Backtalk, October 4, 2006

Why We Can’t Win Against Guerrillas

An excellent piece. If I have any disagreement, it with your comment about 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation warfare, as if these neat little categories could be separated in battle, and guerrilla warfare was something new.

Certainly, Patton used mobile warfare (so-called 3rd), but this was prefaced by hours of artillery bombardment (so-called 2nd) with our shells with proximity fuses invented in our armory in the 1920s. This induced a terrible toll on Wehrmacht soldiers, as shown in interviews as to why they surrendered.

Actually, revolutionary warfare has more to do with ideology (perhaps what one might call "grand strategy") than with tactics of a 4th generation variety.

The republican worldview of the American Revolution died off over a century ago, when we institutionalized our empire, and we now fight our wars with mercenaries: volunteers, career professionals, and hired private forces.

Even then, some of these professionals, even in the CIA, have a higher ethical code of honor and war than the mendacious elected politicians and their minions who run the empire.

The feckless Congress and the populi be damned!

~ Bill Marina

We MUST have more Arabic linguists, and we must have more operatives who are culturally sensitive to the region. Two solutions are obvious.

First: stop getting rid of linguists who are homosexuals. I don’t want to confuse this issue with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” problem in the military, nor try to solve that hairy problem using the current need. Yet these skilled persons could be used in other organizations to great benefit. One caution: use them at a distance from Iraq, where homosexuality in most communities is punished by death.

Second: there is precedent for using even native-born linguists and giving them adequate clearance to do their job. I once commanded a unit of native-born Russians, Poles, Czechs, and East Germans – all “Lodge Act” enlistees in the U.S. Army – who handled tough translation jobs requiring some of the highest access, and we did it without compromising the nation. For many years we required annual polygraphs, but we never had a known act of espionage. The few that we got rid of over time were eliminated for mental health reasons and not security reasons. Some of these folks completed careers in the Army and went on to work in highly classified positions for other U.S. agencies.

The current problem just means that there is no one left in government with any imagination at all. They’ll tell you that they can’t afford to vet them so they lump them all together and deny the necessary clearances. What ever happened to “pay any price, bear any burden”?

~ Lt. Col. Sanford Cook, USA (ret.)

Are You an ‘Unlawful Combatant’?


I was one of the naive ones in India in 1975, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared emergency. I thought, I have nothing to fear because I am law-abiding and have nothing to hide. My illusions vanished when a distant relative in a backwater village was thrown into jail for refusing to sell a bar of soap to a policeman. When he was released after Mrs. Gandhi was defeated in 1977, he was a broken man. His wife died, and his children were displaced. He died a little while later. This person was the last person you would expect to break any law.

Those of us who think we have nothing to hide should learn about what happened to India between 1975 and 1977. Remember, this is the world’s largest democracy, not any police state.

Yes, Justin, I dread with you and your Arab friend. Fortunately for India, Mrs. Gandhi realized her mistake or developed some misgivings about the thugs surrounding her and called elections and was thrown out. God forbid if it comes to that; will we be so lucky?

I am too old to worry about myself, but I dread with you for our beloved country.


Normalizing Relations With Japan

Doug Bandow says:

“So too with America’s East Asian nuclear umbrella. The issue of nuclear weapons ultimately is one for the Japanese people, not the American government. Some wonder whether Tokyo could be trusted with the bomb. Do they mean compared to unstable Pakistan or authoritarian China?”

Being a member of NPT carries a requirement of nonproliferation, therefore if Tokyo and the U.S. or any other members of the NPT are against Iran, North Korea, or any other countries having access to the bomb, so should they be against the bomb for Japan. It is very irresponsible to have the attitude of the above quote when it comes to the friendly allies. That will give the impression that all these limits and international laws and treaties are for some and not for all.

~ Matt Walsh Blog

I have a technical question: how do I navigate on the blog page to a previous blog page? This used to be a simple point-and-click operation, but I can’t figure out how to do it anymore.

~ Heinz Blasnik

Mike Ewens replies:

I added navigation to the individual blog posts. Thanks for reading!

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