Found at Blogatelle, some wicked satire from Andy Borowitz.
Arthur Silber on ideological blindness, both Left and Right.
NOTE: Congrats to Arthur for passing 10,000 visits this afternoon. Not bad for a young’un.
You’ll find this next post of little interest, unless you’re a fan of computer wargaming — so feel free to skip it.
The Operational Art of War, in all it’s incarnations, is undoubtedly the best operational-level military simulator you can buy without a Pentagon clearance. Recently, I downloaded an Iraq War scenario, Operation Final Justice, and took it out for a few spins.
The scenario assumes that we won’t have Saudi bases, and that Jordan will be good only for Special Forces deployments — no heavy armor. Furthermore, while Turkey will allow the use of its territory, no Turkish troops take part unless Iraq invades — an unlikely event. Iran starts the game neutral, with a small chance of becoming involved. Sometimes it happens, mostly it doesn’t. There are no Allied forces of note, other than the UK. The Iraqi player can gain “points” by using SCUDs to kill Israeli civilians, which (I think) also increases the likelihood of Iranian intervention.
The game lasts two weeks, divided into 28 12-hour turns. Frankly, I think our optempo could support 6-hour turns, if only for the first few days.
The Allied Order of Battle is as follows:
82nd Airborne (Operating out of Turkey)
101st Air Assault (ditto)
75th Ranger Battalion (Jordan)
5th Special Operations Group (ditto)
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Kuwait)
3rd Mechanized Division (ditto)
1st Armored Division (ditto)
1st UK Armoured Division (ditto)
About a division’s worth of Marines (Qutar)
Damn near every artillery piece we’ve got
All the Air Force, Navy, RAF, support and engineering units you’d expect.
The Iraqi order of battle is based on the best public estimates available.
The scenario further assumes that the regular Iraqi Army will, if not actually fight, at least put up a small “speedbump”-type resistence. The Iraqis start off using chemical weapons, and may or may not have a nuke or two, to be used in a static defense role. Civililian refugees, especially in the south, clog roads. To make matters worse, the Iraqis will try to blow up every bridge between anywhere and Baghdad — and there are a lot of rivers to cross.
All of these factors serve to slow down the Allied advance.
The results? I played as the Allies, with the handicap feature turned up all the way — against me and for Iraq. I played as Iraq, with the handicap cranked in Saddam’s favor. Several times, I let the computer play against itself.
In every case, the same result: Baghdad can’t hold out for more than ten days, and Allied casualties are light. Twice, playing as the Allies and risking too many Special Forces casualties (using them to hold bridges behind enemy lines), Saddam fell in just eight turns — four days. And the risk turned out to be not too risky; those Special Forces guys could hold their own.
In every case, casualties were higher than in the Gulf War, but still under 1,000.
Again, OpArt isn’t a Pentagon-level simulator, but it is pretty damn good at recreating historical battles. As for its reliability at predicting future battles, only time will tell.
I’ve taken a lot of grief for linking to this Ralph Peters piece. And Peters has taken a lot of grief for writing it. In short, he argues that the Muslims of “the periphery,” notably Indonesia, have a lot more potential than the perpetual-loser Muslims of Araby.
I think he’s right — and I’ll use Iran to defend his position. Yes, Iran.
Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim are, believe it or not, a lot more. . . relaxed about their faith than your average Arab, or (obviously) Wahhabi. Iran’s version of Islam is tempered with old Zoroastrian beliefs and other old faiths from a very, very old region. Shi
Funny item from StrategyPage:
The Afghan independent news agency Hindokosh in Dari reported on 14 October that on the night of 12 October, three British helicopters appeared in the Kabul sky and the locals interpreted this as an attempt to “steal” an Afghani tank. Oddly enough, the tank in question was a Renault FT-17 captured from the British Expeditionary Force in the Anglo-Afghan war of 1919. [Empasis added]
There’s more. Read it.
The article looks at how to “roll back” Radical Islam, but the key graf is more about co-option than coersion:
Just as every other major religion has adapted to the unique challenges and opportunities of American life, Islam will do so as well. To retain the devotion of the young, generation after generation, as the possibilities (and the temptations) of America wean them from old behaviors and antique prejudices, Islam will have to travel the humane route pioneered by American Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism. There will be great complaints and concernsComments Off
Nick Kristof says bringing democracy to Iraq is impossible, since we couldn
Get Lucky Cr
Is it just me, or does
In one sentence, Daniel Henninger says every serious thing I
Krugman is the latest to compare Bush to Hitler. Suppose the Red Cross can get packages to him at that concentration camp in Idaho?
Krauthammer asks the one remaining relevant question about France:
The question for France is whether it wants to throw away the entire reputation of the Security Council on this one, and lose whatever influence it retains on lesser issues. France must know that on an issue of supreme national security, the United States will not be deterred (any more than would France on an issue of comparable importance to France). On lesser issues, such as, say, the Arab-Israeli dispute, France can still carry weight by acting through the Security Council. Do the French want to gamble away their vestiges of global influence?
What Krauthammer forgets is, since even before the end of the Cold War, the continental nations of Western Europe have forgotten how to act in their own interests.
Some might claim otherwise, but look at the record. Does France act independently of the US? Sure. But often to the detriment of their own interests. France acts out like a spoiled teenager getting his knuckles tattooed because he knows Dad will be upset. Germany, looking for something, anything to do in the post-Cold War world, increasingly follows France
You’re going to like the first post for Friday. Check back in about ten minutes.
Laurence Simon has some tips on how to stay safe from the sniper.
Tastelessly funny, natch.
Radly Balko presents the Top Twelve Libertarian Pop Songs over at Tech Central Station.
Missing from the list?
Stevie Wonder’s “You Haven’t Done Nothin’.” Not strictly libertarian, but a fun, funky reminder that people can take the streets to protest their government.
Also good is “(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name” from Harry Connick’s pop album, She. The opening verse puts politics in its proper place.
An obvious addition is the disco-infused “1984” by the Eurythmics. If probably missed the movie when it came out in 1985, but the soundtrack is a worthy purchase.
Finally, from the Vaults of Obscurity, comes the grunge-lounge style of “Fuck You” by Dean and the Weenies, available only on the out-of-print Mondo New York soundtrack. Any song that rhymes “Fuck thermonuclear war” with “fuck Mary Tyler Moore” has got to warm the heart of any anti-authoritarian.
Good news on another possible war: Pakistani and Indian soldiers are, after many stressful months, being ordered back to their barracks.
There are sufficient American forces in Kuwait and the Persian Gulf to launch an attack on Iraq. This would be the “light and fast” attack. But the number of troops on hand is also sufficient to rush to Baghdad if there is a successful coup. Overthrowing Saddam could trigger a civil war in Iraq, and the U.S. would need to get into Iraq with troops as soon as possible to prevent chaos.
The U.S. army already has two armored brigades operating in Kuwait. One marine brigade is also there, and another just arrived off shore. Several more brigades worth of army equipment are on their way to Kuwait. An Apache helicopter gunship battalion has just arrived and two aircraft carrier task forces are in the Persian Gulf. There are over a thousand Special Forces and commando troops in the region.
The equivalent of two divisions (one heavy, one light and/or air assault, plus thousands of support troops, air forces, etc.) is all it would take. The story doesn’t, unfortunately, report on what units we have in Jordan and Turkey.
But it looks like they might already be set for the Go order.
If you’re a person of faith, now might be a good time to say a little prayer.
On North Korea’s admission that it has a nuke (or three or four), Will Allen writes:
The motivations for Korea now admitting their behavior has several possible explanations, and very few of them are cause for optimism. I have read that some are positing that Korea has done so in order to win more favorable treatment by the U.S. and others. I find this naively optimistic in the extreme. Do you suppose that the Korean thugs have spent a lot of their very limited resources for the past several years to develop this capability, and suddenly woke up up one morning and said, “Boy, that sure was a mistake! Let’s make a 180 degree turn!”? I think it unlikely. It is more likely that they have decided to use these weapons, or the knowledge of thier existence for specific strategic purpose. What purpose, I do not know, but with a regime that kidnaps Japanese citizens from Japanese soil for little rational reason, it cannot be confidently predicted that we will be able to fathom their motivations. Whatever they are, I do not think it bodes well for the rest of the world. I fear something foul is afoot.
The timing is curious, so let’s indulge ourselves in a little conjecture.
The US, through one means or another, is going to topple the current Iraqi regime and install another. One of the primary motivation for doing so is Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.
The Pyongyang government is a member of the sam Axis of Evil as Iraq, according to President Bush, who is getting his way, with the American people, Congress, and probably the UN, on an Iraq war.
So North Korea must be asking itself, “Am I next?” They may also think that if Iraq already had a weapon, Bush wouldn’t be making such threats.
The truth is, without massive material assistance from China, the North Korean army can’t fight for more than three days. They’d run out of everything from beans to bullets.
I don’t think Pyongyang wants to use nukes, but they’re certainly trying to send us a message.
Thanks to everyone who sent those flu remedies. Some sounded good, others sounded. . . like maybe I’m not ready for them just yet.
Mostly I stuck to my usual method, which is to drink Nyquil until I just don’t care.
Doug Turnbull is back from Italy, and talking about ballistic fingerprinting.
What, Bill Clinton got taken to the cleaners negotiating with vile despots?
VodkaPundit exists at the extremes of both Cool and Political. Or so says Ryan Olsen.
Cool chart — check it out and see where yor favorite blog lies.
We watch Enterprise, without fail, every time a new episode airs. And sometimes even the reruns.
I’m no sci-fi geek. On the Next Generation show, I had sophomoric thoughts every time someone said “tachyon emissions.” The show could be good, but I eventually lost interest — they weren’t allowed to do anything. Find a strange, new world, then ignore it because of the Prime Directive.
Enterprise is an entirely new animal. Well, except that it’s just like Classic Star Trek. Only better, thanks to improved production values and Jolene Blalock’s sickbay-enhanced chest.
Aside from the fun and the sex, the new show does stuff. That bald guy from Next Generation was a fine actor working with good writers and an amazing character. But he was still just a diplomat commanding a ship with a lounge for bridge. The sense of wonder was gone. Been there, done that, negotiated a deal with the Ferrenghis over it.
If you haven’t watched, the premise of Enterprise is seductively simple. 150 years before the original show takes place, Earth has just commissioned its first starship able to travel fast enough to explore deep into space. There’s no Federation of Planets, no bureaucracy, and only occasional contact with home. Captain Jonathan Archer isn’t a dimplomat from France, he’s an American explorer with a small chip on his shoulder and more than a little daring.
My favorite is his chief engineer, Trip Tucker, but not just because his character is so likeable. Not only is the ship new and untested, but so is much of the technology — all the fun gadgets taken for granted in the “later” shows. In a memorable episode from the first season, Trip, thinking with his other brain, got himself impregnated by an alien, ah, female.
The next best character is Blalock’s Sub-Commander T’Pol. Forget, if you can for a moment, her tight little body in that tight little uniform. Blalock has created the best Vulcan since Spock. Voyager’s Tuvok was a classic Vulcan, but often lacking that sense of — humanity — that Nimoy brought to Spock. Blalock has it in spades. She’s viciously funny, as in last night’s episode, where she caused my bride and I to cackle. Just because of the way she paused before saying the word “friction.”
And unlike Nimoy, she didn’t even have to raise an eyebrow.
Archer, Tucker, T’Pol. They make the show.
Original Trek worked because of the Holy Trinity of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Next Generation tried to copy the chemistry with Picard, Riker, and Troy — but it just didn’t work. There wasn’t any, well, friction. Everyone on STNG got along — which doesn’t compare well to the never-ending donnybrook between McCoy and Spock, or Kirk and anyone who gave him grief.
The new troika copies that old formula, and copies it well. Archer doesn’t trust the Vulcans — who held back his father’s work on improving warp drive — but is forced to work with one as his second-in-command. T’Pol, the Vulcan, is torn between loyalty to her species and her (often grudging) respect for her new captain and crew. Trip doesn’t like T’Pol’s haughtiness, but would really, truly like to show her his, um, plasma injector. Which goes double for Archer.
The other characters are weaker.
Communications officers Hoshi Sato isn’t just milquetoast, she also doesn’t want to be in space — and it shows.
The weapons guy is Brit Malcolm Reed. He’s not easy to get to know, and he gives the feeling that you don’t want to know badly enough to make it worth the effort.
Doctor Phlox reminds me too much of why Next Generation got tiresome, and we’re only getting started on the second season. On the other hand, he’s good for a bit of wisdom or comic relief, so his character isn’t a total waste.
Completely wasted, so far, is helmsman Travis Mayweather. He should be an interesting guy — he’s a “boomer,” raised on slow-moving old trade ships, a guy as happy in space as a fish in water. But he’s had little to do other than look constipated while navigating a Romulan minefield.
But the show? It’s adventurous. It’s fun. It’s not above showing me some barely-dressed women with great abs, or showing my bride well-built guys taking their shirts off. Characters rub each other the wrong way, the ship doesn’t always work as advertised, and there’s a great sense of American can-do spirit despite all the hardships.
It’s a good show. And if it stays true to itself, it’s only going to get better.
Jim Hoagland is this morning’s Required Reading.
Arthur Silber defends Anne Coulter. And, damnit, he does a good job of it.