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Belmont Club

The Dense Pack Defense

September 29th, 2013 - 5:46 am

News that the Boko Haram, yet another brand name of “militant”, attacked a Nigerian college dormitory to massacre at least 50 students in their sleep may still outrage some, but not to the degree you would expect. For it was only last week that the Shabaabs attacked a mall in Kenya. And even more recently some militants” blew up a church in Peshawar, Pakistan killing 85 Christians.

Most of the students killed in Nigeria were actually Muslims, “as is the majority of the college’s student body”. Their crime was attending the agricultural college. جماعة اهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد  or “Boko Haram” literally means ”Western education is forbidden.”

I guess learning to grow spuds and bananas is a Western education.

We have left out the bombings in Iraq or the ongoing killings in Syria, or the burning of Zamboanga. No mention need be made of the threats against the Miss World beauty contest in Indonesia. We leave out those tedious details lest we should be here half the night enumerating them.  At this rate no one will pay much attention to any subsequent attacks — even if they happen at a little league game in Minnesota or a retiree’s bingo party in Florida or the burning of a hospital or two in France.

For outrage news will by then have been so common as to fall into the category of “dog bites man”. Ironically the more people the “militants” kill the less we will notice. This is the effect of attention fratricide.  One headline drives out the other, a process we call the “news cycle”. Since low information voters can only hold one thing in their mental register at a time, one hundred massacres will just blur into a single blob.

This can be called the ‘dense pack’ effect,  after the “strategy was developed under the Reagan administration as a means of safeguarding America’s inventory of MX missiles”. It worked on the idea that Soviet ICBMs would run into each other if they tried to hit MX silos too closely grouped together.

The rationale for this thinking went like this: As the first inbound warhead detonates over its target silo, it would throw a large cloud of debris over the entire missile field. Every other warhead targeted on that missile field would have to travel through that debris cloud to reach its target, and it was theorized that the act of traveling through that debris cloud would “trash” the warhead before it could detonate. Every successful explosion over the missile field would throw more debris up into the air, increasing the chances that each successive warhead would be destroyed before it could trigger.

If you have too much of a bad thing you lose track of one woe with the arrival of the next since the mind can only cope with so much. Crazy as this idea sounds it apparently works. Consider the perception of murder in the city of Chicago. We don’t notice it any more. Kill a 10 kids in a white suburban community and its national news. Shoot a dozen people in Chicago and “so what?”

The same fratricidal effect can be observed in the way we remember — or don’t even recollect — the war in the Congo. It is by far the “the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II”, having killed almost 6 million people if you stop the count in year 2008. It’s was bigger than Korea and Vietnam put together and multiplied by nearly 60. By comparison the 100,000 people who have died in Syria are loose change.

Who doesn’t know about the Six Day War (16,000 dead), yet who the hell has heard about the war in the Congo? Where is the Congo?  Wherever it is it can’t be important or it would have been featured on Oprah. The reason the Congo is forgotten is dense pack. It’s information fratricide.

Overload makes it easier for apologists to keep “militants” invisible or depict their depredations as the work of a few misguided individuals. If there were only a few attacks we would remember them more vividly, they way we never forget Timothy McVeigh. But fortunately there are so many that it is perfectly possible for President Obama to say that the world is more stable than it was 5 years ago.  Few if any of the low information voters will challenge him on that score because by some trick of the human mind we remember tragedies on a human, personal scale more vividly than the slaughter of millions.

This curious psychological fact has been understood for some time. Stalin was supposed to have observed that “a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” It was a fact he exploited when he proceeded to kill more people than Hitler, which is probably why he and not Hitler is remembered fondly by many to this day.

For the well of tears runs dry. Can one really say, “I’m sorry to hear that that students in Nigeria were slaughtered in their sleep?” when just a few days ago John Kerry was offering his heartfelt condolences for the mall attack in Kenya?  How much heartfelt sorrow does John Kerry have? Soon, if not already, dead Nigerians will be just another day, another Nigerian naira.

“Militants” do more than kill individual people; more, even, than simply murder multitudes. What a truly malignant movement achieves by unending, numbing slaughter is putting to death the very taboos that uphold civilization. We become used to barbarism. We accustom ourselves to regard it as normal. The “militants” destroy our former expectation of decency to the point where we ourselves understand — and accept — that we now only pay lip service to those former norms.

By stages we become transported to the militant’s own world, ostensibly against our will but really by our inaction. We submit, perhaps not consciously but nevertheless we submit to the insistence of savagery until it imposes its will on us by unending harassment. Step by step, headline by diminishing headline we accept and lose interest till we are manifestly prepared to live with the unspeakble in a kind of uneasy coexistence in the same way a man who’s bartered his soul to the devil accepts the growing shadow at the far end of the room.

Boko Haram is not beyond the pale. Jake Tapper asked two months ago why the State Department had not designed the Boko Haram a terrorist organization even after Nigerian Christians petitioned them to do so, and even in the aftermath of an attack on a school dormitory — it was a different school dormitory which we’ve already forgotten.

(CNN) – At least 20 students were killed in northern Nigeria last week when Islamic militants razed their boarding school, prompting British authorities to label the group thought to be responsible, Boko Haram, a terrorist organization.

But the Obama administration has not done the same. …

Possible explanations for reluctance to label the group can be found in a 2012 letter to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Nigeria experts, including John Campbell, the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria under President George Bush.

The letter claims that the foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designation would limit the State Department’s ability to shape “long-term” strategy and encourage the Nigerian government to use military action rather than diplomacy.

“We believe that an FTO designation for Boko Haram would limit American policy options to those least likely to work, and would undermine the domestic political conditions necessary in Nigeria for an enduring solution,” said the group in the letter.

The phrase in the letter which claims that the foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designation would limit the State Department’s ability to shape “long-term” strategy and encourage the Nigerian government to use military action rather than diplomacy summarizes the core of the problem. The Boko Haram aren’t terrorists. We’ve accepted them already at a deep, doctrinal level. They are our “partners for peace”.


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Top Rated Comments   
"There are three ways that we can respond to evil abroad; Isolation, Accommodation, and Confrontation. " - Blast from the Past

There's one other way. Exclusion and Ostracization. Islam has thoroughly educated the world on what it means by "the religion of peace". Islam is a political and religious death cult, where they love death more than non-Muslims love life.

This death will inevitably, inexorably come to American (and Australian) nursuries, schools, hospitals, and churches, unless citizens are willing to recognize Islam for what it is, and act appropriately. In the same way that contagious plagues have been handled, Muslims will also need to be dealt with. Of course, this does sound extreme, and while American's have pledged never to repeat Manzanar and Minidoka, that attitude will change in the near future. Japanese American collaboration was merely a threat, and no doubt, if the internments had not happen, some American's of Japanese ancestry would have become espionage problems.

Murderous Islamic attacks are not a threat, they are a reality. At some point, after 100's, or 1000's, or 10's of 1000's of a American civilian casualties, the failure of the moderated response of the past dozen years and the true dimensions and designs of worldwide Islam will be fully realized. At that point, the obvious solution will be implemented. It will not be "death camps" (as I'm sure some progressive trolls will gleefully claim I am advocating), but exclusion zones and formal ostracization, where Islam and it's advocates can live quiet, separate, declining lives. Islam has been a leech upon productive civilization for over 1400 years. It will wither without it's sword, and Muslims with it.

This has to happen, this separation between Islam and the rest of the world, or the world will burn. One cannot win by defense alone. Offense is far cheaper, and a suicide bomber is the cheapest offensive weapon in the world.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment


It's an accepted "truism" among the progressive left, which includes 95% of all journalists, that Christianity and "catholic guilt" is the root cause of most of the modern misery. What we need, they say, is more "scientific truth" and less superstitious rubbish, such as that represented by Christians and their ideas.

Curious it is, the progressive's attitude towards Islam and its Jihadists. Muslims are considered disadvantaged, misunderstood, perhaps uneducated, but evil? NO! The judgment of "evil" is reserved exclusively for those on the right who use a book written by dead white men to rule their lives, for those to dare to judge the LGBT lifestyle, who refuse to pay "their fair share" in taxes.

How long would it be, one wonders, before Christians were dragged from churches in America and around the world and slaughtered by these "progressives", if only one Jihadi style atrocity were perpetrated or attributed to a Christian group. What if Franklin Graham's Semaritan's Purse, for example, turned to the dark side and stated a rash of suicide bombings targeted at Muslims, at Mecca, at Teheran, or God forbid, at progressive holy sites San Franciso, New York, Berkley, or Austin?

What if a dozen "Christian" groups rose up to do a fraction of what the Jihadis are doing? Moreover, what if Christian churches around the world were silent in the face of the "Christian" terror onslaught? What if it was documented that Christian churches took up offerings and supplied the terrorist groups with aid and support?

I dare say, it would be open season on Christians, with the "progressives" rediscovering the virtue of privately held firearms, used of course, to punish the "evil" of the age, Christianity.

I don't know how Wretchard continues to write fresh ideas and his cogent observations day after day, week after week, but I commend him for his work. Myself, I get to the point where I feel like a Joker, i.e. "Just let it all burn...".

Islam must die, or the world will burn. Progressives must fail, or the world will starve.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
For awhile, I've been thinking that the Dense Pack defense has been working for the Obama Administration. Each new incoming missile (failures & scandals) gets lost in the debris cloud created by previous missiles:

ObamaCare
Fast & Furious
IRS targeting
17 Trillion debt
weak economy
NSA surveillance
Keystone pipeline
Benghazi

No attempt has been made to list all of the failures and scandals, just some examples that easily come to mind. This is certainly quite an impressive debris cloud.

Of course, Dense Pack was only a theory. It was never adopted because of doubts about its effectiveness. Wonder if it is actually a useful tactic in the political realm?
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (87)
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HA! The Dense Pack paradigm may be what Obama and his minions hope will happen with the ACA: The more the healthcare atrocities against the American people, the more we'll be "trained" to ignore it's horrific effects.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
In their idiotic quest to destroy modern society, the left has been able to normalize a lot of crap by destroying behavioral and moral standards with cultural relativism. Normalizing muslim murder will be the reducto ad absurdum of all their theories of multicultural wonder and beauty. With every incident, individuals increasingly are suspicious of muslims in general and their universal bond of silence in the face of bestiality. No more of the "religion of peace" nonsense.

One does not become "desensitized" to the killing and maiming of one's family, or the actual threat of it, whether the media thinks it significant or not. Some standards are mandated by survival. Politicians, no-talent whores that they are, will act accordingly.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
While I understand Richard's excellent points about the public being desensitized to all the brutality, I don't think that would be the most common American public reaction if a Kenyan-style massacre occurred in the US. If such an attack on a mall in America succeeded to the ghastly and monstrous level of brutality we saw in Kenya, Americans would be enraged. Rage would dominate the popular feeling, and that rage would likely have serious repercussions for the powers-that-be.

Would the rage against the perpetrators thatn be followed by "rage against the machine?" I can certainly see many an American asking our "authorities:" why can't you keep us safe from such monsters? Why do you frisk us and strip-search our grandmothers when we've done NOTHING to deserve your scrutiny? Why don't you profile these vicious bastards instead?

Don't be confused by the placidity of a people who voted in Obama twice. American civilians being mutilated to death in an American mall is a whole new paradigm, and people may just start listening to the voices that warned them about "Muslim infiltration," and the folly of appeasement.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The question of "what would the American people do if the very worst were atrocity were to happen in an American city", followed of course, by street celebrations and candy in Muslim cities around the world, would depend upon how much legitimacy the US government had with Americans. After 9/11, speaking from "ground zero" President George Bush said this:

"I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon."

Those were credible words from a credible man. No one in the world doubted the President's resolve. Were a Nairobi type incident occur today, the current occupant would not be credible, and based on a dozen years of experience, the American people might doubt the government's resolve. Justice at the hands of ACLU trained attorneys is not going to hack it.

Americans' first reaction is a civilized one, even when we're as outraged and united as we were after 9/11. However, Americans are going to expect quick justice, and if the government dithers, THEY WILL HAVE quick justice. Vigilantism may be the order of the day.

Certainly, Americans will think hard before they shed tears for the poor prisoners in Guantanamo, and a Manzanar will look palatable to even to the progressives.

Bottom line: The Muslim nation states have had 12 years to "fix" the problem with "radical Islam". If they won't or can't fix it, it will be fixed for them. ALL MUSLIM's bear the blame for radical Islam, as every new atrocity makes clear, and all Muslims will bear the punishment.

If Muslims think that they understand what a pissed off, angry America is all about, they need to revisit Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki to understand what an angry and RESTRAINED "American response" is all about. Then they should wonder more, about the dimensions of an unrestrained response. The US government won't have a choice should Nairobi's occur on US soil, and American Muslims or legal Muslim residents be at blame.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
We had a Kenyan-style massacre at the Boston Marathon. As Wretchard correctly points out, that memory is already receeding in the rear view mirror. We won't return to greatness until our people completely reject the creeping Marxism within our political/legal/social system - where some (the so-called proletariat) live off the labor of others - licking the Marxist (government) hand that feeds them. When Americans return to the founding idea that each man feeds himslef it will be clear that no man has to llick the hand of the Marxist tyrant - then we'll return to greatness - then we'll crush the evil external enemies of our life and liberty.

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
We had a Kenyan-style massacre at the Boston Marathon

No we did not.

I really don't want to go into the gruesome and horrific details of what the Shababb ghouls did to their many victims intimately in the most gruesome ways imaginable. But if you really think it through there is a huge difference between what happened in Boston and what happened in Kenya. Seriously you guys: think. it. through.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The similarity (jihadist mass murder) outweighs the relatively minor difference. It doesn't matter if the jihadist uses a bomb or a rifle or a knife - what matters is the Islamic jihad - what joins them all is Allahu Akbar!

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The similarity (jihadist mass murder) outweighs the relatively minor difference<.i>

Minor difference? Seriously? Look, I can't take the time to parse and nuance this whole issue for you, but you obviously have no use for paying attention to important details on this subject. Seriously, dude, MINOR difference? Do you even know the details of what happened in Nairobi?
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm well aware of the Nairobi details. My friend in the marine Corps described an Iraqi al Qaeda torture chamber where children were beheaded in front of their parents. I've seen videos of Muslim Jihadists beheading people, burning people alive in trenches, shooting tied and blindfolded people in the head, etc, etc, etc.; and after watching Muslim jihadists fly jets into the World Trade Center it all merges together into a single Islamic evil. The only quantum leap remaining is Islamic nuclear jihad.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think he does --i think he's assuming the Mall was like the ten thousand others. His point would be arguably right under ordinary reality. But Gawd almighty the mall ain't ordinary reality. The demons came up from the underworld literally.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
A Mall Attack....
Even if every casualty were the result of knife wounds, the media would instinctively blame the NRA, and the VRWC for the attack.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
They would not be able to spin this and get away with it. The information would get out in a New York Minute.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Left wingers need to have "a conversation" with their Islamist friends.

Liberals need to have one with their friends on the far left.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not just that you become desensitized to the horrible tragedies that keep happening, you also become actively resentful towards EVERYONE in those places - they can't keep their own countries together and we get nothing from them but constant grief and constant begging for help. But no matter how much help we provide, nothing ever gets any better.

Look at the middle east - has our billions of dollars over the last 30 years made Egypt a "better place"? How about any of the rest of Africa? Africa is bad and stays bad, and I am now have no doubt will be a very bad place for the rest of my natural life, at least, and there is nothing anyone in this country can do about it.

So if I know ahead of time that no matter what we do, the outcome will be bad, how much can I care about what gets done? Like the song says, Ya Can't Please Everyone, so you got to Please Yourself.

When the people in these places care enough to plan ahead and start to fix their societies themselves, then they will be worth my help, and my attention. Til then, let them sink themselves back into the stone age if they want.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why focus on Boko Haram militants when the Congress is chock full of Republican terrorists?

Hope&Change!
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The entire purpose of terrorism might end up being collateral damage of the "dense pack" phenomenon. The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, and if the victims become blase, there isn't much terrorizing going on, is there? Just looking for a silver lining here.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
"encourage the Nigerian government to use military action..."

Works for me.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
The horror show of a "war" in the Great Lakes region of Africa is happening far away to little black people. Did anyone really thing today's hard Left Journ-O-listas would care enough about them to gin up a narrative and tell the drones what to think about it?
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
CHU LIED, DOLPHINS DIED! UPDATE

Today is the beginning of the Comedy of Errors in the Big Easy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bp-returns-to-court-for-second-part-of-oil-spill-case/2013/09/29/e30352e0-288d-11e3-bae5-e0807a60a6aa_story.html?hpid=z12

"Top kill. Junk shot. Cofferdam. Top hat. Capping stack. Those terms — obscure industry jargon before BP’s massive 2010 oil spill — became familiar buzzwords as the company scrambled to find a way to plug its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

More than three years later, the methods that BP used during its 86-day struggle to stop the gusher will be the focus of a trial resuming Monday in the high-stakes litigation spawned by the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.

BP insists that it was properly prepared to respond to the disaster, but plaintiffs’ attorneys will argue that the London-based global oil company could have capped the well much sooner if it hadn’t ignored decades of warnings about the risks of a deep-water blowout.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers, who are teaming up with attorneys for the five Gulf states and two of BP’s contractors for the second phase of the trial, also say that BP repeatedly lied to federal officials and withheld information about the volume of oil that was flowing from the well.

“It should pay the price for its choices. BP should be held accountable for the lengthy delay caused by its fraud,” the attorneys wrote in a pretrial court filing."

We all know that the source control effort was a Keystone Kops. But who was in charge during this Spill of National Significance? Admiral Thad Allen? His immediate supervisor Janet Napolitano? Her boss, POTUS? His science advisor "Nobel Prize Winning Physicist" Steven Chu?

Can those state attorneys general explain why they could not see through those "lies"? Didn't they have the Federal On Scene Coordinator Admiral James A. Watson embedded in BP's command center throughout the whole incident, first as Admiral Mary Landry's deputy, then as the coordinator himself? Wasn't he later installed as the Director of the Bureau of Safety, Environment and Enforcement (BSEE)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_A._Watson

Before leaving through the revolving door to join the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)?

http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/127623/Watson_to_Resign_as_BSEE_Director_Join_ABS

For all you lawyers out there, the question is what would a reasonable man have done?

Put on the popcorn and pull up a chair, this is going to be a hoot!



28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
MP, when i read, back during the spill, that the dispersant being heavily used was so nerve toxic that it was banned in Europe and restricted to no human contact elsewhere, and that the gulf coast residents had forced EPA to order BP to quit using it, but that the Coast Guard ignored the EPA and continued to aid and assist BP in its use, and that the Chicago company Nalco was the producer of the stuff, and it happened to have an inordinate stockpile prior to the blowout, and that Nalco investors included the Obama rogues gallery most prominently George Soros, on a flyer i searched Soros think tank 'center for american progress coast guard'. This is the first thing that came up:

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/report/2010/06/09/7943/building-a-u-s-coast-guard-for-the-21st-century/

Of course, the date is just after the blowout, but close enough --and the article seemed to've been one of those that is in the works for a good while --that i continued --and went into one of those stomach-turning revelations that occur again and again and again clustered around disasters and left wing entities that are always primed and ready (see Stimulus, see TARP, see ACA, see...oh hell it's endless --see EVERYTHING) with 'corrective policy'.

I don't know where to start. Search 'center for national policy' and open the wiki --read the board of directors, the past members, the projects past and present --this DC think tank is the heart of the far left national security --uh, what to call it --the blocking force of actual true national security, the ASQ Kahn enablers, Win Ho Lee enablers, Panama Canal give-away enablers, St John the Divine Revelators, Covington Burling crime & punishment Confusion Fusionists, Dayton Accords crib-killers of Russian consent-of-governed --ahhh, it's a seething mass of those people whose every touch is doom, but who never have to acknowledge that fact, and are instead always magnificently at hand to fete each other as patriots on account of the offices they held and by so doing further embroiled the chaos.

(whew) okay, it's the NWO policy group, and a year or so before the blowout, it started churning policy papers promoting the CG for a seat on the Joint Chiefs, a $5 bbl emergency upgrade, et cetera, by big names from the left govt/academic nat sec think tankers --Thad Allen joining the lobbying post-retirement, making speeches for the Law of the Seas and that other anathemic treaty to dilute USA sovereignty at the shoreline.

T'ain't pretty, side by side with that last half or two-thirds of the Gulf-killing poison going in AFTER the EPA order to cease and desist.

There's more, too, but this comment box is too full already. Just follow the leads , you'll limn the attack --on the right-to-work job-creating, blue state emptying, union busting, conservative-voting, southern gun culture protestant reformation states.

Next, i want to tell you a fish story, Tags, Aker Biomarine, John Fredriksen, oil future manipulation 2008, krill oil, menhaden, omega protein, world's first and third largest seafood fisheries, det norske veritas, sandy hook rammed and sunk by chiquita banana Eurus London, et cetera. arcadia, milio, mitsui sumitomo, one hundred years of solitude, macondo, the revelation at the end of the book.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
--might add, FWIW, that the engineering POV is that the rig sank, and the spill began, only after the CG fireboats, using a non-countermanded standard operating procedure, had filled the internal spaces with three days of spraying water at the fire. Left alone, the hydrocarbons were burning away in the air, like a purpose-burn flare --at the terminus of the riser pipe connecting the sea floor BOP to the rig floor 60 or so feet above the sea surface.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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