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More than Mere Tactics

At an industry meeting last week at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO, the first speaker on Monday, May 2,  was General Stanley McChrystal.  Given the killing of Bin Laden the day before he changed his topic from one of leadership to speak about the special forces and the situation in the middle east.

He touched on two subjects that was probably new information to most of the people in the audience.  He explained the perspective that the Iranians have on the US by going back 50 years to our (alleged) overthrow of their democratically elected leader Mossadegh and supplanting him with the Shah who proved very unpopular.  We supported Iraq heavily in their long bloody war with Iran.  Read about Mossadegh here. (Rebelyid – October, 2007)

He offered an insight about Islamic radicals.  Many young devoted Islamists are trained to memorize the Koran in Arabic, a language many of them are not familiar with and are thus dependent on their Imam to ‘tell’ them what it means.  Many learn that jihad is war against infidels- the west.  Yet other Islamic scholars contend that ‘jihad’ is a personal struggle of redemption. As with any theology there is likely every shade of distinction between them.  The general’s point was that education is the key to turning the tide of Islamic radicalism.

Our modern military is educated with far more depth than field tactics.  They are deeply aware of the culture and history of the lands they engage.

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The Israelis did not Kill Massoud Mohammadi

… according to Mideast expert Micah Halpern

Excerpt

This explosion was so powerful and out of control it was designed to kill, maim and damage in a wide circumference around the bomb. This was not the work of a Western intelligence force, it was not even the work of a Western assassin. Israel has perfected the art of destroying their target and their target only – a car and the people in the car, nothing else at all. Israel goes the extra mile to make sure the damage is restricted and does not injure people or property around the explosion site.

This explosion was the work of others, it was not the work of Israel and neither was it the work of the United States.

Find out who Micah believes is responsible here.

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Peace is Not a Process

Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe

Peace vs the ‘peace process’

October 14, 2009

Excerpts:

In an important article in the current Middle East Quarterly, Daniel Pipes reviews the terrible failure of the 1993 Oslo accords, and homes in on the root fallacy of the diplomatic approach it embodied: the belief that the Arab-Israeli war can “be concluded through good will, conciliation, mediation, flexibility, restraint, generosity, and compromise, topped off with signatures on official documents.’’ For 16 years, Israeli governments, prodded by Washington, have sought to quench Palestinian hostility with concessions and gestures of good will. Yet peace today is more elusive than ever.

“Wars end not through good will but through victory,’’ Pipes writes, defining victory as one side compelling the other to give up its war goals. Since 1948, the Arabs’ goal has been the elimination of Israel; the Israelis’, to win their neighbors’ acceptance of a Jewish state in the Middle East. “If the conflict is to end, one side must lose and one side win,’’ argues Pipes.

Diplomacy cannot settle the Arab-Israeli conflict until the Palestinians abandon their anti-Israel rejectionism. US policy should therefore be focused on making them abandon it. The Palestinians must be put “on notice that benefits will flow to them only after they prove their acceptance of Israel. Until then – no diplomacy, no discussion of final status, no recognition as a state, and certainly no financial aid or weapons.’’

So long as American and Israeli leaders remain committed to a fruitless Arab-Israeli “peace process,’’ Arab-Israeli peace will remain unachievable. Let the newest Nobel peace laureate grasp and act upon that insight, and he will do more to hasten the conflict’s end than any of his well-meaning predecessors.

HKO comments: our unwillingness to tolerate short term pain has again led us to longer term pain.  Ralph Peters has noted that short term ferocity is the most humane way to fight a war.  The unwillingness to acknowledge that there can be no peace until Israel’s right to exist is both acknowledged and respected has been the common thread to many past well intentioned failures. Every day that goes by with out this acceptance should cost the Palestinians – otherwise it pays to delay peace inevitably. If Israel’s existence is not accepted there is no substitute for victory.

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A Twitter Conspiracy

The Tehran Times complains that Israel has too many friends on the internet. Read the story here.

It is hard to make this stuff up.

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Ironies of Modern War

When the Soviet Union lost the Cold War and the Berlin Wall came down, it was a momentous time. We expected peace in our time. Without two superpowers deterred by mutually assured destruction (MAD) the threat of a nuclear holocaust became distant.

The United States was the sole modern army and no army could dare challenge us, but the first irony of modern war is that technological superiority begat a primitive counter offense that technology could not address. Instead of politics and power wars became about “blood and faith” to borrow from Ralph Peters’ book of that name. As Peters also noted, “suicide bombers trump microchips.” This we learned on 9/11.

Commitment without power will trump power without commitment. Americans are an impatient people and we want our wars quick and cheap; yet we fight an enemy committed to win without a timeline. We learned in Viet Nam that the one thing the North Vietnamese could control in spite of inferior firepower was the duration of the war. The second irony is that in order for a war not to last forever we must be committed as though it will. Our impatience is our Achilles heel; and our enemies know how to exploit it.

With on the ground technology our soldiers have become adept at minimizing civilian casualties. The third irony is that the concept of a humane war increases the duration of the conflict. Wars used to be fought to exhaustion, and that included the civilian population. Now we take out the combatants with relatively minimal civilian collateral damage, but the wars never end. Hamas and Palestinian radicals rise up from the very population that was spared by their humane opponents. Wars may now be measured in centuries.

The fourth irony is that broader media coverage may also increase the ferocity of battle. Facing media outcry, a warring force may need to sacrifice humanity for speed to avoid the backlash from the media. No military leader wants to see his victory on the battlefield undermined by a global media that values headlines more than understanding. Yet short term ferocity may be the more humane strategy.

While the UN seemed unmoved by the 9,700 rockets launched intentionally by Hamas at Israeli civilians, they can not condemn Israel quickly enough for finally responding after three years. The UN never seemed to mind that Hamas violated almost every code of the Geneva Convention by intentionally placing their civilians in harm’s way, by intentionally targeting civilians, or by training children to become suicide bombers.

There is only one Jewish state surrounded by 22 Muslim states, yet it is Israel that is charged with using disproportionate force. Terrorist sycophants like Jimmy Carter seem to find no terrorist act that is unforgivable or unjustifiable and no Israeli response that is not disproportionate.

It is ironic that the Jews, a learned people, can be so victorious on the field of battle and do so badly in the field of public opinion. There is a reason they have to have victory quickly; the world will not tolerate a sustained Israeli offensive even if it is to remove an existential threat.

Israel is an open society, with equal rights for women, religious tolerance, a free press and even tolerance for gays. Israel is an educated society with more museums per capita than any country and is second only to the United States in patents.

Their enemy is misogynous, brutal to their own as well as the Jewish devils and intolerant of basic human rights. Yet our most misguided liberals at our universities and the streets and press of Europe protest too often, siding with the very people who would be most intolerant of their rights and views.

This final irony is one of the most difficult to understand but it is one of the oldest and most persistent, especially in Europe.