Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

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Location: Illinois, United States

Friday, August 25, 2017

Once More Into the Breach

Once More Into the Breach
©2017  Ross Williams



I’ve written versions of this essay for − literally − decades.  Predating the War in Afghanistan, the entirely notional War Against Terrorism, and 9-11.  War is a problematic thing.  There are a zillion ways to fight wars stupidly and ineffectively, only a few ways to fight them properly.  US foreign policy has embarked on a Master Plan, transcending party, to fight wars stupidly and ineffectively.  We’ve been doing this for decades, hence my essays.

Stupid, ineffective wars should not be the calling card of the world’s and history’s most potent military force, but alas it is.  At this writing of the same old essay, we’ve been notably militarily involved in:
  • ·         Iraq [Barry Hussein] for 4 years,
  • ·         Libya [Barry Hussein] for 5 years,
  • ·         Syria [Barry Hussein] for 5 years, and
  • ·         Afghanistan [Dubya] for 16 years.

I’ve deliberately excluded the dozen or so myriad smaller on-going military engagements that almost no one knows about.  We don’t need to wrap ourselves around the axle of what constitutes a real military engagement.  We have quite enough to discuss without the side-show.

Quibbledicks will note I’ve assigned Iraq to Barry Hussein when they believe it should belong to Dubya.  Dubya did indeed have an Iraq of his own as did Daddy H-Dub, but I will remind everyone that Barry Hussein notoriously extricated us from Dubya’s Iraq, and then almost immediately reinserted US military might into the power vacuum that had been filled by ISIS … the inevitable and predictable consequence of our evacuation in the first place.

…at least I predicted it, back in ‘04/’05.  But power vacuums are not necessarily a bad thing; it keeps an enemy fighting among itself.

The one aspect of this that is most incredible to casual observers − and everyone who does not comprehend military doctrine is a casual observer − and virtually all libertarians fail to comprehend military doctrine − is the staggering length of these military engagements.  How can the children of our first-deployed troops to Afghanistan be nearing the age where they can, themselves, be deployed to Afghanistan?  Aren’t we the world’s most potent military power?  Is this still our daddy’s war?

As one of the few libertarians who actually understand military doctrine, I have to admit that these are good questions.

The answer, of course, as I said above, is that we are fighting wars, as a nation, very very stupidly, abandoning all semblance of comprehension of military doctrine.

Military doctrine is the collected wisdom, the best-practices, of ten thousand years of human civilization’s experience in fighting among itself.  Some things help you fight better, others don’t.  A war that lasts for sixteen years, in this day and age, is being fought by someone very poorly.  That someone, with regard to the interminable presence in Afghanistan, is the United States and its NATO enablers.

The US and Europe are full of Generals who’ve studied the military tactics of European and American Generals.  They are very adept at European-style, set-piece warfare, where units are discreet, and can be represented − chess board style − with markers on a terrain grid or a grease pen on a glass panel, and tallied in a spreadsheet.  Such wars are won by overwhelming force shattering enemy units, rendering their unit effectiveness to zero.  When enough units are rendered ineffective and cannot be replaced by new units, the sovereign government employing those shattered units becomes politically defenseless and it loses the war.  This is the Order of Battle preferred by those who fight wars by spreadsheet.  It is also preferred by those who design wars for computer games.

The only problem with this, though, is that neither Afghanistan, nor its spreading cohort of War Against Terrorism cousins, is a European-style, set-piece war.  US Generals need to put away the spreadsheets, drop the grease pens, and put the chess pieces on the shelf.  They need to read the next chapters of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz and learn to see beyond the next tactical military objective.  Traditional military objectives are beyond worthless.

Unit effectiveness is irrelevant in this enemy.  Shattering the unit is pointless.  There is no sovereign state behind it that cares about adequate defenses of its perimeter; it has no perimeter.  The world is its perimeter.  We cannot outflank the world.  We can only kick its ass.

A US/European-style war would require that we obliterate the population fueling the war in order to impose on it a political loss.  That population is, of course, islamism.  The relevant fact about islamism is that it encompasses the entire muslim religion.  I don’t want to hear that “only a few muslims are true islamists”.  While superficially true, it is wholly irrelevant.  People who spout that nonsense are willfully ignorant, determinedly suicidal, and willing to take the rest of us to a premature grave for their ignorant idealism.  They are as self-deceptive in their own right as our Generals are.

I’m willing to accept that only a small portion of the muslim people are, at any given time, active islamist participants in islamist paramilitarism − what we, in false piety, call terrorism.  But the rest of the muslim population consists of those who support the philosophy of islamist paramilitarism, or have been forced into silent complicity with islamist paramilitarism out of fear.  There is virtually no meaningful dissent; dissenters − and their families − are beheaded.

Yabbut… yabbut… we didn’t tolerate dissent during, say, World War Two!!  It’s the same thing!!”  False.  We fight European-style, set-piece wars, which are not the same thing.  If you want to figure out why our wars are being fought stupidly by our Generals with misplaced preconceived notions about the enemy they’re fighting then you, as critics of those wars, have to drop your preconceived notions about that enemy as well.

The undeniable fact of the matter is that European-style, set-piece warfare does not, and will not, work against a determined non-European-style enemy because they refuse to acknowledge political defeat as a necessary consequence of military defeat.  That answer isn’t going to change until the enemy changes.  The enemy isn’t going to change any time soon.  Sixteen years of Afghan war is all the proof anyone should need.  Get used to it.

Overwhelming battlefield force for the purpose of imposing political acknowledgement of military defeat will. Not. Work.  Yet that is the battle plan embarked upon in 2001, renewed a few years later, renewed once again by Barry Hussein, and renewed yet again last week by Donnie Combover.  The general consensus of US and NATO Generals, highly adept at European-style warfare, pointed us in this direction.  If only we can take one more hill and deny the enemy another piece of tactically advantageous terrain they’ll realize the futility of their plight and stop fighting …

Yeah-h-h-h… not gonna happen.

This enemy does not care about dead or crippled soldiers − not even their own.  This enemy does not care about territorial gains or losses.  This enemy fights for the sake of fighting.  It is, to them, a holy war.  If only there were a word for it, … like jihad or something.  Even then it would be useless when trying to explain to westerners saturated in the European-style, set-piece warfare model; even critics of this paradigm believe military defeat imposes necessary political consequences, and they will not abandon this belief even as it fails to happen.

There are valid reasons for embarking on war against those who have declared us their enemy and are actively attacking us.  But when they don’t fight wars the way we do, the only way to defeat them is to fight wars the way they do.  We should be smart enough to adapt, yet we absolutely refuse to do so.  We do not need to mirror the underlying ideology and adopt a similar self-righteous theo-fascism, but we need to stop playing our weaknesses into their strengths.

Our weakness is the belief that a militarily defeated enemy is also politically defeated.  Sixteen years of Afghanistan, eight or nine years of Dubya’s version of Iraq, and hell, even the entire Vietnam war are proof to the contrary.  Every single one of these is a string of almost exclusive military victories for The Good Guys® [yes, even Tet]and look what became of the politics.

When we militarily defeat an enemy we assume their acknowledgement of consequential political defeat, and our impulse is to stick around, help them up, wipe off the blood and dust, repair their schools, hospitals, roads and churches, and show ourselves to be gracious in victory.  This is what we did for nazi Germany and imperial Japan.  Yet when we try these things on an enemy which does not concede political defeat, we do little more than paint targets on our own backs and we wonder why our previous enemy does not understand that the war is over.

The answer is trivially simple: the war is not over.  We did not attain the political victory that we believe we got; we simply racked up a series of likely lopsided military wins.

Our strength is military force.  We are very capable of rapidly moving in, kicking an enemy’s ass, leaving him with dead bodies and broken infrastructure.  If we are to engage the enemy we insist on engaging because they insist on engaging us, and do so effectively, we must use our strength and abandon our weakness.

If we are to embark on a generalized War Against Terrorism, then the long-term strategy must be to take military action to our enemy, overwhelm that enemy on his field, and immediately leave and come home.  Overwhelming military victory takes about six months, give or take.  Leave the dead bodies where they are.  Leave the destroyed schools and hospitals in broken chunks.  That’s now their problem.

If they persist in continuing hostilities, take another six months to go kick their ass again.  A series of six month wars spaced several years apart will be far less costly than a single war decades long against an enemy which does not play our game.

The alternative is to allow them to use our weakness against us in the form of perpetually dodging IEDs, trillions of dollars in ongoing and recurring cost of re-establishing foreign infrastructure − that they are more than willing to destroy out from under themselves, and multiple generations of our soldiers lost to the same military adventure.  This is what we’ve been doing, and it doesn’t work.

The other alternative is to permit them to make our field the terrain for their war.  This is what Europe is beginning to allow.

I’ve said it multiple times in multiple ways over the past decades: if you’re going to play war, do it properly.  Properly is what works; properly is not what is palatable enough for your conscience to live with.  Conscience is irrelevant in war.

If you are unwilling to play war and play it properly, for any reason, including having a conscience that you cannot avoid, then stay completely out of it.  But if the enemy thinks you are his enemy regardless − as this enemy has said countless times and repeatedly shown himself willing to act upon, even before “we turned them all into terrorists” − then be prepared to lose your life, nation and liberty.  You can keep the cold comfort of a conscience in the grave.

Monday, August 14, 2017

For Immediate Release

For Immediate Release: Presidential Statement on the Events in Charlottesville − as they should have been given
©2017   Ross Williams



Ladies and gentlemen of the press…

We have recently seen unacceptable events happening in Charlottesville Virginia.  Many people have been injured, and at least one has been killed.  This is never to be tolerated in the United States.

In that regard, many have been demanding that I take a stand against the virulent positions of the groups at the heart of the events.  As the President of a free people living in a free nation, I cannot do that.  I represent the government; I represent the powers that enforce freedom and liberty, and for those powers to promote certain positions and deny other positions would be to impose a tyranny of the exact same sort, however well-intended, that we rebelled against in the first place 240 or so years ago.

Instead, we are guided in these circumstances by the First Amendment, which protects our citizens’ right of Free Speech.  The First Amendment right of Free Speech has two aspects.  The first aspect is for the government to protect the right of a citizen − any citizen − to say what he wants to or about the government, or its agents, to the government’s face or behind its back, without the government being able to do a single thing about it.  The citizen may bear no repercussions for bawling out his government, however rudely and intemperately he does so.  This holds true in letters to his Congressman or Senator, while standing in line at the DMV, while discussing local policy at a city council or a school board meeting, or generalized political disaffection of the type so often leveled at me.

The second aspect of government duty regarding the First Amendment right of Free Speech is that it permits the citizen − any citizen − to say what he wants to or about any other citizen or group of citizens, without the government being permitted to take sides.  The very moment the government takes sides over the matter of rude, intemperate or disgusting speech, and chooses which speech is to be acceptable and which not, is the moment the government imposes censorship of political ideas.  The government of a free people may never do that.

This second aspect of Free Speech permits, indeed protects¸ and demands the government act to protect, the right of stupid people to make stupid statements about others, the right of bigoted people to make bigoted statements about other people, the right of assholes to make assholish statements about other people.  If those who are being targeted by stupid, bigoted or assholish statements wish to stand on the other side of the street and scream insults back, that is their collateral right under the First Amendment right of Free Speech.  The government will protect both sides’ right to scream themselves hoarse.

The only duty the government has in this situation is to ensure that anything beyond speech is dealt with properly.  The moment a stupid, bigot asshole uses one of the sticks holding his protest sign to whack someone he doesn’t like over the head, that is the first moment the government has an obligation.  That obligation is to arrest him for assault.  The very moment a counter-protester uses the stick holding his counter-protest sign to whack a stupid, bigot asshole over the head for being a stupid, bigot asshole, that is the moment the government has an obligation.  The obligation is to arrest him for assault.

You may say what you like in the United States; you may simply not do anything beyond that.

With specific reference to the circumstances in Charlottesville, it is not the prerogative of the government to decide which political ideas are proper and appropriate to entertain for free citizens of this free nation; that is the duty and the responsibility of you, you people, of this free nation.  If the ideas you see being discussed are abhorrent or appalling, then it is up to you, the people, to defeat those ideas with better ideas, and do so peacefully.

The government’s obligation is merely to stop those who have gone beyond the verbal expression of ideas.  In that regard, the person who used his vehicle as a weapon against those whose ideas were different from his own, who killed one person and injured several others, has been arrested and charged.  That is the only duty a government of a free people has in the clash of ideas among its free citizens.

If you don’t like the ideas being discussed, yelled, or screamed in Charlottesville, then it is your duty to defeat them with better ideas.  Do not demand that the government do your job for you.  That is cowardly and childish.

The government has done what is required of it.  The people have not.

Thank you.  I will take no questions and the matter is closed.