Open Thread

Robert Stacy McCain offers some sage advice for any young men out there seeking female companionship.

I’ll add a small note: I definitely fall into the bottom 15% (read it, you’ll understand), but if there are any youngsters out there reading this, I’ll double down on McCain’s advice about having a self-deprecating sense of humor. It is very useful! When you really do it right, a lady will think you’re charming. That goes a long way.

Seal the deal by learning how to cook.

Democrats are already lining up to run against Trump. Illustrative of how this will go is Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). She’s as liberal as the day is long but deep in her background was a time when she wasn’t full-blown liberal. Because of these past heresies, she’s being mercilessly savaged in the liberal world. Mark my words: for 2020, the left – which controls who gets the Democrat nomination – will not settle for anything less than an Absolute Not Trump. Their nominee will have to sign off on the very latest iteration of whatever it is the left is hating Trump about, no matter how obscure or silly it is. If someone on the left makes an accusation against Trump, everyone who wants to be the Democrat nominee will have to subscribe to it. It’ll get really interesting.

In re the Wall and Shutdown, Don Surber notes that Trump Hatred has trapped the Democrats – they hate him so much they are fighting over an amount of money that is so small, it works out to a rounding error. Earlier, I happened to overhear someone conversing with another about the mess – the person doing most of the talking was apparently married to a furloughed worker and went on and on and on about what a bad man Trump was, how stupid the wall was, blah, blah, blah. What was remarkable, to me, was that the other party – while clearly having no love for Trump – kept pushing back and insisting that the wall was necessary because the border does have to be controlled. I think we’re seeing that dynamic play out nationwide: the Democrats just keep repeating their talking points, but it is blowing right past non-Democrats because everyone can see the fight is about nearly nothing and, what the heck, why not build the wall? I think Trump will win this – only a craven surrender by the Senate GOP could derail us, and I don’t think Cocaine Mitch is in the mood to surrender.

It’s a poll from a Libertarian outfit (and, so, probably skewed anti-war), but it shows that the American people largely back Trump’s withdrawal from Syria. I’d have to look it up for how long ago I wanted us to withdraw from the Middle East, entirely: but it was a while back ago. Long before Trump. I did, of course, back the war in Iraq but I thought at the time – given Bush’s “axis of evil” bit – that it was a mere precursor to war with the actual source of the Middle East problem: Iran. I would have had it – Iraq, then Syria/Lebanon…and, then, if Iran hadn’t collapse, on to Tehran to finish the job. A swift moving series of military actions, with no fussing about nation building (I’d prefer we just find local strongmen and let them rule the locals, backed by our force), would have rocked the enemy on his heels and, also, prevented an anti-war left from really coalescing. Bush decided to do it differently, likely on the advice of people at State and Defense. I don’t think the American people are anti-war, as such, but they are anti-war-forever. They are anti-no-victory. They are anti-wasting-time-and-lives. If we go to war, we should go all the way. And if we can’t see our way to that, we should just stay home.

Withdrawing from Syria: Why is War Not the Answer?

President Trump announced today that we will be pulling our ground forces (from what I understand, about 2,000 troops) out of Syria. His stated reason is that ISIS is wrecked and that was the only reason we were there.

This announcement set off a great deal of fury from both the left and the right. Some, in keeping with their Trump-Russia delusions, claimed this was Trump selling out Syria to the Russians as part of Trump’s stooge requirements. Others left off that notion, but still claimed our withdrawal would be a foreign policy disaster for the United States…Iran and Russia will prevail in Syria; Turkey will be strengthened against the Kurds; allies around the world will mistrust our commitment. So on and so on. As for me, I agree with the President’s decision.

First and foremost, President Trump did only go into Syria to get rid of ISIS. That’s what he said in 2016 and that’s what he’s done as President. To be sure, you can still find ISIS groups floating around the maelstrom of Syria, but the bottom line is that the fierce, ISIS regime of 2016 is no more. They are now just another set of rag-tag Islamist rabble running around Syria, killing for Lord only knows what real reason. Unless we wanted to start going village to village and simply killing everyone we think is ISIS-related, we were never going to get entirely rid of every last bit of ISIS. And Trump never said we were there to settle the Syrian civil war, nor to rebuild Syria. The job Trump set, as far as we can do it, is done. Time to come home.

But beyond that there is something we must understand and it should govern our choice on whether or not to engage in war: we, the United States of America, are not allowed to win a war. Not under the current global and national political reality. Both at home and abroad, the people who set the pace for military affairs have decreed, perhaps without really knowing it (but maybe they do?), that when the United States engages in military action, final victory may not be achieved. We are not allowed to compel an enemy surrender. We are not allowed to kill them without remorse to compel their surrender. We are not allowed to punish them, post-conflict, for putting us through the trouble. We are allowed to fight, and to die, and to have our bravest hauled up on war crimes charges…but we are not allowed to win.

And if you can’t win a war, you best not fight it.

I’m probably starting to bore most of you with this movie, but I just keep coming back to this clip from Breaker Morant about the problem we find ourselves in:

That is our problem in a nutshell: for a long while, now, we’ve been operating our warfare under the theory that some rules, first cooked up in the 19th century, govern the conduct of war while everyone we have fought in the past century has routinely ignored those rules. The rules were an attempt to humanize war – which is akin to an attempt to humanize hell. To be sure, there are rules to war and anyone familiar with military history knows that the greatest captains (Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon) all found clemency to be a mighty engine of war. But the bottom line is that even the most wise, kindly and far-seeing military commander knows that what he’s trying to do is compel people to do what they don’t wish to do. They also knew that while no good commander seeks to win via blood, a commander must still be willing to pour out blood in whatever amount proves necessary for victory.

Part of our problem is that we’re colored with our experiences of the Nazis. But, to me, there is a bit of a mistake in our perception. What the Nazis did to make themselves purely evil had nothing to do with war – we call them war crimes, but they were really just crimes, as such. In fact, the crimes they committed during the war directly harmed their own war effort. The actual war crimes committed by the Nazis were when they did things like shoot American POWs. What they did to the Jews, though, was only incidentally connected to the war. The Nazis did that because they adhered to evil and wanted to do bad things – whether or no there was a war, the Nazis still would have been inhuman garbage. Another aspect of this is that we put the Nazis on trial rather than just shooting them like the mad dogs they were. And we compounded that error by allowing Communist Russians to join us in trying the Nazis, as if a Communist had the least understanding of what law and justice entail. Since then, we’ve had lots of people refer to the rules and seek ever for another Nuremburg Trial…and as they can’t well put on trial Jihadist who would die rather than surrender themselves to a court, they just keep putting on trial our troops…accusing them of war crimes for what any historian knows are just the routine actions of a battlefield.

And, so, our inability to win – we are prevented from it. We could easily win in Syria – and by that I mean kill or disarm everyone there and dictate a settlement as we think best. It would take some years to do it. It would require an army of at least 100,000. And it would require, in the beginning, lots and lots of killing. What you might even consider massacres because if we really applied the full force of American might, then you would have battles where several thousand of the enemy die and only a few, perhaps no, American casualties. Think of it like this: suppose there was identified a town of 10,000 in Syria as a place where enemy forces are hiding/recruiting/training/what have you. Under the way we do things, today, we’d send in groups of men to root out the enemy house by house, always taking care to do as little physical damage as possible and only shooting when we have high confidence that there is an enemy. The way war is actually fought, we’d just surround the place and, depending on how much a hurry we were in, starve them into surrender or blow the place to pieces until the shell-shocked survivors came out with their hands in the air.

There would be children there who would be killed: not a war crime.
There would be non-combatants who would be killed: not a war crime.
There would be objects of cultural significance destroyed: not a war crime.

As I said, a war crime is something you done wrong in the conduct of the war. You know: shooting unarmed prisoners. A crime against humanity would be something along the lines of massacring the population of a town after it surrendered. But starving people into surrendering or blowing them to pieces if they don’t surrender quickly enough: that is just how war is fought. And if you capture a guy you suspect to be an irregular combatant – well, if getting him to talk requires some rather brutal treatment, then he should feel grateful if that’s all he suffers: an irregular combatant’s life is forfeit upon capture. That is a rule of war.

Now, you take all that and then add into the mix the fact that we have those in the United States who will seek to use any distasteful action, any failure, against their own country in order to advance their political fortunes, and you’ve got, well, what we have now…troops being sent to fight; getting them stuck in shooting galleries…and then having them hauled up on murder charges if they survive. No, thanks. If that is how war is to be, then count me a peace activist. Unless and until we get to a place where we can fight a war how it is supposed to be fought and have at least some reliance that no one back home will try to make partisan hay out of the blood of the dead, then I want no part of war. I don’t want our young men and women shoved into that. It isn’t worth their blood.

So, hats off to President Trump for just doing what he said he’d do.

And, now, it is high time we got out of Afghanistan, as well.

The Middle East is Changing

So, Iranian forces in Syria attacked Israeli targets and Israel, naturally, responded – a big thing and important in itself, but this struck me:

Bahrain has backed Israel’s right to “defend itself”, following dozens of Israeli airstrikes on Iranian military targets in Syria overnight.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid al-Khalifa said on Thursday that it backed Tel Aviv’s military response to attempted Iranian missile strikes on an Israeli army base, early Thursday morning, in the occupied Golan Heights.

“As long as Iran has breached the status quo in the region and invaded countries with its forces and missiles, so any state in the region, including Israel, is entitled to defend itself by destroying sources of danger,” the minister, whose country is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, said on his official Twitter account…

Bahrain is a tiny country and is allied with Saudi Arabia mostly for protection against Iran. So, no surprise that Bahrain would be pleased to see Iran harmed, but it is massively surprising that an official of the Bahrain government would publicly declare Israel – which, officially in most Muslim countries, doesn’t even exist – has a right to self-defense. This is a sea-change in Arab attitudes.

What I think has really broken the log-jam here is the fact that Trump pretty much dropped the Palestinian issue like a bad habit. As long as our actions in the Middle East were always tied to a theory that we had to remain somewhat neutral in the Arab-Israeli conflict – and thus had to pretend that the Palestinian leadership was a key element – we were tied to a false idea, and thus couldn’t really move. Trump moved; now, everyone is moving. Its been a couple decades since anyone in the Arab world really gave a darn about the Palestinians and while no one would object to a permanent peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, everyone with any sense at all knows the Palestinian leadership has staked out an impossible position (return to the 1967 border, return of “refugees” to Israel and, of course, still rhetoric about marching on Tel Aviv one day), and so there’s no chance of it right now. So, let’s move on until the Palestinian leadership changes.

And as people are able to move on – as people no longer have to pretend that a few fanatics in Gaza have to be appeased in order to do anything – the political realities which have existed at least since the Iranian revolution are rising to the surface…and are being dealt with. I’m not saying they are being dealt with properly – there’s a lot of confusion and an outsider like me really can’t judge all that well – but they are being dealt with. Saudi Arabia is determined to check Iran (wise move, Saudi Arabia) and in that effort, ignoring a powerful Israel which is also determined to check Iran would be foolish. I think we’re still a ways away from an Israeli Embassy in Riyadh…but I don’t think that far away. The times, they are a-changing…and it is Trump, the Agent of Change on Steroids, who is making it happen.

Open Thread

President Trump is moving ahead on Welfare reform…which really works out, in the end, to undoing Obama’s un-reform of Welfare.

Everyone says the GOP is doomed in November. Poll results; levels of voter enthusiasm; all those special election victories for the Dems; numerous GOP retirements (especially of Speaker Ryan) all indicate that the historical norm of the party in power getting clobbered in its first mid-term will happen. Hard to argue with all that – but, I do. So does Da Tech Guy, who gives seven reasons 2018 may be different from 2010.

My view remains that Donald Trump has fundamentally altered the electoral dynamic of the United States. We’ll find out if I’m right in November – though 2020 will also play it’s role. My main contention is that people are abandoning the Democrats. This started right around 2014 as the reality of Obama fully sunk in, and Democrats – supremely confident that they would never lose the White House and could ignore Congress – went ever further left not just in their ideology, but in how they presented their ideology (meaning, there was less and less effort on the part of the Democrats to disguise what they wanted…they were more and more openly proclaiming the socialist future they envisioned). Do the American people want identity politics, amnesty for illegals, gun control, tax increases and the impeachment of Donald Trump? As I said, we’ll find out – but my guess is that the number of Democrats in the country is a lot smaller than it was before and that even though Democrats are at a fever pitch (they’re pouring money into the Texas Senate race, for crying out loud: that’s just stupid. They need that money in Missouri…but the far left hates Cruz), there simply won’t be enough of them in November in the State and districts that matter. Stay tuned.

Senator Warren set up the CFPB to be outside Constitutional controls – now she’s mad that its outside Constitutional controls. As I have said, Democrats thought they’d never lose the White House again.

Donald Surber gives his thoughts on Trump and Syria. My view: don’t go in unless we declare war. If we’re saying that a government using WMD’s against its own people is an act of war against us, then go ahead and declare war. Mobilize the reserves; appropriate the money; raise the taxes and send the boys over to compel an unconditional surrender. If we’re not willing to do that, I don’t want to do it.

Alan Dershowitz’ advice is not to fire Mueller, but to have Rosenstein recuse himself. It is an interesting idea. But, I still say Fire Mueller.

Once Again, We Have to “Do Something” in Syria

There was a gas attack in Syria – everyone is pointing fingers, but the most likely culprit is the Assad regime or elements aligned with it. Personally, I don’t care who did it – some set of bastards, who are fighting other bastards for control over the rubble of a nation. But, its a gas attack and we’re all supposed to wring our hands and demand something be done.

I’m not so interested in doing something.

The reason is because we’re not allowed to win. That has been the problem since the end of World War Two: the United States has been strictly prohibited from winning any wars. There are a lot of things which go into this prohibition, but the primary thing I can see is that the Ruling Class of the world – including that part of it which is allegedly American – doesn’t want us to win. It is too scary for them.

People don’t realize how powerful we are. To be sure, there is a vague memory of World War Two in there, but even in that, the full extent of our power is not understood. When the Japanese signed the official surrender document on September 3rd, 1945, we had been at war for not quite three years and 9 months. We had, in that time, increased our Army from about 200,000 men to 11,200,000. We had already built 162 Fletcher class destroyers, 58 Sumner class destroyers and had started work on 98 of what were to be 152 Gearing class destroyers. We had built 24 Essex class carriers and were starting on the Midway class (just FYI, that class of carriers, designed in WWII, were used by the United States until 1992). During WWII, the Air Force went from 800 planes to 80,000. And here’s the real thing: our power was still waxing when the Japanese surrendered. We hadn’t really begun to impose our full power. It would have been 1946 or 1947 before we were able to do so (like this: you might have seen the Band of Brothers series…but please note those men got into the military in 1942 and their first combat action was more than two years later: it takes a while. Most of those who went in from mid-1943 on didn’t see much action). So, even without maxing out our effort, we still managed to fight and win to major conflicts on different sides of the world against first class powers. We were the only nation in the world in 1945 that could do that.

We still are.

Militarily, we are a lot weaker than we were 25 years ago – but we still have 11 fleet carriers; 9 amphibious assault ships; 53 attack and 14 ballistic missile subs; 22 cruisers, 66 destroyers; 950 self propelled guns; nearly 1,200 mobile rocket launchers; more than 150,000 transport vehicles; 2,300 main battle tanks; 6,100 armored combat vehicles; 155 heavy bombers; 1,700 fighters…you know, quite a lot. And with Trump’s new defense budget, we’re about to get a whole bunch more. No other nation on Earth has quite so much, nor the capacity to build so much. A direct attack on the United States amounts to national suicide…and yet here we are, about to send kids to Afghanistan next year or the year after who weren’t even born when 9/11 happened. Why?

Because we’re not allowed to win. Think about it. Do you really think a few thousand Jihadist/drug dealers could really withstand us for 17 years if we were serious about winning? Its not like the Taliban has an armaments industry – someone is sending them weapons and ammunition. We’re not doing anything about that. We also know where they are, and yet we don’t really go out and get them (the US military which dug the Japanese out of Iwo Jima is quite capable of dragging the Taliban out of whatever caves they are hiding in). And now people are calling for us to go deeper into Syria…but you just know they will be the first to complain if we ever used the sort of force which victory requires.

As I was saying, people in charge are afraid of our power – afraid, that is, that if the American people found out how very powerful they are, they might go on a bender of conquest. At the very least, we wouldn’t give a damn what anyone says about us. We simply wouldn’t have to care what the world says…and an America like that is just what the Ruling Class doesn’t want. They don’t trust us. The wars have to be controlled; America has to be controlled; if America isn’t harnessed, then things like the UN won’t work. See where all this goes?

So, the heck with it. No war in Syria – not unless we are allowed to win. If Trump gets up there and says we’re going in for victory and we’re not going to give a damn what the world says about us, then I’ll say “ok, we go”. But absent that, I just want us to stay out of it. I don’t want to see the picture of a 19 year old kid who got blown to pieces in a fruitless battle because some REMF saw a picture which gave him the sadz. Enough is enough.

Syria Strike

Just was watching Twitter for an extended period of time tonight – astonished at the wide variety of heart felt, differing opinions about it. Some Trumpsters upset, some Never Trumpers finding a strange, new respect for Trump. Honest questions. Sincere hopes. Support for the troops without cheap rah-rah patriotism. It was refreshing.

I don’t know what will come of this – I’m not sure I support the action (though I support the actions of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, of course). I hope there is a plan behind all this – there could be, and it might work out to a brilliant stroke of diplomacy backed by military force (the only sort of diplomacy which actually works, by the way). We’ll just have to see.

Democrats Call in the George W. Bush to Save Their Party

As polls show Obama and the Democrats in the distinct political minority in dealing with radical Islamic terrorism, they’ve decided only one person can save them:

I guess we really all do miss W, now.

This ad is nauseating – for 8 years Democrats routinely insulted President Bush in the most disgusting terms possible. He was Chimpy McSmirk BusHitler. He was evil. He lied to get us into Iraq so that Cheney could make money. He was a war criminal. But here are the Democrats at their shameless worst – using the reasonable words of a good President to try and shore up support for the disastrously failed policies of President Obama.

We all know why President Bush downplayed the Islamic aspects of our enemies – in order that it would be easier for us to defeat those elements within Islam determined to kill us. And to this day, no wise person wants any sort of war on Islam – which is why the GOP candidates of 2016 are careful to state that our problem is with radical Islamic terrorism – not with Islam, as a thing. But Obama doesn’t see anything in Islam as a problem – he has decided that there is no problem within Islam. That Islam has absolutely nothing to do with what is happening in Syria – or what happened in Paris last week. Or what may happen in the United States when the terrorists attack here, again.

It is Obama’s miserable failure in Iraq and Syria which has led the world to a crisis where half the population of Syria has been displaced and a sea of humanity is now seeking safety anywhere they can find it. In what must be some sort of pathetic attempt on Obama’s part to make up for his failure, he has decided that he’ll get 10,000 Syrians into the United States – a drop in the ocean of suffering. This allows Obama to preen himself on his generosity – while doing nothing to actually solve the problem his failures have helped to bring about. But in the aftermath of Paris, everyone is wary – everyone with any sense at all wants to have much more careful screening of refugees. This is just common sense – but as it wasn’t Obama’s idea, he wants no part of it. But the people are against him – and so this cynical use of President Bush.

I think this will go over like a lead balloon. Nothing in the past 7 years has to completely demonstrated the moral bankruptcy of the Democrat party.