What is The (Evil) Sage of Knoxville Up To on Hallow's Eve?

I have conclusive proof that he is arranging field trips for slow moving, foolish persons to WalMart. There, they blocked the candy aisles so fully, that honest Halloween bloggers such as myself could barely pass through at all. It was only his obstructionist tactics that kept me from completing this assignment by 6 CST.

Improved Enemy Tactics in Afghanistan?

Overnight a US Special Ops soldier was killed in a clash in Afghanistan. Earlier this week, of course, two two CIA "contractors" were killed while tracking Taliban elements.

On first face, this pair of successes suggests that Talibani forces are improving their insurgency/antireconnaissance tactics. On the other hand, the CIA doesn't publish the names of its dead very often, nor acknowledge their sacrifice in public. It may be that we've been losing men of this quality all along, or that the Taliban got two lucky breaks in a week.

It is something to watch, however, as prolonged conflicts do often result in an improvement of enemy forces' techniques as they learn the weaknesses of your own techniques and equipment. The classic example of this is that the militants in Israel, once cowed by IDF tanks, have learned to take them out. (Cf. with the mysterious destruction of a US M1A1 earlier this month--hat tip on that to the Agonist, who remains an excellent source of war news).


I do not cite FOXNews often--indeed, this may be the first time. I warn my lady readers against this video, but others should watch it. Watch it, and arm yourselves. Be sure of your philosophy, ward against despair, and polish your guns. We are at war for the time to come, and--whatever you have heard--it is not a war of option. This is what men are made to do. De Oppresso Liber.

UPDATE: If you have not before read any of the USMC doctrine publications, you ought to do so. They are extremely instructive. WARFIGHTING is the best primer, but GROUND COMBAT OPERATIONS, which I linked above, contains a number of important insights:

The offense alone brings victory; the defense can only avoid defeat.

In taking the offensive, an attacker seizes, retains, and exploits the
initiative and maintains freedom of action. The offense allows the
commander to impose his will on the enemy, to determine the
course of the battle, and to exploit enemy weaknesses. A defensive
posture should be only a temporary expedient until the means are
available to resume the offensive.

That's advice our leaders need to take into consideration.

UPDATE II: If you are not convinced by the FOX video, try this one: the stoning of a man and woman to death in Iran.

Like Hell!

This line of thinking among our jurists must die the death. When a member of the US Supreme Court makes statements like these, you know it is time for the citizenry to reclaim power from the court:

The U.S. judiciary should pay more attention to international court decisions to help enrich our nation's standing abroad, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said Tuesday. . . .

Also influential was a court brief filed by American diplomats who discussed the difficulties confronted in their foreign missions because of U.S. death penalty practices, she said.

Let's examine what is wrong with this.

1) The basis of law in the United States is the Constitution. To the degree that so-called "international law" has a place in our system, that place is limited to signed treaties ratified by the Senate. That is the only way that the Constitution permits the "international community" to participate in legislating for the United States.

2) The reason for this is to preserve the requirement that innovations in government's range and power must be approved by the People. Because all government powers are powers lost by the citizen, there can be no rightful extension of government except through Constitutional means. That is the rule. That is the law. All else is lawless.

What the Supreme Court advocates here is allowing nations outside of the United States to legislate for the United States. If any nation dared to impose such a thing by force, we would resist to the last hundred men:

[F]or, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
Yet the Supreme Court would give in to this in the face of no greater force than public opinion. Foreign public opinion. Are we not a nation, who is the greatest of nations?

"This is too much to demand for the delivery of one servant: that your Master should receive in exchange what he must else fight many a war to gain!" So Tolkien wrote. Foreign public opinion is, or could be, a fine servant: but there is far too great a demand here. We must preserve our freedom, and our independence, against jurists even as against armies.

King & Country:

I have a certain fondness for this suggestion from Bernard Lewis and James Woolsey:

Iraq already has a constitution. It was legally adopted in 1925 and Iraq was governed under it until the series of military, then Baathist, coups began in 1958 and brought over four decades of steadily worsening dictatorship. Iraqis never chose to abandon their 1925 constitution--it was taken from them. The document is not ideal, and it is doubtless not the constitution under which a modern democratic Iraq will ultimately be governed. But a quick review indicates that it has some very useful features that would permit it to be used on an interim basis while a new constitution is drafted. Indeed, the latter could be approved as an omnibus amendment to the 1925 document.

This seems possible because the 1925 Iraqi constitution--which establishes that the nation's sovereignty "resides in the people"--provides for an elected lower house of parliament, which has a major role in approving constitutional amendments. It also contains a section on "The Rights of the People" that declares Islam as the official religion, but also provides for freedom of worship for all Islamic sects and indeed for all religions and for "complete freedom of conscience." It further guarantees "freedom of expression of opinion, liberty of publication, of meeting together, and of forming and joining associations." In different words, the essence of much of our own Bill of Rights is reflected therein.

The constitution also establishes a monarchy. The return of the king was advised in Afghanistan as well, but sadly the king did not return, and Karzai has not been able to muster the personal legitimacy a king would have. The Hashemites may be able to do better.
Oil & Gas Journal:

An excellent article on infiltration techniques used by al Qaeda-linked militants appears today in the Oil & Gas Journal. It suggests that Iran is the primary route for mujahedeen from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

This tracks nicely with the USCENTCOM report, via the Agonist, that Syria is not a probable entry point for many fighters.

Artificial Intelligence:

I'm amused to see that the Google banner above apparently thinks this is an anti-war site. I gather the post on "Nazis" below is what's causing it to make that determination.

It's kind of comforting to realize that AIs are still pretty dumb.

More French Missiles in Iraq:

This time they killed a colonel, US Army.

Islamist Moderates:

I suggest this article from TechCentralStation. It is a particularly excellent piece on the problems facing those who are sincere believers in Islam, but political moderates.

The Alliance of Free Blogs:

I have joined the Alliance of Free Blogs. You can find the new links to the right.

But while you listen:

...to the Big Dog, remember this.

As I went a-walking one morning in May
I met a young couple who findly did stray
One was a young maid so sweet and so fair
and the other was a soldier and a brave grenadier....

Now I'm off to India for seven long years
drinking wines and strong whiskey instead of cold beers
and if I ever return again it'll be in the spring
and we'll both sit down together to hear the nightingale sing

Freedom is not free.
Rumsfeld Speaks:

Today we hear from the Big Dog himself, SECDEF Donald H. Rumsfeld. Give an ear to him, lads.