Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Don't You Know There's A War On?

Marine barracks, Beirut International Airport. 1983. (Source)
In response to a Juvat comment yesterday, I offered this -
In wartime we get fighting generals, in peacetime we get shoe clerks. I don't know what you call the times we're in now. Feels like wartime, civvies think it's peacetime.
Forgive me for thinking that we're at war. I mean the United States is right now, at this very minute, involved in combat operations with an armed and determined enemy. To me, that's war. But not so according to any number of definitions of war I found on the Web of World-Wideness, to wit...

From Duhaime's Law Dictionary:
War Definition:
    The use of violence and force between two or more states to resolve a matter of dispute.
"War has been defined almost always as the employment of force between governments or entities essentially like governments, at least de facto....

"The cases establish that war is a course of hostility engaged in by entities that have at least significant attributes of sovereignty. Under international law war is waged by states or state-like entities.... (W)ar (is) a contention between two or more States through their armed forces. War is that state in which a nation prosecutes its right by force.

"English and American cases dealing with the insurance meaning of war have defined it in accordance with the ancient international law definition: war refers to and includes only hostilities carried on by entities that constitute governments at least de facto in character."
-- These were the words adopted by Justice Hays of the United States Court of Appeals in the 1974 case, Pan American World Air v. Aetna.  (Source)
From Black's Law Dictionary Online:
What is WAR?

A state of forcible contention; an armed contest between nations; a state of hostility between two or more nations or states. Gro. de Jur. B. lib. 1, c. 1. Every connection by force between two nations, in external matters, under the authority of their respective governments, is a public war. If war is declared in form, It is called "solemn," and is of the perfect kind; because the whole nation is at war with an- other whole nation. When the hostilities are limited as respects places, persons, and things, the war is properly termed "imperfect war." Bas v. Tingy, 4 Dall. 37, 40 1 L. Ed. 731. (Source)
What does Merriam-Webster have to say on the topic?
    1     a (1) :  a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2) :  a period of such armed conflict (3) :  state of war
          b :  the art or science of warfare
          c (1) obsolete :  weapons and equipment for war (2) archaic :  soldiers armed and equipped for war

    2    a :  a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism
          b :  a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end <a class war> <a war against disease>
          c :  variance, odds (Source)
What I derive from all that is that the legal definition of war tends to lean towards a state of hostilities between two (or more) states. Seems that Justice Hays stretched that definition to include entities which act as or are de facto states. Think the Taliban, think al Qaeda, think ISIS or any other of a number of organized "thuggeries". Hell, you could probably make an argument for MS-13 and the like being de facto governments or states. I'm quite certain that their rule is the law in the areas they control or hold sway over. (Which is pretty much the same, the latter being rather outside the law. At least that's how I see it.)

I believe that we are war with "certain elements" in the world who have the goal of destroying "Civilization As We Know It." They want to replace our culture and our institutions with a culture which is both medieval and inimical to individual freedom.

We are not alone in this fight, there are other nations fighting beside us who see the threat and, more importantly, understand the threat. Perhaps, in some cases, better than the American public understands the threat. All that being said, look around, does it look like or feel like we're at war?

Why no Sarge, no it doesn't.

Unless of course you are on active duty. Or know (and care about) someone who is on active duty. Then the threat of deployment, possible combat, possible injury or death is very real. Yup, sure feels like a war when you're on the ground at the "Two way shooting range" (as Alemaster so eloquently put it). Or when you're watching your kid (or someone else's kid for that matter) head out to far away places where the skies ain't so friendly and the locals might try and kill you, given the chance.

While I don't think we should all be wearing sack cloth and using our ration books to buy necessaries (think WWII, when many things were rationed to support the war effort), you'd think we could try and remember. While this isn't that kind of war, yet, it could go that far. The Russians aren't throwing their weight around in the Baltic for the fun which is in it. (Or bullying Ukraine.) Nor are the Red Chinese building islands on reefs to support fisheries. Nope, those are both aggressive and (semi-)hostile societies. If we're perceived as weak...

Yup, too late on that one!

Don't get me started on what's happening in the Middle East. Do you think for a minute that if (when?) enough of them show up as refugees (already happening in Europe) that they won't start demanding sharia courts (think the UK, already happening there) and taking to the streets in violent protests should they be denied?

Think "fifth column," it's already in place overseas. Don't think it can't happen here. If people don't care, it can and will happen.

Not at war?

Think again...

We've been at war for a very long time. Only the G.I.s seem to remember...

Hostages taken at U.S. Embassy in Tehran - 1979, perpetrated by Iranian revolutionaries.

Bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, 1983 - perpetrated by Hezbollah
  • 62 dead (17 of whom were American)
  • 120 wounded 
Bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, 1983 - perpetrated by Iran?
  • 5 dead
  • 86 wounded
Attack on the Marine Barracks, Beirut, Lebanon, 1983 - perpetrated by Hezbollah
  • 305 dead (220 U.S. Marines, 18 sailors, and three soldiers; 58 French paratroopers; six civilians)
  • 75 wounded
Kidnapping and murder of CIA Station Chief William Buckley, Beirut, Lebanon, 1984 - perpetrated by Hezbollah?

United States embassy annex bombing, Beirut, Lebanon, 1984 - perpetrated by Hezbollah
  • 23 Dead (2 American dead, one soldier. one sailor)
USS Stark, Persian Gulf, 1987 - A single Iraqi fighter aircraft, firing one Exocet
  • 37 dead
  • 21 wounded
The First World Trade Center Bombing 1993 - perpetrated by al Qaeda
  • 6 Dead
  • 1042 non-fatal injured
USS Cole 2000 - perpetrated by al Qaeda
  • 17 dead
  • 39 wounded
The 9/11 attacks - perpetrated by al Qaeda
  • 2977 dead
  • 6000+ non-fatal injured
(FWIW- none of those numbers above include the assholes who perpetrated the attacks.)

Not to mention the many aircraft hijackings. One cruise ship. The Berlin disco bombing. Not at war?

Guess again.


  1. You are correct Sarge, we are very much at war. Kinetically in many parts of the world. A "kinda Cold War" with the influx of unvetted Muslim illegal immigrants. I include in the illegal category those that Barack Hussein Obama is shoving down our throat. By the letter of the law these may be "legal", though they are stabbing at the heart of a nation that has as of yet been unwilling to defend itself against this threat. As you state, "Think "fifth column," it's already in place overseas. Don't think it can't happen here. If people don't care, it can and will happen.". It is happening, though as of yet it doesn't appear to have reached critical mass. When it does, it is going to get very ugly very fast. Not a very positive thought to have rattling around in the mind constantly.

    1. Most people don't know that the predominant demographic among white Americans is not British, but German. If the Islamic attacks in this country step up, no matter what the collaborators in the Democratic Criminal Party may say, I fear that we will remember our German roots, and deal with the problem. We Vikings are the same way. I feel a storm is coming over the horizon, and it will be a bad one.

    2. According to something I read as a youth, English became the lingua franca of these here United States by one vote. German was the runner up.

      (Not sure if this is for real, I need to look that up. Must have been all those Hessians who deserted during the Revolution. A prolific tribe, I'm sure.)

  2. Good and timely post.

    I remember that awful day in October. When I get downwind of a gravel mill or concrete works on a damp day the deja vu can be nearly overwhelming. I spent a lot of time in that part of the world in those days. And I got shot at a lot more in "peastime" than in war.

    1. Yeah, what is "peacetime" actually? Just because we don't call it war doesn't mean it isn't.

  3. It has been said that the U.S. military is at war; America's at the mall. While that may not be completely true, it's close enough. Too few remember, and too few care.

  4. Too few of us over here sacrifice anything to support the effort of our best men and women "over there". That will continue until our representatives decide that their unfettered spending is not good for the Nation. They do not know what winning this war looks like. Already there are cries of "no ammo!", "no training", and worse, "no leaders!".
    These things are true and provable. I am pretty sure, however, that they know exactly what they are doing and their agenda is moving along just fine.
    Google: “Transcript of Norman Dodd Interview” 1982 A.D. with G. Edward Griffin

    That's always fun.

    1. I started reading that, at lunch. I need to make time to read the entire thing. OMG.

      Something which I have suspected for some time now. I didn't realize it went back that far.

  5. In the immortal words of Walt Kelly:
    "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    Not exactly in the context of the post, but...

  6. "If we're perceived as weak..."

    Too late for that. When my youngest graduated high school, he went with 5 of
    his buddies to join the Marines. Matt got rejected due to a bad knee received
    in a motocross accident but his buddies were accepted. Three of them are now US
    embassy guards, One in Moscow, one in Beijing and one in Brasilia. According
    to what we hear from these young Marines, the USA is already looked at as a
    weak nation, a paper tiger!! Just like back in the bad ol' Jimmy Carter days!

  7. We're not at war.

    A read of Smedley Butler's "War is a Racket" would be a valuable investment of time.

    Wars are fought for survival or in the National Interest. We haven't done that since World War II. Some may argue Korea. Certainly not Vietnam and nothing since then.

    Like the Romans and some others we are losing the battle to remain as we were. Change is coming but it owes little to military prowess or lack of it. We get to what it is that the people "will". We have no Napoleon to rally the mob to the ideal of 'saving the nation/state'. We'll see what mob rule brings. It usually brings on things like Venezuela but this is the most heavily armed population in the world. We'll see if they can pull that off here.

    1. Well, I did go have a look at Smedley's screed (available here) and came away less than impressed. I guess he became jaded after conquering Central America for the United Fruit Company.

      While I agree with some of his points I think his experience came about during perhaps one of the worst points in the history of corporations. I certainly believe his contention that Wilson took us into WWI because they didn't want to lose the money owed by the Allies. (Did they ever actually pay that back?) What you experience colors your observations. How they used the Marine Corps to support corporate interests was criminal.

      As a side note, I never really bought the whole Lusitania theory. Really, a ship sunk in May of 1915 with Americans on board brought the U.S. into the war two years later. (April of 1917, yes, Congress is slow, but not that slow.)

      Nazi Germany was not actually run by Krupp, Thiessen, Siemens, et al. While they did collude to assist Hitler into power (figuring that his plans to re-arm Germany would mean big profits), once they had "released the kraken" (so to speak), they had no control whatsoever over the Nazis. People with guns will trump people with checkbooks any day of the week. (Unless you can pay the gun-toters off before they kill you as an "enemy of the state.")

      How you define war (survival, National Interests) is important. But when our troops are dying, when the bombs are falling, I call that war. I'm looking at this from the micro-level, not the macro. Stopping the jihadis is a matter of survival, therefore I would argue that we are, indeed, at war with them.

      Just because corporate America wants to ignore a problem (as there is no profit to be made?) doesn't mean there isn't a problem.

      Or a war.

      If we get to the point Venezuela has reached, then we are all well and truly screwed.

      As always Cap'n you bring interesting thoughts to the table.

      (And you got my blood pumping, always a good thing at my age.)

    2. One has to place the man in the context of his time. Yeah, it may look like a screed now.... It was spot on back then.

      The last 60 years are rife with writers who pose that it was the industrialists in Germany that got behind Hitler and National Socialism and pushed, hard. Remember, Germany was prostrate by the terms of the treaty of vienna. They needed to jump start industry and get the shovel ready jobs into production. They found a man and they funded him much the way Soros does today.

      OTOH, not a conspiracy theorist. Placing history into the light that shined on it in its own time is very important. Primary sources are still good right up until about JFK. After that the record gets murky because the real material was classified and carefully buried. Think how much could have been sidestepped if the NSA had just released the VENONA stuff in 1965 instead of 1990.

      It's all food for thought.

    3. After reading his paper, I dug deeper. There's an interesting video of the General (here) revealing a Fascist plot to overthrow the government. That put me into the context of the time. You're right, for the times in which he lived he was spot on indeed.

      Getting things in the right context is critical for an historian. You'd think I would remember that what with my claims of being an historian (albeit an amateur).

      Wikipedia (of course) has a list of names from VENONA. It's not the names so much as the job titles attached to those names that make one shudder.

      As always Cap'n, you make me think.


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