Sunday, December 31, 2006

Glaivester History

My first use of the tag-line "that is all."

The birth of the Glaivester.

For those who are newbies, I was using his pseudonym on the internet for four and a half years before I started a blog.

And outside of the blog posts, I do not use the tagline "that is all," very much. So no, I am not insane, with a compulsion to end everything I say with a catch-phrase.

That is all.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Lawrence Auster Can Be Naive

Mr. Auster is good on a variety of topics, but I find his belief that there was anthing that Saddam could have done to stop the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. to be fairly naive.

Mr. Auster asks:

"What more “face” would he have lost by turning over to the inspectors all his actual information on his WMDs? "

Has Mr. Auster considered he possibility that whatever information he turned over to the inspectors, Bush would still insist that he was hiding something?

"People say that Hussein was not crazy. But his behavior of appearing to conceal WMDs (which apparently he did not even have), which forced America to invade his country and destroy his regime, was crazy. I wonder if he ever realized this."

I think that there is some desire here in Mr. Auster not to consider the possibility that he was duped by the administration.

Of course, this brings up Mr. Auster's reason for believing that Bush could not have lied about the WMDs - esentially, the damage to his reputation from us not finding them would be too great, so he must have thought that Saddam had WMDs for him to make it the public purpose of the war.

This is a reasonable point, but I think that there are good responses to it. I will try to write something about that in the future when I have more time.

That is all.

Quote of the Week

The Dujail reprisals were a war crime, no doubt about it, a bigger sham of justice than Saddam’s own trial, by two orders of magnitude. They were also the sort of war crime that people like Ralph Peters and a hundred other pundits and parapundits think the United States should be committing. Every time you read a complaint about “politically correct rules of engagement” you are reading someone who would applaud a Dujail-level slaughter if only we were to perpetrate it.

-Jim Henley

That is all.

Ding Dong the Bastard's Dead

I'll try to post some thoughts on Saddam's execution at some point.

For now, suffice it to say that it was richly deserved, but will not, I think, effect the situation on the ground much.

That is all.

Sorry for Light Posting

I've been away from my computer for a while, and when I got back to work on Tuesday I was too tired to post.

I'll try to post more later, maybe not until 2007, though.

That is all.

Disturbing News

On the "flying imams" case. (I don't let the fact that I find Andrew McCarthy repulsive get in the way of realizing how stupid bending over backward for these agent provocateurs can be).

Thanx and a tp o' the hat to Lawrence Auster.

That is all.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

German Government: We Want Your Kids

Educational tyranny in action.

(Admittedly, it is from WorldNetDaily, so take it with a grain of salt, but the story is not implausible).

That is all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Good Article by Rich Lowry

It isn't all the media's fault.

That is all.

This is Interesting

Maybe not everyone believed that Saddam had WMDs.

That is all.

Bush Sinking

I think that this is a reasonable article.

At the very least, Bush needs to seriously rethink his strategy in Iraq. We are not winning, and simply adding a few more troops without also altering the strategy will not avail us much. Yes, we need more troops if we want to gain control of the country, but that alone won't help us if we are committed to a losing goal and a losing strategy to achieve that goal.

That is all.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Tet for Tat

A common refrain from war-bots is that the media lost Vietnam by obscuring our victories. The most obviously example, of course, being the Tet Offensive, which the media supposedly presented as a loss for our side when it was actually a victory.

But think about it for a second. We were in Vietnam until 1973. Tet occurred in January of 1968. Are we to believe that it was the media that prevented us from finally defeating the Viet Cong Communists for good during those five years?

In addition, according to this Wikipedia article and this one, the press coverage of the Tet Offensive did not greatly influence public support for the war (Ameican casualty counts did that) and the major negative effect on American public opinion from the Tet Offensive was their realization that the U.S. government, which had prior to Tet reported the Communist side as a spent force, had badly underestimated the enemy.

Largely, that is what is bothering the public about Iraq as well. During the first two years or so of the war, we were constantly assured that the insurgency was almost defeated, that there were only a few dead-enders, or that we were fighting 5,000 disgruntled "Islamists," and once we killed or captured them democracy would break out. Instead, there has been a gradual uptick in the amount of violence, and for a year and a half or so, in American and other coalition casualties.

When the predicted pacification did not happen, the public slowly began losing confidence in this war and in how we were fighting it.

Some true believers, unable to comprehend that the leaders of the country either lied to them or were grossly mistaken, have taken to denying that the people fighting in Iraq are Iraqi at all. But tales of foreign fighters have mroe to do finding an excuse for the violence that allows the initial predictions to be accurate than with actual facts. That is, they can claim that we did defeat the Iraqi insurgents by denying that those we fight now are Iraqi insurgents:

But it really hasn't been. It was dead enders, just as Rumsfeld said, at first. Then the jihadists joined in, then Iran and Syria were able to build an insurgent war machine within the country.

Ultimately, the goal is to to never admit a mistake and to blame those who expose your errors for your errors' inevitable results.

That is all.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Support Our Troops

When one of thsoe moronic hawks keeps telling us that you cannot support our troops unless you support the war, the current strategy for fighting it, and the President, remember that the President does not really support our troops that much, at least in terms of making sure that their service is adequately compensated.

So remember that those who equate support for Bush and support for the troops really are either woefully ignorant or else really do not care a whit about our troops. In reality, they are part of the Dubya cult of personality and they just want to use them as human shields to protect their idol.

That is all.

Victory, Schmictory

Despite the anger this position will surely engender amongst hawks, I agree with the idea that we should exchew the use of the term "victory" in Iraq, at least for the time being.

This is not, however, because I want to see the U.S. lose in Iraq, or because I see "victory" as an inflammatory term. Rather, it is because the term "victory" has become a substitute for a thoughtful articulation of what we hope to accomplish in Iraq.

"Victory" is not a strategy. Technically, in fact, it is not even a goal. Victory is the state of having met your goals. Therefore, saying that "our strategy is victory" is like saying "our strategy is to meet our goals," which is meaningless, as strategy is the proccess by which we hope to achieve our goals. Saying that "our goal is victory" is similarly tautological, amounting to "our goal is to meet our goals."

Rather, I like to talk in terms of concrete policy.

If we are to stay in Iraq (which I do not think is a wise idea), the goal ought to be pacification. That is, to bring Iraqis under our virtually undisputed control and for them to peacefully accept our dominance. Only a pacified country can be democratized (which would still be a pie-in-the-sky goal), or more realistically, defanged (i.e. we set up a stable government that is non-threatening and compliant with U.S. interests and desires).

The main failing in the occupation of Iraq is that we concentrated on democratization first, rather than pacification. We did this largely because we assumed that the Iraqis were on the "same page" as we were and wanted the same things. Still today, we portray our strategy in Iraq as helping the Iraqi to be able to police themselves, or more specifically to be able to train the Iraqis to work towards our goals in Iraq for us, which of course assume that they have the same goals for the country that we have and only need to be trained on how to realize these goals.

As long as we rely on others with different interests to protect what we perceive as our interests in Iraq, our strategy will be a woeful failure and we will be left either blaming others for Iraqi misdeeds (the constant chorus that the insurgency is enitrely foregin fighters or entirely a proxy army fighting on behalf of Iran and/or Syria), or trying to place all of the problems on the head of some Emmanuel al-Goldstein, such as Zarqawi or Sadr.

Some people argue that the way we fight in Iraq is criminal. I say that it is worse: it is stupid.

That is all.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Qu'Ran Swearing In

Via Jim Henley I found this piece by Julian Sanchez and then this one by Dennis Prager.

I must say that I think that Prager is being ridiculous. I think that it is reasonable to allow a Muslim to be sworn in on the Qu'Ran. If the U.S. people do not like this, then they ought not to elect Muslims. Prager says that Jews and secularists have long been sworn in on a Christian Bible, but I do not see why that matters. If true - and I do not know that it is - it is probably because they decided not to object to it. If a Jew asked to be sworn in on a Torah, I doubt that most people would mind. If they do, then they ought not to elect Jews.

He also tries a reductio ad absurdum by asking what if we elected a Nazi who wanted to be sworn in on Mein Kampf (he actually says "a racist," but I think that it is fair to say that someone wanting to be sworn in on a book written by Hitler would probably hail from the Nazi wing of the racists). It does not appear to have occured to him that if we elected someone who believed in Nazism, what book he was sworn in on would be the least of our problems.

In fact, if we read Prager's piece, Prager nowhere suggests that non-Christians were not allowed to choose a different book, just that they chose not to object (and as I recall, John F. Kennedy was sworn in on a Catholic Bible rather than a King James Version, so I do see that there have been some accomodations made.

This does not mean that having an official sworn in on the Qu'Ran mnight not be troubling for various cultural reasons, but if it is a problem, then surely electing a Muslim to higher office would be a bigger one, and the fact that people voted for a Muslim should be the real issue, not the fact that the Muslim takes his faith seriously.

That is all.

Some Stuff from Henley

Jim Henley makes an excellent point about all of the hysteri over the "false story" (whether it is or not I do not know) about Iraqi Sunnis being burned alive.

It is folly to get vaught up in individual atrocity stories. What matters is the overall trend.

I think that this is one thing that a lot of people forget.

That is all.