Friday, April 05, 2002

The king called out his jet figthers...

Count me in the minority that thinks the President’s latest speech on the Israel/PLO conflict is rope-a-dope or as someone put it, “Saying nice doggie while you get a stick.” If this is not the case then this administration will be remembered as a failure and he will have squandered an opportunity to leave the world better than he found it. Here is why I think we are sandbagging:

Israel needed cover to pull out. They are getting what they need now to discredit Arafat and, when they pull back can be seen as giving the bloody peace process one more shot. Speaking of shots, recall that Bush demanded that the suicide attacks stop and outright declared them murder. When another Islamokazi paints the walls of a café with his or her (her- man is that culture FUBAR!) and a bunch of innocents’ blood and gore, Arafat and his PLO thugs will have shot themselves in the face. The US can step back, and say, “We tried,” and stay out of the way while Israel sets to the onerous task of cleaning out the life loathing fiends in her midst. Europe may whine but will be impotent to act. The rest of Araby will likely quail in the face of real force and leave their so called Palestinian brethren to their own devices. If the “street” rises up, so what? We’ve seen the best they have. Armed irregulars are of little use against trained soldiery (not to mention air superiority) in the open desert and I doubt Israel or the US is dumb enough to fight any conflict on the enemy’s terms.

Meanwhile, I am beginning to see a possible strategy for Iraq. It is a synthesis of what was learned in the first Gulf War and, more recently, in Afghanistan. While everybody talks about the tens of thousands of US ground pounders it’ll take to defeat Saddam, there is a different approach in the offing. Some insight is provided by a Wired item on COL Jack Warden USAF RET, the architect of the air campaign of the first Gulf War :

"If we look back at the Gulf War, it seems to me that one of the biggest mistakes we made was in treating the Iraqi military as an enemy and thinking we had to destroy the Iraqi army in Kuwait and the Air Force and so forth," Warden said in recent phone interview.
"The reason I think it was a mistake is it was the Iraqi military that had the capability to do something with Saddam Hussein. We simply never told them during the course of war: Look, we'd be happy to help you, if you're willing to head north and take out this guy Saddam, who you don't like, either. My thought is in today's world, let's ... not target anything that's a traditional military target."


In other words, just like we were able to use a small number of ground assets and air superiority to leverage an indigenous force (the Northern alliance and later, fickle Afghan warlords) in the defeat of the Taliban, we should turn Saddam’s army against him. Our psyops people should make it clear to the Iraqi troops that Saddam is finished and now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. We could even broadcast footage of what happened to their fathers and older brothers last time we mixed it up. That, coupled with intense attacks on Saddam’s hidey holes and war infrastructure would let the rank and file know that salvation lies with us and Hussein, and those who are loyal to him, are doomed. This strategy also has the advantage of allowing the Iraqis to participate in their own liberation.


UPDATE: Count the Captian and the Potable Pontificator in as rope-a-dopers.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

I'll sleep better now.

It seems the feds have busted a Canal Street bordello run by three generations of women from the same family.

According to prosecutors, Tommie Taylor, 62, ran the day-to-day operations and maintenance while her daughter, Jeanette Maier, 43, served as a madam who recruited girls. Maier's daughter, Monica Renee Montemayor, 25, worked as a prostitute, investigators said.


In all, about 15 people have been named in the multistate prostitution ring. The charges include interstate prostitution, drug distribution and money laundering, the U.S. attorney's office said.

The indictment announced the closure of six brothels operating in New York, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans, prosecutors said.

Boy am I ever glad that in the middle of a friggin war in which we don't know from under what rock the next islamokazi is going crawl that the federales are devoting manpower to thwart perpetrators of pretty much victimless crimes. Better they allocate all those trained and armed palookas to airport security so Apu doesn't accidently bring his Ginzus onto the plane. Check out the name of the Assistant US Attorney in the last line of the article.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Hmmm

I doubt this is an accident. Things are going to get hot out there soon. When the balloon goes up, expect a lot of enemy infrastructure to fail at once. Sappers typically go in early to soften the way for regular troops.
Speaking of Doughnuts...

This (reported by Bruce Bartlett at NRO) was inevitable:

The same people behind the campaign against tobacco are gearing up to do it again to sugar, fat, and the foods that contain them.
As with tobacco, those leading the effort justify it on the grounds of health. Americans are obese, they say. We consume too many empty calories and not enough fruits and vegetables. The problem is especially acute among youth, we are told, who eat far too much candy and snack foods, gulp soft drinks by the gallon, and get too little exercise.

He goes on to list the various methods, some already taking place, in which “Big Food” will be shaken down ala “Big Tobacco.”

Since the justification given by those who espouse all these laws and regulations against purportedly unhealthful living is that it is for “the children” or our own good or (here is one of my faves, usually associated with helmet laws) since we all pay for public health care, we are entitled to mitigate peoples’ need for it. (Were that we could pass similar laws with respect to welfare and public assistance.) Fine, I’ll stipulate that the nanny state is only imposing these laws with our best interests at heart. My beef is then about how the government goes about modifying my behavior. Does it strike anybody else as ironic that the state profits so much from that which it purportedly wishes us to eschew? In some places the cost of a pack of smokes is over half due to taxes. These taxes supposedly go to help people quit of some other do-goody thing. Here is my plan: Instead of using sin tax monies to fund more state bureaucracies, let’s just use them to make direct payments to those who behave as the state likes. For example, a nonsmoker could be entitled to say, a $1000.00 a year stipend, or someone within 10% of their ideal weight $2000.00 a year. We could sell the concept by saying sin taxes are paying for it and by pointing out all the monies that will be saved in public health costs.

OK, now that my tongue is recentered in my mouth a couple of other points: Cold blooded as it is, besides paying more taxes, smokers do us all a favor by dying earlier, thus using fewer entitlements. When I was in the Navy, they started the big fitness push, mandating a minimum of aerobic endurance and discouraging smoking. As time went on, it was said to actually cost the Navy because the beer bellied, Marlboro puffing, crusty old CPOs were began to give way to fit and trim uberchiefs. Upon retirement the latter continued to live past the 2 years or less typical of the former and thus cost much more over the long haul in terms of retirement pay and bennies.

UPDATE: I guess it is already happening.