Beating Defeatism

November 23, 2005

To beat defeatism out of American political elites, the president should take a leaf from Churchill’s book and encourage a shared sacrifice in an honourable cause that the US has no choice but to fight.

The sudden collapse of the morale of the US Congress is surprising, but not unprecedented – after Hitler’s WW2 blitzkrieg, only the Btits stood fast while all the other nations folded

Flawed Ex-Soldiers

Defeated soldiers can react either by becoming collaborators like Petain after the fall of France, or by redoubling their resistance, like Churchill after Dunkirk. The Congressman lobbying for immediate withdrawal is in the Petain category.

Insularity

It’s said that only half of the members of Congress have passports, so they’re ignorant of the world. In responding to the unpopularity of the war, they lack the experience to see how America’s enemies and allies will respond to its defeat, and how this will harm their nation.

Fear Of Long Wars

Over 50% of the US people don’t want to finish the job in Iraq, after less than 3 years and with less dead than from one big WW2 bomber raid.

Perhaps this is because successful recent US wars have been short – for the US, WW1 lasted a year, and WW2 under 4 years. The only long war was Vietnam, which was lost.

By contrast, Brits are accustomed to long and ultimately successful wars. Londoners were enduring saturation bombed by V2 rockets in 1945, after over 5 years of war. The Brit defeat of the Malayan insurgency took over 6 years.

So perhaps there is a legacy of Vietnam – the American people think that long wars will end in defeat.

Painless Defeat

The defeat suffered by the US in Vietnam had no direct impact on American civilians. Until 9/11, no American city was bombed (and 9/11 was small compared with European bombings). No US town has been occupied and its people have not starved. No Americans have been drafted as slave labourers or sent to concentration camps, and American women have not been been systematically raped. And yet terrible consequences do face the US for nuclear-armed Middle East dictators.

So here are my suggestions for the president:

1. Follow Churchill – give more inspirational speeches.

2. Use his political capital to eliminate the Congressional defeatists.

3. Educate Americans on how they will be harmed by a victorious Muslim enemy.

4. Above all, demand sacrifice from all Americans, not just those families who have kin fighting in Iraq. If that means cutting expenditure or raising taxes, do it.


Consequences

November 23, 2005

The Congressional loss of will is having its expected effect – Iran has weighed in with its own demand for the US to withdraw from Iraq, Iraqi Army killings of Sunnis have begun and the EU is baring its tooth. The administration must turn this around quickly – suggestions in the next post.

Iran’s top Mullah, apparently reading directly from the Congressional Record:

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged visiting Iraqi officials yesterday to ask U.S.-led forces to leave their country and pledged Tehran’s cooperation in restoring security to Iraq.

If Iran did intervene militarily in Iraq, the overwhelmingly Shi’ite nation would be expected to assist the Shi’ite majority against a wave of violence perpetrated mainly by the Sunnis, who lost power with the ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein.

“Iran considers the United States to be responsible for all crimes and terrorist acts in Iraq and the suffering and misery of the Iraqi people,” Ayatollah Khamenei was quoted as saying after a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

“The Iraqi people may ask the occupiers to leave Iraq by setting a timetable for them. … In the end, Iraq and its neighbors will remain in this region, while the U.S. will only be there temporarily,” he said.

The good news is that he didn’t threaten to wipe the US off the map.

The Iraqi army has possibly taken to heart Senator Warner’s order that “you have got to come to grip with your internal problems” and today murdered a senior Sunni leader in his home, together with his 3 sons and his son-in-law. Scrappleface predicts Congressman Murtha will now call for a Muslim pullout.

And here’s a small harbinger of things to come. The lawyer advising the EU Court of Justice says that the privacy of EU citizens trumps US border control laws – an excellent example of how weakness encourages small acts of defiance:

AIR travel from Europe to the United States could be thrown into chaos after a key transatlantic terrorism measure was declared illegal by a senior European Union lawyer.

Philippe Léger, the Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice, the EU’s supreme court, called for the annulment of an agreement requiring EU airlines to give US authorities access to a wide range of confidential data on passengers before they travel.

Although all 25 EU governments and the European Commission gave full backing to the agreement, aimed at helping US authorities to investigate terrorists while protecting passenger confidentiality, M Léger said that it lacked an “adequate legal basis”.

The Advocate-General’s advice is not binding on the court, but is followed in about 80 per cent of cases.

The president has to turn this round before the world’s perception of US weakness spins out of control.


Posting From the Past

November 23, 2005

It’s snowing heavily here in Umbria and the magnificent scenery looks like an outtake from Bruegel’s Return of the Hunters.

To complete the historic experience, the dialup is really slow, even with an accelerator doing compression.

So apologies for the short and lightly well linked posts


The Englishman’s Home

November 20, 2005

Blair’s government just announced it won’t give Brits more legal protection to take down burglars in their homes – it says they’re free to use “instinctively necessary” force. In practice, almost all homeowners will need to use a shotgun to take down a burglar and the last guy that tried that was jailed for 5 years.

The Home Secretary (Brit Attorney General) says that all the law enforcers agree with him that Brit homeowners don’t need more legal protection to defend their property:

“I believe the law as it stands does not need to change. It already provides householders and shopkeepers with the powers they need to protect themselves, their family and their property.

“The Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service have made clear that the law will protect anyone who fought back using whatever force they think is instinctively necessary in the heat of the moment.

Let’s take a look at what force is actually necessary.

The assailant will be male, between 16 and 28, in the bottom quartile of intelligence, dressed in working clothes, of a violent disposition, probably quite strong, armed at least with the tools he used to gain entry (and probably a knife), and possibly drugged.

The homeowner will, on average, be older, weaker, and possibly female; will have just woken up, be dressed in sleepwear, and untrained in physical combat. They may not have their glasses on/contacts in. So in almost all cases they’re going to come of worse from any kind of “instinctive” combat.

Since law-abiding Brits can’t keep handguns, the only feasible defensive weapon is a shotgun, which can still be legally held by some citizens. Two rounds into the torso at about 3 yards will take down any assailant, probably forever.

But I rather doubt that The Home Secretary, Chief Police Officers and Crown Prosecution Service would regard this as “instinctively necessary” force, since it requires propositioning of a loaded weapon, selection of aiming point, and – to prevent them being rushed – firing without warning.

Still, hopefully a stout citizen will take the Home Secretary at his word.


Light Blogging and RINOs

November 18, 2005

We travel to Italy tomorrow, after which (Telecom Italia willing) it’s dial-up for a couple of weeks, so blogs may be terser.

It looks like the cut-and-runners may back off, so there’s hope yet. James Lilek’s is even madder than I am, see his interview on the Hugh Hewitt show, hat tip Betsy Newmark on Michele Malkin – it has this excellent rant:

If it’s more important for them to be elected Senator, so they can live a nice, comfortable life, ensconced in Washington, with all the perks and privileges, while the future of the country actually goes circling down the rat hole because they were too busy worrying about their pensions, well, then, maybe it’s time for them best to step aside. At this point, I’m on board with a unicameral legislature. I’m frankly okay with just bricking up the door to the Senate entirely, and letting the lower house figure things out.

Those pesky RINOs are getting to us all – I vented my irritation by brutally kicking an inoffensive dehumidifier, with seriously bad effects to my big toe – as I write this, said toe is elevated and wrapped with a pack of frozen peas.

Anyway, if Lilek need help in walling off the Senate, I can lay a neat brick – not Flemish Bond or anything fancy, but nobody will get out…

Note for Brits: RINO = Republican In Name Only


Suicide

November 18, 2005

People elect Conservatives to defend the national interest. Now Senate Republicans have abandoned the Iraqi people, demoralized US allies, put US lives at risk at home and in Iraq, and given encouragement to America’s enemies.

Senate Republicans passed this (WSJ, subscription, my emphasis):

The resolution — which passed 79-19 — sounds innocuous enough: It calls for 2006 to be “a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for the security of a free and sovereign Iraq, thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq.”

That’s pretty much exactly what the White House has in mind assuming next month’s Iraqi elections go smoothly. But the harm of the Senate adding its voice here is that it turns the sound strategy of Iraqification into a suggestion that the U.S. might cut and run if the terrorists can prevent things from moving forward exactly as planned.

That was the barely veiled threat from GOP Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, who drafted the resolution. He said he wanted to send a “strong message to Iraqi people and the Iraqi government that you have got to come to grip with your internal problems. . . . It’s a signal to the Iraqis that we mean business.”

The only interpretation of Warner’s “we mean business” is “we will cut and run, leaving you to your fate”. He’s earned a place in the history books next to Chamberlain – here’s what will now happen.

Iraqis will stop helping the coalition

The Iraqi people face savages who do this:

The homicide attackers targeted the Sheik Murad mosque and the Khanaqin Grand Mosque in Khanaqin, 90 miles northeast of Baghdad, as dozens of people were attending Friday prayers, police said. The police command said 74 people were killed and 75 wounded in the largely Kurdish town.

Iraqis have worked with the coalition at great personal risk – remember these men? That made sense if it was going to stick by them until they had stability – as the Brits did in Malaya. But with the US heading for the exit they must protect themselves and their families – they know what happened to South Vietnamese supporters of the US. Starting today, exit informers, translators, election workers and every other Iraqi the coalition has been relying on.

Our soldiers will avoid risk

The Iranians, al Queda and the Baathists now know that all they have to do is keep killing and the US will bolt.

Our armies will go on the defensive. Until this resolution they believed that their risk and sacrifice was buying something profoundly worthwhile – the freedom of an entire people, bringing with it wider democracy and peace in the Middle East, and so reduced risk to coalition homelands.

Now they have reason to fear that they’ll be withdrawn whatever the outcome, so only fools will put themselves in harm’s way. Look for a return to fortified bases and defensive patrols.

The coalition will dissolve

Brits, South Koreans, Italians, Poles, Australians, Japanese, Danes, and soldiers of other nations are fighting and dying in this war. Their leaders believed that the aim was worth the human and political costs. Now it isn’t – the US cutting and running leaves them high and dry. So look for them to withdraw as soon as decently possible.

The Iranians will take over southern Iraq

With the Brits gone and with no reliable US protection, moderate Shiites must look to Iran as their defender against the Sunni onslaught.

The Sunnis will be slaughtered

Iran has over 500,000 troops so is quite capable of exterminating Iraq’s Sunnis.

The Kurds will secede

The Kurds can look after themselves, and will do so.

Al Queda will attack the US again

Clinton’s weakness convinced Bin Laden that he could stage 9/11 and get away with a slapped wrist. The defeat of the US in Iraq will encourage him to return to the offensive.

All US enemies will be emboldened, and all its friends endangered

China, France, Russia and a strengthened Iran will observe that the US can be beaten by inflicting negligible casualties. They will act accordingly – Taiwan, Israel and Afghanistan are now seriously at risk.

There’s no good news here – 13 Republicans voted against this resolution, but so what? The damage cannot be undone. If the Dems take a page from Tony Blair’s book, they can use this to put the Republicans out of power for a generation. And it’ll be a long time before the world again trusts the US to be steadfast in adversity.


Second Thoughts On Gordon

November 17, 2005

I opined earlier that Brown is the only non-moron in Blair’s cabinet. I was wrong – he thinks that raising taxes doesn’t cut consumption!

The Brit economy is declining towards German growth levels and the £ is sliding. Here’s the Governor of the Bank of England:

Higher taxes introduced by Gordon Brown have contributed to a slowdown in the economy, Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, said yesterday.

Shoppers had stayed away from the high street because higher taxes had left less money in their pockets. “There was a sharp rise in the ratio of taxes to household income. There has been a two percentage point rise in the last couple of years,” he said.

Mr King said that consumers had also been hit by the cost of paying off debts, and that council tax, rent, insurance and utility bills had risen much faster than inflation.

The collapse in high-street spending…is the main reason for the weakness of the economy.

Mr King’s comments will be highly embarrassing for the Chancellor.

Mr Brown has sought to blame higher oil prices and a slowdown in demand from Britain’s trade partners for having to downgrade his growth forecasts. This year, the economy is expected to grow by about 1.6 per cent.

Duh.