A New Can Of Worms
23 April 2004
Von Clauswitz vs. Sun Tzu
I don't know if he knows it, but Rich Miller's Weekly Column is a good exercise in military sociology. He writes about the 233rd MP National Guard unit out of Camp Lincoln in Springfield and the differences between them and the regular infantry. The 233rd is just returning from their year long stint in Iraq:
"I also spent a lot of time in Fallujah, which was patrolled by American infantrymen. The infantry is trained to fight wars, not police the peace. They do a great job of killing the enemy, and destroying whatever gets in their way. But their commanders barely changed tactics after the initial invasion. "
The Army is Von Clautwitz. They are all about putting fire power on target. MP's are far better equipped for missions such as peacekeeping or occupying territory. And in a war like this, their descretion is just a valuable as any M1A Abrams. To me it seems the MP's are out of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War;" they are the thinking man's warrior.
The Marines, by the way, have fully adopted the tenants of Sun Tzu. It is still required reading every one. Stealth and deception are its guiding lights. Because of this and their history, Marines too will be better at pacifying Fallujah than the Army. (The Marines have a history of fighting these kinds of wars in places like the Caribbean.) Rather than shoot up and entire village, they will rely on a sniper to pick off an offender without leveling the village.
21 April 2004
State-owned computer gear sat unused for 3 years
In today's Sun-Times:
"More than $2 million in computer equipment bought by the state to help colleges, schools and local governments get online sat idle for three years, according to an audit released Tuesday.
Over three years, $341,148 was paid to store and maintain the unused network routers. But 'this equipment has never been placed in service,' the audit states."
Becky Caroll, one of the governor's flacks, stated that the computer equipment is being transferred to some downstat high schools.
Three year old computer equipment... I'm sure the kids will get a kick out of the antiques.
... Just another example of your state at work...
20 April 2004
Foreign Policy Continuity
The In the lair of the Wolf Australian Greg Sheridan recounts a visit with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. It is a fascinating article that deals seriously with the critiques of the Bush Administration's policy in Iraq. But critiques aside, the most important component of this article is this admission:
"What is most interesting about the US debate over the past few weeks is not just that the Bush administration has taken a lot of criticism and suffered in the polls. Equally ? perhaps more ? important, but substantially unremarked-upon outside the US, is that both sides of US politics have committed to finishing the job in Iraq.
This is now not just a Bush administration commitment but a US commitment. The most compelling evidence of this perhaps was Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry's opinion piece in The Washington Post calling for more troops to go to Iraq. "
Continuity has been the rule in US foreign policy in the 20th Century and it has carried over into our first 21st Century war. Even during Vietnam few in the foreign policy community questioned the legitimacy of the Cold War. What was questioned was the tactics to fight it. The hawk-dove divide is two strands of the same braid.
He's like the Little Engine That Could
The Sun-Times reports that Hot Rod is sending his crew on a European vacation:
"As drug companies try to restrict imports of cheap prescription drugs from Canada, the state is looking to Europe for relief from high drug prices.
Gov. Blagojevich today will announce he's sending a team of experts to Europe to study the drug market there."
When they start going to Thailand, I'm going to really cry foul...
This will get same reaction as everything else he has tried: ridicule.
19 April 2004
By All Means, Run on It...
Poll: Voters back gun checks, keeping assault weapon ban:
" statewide poll being released today showed that Illinois voters strongly support making the federal ban on assault weapons permanent and requiring people who purchase firearms at gun shows to undergo criminal background checks.
Overbrook Research conducted the survey of 501 registered voters for Voices for Illinois Children, an advocacy group. Gun-control advocates said the poll results are evidence of public backing for several legislative proposals, including House Bill 4087 that would require new handguns to have trigger locks and Senate Bill 947 that would require criminal background checks at gun shows."
The rest of the country is passing concealed carry. Something like 44 states have more liberal gun laws than Illinois. The state is clearly outside the mainstream. People may support gun control in the abstract but only gun owners vote on it -- and they don't support gun control.
Pushing gun control in an election year falls under the rubric of just plain stupid. By pushing it the left threatens an obvious US Senate pick up and their control of the state senate.