Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Jerry is one of my favorite authors; take the time to check out his entire website.
Scientific War and History
Those interested in modern warfare might want to read
2009/01/how-tech-change.html which is a review of a book I haven't read and probably won't read, although it's possible that the reviewer simply didn't understand it, despite the reviewer's extensive and impressive credentials (and apparent access to the author). As an example, the reviewer says "...it identifies some important distinctions and helps explain things like the failure of Vietnam - Robert MacNamara’s pervasive quantification didn’t do much, in the end, to convince the Viet Cong that they were facing defeat."
This tells me that the reviewer hasn't a clue as to what happened in Viet Nam, or even why we were there. Viet Nam was a campaign of attrition in the Cold War. The United State decided early on that the proper strategy for the Cold War was containment: that if the USSR were left to stew in its own juices and not allowed to expand, so that war could not feed war, the corruption and mismanagement that inevitably accompanied a command economy would bring about collapse, while our free enterprise economy would bring about economic growth. The essence of containment was that the enemy had to be contained. The USSR already had North Viet Nam, obtained when the French withdrew from their protectorate and Viet Nam (an artificial entity in the first place) was partitioned. Kennedy and then Johnson decided that Containment was the proper strategy, and committed the US to the defense of the South. That wasn't done well, but it was done, and after the Viet Cong committed suicide in the Tet Offensive the war became one of attrition against the North.
By 1972 the war was won. In Spring of 1972 the North sent 150,000 men, all equipped with imported modern weapons including tanks and trucks, into the south in a straight up invasion without any pretense that this was any kind of "insurgency". Colonel Harry Summers put it this way:
"On 29 March 1972 North Vietnam launched what was to become known as the Eastertide Offensive. Leaving two divisions in Laos and one as a strategic reserve, North Vietnam committed some 12 divisions -- a total of about 150,000 men -- to the attack on South Vietnam. Supported by tanks, heavy artillery, and mobile antiaircraft units, they had some initial success. But they had severely miscalculated both the fighting ability of the South Vietnamese Army and the ability of the United States to react... By July 1972 the North Vietnamese had reverted to the tactical defensive."
North Viet Nam took about 100,000 casualties in 1972. The total number of US killed in that year was 641. The Second Viet Nam War had been won decisively.
In 1975 the Third Viet Nam War began, and this time the US did not provide support. The USSR had rebuilt the army destroyed in 1972 and presented the North with a brand new modern armored army, while the United States Congress voted to support the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam with 20 cartridges and two hand grenades per man. Viet Nam accordingly fell; but to characterize this as saying that MacNamara had not convinced the Viet Cong that they were facing defeat is at best absurd. By 1975 the Viet Cong no longer existed. The only insurgency in South Viet Nam was North Viet Nam regulars infiltrated into the South who were able to take advantage of the Sanctuary Areas of Laos, Cambodia, and the DMZ; and the only reason North Viet Nam won in 1975 was that the Congress of the United States, inspired by Watergate, would not support our ally; and the reasons North Viet Nam invaded were (1) they had a new army equipped by their allies, and (2) they had good reason to believe that the United States would not respond in 1975 as we responded in 1972.
There are many lessons to be learned from the Viet Nam experience, but in my judgment anyone who sums up that war with statements like "...it identifies some important distinctions and helps explain things like the failure of Vietnam - Robert MacNamara’s pervasive quantification didn’t do much, in the end, to convince the Viet Cong that they were facing defeat," probably doesn't have a lot to teach us.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Since joining the CRTC's federal do not call list last September, the number of calls I receive has increased. The big difference however is they are all originating from the United States, where the CRTC has no jurisdiction.
I am especially offended by they way they try to pretend that I am already a customer or am somehow already associated with them, and their telemarketing call is a legitimate form of contact. They all include a notice to press a number (like zero) if you do not want to be contacted again. I have done this, and yet the calls persist. Clearly, pressing the indicated number to be automatically removed from their call list does not guarantee they'll stop calling you.
It's frustrating, so now I never push the number. The bastards are going to phone anyway. Instead, I push the number to speak to a live agent. If they can call and interrupt my day, one of their employees is damn well going to get his/her day interrupted back. Like Today. I just received a call from OHIO and I pressed the number to speak to a live agent.
Then when the live person comes on, I say I'm on the do-not-call list, and tell them to FUCK OFF.
The cathartic effect on my emotional state is amazing. I mean, how often can you tell someone to fuck off and it has a chance of bettering our society? It's my deepest heartfelt hope that the unlucky employee I spoke with will quit their job and the telemarketer will have trouble filling the position.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
First, a series of Chicago P.D. mug shots. The people in these pictures aren't there because of their good works either. lol. Ann Coulter was right.
CHICAGO P.D. MUGSHOTS
Secondly, I've been thinking about the incredibly biased anti-Israel coverage the mid-stream media is giving the ongoing Palestinian Rocket Attacks on southern Israeli residential neighborhoods.
Oh, did the way I phrased that piss you off? Good.
Almost universally, the mid-stream media is characterizing the Palestinians as victims, and the Israeli Military as the bullies. They appear to be accepting at face value Palestinian claims that Israel is committing acts of genocidal atrocities and war-crimes against civilians. Despite an abundance of video available on the internet proving that Hamas is using it's civilian population to hide their incessant rocket and mortar attacks on Israel's citizenry, the media news reports all seem to delight in emphasizing the contrasting imagery of High-tech Israeli military vs. injured Palestinian women and children.
Despite repeated Isreali efforts to promote a peace process, -any peace process, certain elements among the Palestinians have pretty well always acted to provoke an armed response. Then, in 2006, the Palestinians elected to power Hamas, a radical offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Even the Muslim-Friendly Washington Post admits Hamas "favors the creation of a Palestinian nation on land that now includes Israel..."
That's a nice way of saying Hamas wants to wipe them out.
During the election Hamas made no bones about this, and the Palestinian voters voted for them. I'm now emotionally at the point of wondering if they deserve what they get.
There, I said it. Our fucking media won't.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
I got today's joke from my wife, after I checked an email account I don't use very often. Found an email my wife sent me last month.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Reminds me of this toon from User Friendly.
update: Yes, it is. Here's the link to the original image.