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09 February 2016

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William R. Cumming

The federal Civil Defense program under Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress ended with repeal by Public Law 107-337 in November 1994. No President has yet assumed responsibility for protection of citizens and residents of the USA since that repeal. But the threats have vastly increased to the civilian population in the USA since that repeal IMO including strategic nuclear threats.

A new COMMITTEE FOR THE PRESENT DANGER led to the election of Ronald Reagan. A new Committee for the Present Danger was reestablished in the early 90s yet neither effort has made it into the history books or MSM IMO.

Should all candidates for President tell the public that the cupboard is bare with respect to citizen protection?

William R. Cumming

Wiki extract:

The Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) is an American foreign policy interest group. Its current stated single goal is "to stiffen American resolve to confront the challenge presented by terrorism and the ideologies that drive it" through "education and advocacy". Throughout its three iterations—in the 1950s, the 1970s, and the 2000s (decade), it influenced the Presidential administrations of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, and was still active as of 2008.

CORRECTION: The Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 as amended was repealed in 1994 by Public Law 103-337!

Chris Rogers

C Chuba,

I too, like you, would like to get hold of a decent breakdown of the number of victims of the Syrian war but have yet to see a detailed analysis - trusted that is - that we can link to or quote from.

That said, the following link covers deaths attributable to the USA since the War on Terror was announced and covers three countries in the Middle East and they estimate that deaths attributable to US policy could be as high as 2 million and quantify it with out guessing at more than a million. Here's the link, which I hope does not breach and site policy:http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/body-count.pdf

Fred

David,

"...I would far prefer not to see Harris's statue, as I walk along the Strand. It reminds me of things I would rather forget."

Some folks are very busy here in the US eradicating such cultural heritage, not because they want to forget, but because they want to ensure that others only remember what will be left for them by the (cultural) victors.

oofda

And yesterday Clapper admitted that the Russian airstrikes had been the game changer in Syria.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/spy-chief-warns-that-us-could-face-attacks-inspired-by-terrorism-in-paris/2016/02/09/29f172c8-cf2f-11e5-b2bc-988409ee911b_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_ussyria-917pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

LeaNder

David, I read a self-published memory not long ago, the context were the evacuation of schools in Pforzheim after the air-raids.

This is the context:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evacuations_of_children_in_Germany_during_World_War_II

The guy was 12 at the time, they kept moving to different places and it lasted several month. Little Southern towns, and a more rural setting, hotels up in the mountains. I was surprised how long the journey lasted. Even before the French decided to not as initially planned sent them to de-Nazification in France.

*****
Strictly my main interest was, I have to admit, that my later head master in school surfaced. I hadn't read it so far, since it was obvious he played a minor role as teacher and at one point disappeared, he didn't really find out where exactly. But his assumption may be correct. As Google book suggested there was not much else about him. But what he calls "the Odyssey" took place in the larger Southern context where my parents grew up. ...

On their way they met parts of the Indian Legion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Legion

Long introduction:
He did a bit of research concerning air raids, and that context reminded me a lot of some of your links, not only here but earlier too. He searched for details on bombing raids he encountered. Never mind the obvious Nazi propaganda the boys were quite obviously forced into, including troops visits, not only him, but others too seem to have been quite fascinated to watch the "enemy's airplanes", and occasionally disobeyed orders to be able to watch them. ...

As your first link suggests: Always nights, French and British, or British planes with a special sign to mark them as part of the French forces.

From the top of my head, he claims he found the idea of precision bombing already was used in documents at that time. But I would need to check the sources he used.*

I avoid deviating into the barrel bombs versus precision bombing.

If I have not paid too much attention on this specific context. Maybe since I was missing Flakhelfer. The Nazis recruited initially heavily amongst schoolboys, but maybe this group was too you young. ... But if he watched he could have watched those attempts too.

The Nazis may have partly run out of recruits, my father was drafted with 16 in 1944. In any case the targets that surface are stations, train tracks on bridges, supply transports. One house hit could have been a slightly misguided bomb. He calls it in the chapter "Blindgänger". All others seem to have reached the intended targets.

* To not descend into the murky context of "precision guided high tech US weapons" versus bad Russian "barrel bombing". That has been addressed already here.

SmoothieX12

How both the invasion and what followed might have played out, had the Allies not had decisive air superiority – and the Wehrmacht not been bled white on the Eastern Front – I shudder to think. Intelligent people in this country were quite well aware of how formidable German armies were.
-------------------------------------------------

By 1944, Wehrmacht was a pale shadow of itself circa 1941. I believe in his "D-Day" late Stephen Ambrose makes a very strange observation that presence of Kalmyks or other non-German soldiers on the Western Front was somehow indication of Wehrmacht's strength. Reality is, it was opposite and an indication of reserves' starvation. This is not in any way to diminish heroism and resolve, and enormous difficulty which Western Allies faced during the largest amphibious operation in history, but that was a reality. Heroism and sacrifice of Western Allies are already in pantheon of both military art and heroism, but Wehrmacht, while still powerful, was nowhere near its combat potential of Summer 1941. The quality of Luftwaffe was also very low then.

Western Allies' Strategic and Operational considerations (and discussions) are best described in what, in my mind, is and will remain the best American book on the Western Front, David Eisenhower's masterpiece "Eisenhower At War, 1943-1945". The question which needs serious pondering, in my mind, is the issue of Sledgehammer and Roundup, not of strategic bombing or air superiority. The manner in which the victory on the Western Front was won, gave a lot of credence to proponents of "pure" air power and an enduring myth, among some in business, about air power alone winning the war. Two main arguments used? D-Day and Yugoslavia 1999. This discussion as relevant today as it was in 1944 or in 1999. That is my purely personal (and possibly wrong) take on this issue.

YT

Yes, most civilians have little knack & interest for military operations or the quintessential tactics involved.

I recall watching a clip from some film in which graphite bombs were "indiscriminatingly" utilized by nato on your Serb cousins back in '99.

Heaven only knows how many innocents on life support in hospitals...

JohnF spoke [earlier] of "reconciliation" in "a kinder, more Christ-child-like world.”

Nay, not possible, methinks.

I agree with you that these "good ol' boys" from 'ivy league institutions' - with no firsthand experience of war - sycophants that preach "ideals" of 'bloodless wars,' 'surgical strikes' or write of 'collateral damage' ought to be put at the receiving end of their own 'sermons.'

Babak Makkinejad

You are wrong but entitled.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, Yogyakarta is the historical/ cultural heart of Java, not Jakarta or Bandung. Yogya is to Jakarta what Salamanca is to Madrid, or what Oxford is to London, or perhaps Esfahan to Sari, if you see what I mean.

A friend travelling in Indonesia told me that he saw few people reading books, and not that many reading newspapers, but nowadays you cannot always tell because a lot of people have smartphones and other devices and could be reading the news on line.

He also told me that he went to a few shows showcasing traditional Javanese or Balinese culture (ballet, puppets...) but they were mostly for tourists. It would not be true to say they've lost all of that, though. Traditional Javanese dancing is practiced in the royal palace in Yogya, and not only for tourists (see my photos).

On UNESCO: he is 100% right. How they choose and pick cities is a farce. I think Liverpool was City of Culture a few years ago in the UK. Liverpool is many things, but a beacon of progressive culture and innovation, it is not. (Yes, they had the Beatles. Etc.)

On freedom of expression: he is also totally right and it is a very tightly controlled pseudo-democracy. A bit like Iran, my friend!

On the events of 1965: some people say there were 2 to 3 million victims. More conservative estimates are far lower: about 500,000. I heard this from a French researcher recently. I would imagine between 500,000 dead and 1.5 millions. A lot. The point the French historian was making (he has studied it) was that the slaughter was not only or mainly perpetrated by the Army, which was behind the wave of repression (it was pro-Western and nationalistic, and anti-Communist). There was a groundswell of opposition to the Communists. Thugs joined in, in places such as N Sumatra (see this extraordinary movie if you are interested, where the butchers boast about it openly:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Act_of_Killing);

but in many parts of the country, religious parties (Islamic in Java and Hindu in Bali) took to the streets to hunt down the Communists and anyone suspected of supporting them. Apparently, the prime motivation was indeed religious, i.e. that they were atheists, which was (and would still be today) anathema to 99% of Indonesians. Indonesians are very religious and devout. It is a conservative country. So, the slaughter was largely sub-contracted by the Army to the local populace, and that's why it went 'too far'.

Allegedly, the CIA and Britain only expected the leaders of the CP to be arrested. The Army intended to have them executed. But the hoi polloi ended up chopping to pieces entire families of 'suspects', including people who probably were not even Communists. It got out of hand. The CIA, in secret reports recently released, started worrying that what was supposed to be a welcome purge at the top was turning into a genocide. A lot of CIA and other resident Americans were quite alarmed, but the genie was out of the bottle. The Army let it happen but in some cases cracked down to restore order, more particularly when the mob would target Chinese communities for the sake of it.

And another point: the Communists did not intend to seize power per se, but their influence was growing within the State. Apparently, some sort of State Council was being put in place to 'assist' Sukarno and it would have been dominated by pro-Communist and Communist elements. Through this Council, they could have controlled policy. Given the Communists' record in Eastern Europe, it is obvious their longer-term aim was to seize total control. The risk would have been that you'd end up having a Khmer Rouge-type of situation afterwards, which I think would have been likely given Malay culture (see your article on Bandung for inspiration).

So, instead of a Communist take-over in slow motion, there was a pro-Western purge that turned into a genocidal massacre over a period of a few months. Take your pick. The rest is history.

I am not saying the massacre was justified but it must be seen in context (are you paying attention here LeaNder?): it was the Cold War and the Indonesian military took action pre-emptively. Is Indonesia better off or worse off today than it would have been? If you compare to Vietnam, what's the difference?

YT

Mr. Habakkuk,

RE: "posturing moral pretension"

We in the Orient have a name for that.

「出師有名」:Make trouble under a certain pretext.

Kassandra

Exactly. The Hitler party was loosing heavily several elections during 1932, and the Nazi party possibly would have become irrelevant in 1933/34 if not Hindenburg had appointed Hitler as Chancellor in 1933 just in time to save him and his party. This happened due to the pressure of the industry and the conservative establishment (Conservative Revolution), and the only major social group overwhelmingly supporting the Nazis had been school teachers. When the occupation of the areas of the German speaking areas in the only real democratic state of Europe at that time - Czechoslovakia - took place in 1938 (most other European states had been fascistoid dictatorships as well), Hitler was saved a second time by Chamberlain in Munich. Germany was in trouble eonomically, and a war for plundering ressources was desperately needed. A significant group of German generals tried to convince the British to issue a stark statement supporting Czechoslovakia against Hitler to deter him, because they where sure that Hitler's policy would result in a large war with desastrous consequences for Germany. UK rebuffed these requests and supported Hitler's bluff - Czechoslovakia was well armed, and the German Wehrmacht was still in a quite fledging stage, not at all capable of dealing with a serious military resistance by the Czechoslovakian army. By backstabbing Czechoslovakia, Downing Street not only handed over a cheap and pretty unlikely victory to Hitler, but gave the German Wehrmacht the large military stocks of the Czech army - enough hardware and ammunition for doubling the German military capacity with the occupation of 1938, used then on Poland. As today, the real target was Russia, and for that purpose, Hitler was a good tool. Churchill even wanted to finalize this strategy in 1945/46 by not disarming the Wehrmacht in the British zone and pushing for the "Operation Unthinkable".

Will

The Goering quote always bears repeating. Lustration is a crock, it destroys the social fabric. It is enough to replace the leaders to get a change in direction, provided they have the authority and power to implement a turnaround.

" We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." "

SmoothieX12

And most people think of the East Front as strictly a battle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In reality Germany was leading a "Great European Anticommunist Crusade"
------------------------------------------------

Well, it surely evolved into the genocide against dirty Slavs, Jews etc. There is a reason that war is known as the Great Patriotic War, the first one (without Great) was in 1812.

LeaNder

Babak, could you leave your larger culture lines theories, both West and East, to explain to me how someone can be both a supporter of Ahmadinejad, and writing the above.

He didn't mean to deny Nazi atrocities, but somewhat concentrated on something like a larger/deeper history behind the Haavara agreement?

Or we are all humans after all?

LeaNder

sorry, Margaret.

I hate people that misspell names. But I like Steinfels, only I didn't want to address you with your family name.

Will you forgive me.

The context no doubt is interesting.

Fred

offda,

Brennan didn't seem to happy to be called out by one of the Senators either.

BB

I think post deals with just war theory (moral law). Apropos of this subject, a true man of peace, Pope Francis, came out with this recently:

Pope Francis Sees Putin as 'Only Man' to Defend Christians Around the World
http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160209/1034451116/pope-francis-putin-christians.html

In an attempt to defend Christians in the Middle East and other parts of the world where they're being persecuted, Pope Francis wants to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin for help.

According to Pope Francis, Putin is "the only one with whom the Catholic Church can unite to defend Christians in the East."

David Habakkuk

YT,

Unfortunately, it's yet worse than you suggest.

People who 'make trouble under a certain pretext' may still have a capacity accurately to assess the likely consequences of their doing so.

Of course, prediction is an imperfect art, in any circumstances.

However, I have enough of an old-fashioned British imperialist in me to take certain things for granted. If you want to assess the likely consequences of different courses of action in the Middle East, you look for people who know the languages and have relevant experience/academic study.

If you are dealing with war, or matters with a significant military dimensions, you consult thinking military men.

For reasons going back far into the history of the Cold War, American policy came to be made by superannuated graduate students. Accordingly, time and again, their idiotic ideas have generated unexpected consequences, and produced fresh imbecilic ideas. And so they lurch from catastrophe to catastrophe.

A real puzzle is why the British élite came to embrace 'neoconservatism' – something which I for one find deeply culturally alien: all one's old enemies coming together, one might say.

The answer, I fear, reflects no credit on us.

YT

Yours Truly here risking accusations of 'heresy' & 'racism,': but the first president of Indonesia was too 'pre-occupied' with his myriad mistresses (one of 'em infamous "Dewi" - the 'goddess,' some Nip geisha or pub hostess - who eventually became the First Lady, later to have her own album of semi-nude photos which Col. Lang may 'check out' in absentia of his Mrs.)

It seems a common 'trait' amongst the many cretins & scoundrels of this godforsaken region to be obsessesed with carnal pleasures & forsake all else, incl. all-important Governance of hoi polloi.

Some have told me that mao & Zhou personally advised him that he had to keep a watchful eye on his generals, but...

RE: seen in context

Some tell me the 'domino theory' was "over-rated": fear-mongering at its very best (à la H.L. Mencken).

Yes, I've also been 'advised' how 'easy' it is for us armchair strategists & history pundits to judge the actions & crimes of our 'predecessors,' - what with hindsight of present-day. i.e.「後事諸葛」。

You argue that this Indochinese region is far better to-day after the interventions of Pax Americana?, I still think it hard to convince the next-of-kin of those innumerable casualties of war & coup d'état...

David Habakkuk

Fred,

The determination of the self-appointed 'heirs of Lincoln' to try to complete their victory fills me with dread.

It is part and parcel of the 'soft totalitarian' mentality which appears to have become dominant in contemporary 'liberalism'. This, I fear, is liable to end very badly, on both sides of the Atlantic.

As regards power balances in the United States, I simply do not know enough about these to be clear as to whether those who pursue this line can, as it were 'get away with it'.

Dubhaltach

Ms. Steinfels:

"whether if this were the U.S. military, would there be what looks like indiscriminate bombing?"

I invite you to reflect on the bombardment of Fallujah by American artillery before asking such questions.

Trey N

"By backstabbing Czechoslovakia...used then on Poland."

The irony here is that it wasn't just Downing Street that backstabbed the Czechs. Instead of standing with the Czechs and forming a common front against Hitler, the Poles took the bait that he offered and nipped their little piece of territory off the carcass when the Germans invaded. Of course, Karma being the cold bitch that she is, the jackals were dismembered in turn the very next year....

David Habakkuk

SmoothieX12,

A whole range of different matters here.

It is a major problem with strategic argument in the post-war West that it has continued to be dominated by interpretations of the 'Thirties which turn out on inspection to be wrong.

Of critical importance is the image of a weak and vacillating Britain failing to rearm.

Unfortunately, I have not had time to do more than dip into David Edgerton's 2012 study 'Britain's War Machine', but reviews make its arguments clear.

See, for example http://logosjournal.com/2012/spring-summer_jacobsen/ .

My one quarrel with this review is that the reviewer writes:

'Until the Nazi-Soviet Pact the common wisdom among elites, especially of the Right, was to appease and rearm, in hope of driving Hitler against Stalin in the meantime.'

This mirrors a common Russian suspicion, both then and now. In my view, it is right about some sections of opinion, completely wrong about Chamberlain. One simply cannot explain Chamberlain's gyrations – in particular, the disastrous unilateral guarantee to Poland – without grasping that he had taken for granted that Hitler's fundamental ambition was to bring ethnic Germans into a Greater German 'Reich'.

As regards British rearmament, one has to grasp that 'liberal militarism' was in many ways very brutal. It took as a premise that Britain could not expect to compete with land powers whose circumstances led them to emphasise large land armies.

Accordingly, it relied naturally first on sea power – used, among other things, to starve the adversary out – and then, as a natural development, on strategic air power, to be used to bomb them into submission. In both, technological superiority was critical – as also in the attempt to acquire intelligence superiority.

A consequence of the failure of Chamberlain and those who thought like him to understand Hitler was, paradoxically, that they failed to grasp, when his occupation of the rump of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 demonstrated that they had radically misread him, the vital importance of attempting to secure an alliance with the Soviet Union.

Among other things, this was of critical importance to the strategy of blockade.

They were saved from the potential consequences of their error, because Hitler disregarded the advice of the – extremely competent – Russianists in the 'Wilhemstrasse' who, in essence, held Trotsky's view of Stalin. They thought he had 'betrayed the Revolution', and with judicious encouragement, could be persuaded to betray it some more.

Cutting a long story short, a further irony is that the faith in air power was revived by the advent of atomic weapons.

It has become an article of faith in the West that nuclear 'deterrence' stabilised the Cold War confrontation.

There is, I think, every reason to believe that this may have been the reverse of the truth.

In a world without nuclear weapons, any military conflict between the Soviet Union would necessarily have been a long drawn-out war of attrition.

As a traditional land power, the Soviets found it much easier to maintain large ground forces than the United States. However, in the event of all-out war, they would have needed to exploit this to eliminate the bridgeheads on which the vastly superior American military-industrial potential could be deployed against them in Eurasia, once it had been remobilised.

And they would have needed to do this, in the face of the – demonstrated – Anglo-American capability to land and supply large amphibious forces, and the fact that, by the end of the war, 'precision bombing' was becoming a reality.

Is it a risk Stalin would have taken? For what – to impose communist governments in Western Europe?

Unpleasant unreliable people, all too similar to the kind of Old Bolshevik intellectuals he had had shot or sent to labour camps? The kind of people who looked down on him, and, given half a chance, might have resurrected Lenin's 'Testament', or the 'Riutin Declaration', and accused him of an 'Asiatic Deviation'?

I do not offhand have the figure of the percentage of the leadership of the German Communist Party who took refuge in Moscow whom Stalin ended up having shot, but it was quite high.

YT

http://thesaker.is/did-the-us-treasury-irs-just-threaten-vatican-bank-before-pope-francis-meeting-with-patriarch-kirill-by-scott/

...?, ?!

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