Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wish I Could Find the Montesquieu Quote...

     Something about a people, once (oppressed or conquered or something bad) who have the tables turned for them, so they are now on top, behave in a certain way.

     Yeah, me, too.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


     Between nothing and war lie options.

     One option might have multiple uses, and still have uses if a military option becomes the only option.

     One such option might be to set up a large media source, near SY, and lend it to the rebel voices to broadcast. Benefits during operation include:

  • Allows Syrian people, and foreigners, to get to know rebels
    • for future elections
    • to know if they might want to support them
    • words, pictures, and moving pictures can be recorded of rebels while they stay in the field
  • Improves news access for the Syrian people, which have no press freedom.
  • Improves propaganda outlet for group supplying infrastructure
    • VOA: Arabic during downtime

     If later, war becomes impossible to avoid,
  • More uses for rallying messages of whichever side we like

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

English-Broadcasting Roundup of Bradley Manning Pardon Request

     I checked the NY Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, NY Daily News, Washington Post, USA Today. None of them have, on their front page, the fact that Bradley Manning is requesting a pardon.  The Wall St. Journal even suggested he left with some bad words for the President.

     The front pages of Russia Today, the Guardian UK, both mention the pardon request in a separate story.  Agence France Presse only headline is that Manning comforted his weeping lawyer.  German Bild and Chinese Xinhua takes the U.S. line for their front page. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Forget most of what you've read about post-conflict operations and C.O.I.N.

     During a conflict, the military is the brunt arm of the political will.  As the conflict ends, the role of the military must drop much more quickly.

     Logistics, Supply, Military Police, Chow, HQ & Support, and possibly Construction and/or Transport are left behind.  Not combat units, they begin collecting in central locations for transport home as soon as possible.

     Who should run perceivably-occupation-like peace operations?  It should be, basically our national Police Corps, like a Gendarmerie (Spain's Civil Guard especially) of Europe.  In other words, Peace Officers, to keep the peace the military has so recently won.    We don't have this today, and multi-lingualism might be a requirement.

     During the initial days of a transition to Police Corps, of course, there will likely be a shortage of peace officers, and military police should be used.

     I'm not sure fitness, of their units, is a judgment we should be making.  Maybe offer our police-training, rub by our military, for any units that do not do well.

     State, if things stay stable or improve, then takes an ever increasing role.  If one does not invade the wrong targets, in the first place, peace operations are greatly simplified.

     One of State's early tasks is to clear the rubble.  Local equipment should be used first.  Equipment totals, per owner, should be simultaneously reviewed, including drive test, before starting.  Military Construction Battalions might be able to lend a hand. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Who Was the Best Foreign Policy President of the last 50 Years?

     Maybe George Herbert Walker Bush. He invaded Iraq, removed the Panamanian President, put an arms embargo, with the EU, still in place, on China, in response to Tiananmen Square, and two things I disagree with, trying to stop the break-up of Yugoslavia, and the military run aide programs in Somalia called UNITAF.

     I believe Iraq was, perhaps alone since WWII, a legitimate target for attack.  It had invaded Kuwait, whether or not it had historically been part of the same area, and whether or not April Glaspie hinted it was OK.  Bush failed, though, in not being able to co-ordinate the very tangled web of alliances and hatreds of local Turkic, Arabic and Farsi states, into a march all the way to the capitol.

     Removing the drug dealer who ran Panama, even if he had been running drugs with our CIA, was a special case form of invasion.  Panama is, in few senses, independent of the United States.  They use the U.S. dollar as currency.  If anyone ever invades the canal zone, America's military will defend it.  From that perspective, we removed our bad guy.  Offhand, I can't think of a cleaner way he could have been removed from power without assassinating him.

     I am sure we were not going to war with China over this.  We did co-ordinate an arms embargo with the EU.  I think that's the next, single, most powerful response.

     He was against the break-up of Yugoslavia.  I would have just tried to manage it better, along linguistic lines, natch.  Serbia had been the largest when Tito found himself newly in charge of something called Yugoslavia, so, to even it out, he carved off little parts of Serbia, and put them in other areas.  It's about three towns and a half of a small city in Kosovo, for example.  No longer in union, Tito's formulation has been a hindrance, and led to lawlessness and, in some cases, wars.

     In Somalia, the local power broker wanted us out.  One can argue that an estimated 100,000 people were saved by U.S. support for aide operations, but the 18 who died in Mogadishu were all the American media ever talked about.  It feels to me like Yet Another meddling in another country's civil war to get the outcome we wanted.  Somalia has not had a government since.

Friday, August 09, 2013

My favorite news? FAIR's CounterSpin.

     Democracy Now just does not make for good television.  They could benefit from a budget.  FAIR's CounterSpin is a radio show, so the budget issues disappear.