The Korea Times : US to Dispatch 690,000 Troops to Korea in Crisis

Korean White Papers:

If the Korea Times is to be believed... well, to be honest, I find them a bit hard to believe:

About 690,000 U.S. troops along with 2,000 military aircraft and 160 warships would be mobilized to defend South Korea in the event of a war on the Korean peninsula, according to a document released by the Ministry of National Defense Friday.

The Defense White Paper said the U.S.' contingency plan included the deployment of 70 percent of its Marine Corps. The remaining forces consisted of 50 percent of the U.S. Air Force and 40 percent of the U.S. Navy.
Those are astonishing numbers. But here's some background.

The US is pulling 12,500 servicemen from US Forces Korea, to reassign to other duties. The ROK citizenry has mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, they're glad to see us go; large scale military basings (and even large-scale shore leaves) are always friction points, in Korea as in Okinawa and elsewhere. Welcomed after the ravages of the Japanese occupation, Americans have come to be regarded as a mixed blessing.

On the other hand, just over the border are 700,000 starving DPRK soldiers, backed with 13,500 artillery pieces and probably two to six nukes. Seoul, capital and megacity, is within range of the guns and missiles.

There are three possibilities arising from this story, assuming that it is correctly reporting US information.

1) The US expects to defeat the DPRK without substantial loss of life, but feels it is likely to need 70% of the USMC to stabilize and rebuild the place. In this case, much of the initial fighting would be standoff fire from the USAF/Naval elements, with the Marines advancing to engage the enemy once it was already substantially degraded.

2) The US believes the DPRK could effectively force a Marine engagement with their lines before those lines could be substantially degraded, perhaps by bringing Seoul under fire at a level our political culture couldn't tolerate. If the Marines had to fight against dug-in DPRK positions, in the face of guns and unknowable nuclear power, very severe loss rates are possible.

3) The US is bluffing, and expects never to have to put up the 690,000 troops. The DPRK military suffers from a combination of logistical poverty and the inability to advance off static lines of defense without creating massive vunerability. Thus, it is safe to reassure the ROK populace about our troop drawdown by promising massive reinforcements if there is an attack, while also giving the DPRK official notice that an attack would be doomed to failure.

If I had to, I'd bet on position 3 being the true one. If I were correct about that, it explains what is otherwise a little baffling -- why the US would permit its contingency plans to be described in detail by the ROK Defense Ministry. It is not otherwise clear either why the US DOD would permit its plan to be made public, nor why it would have the ROK DM do it instead of releasing the plans themselves. If the white paper is an information operation, however, it becomes clear: the release is permitted because we want the enemy to know this information; and ROK DM is doing it rather than DOD because US information operations must take pains to target foreign rather than domestic audiences. A statement by Rumsfeld would draw US eyes; this paper may not draw so many.

Hat tip: China E-Lobby.

'Intimate killing' - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED - February 07, 2005

Intimate Killing:

Thanks to JHD, who sends this piece by a retired commander of the Army War College. It concerns General Mattis:

For those of you who might have the image of a knuckle-dragging troglodyte, let me assure you that he is one of the most urbane and polished men I have known. He can quote Homer as well as Sun Tzu and has over 7,000 books in his personal library.
One of the enduring cultural myths in America is the notion that the military is filled with uneducated, or undereducated, lackwits. This has most to do with Hollywood, I think, which seems to love to portray the military as filled with people who are largely disinterested in, if not hostile to, education and the cultured pleasures of life.

I think that the recent thread on orchestral music here at Grim's Hall demonstrates the untruth of that myth. This article about General Mattis does likewise. People forget that a substantial percentage of servicemen join the military precisely because they are interested in education, and want help paying for college, or advanced technical training that the military in many cases can provide. People are unaware of how much of the life of an officer -- whether commissioned or NCO -- is spent in school.

The military is one of the last bastions where at least a smattering of Latin is usually understood. The Army has a school of heraldry. The Navy and especially the Marine Corps have their own traditions, some building on foundations inherited from the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Corps. The effect is to foster a felt, a lived connection to the sweep of Western civilization: back through our American history to British roots, back from there through the Middle Ages, to Rome, and to Athens.

Marine Corps University at Quantico, VA (motto: Ductus Exemplo!) maintains a professional reading list for all Marines. Marine Corps HQ maintains another, large enough to be broken out into sections: Commandant's favorites, Heritage series, Leadership & Biography, Theory, Nature & History, Strategy, Policy, Operations, and on and on. Headquarters also posts lists to "over 2,500 free e-books" on the same page: classics, poetry, drama, literature.

Late last year, I argued that the military exists as a parallel structure to academia for the life of the mind. At its best, it is at least the equal of the Ivy Leagues at the real business of education -- the creation of capable men and women, schooled in both the liberal and the practical arts. I've known a fair number of both sorts of alumni, both Harvard men and servicemen. I've known plenty of military men who could discuss Homer and opera, as well as the pleasures of good whisky and a fine cigar. I've met one whose training enabled him to serve successfully as the provisional governor of an Iraqi province suffering from the ravages of war. I've yet to meet a Harvard man who was a decent shot with a rifle or a pistol, and Harvard is running in the opposite direction:
In fact, MIT claims to have 42 varsity sports, one more than even Harvard. Of course, Harvard scoffed snootily, "Hearing that MIT was claiming 42 varsity teams, officials at Harvard, which has 41, chafed. They point to MIT's varsity pistol and rifle teams as evidence of MIT's skewed vision of varsity sports."

Hey, wait a minute! I was ON the Harvard Rifle Team in 1973! The team capitan, a member of my "freak fraternity" and now owner of a software company in Houston, had the key to the Harvard rifle range and we would go down there in the wee hours under the effects of whatnot and invent weird games like hanging tootsie roll pops from shoelaces tied to the mechanized target holders. When we rolled 'em back down the range, the lollypops swung around wildly and were wicked hard to hit. Or even see, for that matter.

We lost all 12 matches that season. Most of the guys we were shooting against were steely-eyed vets with thousand-yard stares just back form Nam and trying to finish college on Uncle Sam, while we were just a bunch of Ivy freaks who liked to play with guns.
Time was, the Ivy Leagues -- whose alumni now cannot match the services' officer and NCO corps in demonstrating a real, liberal education -- were competition even for West Point and Annapolis. Harvard produced Francis Parkman, one of the finest historians in American history, who wrote:
[I]f any pale student glued to his desk here seek an apology for a way of life whose natural fruit is that pallid and emasculate scholarship, of which New England has had too many examples, it will be far better that this sketch had not been written. For the student there is, in its season, no better place than the saddle, and no better companion than the rifle or the oar.
There stands an indictment of the modern Ivy League from one of her own; but there also stands, unspoken, praise for the American serviceman.

The Liberal Conspiracy - Satire, Informed Commentary and 9-11 Research

A Tale of Woe:

I see that over at the Liberal Conspiracy, there's a post called "Sovay Can't Win":

I flew all day on Wednesday and managed to miss the State of the Union address. "Ah well," I thought to myself, "At least I won't be reminded of politics today." What two airports did I fly through? Reagan National and George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Haha, very funny life. Next time, fly me through Kennedy, will ya?
You can fly through Kennedy if you go to New York. Since you're spending February in Hawaii, however, I'll just remind you of the sign posted in my office.


More Cultural Illiteracy:

This time, it's not Arab culture, it's warrior culture. I am of course thinking of the case of the bloodthirsty Marine, er, that is, General Mattis. BlackFive suggests a quiet drink after work with the Commandant; Doc Russia calls for him to be elected President.

All I have to ask is, did you think we were kidding about this stuff? That link is to a little song called "the Recon Cadence," which is to my knowledge drilled into every Marine recruit. You can read the words, and a whole lot more, right here.

I'm with Doc. Put our General on the ticket in 2008. I'll vote for him, either party. Here's a man who hasn't forgotten how to live the lessons the Drill Instructors still today teach to the men who will serve under him. He's a Marine, by God!


Catch the Wave: Sgt. Rock and the Men of the Easy Company Collection

Easy Company, MilBloggers:

I bow to Eric B.'s knowledge of G. I. Joe action figures. Apparently I'm nominated to serve as "Wildman," which appears to be rather appropriate:

Originally a soft-spoken history teacher, Private Shapiro had a tendency to go off when pushed to the limit, earning him the nickname "Wildman" amongst his teammates.
I'm not sure if "soft-spoken" is an adjective that has often been used to describe me, but the rest of it more or less fits.

Greyhawk has outdone himself.

Mudville Gazette

MilBloggers Spring Into Action!

What I wan to know is, where did he find a soldier action figure with a full beard?


Neither Fear Nor Respect:

The London Spectator has an interview with Lieutenant Colonel Jim Stockmoe, the senior Military Intelligence officer in Tikrit. He's a jolly fellow:

"Here's a funny story. There were three brothers down in Baghdad who had a mortar tube and were firing into the Green Zone. They didn't have a baseplate so they were storing the mortar rounds in the car engine compartment and the rounds got overheated. Two of these clowns dropped them in the tube and they exploded, blowing their legs off."

Abandoning the lifeless carcasses and smouldering wreckage of the car, the third brother sought refuge in a nearby house. The occupants were less than impressed, related Stockmoe, slapping his thigh. "So they proceeded to beat the crap out of him and then turned him over to the Iraqi police. It was like the movie Dumb and Dumber."

There have been so many examples of such incompetence that Stockmoe, who leaves Iraq this week after a year as the US army's 1st Infantry Division's senior military intelligence officer, has been doling out unofficial Darwin Awards in honour of the most side-splittingly useless insurgents.

Created in 1993 by a Stanford University student, the official Darwin Awards commemorate those who "contribute to the improvement of our gene pool by removing themselves from it in a really stupid way". According to Stockmoe, Iraq's gene pool is in better shape each day.
With a few more examples of 'an increasingly hapless insurgency,' the article explains the reason:
Stockmoe has a serious point, and a close look at insurgent attacks since the Fallujah offensive in November reveals that while the numbers might have increased, they are becoming less effective. The nine election-day suicide bombers averaged about three victims each, a strike-rate so bad that Allah might soon start rationing the virgins to show his displeasure.... The gap between the rhetoric and the actions of Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, the Jordanian Salafist who leads the most brutal strand of the insurgency, has grown ever wider since he lost his base in Fallujah and was largely restricted to the Sunni corridor that runs from Mosul to north Babil.
Fallujah not only deprived Zarqawi of his base, but broke the alliance that Newsweek is reporting in this week's edition.
There was bitter dissent when Zarkawi and other insurgent leaders fled Fallujah and left their underlings to fight. Fear of betrayal has led to smaller cells operating ever more independently, preventing an overall insurgent strategy from developing.
Remember the dissent to the invasion of Fallujah? "So what if we attack the city and kill a few local boys. The leaders will just escape."

Right. But here again, war critics are involved in cultural illiteracy. A Western military expects its generals to fight from the rear, to slip away behind the rear guard to fight another day. This holds for Western-style guerrillas as well as regular forces:
Crimson the roadside, the prison wall, the cave,
Proof of their valour! Go sleep in peace ye brave!
Comrade tread lightly, you're near a hero's grave,
Proud die the soldiers of the Rearguard.
Not so tribal braves, who expect their heroes to fight from the front -- or, at least, not to abandon their soldiers to die. Zarqawi's flight places him, not in the Legion of the Rearguard, but in the league of General John Cope.
Cope sent a challenge frae Dunbar,
Sayin "Charlie meet me an' ye daur;
An' I'll learn ye the airt o' war,
If ye'll meet me in the morning."

When Charlie looked the letter upon,
He drew his sword and scabbard from,
Come, follow me, my merry men,
And we'll meet Johnnie Cope in the morning....

When Johnnie Cope he heard o' this,
He thocht it wouldna be amiss,
Tae hae a horse in readiness,
Tae flee awa in the morning.

Fye now, Johnnie, get up an' rin,
The Highland bagpipes mak' a din,
It's better tae sleep in a hale skin,
For it will be a bluidie morning.

When Johnnie Cope tae Dunbar cam,
They speired at him, "Where's all your men?"
"The de'il confound me gin I ken,
For I left them all in the morning."

Now Johnnie, troth ye werena blate,
Tae come wi' news o' your ain defeat,
And leave your men in sic a strait,
Sae early in the morning.
What the Redcoats may have thought of this, the Highlanders were not impressed. They would have thought less yet, should one of their own have done the same. When Charlie left the field, it was because his army had been shattered at Culloden. The leaders' flight before the storm wins no hearts in old Fallujah.

Guardian Unlimited | Arts features | Classical music could even become the new rock'n'roll

Precisely Right:

Sometimes, even the London Guardian gets it right:

At the start of the 21st century, we can see what went wrong more clearly. What went wrong was western European modernism.
Just so. And not only on this particular topic.

SavannahNOW | Hunting amendment introduced at Capitol - 02/01/2005

Georgia Hunting Amendment:

Via the NRA's ILA news service, I see this article from the Savannah Morning News:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday introduced a proposed change to the Georgia Constitution that would protect hunting and fishing from being outlawed, a move some Democrats say is a political ploy to win the GOP votes in the 2006 elections.

Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson, R-Savannah, said the constitutional amendment is needed to prevent Georgians from losing a way of life that is essential to those who hail from outside urban areas.

"As Georgia gets more and more urbanized and Atlanta gets bigger and bigger, I think you've got more and more people that don't understand hunting and don't understand the birthright that Georgians feel about it," Johnson said. "We want to make sure that animal-rights activists or liberals in the General Assembly can never take away Georgians' rights to hunting and fishing."
Back when I lived in Savannah, Eric Johnson was my Senator (or maybe he was a representative in those days -- it's been a little while). I worked on a campaign for an opponent of his -- longtime readers of the Hall will remember that Grim is a Southern Democrat of the Zell Miller school -- but I always respected the man.

His opponents point out that there's no danger of hunting being outlawed in Georgia just at the moment:
Sen. Regina Thomas, D-Savannah, on Tuesday called the amendment unneeded and suggested Republicans are angling to give a boost to GOP candidates in 2006, when voters will cast ballots for all statewide officers including governor, lieutenant governor and the commissioners of agriculture, insurance and labor.

"They are determined they are going to take every constitutional officer in the state," Thomas said of the GOP. "I don't think we need a constitutional amendment on (hunting). I think there are more important things that affect and adversely impact the lives of the people of this state."

Johnson rejected such criticism, saying his resolution isn't about winning votes.

Beth Brown, spokeswoman for the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said she was not aware of any existing state proposal to outlaw hunting or fishing in Georgia. And while the department supports the amendment, it doesn't intend to lobby for its passage.
It may very well be true that this is, in part, a ploy to win votes. Certainly it is likely to win them.

But I don't think it's only that. Even in Savannah -- almost perfectly isolated from Atlanta's growth spurts -- the effect of this increased urbanization/suburbanization has been felt. The only public shooting range within an easy drive of the city closed five years ago. Run by a former Marine, it had been operating on land just across the Savannah river for decades. It had an excellent setup and safety record. Land speculators bought land surrounding it -- knowing perfectly well there was a firing range there -- then proceeded to build subdivisions, and sue to close the range down. Since there was no grounds for a safety complaint given its fine record, they sued instead on the grounds that it was too noisy.

The same is true across Georgia. My father recently sent me a videotape of giant bulldozers plowing down the forest where my dogs and I used to go hiking as a boy. He sent it because my son, his grandson, loves construction machinery. Indeed, the boy loved watching it, but I did not.

This kind of thing is a direct result of the changes Johnson mentions. This isn't really a party issue -- Johnson is a Republican, but in Forsyth County, it's the Republicans on the county commission who are the miscreants. They rushed this project through because the state had passed legislation making it illegal to do what they were setting out to do, so it had to be done before the new year. That county commission was elected by the kind of immigrants Johnson means, people new to the state, without understanding of local issues, who vote Republican in local elections simply because that's how they intend to vote in the national elections.

All of this is driven by the city of Atlanta, whose booming economy has steadily expanded its suburbs, satellite cities, and their suburbs. Over the last two decades, they've advanced outward along every major highway, expanding past the "perimeter" of I-285 through traditional satellites, over and past farmland, past cattle country, and are now cutting down the timberland to make more room for suburbs.

So no -- it's not "just" a plot to get votes. It's a necessary first step toward protecting the heritage of the state. In fact, I suggest that it's a wise model for amendments in similar places across the country: the first of many, perhaps, to protect traditional ways of life against urban sprawl.

"Urban sprawl..." Now, what does that remind me of? Seems like here's an issue for those of you hoping to move a certain national party back to the center, and make inroads into exurbs and rural areas where the party is weak.

Google Search: Shushupe

Peruvian Blue:

Here's a story hot off the wires. No link yet.

LIMA, Peru (AP) A key witness against a man U.S. drug authorities say is Peru's most notorious drug trafficker was shot to death in prison, officials said Wednesday.

Jose Maria Aguilar, known as "Shushupe'' a type of deadly snake in Peru was shot to death Tuesday in his prison cell in the jungle city of Pucallapa, 305 miles (490 kilometers) northeast of Lima.

Aguilar had told authorities that Fernando Zevallos, the founder of the country's now defunct national airline, Aero Continente, used his company's planes to smuggle drugs into Colombia, El Comercio newspaper reported.

Aguilar was shot twice in the face allegedly by a prisoner already serving time for murder, said officials with the National Institute of Prisons. The inmate was not identified.

Peru's director of prisons, Wilfredo Pedraza, said Wednesday investigators do not believe this was simply a fight between inmates.

"This was a planned act, organized from outside, premeditated and executed by a person who already had a record of committing murder for hire,'' Pedraza told reporters in Pucallapa. "Aguilar's murder was planned by a third party ... (whose identity) the police investigation will have to determine.''

In a television interview on Peru's Canal 2, Zevallos denied any involvement in Aguilar's death.
"It would be very stupid to do that,'' said Zevallos.
Zevallos, 47, is currently on trial for drug trafficking. In his interview, he again denied the charges against him.

"I'm a businessman,'' he said.
``I'm not a criminal. I'm not a drug trafficker.''
Zevallos has been the subject of more than 30 investigations by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and has been tried in Peru on charges of murder-for-hire, trafficking in cocaine and money laundering. But he has never been convicted of a crime.

The Bush Administration added Zevallos to Washington's international "drug kingpin'' list in June, freezing his U.S. assets and prohibiting U.S. citizens from commercial dealing with him or any of his businesses.
There are a lot of questions about this story. The answer to all of them is, "Because it's South America."
So just what was this supposed to mean?

I came across this wierdness today via instapundit. I'm still trying to figure out if the original website was a joke or what.

But if it was not, and if the whole incident can be turned into a running joke, (just follow the links), what does that say about the terrorists now? | Nepal�s emergency threatens South Asia

It's Important, But Nobody Cares:

Nepal's government is dissovled by its king, who cuts off the nation's communications with the rest of the world. The Economist explains why this could sow chaos throughout South Asia.

But it is bigger even than that. The Maoist rebels in Nepal have expanded their operations across China's borders. A collapse of order in Nepal could bring two nuclear powers -- India and China -- into conflict at the roof of the world.

Keep watch.

TSUNAMI IMPACT: Ethiopia's Rastas See the 'End Times'

We're In Trouble Now:

As foretold:

When news of the Indian Ocean tsunami filtered through to Africa the day after Christmas, Gladstone Robinson was playing Bob Marley's 'Natural Mystic'.

''It's the prophecy!'' shouted the 75-year-old Rastafarian, shaking his knotted stringy beard and grey dreadlocks, over the din of the CD player.

''Marley's song says it all: 'Many people would die, many would have to suffer and many more would have to cry','' said Robinson in his husky voice. 'Brother, I'll tell you Babylon is going to fall.''
Uh-oh. All that Rapture talk was one thing, but when Bob Marley turns on you...