The Warrior Scholar

This is a blog about current events - a way to provide a constructive outlet for some of the thoughts I have on the issues of the day. It's also a way to generate some discussion and to get my ideas out into the world. Enjoy!

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

I'm a doctoral candidate in Virginia, with a love of history and politics. My dog is a great companion, and my family always keeps me in good spirits.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all this season! There are many things I am thankful for: for a wonderful family, for good friends, for a land that is peaceful and prosperous. I give thanks for a Lord that is both loving and full of grace. I give thanks for the millions of Americans that give of their lives for the greater good, whether they are defending democracy against tyrants and terrorists overseas, or caring for the poor and needy here at home. I give thanks that we live in a land where "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" can all take place, and that hundreds of millions of people have decided that being an American is the best nationality to be, because we can make a difference. Most of all, I give thanks that I have been blessed to live in such times. To all those that make it possible for the rest of us to live in safety and prosperity, I say thanks to you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Stealing the Election the Old Fashioned Way in the Ukraine

The Ukraine is now in the throes of a real election scandal, perpetrated at the highest of levels. The Belmont Club has some excellent analysis on it. The Moscow backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has been declared the "winner" after some serious voter fraud. Vladimir Putin was pushing for Yanukovych to basically cement the Ukraine becoming a vassal state of Russia. Viktor Yushchenko was the opposition candidate, and appears to have had overwhelming support by the people leading up to the election.

So why does this matter? Putin has become much more authoritarian over the last three years, culminating in his decision (which was rubber stamped by the Duma) to no longer allow the Russian provinces to elect their own governors - they are now directly appointed by Putin. The rough correlation to what is going on the Ukraine now is what happened in Eastern Europe after WWII, when Stalin installed Communist governments through fraudulent elections. I guess if you have a winning method, stick with it! There have been charges of widespread ballot box stuffing and other illegal actions. The Ukraine has a large ethnically Russian population (about 40%), and Russia has been pretty invasive in dealing with the countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union in their desire to protect the Russian minorities. I find it disturbing that not only are the Ukrainian paramilitary forces out now to "handle" Yushchenko's supporters, but that Russian SPETZNAZ are also in the Ukraine to "help". With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Luckily, both the US and EU have condemned this blatant attempt to steal the election by the Putin-supported candidate. I hope that it is able to be resolved peacefully and that the will of the people is heard in the Ukraine. It is also an interesting contrast to the petty carping here in the US about our election process. The Ukrainians may have to literally fight to make their vote count - we should remember that we are blessed with a fair and democratically elected representative government that actually has checks and balances. It is something that Americans should be proud of.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

A good day

What better day could we have?

Veterans Day - we honor the sacrifices of 25 million Americans that have served their country honorably to defend liberty. Veterans Day commemorates the Armistice of the Great War, which ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and ended World War I. Now, we have extended the scope of the day to remember all that have served. It is a truism that the United States would not be the "land of the free" if it wasn't the "home of the brave!" Remember those that have given the last full measure of their lives so others may live free...

Fallujah Crushed. Thousands of eternally vigilant defenders of liberty continue to sweep through the Ba'athist and jihadist stronghold, slaying those that murder, rape, and brutalize the innocent. 23 Soldiers, Marines, and Iraqi forces have fallen in a battle that has killed AT LEAST 600 "dead-enders". That number is probably pretty conservative - the real number is probably in the low thousands. Sun Tsu claimed that attacking cities were the last resort because of their difficulty. It appears that the battle-hardened regulars of the American military have turned this maxim on its now the insurgents are massed so it is easier to crush them. The MSM continues to embarrass itself with its incompetent reporting. For competent analysis, look at the Belmont Club. Now, there is no hope for the Ba'athists. The Americans and the new Iraqi government will crush them, and no one will stop us now.

Arafat Dies. A murderer who was a primary obstacle for peace is gone after multiple "deaths" over the past week. This man is a thief, a thug, and a killer, period. That certain "world leaders" would bow to his coffin is incredible. See above posting - Arafat helped pioneer the idea of fighting to beyond the bitter end to impoverish your own people, and then use them as suiciders to continue the slaughter. Maybe with Saddam in jail, and Arafat under a slab, this idea of "resistance" for the illiberal, immoral, and criminal leaders will cease. Hopefully Allah will not have mercy on his soul.

100,000 Casualties in Iraq?

There are some major problems with the validity of the John's Hopkins "research" (Hat tip: Chicago Boyz) claiming that 100,000 Iraqis have died attributable to the coaltion attack on the Ba'athist regime.

First, it states that the majority of the casualties were caused by “air delivered bombs, helicopters, etc from the coalition.” This does not pass the “make sense” test. All of these weapon systems are guided either by GPS or by lasers. This means that the weapon systems that are used are very precise. From personal experience as a trained targeteer, dropping a bomb is a very controlled event, often times with extensive collateral damage calculations run before dropping the ordinance and intelligence revalidated. It is highly unlikely that air delivered weapons were the cause of the alleged casualties. In a counterinsurgency operation (at least from an American perspective), you begin with the least destructive weapons when engaging the enemy, and only graduate to large caliber weapons or bombs when it is clear that the enemy position is too heavily bunkered to defeat with smaller-caliber weapons. Second, the Soldiers and Marines that are in combat now are very experienced and mature vis a vis other militaries. They have an average age of 27 – averaging six to eight years of professional military training and service. This is roughly akin to the level of training for professional athletes. Many have served both in peacekeeping tours in Bosnia and Kosovo (indicating they know how to refrain from excessive use of force) as well as tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Additionally, the officer corps generally has at least master degrees at the mid to senior levels (some with doctorates), and the senior noncommissioned officer corps mostly has associate or bachelors degrees. This is a highly educated, trained, and combat experienced force not given to creating large amounts of collateral damage. To think so simply does not take into account the facts.

The Soldiers and Marines now in Iraq have the benefit of revised training programs based on lessons learned from the last three years of combat, making their use of force more precise, controlled, and lethal against the jihadists and Ba’athists. Since the fall of Ba’athist regime in Iraq, the use of air-dropped ordinance has been very controlled and has not exceeded a half dozen bombs dropped per day (even during heavy fighting). The limited amount of ordinance used and the controlled manner in which it has been employed indicates that the Johns Hopkins findings are simply not supported by the empirical evidence. In fact, many of the casualties sustained by the insurgents have been at the hands of snipers - a most precise application of force. Evidence of the restraint of the coalition forces can also be seen by the unwillingness of coalition forces to strike insurgents in mosques and hospitals. This restraint, combined with the training and precision of the forces, calls into great question the Johns Hopkins findings.

In contrast, most of the foreign jihadists that have flocked to Iraq have had no military training, and the Ba’athists that control them are primarily remnants of Saddam’s secret police and Republican Guards – not exactly the best trained force out there for force-on-force operations. Note over the past year, the vast majority of deaths reported in Iraq are due to insurgent and terrorist bombings of civilians and attacks on Iraqi government forces, not due to actions of the coalition forces (and even that is not at the 138 deaths/day that the study claims!). When the jihadists and insurgents engage in force-on-force combat, they suffer tremendous casualties. The insurgents have now had at least 15,000 killed (before Fallujah) over the past seventeen months (probably another 50,000 wounded - my estimate), yet when these insurgents are taken to hospitals, they invariably claim they are “civilians”. When al Sadr declared he would no longer maintain his insurgency earlier this year, it was after two thousand of his followers were killed or wounded, and half of his remaining followers had fled for their lives. Of course, the local hospitals declared that all the casualties taken there were “civilians”.

This “academically rigorous” report brings discredit both on the “researchers” and Johns Hopkins. Trained academics are supposed to understand research methods, and be able to account for skew and bias. This group obviously did not. To make claims of mortality based on distorted baselines and poorly chosen variables is the mark of poor research.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Final Result


Monday, November 01, 2004

Allawi preparing to crack down in Fallujah

From the StrategyPage

"November 1, 2004: Iyad Allawi, Iraq's interim Prime Minister, spent the weekend warning Sunni Arab leaders, especially those in Fallujah and Ramadi, to crack down on the political, religious and criminal gangs that operate in their territory. But many of the Sunni Arab tribal and religious leaders would rather see the Sunni Arab minority back in control of the country, either as a secular dictatorship, or a religious one. While the Sunni Arab minority are not willing to accept the authority of the democratic Iraqi government, they are not united on which Sunni Arab faction would run things. The only thing that unites the Sunnis is their use of terror against Iraqis, and foreigners, that they consider enemies. In the last two weeks, government operations in Sunni Arab areas has led to over 3,000 arrests. Among those picked up were nearly 200 foreigners. As a result, the ever more desperate Sunni Arabs have increased their use of terror against government officials and foreigners. But this sort of thing is futile, only looking impressive in the international Arab media, which cheers on the Iraqi Sunnis as if they were freedom fighters, not a bunch of murderous thugs trying to bring back tyranny.
Allawi doesn't want to go to war with the Sunni Arabs, but it looks like he will have no choice. No one in the Sunni Arab community can control the Sunni gunmen and terrorists. These thugs have perpetrated a bloody terror campaign against the Iraqi people that won't end until the Sunni Arab areas are swept clean of the gangs. But that will mean a lot of bombs and street fighting. Allawi also knows it will mean a lot of dead Sunnis, and angry kinsmen. Allawi would prefer to avoid long term problems with the Sunnis, but the Sunnis don't seem to care."

Hard times demand hard measures. I wouldn't be hanging out in Fallujah this weekend...

John Kerry's "Honorable" Discharge

From the New York Sun. I think I need to be reminded how Kerry got an honorable discharge after President Carter issued the executive order that expunged negative discharges from service members for campaigning against the war in Vietnam. What is even more interesting is that Kerry has never fully released his military records to the public, while claiming that he has. The MSM continues to distinguish itself by covering for Kerry by spiking the story that he hasn't released his military records while running for Commander-In-Chief. Thanks Pajama Journal. Overall hat tip to the Instapundit.

Chemical Weapons in Iraq?

I didn't think there were any WMD in Iraq - but the Ba'athist and Al Quida insurgents in Fallujah seem to think they have some to use on the US Marines. Courtesy of the UK TimesOnline. Lets just say that if this is true, the insurgents will face a fury that they have never before see - and critics of the war in Iraq will have much explaining to do...

Tora Bora a Failure? Kerry doesn't think so...which is why Osama now pitches for Kerry

Kerry has been claiming that the United States let Bin Ladin go by "outsourcing" our operations in Afghanistan. Isn't that what he wants - for local leaders and other nations to take the lead? Here's some interesting posts on this....

Tora Bora Failure? From Belgravia Dispatch

Outsourcing the operation in Afghanistan? From Quado

Bin Ladin supporting Kerry? Or just against Bush? From MEMRI

Osama delivers threat to the "Red" States ONLY. From CaptainsQuarters

From the Diplomads

Here's what some of our Foreign Service people have to say about how the election is being viewed overseas...