Friday, June 15, 2007

US Troops in Iraq, 40 years before OIF

Yes, back then we had US forces stationed in the Sandbox to repel any Middle Eastern adventures by Hitler. The guidance provided to them is surprisingly relevant to today.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Unconventional Insights on the Long War

Public perception of reality is far more important than reality itself. And who better to discuss public perception than a journalist? What color is your gator? Read it all, as is so often said. Counterinsurgency is a war of perceptions - is the government perceived as the lawful ruler and able to protect its citizens? If the government is perceived as a failure, it will fail in reality. By the way, Michael Yon is a excellent writer and probably the best war correspondent we have. His site is worth a prolonged visit.

The Mesopotamian, an Iraqi blogger, made an interesting point a few weeks back. Normally, we like to think of insurgencies as war on the cheap, but it isn't free. Even if the weaponry is less expensive, someone has to pay for it, and plastic explosive is hardly free. I don't know if I agree with his conclusions, (Iran has a lot of money, enough to build nuclear weaponry, after all) but we would be foolish to neglect the flow of money to the insurgents - often provided by the thirsty gas tanks of our cars.

For all those feminists out there who think the war on terror is not worth winning, I suggest this article. Dressing like a sack of potatoes is not exactly liberating.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Marshal(l) Corps?

John Edwards has posted an interesting idea for counter-terrorism. While much of it has been deservedly trashed on the blogosphere, I think he may have a point.

"Marshall Corps": Weak and failing states create hotbeds for terrorism and create regional instability that creates security dangers for the U.S. and our allies. As president, Edwards will create a "Marshall Corps" of 10,000 professionals, modeled on the Reserves systems, who will work on stabilization and humanitarian missions. He will also implement new training for future military leadership and create a undersecretary for stabilization and a new senior stabilization position within the Joint Staff.

I think the Marshall Corps could work, if it was well-administered. This would be a force of police, reconstruction specialists, and emergency response personnel. All of these people would receive training to prepare them for hostile, lawless landscapes like Iraq... or post-Katrina New Orleans. This unit would be a deployable, non-military force that could operate inside or outside of the United States. They would also cross-train with current contractors and military personnel who have reconstruction related roles.

I'd like to see him actually detail it further. If he neglects the security element, it would be a waste of time. Does he mean Marshall as in Marshall plan or as in US Marshals? The latter would be more useful.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Look, an Airship!

I was riding to a friend's comedy event as I noticed an airship passing by the skyline. Now, as you may guess from the name of my blog, I love airships. Unfortunately, I was only able to get a very low quality cell phone picture. It was clear which blimp it was: the Sanyo blimp. The blimp is operated by the Lightships Group, who have the enviable job of flying glowing airships. The lightship term does not refer to being lighter than air (i.e. they float in air as opposed using wings to create lift), but the lightship is actually lit from the interior...

Although it is in Minneapolis, that is basically how it looked last night. Check out out Mitch's site for more awesome images.


Friday, June 1, 2007

America loves Tony Blair

Tony Blair has always been an interesting character. He's from the Labor party, which is considerably more liberal than the Democrats here in the US, yet he is one of the most dedicated supporters of the war against Jihadism. He's proof that this is not a Left vs. Right issue. Honestly, you would expect the Left to be in favor of defeating an ideology that demands the subjugation of women, the execution of homosexuals, and the suppression of all four freedoms (I sometimes wonder if some democratic leader like Lieberman could have done a better job in keeping the country united.) He's an excellent communicator, and a man of considerable intelligence.

Take this, for example. His reflections on his tenure as prime minister show him to be the kind of intellectual and statesman we need right now. While I don't agree with all of his points, he makes an actual argument worth engaging. This is sadly rare on the Left. Wesley Clark, despite being anti-war, had this level of intellectual clarity.

Mr. Blair, you're welcome here in the States anytime.