The Future of America under the American-led Empire: A Realistic “Sense of it.”
By Craig B Hulet? 2004?
I was asked recently to make a short, or not so short, statement of what I thought realistically may come about over the next, say, five plus years here on my native soil, America. Actually I am asked this all the time by a specific group of people, call them my circle of interested parties. I have always restricted such comments to very private segments of society as the mass of people, the masses if you will, simply are not ever ready for “reality,” in any form.
My take, for over thirty years, on where my country is headed consists of a two-fold approach: the first approach is to put forward sufficient data, factual information, empirical evidence all in a specific format whereby an individual will understand what may happen, has already happened though they may be unaware, and what ultimately they might do in the face of it; call this my optimistic approach. Or call it my public approach because the public, whenever they hear something never before heard, it sends the herd stampeding if one tells them too much “like it is.” Call it, if you must, not telling all-the-truth-the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth-so-help-me-God! (Or feeding them pap, for those not ready for meat) It is something always practiced by most when speaking (or writing) to the petrified herd.
The other approach is more metaphysical I suppose, conjectural or suppositional. When asked to write about where my personal sense of it truly resides and “tell it like it is,” it is another question altogether. Nobody wants to hear this, believe it’s true and most cannot stomach it. Publicly it just isn’t done. Written? it is literary suicide; spoken? It is verbalcidal. The Question? What is this Empire we speak off? What will America and American's face under its rule? What will it be, this imperial project? This is what I hope to address here.
"There is Tranquility in Ignorance, but Servitude is its Partner."
The reasons why few will say what they know, are obvious to those who have been involved in the major corporate atmosphere, the U.S. military, intelligence and security fields and even some specialized academia. To speak of what you really know about this regime over the past fifty-five years is to risk your career, your job, your reputation, marriage, family and friends; in its severest reaction to something you might reveal about this newest form of Empire is to be smeared, slandered, banned, your client base asked to cease supporting your work, advertisers are harangued to drop their ads, and yes, even worse: you might actually end up dead. The public will not care that some or all of these things happen to you or anyone else. The progressive-Left will not care unless it is one of their own (and there are only some one million Leftists [total] in America); the radical-Right will not care unless it is, as well, one of their own (there are some three to five million of these on American soil, and they are largely harmless). The general public will never care what happens to anyone because they’re way too busy having fun, from dawn’s light to setting sun. Indeed, the “public” will not even know you existed. Why?
In America we are dealing with a level of illiteracy downright frightening. Political literacy, on foreign affairs, war and peace issues, we are absolutely a stupefied muddle of illiterate dopes. The entire world holds Americans in, well, shock & awe, if you will: shocked by our stupidity -- awed by our own disbelief in that fact. Americans arrogantly believe they are the smartest, best and most moral people on earth. They are arrogant “because” they are ignorant; the greater the ignorance the more stupid the more stupid the more arrogant. That is why they are arrogant don’t you see. The first implies the other. Don’t believe me, listen to shock-radio, hot-talk, hate-talk, Pacifica Radio Network and Fox-blarney for but a week, and you too “ought“ to be in awe (if you’re not we know why don’t we?)!
Sad to admit, we are a hateful bigoted nation, still. A nation of money-grubbing, manna worshipping, personality cult voyeuristic overweight slobs. Bill Clinton represented the general masses more than any president to date. To put it all in context. The eighty to 100 million which claim to attend church every Sunday, are the same that stare numbly at pornography daily (whether hard-core Internet [still the Internet’s No.#1 viewed $ item] or the highly professionally produced, written, edited Hollywood fanfare called R-rated movies and television programming). They are, as well, the very same ones getting others, or having their own, abortions in the largest (Christian) numbers (do the math for heaven’s sake, it ain’t Lesbian Thespians having abortions!).
That is not the worst part. It is these Volk that will believe everything, anything, no matter how absurdly untrue, George Bush the Smaller says. Many if not most on the Christian right think what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan have biblical overtones. Some, let us guess about half that figure, even believe “this is the END TIMES” and they will come out of all this secular war-making sitting to the right, that would be the very far-right, hand of God. The most hypocritical of these choose to believe they will remain here on the present planet justified in righteousness, with all their stuff, homes, cars and toys, in what they call “Stewardship” of the earth (meaning their stuff).
Given I am no prude, no fundamentalist church-going dispensationalist Christian, and in fact a bit of an anarchist about most things cultural and social, I‘ll not be tolerated long by that crowd. (Put another way: I don’t give a damn what you do on your own time, in your own home, it is none of my business, period.) Politically I am quite neutral about everything except what “is.” Not what ought to be, as I do have my personal philosophical notions; ideas which I keep to myself. About what may just have happened politically, I understand the why of it, and the whom it happened to, and all that too was always predictable given sufficient data. Thus regarding what will happen, I do have a sense of it all, but you likely won’t like it one bit. It isn’t pessimistic though it seems so. It is realistic, if you are without dogma: set-in-stone Left-leaning or Right-reeling; both really reeling from listening to their own intoxicated blather. And the two extremes do so love to hear themselves go on. And then, of course, I may simply be dead wrong, making a fool of myself, something I do quite naturally.
My sense of it, this Empire: The Strategy of Interdependence
Right then, that out of the way, I will spell out what I get from my 55-some years of adult participation in the great American political delusion. While it is all a shame, and I am ashamed often to admit being an American these days, I know America’s light must not go out: so goes America, as the foundation of liberty, so shall go the world. If democracy (not the lunatic-Left’s version) disappears here, it is lost to the world in a matter of time; if the idea of freedom which founded America (not the rabid-Right’s version) disappears here, it shall be lost for at least a full generation, if not two; if the hope for world peace in some section of the world, like the Middle East (not the radical-Rabbinical version in Israel) is lost on the world, it shall not return until the newest high-tech dark-ages have run its course.
And this I fear is my sense of it. I only speak to my fellow country-men, Americans and those which have chosen to emigrate to this soil and try to live free for maybe the first time. That is how almost every single one of us, or our forefathers, came to abide on this section of global landscape. In the hope of finding freedom; the hope of ensnaring that intangible, justifiable joke called justice; the hope for a future. As Hans Kelsen might have warned "to seek real justice" in the political realm is about as sane "as seeking it in the courts of law!"
Instead we are, nearly every man, woman and child, throwing it all away. Affluence, money, both in-and-of-itself and the incessant dream of more of it, has obliterated the soul of nearly each and every one of us. Including the children. Since 9/11, our leader has lied to everyone regularly; not to mistaken him for a “truly” elected president, (not the nonsense that the Republicans stole the last Presidential election, that is just stupid) instead meaning that, by and large, absolutely nobody even voted, with the exception of those dogmatic Republicans and Democrats voting for their long-held jobs in federal, state and local government (do the math). This funny little fantastic Fuhrer has pursued policies, violated the laws, awestruck all with his abuse of awesome powers, passed executive orders and Kowtowed both Houses of Congress into obscene obedience; he has, in short, set course for a level of tyranny not seen since our last four “leaders,” Clinton, Carter, Reagan and Bush the Larger (not one so pernicious as this present presence in our midst) when each obediently served the very same masters!
Empire isn’t built in a day, they, each in their own way, their own rhetoric, their own methods built upon each other’s site. From foundation, mortar, frame and roof, they all built this global regime. Using blueprints laid forth in the immediate aftermath of World War II, refined and redrawn as technology evolved, they used a strategic foil, the strategy of “interdependence.” That is what it was called for many decades: a global regime of economic interdependence: a strategy of interdependence. The blueprints drawn-up in the smoke-filled rooms of the secretive citadels of non-governmental organizations (NGO) where future leaders are trained-up, tuned-up and their thoughts molded and shaped to serve the interests of this emerging regime: Empire.
But not a Roman Empire, as the Roman people shared in its booty; its triumphs were their triumphs. This newest regime, is global, this newest regime is authoritarian, but this newest regime is not American. Thus, it will only serve its masters as all Empire’s do, but Americans will see no benefits and neither share in its triumphs nor its vision, its wealth nor its prosperity. You will share, many of you worse than others, minorities, the poor, the weak, only in this regime’s cruelty and wrath. This newest metamorphosis and evolution to Empire and imperial vision is a corporate regime, American-led, but really Western-led; elite ruled and Western/Northern in its corporate reach. The global regime is Corporazioni. Corporatism is its ideology. Materialism its power and wealth; money its God: The “U.S. Dollar,” but in its coming conversion to raw electronic funds transfer at the point of sale (EFT/POS) in real time. As former CEO of CitiBank, Winston Lord once wrote a decade ago, “under this new financial regime, there is no place to hide.”
When I say it is a corporate regime I mean just that: i.e., corporations, multinational and conglomerate, monopoly and cartelized in an ever-shrinking merger of one after another multinational firm into a centralized monolithic structure which will dominate every aspect of everyone’s lives. And there is nothing more totalitarian than a monopoly corporation. It is these masters of industries, who have grown from mere Captains to Rulers of Kingdoms, the size of which old Rockefeller, Carnegie and Morgan did not even dream of. Of the 100 largest economies in the world 51 are corporations. Did I call these corporate cretins “masters?” I must be an obscure right-wing conspiracy theorist to have suggested this. Well, only to the disingenuous faux progressive-Leftists whose operations are regularly financed by these very same masters’ trusts and foundations.
Yes, there are masters. There is an elite. Since the dawn of time there has always been an elite for Christ’s sake, where have you been? Stuck over there with your itching ears plugged into Pacifica Radio’s rabid racists on the Left? The phony academics that tell you to ignore the persons that personify their office of power and instead, supposedly wisely, “understand the ‘problematic’ of the ‘institutional dynamics’ which evolve within the vast ‘methodological substratum’ of ‘empirical research.’” (And why have a method when you can have a methodology?) All this supposedly understandable only within this great noesphere of professorial wisdom. And of course only this wise and chaste vanguard can supply you with “The Truth,” -- i.e., Chomskyism’s select. (Sounds like a Safeway brand of big fat sausages.) And do let us all remember what The Iron Chancellor said of sausage-making: "The people should never see how laws or sausages are made." -- Prince Bismarck
Or have you rushed to judgment of those such as myself, following along with Rush Limbaugh’s mimicked Hannityism, in your joyful judgmental bias against everyone not a cigar-smoking Republican gerbil? Or are you so desperately foolish to factor O’Reilly in?
The Empire: State within a State: Imperium in Imperio
Although I shall never give-up the good fight, I was born to it, and shall continue to spew forth my richly textured empirical analysis in some forum far or near; yet, I must give up the truth if asked. America must go the way of all regimes, all governments, specifically all democracies, all empires and all imperial projects. We too shall pass into darkness and hell. Our shabby democracy has not been put through a shredder by enemies of liberty, so much as we did it to ourselves. Whether you are the one-issue orientated voter that never sees the bigger picture, or the apathetic, non-issue, could-give-a-damn-about-anything but yourself, non-voter, or the “I always vote” Republican, Green or Democrat, no matter who is running and how foul their stench (often literally), ... we all have lost the race. The elite, who may pose as this or that, R) or D) after the state from which they hail, masked and veiled as liberals or conservatives, it is they who have won. And now known to all what I have argued for over twenty years, “they are the very same men that rotate in and out of government and return to the real power, the multinational monopoly corporate system. Bush Senior, the Larger, has been our best example, who returned to the real power for these past ten years. But so too were the Clintons masked and veiled, vile to the core; and now comes a White House Cabinet of elitists so vicious and dangerous as to defy the very foundation of liberty. The key to understanding these new and ruthless demigods is one word: monopoly.
Monopoly, for the dogmatic howlers on the Left, repudiates free enterprise right along with you Leftists!... Corporatists, and its ideology Corporatism, for the self-righteous on the Right, repudiates both full socialism and true free enterprise, while you still, amazingly, think GE is for free enterprise and Bush the Smaller is an American patriot! With this much blind stupidity of “activists,” insufferable insanity of the masses, democracy had no chance. Never mind that nobody votes at all any more.
Look out at what we have: A corporate state that will send every job worth having, blue-collar and white, (both kinds: white-collar and white-boys) overseas as the corporate leaders successfully formulate their personal financial objectives through their government policy making appointed positions. They are, in nearly every administration now, the same guys by name. Left-fascists “used” to call you a right-wing conspiracy theorist for stating this baldly some 15 years ago; they are quite silent on the point now because of the clear truth of the matter, that is to say, its obviousness. This goes on whether R)s or D)s are holding office. This will go on whether it be Lady Hillary of WalMart or Little King George, Lord Kerry or Sir Gore. How desperate have the Democrats become? They would place an American Four Star General on this throne just to remove any Republican! Think about that! Democrats finding hope in a military man (and former baby-killer?) who simply had to mouth "I'm for abortion rights and gun control," and they buy it? Amazingly, the Democrats are even blinder now than before Clinton! Never mind that nobody votes at all any more.
Look at where we presently are: Patriot
Act I & II, Homeland Security under the newly positioned cabinet level
office, stamped almost 100% approved by both Houses of Congress. DARPA, and the
global surveillance system already operational with both the CIA and NSA
operating domestically: Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 historiography. The U.S. Department of Defense merely Empire’s foreign
legions for foreign occupation of select foreigner’s lands for commercial
acquisitions. And every Empire is commercial. Never mind that nobody votes at
all any more.
Look at who we are: In every corner of America nearly everyone is on some drug, something to make them happy,...no happier, just to get by. They think they are heroes because they suffer a little stress. The film industry shoves their peculiar dishonest and defiled culture down everyone’s throat then wonders in stupefaction that they are both held in worshipful esteem (by those who share their malignant narcissism) as little Princesses and simultaneously hated (by those who disagree with it, but they too still stare numbly at the damn tube). Never mind that nobody gets to vote on this “programming” of the masses.
You cannot have Empire without nihilism
As it happens, unfortunate wanderers often put to the test the halls of safety, bringing to light by their mere presence the values that have been cultivated in these, and revealing whether those who are prosperous have learned that the outcasts' misfortune commands their care. For he who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth should be the first to know its value... --Homer
You ask what we can do about it? Part and parcel of Empire is that the masses must be ignorant, naive and or stupid. It is a given by the elite that “we the people” are a combination of all three. “Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people.” -- John Adams (August 1765)
Try to understand this newest form of Empire. Take a map of the world, lay it out flat on the table. Circle each major city, each major port, each major airport, all in red. Now circle each region where strategic raw materials rest: oil, natural gas, chromium, phosphate, coal, iron ore, magnesium and the major bodies of water, each in blue. Now overlay this map with a clear acetate film. Mark in black every major monopoly corporation’s significant operations except retail: manufacturing, mining, oil and gas exploration, and major overseas expansions like in China. Now in purple (naturally, the color of Royalty) mark the flow of foreign direct investment globally from the richest western nation’s headquarters of the monopoly merchant bankers to where? -- now, for the first time, China’s entrance into the new world at the top of foreign direct investment, thus reveals itself. But understand this, America as America has no part in any of this. America as America is merely one political tool of this regime, a commercial banking and industrial regime which needs America only as government to build the new order in its legal apparatuses. The new global regimes of power and governance are the World Trade Organization, NAFTA and GATT; The World Bank; The Bank for International Settlements; the UN, NATO, Group of Eight, International Monetary Fund, and on and on, the soupy alphabetically ad nauseam. It is these regimes of power and governance that, so it is intended, will govern all that matters in the world of finance, manufacturing and production. These organs are made-up of the same corporate elite that negotiate and orchestrate the rules that shall govern all that matters.
Remember the map you set out on your table. If you look closely, squint your eyes a bit, you will see that the names of nations disappear. Only the names of cities, areas of resources, waterways and the regimes of governance named above remain. It is these that are set to become but city-states in a borderless world. There is no America, China, Great Britain or France; there is no Iraq or Afghanistan, but regions where the people must be brought to heal. Just as the Los Angeles Police Department has its headquarters and decentralized precincts, whereby they send in their troops to quell a riot in a disgruntled part of its fiefdom, so too shall Empire settle matters in its regions where Empire needs peace. Peace, so as to exploit the resources of the region in its behalf. Not in America’s American’s behalf (as Rome did for Roman’s). But to quell a region and control its people and things (resources, rivers and waterways, airports, roads and financial institutions). I have called this process worldwide Global Triage (Triage: from the French term for choosing who in emergency room treatment gets treated and who is allowed to die); it applies quite well: this regime will decide who lives and dies globally in every region that matters. And for precisely the reasons outlined:
There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing. (Source: Major Ralph Peters, from “Parameters” "http://carlisle-www.army.mil" , Summer 1997, pp. 4-14: US Army War College)
Each and every area of life, of commerce, modified and synthesized, organized according to western GAAP (General Accepted Accounting Procedures) methods by the WTO, IMF, the World Bank, ExIm Bank and the host of hosts, Empire’s foreign legions, the Pentagon. Just as the LAPD, supported by the U.S. Marines, silenced dissent during the L.A. Riots, so too does Empire police these small cities of unruly ruffians in Baghdad and Kabul. Soon enough, Damascus and Jerusalem. But you get the point, wherever Empire needs to exert itself for control of resources, waterways, whether there be diamonds or iron ore, rice and beans, trees or bamboo...if it matters to Empire, all will succumb: triage.
Americans, do dare to understand this, America doesn’t matter anymore to Empire. America is a mere cog in the wheel whose subject’s living standards must come down. Jobs Americans thought were theirs will be theirs only if they speak Farsi, Hindi, etc.; accept living in India, Pakistan or Malaysia. Soon, very soon indeed, companies like Boeing will not just move their headquarters to Chicago from Seattle and Everett, Washington State, previously known as one of the fifty states of America, but to Beijing, in what was famously known in the past as the Peoples Republic of China. These feudalistic monopoly corporations will, one and all, go where the wages are very low and the local Junta will enforce a non-union labor force receiving little or no benefits.
I recently heard an argument that India was sending its surplus population to America and they were filling American high-tech jobs at three times less pay. The wrong thinking here is this: There are no more Americans nor Indians, so there is no surplus Indian population doing anything. In a borderless world we are, every single one of us, global workers; therefore the Indians that follow ITT from America today on to Malaysia next, going where the jobs are going, are fulfilling their destiny under Empire. If Americans will not learn the language of foreign lands and take the jobs offered therein, they will remain here in what was once called America and live in a steadily declining job market, a steadily declining standard of living. I guarantee Bush the Smaller (or Lady Hillary of WalMart) will not stop steadily spending your earnings! I did not state above “citizens” either; citizens of Empire are either serfs or subjects, subject to Empire’s dictate, that is why they are called subjects. Serfs are the ones that cannot or will not adjust to Empire’s new demands. Their kingdom destined to be serfdom. A hi-tech feudalism is implied in global Empire; it is especially applicable when Empire’s masters, our rulers, are of Corporazioni’s ilk.
This is the future. Borders already do not matter, you just have not felt the weight of what this means. When borders no longer matter, then being American doesn’t either, as what was known as America simply no longer exists. Put plainly -- when borders no longer matter neither do you.
It is certainly not just myself, deluding myself, that what we have here is Empire in its rawest form, its religious form, as all Empire's tend towards a sense of the divine. Joshua Micah Marshall, a Washington Monthly contributing writer, recently wrote an intriguing piece titled “Practice to Deceive: Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks’ nightmare scenario--it’s their plan.” He argues that the neo-conservatives have a vision for what they want to do in the Middle East and deception has always been part of their ideological make-up. In one telling paragraph he captures the argument when he wrote that the current crop of neo-conservative hawks have a vision for the world, a vision not “unlike,” but “exactly like” a religious epiphany. Regarding the present plan for the entire Middle East, not just Iraq, he stated it this way:
The hawks’ [other] response is that if the effort to push these countries toward democracy goes south, we can always use our military might to secure our interests. ‘We need to be more assertive,’ argues Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, ‘and stop letting all these two-bit dictators and rogue regimes push us around and stop being a patsy for our so-called allies, especially in Saudi Arabia.’ Hopefully, in Boot’s view, laying down the law will be enough. But he envisions a worst-case scenario that would involve the United States 'occupying the Saudi’s oil fields and administering them as a trust for the people of the region.'...What Boot is calling for, in other words, is the creation of a de facto American empire in the Middle East. In fact, there's a subset of neocons who believe that given our unparalleled power, empire is our destiny and we might as well embrace it. The problem with this line of thinking is, of course, that it ignores the lengthy and troubling history of imperial ambitions, particularly in the Middle East. The French and the English didn't leave voluntarily; they were driven out. And they left behind a legacy of ignorance, exploitation, and corruption that's largely responsible for the region's current dysfunctional politics. (emphasis added, The Washington Monthly, 2003.)
Understand this as well. It doesn't matter
that all Empires fall, every imperial vision comes to an end. This will be cold
comfort when it is pressed forward at your expense, your children's expense, if
not their lives, your future. It never matters that the Empire will fail, it is
always that "it will try."Bush the Smaller, God-forbid a Four Star
General, or Lady Hillary of WalMart, will, each of them in their own way, their
own speed of endeavor, their own stratagems will continue to try. Try as you
might, face nothing else, but face this fundamental fact. It is in their trying
that your future holds such bleakness.
Therefore, what can we do about America evolving, and now evolving very rapidly indeed, into Empire? Well, exactly nothing. Nobody can do anything about this; nothing, nada, nyet. One can join the elite (though the doors are mostly closed now), work for them (though they need fewer and fewer every year), or try as you might to "become"one of their minions, monopoly corporate dupes, lobbyists, or elected D)s or R)s. Or you will either learn to live with it, or die; live within it, and survive (and only those which truly understand all this will have any chance at all for that). And survive meaning just that and no more, scratching out a living as your standard of living slides ever closer to the most putrid form of poverty. Or live on Empire’s fringe, outside of affluence, in an Emersonian moderate poverty, outside of the system, outside of its laws... "outlaws," that is to say. That is what Homeland Security is really for. To protect the homeland, the Empire's roots, its body politic from the likes of you.
What must happen
Look at what will have to happen, eventually, for the Empire to succeed. This future is clear to some. Empire and the imperial ambitions that go along with it mean specific things: Greater governmental spending, higher taxes, lowered standard of living for the masses, greater burdens on the working man and woman. Universal service and sacrifice of all the subjects of Empire. Everyone must pull their weight, tote that barge...the youth will see imperial service selectively; drafted...if not a year or so after the next election is won by Sir George the Smaller then certainly soon enough thereafter. It would go down easier with a Democrat in the White House of course, and should that miraculously take place (which the odds are something like winning the lotto) the designated white Democrat in the White House will act even more swiftly to enact this selective service for the country. It would go down so much easier with Lady Hillary of WalMart signing-off on it. Why? Because liberals and D)s cannot find the courage it takes to take on one of their, supposedly, own. What if this decision were taken by a Four Star General? You know the Democrats could not then bring themselves to even a furrowed brow, a frown.
One thing that always amazes me is how pragmatic Democrats can be; they will endorse anything, anyone, that might defeat a Republican in the White House. For decades the Democrats have led the anti-war movements (often late in the game); they have been the leaders in denouncing the military. Now, because their line-up to take on Mr. Bush is so weak and the nation’s masses have war-fever, they are considering a man whose sole credentials are his four stars and his vast array of contacts with defense contractors, monopolists to a man. Defense contractors, the bugbear of every liberal for decades. Now that the regime has Homeland Security, Patriot Acts I & II, the CIA and NSA can operate domestically and all this vast centralization of police power is under direct control of the White House with its new Homeland Cabinet Post...give it over to a Four Star General...there's some bright thinking.
It's inescapable. One way or another you are going to support this Empire. Whether through capitulation and submission, or through raw cowardice; the latter revealing itself more each day in more and more subjects as Lord Bush the Smaller passes imperial decree after executive decree and our leaders fall silent in a cowardly spectacle. Watch Bush the Smaller as he ratchets-up the fear-mongering so effectively with the silly colored terrorist alerts: yellow, red, etc.; what blarney, bullocks, what hubris this child of an elitist carries in his breast!
Muslims persecuted by the thousands, mild-mannered peace activists barred from flying on the airlines, individuals arrested at airports for joking they have "a bomb in their wallet,"as others, even the elderly, are strip-searched while in a wheelchair, still others declared "illegal combatants." (A term not even found in American jurisprudence, another indication America is no more.) Because they once upon a time traveled to a far off land? America has become a nation of cowards. But we have seen all this before:
"Finally, the German nationalists, the right-wing conservatives, who venerated 'honor'and 'heroism' as the central characteristics of their program. Oh God, what infinitely dishonorable and cowardly spectacle their leaders made in 1933 and continued to make afterward! One might at least have expected that, once their claim in January proved illusory--that they had 'tamed'the Nazis and 'rendered them harmless'-- they would act as a 'brake'and 'prevent the worst.' Not a bit of it. They went along with everything: the terror, the persecution of Jews, the persecution of Christians. They were not even bothered when their own party was prohibited, and their own members were arrested." (Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler, FSG, p.131)
We cannot see what Mr. Bush and his most vile crop of neo-conservatives plan and execute before our befuddled eyes. Lord Bush the Smaller is already thinking what Bill Clinton had already proposed during early 2003: running for a third (and fourth?) term in office after his second term begins to wind-down. He can simply claim national emergency (it has precedent). Only after the election is won will Bush contemplate the already proposed universal draft of the youth for reasons never spoken. We will be told we have to "go it alone," the great nation that we are, to bring justice and democracy to Iraq, to set the course for liberty in the Middle East, to end the death of American soldiers beleaguered in war zones afar. This is why Lord Bush is brow-beating an unwieldy United Nations to throw their troops in the fray. He knows full well Germany, France, China and Russia (and a hundred others) opposed the war resolution at the same UN, oppose it still. Why would they (then) bail out an arrogant U.S. president who has lied all along, along with Tony Blair, to get "US" in the war in the first place? They will not, and Bush knows this. But with their refusal he can later berate them one and all to the American people as "the reason" we must go it alone. And we love it so to hate the French and Germans. And along with his cohort of media whores at NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and Fox "factors this in" he can convince American mothers to send their children to die. And this can be so easily accomplished, all so easily, legally. We have seen all this before:
"Constitutional lawyers define it as a change of constitution by means not foreseen therein. By this definition the Nazi revolution of March 1933 was not a revolution. Everything went strictly 'by the book,' using means that were permitted by the constitution. At first there were 'emergency decrees' by the president of the Reich, and later a bill was passed by a two-thirds majority of the Reichstag giving the government unlimited legislative powers, perfectly in accordance with the rules for changing the constitution." (Haffner, Ibid., p. 124)
Americans have made their politics their religion
The truly ignorant or naive American may be forgiven if they think, along with their historical counterparts of Germany, circa, 1933, that, "All this was still something one only read about in the press. You did not see or hear anything that was any different from what had gone before. There were brown SA uniforms on the streets...but otherwise it was 'business as usual.' " (Ibid., p. 109) They could not see the brown shirts who were the "media representatives" of the 1933 Reich, then pamphleteering, stumping, soap-box rants; at once browbeating, then slandering opponents, shouting them down, then beating them for real if need be. We have our own regime enforcers as "media representatives," of Amerika, "Media Brown Shirts," ... pamphleteering, stumping, soap-box rants; at once browbeating, then slandering opponents, shouting them down, then beating them for real if need be. The beatings some critics have taken have utterly silenced them, and we have seen many a critic banned, fired, ruined financially. Is it less an act of violence to ban, silence and slander than to whack 'em over the head with a black-jack or night-stick? Isn't it interesting that in Amerika the night-stick is called a baton, as though wielded by a short-skirted adolescent in a parade? Just as Mr. Bush Junior did at Yale as head cheerleader.
It did not begin with Empire acting in its divine capacity that Empire took on religious overtones. Americans have long made their politics religion rather than a secular act primed to escort our means of governance. All sides have made politics their religion which is why it has the flavor of carnival, a spectacle, just as it was in the Germany Haffner witnessed. The feminist dominated Greens, the corporate Democrats and certainly the symbiotic relationship of the present crop of Republicans with fundamentalism’s dispensationalists bears witness once again that yet another democracy has lost its way. And this one lost its way to evolve into an American-led corporate empire. Not a spoken of, thousand-year Reich; not spoken of that is, and that's all.
And if the term Empire still doesn’t sit well with the present reader, the reader needs to grow-up. And Americans hate to grow-up these days. If the term Empire bothers some change the definition, fine, words and their terms of usage change all the time as knowledge and reality sinks in and the truth can only be understood by the new terms and phrases of the day. But Empire, an American-led empire, a corporate empire, "is" what the current administration is all about. Not only in the Middle East do we make war, but the world over if necessary. As the tenacious John Pilger recently wrote while sitting in on a meeting of journalists and aid workers in Iraq,... "It was as though we were disconnected from the world outside: a world of rampant, rapacious power and great crimes committed in our name by our government and its foreign master. Iraq is the 'test case', says the Bush regime, which every day sails closer to Mussolini's definition of fascism: the merger of a militarist state with corporate power. Iraq is a test case for western liberals, too. As the suffering mounts in that stricken country, with Red Cross doctors describing 'incredible' levels of civilian casualties, the choice of the next conquest, Syria or Iran, is 'debated' on the BBC, as if it were a World Cup venue." (Independent.com, 2003)
The fact that a man with so little
political sense, a total lack of every intellectual attribute needed for
secular political governance was endorsed by the "gray men" for
Governor of California on the sole basis of "name recognition," and
the bizarre truth is that Californians, (being a bit odd themselves according
to some) might just vote for him to win, is a shame on us the U.S. We know
"who" by "name" will rule California even if Noam cannot bring himself to
"personalize the problematic." What, then is our future?
High-Tech Corporate Feudalism
Of course, one can always argue differently. I shall make my own point, as I said, "my sense of it." The major U.S. monopoly multinationals with their ongoing mergers and acquisitions globally will continue apace. Not even Arnold can stop the economic attrition in California wearing out the workers, blue collar and white; jobs sent overseas following entire operations already operating, moved to markets more amenable to profit and fewer benefits. Not even Arnold can address the sheer enormity of tax dollars slipped into the hands of GE, Bechtel and Halliburton, Brown & Root. Not even the Terminator can rid the planet of the high-tech feudalism this monopolistic oligarchy brings to the land. Indeed, they own Arnold. Why else would a Captain of industries (Bechtel, Boeing, etc.), Herr Schultz, endorse this bad-actor for the position, the input, unless he can control the output?
What democrat could alter the landscape, even if he or she would, when each and every one is bought and paid for by precisely the same Corporatism which presently owns both Houses of Congress, the White House and white presidents? Lady Hillary of WalMart? Please!
Empire may mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Again, it may even be difficult to define today (so I’ve been told) for some. But I may have less of a problem with it than most and not because I am so darn smart. Simply because I have little allegiance to anything except liberty and I concern myself only about what "is."
Where we will be in a few years is just not that difficult to imagine, not that hard to figure. The debt and deficits alone are staggering; never has the trade deficit and the federal monetary deficit been as high as a percentage of GDP, and nearly equal. Total obligations of the enormous federal crime families is a robust 44 trillion dollars. My calculator doesn't have that many zeros! Never has personal individual debt been quite so enormous, nearly every working man, woman and child is presently bankrupt by any rational mathematical standard applied, which of course logically explains record personal bankruptcies. Corporate debt is at record levels, which of course logically explains record business bankruptcies. Unemployment figures have never been so manipulated by a system of mathematical make-believe to make us believe we have a recovery in progress without the productive participation of some 30 to 40 million workers. Workers not looking for work is why they are not counted. As though the fact that they have given-up looking for that job, where there are 700 applicants for every meager-paying service job, makes them less jobless! Workers working only part time and often only a few hours a week are not unemployed by the reckoning of our masters, they are simply "marginal."
GDP means Gross Domestic Product and it is indeed gross to claim we have any worthwhile products produced domestically any longer. The only thing America can be said to actually produce is more debt. That is the future story one day writ large. Made in America my a posteriori.
What of the stock market one naively asks, thinking "it" has some relationship to the domestic economy being prosperous or in a recovery for the many? The reality? An ever growing process of overseas investment in unproductive acquisitions. The very same process that little dark magician and his crew performed on the world stage for the Clinton myth is in for a repeat performance, a slick kind of ... "come on Alan, take a bow!" One more time we print the cash to pay the diabolical debts and raise taxes to re-collect what was spent on defense and foreign infrastructures where empire wants to expand. We are to rebuild Iraq but we cannot fix the roads in America? We can bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan as it slips away here in America and America's children cannot find a decent education? And the little dark magician keeps conjuring-up his mystical magical manna.
This is done to the glee of the raw speculator in stocks; stocks again so overpriced as to defy even the little magician tortured mind. Yet another day of reckoning is in the future. Another round of false millionaires, each as logically mathematically bankrupt as the former, each shall find their dreams dashed in the coming market "correction." Don’t you love the language we are taught to use... a "correction." Sort of like a typo -- just a little white-out in the old days, replaced now by Microsoft Works program spell checker -- and what a hoot, it wasn't that bad.
Except for those that cannot find a job after they have lost everything, and at fifty-five years old find themselves working non-union in the Garden Center at Lady Hillary's WalMart. But this may not happen for a few more years, certainly interest rates will not rise significantly "before" Bush the Smaller gets re-elected! Bush the Senior.the Larger, will not have it. And again, Bush the Larger has been back in power for ten years, not, like so many silly progressives and Democrats wrongly hoped and believed, sidelined like some aging running back for the Dallas Cowboys. No, the "must happen" correction, must be held off until after that little stage play the mad magician performs is in curtain call. Nobody the wiser still.
And what will we hear in the very near term? "Nothing any different from what has gone before." But what will in fact happen must happen. More smaller business failures as the trickle-down from Corporatism's domestic economic attrition in affect effects one and all; more unemployment not less. The IRS has targeted small businesses as the audit of choice. Of course they have, the smaller large companies and the smaller small businessmen cannot afford the Big Eight to do battle with this manna collecting monstrosity. An evil so great some few Libertarians have called it the "eternal revenue system." That sucking sound wasn't just jobs going overseas Ross, it is the whooshing sound of the collective toilet flushing individual taxpayers into the general system's septic-tank where the biggest curds float to the top, the rest sink quietly out of site. "All this [was] still something one only read about in the press. You did not see or hear anything that was any different from what had gone before."
What are we to do with the aging demographic in America? Soon enough those retired, or the older unemployed or, unemployable is the new term, those on the many doles will simply out number the youth working and being taxed to pay for the retired Volk. Given everything else noted above, add even greater unemployment among minorities and young people, add further domestic economic attrition through corporate expansion overseas, what is a tyrant to do? Draft the little buggers is but the only real world solution; none too few other analysts have suggested this as one such future solution. When we see adults, between twenty-three to thirty-five scooting about on mountain bikes, decked-out in childish garb, out having fun like the nine year-olds the bikes were originally meant for, how can an honest broker of thought not endorse another military draft? We have a nation of grown men acting as children, with no thought of the future with the sole exception of "having more time off," having "more fun," and escaping further into a neurotic festival of mutual exhibitionism. The worst? the ones strutting about like John Wayne, sunglasses perched on their proboscis, acting bad-to-the-bone...for attention, over the fact that he has a new shiny truck with a still newer ATV in the back! Draft the buggers does come to mind if there is to be any hope for this state of affairs whose affairs are in a terrible state. While I cannot say I approve of this solution, because I do not approve of just about anything the American-led Empire is doing, it is a solution I can state categorically "they" are looking at.
Alas, what I sense is not going to affect me too much with the exception of my beleaguered compassionate-side; this darkness coming over the land shall be the ruin of so many an innocent. Those enlightened self-interested greedy little malevolent monkeys, the nihilistic narcissists and dead-beat creatures that personally gain by all this, the politicians, the monopoly corporate cretins, the mob lined-up at the various troughs, bleeding one and all, every "other," well, I don’t much care for them. But you could have guessed that right off. The fact that this coming corporate feudalism will bear little resemblance to tyrannies of the past is little comfort. That it is high-tech, well lighted, air-conditioned and instantly gratifying in such a gratuitous fashion, will make it seem, to many, a benign kind of tyranny. A kind of benevolent beast. These four horsemen will seemingly come bearing new gifts for all, SUVs and home mortgages with little or no interest rates "for sixteen months with no payments until September." We’ve all heard the call. It is the stuff which imprisons the soul.
The Things That Matter
The only way Empire, even American-led as it is, can and will mend its profligate ways domestically? Taxes must be raised; therefore the masses must be razed, put to work and taxed too. Oil and gas must be raised, from mother earth; therefore the Middle East must be razed to protect American interests. Whose interests? Not mine. Not most of you. But we know whose interests are being looked after, explored and protected. Don’t we? Interest rates must be raised, to protect that flimsy piece of medium we exchange for things; things whose cost continues to rise effortlessly, ah, the almighty dollar, and inflation is the most secretive of all the razing to come.
No, the charade must come to an end, the correction must happen, the wars will not end, the expansion overseas and the global military "footprint" will enlarge to encompass everything "that matters." And everything that matters will come under an absolutist feudal corporate control. Things that "don’t matter," like what you watch on TV; your desperate need for yet another new pair of shoes; the need to strut before your crowd with your stuff exposed; the need to "get ahead" of your neighbor, your sibling, yourself. That invisible treadmill so many cannot bring themselves to get off because "it is all they are," all they have. Things that "don't matter," like who you have sex with and for heaven’s sake "why" ... all will be allowed you, as these things don't matter to Empire. Indeed, it is the "stuff of Empire" which is meant to enslave! If you learn no other expression learn these two: The "things that matter" (Empire will control absolutely) "things that don't matter," (you know) are yours to keep. Even your life is yours to fritter away as so many have in America before you.
What matters to Empire? You will work. You will pay. And pay until it hurts, you will pay and you will obey. The future is clear to some. Ignore it at your own risk. What can you do? You? You actually mean "you?" I haven’t got a clue. That is, well, up to you isn't it?
Mr. Craig B Hulet: Security, Military Affairs & International Relations Expert (Author: "The Hydra of Carnage: Bush’s Imperial War-making and the Rule of Law: An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire." Available @ www.kcandassociates.org); Hulet was Special Assistant for Special Projects to Congressman Jack Metcalf (Ret.) www.craigbhulet.com --Hulet can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2003 The Artful Nuance and Craig B Hulet
"The most important thing is for us
to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest
until we find him." - - George W. Bush, 9/13/01
"I don't know where he is. I have no idea and I really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."----------- George W. Bush,
On Tactics and Strategy: How Bush has Misunderstood Military Strategic Doctrine and Constraints on Political Objectives -- Had Bush and his academicians posing as military advisors read Clausewitz’s On War America would have been better served.
"I recognized that it was not the job of the military to
defend American commitment and policy.
Yet it was difficult to differentiate between pursuit of a military task
and such related matters as public and congressional support
and the morale of the fighting man,
who must be convinced that he is risking
death for a worthy cause.
The military thus was caught in between."
--General William Westmoreland,
By Craig B Hulet?
The wars fought during the second half of the 20th century were lost or at best some half-way measures taken to be stalemates or wins by lowering the threshold of what constitutes victory. According to certain respected military experts, we lost in Vietnam, achieved nothing but the status quo ante in Korea, 1 a divided nation-state today, August 2003, and on the brink of an even worse catastrophe than the 1950s. We have not won in Afghanistan nor Iraq as the world now knows; Mr. Bush declared we won, an end to hostilities during November 2001 and May of 2003 respectively. Some analysts argued we wouldn’t win easily early on in the immediate aftermath of invading Afghanistan.
Northern Alliance troops moved into Kabul on Nov. 13, less than a week after launching an offensive that has swept the Taliban from most of northern Afghanistan....On the surface it appears a lightning offensive by the Northern Alliance -- supported by U.S. aerial bombardment. -- has shattered the Taliban army in a matter of days. But have the Talban been defeated? An examination of the Taliban withdrawal suggests the group intentionally surrendered territory in the interests of adopting tactics more amenable to its strength."2
Added were these comments as well: "The towns abandoned have no strategic importance to the Taliban, nor anybody else; they cannot even be called pre-industrial towns. Abandoning these primitive bombed-out facilities had only propaganda value to the western forces; virtually only Americans in the world will believe this matters one whit. The war was always destined to be fought as a guerrilla war within the territories and mountains, arid wastelands and urban centers of far more developed nations as the war’s zones of attack." (Ibid.) It is now evident that the above argument, while by some was seen as premature given Mr. Bush’s declarations of an early victory during November of 2001, was correct. The Taliban wisely withdrew their forces in a strategic retreat, we did not defeat them, we did not rout them at all, only to return today stronger than ever. In the past few months of mid-2003 the Taliban and al Qaida have all returned to Afghanistan to re-engage their enemies who are weaker now than during the initial phases of assault; weaker as well from the growing guerrilla resistance in Iraq taking American lives daily, post-May 1, 2003, when Mr. Bush again declared victory only this time in Iraq; the attacks numbering 30 to 50 every day throughout the region (only when there are American deaths do these attacks [harassing tactics all guerrilla armies use] get well-reported). Indeed the growing level of assaults increased daily as the warmer Spring weather set in.
Interviewed by the English-language daily The News, Mohammad Amin and Mohammad Mukhtar Mujahid, two Taliban spokesmen, said their fighters had already begun striking targets in the north, and would intensify the northern campaign in the coming weeks.
Taliban fighters have been waging a campaign of grenade and rocket attacks against foreign troops, and the U.S.-installed government of Hamid Karzai for months.
Amin named three former Taliban commanders have been positioned in northern Faryab province to undermine the power of northern strongman and deputy defense minister Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostam. (Sources: Islam Online.News and Information Clearing House August 10, 2003)
The story is finally beginning to receive some serious attention even if only and primarily in the foreign press: "The leader of the ousted Taliban regime, Mullah Mohammad Omar, has urged his followers to step up ‘jihad’ against the U.S. and other foreign occupation forces in Afghanistan," (Source: ISLAMABAD, June 24 IslamOnline.net & News Agencies)
And so it begins, the real wars America has gotten itself into in the Middle East proper, and in Afghanistan of all places! That the Pentagon knew well this would be the outcome in both locales is known and should be understood, it isn‘t that Mr. Bush and the self-proclaimed Cabal (Paul Wolfowitz‘s term not mine) of civilians did not receive proper intelligence, they simply rejected it if it didn’t fit their agenda according to intelligence officials who quit rather than "go along‘ with this abuse of proper intel. channels. 3
Once again, as in the not-so-recent past with Vietnam, the military professionals, their intelligence analysts and counterparts at CIA and NSA, Defense Intelligence and too many military affairs experts to count, were ignored by the seemingly arrogant civilian academicians appointed (sometimes self-appointed to even higher importance in decision making as has been so eloquently reported by Seymour M. Hersh 4 ) to run these wars. Men with no active duty combat experience at all, few with military experience of any nature, most never even a National Guardsman, these men have taken unprecedented control of the American war-making capability; in short, men which do not know what it takes to meet the enemy and find victory conduct the wars. Mr. Bush, the most embarrassing of all the noncombatant civilians, could not discipline himself enough to simply not declare that hostilities were over, that we won, only to find America enmeshed in full blown guerrilla wars! And in both Areas of Operation (AO): Iraq and Afghanistan.
Seemingly bereft of the needed intelligence, both kinds, some of these academics have prosecuted these wars in a way they think, especially Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, is all-so-new, with new names attached to every phrase, as if by "saying" these words they are akin to some magical talisman: here are the terms of endearment to some of these non-warrior elite -- Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and Shock & Awe. With its mantra-like quality, its subtext repeated on CNN by aging retired generals obedient to Mr. Bush’s propaganda machinery (most retired for good reason): Achieving Rapid Dominance. That we did not achieve any such thing cannot today be admitted; but it will, upon reflection, be admitted one day when the history and analysis of these wars is written. Which has already begun as we shall see below.
What is Rapid Dominance?
Shock & Awe is the title of the book which outlined the doctrine itself. 5 According to the text "Rapid Dominance is the full use of capabilities within a system of systems that can decisively impact events requiring the application of military/defense resources through affecting the adversary’s will. Rapid Dominance envisions execution in real or near real time to counter actions or intentions deemed detrimental to U.S. interests. On one end of the spectrum, Rapid Dominance would introduce a regime of Shock and Awe in areas of high value to the threatening individual, group, or state. In many cases the prior knowledge of credible U.S. Rapid Dominance capabilities would act as a deterrent."
More on this factor below, but most important is the concept that rapid dominance would achieve a quick end to hostilities, something Mr. Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld never entertained, admitting that the War on Terrorism might last anywhere from six to ten years. But the original conceptual integration of this doctrine was to assure the opposite. "Rapid Dominance would ensure favorable early resolution of issues at minimal loss of lives and collateral damage. The concept ideally should be able to impact adversarial situations that apply across the board, addressing high-, mid-, low-, and no-technology threats. Some of these aims may not be achievable given the political and technology constraints, but need to be explored. (Appendices, Reflections of Three Former Commanders: "Thoughts on Rapid Dominance" Admiral Bud Edney, Shock & Awe, 1996, p.149)
The authors, primarily active duty or recently retired high-ranking officers from all the major branches, seemed to grasp the problems facing any future wars in their specificity: "The reality of current politics is that the trauma of Vietnam, the results of the Gulf War, and our status as the only remaining superpower after the Cold War equate to some new constraints (real or perceived) on the application of military force to support our foreign policy." Constraint was the watchword of these newest concepts for the future use of military force in dispute resolution. They argued that "These political sensitivities need to be understood up front and include the following": (Ibid. p. 147)
The U.S. is not the world’s policeman
Involvement of U.S. Forces must be justified as essential to vital U.S. security interests <
Support of Congress and People is a necessary prerequisite
Avoid commitment of ground forces
Offer instead U.S. intelligence, air lift, sea lift, logistics support, etc.
Avoid risk of loss of U.S. lives at almost all costs
Ensure decisive force applied for mission assigned
Rules of Engagement allow U.S. forces to defend themselves aggressively
Minimize civilian casualties, loss of life, and collateral damage
Specify achievable mission objectives up front with an end in the not-too-distant future sight before committing
U.S. led coalition force preferred-U.S. Forces remain under U.S. Command. These political restraints may limit the application of Rapid Dominance to Major and Minor Regional Conflicts. This is an issue that needs further exploration and analysis." (Ibid. pp. 147-148)
Given the above constraints envisioned by the team and noted in their specificity by L.A. "Bud" Edney, coupled with the specific constraint in the previous section above, whereby the, "Rapid Dominance capabilities would act as a deterrent. Rapid Dominance would ensure favorable early resolution of issues at minimal loss of lives and collateral damage," it would seem the Bush Administration, while pronouncing upon the language of Shock and Awe, with its rapid dominance of the given situations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, failed to take cognizance of the advice. Mr. Bush prosecuted both actions, ignoring sound advice from these and other military professionals. Instead, much like our previous wars noted by Admiral Edney, specifically Vietnam, relying upon non-military "experts" within the civilian command (Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Perle and Feith, to name a few) and upon the language, without the constraints, both wars were "sold" to the public (which bought it initially due to the incredibly pro-war bias reporting of major news outlets). But history, as in wars in the past, creeps up upon the reality.
While the concept might have been used as deterrent, which the team highly valued, it would seem, and cannot really be argued any other way, the Bush Administration’s elite civilian experts, never seriously considered this in either case. That is to say, it is now obvious, deterrence was never tabled, never seriously entertained. Admiral Ednay felt this area was of signal importance stating he felt that "Rapid Dominance cannot solve all or even most of the world’s problems. It initially appears that Rapid Dominance should be applied sparingly for egregious threats or violations of international law, such as:
Blatant aggression involving a large state crushing a small state
Rogue leader/state sponsored terrorism/use of WMD
Egregious violations of human rights on a large scale
Threat to essential world markets." (Ibid, pp. 151-152)
None of the above violations were present in Afghanistan though Mr. Bush certainly tried to make it seem so. Not even 9/11 was known with any certainty the sole, nor even primary responsibility of al-Qaida and Usamah bin Laden as late as March 11, 2002. 6 The case to remove the Taliban from power was held with even less credibility. In Iraq there was no "threatened use" let alone "use" at all of WMD on the part of Saddam Hussein; even less of a threat now that the so-called intelligence culled and selected that was utilized to sell the war has fallen entirely out of favor. I am not going to rehash the partisan politics of these issues as we have more important issues at stake, in my humble opinion. We are in these two wars now, wars which have predictably escalated to a higher level of urban guerrilla warfare in both Areas of Operation (AO).
All the authors and analysts which outlined the new doctrine of Shock and Awe agreed on something which I shall address in much greater detail below, that is the following:
We note for the record that should a Rapid Dominance force actually be fielded with the requisite operational capabilities, this force would be neither a silver bullet nor a panacea and certainly not an antidote or preventative for a major policy blunder, miscalculation, or mistake. It should also be fully appreciated that situations will exist in which Rapid Dominance (or any other doctrine) may not work or apply because of political, strategic, or other limiting factors. (Ibid. Prologue, p. xix, emphasis in original)
It is here that we must begin to assess what we are "in" and if there is any way "out." America’s policy blunders has us in two guerrilla wars in AOs that have always been considered not amenable to control, let alone "winning." Shock and Awe and its attendant Rapid Dominance has in fact failed to achieve its main objective. An objective that has always been the primary objective of military victory, if it is victory we are after that is. That signal concept of war is to end the adversaries "will to fight." In this we have failed. Their will in both countries (arguably the entire region) has instead been aroused to a fever pitch and promises to grow for as long as we occupy their territories, place puppet regimes in power, and maintain control over their natural resources. It matters little, no, not at all, whether you or I, Mr. Bush and his coterie of civilians, the media and our public polls, believe we have broken their will, or the regimes in place are not puppet regimes, that we are administering "their natural resources," primarily oil and gas, and the attendant pipelines in both nations to the benefit of their people, rather than "controlling them." All that matters is that this "is their perception" that it is so.
Tactics and Strategy: The Objective
We must not hide behind fate’s petticoats.
When we look at the two wars being fought in our name we ought to look it all in the face; there is never a better time to do so than while the wars are escalating. We might wait until it is all over, as we did with the Vietnam war, to look at what we had been doing all along. We might look at it the way George Santayana suggested when he stated "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Or we might choose to ignore this advice with the axiom, "One of the most somber aspects of the study of history is that it suggests no obvious ways by which mankind could have avoided folly."7
Things change. We all know this. Even military doctrine changes with the times. But do we ignore the basic truths of war that endure for the fancy of the moment? There really are not any books that can address, as yet, the tactics we are presently utilizing in either Afghanistan nor Iraq. For some time there were no books about Vietnam either. Not until around 1982 when On Strategy was first published. I have drawn upon the works of this author and upon my own reading of Clausewitz’s On War (as he did) because I fear, we may have set course on a war-footing we shall ultimately lose. I am no progressive Leftist as those who know me would readily attest. My meager contribution to the Vietnam war was during 1969/1970 with the 101st Airborne Division, C Troop/ 2/17 Air Cavalry. That we did lose the war, though we could have won the war, had our [then] crop of civilian masters wanted to win the war, is not a moot point. But they did not want outright victory; they fought what was then called a "limited war." That the two terms joined into a doctrinal phrase are themselves then contradictory in the history of warfare will become understood later in this piece.
We must, in my opinion look to the errors of the Vietnam war to discover, in part, why we lost that war; why, or better, how we could have won that war. Now that we are "in" the Middle East, Afghanistan, maybe North/South Korea (again) and threatening Iran and Syria, should give one pause. Vietnam is the only past war we can realistically look to as all else that has followed were not only limited wars in character even further, some are now seen as downright foolishness (Somalia readily comes to mind). With the new strategic doctrines bandied about, like the above Shock and Awe, we need to look closely at what works in war-making capability. What works means victory -- what brings peace.
Some will say I write this because I think we (our military forces, the troops in particular) "ought to win" if we are already there fighting. I do not have to make that distinction. As in the Vietnam war, since we did lose the war (what I mean by "lose" the war follows below), and that it was to some analysts apparent at the time we would lose, we, therefore, could have pulled out much earlier, or not escalated as we did, when we did; in short, we could have saved lives on both sides by not doing what we did for the reasons we did it. True hindsight about Vietnam is 20/20. But there is no reason we can’t achieve 20/15 by using what we learned then and since. Maybe this is futile on my part. The troops on the ground will certainly not think so.
When looking into the history of the Vietnam war Colonel Harry G. Summers Jr. noted this important doctrinal change during the period in question:
It is revealing that during the course of the Vietnam war there were changes in both the strategic and tactical definitions of The Objective. What had been a clear relationship between military strategy and political objectives was lost in an abstruse discussion of national objectives, rejection of aggression, deterrence and the whole concept of a spectrum of war. 8
The new definition is similar in respect to where we are at today. We may ask what are the objectives in Iraq, in Afghanistan, elsewhere Mr. Bush and his civilian commanders (if I may use the term very loosely) intend to go next? Karl von Clausewitz had argued that "the political object--the original motive for the war--will determine both the military objective to be reached and the amount of effort it requires." While the 1962 edition of FM 100-5 still discussed The Objective as requiring "the destruction of the enemy’s armed forces and his will to fight," the 1968 edition reduced this to, "defeat the enemy’s armed forces." 9 As Summers pointed out then (1982) and one might point out today (08/2003) "we had eliminated the very factor that was to cause us the greatest difficulty--the psychological objective of destruction of the enemy’s will to fight." As Summers further notes and it seems more convoluted today: "This was especially paradoxical since this was ostensibly what we were trying to do in Vietnam, having been denied the objective of destruction of the enemy’s armed forces." Which was why we did not entertain the invasion of North Vietnam, thinking instead, we could win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese that we believed was more important and made up the better part of the Viet Cong. The idea was built upon the doctrine of "counterinsurgency" as our main tactic. That we seemingly misjudged the war in this way, seeing as we were fighting actually two distinct enemies, the one, the Viet Cong, which was a guerrilla war orchestrated by the North, and a conventional war with the Army of North Vietnam was the whole point. It wasn’t the Viet Cong that took the South, they just kept us occupied in all corners while we fought our limited objective of fighting them specifically, while the real war was mounted from the North in conventional fashion, eventually overrunning Saigon with 17 Northern Regular (NVA) Army Divisions and armored columns. It was the doctrine of counterinsurgency, according to Summers and his sources which contributed greatly to the doctrinal flaws.
Afghanistan and Iraq:
It was claimed that our objective in Afghanistan was to remove the Taliban from power and "get Usamah bin Laden" as "all roads lead to bin Laden," so we were told. Then after the Taliban moved out of their strongholds "to fight another day," with the only tactics available to them, tactics well-earned one must add, without their forces being "decisively defeated," one wonders what we have won? What are the real political objectives in Afghanistan? Now that we are embroiled in yet another guerrilla war, no differently than the Soviets, who it was never necessary for the guerrillas to decisively defeat either, we are fighting the very same guerrillas by name in many cases; what are we going to do?
"The political objective is a goal, war is a means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose....It is clear that war should never be thought of as something autonomous but always as an instrument of policy."10 It is not at all clear that Mr. Bush and specifically Mr. Rumsfeld understand what this means. The objective of simply removing the Taliban from power, removing the regime from power in Iraq but not decisively defeating either of them, not using enough force, enough ground forces in both cases to cause the overwhelming defeat of their armies, crush their "will to fight," I fear will be the cause of our defeat in both regions. No one in their right mind should start a war without the planning for peace in place. And nation-building is not a plan and not something an army can do, let alone ought to be doing. "There was a brief period in the late 1960s when military intellectuals were advancing the notion that the U.S. Army was the arm of the government best equipped to carry out in the field the entire range of activities associated with ‘nation-building.’" (Summers, p.71) We failed in Vietnam, but the doctrine holds today, whereby "the fundamental purpose of the U.S. military forces is to preserve, restore, or create an environment of order or stability within which the instrumentalities of government can function effectively under a code of laws." (1968 successor to Field Service Regulations quoted, Ibid., On Strategy). Clausewitz argued:
War plans cover every aspect of a war, and weave them all into a single operation that must have a single, ultimate objective in which all particular aims are reconciled. No one starts a war--or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so--without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it. The former is its political purpose; the latter is operational objective. This is the governing principle which will set its course, prescribe the scale of means and effort required, and make its influence felt throughout down to the smallest operational detail. 11
It is clear Mr. Bush did not plan for the peace, the immediate aftermath of the invasion (the looting and arson), the resistance which we can now see clearly was planned all along as a guerrilla war. (Saddam knew he could not defeat American forces in a conventional war--did anyone believe he would try?) I do not think one professional soldier advised that Saddam Hussein would fight in any manner than what we are seeing now, post-May 1, 2003, i.e., an urban guerrilla war. "The original means of strategy is victory--that is, tactical success; its ends, in the final analysis, are those objects which will lead directly to peace." (Clausewitz, On War, II:2, p.143)
That there have been claims within the military and civilian policy-maker’s ranks of surprise by the level of resistance in both countries only strengthens my argument that the civilians, as S. Hersh’s sources argued over pre-war intelligence assessments, received proper advice, but the professional soldiers were arrogantly ignored. Mr. Rumsfeld in particular, as a true believer in the Revolution in Military Affairs and its doctrine of Shock and Awe, believed it would, in and of itself, bring unqualified victory. But like Clinton’s, "it depends...what is the definition of is"... what is Rumsfeld’s definition of victory? I must point out that, as meager as my personal contribution is here, I stated on September 20th, 2001, live in Washington D.C. on the Jim Bohannon Show immediately five minutes after Mr. Bush’s Terrorism Speech, that we would have to occupy the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan, and this would entail ground troops in the tens of thousands and we would be there for years. If I knew, Bush knew.
One nation may support another’s cause,<
but will never take it so seriously as it takes its own.
A moderately-sized force will be sent to its help;
but if things go wrong the operation is pretty well written off,
and one tries to withdraw at the smallest possible cost.
Clausewitz, On War, VIII:6, p. 603
And seriously, things are going wrong! The confusion over objectives detailed in Summers’ volume about Vietnam reflects our present situation more than anyone wants to admit. In Vietnam this "had a devastating effect on our ability to conduct the war," according to Summers. "As Brigadier General Douglas Kinnard found in a 1974 survey of Army generals who had commanded in Vietnam, "almost 70 percent of the Army generals who managed the war were uncertain of its objectives." Kinnard goes on to say that this "mirrors a deep-seated strategic failure: the inability of policy-makers to frame tangible, obtainable goals."12
I think this is the most important aspect of Summers detailed study of Vietnam and to some extent his historical take on the Korean War. It is not the duty of the military to judge the policy-maker’s goals and objectives but it is his duty to give his full and unqualified brief. I believe, given what we already know about the current crop of neo-conservatives, who dominate this administration and their inability to entertain advice that doesn’t fit their already conceived notions, we have been misled by these policy-makers. In an interesting quote by Summers, this very thing was addressed early on in the Spring of 1954 regarding whether American ground forces should be brought into the Vietnam war the French were then fighting. On the relationship between the Army leadership and its civilian decision makers:
The statesman, the civilian authority, says to the soldier (and by "soldier" I mean the professional military man - the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force as represented in the persons of the Chiefs of Staff): "This is our national policy. This is what we wish to accomplish, or would like to do. What military means are required to support it?"The soldier studies this problem in detail. "very well," he says to the statesman. "Here is what your policy will require in men and guns, in ships and planes."...If the civilian authority finds the cost to be greater than the country can bear, then either the objectives themselves should be modified, or the responsibility for the risks involved should be forthrightly accepted. Under no circumstances, regardless of pressures from whatever source or motive, should the professional military man yield, or compromise his judgment for other than convincing military reasons. To do otherwise would be to destroy his usefulness."13
The Offensive War:
In our Shock and Awe bombing of, first Afghanistan, then Iraq, we have been treated to articles in the prestigious journals like Foreign Affairs by too many authors with a certain bias in presenting the wars, the actual combat itself, as unmitigated successes. Mr. Rumsfeld was the most obvious and all the more unseemly because of his obviousness. The swagger in Rumsfeld’s ruminations cannot be stated any other way. 14 Yet the bombing, the overwhelming devastation brought upon both these countries did not achieve its central war objectives. We neither decisively defeated the armies, nor broke their "will to fight." We have not brought victory, period.
At about the time Mr. Bush declared an end to hostilities in Iraq on May 1, 2003, and that we had won the war, a close associate of Donald Rumsfeld’s at the American Enterprise Institute, and the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Max Boot, wrote these words:
Coalition forces in the second Gulf War were less than half the size of those deployed in the first one. Yet they achieved a much more ambitious goal--occupying all of Iraq, rather than just kicking the Iraqi army out of Kuwait--in almost half the time, with one third the casualties, and at one fourth the cost of the first war....Although the Iraqi army was much degraded from its pre-1991 heyday, it still deployed more than 450,000 troops, including paramilitary units, the Republican Guard, and the Special Republican Guard, whose loyalties had been repeatedly demonstrated. Traditionally, war colleges have taught that to be sure of success, an attacking force must have a 3 to 1 advantage--a ratio that goes up to 6 to 1 in difficult terrain such as urban areas. Far from having a 3 to 1 advantage in Iraq, coalition ground forces (which never numbered more than 100,000) faced a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 disadvantage....That the United States and its allies won anyway--and won so quickly--must rank as one of the signal achievements in military history. (Foreign Affairs Vol. 82 No. 4, July /August. p.44)
It is not like a neo-conservative to ever admit of error, so one does not expect Mr. Boot to write another article clearing it all up and admitting that not only was he naive, immature in the greatest degree or maybe just an overzealous apologist for this war. Nevertheless by the time the article hit the newsstands every point he made was either entirely erroneous or must be read with a completely different understanding. Point of fact, Saddam Hussein’s army never intended to defend Baghdad 15 but acting in the same fashion as the Taliban, their strategic retreat was "to fight another day" towards using tactics more suitable to success against a superior conventional force: i.e., urban guerrilla warfare. Having done so, Mr. Bush and Max Boot (as but one of many examples of the war’s apologists) now find every point Mr. Boot made to have the reverse applicable. The war will cost America many times that of Gulf War 1 (running approximately 1.2 billion dollars a week); the casualties have already surpassed the first Gulf War and are mounting weekly; and, as far as accomplishing anything in half the time, we now find ourselves mired in an urban guerrilla war that could last a decade, if not twice that. Not only have we not occupied "all of Iraq," we don’t control all of Baghdad, nor the Shi‘ite South which is rising-up in anger as each day passes. Thus we have (or he ought to be) a fully embarrassed Mr. Boot. But the admittance that not only are our troops outnumbered by a guerrilla force possibly numbering 400,000, or a 4 to 1 ratio, we must leave the existing troops in place with one year rotations, 16 activate the Army Reserves to full status along with much of our National Guard, and we will still need to fix the proper ratio for the attacking American forces as specified in military doctrine at 6 to 1 (properly 10 to 1 in an urban guerrilla war) to attempt to reverse the situation. This will, if we intend to stay any longer than two years, require the reinstitution of the draft (Selective Service) in the very near future, likely after the next election. Or we could withdraw.
Another rarely discussed problematic in the entire region is demographics. The United States has, just as most fully developed nations, an aging population. In Iraq and throughout the Gulf region their population has doubled in twelve years, with 60 percent under 21 years of age.17 Thus we mirror again our Vietnam experience. A rather young population fighting a guerrilla war against our conventional forces. Hanoi more than once proclaimed their willingness to expend enormous human losses and draw upon an endless supply of their youth to see America leave their country. One author, Mr. Leonardo Maugeri, also pointed out this important factor: "This demographic explosion has created expectations and frustrations to which stagnant, single-industry economics cannot give a credible answer. Only sustained oil revenues allow these countries to temper social unrest by preserving huge assistance programs. Gulf countries’ oil revenues are already much lower than they were 20 years ago, and cheap oil prices mean a dramatic dip in per capita oil income. Therefore, frustration and violent revolt may erupt whenever the minimum living standards are endangered by decreasing oil prices. Today’s Islamic fundamentalism, like yesterday’s pan-Arab socialism, finds fertile ground among hopeless people."18
Recall that our Rolling Thunder bombing of North Vietnam< was supposed to bring about just such a success as our current doctrine of Shock and Awe: "Bring them to the negotiating table." But even then we neither shocked the Vietnamese into submission, nor were they in awe of our unsurpassed air supremacy; they, like both Iraq and Afghanistan, had no airpower to speak of, what was to awe them exactly? The failure to achieve the objectives through the carpet bombing of Hanoi and it was the on again/off again nature of the bombings that one Admiral Sharp argued caused us "temporary military disadvantages" and that Summers argued were "fatal flaws."
If the enemy is to be coerced you must put him in a situation that is even more unpleasant than the sacrifice you call on him to make. The hardships of the situation must not of course be transient--at least not in appearance. Otherwise the enemy would not give in but would wait for things to change."19
The Iraqi and Afghan guerrillas have all the time in the world. Al Qaida even more time.
They can always wait for things to change, change in America, change in Iraq, change!
A brief look at the war in Afghanistan:
In a ground-breaking article in Foreign Affairs Stephen Biddle 20 took a close look at this war that Mr. Bush has already declared over and the U.S. media underreports. We shall not belabor the point that the guerrilla warfare with a combination of original Taliban commanders (who fought the Soviets) and a newly reconstituted al Qaida are back with a vengeance and intend to "fight forever" the American and foreign occupation and Harmid Karzai’s U.S. backed regime. (The idea there were anything like elections in Afghanistan is as fraudulent as one can get)
What needs to be explored and what Biddle discovered about our initial defeating of whatever Taliban and al Qaida fighters did stay and fight a tactical defensive withdrawal (this defeat was a given) was that the doctrine of Shock and Awe, the transformation of our U.S. military in some revolutionary fashion, (RMA) just simply did not happen. Biddle suggests this will remain true for some time to come. It was this belief put forward mainly in the media by Donald Rumsfeld that in the so-called defeat of the Taliban there was created what he termed "The Afghan Model." A model purportedly so successful it would set the stage, transform, all wars of the future. It was the use of Special Forces Operation’s teams directing overwhelming airpower with the ground fighting primarily done by the indigenous people themselves. (In Afghanistan it was the ruthless Northern Alliance whose true allegiance is with Russia not the West) The new Model was supposedly that U.S. ground forces didn’t have to engage the enemy at all and the Northern Alliance only sporadically and not in close combat. As though the entire war was fought from a distance and what came to be called a "standoff affair." I’ll let Biddle speak for himself.
[Yet] the war was not purely a standoff affair. Contrary to popular belief, there was plenty of close combat in Afghanistan. Although they were initially taken by surprise, Taliban fighters quickly adapted to American methods and adopted countermeasures that allowed many of them to elude American surveillance and survive U.S. air strikes. 21
The Taliban and al Qaida fighters withstood the devastating bombing and the "actively resisting Taliban had to be overcome by surprisingly close-quarters fighting." (Ibid.) Nobody, and certainly not this analyst, is suggesting that the Taliban could have defeated U.S. ground forces in a straight-up contest. That they didn’t attempt to is clear in Biddle’s report. The problem as I see it, from what I still hear, is that they didn’t put up any fight at all except a tactical (fighting) withdrawal; according to Rumsfeld and his Cabal of Wolfowitz, Fieth and Perle, and others, they were slaughtered like lambs and were awed and in shock over our superior firepower. They couldn’t even put up a fight, so it was reported. America rushed out to buy yellow ribbons and flags. All this we heard. But, what actually happened was somewhat different and does not bode well for the future wars we intend to fight in the Middle East. Biddle reports that,
...within days of the first SOF-directed air strikes, American commandos were already reporting that Taliban vehicles in their sectors had been smeared with mud to camouflage them. By November 5, the Taliban were making aggressive use of overhead cover and concealment. In the fighting north of Kandahar and along Highway 4 south of the city in December, al Qaida defenses were well camouflaged, dispersed, and making use of natural terrain for expedient cover. This pattern continued through Operation Anaconda in March, by which time al Qaida forces were practicing systematic communications security, dispersal, camouflage discipline, use of cover and concealment, and exploitation of dummy fighting positions to draw fire and attention from their real positions. 22
"The Taliban," Biddle notes, "did not just passively suffer under American attack; they adapted their methods to try to reduce their vulnerability. And as they did, the war changed character." (Ibid.) Among the more important changes Biddle reports, was the increasing difficulty U.S. forces experienced in finding targets for precision attack. They hid in old Soviet entrenchments and used the natural terrain for concealment.
By the time of the December fighting along Highway 4, even less information was available. In fact, concealed al Qaida defenses among a series of culverts and in burned-out vehicles along the roadside remained wholly undetected until their forces drove back an allied advance. An al Qaida counterattack in the same sector using a system of wadis, or dry valleys, for cover approached undetected to within 100-200 meters of allied and American SOF positions along the highway before opening fire. 23
When we did encounter the Taliban fighters through our enormous high technology capabilities, drones and satellites, something else of note occurred. "Just as enemy targets became harder to find once the Taliban adapted to the new model, the ones that were found also became tougher to kill." (Ibid., p. 39) At one location, Bai Beche, all the defenders could not be located easily so American commandos called in two days of heavy bombing across the entire position. "Yet even after this extensive effort, enough defenders survived to thwart the initial attack..." (by allied forces). (Ibid.)
We heard nothing of these things, and more and worse scenarios during the actual time period of the combat mission. All we were treated to was how Shock and Awe was wiping out all resistance. That the Taliban were routed, al Qaida but a memory. We were lied to, as simple as that. And there is no point to this. The nation’s people, who must be fervently behind the deployment of U.S. military force, so as to not lose public support as happened during the Vietnam war, have been, instead treated as stupid little children who must be told "we are winning,"-- "now go shopping," as Mr. Bush actually proclaimed on more than one occasion. This was supposed to be reassuring? The American people could not be told how very ineffective our high technology revolution in military affairs was at the time which included massive amounts of munitions used in often just one skirmish; how ineffective against a dug-in enemy. Here was another battle reported by Biddle:
During Operation Anaconda, well-prepared al Qaida positions survived repeated aerial attack by U.S. precision munitions On Objective Ginger on march 4, for example American troops inadvertently disembarked from their assault helicopters almost on top of an unseen al Qaida position; after being pinned down for much of the day, they were extracted that night. They then spent much of the next ten days fighting their way back toward the Ginger hilltop from more secure landing zones well to the north. In the meantime, American aircraft pounded the hill. Yet in spite of more than a week of sustained heavy bombing, al Qaida positions on Ginger survived to fire on U.S. infantry when the latter finally reached and overran the objective. One dug-in al Qaida command post was found surrounded by no fewer than five 2,000 -pound bomb craters. Still, its garrison survived and resisted until overrun. 24
Throughout every war in the past, with the exception of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not even the fire-bombing of Dresden during the latter half of World War Two brought an abrupt end to resistance, even if it proved effective ultimately. As Biddle pointed out in his article, "In the past, firepower has been critical, but against resolute, well-prepared defenders, it has rarely been sufficient; taken together, Bai Beche, Qala-e-Gangi. and Operation Anaconda, (each proclaimed at the time easy victories in the press) suggest that it is not now, either." 25 In fact the Taliban and alQaida have predictably returned in force.
By August 13, 2003, the Taliban had wrested control of most of Zabul province in southeastern Afghanistan - for the first time recapturing a province since being ousted from power by the US military in November 2001 - geopolitical analytical firm Stratfor reported. The advance also underscores the stalemate between the United States and its Afghan allies against the Taliban. It indicates that the alliance formed in early 2002 between the Taliban, al Qaeda and Hizb-i-Islami - the party led by Afghan war lord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar - is paying off for the militants. It said Zabul is of strategic and military importance for a number of reasons. Taking Zabul cuts off US troops stationed to the south in Kandahar from the bulk of US troops located to the north toward Kabul, and given that Helmand and Oruzgan provinces to the north of Zabul already are Taliban strongholds, the group can better try to isolate U.S. and local provincial troops in Kandahar and eventually attempt to retake Kandahar as well. 26
Reported in the New York Times but rarely re-reported anywhere else are stories like this one: "In the most violent day in Afghanistan in nearly a year, 15 people, including six children, were killed when a bomb exploded on their bus in southern Afghanistan, and another 20 people were killed in fighting in the country’s east....The bomb exploded in Helmand province aboard a bus en route to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, according to news agency reports. It was the deadliest such attack since a bomb exploded in Kabul last September, killing 35 people. In the east, suspected Taliban fighters attacked government soldiers in the province of Khost, about four miles from the border with Pakistan. Fifteen attackers were killed, as were five government soldiers, according to a spokesman for the provincial governor quoted by The Associated Press. 27
The attacks come two days after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in a historic departure from its European theater of operation, assumed control of the International Security and Assistance Force, the multinational peacekeeping force that patrols Kabul and its surrounds. Clearly the war in Afghanistan is escalating, not over.
The attacks also come as the United States was preparing to invest another $1 billion in Afghanistan in an attempt to accelerate the pace of reconstruction. A significant amount of the aid, according to Afghan officials, will be devoted to expanding and strengthening national institutions - namely the national army and the police - that could help provide security outside Kabul. Stepped-up attacks in the southeast, including some on aid workers, have prompted aid groups to restrict their movements and work in a region already deeply underdeveloped.
Apparently the Taliban and al Qaeda are now strong enough to retake an entire province, and it’s a province that’s strategically located on the main road between Kandahar and Kabul. 28
What might this have told us about the excursion into Iraq?
There are some who feel like, that conditions are such
that they can attack us there,..
My answer is bring them on.
--President George Bush Jr. 7/2/03
Biddle early on had this to say about our upcoming invasion of Iraq; he didn’t believe the "Afghan Model" much talked about by Cheney and Rumsfeld in press conferences, would work well at all, arguing instead "In Iraq, for example, the lack of a credible, trained opposition bodes ill for an Afghan style campaign without major American ground forces."29 This didn’t stop Mr. Rumsfeld from advancing the theory that Iraq would be a cake-walk and American troops would be, "met with flowers pushed down the barrels of their guns," and "treated as liberators." Biddle understood what we would be up against, but the civilian managers are today those neo-conservatives who do not seek advice from those whose advice contradicts their preconceived point of view.
In most countries the central geo-strategic objectives are urban areas. Even where the bulk of the national land area is open desert (as in Iraq), the cities are both the key terrain and an ample source of cover (Baghdad alone covers more than 300 square kilometers). The natural complexity of such surfaces offers any opponent with the necessary skills, training, and adaptability a multitude of opportunities to thwart even modern remote surveillance systems. 30
Even with such a powerful caveat already written before March 2003, and at the newsstands by late February, the Administration refused to acknowledge just how wrong they were about the RMA and the effect shock and awe would (not) have, as opposed to what they still remained committed to. Biddle made it clear even if the administration wasn’t listening: "Even more broadly, we should be wary of suggestions that precision weapons have so revolutionized warfare that either the American military or American foreign policy can now be radically restructured . Some now argue that the revolutionary potential of precision weapons teamed with SOF and indigenous allies, can underwrite a neo-imperial American foreign policy in which the Afghan model enables cheap but effective military intervention on a potentially global scale. 31
The Afghan Model was no model at all, as Biddle made this as clear as could be when he stated, "So what does this analysis tell us about the future of warfare? The answer is that Afghanistan, at least, suggests a future more like the past than most now believe. Precision firepower did not simply annihilate well-prepared opponents at stand-off range in Afghanistan. To overcome skilled, resolute opposition required both precision firepower and skilled ground maneuver; neither alone was sufficient." 32
We instead went into Iraq with our troops believing there would be little resistance; in the south they were met with a Shi‘ite population that hated Saddam Hussein, which the administration thought meant they would automatically support our invasion of their land. But instead they hate us even more than Saddam Hussien. The resistance shocked some of the ground commanders and certainly the troops which met fierce resistance. Hussein and his transformed army, including the Republican Guard, never intended to hold the ground, cities, territory at any point. Putting up a mock and deceptive defense was planned all along, retreating into the urban centers "to fight another day." Hussein transformed his military into an urban guerrilla army and sucked-us into its vortex. In other words, "What the Afghan war ultimately shows is that even today, continuity in the nature of war is at least as important as change. To ignore the continuity and focus exclusively on the change risks serious error and fundamental misunderstanding of this war’s true meaning for the future--which is neither as transformational (Rumsfeld’s favorite term) nor as idiosyncratic as many have asserted." 33
Commitment and Interests:
"We have a soldier wounded or killed every other day" in the Baghdad area.
"Is it slowing us down? Yes, because some soldiers who would otherwise be doing reconstruction, we have to use for security.
Every attack means we're going to have to be here a little longer."
-- Maj. Scott Slaten
In a most audacious attack on American troops, an Iraqi fired a rocket-propelled grenade from the sunroof of a Chevrolet car at a passing patrol yesterday, incinerating one of the army vehicles and seriously wounding four of those traveling in the convoy. 34
Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defense Secretary, insisted "that Iraq was not a new Vietnam," there are no jungles there! 35
07/01/03: BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. troops in Iraq are getting ambushed everywhere and every day - while guarding gas stations, investigating car thefts or on their way to make phone calls home. Each new attack is raising questions about whether the violence is a last gasp from Saddam Hussein loyalists or signs of a spreading revolt. The Pentagon is puzzling over how many resisters there are, how well they are organized and how they can be stopped. Private risk analysts are warning of an even chance of Iraq descending into open revolt. And although the term is rarely used at the Pentagon, from every description by military officials, what U.S. troops face on the ground in Iraq has all the markings of a guerrilla war - albeit one in which there are multiple opposition groups rather than a single movement. 36
It was finally admitted by at least one on-the-ground general that America is in a full-on professionally organized guerrilla war; we are not fighting disgruntled homeowners who are angry with the lack of electricity; we are not facing foreigners paid by wealthy Hussein "loyalists," nor are we facing (only or primarily) classical terrorists of the Al Qaida "ilk." As this analyst had stated in interviews and articles for almost two years since 9/11 and at the time, we will be facing an international urban guerrilla war which began on 9/11 on our own soil. Our involvement in the Caspian region, Afghanistan and now Iraq, now possibly Iran, less likely but certainly on the Bush banquet platter, North Korea and Syria, will bring more American deaths abroad, a growing guerrilla resistance wherever we have troops on the ground, and further attacks here at home. Here is what one General stated during late July 2003:
"I think describing it as guerrilla tactics being employed against us is, you know, a proper thing to describe in strictly military terms..." 37 Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid, who commands U.S. forces in Iraq, said a "guerrilla war is exactly what U.S. troops are confronting," not what Mr. Rumsfeld claimed himself on June 30th, that it was not "anything like a guerrilla war or an organized resistance." 38 Ground commanders are contradicting the civilian managers and given Summer’s analysis above, we need to take note of this. Abizaid said U.S. forces are fighting remnants of Saddam’s Baath Party throughout Iraq. He said mid-level officials of Saddam’s government, including from the old intelligence and security agencies and the Special Republican Guard, "have organized at the regional level in cellular structure." Abizaid said they "are conducting what I would describe as a classical guerrilla-type campaign against us. It’s low-intensity conflict in our doctrinal terms, but it’s war however you describe it."39
Will this escalate into a furtherance of conflict here at home? Given the protracted nature of every guerrilla war, they can only hope to win if it is in fact protracted, will more Americans die here at home and abroad in classical terrorist attacks? U.S. Military intervention has been identified as the major cause for terrorist acts against Americans and American facilities, corporate, military and governmental by none other than the United States Pentagon’s Defense Science Board:
As part of its global power position, the United States is called upon frequently to respond to international causes and deploy forces around the world. America’s position in the world invited attack simply because of its presence. Historical data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in international situations and increase in terrorist attacks against the United States.40
"The level of resistance, I’m not so sure I would characterize it as escalating in terms of number of incidents. But it is getting more organized and it is learning. It is adapting -- it is adapting to our tactics, techniques and procedures. And we’ve got to adapt to their tactics, techniques and procedures," Abizaid said. Does this sound at all familiar or must we wait until Harry Summers or Stephen Biddle writes another volume as they did on Afghanistan and Vietnam? To face this growing threat without alarming the American people the Pentagon will have to send more troops and keep those already there maybe indefinitely.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Pentagon could start a call-up of as many as 10,000 U.S. National Guard soldiers by this winter to bolster forces in Iraq and offset a lack of troops from allies, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the U.S. military thin, the report said, and soldiers there still face danger every day. One senior U.S. defense official, asked by the Journal if he had ever seen the Army stretched so thin, said: "Not in my 31 years" of military service. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to sign off later this week on a plan that would set up rotations to relieve Marine and U.S. Army soldiers stationed in Iraq, the newspaper said, citing a Pentagon official. 41
The American people have gone to war often in the interests of America’s interests; Vietnam was one; Somalia was different, Afghanistan different still, Iraq differs even more. The war on terrorism holds that we must make "pre-emptive war" world-wide against those who may "harbor or support terrorism anywhere they are found." Interests are not a very good argument most of the time. Colonel Harry G. Summers hits the mark in his chapter To Provide for the Common Defense. We are almost always told that if we do not deal with our enemies here or there we will be fighting them in the streets of America.
Although our military policies are often justified in terms of the first mission--protection of the Homeland--it is the third mission--protection of American worldwide interests--that has most often led to the commitment of American armed forces. It was easier to say "fight them in Vietnam or fight them in the streets of San Francisco" than it was to attempt to explain the complex network of interests behind our Vietnam policy, and "protection" is much less open to argument than "interests" over which one may or may not agree. 42
As Vietnam illustrated, and I can recall quite vividly from personal recollection, and as Summers pointed out "the divergence between what we were doing and what we said we were doing led to such serious problems as the ‘credibility gap’ and the loss of public support." (Ibid.) These wars over interests always escalate, more troops are sent, reserves called-up. The tactics the enemy employs are as old as wars themselves. Our shock and awe revolution in warfare is not new to the guerrilla and the past practitioners of this ancient art of war.
The enemy will pass slowly from the offensive to the defensive. The blitzkrieg will transform itself into a war of duration. Thus, the enemy will be caught in a dilemma: he has to drag out the war in order to win it, and does not posses, on the other hand, the psychological and political means to fight a long-drawn-out war....43
Mr. Bush is about to discover that the inevitable escalation of the war in Central Asia’s Caspian region centered in Afghanistan cannot be so easily won. (Arguably the war is, in part, over the pipelines today presently funded by the Asian Development Bank and under construction and viable control of the region’s vast oil and gas reserves, although not as the sole or maybe even one of more important political/economic objectives, it cannot any longer be denied.) 44 And in the overall Middle East (whereby Iraq is seen as but the beginning) oil reserves cannot be ruled out as at least one of the primary objectives for our pre-emptive attack on that country. This is going to return with a vengeance on this Administration. These objectives cannot be dismissed, should have been spoken to from the beginning, rather than the worn out song of Homeland Security and WMD neither of which will hold weight in the years to come. Summers’ reasoning bears repeating here, "the divergence between what we were doing and what we said we were doing led to such serious problems as the ‘credibility gap’ and the loss of public support." It is here that the troops suffer the most. They are the least informed as to what the real objectives are in every war; they are the last to understand the constraints or limits placed upon their commanders; they are the last to find out, many much too late, that they were sent to war over reasons, resources and for a reality never explained.
The first the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish...the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature. This is the first of all strategic questions and the most comprehensive. 45
There is no longer any lingering doubt that Mr. Bush and his Cabal have, to the point, misled the world, the UN, the United States Congress and the American people as to what our true objectives were in both Afghanistan and Iraq. This alone is being argued whether this is an impeachable offense. Misleading Congress is a felony. This first failing might be overlooked by the cynical and unwise, by the people so easily occupied with the latest T.V programs. But the strategic necessity of getting it right regarding "the kind of war" we are to fight, not trying to "turn it into something alien to its nature," is, to my way of thinking the more impeachable offense than the former. It is this not reckoning that we would be facing a protracted urban guerrilla war in Iraq, a classical guerrilla war in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan, one we at one time funded and aided the same Mujahadeen against the old Soviet Union, that bears the brunt of history. It is the failure to fight the proper "kind of war" to achieve achievable objectives necessary to the first mission, "protecting the American homeland," that cost American (and the rest) lives, and is unforgivable. The language Mr. Bush himself has used to garner public support has been downright un-statesman-like in every sense. Good versus evil, them or us, is the language of demagogues not republicans.
"We have failed to perceive that people will probably respond to arguments made on the basis of enlightened self-interest....The apocalyptic language of the past has tended to deceive those who used it as well as those who got the message." --Senator Jacob Javits, 1973
As Summers pointed out regarding the American war manager’s deceptions of the past wars, "In the future we must take care to avoid jeopardizing American public support for their military with misstatements -- either intentional or unintentional -- of what we are about."46 The American people are still grappling with what we are about. I have argued that what we are is an empire of sorts, not a Roman style empire as in Rome’s day, as the Roman people benefited by Rome’s imperial policies, her wars, her objectives. Even Roman legions stood to gain. Everyone understood just what they were about. But this new empire, the new imperial project here in America if masked and veiled (if not to the rest of the world which tends to see us in our historical light). It is a corporate empire whose interests we are at war over. it is the giant monopoly multinational corporations whose interests we fight to defend, acquire, dominate and rule in behalf of. But misleading the American people over this aspect is nothing compared to misleading our youth into what kind of war they are to fight and in whose interests.
Mr. Bush, Mr. Rumseld and Richard Perle, Dick Cheney and Ms Rice, Mr. Wolfowitz and Mr. Armitage, and even Mr. Powell, have to one degree or another misled the American people; worse, they have misled the troops themselves if not the commanders in the field. Have these followed the past thinking regarding making war? Thinking, like that of Robert S. McNamara:
"The greatest contribution Vietnam is making--right or wrong is beside the point--is that it is developing an ability in the United states to fight a limited war, to go to war without the necessity of arousing public ire." 47
"Right or Wrong" was not beside the point, as Summers pointed out, and neither was the intangible of "public ire." The failure to invoke the national will of the American people was one of the major strategic failures of the Vietnam war. It produced a strategic vulnerability that our enemy was able to exploit. The troops rebelled, morale was horrendous, the youth protested and parents were outraged. (Ibid.,pp.7-18) It is the belief our leaders today hold that the, primarily Muslim populations, in the regions we are fighting, have got to lose; we are simply too powerful; they will be shocked and in awe. As doctrine Shock and Awe has only deluded our leaders, not convinced our enemies; we have not broken their will to fight, their will to resist. We have guaranteed the opposite. As Clausewitz wrote almost 200 years ago:
Not every war need be fought until one side collapses. When the motives and tensions of war are slight we can imagine that the faintest prospect of defeat might be enough to cause one side to yield. If from the very start the other side feels that this is probable, it will obviously concentrate on bringing about this probability rather than take the long way round and totally defeat the enemy. 48
Nobody believes Saddam Hussein and his (now transformed 49) guerrilla army of maybe 400,000 fighters believes they can totally defeat the American conventional war machine in all-out-war; nobody believes Mullah Omar believes his Taliban and friends like Usamah bin Laden 50 and al Qaida can totally defeat the American conventional war machine in all-out-war; they do not.
Rather, we wrongly believe they cannot wear us down with years of protracted guerrilla warfare, the only kind of warfare, protracted, guerrillas can and will fight, as it is the only chance they have of "winning without defeating" American forces. Without defeating American forces they can win. Americans today view war as a sporting event, one side is better and therefore wins the game. This thing called war is no game, those of us who have seen it close up understand this. Those, like almost every single member of the President’s team, inclusive of himself, George W. Bush Junior, have never seen war except on T.V.: trust me not, though I have seen war close-up; but do trust those men like Col. David Hackworth (ret.) Col. Robert K. Brown (ret.), and so many others like them, we can lose both these wars and defeat the enemy tactically at every turn, if they stand and fight. That was always the question: would the Taliban, al Qaida, the Special Republican Guard and Saddam Hussein’s 450,000 soldiers stand and fight us? No intelligent military professional thought so, none do today. Mr. Bush has set course not knowing what kind of war we were to fight, not knowing how many troops we needed, therefore what kind of public support would be needed in the long-haul wars inevitably turn out to be. Worse, as always, the main objective of any war must be and the most fundamental error every statesman or war-manager fears making the most, is "what kind of peace" we hoped to attain.
"You know you never defeated us on the battlefield," said the American colonel.
The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark a moment. "
That may be so," he replied, "but it is also irrelevant." 51
Footnotes to text:
1 See Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, 1982 Presidio Press; See also A Country Made By War, Geoffrey Perret, 1989, Random House; The March of Folly, Barbara W. Tuchman, 1984 Alfred Knopf; and for an historical perspective see Why Vietnam? Archimedes L.A. Patti, 1980, U of Calif. Press
2 See some 35 press releases dating from September 2001 through August 2003 where it was argued that we would be facing an urban guerrilla war with fighters from some 60 different nation-states (some would join the fights in the two countries we have occupied and that this would continue for a generation. See also specific interviews conducted on KABC/KLOS Los Angeles during this same period. (See also The Hydra of Carnage: Bush’s Imperial War-making and the Rule of Law, 2002, p. 198 "Taliban Withdrawal Was Strategy, Not Rout, Analysis.)
3 See testimony on Capital Hill as both Houses of Congress and the British Parliament have conducted hearing and enquiries into Bush’s and Blair’s assertions over Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and connections to al Qaida during June/July and August 2003
4 SELECTIVE INTELLIGENCE by SEYMOUR M. HERSH Donald Rumsfeld has his own special sources. Are they reliable? New Yorker magazine; Issue of 2003-05-12 Posted 2003-05-05: The text in part read: "W. Patrick Lang, the former chief of Middle East intelligence at the D.I.A., said, ‘The Pentagon has banded together to dominate the government’s foreign policy, and they’ve pulled it off. They’re running Chalabi. The D.I.A. has been intimidated and beaten to a pulp. And there’s no guts at all in the C.I.A.’...The former intelligence official went on, ‘One of the reasons I left was my sense that they were using the intelligence from the C.I.A. and other agencies only when it fit their agenda. They didn’t like the intelligence they were getting, and so they brought in people to write the stuff. They were so crazed and so far out and so difficult to reason with-to the point of being bizarre. Dogmatic, as if they were on a mission from God.’ He added, ‘If it doesn’t fit their theory, they don’t want to accept it.’ "
5 Shock & Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance, The Center for Advanced Concepts and Technology, 1996 National Defense University
6 See TIME magazine
article dated March 11, 2002: To quote it in part, "If you
go back and look at the hijackers , they had zero contact with any known
al-Qaeda people we were looking at. They didn’t break any laws. They
didn’t do anything to come to anybody’s attention. Are there other
people in the U.S. like that? We don’t
know." FBI Official. The point being Mr. Bush has demonstrated little
proof positive that Al Qaida planned 9/11, carried it out and that "all
roads lead to Usamah bin Laden. Even if it were true Mr. Bush could not have
made the assertion as proof as early as
7 In Joe P. Dunn, "In search of Lessons: The Development of a Vietnam Historiography, " Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College, Vol. ix, No. 4, 1979, p.37: Quoted in On Strategy Ibid. p. 78.
8 Quoted in On Strategy p. 87
9 Karl von Clausewitz, On
War, I:1, p.81; On Strategy, Ibid. See also FM 100-5,
10 Clausewitz, On War, Ibid., p.88
11 Clausewitz, On War, VIII:2, p.579
12 On Strategy, p. 96; see also Kinnard, The War Managers, (Hanover, New Hampshire, University Press of New England, 1977 ), p.25
13 Then Army Chief of Staff, General Mathew B. Ridgeway 1954, comments on the French under siege at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam. In Soldier: The Memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgeway, New York, Harper & Bros., 1956, pp. 271-72
14 Foreign Affairs Journal, Rumsfeld May/June 2002 Tomorrows Armed Forces; In the same issue Michael O’Hanlon declared victory in Afghanistan The Afghan Campaign, only to see the Taliban return after it was in print; see also Max Boot (a long time neo-conservative and friend of Rumsfeld’s and colleague at the American Enterprise Institute in Foreign Affairs, July/August, 2003, was even more syrupy towards the Secretary’s war.
15 An article appeared in the Washington Post during July 2003, but only once, whereby a document was found in Baghdad , marked Top Secret which outlined the planned urban guerrilla war before America invaded the country; it included attacks on pipelines, arson/looting and hit & run tactics being employed.
16 NIKO PRICE, Associated Press Writer, Tuesday August 12, 2003, Sanchez: Troops in Iraq to Serve 1 Year : BAGHDAD, Iraq - All troops in Iraq, with brief rest breaks in the region and possibly a few days at home, the commander of U.S. forces said Tuesday.
17 See Leonardo Maugeri Foreign Affairs "Not in Oil’s Name," Vol. 82 No. 4, p.171
18 Ibid., Maugeri, p. 171-72
19 Clausewitz, On War, I:1, p.77; On Strategy, p.106
20 Stephen Biddle is Associate Research Professor of National Security Studies at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute. <
21 Foreign Affairs, "Afghanistan and the Future of Warfare," Vol. 82 No. 2, p.32
22 Ibid., p.35
23 Ibid., p.36
24 Biddle, Ibid., p.39
25 Ibid., p.41
26 Stratfor: Strategic Forecast and International Herald Tribune; August 13, 2003
27 NYT: Violence Spreads Through Afghanistan, Killing Dozens Amy Waldman: KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2003
28 Ibid., Stratfor and Ibid. NYT, Waldman
29 Foreign Affairs, Biddle, p.38
30 Ibid., p. 38
31 Ibid., p. 46
32 Ibid., p.45
33 Ibid., p.46
34 TimesOnline, 7/2/03
35 CNN: 7/2/03
36 "Iraqi attacks could signal wide revolt" The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times, 7/2/03
37 Source: Reuters News Service July 16, 2003
38 Reuters News Service July 16, 2003
39 Reuters News Service July 16, 2003
40 Source: 1997 Summer Study Task Force on DoD Responses to Transnational Threats, DSB
41 Source: Report: U.S. May Call National Guard for Iraq Duty, Reuters, July 17, 2003
42 Summers, On Strategy, p.164
43 The War of the Flea, Robert Taber, pp 69-70 quoting North Vietnamese general Giap on the French occupation of Vietnam
44 See The Hydra of Carnage: Bush’s Imperial War-making and the Rule of Law, Artful Nuance Publishing 2002, see especially Chapters Five and Eight
45 Clausewitz, On War, I: 1, pp.88-89
46 On Strategy, p. 164
47 Ibid., p. 17
48 Clausewitz, On War, I:2, 97
49 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s favorite word has been transformational, especially regarding those areas within the Revolution in Military Affairs’ paradigm. One wonders if he holds the transformation of the Republican Guard, et al, of Hussein’s conventional army into an urban guerrilla force in the same favorable light?
50 Some have begun calling this notorious terrorist Osama been Forgotten, since Mr. Bush changed him from "America’s Most Wanted" and "Our number one priority" to stating later "he was not a priority."
51 Source: On Strategy: "Tactical Victory, Strategic Defeat," Introduction. Footnote 1: Conversation on 25 April 1975 in Hanoi between Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., then Chief, Negotiations Division, U.S. Delegation, Four Party Joint Military Team and Colonel Tu, Chief, North Vietnamese (DRV) Delegation.
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This guerrilla war is likely to last a generation
have a soldier wounded or killed every other day" in the Baghdad area.
"Is it slowing us down? Yes, because some soldiers
who would otherwise be doing reconstruction,
we have to use for security.
Every attack means we're going to have to be here a little longer."
Maj. Scott Slaten
Top Picture: Iraq, New Humvee -- Bottom: Wrecked humvee in Iraq
By Craig B Hulet? 08/15/03
In a most audacious attack on American troops, an Iraqi fired a rocket-propelled grenade from the sunroof of a Chevrolet car at a passing patrol yesterday, incinerating one of the army vehicles and seriously wounding four of those traveling in the convoy. (TimesOnline, 7/2/03)
Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defense Secretary, insisted
“that Iraq was not a new Vietnam,” there are no jungles there!
Its all over the press now. America is facing an intensifying urban guerrilla war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. That it is coordinated and has leadership and organization is being debated so as to not admit the obvious: That this was the strategy of both the Taliban and the Republican Guard of Iraq. They number in the tens of thousands. Craig B Hulet has argued in numerous interviews and several white papers and in his latest book the following: to defeat an entrenched enemy that will fight a guerrilla war, the attacking force must have at least a ten to one ratio in favor of the attackers. That we are hopelessly outnumbered in both countries means quite literally we cannot defeat these guerrilla forces. We will lose. We will have to increase the number of troops to even stay stationed in these countries. Precisely as the war in Vietnam escalated from some 50 “Advisors” under president Kennedy to an incremental increase every year to 1.3 million American troops fighting Ho Chi Minh’s forces, we will have to do the same; or we can leave now.
The press is today filling-up with reports that the Pentagon is puzzled by these events particularly in Iraq:
07/01/03: BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. troops in Iraq are getting ambushed everywhere and every day - while guarding gas stations, investigating car thefts or on their way to make phone calls home. Each new attack is raising questions about whether the violence is a last gasp from Saddam Hussein loyalists or signs of a spreading revolt. The Pentagon is puzzling over how many resisters there are, how well they are organized and how they can be stopped. Private risk analysts are warning of an even chance of Iraq descending into open revolt. And although the term is rarely used at the Pentagon, from every description by military officials, what U.S. troops face on the ground in Iraq has all the markings of a guerrilla war - albeit one in which there are multiple opposition groups rather than a single movement. (Source: “Iraqi attacks could signal wide revolt” The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times, 7/2/03)
Puzzling over this? This was planned by Saddam Hussein and his Republican Guard just as it was planned by Mullah Omar Mohammad of the Taliban. They melted into the population in the face of the American ground forces rather than (stupidly) stand and fight the most formidable conventional military forces on earth. As they would put it on one of TV’s insufferable SitComs, “It’s a no-brainer.” So rather than admit that they knew this was going to come to pass, as this analyst predicted over and over since September 20, 2001 (during my first national radio interview), they are arguing over who it is they might be fighting, who the opposition might be, who the bad guys are? The media puts it all rather blandly as well, because they were the cheerleaders stacking the deck in favor of war. Here is how one reporter reported it:
Certainly, the statistics paint a worrisome picture. Since President Bush declared an end to the major combat phase of the war on May 1, 62 U.S. troops have been killed, according to a count based on Defense Department press releases. Of those, 22 died as a result of enemy attacks, 36 in accidents and four in incidents whose cause is under investigation....More revealing, however, is that the number of deaths from hostile fire is on the rise. Six Americans were killed in May in enemy attacks, while 16 had died in June as of midnight Saturday. Until the past few days, U.S. military officials had insisted that the attacks were merely a product of the final rooting out of the remnants of Saddam’s regime. Now they are beginning to float the idea that U.S. forces face several different opposition forces - and military experts outside the government concur with that assessment. (Ibid.)
In that same article they refer to the guerrillas as a “spectrum of resistance,” to sublimate the reality that it is clearly organized and deliberate. “There are disgruntled Iraqis, upset about house searches or whatever, who might throw rocks or the occasional grenade,” said retired Maj. Gen.. “Disgruntled” over “whatever”...? This valley-girl response is hardly befitting a commander of dead and more to come, dying troopers! At the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, William Nash, now a senior fellow there finally put it together after much deep-thinking “And at the other end of the spectrum, there are members of the old regime, reinforced by foreign fighters, that are looking more organized every day.” There are foreign fighters in Afghanistan; there are foreign fighters in every Arab, Muslim or Persian state in the entire Middle East! That is what Pan-Arabism means in this context, it wasn’t just a dead dream of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat. On the other hand WE are the real Foreign Fighters in the region.
On occasion we get a stunning example of understatement like Nash’s further remarks; commenting on what took place over the weekend of the 6/26/03, where on Saturday, U.S. forces found the bodies of two U.S. soldiers who disappeared with their Humvee while on guard duty at a captured munitions storage depot. Nash suggested that “those killings appear to have been carried out with ‘the upper levels of sophistication,’ [as] it is a difficult operation to snatch an enemy combatant and his equipment,” he noted.
There are some who feel like, that
conditions are such
that they can attack us there,..
My answer is bring them on.
--President George Bush Jr. 7/2/03
I am continually at a loss as to why the press will not do their job this year. Ask the tough questions and act like the fourth estate they used to be (prior to 9/11 that is). Instead it was reported in these words “Nonlethal grenade and small-arms attacks also appear to be continuing unabated.”... “We have a soldier wounded or killed every other day” in the Baghdad area, said Maj. Scott Slaten, a public-affairs officer for the 1st Armored Division, which has responsibility for Iraq’s capital. “Is it slowing us down? Yes, because some soldiers who would otherwise be doing reconstruction, we have to use for security. Every attack means we're going to have to be here a little longer.” Nonlethal grenades? I spent a good amount of time in Vietnam 1969-1970 (101st Airborne) and I do not recall seeing what could be described as a nonlethal grenade, let alone any “nonlethal small-arms.” “Is it slowing us down”? Well no kidding, it certainly slowed down the dead guys.
are going to fight them and impose our will on them and we will capture or...
kill them until we have imposed law and order on this country. We dominate the
scene and we will continue to impose our will on this country."
--Paul Bremer, Washington’s overlord in Iraq 6/29/03
Not even General Westmoreland would have made such a declaration in the 1960s as he was a statesman soldier unlike our current crop of apparatchiks. In Vietnam there was a joke told regularly that when you went to Vietnam you could tell who Charlie was because he’d be wearing black pajamas; of course everyone was wearing black pajamas! That was the punch line. We seem to have learned little because...
For troops on the ground, there is a constant, uneasy sense that nothing and no one are what they seem. Civilians have approached checkpoints and lobbed grenades, and canvas-sided Humvees have become a hazard. “You’re not sure who your enemy is,” said Army Sgt. Gary Qualls, who is stationed at the U.S. military’s base in Ramadi, a town in the heart of the Sunni area north and west of Baghdad long loyal to Hussein. “You don't know who to trust.” (Ibid.)
What was these troop’s briefing
before being deployed? What are they being told now?
Still, military officials say they believe the security situation overall has improved in the country. And Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when asked Friday (6/27/03) if the fighting was turning into a guerrilla war, replied: “I don't know that I would use the word.” Really? This man should retire as his senility is showing. Maybe “he” wouldn’t use that word...but then he did say he “don’t know” if he would use it...so maybe he is just confused and not senile. So he can stay in charge then.
Asserting who's in charge
The story gets even better the more the press presses the issue, issuing these further comments: “However, military experts both inside and outside the Pentagon said they fear the U.S. has failed to assert itself strongly enough on the ground in Iraq because of political pressure to send a message that American forces would leave the country as soon as possible. That may have led the opposition to try to speed the U.S. military’s departure, and each successful killing or act of sabotage becomes an advertisement to recruit more foot soldiers for the resistance.” Failed to assert itself strongly enough...”? We bombed them into the stone age and stood by and watched them destroy all records of who the Iraqi army, the Republican Guard in particular, were made up of, and went straight for their oil! It was precisely what we have “strongly” done and will do as occupying foreign forces which has brought a guerrilla war to us.
“Clearly, they are emboldened by success,” said a senior military official in Washington. “You have to go in and tell them: ‘Were gonna do what we did in Germany and Japan. We’re gonna write your constitution. We’re gonna install your government. We’re gonna write your laws. We’re gonna watch your every move for a decade, and then maybe you’ll get a chance to do it yourself.’” (Ibid.)
Who is WE? Who are these people saying these things? “WE” are going to do nothing of the sort. We are going to likely lose this war and an awful lot of young men and women the world over shall most certainly die for “our” strategic energy needs and hegemonic ambitions. But the message gets better the more one reads these reports in the submissive press:
The limited resistance put up by Iraqi military forces during major combat operations may also be having an impact. “It may sound a little strange to say it, but because we didn’t fight in Fallouja and Tikrit, probably the ‘bad guys’ have made it back into the community and we’re going to have to move them out,” a senior Bush administration official said recently. (Ibid.)
That clever Nash, of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the United States missed the window to establish itself as the unequivocal authority when the war ended. “When Baghdad fell is when you establish yourself; it’s when you set the rules. If you miss the opportunity to do it then, it’s not impossible, but it’s harder,” he said. “Resistance feeds resistance - the bad guys have had a chance to get organized.” Baghdad didn’t fall and we didn’t win the war. The Republican Guard and the Iraqi army didn’t fight us. They wisely and tactically never tried because they were already under instructions to fight a guerrilla war forever against the occupying foreign forces! That was the strategy all along. (As I reported over and over again in the media since September 20, 2001; I hate to belabor that point, but if I knew these things, then the Pentagon knew, then Bush and Rumsfeld knew; that is the point, not that I‘m such a smart guy! but they knew all along.) In a separate account it was admitted. But I have yet to see it repeated nor analyzed anywhere else.
Allied officials now believe that a document recently found in Iraq detailing an ‘emergency plan’ for looting and sabotage in the wake of an invasion is probably authentic. It was prepared by the Iraqi intelligence service in January and marked ‘top secret.’ It outlined 11 kinds of sabotage, including burning government offices, cutting power and communication lines and attacking water purification plants. What gives the document particular credence is that it appears to match exactly the growing chaos and large number of guerrilla attacks on coalition soldiers, oil facilities and power plants.(Source Washingtonpost.com 6/26/03)
Can Rumsfeld continue to evade the obvious and suggest still that “I wouldn‘t know that I would use that word...”? the “G” word. Guerrilla War. In Europe they use the word because that is what is happening. Can the Pentagon still claim this is some unorganized “resistance” supported by outside foreign assets? Well, yes indeed the Pentagon, after the above report was public, did precisely that:
Now is the most dangerous time since we’ve been here. It’s not like when we were first here--pushing forward, shooting at everyone who had a gun,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Conklin of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. “You get attacked, but there’s no definite enemy. You can’t shoot at all the civilians.”... “Many times, they’d been there--waving, saying hello, watching us,” Spec. Joseph Broullard said. “Then they were shooting at us.” (Source: 6/ 29/2003, Chicago Tribune) “It’s being planned and being planned well by small groups,” a U.S. official said. “But we don’t see a real command-and-control structure.”(Source: 6/27/03 washingtonpost.com , Iraqi Ambushes Beset Troops, By Peter Finn)
Where, in South Vietnam, China in the 30s, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, Bolivia and for that matter the American “revolutionary” forces fighting a guerrilla war against the British did they “see” a command-and-control structure? You don’t see a control center in a guerrilla war whether with jungles or an urban community. That is the whole point of the above document unearthed in Iraq reported above. All the evidence strikes a chord with those who have served in the military in combat against a guerrilla army.
There’s some evidence that some Islamist groups are forming in some instances tactical alliances with remnants of the former regime or simply acting on their own. And also, of course, we have the tribal factor, which means there are a number of tribes who were armed by the regime in the couple of years or so preceding the fall of it and these tribes indeed may be providing protection for some senior regime figures -- even possibly Saddam himself.” (Source: 6/29/03, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc., http://www.rferl.org Iraq: ‘Operation Sidewinder’ Attempting To Root Out Insurgents By Valentinas Mite)
Not only is one American dying each day now in either Iraq or Afghanistan or both, but many more wounded. Some former U.S. National Guardsmen are asking the right questions though having never served in combat. For instance from the reports in the press we are seeing troops being killed while making a phone call home, or shopping in Baghdad! To wit:
A U.S. soldier was shot in the head while buying digital video discs at a shop in Baghdad on Friday, the shop owner and other witnesses said. (BAGHDAD Reuters 6/27/02) Response:
“Such B.S, how is it credible to call this growing and obvious guerrilla war a last gasp of Saddam Hussein?? I heard Bremer say this morning something like a pathetic last gasp of Hussein loyalists!! Our soldiers are being picked off like sitting ducks. Why the hell is the command letting these guys go fucking shopping, or making phone calls in a hostile environment?? Where are their platoon leaders, their Top?? I don’t understand why they haven’t protected them, why aren’t they in garrison. Do they want to fill up the body bags? I don’t get it. (Source: KC&A client [former NG] responding to the above article, CW, Seattle WA, 7/1/03)
In Iraq, years of vilification of the United States have compounded Iraqi uncertainty about U.S. intentions, a problem complicated further by the United States’ backtracking on promises to let Iraqis choose their own new government. This same problem is to be found in Afghanistan where the Taliban are flooding back into the region and warlords are bringing the guerrilla war to Kabul. The Post reports that “The situation is worsened by the continuing communications difficulties of the U.S.-led occupation authority, which still has trouble reaching Iraqis with basic information because of weak television signals and the limited access of many Iraqis to mass media. Furthermore, many members of the sizable Sunni minority, who prospered under Saddam Hussein, perceive themselves as losing rather than gaining ground as a result of the U.S. presence and are willing to offer tacit, if not outright, support for those who want to actively fight the U.S.-led troops.” (Source: “Iraqi attacks could signal wide revolt” The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times, 7/2/03) “The Sunni population has every reason to destabilize the situation, since they know that when there are elections, they are going to get the short end of the stick,” said Charles Pena, director of defense policy studies at the Washington-based Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. (Ibid.)
In an effort to put a different face on what is clearly identifiable as a strategically planned and now tactically implemented guerrilla war the press scours the sod for sop, experts of every stripe are asked the same questions and the most absurd responses are printed. Those who say, no, we are facing a well-armed, well-planned, long term guerrilla war which was inevitable, are ignored.
Here is what a recent LA Times article concluded from the experts regarding who we are facing. The subtitle to the piece was “Three opposition factions” It begins with this intellectual hogwash, “At the Pentagon and the White House and among military experts, there is a growing consensus that there are at least three forces involved in efforts to destabilize the country: Saddam loyalists, foreign fighters and those angry at living conditions since U.S.-led forces routed the Saddam regime....” The first group is outlined as such:
Discontented members of Saddam’s ruling Baath party, especially in the area of central Iraq known as the Sunni triangle, have the money to finance a resistance. Also present are a number of Fedayeen, paramilitary fighters loyal to Hussein who underwent brutalizing military training designed to inure them to the horrors of assassination. The combination of money to pay for the attacks and fighters to carry them out is a dangerous mix. (Ibid.)
This is an effort to make it seem as though these “discontented” wealthy individuals must pay other “followers” to act as mercenaries to fight on their own soil rather than the reality: i.e., they are military personnel fighting a guerrilla war against their foreign occupiers! Unbelievable! they base this on the following “evidence”...
There have been at least two execution-style attacks in the past two weeks in which U.S. soldiers who were talking with or helping civilian Iraqis were shot at close range near the base of the neck. In one case, in which a soldier was helping Iraqis line up to buy cooking fuel, the shooting was lethal; in the second attack, which occurred Friday as the soldier considered buying some DVD movies in a crowded shopping area, the soldier was critically wounded. (Ibid.)
Because there were a couple of “execution style” killings this provides these high-brow thinkers to discern a trend that means not guerrillas but criminal mafia type resistance.
“We ended major combat operations because the Iraqi army had disappeared, but what we don’t have is the Saddam Fedayeen and Baath leadership, who are trying to disrupt the coalition efforts,” said a senior military official in Iraq. Nash believes “that there is enough residual regime in place that they are starting to build a constituency.”
Add to that kind of thought process Paul Bremer, the chief US administrator in Iraq said the “violence [ which has killed at least 29 US and British soldiers since President George W. Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1] - showed the “desperation” of “members of the ex-regime” and “terrorists with connections to Iran, al-Qaeda and other countries in the region.” (Source: FT.com, 7/1/03: “Bremer pushes on despite attacks on US forces” Gareth Smyth) To continue to delude themselves is one thing but to delude the American people further about where this war is taking us is critical and dangerous in the extreme. This idea that many of the guerrilla attacks are terrorists persists in the media. From the same LA Times article the second group of these so-called “opposition factions” and “residual regime” is looked at .
The second group, foreign fighters, encompass both anti-American al-Qaida-type characters from Syria and Jordan, among other nations, as well as possible agents provocateurs from Iran, who may be fomenting trouble in Shiite Muslim-dominated southern Iraq. Just last week, Iraqi police in Baghdad picked up a group of Palestinians and Jordanians, now being held for questioning by the Americans. Military officials acknowledge that they have little control of the Iraqi borders. (Ibid.)
This argument that foreigners from outside
Iraq, “al Qaida type characters, are to blame for some of the attacks,
while this may be true, is nonsensical in the context of the Middle East. In Afghanistan fighters came from all over the world including America, China and from all parts of Europe and Africa. Indeed, over 60 countries were represented at some
level. It was known, should have been known by all, that if we attacked Iraq, as in Afghanistan, the same would take place. And it is going on in Afghanistan again tonight. This is not an anomaly where
“outsiders” are agitators, but the expected outcome of our presence
in the Middle East, anywhere in the Middle East.
The third group is a hodgepodge of common criminals and people frustrated with the lack of services. Saddam released large numbers of prisoners last fall during a general amnesty. Iraqis say the Americans should not be surprised by the violence directed toward them. “It was predictable,” said Iraqi political scientist Saad al-Jawwad. “To any man or any woman or anybody who’s living in despair, what could he do? He has nothing left but to carry arms and defy the people who are here occupying his country and doing nothing for him or his family. Where is democracy? Nonexistent. Where is stability? Nonexistent. Where's electricity? Where's water? “What do you expect these people to do? To keep on sitting like sheep?” said al-Jawwad. “Of course they would organize themselves, and they will get more organized and more organized.”...“And that will develop into a revolt,” he predicted. (Ibid.)
Here is another example of obfuscation and
deliberate deception on the part of the media and the Administration’s
spokesmen. Every guerrilla army finds its recruits from the angry civilian
population and those who feel the unjust “footprint” (in the newest
Pentagon jargon) of the American occupying forces. It is a popular resistance
that makes up a guerrilla army backed by professional soldiers who are, as
well, disgruntled with the occupation of their country. To call these
guerrillas “criminals” and the “frustrated” because of
lack of “services,” is disgraceful! But to add to the mix the blame
placed on Saddam Hussein because he released prisoners in a general amnesty is
raw propaganda directed at the ignorant.
Kroll, a U.S.-based corporate risk consulting company, told its clients that an Iraqi revolt against occupying forces was one of two most likely scenarios in 2003. The other was a so-called wobbly landing, with some instability but not outright revolt. They are going to persist in calling this “guerrilla war” a revolt, or saboteurs, foreign agitation and pathetic remnants of Saddam’s “followers,” i.e., the last gasp theory. We will find this is a growing guerrilla war with all of the main components in place, planned from the beginning, before Bush and Blair ever launched this war, before America was prepared for the real outcome. The war hasn’t started yet. This war will never really end until America leaves. As in Vietnam, as in Libya when Mussolini occupied that country, Sudan against the British Empire, as in every country on the wrong soil that has faced a guerrilla force, no foreign conventional army has ever defeated a local guerrilla force of any significant size. This is not Belfast, not the Red Brigades. This is war Mr. Bush has gotten us into and it will not end in a decade, maybe not a generation. And no matter how it ends, history will haunt Americans again with that horrendous self-reflective question: “What were we doing there”? Then we will debate, hold another contest? where to place yet another monument to the dead; though really a monument to the failed statesmen that fought yet another wrong-headed war in our name.
Craig B Hulet lost nearly his entire unit in Vietnam (C Troop, 2/17th Air Cavalry, 101st Airborne 1969-70) with the colors sent home (80% losses); he was Special Assistant to Cong. Jack Metcalf (Ret.) and periodically consultant to ATF&E Of The US Dept. Justice/Homeland Security. Craig B Hulet is the author of The Hydra of Carnage: Bush’s Imperial War-making and the Rule of Law: An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire)
Richard Armitage; Colin Powell; Bush Jr.; Dick Cheney
What pipelines? Memorandum of Understanding signed above on May 30th, 2002.
The Asian Development Bank decided to fund the Afghan pipeline Sept.5th, 2002.
Quotes of 2003:
They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal-a small cluster of policy advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. In the past year, according to former and present Bush Administration officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community. These advisers and analysts, who began their work in the days after <September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq.
"The heart of my argument, ...is that traditional balance-of-power analyses are only part of the story of American power in this century. [They] miss the role of the information revolution and globalization in empowering transnational networks to wreak destruction on a scale once associated only with governments. That was the lesson of September 11. Rome was not destroyed by the rise of a superior power. Foreign policy analysts should focus more on how the new Rome will deal with the new barbarians." --Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in Foreign affairs, Vol. 81 No 6
"...first and foremost, the overwhelming power of America in a world whose best interests it believes it represents. Those who oppose America, do so at their peril. The scene at the White House brought to mind the maxim of Al Capone, a figure who Mr Bush's foes abroad might liken him to: 'You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot further with a smile and a gun.' Except that at in the Rose Garden yesterday,while the gun was sticking out of the holster, there was no smile.'"
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