Category Archives: The Long War

Long War metaphor?


By lex, on February 9th, 2008

From the time of the Spanish Armada until today, naval warfare has been about firepower and mobility: Put the most firepower you can on the largest ships that will hold them and row, sail or steam them as fast as you can into harm’s way.

Where weight and accuracy were matched, tactics held sway – Drake used fireships and the weather gage to sink what Spanish ships he could before their survivors dashed themselves to bits against the rocks of Ireland. Hundreds of years later battleship sailors conjured the ghosts of Jutland and Tsushima by maneuvering to “cross the T” at Cape Esperance and the Surigao Straight.

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Afghan Politics

Posted by lex, on July 18th, 2011

dangerous business to be in:

A close adviser to President Hamid Karzai was killed on Sunday night after two gunmen stormed his walled home here. It was the second killing in less than a week of one of the president’s trusted but controversial political allies.

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Drinking the coolaid

By Lex

Posted on April 24, 2006


It’s amazing what the poor, deluded kultists of the Dear Leader can talk themselves into:

Today, we are in the midst of a great struggle between the forces of terror and the forces of freedom. The greatest weapon that the free world possesses in this struggle is the awesome power of its ideas.

The Bush Doctrine, based on a recognition of the dangers posed by non-democratic regimes and on committing the United States to support the advance of democracy, offers hope to many dissident voices struggling to bring democracy to their own countries. The democratic earthquake it has helped unleash, even with all the dangers its tremors entail, offers the promise of a more peaceful world.

Yet with each passing day, new voices are added to the chorus of that doctrine’s opponents, and the circle of its supporters grows ever smaller.

Critics rail against every step on the new and difficult road on which the United States has embarked. Yet in pointing out the many pitfalls which have not been avoided and those which still can be, those critics would be wise to remember that the alternative road leads to the continued oppression of hundreds of millions of people and the continued festering of the pathologies that led to 9/11.

Oh, come on: What does Natan Sharansky know about “freedom” and “oppression” ? *


** Link was gone; new one added – Ed.

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Ironies Abound

By lex, on May 2nd, 2011

I’m pretty sure that the DEVGRU bubbas sent to capture or kill Osama bin Laden didn’t mind skipping past option one, and moving directly to option two. Trying a captured OBL would have been, 1) better than he deserved and, 2) intensely problematical. Pre-trial confinement anywhere but at Guantanamo would have been a security nightmare for the site chosen, and GTMO isn’t taking in any new customers. So maybe it’s a little ironic that a president who came to office promising more of that good old rule of law unleashed the hounds of direct action, not that I take objection.

But today we learn that the intel which led to OBL’s death was generated by the same “enhanced interrogation techniques” that the President Obama eliminated:

Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.

The news is sure to reignite debate over whether the now-closed interrogation and detention program was successful. Former president George W. Bush authorized the CIA to use the harshest interrogation tactics in U.S. history. President Barack Obama closed the prison system.

Hat’s off to President Obama for pulling the trigger on the assault. Hat’s off to President Bush for doing what had to be done to start the kill chain.

OBL dying a natural death in his sheltered compound was never an acceptable alternative.

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By lex, on May 1st, 2011

News reports are saying that Osama bin Laden is dead, and that US troops have custody of his remains. Boots on deck = Huah.

My reactions:

1) Rot in hell, motherfucker. Too many people here and in other places have suffered and died for your toxic vision. Three thousand New Yorkers and God knows how many Arabs and Afghans.

2) Max props to those patriots who signed on, fought, died or came back wounded because of 1). Heroes forever.

3) Pakistan: Thanks for nothing.

It ain’t over, but today is a good day.


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Ten Years Ago Today

By lex, on October 12th, 2010

The first salvo was fired on what would become the Global War on Terror, before that in turn morphed into a Pretty Serious Campaign Against Man-Caused Disasters. Seventeen US sailors aboard the USS Cole died almost immediately when a two-man al Qaeda suicide cell drove a skiff loaded with explosives along side and detonated it, holing the hull. Another 39 were injured.

The survivors struggled heroically for three days in suffocating conditions without much in the way of hot food or cold water and mostly without power to keep the ship dewatered and afloat – it was a very near run thing. At one point, with water coming in and the ship’s only generator off line, sailors formed a bucket brigade to save the ship.

When the ship was towed out of port 19 days later, someone slipped Kid Rock’s “American Bad Ass” into a rotation of patriotic songs playing on the ship’s loudspeaker system.

Navy took a hit in 2000, as required by the rules of engagement then in place.

The rules have changed since then. A lot of things have.

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Hope for the Best

By lex, on September 27th, 2010

I don’t know what’s more troubling in this excerpt from Bob Woodward’s new book “Obama’s Wars”: The fact that a novice executive stoutly refused to take the considered advice of his senior military advisers, or the fact that the country’s subordinated military essentially refused to be boxed into what they must have known was a losing strategy:

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