Wednesday, February 18, 2004

For 400 billion dollars, why don't we just BUY Iraq? I know a great real estate agent.

This "war" is folly, folly and double-folly. It is morally wrong, it is being run inefficiently, it is needlessly endangering the lives of US soldiers and it is bankrupting America.

Why are we fighting it? Stupidity, propaganda, cowardice and EGO.

What are the alternatives? Financial stability. Education, health care, safety. Justice, democracy, wisdom and love. Ideas that only truly brave leaders can sponsor and embrace.

Ditch this dirty little "war" now.

Best regards, Jane Stillwater, Berkeley, CA

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World Peace in one generation!"


From Dennis Kucinich, speaking as a presidential candidate on March 29: "Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Baner still wave o'r the land of the Free and the home of the Brave" He actually sung it! He's a tenor. It was so cool! Dubya never sings nothing. And never gives us hope either.

From Seymour Hersh at the New Yorker:

The battle between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon.

by SEYMOUR M. HERSH, The New Yorker Magazine,

Issue of 2003-04-07
Posted 2003-03-31

As the ground campaign against Saddam Hussein faltered last week, with attenuated supply lines and a lack of immediate reinforcements, there was anger in the Pentagon. Several senior war planners complained to me in interviews that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his inner circle of civilian advisers, who had been chiefly responsible for persuading President Bush to lead the country into war, had insisted on micromanaging the war's operational details. Rumsfeld's team took over crucial aspects of the day-to-day logistical planning--traditionally, an area in which the uniformed military excels--and Rumsfeld repeatedly overruled the senior Pentagon planners on the Joint Staff, the operating arm of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "He thought he knew better," one senior planner said. "He was the decision-maker at every turn."

From David "Friar Tuck" Southcomb:

Just heard an interesting interview with a Middle East correspondent from NEWSWEEK Magazine, "on the heels" of an interview with an Arab American journalist on CNN, and just wanted to share some idle thoughts. Last night I heard a marvelous interview with Col. Hackworth on "Larry King Live" and that was also insightful, too!!!

The Arab American journalist noted that last summer a U. S. Marine Lieutenant General ran a wargame on this war, where he played the Iraqis. The general did a whole host of things from terrorist bombings to using civilians as decoys and scouts for the Iraqi forces, to having guerilla attacks on stretched supply lines and the like. In the end, the general resigned from playing, because the people administering the games said that the kinds of things he was doing were simply things that the Iraqi people would not do, because they had been sooooh persecuted by the Saddam Hussein Reign, that they would only greet us as "liberators."

Colonel Hackworth said that we are having problems in the prosecution of the war simply because we are not fighting the war, realistically! He said that to the Iraqis, it is their country, and despite the heinous nature of Hussein, they are not going to "hand over" their nation to the US!!! He said that the paramilitary group that Rumsfield tries to demean and diminish are no different than the Viet Cong in Vietnam and he has little doubt that they will "let up" on their tactics.

The correspondent from NEWSWEEK said that the US is looking at a dangerous occupation of Iraq and it will be more like Chetyna and Northern Ireland than anything else. He affirmed the multidimensional ways that American credibility in the Arab World has reached a new low.

After "processing" these three pieces of information, I come away with an interesting perspective. I found myself talking out loud in an almost fatherly way to our President Select and said, "George, My Friend, you have gotten this country in more 'doo-doo' than I ever imagined you were capable of doing! Your 'hellbent' determination to eliminate Saddam Hussein, George, is just getting our nation mired in a war that I honestly believe is going to become Vietnam II for our nation! I never dreamed that you were that politically ignorant, even if I do believe you are the stupidest man to become President in a very long time!"

Beyond all of that, folks, I am just speechless--I never thought this war would be as "out of hand/control" as it is, and there is every indication that BAD is only going to go to WORSE in the 'fullness of time'!!!

David Southcomb
"Friar Tuck"

God Bless America and God Bless Our Troops!!!

"When you give your gifts to others, you are giving to yourself. You may think you are giving to others, but you are really giving yourself a chance to be your best - to live your values - to express your talents - to share your love. You're giving yourself a chance to experience yourself making a meaningful difference and to feel fully alive in the process."

---Laurence Boldt

An alternative "war" analysis:
War in Iraq - a week of war, March 30, 2003,

The IRAQWAR.RU analytical center was created recently by a group of
journalists and military experts from Russia to provide accurate and
up-to-date news and analysis of the war against Iraq. The following is
the English translation of the IRAQWAR.RU report based on the Russian
military intelligence reports.

March 28, 2003, 1448hrs MSK (GMT +3), Moscow - According to the latest
intercepted radio communications, the command of the coalition group of
forces near Karabela requested at least 12 more hours to get ready to
storm the town. This delay is due to the much heavier losses sustained
by the coalition troops during the sand storms then was originally
believed. Just the US 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division sustained more
than 200 disabled combat vehicles of various types. The 101st Airborne
Division reported some 70 helicopters as being disabled. Additionally,
the recently delivered reinforcements require rest and time to prepare
for combat.

At the same time the US forces have resumed attacks near An-Nasiriya and
An-Najaf since 0630hrs and are continuously increasing the intensity of
these attacks. During the night and early morning of March 28 the Iraqi
positions in these areas were subjected to eight aerial assaults by
bombers and ground attack aircraft. However, so far [the coalition] was
unable to penetrate the Iraqi defenses.

Also during the early morning the British units begun advancing along
the Fao peninsula. Latest radio intercepts from this area show that
under a continuous artillery and aerial bombardment the Iraqis have
begun to gradually withdraw their forces toward Basra.

First firefights between troops of the US 82nd Airborne Division and the
Iraqi forces occurred in northern Iraq in the area of Mosula. At the
same time the arrival of up to 1,500 Kurdish troops has been observed in
this area. So far it is not clear to which of the many Kurdish political
movements these troops belong. Leaders of the largest Kurdish workers
party categorically denied participation of their troops. They believe
that these may be units of one of the local tribes not controlled by the
central authorities of the Kurdish autonomy and "ready to fight with
anyone" for money.

According to verified information, during the past 48 hours of the Iraqi
counterattacks the coalition forces sustained the following losses: up
to 30 killed, over 110 wounded and 20 missing in action; up to 30 combat
vehicles lost or disabled, including at least 8 tanks and 2
self-propelled artillery systems, 2 helicopters and 2 unmanned aerial
vehicles were lost in combat. Iraqi losses are around 300 killed, up to
800 wounded, 200 captured and up to 100 combat vehicles 25 of which were
tanks. Most of the [ Iraqi ] losses were sustained due to the artillery
fire and aerial bombardment that resumed by the evening of March 27.

First conclusions can be drawn from the war

The first week of the war surprised a number of military analysts and
experts. The war in Iraq uncovered a range of problems previously left
without a serious discussion and disproved several resilient myths.

The first myth is about the precision-guided weapons as the determining
factor in modern warfare, weapons that allow to achieve strategic
superiority without direct contact with the enemy. On the one hand we
have the fact that during the past 13 years the wars were won by the
United States with minimum losses and, in essence, primarily through the
use of aviation. At the same time, however, the US military command was
stubborn in ignoring that the decisive factor in all these wars was not
the military defeat of the resisting armies but political isolation
coupled with strong diplomatic pressure on the enemy's political
leadership. It was the creation of international coalitions against Iraq
in 1991, against Yugoslavia in 1999 and against Afghanistan in 2001 that
ensured the military success.

The American command preferred not to notice the obvious military
failures during expeditions to Granada, Libya and Somalia, discounting
them as "local operations" not deserving much attention.

Today we can see that in itself massed use of strategic and tactical
precision-guided weapons did not provide the US with a strategic
advantage. Despite the mass use of the most sophisticated weapons the
Americans have so far failed to disrupt Iraqi command and control
infrastructure, communication networks, top Iraqi military and political
leadership, Iraqi air defenses. At the same time the US precision-guided
weapons arsenal has been reduced by about 25%.

The only significant advantage of the precision-guided weapons is the
capability to avoid massive casualties among the civilians in densely
populated areas.

What we have is an obvious discrepancy between the ability to locate and
attack a target with precision-guided weapons and the power of this
weapon, which is not sufficient to reliably destroy a protected target.

On the other hand, precision-guided munitions demonstrated their
superiority over conventional munitions on the battlefield. The ability
to attack targets at long ranges with the first shot is the deciding
factor in the American superiority in land battles.

The second myth disproved by this war is the myth propagated by the
proponents of the "hi-tech" war, who believe in the superiority of the
most modern weapons and inability of older-generation weapons to
counteract the latest systems. Today the technological gap between the
Iraqi weapons and those of the coalition has reached 25-30 years, which
corresponds to two "generations" in weapons design. The primary Iraqi
weapons correspond to the level of the early 1970s. Since that time the
Americans, on the other hand, have launched at least two major
rearmament efforts: the "75-83 program" and the "90-97 program".
Moreover, currently the US is in the middle of another major
modernization and rearmament program that will continue for the next
five years. Despite of this obvious gap, Iraqi resistance has already
been publicly qualified by the US as "fierce and resilient". Analysts
believe that the correlation of losses is entirely acceptable to the
Iraqis and they [ the analysts ] do not see any strategic coalition
advantage in this war. Once again this proves that success in modern
warfare is achieved not so much through technological superiority but
primarily through training, competent command and resilience of the
troops. Under such conditions even relatively old weapons can inflict
heavy losses on a technologically-superior enemy.

Two enormous mistakes made by the US command during the planning stages
of this war resulted in the obvious strategic failure. The US has
underestimated the enemy. Despite the unique ability to conduct
reconnaissance against the Iraqi military infrastructure through a wide
network of agents implanted with the international teams of weapons
inspectors, despite unlimited air dominance the US military command has
failed to adequately evaluate combat readiness of the Iraqi army and its
technical capabilities; the US has failed to correctly assess the social
and political situation in Iraq and in the world in general. These
failures led to entirely inadequate military and political decisions:

The coalition force was clearly insufficient for a such a large-scale
operation. The number of deployed troops was at least 40% short of the
required levels. This is the reason why today, after nine days of war,
the US is forced to resort to emergency redeployment of more than
100,000 troops from the US territory and from Europe. This, in essence,
is the same number of troops already fighting in Iraq.

The buildup and distribution of the coalition forces have been conducted
with gross neglect of all basic rules of combat. All troops were massed
in one small area, which led to five days of non-stop fighting to widen
this area. The initial attack begun without any significant aerial or
artillery preparation and almost immediately this resulted in reduced
rate of advance and heated positional battles.

Today we can see that the US advance is characterized by disorganized
and "impulsive" actions. The troops are simply trying to find weak spots
in the Iraqi defenses and break through them until they hit the next
ambush or the next line of defense.

Not a single goal set before the coalition forces was met on time.

During the nine days of the war the coalition has failed:

- to divide Iraq in half along the An-Nasiriya - Al-Ammara line,
- to surround and to destroy the Iraqi group of forces at Basra,
- to create an attack group between the Tigris and the Euphrates with a
front toward Baghdad,
- to disrupt Iraq's military and political control, to disorganize
Iraq's forces and to destroy the main Iraqi attack forces.

A whole range of problems that require their own solutions was uncovered
directly on the battlefield. Thus, combat in Iraq raised serious
concerns about the problem of coordination between units from different
services. Limited decision-making time and the ability to detect and to
engage an enemy at a great distance make "friendly fire" one of the most
serious problems of modern warfare. For now the coalition has no
adequate solution to this problem. At one location or another every day
of this war the coalition troops were attacking friendly forces.

The second problem of the coalition is its inability to hold on to the
captured territory. For the first time since the war in Vietnam the
Americans have to deal with a partisan movement and with attacks against
their [the US] lines of communication. Currently the coalition is
rushing to form some sort of territorial defense units for guarding its
supply lines and for maintaining order in the occupied territories.

A range of technical problems with equipment has been revealed during
the combat operations. Most operators of the M1A2 Abrams main battle
tank agree that the tank was inadequate for performing the set combat
tasks. The primary problem is the extremely low reliability of the
tank's engine and its transmission in desert conditions. Heat from the
sun, hot sand and the constantly present hot dust in the air nearly
nullified the advantages offered by the turret-mounted thermal sights.
Visibility range of these sights did not exceed 300 meters during
movement in convoy and reached up to 700-800 meters during stops. Only
during cold nights did the visibility range reach 1000-1,500 meters.
Additionally, a large number of thermal sights and other electronics
simply broke down. The tiny crystalline sand particles caused electrical
power surges and disabled electronic equipment.

This was the reason for the decision by the coalition command to stop
movement of troops at night when a contact with the enemy was deemed likely.

The main strong side of the coalition forces was the wide availability
of modern reconnaissance and communication systems that allowed to
detect the enemy at long ranges and to quickly suppress the enemy with
well-coordinated actions of different types of available forces.

In general the US soldiers showed sufficiently high combat resilience.
Even in the extremely difficult weather conditions the troops maintained
control structure and adequately interpreted the situation. Combat
spirit remained high. The majority of troops remain confident in their
abilities, while maintaining belief in the superiority of their weapons
and maintaining reasonable confidence in the way the war is being fought.

It should be noted, however, that the way the war is being fought did
create a certain sense of disappointment in most of the troops. Many are
feeling that they've been lied to and are openly talking about the
stupidity of the high command and its gross miscalculations. "Those
star-covered Pentagon idiots promised us a victory march and flowers on
the armor. What we got instead were those damned fanatics fighting for
every dune and the sand squeaking in your ass!" said one of the wounded
recuperating at a hospital in Rammstein. [ Reverse translation from
Russian ]

Nevertheless, despite the sand storms the terrain favors the coalition
actions by allowing it to employ their entire arsenal of weapons at the
greatest possible range, which makes it difficult for the Iraqis to
conduct combat operations outside of populated areas.

Overestimating the abilities of its airborne forces was a weak side of
the coalition. Plans for a wide-scale use of helicopters as an
independent force did not materialize. All attempts by the US command to
organize aerial and ground operations through exclusive use of airborne
forces have failed. Because of these failures by the end of the fourth
day of the war all airborne units were distributed across the coalition
units and used by the attacking forces for reconnaissance, fire support,
and for containing the enemy. The main burden of combat was carried by
the "heavy" mechanized infantry and tank units.

Another serious drawback in the coalition planning was the exceptionally
weak protection in the rear of the advancing forces. This resulted in
constant interruptions in fuel supply. Tank units sometimes spent up to
6 hours standing still with empty fuel tanks, in essence, being targets
for the Iraqis. Throughout the war delivery of food, ammunition and fuel
remains a headache for the US commanders.

Among the US soldiers there has been a wide-scale discontent with the
quality of the new combat rations. Servicemen are openly calling these
rations "shitty." Many soldier just take the biscuits and the sweets and
discard the rest of the ration. Commanders of the combat units are
demanding from the coalition command to immediately provide the troops
with hot food and to review the entire contents of the combat ration.

Among the strong sides of the Iraqi troops are their excellent knowledge
of the terrain, high quality of defensive engineering work, their
ability to conceal their main attack forces and their resilience and
determination in defense. The Iraqis have shown good organization in
their command and communication structures as well as decisive and and
well-planned strategy.

Among the drawbacks of the Iraqi forces is the bureaucratic
inflexibility of their command, when all decisions are being made only
at the highest levels. Their top commanders also tend to stick to
standard "template" maneuvers and there is insufficient coordination
among the different types of forces.

At the same time commanders of the [Iraqi] special operations forces are
making good use of the available troops and weapons to conduct
operations behind the front lines of the enemy. They use concealment,
show cunning and imagination.

The first strategic lessons of the war

[ Lessons of the war in Iraq are discussed here with a focus on a
possible similar war between Russia and the US ]

The main of such lessons is the ever-increasing significance of troop
concealment as one of the primary methods of combat. Concealment and
strict adherence to the requirements for secrecy and security become
strategic goals of the defending forces in the view of the US reliance
and that of its allies on precision-guided weapons, electronic and
optical reconnaissance as well as due to their use of tactical weapons
at the maximum possible range afforded by these reconnaissance methods.
Importance of concealment is being seen in Iraq and was clearly
demonstrated in Yugoslavia, where the Yugoslav Army preserved nearly 98%
of its assets despite the three months of bombing. Within our
[Russian/European] battle theater concealment methods will offer us [the
Russian army] an enormous advantage over the US.

The second lesson of this war is the strategic role of the air defenses
in modern warfare as the most important service of the armed forces.
Only the complete air dominance of the coalition allows it to continue
its advance toward Baghdad and to achieve the critical advantage in any
engagement. Even the short interruption in air support caused by the
sand storms put the US and British troops in a very difficult situation.

Elimination of the air defenses as a separate service branch of the
[Russian] Armed Forces and its gradual dissipation in the Air Force can
be called nothing else but a "crime". [This statement refers to the
recent unification of the Russian Air Force (VVS) and the Air Defense
Force (PVO) and the secondary role of the air defense force within this
new structure.]

The third lesson of the war is the growing importance of combat
reconnaissance and increased availability of anti-tank weapons capable
of engaging the enemy at maximum range. There is a requirement on the
battlefield for a new weapon system for small units that would allow for
detection of the enemy at maximum distance during day or night; for
effective engagement of modern tanks at a range of 800-1000 meters; for
engagement of enemy infantry at a range of 300-500 meters even with the
modern personal protection equipment possessed by the infantry.

(source:, 03-28-03, translated by Venik)

Regarding Einstein, cowardice and fear:

By Bill Douglas
Tuesday, March 11, 2003, Yellow

The most important question one can ask oneself is: "Is the universe a
friendly place?" Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein recognized that from the answer to the question "Is the
universe a friendly place?" one could extrapolate the direction of
every subsequent life decision. One's entire reality would evolve from the
answer to that one all-important question.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others in the present US government
administration pulled strings to avoid military service in Vietnam.
Why? Apparently not because they didn't oppose the red menace in Vietnam;
after all, they supported others fighting that war. Therefore, the
unavoidable answer to that question is cowardice. A coward sees the
world as a very threatening place.

Herein lies the danger to all the people of the world. When coward are
in charge, they will direct the institution they lead to use all of its
resources to "protect themselves from harm." This perceived harm could
be economic, political, or military. And they perceive harm coming from
every corner, from under every bed, and from anyone and everyone who
challenges their fearful view of the world. In a coward's world, "you
are either with us, or against us."

The only way the coward can feel truly and ultimately feel safe is to
destroy pre-emptively all possible challenges to their perceived
safety. They don't savour competition and challenge, but rather see it as a
direct threat. They have no vision of a win-win scenario because
everyone is a potential enemy of their way of life. Therefore, all
programs of social uplift must be dismantled because levelling an
unfair playing field in the economic realm could pose a threat to their
inherited place of economic ascendance.

From me via Time Magazine:

Doing the math: Will USA + Iraq = USSR + Afghanistan?