Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

The US Strategy of Limited War is Stupid

Why is the US pursuing a policy of limited war and covert operations around the world in Libya, Syria, Chad, Mali, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Honduras, Sudan, Philippines and so on?

THIS IS A LOSING STRATEGY.

Ye gods we know that from Viet Nam.

We know that from the USSR in Afghanistan.

We know that from Central America.

And you can read it in the chapter that was added to Capt B H Liddell Hart’s classic book, Strategy: The Indirect Approach for the second edition which came out in, I think, 1947. Wars under in the nuclear age will be fought by proxy, with deniable guerilla groups acting semi-autonomously, but puppeted by the great powers through covert action. This is to avoid massive retaliation. Liddell Hart clearly points out that these guerilla movements will have a huge advantage in both efficiency and freedom of use compared to conventional forces.

But the United States, with its massive fleet, its 10 aircraft carriers, its air superiority doctrine, its armored divisions, is prepared to refight World War II. The lack of sufficient good old fashioned light infantry like the 10th Infantry leads to the overuse of special forces for tasks which should belong to the regular army. At the same time, the regular forces, except air power to a limited degree, are pretty useless against guerilla groups or hybrid guerilla groups like IS. So the special forces get to fight them too, undercover, without normal rules of engagement and fire support. This has led to a huge expansion of the very expensive and specialized special forces.

The US spends more on its military than the next ten military powers combined and yet IS, with maybe the equivalent of three divisions of light infantry, mostly low paid conscript ‘volunteers,’ can flummox the US in the Middle East, destabilize Europe, and fuel Brexit and Trumpism. That’s partly because it is always hard to fight religiously-fueled warriors with a martyrdom cult.

But the US knows how to fight a guerilla war. 50 US advisers trained Ho Chi Minh’s forces in guerilla warfare during WWII, for crying out loud.

This idiotic strategy is being driven by the politics of deniable operations that don’t have political consequences unless they have a Eugene Hasenfus-type incident, and that eternal war is hugely profitable.

Copyright © 2016 Henry Edward Hardy

31 July, 2016 Posted by | guerilla, Iraq, Liddel Hart, military, politics, scanlyze, strategy, stupid, USA, war | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The United States fetishizes gun Violence

The United States fetishizes gun Violence

I think it is very facile to attack guns for gun violence. That model fails to account for societies like Switzerland or Finland with high gun ownership but little gun violence.

What separates the United States is the degree to which it fetishizes gun violence. The stock character of the Western hero has morphed into the hard nosed cop and now into the faceless futuristic enforcer but the plot is the same: a lone man, using violence to right wrongs in society, then conveniently riding off into the sunset. “Hiyo, Silver, away!”

American Exceptionalism is the modern version of Manifest Destiny and White Man’s Burden. All are pinioned on the Idea that American Ideas are the Best, so much Better, in fact, that extreme violence and skullduggery are justified in their lofty pursuit of a greater good only America the Beautiful can provide.

Well, where’s the beef? Where are the benefits this benevolent violence are supposed to provide? Stable governments, democracy, prosperity, pluralism, tolerance, human rights, rule of law, all that?

Shall we ask Afghanistan? Or Libya? Or Yemen? Or Somalia? Or Iraq?

How’s that workin’ for ya USA? Is that the right model for Syria? Really?

I think it is very facile to attack guns for gun violence. That model fails to account for societies like Switzerland or Finland with high gun ownership but little gun violence.

What separates the United States is the degree to which it fetishizes gun violence. The stock character of the Western hero has morphed into the hard nosed cop and now into the faceless futuristic enforcer but the plot is the same: a lone man, using violence to right wrongs in society, then conveniently riding off into the sunset. “Hiyo, Silver, away!”

American Exceptionalism is the modern version of Manifest Destiny and White Man’s Burden. All are pinioned on the Idea that American Ideas are the Best, so much Better, in fact, that extreme violence and skullduggery are justified in their lofty pursuit of a greater good only America the Beautiful can provide.

Well, where’s the beef? Where are the benefits this benevolent violence are supposed to provide? Stable governments, democracy, prosperity, pluralism, tolerance, human rights, rule of law, all that?

Shall we ask Afghanistan? Or Libya? Or Yemen? Or Somalia? Or Iraq?

How’s that workin’ for ya USA? Is that the right model for Syria? Really?

Copyright © 2015 Henry Edward Hardy

30 October, 2015 Posted by | Afghanistan, anthropology, foreign policy, gun, Iraq, Libya, media, nonviolence, policy, scanlyze, Somalia, Syria, United States, violence, Where's the beef? | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“War on Christianity” meet “War on Islam”

“War on Christianity” meet “War on Islam” (using the US, and Afghanistan and Iraq as the templates)

People say things about you and your religion which you don’t like.

Both: Yes.

A nation of the other religion conquered your country and had executed the former leader.

Islam: Yes.
Christianity: No.

The media considers the name of your religion to be synonymous with “extremism” and “terrorism”.

Islam: Yes.
Christianity: Not so much.

Your country is being occupied by a superpower which is predominantly of the other religion.

Islam: Yes.
Christianity: No.

Civilians in your country are subject to illegal assassination carried out by remotely piloted aircraft.

Islam: Yes.
Christianity: No.

Your religion is subjected to occasional terrorist attacks.

Both: Yes, but in the case of the victims of the other religion, each religion’s fanatics blames the victims.

The terrorist attacks on your religion are reported as a major world news event.

Christianity: Yes.
Islam: Not so much.

Your country possesses, and asserts the right to strike first with nuclear weapons.

Christianity: Yes.
Islam: No.

What do you think of my analysis?

Copyright © 2015 Henry Edward Hardy

7 May, 2015 Posted by | Christianity, Iraq, Islam, peace, politics, scanlyze, war | , , , , | 1 Comment

What I think about Guantanamo

What I think about Guantanamo

I think President Obama has been thrown off-stride by the Karl-Rove-orchestrated assault on his perceived strengths (a very Clausewitzian and typical Rove strategy if you follow him).

With Guantanamo Obama had hoped to solve the issue by attrition and by devaluing the issue to the point where he could wrap it up with spending little or no political capital.

But now the issue is forced by the hunger strike, now in its official 100th day.

I think he must spend capital on this and if he does he will be rewarded.

The legal basis for holding these guys without charge or trial is that they are taken under the Hague and Geneva conventions in a war zone.

This runs into problems right off the bat because you are not supposed to exfiltrate prisoners of war or interned civilians from whatever country they were captured in except to return them to their country of origin.

For the same reason, the idea of returning these folks to some third country should be a non-starter.

Here is what is should be done.

Continue to hold military tribunals, but only for the purpose of status determination: prisoner of war or interned civilian.

Those who were captured under arms, had a command structure, some kind of uniform, may be found to be prisoners of war. The remainder of these folks will be found to be interned civilians.

Prisoners of war cannot be charged for fighting the enemy so long as they themselves obeyed the laws of war. The UN has also recognized the right of civilian people under arms to fight for national liberation, but that is not as well-ensconced in international law as is the rights and responsibilities of nation-states.

Civilians can be charged with criminal offenses, but they should be tried in theatre by local judges under local law (which can't be done since they have been illegally exfiltrated out of theatre) or else in their country of origin or by an international tribunal. The military commissions cannot be allowed to act as judge, jury and executioner. When military tribunals have been allowed to exceed their proper scope in the past, such as during the Civil War, the result has not been pretty.

As soon as is practicable, these men must be returned to their countries of origin, whether or not their tribunal proceedings are closed or complete.

Our intelligence should keep tabs on these guys in an open manner but otherwise let them lead their lives as best they can. It is very much in everyone’s best interest to help these folks with compensation for time during which they were improperly held or mistreated, and they all should be given enough to live and to receive medical and psychological assistance on an ongoing basis.

We are going to pay a price for letting these guys go. Here's 166 guys who are going to be very messed up and not feeling like Uncle Sam is their friend. That is the price we will pay for kidnapping, assassination, rape, torture, war crimes, running concentration camps, and 10 years of low-intensity conflict, which is what we call terrorism when we do it.

But you have to consider there’s already a lot more than 166 guys out in the world who don’t like the US.

By bringing this very real scandal front and center and highly publicizing the commissions and the procedures to return the prisoners of war and interned civilians, the ginned-up Rove scandaloids will be driven off the TV and front pages perhaps indefinitely.

What’s the reward? The issue is so corrosive of the moral authority and therefore of the power of the United States. Quite simply, it makes the US the bad guys and that’s not good. Time to end a bad situation which only festers as time goes on.

Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy

17 May, 2013 Posted by | Iraq, media, military, news, peace, politics, scanlyze, war | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A response to Ron Suarez’ A New Ann Arbor City Council Resolution to End the War in Iraq?

A response to Ron Suarez’ A New Ann Arbor City Council Resolution to End the War in Iraq?

Note: the antiwar resolution mentioned on Ron’s site was passed by the Ann Arbor City Council in March, 2007.

Ron said:

I received this request from Michigan Peaceworks to support a new Ann Arbor City Council resolution that would hopefully push Congress to bring an end to the war in Iraq…

Here is their [Michigan Peaceworks] Proposed wording for a City Council Resolution:

We urge Congress to move in a bi-partisan way to address war policies in the Middle East. The United States now spends more on military defense than all other nations combined, but the world is less safe than when we embarked on our present policies. It is time for Congress to provide leadership by:

* re-establishing its on-going, joint authority with the President over war powers and war expenditures
* using Congressional appropriations authority to protect our troops by establishing conditions for their mobilization and deployment, conditions and time-lines for their return home, and needed assistance to veterans of our recent wars
* providing international humanitarian leadership
* developing a humanitarian budget to meet non-military needs of the worlds’ people, including our own
* using Congressional oversight to help strengthen international cooperation in peace-building

…But, I could use help identifying other government officials who could use a nudge in the correct direction.

John Dingell, D-MI

John Dingell. He often wears red.

His recent antiwar resolution, HR 3938 sounds good at first in that it reportedly withdraws the use of force authorization. The full text was not yet on Thomas when I wrote this. But the 2009 timeframe is too long. And this is a political cover for Dingell in that it distracts from what matters, which is his votes for the appropriations for the wars. Dingell’s resolution won’t pass both houses, and if it did it would be vetoed. He knows that.

If a majority of the House would refuse any more defense authorizations the war would end. Soon. Maybe some mainline Democrats want the war to continue. It is good for the business of the people who give them money. One hopes Dingell would not be in this category.

We need to focus in the short term on amending or defeating war appropriations. Resolutions like the proposed council resolution and HR 3938 give political cover to mainline Democrats who feel pressure from an increasingly frustrated public. But they don’t end the war. They give it political cover to continue.

What does Peaceworks mean that Congress should “move in a bi-partisan way?” Isn’t that kind of like a three-legged sack race? Seriously are the Democrats supposed to wait to defund the war until the Republicans turn into a pro-peace, anti-war party? This is a poor idea at best.

The Peaceworks resolution’s reference to “joint authority” between the president and Congress over “war spending and war powers” is inaccurate. The Constitution reserves these powers to Congress alone.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; ….

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; …

US Constitution, Article I, Section 8

The president is an executive of the People, who acting through their Legislature, make the laws and raise taxes. We rely on the President to obey and fairly enforce the laws, not to ignore, make, or break them. The president is not a sovereign. Bush is not “King (or warlord) of America”.

We oppose:

HR 2638: Making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, in committee.

HR 2642: Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes
, in committee.

HR 3222: Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, resolving differences.

And we need to oppose any more continuing resolutions like Democratic sponsored H.J.RES.52: Making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 2008, and for other purposes, which Bush signed September 29, 2007.

Bush and the House and Senate Democrats like Dingell and Stabenow are pretending to disagree over the war to appeal to their base constituencies, while they are collaborating in continuing to fund it. I don’t have the same issue with Carl Levin, he and John Rockefeller have been fighting very hard behind closed doors on the war, concentration camps, and surveillance issues for a long time now.

What’s the cost to the citizen? Tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead; Thousands of American casualties; Military suicides and fragging incidents on the rise; America’s democracy and reputation in ruins; and $8,000 per person in the US through the next ten years. Or, if you want to look at it another way, $80,000 per person in Iraq. We could have bought all of Iraq intact for less than what it is costing to destroy it.

Feel-good resolutions without the force of law are a distraction and an impediment to holding our legislators accountable for real effective actions to end this garrison state of permanent war and neoconservative-neofascist oppression.

A New Ann Arbor City Council Resolution to End the War in Iraq?
Dingell bill sets date for Iraq pullout
War costs may total $2.4 trillion

See also, Bush on Iraq: ‘We’re Kicking Ass’
Letter to the youth of America
Scanlyze tag: Stabenow

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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24 October, 2007 Posted by | Afghanistan, Ann Arbor, budget, Carl Levin, city council, cost, Dingell, distraction, H.J.RES.52, H.R.2638, H.R.3222, House of Representatives, hypocrisy, Iraq, John Rockefeller, Levin, Michigan, Michigan PEaceworks, neocon, neoconservative, news, oppression, peace, permanent war, politics, resolution, Rockefeller, Ron Suarez, Senate, Stabenow, US House of Representatives, US Senate, war | Leave a comment