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C. Owen Johnson
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annlee: I am guilty of some semantic shorthand in the sentence you quote. In my business we recognize a distinction between an enemy’s material resources — men and material and all the infrastructure to support them — and his skill at employing those resources and his willingness to do so. The first we tended to refer to as the enemy’s capability: what he was capable of assuming no limitations imposed by lack of skill or will. All the factors taken together I at least referred to as the enemy’s capacity, and that is how I mean it in the context of this article. That point is addressed explicitly further along, but I probably should have been cleared up front. Snowonpine: You are right in your first point in that I have given somewhat short shrift to the issues of political correctness, multiculturalism, etc and their undoubted affect on the conduct of the war. My IW section touches on this matter, albeit lightly, but offers no thoughts on dealing with them. I decided to essentially ignoring that topic not because it isn’t important but because it doesn’t fundamentally effect our strategy — if those factors were less prevalent, we would still be trying to accomplish same things. So I felt that topic was somewhat out of my desired scope for this piece. What those factors mainly affect is the implementation of our strategy and after some agonizing I decided to omit much of that discussion. That meant I also did not discuss in more than a cursory fashion what I see as the three strategic centers of gravity in this war: Iraq, Iran, and US public opinion. That is a topic that should be addressed but frankly I couldn’t see a way to work it into the current piece without making it a complete morass. I may decide to take it up in future. Regarding your second point about religion, that is addressed later on.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2006 on Reasons for Optimism: Part I at ShrinkWrapped
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I probably should, but I can’t, resist asking a question: How exactly did Jeffery Amherst get dragged in here? Yes, it is certainly true that he didn’t like Indians [please don’t make me type Native Americans or Indigenous Peoples — we’re wasting enough BW as it is] and he did accede to Bouquet’s suggestion about the blankets, although it was a certain Captain Ecuyer [as I recall} who actually handed over two blankets and a handkerchief from a smallpox hospital to some leaders of the Delawares during a parlay — to what effect I’m not clear. But the event took place during Pontiac’s rebellion, not strictly speaking the “French & Indian Wars” [though I suppose the end date of that conflict is subject to interpretation], and Amherst was referring specifically to the rebelling Indians in his missive, not Indians as a whole [“race” meaning something different back then]. But while Amherst did not like or trust any of the tribes much — almost no one on the Anglo side did after Fort William Henry, which BTW is probably where the idea about the smallpox-infected blankets came from, as some of captives the Indians hauled off were suffering from the disease — he did distinguish between “our” Indians and “their” Indians, and in fact the Iroquois, recruited for the purpose through Sir William Johnson’s diplomacy, were instrumental to his successful campaigns against French Canada. [Not that Amherst gave them much credit.] Of course, Gen. Montcalm didn’t have much use for Indians either, even though they were his indispensable allays. He too had problems with the aftermath of Fort William Henry, and the torture and subsequent boiling and eating of some English prisoners outside Montreal by his allies definitely put him off his feed. He decided that war was not worth winning on such terms, turned a successful strategy on it’s head, lost Canada and died as a result. But he may have had a point. On the other hand, Indians often did not have much use for other Indians. The Iroquois were deeply complicit in the famous Walking Purchase fraud and did everything they could to see it maintained [they were successful in this, BTW]. They also perpetrated the first known instance of “ethnic cleansing” in North America by forcibly moving the Delawares — who got those blankets — out of their homeland and into the Ohio valley, where they proceeded to sell them out a couple of more times, thus being equal partners in fomenting the rebellion that lead to the smallpox-infected blanket incident. [Just as a side note, the British engaged in what I think was second instance of “ethic cleansing” on North America when they deported the francophone Acadians. I think that was Lord Halifax’s doing, but he may have gotten the idea from Gov. William Shirley of MA. I mention that for no particular reason, except perhaps to help balance the ledger.] And as for Cortez, who was killing for Christ, gold, slaves, and the glory of Spain — what were his thousands of Indian allies killing for? And while we were depopulating Tasmania — well actually a bit earlier I think — what was the name of that people the Zulus wiped out? And of course the Opium Wars were a nasty business that redounded to no one’s credit and killed some thousands of Chinese, to say nothing of deleterious health effects of the increased supply of opium. But I also recall that sometime earlier the Hongwu Emperor suspected his prime minister of treason and executed him, his entire family, and anyone else connected with him. Eventually this resulted in the execution of about 40,000 people [all but one probably innocent, and no, 40,000 is not a typo]. I guess the prime minister had a lot of friends, but I think it is worth keeping in mind that these 40,000 deaths were the result of one crime by one man, not a war. For war, we should probably consider the Taiping Rebellion which killed over 20 million, but since the Taipings considered themselves Christian while the Christian church did not, I’m not sure whose side those casualties should accrue to. I could go on, but I already have. My point is that if you open a can of worms, you get a can of worms. Now everyone who wishes can sit around and say: “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll eat some…”
Toggle Commented Aug 8, 2006 on I Fear for the Muslim World at ShrinkWrapped
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It seems Observer 5 is no better at reading minds than he is at divining the reasons for Islamic terorism. "Never met an Arab" is not an argument. The motives of those who fly planes into buildings have been made quite clear by the terrorists themselves; yet if we follow observer 5's reasoning [if it can be called that] their statements are all code for "we have mundane political disagreements with you." Of course, if he capable of believing what he says about Shirkwrapped, he's capable of believing anything.
Toggle Commented Aug 8, 2006 on Clarifications at ShrinkWrapped
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