World War IV Daily



Russia's New Missiles >>> A friend of mine discussed this story with a longtime friend and Raytheon employee who had this to say about Russia's new missile technology: "Trust me. There's nothing to worry about."

Jihad: Denmark and Norway >>> The statement reveals an interesting paranoia present in the Jihadist mindset. It is assumed that the West hates them and seeks their destruction. Of course, that's exactly right when it comes to Islamic terrorists, but Muslims in general are not to be included in that category--though many people would like them to be. So how do we separate the two? Do we even see a distinction between them? Do they understand that distinction? And just as many Muslims think we seek to destroy them, a good number of Americans--most of them are predictably Christian--view that Muslims as a whole seek to do the same to us. Make no mistake, the religious component of this war has been around for centuries and it's not going anywhere soon. But putting religion aside--let's hope it stays there for a while--there are practical choices that need to be made, and theological bickering isn't getting us anywhere. I've said for years that the only way we're ever going to do some serious damage against radical Islam is to enlist the help of regular Muslims against their militant relatives. Divide and conquer, anyone?
Dymphna sums up the 'bad apple' in the barrel of Islam. Oh, as for this whole 'cartoon of Mohammad debacle', Big Pharoah's reaction is my favorite so far.

"Lo hara lo wara" >>> Mohammad at Iraq the Model asks whether democracy can succeed in Iraq, or even the Middle East as a whole. A great read.

Putin and Palestine >>> Putin's statement that 'Russia has never declared Hamas a terrorist organization' is nonsensical given Hamas' record, but it does highlight a frustrating lack of solidarity when it comes to the preposterously named 'War on Terror'. Who is the enemy? From an American standpoint the enemy is al-Qaeda. The Israelis have Hamas and Hezbollah, the Russians have militant Chechens, Spain has the ETA, Britain the IRA, and the list goes on and on. At present, 'terrorism' is simply a generic label for 'the bad guys' of any given nation-state. I don't mean to diminish the threat, but it's beyond cliche. If this was truly the 'War on Terror', we'd be going after more than just al-Qaeda, or even militant Islam. But it's not, and we aren't. To each his own?

The Tet Offensive: 38 Years Ago >>> Murdoc's closing paragraph is key; remember it.



Saddam Trial Judge >>> This is the Irony of the Century for what looks to be the Trial of the Century: The new judge is from the Kurdish town of Halabja--which Saddam gassed in 1988. Thousands of people died. Here's looking forward to justice.

Hamas and the Money Squeeze >>> Obviously, Hamas' terrorist history combined with its newly acquired authority in the Palestinian government presents a lot of problems. One of the most interesting dilemmas is the money issue. Wretchard provides some great analysis here, here, and here. For the ultimate background of Hamas' rise to power, check out Security Watchtower.

Cloaking Device >>> Now this is the ultimate Ghillie Suit. Awesome!

Iraqi 8th Army Takes Over
>>> These two provinces--both in relatively peaceful Shi'a Iraq--are still fairly large, covering a territory about the size of Kentucky. The 270,000 mark for ISF personnel is approaching quickly, and I'm holding to my original prediction that we will reach that level around May-June, roughly two months sooner than the projected July-August timetable.



Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections >>> The idea that foreign leaders were 'shocked' by Hamas' win is ridiculous. Maybe I'm limited by my own perspective, but I knew this was coming and so did many others; anybody with even a casual interest in the Palestinian situation came to the same conclusion. What happens next shouldn't be much of a surprise either: In response, Israel moves to the right and elects Benjamin Netanyahu in their March 28 elections. Then--if they haven't already--they move to strike Iran. If you're wondering what's so bad about Hamas, read this. Also, the CT blog has some good analysis here.

Women in Special Operations
>>> Hollywood productions aside, most people have no idea that women exist in this capacity. It's common knowledge that women have long been involved in intelligence and espionage, but combat is a whole different ball game. During World War II, the Soviet Union utilized a good number of female snipers with great success, but this was certainly the exception rather than the rule. Today, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding women in combat, which the asymmetrical nature of the war in Iraq has served to highlight. However, women have proved invaluable in many regards. For example, Delta Force's 'Funny Platoon'--named as such because it is the only place in the US military where women may serve in a combat role--specializes in infiltrating targeted areas and gathering information before the US military begins operations there. It is likely that the British SAS and a number of other countries employ women in a similar fashion.

Radical University Professors >>> As radical as this professor is, I know from personal experience that he is most certainly not the only one out there. This kind of nonsense has pervaded the American academic establishment for decades--on both sides of the political spectrum, thank you very much--and it doesn't look to be waning anytime soon. Looking for a sensible, impartial, and reason-based education? You'd be better off doing the research on your own and educating yourself. One of my favorite aphorisms is this: Never depend on anyone else for your information. If you want the truth, go and find it yourself.

More on Body Armor >>> The body armor controversy has been an interesting one. On one hand, you have people trying to enhance the survivability of US soldiers by calling for additional body armor--certainly an understandable and admirable desire. On the other hand, you have a substantial number of the soldiers themselves who are basically saying 'You don't get it. Too much armor can DECREASE our survivability!' In the words of Sgt. Chris Mettler--quoted by Murdoc--"I thank these people for their concern. But let us be the ones asking for extra armor." For some serious background on the Interceptor Body Armor in question, puts out. Make sure to check out the fifth paragraph, which details the effects of body armor on accuracy at varying distances. Interesting results.



Aircraft Carriers >>> I've made a few comments in the past concerning the enormous disparity between the naval power of the United States and, well.... everyone else. Most of the time, the argument is a hypothetical US vs. China match-up, but in all of these cases I've cited the number of aircraft carriers as the chief indicator of US naval supremacy. has the proof.

Joel Stein >>> I thought this blurb from Phil Carter at Intel Dump--who is currently serving with the US Army in Iraq--is the best response to Joel Stein's article about why he doesn't support the troops. I wasn't originally planning on commenting about this story--it really isn't much of a story; the conservative bloggers are making far too big a deal about it--but a few people have asked me what I thought, so here goes: First of all, Stein's article is a simple attempt to get some attention. A lot people had no idea who Joel Stein was a few days ago. Maybe a few of us knew he was a humor columnist--that's right, a humor columnist--for the LA Times. Now he's famous, thanks to the emotionally charged opening line in an otherwise bland piece of political satire. Well played, Mr. Stein. (
Does this remind anybody else of The Producers?) However, I do have to give him points for honesty. A lot of people "don't support the war", but quickly dilute their opinion with a somber"but I do support the troops", often whether they mean it or not. Reckless charges of anti-Americanism by many Republicans only serve to make this disclaimer more popular. It's a valid opinion, but it's beyond cliche; a lack of imagination, if you will. Mr. Stein's straightforwardness-- flagrant attention grab or not--is admirable, especially since he knew the kind of hell he would raise. This is the beautiful thing about America: you can say whatever you want--no matter how childish and stupid it is--and then anybody who wants to can beat you to death with your own words.

The Cost of War >>> An excellent report from Security Watchtower on the comparative cost of the Iraq War to past American conflicts. There's even a colorful little chart for the illiterate!



Quadrennial Defense Review >>> For those of you unfamiliar with DOD-speak, the QDR is a strategic reassessment of US military priorities that happens every four years--hence the word 'quadrennial'. It usually plays a big role in determining what programs are going to receive the largest amounts of the hotly-contested defense budget for the next few years, and can thus be interpreted as the general 'game plan' which the US military hopes to implement. The interesting contrast in this edition is the two major opposing views concerning counterinsurgency (read: terrorism) and the growing threat of a Cold War with China--which I commented on in my January 20th post. Both threats are serious, yet the question is the correct balance between the two of them.

Hunting Terrorists In North Africa
>>> An excellent article about counterterrorism in a part of the world that is often forgotten.

Naval School Professor Proposes 'Test' For bin Laden's 'Truce' >>> I've got to agree with Mr. Cochran. This guy should be fired immediately. If it were a liberal arts university it would be different, but this is a US Navy school. Professor Borer needs to go.

Al-Qaeda/Insurgent Rift >>> Conventional wisdom holds that since 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend', these two groups should be working hand in hand. Not surprisingly, however, things are as complicated in war as they are in peace. The average person thinks of the enemy in Iraq as a horde of mindless bomb-makers and RPG-shooters with little sophistication or complexity. They think these guys get up in the morning like little worker bees, go out and blow stuff up, come back for lunch, and then head out again. Perhaps the most difficult decision in the day of an Iraqi insurgent is picking which US soldier to shoot at. This notion is just pure crap. There are numerous subtleties concerning ethnic representation of the leadership, propaganda possibilities, target selection and methodology, popular support, religious doctrine, and so on. Like any organization, these guys have a whole lot of differing opinions and it's no surprise to hear that they're at odds with one another.

Oh, For Crying Out Loud! >>> I've spent a good deal of time ranting against ignorance in the journalistic community concerning all things military, but in the military itself? Firearms/ballistics aficionados, you might want to sit down before you read this one.



"Cans of Whup-Ass" >>> Take a minute and read through some of this stuff; it's astounding. Theoretically a single F-16 could destroy 160 targets; a single B-1 could destroy 1,200! Whenever you hear somebody start to talk about the size and the might of the Chinese Army, tell them about these little guys.

The Double-Edged Sword of Decapitation >>> With the attempt to kill al-Zawahiri in Pakistan and bin Laden's new video last week, decapitation strikes are getting some new attention. This article brings up a very important point, which audiences of the film Munich will find quite familiar--that killing terrorists sometimes only creates more terrorists. But as the above article quotes, "that doesn't mean you don't do it." So what is the right way--if there is one--to successfully decapitate a terrorist group? The answer--as I see it--lies in how the decapitation is carried out. Most importantly, you cannot kill any innocent people. Doing so will eclipse the death of the terrorist leader and become a rallying cry for future attacks. Israel's practice of firing rockets at the cars of Hamas leaders as they drive through crowded city streets is an example of this kind of recklessness. Blowing up a house in Pakistan with a Predator drone isn't smart either. (I've expressed mixed reviews of that strike, so I apologize if I've confused anybody. If you think carefully about what I've written, you should see where I'm coming from.) Sure, the Pakistanis have our hands tied, and maybe the 13 other people killed in the attack weren't really 'civilians', but the truth really doesn't matter. Perception--as always--wins the day. Without question, these terrorist leaders need to be killed/captured, but it has to be done right or more leaders will rise to fill the void. (Insert Hydra analogy here.)
The problem is that, as precise as many of these strikes are, they are still not precise enough. Missiles, rockets, bombs, etc., are all quite messy. The alternative? Good old-fashioned bullets. Whether fired from mile-and-a-half or an inch-and-a-half they are extremely precise and relatively clean--at least compared to high explosives. Greater risks are involved--the shooter needs to escape, it's harder to get a good shot at the bad guy--but the collateral damage (read: public outcry) is drastically reduced. Israel, in particular, will be hard pressed to adopt this strategy. They love the spectacular attacks and the emotional impact they carry. But these things only bring more enemies out of hiding. A successful decapitation strike needs to focus on eliminating the target itself rather than broadcasting some kind of message. If counterterrorist organizations can kill terrorist leaders silently, they can disrupt their network while minimizing the chances for increased public support. The moral of the story is this: When you kill, do it as quickly and as quietly as possible.

Iraqi Insurgents vs. al-Qaeda: Ramadi Edition >>> This is a vastly underreported story, and in a place like Ramadi--probably the last serious bastion of insurgent/al-Qaeda forces--it's a big deal. However the potential for innocent people to get caught in the crossfire is huge. Furthermore, whether or not they are killed by insurgents or terrorists won't matter--any civilian deaths are the responsibility of the US-led Coalition. After all, it was they who invaded Iraq in the first place. As I mentioned above, perception--not truth--is what matters. As great as this kind of red-on-red warfare looks for us on paper, we need to stop it ASAP. Enough innocent people have died in Iraq.

Iraqi Army Officers Graduate >>> Excellent news, and way overdue. But it is still unclear whether the Iraqi Army can develop a strong NCO corps--the true backbone of an effective military. However, given the amount of 'hands-on training' (read: combat) that ISF forces are undertaking, such experience should be accrued rapidly. As I've stated a number of times before, every battle the Iraqi military fights makes them stronger and more experienced. Several years from now, don't be surprised when they're one of the strongest and most capable militaries in the world, certainly in the Middle East.



The Results Are In >>> And they're arguing about it, too! Sounds like a democracy to me. The important thing about the results--and the reason that the UIA is protesting--is that they fell short of the number of seats necessary to form a unilateral government. As such, the UIA will have to form a coalition government with another party, which should make for the same bargaining and deal-making we see in other countries, most recently in Germany.

China Training Venezuelan SOF >>> This underscores the low-level cold war going on between the United States and China. While obviously less intense than the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union (so far), it is nonetheless quite heated in many areas, especially concerning intelligence/espionage and economic issues. China has also stolen a great deal of secrets from US research firms--most notably in Los Alamos--and it's widely known that Chinese hackers--with government sanction--regularly attempt to penetrate US government computer networks. A great deal of contemporary Chinese military hardware is based off of stolen US technology, and this story helps explain why: The Chinese are no fools, and they're soaking up any information they can get their hands on, whether it's missile guidance algorithms or Special Forces tactics. Smart move for them; warning sign for us.

Iranian Air Force >>> Unfortunately for the Iranians, ingenuity can only get you so far. Even a full squadron of F-14 Tomcats--an antiquated but still formidable fighter--cannot compete against a single F-22, technologically speaking. Throw in superior American pilot training, avionics, missile technology, and the enormous bonus of third-person target acquisition (i.e. having an AWACS of JSTARS relaying you the location of the enemy), and even our own F-14s could down theirs.



New Bin Laden Tape >>> The guy is still alive. Either he's out in the caves somewhere, lugging around a generator and a dialysis machine, or huddled in a safe house in Karachi or Islamabad. As for the sentiment that we're safer because we haven't had an al-Qaeda attack since September 2001, remember that the previous attack on US soil before that was in 1993. So we've got an eight-year gap to close before we can say that attacks--on our soil at least--have decreased. 9/11 was not some opening salvo; this war has been going on since 1972 or 1979, take your pick. 9/11 was simply the first time we decided to fight back.

Ahmadinejad >>> An excellent psychological profile of Iran's President and his religious beliefs by a trained psychiatrist. A must-read.

Mexican Border Incursions >>> Like they did with Jamaat ul-Fuqra--which hasn't gone anywhere!--Gates of Vienna is again taking the lead in covering this issue. Good work Baron and Dymphna.

Speaking of Jamaat ul-Fuqra >>> CP covers the possible al-Qaeda connections of Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Note the first line of the post has three links to past al-Qaeda/JF associations. Check them all out.

Damadola Strike >>> Bill Roggio details the final result of the missile strike in Pakistan and its turbulent evolution. It was originally hoped to have claimed the live of Ayman al-Zawahiri, then was decried for its civilian casualties, and now is being praising for eliminating several al-Qaeda members.



Mexican Military Crossing US Border >>> Absolutely outrageous. Illegal immigrants is one thing, armed soldiers from another sovereign nation is another. While my first instinct is to call for the deployment of troops to whack these guys when they cross the border--bring the 10th SOG down from Fort Carson!--I suppose some degree of restraint is in order. Whoever's in charge, fix this.

Reporter Moved To Become A Marine >>> With my recent rant against military ignorance in journalism, this was a refreshing thing to hear. There are a lot of soldiers turned reporters, and many of them are actually quite good--Michael Yon, for instance--but there are very few reporters turned soldiers. Good for him.

US Strike Killed Al-Qaeda Bombmaker >>> What has been largely ignored in this story is that we did kill some bad guys. I'm not saying it was a clean strike and I'm not saying that it was the right play (tactically speaking), but killing bad guys is still awfully important. The rest is arguable. The CT Blog has some nifty photos.

Excellent New Blog >>> The other day I ran across Arms and Influence, a blog concerning the politics of war and other issues of that nature. It is well written and presented in a linear format, so you can look through the left margin and literally read it from its beginning. It's definitely worth your time; I'll add it to my blog listings shortly.

SEALs See Strange Animal In Africa
>>> Not really an important story, but there are two points of interest: First, what kind of creature is this? Secondly, what were we doing in the DRC?


No Post, Sorry

I know I did this a few days ago, but I won't be able to post today, either. I'd rather add more to tomorrow's post than rush today's.

I spent a good deal of the day travelling, and sadly there are still many places where the internet is unreachable.



Did German Spies Help Bomb Iraq? >>> A while back, Bush gave a speech about the Iraq War Coalition in which he stated something to the effect of 'there are Coalition members that remain secret'. This was thought to be a reference to a number of Muslim countries who wished to remove Saddam yet desired some degree of anonymity to protect them from retribution. But was Germany one of those 'secret Coalition members'?

Zawahiri Not Killed; Pakistan Condemns Attack >>> There are a number of points here: First of all, the intelligence that predicated the attack was most likely from Pakistani sources. Secondly, not only are the people in these regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan extremely friendly towards al-Qaeda types, but in that part of the world 'hospitality' actually means something. The culture dictates that any traveler who arrives at your home must be accepted as a guest and protected with your own life. This means that not only do al-Qaeda operatives have thousands of options for refuge, but whenever we make a missile strike--we have to, because Pakistan won't let us bring troops into their country--there are going to be civilian deaths involved. As they say, 'You've got to take that shot.' But the Pakistanis' protest brings up a separate issue: This is not Iraq. Diplomatic finesse and international platitudes are out of the picture. The people we are hunting in Pakistan attacked us directly--on our own soil--and killed nearly 3,000 of our citizens in the process. This goes beyond the idea of 'national interests' championed by Realist political thinkers. This is personal. Pakistan can either get its act together and contribute something besides protest and faulty intelligence or it can keep playing games and get pushed aside like the lightweights that they are, nuclear weapons included.

Iran: What Are Our Options? >>> Wretchard presents another substantial look at the Iran situation, and why Ahmadinejad may be a blessing in disguise. Like most Belmont Club pieces, this is definitely worth the read.

Aerial IEDs >>> Quite an ingenious piece of engineering, but I imagine that most helicopter shoot-downs are either small arms or RPGs. Helicopters are fragile creatures, and even the smallest amount of FOD (foreign-object damage) in the right spot can bring one down. Remember the Battle of Mogadishu?

What The Hell? >>> This crap gets so old so fast. Somebody needs to spend 20 minutes looking through or the Federation of American Scientists Munitions Guide. This is the same kind of ignorance that spawned the white phosphorus and depleted uranium uproars, both of which were as untrue as they were ridiculous. Please, I beg you, if you're a journalist writing on military issues, get your head out of your ass and into some facts.



In Contact >>> Wretchard takes a comprehensive look into the Iran situation and its inherent complexities. The post pretty much speaks for itself, but the Herald article mentioned is a must-read, and worth a second mention. You can check it out here. Also, Victor Davis Hanson provides another must-read on the issue, and I've added him to the 'People You Need To Read' category below.

Surge In Disposable Phone Sales >>> What's so interesting about this issue is the behavior of the suspects, four of whom were actually arrested. The Midland, Texas Police Report referenced by the ABC News article, can be viewed here in PDF format. Two things are worth noting: First is the statement that "actions observed by officers at the onset of the contact prompted the notification of local FBI officials". It is not clear what these 'actions' might have been, but they were apparently worth mentioning to the Feds. Second of all--and this is merely a little strange--the incident occurred at 0036 hours (just after midnight for normal people). If you're a terrorist trying to buy disposable phones without raising suspicion, why do it at midnight?

Austrian Sniper Rifles For Iran >>> Frustrating, but sadly inevitable.

Iraq Update >>> Bill Roggio on the latest developments in Iraq. Lots of links, but worth following. Also, he covers the conflict between Iraqi insurgents and foreign al-Qaeda fighters in Red-on-Red: The Hidden War In Iraq.



Iranian Military Plane Crash: Sabotage? >>> What remains to be seen is if the Iranian government accepts the sabotage theory and then takes any retaliatory action against its opposition. Obviously, this could heat up Iran's internal conflict. The tricky part is whether that would be a positive or negative development: Any further radicalization of the Iranian regime would be dangerous, given their present level of rhetoric. However, anything to widen the gap between the regime and the Iranian people--already working towards revolution--will only bring that revolution about faster. By far, revolution is preferred method of ousting Ahmadinejad and the entire Iranian mullahcracy, something that needs to be done one way or another and soon.

The Armor Debate
>>> I covered this a few days ago, but I figured it was worth going back to again. More info here. As for my take on the whole armor issue, I just can't help but think about the men who fought in past wars--without any. Obviously, we must take any possible steps to protect our soldiers and extend their operational capability, but at what point does armor do more harm than good? And at what point did we apply the oh-so-typical American attitude of entitlement to body armor? The men who fought at Normandy or Guadalcanal or where-have-you didn't have the fortune of wearing body armor, yet they were victorious because they were soldiers, and soldiers are better at doing more with less than anybody else on the planet. These are not little boys who must be bubble-wrapped and closely guarded lest the outside world break their fragile little minds and bodies. These are warriors, highly-trained men whose job is to kill or be killed, who can save life or take it in the blink of an eye, who think fast and move faster. Give them whatever possible protection is available, but don't for a second think they need it.

US Military Recruiting >>> A great piece by Security Watchtower. I'll just let it speak for itself.



Syria Undermined Coalition Efforts In Iraq >>> For anybody who has been watching this issue closely, this is no surprise. This recent revelation follows the release of a book by Paul Bremer, who ran the interim Iraqi government after the US-led invasion in 2003. Syria continues to interfere in Iraq today, and is the main artery of foreign fighter infiltration in the country. Before the removal of Saddam, the Syrians and the Iraqis were quite close. Indeed, Syria is itself a Ba'athist regime, and the two countries cooperated with each other in many regards. A great deal of suspicion still remains surrounding possible Syrian involvement in the disappearance of Iraqi WMDs.

Spanish Soldiers In Iraq >>> Also from Bremer's book. His grievances with other members of the Coalition are hardly new. There are plenty of similar anecdotes from NATO operations in Kosovo, and the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia is a textbook example of military command getting hosed up between nations. (In Mogadishu, US troops were placed under Pakistani command, a diplomatic nicety which indirectly contributed to the already disastrous operation which killed 18 US soldiers and--often forgotten--one Malaysian soldier. This brings us to a key issue concerning these 'Coalitions'. There are many situations in which military unilateralism is more effective. One chain of command, one language, one standard operating procedure. Throw in another force and things go to hell real fast. Even the United States and Britain, similar in all the aspects listed above, often butt heads while in the field together. Even the separate branches of the US military don't get along. So why bother with a Coalition? Because in this day and age, political support is just as important--if not more so--than military support. Also, many of these countries have taken advantage of the vast education opportunity of working alongside US forces. That's why you see countries like Azerbaijan or Uganda fielding troops in Iraq. Whatever capabilities their units--just a few hundred strong--bring to the table could just as easily be accomplished with another US brigade. But their military prowess is not the issue here: They came to Iraq to learn, and I for one appreciate their commitment, if not their combat capability.

OU Suicide Bombing >>> It's been a while since anyone made some noise about this issue. When it first happened, the blogosphere prided itself in carrying the story while the mainstream media ignored it. Well, the blogs have been silent about this for a few months now. For all the background on the story, go here. If you think this whole thing is 100% pure, un-cut, Colombian conspiracy, take 10 minutes of your life and read it anyway. You might be surprised.

Iraqi Insurgency: 2006 >>> Bill Roggio pens--types?--an excellent article on the future of the Iraqi Security Forces in 2006, which Roggio prophetically defines as the 'Year of the Police'.


No Post Today

I'll be back tomorrow.



I've ditched the categories which I used in previous posts to lump stories together. I found they were a little too clear-cut to suit the issues at large and they took up space on the page. Any input on this or other changes?
Saddam's Terror Training Camps >>> An excellent article by the Weekly Standard on Saddam's terror ties, how it was overshadowed by the hunt for WMDs, the sheer volume of the evidence in question, and the lumbering dinosaur that is the United States intelligence community. A must read.

Rockets Against Israel 'Ordered By Osama' >>> I don't buy it. Why would Osama bin Laden place so much importance in a trivial--and ultimately fruitless--attack? Some might argue that bin Laden's network is crippled and can only mount attacks in a limited capacity such as this one, but recent attacks have shown that to be somewhat questionable. Al-Qaeda has proved to be remarkably adaptive, even though its leader has been effectively nullified. Indeed, the line between bin Laden's al-Qaeda and Zarqawi's al-Qaeda is blurry at best, and it would not be surprising to find that the two were operating independently of each other. This could well be a simple effort by Zarqawi to lend some credence to his network.

Air Marshals >>> By far the most comprehensive and brutally honest account of the Federal Air Marshal Service, where its capabilities are lacking, and what needs to be done about it. Definitely worth reading if you plan on flying anytime soon.

Body Armor >>> A US soldier on why body armor may be doing more harm than good.


Some Changes

Just as a heads up, I've decided--at least temporarily--to cease posting on weekends (Saturday and Sunday). This is for two reasons: News is often sparse on these particular days, and the posts end up being pretty weak. Second of all, I'm considering using the weekend for a larger, more in-depth post on a specific issue, rather than the usual headlines. It should look like this:

Monday-Friday: Daily News
Saturday OR Sunday: Featured Story

I'm not sure how soon I'll begin working on the featured story, (I just came up with this idea three minutes ago) but hopefully by the end of the month. That should add some variety to the site.




Ariel Sharon >>> Wretchard provides a look at the world's response to Sharon's failing health, and provides an interesting historical comparison.

There Go Those French Youths Again >>> Another example of the youth in France going nuts in the satirical yet logical style that only Dymphna can dish out. A great read.

The Amman Effect: Ramadi Edition >>> The recent hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan by
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq group had a radical effect on native Jordanians. Before the bombings, 55% of Jordanians expressed support for al-Qaeda. Afterwards, the public uproar against the terror organization was resounding, and the streets were crowded with people rallying against Zarqawi, a Jordanian himself. (Don't belief me? Here are the numbers.) The question we asked ourselves following those attacks was simple: What was Zarqawi thinking? Once again, we have to ask the same question in Ramadi, Iraq. Arguably the largest area of insurgent concentration left in Iraq, it symbolizes the remaining struggle in the Anbar province, of which it is the provincial capital. After yesterday's surge of violence throughout Iraq, the Amman Effect is coming into play. I don't presume to think that Zarqawi is a fool. In his business, you don't last as long as he has by being stupid. But try as I may, I have yet to grasp any sort of strategic or tactical value from these types of attacks.



You might have noticed that the links in the right sidebar have been substantially enhanced. If you didn't, then now you know. Many of them are a reference tool so you can go about learning more about all this stuff. All of the Blogs of Note are worth checking out, and the Humor/Satire category should round out all of this 'serious terrorism business'. The 'People You Need To Read' category is just that. It's a small category for good reason: Anybody found there is the elite of the elite, and you should ignore them at your own peril. Also, I vastly expanded the Welcome Page. You can find a link to it on the right. In the next few weeks, I hope to add a few more improvements to the interface, and update the Acronyms Page with links. Any suggestions? E-mail is on the right.

Bangladesh >>> An often ignored country in an often ignored part of the world, and it's becoming a terror hub for just that reason. Pakistani involvement is not surprising, and could be considered legitimate covert action except that these groups are likely engaged in terrorism, not 'freedom fighting' or what-have-you. The last sentence is particularly telling.

Troops Say They're Still Needed
>>> It is quite possible that the withdrawal of troops from Iraq will be rushed in a way that is detrimental both to Iraq and the remaining US troops, i.e. the 'last guys out'. Political pressure for withdrawal is enormous and with congressional elections later this year, expect some stupid decisions. I'm going to go ahead and make a prediction: We will pull out of Iraq a little bit too early, and the Iraqi forces will then have a deluge of violence on their hands. This will be cited by many as proof that the entirety of Operation Iraqi Freedom was a failure. At this point I'm not as certain: Either the ISF will prevail against the violence after a few weeks/months and re-assert control, or the violence will be such that they will take drastic measures and only make things worse. Doesn't sound so good, does it? That's why I hope I'm wrong, and we stay till the job is done.

After the Election >>> Iraq the Model details what it's like on the ground in Iraq amidst the frustration of the elections and the surge of violence in the past couple of days. You should read the whole thing, but if you're short on time at least read the last paragraph.

US Agents Fired Upon Near Mexican Border
>>> This reminds me of the constant attacks on Coalition aircraft in the Iraqi no-fly zones before the invasion in 2003. None of them were hit, but--absent some sort of intervention--it was only a matter of time before somebody on the ground got lucky. Same thing on the US-Mexico border.

Congress Cuts Funds For JSF >>> And then they revive a missile killed by DOD. I'm not trying to make any sort of statement about either of these actions by the Congress, but to reveal how the system works for developing new military technology. The DOD typically runs point, but Congress can move some serious weight when they want to. Like the rest of the system, only when the two can compromise on an issue will it be put to work.

X-Ray Vision >>> Cool.



It's good to be back, and I hope you all had a great Christmas/Whatever. Keep an eye out for some improvements/modifications as I take the blog into 2006. Also, I'm not even going to try to sift through all the news that happened while I was gone. There's simply too much material so, with a few exceptions, I will start with the present and continue from there.

London Bombs Cost 'A Few Hundred Pounds' >>> Note that not only did the London attack cost a few hundred pounds, but the money was apparently raised legitimately. In terms of pure economics, terrorism is not only extremely affordable in terms of death and/or injury per dollar, but incredibly difficult to trace.

Why This Is Truly World War IV
>>> Bill Roggio--back from Iraq--has an excellent post on the global scale of the 'War on Terrorism' or whatever you'd like to call it. Also, Roggio has recently come under fire for his trip to Iraq by the Washington Post, and has since responded. Definitely worth a read.

Female Soldiers in Iraq >>> Considering the cultural situation in Iraq, the increased role of female soldiers is not surprising, nor should it be frowned upon. Like all forms of warriors, they knew the risks when they signed up. Urban counter-insurgency combat is never symmetrical or clean-cut, so 'keeping the women out of it' is easier said than done. Remember all that Jessica Lynch crap?

Snipers >>> I've covered the efforts--and results--of US snipers in Ramadi for some time now, and it appears that they continue to be successful. As I noted above concerning the financial aspects of the London bombings and terrorism as a whole, sniping is also relatively inexpensive, as the first paragraph of this article will show you.

The Coalition of the Willing >>> As I predicted--probably a year ago so I have no blog 'receipt' to prove it--the withdrawal of Coalition partners from Iraq has been spun as 'unwilling to commit' and 'declining'. What nobody seems to consider is that when the US and other nations leave Iraq--as is inevitable eventually--it could be because the work is getting done, not because they're giving up. Naturally, any Coalition withdrawal is going to be led by smaller Coalition members. The US will be the last out of Iraq, as they constitute the largest force. They can't just reduce 10% of all Coalition forces incrementally, that would leave El Salvador, Azerbaijan, or Uganda with a half-dozen guys in Iraq. (That's right, those three countries are part of the Coalition. You wouldn't know it from watching the news. Just because France and Germany stayed home, people assume that the rest of the world stayed with them. Check out the Official Coalition List, you'll be surprised.) So when the US leaves, will the withdrawal be painted as a success or a retreat?

Jamaat ul-Fuqra in Georgia
>>> CP provides a look at another purported Jamaat ul-Fuqra compound in Commerce, Georgia. Then again in Dover, Tennessee.