Friday, March 24, 2006

CPT rescued, predictably ungratefull

Well, the Christian Peacemaker Team of Tom Fox fame has been rescued. Wretchard writes it up well in The Belmont Club: The widow's mite, but I feel moved to vent my spleen at the CPT ingrates. LA Times :
a British-led military operation Thursday rescued three Westerners whose abductors had held them hostage since November,
But true to form, they were somewhat ungratefull, CNN :
Christian Peacemaker Teams posted a statement on its Web site expressing joy in the hostages' release but also criticizing the U.S.-led operation in Iraq.

"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq," the statement said. "The occupation must end."
From the BBC :
The rescue had followed intelligence obtained from a detainee, the spokesman said.
Abu Graib at work. Probably should send some hapless MP corporal to jail for beating this information out of a suspect., beace CPT says that :
“We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally by the U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq.
CPT also said :
"They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers."
Good that .... so is the SAS the hand of God then? The Australian on the operation :
At about 3am on Thursday the SAS commander in charge of the rescue force summoned his team at their base inside the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Defence sources told London's The Times newspaper that helicopters with reconnaissance cameras and Predator unmanned aerial vehicles were deployed. The men who spearheaded the rescue arrived in a convoy of cars disguised as local taxis and utilities.

The 25 men who burst into the two-storey building used classic hostage-rescue techniques, storming every room simultaneously to ensure no one escaped. They found the three hostages sitting bound on the floor of a ground-floor room. Their captors had fled.

No shots were fired. Less than two minutes after the rescuers entered the building, the three were on their way to freedom.
FuckwitsHoly fools. The captives are rescued by a huge multinational elite forces operation, and they can't bring themselves to say thanks. "Its the Multinational forces at fault, not the kidnappers!" Their man gets brutally offed by the islamoid kidnappers they want to help, and they are pleased that none of the kidnappers were hurt by the eeevil occupation forces. Rescuing ungratefull idiots like these must surely strain the loyalty of the troops. Not that SAS feels the need for much thanks, but one must be tempted to leave such as the CPT pissants peacemeakers to their grisly but well deserved fates.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Darfur : Mission Half Assed III

If intervention in Darfur is a dodgy proposition just by itself, we need to factor Sudan in. As the government of Sudan has made clear, it isn't interested in hosting effective foreign forces. It is apparently more than happy to host half assed ineffectual foreign forces, that merely serves as cover for their nefarious activities a la Srebrenica.

Would the Sudanese government subsidise a deniable guerilla insurgency against competent peacekeepers in a limited area (Darfur)? Presumably. In any case, given the logistic constraints described previously, any peacekeeping mission would depend on Sudanese government good will to stay sustainably supplied via rail. They could cut that rail supply at any place or any time of course, via some deniable rag tag proxy group.

What would be the mission endstate? Defend the refugee camps with the half assed small force currently mooted (~20 000)? That can't be indefinate, so presumably there must be returns of refugees to their villages of origin then (like Bosnia or Kosovo). Of course, given Sudanese government actual ill will, any returns would have to protected, which would require the huge force as indicated (~100 000). How long to defend that? If Kosovo/Bosnia is any guide we are talking at least 10-20 YEARS while there is a generation change from the folks who participated in the conflict cycle.

The root problem is the government in Khartoum of course. Is there a solution....other than zapping it?

Could Arabic Sudan resist western invasion forces for long? Of course not. However, the resources for such an adventure would be greater than Iraq :


Population : 40 million
Area : ~ 2 500 000 sq km (or about the same as the USA east of the Mississippi, or 2/3 of the entire EU)
Access very poor, internal rail, limited port access, little existing road network, airport, no developed countries adjacent
Number of NATO forces required to successfully occupy (base guesstimate from area and population from previous examples): 250 000 +

Sudan has the same Arab / muslim oriented population as Iraq, and has been agood host for al Quaida, so the terrorist "flypaper effect"* would be in action again. We can crush Khartoum, but presumably be left with a festering Arab/muslim insurgency in a country with more population spread over an area 5 times that of Iraq, bordering NINE countries (including hostile arabic Libya, dynamically unstable arabic Egypt, and anarchy central failed state Congo), with dozens of languages and tribes (some of which are Kababish, Ga’alin, Rubatab, Manasir, Shaiqiyah, Baggara, Beja , Nubians, Nuba, Fur, Dinka, Shilluk, Nuer, Azande, Bor, Jo Luo, Acholi and Lotuhu. There appear to be MANY more.) Can such a country work at all without a despotic central government? Would we be happy with a new mega-nightmare like the congo replacing the relatively stable (if despotic) current Sudan? Or is Sudan better off as a protectorate for 50 years until it can be tamed into a federation of some form?

Moral of the story : its not real. Intervention in Darfur may require intervention is Sudan as a whole in order to succeed, and that intervention may turn (logically but unexpectedly) into occupation and rebuilding just like Iraq did. That is a non-starter. Occupying Sudan properly is such a astoundingly large task that NATO is not capable of doing it sustainably with current standing forces! The enormous and well funded US armed forces is groaning under the strain of sustaining forces levels in Iraq - force levels less than the ones presumably required for Sudan. The people talking "intervention" should realize that means - if done seriously, and not some half-assed Somlia style venture - partial national mobilisations that would cost hundreds of billions of euros.

Hell, I personally am up for doing it seriously. Large scale drafting of European kids for a years service in Sudan would do wonders in forming a callous and intrepid toughened youth.

I would not be up for doing such a mission half-assed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Darfur : Mission Half Assed II

Now I've looked around and find I'm not the only one to have immediate logistical nightmares even thinking about Darfur. ZacZaca's Blog Turning to NATO for Darfur which had some great commentary :
On February 19, 2006 - 9:53pm hcberkowitz said:

Hello? General Clark? Have you forgotten the logistics courses at the Command and General Staff College?

OK. We have eight infantry battalions. Given the sparse population density outside the refugee camps, those battalions can't be foot-mobile light infantry, and will need vehicles. They won't need armored vehicle, but those trucks, all-terrain cars, etc., will need fuel and maintenance. Eight battalions alone won't be enough; there will need to be headquarters and support personnel. The soldiers need to eat, get water (in an arid area), have replacement clothing, and, if they fight, ammunition.

I haven't yet pulled out my Combat Service Support Guide, and really would prefer to get an Army friend with access to logistic planning software than do it myself by hand, but you are talking about tons of supply per day.

There are no paved roads in Darfur. It's a dry area, so that may not be as terrible in wetter areas, but heavy trucks will break up dirt roads and make them more and more difficult to pass.

One easy-to-attack rail line runs from the secure Sudanese rail junction at Babanusa to the Darfur city of Nyala. Nyala has a very limited airfield. The best airfield in Darfur is at El Fasher, linked by road to Nyala. All fuel in El Fasher needs to be flown or trucked in; aircraft flying in usually pay the weight penalty of carrying round trip fuel. El Fasher is also very limited in unloading and warehousing facilities.

The transportation routes do not yet exist to support a force of this size, if it does more than sit in garrison on short rations. While it might not have the glamour of "peacekeeping", the prerequisite to doing anything useful is going to include improving roads, securing the rail line (which has an inactive branch that goes into Chad), and making airlift more efficient.

An excellent start on the latter would be to stage supply flights not out of Lagos, Nigeria, where they have been originating, but from Khartoum International in Sudan. Khartoum has a nearby refinery, much greater traffic capacity, and road and rail routes to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Nyala airfield needs instrument landing facilities, unloading, and maintenance facilities.

If the peacekeepers use helicopters or light aircraft to spot the roving militias, the fuel and maintenance requirement for this capability goes up enormously. The militias move primarily on horses and camels. The militia most associated with atrocities is called the janjaweed, which translates to "man on a horse".

Is no one looking at Darfur on a map, and seriously considering the needed infrastructure improvements -- which would be good for Sudan in general? It may also be effective to improve road and rail transportation into Chad, where there is new oil production.

There is a legitimate humanitarian concern, but I suffer from the disadvantage of having studied Sudan in some detail. That study makes me regard the current suggestions as out of touch with reality.
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On February 20, 2006 - 9:19am hf jai said:

Excuse me? Are you saying NATO, with US participation, cannot provide logistic support to EIGHT maneuver battalions? A division minus? Complicated by a multinational composition to be sure, but with the support of American command & control and lift capabilities, I can hardly see overwhelming difficulties in such a deployment.

Yes, there's a need for logistical support planning. Yes, I'm sure there will be infrastructure building to be done. I don't see those as show-stoppers.

Perhaps the lesson you've missed in your Command & General Staff course is the need to provide sufficient force to accomplish the mission and provide force protection. And if there's any lesson to be taken from the mess in Iraq, aside from the strategic mistake of invading in the first place, it is the folly of undertaking military operations on the cheap. They appear on track to make the same mistake in Darfur.

Seems to me that General Clark has sketched out a thumbnail of what's needed operationally. The NATO planning staff, aided by the Pentagon, is fully capable of determining the support requirements and delivering a sustainable combat force.
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On February 20, 2006 - 10:07am hcberkowitz said:

Given the terrain and infrastructure, that is exactly what I am saying, until a good deal of civil engineering -- which may take force protection -- takes place. For all the problems in Iraq, it had a fairly decent road network, substantial airports that could be returned to service, and, again needing overhaul, at least one port connected to the road network. Not all the roads in Iraq are the nice freeways with US-looking green-and-white signs, which you might find on around Baghdad or on the Basra-Kuwait road.

There is not one paved road in Darfur. There is one airport that can handle roughly two C-130 loads at once, has no particular refueling or maintenance capability, or more than minimal unloading and warehousing space that can tranfer to trucks. Incidentally, those same unloading, warehousing, and distribution problems were the limiting factor in the immediate airlift into the area were the limiting factor in Hurricane Katrina relief -- and that was a matter of having existing facilities needing repair. Assumptions were made about Mogadishu Airport being adequate for Somalian relief, until the runways started collapsing under the wheels of heavy transports.

There is a reason that the US Air Force has a whole base building system based around "Red Horse" engineering squadrons, which still usually need pathfinders and ground security forces, and are limited in capability until they can link up with heavy ground or sea transport. The British have equivalent organizations.

Now, if someone were to offer a proposal to bring motorized infantry into the eastern and western areas of Darfur, protecting road construction and providing security to rail repair, I'd see some reasonability -- as long as those proposals had a plausible timetable and budget. It's entirely likely that there may need to be as many or more troops in what the US Army now calls Maneuver Enhancement Brigades (engineers, military police, base defense, permanent communications) as in Maneuver Brigades of infantry or combined arms. I'm assuming that Chad will cooperate in being a source of petroleum, oil, and lubricants from the west, just as there will need to be a POL flow by rail from Khartoum in the east to Babanusa, and then to Nyala by protected rail, or by truck convoy.

Perhaps you didn't understand the lesson on military operations on the cheap. Without an adequate supply line, those maneuver battalions won't be able to maneuver very much. Supply restrictions also contribute to refugee suffering, as the World Food Programme tries to get supplies into Darfur from Uganda, while the Sudanese government could be doing a lot more.

Putting maneuver battalions into Darfur, without adequate combat service support, is exactly what you describe as trying to undertake military operations on the cheap. Going back somewhat, the US had no real capability to bring more than a brigade force of Marines into Viet Nam until there were upgraded port facilities in Saigon, and much more infrastructure at both logistic centers like Cam Ranh Bay and in interior improvements.

8 maneuver battalions? For an area larger than Iraq I was thinking of more like 40-50. Of course, but I had forgotten to factor one thing in : the ethnic cleansing is already fait accompli(see the chart opening), with 2.5 million already cleansed (some killed and the rest mostly in concentration refugee camps). If the intent is only to defend existing camps than 8 battalions may be enough, and they would be considerably more static (= less log overhead). Of course, that would also turn those refugee camps into permanent conclagers, to the horror of the world and inhabitants, but in line with the wishes of the Sudanese government. The Sudanese government will of course agree to ghettoising Darfur, but will presumably oppose a stronger force that could roll back the cleansing.

Of course, 8 maneuver battalions is still most of a 20000 man division - the same as pacified Kosovo - and still verging on logistically unsustainable as per the quoted comments. (I'll have to do some reading for a tonnage per day guesstimate, but it is HUGE.)

One rail line, no roads, two airfields (that is airfields and not airports). The rail line from Chad is the only option, since running a single rail line from central Sudan against a uncooperative or hostile Sudanese government is a non-starter. But that line is not running, nor presumably does Chad have much support to offer from the desolate Sudan border region. Furthermore, access to Chad is even worse than to Sudan.

Of course, the trouble in Darfur started when two indigenous rebel groups attacked the government, and not the other way around. However, unfettered by western liberal values, the Sudanese government has carried out a good old fashioned evil counter-insurgency operation by draining the swamp ethnically cleansing the entire supporting population base for the rebels. Even more clever evil yet, they have delegated the ethnic cleansing to deniable local rag tag militias, and avoided using their regular army to do too much dirty work.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Darfur : Mission Half Assed

The UN desperately wants to send troops to Darfur. Ok, lets make the debatable assumption thats a good idea. But lets just look over the facts regarding implementation.

A quick review a few features of countries recently in which western forces have helped establish and keep the peace (in reality : benign occupations)

Iraq :
Population ~ 25million (Concentrated in narrow strip along the two rivers)
Area ~438 000 sq km, desert and two rivers
Access excellent via Kuwait (excellent existing ports and staging infrastructure), major airport Baghdad, NATO neighbor Turkey, good existing road infrastrucutre with major highways
Number of NATO forces to occupy : ~ 150 000+

Kosovo :
Population ~ 2,5 million (concentrated in central large valley)
Area ~10 000 sq km, valley surrounded by mountains
Access limited but via FYROM, close to NATO countries Greece (ports), Italy (air), major airport Pristina, good existing road infrastructure
Number of NATO forces to occupy : ~40 000

Bosnia :
Population : ~ 4,5 million (concentrated in valleys)
Area : ~50 000 sq km, mountainous as hell
Access limited, but next to developed Croatia (ports Split, airport, close overland access from NATO member Hungary, railheads), major airport Sarajevo, poor existing transport infrastructure (mainly a bridge problem)
Number of NATO forces to occupy : ~ 60 000

Population : ~ 6 million (all over the shop)
Area : ~ 500 000 sq km, desert and savannah
Access hopeless, no rail, no port access, little existing road network, no airhead, no friendly/developed countries adjacent
Number of NATO forces required to successfully occupy (base guesstimate from area and population from previous examples): 80 000 - 100 000?

The size of force to successfully enforce peace in Darfur is large, as the area is huge but it is without infrastructure. The lack of roads demands many off terrain vehicles (jeeps and multi-wheeled APCs) and helicopters if the force is to be mobile at all. Worse, it is far, far from anywhere that can provide support for even minor but important stuff like bottled water or food or fuel, and there is no port of debarkation to be seen. A local APOD could be developed from near zero, but there is no SPOD, and will be none ... ever. Neither is there a railhead. Note that the baselines are western (NATO or near equivalent) forces - I have no belief in African peacekeepers doing much other than spreading AIDS.

Moral of the story : it is not going to happen.

Even if the forces are available (and they are not), the logistical challenge of maintaining forces without rail or sea access, without adjacent host nation services, in an area without infrastructure worth a damn, is just too daunting for words.

The UN can send some forces, but it is unlikely they will be of sufficient size, quality (African) or leadership (UN) to fix anything that isn't already fixed locally.

And so Sun Tzu might say : So much for peace enforcement in Darfur.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Vaclav Klaus has spoken. From the Brussels Journal :
Mr Klaus stressed that the nation-state “is an unsubstitutable guarantor of democracy (opposite to all kinds of ‘Reichs,’ empires and conglomerates of states).”
We should make our society free, democratic and prosperous. It will not be achieved by democratic deficit, by supranationalism, by etatism, by an increase in legislating, monitoring, and regulating us.

We need a political system which must not be destroyed by a postmodern interpretation of human rights (with its emphasis on positive rights, with its dominance of group rights and entitlements over individual rights and responsibilities and with its denationalization of citizenship), by weakening of democratic institutions which have irreplaceable roots exclusively on the territory of the states, by the ‘multiculturally’ brought about loss of a needed coherence inside countries, and by the continental-wide rent-seeking of various NGOs.

[...] We need a system of ideas which must be based on freedom, personal responsibility, individualism, natural caring for others and a genuinely moral conduct of life.
Absolutely. Compare the post-communist statesmen of Eastern Europe (Czech republic, Latvia, Estonia, Poland) to the cringe inducing Chirac, Blair, Shroeder or Berlusconi. Sometimes, Rumsfeld's famous Old Europe crack has more substance than given credit for.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Cultural marxism, star power and narcissism

Kim du Toit has made a good point about the modern status of actors :
From the Middle Ages right up until the 20th century, actors were regarded as scum by the general populace. An “actress” was a synonym for “prostitute” because, then as now, so many of them were. And since then both actors and actresses have seldom failed to live up to their dreary reputations, having the morals of stoats and the sexual proclivities likewise.

It’s a besetting fault of ours, thinking that because people have a skill in one arena (sport, acting, whatever) that we should give them a respectful hearing when they utter some vacuous statement, simply because they’re wearing a Super Bowl ring or won the Academy Award ten years ago. But it doesn’t look like this nonsense is going to end very soon, and more’s the pity.
Who played Hamlet in the opening performance of "Hamlet" by Sheakespeare? The correct answer is "who cares?". The genius was in the timeless play, not the prancing fool performing.

Today? The unfortunate side effect of the modern media (and particularly television) is that is has raised actors to be "stars". The scripts of Hollywood movies typically suck, and how many script writers are known to the general public? Cinematographers? Editors? Nope, its the actors that get the billing, and the producers that make a killing.

The deleterious effetcs of the modern media (TV particularly) in producing "stars" is ruinous. Sports stars, rock stars, movie stars. The growth of the modern media in the US, unfortunately coinciding with the importation of cultural marxism theory, has gut-shot western culture by producing a generation more influenced by vacuous stars than by the classics, philosophers and leaders that produced that civilization. And as Kim notes, actors are basically scum.

The condition of stars in one word ? How about narcissism?

Shinkwrapped and has a fascinating series on the disease of narcissism in western society, and its links to political correctness, as has Dr Sanity in NARCISSISM AND SOCIETY.

The media makes stars of actors and musicians, giving them far far far more influence and exposure than their limited intellects and talents deserve. These are often narcissists who are natural suckers for political correctness / cultural marxism. The media relentlessly pumps the effeminate attitudes of morons into western society, (particularly children!). The emasculated TV generation in the West now elects actors instead of leaders, and is now in real danger of dissapearing up its own ego.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I saw this on No Pasaran and couldn't stop laughing. Offensive as hell, but manages to say some of the things we think but only dare say when smashed. Enjoy.