April 29, 2008
Imagine You're an Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Imagine you're in the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. It's a pretty lonely thing to be. If your family looks like Iran, only 3/10ths of your relatives is happy with your career choice. And you've got all sorts of people calling you a criminal. Mostly that happens while you're putting a beat down on some uppity ethnic minority or long-haired hippie westernized college kids. But recently, you got called a criminal for doing your job for your country. You do a bit of non-uniformed work in Iraq, striking direct blows at the Great Satan, prepping the way for a full blown insurrection so that those bastard Iraqis can't get off the mat and ever come back and invade again and it all goes to hell. The operation is a failure and your own ambassador to Iraq is calling you and yours a bunch of criminals that needed to be put down like a rabid dog in the street.
What does that IRGC soldier think? And the next time that they need an insurrection put down, will he still enthusiastically answer the call?
April 20, 2008
Best Recent Quote
From Jerry Pournelle talking about Vista, "Poor Microsoft. They can't even do operating systems any more..."
April 18, 2008
I slept through last night's midwest quake but my wife woke up. I'll get it this morning as I am in charge of writing up our nonexistent office disaster recovery plan that's supposed to complement our pretty good data center disaster recovery plan.
It's not the first time I've slept through a 5 magnitude quake. I did it once on the east coast when I lived in Westchester county, NY.
April 14, 2008
The Bar Got Raised
Reading through an analysis of the recent push in Sadr City I found myself unexpectedly not excited. Of course the Iraqi government is going to push through and not give up, of course they're going to have the staying power to bring Sadr City to normality. And then I realized how utterly bizarre my calm acceptance of these statements would have been even a few short months ago. I'd have cheered them on, of course, but I'd have been nervous as hell that they could pull it off. Now, I'm not nervous and the difference is Basra. Basra happened, it was their final exam and now the Iraqi military is no longer a creature wholly dependent on the US and the rest of the coalition but its own animal with its own ideas and interests and an independent capability to carry its government's policy into reality. It's come out of the crib and is toddling around happily bashing the other toddlers when necessary.
This is progress. This is good. This is going to be recognized by the mainstream media (on their own schedule) sometime between November and January or, if McCain's smart, he'll force them to recognize it in the summer so by the fall, Iraq will be a net benefit for Republicans, not a drag.
Iraq came through in time, and now the bar is raised.
April 11, 2008
It took me about 5 seconds to figure out that Basra was a sort of "final exam" for the Iraqi army. Were they ready to fight? It took me about 2 days to come up with my answer, "yes they are, but they still need lots of work". I found the points obvious enough that I didn't bother writing about them. The NY Times caught up today and agrees with me. After their previous spin of a disaster for Maliki of Tet like proportions became unsustainably discordant with on the ground reality, the NY Times is backing and filling.
The NY Times still isn't quite right. It's simply not correct to say that "The struggle for control of Sadr City is more than a test of wills with renegade Shiite militias. It has also become a testing ground for the Iraqi military, which has been thrust into the lead." Rather Prime Minister Maliki, for the good of his own country, has called this national pop quiz on his military's indigenous capability. That was obvious from the beginning of the Basra push and has shown up in previous NY Times reporting, but why include this misstatement so late?
For me, this is equally obvious but I might as well say it, the NY Times is trying to avoid crossing over into becoming a national joke for the independents who still sometimes listen to what they say. This is the battle for Peoria. It's a battle that they are losing and their stock price and circulation figures show it.
HT: Glenn Reynolds
Reducing Deployment Terms
I heard on the radio yesterday that President Bush is reducing deployment terms back down to 12 months. That's a good step to reduce the strain on our military, one that I've been hoping to hear about for awhile. The 15 month terms were scraping the barrel.
We may get out of this without breaking the army after all.
April 01, 2008
Hitting the Wall
I support the war, have from the beginning. Unfortunately, we've gone past the line as to what we're trying to do with the resources we have. So far as I understand matters, we just don't have enough of a handle on PTSD cases to let them get back into combat. We seem to be sending them to Iraq and Afghanistan anyway. That's too much to demand. If we need a greater force structure to carry the day, we need to raise the force levels and not scrape this deep into our national reserves.
It's too much.
A product of BruceR and Jantar Mantar Communications, and affiliated contributors. Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's half-informed viewpoint on the world.