Tuesday, August 07, 2007
War is Hell
Wikipedia's Page of the Day is William Tecumseh Sherman, the first modern general -- the first general who truly understood the nature of war in the industrial age.
Read. Discuss. Understand why there was not a single general in the U.S. Army advocating invading Iraq prior to being ordered to do so by Herr Bush.
-- Badtux the History Penguin
Labels: history, war
Posted by: BadTux / 8/07/2007 01:49:00 PM
Monday, August 06, 2007
Don't cry for Hiroshima
So, 62 years ago, Hiroshima went up in smoke, and thousands of her citizens too, in the world's first use of a nuclear weapon against a civilian population.
That's supposed to be a bad thing. Like, I'm supposed to feel sad about it or something. But I don't. You know why? Because of the Rape of Nanking. The Bataan Death March. The forced prostitution of women in conquered populations. Military attacks upon every single one of their neighbors except the Soviet Union, generally without provocation or any justification other than a desire for empire and conquest.
What you sow, thus shalt thou reap. If you kill hundreds of thousands of people, do not expect sympathy from me. A government serves only with the consent of its people, for if a people do not consent, if a people refuse to work and pay taxes and enforce the rulings of the government, the government falls. Sympathy when such a people receive in kind what they have sown elsewhere is not in my nature.
What that says about my opinion of my own government and my own people... I shall not go there.
-- Badtux the Bloody-minded Penguin
Labels: history, war
Posted by: BadTux / 8/06/2007 11:11:00 PM
Sunday, July 15, 2007
The goals of the guerilla
As I pointed out in previous articles in this series, nobody fights a guerilla war if they don't have to. People fight a guerilla war because they lack the strength and weaponry to fight a straight-up war against the oppressing government. They fight with two goals in mind: 1) To render the country ungovernable by eliminating or subverting the mechanisms of civil governance such as city counsellors, tax collectors, etc., and 2) to make it as expensive as possible for the oppressor, i.e., to require the oppressor to maintain large and expensive forces to maintain the occupation.
The thing about a guerilla war is that it comes to a positive outcome for the guerilla only in one of two ways: 1) the guerilla forces become powerful enough to take on the opposition forces in a straight-up military campaign, or 2) the nation which has deployed the opposition forces is drained by the expense of maintaining large military forces in the country and withdraws said forces. Other than that, there has never been a successful guerilla war. Just ask the Biafrans. The ones that the Nigerians didn't starve to death, anyhow.
When we talk about Iraq, #1 is out of the question. No nation, anywhere, will ever have the ability to take on the U.S. military in a straight-up military campaign. Like the Israeli military, the U.S. military has an overwhelming technological advantage and will always be able to bring overwhelming firepower upon any opposing forces. Except... uhm... that's what the Israelis thought about Hezballah in Lebanon, right? That a two-bit guerilla army was never going to be able to take on the IDF in a straight-up fight? And HA fought the IDF to basically a standstill, taking out dozens of tanks and killing hundreds of Israeli soldiers, by fighting a smart defense in depth with a massive advantage in terms of manpower, intelligence, and pre-prepared fortifications. If I were a U.S. general right now, I'd be very worried and starting to look at my evacuation options.
#2 is definitely underway. That's the whole point of all the roadside bombs and the destruction of the bridges via truck bombs -- to make it very expensive to supply and support the troops in Iraq. It seems clear that the shaky U.S. economy simply cannot afford the two million or so boots on the ground that would be needed to completely pacify Iraq. The end result is that we will withdraw -- either that, or our military will collapse and #1 (the complete and utter destruction of our military via opposiing enemy action) will occur.
Anyhow, back to the problem of our own monarchs. Our own monarchs control the atomic bomb. You can bet that if some uppity area of the country -- say, California -- gets tired of monarchical rule, our own monarchs will have no compunctions about using whatever force is necessary to make sure that the monarchy does not fall. And you can bet that the poorly-educated and envious military caste who currently make up the majority of our armed forces and internal police forces will have no compunction about doing all the application of force necessary to bring into line people who, after all, aren't like them. Our rulers, by deliberately creating a poorly educated and violent military caste, have ensured themselves sufficient manpower to maintain control over the vast military machinery that this nation has accumulated over the past sixty years.
Now for the question of whether guerilla warfare against our own monarchs has any chance at all of succeeding. The answer to part 1), outright battle, is outright *no*. The military caste which our monarchs have built up -- a military caste which, BTW, also comprises the majority of our nation's police forces -- views with suspicion anyone outside that military caste, and possesses sufficient weaponry to insure compliance upon the part of the majority of the citizenry.
However, the anti-monarchical forces do have a vulnerability to part 2), making monarchical rule more expensive than the alternative. The deal is, you aren't going to do that via violence. Short of massive oppression on the part of our monarchs, the majority of Americans are not in any way going to be supportive of violence. What you have to do is make it expensive to maintain the monarchy. You can do this by moving as much as possible outside of the tax system, by subverting local instruments of monarchical power in order to isolate the monarchs, and otherwise make it difficult and expensive to maintain monarchical rule. This already happening. Our monarchs are now capable of maintaining their rule only via borrowing vast sums of money from foreign and somewhat hostile powers (or do you not consider the poisonous and dangerous toys, tires, and etc. coming from China tantamount to a declaration of hostility?).
The problem then becomes twofold. Either the monarchs will blink and return sufficient power to We The People to keep us sheep contented and on the farm so that we can be more easily fleeced, or We The People will jump the fence and enough of us will refuse to participate in the travesty of monarchical rule that it will be impossibly expensive to imprison us all, at which point... then what? History is not kind to the "then what?" question. Invariably, "then what?" turns out to be a bloodbath, followed by a violent dictatorship controlled by small and violent men that continues the bloodletting. Let us hope that our monarchs see these same two choices ahead of them, and will make the correct decision. Otherwise... well, let us hope there will be no "otherwise".
-- Badtux the Guerilla Penguin
Labels: soviet america, war
Posted by: BadTux / 7/15/2007 09:27:00 AM
Friday, July 13, 2007
The AK-47 at age 60
No major army in the world still uses the venerable AK-47 rifle. Its low muzzle velocity means that the big 7.62mm round doesn't manage enough steam to penetrate even modest modern body armor. And the size and weight of that big 7.62mm round means that a soldier can't carry as much rounds as with more modern .223 or 5.45 rounds. Yet at 60 years of age, the AK-47 is still the world's best guerilla rifle.
Part of it is because of the requirements of Soviet-era industry. Soviet industry was, let us say, crude. So when Kalishnikov designed the AK-47, he designed it with largely stamped parts with loose tolerances. The result is a rifle that is dirt-cheap to make and largely idiot-proof and capable of functioning despite neglect by ignorant peasants, tolerant of conditions that would have a modern assault rifle jammed solid. The downside to the loose tolerances is the low muzzle velocity. But then, the first target of any guerilla is not enemy soldiers, who after all represent a foreign and alien presence that will some day leave. The first target of any guerilla is the civilian infrastructure of governance propped up by those soldiers, which must be comprehensively undermined and rendered ineffectual so that when the foreign soldiers leave, the foreign-influenced government can be swept out of office rather than remaining as a tool of foreign imposition upon the body politic. The goal is to kill tax collectors and city councilmen and other such regional tools of the central government and thus render the central government isolated and helpless, not to attack the occupation troops. For every U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, a dozen Iraqi civilians employed by the central government have been killed. They just don't get counted because, well, they're just darkies after all, they're not real people, God's chosen people, the only real humans, Americans.
For that purpose the AK-47 is simply brilliant. Cheap, durable, and quite capable of ventilating someone who isn't expecting to be ventilated, guerillas world-wide love it almost as much as they love their RPG-7's (the funny looking rockets that you always see the guerillas waving around, which are almost as old and cheap as the AK-47). I think it is safe to say that wherever you have a puppet government being propped up by foreign troops, you will see AK-47's. The AK-47, sad to say, is a weapon that will likely see another 60 years of continuous use before being abandoned because the inheritors of the Earth have no hands to use it (besides, cockroaches do not fight wars).
-- Badtux the War Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 7/13/2007 08:28:00 PM
Thursday, June 28, 2007
In Fantasy Land, people don't need food and water and roads and medicines. People need pieces of paper with pictures of dead Presidents. In Fantasy Land, torture is not pain and suffering and useless for anything other than fulfilling the sick sado-masochistic fantasies of its perpetrators and supporters, torture is what keeps ticking atomic bombs from going off every week on the color tee-vee. In Fantasy Land, nobody dies horribly in war, guts and brains spattered across the pavement and the smell of death upon the land. In Fantasy Land, why, after the day's shooting of "Survivor:Army" is finished, the corpses get up from the rubble where they lay, shovel their guts and brains back into their abdomen and brain pan, and go meet in the shooting shed for canapes with the director and more pictures of dead Presidents to compensate them for their troubles. In Fantasy Land, soldiers are made of the finest tin, not flesh and blood. They do not bleed, they have no mothers or fathers who love them, they have no dreams of their future, they're just... tin. In Fantasy Land.
Fantasy Land is not real, of course, and anybody who believes Fantasy Land is real is, to put it bluntly, batshit fucking crazy. Unfortunately, far too many people live in Fantasy Land. Our entire society -- indeed, much of the entire goddamned planet -- has basically gone off the track into utter lunacy, where stupid power games substitute for reality and idiotic ideologies compete to see which one can kill more people with their utter disdain for, like, real life. A real life filled with real people who hurt and bleed and hunger and dream.
Ah, but we so cherish our delusions... the only good news, I suppose, is that as the rising oceans drown more land due to global warming, there will be more room for aquatic waterfowl on this planet. Perhaps when the prophet Tux the Penguin came to Earth and preached the Sermon on the Iceberg he was correct when he stated, "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth." What can be more meek than a penguin?
-- Badtux the Aquatic Penguin
Labels: life, war
Posted by: BadTux / 6/28/2007 12:01:00 AM
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Another victim of President Bush's failed war
Sergeant Frank Sandoval has died. He had the signature injury of the Iraq war -- traumatic brain injury. Afterwards, he had the mental ability of the typical five year old, and because much of his skull was missing, was required to wear a helmet to protect his exposed brain. He died during surgery to implant plates in his head to protect his exposed brain, a little over a year after he was evacuated from Iraq.
How many other Frank Sandovals are there out there who have not been counted as victims of Dear Leader's little war for oil because they died months after they were evacuated from Iraq, not immediately? We'll never know. Those statistics are not being collected. How many other Frank Sandovals are there out there who come back missing major chunks of their brain and will never be the person they once were again? Once again, we'll never know. Those statistics are not being collected. They might be embarrassing to Dear Leader and hurt support for Vice President Halliburton's holy quest to secure the Middle East's oil for Halliburton, after all....
-- Badtux the Saddened Penguin
Labels: iraq, soviet america, veterans, war
Posted by: BadTux / 6/21/2007 11:53:00 AM
Monday, June 18, 2007
On good and evil and war
I made a bold statement in my War Porn message, one that I'm surprised nobody called me on. I said, "All war does is destroy."
But what about Hitler, you say? Surely World War II was a "good" war?
No. World War II was a necessary war, in order to remove evil from the planet. But the absence of evil is not the presence of good.
Evil destroys. Good creates. But if you remove Evil, you don't end up with Good. You end up with... nothing. Just an empty vacuum.
War, since it is only destruction, is never Good. It is necessary, sometimes. I am not naive. I know that committing acts of violence, acts of evil, is sometimes necessary in order to prevent further evil. I am not reluctant, for example, to state that a serial killer should be subjected to the violence of the state -- seized by armed men, placed into a cage called a "prison cell", and kept there for the remainder of his life. Is this evil? Yes, violence is always evil, but in this case it prevents worse evil, it prevents the serial killer from adding yet more bodies to his tally of destruction.
But war never, ever adds anything. War, by definition as organized destruction on a mass scale, can never be Good, no more than black can ever be white.
But what about the miracle of democracy that arose in Germany and Japan after WWII, you say? Doesn't that prove that war is good?
No, what that proves is that if people decide to take another course, and have the support of the United States in terms of money and funding to do so, they can create Good. The removal of the evil that was Hitler in Germany and the military junta in Japan meant that the people were free to choose. But the people still had to choose, and they still needed assistance after they chose. The people chose Good. It was not war that chose Good for them. The people chose Good. If the United States had not been terrified by the Soviet Union into supporting Good against the advice of all the Republican nay-sayers who said that this was rewarding violence on the part of the Japanese and Germans and thus the Japanese and Germans should be punished, not rewarded with funds for rebuilding... well, what would have happened would have been something akin to modern-day Iraq -- a failed lawless state full of violence and death and Evil.
In short, it was the Marshall Plan and its Japanese equivalent that was Good, not the war which preceded it. All the war did was destroy. Amongst the things it destroyed, besides the lives of millions of people, were the evil of Hitler and Tojo. But that did not make the war Good. It merely made the war necessary.
-- Badtux the History Penguin
Labels: morality, violence, war
Posted by: BadTux / 6/18/2007 09:12:00 PM
- Name: BadTux
- Location: Some iceberg, South Pacific, Antarctica
I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.
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Bill Richardson: Because what America needs is a competent fat man with bad hair as President (haven't we had enough incompetent pretty faces?)
Cost of the War in Iraq