Saturday, November 14, 2009

Can a PC nation defend itself?

In the United States, we have been living with political correctness for decades. As an outgrowth of Affirmative Action, it was seen as the logical extension for leveling the the racial playing field. The legally mandated inclusion of certain minority groups would be backed up by a psychological component of enforced group think. While Affirmative Action very starkly chose winners and losers for education, business and government, political correctness was suppose to force inclusion in a social sense. Those failing to toe this racial line of behavior were supposed to be ostracized. While this may have cowed the bigots and fostered a nascent inclusion, some else started to happen.

Tolerance and inclusion became deference. Instead of a level playing field, new justifications arose so that minorities should be placed in a superior position to others in school, business or government. Since to be called a racist publicy has become the 21st century equivalent of a scarlet letter, people would do any number of contortions mental or otherwise to avoid being labeled as such. While many have recognized this incredible distortion of a noble effort, the bill is here from this twisting of the American instinct for fairness. While many are unhappy with the fact that affirmative action has become a legacy for minorities, the cousin of Affirmative Action, political correctness has been revealed as threat much more damaging than some warping of the admissions process or government contract selection. We now bend over backwards to accommodate those who wish to destroy America and all she stands for. This has become crystal clear after the Ft. Hood shooting.

When Major Nidal Hassan, an Army psychiatrist massacred servicemen and women at Ft. Hood, it was a culmination of events in a chain of obvious signs of Jihadism, Terrorism and Anti-American feeling that had been going on for years. Political correctness or Minority favoritism, allowed this open sore of a person to not only work, but to advance in the military. Soliciting worshippers for Islam among patients, touting horrid punishments for non-believers and proclaiming sharia law over the U.S. Constitution were just some of the outward signs pooh poohed by those interested in avoiding being labelled a bigot, the now highest crime in America.
Is this an exaggeration?

Not according to General George Casey Jr. who said of the massacre "This terrible event would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty." So over this slaughter rises the saving grace that we are still marching forward under the banner of political correctness. In other words, all personnel should continue to allow any proto-jihadist full support as they climb the career Army ladder. Imagine if another extroverted jihadist mole assumes command of a nuclear bomber or sub. Can this only be fantasy?

Well, the guy sitting in the White House had no problem being on seminar panels with Bill Ayers, American Terrorist. That guy in the White House had no problem going to church with a guy like Reverend Wright saying essentially America got what it deserved on 9/11. Barack Obama had no problem with Van Jones, an adherent to the 9/11 "truthers" If I were head of the Al Qaeda propaganda department , I doubt I could come up with a better, more divisive fiction than the one that the U. S. government was complicit in 9/11. If Barrack Obama had no problem with these figures actively working to break down America, would appointing some openly jihadist mole to a position of power in the name of political correctness be so much of a stretch?

On the more mundane level, Barrack Obama himself was recipient are tremendous recipient of the PC largess. How many people voted for Obama simply to prove they weren't a racist? Obama cleverly played the race card using surrogates in the primary and when McCain wouldn't stoop to the level of using racism, Obama played the race card himself. And it worked. After Obama was inaugurated, how many critics of the president were labeled "racist"? The administration and their parasites slapped every single dissent with that label. We can expect this label to appear again in 2010 and 2012.

If PC games were only confined to who runs the country, this land might be able to survive, but when it directly affects how we stop our enemies, the life of the republic is in jeopardy. Ponder this: did the immense growth through technology of asymmetrical threats exist even twenty years ago? Did the ubiquity and power of computer involved personal technologies exist even fifteen years ago? Did the ease of logistical coordination between disparate and far flung actors exist even a decade ago? We cannot afford any blind spots due to self-censorship, submissiveness or capitulation to ideas that threaten liberty or life. Individuals have a myriad of ways to attack slow Nation-state actors with enormous, cumbersome and docile bureaucracies. All it takes is the will, the increasingly portable technology and a handful of fanatics, sometimes only one.

The jihadist Major Hassan was conversing via email with an Al Qaeda imam in Yemen, but according to the gun shy PC Department of Defense investigators this was "research" One of Hassan's classmates at Uniformed Services University summed up the motivation. "The issue here is that there's a political correctness climate in the military. They don't want to say anything because it would be considered questioning somebody religious beliefs, or they're afraid of an equal opportunity lawsuit." So said Lt. Col. Val Finnell. So the PC enablers have to make up reason, plausible sounding ones, why Major Hassan got to remain in the Army. According to the AP sources at Walter Reed hospital " . . . some doctors and staff were concerned their unfamiliarity with the Muslim faith would lead them to unfairly single out Hassan's behaviour." In other words, they felt themselves to be insensitive bigots when it came to Islam. Better to dodge this guy, and hope you don't get sued for asking him if he'd like a baloney sandwich from the deli.

Even when the term fanatic seemed just around the corner, Hassan's coworkers could not bring themselves to call him the name. As one unnamed staffer at Walter Reed said " . . . he embraced his religion with such intensity that one wondered whether he could have suffered from a form of 'delusion.' " Whoever this dope was, he has been so PC programmed, he wouldn't realize Hassan or any other jihadist was a threat until the round is in the chamber and the trigger is being squeezed. Then again this was in a story in the Washington Post entitled "Army sought ways to channel Hassan's absorption with Islam." Amazing as the embrace of this therapeutic psychobabble is, what's more shocking now is that this psycho drivel is widely accepted at the highest levels of our society.

We can now assume the beltway crowd is completely inert when it comes to spotting the enemies here. The Army high command (Casey), the bureaucracy (Walter Reed, DOD) and the press (Washington Post) are all smugly ensconced in the PC blind spot. Speaking of blind spots, the White House has asked that Congress to slow down investigating Hassan and his attack. Why bother trying to track down possible co-conspirators or government blunders? After all, Major Hassan's Al Qeada imam in Yemen said he acted alone. He seems PC enough.

To have others investigating not firmly under the thumb of the Executive branch might muss things up. And the President is now an experienced foot dragger, so why not push this out until there's some other event to distract attention. Why bother committing all the resources of the government to investigating the first Jihadist attack on America since 9/11? After all, we had the FBI said this was not being looked at as terrorism, right after the attack. The attacker opens fire screaming the jihadist war cry "Allu Akbar!" and it's not Islamic terrorism? Please ignore that man screaming "God is Great" unless he blows your head off. Then we're off to mourning mode replete with more odes to political correctness like "our diversity is our strength." In this instance, our "strength" was a police officer pumping multiple rounds into a still-firing fanatic. Sanctimonious homilies are a tissue thin shield against terrorists.

The enemies of America are not stupid. There are very capable of learning lessons and applying them. The attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 failed, but the lessons of that failure paved the way to the horrendous massacre that was 9/11. They are watching and learning. Whether planned directly by Al Qaeada or not, this Ft. Hood slaughter enabled by a PC blind spot will be understood and filed away. Perhaps, it will give action to another plot immediately. Maybe it will give rise to another long term plot just as deadly as 9/11. Either way, a new weakness has been shown. They know it now, but the question is: do we know it? Will we ever know it?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Embrace the Powell Doctrine

After returning from his minor flop of a trip to Asia, Barrack Obama has convened yet another strategy meeting on Afghanistan. Of course, part of the politics of this empty trip seems to have been to delay supporting the troops again. Perhaps, Rham Emannuel counseled that sending reinforcements now would undermine Democratic nerve on the health care bill. Who knows? One thing we do know the the Chinese pulling the plug on the Obama's nationwide town hall was an embarrassment plain and simple. And what trip would be complete without a bow or two. The bow to the Japanese emperor proves one thing is improving in the Obama Administration. The presidents' bowing is getting much better. He really has the bend down pat. Though in the interest of variety, next time the president might curtsy, just to show he's versed in other ways of showing submission before a king or dictator.

Moving from the vapid Asia trip onto an issue the President should have addressed four months ago, Afghanistan continues to fester. Honest Americans can debate this war in all of its aspects, but the Taliban are still there, Pakistan is still tottering and Bin Laden is still on the lam. From this point of view, the question is not whether, but how many troops should go. Concurrently, the President should seriously enlarge the Army. Obama promised to do so already, but there is scant evidence he is following through on this pledge. More troops are needed in Afghanistan and a larger Army is needed so that troops don't have to spread thin throughout the world and redeployed over and over again in combat theaters. No question these are hard decisions. However, when American troops need reinforcements, the job of the President is to call for those troops, not sight see on the great Wall of China. The mixed up priorities of this novice executive had better straighten out and fast.

Apart from the blundering manner this decision is being reached, the leaked number seems completely inadequate. Multiple news reports place the number of troops being committed in the 30,000 to 40,000 range. While nobody here is a general, we can draw some basic conclusions. Land wars in Asia are expensive in every way. Going in with few troops or a light footprint is a recipe for losing, as Iraq certainly proved. With regard to Afghanistan vis a vis Iraq, it is much larger, much more mountainous and has almost no government outside of Kabul. Iraq required 150,000 troops. Afghanistan looks like it needs 250,000 to 300,000 troops, allies included. If Obama looks to go with a lighter surge than requested, say around 40,000, he'll still be about 150,000 short. Our NATO allies perhaps could bump up to 50,000, but to expect more than 20,000 or 30,000 capable Afghani troops seems a stretch, at least for a year or two. Do the math. We're still short 75,000 to 100,000 troops. With highly porous borders with Pakistan and Iran, even 300,000 may be too small a force.

Obviously, we, and even the generals, can only make educated guesses as to the size of the force truly needed. We can however have an approach that seeks total victory. What would comprise total victory? First criteria would be a stable democratic central government. Next, would be secure control of the border and interior of the country. Vanquishment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. would be necessary for victory as well. At this stage, all these pose serious challenges, but first secure control of the country must be established before any democratic or governmental progress can occur. While General McCrystal seems to have an idea as to what to do on the ground, the U.S. government needs an overall strategy. As it happens there is one that might give some insight and direction to a policy that seems confused.

Here's one. The strategy is called overwhelming force. Who, you ask, is credited with such an idea? The man would be Obama supporter, Colin Powell. Overwhelming force or the Powell Doctrine at war might be summarized asking you to think of the size of the force you need, then double or better triple it. This constitutes overwhelming force. This is our modern version of the Von Clausewitz idea of using more force than your enemy. However, this is not some lab theory. The Powell Doctrine was a large part of the United States winning the first Gulf War. The surge in Iraq was another success in a very similar vein. In this case, that means Obama should commit at least 80,000 to 120,000 troops to overwhelm the enemy. This provides the Karzai regime time and security to plug the holes in leaky Afghan nation state. Since Colin Powell publicly endorsed Barrack Obama during the campaign, he should be happy fill in this rather uncertain, shallow president on the merits of such a strategy.

As said before, this is a President that promised us a larger army. Now that we need it, we've started to hear unnamed officials say the military can't provide more than 30,000 additional troops at this time. This is war. The president should not permit lolly gagging in logistics or anywhere else. This piecemeal approach is what doomed us in Vietnam and almost lost Iraq. We need a heavy footprint or none at all. It does little good to let understrength troops get shot at so we can crow at some news conference we are doing something. Obama needs to embrace the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force, so we can win this war in the shortest time possible and go home. Overwhelming force is the surest, quickest route to victory, if that is actually our goal.