WHY we haven't achieved world peace.
HOW we achieve it.
WHAT we should expect once we get there.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Beka Valley as 21st Century Cannae

OK. Let's play "Name Your Favorite Nightmare Scenario!"

    . Saddam actually did ship off to Syria his entire arsenal of weapons of mass destruction … just like he sent his fighter planes to Iran for safekeeping. Remember?

    · That President of all crackpots, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was dead serious when he proclaimed that destroying Israel is official Iranian policy from now on. He’s worried that once he and his psycho supporters get replaced by Iranian 'moderates', this favorite hobby of his (exterminating Israel) will go out the window once and for all – last chance!

    · The Hezbollah terrorists are just sucker bait to tempt the elite of the Israeli Army deep into Northern Lebanon.

    · Once that mechanized juggernaut is strung out along the only roads through that impassable mountain terrain; just immobilize the head and tail ends of each road column, then fill every valley turned into a military parking lot with neurotoxins and bioplague. No place to run, no place to hide. Sorta like the Russian columns that invaded Finland during the Winter War of 1939-40 – except everybody would die, not just all the road-bound tankers. A lot easier than blanketing American mech columns out in the open desert during Desert Storm, free to scatter in any direction at 30 mph to find cleaner air.

    · What about the Hezbollah guerillas and their civilian supporters? Why, my friend, they get to be martyrs for Allah! A free, one way ticket to Paradise issued to each and every one of them – man, woman and child – by surviving Imams from their deep, plush bunkers.

    · Simultaneously, massive attacks by Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian main-force elements across the Israeli border, in the hope of overrunning Israeli nuke launch sites and command/control centers before they can inlay the entire Middle East with radioactive glass.
Bets, anyone? Who’s sucker enough to bet on humanity, compassion and reason over religious insanity?

Ten trillion dollars short and thirty years late

Steven Aftergood's Blog: Secrecy News, reports that the U.S. Army has finally updated its counterinsurgency doctrine, thirty years after the last one was written up, post-Vietnam, and three years after Iraq was invaded.


Do you recall the Wienberger Doctrine? The one Colin Powell was supposed to endorse? Don't ever go to war without overwhelming force, retain clear objectives, have a precise in-and-out timeline and collect multi-lateral international support? You know, all those things we barged into Iraq without the slightest trace of? That was the gist of the U.S. Army doctrine written thirty years ago. Fat lot of good it did us, then and now. I wonder how much more good this new one will do us. Perhaps in later applications in Boston, Chicago and Seattle?

Well, I guess this new doctrine should be called: "By the way, don't squash too many civilian bugs while you're at it..."

It was written by General David Petraeus who commanded the 101st Airmobile Division and Colonel Conrad Crane of the Military History Institute. They should be praised for the moral courage it must have taken them to promote such a doctrine despite the mental inertia of the rest of the U.S. Military and especially its neo-con, chicken hawk, torture-is-worthwhile minders. So should Marine Colonel T.X. Hanes, for inspiring this effort with his book, The Sling and the Stone. Must get a copy of that book to read…

Steven quotes this draft manual as follows:

"Traditionally, armies have had to unlearn much of their doctrine and (re)learn the principles of COIN while waging COIN campaigns."
Counterinsurgency "presents a complex and often unfamiliar set of missions and considerations for a military commander."
Among the "paradoxes of counterinsurgency" are the fact that "the more you protect your force, the less secure you are"; "the more force [is] used, the less effective it is"; and "sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction."

I only found out about this development by reading the July 13, 2006 version of http://www.lemonde.fr/, the website for Le Monde, the French equivalent of the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor combined. Le Monde ran a nice long article about the Secrecy News piece, with more quotes from the final draft Field Manual. I’m sure I couldn't find more than two column inch squibs concerning this topic among all those newspapers combined, and AP, and Reuters and UPI—but then again, I’m a hopeless optimist when it comes to American journalism. Forget TV.

Anywhoo… The reason I bring this up is because I whipped up my very own version of counterinsurgency doctrine (being the “Army of One” that I am) at least eight months ago, at


You are welcome to go take a look at it. My version is not only unclassified and in final, but free to the general public. Plus its A LOT shorter.

Once (if ever)

"Counterinsurgency," U.S. Army Field Manual 3-24 (Final Draft), June 2006 (241 pages, 2.4 MB PDF file)

comes out in its declassified final version, you will be amazed how similar our conclusions turned out to be. Is that a good thing? Search me...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Who benefits from Mumbai?

I can’t stop thinking about all those poor people in Mumbai, just like all those poor Spaniards and Londoners, New Yorkers and Kenyans, Iraqis, Israelis, Afghans and Palestinians. That brother/sisterhood of bomb victims winds up being the most innocent, cosmopolitan, ecumenical, interethnic and profoundly human on this sorry planet. Too bad the whole of humanity can’t rally around their peaceful memory, and not the bloody-minded priorities of their murderers.Rattling to work on morning trains; superheated, thick and sticky crowds attempting valiantly to remain civilized; everyone yearning that that first stuffy challenge of the morning be over and done with, that the day’s gray workload liberate them from it; the gray monsoon rattles every car roof under its ceaseless downpour. The roar, the sway and the damp, burnt tang of cheaply lain track… Then the stunning blow (I can feel its first kiss on my crawling scalp), literally decapitating, vaporizing the upper torso of those nearest, caving the skulls and collapsing the shoulders of those standing mid-ground and spattering the remainder with vaporized gore and a shrapnel of overhead grillwork and bone splinters, scything broken-legged everyone sprawling as mortally wounded trains screech to a grinding halt… Dead silence momentarily, then the screaming aftermath rinsed in blood and endless rain. The hospitals overrun with dead and dying filling the corridors and sending nurses and orderlies running pale for extra supplies, trying not to slide on all that bloody spoor. The agony, the shock, the grief. All those innocent children turned instantly into orphans through no fault of their own—they’ll never really believe that. Horrible beyond imagining. Yet quite common, these days. Pretty much a replay of Bali, of London, of Barcelona, of 9/11, of Iraq day-to-day—and of how many countless bombings before and since?

Did someone recruit twice as many willing suicide bombers in the Muslim community on the outskirts of Mumbai as from around London? Guarding their sacred bundles in the overhead racks until they were vaporized by them, too? Didn't their fellow passengers smell the stink of their fear, read it off their body language? Finally, was that recruiting slime ball paid by ISI crazies or by equally insane loose cannon peers in India? Mumbai, that most worldly of cities heading up a world-weary yet upsurging nation among the senior on Earth. Salman Rushdie’s stomping grounds, well known to us residual reading occidentals because he’s guided us into it, through it and beyond it, lovingly, more than once. The Paris, New York and LA of India; which only Indians could combine into one package. A center of cosmopolitanism and a shaky bastion of mutual tolerance, if deeply traumatized in the recent past. The one place the extremists on both sides would love to decapitate: both literally and figuratively—as someone has managed to achieve: may he rot in Hell forever. May his Hell be a perpetual train ride in a first-class charnel car containing seventy virgin decapitated corpses crowding around him and laughing shrilly out of blood-bubbling throats at his vicious stupidity. Who but Hindu extremists will benefit? Certainly not Mubarak with his three-to-one outlays on the military versus health and education combined, his country swarming with Yahoos disguised as good Muslims sandbagged behind every other mountain, his fistful of nukes that pretty much cancel everyone’s glorious military ambitions. Not the vast majority of Kashmiris who wished everyone would just go home and leave them alone. Not Muslim Indians who must feel like hunted animals on their own block right now.

How many thousands of insults, how many sly blows and cunning crimes do those two hundred dead and three times as many wounded atone for? How many times more pain and anguish will they incite, as innocently as those sorry bastards did deliberately who blew up that holy mosque in Iraq? I ask again: who benefits? Only the BJP – whom I’ve read had pretty much run out of political steam and relevancy in the upcoming Indian elections, short of this catastrophe – and its psychotic outriders, of course. They delude themselves they and their Hindu fundamentalism will benefit. May they choke on that steaming benefit… Wasn’t it, after all, fundamentalists who murdered Gandhi, just like Israeli Premier Yitzhak Shamir, just like Egyptian President Sadat, just like any leader with any compassion, common sense and charisma for the last few decades on this planet; while corrupt and incompetent hand-wringers swap places with corrupt and incompetent firebrands, while corrupt and fully competent swindlers run everything from the back rooms, and some damn fool can always be found to gun down anyone honest who holds out any promise of peace whatsoever—and so on, ad nauseum, with every-growing consistency and ‘efficiency’? I repeat, who benefits most? In short – whatever side they claim to be on and whatever God they claim to worship but actually disgrace – no one who merits the title human.

Well, here goes nothin'!

I don't know about the rest of you out there ... I really don't.

As far as I'm concerned, I must have taken a wrong turn during my last reincarnation, to wind up on this funky, dead-end planet: three thousand plus years of "Thou shalt not kill" and killing is still the hottest export commodity; two thousand years of "Love your neighbor as yourself" and hatred is a banner headline and vote-getting novelty every morning; fifteen hundred years of "Always help a fellow Muslim and never harm one" and Baghdad, Iraq. You'd think someone would have figured out something slightly less stupid and vicious by now.

Either I committed some unforgivable sin during past lives and this is where my bad karma dumped me; or, like an idiot, I volunteered to parachute into this suicide palace on some mission impossible; or both. Either way, I could kick myself...

All-in-all, humans seem to be a relatively OK bunch, taken as individuals. Wherever I've traveled on this planet (and I've covered some ground) those who wanted to help others and be helped by them have outnumbered the rest by hundreds to one. We just seem to have empowered every one of those less-that-one-in-a-hundred sociopaths to gun us down, dumb us down and ruin everything -- by the book.

Me, I'm looking for peaceful alternatives. Holistic solutions, not reductive, a-little-fix-here fussbudgets. Global ones instead, umbrella ones, giant, three-ring-circus, big top tent ones. A gigantic baobab tree under whose cool shade we could quietly discuss the sane management of PeaceWorld, out of the UV-glare of WeaponWorld's official insanity.

All by my lonesome, I've been plotting a planetary prison break from WeaponWorld. With only the occasional pause for a few insane cackles and a moment or two of neurotic muttering, I've carefully mapped out all of WeaponWorld's weak points and soft spots. WeaponWorld is a fortress of combination locks, voice codes and hardened-armor doors, true; but for twenty years now, I've been jiggling tumblers, stealing passwords and drilling hinge cores. I just may have found one or more ways to defeat WeaponWorld and replace it by PeaceWorld. Now, all I need is a massive number of peaceful infiltrators to go probe those weaknesses, find out where the guards have really gone AWOL and pour through the cracks and crannies I've mapped, that riddle WeaponWorld's seeming massive battlements, out into PeaceWorld beyond.

I'm looking for fellow LEARNERS, fellow PeaceWorld expats doing hard time on this WeaponWorld just like me, whose ambitions are no less extravagant than mine. So far, they've been a hard bunch to find. They are lost here and there in the bovine herd of humanity chewing its cud more or less contentedly until the butcher's bill comes due. They have no cohesion, no common value system; they are credophobes. Thanks to the gangrenous ideologies they were brought up on, they are afraid to believe in anything any longer, except a few reductive little fixes their scientific training taught them would be OK just this once.

Forget your little fixes. Forget your cluelessness and the sense of helplessness it induces in you. Instead, check out what I have come up with, and believe in SOMETHING once again, besides the killer-primate babble you were raised on… Check it out:


See for yourself. Then get back to me if you care at all about things of any importance. Just be POSITIVE for once -- I don't mean certain, I mean constructive. That is all I ask. I ask nothing less from every Learner on Earth.

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