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Eyewitness news, commentary, and strategic analysis

By sigwinch in News
Wed Sep 12, 2001 at 08:56:15 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

Jerry Pournelle put up this page which has an account of how the passengers on United Airlines flight 93 attacked Arab terrorists on board (which plane subsequently crashed and did not become a weapon that killed thousands). He also has another good page with commentary, including this spectacular picture of the second plane only a few yards before it hit the WTC. Pournelle has been studying global military strategy for a long time and I usually find his insights interesting, and his correspondents are highly placed and intelligent.

STRATFOR has some sane strategic analysis. I.e., neither "Can't we all just get along" nor "Nuke 'em till they glow then shoot 'em in the dark".

If you have any good strategy or analysis links, please post them below. I've seen more conventional news reports than I can stomach, but there is a dearth of reasoned analysis on what should be done and why.

Here's a good Jerry Pournelle quote (from the linked pages):
My own concern is that a handful of men with box cutters and knives were able to subdue planes with a hundred Americans aboard.
Regarding the US response to the attacks, he says
The Empire will strike back. It is war, and republics are not good at waging war other than in defense of their homelands against invasions. Other wars require other forms. We are in another kind of war. Waging it requires that we become a different kind of nation. One cannot have open borders during war. Many other liberties must or will be suspended. Some have been suspended since 1941. A few since 1917.

The Seventy Years war pushed us to the edge. We might have recovered and restored republican institutions. Now I doubt we will.

One of his correspondents brings up this point:
The one thing to remember here is that it was originally thought that the Oklahoma City bombing was the result of "Islamic" terrorists. After all, no American could do such a thing. Right?


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Related Links
o this page
o another good page with commentary
o this
o Also by sigwinch

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Eyewitness news, commentary, and strategic analysis | 9 comments (6 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
warrants being served in florida (none / 0) (#2)
by rebelcool on Wed Sep 12, 2001 at 01:02:58 AM EST


COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Pictures (4.25 / 4) (#5)
by sigwinch on Wed Sep 12, 2001 at 01:44:54 AM EST

From webcam on Empire State Building (posted by Rss Nelson)

I don't want the world, I just want your half.

perspective on talk of retaliation (and ABM) (3.50 / 2) (#6)
by eLuddite on Wed Sep 12, 2001 at 02:24:18 AM EST

My own concern is that a handful of men with box cutters and knives were able to subdue planes with a hundred Americans aboard.

Whoever destroyed the WTC did it with knives a few things they picked up on their way to work, as it were. Who needs suitcase bombs? You cannot disarm the enemy by arming yourselves.

God hates human rights.

Empire of America (4.33 / 3) (#7)
by J'raxis on Wed Sep 12, 2001 at 02:27:39 AM EST

Since Mr. Pournelle seems intent on pulling rather dubious speculations out of his ass (Empire!?), I feel I shall do the same thing:

Let us speculate that this was a concerted effort among several Arab nations (not too far out; we have pissed off nearly all of them). So they unite and declare war on us. A group of nations obviously willing to do damn near anything to win. We’ve spent the last few months completely alienating China, who has better relations with Arab nations as it is; so they declare war with us — a nation with nukes and 5–6 times the number of people. Finally, Russia, who seems to have been driven closer to China (with whom they once shared a mutual hatred) recently over W’s Star Wars II plan, joins in the war against the United Empire of America. I seriously doubt, even with our military and resources, we’d win this one.

Okay, I’m done now. :)

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

Depends on your definition of "win." (4.00 / 3) (#9)
by trhurler on Wed Sep 12, 2001 at 05:53:25 PM EST

We'd be the military victors, but it would be a Pyrrhic victory, to say the least. Probably 100-150 million dead US citizens. On the other hand, our opponents would pretty much cease to exist. The real problem is the economic collapse that would follow; dead people are horrible, but they're dead, and you eventually move on. On the other hand, if you can't feed the living, they will die too, and that is far more serious.

Of course, military analysts on all sides know this, which is why no such thing would happen. Russia and China would likely sit out or at most provide economic assistance to the Arab countries, because they know involvement would mean being nuked; it isn't worth that to them. By themselves, the Arab nations would have no hope whatsoever. Israel would go apeshit nuking every Arab and/or Muslim city they could find, with possible very limited retaliation by Pakistan(unlikely, since nuking Israel involves nuking Muslim holy grounds,) and the US would spare no expense in wiping out every single one of those governments along with as many citizens as necessary to make sure they stayed wiped out. Which, when you get down to it, is why the Arab nations, even were they all so inclined(which they're not,) would never do such a stupid thing.

There's a lot more behind the scenes cooperation among these governments, including the US, than you seem to believe; the only real pariah involved is the Taliban.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Republic vs. Empire (4.00 / 3) (#8)
by sigwinch on Wed Sep 12, 2001 at 02:35:26 AM EST

This started out as a reply to this editorial comment, but it turned into something topical so here it is:
The quote just seems to say that Pournelle thinks that, though this may7 not be actually desirable, it's acceptible.
Definitely not. One of Pournelle's big topics is liberty vs. fascism, republic vs. empire. For example, his military science fiction story Go Tell the Spartans has a democratic republic (sort of) as the heros, fighting an evil empire descended from an American/Soviet coalition. The interesting thing is that he doesn't just trot out a stock Evil Empire, but he shows a once-good empire decaying. Kind of like the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but written as a future history of the US.

I can't find a link at the moment, but he had some rather unfriendly things to say about the US's half-assed involvement in Yugoslavia. Half-assed because missiles were used to destroy essential infrastructure, but no infantry and tank divisions were sent in to really secure the area and protect the people. (Which I see referred to by your first AlterNet link now that I read them.)

Although Pournelle isn't a pacifist. He just seems to think that if the US is gonna get involved, it should get in all the way and do a proper job of destroying the old government and putting a new, good one in its place, and that this isolationist warfare where we fund terrorists and blow things up by remote control missiles is unacceptable.

Ah ha! Here's a link and quote:

The lesson is simple: either have a client state ready to do the real fighting while you provide the heavy support; have an army ready to exert the power of the Empire when you undertake dealing with small but tough nations; or stop trying these adventures. None of those is easy for a democracy. It was precisely this kind of pressure that pushed Rome from Republic to Empire. A democracy cannot have a great number of overseas adventures involving a professional army and remain a democracy; or at least history shows no clear examples of that. The danger of a standing army is not that it will oppress its own citizens, but that officials will say, as our Secretary of State has said, "What's the use of a big army if you do not use it?" Her context was that here was a clear wrong that we could right, so we ought to do that.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.

Eyewitness news, commentary, and strategic analysis | 9 comments (6 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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