PROOF! (of spin)

Big Story: Neocons Leak Neocon Memo, then Report On It

Today, Fox News anchors are repeatedly mentioning the blockbuster story “proving” a long-time link between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

The leak was made to a truly unbiased source, the Weekly Standard. The neocon magazine titles the article on the “leaked” memo, “Case Closed.”

The memo is from another unbiased source: Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith, one of the most hard-core neoconservatives at the Pentagon.

At one point, a Fox reporter referred to the Weekly Standard as having “close ties to the White House.” You would think that they might mention that Fox and the Weekly Standard are both owned by Rupert Murdoch. Current and retired intel officers have identified the work of Feith’s Office of Special Plans as a key component of the exaggerated and manipulated intelligence produced on Iraq. Feith himself has been accused of being behind previous leaks of “raw intelligence.”

I wonder who “leaked” this memo to the Weekly Standard?

UPDATE: The Dept. of Defense has issued a news release dismissing the report.

US Death Toll Tops 400 (now 418)

Updated 11/15/03 6:50 pm EST:
The death toll hit 418 today, with the downing of two Black Hawk helicopters in Mosul, killing at least 17, and the death of another GI in a roadside bombing. While the Black Hawk crash appears to be the result of a collision, witnesses report the collision took place as one copter was moving to escape enemy fire and Reuters (UK) reports:
One of the helicopters was hit in the tail by a rocket propelled grenade (RPG), a U.S. officer at the scene said on Saturday.

Central Command reports another death of a US soldier in Iraq:

    BAGHDAD, Iraq – A 1st Armored Division soldier died of wounds received when the convoy in which the soldier was riding struck an improvised explosive device (IED) approximately 8:20 a.m., Nov. 14, near central Baghdad.

    The convoy was conducting a mounted patrol when it struck the IED. The deceased soldier was medically evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital, along with two other soldiers who received shrapnel wounds. At the 28th CSH, the soldier died of wounds this evening.

This death brings the US total to 400. As reported elsewhere, the death toll has surpassed that of the first three years of Vietnam and with Bush’s recent pronouncement that US troops would remain in Iraq until they capture or kill the “evildoers,” it is clear the that list of dead will only continue to increase. The president’s words indicate that the real threat — bin Laden — has been conveniently forgotten and relegated for more “pressing” ends:

    “We are not pulling out until the job is done – period,” Mr Bush said.

    Asked whether that included finding Saddam Hussein and bin Laden, Mr Bush said: “Yes, that’s part of it. But even bigger is a free and democratic society. That is the mission.”

If you would like to remind the world of the real cost of this never-ending war and fruitless crusade for world democracy, place a casualty counter (see top right of this page) on your website. It is fairly easy:
1. Download this file and this file and place them in the same folder as the page that will display the counter.
2. Insert the code below where you want the counter to display:

Napoleon, Bismarck, Hitler… Bush?

Frederick W. Kagan, author, and teacher of military history at West Point, is a tax-and-spend hegemonist. In “The art of war,” an article from the November, 2003, The New Criterion, which I found on the excellent site, Kagan warns about the dangers of the “search for ‘efficiency’ in military affairs.” Rather than an efficient military, see, the US needs a massive military with intentional redundancy in equipment and functions. Or is he arguing that military defense is possible and inexpensive but world hegemony is expensive in blood and treasure — and futile to boot?


In each of the periods in recent history in which one might see a fundamental change in the nature of war, it is true that normally one state begins with a dramatic lead. Revolutionary France’s ability in the 1790s to mobilize vast conscript armies and to sustain that mobilization for years gave her an important advantage over continental states unable to match such levels of mobilization. Prussia’s early and enthusiastic development of a dense railroad net and of the general staff structure needed to plan for and control a railroad mobilization led directly to her crushing victories over Austria in 1866 and over France in 1871. The Nazis’ creation of a technologically advanced and highly trained armored force, along with a significantly better armored warfare doctrine, led directly to the destruction of the Franco-British army in 1940.

In each case, however, we must also consider the sequel. Napoleonic France, Imperial Germany, and Nazi Germany all ultimately lost subsequent wars and were destroyed. The reasons for those failures are enlightening about the limitations of the current definition of revolution in military affairs. …

History so far, therefore, has been very clear that “asymmetrical advantages” gained by one state do not normally last very long. Technology and technique inevitably spreads. Other states acquire either similar or counteracting capabilities. The final victors of each new “revolutionary” epoch have not usually been the states that initiated the revolution, but those that responded best once the technologies and techniques had become common property.

It also shows that the initial successes those “revolutionary” states achieved have tended to breed arrogance and overconfidence, hindering their ability to respond as other states began to match their capabilities. Napoleonic France, Imperial Germany, and Nazi Germany all ossified in their techniques after the initial victories, and lost to enemies who, forced by defeat, built on their own advances more successfully.

The search for an indefinite American “asymmetrical advantage,” therefore, requires not merely a revolution in military affairs: it also requires a fundamental revolution in human affairs of a sort never seen before. It requires that America continue to change her armed forces so rapidly and successfully that no other state can ever catch up—indeed, that no other state in the world even try.

…[F]ew if any of America’s enemies will have the vast resource-stretching responsibilities that America has. They will be concerned only with their own region of the world and will focus their efforts on developing communications and target tracking systems only over a small portion of the globe. They will not need a dense global satellite constellation or the ability to project power over thousands of miles. The costs to them of developing systems comparable to America’s, but only in a restricted geographic area, will accordingly be much smaller than the price the U.S. has had to pay to achieve that capability everywhere.

Then, too, other states can reap the benefits of modern communications systems without bearing the expensive burden of basic scientific research and development. Microprocessors, satellites, encrypted laser communications systems, cell phone systems, and the whole host of technologies that form the basis of American military superiority are now the property of the world. It will not cost America’s enemies anything like what it cost the U.S. to develop its capabilities, either in money or in time. Since technology inevitably becomes less expensive as it proliferates and as time goes on, moreover, the situation for America’s would-be adversaries will only improve in this regard. …

When America’s enemies have developed the technology and trained the people who will use it, they will also have to develop the doctrines and techniques to make it effective. In this regard, they have the most significant advantage of all. Much of America’s tested doctrine has been published, much can be deduced from the CNN coverage of America’s most recent wars. Once again, America’s enemies can start from the position of proven success that the U.S. armed forces achieved, and build from there.

Their real advantage in this area, however, results from the fact that they will be developing armed forces specifically designed to fight an enemy with the same capabilities. America’s military has not done so. American military doctrine continues to foresee fighting enemies lacking any significant capacity to deploy precision guided munitions, without dense satellite constellations and communications systems, and without the ability to strike targets precisely at great distances. It is one of the more troubling lessons of the history of new military technology that the states that pioneer the new technologies and techniques generally fail to adapt successfully to the situation in which all major states have the same technologies and techniques. It remains to be seen whether America will do any better than her predecessors in this regard.

The Tale of the Slave

We know that conscription is slavery and empire is slavery but what is slavery?

“The Tale of the Slave” from Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, pp. 290-292.

Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.

2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.

3. The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.

4. The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.

5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.

6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.

7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.

8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)

9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.

The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave.

Best of the Web

*SO SUE HIM: Julian Sanchez gives everyone’s favorite law professor a swift kick in the shorts.

*SUPPORT OUR TROOPS: The patriots at Free Republic show veterans some mad love.

*UH, MR. PRESIDENT: “Is Bulgaria still part of the coalition, and, if so, what have they done for us lately?” Calvin Trillin imagines a press conference worth watching. (Props to Krokul River.)

*APOCALYPSE NOW vs. M*A*S*H: Korean War vet fights Vietnam vets at Veteran’s Day parade. No civilians were injured.

*GOY HOWDY: Junior neocon Ben Shapiro outs Al Franken: “The great Jewish poster boy intermarried 25 years ago, although his non-Jewish, non-Jewish educated children ‘think of themselves as Jewish.’ He was never bar-mitzvahed and attended Jewish ‘Saturday school’ for approximately two years — he ‘hated’ it. He doesn’t believe in the veracity of the Bible or in Israeli settlements, which he describes as ‘religious fundamentalism.'” Expect David Frum to be outraged by this crude anti-Semitism–on Franken’s part, of course.