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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Tough Times

San Diego – Things are getting really grim for education in this state and especially for the Community Colleges.  Under the best case scenario we will lose at least 200 course sections at City College by next Fall Semester.  And it could double that number if the State continues to place more emphasis on protecting prison guards and prisoners, prohibiting drilling and refining, and making sure the snail darter and delta smelt are accorded more attention and sympathy than it provides for educating its next generation.  Never mind that without the education that a college offers, individuals will only get lower paid jobs and the tax base to pay for all of those entitled victims feeding at the public trough will get smaller and smaller, or that as taxes rise the employers themselves will continue, as they have already started, to leave for better business environments and with them more contributors to that tax base will evaporate.

Of course that scenario is mirrored by the Federal government as well which seems determined to spend more, not less, and to adopt as a solution to cash needs the expedient of printing money and loaning it to itself using the wonderful euphemism of “Quantitative Easing” or QE.  Is there no one that reads history?  Are the sycophants of King Barrack or Count Bernacke so willfully blind they refuse to even consider the obvious.  They are all in thrall to the liberal economic theory of John Maynard Keynes but they are so without having actually READ Keynes’s work.  And if they did, they quickly turned the page when he wrote, “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.”  As Milton Friedman noted, only a government can take expensive paper and very good ink and turn the combination into something worthless.

The really scary thing is that maybe they DO know.  Perhaps they are all as smart as claimed and this is not slipping by them, it is being done on purpose.  How did Keynes phrase it? “…overturning the existing basis of society.”  Does that sound like “transforming” society to you?  Before you can transform or overturn a society, unless you are already starting with a generally illiterate populace or one used to autocracies, you have to seriously dumb it down and make it dependent on the authority to keep the food trough filled.   Hmmmmmm.  And what better way of doing that than to start the devaluation of both the currency and the educational system?

A growing cadre of financial advisors and economists are trying to sound the alarm bell that we are heading toward catastrophic inflation but are ignored by the mainstream press.  The government denies it absolutely and tells us instead, in a wonderful example of a magician’s trick, that we are in lessening danger of DEflation.  But gas at the pump has doubled in the past two years.  The increasing fuel costs have increased food costs (it takes fuel for farm implements, transportation, power to stores, and GETTING to the stores) to, in some cases, nearly 50% in that same period.  People may do little more than complain about gas but when they start cutting back on food it will get their undivided attention.  If we, as a society, sheepishly accept that and then accept the sure-to-follow offer of the government to step in and provide for us, then it is hard to see how something could be more transformative from a self reliant people to a dependent people.  it will be a redistribution of wealth all right, redistributed from he people who earned it to the government so they can pay down the debt and get their credit back.

Machiavelli would be proud of King Barrack if he pulls that one off.  Political “good” is achieved when an environment is created that allows citizens to be self reliant and self sufficient and enjoy the fruits of their own labor.  Political “Evil” is achieved when the citizens are made dependent upon the government or “village” to survive.  And what would we call such a system?

Using labels to demonize philosophical opponents is a scurrilous, but effective trick because it halts debate and clouds issues behind an emotional smokescreen, so I am not going to assert that our progressive thinkers are one thing or another.  I would assert however that their ideas and ideals are more closely aligned with those of William Godwin than of John Locke, more clearly flowing from Jean Jaques Rousseau than from Edmund Burke, far more consistent with the thinking of Karl Marx than of Thomas Jefferson, and would garner greater enthusiasm from Gus Hall than from John Kennedy.  And in that is a message that is both critically important and generally ignored.

The silence is deafening and i can see “deer-in-the-headlights” stares aimed at me.  What?  “Who are those people?” you ask.   If you do not know and do not know what they all stood for then I would suggest you have no business taking part in the political discourse and debate because without knowing how we got to where we are you can have no idea where it is going.  It is like mathematically trying to draw a trend line based on a single data point.  If you want to know the truth about someone’s foundational beliefs and where they are likely to lead, then you must understand the foundations of those beliefs.  And if you will do that, and God knows the web can make it far easier for you than it was in the old days of actually having to have or go to a library and, gasp, READ something, then you may be somewhat unsettled by the information and find yourself needing to rethink things a bit.  In doing so you will start, finally, to become one of those “informed citizens” Jefferson said was essential to the success of democracy.  Perhaps you will read and understand the fear the founders had when Madison, and Jefferson, philosophical opponents in may ways, agreed that the greatest danger would come when the people realized that they could, directly or indirectly, write themselves a check from the public treasury.

We are there now.  The danger is bleak and at the gates.  The only question of value at this point is are you going to man the walls to fight it off or run down and open the gates?  Or does it matter?  Have we in fact, as some economists are saying, passed the tipping point from where recovery without tumult is no longer possible?   If so it will be because too many people sat on their hands and researched no more deeply than the talking points of their chosen party, steeped themselves in the profound philosophies of bumper stickers, and blindly followed those choir masters of the chosen choir.  If this culture and country craters around our ears then those blind followers are the people to blame.

Perhaps it will be too late for California’s education system to recover and it, along with the State’s economy, will need to collapse and wait to be rebuilt until the wreckage of its current policies is utterly inescapable to anyone willing to look.  Perhaps it will be the same for the State’s economy and, for that matter, the Country.  I hope not but I must confess I am no longer optimistic.


 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Whatever Happened to a proper Declaration of War?

San Diego – Well I listened to the speech last night from King Barrack.  We may as well call him that since it better narrates his relationship to our republic and constitution than “President” (of course a number of despots were “presidents” too so maybe that term has evolved when i wasn’t looking).  After all he decided on his own that a law passed by congress was unconstitutional so would not be supported; why not decide on his own whether or not to take our country and its military into war?   It was an OK political speech and I understood his rationale even in the midst of a bit of factual fudging and spinning re “leadership” in the events.  I have been opposed to the action, as I was to the action with Iraq, even though I think there was a better case being made there for it, on logistical and leadership vacuum grounds.  The President want to pretend like an even of this magnitude does not set a precedent for down-stream action but he is sufficiently politically savvy to know that is a bit of total nonsense and now everytime something can even marginally be called a humanitarian crisis we will renew the debate.  If ever there was a true humanitarian crisis it was in Darfur but we sat it out; as bad as it is this is far less horrific and the so-called good guys here are  clearly far more a potential problem for us than the poor people of Darfur or even Somalia.  But I do understand the American sense of Nobless Oblige and the idea that if we can avert a slaughter of innocents we should do so.

But that alone is not what we did.  We went to war with the current government of Lybia.  It is clearly a terrible government ruled by a psychotic despot but if we want to overthrow that government because we do not like it or because, as is true, it sponsored actions that killed Americans, then do it but it is hard to call that anything other than an act of war.  We said we only wanted to create a no fly zone, but striking at tanks and ground artillery sure seems like a bit of mission creep to me.  He said we would not put boots on the ground and ignored the fact that it requires boots on the ground in the form of SpecOps and FOs  to laser-paint targets for the air strikes to the ground but it is possible he is so militarily naive he does not know that and believes it is all very aseptic and clean.

Perhaps it really is something we should do; I have no problem with the idea of sending in folks to simply make him cease to exist.  But still, I’ve been very uneasy about it as an overt action.  Finally I read, in far better words than I could muster,  what it is that bothers me — and also bothered me with Iraq and with Vietnam.  We slinked in sideways with a political ploy and loophole that was accepted… but only sort of.  And it has led to some real polarization because it was all political.

Some of you know of my background so it will come as no surprise that i highly value solid intelligence gathering.  Government intel agencies, civilian and military alike, are too often politicized but the business world has a single objective: making money.  That objective needs to know the truth.  “Spinning” the data usually ends up costing money not making it.  One of the very best open Source intelligence agencies on the planet is a group called “Stratfor.”  As a rule they often simply provide data and let policy makers decide what to do with it.   Rarely do they provide opinions except, sometimes, as to conclusions as to where events they are relating may lead.  So it is highly unusual for the head of Stratfor, to provide a document in which he says he “believes” in something or it is his “opinion” about something.  That is to be taken seriously, especially when they are made on constitutional grounds.  In the piece below he does not take sides about the pros or cons of the action in Libya per se, only about the procedures used — or not used — to get us into it and what that means for us as a country and culture.  Like many intel writing, the real message is between the lines, so read it carefully.  But if you have even some vague qualms about how this all went down, do click on the link below and READ IT!

What Happened to the American Declaration of War? is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Back from the Imaging DNA Conference at Art Center

San Diego –  This past weekend I attended the Imaging DNA Conference held at Art Center in Pasadena.  It was a great experience and presented some very challenging concepts for education in the digital world.  It also previewed the Raytrix Plenoptic Lightfield camera. That technology is very new and still under development but the possibilities are amazing.  Enough data is captured from the incoming light rays that focus can be recalculated in post production and 3D images can be made from the data.  The version of the camera we saw was for industrial use on very small objects but it certainly proved the concept works.

The major challenge came in the presentations which built on a recurrent concept that achieving the “possible” is no big deal, anyone can do it because it is, well, possible.  But aiming for the “impossible” is the path from which growth stems in all areas. We need to learn to interrogate the possibilities but not to achieve them so much as to point to the IMpossibilities we need to achieve.  And education is where that habit can start.  We talk about various learning styles among individuals but all of those are, in fact, LEARNED.  Based on our culture, history, associations, habits, etc. we have “learned” to learn in a particular way.  But for given material that may not be the most efficient or optimal way.  The data is out there, and it exists in a wide variety of forms.  If we want our students to succeed, we need to concentrate as much on teaching them how to learn our material optimally as we do on the material itself.

That is a bold view and flies in the face of political correctness and the adherence to diversity especially in academia by those who have taken tolerance to the point of cowardice.  But it is backed up by experience and practice.  But it means we, as educators need to know that in the first place and Im not sure we all do… I’m not sure I do.  But you can bet I’m going to be working on it.

 

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The Evolving Egyptian “Revolution:” Naivete Gone to Seed

San Diego – We were all told that the “revolution” in Egypt was what Democracy should look like and that it would lead to a proper democracy where the rights of the people, human rights, political rights, freedom, were in the forefront of this twitter and facebook led event.  And I was bashed and flamed a bit because I said that view was factually inaccurate, politically naive, historically ignorant, and an expression of terminal wishful thinking.  There is no point to rehashing my arguments, you can look at them in the older posts on Egypt and then Libya.  But let’s look at what this wonderful Facebook democracy is beginning to look like, shall we, and to make it more real to you we’ll use only information gathered from that bastion of accurate and fair reporting (if you never do your own fact checking, that is) the New York Times.

  • The now ruling army counsel is planning on how to prohibit and stop all future protests and sit-ins.
  • There is now evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood (who was claimed as small, secular, and completely national in outlook) has brokered a deal with the army to expedite elections.  Why?  Because the MB is the only group sufficiently organized to win an election and know how to run a state to their satisfaction.  And they are already helping the military to crack down on suspected anti-muslim behavior.  This from a group we were told hated the military and vice-versa.
  • Women who were protesting were arrested and the non-married women were stripped and checked to prove their virginity (and therefore given a ticket to live a bit longer) by the demoocratic and humane MB.
  • MB has renewed its calls for an Islamic State.
  • MB has openly stated the first order of business will be in canceling the peace treaty with Israel.

Wow, that is going pretty well, don’t you think?  Why was this not seen coming by all of you who said I was way off base?  There are very few alternative explanations.  (1) The NYT could be lying but since this contradicts their own earlier stance I doubt it.  (2) THe first analysis was based on virtually ZERO data since facts are not needed when ideology can supply an answer.  I vote for #2.

It seems that some on the deep left are desperate to finally see ONE social/governmental experiment following in the warm and fuzzy tradition of Godwin, Rousseau, Marx, that will actually lead to the utopia they claim will happen if only given a chance.  That it has not happened in the history of the world bothers them not a bit.  Unfortunately it forces them to embrace events based on seeing the world through ideological blinders rather than based on history, facts, and human nature.  That would simply be funny to watch were it not a time in the world when stability is fragile, and our own country is at a major low point economically and in terms of geopolitical respect.   And since it is a view shared by the administration, it leaves us open to pursuing courses of action based in virtually no part on the realities of the situation.

These are truly frightening times!  If we don’t start seeing the world as it is not as we want it to be, and getting ourselves a leader who is, well, a leader, then we are really in deep trouble.

 

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Defining the End Game for State and Country

San Diego: Finally the state’s budget crisis is truly beginning to hit home.  The latest budget impact statement from the school was beyond grim.  Best case scenario is that the community college system will “only” be cut $100 million this year and worst case (and most likely case) it will be cut $300 million.  In our program we have reduced adjunct loads and cut so many sections already that any more section cuts will pretty much equal an adjunct position per section cut.  This grim and ugly reality is so likely to happen that Dave and I are drafting a note to the adjuncts to tell them to start exploring any options that might be out there for them.  fortunately many of them are also professional photographers but the market in San Diego is not the best at the moment.

I am truly blessed at the moment in being pretty secure since it will take at least Dave and me together to keep the program going at all though pay cuts may be in the offing if  the state does not sooner or later realize that their priorities are truly screwed up.  So many groups pleading victimhood and entitlement “rights” have been promised so much money beyond the State’s ability to pay since the revenue to back the promises was never likely to materialize, that the core mandate of any government entity is now threatened while the fluff gains status and priority.

The government — any government — really only needs to do a few things.  It needs to provide for the infra-structure under its control such as roads and utilities.  It needs to provide protection for its people via police and firemen (and military).  And it needs to provide for its future by assuring that high quality education is available to train tomorrow’s future workers, i.e. future taxpayers.  Beyond that, everything else is simply add-ons to be done when possible and not when the money does not allow it.  The government is not responsible for the consequences of people’s bad choices because, in the end, the government is a fiction.  If we believe our own founding documents then WE are the government which acts to represent us and maintain an environment in which our unalienable rights are assured.  Government did not create those, it merely recognized them.  The founding fathers then created a few more civil rights but they never created a system where an illegal alien with a felony conviction can get free medical care and a US citizen cannot.  They never created a system where people who break the laws and go to prison live in an environment that costs more per year to provide food and lodging per person than most law abiding citizens earn doing legitimate work.  They never created a system where the government was seen as having to provide a public feeding trough.   When the government agrees to “pay” for something what they are really saying is that WE the constituents will now be forced to pay for that.  Certainly there are cases where good people have been blind-sided by the derailed train of local or national economy.  But the first order of business for the government is to fix the problem.  If it spends its money carrying the victims it has none left to fix the problem and then there will simply be an unending line of victims needing to be carried and that means politicians are secure because as long as they promise to carry the people the people will vote for them to continue in office.   That is brilliant security planning by them but not very good for their constituents.

Whoa, back that train up.  I never voted for them to do that.   I’ve worked hard for my money over the years, putting in far too many hours to try to provide for my family; so much so that in the end it broke that family apart.  I do not believe I owe a single penny to keep a law breaker  in any environment that is not so uncomfortable as to make them not want to ever go back.  I do not owe a penny to someone who decides to drop out of the system and live off of my handouts.  I do not owe a penny to support someone whose first act on entering the country was to break the rules about entering the country.  Frankly i do not owe a penny of the money I earned to anyone, including the government, to support anything other than those core needs.  If I have extra and choose to contribute to worthwhile attempts to help those in need then I am free to do it, but I should never be required to do it.  And I am sorry if i offend anyone but I believe an educated populace is of more importance to the future of the state and country than the Delta Smelt or Snail Darter.      But then I believe the work that good teachers do is of more value to the state and country than the efforts of sports figures and teachers should be allowed a tax deduction every year for “donating” the difference in their salaries compared to average ball players (foot, base, and basket).

But California is just a microcosm to the country and indeed the Federal crisis is already hitting home.  The America I knew growing up is going, going, nearly gone and in its place is looming something I very much oppose.   When we have two major parties composed of incompetent but entrenched cowards and self serving goals, led by the chief of incompetents with a vision to “transform” America then the end is truly near.  i do not want my country “transformed;”  I want it fixed and put back together as it was intended and clearly spelled out in our founding documents and the voluminous writings of the people who created it.

So what would that transformed America that I oppose look like?  It would look like this:

  • The Fed would keep interest rates at close to 0 (zero) percent, then prints $1.5 trillion in new money one year, and then would loan that new money to itself and would become the biggest holder of its own Treasury notes.
  • The U.S. would become so indolent and spend crazy as to become the largest debtor nation on earth owing close to our entire GDP to other countries to float our ship of state while spending on programs that do not serve the core needs of the government.
  • The treasury would help create a scam-oriented financial system that penalizes savers and rewards the biggest risk-taking speculators.
  • Government would create mandates for giving everyone a home loan that would result in a giant debacle as financial systems create complex and, in some cases, illegal conveyances in order to be able to comply resulting in home prices plummeting and when it all collapses it would leave honest homeowners holding the bag while those that capitalized on the government’s mandate and put nothing of their own into the homes they got on phony data would be the ones bailed out..
  • The government would decide it can take over the car manufacturing, home mortgage, financial services and health care industries while it cuts back on education.
  • The dollar would be worth more than 30 percent less than ten years before.
  • Unemployment would be actually over 17 percent, but the government reports it as 9 percent.
  • The Fed would report that inflation is under control but the biggest parts of a personal economy, prices for food and oil, spike due to inflationary influences with no end in sight.
  • When local governments would try to correct the situations in their own states they would face protests (like in Wisconsin) against politicians propose spending cuts. The protesters would not be able to stand the thought of not riding on the taxpayers’ gravy train.
  • People would be too stupid or too self serving to see that there is something wrong when the people who approve an agreement are put in the position of approval by contributions from the people whose agenda they are approving.  Even the God of the left, FDR, knew this was a bad idea and kept it from happening at the Federal level.
  • The President would take it upon himself to decide what is constitutional and what is not and therefore what the justice department will pursue or not.  No one would seem to notice that he gave himself more power than monarchs around the world and trashed democracy and the constitution.
  • A political idiot like Michael Moore would be able tell people that made money that it is not theirs but the people’s while he himself does not seem to be contributing his own fortune back to the people and is actually suing to get more… for himself.  (When he endows a hospital or college or even elementary school then maybe I’ll rethink my appraisal of him.)
  • Our country’s leader would be so clueless or cowardly as to avoid making any decision on whether or not to help a revolution (in Libya) that he encouraged to take place.  Of course that same leader would decry empire building and regime change and interfereing in the internal policies of another country but turn around and tell the tyrant du jour he has to leave his own country.  Then when the UN finally decides to move and encourage action, it would, in this imaginary upside down world, be the French who are the most bellicose and the U.S. who is still wringing their hands over what to do.  (As you have read before, I am opposed to us getting involved, but we need a decision made, either way, that is then sold to the people.  And if we ARE going to get involved we need to be especially clear and decisive.   We do not need a rudderless ship of state under a clueless captain that waits to see what others will do before he will take a stand and set a course.)
  • The Administration, with unemployment of the oil workers following the BP oil spill and the rising cost of oil impacting everything from gas to food to consumer electronics, would not allow US companies leases to explore or drill for oil off of our own continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico but would allow a foreign company, seeking oil for its own people, a deep water lease to operate there.
  • Our country would lose its moral and ethical core and its sense of its own history, turn tolerance into cowardice, and embrace groups wanting to see us destroyed into our own fold while holding allies off at arms length.  We would deny our own historical ethical founding in order to accommodate the ethics of those who want to replace both our historical and current culture with one devoted to abusing women and all non-believers.

Oh wait… all of that has already happened and is happening now as this is being written.  This is not the America I was raised in.  The question is no longer when will it happen: it is happening now.  The question is can we ever undo it and get us back on track before all is lost and though the name may remain, the America embodied in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution is a concept and culture that exists only in the history books?

While we the people have slept with our bellies full and our minds clouded by the stupor that resulted from overindulging in the slop poured out into our public troughs, and instead of waking up to say, “Wait a minute… what has happened here?  This is not right!”  we seem to simply want to roll over, steal the blanket off of the person next to us and ask pitifully, “Please Sir, may I have some more slop?”

As Clinton was preparing to leave office I wrote that in my opinion, we had two more presidential cycles to set our course in stone: at that time we would either have irrevocably set us on the road to ruin and loss as other great civilizations have done before us, or we would be back on track to once again be that “shining city on the hill” that was a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world.  That date is now 6 years off and I fear it is the former course i see setting up.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Class field Trip to Alabama Hills

Lone Pine, CA — Finally, a few days away from issues of the monsters in the middle east, the amateurs in the administration, and the entitled idiots descending on Wisconsin and back to my true love, making images.  The Landscape Photography class took its first field trip to the famous Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA.  The weather was beautiful and it was SOOOO nice to sit on a rock in the near silence and just relax at the base of Mt. Whitney and the Sierra Nevadas.  For me, mountains have always had the effect of putting things in perspective.  They have seen other monsters and idiots come and go yet they remain.  Though they too grow and die, in the time of mankind and certainly in the time of one man, they seem little effected or perturbed by our scurrying around as if, in the cosmic scheme of things, we actually mattered very much.

This class had quite a few attendees and most seemed quite able to find some good stuff to shoot.  I did hear one say I should be telling them where to find the good photos but in places like this they are everywhere, categorized only by the vision and “sight” of the photographer. Every time I am here the light is different because the sun is slightly different in its path across the sky so just like them, every time I am looking to find where, on that day and at that hour, MY shot is waiting patiently for me.  I cannot tell them where their shot is waiting for them, only where shots a-plenty exist and that is pretty much any where you look.   So I’m really anxious to get to see their work in class this coming week.

Here are a few of the shots I took.  I’ve not had time to work on very many.   This first shot  is the old corral along the always-ready-to-be-photographed Tuttle Creek road as we did our area orientation tour on Friday.  I have lots of photos of this corral and some I really like but am always willing to try something new as it seems, every time, to be slightly more overgrown and abandoned.

Of course the main attraction in Alabama Hills is the incredible collection of fantastic rock formations.  Here is a sample shot on Saturday.  This is the base shot but I’m thinking of trying to play with this one in the same vein as a watercolor painting I saw a few years ago where the main point of interest was rendered accurately and then as the view expended it turned into a pen-and ink drawing.  It really forced the eye into the subject.  We’ll see…

Each visit we try at least a couple of dawn shots.  The whole valley is dominated by several large mountains, especially Mt. Lone Pine (on the left below) and the massive, craggy Mt. Whitney to the north (right).  When the atmosphere is just right over the Inyo mountains to the east, as the sun just creeps over the peaks to light up the Sierras, it can turn the entire Sierra Nevada Range a vibrant salmon/coral color.    The first dawn on Saturday was fairly tame with little or no color to the light.  it was dramatic enough for some good black and white images but not color ones.   However Sunday’s dawn did not fail us.  The sky had streaky clouds for  interest and the sun came up through some overcast so it was prety good.

The shot above is a “mosaic” with a natural size of about 60 inches wide.  I think I’ll do a canvas version of it.  I did several mosaics while there and this was actually the smallest of them.

As usual it was hard to head the car south and back to the city filled the seemingly unending news of a tired world gone somehow a little crazy.  The tsunami from Japan thankfully was a non-event as it hit the beaches in southern California though unfortunately it was devastating to Japan.  But sooner or later, we are due as well and I think we are far less prepared than they were for a catastrophic quake and tsunami.  I dearly hope that appraisal is in error… time will tell.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Libya Revisted: The No fly Zone Concept

San Diego –  I keep hearing students and even some politicians who should know better advocating that we should sort of get involved in Libya by creating a no-fly zone over the country a la the  one we established over Iraq.  We can forget, for the moment that the Iraqi no fly zone made absolutely no difference to what was happening on the ground and did not move Saddam one step closer to relinquishing control or abandoning his visions of being the next Saladin or abusing his people as the megalomaniac he was.  The Iraqi air power was much more formidable than the Libyan one and it is clear that although it makes great TV to see a crowd of protestors bombed the truth is it has had virtually no effect other than harassment on the revolution.  That fight will be won or lost on the ground and at the moment the outcome is less than certain, an uncertainty that will not be much effected one way or the other by the Libyan air force.

I also do not believe, as i mentioned before, that we should consider any military action anywhere until we have a leader and an appointed set of advisors that are not openly anti-military and anti-strong intelligence gathering capability.  We are already now willing to leave the Persian gulf with a huge power vacuum into which Iran is set to pour because we do not seem to have even a minor clue as to the real geopolitical dynamics at play in the region.  I argued way back then that we should not go into Iraq, but having gone in we needed to go in to win, win fast, and get out, just as I did in an earlier post here on Libya.  We are not, by nature, an occupying force and do not know how to do it; we are not by nature empire builders and do not, obviously know how to create a strong, stable, central government from people steeped in tribal mentalities; we do not have the national will to do the dirty work necessary to successfully accomplish those longer missions so we should never undertake then even with strong military leadership.  To dip our toe in this conflict now, with our current leadership and with no really clear national interests involved, will, I believe, lead to very negative and mostly unforeseen consequences.

So, since no one cares what I think, we have chatted up the idea of orchestrating a no fly zone to help the rebels.  That simply shows an amazing lack of historical knowledge and even less military knowledge.   The real problem is involved in what is required to create a no fly zone.  We think it is an aseptic action we can undertake with no risk to our personnel or much cost in material.  First of all it is a clear act of war.   So soon we forget… Before we can truly establish such a zone that is safe for our own aircraft to monitor, we need to remove all anti-air defense systems.  We do that by essentially baiting them to lock onto a bait plane with their radar and then instantly launch missles at the source of the radar emission.  There is no time for verification since if they actually get a missile well launched at a plane it is by no means certain we can intercept it or outfly it.  That means we have to shoot fast.  We cannot afford to miss one, just one, because one American plane shot down and pilot lost will instantly see the american sheep rise in a collective “Baaaaaa” to get us out immediately.  and that would be the worst possible message we could send to the middle east populace.  So what is the problem?  We can shoot fast and aim well these days.  The problem is we are engaging a madman with no concern for his own people, only his own maintenance of power.

And just as Saddam before him, good ol’ Muammar has absolutely no problem putting his own people in danger to serve his ends.  Placing the radar units (the weapons do not have to be attached to them) in places like school roofs, or mosques or public buildings or even residential areas so that the counter fire will set off a firestorm of condemnation for killing innocent civilians will rapidly turn public opinion against us and leave him free to go on butchering his own people.  We must return fire before that signal locks on to its target and that means as soon as we have locked on to the point of radiation without regard to other locational information which will take time to sort out and verify.  By that time, if it is coming from a real SAM site,our targeted plane would be on the ground as smoking wreckage.

Remember the PR hit we took for hitting a milk factory?  Imagine us hitting a school full of kids.

The world is not the simple place many of us, including me, would love it to be.  As a nation we have done precisely what other great empires did when they reached a point of unchallenged supremacy in the geopolitical and/or military sense; we have grown soft, indolent, lazy, entitled, and intolerant of anything requiring effort or pain.  We forget that our freedom was purchased with blood, and not just American blood.  And when, in an attempt to ensure freedom elsewhere the result is, oh no, blood, our collective response is, “…BLOOD???!!!  Eeeeeeeww! Get us out of there!”

While that remains a national attitude then we have no business getting involved where loss of blood is even a remote possibility because we will run at the first lost drop.  Not the soldiers on the ground who will fight to the last drop of it if necessary, but our weak-willed leadership who wants to micro-manage actions for which they have no training, no expertise, no experience, and, most importantly, no will.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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