The Realities of Fighting a War

A lot of people are getting bent out of shape over the prospect of waterboarding being resumed, at least in theory, under a Trump Administration. Just to let you know – plenty of my fellow Catholics have been loudly proclaiming the Church’s absolute prohibition against any sort of torture. I, of course, subscribe 100% to Church teaching – I routinely fall short of it, but I believe it to be correct in all respects and that everyone should do their level best to live up to it. I would have it that we would never use waterboarding, or any other terrible thing. But if you were suddenly made President of the United States and found that we had captured people who had immediate knowledge of a pending terrorist massacre, what would you do? I thank God I’ll never be in that position – but if such a situation arises and a President (any President) decides to use forceful measure to obtain information, that President won’t find me in the line of people condemning the action, or calling for a war crimes trial.

And that brings me to the subject of war crimes. The basis of them are various international agreements entered in to which prescribe the ways and means a nation can behave in war time – against enemy soldiers and against enemy populations. It is all very admirable stuff and if everyone would at all times obey such rules then war, while still being a cruelty, would be a lot less worse. But the plain fact of the matter is that international conventions about warfare don’t work in the breach. We only refrained from using poison gas in WWII because the enemy refrained – had the Germans or the Japanese used them, so would we have. And even without enemy first-use, as the Battle of Okinawa ground on and our losses mounted, there was an official request from the military to use poison gas against dug in Japanese forces. It was vetoed at the highest level – but had there not been an atomic bomb and we had invaded Japan, my bet is that we would have used it, if the defense of the Japanese homeland had been in any way like the defense of Okinawa.

The gold standard for how to deal with war crimes remains the Nuremberg trials in Germany after World War Two. But while there was a grandeur about them, the fact that Soviet judges participated made them not what they should have been. Stalin’s regime never packed people into gas chambers to murder them, but millions were still done to death by Stalin’s henchmen – it is hard to find a crime which the Nazis committed and the Soviets avoided. And even in things like charges about plotting aggressive warfare and engaging in unrestricted submarine warfare, our side was guilty, too…with the Brits only being beaten by the Germans invading Norway by a matter of hours, and our unrestricted submarine campaign against Japan being vastly more effective than the German’s campaign against us and the British (indeed, German Admiral Donitz was helped to a lesser sentence by no less a figure than Fleet Admiral Nimitz, who wrote a letter to the Nuremberg judges advising them that the submarine charge against Donitz could be equally applied to Nimitz).

War is cruelty and you cannot refine it – so said General Grant. By one means or another, in war you are seeking to kill and destroy. It is better for you if you use only the minimal force necessary, and that you treat a defeated enemy with mercy. But especially when faced with a cruel foe who makes no distinction and seeks to win by any means necessary, you may at times be forced to brutal methods, yourself. And it is not for us to judge the men and women, forced into horrible circumstances, about the decisions they made. If you aren’t the person making the decision – in a swift, terrible moment when you cannot possibly have all necessary facts at your disposal – then you are not the person to judge. Only God can do that.

Today, we are faced with a very cruel enemy who sticks at nothing to win. It is to be hoped that our government and military leaders will come up with a good plan which will help curb and, perhaps, eventually destroy the wicked enemy and bring peace to the world. But one thing they don’t need is high-minded virtue-signalling from those of us who don’t have to make the decisions and carry them out.

22 thoughts on “The Realities of Fighting a War

  1. Retired Spook January 27, 2017 / 10:28 am

    Not exactly on topic other than the fact that Democrats are engaged in fighting a war; Bob Livingston has a somewhat humorous piece entitled Democratic Naval Gazing.

    The Democrats’ core constituencies were hard at work this past week. On Friday they rioted, looted, burned, tried to set Trump supporters on fire, broke windows and attacked police. On Saturday they — mostly women — donned vagina hats, vagina costumes, pants with red liquid splashed on the crotch and other silly apparel and railed about how they had no “rights” in the first place, and if they did have any Trump was going to take them away. They ranted and screamed and scrawled filthy words and platitudes on signs and paraded about like idiots, chanted mindless and shallow slogans and listened to unhinged speeches by unhinged entertainers so far removed from middle America they couldn’t find it with both hands and a guide dog.

    The abhorrent spectacle was treated as normal by the mainstream media and embraced by Democrat politicians.

    People in flyover country, normal people – the very people Democrats say they want to listen to – were appalled, put off and, frankly, embarrassed by the grotesque nature of the whole thing.

    • Amazona January 27, 2017 / 1:11 pm

      Does anyone think ANYONE watched this bizarre, distasteful, vulgar and utterly brainless street theater and thought “Yeah, that’s exactly how I want people to see me” and decided to become a Democrat?

      These mindless puppets of the Left might want to take a look at the electoral map and think about how they are going to win elections when they disgust people in the very areas they will need to win over to get back in power.

      It’s a pretty weird strategy for winning elections to create scenarios where people watching think “Those are exactly the kinds of people who should never be trusted with any degree of power.”

  2. Retired Spook January 27, 2017 / 10:59 am

    And Ben Crystal has his usually witty take on Women’s march.

    They got wall-to-wall coverage in the media, dominated social media and even gave that thing that looks like it used to be Madonna a chance to talk about “blowing up the White House.” There were vagina costumes, profanity-laden diatribes and threats on President Donald Trump’s life; all the stuff one needs to occupy the moral high ground in a debate. Despite that awkward moment when Ashley Judd took the mic and suffered what appeared to be a major psychotic episode, the whole tableau looked like a Beyonce video run amok. I mean “Girls, we run this mother,” am I right?

    • Amazona January 27, 2017 / 1:14 pm

      Madonna was just Madonna—-pompous, smug and creepy. Judd was a strange mixture of pathetic and scary. This is not a woman I would ever pay to watch in anything, not even a reality TV episode where she finally checked herself into a mental institution.

  3. Amazona January 27, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    We need to remember that when the hysterical Left (sorry for the redundancy) howls about TORTURE !!!!! they are using their own dictionary. The Left could not survive without constantly redefining terms and this is a good example.

    Torture is not really just making someone uncomfortable, coercive interrogation is not necessarily torture, and even people who have been waterboarded are divided on whether or not it constituted “torture”. Noriega crumbled under the pressure of the same loud rock music most teenagers choose to blast through their earbuds. One man’s torture is another man’s entertainment/preferred pathway to deafness.

    I can’t find the radio show I heard a couple of weeks ago, an interview with a high-ranking official (probably this Dr. Mitchell) who presided over the enhanced interrogation of the man responsible for 9/11, Kalil Sheik Mohammed (KSM). He had a lot of very good information, but what jumped out at me is that they did not get their information because, as the Left always shrieks, anyone will say anything “JUST TO MAKE THE PAIN STOP !!!” KSM had a few sessions, but when he decided to cooperate it was not while he was being waterboarded. The way we used that technique was not to keep doing something till someone talked, but to break down the psychological resistance to talking, using various techniques based on evaluation of the person’s psychology.

    We need to remember, we can’t just accept the Left’s narrative all the time. We need to start challenging every one of their definitions. I am so tired of us just lazily picking up their terminology and then using it till it becomes the accepted fact, when it started off as propaganda.

    Anyone who gets the vapors over the use of “torture” even when the process does not inflict permanent damage to the person, should read this, especially the highlighted parts (emphasis mine) and then Google more information on what KSM told Dr. Mitchell, including the fact that A-Q expected us to treat 9/11 as a law enforcement problem, and if we had, the attacks would have continued. He said they were very surprised when the “cowboy” George Bush treated it like war and went after them.

    From an interview in December 2016:

    Mitchell: [The CIA] presented all this information to me [when they asked for my help]. But really I thought I shouldn’t do this, this is going to ruin my life. And then I thought to myself, nothing in my ethics or my moral code said to me, I should put the temporary discomfort of a terrorist before saving hundreds of lives. I mean, I couldn’t live with myself. For some people that’s a hypothetical question that they can answer by taking the moral high ground. But for me it was a real question, I mean [CIA] really was asking me this. So I would make sure that what I did was legal. But if there was another situation where there was a catastrophic attack and there was credible intelligence that it was imminent, I would get out of the chair today and go do it.

    WFB: Is there anything else that you want to add?

    Mitchell: I would ask people to get familiar with what [ISIS/al Qaeda] ideology involves. We do not understand the depth of their commitment. The only way they can avoid the torment of the grave is to get up every day and try to figure out how they can convert, kill, enslave, or humiliate everyone else on the planet.

    They want to purify the planet.

    • M. Noonan January 27, 2017 / 7:39 pm

      For certain, it is not like we’re getting a poker red hot and shoving it up someone’s rear; nor are we crushing a man’s privates under a boot heel; nor putting them in a dank cellar and feeding them ten and a half ounces of bread per day; nor dragging them around the room by their beards; nor forcing them to stand in a closet for 48 hours; nor keeping them 50 in a cell designed for 10…you know: we’re not doing the sorts of things Progressives did all through the 20th century when faced with uncooperative prisoners…

      • Amazona January 28, 2017 / 8:21 pm

        Watch, read or listen to “Unbroken” to learn what torture means—and this was casual brutality, not even in the pursuit of information to save lives. Check out the treatment of US POWs in Viet Nam—again, torture just for grins, not even to try to accomplish something. Not a lot comes out of North Korea, but what does indicates the routine use of extreme torture, not just for political prisoners (a category that can include anyone for any reason) but that person’s entire family and descendants. Again, this is not used to gain information to save lives, but just out of sadism and intimidation of the populace.

        It turns my stomach to hear the whiny Left refer to the treatment of prisoner at Abu Ghraib as “torture”. Rude, yes. Demeaning, yes. But Rush was correct when he said that a lot of fraternity hazings are just as bad. And it was illegal, against our own rules, and people were punished.

        …we’re not doing the sorts of things Progressives did all through the 20th century when faced with uncooperative prisoners… As I said, cooperation was not even a factor. It was just business as usual, with no goal except to do it, and maybe scare people who heard what was going on.

  4. Cluster January 28, 2017 / 9:49 am

    What a difference a week makes. Go get ’em Nikki:

    “Our goal with the administration is to show value at the U.N., and the way that we’ll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies, and make sure that our allies have our back as well,” Haley said.

    “For those that don’t have our back, we’re taking names. We will make points to respond to that accordingly,” she added.

    • Amazona January 28, 2017 / 11:28 am

      I would love to see the United States not only withdraw from the UN but expel its representatives and employees from the country. The building could go back to the government, or it could be used to house a new international body consisting of nations which oppose oppression, oppose tyranny, and support human rights.

      We need the backbone to stand up to bullies and liars, and to make a loud public statement that the UN as it exists today is a profoundly corrupt organization which, in spite of its posturing, enables human rights abuses and tyranny.

      I think the world is ready.

      • Cluster January 28, 2017 / 1:35 pm

        We need the backbone to stand up to bullies and liars, and to make a loud public statement

        AGREED. And this goes for progressives and the media. We have just begun.

  5. Retired Spook January 28, 2017 / 10:47 am

    This is the first of a five part series that spells out pretty graphically where we’re headed. Not speculation or hyperbole but our adversaries in their own words what they intend to do.

    • Amazona January 28, 2017 / 11:23 am

      Chilling, but no surprise, at least to me. I’ve been talking about the International Left and its control of the American Left for years now.

      Yesterday I heard a radio interview with a couple of women who had gone to a military Inaugural Ball who talked about being accosted, verbally, with every kind of verbal insult, attack and general filth possible as they entered the ball. They were still upset after a while so they left early, and ran into another group which did the same thing, but also accosted them physically. One scribbled all over the back of one of the women with a permanent marker. A woman had evidently taken her grandson, who looked to be about 6, to the ball—she was dressed in evening clothes and he was wearing a little tuxedo—and they were viciously assaulted with one demonstrator who wore a mask kneeling in front of the child and screaming into his face “You’re what’s wrong with this country!” (or “You’re destroying this country!”)

      We’re not talking about anything even remotely approaching a legitimate, protected speech, protest here. We are talking about the kind of thing discussed in this video.

      While the Complicit Agenda Media may not officially, openly, be on the side of these thugs and anarchists, they do give them cover by doing things like calling these actions “protests”. They are not.

      And the faux outrage over “what is happening to this country” is totally hypocritical, as these people have only contempt for this country and are actively engaging in overthrowing its government so they can put in place a tyrannical, oppressive, Progressive alternative.

      We need a Congress who,with the President and the courts, will have the balls to take on the anarchists and anti-American activists, who will work to find a dividing line between protected speech and subversion.

      They tell us what they want to do, just as Islamists tell us what they want to do. These two anti-American forces are quite blunt in their statements about striving to destroy us, and we meekly accept them, dilute their impact by redefining what they do as merely “radical” Islam or as merely being “protesters”.

  6. Retired Spook January 28, 2017 / 11:41 am

    Things have been moving so fast since the election, it’s difficult to keep up with all the ugly things the Left has in store for us.

    Note – the YouTube account for Sally Boynton Brown’s comments about killing Christian Heterosexual Old White Men has been terminated — surprise, surprise. This is not some whack-job protester (well, maybe that could be debated); this is a woman who wants to be HEAD OF THE DEMOCRAT PARTY. Let that sink in for a second.

    These people are truly frightening, but the author of this piece has it about right:

    The Left mistakes our forbearance, patience and, yes, tolerance for weakness, because they are none of those things, and utterly fail to comprehend us. But they should not poke in the eye too many times millions of people who make a hobby out of going into the woods and shooting and gutting 200 lb. mammals. Seriously, they shouldn’t.

    • Amazona January 28, 2017 / 2:11 pm

      I’m trying to think of a “200 lb. mammal” that would be hunted. Hunters don’t shoot baby deer, elk or bears, and squirrels don’t get that big. I think he left out a “1”, and meant “1200 lb. mammals” or a 0, meaning “2000 lb. mammals”. Some of them predators, with teeth and claws, who can fight back if they aren’t the attackers themselves.

      This is an excellent link. One of the many quotable comments is this: The left is veering into madness, and sometimes that madness winds up with guillotines, gas chambers and gulags as their final solution to their hated internal enemy problem. This is something most Americans simply do not understand. The Left pooh-poohs concerns, laughs at them, ridicules them, and too many Americans think “that could never happen here”.

      As in so many other areas, there is a spectrum of political madness, and I understand that most on the Left range from the center of political philosophy to the middle of the Left’s end, with only a few teetering on the radical Left brink, ready to join those who have already gone over. But this conviction leads to a couple of observations.

      One is that these middlers, who are emotionally drawn to the warm fuzzies the Left dangles as bait and the belief that virtue resides on the Left, are not going to go all the way over and join up with the crazies. But their spinelessness, which might be considered simple ignorance but which has a much more malignant effect than simply not knowing enough, still enables the insanity, still supports it. I would like to see us take the fight to the Complicit Agenda Media even more than we are doing now. I would like our spokespeople to look Liberal media personalities in the eye and say “DO YOU CONDONE _________”, forcefully, and not back off till there is an answer. No waffling. Name an atrocity, like the masked person assaulting the six year old boy, and don’t back off without an answer. We need to push them, and push them hard, to answer this question about breaking windows, looting, burning cars, stopping traffic, assaulting people, etc. We need to put them on the hot seat over and over again and demand answers. Yes or no. Is this acceptable or isn’t it? Because if we do this, every Prog watching will have to answer this question in his or her heart. They drift along on the current, and we let them. We have to make them take sides. The International Left has set the stage for us to do this, and we are fools if we don’t take advantage of that. I think we can deprive them of a lot of the implied support they get. We should challenge them every time they use the word “protest”—-they are, at the very least, simply demonstrations of unhappiness about something, and too often full-fledged riots.

      The other is that if we do have a civil war, it will be fought on the Left side by a handful of radicals shored up by the International Left, and not by the American middlers. And they will be fighting, if they fight at all, for an abstract political philosophy and agenda, but not for something that exists. On the Right, however, there will be millions of people, armed and dangerous, who are willing to put it all on the line for a real goal—the preservation of our nation and the protection of our people. Does anyone really think that Sally Boynton Brown is going to gun up and man the lines? Or the Reverund Jessuh or his sweetie, Al ? Ashley Judd and Madonna, posturing and playing the “How Stupid Am I?” game as long as there are cameras rolling, are not going to give up a penny much less an hour much less their lives when push comes to shove.

      We could cripple the Left, if we had leadership and commitment. Give up YouTube and Facebook, never watch another award show, only support certain kinds of movies and TV shows, tell the NFL if they can’t man up and defend the country they can see how many Lefties are football fans. We have the power, but we don’t seem to realize it.

      And it would be hard to do some of this stuff. Sorry to sound sexist, but I can just imagine the wailing of wives told they can’t use Facebook any more. “But how will I know what our grandchildren had for breakfast?” My answer is, don’t depend on shallow imitations of community and relationships—-talk to people, call them, write them.

      • Retired Spook January 29, 2017 / 11:32 am

        I’m trying to think of a “200 lb. mammal” that would be hunted. Hunters don’t shoot baby deer, elk or bears, and squirrels don’t get that big. I think he left out a “1”, and meant “1200 lb. mammals” or a 0, meaning “2000 lb. mammals”.

        Well, there ya go getting all Western on us. The weight range for most White Tail bucks taken around us is 180 to 200 lbs.

      • Amazona January 29, 2017 / 5:01 pm

        Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!

        (Just an example of how I REALLY go all Western.)

        Yeah, we have antelope that size, too, and I suppose some of our white tails and mule deer run about that weight, dressed out.

        But if we want to impress Lefties I think we need to focus on the BIG in Big Game—like those dangerous 700 pound feral hogs down South, mean critters with tusks that can gut a man, and they are often hunted with bows and arrows, just to keep things interesting. Taking down Bambi just doesn’t seem that scary.

      • Retired Spook January 29, 2017 / 5:14 pm


        To the fast majority of Lefties I’d bet a 200 lb. 8 point buck would scare the livin’ sh*t out of them. Can you imagine Pajama Boy coming face to face with a 700 Lb. feral hog?

        My youngest daughter has been married and divorced twice and both of her ex’s are hunters. The first one is into hog hunting with a bow; missed and ended up killing one with his hunting knife a couple years ago.

      • M. Noonan January 29, 2017 / 10:06 pm

        Friend of mine hunts – I’ve never felt the desire of it. I do recall when I was a little boy my grandfather brought us half a dozen ducks he had hunted. But, I don’t think I could kill an animal – which makes me Mr. Hypocrite. But, there it is…

      • Amazona January 30, 2017 / 1:48 pm

        I have not hunted, but I now have a very large and quickly expanding population of Eurasian doves, an invasive species that is overtaking and driving out the mourning dove population, and have decided to try to pick them off when they come to my bird feeder and drive off the finches and other birds I am feeding.

        (I bought a high-powered air rifle and learned that its weight is a problem, as I shattered my left wrist a few years ago and have trouble handling a long gun. So I bought a low tripod and set it up on my kitchen counter, with the barrel of the gun sticking out an open window. It seemed like a perfectly natural solution to my problem, and I did OK shooting at a target. Then I went off to do something else, and when I came back in the kitchen from a different direction and got a slightly different perspective of my setup I realized it looked pretty sinister. So I dismantled my sniper’s nest, before I freaked out a Fed Ex delivery man, though I do think it would be a good thing to thin the Eurasian dove population.)

        A few years ago a man was found dead and badly battered on a dirt road in Texas, and the signs indicated he had been attacked and stomped to death by a deer. The deer there aren’t very big, but this one was evidently pretty ticked off about something.

      • Amazona January 30, 2017 / 1:51 pm

        I know some people who hunt and buy almost no meat, eating only what they have killed. They prefer pristine meat, untouched by antibiotics and hormones and steroids, and they are very ethical and serious hunters. My farm manager is one of them, and I keep encouraging him to visit his uncle in Texas and bring back some wild boar meat. I’ve had it in restaurants, and liked it, and the feral pigs are destroying crops all over the South.

      • Amazona January 30, 2017 / 1:53 pm

        I can’t imagine Pajama Boy facing down a Pomeranian (and definitely not my brother’s Jack Russell Terrorist) and I think even an irate pigeon would make him need a clean onesie.

        Liberals play “Let’s You And Him Fight”, trying to start trouble and then standing back while their puppets take the beatings and get arrested. They are quite willing to start something if they don’t have to finish it.

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