We Need More Women In Combat

June 18, 2005

Women have been in combat, as victims, since the beginning of time. Now in the coalition armies, they have guns and can fight back and win. We should build on that, not bemoan it.

Here’s a report on Sergeant Hester’s citation.

Caught in an ambush south of Baghdad the soldier, a sergeant in the military police, helped to rally the 10 servicemen in a unit protecting an unarmed supply convoy. They were attacked by rocket propelled grenades before they launched an assault on the two ditches from which insurgents were firing.

The citation says the trooper maneuvered the team through the kill zone into a flanking position before assaulting a trench line with grenades and rounds.

Throwing grenades and shooting an automatic rifle, the trooper killed three of the enemy, helped to force the rest to flee and then turned to provide medical aid to fallen comrades.

But she’s Leigh Anne Hester, from Lincoln’s Bluegrass State, Kentucky. And the story describes attempts to remove women from combat.

The award to 23-year-old Leigh Anne Hester has focused attention on the dangers female soldiers are facing in Iraq at the very time when political moves are under way to ensure another woman does not repeat her heroics.

Pre 9/11, I’d have agreed with this. Women carry the future of the race, male chivalry is probably genetic since males are more expendable. But women are tough – plenty of my professional colleagues, particularly in the US, have been mentally and physically tougher than their male equivalents.

Closer home, the fragrant Mrs G is more ruthless in a fight than me, and devastatingly accurate with a 45 Magnum. Because modern weapons are equalizers – a small woman with a chain gun and night vision can (and in Iraq often does) kill dozens of male assailants.

Now, after 9/11, we face an enemy that makes us all targets: old, young, men and women. Following the doctrine on “asymmetric warfare”, they go for soft targets: teenagers in nightclubs, women at prayer, old men at funeral services, military supply columns.

I don’t suggest infantry assignments – most women I know would have a hard time not washing for weeks. But force protection and occupation roles don’t have that requirement.

So, let’s make the soft targets hard. And train and arm women and respect them as soldiers.


Feeling Lucky, Punk?

June 18, 2005

The superstar in the Iranian elections should stick to killing kids – they can’t fight back. Israel can.

LGF reminds us of the views of one Rafsanjani, the leading mullah standing in the Iranian “elections”.

If one day, the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel’s possession [meaning nuclear weapons] – on that day this method of global arrogance would come to a dead end. This, he said, is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.

Here’s some advice for the Mullahs.

Do not even think about nuking Israel, no matter how much fun that may seem.

Here’s why:

1. Israel has many nukes on submarines, where you can’t get at them.

2. Israel has lots of satellites and is putting more up all the time. Their Shavit LK-2 launcher will put at least 800 kg into orbit. That’s a lot more warheads your Mullahs cannot get at.

3. Israel has thermonukes, those nasty city-killers.

4. The CIA thought in 2001 that the Israelis had 100 to 400 warheads, with a combined yield of 50 megatons. By now that number will be much higher.

5. Iran will, with UN help, have a few fission weapons in 3 years time. Which, given Israel’s small land area could indeed kill a lot of Israelis.

6. But the bad news is that with a couple of 100 non-suppressible megatons, Israel can put an end not only to Iran as a civilization, but the rest of the Arab world too. And have plenty to spare for, say, France.

7. Of course, the Israeli military might decide to throw in the towel after you’d killed many of their people.

8. However, you would be very unwise to assume this…

If you leave it to the State Department, you’re plowing in the sea

June 18, 2005

So speaks the splendid Henry J. Hyde, the Republican representative from Illinois.

The House yesterday voted to withhold half of its dues from the United Nations unless it dramatically changes its bureaucracy, peacekeeping missions and the rules for its human rights organizations.

“When it comes to sanctions against the United Nations for failing to reform, if you leave it to the discretion of the State Department, you’re plowing in the sea,” said Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican and chief sponsor of the bill. “Let’s begin real reform of the United Nations — a monumental task, a long road ahead — let’s begin it here and now, June 17, right in this room.”

But wait!

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticized the bill, saying through a spokesman that with-holding dues is not “a productive route” to reform and could jeopardize his own proposals, expected to be discussed in September.

Just a guess, but maybe Mr. Annan’s “own proposals” don’t include busting his sorry, corrupt ass.

The bill lists 46 specific steps the U.N. must take, including: establishing an independent oversight board that can review all operations; prohibiting nations the U.N. has condemned for human rights abuses from serving on human rights bodies; and demanding major bureaucratic reforms.

If the secretary of state cannot certify either that 32 conditions have been met by Sept. 31, 2007, or all 46 have been met by the next year, half of U.S. dues would be withheld.

The State Department’s opposition to this sensible measure confirms that the bill is a good one. Like the Brit Foreign Office, State has been captured by its “clients” – the mostly nasty states and organizations with which it interfaces.

The Brit Foreign Office is regarded by sound observers (me) as a nest of mildly deviant appeasers. Back in the days when homosexuality was Not OK, it was said to recruit only from the Cambridge colleges which were of that orientation. The Head of the Sub-Saharan Department was known as The African Queen.

Summer In The City

June 18, 2005

It was 85 degrees and sunny for my run today.

Around the outer circle of Regent’s Park, past the splendid classical villas, the London Mosque (probably the most-bugged place in London), the US ambassador’s residence with its screen of H&K-armed police, & the London Zoo.

Then across the Regent’s Canal to Primrose Hill, and a stop to at the top to take in the glorious panorama of London and chat to a couple of London bobbies.

Then back down, across the canal and homewards through Regent’s Park.

Just follow the joggers rules: pass oncoming runners on the right, don’t run between a dog and its owner or child and its parent (they will likely cut across you, or trip you up with their invisible lead). Look out for squirrels underfoot. And don’t get in the way of folks taking photos.

I should have mentioned London’s parks under the Good category in yesterday’s post. The best I’ve visited in my travels, with the sole exception of the Maymont Gardens in Richmond, VA.

Like all parks, London’s show all the stages of life. From babies in strollers, through staggering toddlers, kids shrieking in playgrounds, teenagers showing off, through lovers canoodling (in a restrained way, this being England), harassed parents riding shotgun on fractious offspring, older folks wearing hats against the sun. And it being a hot and sunny day, the greensward was full of people getting tans, and all the girls were in their summer dresses.

Hope the weather keeps up – just need to make sure that Al Gore doesn’t visit London to drone about Global Warming…