31 July 2007

A DIME does not pay the toll

The following is cross-posted from The Jacksonian Party.

From The Free Dictionary we can pull up a list of things with the DIME acronym, of which one is the most pertinent to modern conflicts: DIME- Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic.

These are cited time and again as the necessary underpinnings for creating a successful Counter Insurgency (COIN) plan for integrating local populations with the help of external forces to the population involved. These are, quintessentially, 20th century industrial views on what an integrated society *is* and what its underpinnings *are*. They are meant to be representative of a governmental effort to coordinate between external abilities of a government to create a stable societal environment so as to have a basis for successful COIN operations. Note that this is true not only for external, invading armies of a Nation, but internal to Nations as well, especially ones that have high levels of ethnic and social differences internal to the Nation. While the first is highly touted in post-war conflicts of external military ventures, the second is also indicative of internal conflicts against separatists or resentful peoples who have strong disagreement with their National government. For the first most would cite WW II, Philippine-American War, and similar Nation State to Nation State conflicts like the Napoleonic conflicts of the 19th century. Coming to a equitable agreement for a new accountable government that will uphold the Law of Nations between Nations is the litmus test of DIME operations for such conflicts. This does not ensure peace or stability, but does ensure the understanding of reciprocity between Nations is paramount in world affairs.

The second set, however, needs to be explored as it is no less of a need to bring accountability and responsibility to the forefront, but for the goal of stability and peace internal to the Nation involved. Here things are far than good and the list of conflicts gives one a feel for the direction of these internal accommodations: War of the Roses, US Civil War, Serbian independence movements pre-WWI, Spanish Civil War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia, Lebanese Civil War, Shining Path in Peru, FARC in Columbia, Bosnian-Serbian Conflict, Kosovar Conflict, Rwandan genocide, Eritrean independence movement, East Timor Conflict, Kasmir uprisings, Chechnya separatist movement, Moro insurgency and even such things as the Chiapas region of Mexico or the ethnic strife in Darfur. Each of these needs commitment on a scale for their governments no less than that of an external conflict, and yet some of these governments are so poor as to be unable to properly muster any ability to address such needs. One cannot utilize economic capability if there is very little of it to start with and any uprising or conflict puts *that* into doubt. Military means requires a relatively reliable and cohesive military system that has accountability to governmental authority, yet that is eroded by criminal activity, 'insurgent areas' and outright terrorist bribes to the fighters on the ground. To get reliable information one needs a reliable infrastructure for reporting, be it by telecommunications or pony express, and to have representatives of the government that will *not* be bribed and will act as intermediaries that can be trusted for their reliability. And that gets to the diplomatic realm of understanding that working agreements out without force is preferable to using force, but that diplomacy, of itself, cannot stop war if there is no ability to accommodate on disagreements by all parties.

DIME, then, has serious lacks when put on the stage in the actual, physical world that has individuals that are human, mortal and have the negatives of same. Further, these conflicts have moved from highly organized Civil Wars, with actual new governments and societal structures being instituted, to more and more dispersed and distributed affairs that no longer abide by the concepts of Nation State - accountability, responsibility to those in a region, and can, in places like Kasmir, Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon, Chechnya, represent the fomenting of war by organizations that seek only global disorder so that they may rule. DIME has some basis against those that hold society to be a basis of government, and are willing to work out equitable agreements after bloodshed as the cost of sacrificing civilians between belligerents is a losing proposition for both. Against those that are *not* part of the local society, however, THAT is not a problem, and continual foment and killing forever onwards until the collapse of the society is seen is the actual GOAL of it. These latter day affairs see more in common with that, as a concept, than in the previous era of the Nation State civil wars as the goal was to create a government accountable to a given part of society. And as these non-Nation State actors are more than willing to utilize ideology, ethnic tension, religious differences, sectarian differences within religions, and, in fact, things like criminal extortion and oppression as means to their ends, the legions of those that can be recruited are vast. Every society has disaffected social elements represented by individuals that feel that they are no longer part of the process of the Nation State and are being suppressed by it.

That leaves DIME in a dilemma as the basis of having common society, even in disagreement, must not only be in the majority, but it must reach near unanimity. Even .1% of any society may bring death, destruction and intimidation with it as a means to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with society and government and create a high death toll. Mere handfuls of anarchists in the 19th century assassinated Kings, Princes, and Presidents on a relatively random killing spree across decades and that would only burn itself out as the activity of anarchy was that to create disorder. Their means to organize on a larger than local or even National scale was limited. Anarchists burned themselves out as the pointlessness of their activities pointed out a pointlessness of the lives involved. Limited internal organization due to credo limited scope of destruction and the flames of anarchy burned hot and then to completion as they created nothing in their wake. Modern day creators of havoc, those called transnational terrorists, have a different goal and have means to achieve it. The goal is to overturn the order of Nation States so that their outlooks will be the supreme order amongst mankind. Their means to achieve this is provided by the very international global trade system which seeks to enforce the lowest cost of goods to individuals with no accountability attached to that trade beyond *payment*.

Those who have created this global internetwork of trade have also utilized DIME, but in a different form. The goal has been to achieve this thing known as 'open markets' and to have 'economic stability' and the global movement of capital as the means of production to those places that have the lowest wages for that production. These organizations have been part of Treaty negotiations on the diplomatic side and have utilized systems of pay-offs and buy-ins from repressive regimes so as to get their way. Their information capability piggy-backs not only on that of the Nation State, but via other actors that are either local, regional or global that already have a presence in markets. The military side was far more present in the 19th and early 20th century with the concept of having Nation States enforce treaties favorable to companies, which became known as 'Gunboat Diplomacy'. The economic power that was utilized would even keep one President from waging war against an enemy and used economic loss of companies as an excuse not to do so. The leverage of international and now transnational capitalism is used to benefit those organizations for means of production, distribution and sales, but have very little adherence to the concepts of liberty and freedom.

These two movements that are transnational in scope and diametrically opposed on the concepts of stability do, however, work hand-in-hand as neither has a view towards 'creating a better world' beyond sloganeering. Conceptually transnational terrorism seeks to utilize the cheapest means possible to disrupt Nation States and cause societies to decohere. These organizations are supplied by transnational capitalists more than willing to sell all the goods that are needed at a low price. As both sides of this have deep inroads to the criminal and black market sides of things, these transactions will take place no matter what the edict of any individual Nation State is or any group of Nation States due to the influence of the global trade community. Putting a *price* on dealing with those seeking to bring Nation States down is worked against by transnational capitalists which refuse to have any burden put upon trade nor accountability of trade to anyone in a responsible manner. Here the activities of individual companies and their outlook matters less than the global transport and transaction systems which operate on both the 'white' and 'black' side of trade. Attempts to make producers 'responsible' for where their goods end up has fallen flat on its face because the laws are such that only hard and fast ties to those that would bring down societies and Nations is required before any accountability can be had. And as the focus is upon the trade and not the manufacturing, the system of international trade, itself, is found to have no basis of accountability outside of treaty.

Treaties made to accommodate the movement of goods at the cheapest price to any paying customer.

On top of this comes a third conception of transnational affairs and that is transnational progressivism. This is a system of elitist viewpoint that puts forward that current liberal democracy or, indeed, any system that does not recognize differences between groups of people first is the cause of problems. To that end the elements supporting this put forward that the rights that one is to get is not based upon individuality but, instead, group affiliation. As this is an elitist outlook, any group designated as a 'victim' is then given more leeway and rights than 'oppressors', and 'victims' are not held accountable for their actions. Thus there is no advancement in society for the individual, what one has at birth in the way of groups, be they ethnic, religious, or societal minority, matter more than being a citizen of a Nation State. Individual rights are by association at birth and whatever the elite class determines can be handed out as a reward depending on whim and factional strife. This outlook has been utilized to actually foment discontent amongst ethnic populations that cross borders due to reasons of history and Nation State creation. A short listing of such illuminates this outlook: Kurds, muslims in Kasmir, native Americans across the Americas, North African muslims in France, and muslims, generally, across Europe, ethnic Chechens, ethnic Albanians, ethnic Serbs, ethnic Bosnians, latinos in the US, ethnic Malay, Timorese, Moros, and the muslims across North Africa. These groups by ethnicity and religion are further dissected downwards via sect and intermarriage until the plethora of groups means that one starts to find 'victimless' crimes being perpetrated by terrorists because they are of some designated 'victim' group. In the US this meme has been inculcated so that poor individuals who commit crime blame society for their upbringing, not their lack of character to make a responsible individual out of themselves as the motivation behind crime.

This system of outlook that is elitist and authoritarian in outlook utilizes the DIME concept to its advantage also. On the diplomatic fronts a number of associations in the West have created the 'Arabists' and other 'regionalists' that put forward that individuals, groups and Nations can't be held to a higher standard, such as adhering to treaties, because of the 'circumstances of their Nation' and the 'repressive nature' of their society. Poverty is put forward as the root cause of everything, because it is an insoluble problem short of socialism: in any achievement based economic system there will always be a bottom 10%. Socialism, luckily, makes everyone equally poor so there is no bottom 10% as no one can achieve anything. And the best way to make economic 'divides' WORSE is to get high capability capitalists in to put in transnational manufacturing sectors utilizing the lowest wages possible to 'exploit' the 'poor'. While many transnational progressivists take to the streets to decry the 'low wages' that this or that company gives to the workers there or decries the 'working conditions' because they do not meet Western standards, they never, not once, decry the overall poverty of such Nations nor that these 'bad jobs' are better than anything else to be had in that Nation. It is, instead, creating a 'impoverished class' of individuals who are being 'exploited', while those very same jobs create an 'economic divide' inside the Nation where the jobs are. Apparently one can be both too rich and too poor in this outlook: poor enough to be a victim, but rich enough to become affluent.

That is DIME working to near perfection as a way to erode the capacity of Nation States to have internal accountability without outside interference and gain any prosperity at all. And any attempt to use internal means to suppress riots, terrorism, etc. is decried as utilizing the military to 'suppress the victims'. To do this transnational progressivists use the media to their advantage as much of their elitism is held by the very same media organizations they decry these problems too. Thus a single side of any problem is put forward and the 'way forward' is always for the 'victim class' to 'gain power' and not be held accountable for their actions. The information gained via media outlets on diverse ethnic, cultural and religious populations then serves the transnational progressivists as a way to identify which will be the next 'victim class' to be uplifted above others. Western manufacturing plants in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Columbia, Argentina... indeed anywhere there is relatively cheap labor to fulfill manufacturing needs then serves as a place to foment divisions within society by putting forth that economic means cause inequality and that minorities are 'oppressed' by 'majorities'. Soon 'labor activists' show up, decrying things that, to Western eyes, look harsh, but to local eyes may seem otherwise. Yet the only thing that gets put up is the gold standard of 'inequality' and 'exploitation'. Never mind that folks making a good wage and a good life may be the upshot of such 'exploitation' as that is just another 'social divide' being caused by transnational capitalism.

With that these three transnational concepts come together as an interlocking whole. Expanding capitalism causes 'divides' as localized income increases, 'activists' arrive to help engender a feeling of being a 'victim', and those feeling the pressure of 'repression' be it real or imaginary, then fund organizations that further expand the 'problem'. Soon the concept of terrorism arrives from various groups, be they Nationalist, Communist, criminal or religious, and the killing starts which requires, perforce, National military action.... which is decried as suppression. In no time at all a factory or two suddenly gets a society in unrest, money flowing out from local affluent 'victims' to fund further agitation and then the killings begin, perhaps only one or two at start, but more as 'repression' is felt from those 'in power'. With the capitalists completing the cycle of making cheap and affordable arms available by white or black market means.

Each of these outlooks wants to ensure that strife remains in place for their own reasons. The transnational capitalists use this as a means to ensure that locals are kept on edge without having to increase pay to them and, if they leave to join 'insurgent' or terrorist groups, then they will need supplies provided by other parts of transnational capitalism and the local plant now has a low cost, entry level worker.

Transnational progressivists can utilize the 'exploitation' and the 'oppression' and not hold terrorists accountable as they are merely 'poor and exploited', ignoring that most of those doing the killing are actually well paid and have an education. By putting down a 'root cause' that cannot, ever, be addressed save by making everyone poor, exploitation is assured and any response by any government that does not meet the demands to turn more power over to smaller groups is met as an 'oppressive' response. As more 'repression' happens, upon designated minorities, foment is spread by 'activists' and the media to start larger scale 'solidarity' often across Nation State boundaries.

Having turned over the soil and added the fertilizer of actual jobs, then watering it with discontent and adding such seeds, is it any wonder the noxious plant of terrorism sprouts and grows from there? Terrorism is not done by the poor save for low level killings and such, but is actually guided by the affluent and college educated. Only the rich and well off can have time to make fine distinctions between texts, tracts, religious books, and other treatises and find cause to feel the 'will to power' via the sword. Would that it were only hand crafted swords and not mass produced weapons involved, as that would take a bit to establish. Instead any minor cash infusion to a terrorist organization creates the ready purchase of cheap small arms to be used in attacks to gain media attention and claim 'victimhood' while committing crimes. And when this is seen as an effective outlet either through lack of governmental response or by governments pressured to 'accommodate' problems, more local money flows into such 'successful' organizations.

Creating, of course, more 'repression' and more spreading of cheaper arms under the limelight of the media.

And the Nation State?


'Obstacle to trade'.

'To be opposed for the purity of ethnicity/sect/class'.

DIME has a problem in that it serves equally well to set up the structures to collapse society as it does to uphold it. DIME is known as a set of 'vectors': pathways of major parts of society and systems that need to move in coordinated fashion to achieve ends. They are a set of 'means' not 'ends'. And, as such, can be used in any number of paradigms for how to have society, how to govern and, apparently, how *not* to do those things. As a method of COIN we must recognize that the opponents of Counter Insurgency, namely Insurgency, utilizes these exact same vectors in opposition to orderly society. That is because these vectors are neutral to ideology and only means to an end, not ends in and of themselves. If we treat DIME in isolation to the underpinnings of society, then we shall soon have no society in common as it fractures under the multiple forces of transnationalism which seek to gain by that destruction. To counter that the actual goals of what DIME is utilized for must be clearly and succinctly stated and all activities traced directly back to those goals. DIME utilized without such goals then can be utilized in opposition and that opposition will tear up any society upholding a group that does not put forward the goals first. In the military parlance this is known as the 'Grand Strategy'. It is more than just 'victory' but the reasons why victory is worthwhile and the goals of that victory BEYOND mere victory. If these are not clearly upheld at entry into a conflict, then there is no way to trace any lesser level strategy or tactics (the implementation tools and locales for strategy) back to the larger goal. In the realm of business this is the Corporate Business Plan or Outlook document, to sort out the major goals to be achieved by said business, and hiring folks to work in a business unit is mere tactics. In this realm of thought, DIME is a way of implementing Grand Strategy and NOT Grand Strategy in, and of, itself.

The original Marshal Plan had a Grand Strategy outlook to rebuild Europe along democratic lines and equality of rights and make sure that Germany never posed a threat to the world again. That took nearly two decades to finally come to a conclusion and it did not succeed fully in that so many Nations fell under Communism. Yes it was not fully successful because the will to uphold it was not present and a counter-strategy was able to thwart it. Without the on-the-ground tactical will to support Eastern European democracies, those Nations did not GET democratic rule until they got it for themselves. The Marshal Plan FAILED them, and cannot be seen as a full success because the M part of DIME was no longer seen as viable after a World War. What we got was DIE, and many, many did under repressive regimes, re-education camps or just such simple things as low standards of living. By not meaning what we said about democracy and putting for Military support of our Grand Strategy, we were barely able to save Western Europe from Communism.

So, when folks try to propose a 'Marshal Plan for the Middle East' just *what* exactly are the goals of that and will you back that with US military might? If not, I suggest you go peddle such elsewhere, as any plan without that element of reciprocity tends to fail.

Finally this brings us to what is necessary to oppose the transnational use of DIME via its three major formats: capitalism, progressivism and terrorism. To do that requires a 'Grand Strategy' that will not utilize just DIME but also create a societal factor for stability, accommodation and reciprocity internally and externally to Nation States. These are not tactics, nor programs, nor ways to spend money, but this is the outlook of what those things are to work *towards*, not only in Iraq but globally. DIME, on its lonesome, supports anyone willing to utilize it for their own ends, be it in the use or degradation of any of its elements to support other goals. To change that, there must be one major factor as a goal: accountability.

The First Goal is: Accountable Government. That is not only to the people internal to the Nation but between Nations. To do this requires acknowledging that there are consequences to actions taken and that the best way to solve adverse consequences is via accountability and the concept of reciprocity to hold government accountable for its actions. And the laws internally must also be accountable and those within it must acknowledge that a law between those in the Nation is primary above all other things.

The Second Goal is: Rule of Law. Again this is not only internal to a Nation but between Nations via this thing known as 'Treaties'. Internally law is applied to sustain society and the order of society, and law must be a product of accountable government. Governments create and sustain laws via the activity of law enforcement, but that means can vary from Nation to Nation so long as law is upheld in an accountable fashion. One of the major goals of accountable law, internal to Nations and via Treaties is that they be comprehensible to the 'common man' in the Nation(s) involved. If a law or Treaty cannot be clearly stated and defined it opens up the opportunity for abuse and invites same by those trying to shift emphasis from the intent of the law to the wording of the law. If the intent of a law or treaty is not clear, then no fine verbiage can allow it to be adhered to. And laws and treaties with exacting goals will be lost in a sea of verbiage if the meaning of words trump the intent of laws or treaties. Laws and treaties differentiate between activities, but do not discriminate between those doing the actions. Treaties in their own class may have discrimination on single State-to-State affairs, but multi-Nation Treaties are non-discriminatory as to ethnicity, religion, or any other physical or societal factor.

The Third Goal is: Equality before the law. This means that all citizens of a Nation are treated equally before the law, and that those multi-Nation Treaties must adhere to non-discriminatory language so that actions are addressed not intent. This does not mean that all individuals in a Nation are free, by any means, and many forms of government offer very little in the way of rights to citizens and yet can sustain equality of all before the law without regard to placement, stature, income, race, or belief system. That system of accountable law is held by government which is accountable to its people. People can, indeed, have very few rights and repressive laws, so long as the highest leader and lowliest beggar are equal before that law and no means are present to prevent the intent of the law from being carried out. Amongst those in multi-Nation Treaties, all Nations are equal to them and they agree to the Treaty, in full or in part, and will be held accountable to those parts they sign up to. Here the accountability is by other Nation States.

The Fourth Goal is one of the oldest to the Nation State system: Religious worship is not to be dictated by the State. The Westphalian concept that Nations may adhere to religions, but they may not force religion upon all the individuals inside their Nation are upheld. All religions are allowable and individuals must be given leave to practice same without interference or discrimination by governments. Religions have proven singularly incapable of governing large, mutli-ethnic, multi-cultural Nations, and the dead from the religious wars in Europe that caused the Treaty of Westphalia to come about is a 'lesson learned' on that score. Governments can, indeed, have religious adherence, but the ability to force anyone to decide ONLY for the religion of that government should be anathema to the West and, indeed, to all Nations.

The Fifth Goal is one to counter transnationalism: The basis for diplomacy and the accountability by Nations to each other is Nation State based. No other actors may be put on that stage from individuals to NGOs. Charities are organizations that give aid and succor to the poor and help in disaster relief. They are not a permanent conduit of unaccountable cash, arms and goods to any region or people. That is the realm of Nation States who can agree to have such organizations or *not* between them. There is no legitimacy in warlike activities outside of the realm of the Nation State system. International corporations are not to be a party to any Treaty negotiations between Nation States and as legal entities are fully amenable to the laws and treaties involved between Nations and may not seek to sway them via any form of lobbying. Commerce between Nations is conducted by groups and individuals that have accountability to those laws and treaties and that activity of commerce is only afforded by the system of Nation States which allows it to operate. If Nations like the idea of 'free trade' they can offer it because it is seen as good for their Nation and those they offer it to, not because it will benefit businesses. And accountable governments may, indeed, place restriction upon trade in the form of ban, travel restrictions, tariff, or designating those breaking those laws as Pirates and seen as out only for the welfare of themselves, not the Nation they are part of in that doing. Nations make the basis for trade and create the framework in which it exists and individuals, companies or any other non-Nation actor has no business dictating what they want upon Nations and are Pirate and Outlaw if they break those agreements.

Goals create, classify and define objectives to be met: they are the stated objectives for which the basis of underlying program scope and activities can be done. Within such a common framework one can create and craft a wide array of Foreign Policy for a Nation and uphold that Nations are the representatives for the people that are contained within it. A hard and fast Foreign Policy that upholds these concepts allows for a common framework between Nations to be held, although it guarantees neither stability or peace it is one that allows such to be formed. And from those times when the framework breaks down or even reciprocity breaks down, a policy for National action across the spectrum can be made to protect the Nation, the people and the system of Nation States. Without such things the basis for creating a war strategy is very difficult as one has no basis for stating the objectives in warfare and the aftermath of such conflicts. And without that the basis of COIN work is damned near impossible as it requires the underpinnings of understanding what the civilized discourse between Nations is and what is and is not acceptable within that framework. DIME is only one set of vectors in COIN, and are amenable to any who would utilize them to their own ends, and they do not define the entire gamut of National interest, power or ability, just major sections of same.

Again, these 5 goals are *not* Foreign Policy but serve as the acceptable basis upon which Foreign Policy can be built. And it does, indeed, allow us to discriminate between Nations and decide which ones would be good to have Treaties with and which ones are not so good for that. It also puts forth what the National view is towards international outlaws, who threaten the discourse amongst Nations, seek to overturn Nations or just seek to profit by preying upon the commerce of Nations. In this actual world such are very hard to implement as this Nation called The United States of America has helped those that do not stand up for these basics of civilization held between Nations. Sticking to these things define what the Nation can support in the way of other Nations and activities, and realize that a price will be paid by the Nation and its Citizens in trying to bring other Nations to this outlook of civilization. But then, there has always been a cost in time, effort, money and blood in creating and upholding civilization. And quite some more in trying to bring it down. It appears to be a never ending task, and the only one worth the cost.

29 July 2007

The NLOS-C moves into production

One of the weapons to start outfitting the Future Combat System is fast, mobile artillery. The promise of this was the Non-Line Of Sight Cannon (NLOS-C). I last reported on this system in this article covering current and upcoming changes to the armed forces.

Source: BAE Systems

A stationary missile module (NLOS-M if I remember correctly) will supplement combat ops by being a deployable system via air or trucking and then left in 'stand-by' mode to receive missile firing orders. These two components will take care of many mobile targets and emplacements that used to wait for Combat Air Support or the M-109 or M-1 to get into place. The older method of integrated operations has been known on the battlefield for years in Iraq, but something to get regional coverage and help with light, fast troops have been prime considerations for the new force mix of the US Armed Forces. Thus the NLOS concept is critical for support of infantry operations, special forces and other organizations that face ranged threats on the move.

The NLOS-C is going into limited production this year (h/t: Strategypage), mostly for trial units and system integration and familiarization, and then limited annual production from then on. This system is different than its predecessors in that it carries an auto-loader and precision fire system as part of its main offensive system. Germany has fielded their heavier version of this system depending upon more armor and less active defensive systems, but their work has demonstrated a fire rate of 4-8 rounds per minute (10 for sudden need) with 6 being a sustainable firing sequence for minutes until the combat load of the vehicle runs out. By automating the loading system for the weapon, this vehicle has reduced crew size (3 man crew) and had to meet weight limits for it to be delivered by aircraft (target weight of 20 tons). The initial test system has now allowed for this limited production run to start and the next step up is a full test of integration across multiple units.

The NLOS-C is not a 'radio to and wait for incoming' unit, but one that operates to get multiple rounds on-target simultaneously via changing the firing angle of the main gun. Beyond that, Germany has demonstrated cross unit communication to have multiple of their systems coordinate fire for simultaneous time-on-target across them. This is *nothing* like previous generations of howitzers and mobile artillery, in that regards.

To meet weight limits the NLOS-C has scrimped on armor, going for high-tech composites, changed over to a durable rubber/plastic tread design instead of metal, and moved to a diesel/electric hybrid engine. Compensating for reduced armor is an active defense system to shoot at incoming RPG's and human attackers via means of measuring size and speed of approach of an object. These things, combined, put its road speed at 55 mph and broken terrain speed at 35-40 mph. The electric part of the hybrid allows the NLOS-C to operate fully off of batteries for movement at 20 mph and nearly silently, due to tread design, for 20 minutes or so at a minimum. This gives the NLOS-C a previously unheard of stealth capability to shift through hostile zones and change firing positions or take up one for a first time and barely be heard.

Together with the new Strykers that have the field combat support system on-board, the NLOS-C will add to the capability of those and cross-integrate through that down to the individual level.

Also being fielded for deployment is the Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle which has quickly been moved from the CMU self-guided vehicle grand challenge into production. By marrying up self-drive and remote drive, this vehicle offers resupply of troops in isolated locations, the ability to protect itself and deal with obstacles on its own. I first looked at this with this post on the evolving technology for robots in farming and industry.

This system will also offer ways to get wounded out of such areas and give feedback via the systems it carries on-board which will also integrate with the rest of the FCS.

[UPDATE] Originally this was a longer post, but blogger has seen fit to not update properly, so the rest of the thoughts shall wait for another time. What is important is to see that the US Armed Forces are 'upgrading on-the-fly' and shifting to better means to function across the battlespace. This means more accurate use of firepower on targets so as to minimize 'collateral damage' to civilians and yet remove fighters from civilian surroundings. The augmenting of such forces with robotic systems for support and re-supply also limits exposure by the Armed Forces to hostile fire, and yet gives a minimum of continued surveillance over the points between base and operations in the field.

26 July 2007

The wagers of deceit

We hear so much from people about 'enforcing the laws' and the ability of the law to do so much, that 'there ought to be a law' became a cliche in the American lexicon. New laws are proposed to try and cover old ills which cannot be covered by the Nation as it would impinge upon the rights of adults to have a Nation in common. Instapundit points to this article which describes Congresscritters having 'hearings' about why the internet should be 'filtered' of content that might injure 'children'. Apparently they have not bothered to read a few decades of Supreme Court rulings on this, where the Federal government is informed that this is still held by the United States:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This means censoring based on offensive content is *not* to be legislated on by Congress. The freedom of the press is the right of the People to disseminate information amongst themselves without Congress deciding if it is fit for human reading. There are limits to this, but they deal almost exclusively with activities aimed to deny rights or oversight over those that cannot find enforcement via legal means and to protect the Nation, as a whole, especially in dissemination of false or defamatory information about those critical services mandated under the Constitution to be under the bounds of Federal control. That is why the American People hand so little over to the Federal Government: it puts the onus of responsibility amongst the People, where it belongs, not to an empowered bureaucrat that was elected by no one.

The power of the press, held by the People, is to be used responsibly by the People to uphold the Nation which guarantees the backstopping of the foundations and protection of those rights. Accountability is at the lowest level, although it may be promulgated from various levels, the individual Citizen is the one that gives oversight and purview to their activities with the least restraining of Congress or, indeed, any government. That means that the rights of the People are put at risk when the very few things necessary to protect the Nation are put at risk by irresponsible reporting. The accountability is held by those doing the reporting and, in matters of National Safety and National Security which We the People have handed to the Federal government to allow the Nation to be free from outside interference, that means anything which might put the Union at risk via the freedom of the press actually does need to adhere to the laws involved in such reporting. We do not hand to any government the ability to censor or filter those things that we, as a People, teach our children. We do hold ourselves accountable for our actions to the Nation as individuals to be a part of the People.

Controls over speech are the most onerous ones as they seek to limit dissemination of thoughts, restrict public debate and put at risk the basis for democracy. Those seeking to make certain types of speech 'Politically Correct' are engaging on peer-based, authoritarian forms of this as individuals in an attempt to bypass political forms of censorship and use forms that will influence political debate. Change the use of terminology or use different contextual definitions for words that differ highly from standard definitions and yet attempt to retain emotional backing, and the end result is a disingenuous attempt to control others with illegitimate presentations of thoughts via language. The basis of common society is common discourse with widely accepted terminology and definitions. Without that there is not basis of thought nor reason via the use of language and common society crumbles as it is redefined by those that purport to present 'new ideas' while they are, in fact, presenting 'old ideas' and giving a sugar coating to them by debasing common usage for terms in 'new ways' that are at odds with their common usage.

This, however, does not work with the law as it utilizes common usage at the time a law is put in place and later changes to usage do not change the original meaning. Even worse is when a definition is GIVEN in a law and then those in later years try to undermine it by claiming that there is a different definition given to the language involved. A case in point here is the definition of 'person':
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Here the definition of 'person' is clearly given in the Amendment itself and is abundantly clear as the conjunction AND is used to demonstrate that the first and second part must be true for the following to apply. Thus a 'person' for consideration of the usage within this Amendment is this class of being that has been born or naturalized into the US. If you are not born or naturalized into the US then jurisdiction does not matter as you do not fall under the first part of the logical statement being made. Only those that are born or naturalized into the United States are considered to be citizens within the United States, and are also subject to State laws where they live. And yet that clear and ample definition of 'person' has been twisted by those wanting to destroy the meaning of citizenship to include *anyone* who can somehow get to the United States, hide from the enforcement of the laws and otherwise seek to undermine the rule of law within the United States by their presence.

Even worse is the consideration that being born into the United States is *all* that is needed to become a citizen. As the States have jurisdiction over the laws that oversee birth certificates and the legitimacy of birth within their State to be eligible to become a citizen, the States can, if they wished on their own, put forth that to be considered under their jurisdiction as a citizen (plurally) an individual born in their state may be regulated as to Nationality. Any State that wanted to do so could put that down and require that at least one parent of the child be verified as a citizen of the United States for the child to gain such legitimacy. The Federal government via its immigration and naturalization powers may not step into an area where the State has sole jurisdiction. One does not get a birth certificate from the Federal government but from the STATE. It is the States that decide this matter for their own outlook as this is neither an immigration or naturalization power, but a determination of legitimacy of citizenship based on State jurisdiction upon birth.

Twist the meaning of 'person' to be a generic human being and the rest of the Amendment turns to mush as it can be applied globally. Local definition based on the definition given for the piece of law, or in this case the Constitution, over-rides later attempts to re-define it. You want to change it? Amend the Constitution to say EXACTLY what you mean.

On the other end of the spectrum we have National protection laws set up to ensure that false or otherwise destructive language with intent to harm the Union are regulated. This is not your deranged individual in the park on a soapbox, with which the Nation suffers fools gladly for the greater benefit to the Nation of freedom of speech, but the actual misrepresentation, misreporting or outright fraudulent reporting of events to undermine the National ability to understand the context of events in the affairs of mankind. Even here the Federal government has very few powers of oversight and has stringent restrictions upon what it can do outside the realm of commerce regularization and enforcement, protection on the High Seas and air space, promulgation of foreign policy outside the Nation, and with regards to the activities of Armed Forces. In these areas there are laws on the books to protect these few responsibilities and rights granted to the Federal and held for the People by that government. We agree on this, as the People, so as to have a government for a more perfect Union to represent us All. You may *disagree* with that government and petition it and use your freedoms to discuss its problems with your fellow citizens, but in those areas handed to this common government We have agreed that it does have accountability and oversight of those things.

Yes it is, indeed, 'done in your name'.

If you don't like that, then protest it right up to the limit of the common and talk and reason with your fellow citizens about why you dislike what is done in your name. Stepping away and saying it is not 'in my name' that it is done is stepping away from the People and putting your viewpoint as being more important and above the common viewpoint held for us, in trust, by the government. When you say it is 'Not in my name' what you are saying is: 'I am no longer of We the People and better than the rest of you'.

Protest, yell, scream, rant like a 5 year old if you must. Then feel the awesome weight we take upon ourselves as a People for the things done in our name as a People. We don't hand that off to dictators, tyrants, despots, or any authority whatsoever. We may trust in God, but We are held accountable for what is done for Us by Our government and no other may do that for Us and those that walk away from it are refusing to be part of society. When the government does Right we should feel empowered to know that our system works, and when it does wrong we should use our power to hold it accountable. But at no time do you step away from We the People by declaring actions done are 'not in your name'. That is Our compact and it ensures that we have small, tight and accountable government, not a Nannystate that takes your name from you and hands out a number.

The path to dictatorship is 'not in your name' until you have your name removed from you. Then your name will not matter. Because you decided your name was more valuable than the society you are a part of... until that society falls to adjust to those nameless, non-social entities who refuse to bear responsibility for authority handed out in common.

That path of disunion has legal obstacles put in its way on directly attacking those bodies that protect the Union as a whole. There are actual laws, on the books to protect those parts of government from hostile action via freedoms the People hold so that the Union may be protected against such attacks upon those commonly held functions. And yet there are those that wish to twist words and meanings to attack those very same functions and cause greater disunity amongst the People and loss of faith and trust in these functions held in common by the People.

Here a case in point is the set of 'diaries' published by the anonymous "Scott Thomas" in The New Republic. I looked at that in overview for the lack of ethics held by TNR and talk a bit about how TNR actually does not put up a Code of Ethics where the Public can readily find it. That shows a lack of integrity for the organization concerned and that, as they have no accountability they place upon themselves, that the more common accountability of We the People must be used. That, unfortunately, takes us to the actual laws that are in place to cover how the People can talk about the Armed Forces of the Union, and the peacetime law is under 18 USC 2387:



Sec. 2387. Activities affecting armed forces generally

(a) Whoever, with intent to interfere with, impair, or influence the
loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the
United States:

(1) advises, counsels, urges, or in any manner causes or
attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of
duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United
States; or

(2) distributes or attempts to distribute any written or printed
matter which advises, counsels, or urges insubordination,
disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military
or naval forces of the United States
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten
years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United
States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next
following his conviction.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term ``military or naval
forces of the United States'' includes the Army of the United States,
the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Naval Reserve, Marine
Corps Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve of the United States; and, when
any merchant vessel is commissioned in the Navy or is in the service of
the Army or the Navy, includes the master, officers, and crew of such
Here the actual reporting is that of demonstration of insubordination to the chain of command by not following rules and regulations for reporting of events and proper conduct during said events, the reporting of this by individual citizens using their press rights are *not* seeking out the lines of control and authority within the Armed Forces to report this *first*. By not reporting the individual(s) involved for misconduct, insubordination, refusal to obey the rules of engagement and the UCMJ covering conduct, The New Republic is disseminating information to give the appearance that such activities are NOT limited to a single individual or handful of individuals, but is endemic across the US Armed Forces. By not taking the responsibility of citizenship to the whole of the Nation and going through legitimate lines set up by Congress for the ability to hold soldiers accountable for their actions, TNR disseminates material to undermine the Armed Forces for its own ideological viewpoint.

The responsibility for a citizen is *clear*: if you see misconduct you report it to the organizations and chain of command to get this addressed as this falls under the UCMJ not Civil Law. These are soldiers representing the Union and they agree to adhere to the Laws set by Congress for them via the chain of command. The place of the press is either to report that such activities have been reporting and to report upon investigations, or that they have sought to do so and have been REFUSED HEARING by the lawful organs of the Armed Forces set up by Congress. I have not seen TNR do *either*. The responsibility of the press right is that of the citizens right of free speech which has restrictions placed upon it when it comes to endangerment of fellow citizens in wrongful ways or when it is used to attack those things held in common without utilizing the lawful recourse for same set up by Congress.

And when the Armed Forces are at war, which is a function duly authorized by Congress to use force overseas by the Armed Forces of the United States, or others via the Letters of Marque and Reprisal system, or anyone the President sees fit to utilize overseas to achieve these ends, including such things as allies lending forces to our command structure, the next statute applies to this activity, which is 18 USC 2388:



Sec. 2388. Activities affecting armed forces during war

(a) Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully makes or
conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with
the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United
States or to promote the success of its enemies
; or
Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully causes or
attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of
duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully
obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to
the injury of the service or the United States, or attempts to do so--
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty
years, or both.

(b) If two or more persons conspire to violate subsection (a) of
this section and one or more such persons do any act to effect the
object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall
be punished as provided in said subsection (a).

(c) Whoever harbors or conceals any person who he knows, or has
reasonable grounds to believe or suspect, has committed, or is about to
commit, an offense under this section, shall be fined under this title
or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both

(d) This section shall apply within the admiralty and maritime
jurisdiction of the United States, and on the high seas, as well as
within the United States.
Here things get a bit rougher as putting the active Armed Forces at risk due to the press freedom of the People is more actively endangering the Union as a whole. The diarist "Scott Thomas" has, indeed, made false statements and misrepresented events in Iraq. Confederate Yankee has been collecting that list of things that are blatantly false, misrepresented or otherwise reported in a light of insubordination and meant to sow discord amongst the People to help the enemies that the soldiers of the United States face. By doing these things "Scott Thomas" and the TNR are actively attempting to hinder progress being made and work against the stability of the Armed Forces to make them appear irrational, insubordinate to command and authority during wartime, and otherwise painting a false picture of activities in Iraq that those operating in the same Forward Operating Base have seen.

While abhorrent activity is common in any organization set up by humans on the face of this Earth, NO organization deserves to be slandered by one or two bad actors in it. The responsibility by "Scott Thomas" was to report such activities and for those around him to do that exact, same thing: report them. By asserting that these things happen, often with witnesses, the outlook is that the entirety of those surrounding "Scott Thomas" likewise are willing to act outside the rules and laws set up by Congress and the accountability system within the Armed Forces to ensure regular operations for the Union as a whole. Above and beyond that, every editor, proof reader, and any individual at TNR who has had any oversight or input into the presentation of these stories are *likewise* aiding this by not reporting it to the Armed Forces via proper legal channels, the chain of command or BOTH. There are two ways to get this addressed at MINIMUM within the Armed Forces, and calling the Unit Commander or the legal affairs folks on the ground handling the receipt of complaints for review under UCMJ, and BOTH are legitimate for reporting this story and individual first, before it gets to the general public.

Even worse, however, is the blatant disregard for the remains of those in the 'mass grave' found and that is wholly out of line with the general procedures outlined by USAID in their view of identifying mass grave sites to assess criminality involved. And it is against the governmental view given by the Dept. of State for the United States on how mass graves are going to be handled. As we, as a Nation, cannot tell if any grave site is part of a mass grave site, even if the locals give information on the grave site itself, each is to be handled with respect and care. This is re-inforced by the Hague Convention II (1899), Article 56, which the US is a signatory to:
Article 56
The property of the communes, that of religious, charitable, and educational institutions, and those of arts and science, even when State property, shall be treated as private property.

All seizure of, and destruction, or intentional damage done to such institutions, to historical monuments, works of art or science, is prohibited, and should be made the subject of proceedings.
Cemeteries and grave sites, when NOT the sites of criminal mass murders, are under the care of the previous State and are considered to be non-"usufructory" under Article 55 of the same convention: cemeteries are not an area of productive utility and are to be treated as private property for all warfare, and sacrosanct once captured, save to find evidence of war crimes or other crimes. As nearly every cemetery on the planet has *some* affiliation with a religion, it is to be treated with utmost respect even and especially if it has unmarked graves.

To not do that falls under 18 USC 2441:



Sec. 2441. War crimes

(a) Offense.--Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States,
commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection
(b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term
of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be
subject to the penalty of death.
(b) Circumstances.--The circumstances referred to in subsection (a)
are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of such war
crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a national
of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and
Nationality Act).
(c) Definition.--As used in this section the term ``war crime''
means any conduct--
(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international
conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such
convention to which the United States is a party;
(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the
Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land,
signed 18 October 1907;
(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the
international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any
protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party
and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or
(4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and
contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or
Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as
amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May
1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully
kills or causes serious injury to civilians.
As all indications given by "Scott Thomas" are that the 'mass grave' was of unknown origin and had the remains of children in them, it was and is to be treated with the highest respect possible and no tampering with forensic evidence is to be done. The area is to be cordoned off and the official registry system contacted to find out what type of grave this is, if the locals know, and treat it as a war crime investigation site as we do not know what the Saddam regime did in its 30 years and more in power. Yes, in not respecting the dead in a foreign Nation during wartime, in not upholding the Hague II protocols, and in not following the established procedure outlined by the US Government in the Executive branch for the discovery of 'mass graves', "Scott Thomas" is reporting his own culpability in a war crime under the Hague II treaty. This is true if it is only a PURELY civilian grave site with NO criminal investigation warranted: the dead are to be respected.

This goes beyond mere misrepresentation.

And in not following the procedures set out by Congress to report such things, TNR is aiding and abetting the idea that the Armed Forces will commit war crimes and not have them reported upon. Very well, it is time to cough up "Scott Thomas" to the legal authorities on the oversight of 'mass graves' and start getting to the bottom of this.

That is, if there is a "Scott Thomas" to cough up.

For I do not like those that commit war crimes.

Or sedition.

And TNR, in my view, has no other way to explain its actions in printing what it has printed.

UPDATE: "Scott Thomas" has outed himself at TNR. H/t to Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt's place. He’s Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, a member of Alpha Company, 1/18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division.

Corroboration of events, Mr. Thomas? TNR? Any accountability there at all?

23 July 2007

The Soul of Iraq seen in its Army

I have taken the liberty of transcribing a video shot by Michael Yon during Operation Arrowhead Ripper, contained in his post on Bless the Beasts and Children, Part 2. This is the Iraqi commander of the unit that had found a mass grave which Mr. Yon reported on in Bless the Beasts and Children. I have done my best to transcribe it, but the sound quality of the original was not optimal for the interpreter and the area, and I may not have gotten it all. Still, what Captain Baker (or as one of Mr. Yon's commenters said, it is most likely either Bakr or Bakhir) says is something that should be heard far and wide in the Land of the Free:

Interview with Captain Baker
Scorpion Company Commander
5th Iraqi Army 3-2
Besides the graves of murdered Iraqis
in al Hamira Village near Baqubah
June 30, 2007 11:50am

[I]-Interpreter present, speaking.

CB[I] - ...like this block. There's a couple of families down there and we talks to them and they don't respond to us.

MY: ...are they afraid to talk...

CB[I]: He said they talk to the Muqtar.

MY: Have you found the Muqtar?

CB[I]: Yes.

MY: Is he helpful?

CB[I]: He said we talk to the Muqtar and he tell us... like he didn't cooperate very good with us, but he tell us some information about this palm grove. He said this palm grove is al Qaeda, never let anybody go through this palm grove.

Michael Yon: And you know...This village is Sunni village, yes?

Captain Baker: Yes Sunni village.

MY: And al Qaeda does kill Sunni people here in Baqubah, many times, yes?

CB[I]: He said they kill all the Iraqis they don't care if its Sunni or Shi'ites.

MY: Have you been catching or killing any of the al Qaeda yourself?

CB[I]: I've capture the assistant for Zarqawi, his right hand, KBS... who had accompanied him and I deliver him to Coalition forces... and the Coalition forces gave that person... he gave them information... we capture him... they gave him $50,000... he's on the wanted list for al Qaeda troops.

MY: Who did they give $50,000?

[I]: Uh, that info guy.

MY: Who did they give the 50,000?

[I]: Coalition forces gave him a gift $50,000...

[US Soldier off-camera]: the informant.

MY: Oh, the informant. Thank you. What happened to... I mean... was that the guy that helped to kill Zarqawi?

CB[I]: This information guy... the information guy... he got the money. He helped them all to capture the Zarqawi system.

MY: Were you there when Zarqawi was bombed?

CB[I]: Yes.

MY: Immediately?

CB[I]: I wasn't in the same spot that he get killed in... but I was in KBS and we got some active over there.

MY: Did you see Zarqawi after he was hit?

CB[I]: Yes.

MY: And what condition was he in?

CB[I]: He said... ah... the situation after Zarqawi killed in Despa[sp?] very good for us...

MY: You mean because of the local people?

[I]: Yes.

MY: And the local people... what? they gave you information?

CB[I]: That's right. After Zarqawi's been killed al Qaeda troops are lost their command and they're disappointed... nobody looked up to them anymore.

CB[I]: He said... they were broken for that... after about a month we capture a lot of headquarters of al Qaeda. And we capture... I told you... his assistant... his name is Abbas. His nickname is Abu Abdullah.

MY: And what happened to Abu Abdullah?

CB[I]: Coalition forces took and he's in Bukah [sp?] right now... jail.

MY: Where are you from in Iraq?

CB[I]: He says, I'm Iraqi... and I live up north in Kurdistan.

MY: Do they feel safe here?

CB[I]: [not catching the lead in]...be not a situation in Diyala... all the Kurds back there... back there... in Kurdistan and other places... I hope in this operation we can destroy all the insurgents and kill them.

MY: 15 people are Kurdish? How many people are in your company?

CB[I]: 103.

MY: 103...and mostly Sunni, Shia or...

CB[I]: He said we've got Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, we've got everybody.

MY: Even Christian, too?

CB[I]: No.

MY: (slight laugh) Not too many of those to go around.

CB[I]: He said but we've got...I..I.. have some friends in the Army that are Christian.

MY: Yes, and some Yazidi, sometimes even, yes?

CB[I]: Yeah, they got some Yazidi.

MY: In your company?

CB[I]: Yes.

MY: Everybody gets along well, or...?

CB[I]: He said that we don't have any problems in my Company, my Battalion, my Brigade, even my Division.

MY: How many other places have you fought besides Diyala?

CB[I]: He was in Fallujah... he was with the Marines...

MY: Ah... when was that?

CB[I]: 2004

MY: What month?

CB[I]: Its...ahhh... September. And most of my guys with me then...

MY: Did you stay for the big fight in November?

CB[I]: Yes. We stay until January 2005.

MY: So you were fighting very hard...

CB[I]: He said that this is the only Battalion that served every hour..

MY: Yes... yes only one Battalion, right, and most of the rest did not go or went home, yes?

CB[I]: He said that our... our Battalion is the only one that served for the fight against al Qaeda in Fallujah City. We've got other Battalions that served outside the City.

MY: Did you lose many soldiers?

CB[I]: I lost 3/4ths of them.

MY: During that fight?

[I]: Yes.

MY: Is there anything you want to tell the people in the United States?

CB[I]: I want to tell the people of the United States that look what al Qaeda do to our country. He said al Qaeda crimes in our country, in our villages, in our houses, they kill the children... they kill everybody... Sunni, Shia, Kurdi... they don't care who is... his religions or whats he belong to. The thing is we need to help... we need to cooperate from Coalition forces more than before to end all the terrorism in Iraq. And this is... I want to tell the people over there this picture is live and this myself... myself and my guys with dead bodies, its not anything fabric or something. This is nothing but al Qaeda crime to right. They do a horrible thing in our country.

MY: One last question and then I will turn off the camera... do you believe in a big Iraq first or a Kurdish first?

CB[I]: He said fully from the first I'm Iraqi. From the first.

MY: Thank you, sir.
Now, for those of you who don't understand what is surprising about this, let me remind you that there are quite some number of individuals who put forward that the New Iraqi Army is just a 'super Shia militia'. You know, absolutely divided by sect? That little meme has been going on for a few years now and it is time to finally end it. Captain Baker is quite far down the chain of command in the New Iraqi Army, a Company Commander. He is also in one of the longest serving, longest created units in the New Iraqi Army, that being 5ID or Iron Division. He has been in combat where 75% of his Company was shot out from under him in Fallujah, in 2004. Thus he has seen the New Iraqi Army pretty much from its start, and how it has developed over time. There are some salient points to note:

1) He works under a unified command structure which cares about the strength of Companies internal to a Division, but ensures that it is properly manned and equipped. The ease of the soldiers under his command points to their trust and confidence in him, and it is the easy trust and confidence seen in US Armed Forces: alert, competent, and yet ready to react when needs be to changes. Throughout the interview various members of the Company are seen 'at ease' and yet there is also a calm sense of duty as individuals move around. There is no evidence of furtiveness or wariness, but there is that of combat weariness and a certain sense of 'hollowness' by what they have seen.

2) Captain Baker readily tells of problems with local officials, and, yet, the help that can be garnered from them. In this case having the area they entered as an al Qaeda area, one that shouldn't be trespassed upon for the things they did there. The fact that they then went in means that they had confidence in themselves to handle whatever they found be it hard firefight or something far more grisly. The quietness of the men is more than just professionalism, although that is the underlying sense I get watching them. They have seen something quite nasty and they are not clamoring to tell this. This scene reminds me of some from the closing film shot in World War II, and the soldiers telling what they experienced. Captain Baker is doing the same - he is 'bearing witness'. Not just as a soldier, but as a man.

3) This unit, by being a long lasting one, has knowledge across the Division and would have seen many other units from other organizations at work within the New Iraqi Army. It has good and clear ideas about how the New Iraqi Army is constructed, how it is manned and how it functions as an Army. These are not men that you can easily hide things from, not on a large scale, and as they become veterans of combat, the smaller scale stuff is also harder to hide, unit to unit.

4) The fundamental statements that put to lie those wanting to paint the New Iraqi Army as a Shia puppet are those that address sectarianism and ethnicity. The New Iraqi Army is integrated in that form, also. Within Divisions it is impossible to hide by sectarian division: that becomes obvious to Company commanders when other units do not function as they should during combat due to sectarian outlook. That also goes for ethnicity. The primary thing is that these soldiers see themselves as Iraqi first. They come from across all of Iraq, and their friendships across units are not delimited by sect or religion or ethnicity.

5) To get to this point where there are fully integrated Companies within Divisions, there must be a unified command and training system that ensures that secular and ethnic divisions do not divide up the Army. Units that adhere overmuch to one sect and support one over another get seen by the integrated parts and reported. Every set of Armed Forces on the planet will always have 'bad apples' and 'problem units'. The ability of units to operate at minimal levels, however, requires some level of cooperation and functioning so that units support each other. This was a difficult thing to do, as seen by the description of the 2004 Fallujah combat. Not all Iraqi units arrived, or would fight. That was a problem, and yet those that did arrive actually did fight and they were highly successful. These units would also complain that the *other* units needed to follow their example. All 'green' units have problems in combat, and that was the case with the New Iraqi Army in 2004. That had to change as combat veterans are skilled, accomplished and capable individuals able to operate in a combat environment as a unit. Combat veteran units will not put up with slackers, this has been true across time, and requires reform in the Army system to get units to fight as part of a whole operation.

Today in 2007 we see that happening across Iraq. Therefore this has been solved as a problem. Iraq is a majority Arab Shia population and will have that disproportionately represented in their Armed Forces. If it was 'sectarian' or a 'super Shia militia' it would have strict segregation within it, deferential rules in place for 'favored' portions of the Army and would, indeed, act like any other Arab Army.

To those of you wondering why these things are important, I will point you to my article on Creating an Army. This is not an unknown concept and is easy to discern just by the patterns of events over time, and I described it *previously* with this post, and I will excerpt a bit of it so that you can get a feel for the process involved:
And rebuild in the small towns, villages and small cities that can be quieted and use new Iraqi forces in those *first* to let them taste combat. The large cities are 'holding actions'. Push all the rest of the Iraqi political, infrastructure and economic side *hard*. Very hard. Let the New Iraqi Army clean out the old ways of thought and begin to start something brand new: a non-partisan Civil Army based on merit. That will take years if not a couple of decades to stand up completely, but their entire 'spin-up' will start to get fighting forces on the ground and give them real combat experience. It takes a hell of a long time to make a capable, trustworthy and competent Army and those are not hallmarks of the Middle East.

Then, slowly, shift operations to the larger cities using mixed Iraqi and MNF troops to start letting the Iraqis take a hand and learn what this fight *takes*. Start to encroach on the cities from firmly held provinces, towns and smaller cities and work damned hard to win the tribes over to the Government side. By doing all of that, concentrating on the tribes, local governance, and competence for the New Iraqi Army, you have a formula that removes the hinterlands from an insurgency. Their violence gets concentrated, very telegenic and has no place else to go.

As Iraqi effectiveness increases, suddenly *more options* appear on how to handle the large cities. One can bring on
a new force structure aimed at removing effectiveness from the insurgents and their ability to operate in a cohesive manner. From that 'peacemaking' troops can be sent in for final clear-out of disorganized insurgents partnered with police units and demonstrate effectiveness. Or a neighborhood by neighborhood cleansing could start, but that takes a lot of effective manpower and coordination. This was actually started in mid- to late-AUG 2006 and has been semi-successful in getting the more peaceful outer sections of Baghdad quieted. Or one could craft a 'dislodge and exploit' system that suddenly drops highly effective troops into the bad areas of cities to dislodge insurgents and then pick them off with fast mobile troops guided by overhead recon. Which is what we have now.
As you can see, any review of events would lead to seeing that something was going on with the New Iraqi Army, and the abilities shown in 2004 had changed dramatically *upwards* over time via a process of unit cycling to new areas. Captain Baker's unit needed a serious refit and sustainment period after losing 75-80 men, and here it is in 2007 fighting *again* and hard. At this level the United States Armed Forces have had NO equivalent losses as 75-80 men lost in one battle would get noticed because it is a huge loss for the force size the United States can field.

The effectiveness of the New Iraqi Army I have seen when I looked at Building the Mosaic of Iraq, which takes a wide swath of on-the-ground, first hand reporting by bloggers and examines what was going on there up to late last year. Here is a bit from Bill Ardolino from INDC Journal, when he was in Fallujah talking to a policeman there:
INDC: You mentioned that you hate the insurgents, is that just more now because you've been shot or did you have a different opinion of them before?

Mohammed: "They hit me and they also killed some of my family. Actually they killed my uncle who used to be an Iraqi Army soldier, and they killed him and burned his face. And then they actually started threatening us as well."

INDC: They burned his face?

Mohammed: "Yes. It's a substance called "tizar," it's like, acid. They put it in his face."

INDC: He was alive when they did this?

Mohammed: "Yes, he was alive. They burned him and stabbed him so many times, and also they shot him with bullets. And we found a note on him saying, 'The police and the army and the Americans are all the same.'

INDC: So they killed him because he was in the Iraqi Army?

Mohammed: "Yes. But we didn't tell any of these guys (the Iraqi police) around here (at the time) because they hated the Army as well."

INDC: So why do police hate the army?

Mohammed: "I think because the army actually liberated Fallujah, they work well, and they liberated Fallujah. And some of (the police) actually like (or liked) the insurgents."

"And the other thing would be because they are different (sects of Islam). But after the operations we started doing together, now we became like one and the same, we became like brothers."

INDC: The Iraqi police and the Iraqi Army?

Mohammed: "Yes. Now we became like brothers."

INDC: So how does the police work with the Iraqi Army when some of the police hate the IA's?

Mohammed: "Some bad guys used to be part of the police, but now they quit and ran to Syria. And actually in the JCC (American control room) they know (who) most of them (are)."

The rift between the IP's and IA's that Mohammed describes is accurate, as is the recent, though potentially transitory accord. After a recent set of operations where the Marines encouraged the police and army to work together, the Americans were surprised to find Shia IA's and Sunni IP's joking around with each other and hugging after a successful raid. As Gunnery Sergeant Jason Lawson put it, they were showing off captured insurgents "like kids comparing Halloween candy." Whether this amity will last is anyone's guess.

INDC: So who are the insurgents? Who are the people who are fighting stability? Are they locals?

Mohammed: "(Yes), almost all of them."

INDC: So why are local Fallujans fighting other Fallujans?

Mohammed: "Because the al Qaeda organization came to this city and controlled it so hard by killing. And some people here actually like killing and they liked Saddam Hussein as well, and I think the al Qaeda organization and Saddam Hussein are the same face."

INDC: What do you mean by "the same face," because Saddam was secular, he was not religious and al Qaeda is ...

Mohammed: "Because the language they use is killing. And the same people who used to be with Saddam, now they participate with the insurgency."

INDC: So their motivation for killing is what?

Mohammed: "Money and to be famous. And I think the first reason is to fight the American troops. They say, 'we can start from here and cross all the way to America to fight them.'"
From what we have seen this has not only stayed as a concept, this working together across sectarian lines, but remains to this day. The influx of Arab Sunnis from Anbar province will change the New Iraqi Army, but it is seen as already open to any Iraqi wanting to defend his Nation. And you don't get a choice of *who* you will defend in this: you defend the Nation of Iraq.

As happens with most Armies that work by basis of merit and competence, it begins to be seen as more competent and capable than the actual politicians trying to guide their Nation. This is true not only in Iraq but in the United States as well. And as Norvell B. De Atkine points out in Why Arab Armies Lose Wars, Armies fight as they train and are a reflection of their society. Apparently there is some underlying cohesiveness to Iraq, an integration to it on some low level that is not easily discerned by diplomats seeking to play the 'Great Game' of Nations and not reconcile themselves to dealing with the realities of the People in a Nation.

How do you know Iraq will come together?

Look at its Army.

It reflects the Nation of Iraq.

They do need training in the basics of how to make a government work, how to assure accountability within government, and how to find ways to drive out those people trying to drive a wedge into the Nation. They have never done this before, so the learning curve is damned steep. But they can succeed.

Look at their Army.

See the eyes of Captain Baker and ask yourself: 'What is the fate of those killers going after the innocents, the children and men and women of Iraq?'

The window onto the soul of Iraq can be seen through their Army.

And good men like Captain Baker and those he commands.

My thanks to Michael Yon and all the others doing the work the Hotel Lobby Media will not do to bring us a look into the eyes and soul of Iraq.

22 July 2007

Diplomatic insanity with regards to Iran

Iran, the hostage-taking, lovely Islamic Republic of Iran is back up to its old tricks of taking Americans hostage and then looking to get America to back down for the fact that Iran has taken hostages. Got that?

This thing started in 1979 with the Iran Hostage Crisis, when Iran committed a casus belli against the United States by invading the Embassy in Tehran, Iran, taking hostages and looting the place. You know, the 'nest of vipers' from the CIA - the Embassy of the United States. And do you remember the response of President Carter?

First was condemnation of the act!

“I ask that you release unharmed all Americans presently detained in Iran” - President Carter.

And then the diplospeak of appeasement: “I have asked both men to meet with you and to hear from you your perspective on events in Iran and the problems which have arisen between our two countries. The people of the United States desire to have relations with Iran based upon equality, mutual respect and friendship.”

Actually, before that was the internecine squabbling inside the National Security Council between Zbigniew Brzezinski, who wanted to back the Shah of Iran 'to the hilt' and had guaranteed the Shah that this would be done, and Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State, who wanted to come to terms with the Khomeini regime. These two would have had some basis in that outlook if the Khomeini regime would play the 'Great Game' and resume its place as a strategic ally or at least neutral to the US.

That, however, was not to be as it would not commit to the Soviets or the US, but put forth hostility to both. The schizophrenia on the part of the Carter Administration was due to the fact that President Carter really had no conception of what the role of the US was in the Middle East, beyond protecting oil supplies. It was this incoherence and swinging back and forth that originally led to having the Shah left in Mexico as the coup happened, then, when the Shah needed medical treatment for his cancer, having pressure from Henry Kissinger and Nelson Rockerfeller, convincing Carter to then let the Shah into the US for treatment. That ticked off the Ayatollah and led to the hostage taking which *then* got us the condemnation of that act. Because the US couldn't decide who to support in the 'Great Game' of 'Geostrategic Politics' with respect to Iran.

Yes, 'Realism' and not supporting democracy in and of itself, so that criticism could have been put against the Shah, Khomeini and anyone without regard to alignment in the 'Great Game'. Iran was a 'buffer state' and ally of the US and seen as a means to keep the Soviet Union from expanding power into the Middle East, but only if you were aligned along the 'Realist' mindset. Khomeini was not, and President Carter could not hold to any formulation of supporting democracy across-the-board due to what understandings he had about foreign policy. Mind you, the folks in Iran didn't like the repressive Shah, would have hated an autocratic Communist regime and came to detest their hijacked revolution as the radical Islamists took power.

Got that? Brzezinski could have dealt with the Iranians if they cooperated, but they wouldn't, and Vance wanted to cooperate no matter what (diplomacy is *always* the right choice). And there was a loud absence of anyone trying to stand up for actual people to have a right to self-government.

There are some that are putting forth the idea that President Carter pushed an Islamic 'Green Belt' between the US and USSR in the Middle East, to form up a number of 'moderate muslim nations' that would serve as a bulwark against Communism and that this was supported by Brzezinski. A few push this idea further back to support of Saudi Arabia and countering Nasser. While some objective concepts are seen via this, like the formation of the Muslim Brotherhood into something that would become a terrorist sponsoring and ideology hot house to put Soviet sponsored regimes at threat, they do not account for Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Libya and a number of other Nations that had Nationalistic outlook that also had strong elements of secular rule. Mohamar Ghadaffy would attempt to sponsor his *own* Islamic organization to sponsor terrorism to counter MB and other regimes have been able to keep out Islamism either via autocratic and dictatorial rule, like Iraq and Syria, or via a secular means like Turkey. In either event, the support of Brzezinski was more aligned with the direct, Nation State containment system that was not theocratically aligned. This is not a dismissal of the concept out of hand, but putting forth that if it *was* a conception carried through by the likes of Kissingers, Brzezinski, Baker, Scowcroft, and other foreign policy 'Realists', it remains one that is so low key as to be unrecognizable.

Ah, now back to that great ideal that President Carter put forth: "The United States of America will not yield to international terrorism or to blackmail."

One of the things that President Carter didn't do, before this, was actually address the FIRST time the US Embassy was invaded in Tehran nine months previously. That FEB 1979 break-in and invasion was left unaddressed by the Carter Administration as a whole, but it avoided any confrontation with the new regime in Tehran over that. So we did, indeed, yield to international terrorism BEFORE the hostage taking by not addressing the terrorism of that first go-around. To put forth this concept after the second break-in and full hostage taking is disingenuous by President Carter: the time to speak up is whenever National Sovereignty is broken and even in the 'Great Game' that is a necessary thing to do so as to extract any advantage over the other side whenever possible.

Of course it would have helped if the US Ambassador to the UN would have spoken up in a disapproving manner after that first break-in, also. But even that was not to be done when Ambassador Andrew Young put forth that Khomeini was “a Twentieth Century saint”. Add that to the initial openness of Brzezinski and is it any wonder that things got *worse*?

And when nice words and appeals to a religious radical who has taken over a Nation don't work? Then we see freezing of assets, ending oil imports from Iran (as if the world oil market cared), expelling Iranian diplomats, and actually expelling Iranians in the country ILLEGALLY. So that's what it takes to get a Democrat to move on this? Holding an Embassy's staff hostage? No *wonder* we have so many illegals in the US....

Finally, somewhere in there, President Carter realized that this was being done in 'bad faith' and he would cut off diplomatic relations and then stage a failed rescue attempt. Plus go to the UN and get those ever-so-handy sanctions that other Nations can bypass and ignore. Iran finally got tired of the game when Saddam invaded and gave President Carter a final tweak by releasing the hostages after he left office. No thanks to the UN, 'international community', 'sanctions' or the like.

That moves us onto the lovely era of Ronald Reagan where... hey, no fair reading ahead and getting to Iran/Contra where zealous staffers thought it would be 'a neat idea' to NEGOTIATE with Iran by giving them arms to release hostages and use those same connections to help funnel Saudi money and illegally gained money through intermediaries to fund the Contras. And one of those was a Syrian! No, those would only come *after* Iranian sponsored Hezbollah had attack the US Embassy in Beirut, bombed the US Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, force the US to leave Beirut and then, for good measure, bomb the Embassy AGAIN! Then all the NEW hostage takings in Beirut would have the Administration working behind the scenes to do the above. You see, we wouldn't 'reward terrorism'.

So what is that called when terrorists bomb your Embassy, kill your soldiers, kidnap your government officials and then you deal with them by trading arms and utilize one of the intermediaries to buy arms for someone else... and his cut then goes to help those that had done all of that? Ronald Reagan was a great foe of the USSR, yes. His ability to actually hold terrorists accountable to anything they did against the US was lackluster at best and actually encouraged them at worse. Remember, if you like the McFarlane/North/Poindexter/Secord thing, then you *also* support the idea of paying Syria to support Hezbollah via that and reward it for getting our Embassy bombed and our Marines killed. This is not a 'neat idea' it is rewarding terrorists.

What other great ideas were presented on Iran, beyond rewarding them for killing Americans? President Reagan sent a cake to Ayatollah Khomeini. Let us hope that this remains only 'purported' to have done so...I do applaud President Reagan for the things he got right. I do shake my head that in getting other things wrong, he set the Nation up for long term problems that would go unaddressed and get worse because they remained unconfronted.

Then the grand total of George H.W. Bush's attitude towards Syria was to 'reward' it for not doing much of anything during the first Gulf War. And what was that reward? About $5 billion. Not bad for 16,000 men not doing much of anything, isn't it? Don't mind you that their hands are bloody from helping Hezbollah kill Americans... that is far too un-'Realistic'.

Now President Clinton, what did he do to stop the Iran-Syria axis from expanding? Did he finally punish either of them? Confront them at least? Hold them accountable for *anything*?

Heavens, no! That might take some forethought, guts and standing up for the US, its ideals and actually blaming other Nations for things they have *done*. Can't have that! Instead the Clinton Administration helped Iran expand its influence into the Balkans by dithering on doing anything about Bosnia. They would also reach out to help bomb the Israeli Embassy and cultural center in Argentina and establish themselves in the Tri-Border Area of South America and further expand influence into Chechnya and begin interfering with Turkish politics, beyond their regular nasty work with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Yes, not only not confront Iran or Syria but actually ensure that nothing was done to stop their spread and, even, *encourage it* via inaction! What a great President, no? To hold no one accountable for the killing of American Embassy staff and Marines? Plus do nothing to stop them from killing more Americans like in the Khobar towers attack. Can't do anything about it, don't you know, someone might get a bit upset.

Just step around the dead Americans, nothing to see here...

Save for three American hostages in Iran and thank you to Mark Steyn and h/t to Scott Johnson at Powerline for pointing this out! Apparently this is a great 'secret' that the MSM doesn't want to release and that the Bush Administration doesn't want to talk about. Because, as Scott Johnson points out, there will be a 'diplomatic push' coming up.

With Iran.

Can't interfere with diplomacy!

Thank you, America, for 28 years of cowardice and being unable to stand up to tyrants, despots and dictators. The Nation seems to have run its course after confronting Communists.

All ideologically tuckered out.

And freedom bartered away for 'diplomacy'.

Bake them a cake before talking with them, these kidnappers and killers.

It is traditional.

Before you appease them.

And weaken the Nation more.

And forget that President Jefferson won respect by fighting, and meant what he said about 'not one red cent for tribute'.

And that the first US vessel to circumnavigate the globe was a warship, sent by President Jackson to deal with Pirates who threatened us, literally on the other side of the planet.

Apparently the only cakes involved then, were of gunpowder.

That was the international language for dealing with them.

Sent a clear message, too, come to that.