February 28, 2006

A Single Strike Would Be Stupid

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:43 pm

Commander Salamander got around to commenting on a post by one of the posters at the very popular Officer’s Club. The post in question suggests a “Desert Fox” strike as an option for dealing with Iran’s incipient nuclear capability.

The question of whether or not Iran will play diplomatic ball has been answered, they won’t. Now we have to ask “what next?”

As I’ve made clear before, I support a preemptive strike against any and all Iranian nuclear facilities, from their reactors right down to their heavy-water processing facilities. Before people get hysterical about invading another Middle Eastern nation and screaming “empire” until they are blue in the face, this is what I mean when I say “preemptive strike.”

The United States, striking from carriers in the Persian Gulf, bomber bases in Guam, and air bases in Turkey (long-time adversaries of the Iranians) should initiate a 3-4 day air campaign similiar to Operation Desert Fox against Saddam in 1998. The objective would be two-fold: knock the Iranian nuclear capabilities back to the stone age, and sting their military to the point where the Ayatollahs understand that their own bomb “just ain’t worth the effort.”

Commander Salamander doesn’t like the idea at all.

Iran is not Iraq. Iran has mitigated the ability to have their nuke program knocked out from the air. Like DF, we could make some great video out of it – and we might get lucky and not loose anyone (I wouldn’t be on it though) — but you will only make the problem worse. Everyone needs to face the facts that the only way you will destroy Iran’s nuke program is to have some guy with US flag on his shoulder, putting C4 around a door to get access to it. Oh, make that a few hundred guys doing that….supported by a few hundred thousand. If we are not willing to do that – then it is back to the future. My nukes trump your nukes. Pick you choice.

I didn’t like the idea back in January when I saw the original post, and commented:

If a single short campaign as you recommend is executed it had better not be as effects-free as DF was upon its intended Middle Eastern target. You want blown up things, not scorch marks–you want effects better than their own Air Force has had over the last month.

I think this suggestion is interesting but ignores that the effects can be interagency. DF didn’t do anything to banking systems or engineers. It didn’t do anything for recently fired or reassigned bad country diplomats. No satellites lost their terrestrial feeds, no young folks got “A Force More Powerful” CDs in Farsi, few Senior People got interesting phone calls in the middle of the night, no escape pod palaces mysteriously burned to the ground, no extended family interesting things happened, no Kalashnikovs wound up in hands not encouraging for supporters of stability.

And there’s a well we could send a message down, if you get my drift. We can parse the message right, in such a way that an not-evil imam would know and tell others that the twelfth imam got the message.

My comment about “their own Air Force” refers to a series of air disasters that in one case killed the ground commander of the IRGC and senior staff to include the senior intel officer and in another killed reporters and staffers as well as a Tehran apartment building–odd coincidences, that.

After thinking about the Officer’s Club post a little more, the more dumb a single strike-ex becomes.

  1. Israel’s Osirak strike, where they used TACAIR to destroy the Chirac-provided reactor, counterintuitively resulted in an acceleration of the Iraqi nuclear capability in ways that were more difficult to detect. The political effects were useful, but the stated effect wasn’t achieved.
  2. It is not stupid on the face of it to assume that we do not know where all the nuclear weapons generating capability is located. The stuff we do know about might well be in places that were designed with Osirak in mind–meaning a simple TLAM will not have an effect.
  3. The strike will not have the effect the United States actually wants. We want to avoid having an apocalyptic madman with nuclear weapons. This is not necessarily going to happen merely from a military strike; all aspects of national power and capability must be aligned towards a common goal, and just bombing someone with no other coordination outside DoD will not cause that alignment to magically occur.

Important Caveat Goes Here

Military action in support of a more integrated and long term effort is most emphatically not stupid. Violence in support of national objectives makes sense in certain frameworks, including frameworks that sound suboptimal on their face such as invasion and occupation. What I advocate is to consider use of military force as a tool in a bigger toolbox, and to consider the application of that force in a broader context than merely bombing certain known and sufficiently soft facilities.

It may well be that we have to respond to Iran’s stated intention, and their ongoing acts of war against Americans and their interests, in an overwhelmingly military manner. It’s just that we’ve learned that short duration bombing campaigns will no longer have the effect we desire against an enemy who learned its warfighting style by observing, absorbing, and exploiting such shocks.

“Don’t Try To Cover The Circus If You’re Sleeping With A Clown”

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:02 pm

Jason van Steenwyk likes to figure out the Unwritten Rules. This has served others well, as his rules for being a Guardsman leader are well worth incorporating.

This time he’s formulating his rules for being a good reporter. One of the rules is the title of this post.

The whole post is worth a read.

February 27, 2006

Talibani At Yale, SOP

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:46 am

Wall Street Journal’s John Fund has a bit of outrage over the jihadi scholar.

I don’t believe Mr. Rahmatullah had direct knowledge of the 9/11 plot, and I don’t think he has ever killed anyone. I can appreciate that he is trying to rebuild his life. But he willingly and cheerfully served an evil regime in a manner that would have made Goebbels proud. That he was 22 at the time is little of an excuse. There are many poor, bright students–American and foreign alike–who would jump at the opportunity to attend Yale. Why should Mr. Rahmatullah go to the line ahead of all of them? That’s a question Yale alumni should ask when their alma mater comes looking for contributions.

President Bush, who already has a well-known disdain for Yale elitism from his student days there, may also have some questions. In the wake of his being blindsided by his own administration over the Dubai port deal, he should be interested in finding out exactly who at the State Department approved Mr. Rahmatullah’s application for a student visa.

February 26, 2006

Bento Madness

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:59 pm

Proof that there’s probably a blog for anything. Via Mighty Girl, a photo and comment log of somebody’s mom’s Japanese lunch boxes (弁当, bento) she makes for her kids.

That’s a lot of bento boxes.

Then I notice at the top there, that this isn’t the only daily bento blog out there.

Man. You’ve got a great opportunity to join the Great Bento Blog Revolution while it’s still on the ground floor…

Proxy War and Warmongering

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:52 am

The mullahs perverted an ostensibly democratic election by choosing who to elect. And we got a guy like this in charge.

And he thinks things like this.

But despite these sightings, it is the president himself who presents the strongest claims of being in touch and thus supported by the twelfth Imam of the Shiites who is said to be in occultation. For example, “At a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Islamic countries and in response to a question that Iran displayed signs of a crisis, president Ahmadinejad said that these were the signs of the return of the twelfth Imam, who will definitely return in two years” [see Aftab of November 16, 2005]. These words were said at a time when the ultra-religious and conservative journal Khorshid published a handwritten text which it attributed to the twelfth Imam.

Let me explain. In the Iranian leader’s faith, the equivalent of the Rapture will occur after a period of blood and chaos where his side will war and win, and Ahmadinejad believes his actions can hasten the return of the twelfth imam.

So we have a vicious End Times believer with a record of conducting acts of war against the United States that runs longer than many of my readers have been alive.

Acts of war. Well, invading an embassy and taking the staff hostage is pretty much one–although not a huge one as acts of war go; remember, we made a mistake and bombed the Chinese embassy once, although that was due to our own incompetence in the event. Perhaps these other things might fit as acts of war…

  • Active support for blood and chaos in Iraq, both financial and otherwise
  • Support for Syria’s oppression of moving assets and fighters against America
  • Safe haven for AQ and Talib who got away in Afghanistan
  • A whole lot of nastiness that is directed at our allies, like funding Hezbollah (remember the Marines in Beirut?), Hamas, et cetera

    Hamas leader Khalid Meshal met in Tehran with officials of Iran’s mad mullahcracy this past Tuesday. “With respect to the challenges that we have ahead of us, Iran’s role in the future of Palestine should continue and increase,” Meshal said in a joint press conference in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

  • Stated intentions and current actions.

I see no reason not to take the man at his word. If so, this sure is looking like 1936 to me.

I also see that there is a tiny and weak window for the locals in Iran to overthrow their leadership. That window is closing. I would also point to 1936 and mention that the country with a charismatic leader then seemed pretty happy with the direction that country was going. Put that in the equation: the guy was elected no matter that the election was rigged. He’s not reviled by the total of the Iranian populace. It’s not one guy against his own people; it’s a lot of people against…us.

We don’t recognize the proxy war against us. We will see the blood and chaos Ahmahdinejad desires, without his imam arriving. My question to you is: what level of blood and chaos will you decide to sustain amongst your people? We’ve got plenty of squeakers on “our” side, to hide the active duplicity of Iran and the implications of such.

The brinksmanship on the diplomatic work we’ve been doing has been slow in coming. I fear it will fail, because I can’t figure out how to judge when the actions we want to occur are imminent–regime overthrows in a tyranny are necessarily hard to see coming. I also can’t see what the moves are or even what that region of the chessboard looks like.

I fear that within the next two years things will get very very ugly.

— — —

Oh, yes. That link at the top. Here’s an unpleasant little part of it.

Last June Spiegel Online published an interview former hostage David Roeder. Consistent with Bowden’s research, Roeder recalled that Ahmadinejad was “present at at least a third of my personal interrogations, which took place nightly for a little over a month early on in the hostage-taking situation. He seemed to be calling the shots, but from the background. The interrogators would ask a question and it would then be translated from Farsi into English by a woman interpreter.” The Spiegel interviewer then asked Roeder whether his interlocutors exerted pressure on him in these interviews. Roeder responded:

I decided that initially I wasn’t going to respond in any way, shape or form. They had me handcuffed to a chair and at least during the first few sessions, blindfolded as well. But once the blindfold came off, they had developed a plan that Ahmadinejad was instigating. Because I was not cooperating, they threatened that they were going to kidnap my handicapped son and send various pieces of him — fingers and toes is what they mentioned — to my wife if I didn’t start cooperating. You don’t forget somebody who is involved in something like that.

Roeder isn’t sleeping, but Steyn seems to have a point about the rest of us. One would think, among other things, that the United States has a debt of honor to settle with Iran’s odious president.

The United States is not good at settling such things. Robert Stethem’s killer went free in Germany. The Cole attack planners escaped from prison in not-that-helpful Yemen.

Maybe we should be.

Where Are The CT’s When You Need Them?

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:07 am


You want to see a coded submarine message?

You’ll have to break them yourself–as far as these guys know, these Enigma messages have never been broken since they were encoded in World War Two.

Stereo writes “The Enigma Machine was cracked in Poland in 1932, but three messages remain unbroken, despite having been intercepted in the North Atlantic in 1942. The M4 Project, named after the four rotor Enigma M4 used for encryption, is a distributed computing effort to break them. One message has already been deciphered successfully!”

And you can read Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon while your computer’s crunching away at the algorithm…

Link Dump 25 Feb

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:55 am
  • The NYT says this speech won the Cold War. Hyperbole, of course. But not an unimportant one either.

    FIFTY years ago today, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave a “secret speech” at the 20th Communist Party Congress that changed both his country and the world. By denouncing Stalin, whose God-like status had helped to legitimize Communism in the Soviet Bloc, Khrushchev began a process of unraveling it that culminated in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. This great deed deserves to be celebrated on its anniversary.

  • This fella, studying in Damascus, figures out he’s not in Kansas any more.

    We went back to Even’s house afterwards with his Syrian friend. “I wish I could have said more,” said Even, the adrenaline still strong in his voice. “I didn’t have the words. What I really wanted to say was, ‘We know you’re angry, but we still don’t know why.’

  • The WaPo comes out saying something I have been thinking: the Iraq mosque bombing reaction proves that too many folks on the ground have already made their choice, and are risking their lives for a country unified.

    The strike on the shrine was clearly intended to trigger war between Sunnis and Shiites — the avowed aim of al-Qaeda in Iraq — and for a perilous couple of days it looked as if the country might succumb. But by yesterday Iraq’s most influential leaders, from the Sunni Imam Ahmed Hasan al-Taha to the Shiite clerics and political leaders Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and Moqtada al-Sadr, had denounced the violence, including acts by their own sects. Iraqi government forces deployed swiftly and effectively to enforce a curfew in Baghdad.

  • I’m not sure why this article (“Myths of the Current War”) was written–because it seems to me that the people who would read it are already convinced, and those who the author thinks need convincing won’t read it.
  • Lots and lots of articles about the port kerfuffle, so I have no real need to link to a bunch of them. I’ve got my biases–first, those with exposure to the UAE seem to have a different opinion than others; second, that any time one is in alignment with Senator Charles Schumer is a good time to examine the reason; and third, there is a whole lot of talkin’ and not as much knowin’ on many parts of the debate. Risk management is not risk removal, either.
  • Same with the W.F. Buckley article. I don’t agree with Buckley’s conclusion; on the other hand, I already had a good “long dark night of the soul” about the issue a while back, and I’m not a Scowcroftian realist by any stretch of the imagination nor a Buckleyan conservative. My disagreement is not the wild eyed freakout claimed by guys like Glenn Greenwald, though. It’s a disagreement.

February 25, 2006

Saw A Lot Of This At Enrevanche

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:53 pm

Barry’s Flickr cartoon got lots of comments along the lines of “Free speech can’t say that!”

Sounds like this is being writ large in this op-ed for the International Herald Trib.

The European Convention on Human Rights, which legally binds all EU states and supersedes domestic law, explicitly guarantees “the right to freedom of expression” including “the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority.”

This provision is in keeping not only with the U.S. Bill of Rights, but with the central instruments of international human rights law to which Europe and America claim adherence. Yet Europe’s interpretation of free expression has diverged markedly from America’s broad deference to First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly and religion.

American courts have upheld the publication of false, even racist materials, the right of neo-Nazis to rally in Jewish neighborhoods, and the objections of some citizens to the Pledge of Allegiance and to school dress codes on religious grounds.

European governments, on the other hand, have consistently trampled analogous rights, outlawing publication of hate speech, trade in Nazi paraphernalia, and the wearing of distinctive religious clothing, to name but a few recent examples.

Ah, Open Minds Speaking Truth To Power

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:50 pm

Looks like Cathy Seipp doesn’t like the City Lights bookstore much these days.

However, it did occur to him that perhaps the long-delayed English translation of Oriana Fallaci’s new book, “The Force of Reason,” might finally be available, and that because Fallaci’s militant stance against Islamic militants offends so many people, a store committed to selling banned books would be the perfect place to buy it. So he asked a clerk if the new Fallaci book was in yet.

“No,” snapped the clerk. “We don’t carry books by fascists.”

Now let’s just savor the absurd details of this for a minute. City Lights has a long and proud history of supporting banned authors — owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti was indicted (and acquitted) for obscenity in 1957 for selling Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” and a photo at the bookstore showed Ferlinghetti proudly posing next to a sign reading “banned books.”

Yet his store won’t carry, of all people, Fallaci, who is not only being sued in Italy for insulting religion because of her latest book but continues to fight the good fight against those who think that the appropriate response to offensive books and cartoons is violent riots. It’s particularly repugnant that someone who fought against actual fascism in World War II should be deemed a fascist by a snotty San Francisco clerk.

Strangest of all is the scenario of such a person disliking an author for defending Western civilization against radical Islam — when one of the first things those poor, persecuted Islamists would do, if they ever (Allah forbid) came to power in the United States, is crush suspected homosexuals like him beneath walls.

Try walking in there with a bunch of military guys. You’ll feel the love, believe me.

Still More Strauss

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:46 pm

Don’t know why Leo Strauss keeps popping up every six months or so. It’s not like this happens to other philosophers. But in any case, here‘s an in depth summary of the “who is this guy?” variety, written by someone who has defined the neocon for himself and doesn’t like them much.

I must admit I’m still not parsing the “natural law” concept, and too pragmatic to care too deeply about other parts of it–good intentions of whatever variety are excellent paving tools but sometimes not as useful as a half right idea executed correctly.

(Off topic: The Fukuyama thing? Lots of pixels spilled over it, but the article itself wasn’t as good as random articles pulled off of Real Clear Politics on the same subject, and gave rise to a comment on IM that our Harvard wonder scholar is a little more Arianna Huffington-level deep than perhaps one would like to admit…)

February 24, 2006


Filed under: — Chap @ 10:59 pm

Jargon ahead…

Bubblehead, tirelessly scouring the Net for any and all news submarine-ish, found this little note on the Navy’s official site.

The Fiscal Year ’07 active-duty commander line promotion selection board was disbanded Feb. 21 after it was discovered that written material not specifically approved by the Secretary of the Navy for distribution to board members was made available to selection board members, both prior to and during the selection board.

Rear Adm. David Gove, commander, Navy Personnel Command, has convened an investigation into the issue. The officer who sent the unapproved material has been relieved, pending the outcome of the investigation.

These boards are run rather tightly because of the implications on people’s careers–folks get pretty persnickety about doing it right because the ramifications of sloppy procedure are painful when whoever gets the short end of the stick figures it out. (It’s bad enough to have some people make it and some not, and being a human enterprise it’s not perfect–adding extraneous stuff is worse.)

Well, cancelling a board in progress is definitely not normal. I’d love to hear the back story on that one. I’d also guess that this will delay the results of said new promotion board just a touch. (And a lot of others, most likely, until the perturbations settle out.)

While Bubblehead’s at it he mentioned the submarine department head board results now available on the Web, unlike the painfully secretive (to the point of not getting the information to the right people at the right time) list of exec and skipper selectees. I don’t have any news on it–right now, I live in a joint job in a hole in the ground, and yanked the 1120 eject handle really really hard a couple of months ago, so I’m out of the loop. As a matter of fact, the board fracas completely missed us.

My take on the DH results publishing? Probably a feeler like Pers-42 did in 2000 for about fifteen seconds (and LTs are easier to start with) before the whining started.

(By the way, Bubbles doesn’t know this, but I’m working right now with more than one JO who was positively influenced by him in his active duty previous life, including one who’s convinced he’s commissioned because of the recommendation letter Bubbles wrote for him. It’s all about influence, and looks like our Bubbles had it in spades as far as these LTs are concerned. Good on ‘im.)

New Sisyphus Revisits Jacksonians

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:38 pm

…and is asking for comments.

Need Something To Do In Georgia?

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:53 pm

Well, you might want to go look at a statue

Sense Of Humor, Check

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:51 pm

I think I want the shirt that says “Guess Which?”, just to mess with peoples’ heads.

Tim Blair, The Silent Killer

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:46 pm

“Yes. Yes, you might say that. “

Team NORBERG!!11!

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:42 pm


Swedish wimmin.

Swedish wimmin curling and trying to be hep for the metal soundtrack.

Oh dear.

I Want To Know How This Guy Got Paid

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:38 pm

The guy doing his thing in a BBC “what Drugs do to you” flash thingie.

I mean, the initial dancing is the lamest I’ve ever seen since I got caught the last time I was in a club…

Grandma Would Be Bumping This…

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:22 pm

(old guys can tune out…here.)

Yeah, I listen to rap. I’m pretty persnickety about it, though, because there is a lot of bad rapping out there. (I’d love to enjoy, say, “Night of the Living Baseheads”, but their politics just don’t get me. And if I am not going to use certain words, then I don’t need them coming out of my own stereo, dig?)

I’ve been waiting for someone to come back from Iraq with a bumping track and completely shut down all the hard boys with their tough talk and big boy attitudes. “Straight outta Locash? How about Fujairah? You want hard, try being a grownup!”

The ladies are starting to represent, as it were. I have no idea where I found this video, but it sure works. (here). Lyrics snippet:

where the children go — nobody knows

where the money goes — nobody knows


do you stand up, lay down or follow?

What will it be?

Will it all be the same again tomorrow?

What will it be?

You can claim it but the words are hollow

do you stand up, lay down or swallow?

What will it be?

(young maylay rap 2)

we dont take it lightly when you threatinin women, how you have so much hate and faith in religion. Fake in the system, need to take a break wit the dissin, before you end up in the lake where they fishin. Hearin bout the muslim madona, asian j lo, lookin for drama (ok) if you say so. If you that religious and not wit trendy clothes, then what you doin even watchin videos.

And of course, the song gets banned because of death threats.

Deeyah, 27, has become the target of violent threats from members of the Muslim community offended by her glamorous image. Her video is reportedly being shown on Indian channels.

The singer, of mixed Pakistani, Afghan and Persian descent, has received intimidating phone calls, aggressive emails and verbal threats from Asian youths warning her to “tone down and cover up”.

Good luck, kid. I hope we’ve got your back.

Update: Whoa. I get my rap videos from Hugh Hewitt?

Oh the humanity. Now where’s my Roni Size record? I need to detox.

Why We Win

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:55 pm

…because grandmas go to Iraq and be grandmas.

While wearing body armor and packing.

He Said He Caught A Big Fish

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:53 pm

Bigger than he thought, apparently. Is he telling the truth? Don’t know….

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