You'll recall "Clausewitz & The Triangle," in which I argued that the traditional mode of victory -- what von Clauzewitz called "the culminating point of victory" -- was not available to the Iraqi insurgents.
Doc in the Box, mourning a vicious slaughter of friends he had while in the sandbox, makes the point in personal terms:
The insurgences, whom I believe are foreign nationals mostly, aren't doing anyone over there any good. They're installing fear in everybody, they're not only attacking us, they're attacking the very people that are trying to raise the country out of post war barbarism that seems to be running rampant. These people don't have the good of the Iraqi people at heart, they don't worship Allah, they worship Chaos.That is why they cannot win. That is why we will, and it is why we must. Only we ourselves can lose, by talking ourselves out of fighting it through to the end. The good folk of Iraq are counting on us.
This is the true terrorism, when you're trying to change a country by taking out anybody that can make a difference. Relief workers, people that help the poor? Doctors, Teachers, potential Leaders?
After such attacks, who is ever going to take these people seriously?
You've probably heard about the Labor Dept. Memo predicting a sure Bush win. It says that 'nearly every model' shows Bush carrying the election by much larger margins than the polls show.
"What models?" you might reasonably ask. After all, everything we've seen in the press indicates a very tight race.
Well, here's a primer on some of them. Here is another. CNN had some back in August. here is one from Yale. And here are some based on political science rather than economic theory.
Most of these predict a sizable Bush victory, between 54 and 60 percent.
Are they accurate? Eh, who knows? :) But the smart money for a gambler is on Bush.
Don't miss today's page-one story from the Washington Post, on the wives of front-line soldiers.
Greyhawk, one such soldier deployed in Iraq, says this about the story: "Three years into the war on terror and this is the first honest reporting on military families I have ever seen in a major daily."
I took a little time today to sight in my "new" rifle. It's only new to me; it was manufactured in 1966, based on a design that was already quite old at the time. It's a Winchester Model 94, in .30-30.
The local rifle range is set up with twenty-five yard, sixty yard, and hundred yard target holders. I was planning on using the twenty-five yard targets, as this thing has only the original iron sights on it. Since my primary reason to have it is home defense, I plan on replacing them with a ghost ring, but for today I just wanted to get the feel of the rifle.
However, deer season is on us, so I didn't end up getting my choice of ranges. Unless I wanted to wait a long time to shoot, the sixty yard targets were all there was. Too, all the people sighting in for deer season meant that I could shoot for only one thirty-minute segment. Taking time to get to know the rifle, that means I only spent fifteen rounds before it was time to leave.
I had two other difficulties at the range. The first was that the staple gun jammed up, so I only got the top of the target stapled to the target holders. This meant that the steady breeze was flapping my target around a bit at the bottom. The other problem was that I hadn't thought to dig out my field glasses, so I couldn't tell how accurate my shooting was -- at sixty yards, a hole .3 inches wide is invisible to me unless you get one of those splash targets, and all I had was basic white paper with black rings.
All that said, I put all fifteen rounds on paper, but it sights very high at sixty yards. I can only assume the previous owner sighted it in for longer distances, as I was fairly well trained in the basics of riflery and I'm sure my part of it was right. I didn't get anything within two inches of the X ring, although it was otherwise grouped pretty well.
No doubt I just need to apply some Kentucky windage, until I get around to replacing the sights.
This flier is one of several being posted around D.C. They all say, "No matter who wins, the system is rotten," and promise a massive "loud" and "unpermitted" demonstration -- that is, a pre-planned riot that you are invited to join -- on 3 November, regardless of the outcome of the election.
There are, as I said, several fliers, but this one is special.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photograph, which is from my camera phone. Still, as you can probably make out, the image is of the word "EMPIRE," with a mountain of skulls piled atop it. At the summit, there is a mockery of the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima.
There is much to be said about this image, and what it represents. These are American citizens putting this stuff out, and this is what they believe: that America is an empire, built on a mountain of skulls. That Iwo Jima was fought against an actual empire does not enter their minds. That the mountains of skulls are to be found in Saddam's mass graves, not in the wake of US troop movements, likewise never comes to their mind.
But there is one part of the image that is true. The flag on Mt. Surabachi was raised atop a mountain of skulls. The skulls belonged to the United States Marines.
There they fought up Iwo Jima's hillThe dead deserve better from the living than this.
Two hundred and fifty men,
But only twenty-seven lived
To fight back down again.
Scotsman.com News - News Archive - Documentary reveals Albanian arms dealer donated cash to the Kerry campaign
Thanks to reader TxRascal for this link. The Scotsman is a famously sober voice in news journalism. Here is what they say:
JOHN Kerry has acquired a financial backer likely to provide him with more problems than support in his battle for the White House: the Kosovo Liberation Army.
A documentary produced by a Dutch television crew alleges Florin Krasniqi, an Albanian arms dealer, is buying weapons in the US and sending them to Kosovo - while perfecting contacts with the Democratic Party in the United States.
Mr Krasniqi is filmed at a Kerry fundraising event handing over a cheque, then chatting and joking with senior Democrats including Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander and Richard Holbrooke, Mr Kerry's senior foreign policy adviser.
The documentary, broadcast last month in The Netherlands and seen by The Scotsman, follows Mr Krasniqi from his home in Brooklyn in New York to his Albanian base where he distributes arms to mercenaries on the Kosovo border.
Showing remarkable candour, Mr Krasniqi says the KLA has "unfinished business" with the Serbs and predicts that war will break out again in "about a year and a half" if the UN does grant Kosovo independence from Serbia and Montenegro.
The Kerry fundraising event is shown making a direct pitch for Albanian money. Mr Holbrooke warns in a speech that Mr Bush is planning to pull troops out of Kosovo - the implication being the Serbs would be unconstrained.
John Belushi, the Albanian-American actor, then appears in a video soliciting donations. "If you care about the fate of Albanians in the Balkans, I hope you'll do anything to can to make sure John Kerry is elected as our next President," he says.
The documentary goes on to show Mr Krasniqi buying guns from a dealer in St Mary's, Pennsylvania.
With frankness bordering on the brazen, he explains to the film crew how easy it is to smuggle arms. "We had set up a hunting club in Albania," he says - and simply tell anyone who asks they are planning an excursion to Tasmania.
He admits being "caught twice" - by Italian and Swiss authorities - but allowed to proceed after saying the Albanian hunting club was preparing for an expedition to hunt elephants in Tasmania. Other arms are smuggled under humanitarian aid, he says.
While there is no suggestion that Mr Kerry had knowledge about the funds being donated by Mr Krasniqi, the video will be deeply embarrassing for the Massachusetts senator as he combats accusations of being soft on terror.
Mr Krasniqi is named in the Federal Election Commission returns as a registered donor to the Kerry campaign at his Brooklyn address. The sum is dollars 1,000. The Kerry-Edwards campaign was asked to comment, but did not return calls to The Scotsman yesterday.
Depending on where you are, it may be late enough in the day for one. The pundits at National Review Online are running a feature on their favorite beers, just in case any of you were curious.
My favorite beer to drink at the pub is Guinness, without question, although when one can get it, Murphy's is as good -- slightly sweeter, but equally rich. If I'm drinking at home, where you can't get a proper draft beer, I'll take Fosters' bitter or my grandfather's favorite, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
The former Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia, James Bissett, agrees with yesterday's story about the KLA & the DNC. Once again, this is an article that is not aimed at the American market. These charges are being raised by the Ambassador as a warning to Serbs about the outcome of the election, not to influence the election in America.
The Ambassador says:
In addition, it seems clear to me that if the Democrats get back into power in the next election, we are going to find the same old "Serb-hating" gang in power. That is: Madlene Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Wesley Clark and a number of others. These are all people who are very much anti - Serb. Holbrooke's book and his remarks about the Serbs are clearly racist. All these individuals are committed to a Greater Albania in the Balkans. The Kerry election campaign is also getting a tremendous amount of funding by the Albanians.And if not, according to the interview, more of that KLA money was going to buy weapons to be used against American soldiers.
Dutch Television showed a documentary produced by KLA, with KLA members in a room in New York City giving cheques to Richard Holbrooke and Wesley Clark. It showed Richard Holbrooke phoning a man by the name Philips, telling him they collected great amount of money. The figure of US $ 500,000 was mentioned. It is very clear that if they are in power, the Democrats will demand the independence for Kosovo.
As we are now entering the last days of this miserable election season, I'd like to point you back to how we got started on this festival. In honor of the 30th Anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, let's have a retrospective to Ace of Spades post: the Democratic Nominees as D&D characters.
I think these predictions have held up very well over time.
That, at least, is the claim being made by FaithFreedom.Org, which is an anti-jihadist site of former Muslims (or, if you like, Muslim apostates now living under the threat of death from radicals).
Actually, they are just reporting the claim of a Dutch television station, which has video of what they say are known KLA operatives writing fat checks at a Kerry fundraiser. There is also an interview with one of the KLA men, in which it is claimed that he says he is buying weapons for a possible war against US/UN forces in Kosovo.
This came to me through a reputable civilian open source intelligence group. I'm passing it on to the blogosphere in the hope that someone can give me a read on whether the TV station in question (VPRO) is of good or bad reputation, and whether or not the report that actually ran is as it is portrayed by FaithFreedom.
UPDATE: The story has now migrated to the far-right news sites NewsMax and WorldNetDaily. Neither of which is normally reliable, but again, all they are reporting is the Dutch video, which is available online for your own perusal.
What makes this story seem oddly credible -- that is, unlike a smear attack -- is that the Dutch aren't apparently interested in the Kerry angle. The name of their TV program translates as "The Brooklyn Connection," that is, the KLA's connection to Brooklyn; not "the Kosovo Conection," which would be Kerry's connection to Kosovo.
It's also reasonable to assume that KLA figures would know some highly placed Democrats such as those allegedly meeting with them at the DNC. This is due to the candidacy of Wes Clark, who in his military capacity worked with KLA forces.
It is an interesting story.
And, as usual when this happens, DOD is right.
The most senior U.S. military official has publicly broken with the White House in the ongoing controversy over reforming U.S. intelligence.There's a whole lot of good reasons for this. Reason number one, though, is that the CIA has been wrong about absolutely everything from the Soviet missle counts, to the collapse of the Soviet Union, to... well, take your pick.
In a letter to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Gen. Richard Myers makes it clear that he does not support the White House-backed proposal to give a new national spy chief budgetary control over three key intelligence agencies inside the Department of Defense.
"The budgets of the combat support agencies should come up from the agencies through the secretary of defense," reads the letter, signed Thursday by Myers and obtained by United Press International.
Having DIA as a fully independent intelligence apparatus makes a lot of sense. Bad practices in a "unified" command mean bad practices in every intelligence product produced by the US. Having competing views is utterly healthy in the intelligence world. We would be fools to undo this aspect of our intel setup.
The Scots-Irish vote in America today. The author, James Webb, has a new book out on the topic that was recommended to me by a former paratrooper of my association, a good lad from East Tennessee (the best of the three Tennessees).
I assume most all of you read BlackFive, whom I linked yesterday. Not all of you may get by Doc Russia's place. Doc is a former Marine, and a medical student married to a full-fledged doctor.
Doc is a great writer on top of that. My female readers, especially, may enjoy his account of his wife's shoe-shopping expedition, entitled "Hard to find."