ages ago. Hold a trial, then execute him for oppressing his own people. Then when the next guy took over and was just as bad, remove him too, put him on trial for oppressing his own people, and execute him. Third guy, same thing. The fourth guy would probably wise up and actually tone down the oppression. Maybe the third guy would even be the one to wise up, who knows.

      I fully supported the invasion of Iraq because we were going to remove Saddam Hussein. I didn’t care about WMDs, I thought a war fought to free an oppressed people from the rule of a tyrant was a just war, and that was enough.

      Thing is, Obama has been showing how good America is at throwing away the gains we made in previous years. There’s certainly not going to be another invasion of Iraq to remove the next guy who’s just as bad as Hussein. (Might be whoever ISIS installs, might be the head of some other group that ends up beating ISIS, it’s probably too early to tell just yet.) We just don’t have the political will for it, as a nation.

      So I don’t know anymore. The right thing to do would be to have a coherent foreign policy, and that will require educating about 280 million Americans who don’t care about foreign policy on just why it’s important. If September 11th, 2001 wasn’t enough to educate them, I shudder to think what will.

      1. What angers me is that he’s throwing it away deliberately – and seems to think that all he needs to do is speechify a little and everything will be okay. The concept that people in other countries AREN’T acting to make him look wonderful is apparently completely foreign to him.

        At one time I though he was just horribly inept. Then, I thought he was somewhat stupid, and completely ignorant of the law of unanticipated consequences.

        Now? What I think is that if he’d been examined by the media the way they shoved an endoscope up Palin’s life, there’s no way in hell he’d have been qualified to run.

        He promised a ‘Fundamental Transformation’. Well, we’re getting that. It’s a shame nobody bothered to ask just what he wanted to transform us into… and I’m sure not having much ‘fun’ watching it.

        1. Obama’s an idealist. So was W, actually… just Obama’s idealism doesn’t require much of him, while Bush’s was more about being nice in a rather Christian way. (Drove me NUTS how he wouldn’t freaking defend statements from lies…..)

          1. In his defense, had he attempted to defending against even 10% of the lies he would have had no time nor energy for any other tasks.

            We’ve all seen how tedious it can be trying to defend something as simple as a blog comment; now consider the effect of the NY Times, TV networks and the rest of the MSM putting words in his mouth.

    2. It wouldn’t hurt to throw the occasional “We’ve-had-enough” tantrum, kick some butt and leave toe tags with names on ‘em.

      Do we have to leave more than toes to attach them to, or can we disintegrate everything else?

      1. I can’t decide if that leaves a neat line of toes with tags, or a jumbled pile of tags, toes and the odd eyeball…

        ‘Cause I’m wrong in the head.

        1. You’re right there with me, because even as I typed it, I was wondering how you would keep the toe tags attached to disconnected toes.

          Didn’t think of the occasional eyeball, though. Nice touch.

          1. I was wondering how you would keep the toe tags attached to disconnected toes.

            Sutures. One per toe. Then you can line ’em up, pile ’em up or play ping-pong with ’em and the tag stays on. The tag’s gonna play havoc with your spin, though…

              1. You know those suspicions I had about you being a bad man? You’ve put them to rest.

                1. In my defense, Sanford was sitting down with the camera, while Cedar and I were standing in that picture you saw. Still, you’re right. Maybe after I drop a hundred pounds, it will be better.`

                  It was great to meet you and the others I met, too. Few things improve a man’s outlook better than being introduced to a woman and being met with “Oh, my goodness” and a big hug.

              2. Good thing the bits of remains you’re thinking of playing with are toes. I’d hate to think if you decided to take the term “Shuttlecocks” literally.

                    1. Once you get there, you’re left no choice but to teat up your ball and swing…

                    2. If you can’t pull something out of your ass you could try that stack over there…

            1. “Sutures. One per toe. Then you can line ‘em up, pile ‘em up or play ping-pong with ‘em and the tag stays on. The tag’s gonna play havoc with your spin, though…”

              I was thinking safety pins, then you can hang’em on nails and have them organized vertically, takes up much less room that way. But then I was thinking of getting them tagged, and, er, not bagged but organized, as quickly as possible; so I could go do something fun. I wasn’t thinking of actually using the toes to recreate.

                  1. No-no. Having a non-euclidian purse makes you handy to have around.

                    It’s, um — well… other things that have those right-headed people looking askance.

                    And maybe some of those things you pull out of the non-euclidian purse. I mean, you keep that in there with those!?! Nervous making, it is.

                    1. Whoah, you mean she can keep them in there without either of them becoming critically unstable? *whistle of awe* I had no idea . . .

      2. Yeah; on the evidence they ain’t gonna like us. 60+ years of United Nations stern warnings claptrap has ensured that they ain’t gonna respect us. I’m willing to settle for having them sufficiently scared of us to leave us the fuck alone.

  23. I hereby propose The Schofield Doctrine:

    “We would much rather trade with you than make war on you. That being said;

    Attack us, and six months later your government won’t exist.

    Attack our clear interestes, and six months later your goverment won’t exist.

    Harm an American citizen without what we consider due process, and six months……you get the idea.

    Behave in a manner we consider barbaric (stoning rape victims,
    Mass kidnapping of school-girls, terror-bombing, that sort of thing) and we may, in a fit of boredom, come shoot you for shits and giggles.

    We do promise to make all our alliances public knowledge, so you know who not to fuck with.”

  24. For those following along at home and impressed by the “No blood for oil” slogans, it might interest you to know not even our oil companies benefited. We let France and Russia take all the contracts. Which either makes us prize patsies or well meaning people. Or yes.

    Aha! But that was the clever plan! We let the furriners get all the contracts, with their expectation that we’d SURELY stick around and preserve our investment, and then we run away into the night cackling madly, and watch it all burst into flames from orbit! That was Step 2, and now we can look forward to our grand capitalist scheme’s inevitable outcome, Step 4: Profit!
    You know things are all pretty bad when the most charitable comparison you can make with the foreign policy accomplishments and underlying grand strategy emanating as a penumbra from the current actions of our duly elected government is the Underpants Gnomes.

    1. You know things are all pretty bad when the most charitable comparison you can make with the foreign policy accomplishments and underlying grand strategy emanating as a penumbra from the current actions of our duly elected government is the Underpants Gnomes.

      And what’s really, seriously, beyond all recognition ‘effed up? That the Underpants Gnomes had a business plan that made more sense. At least, they had clearly delineated steps, and knew what they wanted. Our feckless dumbasses? They can’t even articulate what it is they want to happen, let alone plan for making it so.

      1. Oh they can articulate what they want. They want a world in which everybody behaves they way they do on Progressive college campuses. They want to solve everything by sitting down and having serious discussions in which everybody is very respectful and no real disagreements are rises.

        Ain’t gonna happen. Not nohow, no way. But the Western Intellectual Twits seriously believe that the world can be run they way Yale is run (in their eyes) and have completely missed that Yale would collapse in about four years if it was not surrounded and supported by a completely different culture (that they despise).

        1. pfagh. These are the twits who watch The Time Machine (the book requires too much effort) and think how wonderful it would be to be the Eloi.

          The movie’s last reel confuses them and they refuse to think about it.

  25. OTOH spend too little and join in tribalism and the effects on group cohesion of attacking the same person, and war at any level is all too easy.

    Or pick the tribe that looks for markers and makes war on them, rather than thinking…..

  26. “For those following along at home and impressed by the “No blood for oil” slogans…”

    That sort of propaganda, deployed by so much of the Left, did a great deal to persuade me that the Left was not opposing the war out of a sincere belief that it would turn out badly but rather because it opposes America.

    1. That sort of propaganda, deployed so early in the Iraq campaign, and belabored so consistently right up to the moment Bush was no longer in office, convinced me that the Left was completely delusional. Or would have, if they had not convinced me of that decades ago.

          1. Hmmmm … is that for union-made signs or scan labor signs? It seems awfully cheap for union, I don’t see it covering the shop stewards’ fees.

            If those are scab-made signs I need an extra five thousand denouncing you. Please advise when they can be ready for pick-up as I have to pre-schedule the pickets in order to get their special sub-minimum wage.

            1. Made in my own basement, so non-union, but not scab. But I’ll do the denouncement ones anyway, because the unions could call me a scab anyway.

              For that kind of quantity, I’ll need an extra three day notice, or a 50% up front deposit.

        1. That’s no mystery; sign stores work fast; they have to if they want any auction or church bake sale business. That is the single thing about Leftwing hobby protesters that DOESN’T bother me.

  27. A slightly better plan for world peace:


    The short version: Randomly drop nuclear weapons on the moon while making crazy sounding threats at people. Everyone thinks we are batshit crazy and are afraid to make us mad for fear we will miss the moon and hit one of their cities next time.

    1. I realize that is probably a tongue-in-cheek suggestion, but imagining it reminded me that it has two potential major problems: In space, a nuke explosion would be a brief wink, except for a minor bit of glowing plasma for a few seconds. On the other hand, a ground-level explosion would throw enough material up to be visible for a while, but then you run the risk of bus-sized (or bigger) rocks raining down on random places on Earth, along with a shower of smaller particles.

  28. On the other hand, a ground-level explosion would throw enough material up to be visible for a while, but then you run the risk of bus-sized (or bigger) rocks raining down on random places on Earth, along with a shower of smaller particles.

    So, you are saying win-win, right?

      1. Only if one is a wimp who cares too much over one’s own life.

        Put the constitution on a dead man switch. It triggers a sequence of explosions on the moon, intended to distribute as much material as possible evenly around the globe. It is a poor substitute for deorbiting the moon entirely as a Samadh for the the United States of America, but it is more feasible.

  29. Until Mecca and the kaaba is either salted and plowed under or turned into a glass lake there will be no peace with Islam. Kill their god, the magic rock, and Islam will fall apart or reform. It really is the only hope.

  30. Sarah,

    “It could at best, make them regional, smaller, and probably more vicious.”

    – Sarah

    Dead is dead! The only difference is the amount of time to reach room temperature.

    Regional and smaller sound like a good thing to me. It might feel more vicious, because it it will be personal. I believe it was Stalin that said something to the effect of kill one person that’s a tragedy, kill a million that’s a statistic.

    All  genocides and wars are only made possible by this belief that we need a State to protect us from ourselves (or other State actors and is only true in that the State protects us from a problem it creates).

    Conflict because that is what we are talking about. Not just shooting altercations (war) between Nation States.

    Conflict is human nature. Any time you have more than two people they are going to come into conflict. Competing over resources… over status… over disagreements of all kinds.

    “When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything — you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.”

    – Robert A. Heinlein.

    Sarah you quoted the previous in a post not to long ago, but I think that it should be paired with another quote of his:

    “I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

    – Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

    The State is what results when people decide to outsource their killing. A State has no superpower that magically gets people to do or stop them from doing things. Forces is it. Do this or we will harm you is it’s only argument. No different than a mob enforcer extorting protection money. It does not become morally acceptable, in my book, to let the government do your killing for you. If you kill a burglar protecting self and property, you at least have to deal with the consequences.

    How about we each fight our own battles and not worry about what ‘you’ and ‘him’ are doing.


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