Archive Logo.jpg

November 09, 2004

Random Militant Musings

First off - the Red Ensign Standard is snapping in the breeze, if you'd like to read what militant Canadians and their fellow-travelers (like the Armorer) have to say about things.

Next, the Instapilot stole my first post this morning, so I'll just pile on his...

Regarding the BLU-113: I still wanna meet the guy who was sitting on the pot, flipping through Reader's Digest, who suddenly had the inspiration... "Hey! Why don't we take redundant Army 8" cannon tubes, fill 'em with RDX, stick a GBU-guidance system on 'em and drop 'em on bunkers!?!"

That was some outside-the-box thinking. When you read the Instapilot's post, you may wonder why the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is funding development of this monster.

Simple. The requirement to hit targets like deeply buried bunkers exist. The alternative weapon choice is a nuke. DTRA's role is to both protect the US from threats, and to reduce arms proliferation. If we can do it with a creative conventional bomb, we may not need to develop the nuke that's already on the drawing boards.

Beth is off doing her job, and has found herself in a pool of blue-staters who are *terribly* concerned about Operation Phantom Fury, the assault on Fallujah. They are checking the news all the time, and wringing their hands over the casualties, muttering about how horrible it is. These people *really* miss their vacation from history. They really are nice people - but they live in a different world than the one I do. They know I'm a retired soldier. So, being nice people, they asked Beth,

"Your husband is retired military, right? I'm sure he's glad he no longer has to do this, or be involved!"

The Mistress of Argghhh! knows the Armorer well. Her response:

"Hell no! He's a warrior. If he could, he'd be over there right now, up to his eyeballs in it. "

Damn straight. The Armorer volunteered for recall on 9/12. The Armorer keeps his volunteering current, even though it would be fiscal disaster if the Army took him up on it. The Armorer is a broken-down hulk of his former self, and would only be a liability in direct combat, most likely - but, to paraphrase the old recruiting song, "If I am needed, I'll be there."

I'm a Regular, by God, subject to recall for life.

And by his post (and other comments) the Instapilot feels exactly the same way.

Which is how we're supposed to feel.

Don't take that as a willingness to rush into a war. Different thing entirely. But once the throw-down starts - Party On, Garth!

Lastly - we have a new study from the JFK School of Government at Harvard, that well-known bastion of neo-con warmongering. The study report discusses the origins of Terrorism. Guess what, sports fans - Poverty doesn't cause terrorism. At least as far as this researcher is concerned.

Alberto Abadie: 'In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but ... when you look at the data, it's not there. This is true not only for events of international terrorism ... but ... also for the overall level of terrorism, both of domestic and of foreign origin.'

Uh-oh. Michael Moore and Martin Sheen, call your office.

A John F. Kennedy School of Government researcher has cast doubt on the widely held belief that terrorism stems from poverty, finding instead that terrorist violence is related to a nation's level of political freedom.

Associate Professor of Public Policy Alberto Abadie examined data on terrorism and variables such as wealth, political freedom, geography, and ethnic fractionalization for nations that have been targets of terrorist attacks.

Guess what? It just get's better! Ya know who has the least terrorism? The extremes. Free societies, and totalitarian societies.

Before analyzing the data, Abadie believed it was a reasonable assumption that terrorism has its roots in poverty, especially since studies have linked civil war to economic factors. However, once the data was corrected for the influence of other factors studied, Abadie said he found no significant relationship between a nation's wealth and the level of terrorism it experiences.

"In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but in fact when you look at the data, it's not there. This is true not only for events of international terrorism, as previous studies have shown, but perhaps more surprisingly also for the overall level of terrorism, both of domestic and of foreign origin," Abadie said.

Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism. Though terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, it was the intermediate nations that seemed most vulnerable.

Mike, Martin, Babs, Janeane, Alex - cancel those calls. Time to rehabilitate Neville Chamberlain. Turns out you guys were right. Appeasement *does* work. Supporting dictators *does* reduce violence, well, at least the open kind that makes the papers. As long as you are willing to go all the way, anyway. Damn that Churchill and Roosevelt for not following through on the plan.

I really do have a point here. Honest. Coming up now.

Though his study didn't explore the reasons behind the trends he researched, Abadie said it could be that autocratic nations' tight control and repressive practices keep terrorist activities in check, while nations making the transition to more open, democratic governments - such as currently taking place in Iraq and Russia - may be politically unstable, which makes them more vulnerable.

"When you go from an autocratic regime and make the transition to democracy, you may expect a temporary increase in terrorism," Abadie said.

Read the whole thing yourself.

That's where Iraq is. Russia. And elsewhere. The choice is - do you fight the tyrants, or do you roll over? The Hollywood left says to roll over.

I say there's just some people as needs killin'. And those people are in Fallujah, the Sunni Arab minority who don't want to share power with the Shia Arab majority. And yes, innocents are going to die. But we're going to be killing far fewer of them in this city fight than has ever been done before - and we're developing the tactics, techniques, procedures and hardware that will make it harder and harder for people like the fedayeen to hide in the cities, using the innocents as human shields.

And yes, those of you with Beth, I'm perfectly willing to go there, do that. I swore an oath that still binds, regardless of inconvenience it may cause.

Ich Dien. Send Me. No Mission Too Difficult, No Sacrifice Too Great. Duty First.

Tired slogans all. But I still believe in them. But I don't believe in all of them. There's some Wilfrid Owen in me, too. I just don't happen to think that Operation Iraqi Freedom is WWI-like in motivation.

Wilfred Owen Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Shame on us, and our political class, if we let it become so. Even more so, if, having started this, we don't have the stomach to finish it. *That* would be a crime.