Friday, August 29, 2014

Just Let Men Be Men

That's right fellas. If you're not shouting things at women on the street you aren't a man. Didn't your daddy teach you that?

That's right. It's not sexist to catcall women on the street. In fact, where is your manliness? All bottled up in a place where you aren't yelling at people?
Just be an ass man.
I'm just a little bit tired of it being presumed that the natural state of men is to be the biggest most obnoxious jerkwads imaginable.
You know what men do? Men share videos of the science of cats landing on their feet.
That's what men do.

(Today is not a good day for embedding videos on Blogger apparently.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Netanyahu is the GW Bush of Israel

Operation Linebacker II makes an interesting base-line for interpreting Israeli Operation Mighty Cliff or whatever they're calling it in English.
The purpose of Linebacker II was to get the South Vietnam government to have faith in the Paris Peace Accords. I know, ironic right? But Nixon had to show that the US would protect them. And how better to do that than to bomb Hanoi into practical oblivion.
The purpose of Operation Protective Edge? Nobody has any idea what the goal is. Nobody. It has something to do with a few kids who were killed a week earlier. Or maybe something else. Or rockets coming in from Gaza. Or maybe some tunnels which the IDF knew about, forgot about, then suddenly remembered when Hamas started using them (again.)
The impact? Shockingly about the same number of Israelis died in Protective Edge (around 60) as Americans in Linebacker II. About the same numbers of civilians (about 1600) in both operations.
Linebacker II destroyed Hanoi's military manufacturing base. It, of course, didn't even touch the Ho Chi Ming trail. Protective Edge blew up a bunch of buildings, killed a lot of people, but left nigh on 3000 rockets in the hands of Hamas and presumably destroyed some tunnels.*

So after all that, will fewer Israelis magically not get killed? Well probably not. Hamas is extraordinarily efficient at creating terror at a very low cost to human lives so they weren't killing a whole lot of Israelis in the first place. They were scaring them, sure, just not actually killing them. Unguided rocket attacks make people very upset. They could land anywhere. Even without the rocket-interdiction technology "Iron Dome", they almost never kill anybody. As an instrument of terror rockets are 1. expensive 2. low non-psychological casualty and 3 terrifying.

If you want to look for an organization which really kills a lot of Israelis you have to look to the IDF. Now that's a machine designed to kill a bunch of young Israeli boys. They can kill more Israelis in two weeks than Hamas did in 10 years with rockets.

I think the biggest problem isn't the structure of the IDF but rather the fact that Netanyahu is essentially the G.W. Bush of Israeli politics. He's unable to conceive of blowback from any of his policies. Every political position is an "are you with us or are you against us" argument. He ignores intelligence. And he's very quick with a fight without knowing who he's fighting or why.

So back to leaving the bulk of the rockets Hamas has: uh, wait what? Do you want to make sure Hamas still has some rockets to throw at you so you can have some reason to retaliate later? And how on earth, with the Israeli blockade on Gaza, do they even get rockets in the first place? Do the IDF interdiction teams look at incoming shipments and go "Mmm... blankets, medical supplies, baby formula, nope. This stuff has to go. What's over there? Iranian rocket parts? Sure, let that in."

*Yeah, somebody tells me "all the tunnels are destroyed" and I say "sure, I've heard that before."

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Westmoreland's IDF

An eerie echo of Vietnam is heard in the pronouncements by the IDF propaganda machine. The absolute surety of victory without any actual definition of what victory is or what the end game is. The infinite evil (sometimes even justified) of the foe.
There are even analogies to be found in the complex political balance between the different players in different states. Egypt has its agenda. Hamas is different than Hezbollah. Lebanon and Syria have their own issues.
This bunny was very busy at the battle of Khe Sanh when the Tet Offensive started and he had to take a nap.

Israel tends to behave like an older child on the playground, feeling self-righteous when the adults scold it for beating up on other, smaller, kids. "But I had to! They started it!"
But the worst part of the entire situation is how the IDF plays to a crowing public of its holy, and un-critisizable genius when really they are sort of spectacularly incompetent.
As far as I can tell the IDF is the only military in the world where essentially every soldier starts as an E-1. This makes every officer a mustang in the IDF (there are exceptions like physicians who join after they get their degrees, etc.)
And you would think that having an officer corps of all mustangs would be a good thing. The class distinction between the enlisted and officers would be eliminated. No snobby silver-spoon officers born into their commands over proles fighting for the State but rather everyone being equal. Yeah. Good idea. But the IDF found a way to make it not work.
As far as I can tell the IDF holds its commissions over their enlisted. "If you join up for four more years we'll give you some training and make you an officer!" So great, you take some computer courses, somebody pins a gold bar on your lapel and all of a sudden you're an officer. They get a watered-down bit of officer training and off they go.
As far as I can tell the front-line officers essentially do an NCO's job. I'm talking like Captains -- they're the ones yelling at everyone to clean their weapons and organizing patrols. This means that their Majors and Colonels are basically idiots who just came off the front lines doing the jobs of sergeants.
I refer to General Westmoreland when I want a touch-stone of military incompetence. This unsourced bit from Wikipedia pretty much sums it up:
Westmoreland was convinced that the Vietnamese communists could be destroyed by fighting a war of attrition that, theoretically, would render the Vietnam People's Army unable to fight. His war strategy was marked by heavy use of artillery and airpower and repeated attempts to engage the communists in large-unit battles, and thereby exploit the US's vastly superior firepower and technology. However, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF) were able to dictate the pace of attrition to fit their own goals: by continuing to fight a guerrilla war and avoiding large-unit battles, they denied the Americans the chance to fight the kind of war they were best at, and they ensured that attrition would wear down the American public's support for the war faster than they.
Sound familiar?
Two very countervailing aspects of the present IDF war are the fact that unlike (say) the US Marine Corps which likes to think they're the best friend or worst enemy of everyone they meet, the IDF does not care about being anyone's friends. They won't even pay lip-service to the notion that when they invade somewhere that by giving them lots of stuff and showing them how awesome the Israel way of life is that they, in turn, should do stuff the democratic and non-violent way.
The other big difference is that all these organizations like Hamas are concerned solely with their own systematic maintenance. And making the IDF commit war crimes is the number one way to ensure support. They've learned the best, cheapest, ways to create terror among the populace with the fewest numbers of casualties. Rockets and tunnels kill far fewer Israelis in 10 years than the IDF can do in 2 weeks of fighting. But they can guarantee an incompetent and horrific response which will surely kill some children sleeping in some UN school (while Israelis cheer and then can't understand why anyone would be horrified at that.)
Speaking of Israeli incompetence, is it "Intern Day" in the Israeli diplomatic corps? Is the A-team on vacation? Do they take the Summer off and leave it to a bunch of 6th - graders?
Isn't it time to grow up?