Monday, May 19, 2008

the West does not associate war with the divine

An interview with U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph Meyers offers some well-needed clarity of condition to those of us who constantly wonder how the U.S. can be so bumblingly stupid and inept from top to bottom in this war, despite all the good advice available. Meyers, to his credit, and like Gen. George S. Patton before him is a student of military history, but he, unlike the sob-sisters at the Dept. of State is pursuing his studies down the dark and pustulent alleys of the history of jihad warfare as promulgated by Muslims--a field of study all but neglected by his peers and his betters. Col. Meyers was interviewed recently by Matt Korade at Congressional Quarterly, Inc. An excerpt follows, but for Christ's sake read the whole dang thing.

"The enemy we’re facing in the war on terror, al Qaeda, says they are fighting a jihad against the West to establish the faith of Islam. Now, if that’s their doctrine, then arguably that is the doctrine that we template, irrespective of whether their interpretation of jihad or their discussion of Islam within the theological community of Muslims is correct or incorrect; that is irrelevant to our discussion and understanding of how the enemy presents his doctrine to us, and it is his doctrine that we template over the terrain.

In the Cold War with the Soviet Union, we templated their military forces over physical ground. In the context of this irregular war or the long war, we have to template this enemy’s doctrine over the human and cultural terrain. That’s when these human, cultural, historical factors will then shape the doctrine and explain to us how it may or may not manifest itself all around the world. And we do say we’re in a global war on terror, so that means not just Afghanistan, not just Iraq, it means right here in the United States.

As a military officer, I try to think strategically and speak strategically. These are important strategic-first questions that I think we have to answer. If you were to deconstruct, for example, our national security documents on national security strategies, the national military strategic plan for the war on terror . . . and try to define the enemy in the war on terror from those documents, you cannot do it. It is obscure, it is ephemeral. Consequently I think it’s very hard to orient courses of action against an enemy that we have not precisely defined. We have to define the enemy, who and what he is, and generally speaking, in the Cold War we were very clear on that with the Soviet Union, because we knew who they were intellectually, philosophically, we understood Soviet strategic culture, we understood the history of the Soviet Union, and we understood their authoritative published doctrine. And we haven’t published the authoritative doctrine of the enemy in the war on terror. We focus on al Qaeda and violent actors, we focus at the tip of the spear to prevent terrorist attacks on the homeland. We are orienting all our resources, intelligence, homeland defense, against preventing attacks. We have very few resources, in my view, oriented on everything that leads up to the point of attack — the radicalization process. And because we don’t have a model for the war on terror, we don’t fully even understand what that radicalization process looks like. What is the infrastructure of it? Who’s involved in it? What is the ideology undergirding that radicalization process? So we still, I would argue, seven years into the war on terror, have big gaps in our strategic thinking about the fight we’re in. I think those gaps explain some of the challenges we are facing in the prosecution of this war, such as, at least from what I’ve read in media sources, strategic communications programs."

Ya think?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This goes out to all the pietistic Inner Goddesses at Code Pink, The World Can't Wait, et. al.

Sorry, girls. In support of Israel and the West, and in unwavering opposition to the Muslim theocrats of Iran, and all of the Mahdi well-watchers, behind every tree or under whatever rock they may be hiding, may they be damned for all eternity and may all the great apes and monkeys they despise as unclean dance upon their graves at the first sighting of the crescent moon forever.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Body Armor on a Coin

How cool is that? A bronze "dupondius" issued by the Roman warrior emperor Trajan (98-117) dating to between 103 and 111 C.E. Trajan led his Roman armies into battle himself. The body armor here depicted is referred to as a cuirass. The Roman dominions were taken to their greatest geographical extent by Trajan and remained relatively stable for about 50 years. The philosopher emperor Marcus Aurelius died of old age in 180 C.E. defending Trajan's conquests in Germany after fighting Parthians and Germans for most of his career.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Vision of Good Government

Listening to the radio tonight on the way home from work I heard Hillary Clinton (I guess she was somewhere in Indiana) stumping for the highest office in the land. In a brief radio-clip sound-bite I heard her shouting this applause line, "We need a president who will take care of you, a president who will take care of your family" followed by--the applause. A few hours later, just a few minutes ago, in fact, I came across this coin, an ancient bronze medallion, while doing a little numismatic research. Medallions, then as now, were commemorative pieces, issued to celebrate important events. This particular medallion, struck and issued in 350 A.D. was distributed to his close associates by Constantius II, a son and the successor of Constantine the Great, the Roman emperor who ruled from 307 to 337. Constantius consolidated the power accrued by his father and furthered his new phase of Roman governance, now referred to by historians as the "Dominate", as opposed to the "Principate", which was the form of goverment established by the emperor Augustus, some 380 years earlier. The Dominate threw aside all pretense of republican or democratic forms. Instead the emperor consolidated to his person virtually all power; he was the commander-in-chief of the army, he directed the administration of the government bureaus, he issued laws as the chief legislator, and sat in trials as judge and jury. In short, he was AVTOCRATOR: the govenment personified, and holder of all power. For tax purposes, his subjects across the vast Roman empire, which streched from Britain to Syria, were bound under penalty of death to the land they were born on and bound to the craft or profession of their father, regardless of their hopes and aspirations. The social contract was simple: the land holders, farmers and merchants paid their taxes into the Emperor's purse and the Emperor's indigent urban clientele were paid off for their support and acquiescence. You see it here in this coin. The inscriptions read:

DN CONSTAN-TIVS PF AVG: Draped and cuirassed profile of the emperor, wearing a laurel and rosette diadem. On the coin's reverse it reads: LARGI-TIO: The emperor, diademed, in ceremonial robes, enthroned facing, wearing a large belt decorated with jewels, his feet on a footstool, holding a mappa (an attribute of legislative authority) in his left hand; with his right hand he drops coins into the folds of a robe extended to him by Res Publica, who stands turreted and bowed; to his right, Roma stands facing, helmeted, wearing a tunica, her head turned towards the emperor around whose shoulders she puts her right arm, in her left hand she holds a spear.
This, of course, is like the fascism of Mussolini or Hitler. In this coin we see the image of an all powerful, benevolent government designed to take all, in order order to bestow all; the utopian bringer of constant peace and and eternal satisfaction. A steady-state concept of governance, in fact, not unlike modern liberalism, wherein each citizen is to play his or her fixed role in the wheel of life, where all the errant affairs of men must be restored by law to a preconceived notion of balance and perfection and the even the climate of the earth itself must be measured, fixed and constrained to the purposes of government.

D(ominvs) N(oster) CONSTANTIVS P(ius)F(elix) AVG(vstvs): Our Lord Constantius, Dutiful and Good Augustus

LARGITIO: Generous rewards from the government, freely given (largesse or bounty), Res Publica are the the people. Roma signifies the condign authority of the state.