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Watching the coverage of the Israel/Hezbollah conflict and the reactions of the American public, I've been struck by how poorly most Americans - and even most of the so-called experts - understand asymmetric warfare. This is a disastrous bit of ignorance, because unless and until China becomes a Soviet-style threat, all of America's wars will be asymmetric.

A short primer, with examples, is on the flip.

Symmetric Warfare

Let's with the more familiar notion: Symmetric warfare is when both sides have more or less the same weapons and tactics. In World War II, for example, the German tanks, planes, and machine guns battled the Allied tanks, planes, and machine guns. In the American Civil War, blue and grey alike had cannons and rifles and cavalry. In a conventional symmetric war, armies take and hold territory, there's a front line, and it's not too hard to tell the difference between soldiers and civilians.

Brutal and destructive as it can be, symmetric warfare has become (to a certain extent) civilized. There are rules. Soldiers wear uniforms so that you can tell who they are rather than shooting everything that moves. When soldiers surrender, a whole set of gentlemen's agreements come into play. Soldiers are like chess pieces; once captured they are removed from the board and kept safe until the end of the game. International agreements also proscribe the use of indiscriminate weapons like poison gas or disease.

These rules developed over centuries when warfare in Europe really was a kind of game. Wars centered on issues of little consequence to the average person: which brother would be king, whether your town sent tribute payments to Paris or to Vienna, and so on. If you were a civilian, you kept your head down, waited for the dust to settle, and then paid your taxes to the winner. Even soldiers were playing a kind of game. Some were mercenaries who fought under many different flags in the course of a career. Others (like my Alsatian ancestors) came from border provinces, and so owed their allegiance to whichever king had won the previous war. You did your job, but after the outcome was clear there was no sense getting yourself killed.

When wars were fought over something that struck deeper - like the Crusades or the Catholic/Protestant wars of the 1600's - rules went out the window. The Thirty Years War, for example, depopulated entire regions of central Europe.

When Losers Don't Quit

Asymmetric warfare happens when it's obvious who the winner of a symmetric war would be - maybe a symmetric war has already been fought and decisively won - but some core group on the losing side is not willing to give up and get on with life. Replaying the game of civilized symmetric warfare would just get them slaughtered to no purpose, but the issues of the war are so important that they cannot simply accept defeat. And so they fight on - outside the game, outside the rules.

Asymmetric warriors don't wear uniforms and fight pitched battles. Rather than defending territory, they accept that the opposing force can go where it wants, killing and destroying at will. They hide among civilians, they hit and run, and they attack whatever targets their enemy values but has left undefended. Often those targets are non-combatants.

To the winners of the symmetric war (and all others who remain locked into the game mentality of symmetric warfare) the asymmetric warriors just look like sore losers. If the asymmetric warriors were civilized and honorable, they would wear uniforms and face their opponents' soldiers on a battlefield - and get slaughtered like vermin. The asymmetric tactics - attacking civilians and running away from soldiers - look cowardly, even when they lead to certain death. And because the decisive war is already supposed to be over, an asymmetric attack looks like pointless destruction, killing for the sake of killing.

And it would be, if not for one fact: Sometimes the asymmetric warriors win. How on Earth does that happen?

How Insurgents Win

Asymmetric warfare works in a very specific situation: The winner of the symmetric war wants to govern the region (or hand it off to a local client government) at a finite cost. If the asymmetric warriors - in this setting let's call them insurgents and their opponents occupiers - can make the territory ungovernable and establish themselves in such a way that they cannot be crushed within the cost parameters of the occupiers, then eventually the occupiers will have to give them at least part of what they want.

In other words, insurgents win by not losing. If the occupiers find the status quo unacceptable, but have no acceptable way to bring the insurgency to an end, then it is only a matter of time before they realize their goals cannot be achieved. It's up to the occupiers to decide when to stop the bleeding and admit defeat, but they have lost. This is the story of the Americans in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, and white settler governments in various parts of Africa. It is arguably the story of the Americans in Iraq as well.

(It is worth noting why this is not - at least not yet - the story of Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. The difference is that the Israeli level of commitment very nearly matches that of its opponents. Israel is unable to crush the Palestinian insurgency, but seems ready to bleed at this level into the indefinite future.)

Americans have a hard time grasping this basic fact: Right up to the day the occupying power admits defeat and pulls out, it continues to wield overwhelming force. It may never lose a pitched battle. It may - right up to the end - be able to go where it wants, killing and destroying at will.

That doesn't mean it's not losing.

The Recruitment Pipeline

If insurgents win by not losing, then the question shifts: How do they lose?

They lose by wasting away. Their numbers diminish by death, captivity, or discouragement and they are unable to replenish themselves with new recruits. Recruiting is an essential part of any insurgency, because the occupiers will always appear to be winning the battle of attrition. Occupying soldiers are trying to kill insurgents while insurgents are trying to avoid occupiers, so any body count will favor the occupiers - right up to the day they admit defeat and pull out.

In a successful insurgency, warriors are only the tip of a large iceberg. Even though the number of active warriors may be small, a much larger segment of the population is at some earlier stage of recruitment. Some sympathize with the insurgents silently; they know who the warriors are, but chose not to tell the occupiers. Some help in small ways, by delivering messages, holding money, or even hiding weapons. Some harbor warriors and help them hide from the occupiers. Some will not fight, but will act as look-outs and report the movements of occupying troops. A successful insurgency is always losing warriors (sometimes by intentional suicide attacks), but the pipeline of recruitment is full of people moving to ever greater levels of commitment.

Occupiers who continue to think in a symmetric, conventional-war mindset (with its sharp distinctions between soldiers and civilians) do not see these flows of sympathy and commitment. If the insurgency has, say, ten thousand warriors, then these occupiers believe they win by removing ten thousand insurgent pieces from the board.

But they don't win, because in the course of removing those ten thousand pieces the occupiers push some number of sympathizers further down the path of commitment to the insurgency. Ten, twenty, thirty thousand insurgents may die or be captured, and still the war goes on. A man who stays out of the war for fear of losing his house will join it when his house becomes "collateral damage." Each family that loses a member in an occupier attack - especially an innocent member like a child - will move further down the path of recruitment.

In the beginning, an insurgency is a small group of warriors moving in a large sea of people who are waiting to see what happens next. Maybe the occupier will be gentle. Maybe life will go on in some acceptable way. The insurgents' first goal is to goad the occupier into using its overwhelming force so that life cannot go on in an acceptable way. A foolish occupier swats flies with hammers, creating disproportionate damage and forcing the previously ambivalent population to choose sides.

Once the insurgency's pipeline of recruitment is well established, the only exclusively military solution available to the occupier is genocide, or some form of ethnic cleansing that will move the insurgent-sympathizing population somewhere else. An occupier who is unwilling to go that far must accept the fact that overwhelming force alone is not enough. Military force must continue to play a role, but only in support of a political solution that gives the asymmetric warriors a reason to lay down their arms.

Occupier Strategy

If a direct kill-the-insurgents strategy is doomed to failure, what can the occupier do?

The Vietnam-era notion of "winning hearts and minds" is not just a way for guilt-ridden liberals to feel better about themselves. It deals with the real problem: the whole pipeline of sympathy and recruitment, not just the comparatively small number of active insurgent warriors. Every policy of the occupier - and especially any use of force - must be examined in light of its effect on insurgent recruitment. A search-and-destroy operation may kill dozens of insurgents with only minor occupier casualties, and still be a net loss if it pushes the general population further down the recruitment pipeline. A lawnmower may cut down dozens of dandelions, but if it scatters their seeds hundreds more will pop up.

All effective anti-insurgent strategies involve drying up the supply of recruits by isolating the insurgents from the larger population. In the so-called "ink spot" strategies the isolation is geographic: a small area is pacified and reconstructed to the point that it becomes governable. The population, seeing the benefits of peaceful governance, resists insurgent efforts to infiltrate. The surrounding areas come to envy the pacified area, and the governable "ink spot" spreads. Other kinds of isolation can also work, as long as the population comes to see a clear separation between itself and the insurgents rather than a slippery slope.

Insurgency by its nature is a low-lifespan occupation. Lenin's line about revolutionaries - that they are dead men on furlough - applies even moreso to insurgents. They must take action to stay relevant, and any action they take carries great risk. Without a constant resupply of recruits ready to die, an insurgency withers.

In order to disrupt that supply, the occupier need not be loved. It need only convince the population that ending the occupation is not worth dying for.

The Anti-Timetable Fallacy

Much current rhetoric falls apart once these basic principles are understood. For example, consider the Bush administration's main argument against setting a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq: that the insurgents would bide their time until we had left, and then rise up again.

If only they would.

Think about it: Suppose the insurgents sat on their hands for a year while they waited for us to withdraw. Iraq, in other words, gets a year of peaceful governance and reconstruction. Roads and power plants are built. Businesses are started. Pipelines transport oil without interruption while tens of billions of petrodollars flow into the country. People rebuild their homes, get jobs, enroll their children in school. And most of all, old wounds recede ever farther into the past.

What happens to the insurgent recruitment pipeline during that year? It collapses. In the course of that year, many people who thought they were willing to die would realize they had something to live for. No insurgent leader could allow it.

I don't know what actually would happen if the U.S. announced a timetable for withdrawal, and maybe there are legitimate reasons to be against such a move. But I guarantee that the insurgents would not sit back and wait for us to leave.


Finally, we come to the issue of the day: Israel and Hezbollah.

"Israel has a right to defend herself," President Bush said at a recent news conference. I have no argument with that statement, I just think it is completely irrelevant. Nations and individuals have a right to do all kinds of misguided things. And that's what I think Israel has done.

I understand the provocation. Israel/Lebanon/Hezbollah has some parallels with America/Afghanistan/Al Qaeda after 9-11. Israel has been attacked by Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, and the Lebanese government is either unable or unwilling to do anything to prevent future attacks. Any responsible Israeli leader would be trying to figure out how to defend its people and territory.

But that doesn't mean going in with the hammers and lawnmowers. Israeli rhetoric about destroying Hezbollah as a fighting force is detached from reality. At most, the Israelis can hope to kill some large number of Hezbollah fighters and capture or destroy the current supply of rockets. But all of that is easily replaced: Iran can send more rockets, and the number of people willing to die in order to kill Israelis has surely gone up in the past few weeks. Killing your enemies, if it's done badly, increases their number.

War: What's It Good For?

Like most liberals, I am not a pacifist. I believe military power has its uses, and it does some things very well. If, for example, our goal in Iraq had just been to capture Saddam - well, we did that, didn't we?  A similar operation might have captured Bin Laden.  Bosnia is far from paradise these days, but at least people aren't dying by the tens of thousands. With similar care the genocide in Rwanda might have been stopped, and the one in Darfur still could be. And if anyone knew a way to go into North Korea and come out a few days later with Kim Jong-il and all the North Korean nuclear weapons, I'd be for it.

But military force is a blunt instrument, and used badly it creates more enemies than it kills. If you're not prepared to kill millions of people - and I'm not - then you have to find a way to circumscribe your enemies, so their numbers aren't instantly replenished, with interest, as soon as you kill them. In the long run, if you aren't willing to commit genocide against your enemy's recruitment pool, then every use of force has to be carefully calibrated.

Because it might not be a pool, it might be an aquifer.

Originally posted to Pericles on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:20 PM PDT.

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  •  Shameless pleading for recommendations (309+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Cogito, Malacandra, Devilstower, RichM, Lestatdelc, tsackton, DavidW in SF, opendna, Best in Show, tmo, JR, northsylvania, pb, Kascade Kat, Irfo, vtdem, elizsan, cmanaster, RichRandal, MadRuth, tundraman, Mikey, Buckeye BattleCry, lanshark, ogre, SeanF, orchid314, Rayne, JeffSCinNY, Trendar, gogol, lipris, moon in the house of moe, laurel, mickT, 2pt5cats, Ramar, Gooserock, Rolfyboy6, Pandora, RunawayRose, Bob Love, bribri, Robespierrette, bliss149, Coldblue Steele, Shockwave, simaramis, LynChi, m maddog, cotterperson, UTLiberal, OLinda, AWhitneyBrown, drewthaler, willyr, djinniya, PhillyGal, treetop57, dr z, WI Deadhead, DemInCville, Matilda, HappyMichBlogger, bumblebums, technopolitical, Predator Saint, km4, Makeda, Miss Devore, Hatu, RandOR, worriedmom, afox, BlackGriffen, rktect, macdust, mentaldebris, mmacdDE, baba durag, mik, dlcampbe, jem6x, LFischer, Xapulin, Pithy Cherub, CalvinV, wanderindiana, Retyef, AaronS, roses, Frederick Clarkson, JuliaAnn, bobinson, LondonYank, itsmitch, bincbom, Bearpaw, sagra, Thaxter, thingamabob, Jesterfox, bustacap, bewert, SairaLV, indefinitelee, Janet Strange, WeatherDem, ktakki, kredwyn, Moody Loner, annan, DeadB0y, CitizenOfEarth, Urizen, pat bunny, elmo, dwahzon, chantedor, On The Bus, chargrove, lizah, bittergirl, snakelass, weasel, Calidrissp, bobg, alizard, Rxtr2, inclusiveheart, dcookie, GenXWho, walkshills, Bluefish, frank grimes, zett, ybruti, airshipjones, mattes, NeoconSemanticist, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, mayan2012, ScienceMom, megaplayboy, Grahamdubya, Marc in KS, vansterdam, mm201, greeseyparrot, Gowrie Gal, a517dogg, Karma for All, Skennet Boch, joanneleon, G2geek, Fabian, paige, joesig, tomabeln, 3goldens, rstnfld, kingubu, ludwig, Elise, baccaruda, greatferm, InExile, PBen, PsychoSavannah, phinky, oldhousepoor, Webster, Simplify, crimsonscare, TN yellow dog, HillaryIsMyHomegirl, KiaRioGrl79, david78209, anonymousredvest18, volballplr, trinityfly, BrenP, fixxit, Bill White, marathon, CarolynC967, sassy texan, jimstaro, EdlinUser, sofia, tamman2000, Ice Blue, bmaples, Repete153, gkn, rolandzebub, Yamara, power model, shiobhan, sodalis, sbdenmon, Tuba Les, dsteffen, DaveVH, JanL, grapes, tjfxh, viscerality, thiroy, Land of Enchantment, WMiller, jay23, Nowhere Man, Mother Mags, taracar, motherlowman, ThaliaR, surferal, occams hatchet, andreuccio, kovie, esquimaux, trashablanca, Sanuk, chicagoblueohio, kraant, Fasaha, ama, Distaste for Dissent, RogueStage, Opakapaka, Ceee, leo joad, SciFiGuy, Yellow Canary, darthstar, allmost liberal european, JaketheSnake, smokeymonkey, Catesby, blues lover, rhetoricus, chgriffen, Magnifico, irishamerican, sailmaker, kck, Gottlieb, EuroPerspective, quinque, ormondotvos, NBBooks, DarkestHour, jguzman17, global citizen, curmudgiana, arbiter, Iranaqamuk, Everest42, cobalt blue, NearlyNormal, BalkanID, MO Blue, AndyS In Colorado, myrealname, Unitary Moonbat, think blue, anniethena, vivian darkbloom, jasfm, Turbonerd, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, dhomyak, BB10, Lew2006, pkbarbiedoll, bstotts, Buddha Hat, TeeJay57, kidneystones, Friend of the court, zephron, slksfca, anais, BlueBiker, DBunn, jlb1972, Boreal Ecologist, BeninSC, casusbelli, Balam, dotsright, khereva, Cronesense, chrischen, oklacoma dem, whl, Opinionated Ed, suburi, McGirk, Neuromancer, jayb, sorval, rgjdmls, Blue State 68, whytwolf, sfRenter, blueintheT

    I really think this message needs to get out.

    •  Rec'd, and this will be my last linking (57+ / 0-)

      of this photo, but it speaks volumes to the facts that too many Americans fail to acknowledge:

      Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

      by darthstar on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:15:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The colonials... (9+ / 0-)

      along the lines of Francis Marion...assymentrical warriors?

      "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

      by kredwyn on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:35:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Definitely (23+ / 0-)

        Even to the point of the Continental Army. Early on in the war, Washington knew that he couldn't survive a head-on conflict with the redcoats, hence 1776 was largely a year of strategic retreats. I recommend David McCullough's book 1776 for a good account of how all of that happened.

        O it is excellent to have a giant's strength: but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant. --Measure for Measure, II.2

        by RogueStage on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:44:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. (21+ / 0-)

          Best, most telling example of asymmetric warfare that most Americans could (I didn't say would) understand.

          As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

          by occams hatchet on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:48:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, and the British complained loudly (21+ / 0-)

            about the barbaric colonists who refused to play by the "accepted rules of warfare".  another example that Americans might understand, since Mel Gibson starred in the movie about it (Brave Heart) was the Scot William Wallace who gave the English fits in the 13th century.

            "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" - Monty Python

            by MadRuth on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:00:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not really. (28+ / 0-)
              The British employed irregular troops and local loyalists in purges of Independent minded colonists...Irregular war in Ireland and the Indian frontier was already well known.  

              what we have in Hizbullah is different. The rocket attacks are simply an invitation to Israel to step into Lebanese territory and get dragged down like the US in Iraq.   The are similar to the Parthian Shot employed by cavalry units to draw more heavily armoured units into a vunerable pre-prepared killing field.    9/11 functioned in the same way.  it's an invitation to a real fight at the enemies chosen ground.  
                are the Israelis dumb enough to take the bait and mangle their army?

              •  Apparently they are n/t (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MadRuth, mickT, myrealname

                "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know". -Harry Truman

                by bittergirl on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:27:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  There are many examples from history (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                The word "guerilla" is something Napolean would have been uncomfortably familiar with. Then there were the Maquis and the partisans in Yugoslavia in WWII. The Viet Cong, etc.

                But resistance movements often require state support to be ultimately successful.

              •  The deciding factor in the Revolution was (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gogol, ama, RogueStage

                the French army, fleet, and money - that, and European professionals like DeKalb who trained the Continental Army to kill efficiently.

                In a similar vein, the Battle of New Orleans - Louisiana's only claim to military glory, though fought two weeks after the War of 1812 ended (shhh!) - is popularly attributed to those beloved American mavericks the Tennessee "volunteers" and Lafitte's pirates (Prots & Papists together!). The real deciding factors were two batteries of Regular Army artillery and the success of the US Navy flotilla in outmaneuvering and isolating the British. While we're at it, the government invented the Internet too ...

                Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

                by jlb1972 on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 02:23:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  One of my ggg gf's from TN and several (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MadRuth, gogol, jlb1972

                  of his relatives fought with old Andy Jackson at "that thar" battle of New Orleans.  Now don't you be taking away the glory from them Tennesseans by claiming the Regular Army and Navy were more important.  Everybody knows all the glory belongs to old Jackson and Lafitte; at least that's what I learned, according to music legend.

                  In 1814 we took a little trip along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
                  We took a little  bacon and we took a little beans
                  and we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.

                  We fired our guns and the British kept on comin'
                  There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
                  We fired once more and they began to runnin'down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

                  We looked down the river and we've seen the british come and there must have been a hunnerd of 'em beatin on the drum.They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring but we stood behind our cotton bales 'n' didn't say a thing.

                  Ol' Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise if we didn't fire our muskets 'till we looked 'em in the eyes.We held our fire 'till we seed their faces well then we opened up the squirrel guns and really gave em....well we

                  Well they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles and they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go. They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

                  We fired our cannon 'till the barrel melted down so we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round. We filled his head with cannonballs, powered his behind and when we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind.

                  Yeah they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles and they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'emA down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

                  Actually, I learned that song loooooooong before I learned about the ggg gf.  AND then I learned that Old Andy was a horrible man for betraying the Indian allies, who had fought with him against the Creek Indians.  While Jackson was a Democrat, his name should be on a Wall of Shame for the infamous The Trail of Tears.  That Wall of Shame should include the name of the present CIC, as well.

                  Isn't that typical of American wars and politics though?  One season someone is our ally and the next we screw them over.

                •  Now that's a strange thing for you to say. (0+ / 0-)

                  Battle of New Orleans - Louisiana's only claim to military glory, though fought two weeks after the War of 1812 ended (shhh!)

                  And what do you think the British would have done had they successfully captured New Orleans?  Would they have said,"oops.  Here, you can have it back?"  New Orleans was in important enough port that they would have kept it, peace treaty of the previous week be damned.  At the very least, they would have traded it for something just as valuable.  I wonder what that might have been....  (Seriously, I do wonder.)

              •  Given the analysis, what should Israel do next? (0+ / 0-)
                •  two options (0+ / 0-)

                  declare their objectives met, retreat to the border, and destroy anythign that moves within a half mile of it.  maybe suffer a hizbollah rocket every now and again.


                  invade with ground forces and suffer heavy casulties, and ethnically cleanse southern lebanon.

                  ...if they continue as is, they'll continue to "loose"

                  The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"

                  by Love and Death on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 09:48:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Like Sun Tzu said... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MadRuth, gogol

                ...always fight the enemy on a ground of your chosing, not on a ground of his chosing.

                Not an exact quote, but you get the picture. Bait your enemy into fighting you on a battlefield where you have the advantage, and you have a much better chance of victory, especially when you are at a disadvantage.

                Best example I can think of: the battle of Agincourt. The English were outnumbered about 5 to 1 (60k to 12k), but they had archers who could fire 10-15 shots for the French crossbowmens' one, so they set up their battlefront at one end of a field and rained arrows on the French. They also had the advantage of fighting after a night of rain. The French cavalry and men-at-arms were wearing so much armor that they could barely move through the mud, yet not enough to stop the arrows. There were even instances of French nobles falling from their horses and landing face-down in standing water; their armor was so heavy that they couldn't stand up without help, and drowned.

                And yes, I learned all of that doing research for a production of Henry V. Hooray for Shakespeare.

                O it is excellent to have a giant's strength: but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant. --Measure for Measure, II.2

                by RogueStage on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 09:13:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Apparently Hizbullah misjudged (0+ / 0-)

                but after years and years of America thinking aloud about attacking Iran and Syria, it wouldn't surprise me if either govt. gave Hizbullah a green light with hopes of neutralizing Israel militarily and diplomatically.

                "... in my empire, life is sweet, just ask any bum you meet. You may say that I ain't free but it don't worry me..."

                by lumpenprole on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 09:56:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Now THERE'S an example, all right (0+ / 0-)

              Mel Gibson - king of historical revisionist entertaiment.

              Doesn't really serve your 'cause' well.


              GOP: Gigantic Oil Party - ITMFA! Orwell was years ahead of his time - 16, to be exact.

              by grndrush on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 11:19:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The fact that Mel Gibson is a jerk (5+ / 0-)

                has nothing to do with the validity of the characters he has played.  My point was that Americans would be more likely to know about William Wallace becuase there has been a recent poplular movie about him.

                "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" - Monty Python

                by MadRuth on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 04:18:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And my point was that Mel Gibson's (0+ / 0-)

                  "historical" movies, aren't. In "Patriot", there's a scene where the Brits slaughter a group of captured Americans. The incident actually happened. Only, it was the Americans who slaughtered the Brits.

                  Just saying...


                  Where are we going? And why are we going this fast in something as shoddy as a handbasket?

                  by grndrush on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 10:37:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, it's not that he's a jerk at all. (0+ / 0-)

                  But don't blame him for Braveheart. It was a book first. A lot of creative license was taken in that story mostly with timelines. It's also interesting that they focus on Wallace, and Bruce was a supporting character. Really, Wallace was a thorn, but it was Bruce's defiance and victory at the Bannockburn that mattered.

          •  Casablanca (33+ / 0-)

            This reminds me of a scene from Casablanca (1942):

            STRASSER: Are you one of those people who cannot imagine the Germans in their beloved Paris?

            RICK: It's not particularly my beloved Paris.

            HEINZE: Can you imagine us in London?

            RICK: When you get there, ask me.

            RENAULT: Ho, diplomatist!

            STRASSER: How about New York?

            RICK: Well, there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade.

            If the United States was invaded, we'd fight the invaders. So, why the big surprise when we invade another country, their people fight back? Maybe we believe our own lies.

        •  yup... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave, JuliaAnn

          including on sniper at the Battle of Saratoga who was near and dear to my 6th great grandmother's heart.

          "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

          by kredwyn on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:52:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  For another excellent example, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greeseyparrot, joanneleon

          see the movie Army of Shadows about the French Resistance, which has just been restored and released in the US for the first time.

      •  Absolutely (15+ / 0-)

        The American colonials and minute men forming militias to resist the British Occupation is a great example.

        A similar example of Asymetrical warfare is another struggle in the same place as the present conflict where bandits stripped Egypt of its empire in what is now Palestine just as the Colonials stripped Britain of much of its empire in the Americas.

        In the Amarna letters the Ha ibru, Ha piru (A piru, 'piru), MARTU and SA GAZ were the terrorists, insurgents, rebels, rejectionists and the people they fought against were the equivalent of the tories.

        Some say the story is best captured in Joshua and Judges and some say in the campaigns of the Egyptians against Kadesh in the 18th and 19th dynasties.

        The 18th Dynasty, began with the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt, and a push north of Egypts empire to the Euphrates.

        Soon afterwards extended families, brotherhoods of mercenary warriors (loosely organized as elef meaning clans or thousands), and tribes of bandits, bolstered by displaced agricultural workers, sea peoples and other vagrants found themselves resisting the same colonial situation of taxation without representation that the Minute Men resisted.

        They began plundering the lands of Egypts govenors bordering the various city states, putting their suburbs under the ban, killing every living thing in them and destroying the infrastructure making it impossible for the king to govern, or even to supply enough troops to keep the peace.

        The control of Cannan was reduced to a few fortified wells (green zones) manned by garrisons of the nine bows. (mercenaries)

        Such was the case with URU URU salaam KI or the place of peace (modern Jerusalem) which was governed by Abdi-Hepa who was in charge of the garrisoned troops there. There are sic letters from him to the king describing the situation essentially as follows.

        The king, the lord, has no governors.
        Let the king concern himself with the garrison,
        and let the forces of the garrison of the king my lord go out.
        (55)The king has no more lands.
        The Habiru have plundered all the lands of the king.
        If the forces of the archers are here this year, then
        the lands of the king, my lord, may be [saved]
        But if there is no force of archers,
        (60)then the lands of the king, my lord, will be lost.
        Abdi-hepa,your servant, says this to the scribe of the king, my lord:
        Bring eloquent words to the king, my lord. All the lands of the
        king my lord, are lost.


        The anarchy extended up the coast through Lebanon as far north as Ugarit.

        Rib Hadda was involved in a long-standing dispute with Abdi-Ashirta, the ruler of Amurru (probably in southeastern Lebanon and southwestern Syria), who hired mercenaries from among the Habiru, Shardana, and other warlike tribes.

        EA 81 contains a plea for Egyptian aid against Amurru, whose ruler Rib-Hadda accused of luring away his followers and inciting them to rebellion. He reported further that an assassin sent by Abdi-Ashirta had attempted to kill him. Rib-Hadda pleaded with Akhenaten to send archers to defend him from the forces of Amurru and from his own increasingly resentful peasantry.

        In one of the most poingant of the Amarna texts, Rib-Hadda wrote "the people of Ammiya have killed their lord and I am afraid." (EA 75).

        He added: "like a bird in a trap so I am here in Byblos." (EA 74). Zemar, a city previously under his control, fell to Abdi-Ashirta (EA 84). Shortly thereafter the Egyptian commissioner Pahannate was withdrawn from northern Canaan, leaving Rib-Hadda without even the appearance of Egyptian support. His pleas for assistance evidently went unanswered (EA 107) and evidently caused much annoyance to Akhenaten (e.g., EA 162).

        The Hittites (dwelling in what is now Turkey)were accused of agravating the situation  and the unrest extended through Syria to what is now Iraq and Iran.

        In EA 89, Rib-Hadda reported a coup d'etat in neighboring Tyre, in which the ruler of Tyre, his kinsmen, was killed along with his family. Rib-Hadda's sister and her daughters, who had been sent to Tyre to keep them away from the Amurru invaders, were also presumed to be among those killed. If this were not bad enough, Rib-Hadda wrote again to report that the Hittites were invading Egyptian protectorates in Syria, burning "the King's lands". (EA 126). At one point Rib-Hadda was forced to flee to exile in Beirut, under the protection of Ammunira. (EA 137)

        Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

        by rktect on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 04:10:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My history's a little rusty, but (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gogol, rktect, ama

          didn't this eventually wind up culminating in the battle of Kadesh, which was the beginning of the end of Egyption hegemony in the region?  Sort of how, more recently, the Soviet losses in Afghanistan began the military and economic decline of the USSR.  I think it's classic over-reaching, just like what we're doing in Iraq right now.  The American Empire is already beginning it's decline.

          "Leave the gun ... take the cannoli." -8.38, -7.69

          by Balam on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 08:14:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not sure it ended there (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but you can check my current diary.

            The conflict started in the 12th Dynasty and continued perhaps as late as the 22nd but the interesting part you refer to with the king of Kadesh begins in the 18th dynasty with the battle of Megiddo (Judges IV and V) and continues through the campaigns of the 19th Dynasty especially Seti I (Joshuah and the Conquest)and Ramesses II which
            continues the story up through the burning of Hazor.

            Joshua:10 Now it happens that Adoni Zedek (Abdi-Hepa from the Amarna letters) the king of Jerusalem was told that Joshuah had captured Ai and put the town under a ban

            The time period runs from c 1500 BC with the expulsion of the Hyksos and the start of the 18th Dynasty through c 1350 BC and Joshua to 1285 BC and Ramesses II at the battle of Kadesh where he is already fighting the seapeoples Rameses III encounters later with the Libyans.

            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

            by rktect on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 12:28:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As I understood it, there was a cold-war going on (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              between Egypt and Hatti during the period of Egyptian territorial expansion that began in the 18th dynasty when the Hyksos were expelled.  Muwatalli II and Seti I basically reached an agreement that the expansion would stop at Kadesh, which would be under Hittite control.  Rameses II decided not to abide by his father's agreement, so he tried to retake Kadesh by force, but Muwatalli stopped him in a massive battle that turned out to be immensely costly for Rameses, thus forcing him to give up his expansionist dreams altogether.  I thought that this marked the limit to Egypt's territorial expansion, but I haven't studied this for years, so I guess I'm oversimplifying.  

              Thanks again for posting this, it's nice to see historical analysis on kos.

              "Leave the gun ... take the cannoli." -8.38, -7.69

              by Balam on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 02:16:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  oooh, nice comments. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Somebody that knows their stuff and can frame it.

                First off, who were the Hyksos. Did they arrive in Egypt c 1628 BC as refugees from Santorrini or were some of them here even before the first intermediate? Were they refugees from the Mycenean Greeks?, or Minoans?, or Phoenicians?, oportunistic pirates?, traders?, mercenaries?, scribes?, organized crime? arms dealers, drug traffickers? bankers? barbarians? warlords? tin men ...or were those all the same thing?

                Did they build emporia in the delta. Were they better organized than the Egyptians?, braver? smarter?, more clever?, skillful project managers? competent administrators, ruthless corporate types?

                I visualise an ancient sais as the equivalent of modern Dubai which draws the best and brightest from every nation on earth to build bright shining towers in a country famed for its arms deals, drug deals, and AIDS infected child prostitution.

                How did the Hyksos dominate Egypt for more than a century and why did they leave so suddenly?

                They are sometimes referred to as Phoenician kings and they have horses and chariots fairly early so I'm kind of interested in the linkage between the Hittites, the Mittani, the sea people, and the Hyksos. Did the Hyksos carry horses on their ships?

                When you read all the unfriendly stuff that Hatshepset wrote about the Hyksos I wonder if some of them were still around as late as the reign of Thutmosis I.

                That gets my head into the start of the 18th Dynasty. C 1650 the Mittani come on the scene.
                c 1628 BC Egypt is still the sole super power in the ancient world and the Hittites are still at Kanesh not yet having built Hatusa.

                By c 1500 BC both are international traders with huge empires administered by vassels who pay tribute in return for protection but the Egyptians Thutmosis I can campaign as far north as the Euphrates in upper Retnu (the Orontes watershed).

                By c 1350 BC The Egyptians have Mittani wives and the Hittites have enough allies to put the Egyptians on the defensive in the djadi (the Jordan river watershed).

                Egypt did survive the 18th Dynasty however.

                In the nineteen dynasty Seti I who came to power at about the same time as MUtawallis II campaigned against Kadesh in the mountains and took it. He went further into Hittite territory and was sucessful. A decade later Ramesses II campaigned against Kadesh c 1285 BC and was ambushed and sent packing.

                Though Both Thutmosis I and Seti I campaigned deep into Mitanni territory and traded with Lebanon and Syria my thought is that Kadesh probably was about the limit of the Egyptian influence.

                I would also conjecture that while the Egyptians and their vassals were mostly landfolk and foot soldiers the Hyksos and their allies were sea people and both had recourse to Greek mercenary archers, spearmen and charioteers and Peleset, Tjecker, Weshesh, Lukka, Shardana, Denen and Kretani to man their ships.

                Thank you for your knowledgable comments

                Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                by rktect on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 05:26:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

                  I've wondered about the Hyksos myself.  As far as how they managed to gain and maintain control of Egypt, I've always thought of it as being similar to Norman rule in England.  One of the downsides to having a hereditary monarchy is that once someone seizes power (regardless of whether it was through military conquest or a political coup) it becomes possible for them to cling to their control for multiple generations.  

                  As far as who they were, wasn't there a theory that they were the precursors to the Hebrews, that their overthrow and exile from Egypt was the story that was told in exodus?  I don't remember whether this theory has significant evidence behind it or whether it's considered "fringe," but it certainly has an attractive symmetry to it, i.e. the Hyksos and the Hebrews, two semitic-speaking ethnic groups, were in Egypt at the same time, and were subsequently ejected at the same time.  An odd coincidence that could be accounted for if they were actually one and the same people.  

                  Again, however, I have not studied this period in history for many years, so there're some cobwebs in my brain that I'm trying to clear away as I type.  You have put me to shame with the amazing level of detail in your posts.  Do you teach ancient history or classics?  If you don't, you should consider it!

                  "Leave the gun ... take the cannoli." -8.38, -7.69

                  by Balam on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 06:34:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There are lots of theories (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    but even though I'm pretty old I wasn't there so I don't know for sure.

                    Even words like Hebrew are questionable because neither Egyptian nor semitic languages use vowels.

                    Mayby Hebrew is really ha ibru (the horsemen) because anciently the descendants of Abram lived among the Mitanni.

                    Mayby its ha 'piru (the vagrants) because there are many instances of semitic nomads wandering across Egypts borders to get to water and food during droughts.

                    If you look at the Egyptian instead of the semitic roots for the Old testamrent names and phrases you get many interesting textual artifacts.

                    The top register is cut off but you can make it out. From right to left it reads Come, prepare to bring bread. Fetch eye paint. Bring that here people. 23 men of fighting age, 15 women and children

                    In the second register a scribe presents the groups written passports. Behind him is written wood workers of hatti and the next in line is labled foreign ruler of the ibs3 (eastern fields). If it were ibr it would read (foreign ruler of the eastern ibr s3 plains) but also be a likley reference to the hebrews or mitanni horsemen

                    There is a 19th century BC illustration from the tomb of beni hassan of some fowlers crossing Egypts borders dressed in robes of many colors traveling with asses loaded with nets, musical instruments and weapons.

                    Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                    by rktect on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 07:54:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Correction (0+ / 0-)

                      Come, prepare to bring bread. Fetch eye paint. Bring that here people. 23 men of fighting age, 15 women and children

                      Make that: Come, make welcome the fetching beauties. Bring them here. 23 men of fighting age, 15 women and children

                      The similarity of Abrahams account of coming to Egypt with his household and having Sarai catch the eye of the Egyptian court is apparent. Its in the right time period as well.

                      From Amen em hat I of the 12th Dynasty through Ameni Antef Amen em hat of the 13th the cartouches end in hat or hatti signifying that those kings were of Anatolian origin.

                      Amen em hat III

                      cartouch of Amen em hat III (the lion over the loaf of bread reads ht:t)

                      The robes of many colors identify them as Sidonians, so that would put the Hittites in Lebanon and Egypt c 1900 BC in the middle of the 12th Dynasty at a time when Byblos had been delivering cedar to Egypt for centuries, but the Hittites were new on the scene.

                      Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                      by rktect on Wed Aug 02, 2006 at 04:04:49 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Wouldn't that be interesting (0+ / 0-)

                    if it were true. We are told the Hebrews were oppressed slaves, but what if all along they had been the masters. The populace rose up and drove them out after generations of rule. Talk about revising history!

                    •  Well ... (0+ / 0-)

                      I don't think it's disputed that they were slaves.  The question is, who were they before they became slaves?  The theory I mentioned was that the Hyksos were enslaved after being overthrown, and that they are the people who were later referred to as Hebrews.  The theory is based on inferential evidence, but that hardly makes it "revisionist," considering how fuzzy the history from that period is anyway.  Nobody really knows who was who and who did what, so it's all a matter of connecting the dots between the few surviving records we do have.  

                      Now, making Reagan out to be a great president, that's revising history!

                      "Leave the gun ... take the cannoli." -8.38, -7.69

                      by Balam on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 11:20:29 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  Swamp Fox, Swamp Fox, Tail in his hat (6+ / 0-)

        nobody knows where Swamp Fox is at.

        Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility. --Ambrose Bierce

        by JaketheSnake on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:32:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well done (17+ / 0-)

      Well though out, well researched, and simple enough that the layman can grasp all of it.

      Now if only we could get the administration to read this sort of thing...

      O it is excellent to have a giant's strength: but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant. --Measure for Measure, II.2

      by RogueStage on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:42:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thanks so much fro posting this (43+ / 0-)

      i've been toying with the idea of writing it, but you've done a far better job than i ever could.

      i'm quite stunned that so many people, so many pros don't seem to not only not understand where we find ourselves in the early 21st century, but also seemed shocked to be in this situation. people who make a living studying such things have been caught completely unaware again.

      they seem to think that technology and more precise applications of overwhelming firepower are the answer here. they aren't. national missile defense, the f-22, the navy's hoped for new stealth destroyers. they're all utterly useless in the conflicts to come. we are still preparing for and fielding a force to fight a war that never happened and never will.

      4GW/ASW isn't as sexy as stopping the soviets in central europe. there just isn't the whiz-bang factor they so love in the E-ring. but, we had better ditch those doctrines and quick.

      as someone said recently, every time we fire off a two million dollar hellfire to take out a couple of guys in an alley with a homemade mortar tube, we lose. everytime we drop a 500 lb laser guided bomb from a f-16 in a residential area filled with piss poor innocents and a few bad guys, we lose.

      what is need is a real, radical, top to bottom revolution of military affairs. and honestly, i don't think it's possible. i don't think we have the stomach or the smarts to do it right. besides the fact that the type of revolution that needs to occur greatly cuts into the bottom line of GE and raytheon and general dynamics et al.

      why won't it happen? because there's just not the same kind of money to be made. it really is that simple. the M-I-C is perfectly happy to continue to sell us laser beams on the heads of frickin' robotic sharks for $200 million a pop than develop the tools we are actually going to need for future conflicts and the lawmakers and revolving door pentagon/contractor types will be more than happy to keep throwing a fucking fortune at stuff that we don't need and will be of zero utility in the conflicts to come.

      once again, thank you for writing this. this a awfully goddamn serious subject and it's a debate that this country needs to have and we really need to have it right fucking now.

      "after the Rapture, we get all their shit"

      send NYBri to the NY state senate!

      by lipris on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:43:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you hear the Israeli ambassador to the UN (15+ / 0-)

        last week?

        "We have the power and the technology to wipe Lebanon off the face of the earth."

        How many years has Israel been fighting an insurgency?  How many more before they understand what's going on?

        •  They couldn't when they opccupied... (7+ / 0-)

          ...the area for the better part of a decade, what on earth makes them think they can do so now?

          Bring on the hammers (odd Pink Floyd resonance as well).


          Mitch Gore

          Republicans believe in training Al-Qaeda, but not in training American workers.

          by Lestatdelc on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:43:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  All their nukes (0+ / 0-)

            They could indeed wipe Lebanon off the map.

            On the other hand, living just a short Mediterranean breeze away from all those Lebanese, something like four or five million Israelis would also be "wiped" away.

            But, hey, the terrorists would learn a good lesson!

          •  When Israel went back south... (0+ / 0-)

            ...the understanding was that a centrla Lebanese army would occupy this area.

            Now it'll happen. After 40,000 Hezzie fighters and their Syrian "intel" officers get pasted.

            Jeffersonian Democracy is America's best answer to Bush/Cheney

            by vets74 on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 08:20:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Gillermen is a sick man. n/t (9+ / 0-)

          The sounds of freedom are the cries of bloodied children and women. Root Cause is the Gaza and West Bank Prison.

          by mattes on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:47:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hey, you, get off our cloud! (7+ / 0-)

          That's our delusion.

          We have the power and the technology to wipe Lebanon off the face of the earth."

          You know, they failed How to create more insurgents 101 just like we did. We must have sold them the answers.

          Illumination is cheap around here.

          by walkshills on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 04:34:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  oh, no, they passed it with flying colors... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...just look at how good they are at it.

            Bring the Troops Home. Restore Constitutional Government. Take Back Your Nation.

            by khereva on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 06:33:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think we call that (0+ / 0-)


            Everyone knows Israel has nukes, but nobody actually expects them to use them against Lebannon.


            •  The instructions (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              opendna, mightymouse, jlb1972

              say you shouldn't use them within 50 miles of home. Or with a north wind.

              At close range, nukes are indiscriminate.

              The point is that Israeli is creating new insurgents with every action they take now.

              Genocide would be a solution but it is not viable with the world looking. They haven't suckered either Syria or Iran into the fight. Lebanon is a hostage being abused - and being transformed into a future nemesis in the process.

              When have been suckered by our leaders into a similar situation in Iraq. Everything is a function of us; we are sooooo vain. Like Israel, not so powerful on the ground and not near as good as the fancy tech intel info would lead them to believe. They think there omnipotent and the truth is, they're much less than advertised.

              Illumination is cheap around here.

              by walkshills on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 01:23:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  they probably can (0+ / 0-)

          but even leaving out the distinct probability that the entire rest of the world will stop doing business with them, this leaves them in the middle of a sea of pissed off Muslims and out of nuclear weapons wondering when a wind full of radioactive fallout will be coming their way, because to wipe Lebanon off the face of the earth, it probably will take all their nukes.

          So they probably won't.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 08:12:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously!? (0+ / 0-)

          He used the terminology "wipe off the face of the Earth?" Irony, much?

          •  Seriously, but incorrectly. (0+ / 0-)

            I found the actual quote in the New York Daily News:

            "We have the power and technology to erase the whole of Lebanon and ensure that no one can live there another day," Gillerman said.

            (from my reply to aldpol below).

            •  Probably no one will read this old thread, but... (0+ / 0-)

              this is just a typical misquoting of the Israelis to make them look heartless and vicious.  Here's the full passage from the NY Daily News:

              Answering critics of the growing death toll of innocent Lebanese civilians caught between the Israeli military and Hezbollah militants, Gillerman said Israel has actually been very restrained.

              "We have the power and technology to erase the whole of Lebanon and ensure that no one can live there another day," Gillerman said.

              Israel is widely known to have a nuclear arsenal.

              "There are places which we could have leveled by aircraft but we went in with ground forces because we wanted to spare the population," Gillerman said.

              MSNBC/Newsweek  has another edit of the quote:

              Israel's U.N. Ambassador Dan Gillerman said last week that the Israeli military is "sensitive" about targeting. "Believe me, we have the capability, both militarily and technologically, to erase the whole of Lebanon and to make sure that nobody can live there another day," he told the press in New York. "This is not our intention. And because we are doing it so carefully it is taking longer and we are suffering more casualties." But pictures of even a few children torn apart by Israeli bombs have a devastating effect on international opinion.

              Whether you believe the Israelis or not, and whether you support their military tactics (or even their security from terrorism, or their survival as a nation)or not, this kind of selective quotation is just plain dishonest.

              •  The Israelis have become (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                heartless and vicious, sad to say.  Forty years of oppressing another people in their own lands is heartless.  Expanding their territories illegally is vicious.  Rationing the oppressed water supplies while they splash around in swimming pools is heartless.
                The oppressed will only take so much.
                That's my humble and honest opinion.

        •  Citation for this quote?? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          think blue

          I've Googled it, and don't find it anywhere.  Can you please provide a link?

          •  The missing link (0+ / 0-)

            I saw it on TV as a video clip of Gillerman's press conference on a major network in NY.  I've found it quoted in the Daily News on Friday, July 28, 2006.

            The transcription and recollection were my own.  I got the actual words a little wrong, but I think that the meaning is the same.  Judge for yourself:

            "We have the power and technology to erase the whole of Lebanon and ensure that no one can live there another day," Gillerman said.

            I remembered it because what I found most shocking is that Gillerman was referring to Lebanon instead of Hezbollah.

            The video clip may be available somewhere if you look.  I had to use Lexis/Nexis to find the Daily News article.

        •  I heard him this morning on C-Span if his (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          name is Gillerman/Gellerman.

          A caller told him he didn't want his tax dollars supporting Israel and their indiscrimate killing of
          Lebanese civilians.  Gillerman was rather dismissive of the caller, saying that the cost to the caller was minimal compared to the cost to Israel. He said that no American has donned a uniform for Israel, and it is Israel doing the fighting of terrorists for the rest of the world, and the rest of the world recognizes it and appreciates it.

          I was put off by what I thought was his arrogance.
          Heretofore, I have always admired the Israelis for their fierceness and bravery, but this time around, I find their behavior to be overboard.  

          Also, a woman named Danielle Pletka (or something like that) was on C-Span defending all the US has done and practically all Israel has done this time around.  A caller complained about Israel's stance, and this woman called him anti-Semite.  I'm sorry, but I don't buy that criticism of Israel's tactics equate with being anti-Semite anymore than I buy being anti Bush equates with being unAmerican or unpatriotic.

          Where does all this convoluted thinking come from?

        •  Understand what, exactly? (0+ / 0-)
          The reason for the whole mess is that the people of Lebanon hate each other. They hate the Jews, and the various factions have patrons that fund them and give them weapons.

          Let's talk about the occupation: There was no occupation after 2000, so Hisbullah invented the shabaa farms hoax in order to keep the "resistiance" going.

          If there was NO occupation there cannot be resistance to it.
          But Iran has decided to become imperialist, and the Syrians and Hizbullah know that if they make peace with Israel they wouldn't have an occupation to restist.

          Hizbullah WANTS an Israeli occupation. That's why they started the war. They don't really care about the well being of the Dhimmis (christians and Druze) and heretics (Sunnis). They believe they don't have to play by the "rules" and won't. That's why the cease fire is going to fail.

          How can there be a cease fire if most of the troops monitering it refuse to communicate with one of the sides, especially if part of their mission is to "protect" that side?

          Finally, on this topic, there's the israeli occupation of Israel. That's the main thing. Arab/Islamic antisemitism requires that the main issue is the existance of Tel Aviv. Where are the Israelis to go? They've got nowhere to go. NOWHERE.

          Getting bach to the question of asymetrical warfare, there's a huge fact which is censored out: Patronage.

          the "anti-colonial" wars in Africa and Southeast Asia in the 1950s were supported by the USSR. They were part of the Cold War, and couldn't have succeeded without millions of dollars worth of weapons and ammuntion. Same thing with Afghanistan in the '70s and '80s.

          Today, the patron is Iran.

          Without the weapons supplied by the USSR to African "liberation" movements, the elephant would be common as dirt.  

      •  Yes, lipris, you nailed it (12+ / 0-)

        why won't it happen? because there's just not the same kind of money to be made. it really is that simple. the M-I-C is perfectly happy to continue to sell us laser beams on the heads of frickin' robotic sharks for $200 million a pop than develop the tools we are actually going to need for future conflicts and the lawmakers and revolving door pentagon/contractor types will be more than happy to keep throwing a fucking fortune at stuff that we don't need and will be of zero utility in the conflicts to come.

        Diplomacy seminars and sensitivity training are much, much cheaper. You do have to pick your people well, not like at DOD where a Rumsfeld will do.

        This folly of modern weaponry will prove that the joke is on us. Like I said to my kids just a couple nights ago, every third person on earth ought to have to pack up and move to a foreign country immediately. Change would come faster than hot shit through a tin horn.

        And those Lebanese kids with their sign ... no matter who found the English ... can you imagine us pleading with foreigners in any language but our own? (No, we are dumb fucks who eschew learning the other guy's language).

        You know what I like about Pericles' diary? He says we need peace at all costs and above all things in a way those techno-men in the WH and at DOD should be able to understand. Fuck, we're not peaceniks! Never! We're anti-asymmetrical warefare! But they don't get it. Now Pericles, and you lipris, you get it.

        Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else? - James Thurber

        by JuliaAnn on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:08:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  maybe not anti-asymetrical warfare (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          maybe just anti-stupid, or anti-losing.  Why would you want to continue to pursue tactics in an asymetrical war that guarantee you'll lose?

          The only thing I can think of is perhaps winning isn't the goal. Perhaps the real goal is something political or financial. I can't begin to imagine what the political calculus might be for Israel, but I can easily see how keeping a war going (even one that is going badly) keeps the Republican base here in the U.S. fired up and chest thumping, with the added bonus of injecting huge amounts of cash into the coffers of their contributors in the oil industry/military complex.

          •  I think you hit on another piece... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            of the current puzzle/crisis. It's not necessarily about winning. A large part of the US's political stance is greed. All those new bombs, missles and planes that were fed-exed over to Israel, so they could keep swinging the hammer until Condi/Bush decide to get serious about a peace deal, helps the war machine to keep humming along. And there are a lot of fat wallets getting fatter everyday this continues.

            "no better time than now, no better place than here"
             - rage against the machine

            by In A World Gone Mad on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 09:08:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I nominate this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, LondonYank, PsychoSavannah

        the M-I-C is perfectly happy to continue to sell us laser beams on the heads of frickin' robotic sharks for $200 million a pop than develop the tools we are actually going to need for future conflicts

        For Comment of the Day.  I needed a good laugh.  Thanks.

        May I remind you that there is a picture of Jesus behind that ping-pong table?

        by HillaryIsMyHomegirl on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 09:53:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I recall Bush saying something about NOT spending (0+ / 0-)

        a million dollars for a missile to hit a camel's ass, as if he were really serious about spending money carefully and as if he were really serious about not appearing ineffectual.

        Well, all that bluster was for naught, as far as I can tell.  I hope he loves irony.

    •  No pleading required (12+ / 0-)

      This diary demands recommendation.

      Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

      by Mark Sumner on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:44:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for this (22+ / 0-)

      I agree the message needs to get out.

      The way you win an Asymetric war is to treat the enemy as a part of your market share and figure out how to get them to buy your product.

      If they have other issues that prevent them from buying your product you have to resolve those first.

      For example if they can't buy your product because they don't have any money and are poor and need to spend what money they do have on food clothing and shelter, or because they are old and need to spend their money on medicine then you need to find a way to get them either more food, clothing, shelter and medicine or more  money so they have some money left to spend on your product

      If they have money but still don't buy your product because there are no roads to get them to market then you build roads.

      Thats what we mean by winning hearts and minds. This is what the ward healers of Chicago, search engines and Hezbollah do.

      Shelling infrastructure, destroying peoples sustenence, their food, clothing, shelter, emedicine, stores, hotels, restaurants, roads, bridges, churches, mosques, and industry can serve only the purpose of perpetual war.

      Its hard to figure why anyone other than an arms dealer want perpetual war, but for some reason that seems to be in our national security interests.

      Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

      by rktect on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:59:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, truly. (4+ / 0-)

        One of the diarist's points is that insurgencies end when (among other reasons) they simply run out of soldiers.

        At the rate Israel and the US are going, they're never going to run out of soldiers, because everytime we blunder into one of these things, we make more and more of them.

        The US and Israel seem to be behaving in very counterproductive ways.

        •  Given the analysis, what should Israel do next? (0+ / 0-)
          •  I have no idea, (0+ / 0-)

            but blowing up Lebannon probably isn't going to help in the long run.

            I don't envy heads of state for having to make these decisions.  I'm only commenting from the comfort of my office.  

            Historically it just seems to be the case that indiscriminate strong-arm tactics do not work against insurgencies, because they generate as many insurgents as they kill -- or more.  It should be clear by now that using force has not worked.  

            It's also quite possible that this is never going to end because there are irreconcilable differences between the needs of an Israeli state and peace with the Palestinians.

          •  Comply with UNSC RES 242 (0+ / 0-)

            NOVEMBER 22, 1967

            The Security Council,

            Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,

            Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

            Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

            Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

            Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

            Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

            Affirms further the necessity

            For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

            For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

            For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

            Requests the Secretary General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;

            Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.

            (emphasis added)

            NB - Didn't Bush give us a reason for the Iraq war was the fact SH didn't comply with UNSC resolutions?  

      •  You said it (7+ / 0-)

        Its hard to figure why anyone other than an arms dealer want perpetual war

        And who, pray tell, do you think sells more arms than any other nation on this earth?

        I rest my case.

        Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else? - James Thurber

        by JuliaAnn on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:10:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Case closed n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JuliaAnn, HillaryIsMyHomegirl
        •  5 permanent members of the UN's security council (6+ / 0-)

          plus Israel control the arms trade. The US, Russia, China, France, Japan as I recall.

          The AK47 probably is the number 1 choice for arming boots on the ground, Chinese rockets and RPG's are more popular than morters and artillery, The US makes the most expensibe stuff, but most insurgencies don't buy the battleships, submarines, cruisers, destroyers, aircraft carriers, jet fighters, helicopters, AI drones, and cruise missles, and nukes the US seeks markets for.

          Since the end of the Second World War, tens of millions of people have been killed by conventional weapons, mostly small arms such as rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

          Sales of advanced weaponry -- fighter jets and high-tech electronics, sophisticated long-range artillery and warships, and "weapons of mass destruction" -- tend to receive the most press coverage.

          But these costly, sophisticated weapons have not proved as deadly as ordinary guns and grenades that are easy to buy, easy to ship and easy to use.

          Low-tech, handheld weapons and explosives do the vast majority of the killing today. There are more than 550 million small arms currently in circulation, many of them fueling bloody civil strife in countries from Sri Lanka to Sierra Leone.

          The CIA's job is covert support as with al Qaeda in afghanistan or iran contra.

          In most cases, the countries involved in these conflicts have been the subject of international embargoes imposed by the United Nations and other organizations. In some cases, major powers want to supply the side they favor in the conflict but do not want their "fingerprints" to be discovered on weapons of war.

          Lord of War that handles this nicely

          Against this backdrop of embargoes and clandestine international politics, a specialized group of arms dealers emerged during the Cold War. Their role was to ensure that responsibility for the death and destruction could not be traced directly to the supplier. Usually they did their business in places amenable to the trade.

          These included countries, like Switzerland, where arms trafficking was traditionally considered "just another business." In countries like the United States, where arms trafficking is strictly controlled, these dealers had to maintain the approval of the government. The latter situation is detailed in an exclusive interview with Sarkis Soghanalian regarding his early years as an arms trafficker operating out of Miami International Airport in the United States.

          The arms for drugs thing as in the golden triangle and  the covert war in Laos, Nicaraugua, el Salvadore, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador and Mexico is only exceeded by the connections to big oil and banks.

          The arms business gets murky when deals on the table are not sanctioned publicly by governments. Like any clandestine business, it means the first thing a dealer must do is establish the ability both to supply the goods and produce the money. But the dealer also has to provide the proper paperwork, especially the critical "end-user certificate." Only then can the buying and selling of lethal machines, along with the ammunition and spare parts they devour, become a real deal. Endless negotiations, fraud and violent crime are also characteristic of this and most other businesses that border on or are criminal.

          The richest and longest-lived practitioners of this treacherous business simply "fronted" for a particular government or alliance or even "ruling family." In the 1950s and 60s, the late legendary Sam Cummings, a CIA veteran, supplied anyone who had U.S. government approval with weapons from stockpiles in the United States and the United Kingdom. And, of course, there were the "middlemen" who stood in for the oil rich, such as Adnan Kashoggi, who in the 1970s and 80s often fronted for the interests of the Saudi royal family. Both men would become so notorious, but invulnerable, they talked openly on television and in the press.

          Today its Dubai which mixes arms deals, oil and gas child prostitutes infected with aids, drugs and some of the most cutting edge architecture in the world with some of the biggest and most ruthless managers since the pirates of the caribbean.

          But it is not only individuals who operate in the international arms market. In some instances, countries that were subject to embargoes also got into the clandestine weapons business. Israel, apartheid-era South Africa and Taiwan are examples of countries compelled to develop their own arms industries and commerce as a result of international trade bans against them.

          During the first 25 years of its existence, Israel was often denied weapons and ammunition by U.S. and European governments, as well as most nations in Asia and, of course, the Middle East.

          As a result, it built its own arsenal and related industries that are to this day active internationally. Israeli arms and trainers have turned up in China, Guatemala, Ecuador and Central Africa.

          Israel Defense Industries has a long history of both procurement and development of military technology and its sale overseas. The man once known as the richest Israeli, the late Shaul Eisenberg, is an example of the "legitimate" arms entrepreneur using the trade in weapons and weapons technology to create a multi-faceted business empire.

          Its nothing personal, its just business.

          However, it is the role of the clandestine middleman that distinguishes the careers of the people profiled on this Web site. They are specialists. They know the laws and the rules of the game -- from the necessity of obtaining an end-user certificate to making sure that the weapons work and that the money is there. Often, they are the key players who provide the deniability that the government supplying the weapons seeks. They allow government spokespersons, such as the Ukrainian official interviewed by FRONTLINE/World, to say, when asked about a delivery of weapons, "We got certificates. ... What should we do else?"

          Media exposure and prosecution can sometimes, it appears, "reform" these arms merchants. Monzer Al Kassar, for example, was once the target of Spanish prosecutors and the press. A high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful criminal case against him, combined with newspaper and television reports linking him to virtually every war or terrorist attack in the 1980s and 90s, he says, "made [me] give up the business."

          Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

          by rktect on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:43:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  ...seems to be in our national security interests (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's the desire for meek "client/partner" states. Puppets are never going to be agreeable to their own people. The hard part of it is that American corporations and our national wealth have become increasingly dependent on milking US control of the world's economic systems, which is slipping out of our hands as we look less "indispensible" to the world.

        Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

        by jlb1972 on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 02:44:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes find myself wondering... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gogol, jlb1972

 different the world would be today if the CIA (& Brits) had not overthrown Iran's popularly elected (& popular) PM Mossadegh in 1953.  (No Shah, no Ayatollahs, no propping up Saddam against the Ayatollahs, and so on...)

          Nobody ever blames Eisenhower for anything.  But we could lay a lot of this on him.  (And he started the ball rolling in Vietnam, too.)

          •  Too true (0+ / 0-)

            good calls on Dienbienphu and Suez and Little Rock though. It's mind-boggling, too, to think about Sherman Adams and his vicuna coat in the context of DC now.

            Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

            by jlb1972 on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 09:07:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  right on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, drewthaler

        Israel needs to remove the reasons hizbullah et al hate it.

        Be generous, make the people comfortable and well-off.

        Show good will by removing the wall, and the settlements.

        Accept that the others have a right to be there and a right to a decent life.

        Make business deals.

        Nothing else will do it.

        an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

        by mightymouse on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 05:07:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Damn good job! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Devilstower, anonymousredvest18

      Support House Resolution 450

      by curmudgiana on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:12:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What are they teaching in War College? (23+ / 0-)
      Certainly not Sun Tzu. The Art of War warns the reader repeatedly that in order to succeed, especially when fighting far from home, slaughtering the resistence leads to unfavorable results. And, Sun Tzu adds, when you win the hearts and minds of a conquered population, their resources (food, labor, intelligence) become yours.

      But I'll give our army some credit - they weren't entirely mistaken. Back in 1999 I attended a workshop conference for military contractors for army aviation, and the general who gave the lead presentation spent a long time (and many PowerPoint slides) laying out the case that future conflicts would not be symmetrical.

      Instead, the army had already envisioned what was coming, and were re-tooling to fight an entirely different kind of war, the type more exemplified by what we saw in Fallujah - lots of house-to-house and room-to-room, lots of "hot-pursuit" of small groups of rebels in urban areas, and our tacticians had by this time already developed scenarios and weapons to fight that kind of conflict. Think attack choppers with infrared targeting systems, and combined air/ground intelligence systems that in application look almost identical to what you see on an episode of "World's Wildest Police Chases": chopper tell cops where to go, cops request specific info from chopper.

      So as far as I can tell, we saw Iraq as presenting symmetric conflict at the beginning, followed by small-scale insurgency we would defeat with HUMINT and SIGINT and COMMINT, and I'll bet that on paper the plan looked viable. The reality, however, is that the chain of insurgency was far larger than imagined.

      That's why it's so disappointing that Bush can't grasp the fact that pulling our troops out is the only way to quash the resistence. We are what they are resisting. When we leave, most likely the Shia will purge the Sunnis and align with Iran - but that's gonna happen no matter what.

      The only way the US is ever going to thwart and prevent future acts of terrorism is by being seen as a fairly benevolent presence on the world stage. We need to be fair in our acquisition of resources, open in our support of allies and decent in our treatment of captives. If the US builds wells, hospitals, schools, and distributes medicine, books and food, we automatically forge a chain of support that supports our endeavors.

      Given that this is the case, what does Bush do? Bombs, bullets, torture. We pay a heavy price for poor leadership.

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:33:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's William S. Lind (link) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, Mike Erwin, myrealname

      Offering his perspective on Hezbollah and 4GW

    •  wasn't your namesake one of the first leaders (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to renounce symmetrical warfare?  By avoiding, as policy, pitched set-piece battles in the Peloponnesian War?

      (not that you should be personally held responsible I suppose)

    •  Pericles - You got me into dKos (14+ / 0-)

      You wrote a brilliant diary a couple of years ago entitled:
      Terrorist Strategy 101. It was simply brilliant. When I found it on Google, I was so impressed that I started reading dKos regularly. When Katrina hit, I posted my first diary. My wife and I even went to Yearly Kos.

      And your diary was specifically, directly responsible.

      If anyone reads this comment, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go back and read Pericles' earlier diary. I can't decide which is better. Both are incredibly important and brilliant. While you are at it, follow up on the reference in the article to a paper by David Fromkin in Foreign Affairs (1975). Go to your library and read a copy. It will open your eyes like nothing else.

      If I weren't already subscribed, this diary would have worked the magic again.

      -2.38 -4.87: Maturity - Doing what you know is right even though you were told to do it.

      by grapes on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:23:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Repubs vs Democrats- asymmetric? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not prolific enough to write as detailed a post as yours Pericles. Wow, it's like a thesis. But i wanted to note that, at their strongest, the two main political parties seem to attack each other Asymmetrically.

    •  shameless (0+ / 0-)

      attempt to write the best article I've ever read on Kos. Worked, though.

      "What did they expect?" -- Benito Mussolini, on marching 300,000 Brown Shirts on Rome.

      by Gottlieb on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 06:43:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank-you! (0+ / 0-)

      You explain it in way the layman can understand.

      I sent your diary to a few friends, who in their "gut" knew  both wars (Iraq and Israel/Hezbollah) were wrong, but couldn't get their heads around as to why

      Your a very good teacher!

      "Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love."

      by Best in Show on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 07:05:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the question you didn't ask (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, Hatu, kraant, jlb1972

      Insurgents without outside funding of some sort are a local problem and stay that way. We'll never get rid of terrorism completely, as long as it's easy to build destructive weapons and as long as there are people who believe that they've got reasons to use them on civilian populations, somebody will use them. What we can do is reduce them to the size where ordinary law enforcement techniques can handle them.

      The EU was practically infested with locally funded terrorist groups in the 1960s and 1970s. Where are the Red Army and Baader-Meinhof now? Where's the IRA? They handled them. And if we don't keep pouring gasoline on the fires and can cut off external support, the new EU terrorists will be handled.

      How many successful revolutions were exclusively funded from the insurgent nation's own resources?

      Where is the money coming from? By and large, the oil monarchies.

      Why? Because if the oil monarchies had spent the incoming oil wealth on the kind of infrastructure that makes nations full of the kind of middle-class people too busy having lives to want to participate in violent revolution, the Middle East would have quite a few prosperous nations in it, and they'd have gotten that way by exporting a whole lot more than oil.

      Instead, they chose to take their wealth and split it between lining their own pockets and security/repression, and I include their religion funding as part of security/repression.

      The Islamic sects financed by oil wealth encourage people to turn their anger against Western 'infidels' as the source of their problems instead of looking a lot closer to home... as in at their own leadership.

      What do we want from the Middle East? Their oil while we still need it and for them to stop external funding for terrorism and for the propaganda that sets the stage for terrorism.

      How do we get it?

      The neocon plan to remake the Middle East as a bunch of puppet regimes happily supplying America with oil forever is ridiculous, at best, they might have another generation of oil and probably, quite a bit less. The Middle East becomes a money sink as of when the oil runs out.

      The only long-run solution is to take the money we're wasting on military adventurism in the Middle East and put it into alternative energy starting now.

      I believe we need to withdraw the bulk of our troops and put the ones with least service in Iraq in existing garrisons elsewhere in the Middle East to protect our actual interests... oil, oil, and oil.

      Once we no longer need to buy oil from the Middle East, we can expect the oil monarchies to follow their investments into the West. We can presume that they'll stop funding Wahhabi Islam as an anti-Western ideology at this point, as they will no longer need to pay off local religious leaders to distract the population from the source of most of their troubles.

      Short-term? Starting with what I suggest with respect to Iraq, our interests are best served by suspending military aid to Israel until they stop whatever they think they're doing in Lebanon, and condition further military aid on sane responses to provocation.

      As long as Israel more or less restricts its responses to combatants, few will be angry enough to want to do something about it personally, Arabs know that if you shoot at people, they tend to shoot back.

      Unforunately, this time around, the civilian casualities in Lebanon guarantee that there will be people ready to take up arms personally against Israel for years to come. If Israel won't come to the idea that feeding the cycle of violence is ultimately not in their best interests, they need to be encouraged to do so.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 01:53:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You make some good suggestions. (0+ / 0-)

        Our interests are best served by suspending military aid to Israel until they stop whatever they think they're doing in Lebanon, and condition further military aid on sane responses to provocation.

        Within the context of other actions (implementation of 1559, disarming of Hezbullah, talks with Syria and Iran, commitment to strengthening Lebanon, etc) this might work.

        But what exactly do you mean by "sane responses?"

        As long as Israel more or less restricts its responses to combatants, few will be angry enough to want to do something about it personally, Arabs know that if you shoot at people, they tend to shoot back.

        See, this is where I have a problem. When Hezbollah fighters launch rockets from between homes in Qana, for example, what is Israel supposed to do? An air-to-ground missile large enough to remove a rocket launcher is probably big enough to destroy the buildings that surround it.

        What. To. Do?

        Still haven't heard a good answer to that fundamental question.

    •  Small point: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, In A World Gone Mad, vets74

      There are significant differences between the tactics of guerilla warfare and that of terrorism.  It's an important distinction.  Guerillas often only attack military targets in hit-and-run attacks as part of an overall effort to undermine and ultimately destroy/overthrow/eject a political power, whether that of one's own government, or the goverenment of an occupying country.  Terrorists, on the other hand specifically and intentionally target civillians in an attempt to cause chaos in the civil society of the target nation, thus also weakening it militarily.  In the years since 9/11 these differences have been obscured in a politically opportunisitc ploy to label all guerilla groups as being "terrorists," even if they only attack military targets, thus deligitmizing any form of resistance against an oppressive military force, even when that resistance doesn't hurt civilians.  

      "Leave the gun ... take the cannoli." -8.38, -7.69

      by Balam on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 07:56:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HEAVY SWAT UNITS vs. DEATH SQUADS (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...are also examples of asymetrical warfare. What you need to stop -- Top Priority -- is degeneration into another Rwanda, a genocide.

      You need the right HAMMER. Then the problem gets to be controlling contact with the "flies." That's where bribery and free communication give advantages to the the central government. The Iraqis need that fucking HAMMER.

      Iraq is falling to chaos. The GOP-conservative media -- New York Post taking the lead -- are blaming this failure on the Iraqi central government. That pleading is false and dishonest.

      In fact, this Iraqi government has been trying to get appropriate vehicles to build 180 HEAVY SWAT UNITs since mid-2004. Their efforts have been blocked and sabotaged by our own Department of Defense and the occupation managers.

      The Iraqis want exactly the type of U.S.-made "M113"-class ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIERS that Israel is using for the tough work in Lebanon. You can see them on CNN. U.S. Army has 4,000 outside Iraq on Active Inventory.

      Full-track, suitable for the Raphael blast wedge to survive land mines. 30,000-pounds full up. Coax external machine guns with .50/.30 combo fave.

      Every major city in the U.S. has similar units with similar vehicles. Many use armored cars like the Buffalos here in NYC. After the SLA battle in California, decades ago, they all got heavy APC-based SWAT Units.

      Not Baghdad.

      As of today, HEAVY SWAT for Iraq is scheduled for late 2007. Cost is up to USD 445,000,000 from the original USD 10,000,000. A modest 44.5 : 1 cost overrun. Typical Pentagon.

      The long term Budget Plan call for $120,000,000,000 under an umbrella Future Combat System. Yeah,... 120 BILLIONS of dollars.

      Fucking over the Iraqis don't count for shit. Put that much money on the table and they turn into Saddam's sons.

      A Qusay-Uday in every NeoCon office....

      Of course... we are losing. The Iraqis are losing. The whole center of Iraq is turning into another Rwanda. The Lancet thinks it's up around 250,000 dead so far.

      GOP-conservatism is all talk. No fight in the dog. Not a fucking clue what it means to sink your teeth into an enemy.

      We need to do better.

      Yeah, Bush broke Iraq. Yeah, Dean & Co. opposed the war all the way.

      But now it's either give the Iraqis what they need to suppress Death Squads, or we're going to see a million body genocide.

      Bush was so utterly stupid that he let in the Saudi Arabian Wahhabis, thinking they would replace the nasty-evil Baathists. The little fuck didn't realize that the Wahhabi ARE "al-Qaeda." That doesn't give us an excuse to let a million Iraqis get murdered.

      Jeffersonian Democracy is America's best answer to Bush/Cheney

      by vets74 on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 08:17:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We'll sure have egg on our faces... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If Iraq turns into An Islamist Rwanda. That's when I move to the moon.

        If I want your pity I'll take it from you by force.

        by Alfred E Qaeda on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 09:49:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why would the death squads suppress themselves? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The police forces in general draw in those, among others, who love power, love obeying power, and love holding power. The SWAT teams in specific draw in those, more than others, who love holding power.

        The death squads are already part of the police forces and the death squads would become the SWAT teams.

        No returns for privilege; full returns for labor! Labor has a right to all that it creates.

        by Mike Erwin on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 10:07:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is fantasy. (0+ / 0-)

          Corrupt and murderous units have been identified and eliminated.

          The occupation is not incompetent.

          What we are looking at is bad strategy and utter ignorance of war in the White House. Cheney is as bad as Bush.

          They have allowed the Pentagon bribe-bastards to hamstring Heavy SWAT efforts.

          This is why the Alaska Stryker unit -- the 172nd -- got pulled back in-country. But they don't speak much Arabic.

          Insurgencies almost always lose.

          Jeffersonian Democracy is America's best answer to Bush/Cheney

          by vets74 on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 06:52:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  sometimes they win? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol, cotterperson, kraant

    Here's a challenge... name an assymetric war where the flies LOST to the hammer!

    When did my goverment become "they", not "we"? :(

    by Leggy Starlitz on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:20:52 PM PDT

  •  Recommended... (9+ / 0-)

    I wish I could rec this a million times...

    IMPORTANT! To all users please read this advisory!

    by kraant on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:24:31 PM PDT

  •  Thank you-I'm not a military person but... (5+ / 0-)

    was wondering how you win against an insurgency.  Whe I look at the IRA or the basque separatists, it seemed to me that the terror went down as their living conditions got better.

    •  I agree (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DavidW in SF, gogol, Shockwave, phinky

      I think that the better living conditions and economic conditions get, the more jobs there are, thats what leads to drying up the recruiting pool, which is the life blood of an insurgency.

      I heard recently on the Al Franken show about an American military commander got reconstruction funds and put local men to work by paying them to dig sewer systems in Sadr City (the Shi'ite Bagdad slum). As a result, it led to a drastic drop in attacks on his forces. There are quite a few stories like this, where an enlightened military officer goes on to do what you're supposed to do during an insurgency, but it wasn't a coherent policy, and often that officer's replacement didn't continue the policy.

      The military also doesn't reward officers and senior enlisted for these sort of efforts or for efforts in training Iraqi military and police (the Dec. 2005 issue of the Atlantic has an excellent article by James Fallows "Why Iraq Has No Army" that addresses the problems at the Pentagon and within the military of not rewarding officers engaged in this vital mission, and how that mission got started so woefully late). So there was little incentive for career minded officers to go down this unappreciated route (it's just not "sexy"). That's very slowly turning around, but now it's too late.

      Tom Ricks in his book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq is very critical of the military's role of the disaster in Iraq. Unlike similar recent works which look more at policy from Washington, the Pentagon and the Bush admin, Ricks' book has no fear in naming names and places a goodly part of the blame on the military itself for mishandling the insurgency. By using conventional and heavy handed tactics against a population whose culture they didn't understand, our military only succeeded in alienating the population and fueling the insurgency.

      Making things even worse now is that reconstruction aid for Iraq has totally dried up, in part because the security situation has become so totally untenable. This will only lead to more people out of work, a continued decline in quality in the life of the average Iraqi, which of course means, an insurgency that shows no signs of dying out, and probably will intensify.

      He who is the author of war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death. - Thomas Paine 1783

      by lanshark on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:39:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IRA and ETA had very different dynamics (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, a517dogg, vets74

      from anti-occupation insurgencies elsewhere.  First, both groups were in countries in the European Union where the European Convention on Human Rights protected the civilian population and the insurgents too from barbaric attacks (though both the Spanish and British did terrible things in isolated circumstances).

      The Convention protects a series of fundamental rights, including:

         * The right to life
         * Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment
         * Freedom from forced labour or slavery
         * The right to Liberty and to a Fair trial
         * Freedom from facing retrospective crimes or penalties
         * A Right to Privacy
         * Freedom of conscience
         * Freedom of expression
         * Freedom of assembly
         * The right to marriage and family
         * Freedom from discrimination

      So the rule of law provided enough protection for the civilian population to think that things weren't going to get a lot better under rule of the insurgents.

      Second, both groups had political wings that became sufficiently integrated with the existing political system to meet many of their objectives and establish interests in pursuing a political rather than violent process.  This is why the attitude of "We don't negotiate with terrorists" is so ridiculous and self-defeating, as only by integrating the political wing of a terrorist group can you divide the leadership of the group and undercut support for violence.

      Finally, fighting the terrorists became too expensive and impossible.  Once the IRA took to planting huge truck bombs in the City and Docklands and other major economic targets, taking out huge money earning parts of the economy without taking too many lives, the British government had to defend its economic interests rather than just pander to the pro-violence military.  This meant looking for non-violent solutions.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 11:27:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You don't write often enough ... (38+ / 0-)

    ...but when you do: sizzle.

    Thanks for this, I can't call it a primer because it's too deep and original for that (and I've read plenty about asymmetric warfare - we even used a little of it [non-violently] in the '60s) - so I'll just call it a "moral essay" by someone I take to be a public intellectual of the highest caliber.

    Special kudos for your last three paragraphs, which I agree with in toto and which I am going to repeat:

    Like most liberals, I am not a pacifist. I believe military power has its uses, and it does some things very well. If, for example, our goal in Iraq had just been to capture Saddam - well, we did that, didn't we?  A similar operation might have captured Bin Laden.  Bosnia is far from paradise these days, but at least people aren't dying by the tens of thousands. With similar care the genocide in Rwanda might have been stopped, and the one in Darfur still could be. And if anyone knew a way to go into North Korea and come out a few days later with Kim Jong-il and all the North Korean nuclear weapons, I'd be for it.

    But military force is a blunt instrument, and used badly it creates more enemies than it kills. If you're not prepared to kill millions of people - and I'm not - then you have to find a way to circumscribe your enemies, so their numbers aren't instantly replenished, with interest, as soon as you kill them. In the long run, if you aren't willing to commit genocide against your enemy's recruitment pool, then every use of force has to be carefully calibrated.

    Because it might not be a pool, it might be an aquifer.

  •  Militias and assymetric warfare (14+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this.  I've been trying to articulate the same thing in response to the "need to defend" meme.

    A man who stays out of the war for fear of losing his house will join it when his house becomes "collateral damage."

    Violence does not breed peace.

    The many militias we see coming to power in the middle east (and Africa) are a result of this obvious but overlooked failure in policy.

    We're all just monkeys burning in hell.

    by smokeymonkey on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:33:54 PM PDT

  •  i love your diaries (14+ / 0-)

    the thing that is most important to me is this line:

    In the long run, if you aren't willing to commit genocide against your enemy's recruitment pool, then every use of force has to be carefully calibrated.

    How many times do military powers start a conflict where the only logical cource of victory will be genocide? Except no one admits that to themselves when they start. Then when they are indeed at that point--when all of their other political and military options have run dry--they either quit or stagnate with a steady stream of bloodflow for years. This is how big powers become small powers.

    All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

    by SeanF on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:33:56 PM PDT

  •  Nice Article .... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, bustacap, kredwyn

    Agree with all you have to say. One minor detail:

    For example, consider the Bush administration's main argument against setting a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq: that the insurgents would bide their time until we had left, and then rise up again.

    I think the administration expects the insurgency to take heart and fight harder, much as Hezbollah fought on once the Israelis announced withdrawal the last time around. The insurgency expects to be part of the ruling class after the occupiers withdraw.

    Of course, what complicates Iraq is that there is not just one insurgency ...

  •  The perfect example... (3+ / 0-)

    The American Revolution. Only 56 people signed the
    Declaration of Independence....and won a nation.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Roosevelt Neo-cons

    by 35fan on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:41:13 PM PDT

    •  The Irish Revolution. . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, Yamara, McGirk

      . . . also started out very small.

      When the Rebels took over the General Post Office in Dublin during Easter Week 1916, they numbered in the 100s, and it's estimated that less than 10% of the population was in support of separating from England. After the British took the 15 rebel leaders and shot them (including a man who was so badly off that they had to tie him to a chair to shoot him), a good majority came over to the idea.

      Martyrdom certainly helps with recruitment.

      What did Santayana say about history, again?

  •  The Point of Inverse Return (27+ / 0-)

    I did a diary to this point this morning.  By investing ever more heavily in our military so that it outstrips any other on earth by any measure, we've assured that no one will ever "stand and fight."  With every dollar we spend on new hardware, we make more certain that no enemy will ever put themselves in a position to be the target of that hardware.

    Forty years of testing has proved that the only way to win against a superior force is through the tactics of insurgency.  However, rather than come up with workable means for fighting opponents who use classic insurgency tactics, we invest more and more in the kind of war we will never fight again.  And we find ourselves still failing in just the same way we did in '72.

    Every bomb we or Israel drops on a populated area is a concession to those we oppose.  It's a bomb dropped in service of our enemies.

    Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

    by Mark Sumner on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:41:47 PM PDT

    •  But that is the point (5+ / 0-)

      But that is the point.  The military likes it that way.  When the enemy runs away no Americans die.  So we do our gun boat thing and leave.  The problem is this military strategy can’t be used to conquer people.  And that used to be a good thing.  But who new the neocons would think that invincible is the same as all powerful.

      Do the right thing 'casue it feels better.

      by John Boy on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:07:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Push Button War (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        curmudgiana, khereva

        Unfortunately, the evidence seems to suggest that war by remote control extends conflicts and drags populations that might have once been neutral into the position of enemy -- generally through wanton disregard for "collateral damage."  In trying to have antiseptic war, our losses may actually be significantly higher than doing things "the old fashioned way."

        It's as if we're so impressed with our hardware that we expect everyone else to just lie down and take it.  Of course, this strategy comes from people who still believe that the Soviets surrendered their empire because of only the shining possibility of Reagan's "star wars" system.

        Toys uber alles.

        Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

        by Mark Sumner on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:13:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dept of Defense not War (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          phinky, kck

          Our military is geared to defence, not war making.  It is the misuse of this that is the problem.  Personally, I would not like the charter of the military to change.  We don't need to conquer anything, in my opinion.

          Do the right thing 'casue it feels better.

          by John Boy on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:17:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're joking? (4+ / 0-)

            They may have changed the name from the Dept of War to Defense in 1947 but our military has built up in these last 50 years more than 700 military bases spanning the globe.  I agree completely that our military is geared to defense but to primarily defend what?  Idaho?  My family?  Bullshit.  Our military is designed precisely to defend the American EMPIRE, and the Pentagon's plainly stated goal is full-spectrum dominance to aggresively prevent the emergence of any rival.  Our military has defended us against the Indians and fought in the Phillipines and Cuba and Korea and Vietnam and Grenada and Panama and Iraq and the list goes on and on and on.  A good defense requires an excellent offense!  The US military literally assists in training most militaries in the world with budgets that far exceed that of the State Department.  We are the largest net exporter of arms in the world, station hundreds of thousands of troops world-wide on foreign soil, and historically support any foreign regime no matter how tyranical as long as American "strategic goals are met"  and/or commercial interests are sated. Though obscured by the shoe banging and commie witch hunts, the cold war was in part the victors of WWII dividing up the world into their conquered economic spheres.  The invasion of Iraq was initiated under the flimsy cover of the GWOT in part to conceal naked old-school conquest.  But I imagine Dick Cheney would grumble from the shadows of his secret location that the military invaded Iraq to DEFEND vital "strategic interests" of the United States.  

        •  We love the defense industry (0+ / 0-)

          Think of all of the money involved in these big military contracts.  We aren't going to stop with the big hardware anytime soon.  Plus, we love war to enable us to use our new toys, test them out.  

          "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know". -Harry Truman

          by bittergirl on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:34:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well the Chinese who are no longer Maoist (0+ / 0-)

      Sure are bent on building a hell of a conventional Army, Navy, and Air Force.

      •  The Chinese (0+ / 0-)

        are falling into the same trap our military is.
        And likely their build up is a response to the US military build up and the fact that Bushco is willing to use it pre-emptively.  If I was in their position, I would try to build a military to oppose the US, if needed.

        Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility. --Ambrose Bierce

        by JaketheSnake on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 06:29:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are they? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          While the Chinese are certainly building up their military, I have read the exact opposite (link).  The increase in their military expenditures are in line with or even modest compared to the explosive growth of their economy in recent years and are understandable given their expanding role in global trade.  The Chinese specifically stated their desire to avoid falling into the trap that ensnared the Soviet Union and yes the US.  One example cited includes the decision by the Chinese to be content with a nuclear arsenal of modest size designed to meet the strategic goal of being a deterrent thus resisting the urge to acheive any future missile parity with the Soviet or US.

    •  You are correct. (0+ / 0-)

      Does anyone know HOW you win 4GW?

      This is an excellent diary and there are lots of good comments here; but no one has offered a realistic approach to winning against enemies like this.

  •  ultimate assymetric war (11+ / 0-)

    was the long march to independence by India.  Think about it:  the British had been ensconsed in India for over 200 years by that time.  They had troops on the ground and controlled all branches of the government.

    Yet, Gandhi was able to create and sustain an assymetric war that was almost entirely without violence and the occupiers left.

    I don't know of one assymetric war that was won by the occupier - primarily because the insurgents have no place to go and the occupiers do.

    Israel and the US are doomed to failure in their effort by the simple force of reality.  It does not matter who is right.  All that matters is that the insurgency loses only if they are willing to accept the occupying power.

    •  Insurgents can and do lose. (4+ / 0-)

      Bosnia, for example. Chechnya. They are losing in Columbia, I would say. The key difference, except for Chechnya, is that when insurgents are fighting foreign occupiers, versus their own governments, they have a much, much better chance.

      We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC) -8.13, -7.74

      by AWhitneyBrown on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:16:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think I see your point but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the FARC and ELN have been at it for 40 years and still wield considerable influence despite US support of Bogata and the School of the Americas.

      •  The Chechans Haven't Lost Yet (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        danz, mightymouse

        Although Putin is clearly willing and able to go the route of total absolute genocide.

        The problem for Putin (or anyone contemplating genocide) is that all it takes is one guy getting hold of a loose nuke and bye bye Moscow.

        These days it's very difficult to kill every last one of any given ethnic group.  And the more brutal the genocide the more insane/hateful and disproportionate the potential revenge.

        The last act of the Chechan war may not be played out for a hundred years....and that applies to all of these  insane wars.

        The only real long term solution is for human beings to learn how to become Humane Beings...unless we evolve as a specis to that level, we shall, eventually become deservedly extinct.

        Ultimately we truly are all in the same boat.

        •  Executive Decision (0+ / 0-)

          Remember this movie, about a nerve-gas laden 747 used by Chechen terrorists to destroy Washington?

          Genocide victims are prime candidates for WMD terrorism - I think the movie would have been more realistic though if Moscow was the target...

      •  Civil wars (0+ / 0-)

        Most of the examples you cite are examples of civil war, and not the classic guerilla force versus foreign occupier. In those sorts of conflicts, the insurgent is almost always the victor. Columbia is a civil war. The former Yugoslavia was a civil war. Greek communists were engaged in a civil war. Chechnya is far from decided, and time is ultimately on Chechnya's side.

      •  I think I would define insurgency (0+ / 0-)

        as resistance to a vastly superior, but occupying force

        The key assymetry is that the insurgents have no place else to go while the occupiers do.  But when the 'occupiers' share the same land and culture as the 'insurgents' (as in Sri Lanka, for example) the picture is far more complex and the results are far less predictable.

    •  There was a huge amount of violence. (0+ / 0-)
      lots of British soldiers in the area were attacked for years.  
    •  And the British seemed to be willing (0+ / 0-)

      in principle to commit genocide against the people of India, but the numbers were against them.

      Consider the backlash of the Sepoy Revolt.

      Support House Resolution 450

      by curmudgiana on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:28:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Brits were bankrupt after WW2; (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      FDR had enough of their Empire, and Churchill lost the election -- considerable contributing factors.

      ...I like my twist, with a little shout...

      by PhillyGal on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:29:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nice words but you miss a crucial point (0+ / 0-)

      All this lofty talk about non-violence and occupation misses one crucial fact: Hezbollah and Hamas want Israel wiped off the map. To them, Israel is occupying Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, not just the West Bank. And as crazy as that seems, reality won't sway them. They won't stop fighting anytime soon because, ahem, they are "The Party of God."

      Until y'all accomodate that reality, the theories won't wash in the real world.


  •  right on (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, Fabian, hypersphere01, khereva

    times like this i wish I could still give "4's"

    ...and yet, it could have been different.  We could have actually won in Iraq, and Afghanistan.  But this admin kept doing things to provoke asymetrical warfare against it.

    And why is the 40trillion dollar question

    The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"

    by Love and Death on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:56:10 PM PDT

    •  That may be the temptation (6+ / 0-)

      The last failed occupation always "could have been won" if things had just been done correctly, which fuels the minds of those planning the next occupation.  

      Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

      by Mark Sumner on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:59:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Could be true. (0+ / 0-)

      What you would need is a second army of civilian administrators to come in right after the military operations have ended to start liasing and taking over duties of critical services and government functions.  It would be a huge bonus if they spoke the language.

      The invasion was a success, but the chaos that ensued was a predictable disaster.

      We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

      by Fabian on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 04:27:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nicely Stated (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, leo joad, curmudgiana

    I particularly liked the time line fallacy.

    I would add the cost of fielding an American soldier is much higher than fielding an insurgent.  To stay even on dollar basis requires us to kill like 10 times as many insurgents as we lose, maybe even more.  We don’t come close to that.  So we are bleeding big time in Iraq.

    Do the right thing 'casue it feels better.

    by John Boy on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 02:58:56 PM PDT

  •  Best diary of the day. (10+ / 0-)

    One of the best ever on Iraq. Besides the content, your writing is extremely lucid, concise, and a great pleasure to read. Superb.

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC) -8.13, -7.74

    by AWhitneyBrown on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:01:32 PM PDT

  •  Sir Francis Drake - smaller and faster (0+ / 0-)

    "...history is a tragedy not a melodrama" - I.F. Stone

    by bigchin on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:04:59 PM PDT

  •  The American Revolution was asymetric (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Warfare at its finest.  How quickly we forget the bloody lessons of the past.

  •  The thing is.... (6+ / 0-)

    Our government doesn't want this war to end.  It is doing everything in its power to incite these people to rise up.  

    If you were an Iraqi who just wanted to live a quiet life, and one of your buddies was released from Abu Graibh to bring home the stories, you might not believe it.  But after scores of them come home, that's another story.  And can you tell me what we were hoping to achieve marching naked men out in public in Iraq?  (one of many links here  What was that supposed to do?

    If it wasn't supposed to incite people to insurgency, then I think we need to teach somebody a little something about human nature.

    But, it's like everything else.  They are actively and purposely destroying the economy, and the environment.  

    And here's my test on whether something is accidental or purposeful:

    Imagine that they were trying to just have people accept the occupiers, rebuild their lives and move on.  They have some shining examples (e.g., Germany and Japan) of ways that might look.  Let's say that, night and day, they are just trying to get peace in the region, and have people rebuild their lives and live in a nice secular democracy where everyone's rights are respected.

    Now, pretend space aliens come in the middle of the night and suck out their brains.

    They wake up the next morning looking exactly the same, but now, because the space aliens are occupying their brains, they want the exact opposite.  They want war and chaos without end.  They want a religious zealot in power whipping people into a frenzy of martyrdom.  They want the whole thing to expand beyond the borders of Iraq to the whole dang region.


    What would be different between the way they are doing things now, and the way things would happen if the space aliens were in charge?

    If the answer is "nothing", and it is, then you know that this is the actual goal that they want, rather than the goal that they tell people that they want.

    Remember: THEY LIE.  Don't expect them to be truthful when they are saying something you want to hear.  THEY LIE.  They don't want peace.  They don't want tranquility.  They don't want a stable region with a strong secular democracy that respects the rights of women.  They want WAR.  And, by Jove, that's what they're going to get.

    -9.50;-6.62. But it don't mean nuttin if you don't put your money where your mouth is

    by ultrageek on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:07:46 PM PDT

    •  One factor with Japan and Germany (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      both countries had started the war by invading other countries. They weren't conquerd by invaders / colonialists. Since they started the wars of conquest and lost, their must have been some level of acceptance on the people's part for their situation. Plus, Roosevelt had begun preparing for the eventual rebuilding of both countries a few years ahead of time.

      Karl (Rove) is a shameless bastard. Small wonder his mother killed herself. -Larry Johnson

      by McGirk on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:25:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More importantly - Americans were lesser evil (0+ / 0-)

        The Germans and the Japanese in the aftermath of World War II couldn't rise up against the Anglo-Americans without throwing themselves into Stalin's jaws.

      •  My point is... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you gain hearts and minds by having a Marshall Plan or something like it.  This administration has the advantage of knowing, not too long ago, what worked to turn your enemies into your friends.  Hint: it's not marching them naked through the streets to humiliate them.

        -9.50;-6.62. But it don't mean nuttin if you don't put your money where your mouth is

        by ultrageek on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 07:33:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree a Marshal plan should have been in effect (0+ / 0-)

          however, I don't think Japan or Germany would have taken to it had we pre-emptivly invaded their countries without provocation.

          Karl (Rove) is a shameless bastard. Small wonder his mother killed herself. -Larry Johnson

          by McGirk on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 10:27:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  roosevelt, deus ex machina? (0+ / 0-)

        i don't think so. seriously. there are no coincidences.

        flip back pages, "US foreign conflict", to japan chap. 1854. you'll get to china chap. 1859. US conflict with germany, chap. 1912. etc etc.

        Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

        by MarketTrustee on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 10:10:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  These things happened (0+ / 0-)

          but they were comparitivley minor incidents several years prior. Both countries were a couple of years into expansionist wars of conquest they started long before the US got involved. Anyone would react differently to loosing a fight they chose to start than one started with them.

          Karl (Rove) is a shameless bastard. Small wonder his mother killed herself. -Larry Johnson

          by McGirk on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 10:36:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  O the rare Pericles diary! (4+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your erudition and edification, as usual. Great post!

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:10:32 PM PDT

  •  Incredible diary, thank you n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, 3goldens

    "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know". -Harry Truman

    by bittergirl on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:12:33 PM PDT

  •  R'd & I Recommend All Read The (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vtdem, airshipjones, RogueStage, sfRenter

    "Week in Review" section of this past Sunday's NY Times. there are two good pieces on the Israel vs. hizbollah battle.

    in the piece "A New Enemy Gains on the U.S.", the author points out how the Israeli - hizbollah conflict is the first example of network warfare, between nations and networks, or net warfare.

    basically it's working for hizbollah. as Pericles points out in his well written diary here, hizbollah (an insurgent group) is winning by not losing.

    in spite of Israel's massive bombing campaign in southern Lebanon, hizbollah is still launching the same number of rockets into Israel as the day this conflict started-- around 100 per day. Sheik Nasrallah is still alive, moving from underground bunker to underground bunker.

    hizbollah's TV station and transmission tower, destroyed days ago, has had no impact on hizbollah's ability to broadcast their programs.

    so where's the victory for Israel? there isn't one.

    the NY Times article correctly points out insurgents/terrorists elsewhere are watching this and learning-- and so is Iran.

    "Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice." Spinoza

    by Superpole on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:23:06 PM PDT

    •  Then what should Israel do next? (0+ / 0-)

      Does the article offer any insight?

      •  What Next? (0+ / 0-)

        I think Israel has already answered this question for us.

        they are expanding the ground war and have called up an additional 15,000 reserve troops- for presumably the same purpose.

        what should be more than a bit worrisome for the rumsfelds and cheneys of the U.S. is the fact that the traditional/assymetrical "death from above" strategy is not working for Israel.

        now they are forced to put boots on the ground in order to deal with hizbollah-- who have had six years or so to dig in like ticks on a hound dog. the obvious resultant additional casualties suffered by Israeli troops makes the PR battle more difficult for Israeli leadership. difficult but not impossible, since it appears the Israeli people are prepared for a long battle.

        and keeping with one of the main points of the diary, Israel needs a decisive victory here, not just a small victory. with 55 Lebanese civilians just killed, we can see how ugly this is going to get.

        "Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice." Spinoza

        by Superpole on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 12:05:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Flies and hammers -- perfect analogy (0+ / 0-)

    Look Out! Homosexuals are gonna force your guns to have abortions!

    by Predator Saint on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:26:45 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love

    This is a truely great explination of a complex topic.

    As it pertains to the Israel/Lebanon situation, it explains clearly why Israel's actions are so disasteriously wrong.

    Anyone who voted against the patriot act is too good for the Senate

    Feingold for President

    by Goldfish on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:33:47 PM PDT

  •  One of the best diaries here in quite sometime (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattes, myrealname, sfRenter

    Extremly well presented and solid. Kudos.


    Mitch Gore

    Republicans believe in training Al-Qaeda, but not in training American workers.

    by Lestatdelc on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 03:35:17 PM PDT

    •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I kept waiting for the gross oversimplification, for the overly facile analogy, and it didn't come.

      As an avid reader of history in general and military history in particular (although I make no claim to be a scholar of either), I thought this was a particularly lucid distillation of the essential facts and theories.

      Well done!

  •  Brilliant diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Nailed it!

    Of course, common sense never converted a neo-con, but perhaps it will convert conservatives with information-starved brain cells, as all of our survival becomes more and more threatened by the day.

    "WE are the leaders we are waiting for" Hopi Elders

    by Gabriele Droz on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 04:04:17 PM PDT

  •  For all the Red Dawn fans (6+ / 0-)

    On the right, like the doughy pantload, who has fawned over that campy '80's movie in the past, they sure don't understand any of the assymetric conclusions that you could draw from it.

    The Republican Party: The Bridge to Nowhere

    by flounder on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 04:06:43 PM PDT

  •  Well done... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    power model, myrealname

    Perfectly explained... can you send that as a memo to Rummy and Shrub? I think the JCS forgot to send it, or the fax got screwed up.

    Seriously though, I don't think they're unaware of all this. Let's face it, this is really a known quantity in our military.

    Unfortunately, we're forced to consider the unthinkable, which is that what they are getting in all this, is EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANTED TO. Which has been discussed quite a few times here and there.

    (Forgive me if this point is redundant, due to prior comments. I'm at work and can't really go through them all at this point. Lunch break isn't nearly long enough!!)

    Eternal Independent Thinking for myself since 1972.

    by Erevann on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 04:40:37 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for a lucid summary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love

    that says it all.  I am grateful for this plain language summary.

  •  Would that people as smart as you (6+ / 0-)

    could be elected by Americans.

    Dead on the best diary I have read in some time; I owe you a beer, my friend.

    Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else? - James Thurber

    by JuliaAnn on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 04:55:20 PM PDT

  •  Thanks For Intelligently Spelling Out The Obvious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarketTrustee, sfRenter
    Great Job!!!

    Now if we can get George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and Condi Rice et al to read it...and understand it!!!

    Seriously, as I said upthread (and have been saying for years), even a regional genocidal attack from the Israelis using  ABC warfare wouldn't work in this case as it would inspire such massive hatred on the part of the billions of Muslims throughout the planet that eventually, even if it took a hundred years...the "favor" would be returned.

    Again, we humans will either evolve to a level of Being where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights becomes  a global reality that is practiced from a gut level understanding as a matter of course for practically all humans; or we shall eventually become deservedly extinct.

    The model of historic warfare that your analysis is based on breaks down as the technologies for human termination become more sophisticated.

    In the next 50 years we may be seeing a point where anyone with skills in genetic manipulation can design and release a specis killing pathogen.

    We have the potential to be a civilized global specis with universal prosperity, health, and extremely long lifespans...all we have to do is let go of the petty stupid ideas/concepts we have of nationalistic/ethnic/religious/cultural/materialistic self identification. (A tall order; but one worth striving for, eh?)

    If there are humans around in a thousand years they'll look upon the "mentality" of folks like George Bush the way the vast majority of us alive today look at cannibalism....shit, that's not even going far enough because cannibalism can be justified under some circumstances; but you get the idea, eh?

    •  Nice words (0+ / 0-)

      we humans will either evolve to a level of Being where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights becomes  a global reality that is practiced from a gut level understanding as a matter of course for practically all humans; or we shall eventually become deservedly extinct.

      Do you actually expect Hezbollah and Hamas to abandon their quest to wipe Israel from the map? In return for what -- "evolving to a higher level of Being?"

      I wish it were that simple.

      P.S. Other than surrender to them, I still haven't heard what Israel has to do to eliminate the threat of Hezbollah and Hamas.

  •  integration (4+ / 0-)

    Nice diary. I would add only that this particular strain of assymetrical warfare is particular to the post-nuclear age, and specific to the kinds of technology involved.

    Obviously any symetric war these days (involving the US) would go nuclear, or at least involve the kind of force that would utterly destroy the traditional battlefield. So warfare has had to go urban.
    Terrorist tactics are all about disrupting the economic machine that is the modern city.

    One thing that is happening, or perhaps just becoming apparent, is that the divisions betweeen economic, military, and civilian life are becoming blurred, if not integrated.

    If I want your pity I'll take it from you by force.

    by Alfred E Qaeda on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 04:59:23 PM PDT

  •  Some In Israel Understand...... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevej, ScienceMom, khereva, mdem, sfRenter

    From: Gush Shalom

    "We warned them
    And called on them
    To escape!"

    That is disgusting

    Because we have:
    Bombed the roads.
    Destroyed the bridges.
    Cut off the supply of gasoline.
    Killed whole families on the way.

    There is only one way
    Of preventing more such disasters,
    Which turn us into monsters:
    T O S T O P!

    There is no military solution!


    "Condoleezza gives us
    All the time we need
    To continue the war."

    "Condoleezza will stop
    The war
    In a week."

    Condoleezza and her boss
    Open and close
    The tap -
    According to their
    Own interests,
    Of course.

    From this tap
    There flows

    "You Wave the Flag, Now Show the Veterans the Services"

    by jimstaro on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:03:01 PM PDT

  •  One more thing, Pericles (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwahzon, ScienceMom, Yamara

    I want to tell you: your diary was a joy to read -- excellent flow, typo-free, outstanding structure, and some damn good metaphors.

    Boy, Democrats are smart.

    Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else? - James Thurber

    by JuliaAnn on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:17:17 PM PDT

  •  What else do we expect? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    simaramis, phinky, MarketTrustee, khereva

    Thanks for this articulate diary.  I've often thought it oddly ironic how we and the allies upon whom we bestow our wildly disproportionate technological advantages have become the new "redcoats".  

    We sit in our body armor, our remote floating command posts, our uranium-armored tanks, our B-29's cruising miles above the earth, trumpeting our ability to press a button and obliterate a town.  Then we act shocked that a bunch of ragtag rebels armed with ancient Soviet weaponry--the modern military equivalent of torches and pitchforks--refuses to don uniforms and stand out in a deserted field where we can wipe them out with ease.  We name them "cowards" who are willing to sacrifice ten of their own for every enemy killed, or to walk into enemy cities with no air support and ten pounds of C-4 strapped to their chests, knowing with certainty that they will die by their own hand.  

    Having consciously limited their military options by arming the opposing side to the point of invulnerability, we comfort ourselves that their "terrorist" killings of one or more civilians, whether by car-bombs or by unaimable rockets, is morally repugnant, while the predictable yet "collateral" killing of five, ten or fifty times that number in an airstrike is simply a regrettable by-product of war to which no blame attaches. If anything, such deaths are also "the terrorists' fault", as we wouldn't have had to bomb those schools and hospitals etc. if only the other side had "fought fair"--that is, by giving up the one true military advantage that remained to them, and allowing themselves to be killed efficiently.

    This is not a moral argument, but a pragmatic one.  It has nothing to do with legitimacy of particular political causes or condoning of particular methods.  I think I've resisted writing such an analysis myself because I know it will be taken as a "defense" of Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, etc. by many  But "we" (by which I mean America, Israel, or any technologically advanced power) cannot defeat an enemy we refuse to understand through sheer force of armament, and it's about time someone in a leadership role found a way to admit and address that fact without being branded 'soft on terror'.  

    As the diarist points out, the "pipeline" of popular support for rebellions and insurgencies can only be dealt with by addressing the real concerns that prompt their allegiace to extremist groups like like Hezbollah or Al Qaeda.  That will require openness to self-criticism and compromise, and a commitment to practicing diplomacy in good faith before crises arise (i.e., with the goal of heading them off, not provoking them).  The simplistic GW Bush crap about "hating our freedoms"--and the smug implication that anyone, newborn or senior citizen, who lives in a free-fire zone like southern Lebanon and fails to evacuate his home when ordered is a "sympathizer" who "has it coming"--will not lead anyone to "victory".

    There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    by turbonium on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 05:25:59 PM PDT

    •  There's a problem (0+ / 0-)

      In many of the countries that have "terrorist" groups running around blowing themselves up in crowded markets or kidnapping & beheading tourists, we are faced with a seemingly impossible choice:

      On the one side, we have the existing governments in those countries, which are almost without fail, repressive, authoritarian regimes: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, PLO-controlled West Bank/Gaza, etc.  Currently, our foreign policy supports, to varying degrees, the corrupt leadership in these countries. (Either that or we support semi non-corrupt but ineffectual governments like Lebanon.)

      On the other side, we have conservative religious radicals blowing themsevles (and others) up in a bid to establish a theocratic state. (Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, the ayatollahs of Iran)

      Meanwhile, the groups we would ideally want to support - secular, pro-democratic, capitalist (or at least, Western-style socialist) - are small, weak and surrounded on all sides by authoritarians or fundamentalists.

      Its a no-win situation.   Its bad guys with U.S. made tanks and fighter jets on one side and bad buys with old Soviet AK-47s and homemade bombs on the other, a whole lot of innocent poor people and handful of educated middle class people stuck in between.

      Course, we could just stop supporting the authoritarian regimes, but then we are even more screwed, because now the religious crazies control the tanks and fighter jets.

      And then, there's all that oil.

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will." - Frederick Douglass

      by goblue72 on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 06:35:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Better Saddam than Shari'ah! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I still think that was the major reason why France and several other European countries opposed the war in Iraq.  Sort of like the "Better Pinochet than Commies" of 1970s America, re Chile.  (BTW, I'm not saying that Allende was or was not a communist, just that Pinochet's supporters believed he was.)

        While Communism was in most cases a tyranny ruling by terror, with negligible popular support (the only exceptions being countries like Vietnam where Communism married itself with nationalism), political Islam is genuinely and overwhelmingly popular in Muslim countries.

        Only Turkey has truly embraced secularism, and that was due to a unique circumstance - Atatürk was not only a secularist, but also had impeccable patriotic credentials from his defense of Turkey against Greek invasion in the early 20s.  Elsewhere in the Muslim Middle East, only tyranny maintains secularism.

        I think it's telling that even the Minaret of Freedom Institute, a self-described Muslim libertarian organization set up by Palestinian-American Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, does not advocate Western-style secularism in the Middle East.  You may be interested in the following articles (PDF files):

        Creating a Productive Discourse on Democracy in the Muslim World

        Reconciling Secular Government with Islamic Law

        The Challenge of Institutional Governance in Islam:
        Justice, Democracy and Shari'ah

      •  Pro-democracy does not not neccessarily equal... (0+ / 0-)

        ...non-theocratic rule.  That is, theocrats can and have been elected in fair elections.  Democracy can result in any type of government, depending on what the population at large wants.

    •  addressing the real concerns (0+ / 0-)

      that prompt their allegience...?

      The real concerns that Hamas and Hezbollah have are that they can't wipe Israel from the map fast enough.

      Fact is, H & H believe that Israelis are occupiers...of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

      Please, someone, anyone, tell me how you deal with that, because what Israel is doing isn't working out so well for them or for the people of Lebanon.

      •  this is getting old (0+ / 0-)

        you say H & H want to "wipe Israel off the map"  but does not Israel want to wipe Hamas and Hizballah off the map?

        Hizbollah was quickly abandoning its more extreme tenants and was rapidly integrating into the mor emoderate Lebanese society.  Hamas might have done the same if Israel wasn't murdering hundreds of palastinians.

        Israel has largely followed the "kill 10 of them for every one of ours" for the past 20+ years, and it hasn't made Israel any more secure.

        What shoud Israel do now... I don't know, maybe the opposite of what it has been doing for the past 50 years?

        The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"

        by Love and Death on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 10:25:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Objective proof? (0+ / 0-)

          Hizbollah was quickly abandoning its more extreme tenants and was rapidly integrating into the mor emoderate Lebanese society.

          Do you have any objective proof of this? And I don't mean that Hezbollah has a "political wing" that is distinct from their "military wing."

          Those are two wings on the same buzzard.

      •  make a distinction (0+ / 0-)

        Hi arubyan, and thanks for the reply.

        In any extremist movement, you will have True Believers who are incapable of compromise.  My point was this: It's the stance of the surrounding population that determines whether these cranks will be known as fringe lunatics or held up as popular heroes.

        If no moderates exist, and everyone's radicalized, then you may be forced to do battle.  Yet I really doubt that every Lebanese citizen who is now voicing complete or qualified support for Hezbollah shares the extremist view that Israel must be wiped out.  I think it's more likely that they support Hezbollah to the same extent that this organization provides them with practical necessities like security, public services, and employment.  Ultimately, I think it's likely that they, perhaps like many ordinary Israelis across the border, would prefer to live and let live--provided they have something to live for and the social stability to pursue it.

        THAT is where to drive the wedge if you are serious about marginalizing extremists.  In Lebanon since 2005 you had a anti-Syrian coalition gov't, democratically elected.  Yes, Hezb. was a part of that gov't...but it was an excellent chance for Israel, America, and the world community to support the kind of Lebanon they wanted to see emerge--through tangible support for the gov't, the official military, development and foreign investment, and through engagement on regional problems of interest to its population (ie., Palestine, economic competitiveness).

        Instead, we're busy occupying Iraq and selling more smart bombs to the IDF.  How is that helping anyone but those who wave the bloody shirts, those who sell the bombs, and those who get the contracts to rebuild the resulting mess?

        There are no easy non-military solutions to any of this stuff, granted, but it's no excuse for not trying.  Consistent gestures of good faith backed by constructive action might have gradually co-opted Hezbollah's monopoly on public opinion in southern Lebanon.  As it is now, Hezbollah can paint itself as the heroic defender--or, at the least, a flawed but essential shield--against a callously uncaring Israeli-American axis.  

        We've wasted an opportunity and set things back to square one.  That may have been the unspoken intent of certain principals, but it doesn't benefit most of us who aren't arms dealers or extremists.

        There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

        by turbonium on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 04:04:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I appreciate your thoughtful response. (0+ / 0-)

          We've wasted an opportunity and set things back to square one.  That may have been the unspoken intent of certain principals, but it doesn't benefit most of us who aren't arms dealers or extremists.

          In a previous diary, I suggested the following "talking points" for Democrats re: this war. Perhaps it is too late to implement, perhaps the window has closed. I can't say for sure, but here it is:

          If I were in charge of US foreign policy, or at least in charge of Democratic talking points, I'd be proposing that those three countries stand with the US, Israel and Lebanon on common ground that is summarized by these elements:

          1. Strengthen and support Lebanon's efforts to grow democracy.
            In addition to helping Lebanon rebuild, help them isolate and disarm Hizbullah according to UN Resolution 1559.

          2. Affirm Israel's right to exist as well as the right to self-defense and self-determination.

            In addition, acknowledge that Israel's war against Lebanon is not America's war. Nor is it the undercard to the main bout of America vs. Iran. It is not the beginning of World War III, so sit down and shut up New Gingrich.

          3. Slow down US arms sales to Israel.

            In return for the coalition's support of Israel and its help in destroying Hizbullah, Israel agrees to stand down from her wholesale destruction of Lebanon.

          4. Open talks with Iran and Syria.

            Iran: Hizbullah is no longer an effective proxy for your regional ambitions; deal with it. Syria: When Lebanon threw you out, they meant it.

          5. Use the example of Lebanon to resolve the situation between Fatah and Hamas.

            The Palestinians must agree that any faction dedicated to the destruction of Israel has no place in the region. In return for signing a peace treaty (not a truce, not a cease-fire) with Israel, the nation of Palestine gets fast-tracked.

            Oh, and one more thing: since this will never happen as long as Condi Rice and George W. Bush are in control, the Democrats should make this part of their talking points going into the November elections.

  •  GREAT Analysis + Insurgents Need Outside Support (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, phinky, Buddha Hat

    This is the best summary I've read on Daily Kos in quite a while. Excellent analysis and very clearly presented in a way everyone can understand.


    I'd like to add that almost every successful guerilla campaign has received outside support from another power. The insurgents in Iraq are receiving help from other Islamic nations, and until that supply line is clamped shut there will be even more trouble.

  •  Great summary! (0+ / 0-)

    "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." — Benito Mussolini

    by schuylkill on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 06:20:00 PM PDT

  •  I can agree with a lot in this diary, and... (0+ / 0-) is well written enough that much of it really does apply across the centuries of civilization, which is why I find it so disturbing that you throw out phrases like this:

    A successful insurgency is always losing warriors (sometimes by intentional suicide attacks), but the pipeline of recruitment is full of people moving to ever greater levels of commitment.

    At least qualify a statement such as this by explaining that even though asymetric warfare has been going on for a millenia or two, suicide bombers or suicide mass-murderers are a relatively recent phenomena, in fact they are almost all post 1948, or if you include the kamikazi's, post WWII.

    I think this fact needs to be specified, as I think the concept of the suicide bomber is the biggest stumbling block for recent insurgencies to be given any sort of reasoned respect by western societies.

    And that bothers me. A lot. It bothers me when tactics obscure motive and defile justification.

    It's like we have the fundamentalist christian fake culture of life hiding it's true culture of death on the one side, and the fundamentalist islamic straight up culture of death hiding nothing on the other.


    "It wasn't, 'We the conglomerates.' It wasn't, 'We the corporations.' It was, 'We the people.'"
    -- Al Gore c.2005

    by deafmetal on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 06:39:18 PM PDT

  •  Conservatives are doomed to lose asymmetric wars (6+ / 0-)

    Pericles notes in this excellent diary: “the only exclusively military solution available to the occupier is genocide, or some form of ethnic cleansing that will move the insurgent-sympathizing population somewhere else.”

    Tis a pity that he or she gave only passing consideration to the non-military solution of defeating an insurgency, because doing so highlights the object stupidity inherent in conservative philosophy. In the paragraph on “effective anti-insurgent strategies” Pericles notes that “a small area is pacified and reconstructed to the point that it becomes governable.” What this involves is nothing more or less than nation building. The inherent stupidity of conservative philosophy is that it is infatuated with the “magic” of market forces, and is therefore axiomatically opposed to any policy that smacks of nation building.

    As I have argued before, the crucial point at which the U.S. invasion of Iraq was irrevocably set on a path of failure was on November 15, 2001, when American Enterprise Institute president Chris DeMuth killed in the cradle the nascent post-invasion plans for occupying and rebuilding Iraq. According to the account by George Packer, in his 2005 book The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq, pages 111-112.

    In October 2002, Leslie Gelb, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, had approached Rice and Hadley with an offer of help. The council and two other think tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, would form a consortium that would gather a panel of experts to provide facts and options for the postwar. Their work would be politically palatable, coming from across the ideological spectrum, not insisting on a single plan that would corner the administration. "This is just what we need," Rice said. "We'll be too busy to do it ourselves." But she didn't want the involvement of Heritage, which had been critical of the idea of an Iraq war. “Do AEI."

    Chris DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, of the American Enterprise Institute, where the administration's neoconservatives drew their support and many of their personnel, neither consented nor refused when Gelb broached the possibility. On November 15, the representatives of the think tanks met with Rice and Hadley in Rice's office at the White House. John Hamre of CSIS went in expecting to pitch the idea to Rice, but the meeting was odd from the start: Rice seemed attentive only to DeMuth, and it was as if the White House was trying to sell something to the American Enterprise Institute rather than the other way around. When Gelb, on speakerphone from New York, began to describe his concept, DeMuth cut him off. "Wait a minute. What's all this planning and thinking about postwar Iraq?" He turned to Rice. “This is nation building, and you said you were against that. In the campaign you said it, the president has said it. Does he know you're doing this? Does Karl Rove know?"

    Without AEI, Rice couldn't sign on.

    People have disagreed, preferring to hold Rice, Bush, and Cheney directly responsible. Of course they are responsible, but up to the point that DeMuth made his objections, there were elements in the Defense Department and in the State Department that were preparing post-invasion plans for a program of nation building in Iraq. DeMuth forcefully and explicitly articulated the axiomatic hostility of conservative philosophy to nation building, and by so doing, forced U.S. post-invasion policy down a different path than it had been headed – a path, as we so tragically see today, that was doomed to failure.

    The lesson to be learned is that if you are facing a fight with insurgents in an asymmetric war, the absolutely worse thing you can do is put a bunch of conservatives in charge.

    If you're tired of being screwed by them, in November is your chance to tell Republicans to go screw themselves.

    by NBBooks on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 08:01:11 PM PDT

    •  Asymmetric war is like most things (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      opendna, Abou Ben Adhem, jay23

      Conservatives don't do most things well.  They used to be fairly good at fighting inflation, but now they can't even do that.

      We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

      by david78209 on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 08:34:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  in fact, and from the horse's mouth: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've been reading a book by (conservative to the point of writing for NRO) Victor Davis Hanson: A War Like No Other.  

      A major theme of the book (so far) is that plague, massacres, terrorism, and famine were widely attributed to the avoidance of brief, violent, pitched battles, in favor of low-intensity conflict spread across years.  And that conservative critiqes of the social order were based in part on parallels drawn between changes in warfare, and changes in society.

      Apparently, set-piece battles in Greece had traditionally been fought by phalanxes of armored land-owning aristrocrats, at a specified time and place.  Total war, by contrast, shifted military importance away from these blue-blood "hoplites", and toward lighter armed slingers, archers, etc who might well be (gasp) city dwellers with no particular social rank. Conservatives of the day blamed all sorts of moral decay on these changes in the military order of things. He cites another conservative, Plato, as a proponent of these views.

      (hence my comment upthread about Pericles - not the diarist, but some other one - being an early proponent of asymmetrical warfare)

      •  guess it might help if I bothered mentioning (0+ / 0-)

        that the book is about 5th century BC Greece, in particular the Peloponnesian War, which began during the time Pericles led Athens.

      •  and, in case it's not obvious (0+ / 0-)

        the conservatives (particularly Sparta) and the (largely Athenian) democrats formed the opposite poles of the debate over warfare/society.  

        (this all according to Hanson - much thanks to anyone with some balancing historical perspective)

        •  it's an interesting war, and century... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...and sobering to realize that the folks we were taught to idolize in school ("the Athenians are like the West, and the Spartans are like the Commies!") became in fact the villains of the fifth century.

          In the 19th century, there was even a delight in and reverence for the Peloponnesian War among Southern Classicists, for obvious reasons.

          Bring the Troops Home. Restore Constitutional Government. Take Back Your Nation.

          by khereva on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 06:50:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You may become a pacifist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LondonYank, Mxwll, rtfm

    You may yet become a pacifist.
    I found myself prefacing so many
    statements with 'now, I'm no pacifist but,'.
    Well now I AM a PACIFIST, and the military Doesn't have any use. This took awhile to realize, but it's
    Disarm. That's the best idea.
    Good post.

  •  I very much enjoy your writing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it's excellent stuff.

  •  Yes, (0+ / 0-)

    I enjoyed your presentation also.

    I guess the only thing that came to mind is all the religious killing in Iraq, so nicely called "secular conflict".  Religious wars certainly involve many folks who refuse to accept defeat in the face of ah, defeat.

    It took the Catholic Church about 600 years to officially say oops about Gaileo and the motion of the Earth around the Sun.

    The Muslim leaders in Iraq and around the World should denounce the violence in Iraq loudly and immediately and continuously.  All the Arab media outlets, should allow clergy on both sides or all sides to sit together and announce together that killing is against the will of God, period. Dream on.

    anyway, the religious war aspect complicates normal asymetric conflict you describe.  I guess the best example would be to examine how long did the religious/political conflict in Ireland persist and what was involved to defuse that situation?

    No Sig here. Move Along! Move Along!

    by Lew2006 on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 09:41:35 PM PDT

  •  i agree with every statement . (0+ / 0-)

    looking forward to future works & diaries . great diary  . as always peace !

  •  This is how the Revolutionary War was won. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geotpf, macdust

    Well, one of the ways, at least.

    The American Colonists were, basically, insurgents. The British were accoustomed to fighting (the French, or whoever) marching shoulder to shoulder in a straight rank. They would face a similarly formed rank from the enemy, and once within firing range, get down on one knee, and fire on command. The survivors of the volley would then run to become the rear rank  and load their guns as they moved forward in the file, often stepping over their fallen comrades to do so. Each side wore bright uniforms to identify their side.

    The colonialists didn't really think they had to play by the rules in many cases, and took to guerilla warfare, shooting from behind trees and such. Their clothing blended in with everyone else's, because they couldn't afford uniforms. And the "Redcoats" made for easy sighting.

    Those, along with many other things (including a cool thing called "rifling" which the Germans had brought over with them, making their bullets travel farther and more accurately), were among the many, many unorthodox "insurgent" techniques used to claim our freedom.

    Funny. Almost.

    NO PARDONS FOR TRAITORS. -3.75, -5.49

    by Bob on Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 11:49:16 PM PDT

  •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    macdust, kraant, jlb1972, sfRenter

    for explaining what's going on between Israel and Hezbollah in a way that bypasses the futile attempt to ascribe asymmetric moral blame to one side or the other, and focuses on the military nuts and bolts of this conflict. There is a military (and of course political) dimension to this conflict that has unfortunately been ignored in all too many discussions about it.

    Blame Hezbollah, blame Israel, blame Iran, blame Syria, blame BushCo, blame French cheesemakers (and they ALL share much blame here--well, perhaps not so much the last one), but the fact remains that neither side can ever really "win" this war in a military sense. This conflict can only be resolved politically and diplomatically, not militarily. The sad thing is that this has been known for decades, yet the various sides have not been able to admit it, not publically, and perhaps not even privately.

    War might be politics by other means, but clearly of a particularly crazy, self-defeating and evil kind. Are there no leaders in the region both smart enough to acknowledge that and courageous enough to act on it? Where are the peacemakers here? Enough of the Nasrallahs, Sharons, Ahmedinejads, Assads and Bushes of the world. They've had their chance to meddle in this century-long conflict and have clearly all made it worse--far, far worse.

    We're trying to replace our own noxious political leaders over here--and I believe that we eventually will--but the various players in the mideast have GOT to do the same if there' ever going to be a positive resolution to this horrible, horrible, horrible conflict that, I believe, does not need to go on forever. Contrary to what some have claimed, this is NOT a millenia-old conflict. It is, more or less, 100 years old, and can, I believe, be ended within a generation, and perhaps even sooner, but ONLY if smart, strong and courageous leaders emerge in the region to replace the current cast of thugs.

    This conflict CAN be resolved. But only politically and diplomatically, NOT militarily.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

    by kovie on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 12:25:00 AM PDT

    •  Thanks, Kovie n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

      by jlb1972 on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 02:35:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't buy your statement (0+ / 0-)

      This conflict can only be resolved politically and diplomatically, not militarily. The sad thing is that this has been known for decades, yet the various sides have not been able to admit it, not publically, and perhaps not even privately.

      The Oslo Accords were the last, great attempt to get both sides on the same page. Rabin rolled the dice on the gamble that Arafat would squash the terrrorists in his camp so that Israel would not have to.

      Rabin rolled the dice and came up snake-eyes; Arafat never followed through on anything he was responsible for.

      Can you blame Israel for being skeptical since then?

  •  Excellent diary (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks... I've bookmarked it.

  •  good post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Good post, very informative and spot on.

    Yours truly,

    Choir member.

  •  This diary confirms my gut feeling and.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    macdust, MarketTrustee

    understanding. The worst thing about all this current warfare is that it just won't work. It's all just a huge waste, in so many ways.

    The cretin chest beaters love it though, bombs, blood, death. Thing is that most of them have never been very far from the place they were born and have zero understanding of life in other countries.

  •  Like a Loony-Tons cartoon. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Daffy, or Porky, or whoever goes ballistic trying to catch a ouse of a fly, and totally destroys tehir house in the process. Thus defetaing the entire purpose of the chase.

    The moral being, of course, taht he would have been better off just learning to get alonmg with the little bugger, and putting up with a small annoyance rather than destroying your house to "get him."

    That's US and Israeli foreign policy in a nutshell right now.

    •  Get along with them? (0+ / 0-)

      The moral being, of course, taht he would have been better off just learning to get alonmg with the little bugger, and putting up with a small annoyance rather than destroying your house to "get him."

      Israelis would deem Hamas and Hezbollah more than a housefly. After all, both of them have one stated aim: to remove the Jewish occupiers from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

      How do you deal with that?

      •  Change the minds of the vast majority... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and marginalize the few who disagree.

        Catch the flies with honey not vinegar.

        •  That's a good platitude, but how does it work? (0+ / 0-)

          Given Hezbollah's "talent" in providing free meals with one hand and hate-education and weaponry with the other, what do you suggest Israel do in response?

          •  By providing free meals of their own... (0+ / 0-)

            ... and electricity, and jobs, and health care, and schools, and all of the parts of a modern secular comfortable lifestyle.

            All of that would be a lot less expensive than a state of permanent war.

            But people who see the conflict as a "war", can't wrap their heads around the idea of defeating their enemies by using kindness as a tool guaranteed to turn those enemies into friends.

            The warmongers would almost rather LOSE, than substitute honey for vinegar.

            •  Now You're Making Sense (0+ / 0-)

              Smart and dead-on, though what many can't accept is how long this would take.  The way I put it is, we would love it to be as simple as a war--in a certain way.  But it's not.  It may take a generation or two of generosity.  

  •  Awesome analysis (0+ / 0-)

    I'm assigning my students to read this.

  •  Kos=asymmetric politics n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Malacandra, Geotpf, sagra


    For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

    --Mark Twain

    by redglare on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 07:34:10 AM PDT

  •  Excellent work (0+ / 0-)

    Why not package it as an op/ed and send it to a few papers?  Maybe submit to The Nation, The Progressive?  You've probably already done that, but I really think it's worth pursuing. - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 07:52:00 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary! (0+ / 0-)

    Relating it back to our situation, I think the right understands some aspects of the game.  That's why they become so livid about pictures of coffins coming back and anti-war protests.  The more we shrug off our losses in Iraq, the longer the occupation will last.

    But the right doesn't understand the recruitment pipeline at all.  A lot of the military people get it, and talk about how every enemy they kill creates three new ones.  I first heard about the Inkspot theory in an AAR interview of Thomas Hammes talking about his his book on asymetrical warfare.

    Of course, my cynicism doesn't tell me that we're in Iraq to win peace.  Not when there's so much profit to be made from war.

    Pumped and ready for "the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."

    by sagra on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 08:05:05 AM PDT

  •  So, in your opinion, what does Israel do next? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Nitpicking (0+ / 0-)

    "Civilized" war?  

    Symmetrical war is neither "civilized" nor "gentlemanly."

    See Dresden...

    States engage in war against civilians, which is itself, state sponsored terrorism.

    However, your analysis of how a guerilla war is fought is correct.  By making the occupier act with overwhelming force, the guerillas win.

    We need to move forward with Mars exploration in order to rapture the fundamentalists into the heavens... before they kill us all.

    by Ghost of Godwin on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 08:59:33 AM PDT

  •  Israel is making a mistake here (0+ / 0-)

    Hezbollah is rather unique in that it functions as both an open army and an insurgency.  Hezbollah is close to the defacto government in the south of Lebanon, not the actual government of Lebanon.

    The rockets (and thier launchers) they are firing into Israel are not AK-47s or IEDs-IE, they are a bit too big to hide.  If Israel did a ground invasion, eventually, they can, at the very least, remove a large amount of the existing stockpile of rockets.  If that is done, Israel can achieve a significant military objective.  The next step, preventing Iran/Syria from rearming them, can occur once an international force is in the area (buffer zone in the south of Lebanon).

    The problem here is that they are being pussies about it (never believed I'd say that about the Israelis-the Israelis are a lot of things, but unwilling to commit enough force has never been one of them).  They have too many bad memories of thier previous invasion of Lebanon, and, therefore, have so far have been mostly trying to win this war via airpower alone, which won't work (and kills a lot of civilians in the process).  They need to commit to a full (temporary) land invasion in the south, or they shouldn't have used the air power at all, because using the air power without the ground inavsion accoplishes nothing and amounts to killing for no reason.

  •  An easy win (0+ / 0-)

    Every lebanese shia who is a potential recruit for Hezbollah knows that if the Lebanese government patrols the south (as is demanded by the international community, see SCR1559) and no rockets go into Israel proper, Israel goes away and they can start rebuilding their lives. This puts a serious crimp on recruiting because dropping a dime on Hezbollah to the point where they can no longer seriously threaten the Lebanese Army is a win for your average "just want to get on with my life" potential Hezbollah recruit.

    There's nothing wrong with the analysis otherwise, it just misses a valid victory scenario that everybody in southern Lebanon either already knows or will know soon. So why not send your men to fight for the Lebanese army and get Hezbollah to join all the other militias in disarming? What's the down side? Oh yeah, if you do that Hezbollah will come and try to kill you. Now there's a real recruitment inducer...

  •  Fair Article, Well Written (0+ / 0-)

    Very impressive article.  It just goes to show the difficult war we are in right now.  If we can set up a government of Iraqis who want to protect their citizens and are strong enough to protect them, then the insurgency dies.  Same with the Lebanese government.  We can only win when the political solution is in place for a strong enough central government that can protect and develop their national economy.  This can only happen when the government is able to fight as an assymetrical force against the inferior insurgency.  This will take time and commitment from the international community.

    One problem with your article was in the portrayal of symmetric warfare.  It wasn't the focus, but getting rid of symmetric warfare is BY FAR better for society.  When armies can go toe-to-toe with each other, millions die very quickly.  At least in asymmetric warfare, the killing is kept at a much lower level and the threat of violence (terrorism) is often much less than symmetric warfare can lay waste to an area.  Thank God, those days are generally over.  Iraq was probably the last real symmetric aggressive enemy in the world.  North Korea may fight that way, but that is about it.

    Scary world we live in.  Please, all, let's keep pressure on the bad guys and rally for our troops in harms way.

  •  Excellent article (0+ / 0-)

    I agree with every statement.

    I don't think the neocons care what kind of war they're in, as long as they're making their money off of it.  Eisenhower's (sp) prediction about the industrial-military complex has come true. The manufacture of weapons has become a part of our economic structure, and those profitting from it won't easily let it go.

  •  Apparently No One in the White House (0+ / 0-)

    has studied Revolutionary War (British American Colonies) history.  Of course George W (Shrubbius) can't be bothered to read, I expect.

    The Anglish thought it was "unfair", did they not, when the Colonists hid behind trees with their long Kentucky rifles?  The greatest army in the world brought to its knees by poorly supplied colonials WITH HELP FROM France, Hessians (etc).

    It's NOT FAIR that the "rebels" in Iraq use roadside bombs and melt back into the civilian population.  Waaah!

    Rommel you magnificent bastard, I read your book!

    While it isn't good for the US Military or the IDF, you have to admit, by taking a playbook from the Colonial Army they have been increasingly effective.

    Dana Curtis Kincaid Ad Astra per Aspera! The enemy is not man, the enemy is stupidity.

    by angrytoyrobot on Sun Aug 20, 2006 at 07:10:32 PM PDT

  •  just can't resist observing... (0+ / 0-)

    asymmetrical warfare is epitomized in miniature through the kind of passive-aggressive heaveho which all too often typifies heterosexual marriage.  Through the centuries women have understood the discreet dynamics of asymmetrical warfare much too well.

    And this said with all due respect to my excellent and gentle husband, who did his part in Viet Nam.  Our union is such an improvement upon my parents' generation, thank God.

    And thank you Pericles, if you can withstand a little irony.  For your analysis is brilliant.

    Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will... abdicate [to] his image [which is] much more powerful than he could ever be. -McLuhan

    by stonemason on Sun Aug 20, 2006 at 07:22:05 PM PDT

  •  Two Consequences (0+ / 0-)

    One) It seems that when it is clear that the supply of insurgents is increasing rather than decreasing and evidence suggests no end to that pattern (no deus ex machina), the only thing to do is pull out--the asymmetrical war is lost.

    Two) It's a point well taken--and many have been saying this for a while--that the insurgents sitting on their hands and waiting for us to leave may create a stable enough country for a long enough period of time that the populace would be unwilling to return to warfare and to allow insurgents to operate.  Further, our leaving at the end of that peace would empower Iraqis.  The year-long peace as we withdraw and the insurgency sits on its hands, combined with the empowerment of Iraqis as a result of our withdrawal, is the best possible outcome we could hope for by now.  That is, it's an unlikely result--we've ruined too much of the country by now--but it's the best possible result we could hope for at this point.  

    And check out this testimony before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats, and Capabilities, in particular the second paragraph, which discusses the necessity of the hearts and minds campaign Pericles writes about:

    From the Council on Foreign Relations

  •  Great diary (0+ / 0-)

    and now the Feature Article on dKosopedia.

    Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand. -- Deep Throat

    by The Centerfielder on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 06:23:51 AM PDT

  •  Sorry I Missed The Recommendation Window (0+ / 0-)

    Right to the point and not a word wasted.

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