Archive for December 2006

Another Dose of Morris the Revivalist

December 28, 2006

Man, Dick Morris has some funny stuff here.

Political strategist Dick Morris is so disgusted by the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency that he’s announced he’ll leave the country if she wins the Democratic nomination.

Appearing on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes,” Morris – a former aide to President Bill Clinton – said that Bill and Hillary both suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder: “When they don’t get enough attention, they’re disordered.”

On a more serious note, Dick has some great recommendations for Bush’s revival.



December 18, 2006 — The Republican loss of Congress puts President Bush at risk of becoming irrelevant – the same threat that the Democrats’ loss in 1994 posed to President Bill Clinton.

Clinton jumped into the fray to re-establish his power and relevance. A month after the defeat, he proposed a “middle-class bill of rights” and a tax cut to a prime-time TV audience. In his State of the Union address that January, he declared, “The era of big government is over” – but also took on the Republicans by challenging their proposed cuts in health and education programs.

President Bush has so far done almost nothing to get off the mat and back in the game. Indeed, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation and the Baker Report’s advocacy of retreat in Iraq have reinforced the impression of a presidency that has already ended.

Instead of vigorously asserting his power and showing a commitment to continuing his agenda, Bush has met defeat with a maddening passivity.

If he wants to avoid two years of slowly twisting in the wind, he needs to show that he is no PINO (President In Name Only).

The answers to his problems are not to be found in Iraq. The war certainly demands much of his time and energy, but even success in stabilizing the situation there won’t make Iraq a political asset.

But a president can always change the national agenda. The obvious places to start are Iran and North Korea, whose nuclear threats dwarf even Iraq in importance. If Iran gets the bomb, it gains not only the power to make good on its talk of wiping Israel off the map, but also greater ability to bully the entire Middle East.

Politically, the effort to curb Iranian nuclear ambitions and a high-profile push to get North Korea to destroy its nuclear arsenal will put Bush in a game he can win – one in which he still has plentiful options.

Diplomacy alone lacks credibility: Threats of a cutoff of purchases of Iranian oil and of direct military action are a must. The president should open talks with oil-consuming nations, too, pointing toward cutbacks in the purchase of Iranian oil. Japan – Iran’s top customer – has already cut its purchase of Iranian oil by 15 percent to protest Tehran’s nuclear plans.

The president should call for disinvestment in companies that invest in terror-sponsoring nations. Frank Gaffney, the former Reagan-era Pentagon official, has shown the way through his group – he’s persuaded UBS and Credit Suisse to stop investing in companies that do business in Iran or North Korea. Sarah Steelman, Missouri’s state treasurer, has indicated she’ll do likewise with the pension funds she controls. Bush should order the federal government to follow suit – indeed, push for a national and global disinvestment campaign.

Domestically, Bush should emulate Clinton in doing all he can do via executive action – issuing executive orders to advance his agenda and making public proposals on a range of issues, even if they’re outside the normal purview of presidential action.

There is a vast amount a president can do without Congress. Bush could advance the Republican agenda on a host of issues – border security, medical research, education standards, crime control, drug prevention – via executive action. Using the bully pulpit and the power of his office orders, he can make the kind of incremental changes in the lives of every American family that can revive his battered presidency.

Transcend Iraq, and focus on Iran and North Korea – problems he can solve; embrace small-bore domestic proposals. That’s how Bush can save his presidency.



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The Question of MacArthur and Truman

December 27, 2006

Here’s some interesting personal testimony and historical information detailing the rift between Truman and MacArthur and just what really was going on during the Korean War. Of course, if you read nothing else of the lengthy passages below, you should read MacArthur’s words himself here.

One perhaps interesting historical sidelight on the decency (or not) of Harry Truman, which I have debated posting, but what the hell, everybody’s long dead.

Harry Truman made a huge amount of political capital out of an event – well, his version of the event – that happened during the Korean War when he relieved MacArthur of command of US forces in the far east.

The (at one time) famous meeting with MacArthur on Wake Island. Protocol is that the senior member – which in this country is always the president – lands last, and is greeted formally once on the ground by everybody else. A minor thing, but a protocol thing: The president always lands last.

Truman made hay for years out of the fact that his pilot and and MacArthur’s pilot were arguing in the air about who would land first, and would therefore have to be the greeter as opposed to the greeted. Truman always said he finally had to order MacArthur’s plane to land first. He used this as an example of how out of control MacArthur was, how MacArthur thought he was God, etc., etc. This was all part of the of the “I fired him because he wouldn’t repect the office of the presidency, not because he didn’t respect me” stuff that Truman spent the rest of his life handing out in re: relations with MacArthur. Truman made so much hay out of this story that as late as 1974 he was still retailing it in the biography Merle Miller did: “Plain Speaking.”

The only problem with the story is, it isn’t true.

The two senior military officers present at Wake were MacArthur himself, and Major General William Ryan, who was in charge of supplies in the Far Eastern theater – and had in fact been in charge of all suppplies routed through and in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

In my life this particular two-star was known as Uncle Bill, and though he was not particularly fond of MacArthur himself, he always said the famous Wake Island story was absolutely untrue. He and MacArthur landed first, and were waiting on the runway when Truman’s plane landed, drawn up in full order to greet the Commander-in-Chief, as they should have been.

But there were so few people present that Truman was able to get away with a story that is 100% invention to add to his dossier of reasons for firing MacArthur.

I liked Truman, but not unreservedly. I’ve always had this little spot about him I’ve had to wonder about.

Private family story. No corroboration at all, except for mentions of Uncle Bill in various history books (so you can at least discover that he existed), and if you ever visit West Point you will find the grave he shares with Aunt Mary.

Comment by JJ | December 27, 2006

I was looking up for more data on Google and found this… interesting bit of propaganda. Anti-American, pro-Chinese, and pro-North Korean propaganda that is.

I must warn you, don’t take the below quoted timeline as accurate. You should know better by now, given recent American MSM incidents. However, there are ways to extract useful information, that I have used. It helps to know different views from other sources. I’ll write a shot interpretation on some of the passages. Click on the link for the rest.

Sept. 27, 1950 – The British intelligence learns of a Chinese military council decision to intervene in Korea. US ignores this information. Simultaneously Chou announces publicly that “China will send troops across the frontier to participate in defense o f North Korea.” The hawks at the State Dept. led by Acheson and Rusk label Chou’s statement a “bravado – part of a joint Soviet-Chinese diplomatic effort to save the North Korean regime.” This arrogance (or ignorance) is shared by the CIA.

Stalin got scared and has changed his mind about sending his air force to fight US. Stalin has realized that China and USSR have a mutual defense treaty which obligates him to fight on the side of Mao, if US goes to war with China. Stalin states that “Com rade Kim Il Sung must form a government in exile in northeast China” and that the best he can do for Mao is to send back the Chinese pilots in training in Russia. Stalin is playing a game with Mao and Kim. He wants to bleed US to death in Korea at the exp ense of Kim and Mao.

Mao Zedung continues – “With regard to the adoption of the positive policies described above, for China and Korea and Asia and even going out to world as a whole, this is very advantageous. If we do not send troops, the enemy will control all the way up t o the environs of the Yalu River, and, as far as the boasts of the reactionary forces within China are concerned. they would gradually grow higher and it would be disadvantageous for us in various respects. The whole of the Northeast Defense forces would be pinned down on the front line and the military forces in southern Manchuria would be completely dominated. For this reason. we came to the following conclusion. We must participate in the war. The benefits from participating in the war would be very gr eat. The damage from not participating in war would be very great.”

Some interesting political fighting going on there. I believe it is more or less accurate, the way people played the game back then.

Oct. 26 – N Korea (west): The Chinese regulars virtually wipe out [Image] the ROK 6th and 8th divisions at Onjin. Simultaneously, the ROK 1st Div. is hit hard and collapses at Unsan. The ROK Army in the west evaporates. The 8th Army’s advance comes to a halt and the entire front lines are in chaos. MacArthur’s intelligence chief (Gen. Willoughby – perhaps, the most incompetent man on MacArthur’s staff) is still repeating -“the auspicious time for intervention has long since passed.”

Nov. 1 – US X Corps (Gen. Almond) moves to Hamhung. MacArthur orders [Image] indiscriminate carpet bombing of every village, town and city still in the communists control. For the first time, Russian MiG’s manned by the Soviets appear to fight the America ns. The X Corps consists of the 1st Marine and the 7th Infantry. The Hamhung City Hall is the X Corps Headquarters.

…the enemy forces and withdraw to their mountain sanctuaries. Peng hopes that MacArthur has gotten the message and get out of N Korea without further losses. Peng needs to rest and resupply his troops. Peng needs time to assess battle performance of the enemy and refine his tactics.

MacArthur, Total War proponent. There is no misunderstanding with him, or at least there should not be.

Nov. 8, 1950 – Peng Dehuai was wrong – MacArthur did not get it. MacArthur orders his air force to starts a massive bombing of Manchurian border installations, and anything standing south of the border – “every factory, every city, and village.” The Joint Chiefs of Staff approve the order without consulting the State Dept. The air force commander, Gen. Stratemeyer, reports Mac’s order to his superiors in Washington which is leaked to the State Dept. All hell breaks out. The State Dept. countermands MacArt hur’s order. But Truman sides with MacArthur.

Gen. Ned Almond, the X Corps commander, flies to the Changjin Reservoir and tells Task Force Smith (the 7th Infantry Division) – “The enemy who is attacking you is nothing more than some remnants of Chinese divisions fleeing north. We are still attacking and we’re going all the way to the Yalu. Don’t let a bunch of Chinese laundrymen stop you.” Almonds hands out medals and returns to his hotel suite in Hamhung. Task Force Faith, including its commander, Col. Don Faith, is squashed that night by the Chines e. Captured GI’s are released to the US Marines stationed south of the Reservoir. Peng wants the 5th and 7th US Marine Regiments destroyed. Song Shilu’s 9th Army Group has more than 100,000 men assigned to encircle and exterminate some 20,000 US marines – the best fighting men of the world.

Peng Dehuai doesn’t care about the US 7th Infantry or the three ROKA divisions, numbering more than 100,000 men; he lets them escape from Wonsan, Hungnam and Chanjin via US, Japanese and S Korean ships.

Massive bombing, another proof of concept.

Nov. 28 – Washington: Truman hears the bad news and goes into a [Image] shock. He has been assured as recent as three days ago that MacArthur was about to wind up the war and send the boys home by X-mas. Now, MacArthur wants more US troops. An emerge ncy session of the National Security Council is convened. Gen. Bradley tells Truman that there is no more troops to send and that he is worried about the 300 Chinese bombers in Manchuria. The supply areas and air force bases of the UN Command are wide ope n to aerial attacks. The military wants preemptive strikes on the Chinese air fields, but Gen. Marshall advises against a general war with China. Marshall warns that a war with China will benefit the Soviets and open the continental US for Soviet nuclear and ground attacks. Truman is more worried about the negative impact the defeat would have on his political fortune. Truman loses confidence in the Joint Chiefs of Staff – “a bunch of gutless morons in fancy uniforms”. Truman wants all JCS messages to Mac Arthur cleared by him personally prior to their transmission.

Nov. 30, 1950 – Truman states in public: “The military commander in the field will have charge of the use of the weapons (A-bombs) as he always has.” Unbelievably, Truman is not aware of the Atomic Energy Act provision which dictates that only the Preside nt can authorize use of the atomic bomb. Truman’s statement shocks the international community. UN allies are ready to jump the ship.

Ultimately, Truman was bluffing you know. When Truman’s UN allies balked and started getting nervous over Truman’s nuke threats, Truman backed off. Now why isn’t that surprising, that when the UN calls, the US President obeys? Bad precedent in my view, to be obeying the UN.

Dec. 9, 1950 – MacArthur wants 26 atomic bombs. His plan is to “drop 30-50 bombs strung across the neck of Manchuria; then introduce half a million Chinese Nationalist troops at the Yalu and spread behind the front lines from the East Sea to the Yellow Se a – a belt of radioactive cobalt which has an active life of between 60 and 120 years.” He says that his plan is “a cinch.” Many in US support MacArthur’s plan. MacArthur and company also consider chemical weapons. MacArthur is not privy to the awful secr et that the Soviets have more nuclear bombs in stock than US does; and that US does not have 26 A-bombs in all of its arsenals.

I don’t think war is a game to MacArthur, for some reason.

Dec. 12, 1950 – The 3rd Army Division retreats to the outskirts of [Image] Hamhung and sets up a series of phased defensive lines for the Hamhung-Hungnam beachhead. The outermost line Charlie is centered one mile south of my country home in Orori. The t hird line Mike is drawn just north of Hamhung and it is the last defensive position for Hamhung. The 4th line Peter is south of Hamhung (the city is to be abandoned without fight), and the last line Fox is to defend Hungnam. (map: US 3rd Infantry defensiv e retreat battle plan – phased withdrawal of Gen. Soule. Defense perimeters are code-named Charlie, Mike, Peter, etc.)

It is a mystery why the Chinese are not attacking us in force. They have more than enough troops to finish us off. Some people say that it is because Truman has told Mao to go easy and let the Americans go in peace from Hamhung, or else he will drop the A -bomb. Others say that the Chinese don’t have the muscle to encircle and annihilate the Americans. Still others say that all China wants is to kick out the Americans.

Song’s initial attacks on the 1st Marine and the 7th Infantry were successful; but his continued attacks on the entrenched American positions cost him dearly in human lives and lost opportunities. Song should have bypassed the 1st Marine and moved south t owards the sea; and cut the US supply lines from Hungnam, Yongpo and Wonsan. Gen. Song succeeds in expelling the Americans from N Korea, but fails to annihilate the Americans. Kim Il Sung judges Song to be a timid and ineffectual commander. Song and the I X Army Group are rotated back to China upon completion of the Hamhung Battle.

You don’t get to fight the US Marines and get off without a boat load of casualties on your side. The Marines inflicted disproportionate damage on the Chinese divisions, even considering that the Chinese surprised and outnumbered the Marines, and that the Chinese were a lot closer to their supply lines than the Marines were to theirs.

April 6, 1951 – MacArthur vents his anger and frustration of fighting a limited war in a confidential interview with the Spanish and Portuguese diplomats in Tokyo. In a nut shell, he wants a global war (under his command) with Russia – he would first drop A-bombs all over China and then move on to deal with the Russians. What about N Korea? MacArthur wants to nuke N Korea – kill every damn gook. MacArthur is unaware that the National Security Agency (NSA) is monitoring all diplomatic transmissions in Toky o. The main NSA station in Japan is at Atsugi Air Force Base (also the CIA OPC base). The primary mission of the NSA is monitoring Chinese command cables, but diplomatic cables are also intercepted routinely. The NSA sends the intercepted cables directly to the White House. The cables contain MacArthur’s boast that he can turn the war into war with China. Truman decides to fire MacArthur but he cannot reveal the existence of the intercepted cables for national security reasons (at this time few people kn ow about the NSA or about its monitoring of diplomatic cables of US allies). Truman has to find other “official” reasons for firing MacArthur.

. Soon after the firing, MacArthur’s godlike myth starts to crumble. All sorts of facts, suppressed while Mac was in power, surface. His WW2 nickname “Dougout Dug” is brought up to remind his escape from battlefields in the early days of the Pacific War. He was given a large sum of money by the Philippine politicos. He wanted to become the Field Marshall of the Philippine Army upon his retirement. His wife had numerous affairs while he was away. Mac took her to the divorce courts several times. In 1932, he attacked with tanks the poor WW1 veterans groups seeking bonuses in Washington

While serving as the Chief of Staff, Mac rented an apartment on Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC and had weird parties with several prostitutes at a time. He would not have sex with the ladies, but loved to have the girls pamper him. More seriously, Mac h ad spells of deep depression with suicidal tendency. He would carry a loaded pistol and go through the motion of shooting himself on the head. On one occasion, Mac was about to jump out of a moving train at a spot (Tennessee River) where his father had wo n a Medal of Honor.

When WW2 broke out, the Philippine Army was mobilized and numbered 120,000 men. by December 1941. The Philippine Army included the 1st and 2nd regular divisions and mobilized reserve divisions of the 11th, 21st, 31st, 41st, 51st, 71st and 91st. Four of th e Filipino divisions had Filipino commanders while the rest had American commanders. The Filipino led divisions with Filipino generals included the 1st Division-Brig. Gen. Fidel Segundo, the 2nd Division-Maj. Gen. Guillermo Flores, the 21st Division-Brig. Gen. Mateo Capinpin and the 41st Division-Brig. Gen. Alfredo Lim.

Total forces under MacArthur’s command were: Philippine Army-120,000 men in 9 divisions, US Army in the Philippines-18,000 men mostly air, artillery and marine units and the Philippine Scouts-a unique US Army unit consisting of 5 regiments composed of 12, 000 Filipinos and 900 American officers. The Philippine Scouts was an elite unit and had the best training. Some military historians say that MacArthur fled to Australia in panic and that he had sufficient forces to hold back the Japanese – Mac lacked nei ther the skill nor the will to face the Japanese, man to man.

April 19, 1951 – The US Congress gathers to hear their war hero. MacArthur brings with him his wife and son and his old cronies. MacArthur tells the US Congress – “I address you with neither rancor nor bitterness in the fading twilight of my life, with bu t one purpose in mind: to serve my country… I now close my military career and just fade away – an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Good-bye.” Many congressmen weep openly. A lynching party is formed to go after Truman. Truman’s response: “Nothing but a bunch of bull shit… Damn fool Congressmen crying like a bunch of women.” MacArthur moves into Suite 37-A of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, compliment of the hotel management (actually, at a nominal rent of $4 50 per month. He stayed here until his death in 1964). A Gallup Poll shows 54% of the Americans supporting MacArthur’s plans for punishing China, but only 30% supporting war with China.

The JCS and others have repeatedly defined his job as an area commander of the Korean War, but MacArthur kept on exceeding his boundary and tried to dupe US into a wider war. His airplanes have “accidentally” bombed Chinese and Russian air bases. He had C hiang’s and Japanese navy participate covertly in the war. He has sent Korean and Chinese sabotage teams to China and Russia. He has openly threatened war with China and Russia. MacArthur’s statements often contradict documents prepared and signed by him. As for his “China is incapable of intervention” assurance to Truman at Wake, MacArthur tries to pass the buck to the CIA (justified) and oddly to the Chinese statements and glosses over the mountain of evidence gathered by his own G-2. Mac’s statement th at “the intelligence that a nation is going to launch a war is not…intelligence that is available to a commander, limited to a small area of combat. That intelligence should have been given to me.” He was given ample data, but he chose to ignore them an d rely on his own instinct.

How about the “home-by-Xmas” promise? MacArthur says that at the time when he made the statement at Wake, the N Korean Army was virtually gone (actually there were 120,000 NKPA left) and no Chinese (over 200,000 in Korea) in Korea. The only ‘problem’ was that his request to bomb Manchurian targets was denied by Truman and therefore, Truman was responsible for the UN ‘bugout’ in December 1950. The truth comes out that this old man had his head buried in sands and refused to face the reality. He states that Russians had no nuclear retaliatory capability in Korea or China, when in fact they are capable of nuking US installations in Japan, Europe and US proper. In a nutshell, MacArthur is confident that he can win a global war while ignorance of the enemy and US war making capacities.

Why not bomb the Manchurian sanctuaries? Gen. Marshall points out a fundamental fact that MacArthur and the fellow hawks fail to recognize – the communists are allowing UN sanctuaries in Japan and the rear areas in Korea. The Chinese and Russian air force volunteers have the means of hitting exposed docks in Pusan, supply transports and naval vessels, but they have not. Hitting their sanctuaries would invite retaliation. Beside China has a mutual defense treaty with Russia. More importantly, the US Air Fo rce do not have the capability to hit targets in Manchuria – “The air force of the Unites States…is really a shoestring air force and these groups that we have over there now doing this tactical job are really about a fourth of our total effort that we could muster today, and four times that amount of groups in that area over that vast expanse of China would be a drop in the bucket.”

This is probably the most important passage, because it highlights the interesting facet about how Truman knew about MacArthur’s intentions. Why would it be a surprise? I know how MacArthur would act, and I didn’t even know the man, surely Truman saw what he was as a man and a leader of men in WWII. Why is Truman surprised when we are not?

MacArthur hates limited wars. It is quite obvious. Even to amateur historians like me. This passage also raises the question of whether the CIA and Truman really did witheld information about Chinese plans and intentions from MacArthur. Wouldn’t be the first time that a commander on the ground, Admiral Kimmel, didn’t get the information that he needed to do his job. Whether this was due to actual malice, inter-political fighting, or just simple incompetence is another issue entire.

Jan. 21, 1952 – My career at the POW camp comes to an abrupt end. All translators have to wear US GI fatigues and the army cap. As we enter our office tent, we leave our cap on a table. The American GI’s do the same. All caps look alike. I make the mistak e of picking up a wrong cap. The GI’s set up a trap for me and I am caught in their trap. They accuse me of stealing the cap and I am fired on the spot.

Why do I get the sense that they fired him because he was a damn spy and had sympathies for the enemy? Read the link for some of his more overt propaganda messages, I didn’t really include the rather more explicit details because they were irrelevant to MacArthur.

Jan. 21, 1953 – Gen. Eisenhower is inaugurated president. Ike vows to end the war in one way or the other, and directs Gen. Bradley to recommend the best way to end the war. The general recommends “the timely use of atomic weapons should be considered aga inst military targets affecting operations in Korea”.

March 27, 1953 – The JCS recommends the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Korea and China – “The efficacy of atomic weapons in achieving greater results at less cost of effort in furtherance of US objectives in connection with Korea points to the desirab ility of re-evaluating the policy which now restricts the use of atomic weapons in the Far East. In view of the extensive implications of developing an effective conventional capability in the Far East, the timely use of atomic weapons should be considere d against military targets affecting operations in Korea, and operationally planned as an adjunct to any possible military course of action involving direct action against Communist China and Manchuria”.

Bull Bradley? Hrm. Should have used the nukes in the beginning, it is a little bit late now I think.

Now here is the stuff you’ve been waiting for. The Primary Documents. The word from the horse’s mouth himself.

General Douglas MacArthur’s speech before the joint session of Congress on April 19, 1951, after his abrupt dismissal as Commander in Chief of the United Nations forces in Korea, provoked a nation-wide controversy that recalled the fury over the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.

The son of the distinguished army officer Arthur MacArthur, Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, was brought up in various army posts, and was graduated from West Point at the head of his class in 1903. He served in the Philippines and Japan, and in the first World War achieved a notable record as Chief of Staff of the famous Rainbow Division and later as Commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade. After the war he was Superintendent of West Point (1919-22), Commander in the Philippines (1922-25), and Chief of Staff (1930-35), during which time he had the unpleasant task of directing troops against the depression “bonus army” that marched against Washington. He went again to the Philippines in 1935 to organize the islands against possible Japanese aggression. He retired from the army in 1939, but returned to duty in July, 1941, barely in time to head the defense of the Philippines after the attack on Pearl Harbor. On order from President Roosevelt, General MacArthur escaped to Australia, there to take command of the Allied forces in the South Pacific and to begin the long road back to Manila – and to Tokyo. At the time of the Japanese surrender on the U.S.S. Missouri General MacArthur broadcast to the world a plea for peace in a high, sonorous vein.

After the Japanese surrender he became Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Japan and, on South Korea’s being invaded, Commander of the United Nations forces there. He was relieved of both commands on April 11, 1951, when it was feared his strategy would lead to general war with China and the Soviet Union. He immediately flew back to the United States, made a triumphant trip across the country, reminiscent of the triumph of a returning Roman general, and accepted the invitation to speak before both Houses of Congress – an unheard-of procedure in American history.

General MacArthur surveys the beachhead on Leyte Island in 1944, soon after American forces swept ashore from a gigantic liberation armada into the central Philippines, at the historic moment when the General made good his promise `I shall return.’

In the end, I believe MacArthur to be someone that closely aligned with my personal beliefs on how war should be won. Everyone has their flaws. But what matters is what they do with them. MacArthur was in fact more charismatic and more in tune with Jacksonian America than Truman was. Which is why Truman had the 22% approval ratings, and not MacArthur.

Truman had his side of the story, justifications and so forth, and so did MacArthur. The Cold War and dealing with Stalin as well as whether to use nuclear weapons or not, probably weighed heavily on Truman’s mind. In addition to the guilt he felt for being the first man in history to use the atomic bomb. This gave him a level of force when he threatened to use nukes, but it also grabbed at him in his soul, it weakened his resolve. Remember, Truman had been two wars now. WWII and Korea. And Korea wasn’t even on American soil, it was very very hard to summon up resolve. Resolve requires defeats and sacrifices, the fear of an actual threat. Truman didn’t fear Chinese invasion of the US, so it was easy for him to give up North Korea. This meant the Kims would rule as tyrants, but it was no skin off the US’s back, as they say. Up until now anyways. You see, nothing is free in war. The consequences of your actions will always follow you, good or bad, and the nation you serve and act for. Few men can look into the infernal of war and tell the devil to “Bring it On’. MacArthur and Sherman could.

(Anti)Submarine Warfare developments

December 27, 2006

Some interesting developments on the high seas. Or is it the low seas considering we are dealing with how to detect silent subs?

We Have No Allies

December 27, 2006

This is what happens when you get into a hole thinking your allies will save your ass. They won’t, so stop complaining about “Bush blew off our allies”. We have no allies, recognize this fact and deal with it.

December 25, 2006: Germany, under great pressure from its NATO allies to allow its troops to join the fight against the Taliban, has made a gesture. So far, Germany has resisted calls to allow its combat troops in Afghanistan to actually engage in combat. However, mindful off all the ill-will this policy is creating with its allies, Germany has offered to send five Tornado warplanes to Afghanistan. These aircraft would only be used for reconnaissance (no dropping bombs, smart or otherwise), and would be available for taking pictures all over Afghanistan. This is another empty offer, as most reconnaissance these days is carried out with UAVs, which can stay over a target area for hours at a time. However, there will be some work for the Tornados dated reconnaissance capabilities. So it’s not a complete waste, although some German politicians are trying block even this effort.

The air force detachment will contain about 250 troops. Germany already has 3,000 troops in Afghanistan, and will withdraw some so that these new air force troops do not push the number over 3,000.

German troops have seen combat in Afghanistan. A detachment of German commandos arrived in Afghanistan during December, 2001. Shortly thereafter, the German commandos held a little ceremony to celebrate the first combat action by German soldiers in 56 years. When word of that got back to Germany, there was a bit of tiff, as Germany has been tried to get away from warfare since 1945. The struggle continues in Afghanistan. All this is believed to emanate from guilt over the great slaughter Germany inflicted on Europe during World War II. Less mentioned is the fact that Germany lost the last two wars it fought in, big time. So there might be more, unspoken, reasons for being gun shy, than the obvious ones.

I still remember the idiots on cable news talking about “Look, our allies are helping us fight in Afghanistan, it is only Bush’s diplomatic insults and mistakes that prevented help from our allies in Iraq”. Total BS.

Imported the old Sake Light blog

December 25, 2006

All of it is under the Humanity Category.

The Strategy of Intimidation and Rape

December 25, 2006

I blogged about this a long time ago. Can’t quite recall when. But to me, it was simply another reason to keep my self-defense training up and my exercise program updated.

You hear a lot of horror stories, and a lot of people think to themselves “it won’t happen to me”. I always found that mental state a bit flawed. It is not so much fear as it is duty.

Other people didn’t have my reactions to my first fight. My first fight involved extremely high endorphine and adrenaline levels, so high that I never felt more alive and powerful than I had at that moment. Pain that would otherwise have crippled me into ineffectiveness, was nothing during such a high.

That is a very strong motivation to learn how to fight. But it wasn’t enough, I had to have a purpose to fight for as well. Societal limitations prevented me from just going out and picking a fight, being arrested would not be good.

I thought everybody was like me, that everyone had an inner rage they could bring out and devastate their enemies with. Another reason to tred lightly amongst bigger folks. But everyone isn’t like me, a lot of men and women in this world fears pain, they fear being in a fight, and so their fear paralyzes them as no other weapon could. Except maybe the tazer gun.

I’ve seen the behavior and expected reactions from folks in Europe. They expect the police to save them. They rely upon the police, or even strangers, NOT themselves, to save them from violence and cruel death.

I understand their positions quite well. I was like them, once. Nobody should live in fear. Kill or be killed. I choose life, with no regrets and no pity for my enemies. But only you may free yourself from fear. The police, your family, or your friends cannot do it for you. Fear is something that is in your soul, and may only be excised by action, decisive and positive action.

In France, Samira Bellil broke her silence – after enduring years of repeated gang rapes in one of the Muslim populated public housing projects – and wrote a book, In the hell of the tournantes, that shocked France. Describing how gang rape is rampant in the banlieues, she explained to Time that, “any neighborhood girl who smokes, uses makeup or wears attractive clothes is a whore.”

Unfortunately, Western women are not the only victims in this epidemic. In Indonesia, in 1998, human rights groups documented the testimony of over 100 Chinese women who were gang raped during the riots that preceded the fall of President Suharto. Many of them were told: “You must be raped, because you are Chinese and non-Muslim.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that in April 2005, a 9-year-old Pakistani girl was raped, beaten with a cricket bat, hanged upside down from the ceiling, had spoonfuls of chillies poured into her mouth, and repeatedly bashed while handcuffed. Her Muslim neighbours told her they were taking revenge for the American bombing of Iraqi children and informed her they were doing it because she was an “infidel and a Christian.”

Ha, these people believe themselves mighty and righteous. Protected and safe, even. “Taking revenge for unjust acts”. They know not the meaning of justice.

In a way I have Hollywood and the Left to thank. They have eternally showed me that the guilty will be released because they finagle the laws and buy off the police. That seething anger at such injustice, lead me to believe that laws cannot bring the powerful to justice. I don’t particularly care enough for the deaths of individual criminals that I would support vigilantism, I don’t really care whether they live or die, though I prefer that they die.

But for terroists, it is a tricky proposition. Because terrorists are not individual criminals, they are an organized faction. Killing one terrorist will not end the threat, executing Osama Bin Laden will not end the threat.

There is plenty of general details and more stories of injustice in this link, if you have the stomach for it. Some don’t. I can’t change that. But I can change myself.

Source Link

I am not like the Left. I don’t hate Bush and love “freedom fighters”. I’m not like the Palestinians either, my hate does not blind me to the realities and the laws of this world. Hate is a tool, a tool by which I will use to fullfill my aims and objectives.

I recall that new Star Trek movie about Picard and his clone. It is was an interesting confrontation, the clone saying “if you were in my place, you would not have been any better”.

Oh? *smiles* I think not. Terrorists telling me that I am not better than they, have got it all wrong. Course I am better. I am crueler, more full of hate, and more ruthless towards terrorists than they will ever be towards myself or innocents. Of course I am better.

There is also this article concerning sexual assault as a strategy for Muslim dominance.

Sexual deprivation may be a factor in the current wave of suicidal violence, unleashed by the Palestinian cause as well as revolutionary Islamism. The tantalising prospect of having one’s pick of the loveliest virgins in paradise is deliberately dangled in front of young men trained for violent death. And even those who are not trained to kill and die often live in authoritarian societies in which sex before marriage is strictly forbidden, in which women outside the family home are not only supposed to be untouchable, but invisible. Access to MTV, the internet, DVDs and global advertising reinforces the notion that westerners live in a degenerate garden of sinful delights. This makes the lot of millions of young Arab men even harder to bear, and can provoke a mixture of rage and envy.

Once in a while, this rage will explode in carefully orchestrated orgies of violence. It is said that Mohammed Atta visited a striptease bar before crashing a plane into the Twin Towers. Perhaps he craved one nibble at the forbidden fruit before his earthly extinction. The fact that it was forbidden – repulsive but also terribly seductive – marked his view of women in general. He made it clear in his will that he did not want any women to defile his grave with their presence.

Again, this is not to say that sexual frustration or bitter misogyny leads directly to mass murder. If it did, we would live in a very dangerous world indeed. But they cannot be dismissed as factors. It has long been assumed that young men are better fighters when they are deprived of sex, like slavering dogs fighting in a pit.

One of the many barbarities of war, in ancient times as well as in recent conflicts, is the promise to hungry, brutalised men that once a city is taken its women are part of the loot. The only difference between this and those fabled houris in paradise is that the objects of deferred lust are real and pay a horrible price for it.

[ . . . ] All this applies to sex with women. Sex with men can be a very different proposition. As a rule, societies that prize machismo and male honour do not take a kindly view of homosexuality. It is tolerated, at best, but only the active, “male” partner, especially if he is older and married, can escape from homosexual encounters with honour. The passive one is like a woman – submissive, weak, despicable. So it is still said to be in many Arab countries, as it was in ancient Greece.

But there are notable exceptions to this rule. Some of the most macho societies in history have prized homosexual relations. The Spartan army encouraged loving relationships between soldiers, as it would foster loyalty and courage. Samurai in feudal Japan had a similar attitude. Sex with women was fine, as far as it went, which was to produce children. But honour and nobility were to be found only in relations between men. The premise behind this is not so different from the homophobia in other macho cultures. Women are soft, and their proximity softens men, just as the wiles of Cleopatra softened the Roman general Mark Antony. True manliness must never be tainted by the female sex, or the domesticity it represents.

The Left and the Euros don’t have the heart to fight. They don’t have the rage and anger, that gives you strength to fight against injustice, for only a just and virtuous man feels anger at injustice. They just don’t have the soul for battle, the Great Soul.

To kill, to inflict pain, to hate, to cause the death of human beings, is a strain upon your soul. Most people are consumed by their self-destructive emotions, their hate suffuses their soul and subsumes their identities. Those with Great Souls feel the same corrupting touch of hate and rage, but they are able to resist, for a time. Because their duty to the innocent and the weak, to be protectors above all else, reinforces their Soul for Battle against the forces of evil.

Bookworm and Zarina both have up very good additional resources and posts concerning Rape by Muslims as an epidemic as well as a cultural strategy.

Vietnam a Look into the Past and Present

December 24, 2006

This source link concerning Vietnam, the media, and historical connections is a good primer to go with Neo-Neocon‘s post and the comments at Dean Esmay’s.

I posted comments at both sites, which you may wish to read for yourself. But there are some things I wanted to quote and save, not from my comments, but from the source link.

The Tet offensive of 1968 must surely be regarded as one of history’s chameleon campaigns. When the North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops assaulted targets throughout the Republic of Vietnam at the end of January 1968, they expected to trigger an uprising of the South Vietnamese people against their government. Despite some spectacular early successes, the attacks failed. The South Vietnamese did not embrace the cause; thousands of sappers, assault troops, and cadres met their deaths before overwhelming allied counterattacks; and the insurgent infrastructure was so decimated at the end of the fighting that no large enemy offensives could be mounted for four years.

Nonetheless, the Tet offensive was a turning point in the war, and the North Vietnamese were successful in altering the course of the war far beyond the accomplishments of their army. The American people were shocked that the Vietcong/ North Vietnamese Army (VC/NV A) possessed the strength to make the widespread strikes. In the public clamor that followed, President Lyndon Johnson announced a bombing halt and withdrew from the 1968 Presidential race. The policy of Vietnamization was launched, and many Americans concluded that the war was too costly to pursue.

It has always been clear that the press played a vital role in this dramatic shift of opinion. It has been evident that dissatisfaction with the war among media opinion-makers helped form an American public attitude of discouragement. Nonetheless, much of the assessment of the media’s role in the war has heretofore been impressionistic and conjectural.

The publication of Big Story now replaces impressions with fact, conjectures with cold analysis.* The book presents the findings of a truly staggering study of the role of the press in this crucial military event.

*Peter Braestrup, Big Story: How the American Press and Television Reported and Interpreted the Crisis of Tet 1968 in Vietnam and Washington, 2 vols. (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1977, $45.00), xxxviii and 740 pages, index, and 706 pages of appendices, tables, and story and photo indices.

Correspondent Peter Braestrup, who reported for the Washington Post during Tet, prepared the study and interpreted the findings. A former Marine infantry officer in Korea and an experienced war reporter (Algeria and Vietnam), Braestrup brought to the study both firsthand experience and a personal dedication to truth. He amassed detailed content and photo analysis of both print and TV reporting, a review of public opinion findings, and his own investigation. Braestrup read every word published on the Vietnam fighting by three media groupings: the Associated Press and United Press International, the New York Times and the Washington Post, and Time and Newsweek. In addition he viewed tapes of every telecast aired during the offensive by the three networks.

media misconceptions

The sheer volume of press and TV reports on Tet is intimidating, and, of course, almost every conceivable interpretation of events can be found in them. Nonetheless, Braestrup’s analysis points to the emergence of several themes that came to dominate the coverage. The sober examination of these themes with hindsight reveals important misconceptions.

Misconception: There had been no warning of a coming offensive. Actually, the press ignored cautions expressed by General Earle Wheeler and General William C. Westmoreland in December and January.

Misconception: The offensive was a victory for Hanoi. The press corps, it is now clear, was stunned by the initial Tet attacks, many of which occurred in Saigon. When the allies met some initial reverses, the press reacted by emphasizing the enemy’s successes. As the weeks wore on and military intelligence clearly indicated defeat for the insurgents, the press still interpreted the offensive as a “psychological victory” for the Vietcong/ North Vietnamese Army, who “held the initiative,” “decide who lives and who dies… which planes land and which ones don’t,” who were unconcerned with losses, and could “take and hold any area they chose.” There was little objective analysis of the many enemy failures or of the severe toll that allied counterblows exacted from the enemy.

Misconception: The North Vietnamese military initiative bared the unreliability and inefficiency of our own allies, the South Vietnamese. Government of Vietnam (GVN) troops were described as “lolling in the sun,” failing to carry their load, and complacent. The press reported that the offensive shattered GVN control over the countryside and conclusively undermined the loyalty of the people.

A more truthful assessment: the GVN “muddled through” the crisis, Army of Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) performance was initially inhibited by the fact that half the Vietnamese troops were on Tet leave when the enemy struck, and many ARVN units gave a good account of themselves in the subsequent fighting. Press pronouncements that the offensive eroded loyalty to the GVN were ill-informed.

Misconception: The characteristic American response was to destroy city districts and villages with overwhelming, indiscriminate firepower. This misconception was fueled by the ill-advised comment of an Air Force officer at Ben Tre that “we had to destroy the town to save it” and by television clips focusing on urban damage.

The unavailability of weapons well adapted to street fighting (the 106mm recoilless rifle, for instance) forced some difficult decisions by tactical commanders. Press reports, however, suggested that destruction was typical. Some reports from Saigon indicated the city was a giant scarred battleground; from the air, however, reporters could see that 95 percent of the city was relatively unharmed.

American and ARVN commanders did have to use heavy weaponry in urban areas, but the response was not characteristic of the counteroffensive.

Misconception: The sapper raid on the American embassy, the fighting in Hue, and the siege of Khe Sanh typified the war. In fact, these engagements were not typical, but exceptional. Scores of press reports, however, identified these battles as microcosms of the war because they were visible, tangible, and conventional. The reassertion of government control throughout South Vietnam by American and GVN troops was virtually ignored.

Misconception: Khe Sanh was to be America’s Dien Bien Phu. The comparison between these two battles was a powerful media theme, always with dramatic forebodings of disaster. Braestrup demolishes the comparison with a cold historical examination of the two battles. The similarities existed mainly in the minds of reporters, who badgered officials in Vietnam and the United States with the “parallels.” General Westmoreland was completely confident of American victory with good reason (our superiority in airlift and firepower), but Washington decision–makers-e.g., President Johnson, General Taylor, and Walt Rostow–were intimidated by the spectre of defeat by Giap.

The effects of these errors of fact and interpretation in the United States were pronounced. The impact appeared less in opinion polls than in the minds of Washington policy-makers. Because the press had ignored earlier cautions expressed by military leaders, the public was “jolted into gloom and foreboding,” and a “credibility gap” emerged. In Congress and the bureaucracy, criticism became vocal, reflecting the “disaster” themes portrayed in the press and on TV. The embattled President announced the bombing halt and withdrew from the Presidential campaign.

a flawed institution

How could the press err so greatly in its Tet coverage with such impact on the nation? There is no simple answer to the question. Braestrup dismisses the idea that newsmen as a group were ideologically opposed to the war. Rather, the Tet coverage represents the institutional defects or flaws in the gathering, interpretation, and dissemination of news in Vietnam and the United States at the time of the offensive.

Flaw: The press corps lacked military experience and the ability to grasp and present matters of strategy and tactics. Press reports contained some remarkable errors in this regard, like the time the fall of the Special Forces camp at Lang Vei left a gaping hole in U.S. lines, or Harry Reasoner’s report that North Vietnamese trucks (having traveled at night through the A Shau valley) were “unloading at communist-held entrances in the wall” of the Hue Citadel. The press’s lack of knowledge and maturity resulted in a lack of discrimination in the presentation of hastily gathered or incomplete facts and contributed to the disaster theme.

The views of experienced military commentators like Joseph Kraft and Hanson Baldwin and the analyses of Douglas Pike were virtually ignored. The press reflected American ignorance of Vietnamese language and culture, had no expertise in the area of pacification, and almost no sources on the South Vietnamese government or army.

Flaw: The press was impressionable. General Bruce Palmer succinctly summed up the problem when he stated that the foe “took the battle down around the Caravelle Hotel and, so, from the standpoint of the average reporter over there, it was the acorn that fell on the chicken’s head and it said ‘The sky is falling.'”

Flaw: There was no willingness to admit error or correct erroneous reporting after the fact. The classic example was the Associated Press’s continued assertion that sappers had entered the U.S. Embassy building in Saigon more than twelve hours after it was clear the attack had been repulsed on the grounds.

Flaw: By the time of Vietnam, it had become professionally acceptable in some media to allow reporters to “explain” news, not merely report it. This interpretative reporting has generally improved the quality of American news, but Braestrup judges that in Vietnam the press corps lacked the competence to provide accurate analysis.

Flaw: In their commentary on events in Vietnam, reporters “projected” to the American public their own opinions and fears based on incomplete data and their own inclinations. This tendency is best described by the author in comparing the television clips on Khe Sanh and a comprehensive photo essay by Life photographer David Douglas Duncan.

One looks at the pictures by Duncan and remembers Khe Sanh. One views most of the film footage, especially those nervous standups, and remembers one’s own fears, those of a civilian suddenly thrust into an isolated, unfamiliar battleground amid strangers and unpredictable dangers, The Khe Sanh garrison comes through on TV film as an assemblage of apprehensive, unorganized, even hapless, individuals–like the exhausted reporters–not as a group of trained soldiers, organized into fighting units. . . (Vol. 1, p. 384)

The problem was that the reporters often had very little to go on, and events were confusing. But facing the need to give impact to their products, reporters–usually by inference–projected their own concerns even if facts were cloudy.

Two particular journalistic tendencies obscured this defect. One was the tendency to quote the opinions of “officials” or “observers.” “Observers” seems to have referred to media people themselves, and many of the “observations” communicated to the American public were little more than Caravelle Hotel speculation. Braestrup remarked of this tendency: “… the reader is left in the dark as to the relative importance, knowledge, or authority of the ‘officials’ or ‘certain officers’ quoted. None is identified as ‘senior,’ `junior’–or’ drinking companions.'”

A second tendency was the skill with which reporters chose their words to give impact. Ordinary events could be given undue emphasis with a well-chosen phrase or comparison. Marines fought “foot by blood-soaked foot.” Saigon was in “rubble” and appeared “like the flattened German city of Dresden.” Hue was described as “Monte Cassino” and “Iwo Jima” both. NV A troops were “suicidal” or “diehard.” Standoff attacks were “devastating.” Pacification was “torn to shreds.” Events were “ominous.” Even without explicit commentary, the choice of such words and phrases contributed to the dominant media theme that Tet was a “disaster” for the United States.

That’s a big chunk of the source link, but there’s still some more if you click on it the link.

It simply addresses many of the points brought up in Neo’s 2 post series and at the comments section at Dean’s. Read it for yourself and decide, because comprehending Vietnam is a very good primer in understand Iraq and just guerrila war in general.

Overlooked mistake on previous post

December 24, 2006

Here’s the link to Sanity’s post in my Bringing Sanity to an Insane World post.

Prince of Persia The Two Thrones

December 24, 2006


It is quite insane how many search hits I see for “POP2 how to beat twin boss” or some similar form of it. Okay, the short of it is, if you really don’t want to go to, is that you attack the sword guy, get in a few hits, then when the axe guy looks like he is about to open you a new sinus cavity at the base of your skull, Roll your way out of the strike. Should have plenty of time, and when you do that his axe will be in the ground. You will have a few seconds to hit the axe guy on his knees. After you get the axe guy down to about half, you will get one of those Quick Kill scenes. Two of those, and they are dead. However I recommend googling for a “trainer” and just filling your sand bar up to MAX all the time. That way you can play it the way You Want To, and not have to worry about 500 reloads.

Update Over

(This review is broken down more or less into sections. The name of the section will be mentioned in the beginning sentence or ending sentence of a paragraph. There are no active spoilers of the plot or character development, but there are teasers near subjects concerning the characters. At the end, particularly, there are a lot of teasers, that don’t actively spoil the plot, but if you are intelligent enough, you might figure out some stuff you would otherwise not want to know. I am quite vague purposefully when describing the plot, the character development, or the storyline. You should probably avoid reading the entire section after I listed the “glitches” if you want to be surprised in the game. It isn’t hard to figure out once you’ve seen certain portions of the game, meaning there are no surprises. The game clearly tells you that something is up, but that something you might not want to think about and have it be a surprise instead)

This is the third game in a series. The Prince of Persia series, starting with the original Prince of Persia which was a majestic and charming game full of an alice in wonderland feel, with Prince of Persia The Warrior Within as the second in the series, and finally culminating in Prince of Persia 3 The Two Thrones. Those familiar with the series may want to skip past the introduction.

Basically the background is simple. The basic premise is jumping puzzles. With Mario Brothers being probably one of the younger versions of such a premise for a game. In this case, this is 3d Prince of Persia. Meaning, you get to solve jumping puzzles in fully three dimensional aspects. Up, down, Left, Right, foward and backwards. Four dimensions if you count your mastery over time. Which I think is a neat, because the Prince’s ability to manipulate time via the Dagger of Time not only is an integral story artifact but also an excellent aid in combat as well as avoiding failling to one’s death while navigating the labyrinthine jumping puzzles in the game.

The first game was amazing. I’ve described it somewhat up above, but it truly gave you a sense of the Aladdin aspect. This Persian culture and atmosphere, not quite Eastern but not Western either. The first Prince of Persia was overally, a story of a young Prince who did something he shouldn’t have, and is now trying to turn back the clock on his mistakes. The Prince has amazing acrobatic abilities. I look at his jumping and landing animations and I am like, “is this guy a monkey or what, he can lift his own body weight by the tips of his fingers and toes”. Imagine yourself running along a bleacher in a HS gym, and jumping across to a flat wall while you are 15 feet up in the air, and somehow avoiding BOUNCING off the wall when you hit it, falling only directly vertically down unto a piece of stone a foot across below you. It is like watching that rock climber naviagte a vertical mountain wall like a monkey, lifting his body weight up by the tips of his fingers and seemingly walking on all fours up the wall.

It is amazing, and it gives you a clear visual sense of things. This is among the first impressions I got. The excellent bloom lighting, the free form combat system where you strike in the direct that your mouse moves, and the excellent story line was as well.

The Warrior Within revamped the fighting system with dual wielding combos, but suffered an incredible defunction in storyline and presentation. Because the Warrior Within looked like some dark and savage prince, where the prince in Prince of Persia (1) was innocent and almost hapless in the face of great odds.

Here ends the background story, now unto The Two Thrones, which I believe quite outstrips the previous two games, in terms of greatness and excellence.

POP3 honestly acknowledges the different endings of Warrior Within. But had to settle upon one ending, in order to begin the story. The beginning is easy. You start off without the Dagger of Time, without any weapon even or sand tanks. So no ability to manipulate time for you. Basically this is the tutorial, that carries you through the mechanics of the Prince, both combat and acrobatic puzzle solving. Was very useful for refreshing old skill sets, because it has been a long time before I played Prince of Persia in any incarnation. And it also served as a very good introduction to the story, on a dual use system. The Prince is back in his home city of Babylon, expecting to see his father (who was featured in POP1) and his family. He had just gotten back from the Island of Time, where he went to get a grim reaper type assassin off his back, permanently. The assassin needed to kill the Prince because the Prince tampered with time, when he used it in POP1. So I loved the continuity of the storyline. Each story was integral to the entire plot, but it was also COMPLETE if you just played one game. The first game had a very amusing and entertaining ending. Can’t say much for the second, didn’t play it for long. I hated novels that would end with a cliff hanger talking about some “unseen” threat to the protagonist or some other character that I cared about. Hey, I care for some of these fictional characters, it sets up a false suspension at the end, which I don’t appreciate. I don’t want to know about any “possible dangers” newly cropped up, at the end, at least not in any detail. I want a sappy happy ending, if at all possible, or at least one that ties up all the endings and DOES NOT bring anything new into the mix. I don’t want to know. At least not until the author is offering up a little bit more than the teaser. I just don’t think it is fair to torture people by raising their hopes up or making them worry about characters that they have come to love or care about. I don’t like that helpless feeling.

That more or less ends the first impressions segment. Story was chugging along, combat was a lot easier to learn than Warrior Within. The excellent bloom lighting was there. Now to the critical aspects.

First thing, story line was revamped from Warrior Within, and made absolutely diamond. Second, the Dark Prince/Light Prince combat system was an excellent duality of form and function. Form because the combat mechanics of the Light Prince vs the Dark Prince are very very different, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Fun as well as challenges. For example, early on the Prince with just his unbreakable dagger using the One Weapon technique can grab enemies and throw them a long distance. Making it easier to fight groups of enemies that are out to get you, but only gives you access to the dagger combinations, basically left click 4 times for combo, that is it. And the first enemies block pretty well and intelligently. They are very hard that way, because while you are attacking one guy, they will try to sneak in behind you and hit you that way. The dagger doesn’t kill very fast, but is unbreakable, and can buy you time. Time is good when you are the Prince of Light. The second combat technique for the Prince of Light is the dual wield system, pioneered in Warrior Within. Except there’s no complex combo keys to hit, this isn’t Mortal Combat on PS. It is just basically alternations between left click which uses a dagger attack, and P which uses your left handed weapon as an attack. Yes, the Prince has his dagger in his right hand, and the sword/mace/axe in his left, for dual wield. His left hand weapon can break, but not all that often in the middle or end. In the beginning, probably, but every melee guy you defeat, will drop another weapon, and you can also use throw combos. So there are a lot more options and deadly combos with dual wield, but your defense is limited to “block” and “acrobatic kick jump over the enemy” as I call it. The Prince of Light fights by his wits, probing for weaknesses in his enemy, and doing dagger stabs when they are prone. The Prince of Light is a fast melee fighter, not one that uses brute strength, so his strength is his acrobatic attacks which are quite deadly once you get used to using them. Such things as swinging around a column to kill enemies in a 360 direction, always a favorite when I’m surrounded, to running along a wall like Farscape except you get to do some nasty Freddy style slashing attacks on the enemy. These acrobatic attacks are almost never interrupted or blocked. Unless you are just unlucky and fly into one of those dagger whirling swinging women.

Taking the time to really learn how to use the vertical wall comb attack, the running along wall attack, the kick jump in enemy face attack, as well as the single dagger grab the enemy and slice him in the back of the neck attack, really made combat not only easier but also more rewarding. In that you can activate Many slowmode, and always see a kill if you used a combo to do it. Which was a really nice pace to combat. Taking the time to learn the two weapon combos is also a treat. Because once you learn one combo, you learn all of them really, because how one works is exactly the same as how another one works. Left click 3 times, press P 2 times, for MIthra’s Vengeance. Which is an amazing spinning upside down kick that totally lays down the fury on all enemies in a 120 degree forward angle. You don’t have to wait for any animation pauses or whatever, just click in a regular pattern. I played the game on Hard difficulty level, and I only mastered the combo and acrobatics near the later middle half of the game, and I didn’t have much problems simply because of the Speed Kill ability.

The one weapon technique was great for throwing enemies off ledges, although you won’t get the sand. But great way to skip combat. The two weapon technique was great for acrobatic moves because it just added to the damage you can do, and the amount of enemies you can hit at once.

The Dark Prince is a Prince of a different color indeed. The transformation steadily drains your health until you grab a sand tank, which replenishes your health to full. Which means so long as the Dark Prince has 4 enemies in front of him, he is Golden. Or shall I say, Dark Enflamed.

The Dark Prince uses the Daggertail as the second weapon, in a permanent two weapon combo. This daggertail weapon is visually stunning and appealing, as well as amazingly deadly. I’ve destroyed up to 8 enemies in a row by simply using the simple combo of left click, P, left click, P, and repeat. They simply got slashed to death, without being able to land a single blow on me. Or even get near me. The dagger tail is a chain attack that causes a bright yellowish sear across the vision as it swings through the air. A 360 degree attack that can even reach enemies beyond melee range. The Dark Prince is certainly unbeatable in combat, well at least unbeatable until you play the first battle through a few times to get the hang of it hah. He is a hurricane of destruction, one orchestrated by you, the player. He can hold enemies that surround him at bay by hitting the “throw weapon” key, just generating a hurricane of pain with his chain spinning around in a circle protecting him. Then lashing out at whomever you deemed fit. The few battles in which the Dark Prince transforms and is given many many enemies to kill in an open space, is simply a fun way to relieve the stress of solving puzzles. No need to wrack your brain or use subtlety or fear being killed. Simply unleash the Power, and the sands are yours for the taking.

However, with power comes a price. The Dark Prince is necessary for you to get through some portions of the game, meaning the puzzle portions. This of course, means that you are trying to solve puzzles while your health is draining. So either you need to kill monsters to replenish your health or find sand by breaking objects. This might have been a really stressful situation, if not for the fact that when you are the Dark Prince, every container you can smash, will give you a sand tank. Which replenishes your health. But there is a time limit, so it creates urgency, which I found to be quite stimulating. You can’t just be the Dark Prince and go idle, and come back. This power is corruptive in nature and very lethal. Overall, everytime I found I was losing health badly, there was always a source of sand tank for your Dark Prince. So long as you don’t take too long, of course. Some of the traps push you towards your limits, but it is nothing one or two Eye of the Storms won’t cure (slow time power).

The reason why I described the Dark and Light Prince in detail, is because they are in fact the foundations upon which the story is driven. Sure, you are out to kill the Vizier, and that sounds like same old same old, but it really isn’t about the Vizier. It is about you, or more specifically, the fate and nature of the character you play. The Prince. If it was just a game about “go kill this uber bad villain”, this story wouldn’t really be all that special. We know who the Vizier is, he is a villain and needs killing, not much else there there.

But the nature of the Prince of Light and the Prince of Darkness, and the choices and moral dilemmas faced by the actual Prince as he has to choose between the two, is the driving force behind the story. And the story is supported by the game mechanics. The combat and puzzle mechanics of the Dark Prince and the Light Prince.

The Dark Prince is a supreme fighter, using brute strength and furious speed to annihilate all in his path. He feeds upon the essences of those that he vanquishes. He is propelled by urgency, by danger, by the very fact that his death is eminent, as he runs along a wall, jumps from beam to beam, and uses his dagger as a fulcrom.

The Prince of Light is a fighter based upon dexterity, speed, and intelligence. He relies upon stealth to backstab and Speed Kill his enemies with lethality and silence. When forced to fight, he relies upon his wits to use the environment to his advantage, rather than the strength of his thews. He is a man that takes his time to look at the beauty around him, to look upon the suffering of his people, the decay of his city, and the destruction of all that he valued in life. The Dark Prince simply cares for nothing but his own survival, as he procedes towards his destination, leaving all others in his wake, neglected, for his very life depends upon him achieving his goal, his goal and the goal of no other.

What I have described is consistently present in the story, in the combat mechanics, in the dialogue and the cutscenes, as well as the ending. They are not just pretty words, they are accurate descriptions of what the Two Thrones is all about. This is the story of a Prince that will either mature or will be destroyed in the process. Which road will he take, which path, which Throne?

The speed kill system is also very very nice. A sort of pseudo and uber backstab system that gives you a Indigo Prophecy like cutscene where it will freeze the action and give you a visual cue, and if you hit the left attack button in time, it will continue with the sequence. Up until you complete the cutscene sequence, and the enemy dies. No sound, no muss. Then you just sneak in behind another guy and do the same. But it isn’t as simple as that, for the major sand gates that is guarded. For those (beam of yellow light in the sky) you must use the environment to jump around until you get into position, and then strike the Red Guard. Because if the Red Guard sees you or hears you fighting, he will go to the sand gate and summon in reinforcements. And so long as that guard is still alive, more and more reinforcements will come even if you kill off the current crop of foes. So that guy must be killed as soon as possible. This presents a tactical challenge to be solved, which I found very interesting and entertaining.

This system is very versatile because you will use it for boss fights as the coup de grace. So you are watching the action on screen, and just waiting until the right moment to “click”. The Sand of Recall is also very nice when used after you foul a visual cue up. Since you’ll get a sand from a defeated enemy, consider it even.

Another great and fun critical aspect of this game are the chariot races. Very fun. Not all that hard, though the second chariot race took me a few retries. The hardest battles were the Twin Boss circle of fire fight and the end boss fight. I was using a trainer to refill health and sand tanks both at the Final Fight and the Twin Boss fight. Those Twins contained one Sword wielder and one Axe wielder. Very intelligent fighters, very formidable, and I was playing on hard. This was just after the final chariot sequence, btw, so I had already used up most of my sand tanks (running into the wall full on is not recommended in a chariot){Nor is allowing the enemy chariot to push you into a wall ala Tron lightspeeder}. So on Hard difficulty, it was really really hard. Because the advantage of the Light Prince was totally negated. You couldn’t throw the boss one handed. You couldn’t wall climb or use any of your deadly acrobatic skills, except to kick a prone guy in the face and slash him in the air. So I said, heck with this, I’m not reloading anymore.

The rest of the game wasn’t nearly that difficult in terms of reloads. All of the rest of the boss fights were incredibly satisfying and innovative. The boss fights are basically the lieutenants of the Vizier. Their characters are shallow, unimportant to character development, and with even less descriptions. We don’t even know their names, let alone their motives. But they don’t matter, cause they are only there to get beat. The female boss fight was particularly interesting, because the boss actually behaved pretty intelligent. When she saw you transform, she did the smart thing. She ran. It is almost a complete reversal. Where as the Light Prince, you were trying to run from her and get into position, now she is trying to run from you! Since none of this has to do with the plot, more or less, I don’t have to fear giving out a spoiler. I was hoping to transform in the Twin Boss fight, to kick their arse, but of course, that didn’t happen. I think it should have happened, but what the hey.

The camera angles were I believe, much simplified in comparison to Pop1. Either they locked the camera in a 90 degree partition, meaning N, E, S, W. Or some combination where E is N and S is W. This way you can see an object and hit left, and actually go left. Whereas if the camera is diagonally based, 120 degrees, then when you try to go straight to the left, you would have to hit both LEFT and UP simultaneously. That is tricky. That causes control problems, and I usually didn’t have any problems with it in the puzzles. I didn’t move left, and the prince looked like he was running north. Most of the time, however, the camera IS NOT locked. Which means you can position yourself to a limited degree, to what you should be looking at and running towards. In point of fact, the camera has been made so easy, that I had NO trouble with finding where I was supposed to go. Sure, there were times that I got stuck, but they weren’t exactly numerous. And besides, a walkthrough can carry you past it with little hassle. The only complaint I had was that the damn camera would lock down, if I was moving foward. I couldn’t look UP and see the sky if I was moving foward. That was annoying. Reminded me of KOTOR II in fact. I couldn’t use the first person perspective, because it moved so slowly. I didn’t want to fiddle around with the sensitivity settings because I liked how it was for puzzle viewing.

After I got the silver scimitar of Doom in the game, I was on a jump festival. It was like I couldn’t fall. I saw a plate in the wall, and I know instinctively where I would be going. Because I remembered how it was like before, so it was like battle technique memory. Intuitive as well as deductive. It was very fun and relaxing, because I didn’t have to figure out where I was going or figure out how to get somewhere. It all looked obvious. For a time anyway. But that time was smooth, very smooth.

I don’t remember any fights where the camera would ZIPP around to the back or the forward, confusing and disorientating me, as I remember it did in POP1. POP3 used a sort of hybrid Lock and Variable camera mode. It permited the camera to move in a certain degree and angle of view, which was quite limited, but this allowed the camera not to get “stuck” 99% of the time. It was very very easy to see things, 90% of the time. Because what the camera was locked on seeing, was usually what you were trying to solve. Not like in Pop1, which I seem to remember, I kept having to try to use first person view to look at things FAR in the distance. Maybe it was just me, maybe I wasn’t as perceptive back then, but POP1 seemed like MUCH MUCH harder a puzzle game than Pop3. There were many many times that I would just get lost in Pop1, because I couldn’t find any signs of where I am supposed to go. In Pop3, there are very very obvious signs of where you should go, if you know how to look for them.

That’s it on the camera.

There were some rather serious graphical annoyances and glitches. Like the Prince’s hair would go under his right eye, and just disappear. And that was quite annoying in cutscenes, but it was easy to ignore, I just stopped looking at his eye. There was also the more serious problem I encountered, which was that in some of the maps, the bloom would disappear suddenly. Leaving things too dark and gritty to make out. This was usually during street level zones where the light was being transformed from bright and airy, to dingy and torch like. The city maps really suffered from that, but after you get out of the city, it like disappeared. It didn’t happen again. But anyways, it required me to up the brightness and contrast to see what I needed to see. Other than that, there were no graphical glitches. I’ll take the glitches for the great camera as a bundle, any day.

There’s a jump at the end of the story, where I think the coders specifically CODED the camera to go diagonally as a reminder of POP1. Jumping that was… hard. You had to jump forward… except the camera was tilted so that the platform was running NE as you looked at it. The camera was locked, you couldn’t move it. There were two jumps you needed to do. But, if you failed, there was no problem. So it was more fun and amusing than annoying. The thing was, you couldn’t make the Prince go Up and Right at the same time. He would NOT jump. There was a way around it. You had to jump by using only one key direction, but jump from one corner to the other ; )

The combat was particularly fun in retrospect. The Dark Prince giving vent to absolute destruction, while the Light Prince offered up some forethought and positioning to alter the mix. The puzzles were interesting, because after awhile, you would start to learn what each type there was of. What made them interesting is that they would combine the puzzle types. So you might have a shimmey, with a wall run, jumping off a springboard, to a plate to dig your dagger in, to wall running then jumping onto a poll, to poll vault unto a etc. You get the picture. Very entertaining to see, because at that level, you are just enjoying the view and the Prince almost plays himself. There’s nothing to figure out after you have played the game and finished 75% of it. You have to pick a spot to navigate towards, and what you need to do to get there, but the “how” of the matter is rarely left in doubt near the end of the game.


But what I most liked was the story compared to the Warrior Within when they erased the plotline, and started from scratch. This Pop3 game was like almost a retelling of the story of Pop1 The Sands of Time. Not exactly, of course, it is a different story about a different Prince, that matures the Prince out. But those who have played the Sands of Time, will see many many reminders and nostalgic moments.

The ethical dilemmas that the Prince faces concerns duty. He sees himself as a warrior. And the incessant companion(s) you will have voicing their opinions of your actions and views, as well as the narration of the Empress, will remind you quite powerfully of POP1.

I felt an eerie connection between POP3 and the POP2 storyline, the Warrior Within. It is not just the superficial requirements of continuing somewhat off the Warrior Within plot line. In point of fact, the Empress soon becomes a side character. But many elements of the Warrior Within storyline were kept. Amazing, athletically and acrobatically, amazing in my view.

The Prince will truly find the Warrior Within, and it won’t be the bitter enraged typhoon of destruction in POP2, let me assure you of that. The Dark Prince is much too stylish to be a typhoon ; ) “Divine Wind” would describe him better. So for anyone who hated Warrior Within, you get to defeat that which you hated about the Prince in Warrior Within. An excellent, creative, plot device. It draws you into Pop3 with more velocity, simply by harnessing the hate you had for POP2, ha!

I love it when the game mechanics of a game actually supports and drives the plot, and the plot drives the story, and the story drives the player’s view of the game and its characters. Because everything is consistent, everything has a purpose, there are few gaps which you might find wanting.

There is one cutscene in POP3 that evokes a sense familiar to fans of Naruto and Bleach, as well as fans of Planescape Torment. The voice of the Dark Prince is heard on many levels, a sort of erie vibration. That cutscene (similar to the ending in PT) was able to use that modulated voice quite well, to evoke human emotion. Not to be missed.

There’s a lot of character development of the Prince in POP3. More than even POP1, I would say. In terms of taking responsibility and maturity, you see more of it in PoP3 than the first or especially the second in the series. And the ending? Fans of Sands of Time will find it enjoyable. But perhaps not in the way they believe. At the end, the Prince of Persia The Two Thrones, in my view, has lived up to its name. [Review of Pop4 or Prince of Persia soon to be written]

Terrorist released, but not in Germany

December 23, 2006

Another reason why you don’t imprison terrorists. You kill them, execute them as soon as possible. If you want info, then fine, but the terrorist can’t be allowed to live for more than a 1 year, regardless of what else you think has happened.


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