They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Friday, September 27, 2013

MoD experts combat informed public

An MoD 'think tank' recognises that the public is not as daft as it used to be and consequently this has had a negative impact on the ability of our leaders to drum up support for wars of choice that have little bearing on the security of the nation and fail basic common sense tests relating to risk and reward for the UK let alone residents of the states we seek to 'free' with our bombs.

But not to worry. According to MoD experts there are several remedies available to mitigate the damage caused by the over informed awkward squad. Including increased use of 'contractors' - the thinking being that nobody will give a damn when they die apart from maybe their kids and other immediate family. And if you think that's callous then the MoD's attitude to 'special forces' casualties won't help. Apparently when the SAS etc make the ulimate sacrifice the public's attitude is 'more robust'. They go on to point out that 19 SAS perished in a Falklands helicopter crash in 1982 and nobody gave a shit, hence they recommend increased investment in this area of highly trained cannon fodder.

Apart from a suggestion by the MoD experts that repatriating fallen service men and women be conducted with less of a fanfare - which needlessly draws attention to  a particularly unpleasant if rare aspect of war - that is the substance of the experts strategy to combat the effects of an increasingly well informed UK public. Oh ...and more drones.
[...] "The public have become better informed and our opponents more sophisticated in the exploitation of the sources of information with the net result that convincing the nation of the need to run military risks has become more difficult but no less essential."
[...] Noting that the growth of private security companies has proceeded at a spectacular rate during the past 10 years, it adds: "Neither the media nor the public in the west appear to identify with contractors in the way that they do with their military personnel. Thus casualties from within the contractorised force are more acceptable in pursuit of military ends than those from among our own forces."
Investing in greater numbers of special forces is also recommended. The paper suggests: "The public appear to have a more robust attitude to SF [special forces] losses." In a reference to a May 1982 helicopter crash, it says: "The loss of 19 SAS soldiers in a single aircraft accident during the Falklands campaign did not arouse any significant comment." Link

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Syria: When is a car bomber not a terrorist?

Here's a lesson from Reuters - car bombers targeting civilians are referred to as 'terrorists' by Syrian state TV.

Now I know it's the 'rebels' who are responsible I feel suddenly at ease with all that flesh and bone.

(Reuters) - A car bomb killed at least seven civilians on Tuesday when it exploded in a southern Damascus neighbourhood, a monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 15 people had also been injured in the blast, which hit the district of Tadamon, where President Bashar al-Assad's forces have been fighting rebels for months.
Syrian state television said "terrorists" were behind the explosion, a term it commonly uses to refer to rebels who are fighting to topple Assad.
The Britain-based Observatory, which has a network of activists across Syria, said the blast had destroyed several buildings.
What began as a peaceful pro-democracy movement 2-1/2 years ago has turned into a civil war in which more than 100,000 people have died. Link

Monday, September 09, 2013

Kerry: Unbelievably small effort brings hope

If the US could make the attack just a bit smaller it will no longer exist in the apparent universe; there is potentially a way out here.
Kerry said the Americans were planning an "unbelievably small" attack on Syria. "We will be able to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria's civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing – unbelievably small, limited kind of effort." Link

Syria: US 'common sense' danger

A 'strong common sense' test is all it takes to find Bashar al-Assad guilty of  the Ghouta chemical weapons holocaust and necessitate the unleashing of a 60-90 day bombing campaign (just for starters)  as punishment. This is the nation that - because common sense dictated - sent in an army of SWAT paramilitaries to deal with a misbehaving 107 yr old, with predictable results.  As time goes on the US case for war becomes less not more convincing.

The White House has admitted it has no "irrefutable" evidence of Mr Assad's involvement in the August attack, but said a "strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence" suggested his government was responsible.

"We've seen the video proof of the outcome of those attacks," White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said on Sunday. "Now do we have a picture or do we have irrefutable beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence? This is not a court of law and intelligence does not work that way." Link

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Fabius 'go on, use chemical weapons' telegram

Saying to Iran 'go on, use chemical weapons' would be like saying to the Japanese 'go on, use nuclear weapons'. 
Laurent Fabius - "If we don't react, that means we're sending, today or tomorrow, a telegram to Assad, to the Iranians, the North Koreans and to all terrorist groups starting with al Qaeda. We are sending them a telegram saying 'go on, use chemical weapons', and by all means we don't want that" Link

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Kerry logic: Failure to act will embolden AQ

Perhaps Kerry has his conflicts muddled, because it's difficult to see how a failure to strike Syria will 'embolden' AQ. There seems to be unanimity in the assessment that 'AQ and AQ affiliates' are playing a major role in fighting with forces  loyal to Bashar al-Assad - perhaps the leading role due to their superior fighting skills and commitment to jihadist goals. It's quite obvious that any strike on Assad's forces or infrastructure will be useful assistance to  opposition forces including AQ.  
Kerry would struggle to  argue convincingly that US strikes will not embolden Al Qaeda in Syria. Anyone can see it will be a boost - a small boost or a big one - depending on how far the US goes. But perhaps more important than that is the suspicion held by some  that Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri's broader goals and strategies are served by once more sucking the US into an unwinnable war, and it seems to be going his way.  That's not to say that Obama has fully taken the bait, but Kerry's suggestion that the last thing AQ needs is a 'humanitarian attack' on Syria is far from the truth.  
 Kerry warned a sceptical and sometimes raucous panel that failing to strike Syria would embolden al-Qaida and raise to "100%" the chances Assad would use chemical weapons again. Link

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

This is real

We estimate that a 'proportional'  58 - 430 civilians will be killed in week one of an attack on Syria. Of this we are certain. Beyond any reasonable doubt. We have the data to back it up. Not only that but we know that the US will  be responsible for the deed. This is real. I ask you and people at home, check the data, see for yourselves.
“What we are envisioning is something limited. It is something proportional. It will degrade Assad's capabilities,” Mr Obama said.

Syria: No boots on the ground...probably

'Boots on the ground' no longer off the table ...if you get what I mean.  Apparently, if Syria 'implodes' US forces will need to secure the CW.  Oh yes they will.

Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri must be enjoying the show.

Secretary of State John Kerry mixed messages Tuesday against a proposed congressional prohibition on the use of American ground forces in Syria, saying the war-torn country could “implode” and  that, if so, U.S. troops would be needed to prevent chemical weapons from falling into the hands of terrorist groups.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry first said he didn’t want to “take off the table” an option that might become necessary if Syria further destabilizes. Link