Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Where to next, Mr. and Mr. President?

Dear Mr. and Mr. President of the USA:

Where to next?

Invasion of Iraq was to create opportunity for "new" Mideast.

Israel attack on Hezbollah was to create opportunity for "new" Mideast.

Action in Afghanistan was to create "new" Afghanistan.

Have they done so in the way you wished, planned, predicted and promised?

If these three roadside stops are part of a "long war" -- where is the next stop and when do we get there?

Ironically, the Lebanese stalemate may actually enhance "security" by showing that a well-armed Arabic military group can hold its own against a highly technologically advanced western military force. If 9/11-style terrorism is the outgrowth of extreme military asymmetry, the 2006 Lebanese war may send a message that this extreme asymmetry is eroding and with it the impetus for 9/11 tactics. Was the secret plan to let Israel fight so that it could not achieve a decisive victory and thus restore Arabic faith in the power of advanced weaponry -- not terror bombings -- as the tactical tool of choice in the new Middle East?

As ever, frustration among American types at the "impotence" of the long war eventually devolves to a claim that US and allies did not succeed because they are "too civilized" and were not "allowed" to cause the amount of destruction, grief and mayhem necessary to bring the opponent to its "knees."

But in 2006 Lebanon, the USA allowed Israel to take all the time it wanted and use all the weapons it had to bring Hezbollah "to its knees." The adage that one must destroy the country to save it has been fully tested in 2006 Lebanon. Much of Lebanon's infrastructure has been completely destroyed by advanced US-sourced weaponry built precisely to destroy infrastructure as quickly and effectively as possible. There is no doubt the bombs did exactly what they were designed to do. But despite their overwhelming effectiveness, the strategic purpose of using them has completely failed. My mind's eye sees a well-designed hammer pounding a well-designed nail into the beams and joists of a building so crooked and poorly designed that it will topple no matter how many nails are pounded into it.

So what is next, Mr. and Mr. President and Vice President? And where to next?

The principle of "Shock and Awe" has now failed twice.

The US has doubly lost. Its primary tactical method has twice failed to produce the outcome it was designed for; and its use has shifted much of the world's opinion from the US as a constructive entity to a destructive one.

How do you now intend to "win the peace" now -- to use President Nixon's phrase in Vietnam -- with your one-tool tool box empty and discredited both militarily and diplomatically? At what date after 9/11 does the phrase "we do not negotiate with terror states" devolve into "we do not negotiate with anyone?" When does the roar of Shock and Awe become the same as one hand clapping?

If Iraq and 2006 Lebanon were part of a plan to contain Iran and chill its aspirations as a regional power, how have these objectives been met by your chosen strategy? It is well known that Iran contributed greatly to the military infrastructure, materiel and strategy employed by Hezbollah. Doesn't the 2006 Lebanese War, which has now reached a draw, suggest to Iran that its military materiel and strategy can withstand any tactical threat by the US short of nuclear weapons? Would it not be surprising to assume that lots of countries and non-countries with defensive ambitions are now knocking down arms dealers doors to buy what Hezbollah has?

The infrastructure and tactics used by Hezbollah are useless for offense. They only work for defense. An advancing force cannot carry hardened bunkers carved into a hillside along with its troops as they try to take and secure a new front. As soon as a force tries to advance and occupy new ground, all of the value of Hezbollah's tactics and materiel become useless. Ambush is a useless tactic for an advancing force. How do you "ambush" someone's house when they are home? How do you ambush a force which is entrenched in territory you wish to occupy but do not because they do?

Then there is the oil weapon. As US oil supplies continue to dwindle, as US oil demand continues to skyrocket, as India and China's economic infrastructure place more and more demand upon oil supplies now available to the market, US dollars flow outward to entities like Iran and entities increasingly allied more toward Iran than the US. Would it be "shocking" to imagine these oil dollars will be used to buy and develop arms and hardened defensive military infrastructures of the type employed by Hezbollah? Every nation a fortress? Should it be "shocking" to see that Venezuela is now using a sizeable chunk of its oil windfall to go arms shopping in Russia with what amounts to a blank check?

Shock and Awe was intended to demonstrate that US military capabilities due to highly advanced weaponry are so superior to any potential enemy that any resistance would be suicidal. This has now been proven false -- twice. To make matters worse, Mr. and Mr. President, your complete confidence in Shock and Awe has led you to abandon any other tactical method and to openly ridicule and disavow them. You can't change course now because you have openly ridiculed the value of any other tactic except Shock and Awe and ridiculed as unpatriotic weak-kneed terrorist coddling pussies anyone who suggests the US might well consider an option other than Shock and Awe or even suggest that Shock and Awe is not suited for every single occasion. Has the US become the man with a hammer who sees nothing but nails?


No comments: