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16 May 2008


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Babak Makkinejad


Isn't Mr. Brooks' writings just another example of the so-called Yello Journalism which has a long and established presence in US (as well as other places)?

If so, then why get so excited about it?

Isn't this business as usual except that the Yellows have better academic credentials and have better tailors?

Charles I

Lewis, even if they're not government you say, they sure are intractable "facts on the ground" which Israel a) helped create; and b) then brutishly demonstrated that such facts trump all "legitimate" government and politics, platitudes, and unrealistic prescriptions from afar. Worse yet those other collateral facts, the local "civilians" perversely root for the home team, warts and all, over the visiting all stars every time. "From my cold dead hand. . ." as opposed to from your calculating cold pen as it were, is at least one sentiment you may imagine all the world fervently shares . . .

William R. Cumming, thanks for pointer at response capability analysis. Tremendous danger and potential for the well built Party. Ditto for the Army. All those collapsed schools, full of one-child objects of total focus- as opposed to poor black folk perched on developable shoreline - but with the national pride/disaster/Olympics synergies potentially massive.

All, I don't think the long national nightmare is nearly over. Political realignment of the two parties, noted as not playing out until well after the election, will be a tiny fraction of what will be required to meet the coming challenges. Truly, your current leader should be in jail, the Dems are a joke.

Its horrible up here in Canada too, we have a wannabe flathead minority government just gutted federal revenues, vastly increased spending, rules by offense and threats - they're currently suing our Oppositiopn - and PM little Stevie Harper just made Bush'es Speech - Israel Uber Alles forever, whatever at a posh 60th bash up here. Better yet,we just signed some kind of joint border management agreement with Israel as out national security, integrity or sovereignty are apparently directly connected to those of Israel, present location on the map not yet defined.

Whatever occurs at home, Israel will never let go of Washington. The latter seems insensible to reality. Current performances confirm the adroitness of what Michael Scheuer, Aka Anonymous considers one of the greatest intelligence ops of the century. His latest screed, Marching Towards Hell" delightfully cold blooded - and incredibly frustrated and angry with the government.

Its also apparent that after the successful ramp up of the wars, negotiation of the subprime mess, housing and (current)stock market bubbles, test application of the shock doctrine to New Orleans waterfront, the virulence of the anti-tax and privitization manias now married to the imperative "American (high)Way of Life - the money masters are now confident they can completely have their way with the U.S. treasury whilst completing the transfer in title of America's birthright to Clifford Kiracole's shifty gang of transnational bandits, speculators, war criminals, privateers, mafias and ideologues that now obtains.

And those gangs are hardly in control of our outcomes, they just know how to ride them. What would a quake, nuclear accident or another mass attack do to American prospects for a return to somewhat rational constitutional government.


For those still reading this thread Rami Khouri of the Beirut Daily Star, who has be the only Middle Eastern journalist who ever coached Little League baseball (when he was a foreign correspondent here in the 90's), defines the current Lebanese dilemna pretty succintly here:



You wrote:

What I am talking about is making sure we have a force balanced against a variety of possibilities. The notion that all our likely adversaries will be guerrillas is not really well thought through.
It is my considered opinion, at this point, that Nasrallah has built Hezbollah's position in Lebanon from the bottom up. This is the classic way to build a guerrilla army. The thinking goes back to Mao Tse Tung, back when he was a highly successful general, before he was a disastrously poor head of state. And the example of the Chinese Civil War, plus any number of examples after that, proves that it works.

Ramon Magsaysay's military career is the only illustration I can think of offhand of how to defeat and destroy guerrillas. He did this by provision of services to the target population. By doing this, he deprived the Huks of their base, at the same time he grew his own.

I should mention at this point, that one thing Magsaysay and Nasrallah seem to share is an excellent practical understanding of the nature of loyalty. Most "statesmen" and "business executives" seem to be totally ignorant of the composition of loyalty. It isn't some right conferred by a high enough status. It is bilateral, not unilateral, and in order for a leader to possess it, he must give it in return. If that leader is trying for a base amongst people who have historically been exploited, he has to give before he can receive. He has to prime the pump before he can draw water. Nasrallah is doing this every time his people run up another set of apartments wrecked in the 2006 war. He is doing this by actually providing water, and electricity to the people living in slums in Lebanon.

In order to defeat Hezbollah this way, a hypothetical Lebanese Magsaysay would have to out-Nasrallah Nasrallah. Saad Hariri's Future Movement and Amal don't do this and aren't going to do this without a complete change in leadership. The ones they have now are bound up in a culture of corruption that would require a complete rebuild, rather than mere reforms, to fix. So I don't see this happening locally in the foreseeable future.

Which leads me to the next logical question. Given proper leadership in this country, which will have to wait on the ouster of the present bunch of felons, is Nasrallah still "plastic" enough to work with instead of Fouad Siniora?

Quite frankly, Siniora reminds me of Chiang Kai Shek and Fulgencio Batista entirely too well. As do Saad Hariri and just about everybody else I have ever heard of in Lebanese politics besides Nasrallah.

And we know what happened to the Batista regime, and the regime of the Kuomintang on the mainland, do we not?

We can begin a dialog with Nasrallah today by choice, or in five to ten years by sheer force of necessity. Because unless something unforseen happens, he's going to win. And there is no present or likely equivalent of the Cuban exile community present in the United States to force our policy into one of permanent blind opposition. Unless you count AIPAC, that is. And we're going to have to prune that back sooner or later. Decades of every sort of misbehavior from the most extreme interference in American foreign policy to blatant espionage required this long ago.

If we do this next year, instead of ten years from now, how likely is it that we can work with Hezbollah rather than in opposition to it?

Patrick Lang


I don't problems with you comment except for your use of the word "guerrilla" in describing various armies.

What do you mean by "guerrilla?"

The People's Liberation Army in China, the Viet Minh and various other armies began as irregular forces and became something very different in the main.

What do you mean by the word? pl

Guam guy


What did Guam do to deserve to be the retirment home for the likes of Siniora?

Guam was the first stop for a number of Kurdish refugees after the first Iraq war, and we got quite a few Vietnamese from the fall of Saigion. Who knows what we'll get from the second Iraq war.

William R. Cumming

P.L. Your probably right about linear thinking. Never-the-less since you mentioned capabilities against all possibilities--What are your top ten? Here are mine!

(1) Indian-Pakistan Warfare;

(2) Nation-states unable to control significant portions of their territory, e.g. Pakistan; Lebanon; Mexico; China; Russia; Iraq; at least 30% of African supposed nation-states; Columbia; India; and Bolivia; to name a few.

(3) Kosovo;

(4) Macedonia;

(5) Syria;

(6) Republic of Congo or whatever called now;

(7) Nigeria;

(8) Algeria:

(9) N.Korea;

(10) Domestic US unrest perhaps prompted by economics, food shortage, mass immigration emergency, or WMD event.

Would be interested in your list!



Hezballah's raison d'etre does not conflict with a realistic US foreign policy. If and when an administration exists in the US that does not see every group that does not co-opt its agenda as a mortal enemy then we will be able to see headway.

As long as both sides accept the others views on Israel and that the others view will not change, building a dialog would be quite simple.

Sidney O. Smith III

Stormcrow writes:
“Ramon Magsaysay's military career is the only illustration I can think of offhand of how to defeat and destroy guerrillas. He did this by provision of services to the target population. By doing this, he deprived the Huks of their base, at the same time he grew his own.”

From what little I know, this statement is consistent with the thesis of Bernard Fall and appears consistent with the Vietnam War experience.

And, if I may, I believe this idea may reveal a terrible blindspot of the IDF and unfortunately spells much more trouble ahead for Israel.

The IDF grew out of Jabotinsky’s Irgun and Haganah. The new historians of Israel are proving with clear and convincing evidence that the objective of the Irgun was ethnic cleansing. No evidence, as far as I am aware, suggests that IDF has changed its objective since 48. And their strategic aims are reflected not only through its military tactics but also politically through Likud and its American supporters.

As a result, these American supporters has ignored the ideas of Fall and therefore, from what I can tell, those of the US special forces. In other words, Hagee’s loyalty is with the IDF, not the US Special Forces.

If this idea is correct, then at some point, Americans need to decide between the tradition of Fall that went through Vietnam and the tradition of the IDF that burned Palestinian villages, leading to what some are now calling the politically charged word, "nabka".

One can only wonder what would have happened if the IDF had changed its strategic goal and, therefore, its tactics as late after 1967 and maybe even as late as the 1980’s. If instead of Shabra and Shatila, the IDF had built hospitals and schools, would HA even exist today? If Shabra and Shatila connote hubris, then does HA translate roughly into nemesis?

Awhile back, I saw a national geographic special on the Green Berets in Afghanistan. And sure enough, there was a Green Beret doctor taking care of Afghan children and the old people. At least to me, this looks like the tradition that went through Vietnam.

Common sense would dictate that if over the past 40 years IDF doctors had treated, for example, Palestinian children with leukemia, then over the years, Palestinian mothers would thank the IDF. This is based upon the assumption that Palestinians mothers and fathers are human.

Bard O’Neill suggests that such an approach may have worked in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He puts forth this idea in the book he co-authored with I. Kass titled The Deadly Embrace. The Bard has taught (and maybe still does) at the National War College.


Col Lang:

Of course, you're right about the PLA, the Viet Minh, and "guerrilla" armies in general.

They may start that way, but they don't end up that way if they're going to win.

The way I'm using the term is to describe irregular forces which originate from non-state foundations, but whose aim is higher than that of mere armed gangs.

These organizations start from zero or pretty close to it. They have to build their base. The conditions most favorable to their creation are situations where the state entity in charge of the area is "hollowed out". This can happen as a result of external conditions, or internal war, or by runaway corruption in the government and its consequent neglect of the business of state.

In Iraq, the United States invasion and our subsequent bungling satisfied the first of those alternatives. But the third seems to be more common by far.

Hapless Lebanon seems to have been in the way of all three. To wit, (i) Syrian and later Israeli intervention, (ii) their long ugly civil war, and (iii) the utter and disgusting corruption of the Hariri and Siniora factions.


You ask if instead of Shabra and Shatila, the IDF had built hospitals and schools, would HA even exist today?

It was even more basic than that. The Shia welcomed the IDF as liberators from the oppression of the PLO. All they had to do was to withdraw back into Israel and there would have been no Hizballah.


Sidney O. Smith III wrote:

"This is based upon the assumption that Palestinians mothers and fathers are human."

You know Sidney, no matter what happens in the future over there, I don't think any future historian of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict at least up to the present point will ever be able to write a sadder, more apt, more telling line than this about Israel's mistakes.

Of course that's not to say there haven't been equally terrible mistakes made by the Palestinians and arabs of course, but just as a kind of postmortem on one side's tragic mindset, I think you got it perfectly.

I forgot where I read it or heard it a good while ago, but some jewish kid who made aliyah to Israel and stayed with some settler family reported—shocked, to his credit—that one of the most typical ways in which he heard the settlers refer to the arabs was as "insects."

It seems to me that we're in such a strange period. Just closed the most secular century ever, and yet the world is being jerked around by three groups of fundamentalist religios. I just don't understand it. Almost makes you believe it is something exotic like Hegel's antithesis to the last century's "thesis" or etc., but I dunno. (Nor can I quite see what kind of "synthesis" could result since by definition I suspect fundamentalist religio's can only bend so far.)

In any event I been gone and immersed in stuff so I haven't even been watching the news lately much, so has anything happened on the Iran War possibility front? Did see about that speech Bush gave to the Knesset. Wow. Maybe since he can't run here again and Olmert is in trouble he's gonna run over there.

Do recall right before I left both you and londanium said stuff that persuaded me more than ever that a strike by Bush on Iranian nuke sites isn't likely by the end of his term, but then you two also made me wonder about people's thinking of the relative chances of a strike on the Iranian's nuke sites under McCain, or then under Obama. But I was rushing and so neglected to ask for everyone's opinions despite being interested.



Clifford Kiracofe

<"Brook’s values aren’t Canadian, either.">


I think he seems to fall into the Revisionist Zionist (Jabotinskyite) camp like most of the Neocons seem to.

His education at the University of Chicago might have included some Straussian influence. As you may know, there has been a Straussian penetration in Canada, particularly at the University of Toronto, Pangle and that crowd, from what I hear.

David Frum, the sometime White House Neocon speech writer was/is still(?) Canadian, and his parents I believe were Canadian journalists linked to the former Conrad Black empire pro-Zionists.

I think it was the late zillionaire Izzy Asper who bought out the former Black interests for press and TV up there? Per the late Izzy see

Sidney O. Smith III

Because of your analysis, I certainly recommend your blog, particularly as a complement with Syria comment.

At least to me, politics in Lebanon has the complexity of organic chemistry. And just as the organic chemistry class “weeds” out the pre-meds, it seems that gaining a threshold understanding of Lebanon is a prerequisite to a wider understanding of the mosaic of the Middle East.

I have a ways to go, admittedly. But I will say that after I have read some of your comments, I am inclined to say to myself, “Mo knows”.

Thank you for the comment and I am glad you have resurfaced at Sic Semper Tyrannis. Hope that the “stuff” in which you find yourself immersed is working out to your satisfaction.

Awhile back, you eloquently wrote about the notion that fewer choices appear available in the direction of history. It is a fascinating concept. I merely offer for consideration the idea that, at this time in history, the US must decide whether to follow the US military tradition that went through Vietnam or the US must decide to adhere to the tradition of the IDF. If the new historians of Israel are correct, then such a decision is not one of “and/both” but, instead, “either/or”. Why? Because the strategic aim of the IDF is one of ethnic cleansing. The strategic aim of the USM in Vietnam was not one of ethnic cleansing.

Again, assuming the New Historians are correct, then the IDF is all about burning the Arab and Muslim village. And it therefore is reasonable to assume the IDF is now seeking to extend the radius of such a strategic aim to a much larger area. Opposed to such a strategic aim, the USM, at least as I understand it, is all about following the rule described in Fall’s book Street Without Joy. To win, the people and the military must emerge on the same side of the struggle.

This “either/or” idea is condensed and symbolized, at least in my mind, most powerfully by Luti calling General Zinni a traitor. Like all great symbols, this one operates at a multitude of planes. And at some level, Luti branded General Zinni a traitor because General Zinni does not represent the tradition of ethnic cleansing.

The film Borat, I believe, supports this idea as well as the findings of the New Historians. At a sub textual level, Cohen was attempting to destroy all things associated with the name “Ali.” When seen in that light, the plotline of Borat melds with the neoconservative concept of the creative destruction of other cultures.


Very kind comments Sidney, thank you. The truth about Lebanese politics is more like "who knows". The uniqueness of its sectarian, ethnic and religious mix, its 4000 years of politics and a population that has probably the highest per capita opinion ratio in the world means that everything you knew yesterday could mean nothing tomorrow.

But we can all but keep trying!


Sidney O. Smith III said: "The film Borat, I believe, supports this idea as well as the findings of the New Historians. At a sub textual level, Cohen was attempting to destroy all things associated with the name “Ali.” When seen in that light, the plotline of Borat melds with the neoconservative concept of the creative destruction of other cultures."

You're the first person I've read that holds this opinion, Mr. Smith - other than me.

I've been posting on the same point since Borat came out, with little or no effect.

I'm pleased its you I finally get to share this opinion with.

Sidney O. Smith III

My apologies for not responding sooner. On the road. But I want thank you very much for the comment. I agree with you completely -- at a sub textual level, “Borat” is about the destruction of a culture associated with the character name “Ali”. And I want to tell you that I like very much to read your other comments here at sst.

For the fun of it, I would like to review “Borat” applying the methodology as described in Sherman Kent’s 1949 book re: Strategic Intelligence and American World Policy. Time permitting, I may give it a whirl. Part of the problem is I don’t want to waste my time analyzing a deplorable film that in many ways represents the opposite of Chaplin and the great Jewish-American tradition of comedy. As you can already tell, I believe that Borat is an anti-Chaplin work of comedy.

William R. Cumming

Recent estimates have upped the potential homeless in the Chinese Earthquake to exceed 10M. For Huricane Katrina estimates were 60-90K.

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