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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

CNN Snipervision 

There has been some excellent commentary and discussion of CNN's controversial decision to run enemy propaganda films depicting islamist insurgents targetting and shooting American military personnel. I read some of Michelle Malkin's commentary, for instance, and agree that the films are repugnant stuff.

However, I would also note that it makes me want to kill Islamist insurgents in Iraq even more (yes, Virginia, this is possible). And I would bet a dollar that there are many (most?) Americans who are similarly motivated to burn down bloody Baghdad already. In fact, my thinking is evolving in a downright William Tecumseh Sherman-ish type fashion. It certainly does not in the least make me feel less warlike. On the contrary, it makes me much more bloodthirsty. As Sherman said, "war is cruelty." And imposing cruelty upon some of these murderous sharia-bats seems like a good call to me.

This thought process led me to a conclusion which I think points up something of a double standard, or similar problem. There are those pundits who have condemned the media for suppressing video of 9/11 for instance, because that film is perceived to motivate warlike emotion. If so, it strikes me that condemning CNN for running Enemy Snipervision seems a modest departure, ahem, from that line of thinking. And this from people who I respect and admire. These are the same folks who said that CNN didn't run enough film of Haifa getting missiled in comparion with video of Lebanon getting bombed.

Look, I understand the impetus to condemn CNN -- running enemy propaganda films which show them killing us, and don't show us killing them, seems to be out of balance with reality, and paint the losers as winners. It is aggravating at a minimum, personally hurtful to the victims and crass. On the other hand, I think an unintended effect from the anti-victory crowd at CNN is to really piss Americans off (just like watching film of planes flying into buildings) and motivate us to support killing the enemy much more aggressively than we are today. Personally, if I was a General Sherman type, I would flatten Sadr City -- or something similar to what we did to Fallujah after the last November election related delay. And I would repeat that whenever these militias decided they wanted to stick their heads up.

Last point: if the Iraqi government -- freely elected -- is dumb enough to let these militias operate, then we should pull back from Baghdad and let the gangs kill each other. When the Iraqi military goes in to suppress the activity, a couple of our guys go with them. But let's not just walk around getting shot at. If we're in there, let's smash heads already.

19 Comments:

By Anonymous davod, at Wed Oct 25, 07:17:00 PM:

I agree that the sniper videos cause the opposite reaction to that intended. I also think that the reason the MSM did not put on 9/11 videos of the WTC was because it would create the same feelings of anger and need to strike back.

Look to CNN taking the videos off to "for the sake of the dependents".  

By Blogger K. Pablo, at Wed Oct 25, 07:24:00 PM:

OTOH, the people who are most likely to be pissed off by this footage are NOT likely to be CNN watchers. Therefore, conservative pundits can be given a pass for raising hell about this, in order to draw the attention of those likely pissed off.

The effect on CNN's audience, an effete bunch who believe CNN and the Beeb are staffed with Objective Journalists, is no doubt to galvanize cowardice. Dig in for the multigenerational war, y'all.  

By Anonymous davod, at Wed Oct 25, 07:51:00 PM:

k. Pablo:

There are still lots of people hostage to CNN while travelling. The bigger problem with CNN is that they expose the propoganda to regular people all over the world.

However, when faced with lemons it is better to make lemonade. We will never get rid of CNN. Foster the idea that their methodolgy has backfired and we may get rid of the videos.  

By Anonymous Howard in Boston, at Wed Oct 25, 11:04:00 PM:

CP,

I agree with you that these videos piss me off and make me want to go Sherman rather than Chamberlain on Iraq.

On the other hand, I think we'd need to be seriously committed to such an approach... I wasn't around at the time, but my understanding is that we certainly destroyed a lot of stuff in Vietnam and that wasn't quite the resounding victory we would've liked. Also, it's very hard to square the "flatten Sadr City" idea with the "free, democratic Iraq" everyone-holds-hands-and-sings-while-voting-in-free-elections rhetoric.

I wish Sherman represented a realistic option but I have trouble seeing how we'd be able to act in this fashion as a nation.  

By Blogger DEC, at Thu Oct 26, 02:40:00 AM:

Arabs do not solve problems quickly. Their governments take two years to negotiate a $2 million contract for spare parts.

And as a retired Egyptian general once told me when he discussed his experience during the Six-Day War in 1967, "The Israeli tanks were approaching us, and two of my men were in a foxhole arguing over who would shoot the machinegun."

You want to end the war in Iraq quickly? Make a deal with Saddam. At this point he is probably quite willing to become America's new "best friend." This whole Wilsonian democracy "crusade" was an after-the-fact justification for an ignorant mistake, anyway.

You have taught the Arabs and other Muslims a lesson. Knock over two American buildings and America will knock over two of your countries and your hell on earth will still continue. They will think carefully before they allow their Muslim "deviants" to get out of control again.

The way to beat them is to let them win.  

By Blogger Colin, at Thu Oct 26, 02:43:00 AM:

Sherman gets a bad rap. The original invasion was much more Shermanesque, though the proximate model was probably Patton by way of Gulf War I. What you're really asking for is some firepower-enhanced version of Grant, the meat-grinder but with most of the meat coming from the other side. Or maybe what you're thinking about is more like some imperial Roman, British, or for that matter - hate to say it but it must be said - German (Nazi) or Japanese punishment of the recalcitrant inferiors. We're not good at that kind of thing at all. When we've tried it, it's been haphazard and ineffective. It tends to lead to war crimes trials rather than to victory.

Until and unless our survival really has been put to the test - and 3,000 civilians and 3,000 soldiers doesn't come close - we'll instead continue to embrace fractional measures. The results will be muddled and messy, but may evolve over time to something we can continue to live with. If not, there will be plenty of opportunity to call forth slaughter and destruction - and perhaps, in the end, a truly Shermanesque response to the world conflict. In the current situation, that would be something like a march to the Iranian nuclear facilities by way of the oil fields - which is even less likely than the 500,000 troops calls for by the unhappy sergeant in Best of the Web today.  

By Anonymous BIRD OF PARIDISE, at Thu Oct 26, 10:36:00 AM:

Another reason why we should quit watching CNN the Communist News Network i mean CNN is just about the worse of them all and that gose for BIG BAD WOLF BLITZER and you should know that TED TURNER is the owner of CNN  

By Anonymous Kenneth, at Thu Oct 26, 12:41:00 PM:

The Iraqi gov't is a coalition of various parties, and the Shia militias control several of these parties. The gov't tolerates, and even provides cover for the militias because the militias control the gov't. That's why the US military 'forgot" to notify the Iraqi gov't of the recent raid on Mookie Sadr's headquarters.  

By Anonymous PLuto's Dad, at Thu Oct 26, 02:05:00 PM:

I was wondering the same thing, can I feel one way about one instance, but differently about another instance. If I am mad about CNN wanting to have it both ways, then I should not try to either.

I think in the end it comes down to the motivation that I am angry about. They refuse to show deaths when it would galvanize America, or make us angry. They refuse to show cartoon drawings, but instead describe only the worst ones. But they are more than willing to show deaths in Katrina (remember when they almost sued), the Tsunami a few years ago, and now this. Anything to make the current Administration look bad.

The news is not important to them, it's not journalism or any high degree of morals that motivates CNN. It's any chance they have to stick it to the West. Which is why they themselves are hypocritical when they say some things are meant for the news, but then pretend to take the high road with other images. I mean, what is worse taste, a cartoon of an arab protecting his flock, or a man being killed? CNN thinks the former, as long as it is an American dying.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Oct 26, 09:35:00 PM:

You say some well reasoned things DEC, but I've gotta call horse-shit here.

"You want to end the war in Iraq quickly? Make a deal with Saddam. At this point he is probably quite willing to become America's new "best friend."

Aside from being a morally bankrupt option, (morality doesn't matter so much to some people in international relations, like the Russians, or me) it would be terribly counterproductive on so many levels I can't begin to contemplate. Not to mention that to reinstall Saddam the current Iraqi government would have to be toppled, again, and the Shi'i militias destroyed, (and I mean wiped out in massive bloodletting... you ought to know how much they hate Saddam) and a police state re-established. Absolutely impossible.

"They will think carefully before they allow their Muslim "deviants" to get out of control again."

What, you think that they require the permission of some central Muslim council somewhere, like a secret Vatican strike force? These are individually motivated holy warriors. They're already dedicated to the violent overthrow of most of their own governments; i.e. they already are not 'allowed' to do the things that they do. Egypt, Saudi, Syria, and Algeria especially have all had or have troubles with violent Islamists.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Oct 27, 12:19:00 AM:

Dawnfire82 said: "...you think that they require the permission of some central Muslim council somewhere..."

You notice protests in a Muslim country seldom are about issues inside that country. They usually are about things outside the borders of that country (Dutch cartoons, Pope's speech, etc.). Why do you think that is?

No, there's no council. But don't underestimate the power of "influential families" to control the agendas in Muslim countries and to keep problems from their own doorsteps.

Yes, Egypt and Algeria, in particular, have had serious problems with Muslim extremists. The terrorist problems in those countries were much worse 10 years ago. So somebody has done something effective.

In the case of Saddam, I'm flexible. Whatever works best is fine with me. (Allowing more American troops to die while the Iraqis try to get their act together is not fine with me. I don't care about the folks on the other side. Somebody else can worry about them. But I do have a soft spot for the Kurds. I would go out of my way to help them.)  

By Blogger rosignol, at Fri Oct 27, 09:30:00 AM:

And I would bet a dollar that there are many (most?) Americans who are similarly motivated to burn down bloody Baghdad already. In fact, my thinking is evolving in a downright William Tecumseh Sherman-ish type fashion.


My thinking runs more along the lines of Curtis LeMay-ish. Why give the jihadis infantry to shoot at? IEDs are the insurgents' weapon of choice, and those are going to be totally ineffective against B-52s.

I was hoping that the locals in Iraq would help us distinguish between the jihadis and the civilians, and allow US forces to excise the insurgency more-or-less surgically, with minimal damage to iraqi society.

That is apparently not the case. The only part of Iraq that seems to have figured it out is the Kurdish zone.

Of course, a big part of the problem is Iran. We should have shot that al-Sadr schmuck in the first month of the occupation. Now he's got a private army and is enough of a player that he's a part of the government.

A government that depends on an Iranian puppet is not going to last.  

By Blogger K. Pablo, at Fri Oct 27, 09:32:00 AM:

DEC, the Saddam thing is definitely foolish. Our real friends in the region, the Kurds (maybe I should say onlyfriends, maybe I could say last friends) are not likely to look upon this as anything but treachery.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Oct 27, 10:14:00 AM:

K. Pablo: "DEC, the Saddam thing is definitely foolish."

Okay. Give me a better option. Simply pull out? Get the North Koreans to take over for cost plus ten percent?

As career Special Forces guys joked during the Vietnam War, "The only problem with the Vietnam War is that we are on the wrong side." They were referring to the quality of the fighting men, not to political ideology.

The War in Iraq is having an incredibly negative impact on the U.S. military (extended tours, multiple tours, etc.). The war is ruining the lives of a lot of fine American men and women (not to mention equipment). The war is destroying marriages and keeping American children from parents. (A survey by Stars and Stipes indicated that a large percentage of America's troops want to leave the country.)

And what will you accomplish by allowing thousands of additional Americans to die? Do you think one fine morning the entire situation will change? The situation may change in a generation, perhaps, but not not anytime soon.

Two old sayings:

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

You are not your brother's keeper.

It is time for Plan B.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Oct 27, 02:49:00 PM:

Rosignol said: "IEDs are the insurgents' weapon of choice, and those are going to be totally ineffective against B-52s."

Yes, all-out warfare is a theoretical option. But neither the politicians nor the bureaucrats in Washington will consider it because they worry about their personal liability for war crimes.  

By Blogger K. Pablo, at Fri Oct 27, 05:05:00 PM:

DEC, I have blogged about alternatives
="http://otolathe.blogspot.com/2006/08/what-to-do-now-in-iraq.html#links">starting in about August
and sketched out a larger regional approach in subsequent posts. Yes, they are cursory outlines, but they don't involve treachery to any of our allies.

One old saying: keep your eye on the ball.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Oct 27, 06:32:00 PM:

Thanks for the link, K. Pablo.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri Oct 27, 06:46:00 PM:

"The War in Iraq is having an incredibly negative impact on the U.S. military (extended tours, multiple tours, etc.). The war is ruining the lives of a lot of fine American men and women (not to mention equipment). The war is destroying marriages and keeping American children from parents. (A survey by Stars and Stipes indicated that a large percentage of America's troops want to leave the country.)

I had this to say to a friend of mine today at lunch, more or less verbatim. It seems appropriate.

"Soldiers' lives are a form of currency used by nations to accomplish international objectives. Sometimes domestic ones, but thankfully not here in America.

Some countries, like the US, put a very high value on their currency and go out of their way to get the best deal that they can. But they are still currency. If we have to spend the lives of 50,000 troops to take Okinawa, so be it. If we can do it for less, we will.

Soldiers are tools used to accomplish goals in the national interest. That's all. We don't sign up for a cause. We sign up for the country. If I'm ordered to invade fucking Canada, then I'll conquer Canada."

I don't think that there's a single soldier (and certainly not anyone I know) now who has not enlisted or reenlisted since this country was at war. We're not victims, we're not poor little pawns manipulated against our wills; we're soldiers.

"And what will you accomplish by allowing thousands of additional Americans to die? Do you think one fine morning the entire situation will change? The situation may change in a generation, perhaps, but not not anytime soon."

You seem to imply that if an overnight change is impossible then why undertake the endeavor in the first place? The situation will not change, even in a generation, if nothing is done to make it change. That's what we are working for. Geo-politics is not a drive-through.

And we are not 'allowed to die.' I hate that phrase. We fight, and we are killed. It happens, and we all know the risks when we enlist. Speaking of, the re-enlistment rates now are among the highest (if not THE highest) ever. In the history of the Army. So apparently, we're not all that bothered by our extended, multiple tours away from our families.

By the way, "You are not your brother's keeper" is not a proverb. It is actually, "Am I my brother's keeper?" and is attributed to Cain after he murdered his brother Abel and pled ignorance as to his location.

Oddly, it still kind of fits.

'Religious revolution and warfare? Shi'ite theocracy? Supreme Leader Al-Sadr? Iranian puppet state? I didn't know anything like that would happen in Iraq if we abandoned them. Am I my brother's keeper?'  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Oct 27, 08:26:00 PM:

Re: Brother's keeper

I know the Bible, Dawnfire82. I also can use a popular rephrasing of it from my mother's generation. That is one of the things you're fighting for, remember?

In addition, I know the role of a soldier, having served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

But I enjoyed reading your comment--as I always do.  

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