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4:20PM

America: the great economic rule-set exporter

"Global Markets Await Action by U.S. Fed: Other Central Banks Will Face Pressure to Follow Suit on Rates; Borrowing Costs to Feel Impact," by Craig Karmin et. al, Wall Street Journal, 30 June, p. C1.


“Human Rights Abuses Worldwide Are Held to Fall Under U.S. Courts: Foreigners Can File Suits, Justices Rule,” by Linda Greenhouse, New York Times, 30 June, p. A19.


George Magnus, chief economist of the investment division at UBS AG in London:

“In a globalized world economy, U.S. interest rates and the Fed sit at the heart of the system . . . Japanese, Chinese, British and Italian companies and governments raise and use capital in U.S. dollars as well as their own currency.”
Why is this? The article’s authors put it succinctly:
“That powerful and continuing response by the world’s securities markets and central planners underscores the role the U.S. plays in the global economy, where the dollar acts as the world’s reserve currency, its capital markets are the widest and deepest, and the American consumer is the prized target across the planet.”
That is the power that makes the world go round; that is how the biggest economic rules get set.


But it’s more than that, because not only does our legal system set a serious standard for the planet, it allows that outside world to utilize our own court system against us, thus greatly extending the pool of people who can participate in and experience U.S. justice.


You make think this is some new law made especially to manage globalization. It is not. The law that extends this participation to foreigners is 215 years old.


That is how long we’ve been doing this globalization thing.

3:21PM

Integration inside the Core is the Old money into the New markets

“Gas and Oil Bring Japanese Money to Russia’s Far East,” by James Brooke, New York Times, 30 June, p. W1.


“Developers Enter India Market—Indirectly: Ownership Restrictions Force Foreign Companies To Settle for Side Roles,” by Ray A. Smith, Wall Street Journal, 30 June, p. B6.


What defines the integration of the New Core is the willingness of Old Core economies to put serious amounts of long-term investment into these economies. It is not easy for the most part, but as that money comes in, it changes these countries’ legal and economic and political rule-sets from within.


Peace through trade? More like peace through equity ownership.


Oh, and notice how all these Core powers possess nukes, which is why I’m not—as I always like to remind—the second coming of Norman Angell.

2:23PM

The classic sad Gap story: begging the dictators to let the aid in

“Powell to Press Sudan to Ease the War for Aid in Darfur,” by Christopher Marquis, New York Times, 30 June, p. A3.


Exhibit A for why we need a Core-wide understanding on an A-to-Z rule set on how to process politically bankrupt states: sweet-talking the killers to let us save some of the hostages to their malevolent use of power in some disconnected country. This leadership should not be in power.


There is enough military power in the Gap to perform this act of humanity. There are enough peacekeepers to manage what comes next. There is enough aid and enough NGOs and PVOs out there to work the rehab issue.


All that is missing is the will to cooperate. All that is missing the avowed desire to shrink the Gap.


Militaries around the Core know what has to be done. Business communities around the Core know what has to be done.


What we lack is the political leadership with the courage and the skill and the imagination and the will to actually pull it off.


We should all sleep better tonight. U.S. imperial power will not touch the killers in Sudan, so the killing will continue.


Ah . . . when dark-skinned people fall dead in a forest far, far away and nobody is there to hear them drop, is there really any sound?


Close your eyes and I’m sure you can hear it.


[webmaster's note: see also White House searches for words on Sudan

2:09AM

One more day, two more rooms, plenty of converts

Dateline: SWA flight from BWI to Providence, 29 June 2004


I always knew as a kid growing up that I wanted a job where global headlines mattered to me, meaning I knew I wanted to work in a field where, if I picked up the paper and saw big things happening all over the world, then my day, my job, and my career would be somehow affected. Call it a sort of career connectivity; I simply enjoy that sense that everything matters.


I guess the worst sort of career for me would have been the opposite track, or a job in which no matter what happened around the world, nothing really would change for me in my work day.


The last few days have clearly given me that sense of big changes around the dial, and being in DC for the last three days gives you that weird sense of perspective, because this is a town that eats, breathes, and sleeps this stuff. I love briefing in DC because I can go at full speed, knowing that I donít need to explain the references, or asides, or acronyms (something I sought assiduously to do when CSPAN taped me). Since I can go at full speed, I can add in more insider humor, plus I donít have to cut back on the number of slides, and itís more funófranklyónot to have to self-edit or cut back on the material.


Today I gave two briefs. First one at Rayburn House Office Building involved about 25 House staffers from all over the country and both sides of the aisle. Staffers are an interesting bunch: pure junkies who love the work because they sure donít do it for the money or the hours (which are small and long, respectively). I was scheduled to go for 90 minutes, went two hours solid and didnít lose a soul. Very solid feedback, plus a request to consider briefing a significant number of House members the next time Iím in town. Oh, and would my publisher consider providing 435 ìreview copiesî gratis?


Hmmm. Not my call. I sure as hell know I donít have enough money to swing that.


Second brief is the biweekly brown bag at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Not surprisingly, I sense that hardly anybody in the room is from senior staff, since they all look so young. But eager young minds (Iím assuming the junior staff and interns) is just fine. About 40 in all for about an hour-fifty. At the end, an offer to join forces in studying postwar security generation issues. My host Frederick Barton, a senior project director with years in postconflict studies, describes the brief as ìwonderfully subversiveî and something he wants to pursue and expand.


Over the two days, itís four briefs in about 30 hours, with roughly 9 hours of talking in front of about 350 audience members. My guess is that Iíve generated at least 8 significant future invitations. I will be singing ìI canít get no satisfactionî when Iím 65.


The catch from Monday and Tuesday:


Rule set resets in the Global War on Terrorism


ìU.S. Hands Authority To Iraq Two Days Early: Fear of Attacks Hastens Move; Interim Leaders Assume Power,î by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post, 29 June, p. A1.


ìIraqís New History: Only Iraqis can reclaim their country from the purveyors of terror,î by Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal, 29 June, p. A14.


ìHigh Court Backs Detaineesí Right to Challenge U.S.: In a Blow to Bush Policy, Ruling Says Terror Suspects Are Entitled to Hearings,î by Robert S. Greenberger and Jess Bravin, WSJ, 29 June, p. A1.


ì14 Afghans Are Killed for Registering to Vote: Taliban suspected of killings in a bid to scuttle elections,î David Rohde, New York Times, 28 June, p. A3.


ìU.S. Resumes Ties With Libya: Relations Renewed After 24 Years,î by Peter Slevin, WP, 29 June, p. A15.


Rule-set resets in the global economy


ìPutin Wins Business Fans: Russian Leaderís Firmness Makes Multinationals Confident,î by Gregory L. White, WSJ, 28 June, p. A9.


ìOutsourcing Storm Benefits India: U.S. Debate Creates Buzz For High-Tech Bangalore; Accenture, Others Lured,î by Jay Solomon, WSJ, 28 June, p. A3.


ìChina Overtakes U.S. as Magnet For Foreign Direct Investment: Survey Finds Corporations Are Increasingly Attracted To Emerging Economies,î by Michael R. Sesit, WSJ, 28 June, p. A2.


The coming political reset in American politics?


ìFirst Ripple of a Political Tidal Wave: Michael Moore bids to become the Democratsí answer to Rush Limbaugh,î by E.J. Dionne, Jr., WP, 29 June, p. A23.


ìChinks Appears in Bushís Business Armor: Kerry, Sensing Opening, Tries to Gain Political Capital by Courting Corporate America,î by Jackie Calmes, WSJ, 29 June, p. A4.


Todayís yin and yang on China


ìEU Rejects Chinaís ëMarket Economyí Request,î by Dow Jones Newswire, WSJ, 29 June, p. A12.


ìIn China, Turf Battle Rages: Foreign Rivals Challenge Local Giants as Landscape Changes,î by Charles Hutzler, WSJ, 29 June, p. A12.


ìTortured Logistics Take Toll on Growth: Help for Chinaís creaky transport system is likely to come from foreign companies,î by Jane Lanhee Lee, WSJ, 29 June, p. A12.

12:07AM

Rule set resets in the Global War on Terrorism

ìU.S. Hands Authority To Iraq Two Days Early: Fear of Attacks Hastens Move; Interim Leaders Assume Power,î by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post, 29 June, p. A1.


ìIraqís New History: Only Iraqis can reclaim their country from the purveyors of terror,î by Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal, 29 June, p. A14.


ìHigh Court Backs Detaineesí Right to Challenge U.S.: In a Blow to Bush Policy, Ruling Says Terror Suspects Are Entitled to Hearings,î by Robert S. Greenberger and Jess Bravin, WSJ, 29 June, p. A1.


ì14 Afghans Are Killed for Registering to Vote: Taliban suspected of killings in a bid to scuttle elections,î David Rohde, New York Times, 28 June, p. A3.


ìU.S. Resumes Ties With Libya: Relations Renewed After 24 Years,î by Peter Slevin, WP, 29 June, p. A15.


The U.S. slips the reins of power into the hands of Iraqi leaders, and a new rule set is born in the Middle Eastóan evil regime decapitated and a new state resurrected by an outside coalition of states led by the United States. What legacies does this create? In my mind, the good ones will win out over time, and the bad ones will only lead to further tumult in the regionóalso to the Coreís advantage. The only that I am certain will not work to ouróand the regionís ultimateóadvantage is things staying exactly as the same as before. By going into Iraq a lot will necessarily change in that regionóout of hatred for us and what weíre trying to do, out of fear of what we might yet do, and out of the hope that this time real reform may stick.


Iraqis will have to fight for their own state in the end, and the enemies of this fledgling state know that time is not on their side, so they might as well go for broke.


These are the words of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi cited in Ajamiís op-ed:

ìAmerica is being bloodied in Iraq but has no intention of leaving, no matter the bloodletting among its own soldiers. It is looking to a near future, when it remains safe in its bases, while handing over control to a bastard government with an army and a police force . . . There is no doubt that our field of movement is shrinking and our future looks more forbidding by the day.î
This is why Zarqawi puts it all on the line: because the alternative is ìpacking our bags and looking for a new field of battle, as has been the case in other campaigns of jihad, because our enemy grows stronger with each passing day.î


Zarqawi believes that enemy is the United States, but he is underestimating his foe. It is really the spread of globalization, a far more powerful and relentless opponent.


Other rule sets being adjusted in this global war on terrorism: the Supreme Court saying that even terrorist suspects have rights, meaning the GWOT involves the extension of rules or its accomplishes nothing at all.


Why? Because the rules matter. They matter when registering to vote is enough to get you killed. Amazing huh? Never happened here, did it?


Again, there is nothing inside the Gap that we can locate within ourselves, our past, our memories, which makes this effort not just a sacrifice for the sake of others, but a revalidation of who were are as a society.


Deals along the way? You bet. Some stinky? As far as Iím concerned, too many are way too stinky, like pretending Qaddafi is back among the respectable. But you pick your battles, you set your schedule, you plot for success at every earliest tipping point, meaning thereís a time for everything and everyone.

11:01PM

Rule-set resets in the global economy

ìPutin Wins Business Fans: Russian Leaderís Firmness Makes Multinationals Confident,î by Gregory L. White, Wall Street Journal, 28 June, p. A9.


ìOutsourcing Storm Benefits India: U.S. Debate Creates Buzz For High-Tech Bangalore; Accenture, Others Lured,î by Jay Solomon, WSJ, 28 June, p. A3.


ìChina Overtakes U.S. as Magnet For Foreign Direct Investment: Survey Finds Corporations Are Increasingly Attracted To Emerging Economies,î by Michael R. Sesit, WSJ, 28 June, p. A2.


A trio of stories that tell us how much change has occurred in the last few years. Russiaís Putin winning over international business, something many Russian experts said wouldnít possibly occur for years beyond this date because ìrobber baron capitalismî was totally out of control. And yet this progress is being made, and this new pillar of the New Core stands taller with each year.


Ditto for India, which is simply too good a trade partner for the U.S. to ever turn away from, no matter the latest fad of ìfear factoringî in the media. Year after year, America is the worldís biggest target of FDI, meaning we insource jobs more than anyone else, even as we outsource them. And there are plenty of good estimates that say we come out on top.


But wait a tick! China passes the U.S. as the worldís biggest target of FDI last year! Absolutely amazing! More signs of a changing global economy order. More signs of new rule sets emerging.

10:59PM

The coming political reset in American politics?

ìFirst Ripple of a Political Tidal Wave: Michael Moore bids to become the Democratsí answer to Rush Limbaugh,î by E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post, 29 June, p. A23.


ìChinks Appears in Bushís Business Armor: Kerry, Sensing Opening, Tries to Gain Political Capital by Courting Corporate America,î by Jackie Calmes, Wall Street Journal, 29 June, p. A4.


Dionne makes the case that the emerging Democratic push for the White House is going to swell just like the í94 Republican sweep into both houses of Congress. He paints Michael Mooreís phenomenal success with ìFahrenheit 9/11î in the same light as others did Rush Limbaughís explosion on the national political scene those many years ago.


The key evidence to Dionne: ìIn late August 2002, at the beginning of the buildup to the Iraq war, a Pew Research Center poll found that only 37 percent of Americans felt Bush had laid out a case for military action.î


In the end, it may be the story that Bush did not tell effectively about this war that will do his presidency in.


Meanwhile, signs abound that the business community is seriously considering Kerry. When that happened with Clinton back in 1992, and I was hearing that via my brother and others on Wall Street, I knew he had a serious chance to win.


But what is Kerryís good story? Other than Bush had told bad ones?

9:57PM

Todayís yin and yang on China

ìEU Rejects Chinaís ëMarket Economyí Request,î by Dow Jones Newswire, Wall Street Journal, 29 June, p. A12.


ìIn China, Turf Battle Rages: Foreign Rivals Challenge Local Giants as Landscape Changes,î by Charles Hutzler, WSJ, 29 June, p. A12.


ìTortured Logistics Take Toll on Growth: Help for Chinaís creaky transport system is likely to come from foreign companies,î by Jane Lanhee Lee, WSJ, 29 June, p. A12.


Europe says, like the U.S., that they havenít seen enough yet from China to call it a ìmarket economy.î But that judgment is coming, itís just a question of time. You canít be the worldís #1 target of FDI and remain a non-market economy for long.


Another good example of that marketization of China coming full circle? When the Chinese Communist Party picks Dell for its order of several hundred new PCs, preferring it to the reigning domestic producer. Cripes!


But what really pushes China fastest down the pathway of more complete marketization is simply the logistics of moving all that commerce across a country roughly the size of the continental U.S. Again, back to the Decalogue: infrastructure determines all. For China to make the infrastructure happen, it will need foreign expertise aplenty, but foreign investment funds even more.

7:53PM

A weird time to be working for the government

Dateline: Crown Plaza, Crystal City, Arlington VA, 28 June 2004

End of a long day. Started with 3&1/4 hour brief to new US Air Force class of one-star generals, then segued to 2&1/2 hour brief to the Secretary of Defenseís Corporate Fellows Program (a best and brightest group of officers sent to corporate America for a year to learn about the world outside the Pentagon). Day ends with a dinner meeting with some people who are offering me the possibility of a new home for this site that would leverage their next-generation capabilities on the web.


Meanwhile, itís getting hard not to pick up the palpable sense, both here in DC and around the country, that Bush could well be going down in this election. Inside the Beltway, the State Department honors diplomats who openly challenged the White House on its foreign policies decision in Iraq over the past year (ìDiplomats Honored For Dissent: Envoys Challenged Bush Foreign Policy,î by Peter Slevin, Washington Post, 28 June, p. A19), while the largest federal employees union announces its endorsement of Kerry (ìFederal Employeesí Union Endorses Kerry,î by Christopher Lee, Washington Post, 28 June, p. A19). Outside the Beltway, Michael Mooreís ìFahrenheit 9/11î scores the highest box-office total ever for a documentary film in its first weekend, doing some serious business in so-called red states, or those historically considered in the Bush camp (ìThe Political ëFahrenheití Sets Record At Box Office,î by Sharon Waxman, New York Times, 28 June, p. B1). Beyond the borders of this country, the experience in Iraq calls into question the central foreign policy of this administration, or the so-called Bush Doctrine of preemptive war (ìIraq Occupation Erodes Bush Doctrine,î by Robin Wright, Washington Post, 28 June, p. A1.).


Where does all this seem to go? At the very least it engenders a weird sense of career crossroads for me: the material has never seemed stronger in terms of its appeal to a broad audience, and yet the natural partisanship of the election season leaves me feeling oddly protective of this administration even as its enters its period of harshest criticism surrounding the handover in Iraq. Part of me hates the notion of starting over with a new crew, because itís a hassle and thereís so much inefficiency in waiting for everything to restart again in the Pentagon as one slew of political masters is exchanged for another. But another part of me gets excited by the challenge of testing my materialís bipartisan appealóin effect the message is meaningless if it canít be translated across administrations as they come and go (and they will always come and go as far as the Pentagon is concerned).


But the biggest part of me simply wants the U.S. military to succeed in Iraq, because ultimately this is my home team, with whom I live, work and breathe on a daily basis, and frankly, right now theyíre facing the acid test in Iraq (ìBiggest Task for U.S. General Is Training Iraqis to Fight Iraqis,î by Dexter Filkins, New York Times, 27 June, p. A1), so any sense of getting jacked up by a Democratic win in November thatís fueled by a sense of failure in Iraq makes me feel more than a bit queasy. Itís like cheering your teamís losses so it can get the top pick in next yearís draft.


For me, at least, a big part of working for the federal government is believing in what you doóday in and day out. I decided long ago that even as I worked as a Democrat within the Department of Defense, it wasnít going to be a situation whereby I sat out ìenemyî administrations (either literally by leaving the government or figuratively by ìgoing my own wayî) and only played goal line-to-goal line when ìmyî team was in power. Lifeís too short, administrations are too long, and America means too much to me. Plus, in working with the first Bush administration (as contractor), then two Clintons (contractor, then government employee), and now back with Bush the younger (always as employee), Iíve always made a point on working on those aspects of the foreign policy I felt comfortable pursuing, even if I didnít always care for the execution of that overall policy in an A-to-Z sense. In short, I prefer to strike whatever matches Iím provided than curse the darkness.


And yes, itís not lost on me that much of my recent ìriseî is based on the notion that my book presents a solution set to the strategic failure that our occupation in Iraq has so far yielded (even as I believe in its long-term success)ói.e., the notion that the need for the bifurcation of the U.S. military into separate Leviathan (warfighting) and Sys Admin (peacewaging) forces is ìprovenî by events in Iraq (e.g., the Michael OíHanlon verdict on why I should declare ìvictoryî). Absent that failure, a major portion of my emerging reputation as ìstrategic seerî would be missing-in-the-action that was yet another neocon success story (the comeback I often got in my brief following the success in Afghanistan was, ìOur great-power-war military did just fine taking down the Taliban, so why should we refocus our forces on this new paradigm you offer?î).


Deep down I know that even if Bush loses (something I still remain personally skeptical about), nothing really changes in the international security environment that my vision, my book, and my materialóI believeóso accurately captures. All that reality out there remains: globalization will continue to encroach upon the Middle East, that encroachment will engender a scary response from some in those quarters, and the global war on terrorism will continue to rage onówhether we engage it in an avowed fashion or not. The Gap will have to be shrunk and the U.S. military will be inevitably called upon in a frequent fashion to deal with the worst ìbad actorî players and regimes within those regions. It all may be called something different by a different administration, but none of the underlying reality will change, even as the relative emphases placed on particular aspects will rise and ebbóas they naturally do over the course of time.


So what to do in the months ahead? The simplest and smartest answer is to stick with what I know best: working with the next generation of military leaders for the tasks I know theyíll be called upon to complete in a global war on terrorism . . . or whatever this struggle gets called next.


Thatís what this day has been all aboutóa good reminder of where I work, whom I serve, and why I continue to love this job.

6:51AM

The viral marketing of PNM kicks in

Dateline: SWA flight from Providence to BWI, 27 June 2004


Great communication Saturday from the Civilian Affairs Officers Association senior leadership: they want to get me in front of a very large National Guard audience as soon as possible.


Great email Sunday from a financial advisor whose last monthly report to his 500 clients ended with a P.S. that read: you have got to buy this book no matter what!


I get emails upon emails from people who say theyíve seen Book Notes, or the brief, or the WSJ page-one profile, or read the book, or been to the website (or done all of the above) and they always end with the promise to push all their friends/coworkers/relatives/neighbors to go out and READ THIS BOOK!


The viral marketing has just begun . . ..


The catch from Saturday:


The new hi-lo mix is Leviathan + Sys Admin


ìArmy Used Speed and Might, Plus Cash, Against Shiite Rebel: Battleís Tactics Studied as a Model for the Future,î by Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 27 June, p. A1.


A womanís right to vote . . . inside the Gap


ìOut of Sight, Afghan Women Still Register to Vote,î by Carlotta Gall, NYT, 27 June, p. A1.


Koreas come closer: ìThe devil made us do it!î


ìKoreas Sidestep U.S. to Forge Political and Pragmatic Links,î by James Brooke, NYT, 27 June, p. A1.


ìU.S. Reports Scant Progress in Talks With North Korea,î by Joseph Kahn, NYT, 27 June, p. A3.


Naw, Russia and China with no strategic interests in a GWOT


ìPolice in Ingushetia Tell Of Rebel Assailantsí Skill And Lethal Ruthlessness: Attacks by bands of Islamic insurgents were well planned and coordinated,î by C.J. Chivers, NYT, 27 June, p. A5.


ìChina Pays a Price for Cheaper Oil: Sulfur-Laden Fuels Contribute to Growing Pollution Problem,î by Keith Bradsher, NYT, 27 June, p. B1.


Exporting insecurity is Michael Mooreís calling card


ìAll Hail Moore: Around the world in 80 insults,î by David Brooks, NYT, 27 June, p. A27.

6:37AM

The new hi-lo mix is Leviathan + Sys Admin

ìArmy Used Speed and Might, Plus Cash, Against Shiite Rebel: Battleís Tactics Studied as a Model for the Future,î by Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 27 June, p. A1.


Great story about how the First Armored Division recaptured a string of towns in southern Iraq that were loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr:

ìAs described by top commanders in Iraq and senior policy makers in Washington, the campaign was a mix of military tactics, political maneuverings, media management and a generous dollop of cash for quickly rebuilding war-ravaged citiesóa formula that, if it survives the test of time, could become a model for future fighting against the persistent insurrections plaguing Iraq.î
Whatís so fascinating about this approach is that the rapid switch to Sys Admin was factored in from the start. Not only was the krieg full of blitz, but so was the follow-on nation-building.


When Iím told that the Sys Admin function is a pipe dream, because you canít expect a small force to be able to do both the small-scale fighting and the nation-building without putting the troops at too much risk (the other half of the Powell Doctrineóor ìoverwhelming forceî at all cost), you read about an operation like this and you know we simply have no idea how good our people could be at this sort of follow-on stuff once we really give them the chance to both experiment and learn.


Iíve said it before and I say it again: the Iraq war proved the Leviathan force was essentially transformed, but the Iraq occupation transforms the transformation by shifting the future of experimentation in the direction of the Sys Admin function andóeventuallyóthe Sys Admin force.

6:31AM

A womanís right to vote . . . inside the Gap

ìOut of Sight, Afghan Women Still Register to Vote,î by Carlotta Gall, New York Times, 27 June, p. A1.


Interesting story about how much harder it proves to be to get Afghan women registered to vote than men. Guy registration team pulls into town with 300 households and has everyone signed in within 3 days.


Female registration team pulls in on same day but has a much slower time of it. Why? Women rarely leave home compounds, so unlike the guys who simply assemble as required, the women must be visited by the registration teamóhousehold by household. And you just know this registration team is dressed as conservatively as possible, otherwise ìthey would throw stones at us.î


This door-to-door service is a simple compromise with tradition. In certain ultra-conservative Pashtun regions women simply never leave the house.


But these women will vote, and thatís all that matters for now.


[QUICK NOTE: The Sunday Times had a story about a bus carrying voter registration teams being bombed by the Taliban. Two women on board the bus died. Whichever god you worship, those two women were doing his/her best work.]

6:24AM

Koreas come closer: ìThe devil made us do it!î

ìKoreas Sidestep U.S. to Forge Political and Pragmatic Links,î by James Brooke, New York Times YT, 27 June, p. A1.


ìU.S. Reports Scant Progress in Talks With North Korea,î by Joseph Kahn, NYT, 27 June, p. A3.


The two Koreas are rapidly dismantling the propaganda-blasting hardware thatís lined the DMZ for many years, blasting each side with messages that neither listened to.


Just another sign of how the two sides are coming together. Kim Jong Il hasnít changed much at all. On the one hand, he lets little experiments of marketization bloom here and there, but on the other hand he still stonewalls after the recent horrendous rail explosion disaster that left hundreds maimed, refusing to let aid workers come into the country to treat the wounded. Kim talks a nicer tune to the South Koreans, but still engages in major-league narcotics and counterfeit currency trafficking all over Asia. His gulag camps are teaming and desperately starving peasants still risk life and limb to escape, but heh! The next generation of South Korean youth think heís not half bad!


So South Korea becomes the biggest aid, trade, and tourism source, and Seoul becomes Pyongyangís biggest apologist around the world.


Why canít America just leave this lovefest alone?


Iíll tell you why. The harder the line we push the more South Korea finally begins to take some responsibility for the peninsula as a whole, instead of outsourcing all the security stuff to the Americans. This country should have been reunited at the same time the rest of the socialist bloc fell apart. This leftover from the Cold War needs to become Asiaís problem and thus Asiaís solution. So the harder the U.S. line, the more Seoul will step up.


In the end, Seoul must be the biggest player in the six-nation team that ends Kimís maniacal regime. If young South Koreans who today are convinced that America is the real danger on the peninsula later claim that the reunification was pursued simply to halt ìthose crazy Americansî from starting the war, then so much the better.


Go ahead Seoul: tear down that DMZ!

6:05AM

Naw, Russia and China with no strategic interests in a GWOT

ìPolice in Ingushetia Tell Of Rebel Assailantsí Skill And Lethal Ruthlessness: Attacks by bands of Islamic insurgents were well planned and coordinated,î by C.J. Chivers, New York Times, 27 June, p. A5.


ìChina Pays a Price for Cheaper Oil: Sulfur-Laden Fuels Contribute to Growing Pollution Problem,î by Keith Bradsher, NYT, 27 June, p. B1.


The Russians are getting worried that the Muslim insurgents theyíre facing down south are looking more and more professional and organized. On NPR Thursday night the Atlantic Monthlyís senior editor Jack Beatty mocked my notion that the U.S. and Russia might have common interests in a Global War on Terrorism against Islamic extremists, saying they were too busy with their own Islamic problems. But guess what? When that problem starts looking way more organized than it did a while back, the overlap of interests might seem a bit more apparentóeven to magazine editors.


As for China and energy, surely thereís no overlap there with a GWOT which has an avowed goal of transforming the Middle East? Higher oil prices mean the ìsweetî stuff (lower sulfur content and thus less pollutive) goes to the highest bidders, which doesnít include China. So they get by primarily by buying the cheaper ìsourî stuff with higher sulfer-content. What that pinch does to China is raise its already disastrously high pollution content in major urban areas. Think thatís gonna matter in a country facing a five-fold increase in cars in the next two decades?


No Mr. Beatty, China has no interest in helping America bring stability to the Middle East. None whatsoever.

5:18AM

Exporting insecurity is Michael Mooreís calling card

ìAll Hail Moore: Around the world in 80 insults,î by David Brooks, New York Times , 27 June, p. A27.

[webmaster's note: Movie Review: Fahrenheit 9/11 by Thomas P.M. Barnett]

Brooks really tears into Michael Moore in this column, primarily by quoting the stuff he routinely peddles abroad in Europe:

ì[Americans] are possibly the dumbest people on the plant . . . in thrall to conniving, thieving smug [pieces of human anatomy].î

ìWe Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance. We donít know about anything thatís happening outside our country. Our stupidity is embarrassing.î

ìThatís why weíre smiling all the time. You can see us coming down the street. You know, ëHey! Hi! Howís it going?í Weíve got that big [expletive] grin on our face all the time because our brains arenít loaded down.î

ìYouíre stuck with being connected to this country of mine, which is known for bringing sadness and misery to places around the globe.î

ìShould such an ignorant people lead the world?î

ìDonít go the American way when it comes to economics, jobs and services for the poor and immigrants. It is the wrong way.î

ìThe motivation for war is simple. The U.S. government started the war with Iraq in order to make it easy for U.S. corporations to do business in other countries. They intend to use cheap labor in those countries, which will make Americans rich.î

ìThe Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ëinsurgentsí or ëterroristsí or ëThe Enemy.í They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will growóand they will win.î

Staring into that fat bastardís wide-open mouth is like looking into the abyss of the most backassward, dumbed-down thinking about economics, globalization, and Americaís role in the world. He truly does epitomize the fat, ignorant, ugly American abroad far more than he could ever realize. And he gives the people what they want.

1:10PM

Declaring victory for ìyour mumís militaryî in UK

Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 26 June 2004


Approximately one month following my interview with Alec Russell, DC bureau chief of the London-based Daily Telegraph, here is the resulting article finally. The length of time for him to generate the piece was clearly tied to all the other sources he tapped for either supporting or dissenting views.





Daily Telegraph

June 26, 2004


US military faces future as Jekyll and Hyde force

(Filed: 26/06/2004)


The idea that an army makes war and makes peace is gaining ground, writes Alec Russell in Washington


The sprawl of neat, identikit Virginian suburbs south-west of Washington is familiar to any aficionado of Cold War thrillers: this is the heartland of America's "military-industrial complex". It is here that military and intelligence chiefs make the decisions that shake - or at least shape - the world.

And it is here that, early one steamy morning recently, a dozen top officials and analysts gathered in a glistening plate-glass office block for a briefing that was to shake them to their core.


They had come to hear a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat and former teacher of Marxist studies argue that the American military should be split in two. The first, dubbed "Leviathan", would fight. The second, the "System Administrators", would rebuild failed states to pre-empt crises and so help secure America.


Together they would reshape the "Gap", a swathe of the world stretching across Africa and the Middle East, and much of Latin America and south-east and central Asia.


Tom Barnett, a professor at the US Naval War College, "packages" his message with a mix of very "un-Pentagon" allusions from Monty Python to Star Trek. But any shock at his zany approach is quickly overshadowed by the reaction to his thesis. It is, he concedes, an explosive idea.


"It's a generational thing," he said after a lively opening session. "A lot of the guys who fought this were the oldest in the room. They say it's their 'goddamned' army and they fear it's going to be turned into a bunch of peacekeepers.


" 'You want us to take someone down, tell us who it is and we'll go do it,' they say. 'Let us remain a warrior force. Don't screw us up'."


But with the American military clearly struggling in Iraq, his radical solution to the Pentagon's dilemma in how to confront the post-September 11 world is not seen as the heresy that it would have been a few years ago. His briefing has made its way through the upper levels of the Pentagon to the office of Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary.


If you walk into the Pentagon's "transformation" headquarters, carrying Prof Barnett's book, The Pentagon's New Map, officials nod and say "ah, the book" - even if in some other parts of the Pentagon officials snort when you mention its name.


"There comes a time in history when rule sets are out of whack," says the professor. "There isn't any situation we can't go into where we can't run up a score of 100 to nothing at half-time. The problem is that we have a first half team and don't invest in the second half.


"We don't have any four-star generals working the second half. There are no four-star military police generals. Why? Because their work has been seen as a sideshow, an attitude that many in the Pentagon may be regretting given the scandal over prisoner abuse in Iraq.


"Leviathan will be like a metropolitan Swat team. They go in and do their stuff and as soon as the smoke clears they are out of there. Then there will be a force that is closer to society. It is 'your mum's military'. Its members will be older, married, more educated.


"In Iraq now, guys who aren't built for war-fighting are being forced to do it. I get calls from the corps of engineers out in Iraq and they're saying, 'Thank God somebody said this'."


Mr Barnett has expounded his theories at a time of extraordinary change for the American military. There are plans to cut by nearly half the 70,000 troops based in Germany by withdrawing the First Infantry and First Armoured divisions and replacing them with a brigade. Over the next two years about a third of the 37,000 troops in South Korea are being withdrawn.


The redeployments are in part a response to the changing nature of the military threat to America since the end of the Cold War. But they also reflect the zeal for radical change that marked Mr Rumsfeld's arrival in 2000 for his second stint as secretary of defence - his first was under President Gerald Ford - and the difficulties in Iraq.


The Rumsfeldian vision has not been well received in the Pentagon. Many uniformed officers see him as too overweening, and view his revolutionary proposals for cuts and changes with deep suspicion.


"I smile when I hear what is going on now," said one former high-ranking general. "Almost every sec def has spoken of transformation and yet their talk ends up full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.


"There is an institutional bias to keep things as they are. A lot of things Rumsfeld has agreed will drop dead if he leaves. And there are an awful lot of people who will be pleased to see him go. He came in saying, 'No more of this or that'."


Yet the course of events in Iraq and the need for rapid reaction forces across the globe have given an impetus to calls for change. "This is the age of the small, the fast and the many," said Retd Vice-Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, the head of the office of transformation in the Pentagon. "We are moving away from the slow, the ponderous and the few."


The admiral has backed the Barnett vision, even if his experience suggests he is more of a natural "war-fighter" than a "nation-builder". And while a formal division of the army appears far-fetched, in light of the mishandling of Iraq in the aftermath of the invasion, the need for a radical overhaul of the army's ancillary units is undeniable.


Michael O'Hanlon, a senior analyst at Brookings Institute, said: "Barnett has already won. He should declare victory. It's not so much that he won the argument. Iraq won the argument for him."


This is not the first time that Prof Barnett has been "ahead of the curve". In 1991, as a young analyst, he briefed top admirals on the need to "embrace" the Soviet navy. Such was the outrage of his audience he had to break off his lecture.


"It went down like a lead balloon. Several admirals questioned my sanity. One wondered aloud if I was a 'pinko' or 'just plain stupid'. That got a lot of laughs and immediately my credibility was shot to pieces."


Six months later the Soviet Union was in ruins and he no longer looked so daft.


COMMENTARY: Not much to complain about in the piece. Itís actually the most well-pitched article yet on my ìinfluence.î I say that because Russell stresses less my pull with people and more the simple pull of the vision. In other words, it ainít about influence, but accuracy. If the vision is accurate, you should be able to spot the change.


I did like the bit about ìyour mumís militaryî: a little bit of UK editing on that line. I also like the reference to ìthe book,î as it is described inside of the Office of Force Transformation. That makes me feel very good indeedólike I delivered the goods that Cebrowski originally hired me to generate.


The OíHanlon quote is good too (the man is a high-quality quote machine), because it emphasizes the particular reality of the Leviathan/Sys Admin part of the vision: the failures in the Iraq occupation elevate that concept from whacko to imminently real. How do I know? Out of the many examples, hereís one I can openly cite: I was just asked to give the keynote address to Joint Forces Commandís first big lessons learned workshop to explore the new reality of postwar ops.


But declare victory? Hardly.


All this does is start the conversation and get the ball rolling. Iíve legitimized and given voice to something that must happen. Taking credit is a bit much; visions are like giving somebody with very poor vision a new pair of glasses that makes everything clear: they still have to do all the real work themselves, even if you get credit for pointing your finger in the right direction beforehand.


So buckle up, the real transformation of the U.S. military is just beginning.

4:28PM

The "total psychopath" gets testy on National Public Radio

Dateline: above the garage in Portsmouth RI, 25 June 2004


Last night on NPR's "On Point" show got a bit testy, largely because their in-house analyst, Jack Beatty, senior editor of Atlantic Monthly, insisted on constantly declaring all my ideas "incoherent," "impossible" and "dubious." Had he actually bothered to read the book? Naw. That would have interfered with his "expert analysis." Instead he glanced over the WSJ story and the op-ed I wrote for the Post.


It was an amazingly bold performance by Jack: pontificating with absolute assurance about how amazingly dangerous my vision was even though he hadn't actually bothered to look the book over. Makes you wonder if he also reviews movies he hasn't seen, plays he hasn't attended, and albums he's never listened to.


So, instead of real analysis from Jack, I got hyperbolic soundbites like "perpetual war."


Hey, wait a tick! Didn't I write an entire chapter about how to body slam blowhards who spout nonsense phrases when they have no command of the facts on the ground?


Good example: Beatty says my "diagnosis is dubious." He notes that the 9/11 terrorists did not come from unglobalized Afghanistan, but from very globalized Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon. He cites the numerous Victoria Secrets shops in mall frequented by the rich elite in Riyadh (sounds like some Tom Friedman in-depth analysis, yes?), the numerous Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in Cairo (eat some KFC, become a finger-lickin' American instantly!), and Lebanon as the most cosmopolitan nation in the Middle East (hmmmm, in 1970 yes, but after two decades of civil war? Jack needs to visit Beirut again).


So I come back with a slew of statistics on trade, foreign direct investment, and such to portray the Middle East as unarguably the least connected region to the global economyóeven more so than Sub-Saharan Africa and suggest that Jack's definition of a truly globalized society is a bit "distorted." I also note out loud that "Jack clearly hasn't read my book, because otherwise he'd have a better grasp of the data."


Jack has nothing to say about any of that, confirming my suspicion that his preparation for the show consisted of about 3 minutes of glancing over the two aforementioned articles.


The Brit subbing host, Julian Marshall, then asks me to describe the Leviathan-Sys Admin concepts, which I do in detail, and then asks Jack to comment on all those seemingly "can't-argue-with-that" ideas, but Jack dismisses all that radical restructuring of the U.S. military as just "tactical" stuff that he won't touch. Instead he says he wants to concentrate on "big picture" and then details how I plan to "scrap" NATO completely and how my ideas of allying with Russia, China, and India are complete madness since all three states have problems with Muslims already (apparently no overlap on issues to be found there). I, later in the show, counter with the reality of developing Asia's growing dependency on Middle Eastern oil, but Jack has nothing to say on global economics, as he prefers to stick with the "big picture" of why everything I say is complete balderdash.


The host lets me talk about shrinking the Gap at length and I describe the up-front role of FDI, but promos he recites later in the show ask whether my idea of making the military the "primary tool" of shrinking the Gap is dangerous, and will it lead to "perpetual war"?


Since I had given a very long answer at the start of the show regarding why the notion of "perpetual war" was nonsense, given a cursory reading of the global security environment (hell, I wrote a whole chapter on the subject), I started to get a bit testy as the show progressed. Basically I refused to answer one question on Iraq until I had a chance to blast them on constantly using the "perpetual war" phrase as a dishonest teaser to frighten the audience, and then I took both Marshall and Beatty to task for insisting that my vision called for "scraping NATO." I once again noted loudly that it was obvious that neither of them had bothered to read the book and were basing all this conversation on their readings of other people's criticisms of my work. Naturally, neither of them had any response to that, preferring to lecture me repeatedly on keeping my answers short and to the point! Apparently, I was just supposed to sit there and listen to them repeatedly describe "perpetual war" and my plan to "scrap NATO" and not refute either.


One caller is nice enough to call me a "total psychopath" who seeks a "force of little psychopaths" to carry out my "whacked out agenda."


Julian laughs and invites me to answer this "impassioned question," but instructs me yet again to keep my answer short (meaning no criticizing the hosts for being too lazy to bother reading my book whatsoever).


One caller from Green Bay WI (natch!) actually read the book, said he liked it, and gave me two great questions to deal with.


The show wrapped up with Jack Beatty once again decrying the myopia of my military-does-everything vision, saying a much better idea to shrink the Gap would be for the Core to end their high agricultural barriers to trade.


At that point I couldn't stand it anymore and started shouting into the microphone (I was in Providence, they were in Boston and NH): "Chapter 7 in my book! Chapter 7 in my book! You can read it all!"


Actually, I was mistaken in the heat of the moment. My description of that much-needed change in Core behavior is found on page 131 of Chapter 3, as well as pages 371, 374, 375, and 378 of Chapter 8.


You'd think "analyst" Jack could have actually come up with an example of what my vision really needed to encompass that wasn't actually mentioned a handful of times in my book, but perhaps I expect too much from lazy-ass journalists who moonlight on NPR.


Jack's only response to my pointing out that the very thing he accused me of lacking in my vision actually being prominent in my book was simply to retort, "Well . . . good!"


Then he noted how China was globalizing without presenting the U.S. with any security threats (hmmm, that sounds vaguely familiar to me . . . I wonder if I managed to get that bit into the book), and I responded with noting that none of the 9/11 hijackers came from China, but from the Middle Eastóthat disconnected part of the global economy that Jack believes is highly integrated thanks to KFC and Victoria's Secrets outletsówhich is why the GWOT is logically located there.


Jack flustered silently at that point and was never heard from again.


All I can say is that if Jack's journalistic work ethic was on display, God help his bosses at the Atlantic Monthly.


You may think I ask for too much effort from NPR on this, but I figure, if you book an author for an entire one-hour show, you need to have someone there on the air with him who's made at least some effort to peruse the book here and there, and isn't simply relying on what other people have said. The reason why my interview with Brian Lamb was so good on CSPAN was because he'd actually read the book quite thoroughly. Beatty could have been honest enough (dare I say man enough?) to actually admit he hadn't read the book, something most interviewers do openly when that's the case, but instead he blustered on without fear, declaring me a serious threat to serious strategizing everywhere. Beatty is one serious, prime-cut blowhard, but as the WPRI station guy told me after the show (WPRI is the NPR affiliate in Providence where I was), that's basically Beatty's designed role when "On Point" has only one guest and that guest has strong views.


So what does Beatty really believe in? He's sounded more hawkish than Rumsfeld in the past, blowing major smoke about smoking holes in the weeks after 9/11, but since I was on last night and was clearly identified with the Bush Administration, he blew a different tune, claiming that the majority of Americans wanted Bush "impeached." Rumsfeld wannabe one year, Michael Moore wannabe the nextóyou gotta like a man of principle!


Still, all in all, the show made for good radio. NPR can be so boring sometimes it's almost good to go to sleep by. Last night's "On Point" was clearly an exception to that far-too-often rule, but I have to state again how disappointed I was by the cursory preparation the people connected with the show put into its production. Nobody likes blowhards, but lazy ones are downright nasty!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Today's catch:


The military I have worked with over my entire career



"Ask Someone Who Was There," by Maj. Stan Coerr, posted at http://www.247profits.com/Sites/frontline/FrontlineUpdate20040618.html
Havel sees moral need to act on Kim Jong Il now
"Time to Act on N. Korea," by Vaclav Havel, Washington Post, 18 June, p. A29.
Iran nukes or not, it's all about regime change
"Iran's Nuclear Ambitions: Teheran will always want a nuclear option. Regime change can ensure it's not a threat," by Ardeshir Zahedi, Wall Street Journal, 25 June, p. A10.
Iraq: the story of "missed opportunities"
"Mistakes Loom Large as Handover Nears: Missed Opportunities Turned High Ideals to Harsh Realities," by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, WP, 20 June, p. A1.
India has caught up to China . . . the China of 1990
"An Indian Paradox: Bumper Harvests And Rising Hunger: The World Has Enough Food, But Poor Can't Afford It; Grows Jobs and Crops," by Roger Thurow and Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal, 25 June, p. A1.
The security solution in Iraq will be quite harsh now
"Deadly Assaults Push Iraq Closer To Martial Law: Attacks Kill More Than 100; New Government Prepares A Controversial Crackdown," by Yochi J. Dreazen and Greg Jaffe, WSJ, 25 June, p. A1.
Flash! Terrorists fight back in global war on terrorism!
"Errors on Terror," by Paul Krugman, New York Times, 25 June, p. A25.
Saudis: "Westerners, protect yourselves!"
"To Alleviate Fears, the Saudis Will Now Allow Foreigners to Carry Weapons," by Neil MacFarquhar, NYT, 25 June, p. A13.
Tunisia: a classic attempt at "mouse arrest"
"Tunisia's Tangled Web Is Sticking Point for Reform," by Neil MacFarquhar, NYT, 25 June, p. A3.
Lula: Brazil realizes FDI is not only good but necessary!
"Brazil Leader Tailors Pitch To Investors," by Geraldo Samor, WSJ, 25 June, p. A9.

4:06PM

The military I have worked with over my entire career

When I had to suffer through Jack Beatty's know-it-all diatribes about how a "landslide" of Americans reject this war and how it's dangerous to ask Americans to die for such a disastrous cause as our takedown of Saddam and occupation of Iraq has become, I found my mind wandering to my many years of working with the military and what I have come to understand about the people who make up this amazing institution. The following article, reprinted in full, reminds me all too well why the U.S. military is the best in the worldóand easily the most underappreciated.

http://www.247profits.com/Sites/frontline/FrontlineUpdate20040618.html


Friday Jun 18, 2004


Ask Someone Who Was There


By Maj. Stan Coerr


George Bush coalesced American support behind invading Iraq, I am told, using two arguments: Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and the capability to deliver them, and Iraq was a supporter of Al-Qaeda terrorism, and may have been involved in the attacks of 9/11. Vicious words and gratuitous finger-pointing keep falling back on these points, as people insist that ìweî were misled into what started as a dynamic liberation and has become a bloody counterinsurgency. Watching politicians declaim and hearing television experts expound on why we went to war and on their opinions of those running the White House and Defense Department, I have one question.


When is someone going to ask the guys who were there?


What about the opinions of those whose lives were on the line, massed on the Iraq-Kuwait border beginning in February of last year? I donít know how President Bush got the country behind him, because at the time I was living in a hole in the dirt in northern Kuwait. Why have I not heard a word from anyone who actually carried a rifle or flew a plane into bad guy country last year, and who has since had to deal with the ugly aftermath of a violent liberation? What about the guys who had the most to lose ñ what do they think about all this?


I was there. I am one of those guys who fought the war and helped keep the peace. I am a Major in the Marine Reserves, and during the war I was the senior American attached to the 1 Royal Irish Battlegroup, a rifle battalion of the British Army. I was commander of five U.S. Marine air/naval gunfire liaison teams, as well as the liaison officer between U.S. Marines and British Army forces. I was activated on January 14, 2003, and 17 days later I and my Marines were standing in Kuwait with all of our gear, ready to go to war.


I majored in Political Science at Duke, and I graduated with a Masters degree in government from the Kennedy School at Harvard. I understand realpolitik, geopolitical jujitsu, economics and the reality of the Arab world. I know the tension between the White House, the UN, Langley and Foggy Bottom. One of my grandfathers was a two-star Navy admiral; my other grandfather was an ambassador. I am not a pushover, blindly following whoever is in charge, and I donít kid myself that I live in a perfect world. But the war made sense then, and the occupation makes sense now.


As dawn broke on March 22, 2003, I became part of one of the largest and fastest land movements in the history of war. I went across the border alongside my brothers in the Royal Irish, following the 5th Marine Regiment from Camp Pendleton as they swept through the Ramaylah oil fields. I was one those guys you saw on TV every night- filthy, hot, exhausted. I think the NRA and their right-to-bear-arms mantra is a joke, but by God I was carrying a loaded rifle, a loaded pistol and a knife on my body at all times. My boots rested on sandbags on the floor of my Humvee, there to protect me from the blast of a land mines or IED.


I killed many Iraqi soldiers, as they tried to kill me and my Marines. I did it with a radio, directing airstrikes and artillery, in concert with my British artillery officer counterpart, in combat along the Hamar Canal in southern Iraq. I saw, up close, everything the rest of you see in the newspapers: dead bodies, parts of dead bodies, helmets with bullet holes through them, handcuffed POWs sitting in the sand, oil well fires with flames reaching 100 feet into the air and a roar you could hear from over a mile away.


I stood on the bloody sand where Marine Second Lieutenant Therrel Childers was the first American killed on the ground. I pointed a loaded weapon at another man for the first time in my life. I did what I had spent 14 years training to do, and my Marines - your Marines - performed so well it still brings tears to my eyes to think about it. I was proud of what we did then, and I am proud of it now.


Along with the violence, I saw many things that lifted my heart. I saw thousands of Iraqis in cities like Qurnah and Medinah - men, women, children, grandparents carrying babies - running into the streets at the sight of us, the first Western army to arrive. I saw them screaming, crying, waving, cheering. They ran from their homes at the sound of our Humvee tires roaring in from the south, bringing bread and tea and cigarettes and photos of their children. They chattered at us in Arabic, and we spoke to them in English, and neither understood the other. The entire time I was in Iraq, I had one impression from the civilians I met: Thank God, finally someone has arrived with bigger men and bigger guns to be, at last, on our side.


Let there be no mistake, those of you who donít believe in this war: the Baíath regime were the Nazis of the second half of the 20th century. I saw what the murderous, brutal regime of Saddam Hussein wrought on that country through his party and their Fedayeen henchmen. They raped, murdered, tortured, extorted and terrorized those in that country for 35 years. There are mass graves throughout Iraq only now being discovered. 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, liberated a prison in Iraq populated entirely by children. The Baíathists brutalized the weakest among them, and killed the strongest.


I saw in the eyes of the people how a generation of fear reflects in the human soul.


The Baíath Party, like the Nazis before them, kept power by spreading out, placing their officials in every city and every village to keep the people under their boot. Everywhere we went we found rifles, ammunition, RPG rounds, mortar shells, rocket launchers, and artillery. When we took over the southern city of Ramaylah, our battalion commander tore down the Baíath signs and commandeered the former regime headquarters in town (which, by the way, was 20 feet from the local school.) My commander himself took over the office of the local Baíath leader, and in opening the desk of that thug found a set of brass knuckles and a gun. These are the people who are now in prison, and that is where they deserve to be.


The analogy is simple. For years, you have watched the same large, violent man come home every night, and you have listened to his yelling and the crying and the screams of children and the noise of breaking glass, and you have always known that he was beating his wife and his children. Everyone on the block has known it. You ask, cajole, threaten and beg him to stop, on behalf of the rest of the neighborhood. Nothing works. After listening to it for 13 years, you finally gather up the biggest, meanest guys you can find, you go over to his house, and you kick the door down. You punch him in the face and drag him away. The house is a mess, the family poor and abused ó but now there is hope. You did the right thing.


I can speak with authority on the opinions of both British and American infantry in that place and at that time. Let me make this clear: at no time did anyone say or imply to any of us that we were invading Iraq to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction, nor were we there to avenge 9/11. We knew we were there for one reason: to rid the world of a tyrant, and to give Iraq back to Iraqis.


None of us had even heard those arguments for going to war until we returned, and we still donít understand the confusion. To us, it was simple. The world needed to be rid of a man who committed mass murder of an entire people, and our country was the only one that could project that much power that far and with that kind of precision. We donít make policy decisions: we carry them out. And none of us had the slightest doubt about how right and good our actions were.


The war was the right thing to do then, and in hindsight it was still the right thing to do. We canít overthrow every murderous tyrant in the world, but when we can, we should. Take it from someone who was there, and who stood to lose everything. We must, and will, stay the course. We owe it to the Iraqis, and to the world.


Stan Coerr is a SuperCobra attack helicopter pilot and Forward Air Controller, and was recently selected for Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. He lives in San Diego.

Nothing to add to that but the heartfelt gratitude of an entire nationóminus Jack Beatty of course.

3:58PM

Havel sees moral need to act on Kim Jong Il now

"Time to Act on N. Korea," by Vaclav Havel, Washington Post, 18 June, p. A29.


Great op-ed in the Post. Havel notes that humanity has found out about genocide in the past through eye-witness accounts, and that we now have the testimony of thousands of North Korean refugees in our possession regarding the amazingly cruel regime of Kim Jong Iló"a man responsible for the loss of millions of lives."


As Havel notes, "[Kim] sustains one of the largest armies in the word and is producing weapons of mass destruction even as the centrally planned economy and the state ideologyóknown as juche, a blend of nationalism and self-relianceóhave led the country into famine."


When these desperate political refugees escape into China, what does it do? It refuses to recognize them as required by international treaties, and forces them back across the border, whereówhen caughtóthese people are thrown into political prisoner gulag camps.


And if these famished people make it into South Korea? As Havel writes, "their presence there flies in the face of that country's official 'sunshine policy,' which, however well-intentioned, is based on constant concessions and appeasement"óa policy that, in the end, "only keeps the leader of Pyongyang in power."


What is Kim's goal in all of this?

"He wants to be respected and feared abroad and to be recognized as one of the world's most powerful leaders. He is willing to let his own people die of hunger, and he uses famine to liquidate those who show any sign of wavering loyalty to his rule. Through blackmail, he receives food and oil, which he distributes among those loyal to him (first in line being the army)."
Sound like any situation you remember from the Persian Gulf across the entire 1990s?


Hmmm . . . food . . oil . . . sanctions . . . lots of innocent people dying . . . ah yes, that would be the UN that so many hope will run the world on its own.


Havel wants a better, more decisive response from the Core. So do I.

3:56PM

Iran nukes or not, it's all about regime change

"Iran's Nuclear Ambitions: Teheran will always want a nuclear option. Regime change can ensure it's not a threat," by Ardeshir Zahedi, Wall Street Journal, 25 June, p. A10.


Good op-ed from Iran's former foreign minister (1967-71ólong before the Shah lost the respect of his people). His point is that there is no question Iran wants and will get the bomb. The only question is whether we want the current regime to have it. An Iran that's moderate like India and opening up to the outside world is not an issue with the bomb. But one that actively exports terrorism around the region, calls for Israel's destruction, and makes no attempt to hide its state support to al Qaedaóthat regime should never get its hands on the nuclear button.