Monday, November 8, 2004

Sudden Death

Belmont Club has a fascinating anecdotal account of U.S. capabilities in Fallujah. Here's part of it:

The Daily Telegraph has an atmospheric article which describes the terrible effect of networked forces on enemy forces inside Fallujah.

"I got myself a real juicy target," shouted Sgt James Anyett, peering through the thermal sight of a Long Range Acquisition System (LRAS) mounted on one of Phantom's Humvees. "Prepare to copy that 89089226. Direction 202 degrees. Range 950 metres. I got five motherf****** in a building with weapons." A dozen loud booms rattle the sky and smoke rose as mortars rained down on the co-ordinates the sergeant had given. "Yeah," he yelled. "Battle Damage Assessment - nothing. Building's gone. I got my kills, I'm coming down. I just love my job."

... The insurgents, not understanding the capabilities of the LRAS, crept along rooftops and poked their heads out of windows. Even when they were more than a mile away, the soldiers of Phantom Troop had their eyes on them. Lt Jack Farley, a US Marines officer, sauntered over to compare notes with the Phantoms. "You guys get to do all the fun stuff," he said. "It's like a video game. We've taken small arms fire here all day. It just sounds like popcorn going off."

This engagement is all the more chilling because it probably happened at night. Five enemy soldiers died simply because they could not comprehend how destruction could flow from an observer a mile away networked to mortars that could fire for effect without ranging. All over Fallujah virtual teams of snipers and fire-control observers are jockeying for lines of sight to deal death to the enemy. For many jihadis that one peek over a sill could be their last.

"Everybody's curious," grinned Sgt Anyett as he waited for a sniper with a Russian-made Dragonov to show his face one last, fatal time. A bullet zinged by....

His officers said that the plan to invade Fallujah involved months of detailed planning and elaborate "feints" designed to draw the insurgents out into the open and fool them into thinking the offensive would come from another side of the city. "They're probably thinking that we'll come in from the east," said Capt Natalie Friel, an intelligence officer with task force, before the battle. But the actual plan involves penetrating the city from the north and sweeping south. "I don't think they know what's coming. They have no idea of the magnitude," she said. "But their defences are pretty circular. They're prepared for any kind of direction. They've got strong points on all four corners of the city." The aim was to push the insurgents south, killing as many as possible, before swinging west. They would then be driven into the Euphrates.

Stay tuned.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Ever since the day after the election despondent Democrats have been casting their aspersions far and wide across Red America. Bush voters, we're told, are "stupid" and "ignorant". A headline in the London Daily Mirror asked the question that many American Democrats were asking, "How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?". Kerry voters by contrast are "reality-based" i.e. they are too sophisticated and smart to embrace all that religious hokem that the Bush people in their unbelieveable stupidity actually think is true. The spin on the election is that there are just too many dimwits out there voting for Bush and not enough of the enlightened crowd who voted for Kerry. The spin, however, collapses as soon as we start asking some questions about it.

Let's ask who's more stupid and who's more grounded in reality.

Is it those who believe that Kerry would have made a good leader, or is it those who in vain searched his twenty year record in the Senate for some scintilla of evidence of a predisposition to lead and an ability to do so?

Is it those who took him at his word when he claimed to have a plan for every contingency, economic, social and military, or those who asked to no avail to see those mysterious plans or to be told how, exactly, the plan differed significantly from what the President was already doing?

Is it those who believe he would stick it out in Iraq until the insurgents were defeated, or those who believed that since Kerry said that it was wrong to ask a man to die for a mistake in Vietnam and since he believes that Iraq is also a mistake, he could not be expected to ask soldiers to continue to die in Iraq any more than in Vietnam?

Is it those who believe Kerry would've been able to persuade the French and Russians to join us in killing the goose that was dropping golden eggs into their avaricious and unscrupulous hands, or those who believed that if something is right to do then it's right to do even if you have to do it by yourself?

Is it those who believed that Bush would end Social Security for the elderly, reinstate the draft, and suppress the black vote, or those who demanded evidence that any of these allegations was true?

Is it those who believed that Kerry could lower the deficit, keep all his spending promises, and yet not raise taxes on the middle class, or those who believed that this was all political posturing and flummery?

Is it those who believed Kerry's claims to piety, or those who thought these claims just as phony as his Ohio goose hunt?

Is it those who believed John Edwards' claim that he and Senator Kerry would have quadraplegics up and walking within a few years of being elected, or those who laughed in derision at such asininity?

Is it those who didn't believe any of the Senator's twaddle but voted for Kerry anyway knowing he didn't mean a word of it, or those who didn't believe it and refused to vote for someone who was so obviously untrustworthy?

Is it those who believe that anyone who refuses to go along with their sage plans to reform American society and culture is an intolerant bigot, or those who believe that it's wiser not to tinker with millenia-old institutions whose stability is crucial to our social and individual well-being?

Is it those stuck in menial jobs earning less than $30,000 a year who voted overwhelmngly for Kerry, or those who have the talent and drive to earn over $50,000 a year who voted overwhelmingly for Bush?

Is it those who received their education in blue counties where schools are often abysmal and drop-out rates are the highest in the nation, or those who received their education in red counties where public schools are often excellent and drop-out rates are low?

Is it those who paid money to see Michael Moore's patently dishonest and spiteful movie and came away thinking they'd just learned something profound, or those who saw the movie for what it was?

Is it those who based their vote on hate and spite for a candidate, or those who based their vote on respect and admiration?

Is it those who saw Teresa H. Kerry as a potentially impressive first lady, smart and sassy, or those who saw her as a self-absorbed whiner who's pretense at profundity was evidently delusional?

Is it those like George Soros who saw millions of dollars of his personal fortune spiral down the toilet of his foolish hatreds?

Is it those like Dan Rather, who, in his obsession to unseat the President, got taken in by an amateurish fraud, and, like Ahab in pursuit of the great white whale, sacrificed whatever credibility and integrity he had as a journalist that he might heroically slay George Bush's candidacy with forged documents?

Is it those who are so despondent and angry that they've cancelled family visits because their families live in red states?!

We here at Viewpoint may not be the brightest lights on the Christmas tree, but we don't think it's hard to see in this instance who's smart and who isn't and who's been grounded in reality in this past election and who hasn't.

Success of the Simpletons

Mark Steyn favors us with another enjoyable column on the Democrat's seemingly invincible inability to face up to the fact that the reason they're rapidly fading into oblivion is that their message is frozen in the 1960s like a wooly mammoth in the arctic permafrost.

Steyn writes:

I had a bet with myself this week: How soon after election night would it be before the Bush-the-chimp-faced-moron stuff started up again? 48 hours? A week? I was wrong. Bush Derangement Syndrome is moving to a whole new level. On the morning of Nov. 2, the condescending left were convinced that Bush was an idiot. By the evening of Nov. 2, they were convinced that the electorate was. Or as London's Daily Mirror put it in its front page: "How Can 59,054,087 People Be So DUMB?"

Well, they're British lefties: They can do without Americans. Whether an American political party can do without Americans is more doubtful. Nonetheless,'s Eric Alterman was mirroring the Mirror's sentiments: "Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the 'reality-based community' say or believe about anything." Over at Slate, Jane Smiley's analysis was headlined, "The Unteachable Ignorance Of The Red States.'' If you don't want to bother plowing your way through Alterman and Smiley, a placard prominently displayed by a fetching young lad at the post-election anti-Bush rally in San Francisco cut to the chase: "F--- MIDDLE AMERICA."

Almost right, man. It would be more accurate to say that "MIDDLE AMERICA" has "F---ed" you, and it will continue to do so every two years as long as Democrats insist that anyone who disagrees with them is, ipso facto, a simpleton -- or "Neanderthal," as Teresa Heinz Kerry described those unimpressed by her husband's foreign policy. In my time, I've known dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and other members of Britain's House of Lords and none of them had the contempt for the masses one routinely hears from America's coastal elites. And, in fairness to those ermined aristocrats, they could afford Dem-style contempt: A seat in the House of Lords is for life; a Senate seat in South Dakota isn't.

The rest of the piece is just as good.

Iran's Options

The Monterey Institute of International Studies offers an analysis of difficulties and consequences of an Israeli or American preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities and concludes that the negative long-term liabilities of such a strike would negate any short-term benefit. It's the best argument we've seen for essentially doing nothing about Iran's imminent nuclear weapons capability.

The problem is that many of the dire consequences the above report cites as reasons for declining to attack Iran's nuclear facilities are already upon us. They argue, for example, that Iran would certainly work hard to undermine the nascent democracy in Iraq and bring our efforts there to grief, but as this article makes clear, Iran is already doing pretty much whatever it can to destablize Iraq.

It seems likely that whatever Iran can do to hurt and thwart the United States it will do whether or not we take out its weapons-making capability.

Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for the tip.

Yasser, We Never Knew Ye

We never would have guessed, but apparently it's an open secret that Yasser Arafat is homo/bi-sexual and is currently dying from AIDS. The cause, if it is the cause, of his grave condition is shrouded in secrecy because such a lifestyle, and such a denouement, would be an intolerable affront to Muslim piety. If word got out that Arafat was a homosexual it would severely tarnish his image in the Arab world. There is, nonetheless, considerable evidence that he is, in fact, dying from AIDS. See here for the scuttlebutt, so to speak.