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25 September 2006


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Pat, what odds do you place on a large military action by the US prior to the election? Based on everything you know.

The NIE? Schoomaker? These things haven't been delivered by the tooth fairy. Someone out there is super worried.

Do you agree?

W. Patrick Lang


Before the election would surprise me.

There are a lot of very worried people in the military and intelligence community. pl



They'd need a casus belli (see Tonkin, Gulf of....) and a pretty convincing one at this point. Not sure if even the killing/capture of one of the SF units reportedly doing recon now in Iran, or a Cole-like incident, would suffice for the military/intel whom the Colonel references above. Any opinion, Colonel Lang...?


Last week someone asked me to think about where the West is really going to attack next, and when "Pakistan" blurted out of my mouth. Which surprised me.

Then it made sense. The Coalition + NATO is taking the fight to the tribes in the mountains on the border, and Musharraf's military has been unable to control his side of that border. The long-planned pipeline from Kandahar to India has to go through that area. Securing that border from the eastern side also seals off Iran on its east side all the way to the Gulf. And maybe, just maybe, preparation for it can be used to swing the upcoming election. How?

If there is a coup against Musharraf (funny enough, one was rumored this weekend) a huge crisis could be manufactured out of it in time for the elections. Think of it: nuclear missiles fall directly into the hands of the islamo-fascists. Presto, chaos and terror roll into one tightly packed emotional ball, and the need for Order trumps all else. Musharraf's book sales go up and he starts house-hunting on the Potomac.


Pat, What are the latest estimates with regards to the annual costs of being in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last I heard these numbers weren't even included in the US budget. Is this still the case? Can they really get away with spending $80bill (I seem to recall that figure from somewhere) and not having it budgeted anywhere?


we'll wish we could "... keep making war with the Army we used to have..." at this rate.


Schoomaker is not falling into Rumsfeld's line. Batiste - recently retired - is affirming the leaked NIE. CNO reportedly (reported, not confirmed) recalls the movement of a naval task force. The NIE - approved by all agencies in the community is leaked to the press. If the brass and the spooks get any closer to open rebellion it'll look like, well, open rebellion...

Serving Patriot


I am not so sure CSA delivered any big surprise today.

In fact, I think this is all part of some OSD plot to force a lame duck Congress into raising the Pentagon TOA - either before skedaddling from town to re-elect themselves or after the potential November backlash.

Word has been ciruclating for a while about the pot Army is in; now, the CSA lays it out there with what appears to be a crafted communications strategy. (Heck, this was event hte lead story on NPR's afternoon news show!) Add the 5000 troops now carrying over past their 12 mos BOG (at a $1000 per soldier per month extra pay) and it makes me think these two stories were non-kinetic ops intended to force Congress' hand and allow the Executive to continue to broadcast their "conservative" and "fiscally responsible" tag lines into every home in America. Besides, CSA is Secdef's man, chosen over all others (in the unretired line); I find it impossible to believe he would publically toss the boss under the bus. He didn't do it for Abu Ghraib, he didn't do it for the lack of exit strategy, he didn't do it for tossing Geneva; he surely didn't do it for a few dollars more.

Cynical? You better believe it. Surprised? Not even by the timing. The schtick is getting old.


Jim Marks

Army travels...
If memory serves, Wellington said it. Minor point, but he did emerge victorious.


""An army travels on its stomach.."  Did Bonaparte say that?  Whether he did or not, it is a profound truth.  The phrase is just filled with "truthiness."

Did you really mean truthiness -
Truthiness is a satirical term coined by Stephen Colbert in reference to the quality by which a person claims to know something intuitively, instinctively, or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or actual facts."

W. Patrick Lang

Jim Marks

Is that how you judge generals and armies? Wellington said that if he ever saw an officer's name on the cover of a book, he would make sure the man was never promoted again. Churchill said that "armies should not be judged by whether they won or lost but rather by the quality of their effort." pl

W. Patrick Lang


For your grasp of Wikeality, you are awarded the "Most Solemn Commenter of the Day" award.

Lighten up. pl

Soonmyung Hong


Musharraf said his deep fear was that the United States would in the end abandon Pakistan, and that other interests would crowd out the war on terrorism.
Bush fixed his gaze. "Tell the Pakistani people that the president of the United States looked you in the eye and told you we wouldn’t do that."
Musharraf brought up an article in The New Yorker by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, alleging that the Pentagon, with the help of an Israeli special operations unit, had contingency plans to seize Pakistan's nuclear weapons should the country become unstable.
"Seymour Hersh is a liar," Bush replied.
After 6 P.M. that evening, Bush and Musharraf went to the Empire Room of the Waldorf-Astoria to make statements and answer a few questions from reporters.
(Bob Woodward, "Bush at War")

SEN. KERRY: And what about any initiatives or discussions with President Musharraf and the Indians with respect to fail-safe procedures in the event -- I mean, there have been two attempts on President Musharraf's life. If you were to have a successful coup in Pakistan, you could have, conceivably, nuclear weapons in the hand of a radical Islamic state automatically, overnight. And to the best of my knowledge, in all of the inquiries that I've made in the course of the last years, there is now no failsafe procedure in place to guarantee against that weaponry falling into the wrong hands.

MS. RICE: Senator, we have noted this problem, and we are prepared to try to deal with it. I would prefer not in open session to talk about this particular issue.

SEN. KERRY: Okay. Well, I raise it again. I must say that in my private briefings as the nominee I found the answers highly unsatisfactory. And so, I press on you the notion that, without saying more, that we need to pay attention to that.

MS. RICE: We're -- we're very aware of the problem, Senator, and we have had some discussions. But I really would prefer not to discuss that.
(Confirmation Hearing of Condoleeza Rice)

I believe there are a few contingency plans, but has too many (fundamental) flaws, too.


"If there is a coup against Musharraf (funny enough, one was rumored this weekend) a huge crisis could be manufactured out of it in time for the elections."
That would not require much hand tooling. If Mushie fell to an radical coup we'd be up to our eyeballs in trouble. The Pakistanis aren't careful, cunning folk like the Iranians. Pakistan has intelligence service peppered with Jihadis, they have nukes and if they don't sell them cheap to Bin Laden their military is nuts enough to use them on a whim.

Looks like the sabers will be rattled up till the mid-terms, as John Robb's been saying the focus is now on 2008.


A single person, or a small group of persons, can cause harm far beyond their individual means.

We live in a world dominated by "gain", gain as in the ability of the people lying on the beach next to you to destroy your afternoon by playing their CD player at top volume.

Well, much as I believe that a military strike against Iran would be catastrophic, there are worse things that George is guilty of.

La température du globe au plus haut depuis près de 12 000 ans
LEMONDE.FR avec AFP | 26.09.06 | 11h13 • Mis à jour le 26.09.06 | 11h21

La température terrestre a grimpé au plus haut niveau depuis près de 12 000 ans, et ce durant les trente dernières années, indique une étude publiée, mardi 26 septembre, dans les annales de l'Académie nationale américaine des sciences et réalisée par des chercheurs américains dont l'un des principaux climatologues de la NASA, l'agence spatiale américaine. La rapide montée de la température du globe au cours des trente dernières années, à raison de 0,2 degré Celsius par décennie, fait que nous sommes actuellement à environ un degré Celsius du maximum enregistré depuis près d'un million d'années, indique James Hansen de l'Institut Goddard de la NASA pour les études spatiales, principal auteur de cette recherche.

It says the world has rapidly heated over the last 30 years and is hotter than it has been in 12,000 years.

But, of course, there is no such thing as global warming. And the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science is not to be compared with a reliable publication such as the Wall Street Journal.


:-) Just so happened I was reading of a battle in 1767, when Colonel Joseph Smith, with "800 European infantry, 5000 sepoys in six battalions and sixteen light guns" marched out to join the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas to face Hydar Ali.

But Hydar Ali got the Nizam to change sides and the Marathas to withdraw, and Joseph Smith, facing 43,000 cavalry and 28,000 infantry with 109 guns had to withdraw.

Withdraw he did, to a place called Changamh "where the Madras Government had assured him that he would find food and reinforcement". Neither was there, and Smith had to fall back to Trinomalee, 20 miles away. Hydar Ali choose to attack during this march, but Smith was successful in repulsing it.

"He and his men now resumed their march for Trinomalee, which they reach at three the following afternoon, having halted for only a hour and a half and having not only fought a battle against immensely superior forces but marched for 'twenty-seven hours without the least refreshment for man or beast who were never unloaded.'"

Well, the official who had been sent to Trinomalee to provide Smith supplies had sold most of it for personal profit... etc.

Anyway, through all this Smith emerged victorious. There is truthiness in the dictum after all :)



When it gets to “open rebellion”, or at least, ‘open truths’ let me know. I welcome the events that PL noted in this post. But, personally, I have grown weary of self serving leaks (mind you, I still hope said leaks are true) and post service conversions, timed, in some cases, with speaking tours, TV appearances, and book contracts. Don’t get me wrong…I do understand the Generals (and other ranks) who are speaking out are going to pay some price. Not implying their dissent will be pain free for them.

But I just want more. I think the country needs, and deserve more. I think the military deserves more. And I do not think it has to be open rebellion. At this point, anyway. Open truths, I repeat, truths, timely delivered, are enough for me. And if that be called ‘rebellion’ so be it. And if demanding such for a serving general is unprecedented, well, these times are getting to be unprecedented.

John Howley

"...we are not as strong as we may think we are..."
Self-knowledge -- awareness of one's own limitations -- is the foundation of strength and security.

Must we not acknowledge that, in our country at least, politicians who admit we have limitations on our power are not likely to be re-elected. Perhaps that will change. If it doesn't we're in trouble.

Hint to Democracts: Simple election message on Iraq: Rumsfeld must go! Clear, understandable and practical (how can our policy improve if the architect remains in place?).


Not that it matters much, but just to help confirm that Napoleon is widely credited with the "marches on its stomach" quote:


And obviously Napoleon wasn't the only famous general to note this fact. W.T. Sherman's memoirs paid particular tribute to the dominant role of logistics, although his memoirs focused on supply lines: "The great question of the [Atlanta] campaign was one of supplies."

If you read more, note the amount of time Sherman spends describing his supply and transport operations in detail. Also note how he had 50,000 men (Armies of Tennessee and Ohio) guarding the supply lines of the 50,000 man Army of the Cumberland.)


Here's another good Sherman quote that pertains to the current conflict:

“Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster”


And finally, although Sherman has some tough quotes on the merits of being cruel in order to subdue a hostile population, I recall (hopefully correctly), that for better-or-worse he had a strong hands off policy towards the Southern social heiarchy and culture and opposed those who wanted to use the army for social and economic change, making him strangely popular in the South after the war.

Sorry to get off subject - sort of.


Bonaparte. Wellington knew a good idea when he heard it so took the lesson to heart, even more so than the originator. Wellington, BTW, also borrowed some of his ideas on warfare from Nathaniel Greene and Daniel Morgan. Not that there is anything wrong with that, he ultimately used their tactics more effectively than they ever did.


Did Bonaparte say that? I believe he also said that "It is with baubles that men are led." Bush has given the conservatives at home yellow ribbons on their cars and tax cuts for their wallets - all for their service of voting him in and then sitting on their rumps while others pay the bills - especially the butcher's bills.

Green Zone Cafe

Could this be the beginning of the Revolt of the Generals?

It bears some similarity to the Revolt of the Admirals. A fundamental disagreement on budget and policy matters.

The Admirals were right, of course. What's been proven more useful, a B-36 (or B-2), or an aircraft carrier?

In this case, Schoomaker is not only right, he ain't even told half the story!


"Anyway, through all this Smith emerged victorious. There is truthiness in the dictum after all"

The counterpoint example is Lee's reaction when he arrived at Amelia Courthouse on the retreat from Petersburg expecting to find train loads of stockpiled provisions. But his order had gone astray, and the cupboard was bare.

Said an aide (this is from memory): "In the entire war, I never saw such a haunted expression on his face."

Needless to say, Lee did NOT emerge victorious.


Thought you would appreciate this comment from Olbermann.



During the Civil War, the South was almost uniformly let down at the logistical end.

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