Friday, July 21, 2006

From Marginal Revolution, a post on how agriculture got its start stimulated this comment:
I remember reading somewhere (Spengler?) that agriculture developed because some smart, aggressive guy realized he could use control of agricultural resources like water to expand his power over other men and expand the size of the unit over which he has control to maximize his wealth. Sounds very - human. Settling down and farming was not a collective decision but a command directive. There does seem to be some evidence that agriculture did not benefit the individual hunter-gatherer sufficiently so that it would have been adopted without force being used. Cowboys, for instance, don't see "sod-busters" as having a better life. All changes in society don't have to lead to better lives for the masses. But those that lead to more power for those in power may be falsely portrayed as leading to better lives for all.
I'm right again
On a trenchant post titled "Is Israel's strategy working?" on Alenda Lux, a blog I've just found, after this statement:
Even without taking Israel's side, world opinion has clearly come down against Hezbollah as the instigator of the crisis. Admittedly, this is a somewhat more complicated situation than those that simply involve two governments and the people of the target state. In some cases, therefore, nationalism could be causing the Lebanese to side with the Hezbollah-skeptic government over the arguably more powerful Hezbollah. At the same time, claims by the usual suspects (which, as I mentioned, I considered myself) that Israeli bombing would turn the Lebanese back to Hezbollah are apparently unfounded.
I had to lay out my analysis of the Hezbollah attack on Israel, in terms I've seen nowhere else. Which makes me think I'm right:
The most interesting aspect of the Hezbollah attack is their lack of success. They've had six years to accumulate weapons and refine tactics. Their rockets have accomplished nothing. Those who say Israel cannot win without going in on the ground do not apply the same logic to Hezbollah, who cannot win by standing off and sending inaccurate rockets. They cannot invade Israel in significant force. They cannot keep the IDF out of South Lebanon. They have been condemned by Saudi Arabia (!). Looks like a loss to me.

I might add, that when the only suspense in a military situation is whether one side (Hezbollah) is going to be completely annihilated or not, it isn't too hard to figure out the balance of power. And the lack of practical non-verbal support from the Muslim world, thanks to the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan, is also remarkable. Those Islamic terrorists (but I repeat myself) who think they can make a career out of sending a few rockets over the Israeli border and getting other murderers to blow themselves up in crowds of Jewish civilians had better think about getting some job retraining.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Israel=North Korea?
I was playing War Nerd, considering how things could be if Syria got crushed and its territory could be used by our - and Israel's - military. this post on The Adventures of Chester stimulated my thinking with these remarks:
In the past few days, Tigerhawk has excerpted two reports from StratFor discussing the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Syria. First was an excerpt on Friday with this tidbit:

Israel will not put ground forces in Lebanon, particularly in the Bekaa Valley, without first eliminating the Syrian air force; to do otherwise would be to leave Israel's right flank wholly vulnerable. If al Assad does nothing, Israel will have to assume that Syria is waiting for an opportune moment to strike, and will act accordingly.

So I kicked this in. I don't know if it will make it into the comments any time this century:
On the plus side, consider the tactical situation if Boy Assad is overthrown, even if no invasion/occupation of Syria occurs. The Syrians would end up fighting each other as well as the Lebanese factions that hate them. Iran has all of a sudden no staging ground for resupply to Hezbollah and Hamas. The battle space is clear from Israel right through to Iran. This prospect must be irresistible to US war planners. Israel is our North Korea. Jordan and Egypt and SA will stay out, not knowing which side to back in Syria. Iran will back down, end their nuke program or see it utterly destroyed and blame the Arabs' lack of fighting ability, as always.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Trouble in the Mideast?
Yeah (And I don't just mean the misspelling of a three-letter word in the title of the post):
On Sunday, Jeff Jacoby writes “It all boils down to Iran.”:

A sustained assault into southern Lebanon, one that leaves Hezbollah in shards and Israel's northern border at peace, would be welcome evidence that the old Israel is back. And it would represent a significant victory in the worldwide war against Islamist terrorism.
For Hezbollah:
Hezbollah is in trouble. If they don’t bring down Israel in this new offensive - and they won’t - they have nowhere else to go, nothing else to try. Iran and Syria aren’t going to intervene, thanks to the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Sooner or later Hezbollah will run out of rockets and suicide bombers and hideouts. Then we will see that this was their last effort. Faster, please.