Friday, January 22, 2016

The Council Has Spoken! Our Watcher's Council Results

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” - Sir Winston Churchill

Peace is purchased from strength. It's not purchased from weakness or unilateral retreats. - Benyamin Netanyahu

“Let’s set the record straight. There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace–and you can have it in the next second–surrender.

Admittedly there is a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face–that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight and surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand–the ultimatum. And what then?"
- President Ronald Reagan

"Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms." - President Andrew Jackson

This week's winning essay,Joshuapundit's Barack Obama's Real Legacy - America, Humiliated is about America's recent interaction with Iran. It reveals why everything the Iranian and our State Department told us about the recent incident with two of our naval vessels are outright lies,and in particular why Iran chose that particular time for this incident. Here's a slice:

When is a world power in serious decline? One indication is when neither its leaders, its military or its citizens begin losing the ability to command respect from foreign powers.

Our recent engagement (if you could call it that) with Iran is one shameful indication of such a decline.

The official story out of Washington is that two of our Riverine gunships manned by U.S. Marines somehow accidentally wandered off course into Iranian territory, where one of them broke down. The Iranian IRG naval forces showed up,impounded the two boats and detained our sailors briefly, repaired the damage and after an apology and confession of wrongdoing from the American commanding officer sent them on their way. Much was made of how kindly the Americans were treated by their captors, and how this was a triumph of diplomacy, exactly why the Iran deal needed to be implemented.

Most of the above paragraph is sheer horse manure. Instead, the capture of the two gunboats was deliberately planned and carried out in international waters and designed to send a sharp message the White House, which shamefully collaborated in this farce.

The gunboats were reported taken near Farsi Islands, which is the official naval base for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. According to the White House, these two boats were en route to Kuwait from our base in Bahrain. Since these boats are shallow draft vessels, they could have sailed fairly close to the Arabian side of the Gulf, hugging the shoreline. These are fast boats, and the trip should have taken just over an hour.There was no reason to go anywhere near Iran.

Somehow, these two gunboats wound up 70 miles off course, near an IRG naval base. And captured by what amounts to a couple of small motor boats with a fraction of their armaments and manpower:

Given the advanced radar, GPS systems and skill of the crew, does it seem logical that these two gunboats would err this much? The answer, of course is that they didn't.

Former SEAL Matt Bracken caused a firestorm online with comments on Twitter and Facebook, and what he had to say was corroborated from one of my regular readers who shared his knowledge of these kinds of missions.

For an open-water transit between nations, the course is studied and planned in advance by the leaders of the Riverine Squadron, with specific attention given to staying wide and clear of any hostile nation's claimed territorial waters. The boats are given a complete mechanical check before departure, and they have sufficient fuel to accomplish their mission plus extra. If, for some unexplainable and rare circumstance one boat broke down, the other would tow it, that's why two boats go on these trips and not one! It's called "self-rescue" and it's SOP.

This entire situation is in my area of expertise. I can state with complete confidence that both Iran and our own State Department are lying. The boats did not enter Iranian waters.

What likely happened is that IRG forces intercepted the two gunboats on the normal route between Bahrain and Kuwait, jammed their communications and ordered them back to Farsi Island. The gunboats likely cooperated because they were ordered not to create an incident. And their ROE prohibit them from firing unless they were fired upon by their superiors. It's quite likely the IRG was aware of these rules of engagement.

The IRG stripped the ships of their GPS units and all communications devices and even took the sim cards from the crew's cellphones, so no real record of where the gunboats were actually seized would exist. Then they forced them to pose on their knees, to take pictures that went all over the world. And of course, there was that confession by the captain of violating Iranian waters:

The Iranians made a huge propaganda coup out of this:

A senior Iranian military commander in charge of the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed that the 10 U.S. sailors who were recently captured and subsequently released by the Islamic Republic “started crying after [their] arrest,” according to Persian language comments made during military celebrations this weekend.

Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the IRGC, which is responsible for boarding the U.S. ships and arresting the sailors, claimed in recent remarks, the “American sailors started crying after arrest, but the kindness of our Guard made them feel calm.”

Hossein went on to brag that the incident provides definitive evidence of the Iranian military’s supremacy in the region.

“Since the end of the Second World War, no country has been able to arrest American military personnel,” the commander said, according to an independent translation of his Persian-language remarks made Friday during a “martyrs’ commemoration ceremony” in Isfahan.

“I saw the weakness, cowardice, and fear of American soldiers myself. Despite having all of the weapons and equipment, they surrendered themselves with the first action of the guardians of Islam,” Ahmad Dolabi, an IRGC commander, said in Persian-language remarks at a prayer service in Iran’s Bushehr providence.

“American forces receive the best training and have the most advanced weapons in the world,” he added. “But they did not have the power to confront the Guard due to weakness of faith and belief.”

Much more at the link, including Iran's motivation for doing this when they did.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Michael Totten with North Africa Exports Rape Culture to Germany submitted by The Razor.

Totten is one of the more knowledgeable commentators on the Middle East, simply because he reports what he sees on the ground in person rather than sitting in an air=conditioned hotel while some stringer he hired tells him what the local powers that be want him to hear. In this article he discusses what's going on in Europe right now and reveals it as an inherent part of the culture these refugees come from. Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results. The Right Planet was unable to vote this week, and one other member submitted an incomplete vote in the non-Council category. Neither was subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks' nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher's Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y'know?


Anonymous said...

Greetings to Mr Miller from an old reader which has just caught up with 5 months' of reading at your fascinating site.

Off subject questions :

1 ) Are louielouie, BPoster, Aznar, Rosie, ymasker ( ? ) still round ? I'm beginning to feel like that kid from an early 1970s commercial playing a board game on the beach & exclaiming ' I'm the sole survivor ! ' I recall Louielouie's psephological comments & electoral predictions were quite prescient.

2 ) Has joshuapundit become a joint-author site ? ( It used to be purely Mr Miller. )

3 ) Have you a land-based donation site for your site ? I never conduct any personal activities via computer. ( If Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the whole paradigm, could not avoid problems, I figure I'm better off being a Luddite. I haven't even a personal computer postal address. )

4 ) What is your opinion re Barry Goldwater ? Do you feel that he was too libertarian for your taste ? He has tended to be credited as a precursor to both the modern libertarian movements ( my interest ) & social conservative movements ( of no attraction to me whatsoever ) . Is he considered to be non-Jewish by virtue of the fact that only his father was Jewish ? I believe he was religiously an Episcopalian Christian. I was prompted & incited & inspired to ask by the accidental discovery a month ago, somewhere on the web, of an article which I had 1st read ( & last had read ) on an old Rank-Xerox copy circa early 1970s in Europe ; it had been written by a close aide of Goldwater's circa 1969 - 1971 & brilliantly precised the philosophy of libertarianism.

You might recall me as the contrarian, antiquarian, libertarian American Indian which sparred with you occasionally a few years ago. ( To Euroland readers : what you would term a Red Indian ) I was so dispirited by the GOP's Boehner-McCain-Christie wing's betrayal of the work done by the Tea-Party activists leading up to the Oct 2013 capitulation that I simply read my 2 big-city newspapers & voted but, otherwise, eschewed all other political research & activity. I was also vvvery busy with business matters, &, with upcoming snow, shall, no doubt, be again : hence, this peculiarly rushed missive lest I should forget.

Ciao !

-- dragon / dinosaur

Rob said...

Quelle agréable surprise, Dragon/Dinosaur!

1.Some of the above mentioned thought criminals still respond via Facebook or private communication. Some unfortunately do not. If you went through the last few months, you will notice a fairly significant decrease in output. That had much to do with my mother's final illness, her passing, dealing with her final arrangements and estate, and getting several properties rehabbed for rent, including the house of mine she had been living in. Also, I received an advance on a book deal which is still in the process of being written. Spinoza, Socrates, Churchill and the Jewish Torah all make reference to the salubrious effect manual labor has on both grief and clear thinking. I can definitely vouch for the truth of that.

However, I expect to pick up the pace a bit in the future.

2. I have always welcomed and showcased other authors. It appears that their submissions have dropped off which is perhaps explainable by my own drop in output. Perhaps that will change as well.

3.For obvious reasons, I prefer not to give out that sort of information in a public forum. However, I can also tell you that PayPal's security is extremely reliable, and the process is simple. If you click on the icon you can leave an anonymous donation and I know for a fact they do not publicly post bank information and delete it after each transaction. You can even do it from a library or other public computer. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

4. I always admired Senator Goldwater, although in his dotage he became a bit questionable on some things. Reading up on his personal life reinforced that opinion. He was always a man of courage, probity and ethical behavior whom enjoyed nothing so much as laughing at pretension, especially his own. While I did not agree with all of his positions, in many ways he embodied the values that built this country and made it great.

I remain convinced that had he been elected in 1964, the Vietnam War (if it occurred at all)would have been a constitutionally declared war that ended within two or three years on America's fact, the tactics he proposed were pretty much what Richard Nixon used to achieve the same results.

As to his ancestry, he was not a Jew according to Halacha, the Hebrew law which uses matrilineal descent, a smart policy for a people deprived of their own country for centuries if you think about it. To become a Jew according to Halacha, he would have had to undergo an Orthodox conversion. Needless to say, this didn't stop him from being reviled as a 'Jew' through out his public life. Personally speaking, I would have been delighted to welcome him to the Tribe.

Fun fact..Senator Goldwater was an honorary member of the Hopi tribe and was noted for his championship of native Americans. He wore their initiation tattoo on his hand until he died.

Again, wonderful to hear from you again as always, my friend.

Warm Regards,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reply. Apologies for my tardy response. My sincerest condolences for your loss : the losses of loved ones & blood relations are life's most painful times.

Good luck with your book : you are 1 author I greatly enjoy reading.

Apropos of & re Goldwater, I have always thought that representing the GOP as the presidential candidate in 1964 was an act of political suicide for any presidential aspirant ; the election was less than a year after Jack Kennedy's assassination, & Goldwater subsequently remarked that not even Jesus himself could have won that one, & that he, Goldwater, should have waited till 1968. ( But Nixon, Goldwater realised, was waiting in the wings ready to run in 1968, & the presidential elections, like the Summer & Winter Olympics come only every 4 years. )

The ancient article which I stumbled across was by Karl Hess, a speech-writer for Goldwater, & also 1 of the writers of the 1960 & 1964 GOP-party manifestos. It is titled ' The Death Of Politics ' & is available at at least 2 places on the web, viz : fare dot tunes dot org, &, possibly ( can't find it at this second ) , the Mises economics site : it probably has influenced me more than any other political or economic tract which I have ever read ( along with Smith & Locke ) . Here is a wonderful excerpt from it : ' Barry Goldwater, during his 1964 campaign, repeatedly said that "the government strong enough to give you what you want is strong enough to to take it all away". Conservatives, as a group, have forgotten, or prefer to ignore, that this applies also to government's strength to impose social order. If government can enforce social norms, or even Christian behaviour, it can also take away or twist them." End Of Quote. -- I had not realised that this was originally published in Playboy Magazine !

Business calls me. I just hope that the American people finally do their homework this year when they decide on the next president.

Best Regards, dragon/dinosaur

PS : I had forgotten about the Hopi connexions. Thanks for jogging the memory.

Anonymous said...

June 2016 update & addendum :

Quote : ' it has probably influenced me more than any other political or economic tract which I have ever read ( along with Smith & Locke ) ' end of quote ... AND MILL, OF COURSE ! , I meant to add. I don't know how I managed to forget to mention that giant !

I wonder if anyone else recalls that wonderful piece of biographic doggerel : John Stuart Mill, / By a mighty effort of will, / Overcame his natural bonhomie, / And wrote ' Principles Of Political Economy ' . I wonder if the same writer was responsible for : Geography is about Maps, / But Biography is about Chaps. Possibly also ' How now, brown Cow ' ? Probably not that last one.

ciao ! - d/d