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Re: [existlist] making things clearer, some hope

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  • Herman B. Triplegood
    Friends: I heard an interesting bit of news on National Public Radio as I was driving home from work this morning. It was announced by authorities in Iraq that
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 3, 2005
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      Friends:

      I heard an interesting bit of news on National Public Radio as I was driving
      home from work this morning. It was announced by authorities in Iraq that
      Operation Lightning is now officially ended. This was the sweep of Baghdad
      that has been going on for the past week. It was also said that 700
      insurgents (suspected insurgents) were captured, and that 28 were killed.
      Now here is the interesting part. The authorities also said that this net
      capture or killing of almost 750 people represents, at least a 60 percent
      increase in security for Baghdad.

      I had to lean back in my driver's seat and start doing the math. This means
      that the authorities have some idea how many are still left. It also means
      that they have some idea how many there originally were. This is
      interesting. let us briefly do the math. The 750 terrorists put out of
      commission represent 60 percent of the total number that were believed to
      already be operating in Baghdad.

      Let x equal the original number of suspected terrorists, and let y equal the
      number just now put out of commission. Then, it follows that:

      .6x=y

      We know (more or less) the value of the variable 'y', so we can determine
      the original number of suspected terrorists to be:

      x=y/.6

      This works out to:

      1250 original suspected terrorists. That my friends, is a good sized
      battalion or two.

      How many are believed to be left? Let us call this 'z'. That would be:

      z=x-y

      Or,

      z=1250-750
      z=500

      There are around five hundred suspected terrorists believed to be still
      operating in Baghdad. That, my friends, is the equivalent of about two
      companies of armed soldiers. Would you be comfortable, in Chicago or London,
      knowing that your government knew (kind of) that about half a battalion of
      armed terrorists, were capable of building truck bombs, and were actively
      pursuing the building of these things, and were using of them against you,
      the innocent citizens, in your own city?

      let us step back and think about what is behind these seemingly magic
      numbers, for, you see, they tend to disguise the real magnitude, and
      possibly even the real nature of this "insurgency problem" in Baghdad.

      How can one even know enough, in the first place, to say that 750 "out of
      commission" is "at least" a 60 percent improvement in security?

      One must know something about these people, in order to put these numbers to
      the event, even if the numbers are a bit shaky and not very certain. This
      bit of news tells the tale of a problem with this "insurgency", the extent
      of which is either not fully comprehended, or is being held a closely
      guarded secret.

      We are not talking about 500 people who "got away" with only their clothes
      on their backs. These people are packing weapons, ammunition, explosives,
      and even the chemicals and the raw materials with which to make such
      explosives.

      Look at it this way. In order to be able to say that you even "guess" there
      might have been as many as 1250 terrorists in operation before Operation
      Lightning took "at least" 60 percent of them out of commission, you had to
      know something, at least in a rough way, either about WHO these people were,
      or WHERE they were. Okay, well you knew where they were, but the operation
      was not instantaneous, so now you do not know where they ARE. They moved
      about, presumably to other hiding places, while you were sweeping the city.
      Where are they now? Think about this. They did not get from where they WERE,
      to where they are hiding NOW, with just those clothes on their backs. They
      got there, with their weapons, ammunition, explosives, chemicals and raw
      materials. Besides, if you really knew WHERE they were, why not have the
      United States "precision bomb" them and take out not only them, but also
      their hiding places, the places where they are stashing all of their
      supplies, to include food and water, and all of the war gear too. Either,
      you don't want to end up with a "black eye" because, even with precision
      guided weapons, you were bound to kill as many, if not more, innocent
      citizens than terrorists.

      Okay, let us say you don't really know exactly where they WERE, or even
      where they might be NOW. You probably know something about WHO these people
      might be. How else could you say, "We estimate that we have killed or
      captured probably at least 60 percent of them now." In other words, there
      are "not quite" 40 percent of them left.

      That is, if the numbers are to believed, about 500 of them.

      But this isn't all. It takes a lot more than 500 people to put 500 people
      into battle, to provide support for their terroristic efforts with hiding
      places, safe houses, weapons caches, food and water supplies, workshops and
      laboratories, for building of roadside bombs and truck bombs. It was said,
      during the beginning stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, that for every
      combat soldier we had over there on the ground, it took as many as 16
      additional people, operating at all levels, and in all occupational
      dimensions, to support that single combat soldier, from the mess halls to
      mail call, logistical support, communications, clothing, you name it.

      Chances are pretty good that the reason why we suspected where they WERE,
      but cannot seem to locate where they ARE right now, is because there are at
      least 10 times as many supportive collaborators present in Baghdad as there
      are actual insurgents. That puts the number of "combatants" at between 5000
      and 10000, in a city of about two or three million people. That is an entire
      military division, if it is "military", which, come to think of it, might
      very well be the case. Now, either this is an incredibly sophisticated
      "insurgency" able to pull off coordinated and deadly car bomb and truck bomb
      attacks on an almost daily basis, or it is an incredibly, and cleverly
      disguised, "fifth column", being orchestrated from somewhere else.

      Probably from outside of Iraq.

      Syria? Iran?

      Just food for thought.

      The existential-philosophical take? It must come from VonClausewitz.
      Essentially, as Demzel Washington said it in "Crimson Tide", what Von
      Clausewitz was saying, according to Washington, as he played his "sensible"
      role in that movie, was this: That war is the means to its own end. It is
      the purpose of war, to perpetuate war. That war serves no other master, save
      itself. Not even ideology can command war. Once you let the war "genie" out
      of the bottle, it takes on its own life and purpose, and you DO NOT control
      it. Furthermore, in a nuclear world (and it is becoming more nuclearized
      with each passing month and year) the true enemy, is neither communist nor
      fascist, Muslim nor Christian, American nor North Korean.

      The true enemy, is war itself.

      This is the existential, geopolitical dilemma, of the twenty-first century,
      a century in which, if matters are left unchecked, not just a "privileged
      few" governments will have the BOMB, but individual people may have the
      BOMB, to include the Osamas and the Zarqawis, the McVeighs and the Oswalds,
      and perhaps, some of your own neighbors.

      We live in a world, where the waging of war, is no longer existentially
      viable. The problem is, it is STILL existentially possible.

      Hb3g
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