The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Genius of Our Enemy

In the Francis Ford Coppola film Apocalypse Now, US Army Col. Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando, explains why the United States was going to lose the war in Vietnam against the communist. Kurtz, driven mad because he understands the true nature of the war his side is not allowed to win, explains to the assassin sent by his own government, US Army Captain Willard, played by Martin Sheen, that the communist in Vietnam are fighting a total war without mercy or compassion while the Americans fight for a morally bankrupt lie. The communist are determined to win at all costs.  The US is only prepared to fight a war for limited political objectives with unlimited pain and suffering in the hypocrisy of destroying everything–even itself--to save its honor and influence.

    Kurtz describes being on a Special Forces medical mission to a Vietnamese village where Army doctors inoculate children against diseases with hypodermic shots in the arm. The villagers willingly took the help from the Americans, but the Americans didn’t stay.  When the Americans returned, they found a pile of little severed arms cut off by the guerilla-terrorist Viet Cong.  Kurtz in self-actualized horror realized at that moment his enemy in combat possesed “genius” against which American strategy and promises had no defense or effective response.

    The question is begged: Was Kurtz truly insane? Or did he finally just accept the reality and fight the war on his own terms with the same sort of heartless rage against the lies he was forbid to doubt?

    Thank god I haven’t never had to fight in a war. We all might have to do so eventually.  It seems true to me that wars are fought for some sort of elite-driven greed or fear. Thucydides, the father of strategy, summarized the causes of the war in his great history of the struggle between Athens and Sparta as driven by such deadly sins. People are told, by the leaders of both sides in the conflict–the propaganda or as we called it today, public diplomacy.  When stripped away and seen in their raw form, the lies come down to some pursuit or defense of the leadership’s fear of losing something (like their own power) or to gain some sort of power lust (the very human nature of power and control over others).

    There can’t be much honor in any war if this is indeed true, especially when innocent civilians on both sides are caught in the effects. But if I’m not wrong about this, I one thing that is absolutely true:  Soldiers, the living ones, have said the heros alive and dead fought for one reason–to protect the lives of their friends beside them in the fire.  Far too many people, especially the fundamentalist and extremist of any belief, are eager to kill others for what they believe.  Yet how many are willing to commit suicide to fight for it?

    Japanese kamakazis and Muslim suicide bombers can be in a class all by themselves. (It shouldn’t be inconceivable to imagine that someday“other” suicide bombers blowing up people they don’t like. But this is too controversial to discuss). They are the “True Believers,” to use Eric Hoffer’s analysis.  Japanese soldiers fighting to the death on land, sea and in the air did more damage to the Allies in the last year of World War II than that done by “regular” soldiers, sailors and airmen in the first two and a half years of that war.  The Muslim suicide bomber, like the kamakazi pilots, are the true “smartest” weapons. They think better than satellite-guided bombs and missiles, are not deterred, and are cheap, and easy to build, relatively cheap and easy than compared to a Tomahak missile or J-DAM.

    Does the West have an effective answer to this “genius” weapon? Suicide bombers are not easily bribed or defended against.  The only way to prevent them is stop someone from choosing to be one in the first place. Is America actually capable of understanding this war based on this reality? Would the US ever realize that we cannot win a  “materialschlach,” a war of attrition, (Muslims have more people and are being born faster) but need better, smarter strategy?

    It is simple to say, but deceptive, that the Muslims hate America because of who we are. The great debate in grand strategy, the political level of  a war, is to be honest and look at ourselves first before we decide if just killing “them” as they come is enough. The war is winnable. So far, America has been fighting the wrong way. For no matter what reason the fight is on (I still say it is fear and greed), it cannot be lost or a draw without the end of liberty in America, ended either by our enemy or by our own government.  Unless we become even more genius than our enemy, and fight with ideas first, then apply brawn wisely, our enemy has already won because we absolutely do not know him or ourselves.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Excerpt from "The Surge at Midpoint"

Note: The complete essay, "The Surge at Midpoint" can be found on the Club website at after June 12, 2007.

    The above description of the “on the ground” level of fighting an insurgency  is the heart of what the current Bush Administration surge “strategy” needs to accomplish. The key problem in the Iraq War is that as the U.S. has spent over four years of using its heavy-handed, extremely violent, very visible, futile and ineffective traditions of indiscriminate firepower, overwhelming force, and cultural  insensitivity in fighting the guerilla-terrorist networks of Iraq.

    As a result of the misuse of strategy, the population of Iraq feels intimidated by BOTH the Coalition military forces and the insurgents. The government’s ineffectiveness to protect the people and provide services to the communities has lost and is losing the loyalty and cooperation of an ever-growing share of the Iraqi population and their tribal-system of leadership. Regrettably, the failures of political-military leadership at the very top of American government in Washington, D.C., among both civilians and  uniformed personnel, in the White House and on both sides of the isle in Congress, may have lost the Iraq War without an opportunity for winning remaining. Time will tell.

    First, the U.S. government has agreed that political benchmarks must be placed on the Iraqi government to measure progress. These measurements are conceived in order to determine if the strategy is working, if the Iraqi government can survive and operate with the support of its own people, and whether more U.S. blood and treasure will make a difference.  Benchmarks on the Iraqi political leadership are necessary and fine. After all, the solution to the Iraq War lies first and foremost on Iraq establishing a political system which the majority of its citizens will support and whose cooperation is the first essential to defeat the insurgency.

The only thing wrong in this scenario is that the U.S. political leadership has no political benchmarks on itself. The failure of the post-invasion occupation and counter-insurgency war has always been the U.S. political grand strategy for the war and the entire Middle East is fundamentally flawed.  No matter what the U.S. military is capable of doing in Iraq, or in Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and everywhere else, U.S. foreign policy defeats the sacrifice of near 4,000 dead Americans and the30,000 seriously wounded. Need we mention the tragedy of a half a million Iraqis murdered and the waste of 500 billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer money.

    Wars all must begin with grand strategy–the setting of a desired political outcome.  The U.S. uses the political propaganda that it wants democracy to transform the Middle East. When the wrong governments have been democratically elected, however, the U.S. opposes them and tries to destroy them.  More cynically, it supports the most ruthless and reactionary dictatorships in the Middle East who forbid democracy and imprison, torture and murder their own citizens.

    U.S.  political policy in the Middle East is so absurd that it defies understanding.  The absurdity is only possible because of the ignorance and apathy of the American people to accept it. The Bush Administration ruins any effort to equitably settle the Israeli-Palestinian problem by, no surprise, protecting Israel’s land and water theft.   Not any more surprisingly, the U.S. denies the democratically elected government of Palestine led by the “terrorists Hamas party” the support and acknowledgement it needs to be a stable partner for peace negotiations.  The American people have been lied to by their government and media into believing that failure to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not standing in the way of peace and security for the U.S. against Muslim fundamentalists everywhere. These lies to the American people are of true Orwellian proportions.

    Getting U.S. political policy correct and realistic is essential to the war against Islamist guerilla-terrorists, in Iraq and worldwide. In the weeks preceding this writing, the U.S. may have delivered the last cynical dagger into the soul of all the sacrifice.  At this stage, when the originally scheduled units for the surge in Iraq have arrived completely in-theater, the Bush Administration announced that it would like to maintain a presence of 40,000-50,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq for possibly the next 50 years. The comparison was made with a UN Security Council-mandated military presence on the Korean peninsula 54 years after the end of active combat there.  The difference, not pointed out, is that up until now at least, the South Korean government and most importantly the older people who live during the war, wanted the UN/US forces there. 

    The Iraqi people, by large majorities in polls, have opposed such a military occupation. They want to be left alone as soon as they possibly can be.  The point to which they will tolerate a U.S. occupation (in all but name) is when one side or the other has decisively won control. The Iraqi people will eventually overwhelmingly support whichever side–American-supported or guerilla-terrorists–that meets their needs for security, sovereignty, order, services, and policies. It goes without saying that one of these policy needs is the respect for Arab culture and the Muslim faith in the Middle East. As mentioned, justice for the Palestinian nation is a prime one of these.

    As stressed in this article, U.S. grand strategy/political policy regarding the Middle East, exclusive even from any military strategy or policy, is the first condition to win in Iraq. But the U.S. has consistently done and shown since 1943 its emergence to a superpower that it does not respect the needs of the Arab peoples and their Muslim faith to be treated with dignity, respect, justice and fairness.  In the future, into this breach of credibility will step a great- or even an emerging super-power that does not bear the burden of America’s demands for the region to submit.  This new replacement power, to which would accrue all strategic benefits deriving from the region’s oil resources and its political and economic gravity, could very well be China, Russia, India or the European Union.  With that, the eclipse of America’s unrivaled power would begin, and the United States would begin passing into history as the world’s once and lost great empire of liberty undone by the ignorance and apathy of its own greedy and selfish people

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