Prague Twin

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


One of my firmly held beliefs is that making war usually leads to more war. War is like fire, I have heard. It seems the facts bear me out.

A corollary of this belief is that occupation will be resisted. As evidence, let us look at the security situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon for a moment.

Only 45 U.S. soldiers were killed or died as a result of wounds suffered in July. I say only, becuase this is about 15 soldiers less than average. Three Marines identities were realease in two statements.

In other Iraq news...

BASRA - A British soldier was killed when a mortar round landed on the British military base in Basra, 550 (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, the British military said.
MOSUL - Gunmen killed a student in the college of Islamic law and wounded another in Mosul, 390 km north of Baghdad, police said. Gunmen killed a man in a separate incident in Mosul, police added. The reason was unclear.
BAGHDAD - Gunmen attacked two minibuses carrying civil servants in the electricity department of Baghdad, killing four and wounding seven, police said.
NEAR KUT - A roadside bomb exploded beside a fuel truck wounding its driver in an area near Kut, 170 km southeast of Baghdad, police said.
KIRKUK - A member of the Arab Consultative Assembly, a gathering for Arab tribes and political parties, was gunned down in northern Kirkuk, 250 km north of Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD - Seven people were wounded, including three police commandos, when a car bomb targeting a U.S. patrol exploded on Zayouna district, eastern Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD - Nine insurgents and 25 suspected insurgents have been detained by the Iraqi army forces in the past 24 hours in different areas of Baghdad, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol exploded on Palestine Street, northeastern Baghdad, wounding two civilians, a police source said.
BAGHDAD - Gunmen shot at an Iraqi Army checkpoint in the northern outskirts of Baghdad, wounding five, including one civilian, an Interior Ministry source said.
NEAR TIKRIT - A roadside bomb went off near a bus carrying Iraqi soldiers, killing 20 of them and wounding 13 near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad.
BAGHDAD - At least 10 people were killed and 22 wounded when a car driven by a suicide bomber exploded near an army patrol in the mainly Shi'ite Karrada district of Baghdad, a source in the Interior Ministry said.
MUQDADIYA - Seven people were killed and 15 wounded when a car bomb exploded beside a police patrol near a hospital in the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km northeast of Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD - A civilian was killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in northeastern Baghdad, police said.
BAQUBA - The bodies of three people were found in Baquba, 65 km north of Baghdad, police said.
KIRKUK - Two policemen were killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, police said.

That was as of about 4 pm Baghdad time.

Buried at the bottom of all of that, but perhaps more significant in many was was this..

Oil pipeline in Iraq a shamble

In Afghanistan..

Three Britsh Troops Killed. First Nato Casualties.

And, of course in Lebanon (sorry Somalia, I'm pressed for time, but I'm thinking of you... promise.)

It now appears that the military had no information on rockets launched from the site of the building, or the presence of Hezbollah men at the time.

(h/t to Mike@ Born at the Crest of the Empire)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the fight against Hezbollah will continue until the group no longer poses a threat.

Olmert has just signed a contract with what is referred to as "resistance." Essentially, all Hezbollah needs to do to get a win is to pose a threat. Well, if you are heavily armed, numbered in the thousands (and growing... quickly) and determined so help you god, you could probably hold out for quite a while and pose a threat. He didn't even say a big threat.

What these three conflicts have in common is that they are essentially wars of resistance, the civil war in Iraq notwithstanding (it does not preclude itself from being used as an example here by virtue of this).

The Arab parties in these conflicts are unablle to win any kind of military victory in the classis sense. What they are left with is resistance. In all three cases, an inferior force remains a threat and a problem that no one seems to have a solution for.

The urge to resist an occupying force is largely overlooked by the great military minds. They say things like, "if they would just come out and fight like men!" Well, I don't think that is a logical response for those who would resist. These calls to "come out and fight like men" harken back to the doomed English Imperial soldiers and their suicidal formations. Essentially, guys, the gloves came off a long time ago. You can complain all you want, but it doesn't change the situation on the ground.

The greatest challenge in military conquest is occupation. However this is often overlooked. Empire after empire has been bogged down by enforcing their rule in far off lands. What has been largely overlooked in the twentieth century is the inevitability of resistance after an occupation takes place. The assumption is made that once the battle is won, the fight ends. But rarely does history confirm this.

I wonder what would have really happened if Germany had won WWII. Do you really believe that we would all be speaking German? Would German soldiers disarm the citizens of the United States? Now, I'm just guessing here, but if German motorcades were rolling through Nashville, at least somebody would be taking shots at it. It happened in Prague and 2 top SS were killed. They eventually flooded the terrorists out of the basement of the church where they were holed up. I found it interesting that even the Germans found it repulsive to throw a bomb into a church. The church is still there, and not in bad shape aside from a few bullet holes.

I sincerely doubt that the Germans and the Japanese could occupy the United States. We are too proud, and too well armed. We think of that as a good thing. (Wolverines!) Pride would require that we resist any foreign power who would try to enforce their laws on us. Like all of those who were occupied in WWII, I'm sure the Americans would do everything they could to try and disrupt the plans of the occupying force.

Why do we expect that it will be any different for anyone else now or in the future?

We are seeing absolutley classic resistance in the form of guerilla warfare. A military man would call it low-level activity and in strict military tearms, he would be right. But guerilla warfare is actually the most active form of resistance. Low-level resistance includes things like disinformation, work slowdowns, and minor sabotage. What we are seeing now is resistance in full-bloom. Those waiting for the "real war" to start are going to be very sorely disappointed. This is it.

Resistance is above all things, patient. Guerilla movements have held out for decades, over and over again, throughout history. The Shi'a are essentially resistors who lived in exile and subjugation for centuries but never gave in. They live to fight another day.

And yet our leaders fail to accept that this will be the result from occupation nearly every time.

No one wants foreign troops in their country. People will, as a matter of course, summarily dismiss any notions of disinterested intervention with few exceptions.

Resistance is persistance. Pride and persistance. It is like water. It is relentless. It is in all of us.


  • PT

    Please explain how your beliefe would pertain to WWII

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 11:31 PM  

  • Arch,

    I thought I had, however briefly. Every country that Germany occupied enganged in various levels of resistance. There was even German resistance.

    This is largely overlooked in our historical understanding of the war period.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:37 PM  

  • Good thoughts. And the corollary was the Marshall plan after WWII which allowed countries ti rebuild in their own way.
    It is the imposition of rule which gives rise the the resistance. I guess a good analogy there is the western Europe as opposed to Eastern Europe.
    If we can’t draw lessons from history - and many obviously can’t - we are doomed.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 5:20 AM  

  • I guess I was clear then.


    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:27 AM  

  • We westerners think with a double standard. We don't understand that one man's terrorism is a anothers resistance.

    By Blogger GraemeAnfinson, at 9:12 AM  

  • PT

    So then you agree that it was necessary for the allies to fight WWII?


    You think there was no imposition on Japan and Germany as to how things would be run post war?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:25 PM  

  • Arch,

    You completely missed the point.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:38 PM  

  • Arch, I didn't say that. You have a very transparent way of twisting an argument.
    In fact the US are still in Germany. The majority of both countries 'beaten' by their own leaders as much as the Allies.
    Witness that Japan still cannot stomach a real military, aiming solely for pure defence.
    The real argument is that they were encouraged to rebuild their own countries with help from the conquers.
    That action alone allowed for rebuilding spirit and dignity.
    The lesson I draw is that dignity comes high on the list of needs during an occupation.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 12:33 AM  

  • Great post, keep it up. I would hope that every able bodied man and woman would stand and resist if our country was being occupied by foreign troops and I do expect the citizens of other countries to do the same.

    God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

    By Blogger David Schantz, at 1:51 AM  

  • AHOI! Great post and I would yap a bit more but it's time for bedy byes. See you later!

    By Anonymous Pekka, at 12:02 PM  

  • PT

    Make it more clear for me.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:26 PM  

  • The thesis of the post is summed up in the comment by David Schantz....

    I would hope that every able bodied man and woman would stand and resist if our country was being occupied by foreign troops and I do expect the citizens of other countries to do the same.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 4:23 PM  

  • PT,

    OK. I am 48 hours behind the curve, but here goes. I disagree strenuously that the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon are appropriately characterized as wars of resistence.

    The Lebanese conflict is a disaster for that nation and the environment in the Eastern Mediterranean. I heard this a.m. (Thursday) that 1/3 of the beaches are polluted w/ spilled oil which is heading N.) This conflict began when Israel retaliated against a stateless terrorist group, Hezbollah, which committed an act of terroism. Where the conflict will go from here is anyone's guess, but the surest resolution will be for some type of heavily armed international peace keeping force to be inserted in S. Lebanon while the IDF goes back to Israel.

    Who loses most? The Lebanese.

    Afghanistan. You may recall that this country under the Taliban was a haven of terrorists who set up training camps. After 9/11, the US urged the Taliban to shut down the camps. The Taliban declined and are no longer in power. They are "resisting" if you would like to call it that. But at this point, what is the difference between the Talkiban and common bandits?

    Unfortunately, throughout its history, Afghanistan has been impossible to conquer b/c of the fierceness of its tribes and the difficulty of its terrain. The country itself, although of geographical interest to rulers since Alexander through the players of the Great Game, has never been a major player itself b/c its tribal culture prevented that.

    W/ the advent of the airplane, Afghanistan became like one of those towns in the American west that died when bypassed by the interstate. Why the Soviet Union became embroiled there is beyond me.

    Afghanistan still reamins a major source of opium. We and our allies must necessarily remain there b/c if the Taliban or its ilk resumes or assumes control, then Osama bin Laden and his ilk will move in again.

    If the US were not currently squandering its resources in Iraq, much more could be acccomplished in Afghanistan, probably to the point where the Taliban would be completely disenfranchised.

    As for Iraq, well my position remains that nobody, not W nor any of his minions, read any history.
    What is occurring in Iraq currently is less a war of resistance--and please recall to the extent the United States armed forces are targets, ask yourself who are the perps, Iraqis or foreign fighters?--than a sectarian conflict. This was perfectly predicable, except to all the members of the administration who were drinking their own bathwater and confusing it w/ vintage champagne.

    Unlike Roger, to paraphrase Towns van Zandt, I wear my pessismism outside my pants for all the honest world to feel, like Pancho's gun.

    When Saddanm was in power, he and his minions killed other Iraqis. Now, the US is there and Iraqis are killing Iraqis. When we leave, Iraqis will be killing Iraqis. This is not primarily a conflict of reistence, nor is Afghanistan, nor is Lebanon.


    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 7:32 PM  

  • Tony,

    Well this is an awful lot to take on. I suppose saying that they are primarily wars of resistance may be going too far in the case of Iraq, which I wrote in. Despite all of the ensuing chaos, the bulk of the problem from a military standpoint is getting everyone to surrender and accept the new order. Thus, they are fighting resistance.

    Yes, in some cases all out civil war or general lawlessness outperforms pure resistance and insurgency, but the resistance is where it usually begins, and it is present throughout the struggle.

    In Iraq, for example. There may be horrible bloodshed to come. Much blood is being spilled now, and a lot more Iraqi blood than American blood. But that does not reduce the underlying hatred that both sides hold for any occupying force. I think they are equal-opportunity haters.

    Your suggestion that the bulk of the insurgency is from foreingn fighters is a bit dated I think. It was tenuous at best throughout the war, and I thought it died with Zarqawi, but maybe that is just me.

    There has been quite a rise in rouge elements of the Mehdi militias targeting Americans, for example. The Americans have in turn, been rounding up and killing these Shi'a and Sadr has been silent about it, so far. The Americans are still losing the same amount of troops as always. So despite an increase in other forms of violence, the ever-changing insurgency remains a constant.

    No, there is plenty of resistance going on in Iraq, and I think as much as they have their internal fight to sort out, they are outraged at living under occupation. The numbers and the polls bear me out on this I think.

    In the case of Afghanistan you mention the opium but fail to mention that production has skyrocketed since the invation. Those who still fight, fight out of pride. They are not simply terrorists trying to carve out a piece of land for Osama. These are old power structures unleashed, and they will continue to fight for what they believe is "thier land" refusing, as always, to accept our system of nation-state and prefering to identify with thier tribe and their ancestoral lands.

    And in Lebanon, you completely fail to acknowledge that Hezbollah grew out of resistance. They spent decades displaced and fighting for that land. Sure, the raid triggered the event, but at this point, all of the action is resistance. You have the IDF moving in on the ground and Hezbollah resisting invation. You can provide a convincing legal rationale that Hezbollah is without a country, but no less, these people are fighting for what they believe is their land. They are resisting.

    Thanks for making me think through it again. I always enjoy your comments.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:41 PM  

  • PT,

    I should be reviewing medical records but b/c you have thrown the gauntlet:

    I did not mean to suggest that the majority of insurgents are foreign fighters. Certainly, foreign fighters constitute some of the insurgency.

    Look in your e-mail for a weapons review that was forwarded to me last November. I forwarded it to Roger who posted it, nearly verbatim, on his blog.

    I was naive. I thought the Iraqis would wait until after the US redeployed b/f they got down to the serious busibness of killing each other.

    The best way to sescribe resistance in Iraq is to define it as resistence to changing the status quo and resistance to order.

    I believe that only Iraqis who are not hell bent on avenging the martyrdom of Husayn on the one hand, or resisting the ascendency of the Shi'ites on the other, are the Kurds. What they want is an independent Kurdistan. That fight will occur once the dust has settled from those that are going on now.

    In fact, I know, although I did not so state, that opium production is skyrocketing. I agree that Afghanistan is unlikely to become a nation state based on our model. I favor a monarchy myself inasmuch as it has some historical precedent.

    I read once that Afghanis are hard wired to fight. Let them. We need to insure, however, that the place does not revert to another one of those countries as once it was: summer camp for terrorists.

    So far as Hezbollah is concerned, you are kind to refer to it as a movment that was born of resistance.

    Now, let us face the unpleasent facts. Israel was partitioned from Palestine and beginning in 1948, large numbers of Palestinians have been displaced.

    Like the Cubans who left Cuba after Castro came to power, these people are never going to get their property/land back. It isn't going to happen. I do not wonder that Hezbollah and Hamas are committed to the destruction of Israel. But that isn't going to happen either. What will happen, are things like the destruction of Lebanon, which is suffering b/c of Hezbollah, a stateless political organization which is committed to the destruction of a sovereign state and which is committed to the practice of genocide. For Hezbollah, today the Jews; tomorrow, the Christians, next week, the Sunnis, after which they will turn on any Shia who dares disagree.

    I am unhappy about what is occurring in Lebanon. Th eUnited State's foreign policy is so misguided that there is little, if anything, we can do by way of solution b/c we have no relationshipo w/ the powers than can help effect a solution, Syria and Iran.

    So long as those countries continue to arm Hezbollah, like Iraq, or, at the very least, permit Hezbollah to be armed, like Syria, then the prospects for peace in the middle east are nil.

    Hear about the parade in Bahgdad in support of Hezbollah? Not only did the Iraqis open their arms to us as liberators but already there is no telling that republic from ours.

    The best we can hope for, at this point is that once Lebanon is destroyed, and we seem most of the way there already, the Lebanese will begin to pick up the pieces and summarily execute the next 3 guys w/ a rocket launcher facing south.

    I'm not holding my breath.

    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 11:40 PM  

  • PT

    How many times do I have to tell you? WE ARE IN IRAQ BY INVITATION OF THE DEMOCRATICLAY ELECTED GOVERNMENT. Enough with the worn out demagogic cry of occupation. The bulk of the Iraqis want the U.S. to stay until the job is finished. Only you, the left, and the insurgency insist the occupation is unlawful.

    As it relates to Iraq, this statement:

    I would hope that every able bodied man and woman would stand and resist if our country was being occupied by foreign troops and I do expect the citizens of other countries to do the same.

    Is juvenile.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 5:45 AM  

  • Yo! Arch! "We are in Iraq @ the invitation of a democratically elected government." This reminds me of the story of the hunting camp and the moose shit pie.

    Time for your dose of irony. Open wide. Over the teeth and through the gums, look out stomach, here I comes.

    Instead of spending 3-4 billion dollars a week for > 3 years and sacrificing > 2600 Americans--we'll leave the Iraqis out of this equation as in my alternative they suffer and are sacrificed anyway-- suppose we had just left that monster Saddam in situ.

    Think of the benefits: The price of gasoline would be maybe 2/3 of what it is today; we would have the perfect proxy waiting to unleash his greatly eroded Republican Guard against Iran and its nuclear ambitions; there would be no Shi'ite revival in which an armed and emboldened Hezbollah would be firing missiles into Israel.

    Plus, we would have kept >$1,260,000,000,000 (PT please check my math. Is that 1.26 trillion dollars?)not mention 2,600 families would not have been bereaved--I know, I know, it's hard to put a number on that one- plus all those servicemen and women in places like Walter Reed would not be waving their missing limbs at us, plus the president's vacations in Crawford could be longer and undisturbed by Cindy Sheehan and her ilk. Of course the chances are excellent that W would not be president and would just be permanently on vacation in Crawford b/c after 9/11 do you think he possibly could have gotten reelected w/o the US being at war?

    Yes, I know this is a dark thought. The war in Iraq was just part of Karl Rove's political strategy to keep W in the White House so he could prosecute his real agenda, the light of his soul, by which I mean of course, tax cuts for the very wealthy. Yes, for W, there are no problems that can't be solved by a few more tax cuts for the very wealthy.

    Apologia to Irving Berlin:

    I was broke, just as broke as I could be,
    Every day brought a tax bill for me,
    Then W came a knockin' at my door, Skies may be gray, but I'm not poor anymore.

    Tax cuts,
    Smiling at me,
    Nothing but tax cuts,
    Do I see.

    Singing his song,
    Nothing but tax cuts,
    All day long.

    Never saw coin shining so bright,
    Never saw things going so right,
    Noticing my accounts starting to rise,
    When you've got tax cuts, they're starting to fly,

    Tax cuts,
    Smiling at me.
    Nothing but tax cuts,
    For the wealthy.

    Repeal the death tax,
    And capital gains,
    The rule against perpetuities,
    Sure was a pain,
    What should I care if the treasury's broke,
    I've got my pile of dough,
    Cause of W's smoke.

    Wave goodbye,
    It's gone.
    Nothing but tax cuts,
    From now on.

    The richer get rich,
    It's your fault if you're poor,
    Since W's tax cuts,
    Came through the door.

    Time to leave the chateau,
    I'm off to my yacht,
    Thanks to W's tax cuts,
    My porfolio's hot.

    Tax cuts
    For the wealthy,
    Nothing but tax cuts,
    Do I see.

    By Anonymous Papa LeBas, at 6:26 PM  

  • papa lebas

    I'm glad I was able to remind you of moose shit pie

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 5:38 AM  

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