Archive for October 2007

Maps mapping out the graphics of war support

October 30, 2007

Been short on time for blogging. I have mostly been reading instead of writing.

Here’s Wolf’s post concerning the various roads going out and coming into democracies at war. This war, specifically.

The Sanity Squad podcast is back, for those not in the know.

There is a pretty good and detailed review of Hannibal’s Second Punic War that history buffs should read. Seriously, any series of wars that could lead up to the word “punitive” and “punishment” in the modern time should be studied.

What did people loot in Rome?

October 24, 2007

A vistor seemed curious about that subject. Looting was pretty much the same for every army back then, in terms of what they valued though not how it was conducted.

I can’t remember exactly or not, but I seem to remember that Rome had a loot pool. Instead of soldiers going AWOL inside an enemy town, the Romans collected everything they acquired, which was more or less portable wealth such as gold, silver, gems, salt, etc., and paid everyone in the legion based upon the haul.

Some comments were also made on how the Senate was the motivation force behind Rome’s looting of foreign enemies and provinces.

If they didn’t have such a system, then any armed force would simply grab whatever was shiny when they came into the city. This included any barbarian invasions into Roman lands.

As an attempt to update my post here, there are some new things to be looked over.

The crucial difference between the Roman Republic and the Republic of the United States of America can be found in the difference between these two words: liberty and victory. Ordinary Americans are taught to revere liberty, which means the right to do as you please, provided that you do not initiate the use of force or fraud against another human being, and the responsibility to suffer as well as enjoy the consequences of your own actions, provided that no one else violates the natural rights of you. Ordinary Romans were taught to revere victory – Invictus! – instead.

This difference makes for a profoundly different kind of people. The peace activists which Americans either look up to or put up with were nowhere to be found in Rome; if one surfaced, he or she would most probably be killed or spat upon, if not drafted. There was no honor in being Alvin C. York, only shaming – if not death – in failing to be so, and a disciplinary slap if any conscientious objection was raised at all. The typical American would consider this kind of reverence to be war-crazed lunacy. The typical Roman father would consider it to be his duty to whip his son into shape for what was clearly his seed’s patriotic duty. The modern phrase “authoritarian personality,” one of common currency in modern English, would be untranslatable into classical Latin if what it connotes is included as well, except as part of a legionary’s joke.

I would agree mostly with the point made here. The author uses it to further flesh out another point he was describing.

This respect – one which a garrison state would scorn – provides an entry point for those who wish to adapt an old Roman technique of governance into an American political philosophy, one which Jerome Tuccille called “Ivy League Hegelianism,” whose chief exponent is the eminent William F. Buckley, Jr.:

The thing is, private property and military discipline/efficiency are connected one to one. If you lack one, you will lose out on the other. It is a 1 to 1 relationship, when one suffers, the other suffers as well. You have to ask yourself why the US needed a 2nd Ammendment after the First Ammendment. Wasn’t the 1st one enough? Isn’t it enough to simply ensure that government guarantees freedom of speech, and therefore allows people to speak their mind, as the author presented here values so much? No, it is not enough.

You need military force, whether that force comes from civilians or not. Military force meaning organized force, it means the same thing essentially. An organized civilian force can be just as military as the military, since force and violence does not change depending upon what club you are in. So the obvious and immediate question is, why does liberty and private property need force to maintain it?

Other than the answer, “it just does”, there are other explanations tied into human nature. Human nature requires discipline to produce useful things. Without discipline, without order, human nature is simply the behavior of killing, raping, and destroying.

So to get to the point, a “garrison state” such as Sparta has to value private property. Thus when the author says that a garrison state scorns the respect for private property, he is espousing the philosophy that military power is mutually exclusive with liberty. He believes, one way or another, that the more military power used, the less freedoms there are. In some respects, that is true, but not in the way he figured it.

Duty comes with responsibilities, thus you cannot have freedom without the duty to maintain freedom. Since duty constrains, yet is necessary for the existence of liberty, you have a sort of duality paradox. How can a people be both free and not free? The answer, of course, is present in the US all volunteer military. It can also be seen in the dichotomy between Athens and Sparta, as well as Spartans and Helots. A citizenry can be free if others forsake liberty to protect the freedom of others.

The reasons for such processes are simple. Without security, there is no liberty. Without the ability of the citizenry to protect themselves from unjust force, whether it comes from criminals, non-state actors, or the legitimate government, is the only true guarantee that liberty can be maintained for the citizenry. Liberty, after all, requires the blood of both tyrants and patriots to flourish. Liberty needs its opposite to truly thrive. This relates to a little something I wrote of before, concerning how a balanced set of powers deriving from both destruction and creation is far more powerful than a set of powers derived from only destruction or only creation.

If depredations were frequent and recurrent, then the slaves who wished to seek political freedom through wealth accumulation (another Romanism, which is not transferable to America) would have seen such a promise as a crock, and would have thus descended into lassitude, secret scofflawing, etc. The extent to which the enterprising slave, as well as the would-be parvenu, could achieve freedom or status through accumulation of wealth is the extent to which the Roman subject enjoyed limited government at home: unobtrusive government (except for pomp) domestically and aggressive government internationally.

Here the author speaks about the institution of slavery in the Roman Empire. It may not be translatable directly but the American Dream of economic wellness is very similar to Rome’s social mobility beliefs. After all, in the later days of the Western Roman Empire, a barbarian even became Emperor. Rome had an ability to provide social mobility and status to folks, thereby allowing Rome to benefit from the ambition of its citizens. However, Rome’s system was pretty slow and rather primitive. Mostly it created situations in which the Senate thought themselves the caretakers of the nation, leading them to assassinate Julius Caesar and precipitate not only a civil war but Augustus’ Emperorship, for life. Any chance at reforming the Roman Senate and making it more representative of the individual Roman citizenry, the non-aristocrats, was doomed by the Roman Senate’s greed and fear of losing their power and status.

Oppression takes many forms. It does not matter if it is economic oppression or political oppression because political oppression, meaning slavery, inevitably also creates economic oppression. The same for vice a versa. Many people escaped to the US because of political and economic oppression. The American Dream thus emulates and improves upon the Roman system. It is an improvement because Americans aren’t the ones conquering and enslaving people, then making a system to integrate the barbarians. America’s system is far more passive than that.

What held consul, general and even Emperor back?

The prestige of the Senate. As Peter Heather notes, the tie of privilege to rigorous education had a profound effect upon Rome, making it, even at the height of Empire, much easier to govern than an administrative bureaucracy ever could, through this system of social incentive:

Latin language and literature spread across the Roman world because people who had originally been conquered by Caesar’s legions came to buy into the Roman ethos and adopt it as their own. This was far more than learning a little Latin for pragmatic reasons, like selling the odd cow or pig to a conquering Roman soldier (though this certainly almost happened). Accepting the grammarian and the kind of education he offered meant accepting the whole value system which, as we have seen, reckoned that only this kind of education would create properly developed – and therefore superior – human beings.

It was that same process of buying into Roman values that created Roman towns and villas in those parts of the Empire where such phenomena had been completely unknown before the arrival of the legions…. [From The Fall Of The Roman Empire: A New History by Peter Heather (London: Macmillan, 2005), p. 107–8.]

Incentives where rewards are yanked away are easily seen through by the people whom they are dangled in front of. The only way in which a system such as Rome’s could work long-term is if the Roman government was chained – and, only by cultivating the kind of purity of character, exact knowledge of both Latin and the most important texts in it, and a true respect for perfection in epigonery, could the Senate hold up the standard from the top of the Roman social heap. This system of restraint was the prime political factor which kept the Roman government limited domestically, and would have been impossible had the Senate not been able to call off the dogs of militarism when the latter were tempted to prey upon Rome’s citizens or subjects. The need for pomp and circumstance actually restrained government officials and kept day-to-day governance largely at the local level.

Yes, this set-up does sound a lot like the vision of “Ivy League Hegelianism.” There being no comparable body in the United States to the Roman Senate, though, means that the domestic restraint upon a strong United States government vis-à-vis American citizens is missing. Thus, the empirical evidence that the U.S. government becomes increasingly unrestrained, domestically, as a result of war, as shown in Crisis and Leviathan by Robert Higgs (New York: Oxford University Press USA, 1987), does have a sound logical basis behind it – note that the link still holds up as of now. It’s a pity that the studious Ivy League Hegelian, sweating over his or her books while using the glory of Rome as a kind of psychological fuel to get through the laborious chore of learning the lessons, did not take the time to comb through the President’s Oath of Office and consider the implications of the clause “all enemies, foreign and domestic” customarily associated with it. And how this clause ties in with the prestigious doctrine of the “Living Constitution.”

This was primarily the conclusion of the author’s article.

Another term for government at the local level is pork. For US politicians, they gain prestige and honor by acquiring votes, and they acquire votes by making deals and doing favors. In Rome, they didn’t have a universal franchise, not even close, so what did their Senators do to gain prestige and honor? The answer can be found in the bolded piece where the author speaks about the Senate’s promotion of virtue. However, we must understand that politicians are virtuous only to the extent that it benefits them. Some people were different, yes, but those are the exceptions to the rule. The Grachii family wished for reforms to make the lives of the non-aristocrats and the people without high class Senator patronage, better and more represented. They were exterminated by the so called virtuous Roman Senate. There was actually a very positive post about Cornelia, the mother of the Grachii by Bookworm.

As I see it, the Roman Senators wished for esteem and political power, and they knew they could get it through victory through foreign wars or amassing great wealth. The author is right to a certain extent that the Roman Legions were necessary for the Romans being Roman, however he did not mention the simple fact that the Roman Legions also provided the security that free trade and economic prosperity needed to exist. After all, when there are pirates, robbers, and chaos, how much wealth can people really acquire and keep? Not much. Is it really a surprise that areas in which the American Navy patrols, pirates stay away from and thus international shipping is safer and more plentiful? It makes perfect logical sense. If you don’t need to pay for pirate protection and if you don’t need to worry about pirates, then you can ship more goods more efficiently. More goods shipped means more wealth created across the world.

Both the Roman Legions and the Senate/Emperor had to make choices about the destiny of Rome. Their choices inevitably led to the Praetorian Guard and to the complete enslavement of the Senate to the Emperor’s will. In effect Rome became the plaything of the Emperor, and the Empire suffered because by now the military had decided to play politics instead of ensuring the safety of Rome’s citizens. This actually started because the Emperor/Senate would not pay the salaries of the legionaires. Too much corruption and too much gold was being hoarded into individuals of the Senate or through the Emperor. The military decided that it was more profitable to be the ones in control of the Emperor. Belisarius is a good example of the Eastern Roman Empire, where Rome did not fall prey to the military problems of the Western Roman Empire. Belisarius himself was special, and should have been cultivated, but such was against the ego of Emperors. Virtue became decadence, because without military discipline, without foreign enemies to fight, and without internal domestic reforms, Rome had no where to go except down.

There being no comparable body in the United States to the Roman Senate, though, means that the domestic restraint upon a strong United States government vis-à-vis American citizens is missing.

What Rome had to do informally, the US did formally and from its very beginning. It is hard for foreigners to truly understand the US Constitution, since it is hard for Americans to understand it and they live under it. The United States is one of only a few nations that created a Senate, modeled after Rome since it wasn’t modeled after Athens’ Assembly or Britain’s Parliament. Just as American Senators such as Reid and Kennedy are interested only in power, ambition, and personal wealth, so was the same true for Rome’s Senate. It just so happens to be that American Senators derive power from providing pork to their lobbies while Roman Senators derived power from prestige and family connections. The differences are fewer than the similarities. Both benefited from enormous wealth. It is not really true that the US has no counter-part to the Roman Senate. It is also not true that there is no restraint upon the US government. This theme, that there is no domestic restraint upon the government, is absolutely wrong. I mean look at his logic. The reason why the Roman Senate differs from the American one is because America has a universal franchise and favors liberty over victory. Rome favored limited franchise, limited to aristocrats and the adopted heirs of aristocrats in the Senate, and they favored victory over liberty. So why does this then mean that Rome is able to restrain their government domestically in favor of its people while America cannot? It has to be because America values liberty. And there you have it. Liberty without military force and protection of one kind or another, creates oppression. Yet the author does not follow even his own logical premises to their end.

Since I believe the American military fullfills the part of foreign and domestic protection, America therefore has a balanced equation in which it is not missing the Spartans and centurions needed to safeguard peace, prosperity, and liberty.

The oath concerning foreign and domestic enemies is always an interesting one. Both the President and the US military swears an oath to protect the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic. This would actually include terrorists as well as domestic terrorism as well as Reid and Kennedy. Any threat to the Constitution, meaning any threat to the liberties and force protection that Americans have been guaranteed, must be eliminated. The Constitution is indeed the glue that holds the US Republic together. Without it, you would need to rely upon an informal and tricky cultural solution such as what Rome sustained. In our day and age, progress is too fast for such things as “culture” to maintain stability. Culture couldn’t protect Europe once Europe had outlawed firearms, free speech, and cooperation, for example.

The statement that because there is no direct counterpart to the corrupt and feckless Roman Senate means that there is no restraint upon a powerful domestic US government is pretty ignorant talk. It essentially ignores the military component that stabilizes the liberty ensured by the US Constitution. It also ignores the balance of powers created through the triumverate system of 3 branches of government.

Thus, the empirical evidence that the U.S. government becomes increasingly unrestrained, domestically, as a result of war, as shown in Crisis and Leviathan by Robert Higgs (New York: Oxford University Press USA, 1987), does have a sound logical basis behind it – note that the link still holds up as of now.

Essentially this translates as American civil liberties are being eroded through fighting a foreign war because America is not the same as Rome. Yet, America is more similar to Rome than the author could ever imagine. Without the inclusion of Jacksonian America, and their belief in victory above all else, you ignore much of the components that make up America. America, like Rome, is manifold. There are many factions and many potential lines of destiny.

Without war, republics will fall simply because it will dissolve from the inside out. War is necessary for the health of any country desiring of liberty. Not all wars are necessary, but democracies and republics tend to acquire more than their fair share of such.

The internal corruption and lack of security brought on by a lack of foreign enemies is death to a democracy as well as a republic or empire. It destroys the trust of the citizenry in the nation and in the government. It is the people that matter, not the bureacrats or the politicians in the end. Politicians can only harness the will and desire of a people for a better life, they cannot stiffen spit though.
Not every nation can grow stronger through wars. Many nations go on the wrong wars. Many nations go into a war and then lose that war or just give up. Look at Germany and Russia and Vietnam as an example. America, however, has the best record of having wars and gaining strength through them. For almost every war that has occured in American history, civil liberties increased dramatically afterwards. The American Revolution defeated British quartering and increased economic liberty. The American Civil War dissolved the formal bonds of slavery, even though the informal bonds of slavery were kept maintained by the Democrats that were left in power when Lincoln was assassinated. WWII allowed whites and blacks to fight together, making the military the first institution in America to desegregate their forces. A decade ahead of the Civil Rights Act. While America burned from 60s and 70s riots and race wars, the US military had cemented bonds of trust through the furnace of war.

For people that think of foreign wars as they do in relation to America, they just simply do not understand that America is better than Rome. What Rome or Athens or Sparta could do, America can always do better. Thus when the author admitted that Rome had something America didn’t, it simply demonstrates the belief that America is not better than everything that came before. And that is something Jacksonians in America cannot agree with.

LTC Allan West

October 23, 2007

I was reading Matt’s post at blackfive about him, and I came up with this.

I guess the issue with West concerns the fundamental principle of whether you are interrogating people in war or whether you are haggling with people at a marketplace.

The JAG places certain restrictions, which I see as the natural restriction of your pocket book. Some people have more leeway, like the terrorists, while other people go into a marketplace near broke, like the US. So technically, those with more money, meaning less restrictions on what they can buy, can get more while haggling. However, their haggling skills might suffer, since if you got money, why try very hard at getting a good deal? If you cut the guy’s head off and blow up his family for kicks, you can buy even more stuff for the bang. The US, however, since their bank account enforces stinginess, is restricted to a more subtle and clever style of haggling, aka interrogation. That’s fine if you are buying telephones or tv sets, but not so fine if you need to buy life saving medicine or food for your family or the family of your subordinates.

War is fundamentally about waste, wasting other people, wasting your own people, and wasting everybody and everything around the zone of conflict.

JAG seems to believe that when terrorists or other enemies are interrogated, that we should act as if we are in a commercial marketplace trying to market or acquire a product. This is a different philosophy from a person acting in a war zone. Since after all, what use is money if you are dead? In commercial market places, we haggle because we value our money and want an equal value in return, or even better a good deal. Often times a successful haggle can create a situation where you the buyer and he the seller both walk away believing that they scammed the other. In a merchant transaction, both sides benefit. In war, one side benefits and the other… well, you can imagine what happens to the other.

So in war, lives trump money except where money and better logistics can save lives. In haggling, your purse determines what you can and cannot do, or in this case the JAG policies determine what you can or cannot do. You can want something all you want, but you can’t get it without money. Not just won’t, but can’t. In war, you can acquire things just by taking it, because war is essentially zero sum. It is only peace that can provide benefits to both sides. The main question, does the JAG think we are at peace or do you think we are at war? The conduct of behavior or even honor is very different in peace as opposed to war. It is a very important distinction.

The US in WWII used a lot of money to buy equipment, because the US government still valued life over gold back then. Or maybe they were forced to do so because they faced the choice of quality over quantity or “there is a quality to quantity all on its own”. They chose the former over the latter. The Soviets did the vice a versa.

The philosophy West seems to prefer is that one that takes war into account. He values lives, whether America or potentially allies, better than he values commercial products or money.

Certainly the loss of blood trumps the loss of treasury in the political sphere. The Democrats recognize this weakness, even if they are no good for making any thing better as opposed to worse. The American people, if not the American government, still values lives over other things. Perhaps the old truism is false, perhaps America is at war but the American government is at the mall under the “business as usual model”. After all, do the Democrats act as if we are war like Roosevelt did, or are they acting as if election years come and go?

In war, things are wasted until the war. That is why ending the war, preferably in victory so that your efforts acquired you some long term goals, is preferable over restricting the use of resources and thereby lengthening the war.

The JAG, or the American government at large, acts and believes much as General McClellan did as the Union Army marched on Richmond, in what I believe was in the first year of the US Civil War. McClellan seemed to believe that the war was already over or rather that it was fated to end, so long as McClellan fullfilled his destiny. That destiny being power and having the ability to decide for both the North and South what should be what. His priority was not about ending the war, and thus we know what happened next.

There can be only those two choices. Either you are at war and you act as if the war will be over or doesn’t apply, or you act as if you are at war and everything you do is about ending the war sooner rather than later.

I doubt that JAG or the US bureacracy would debate whether we are at war, because it is far easier and more profitable for them to act as if we are not while claiming that we are at war. War is waste, and perhaps the bureacracy envies such an ability which should be a monopoly by bureacrats only in their eyes. So, instead of resources being poured into war, resources are poured into the bureacracy, or Murtha as the case may be.

JAG can certainly take part in that, since lawyers need quite a lot of paperwork to conduct their duties.

There’s quite a divide between spies (which also includes assassins and saboteurs), soldiers, and lawyers. They all don’t serve quite the same master or chain of command, not exactly at least. And this is for folks on the same side. The philosophical differences are simply too great a divide, even if the policies are the same for both soldiers and other branches.

I’ll leave it to your imagination what the media and Reid belongs to.

I think it is very logical what the JAG recommended or what US policy recommends. For peacekeeping and situations where you are simply not serious about defeating and annihilating the enemy. After all, without being at war, the enemy isn’t really the enemy. They are more like allies or innocent non-combatants. And of course, we can’t have abuse of innocent non-combatants and allied soldiers, now can we.

I mean, did not the South become an ally, if not a friend, of the North after the war had ended? Did not the Sunnis become an ally, if not a friend, once our fight with them ended?

If we are not war, as the US gov, JAG, and CAIR/ACLU believes and acts, then aren’t the people we are fighting and killing, either innocents or our allies? Logically speaking of course, just parse the logic. Desperate situations call for desperate action, Manhattan and Hiroshima/Nagasaki included. But if we are not at war, then obviously there are no desperate situations, you see.

America needs people that can tell the difference between war and peace. But we need more than that, we need people that can act appropriately in both peaceful situations and war time. McClellan knew folks were at war, he just didn’t care or rather he cared about other things more. Reid knows we are war, maybe, but he doesn’t care either, whether he knows we are at war or not. John Kerry definitely knows we are at war, and if he was younger he would certainly volunteer and join up to be part of the newest of new phony soldiers.

There is definitely at times a philosophical difference between generals as well as sergeants, lawyers as well as spies, JAG as well as infantry. Somebody’s going to be wrong. This is true for peace as well as war. Since the two alternatives, somebody is going be wrong about the situation at one time or another. People like McArthur and Churchill are rare in that they excell both in peace or in war, or rather they know when war is coming during peace and how to achieve peace during war. It matters whether you know you are at war or not, since you can’t achieve peace if you think you aren’t at war, when you are. Chamberlain sort of fell into that problem. Talking about “Peace in Our Time” and acting as if they weren’t already at war.

I think the Democrats’ inability to recognize war for what it is and peace for what it is, is why they cannot distinguish America’s enemies from America’s friends. Either that or they are our Iago, preaching that we should give confidence to our enemies and spurn our allies because the Democrats wish America to be guided by her enemies rather than her allies. It’s hard to say, but what is clear is that the Left does not know how to treat people justly because the Left is always at war, with themselves if nobody else.

Americans treat people with justice because we don’t treat those that have surrendered the same as those that are still fighting. Americans have the highest fidelity in terms of knowing the difference and acting upon it. The Democrats, like the Crown Loyalists back in America’s past, are simply aberrations and mutations of an otherwise proud history of wise and good conduct. Don’t forget the peace Democrats back in the Civil War.

A Note to My Self

October 21, 2007

Be sure to review the Texas murder and gang rape case later on for any updates.

The Pincer Movement

October 21, 2007

Hannibal’s double envelopement at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC is viewed by military historians as one of the greatest battlefield maneuvers in history, and is cited as the first successful use of the pincer movement to be recorded in detail.[1] A variation of this maneuver was also later used to great effect by Khalid ibn al-Walid against the numerically superior forces of the Sassanid Persian Empire at the Battle of Walaja in AD 633, though Khalid developed his version independently.[2]

I was reading about the double envelopment in Wikipedia and found the cross reference to Khalidibn Al-Walid very interesting. For around 633 AD was the general timespace where the Arabs conquered the Persians, i.e. the Sassinids and their heavy cavalry of dehgans. (mirrored by the Eastern Roman cataphractii, fully armored man and horse, known as heavy cavalry, armed with the composite bow and sword/lance/mace) History is replete with these interesting crosses.

Khālid ibn al-Walīd (592-642) (Arabic: خالد بن الوليد) also known as Sayf-Allah al-Maslul (the Drawn Sword of God or Sword of Allah), was one of the two famous Arab generals of the Rashidun army during the Muslim conquests of the 7th Century.[1] (See also: ‘Amr ibn al-’As.) He is noted for his military prowess, commanding the forces of Muhammad and those of his immediate successors of the Rashidun Caliphate; Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab.[1] In having the distinction of being undefeated in over a hundred battles[2] against the numerically superior forces of the Byzantine Roman Empire, Sassanid Persian Empire, and their allies, he is regarded as one of the finest military commanders in history. His greatest strategic achievements were his swift conquest of the Persian Empire and conquest of Roman Syria within three years from 633 to 636, while his greatest tactical achievements were his successful double envelopment maneuver at Walaja and his decisive victories at Ullais and Yarmouk.

Think about what it would have taken to unite the Arabs. Arabs weren’t much different from those we know now. They are still tribal in nature and they are still out for their own families above all else, amoral familism. Victory in battle united the Arabs, amongst other things. You don’t win, the Arabs will kick you out and cut off your head. Simple as that. The only way to forge a true alliance with the Ayrabs is to fight some common enemies together and conquer them. Be assured, the Left has already been doing this for awhile. We must do the same with our Iraqi allies. Conquer the terrorists and the territories they once occupied, and also defeat the Iranians, who were themselves conquered and defeated by Mohammed.

Heroes: Season 1

October 21, 2007

I just finished watching the entire 23 episode series. It has an interesting premise, in that regular joes and janes get superpowers and must then decide what to do with them. Although in this case, we have the influx of reality tv, meaning there are many problems our heroes have that have little to nothing to do with fighting villains, so much as fighting normal life things. Such as popularity at school, bills to pay, tuition, the death of a father, etc..

The requisite criticism, which you always tend to get from me over certain shows (okay most shows), is the lackluster detail in the fight scenes. It is not so much that they lack super special effects so much as they lack tactics. This is a reference to tactics used in warfare, such as the tactic of the double envelopment that Hannibal Barca used in the 2nd Punic War against the Roman Republic. (there are actually two links there, from difference sources. One Wiki, the other from, which is a more specialist sort of place)
The criticism part is actually a detour, simply so I don’t forget that I am supposed to find a link about “double envelopment”. I’ll start off first with  the main characters of Heroes. There are quite many of them, actually. In that sense, it has a far broader range of characterization than most American shows or movies for that matter. I mean, you know those movies where there are simply two main characters, the protagonist and antagonist, or three main characters, the protagonist with his girlfriend and the antagonist being the villain,?  In this case, this is multiplied by maybe 6 times; meaning that there are several families detailed and described who have problems seemingly independent of the other. You have a politician’s family and then a scene later you might see a story about a family on the run from the law.

Heroes is the story of the lives of these people. It has great characterization in that each character is introduced with their own lives and own ambitions, which makes for anime style depth of detail and interaction. And by anime style, I mean the newer anime series such as Naruto and Bleach, inheritors of the fire set down by all the other anime that have went before.

The “fighting villains” part is downgraded in respect to the importance that the character’s own life and family has. In a sense, much of the life changing events aren’t about their having superpowers at all, rather it is based upon what choices they make. This creates a more believable reality set, at least for me.

The other part about “fighting villains” is that the fights are designed to forward the plot. Which means that it is not designed to be real, meaning to reflect the process by which enemies and allies are taken down. In war, such processes are very important. However, if you can’t hope to reproduce tactically accurate battles, then you can simply count on the drama and the use of special powers to alleviate such concerns by focusing the point of battles on the characters, rather than on how the characters are fighting or not fighting as the case may be.

I mean you wouldn’t know there are inconsistencies in the fight scenes unless you are a stickler for details, like me. You also wouldn’t know if you hadn’t thought to ask yourself just exactly how “you would kill someone or defend someone if you had X superpower”.

Telekinesis is one such example as well as flying. So is the ability to control space and time. Remember Shinobi: Heart Under the Blade? (minor spoiler past this sentence) They had a guy with a special jutsu, or ability, that could go through dozens of men as if they were standing still, cutting them down with a blade. Very dramatic, very anime, in the sense that the killing is done with efficiency and very good style. As if it was effortless.

The show is not trying to protect the audience from blood and gore, but even still, they cannot match the fearsomeness of the villain with a counterpart style and efficiency in the heroes. Not concerning the efficiency by which the heroes kill.  They play such things up as being part of the character’s natural inclination not to kill but rather to save the innocent, but even after such character plots are solved you still don’t see fights done with any tactical planning before hand by the protagonists.

By tactical planning I mean simple things like what does a self-regeneration person contribute to the fight? When should the power of flight or telekinesis be used and against which opponents? How does the terrain in the battlefield contribute to which abilities can or cannot be used? How do we achieve surprise and thus use it to multiply our forces?  Who should be in the back and who should be in the front, meaning who must be protected for their abilities do not contain comba defenses or offenses, and who must be in the front to take the shock of front line battle?

These things are not even talked about, for the battles are only planned by the villains, not by the heroes. Such anime shows such as Naruto does have this sort of tactical or strategic planning. As with chess, it simply makes fights more interesting in that you can actually see the options and think about them. In a random fight, there is not much to think about except survival. Survival is an often stated theme in Heroes.

Migration: A Better Way to Survive

October 21, 2007

Book was talking about how people get stuck in an unfavorable location, and in her view, should exercise their freedom of movement and move to somewhere better.

  1. Human beings require social groups in order to function at maximum potential. However, this also means that evil folks will use this vulnerability in the human condition to grab their own coterie of human slaves for their own purposes. There is no alternative other than group cooperation for humanity, although there are plenty of ways to ensure cooperation, slavery being one of the most far reaching even though it is also one of the most inefficient methods.

    When the revolutionary says that he will destroy the status quo, he is lying. For you can never destroy the status quo of the human condition and its need for hierarchy and social networking. Why, to do that, you would need to be a god or at least a demi-god. Some folks aspire to that level. Take a look at John Kerry, a demi-god in the making, with the number of tools he has used and discarded.

    You can’t destroy the status quo, but you can replace it. As Che and Castro proved, however, destroying something doesn’t automatically guarantee that it will be replaced by something better or even just as good.

    True freedom fighters know that order must be maintained, even as chaos is sown and change ushered in. Freedom fighters may fight for freedom, but those that fight for freedom are the most bound of all, for they have too many duties and responsibilities and little freedom. The design shouldn’t be to destroy a system as Leftists believe, the design should be to reform and make the system stronger, all at the same time killing anyone that gets in the way.

    In that aspect, revolutionaries and freedom fighters are very similar. Think of Robbespiere, he killed because the killing was good and because he was riding a tiger that he couldn’t get off without being eaten immediately after. George Washington also killed, but the people he killed allowed something better to be built ontop of their ashes.

    Freedom fighters, thus, are limited by what they seek to create, for destroying things is easy. Creating things, however, sets strict limitations on what you can and cannot do. The Left does not understand how to create anything, except concerning the spreading of misery and chaos. When the Left says “you can’t save a village by destroying it”, you have to ask yourself “when has the Left ever saved anybody or anything”. The Left didn’t save Japan. They didn’t save Germany and Eastern Europe in WWII and the COld War. Heck, the COmmunist Part of America were cheering the Soviets on as they crushed Poland with their Nazi allies. It was only the betrayal of the Communist Manifesto by the Nazis, now called fascistic pigs, that turned the “Left” against the Nazis, and have continued to do so ever since actually.

    The Left understands very well how complex creation and fortification are. That is why they seek to sabotage America and make the task of reconstructing people’s lives much harder than it should have been. In this aspect, they share common goals with the Islamic Jihad, regardless of how much they may or may not hate each other. Alliances are made upon mutual interest and mutual insanity. Insane ideologies like Nazism and Communism deserve each other.

Watching Poison: Where it is Weak and Where it is Strong

October 17, 2007

I opened this post with my opinion of the show. Having read my pretty accurate summary, I’d like to know what you think.

I think you should stop watching poison, Book. It is not good for your aura, after all.

Teenage daughter is refused admission on the cheer leading team because she’s soft on terrorism.

This kind of stuff does sound hilarious, but only if you, like me, like mayhem and pure destruction. It just seems the more that a project, propaganda or not, seeks to undermine my morale, the more I tend to smile at the futility of such. You know the tricks they are using on you, or you should, yet they are still doing it because there are fools born every second. Sometimes they are born more than once.

In a way, it is a supreme sort of irony. Human beings operate as a group cooperative with a hierarchical system of command, rather than a hive mentality or a delocalized consciousness. Such traits propelled humanity to the heights of power and mastery, yet it is those same traits that produce our most devastating weaknesses. Weaknesses that humans exploit, for humans know their own weaknesses the best, at least for certain special individuals given that the bell curve still applies even to cooperative groups under a hierarchical chain of command.

Propaganda, the human sort, would not work very well without human limitations and behaviors to work from, or work at as the case may be.

After all, if humanity consisted of a hive, then why would anyone bother trying to brainwash the mindless drones? You could, I suppose, do so, but what would be the benefit of trying to fight both evolution and your corporeal foe at the same time? Why not have evolution do its work for your side rather than against it.

The Left’s weakness is not that they understand humanity so well that they can exploit all our weaknesses. No, rather, the Left’s weakness is that they only understand the negative and subtractive side of human nature. This provides them advantages such as cutting edge, or almost cutting edge, propaganda and illusion production abilities. They can create a fantasy and act as if it is their reality, such is the prowess of the Left’s illusionary capabilities. Greater than any fantasy wizard’s, for even wizard’s must operate within the bounds of reason of one kind or another. The Left has no such boundaries in their mental mindscape.

As for propaganda, you already know of that which I speak.

There is a downside to having mastery over only the negative aspects of human nature. The Left doesn’t understand what makes humanity great, what makes cooperation better than parasitism or mutual destruction. How can they? Does a career criminal believe in law and order, or does he believe in chaos and narcissism? Too long living the life of destruction makes you incompatible with creation. The Founding Fathers had to deal with this problem in the form of large standing armies.

This is the Left’s weakness because true power only comes from mastering both destruction and creation. The ability to kill is always balanced by the ability to protect an entity from death. A human individual’s power is determined by the extent to which he or she can hold mastery over people’s life and their deaths. Some, such as Saddam, can form the illusion that he controls your life, simply by ensuring that your death is his to command. Judicious use of such in collaboration with human weaknesses (family bonds, fear of death, susceptibility to intimidation) and social structures (tribes) can very well lead to the illusion that his power is both balanced and endless. However, regardless of how much a person like Saddam may appear to be powerful, his power is little more than a shadow compared to another individual, the President of the United States.

The President of the US not only has a balanced set of powers that harness both America’s ability to destroy as well as create, but the President has such powers filtered and cleaned through the balance of power constructed by the US Constitution and its writers. Power is always easiest to use and maintain when it is balanced. After all, Mugabe can kill as many people as he wants, but does that make the economy better just because? No. You cannot convert destruction into creation and vice a versa, you are no god. Not even a minor one. Mugabe and Annan might disagree though.

When I said before that my primary problem with Bush is that he isn’t killing enough people, it is a simple thing to explain. Having an imbalance in your powers towards either creation or destruction, are both sub-optimal consequences to the misuse of power. Just as government is out of balance when it abuses and misuses the power they are given, individuals are out of balance when they can no longer balance their powers of creation against their powers of destruction. Mugabe and Saddam and Arafat could only kill and destroy, they could not create a better life for their people or create wealth to feed the hungry. They could only steal and destroy what others had. We see them as bad leaders, even as evil individuals. Creation is not the Good and destruction is not the Evil. That is something the Left disagrees with.

The Left sees both Good and Evil as the same thing, for every servant of entropy knows that both works of good and works of evil will eventually succumb to ultimate decay and dissolution. Whether you are good or evil, does not matter in their eyes, for only their cause justifies the use of their destructive powers. Since good people fight to construct a better life against the ravages of destruction, whether from nature or man, the Left sees good people, Americans for example, as the primary threat to their power structure. Evil people will blow themselves up in time, but good people need a helping hand, you know. That is where the servants of entropy come in, in other words the Left.

Concerning Bush, his problem is chiefly that he has decided to primarily use the creative side of the President’s power. Such a thing is very imbalanced and is not the balance of powers that the office of the President was optimally designed to run under. This can be expressed in different ways, such as his refusal to destroy Valerie and Wilson Plame, his refusal to destroy his political enemies such as Dan Rather and most of the people at the White House Press Room, and various other things Bush has done in order to take the “high road” as people may describe it.

Whether you take the high road or the low road, somebody is going to put an IED along the road and try to blow you up. Guaranteed. And if you can’t repair the damage, then you are going to be stuck. And if you can’t kill the people putting those IEDs along your path, then you will have to continuously repair yourself to the point where most of your energies are wasted stuck in one spot more or less. Repair the damage you have taken and then kill the people in your way. Such is the effective solution. Such is the civilized solution. Otherwise your “high road” will become a war pock marked road of death, where civilians fear to tread. Thus cutting off commerce and the transfer of such vital necessities such as medical goods to those that need them.

A person that wields both sides of the equation, is not guaranteed to be a good person. Hitler after all, derived his powers from both creation (Germany’s civilization and all that that meant) and destruction. When he started to slide into the path of self-destruction, through the purging of Wehrmacht officiers and generals, he started to lose it. This is only to describe how a person wielding the powers of destruction and creation is simply powerful, it is not guaranteed that he will use such powers for the good of others.

Bush is not a bad person for being imbalanced, he is simply a less effective person. For Arafat, less effectiveness is a good thing, since he can’t kill as many Jews if he is ineffective. Hitler was effective and look what he did.

People say Bush is Hitler or Bush is like Hitler. That is not really true. Bush simply hasn’t killed enough people to reach the balance Hitler had once achieved.

On a topic I wrote about before, the Left’s weakness is a blind spot in their strategies. Regardless of how powerful you are in the arts of destruction, character assassination, actual assassination, or terrorism, you are still nowhere near as powerful as those that can wield both the power to create and the power to destroy. Even if they can’t destroy in the numbers and manner that terrorists can destroy, they make up for it in other ways.

To use the tactic that Sparta used to defeat Athens in the Peloponessian War, the Left can be defeated by beating them at their game. Because destruction and hurting people is the only tools in their arsenal, then if you strip them of such then they are weaponless and therefore useless. Not even their loyal adherents will stay loyal to an ineffective and toothless organization. Even Leftists have their pride and their families to think of.

To elaborate, Sparta was a land power with their elite hoplite armies while Athens was a sea (imperial) power with a strong navy. Sparta defeated Athens by copying Athenian warship designs and building a Spartan fleet, which then defeated Athens’ fleet. Athens then surrendered. This is how deadlocks are broken in military strategy.

The reason why Athens and Sparta sat around staring each other in the face for decades is because Athens knew Sparta was strong on land therefore Athens avoided a direct confrontation on land. Sound familiar? Asymmetrical warfare wasn’t first developed by the Soviets and Vietnamese, after all. The Democrats and their Leftist allies know that they are weak in creation, in that they can’t really back their promises on anything except their promise to destroy their enemies and destroy everything around their enemy, including maybe you and the global economy. So, they know their weakness and therefore avoids it. They set themselves up so that people can’t tell that they failed. Now, you can try to tell the truth and try to educate folks, but the Left will continue to avoid and dodge and evade much as Athens avoided the Spartan army for years and years. There will not be a decisive battle between the Left and Right, that then resolves things and everyone lives happily ever after.

You need a decisive defeat of one side or the other. Or maybe a string of decisive defeats for the Left, given how politics work. Decisive victories are like Fallujah 2. Indecisive engagements are like Fallujah 1. You see, a decisive victory is one that eliminates the vast majority of your enemy’s forces. By destroying your enemy’s ability to fight, you destroy his will to fight. It is both a material victory and a psychological victory all in one. This is compared to Tet, where the US won materially but lost psychologically. Funny how that works.

Guerrilla forces, terrorist forces, and Leftist revolutionaries will avoid a decisive conflict in order to protect their known weaknesses. Their known ability to only be able to undermine and destroy, rather than being able to create something stronger and better. This is not (just) because they are bad people, but rather because of how they are set up. Civilizations can’t be run on a cell based system, you know.

An applicable example of the Left receiving a resounding defeat was the January 1 Purple Episode. The media and the Left believed their predictions of violence, they believed that this was true and would happen, therefore they believed it to be one of their strong points. Then when reality happened that their strong point was defeated, they retreated and went to lick their wounds. They were routed, essentially. Because this was not planned, or rather it was not planned as an action to destroy the US media aka domestic insurgents, the routed fighters were allowed to regroup and heal. Usually in the ancient days, soldiers that rout drop their weapons and armor in order to run faster than the enemy’s soldiers. This is why good commanders often had light cavalry ready to chase down the enemy’s routed soldiers in order to achieve a decisive victory. A victory where you don’t just “defeat” the enemy, but rather you “destroy” the enemy.

Soldiers in Iraq often conduct counter-ambushes, because Al Qaeda will always run away in other situations. Counter-ambushes are essentially where you walk into an ambush knowing in advance that there is an ambush in that specific time/place. You walk into that ambush and then pin down the ambushers, then you activate the units you prepared beforehand to encircle and destroy the ambushers. The hunter now have become the hunted, and soon to be the deaded.

This is all to address the timeless dirge that the Left often uses, where they say “you can’t defeat terrorists by using terrorism”. Actually, you can. Just as Sparta defeated a power, that was based on the sea, by becoming a sea power themselves. It is a truism of war that the longer you fight an enemy, the more like that enemy you will become. This is just how it is. Something else that the Left doesn’t understand, for no matter how long they fight people that wish to make a better world, the Left will never become a force for a better world. Not even close.

Terrorism is a tactic, is that not what they say. You can’t fight a tactic, they say. The War on Terrorism is a meaningless name, they say. Well, of course it is, for terrorism is simply the targeting of civilians in order to instill terror on the power that the civilians wield over the military and the foreign policy of their country. Terrorists use such tactics because they are weak everywhere else, they cannot invade and do conventonal warfare because they suck at conventional warfare. This is their weakness much as it is the Left’s weakness that the Left cannot take something and make it better. But the Left and the terrorists “know” that it istheir weakness, thus they spend a lot of fortifying it against attack. Just as Saddam knew where he was weak and took the time Bush spent at the UN, in preparing the arms and the money to kill Americans with an insurgency. AQ didn’t just happen to link up with Sunni Baathists, after all. This has to do with what Sun Tzu advised, in that when an enemy knows he has a weakness and takes the time to fortify it against attack, then his weakness becomes a strength. This also means his strength becomes his weakness, because now where he is strong, he is weak, whereas where he was weak, he was now strong against attacks. War is mercurial in this sense, or the fog of war likes to play tricks on our eyes.

Attack the weakness, but sometimes where an enemy is weak, it is where he is strong or where he thinks he is strong. The media thought they were strong and confident when reporting that the January first elections in Iraq would be a downright disaster and embarassment for the United States military, the media’s undying foes. (look at California, just in case you doubt) Saddam thought he was strong when he invaded Kuwaitt. Osama thought he was making a show of strength when he attacked on 9/11.

Over-confidence at the edge of victory, can turn victory into defeat. The opposite can also happen, ironically, as you all know with Tet.

The Mirrors of Strategy

October 12, 2007

I was looking on the page concerning the Measure of Respect, which I had linked to an old archive bookmark in my mozilla browser. Here are some things I would like to share with you.

David Petraeus wrote a letter in September the 7th, before his Congressional apperance, to the forces under his command.  It is a readeable image reproduction of the letter, so I cannot paste the beginning for you.

The second story is about the gifting of a Marine‘s dress sword. A long tale of adversity and triumph, with a healthy dose of tactical surprise and unpredicted difficulties.

A Sword For A Marine
Rachel R. Hartman

For those that study the Marines or just have a fancy to them, such a story is for you to read. It was a very nice story.  Here is a partial image of a Mameluke. You can see the Ebay auction picture as well.

Now, to cap things off, we have the gaming perspective.

Some enlisted men and women in Iraq are putting on Ziggurat Con: Where R.P.G. isn’t just a Rocket Propelled Grenade Any More! To be held at Camp Adler/Kalil Airbase near the Ziggurat of UR. The organizers noticed that a distinct lack of morale was plaguing the troops. To help combat this, they organized the regular gamer buddies and scheduled a convention to give games, dice, and other goodies to the troops stationed in the same area.

War’s Aftermath

October 12, 2007
  1. cold pizza Says:
    October 12th, 2007 at 1:54 pm SEE! She can’t even get the right aircraft carrier!

    Neo LIED! Typos DIED! Eggs were FRIED! Children CRIED! NSA SPIED! Judges TRIED! Princess BRIDE! cp had a TIRADE! oops, …. never mind. -cp (have a good weekend, Neo).

Some funny stuff.

Here is the last part of Neo’s post.

It’s easy to forget, when one looks at Iraq and the violence there, that much worse might have happened as a result of the war. It’s certainly possible that Bull is being too bullish on Iraq (can’t resist that pun), and that disaster is just around the corner. But Iraq’s growing unity, with increased Sunni cooperation and participation; and the diminution of the violence there in recent months; bodes well for the optimists on the future of that country.

“Realistic expectations” may be at the heart of the matter. Many on the Left and Right who criticize the Iraq invasion describe those who advocated it as unrealistic, and that’s true: there’s no doubt that at least some who were in favor of the Iraq invasion were far too sanguine in their predictions.

As for myself, although I favored the invasion, I considered it inherently risky and requiring a long occupation with a fairly heavy footprint and a lengthy time of violent jockeying for position in that country. That’s probably the natural pessimist in me, which in this case turned out to be correct.

Those who consider the country to be a chaotic failure today, however, are at least as unrealistic as those whom they criticize. The former are wrong because they expected it to be too easy. The latter are wrong because they demanded it.


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