RANGER AGAINST WAR: So, Tell Me Again. . . <

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

So, Tell Me Again. . .

--War Criminals, Michael Kountsouris

The 'eathen in 'is blindness bows down to wood an' stone;
E don't obey no orders unless they is 'is own.

The 'eathen in 'is blindness must end where 'e began,

But the backbone of the Army is the Non-commissioned Man!
\
--The 'eathen
, Rudyard Kipling
______________


O.k. -- Ranger is a simpleton, so he asks your indulgence as he attempts for simple if not elegant clarity.

The U.S. is in Afghanistan to address the al-Qaeda threat, aimed at U.S. interests outside of Afghanistan. That is, except when we are in Afghanistan.


The Taliban and al-Qaeda are two different entities with two different sets of goals. Al-Qaeda and Taliban may be symbiotic, or they may be commensals. The Taliban provided safe haven and training sites to the military arm of al-Qaeda, but it was not the military arm that conducted the 9-11 attacks.


The military arm may have provided support and encouragement, but then again, so have many other elements throughout the Middle East. Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a local threat that is best addressed by the concerned national governments, and
even if they are unable to do so, this still does not become a war issue for the U.S.

If Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot stand and address internal threats,
the U.S. will never be able to do so. If the Afghan and Pakistan governments cannot gain consensual government, U.S. power will not lend stability or legitimacy to the mix.

Fighting the people of Afghanistan and Iraq fails to address the issue of al-Qaeda terrorism. Even if we were to transform these countries into actual states -- which may or may not resemble the U.S. -- al-Qaeda will simply morph, drifting into other failed states; that is what they do.
Is the U.S. prepared to fight in every failed state?

The potential threat from al-Qaeda (outside of Iraq) may be much larger than we realize. There is a large worldwide acceptance for the ideology of al-Qaeda, and our actions are certainly radicalizing ones.


Al-Qaeda is acceptable in a large portion of the world. As Islamists, they will gain passive acceptance in rich and poor states alike such as Somalia, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Brunei and Pakistan, to name a few. They have the home court advantage.


Ranger doesn't play cards as well as warrant officers do, but this does not look like a winning hand to him.

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7 Comments:

Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

to continue the poker analogy:

this hand should have been folded before the flop. the only way to win this was to not play in the first place.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 10:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB,
We're in it up to our asses and we don't seem to be considering folding and leaving the table. This is my concern.
These wars MUST be realistically re-evaluated on so many different levels.
jim

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 11:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Jim: The critical failure of past empires has always been that at some point their ability to discern essential elements of self-interest is lost amid a welter of ambition, social decay, elitism, self-delusion, hubris, complacency, economic desuetude and political overstretch.

Our imperial republic shows every sign of being at that place. The elites will not choose to take the realistic step of matching military and economic expense with military and political gain because they are insulated from the costs of failure and unwilling to abandon the illusion of the glories of success. The plebian mass can no longer effectively force or convince the elites to move short of violent revolution.

In short, the ship of state is being steered by a combination of fools and morons.

The ending will not be quick and it will not be pretty. But it will be as difficult to avoid as trying to turn a runaway container ship.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 4:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

FD Chief,
Don't forget self delusion when listing causes of decay.Our delusions are so ingrained and deep that we actually believe them to be true.
jim

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 6:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"Our delusions are so ingrained and deep that we actually believe them to be true."

The Japanese coined a word for it: æˆŠć‹ç—… ("senshoubyou") - "Victory disease" The Wiki entry describes this malady as having the following symptoms:

1. arrogance,
2. overconfidence,
3. complacency,
4. use of previously victorious patterns of fighting, and not developing new tactics to anticipate enemy advances,
5. stereotypes of enemies, underestimating enemies,
6. ignorance of contrary intelligence or refusal to recognize it.

The entry goes on to say: "While the winning side grows complacent, arrogant, feeling invincible, the enemy adapts. Military disaster ensues."

Given that our booga-booga scary Evil Islamoenemies barely have a group of armed fighters (much less and actual "army"), no logistical train, no air force, no navy, no momma, no poppa, no Uncle Sam...the chances are that disaster will not ensure for us in the short term.

However, this sort of disease has undermined empires over the long term in the past.

In its vigorous youth the Romans made good use of their foederati, tribes and states beyond their borders but loosely allied, generally left ungarrisoned but coerced, bribed and cajoled into assisting Roman policy. These entities provided Rome with strategic depth, and provided deniability when used against external enemies.

The Empire, however, misused and abused these allies to the point where they had to be overrun and ruled directly or destroyed. The resulting overstretch contributed to the decline and eventual destruction of the Roman Army and the fall of the Roman State.

The Spanish were well known for their brutal and effective colonial tactics. But they lost their strategic vision when confronted by religious wars in the Low Countries. Futile, endless attempts to pacify the Netherlands and subdue and occupy England served to dissapate and waste the incredible wealth Spain extracted from their overseas possessions. By the late 18th Century they were a joke. Occupation by France, civil war and social dessication left them the pathetic Spain bitchslapped by McKinley's U.S. in 1898.

If we had adult leadership or a grown-up populace we'd see this. We don't, and we will slowly begin to see the price we're gonna pay down the line.

Sad, really.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 2:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

FDChief,
You speak of adult leadership.The concept of leadership has been one that has been a life study for me.
What we call leadership usually is the exact opposite.True leadership is dead in our society- is it possible that democracy stifles the concept?
jim

Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 11:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

All true! But Halliburton and Dynacorp certainly see it as a winning hand for them. And as long as they control US foreign policy it'll be more of the same.

My take on leadership vis a vis democracy would be that true democracy doe not stifle leadership but actually encourages it. See earlier American history for examples. I think where the problem lies is that here in America we've actually had our democracy stifled by groups with agendas that don't fit in the model of democracy. And as their power and influence grew the ability of those with real leadership qualities to come forward was hampered.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 11:18:00 AM GMT-5  

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