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RickWilmes

Be Blunt- Be Accurate

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In the spirit of the Secretary of Defense's title, "Be Blunt-Be Accurate" I want to take a look at the following.

SecDef Gates @ West Point- "Be Blunt - be Accurate

Just about every threat to our security in the years ahead will require working with or through other nations. Success in the war on terror will depend less on the fighting we do ourselves and more on how well we support our allies and partners in the modern Muslim world -- moderate Muslim world and elsewhere. In fact, from the standpoint of America's national security, the most important assignment in your military career may not necessarily be commanding U.S. soldiers, but advising or mentoring the troops of other nations as they battle the forces of terror and instability within their own borders.

If the most important assignment for our future leaders in the military will be to advise and mentor troops of other nations than there are two important questions that need to be asked and answered.

1. Why won't/can't our allies in 'The Long War" fight for their freedom?

2. Since they won't/can't fight, what are we(the United States) going to do about it?

The fact of the matter is that our present administration and leaders of our military, including Gates, can't or won't answer these questions. Instead, Gates says the Air Force isn't doing enough. An honest assessment and answer to the two questions I have asked will lead to the conclusion that the methods being used to fight "The Long War' are futile and doomed to failure.

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What I really want the administration to do is to define, once and for all, who these "moderate Muslims" are. Is Saudi Arabia "moderate"? If we want to say that a peaceful American Muslim is a moderate, then what do they have in common with a Saudi Arabian despot that they both deserve this title? And if both are moderates, who is an "extremist"? Is Iran's position that Israel should be wiped off the map, that gays should be killed, that speech against Islam there or abroad deserves a death sentence enough to qualify its stand as "extremist"? If so, why are we not fighting them? And if not, why the hell not?

Blunt and accurate? Please.

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What I really want the administration to do is to define, once and for all, who these "moderate Muslims" are. Is Saudi Arabia "moderate"? If we want to say that a peaceful American Muslim is a moderate, then what do they have in common with a Saudi Arabian despot that they both deserve this title? And if both are moderates, who is an "extremist"? Is Iran's position that Israel should be wiped off the map, that gays should be killed, that speech against Islam there or abroad deserves a death sentence enough to qualify its stand as "extremist"? If so, why are we not fighting them? And if not, why the hell not?

Blunt and accurate? Please.

Exactly. The essence of your questions is "Who is the enemy?"

Gates' answer: "the forces of terror and instability"

Notice that no particular entity(individual, group or nation) is identified only "forces". This is pure Kant.

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What I really want the administration to do is to define, once and for all, who these "moderate Muslims" are. Is Saudi Arabia "moderate"? If we want to say that a peaceful American Muslim is a moderate, then what do they have in common with a Saudi Arabian despot that they both deserve this title? And if both are moderates, who is an "extremist"? Is Iran's position that Israel should be wiped off the map, that gays should be killed, that speech against Islam there or abroad deserves a death sentence enough to qualify its stand as "extremist"? If so, why are we not fighting them? And if not, why the hell not?

Blunt and accurate? Please.

You might want to add the ever enlightened Saudi judiciary's recent conviction of a woman for witchcraft. (Yes, seriously)

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You might want to add the ever enlightened Saudi judiciary's recent conviction of a woman for witchcraft. (Yes, seriously)

I read about a similar case of witchcraft conviction a while back, although I don't remember the details. I do believe it was in SA also.

This is what really burns me. SA appears to qualify as "moderate" only because we are "allies". This is completely backwards, as our relationship with a nation should be determined by its principles. Instead, we say that because we've chosen to be allies, they are A-Okay, they're safe (even if they fund terrorist charities and send their holy warriors against us). By this logic, we should be able to end the war by declaring that we are everyone's ally! Hey, it worked with Russia right? :)

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This is what really burns me. SA appears to qualify as "moderate" only because we are "allies". This is completely backwards, as our relationship with a nation should be determined by its principles. Instead, we say that because we've chosen to be allies, they are A-Okay, they're safe (even if they fund terrorist charities and send their holy warriors against us). By this logic, we should be able to end the war by declaring that we are everyone's ally! Hey, it worked with Russia right? :)

This was the same logic the United States used to support "The Government of Vietnam(GVN)" and "The Army of the Republic of Vietnam(ARVN)".

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This was the same logic the United States used to support "The Government of Vietnam(GVN)" and "The Army of the Republic of Vietnam(ARVN)".

Right, a logic they used to evade a conflict we made necessary by not marching from Berlin to Moscow in 1945. How many wars and how many deaths can be traced back to that decision?

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Right, a logic they used to evade a conflict we made necessary by not marching from Berlin to Moscow in 1945. How many wars and how many deaths can be traced back to that decision?

It began before that; FDR was basically pals with Stalin; see for example: http://www.theadvocates.org/freeman/8910ebel.html

But Stalin was suspicious of the capitalist West, Roosevelt argued. He had to be coaxed into trusting the West and working for the worldwide "New Deal." This was the motive behind Roosevelt's infamous remark that "I think if I give [stalin] everything I possibly can, and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of peace and democracy." (Roosevelt's dreams were reinforced by leftist intellectuals and government employees -- a handful of whom later were found to be Soviet agents -- who surrounded the President during the New Deal days and the war years.)

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It began before that; FDR was basically pals with Stalin; see for example:

Wow, yes. I suppose what today's conflict should be ultimately reduced to is the fact that most Americans never did, nor do at present, understand or support Capitalism. We have a long history of electing to president men who are openly hostile to the basic principles the country they swore to defend was founded on. If we haven't destroyed ourselves already, it's only because of a handful of people out of billions (which does say a lot about the power of ideas).

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It began before that; FDR was basically pals with Stalin; see for example:

Wow, yes. I suppose what today's conflict should be ultimately reduced to is the fact that most Americans never did, nor do at present, understand or support Capitalism. We have a long history of electing to president men who are openly hostile to the basic principles the country they swore to defend was founded on. If we haven't destroyed ourselves already, it's only because of a handful of people out of billions (which does say a lot about the power of ideas).

I believe it was Milton Freedman who said, “thank God capitalism works as well as it does, the people wouldn’t stand for it otherwise.”

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It began before that; FDR was basically pals with Stalin; see for example:

Wow, yes. I suppose what today's conflict should be ultimately reduced to is the fact that most Americans never did, nor do at present, understand or support Capitalism. We have a long history of electing to president men who are openly hostile to the basic principles the country they swore to defend was founded on. If we haven't destroyed ourselves already, it's only because of a handful of people out of billions (which does say a lot about the power of ideas).

I believe it was Milton Freedman who said, “thank God capitalism works as well as it does, the people wouldn’t stand for it otherwise.”

BBorg, PhilO and R.M. Alger: I want to thank you for your comments I have just finished about 14 hrs.(I took some breaks to snack) on reading, fact checking and internet searches concerning this thread. I have a lot to say and need some time now to formulate my thoughts and also get some sleep. I want to share an excerpt I came across that I think is relevant to what has been discussed so far. The following is part of a recommendation from a counterinsurgency expert in Vietnam and he is recommending how to educate the peasants of Vietnam.

As in the Philippines, the medium of instruction should be English-American English. It is the language of commerce, the language of capitalism, and more importantly the language of free political institutions.

Not many individuals have made such a proposal unless they are familiar with Ayn Rand.

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What I really want the administration to do is to define, once and for all, who these "moderate Muslims" are. Is Saudi Arabia "moderate"? If we want to say that a peaceful American Muslim is a moderate, then what do they have in common with a Saudi Arabian despot that they both deserve this title? And if both are moderates, who is an "extremist"? Is Iran's position that Israel should be wiped off the map, that gays should be killed, that speech against Islam there or abroad deserves a death sentence enough to qualify its stand as "extremist"? If so, why are we not fighting them? And if not, why the hell not?

Blunt and accurate? Please.

You might want to add the ever enlightened Saudi judiciary's recent conviction of a woman for witchcraft. (Yes, seriously)

Here is an article about the injustice women are subjected to in Saudi Arabia.

Our women must be protected.

That Saudi women are banned from driving is well-known. But it is the imposition of male guardianship over adult women, affirms the detailed report by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based monitoring group, that is the biggest obstacle to female advancement. As the report points out, half the kingdom's citizens are treated in effect like children or the mentally ill for the duration of their lives. Worse, the guardianship policy creates a paradox: women may be held legally responsible for a crime, even though they are not deemed to have full legal capacity.

Oddly enough, there appear to be no written statutes mandating male guardianship for women. In the religiously conservative kingdom, where Muslim sharia law is held to override all other rules, the practice stems instead from extremist Wahhabi interpretations of Muslim scripture, particularly from a Koranic passage that describes men as the “protectors and keepers of women”. Sadly for Saudi women, the all-male Saudi judiciary is made up entirely of Wahhabi extremists.

(Bold is mine.)

Osama Bin Laden is also a Wahhabi extremist.

Who Is Osama Bin Laden?

As a teen-ager, bin Laden joined the ultraconservative Wahhabi sect of Islam and served with the police enforcing sharia laws. (The Wahhabi movement is supported by the Saudi monarchy, among others, and today is one of the fastest growing tendencies in the Islamic world; it is ultra-puritanical and anti-modern; in things like avoiding contact with women or nonbelievers.)

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Right, a logic they used to evade a conflict we made necessary by not marching from Berlin to Moscow in 1945. How many wars and how many deaths can be traced back to that decision?

It began before that; FDR was basically pals with Stalin; see for example: http://www.theadvocates.org/freeman/8910ebel.html

But Stalin was suspicious of the capitalist West, Roosevelt argued. He had to be coaxed into trusting the West and working for the worldwide "New Deal." This was the motive behind Roosevelt's infamous remark that "I think if I give [stalin] everything I possibly can, and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of peace and democracy." (Roosevelt's dreams were reinforced by leftist intellectuals and government employees -- a handful of whom later were found to be Soviet agents -- who surrounded the President during the New Deal days and the war years.)

Here is another example where FDR made a deal with Stalin and Chiang Kai Shek. The other war this author is referring to is the pacification efforts or the attempt to win the "hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people."

American's concern with the other war in Vietnam had its beginning in a letter written by President Roosevelt to Secretary of State Cordell Hull early in 1944. At that time FDR told Hull:
I saw Halifax[Lord Halifax, who was the British Ambassador to the United States] last week and told him quite frankly that it was perfectly true that I had, for over a year, expressed the opinion that Indo-China should not go back to France but that it should be administered by an international trusteeship. France has had the country--thirty million inhabitants--for nearly one hundred years, and the people are worse off than they were at the beginning.

As a matter of interest, I am wholeheartedly supported in this view by Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek and by Marshal Stalin. I see no reason to play in with the British Foreign Office in this matter. The only reason they seem to oppose it is that they fear the effect it would have on their posessions and those of the Dutch. They have never liked the idea of trusteeship because it is, in some instances, aimed at future independence. This is true in the case of Indo-China.

Each case must, of course, stand on its own feet, but the case of Indo-China is perfectly clear. France has milked it for one hundred years. The people of Indo-China are entitled to something better than that. [italics added] (2) Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (2 vols.: New York: Macmillan, 1948), II, p. 1597.

Roosevelt's belief that the United States should refuse to assist the French to repossess Indochina remained our policy in theory from the end of World War II until December 1946. However, it must be added that during the same period the United States in fact did nothing of any consequence to prevent the French from repossessing Indo china. From December 1946, when the French-Vietminh war started, until 1950 President Truman remained aloof from the war and ignored Hanoi's appeal for recognition based on the principle of self-determination of people. There was considerable inconsistency during this period between our indifference toward French colonialism on the one hand and our persistent criticism of British colonialism in Egypt and India on the other.

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In order for our future officers to be "Blunt and Accurate." Two things are required.

1. They need to know that our leaders in government are only as good as their advisors. If the Cadets at West Point make the military a career, some of them will eventually advise the President.

2. In order to properly advise the President these Cadets need to know their history.

With that said. In terms of military strategy, who was FDR's advisors and how did he come to support such ilk as Stalin?

Through out FDR's life, ALfred Thayer Mahan played a significant role.

Mahan repeatedly stressed the necessity of concentration. This elemental strategic principle of avoiding undue dispersion of strength to maximize the chances for superiority he adopted, as previously stated, from the great Swiss military strategist, Jomini. Involved were interior lines, mobility, and coordination of effort and command. The one aspect of this doctrine of concentration most often mentioned was his concern not to divide the fleet. His admonition to President Theodore Roosevelt on this subject has been discussed. Another interesting instance comes to light in the recent multi-volume biography of Franklin Roosevelt. After a trip to the west, Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, grew fearful that with the completion of the Panama Canal there would be well-nigh irresistible demand for the fleet to be divided. He wrote Mahan and former President Roosevelt to seek their influence against any division of the fleet and their support for building a cruiser fleet to satisfy western demand and for a yearly transfer through the canal of the battle and cruise fleets. Both men responded; Mahan liked all the ideas and wrote an article on "The Panama Canal and the Distribution of the Fleet." He warned, "Halve the fleet and it is inferior in both oceans."(45)

(45) Frank Freidel, Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Apprenticeship, 234-35. Letters dated May 28, June 2, June 16 and June 26(1912). Freidel also cites three letters from Mahan to Roosevelt in August of 1914 on strategic subjects, among others, urging in light of the European situation that the fleet be brought together and put in state of readiness (245-46). Freidel calls F. D. R. Mahan's "greatest disciple." It is instructive to learn that Roosevelt had long been acquainted with Mahan's writings; relatives gave him The Influence of Sea Power on History, 1660-1783(12th ed.) for Christmas, 1897, and for his sixteenth birthday the following month sent him The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and Future(47) It is rather surprising that these Mahan to Roosevelt letter are not in the new three-volume collection of Mahan's Letters and Papers.

(Bold is mine.)

Quote taken from William E. Livezey, Mahan on Sea Power, second edition (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981, $15.95), 389 pages.

Here is an article about the book and Mahan.

The Sea and Modern Technology

Two new books on naval power offer an interesting tandem for discussion of the paradox. One of these, Mahan on Sea Power, is a balanced and authoritative study by Professor William E. Livezey.* First published in 1947, the original version offered a post-World War II view of maritime power at the dawn of the nuclear age. After a lapse of thirty-five years, the new edition adds a "Mahan revisited" chapter spanning the era of atomic energy and its role in both ship propulsion and weaponry. In some ways it offers a reinterpretation of Mahanist doctrines and sail age thinking brought into the nuclear age.

*William E. Livezey, Mahan on Sea Power, second edition (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981, $15.95), 389 pages.

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