Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Economic Costs of US Conquering Mideast Oil Outweigh Direct Economic Benefits of Such

To contradict the apparently mainstream majority diagnosis that Israel lost the war to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and that the US is losing in Iraq--we hear about how Israel actually won by setting back Lebanon's economy a few decades, and how the US is actually winning by taking control of Iraqi oil ( ) in behalf of US private sector big oil interests.

But looking at the costs the US government has and will incur acquiring a grip on Iraqi oil in behalf of the US oil companies, it is apparent that the US government cost of giving US private sector elements ownership over Iraqi oil, will far outweigh increased profits for US oil companies resulting from the new US private sector ownership of Iraqi oil.

The five trillion dollars (at current prices) of Iraqi oil reserves sound like a glittering prize, but those 5 trillion in reserves (reserves tend to be overestimated) translate into only 67 billion dollars a year in oil revenues if Iraq recovers from its current production rate of 1.7 million barrels per day to produce at its historic peak level of 3.7 million barrels a day.

Even if you assume that every penny of the 67 billion per year in Iraqi oil revenues winds up as profit for the US oil companies--this ignores profits going to Iraq and costs of production--the 67 billion per year does not outweigh the 145 billion per year cost of occupation (not counting medical bills for wounded GIs) combined with the 463 billion the US has already spent on Iraq.

If you make the insanely "optimistic" assumption that in 2007 the US oil interests will get 67 billion in profit out of Iraq, this is balanced by the 608 billion the US will have spent on Iraq by the end of 2007. 608 minus 67 equals a loss of 541 billion. If the US over the next ten years continues to spend 145 billion a year attempting to occupy Iraq while it manages the impossible feat of bringing in 67 billion of Iraq's oil revenue as profit for the US private sector, the result would be an annual US loss of 78 billion per year leading to a situation ten years from now in 2017, if present trends continue, featuring the US having spent 2058 billion in Iraq while having taken out 737 billion in oil profits for a net US loss of 1321 billion over the ten years. This compares to the 670 billion Iraq would take in over the next 10 years for itself, if it had never been invaded, given the improbable assumptions that it produces at its historic peak level every year for 10 years with every penny of revenue magically turning into profits.

The retort might be, the (actually much greater than) 1321 billion US loss is worth it, because the alternative of Iraq having its oil revenues at its own disposal is so terrible. Oh yea? A cheap bombing campaign costing a tiny fraction of 1321 billion could knock out Iraq's oil production capability.

Beyond Iraq, elements in the US dream of seizing the glittering prize that is the six trillion dollars in oil reserves supposedly in Iran, again fail to take into account that if miraculously every penny of Iran's oil revenues wound up as profits for US private sector oil interests, this would be outweighed by the costs of establishing US control of Iranian oil. Iraq's population is 27 million; Iran's is 69 million, 2.6 times greater than Iraq. One could roughly speaking expect that an occupation of Iran would cost 2.6 times the 145 billion per year the occupation of Iraq is costing, which far exceeds the 67 billion a year the US would obtain if miraculously every cent of Iranian oil revenues ended up in Us private sector hands in the form of profits, as Iran continued to produce oil at its current rate.

All this is in the context that with every passing year the world grows more and more capable of replacing oil with alternative fuels. The possibility exists that some time in the next ten years scientists will discover new sources of energy that render mideast oil obsolete, resulting in a cost-benefit that would be even worse.

Thus since the economic costs of the US taking over ownership of Iraqi/Iranian oil outweigh the direct economic benefits of the US attaining to such ownership, the conquering-oil-for-national-security's-sake camp to win its argument, needs to prove that alternatives the US could spend on using the money it loses attempting to conquer middle-eastern oil are inferior to the benefits of--taking into account the probability of success--forcing oil producers to accept only dollars for oil, and/or obtaining leverage over oil-importing nations by way of controlling their sources of oil. This the controlling-oil-makes-the-US-safe crowd has not done; and the fact they have failed to provide such proof, gives credence to the suspicion, that the petro-military-industrial-etcetera complex in the US, is plunging the US into oil wars that enrich the petro-military-industrial-etcetera complex via legislation and the transfer of US and foreign resources to the petro-military-industrial complex, while at the same time said oil wars reduce the wealth and income and power of the US as a whole.

Which leads to the question, what does this kind of weakening of the US and foreign nations combined with the strengthening of the US petro-military-industrial-etcetera complex portend for the US and the world? If the US petro-military-industrial-etcetera complex through overwhelming financial advantage gained through oil wars becomes dictator over the US people, what kind of world can the US expect to live in?

@2007 David Virgil Hobbs


Even so, it (oil) is the overwhelming source of revenue in Iraq and is expected to bring in $31 billion this year, based on projected exports of 1.7 million barrels a day at a price of $50 a barrel.

Iraqi oil production peaked at around 3.7 million barrels a day in 1979, as Saddam Hussein was coming to power, according to the US Department of Energy

This month the new Iraqi hydrocarbon law goes into effect whereby the “international companies” such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips and Royal Dutch Shell, under Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), receive up to 75 percent of Iraq’s oil profits indefinitely until the companies decide they’ve been paid enough reimbursement for any initial rebuilding investments. After that, they will receive an unheard-of in the Middle East 20 percent of profits, twice the industry standard. Mission accomplished.

Operations costs in Iraq are estimated at $5.6 billion per month in 2005

If Congress votes to appropriate another $160 billion for Iraq in the spring, we'll essentially have given George W. Bush the money he needs to carry the war through the end of his term. That would bring the total war cost, in 2007, to $230 billion

The cost of the Iraq war (as of feb 2007) is more than $660 billion and growing.

Our minds boggled last week at U.S. government estimates that President George W. Bush’s so-called “war on terror” (including Afghanistan and Iraq) will cost at least $690 billion US by next year.

Four years on, the occupation of our Iraqi colony continues to claim a hundred souls a day at a cost of two billion dollars a week.

Together with $70 billion bridge funding contained in the defense appropriations bill Congress passed last fall, the war in Iraq will consume roughly $145 billion in FY2007 beyond what would normally be spent on day-to-day military operations. The actual cost of the Iraq war is much higher when considering both direct and indirect costs. Operations in Afghanistan will cost roughly $25 billion.

We are now spending $8 billion each month on the occupation of Iraq

The reality is that Tehran is pushing for nuclear power because, if present trends continue, it will have no oil left for export by 2015. Iran's oil production is in a long-term decline; thirty years ago, Iran produced double the 3.7 million barrels of oil per day it produces today. Even this amount is 300,000 barrels short of the quota set for Iran by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- a $5.5 billion a year loss of income for the government. Oil production is projected to fall about ten percent every year if present trends continue while oil consumption will only grow.18 As Mohammed Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian, deputy oil minister for international affairs, admitted: "If the government does not control the consumption of oil products in Iran. . . and at the same time, if the projects for increasing the capacity of the oil and protection of the oil wells will not happen, within 10 years, there will not be any oil for export."19


Monday, February 26, 2007

Odds Are Against Celebrity Ossuaries Being Amongst the Few Discovered by Modern Archaeologists

On the eve of the destruction of the Second Temple, the number of Jews reached a peak of about 4.5 million - a record broken only in the 19th century

Judging from the ages of Israelite and Judean kings recorded in the bible, according to Horsnell, we can determine that "the normal life span was probably between 30 and 50 years. Most people probably died some time before the age of 50."

Cameron told NBC'S "Today" show that statisticians found "in the range of a couple of million to one in favor of it being them." Simcha Jacobovici, the Toronto filmmaker who directed the documentary, said the implications "are huge."

During the excavation (supposedly), archeologists found 10 ossuaries and three skulls. Six of the ossuaries had names inscribed into them: Jesus son of Joseph, Judah son of Jesus, Maria, Mariamne, Joseph and Matthew.

Looking at the time period the family of Christ and James Christ's brother lived in, the time period the ossuaries that are supposedly those of Christ's family and of James are from, they range in date from it seems, 100 BC to 100 AD.

One could roughly estimate that during this time period there lived and died 14 million Israelites, about five generations.

Around 1000 ancient Israelite ossuaries dating from 100 BC to 100 AD have been discovered.

Thus 1 ossuary has been discovered per 14,000 ancient Israelites who lived during the time period.

Yet at the same time, supposedly the ossuaries of the family of Christ and of James the brother of Christ, the biggest celebrities of the era,about 10 persons composing 1 out of every 1.4 million Israelites of the era, have magically been discovered amongst the 1000 ossuaries.

In other words the family of Christ had a approx one in 1400 chance--14 million (persons who lived during era) divided by 10 (number in Christ's family approx) divided by 1000 (ossuaries found) of having their ossuaries amongst the 1000 ossuaries discovered, and presto--there they were uncovered by modern archaeologists.

And this is not taking into account that supposedly not just Christ, but also Christ's son, and also Christ's mother, and also Christ's lady-friend, all enjoyed the magical good luck of having their ossuaries amongst the 1000 ossuaries found by modern archaelogists! What are the odds that these celebrities of yore would all have the good luck to have their ossuaries discovered by modern men? Not good.

Which gives grounds to believe that the supposed discovery of the burial boxes of these famous persons is a fraud.

The boxes have been discovered in Israel, Israelis throughout history have a strong tradition of clashing with Christianity and of being dishonest with Gentiles/Christians, the burial boxes or ossuaries were supposedly found by Jews in Israel, yet all these persons are talking and writing as if it is of course impossible that there might be fraud involved.

@2007 David Virgil Hobbs

US Overconfidence re Air Attack on Iran a Cause for Concern

The goal being preventing the emergence of a "radical Islamic caliphate stretching from Spain to Indonesia" that is a threat to non-Muslim nations outside of itself; the supposed positive side-effect being the US improving its own security by strengthening its grip on foreign oil; the methodology proposed being an air-attack on Iran to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons potential--the crucial complication that has arisen, is that according to expert military officers, the air attack on Iran will succeed not in destroying Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons, but rather in merely delaying the time at which Iran will become capable of producing nuclear weapons.

RE the ability to carry the methodology, what we have been hearing from the war-hawks, is that Iran should be attacked to eliminate their nuclear weapons potential, that such is a lesser evil than allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons--whereas what we are shocked to be hearing now from experts is that an attack on Iran would delay Iran's nuclear weapons program not destroy it.

The aura of overconfidence re the US ability to permanently de-nuclearize Iran, is in line with US overconfidence in its own achievements/capabilities in past conflicts in Vietnam, Bosnia, Gulf War I, and Gulf War II.

The expert argument is that the whereabouts of many of Iran's nuclear facilities are unknown, which reminds one of: the Viet Cong unknown to their US enemies, inhabiting underground forts located directly beneath US HQ/forts above them on the surface; the US thinking it had destroyed Serbian tanks/weapons in the Bosnian conflict whereas the reality was that decoys/dummies were destroyed.

These experts imply the war-hawks are hiding the fact that due to the limited penetration capabilities of pollution-creating "bunker-buster" missiles several hits on the exact same target would be necessary to destroy concrete-hardened Iranian nuclear "bunkers", which reminds one of: the US overestimating the Patriot anti-missile success rate in Gulf War I; the US apparently sending insufficient numbers of troops into Gulf War II.

Looking at the past and the present, the indications are, that the war-hawks are overconfident regarding the ability of an air attack to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons capability. And this is without even taking into account, that a third party could after a US air attack on Iran: help Iran deal with its nuclear equipment losses; help Iran to even exceed the nuclear weapons production capability it had before it was attacked; give/sell/loan Iran nuclear weapons delivery-systems/bombs.

The US seems to foolishly trust, that the current situation, which apparently features Russia and China staying out of US conflicts with middle-eastern nations, will continue forever--have they never heard of an ambush? History is filled with examples of clever military leaders, who lured their overconfident enemies ever onwards upwards and forward into traps and defeated them.

Likewise the US seems to foolishly trust, that the current world wind direction patterns, will never change--this despite the fact that at the present time the world is experiencing new and strange meteorogical phenomena; this despite the fact, that nations are beginning to learn how to use hi-tech to actually change the weather. The reality is, a change in wind direction, could bring more of the pollution produced by modern weapons of war used in the mideast to America's shores than has already been the case so far.

Overconfidence--including that aspect of overconfidence that assumes the future will be like the present--is recognized outside of fanatically proud (proud of being proud) circles, as a source of failure. The overconfident entity, leaves itself unprepared for successes achieved by its opponent, unprepared for a lack of success on its own part. Overconfident entities, tend to laziness or to spending tine on the wrong things both prior to and during their participation in a given contest. Overconfident entities, underestimate the amount of time energy and money required to accomplish a goal and they overestimate the likelihood that they will succeed in achieving their goal.

The apparently overconfident war-hawks who want to attack Iran, can reasonably be suspected to be underestimating the time energy and money and pollution required to achieve given levels of reduction in Iran's nuclear weapons potential--such should be taken into account when evaluating the relative cost-benefits of various possible methods that could be used in efforts to achieve goals such as making the world safer for non-Muslims or Americans. It would seem unwise for the US to plunge into an air-attack on Iran while its national mind is clouded by overconfidence.

Rumor that a drug a pharmaceutical corporation has produced has passed a clinical trial/test, boosts that pharma-corporation's stock value; rumors that missiles-bombs produce dramatically impressive results boost the stock of the corporation producing the missile-bombs. For a nation to allow such rumor/stock-price linkage to plunge it into military overconfidence and all the disadvantages such overconfidence entails, is folly.

@2007 David Virgil Hobbs

Monday, February 19, 2007

Third Parties Stirring Up War Between Two Nations--Something to be Beware of

When nation A finds itself approaching a state of war with nation B, the logical thing for nation A to do, before actually jumping into war with nation B, is to investigate whether group C (defined below), is promoting the war between A and B so that C might benefit from war between A and B--which could coincide with A acting against its own self interest by warring with B.

Group C could be composed of subgroups. One subgroup could be persons inside of nation A, who are distinct from the mainstream element in nation A, due to differences in areas such as wealth, ethnicity, religion, nationality, identity of employer, source of income/wealth etc. This subgroup could benefit from wars fought by nation A that harm more than help nation A; it could benefit from government policies in nation A that damage the mainstream element in nation A.

Another possible subgroup of group C the group inciting nation A into war with nation B, is those who are citizens/residents of neither nation A nor nation B, who stand to benefit from war between nation A and nation B, war through which nation A despite accomplishing something could dis-serve its own self-interest. This subgroup might find its status in the world enhanced through nation A's fall into global disrepute and enmity. It might find its level of control over the world's natural resources enhanced by a war between A and B in which A loses valuable troops and equipment and wastes limited resources of time, physical energy, mental energy, and money.

The possibility always exists for nation A, that the security advantages nation A derives from a war with nation B, are outweighed by the growth in power of group C, relative to the power of nation A--as a result of the war between A and B, C could conquer a weakened A.

It behooves nation A to, before embarking on a war with nation B, double-check questions such as, how dangerous is group C compared to nation B? How do group C and nation B compare in terms of power and intent; how would nation A being occupied and conquered by group C, compare to nation A being occupied and conquered by nation B?

A war between nation A and nation B could result in A possessing dramatically enhanced security with regards to potential threats from B, while at the same time A's security dramatically declines with regards to potential threats from the elements other than B in the world such as group C.

(When you have a situation where a war between A and B would enhance A's security vis a vis B specifically while reducing A's security vis a vis all of the threats in the world in general, it is of course nonsense to accuse the leaders of A of treason or disloyalty to the troops if they act to pull their nation A back from a war with nation B. Only a nutty prima-donna-ish brat of a soldier would have the attitude that every time the bosses redeploy me or retreat me they are being disloyal to me).

Seems it is psychosis to look at the various elements of the world from the point of view, what level of threat are they to me and my group? Another way to look at things (for a given nation A) is, what potential do they have compared to each other in terms of possibly becoming valuable allies and friends of nation A? Nation A could find that group C, the third party benefitting from war between A and B, is not superior to the targetted nation B in terms of its potential friendly usefulness to nation A.

@2007 David Virgil Hobbs

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Part I--Pro-war One-Liners of Liz Cheney Seem Unaccompanied by Logic, Evidence

January 23 2007 Liz Cheney wrote an article in the Washington Post entitled, "Retreat Isn't an Option". Here I quote passages from her piece--each such passage in boldface and preceded by 'LC'--followed by my comments (IMHO as of now) regarding what she has written. Some of the paragraphs taken from her piece may be slightly paraphrased, as opposed to exact quotations.

LC: America faces an existential threat. This is not...a "situation to be solved." We will have to fight these terrorists to the death somewhere, sometime. We can't negotiate with them or "solve" their jihad. If we quit in Iraq now, we must get ready for a harder, longer, more deadly struggle later.

LC here fires off FIVE one-liner sound-bite-style assertions. At no time in her opinion piece does she offer any evidence or argument that I can see to back these assertions. Where is the proof that the terrorists are able to terminate the existence of the US? Where is the proof that the situation cannot be solved using alternatives such as negotiation? Where is the proof that the only way to defend ourselves is by destroying these people whom we fear? Where is the proof that quitting in the Iraq sector, will make the long term struggle against terrorists (frightening persons) "harder, longer, and more deadly"?

LC's five one liners she opens with are mere assertions without evidence or argument to back up the assertions. Are we supposed to take all these one liners as an article of faith?

Mankind is often confronted with the existence of frightening persons. Yet mankind realizes, that assuming that such frightening persons have to be immediately fought to the death somewhere is an unwise approach with regards to the existence of such frightening persons. Mankind realizes that it is a prescription for disaster, to respond to all frightening persons by immediately fighting them to the death.

Furthermore mankind realizes, that even when a military response to the frightening persons is called for, we cannot superstitiously as an article of faith simply assume that we must fight these persons at place X at time Y, simply because some self-proclaimed prophetess has declared, that we must fight said frightening persons at place X at time Y.

Mankind understands from his experience in sports--those who advocate that certain plays be run at certain times, are expected to provide evidence and arguments showing why it would be better to run the play they are advocating as opposed to some other play.)

LC: Quitting helps the terrorists. If we restrict the ability of our troops to fight and win this war, we help the terrorists. Al-Zarqawi and Zawahiri plan to drive America from Iraq, establish a base for al-Qaeda and spread jihad across the Middle East.

Mankind realizes that the reality of modern warfare of the past few centuries, is that wise general X give up certain advantages to the enemy at certain times, because the end result is that wise general X derives advantages that outweigh the advantages that he gave up to the enemy when executing the maneuver.

For example a wise General X might withdraw his troops from one location, thus giving a "win" to the enemy, in a sense "helping the enemy" (surprise for LC: in the process giving a break to his own troops also), so as to move the troops to a new position from which their efforts would be more productive. Likewise a boxer might give a break of a certain kind to his opponent, so as to put his time and energy into some other approach to defeating the opponent.

All successful military leaders, at certain times, restrict the ability of their troops to fight and win...such is unavoidable...equipping one soldier with a piece of equipment means another soldier cannot be equipped with that piece of equipment.

LC keeps referring to the Iraq tragedy as a "war"; but it would be more accurate even from LC's point of view, to decribe it as say a battle in a (hopefully eventually non-violent) war to establish at least peaceful co-existence with Muslim peoples. In a war troops can be cleverly shifted from one battle (the lost battle) to another place, producing advantage as opposed to disadvantage. Mistakenly labeling what is a battle in a war, as the war itself, does not prove that the given mis-labeled battle in the war should be stubbornly fought out.

Again, the statement that quitting in the Iraq war will help the terrorists, is mere assertion not backed by argument, logic, or evidence. It could be quitting in Iraq would "help the terrorists" less than staying in Iraq would. It could be that quitting in Iraq would give the "terrorists" a certain amount of "help" in a certain place and time, but ultimately weaken their cause through the clever re-allocation of "anti-terrorist" resources.

'Al Qaeda' may be planning to use Iraq as a base for a Jihad. This does not reflexively of course prove, that Al Qaeda's plan to use Iraq as a base for Jihad should be disrupted. Sometimes the wise thing to do, is to let the enemy do what he plans to do.

It should be remembered that the war-hawk element in the US created the situation that now prevails featuring a choice between the US having retreated from an expensive, enmity-producing military adventure in Iraq, and the US continuing to fight in Iraq. Had the war-hawk element never gotten its way, the choice would be between alternatives none of which involved the US ever having plunged into violent combat in Iraq.

LC: The terrorists are counting on us to lose our will and retreat under pressure. We're in danger of proving them right.

Mankind realizes that opponents such as the other team or frightening persons or terrorists could be counting on us doing something, but us doing what they are counting on doing could still be wise. The fact the other side is counting on us doing something, does not in and of itself prove, that we should not do that thing. We have often seen in games such as football, a team coming out and doing what the other team expects it to do, and still winning.

@2007 David Virgil Hobbs

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Wounded, Defiant Iran, not a Dead or Prostrate Iran is the Outcome of a US Attack on Iran

Hawkish elements in the US seem to feel that they have a kind of carte-blanche to do as they will when it comes to attacking Iraq, simply because the US is a superpower wielding nuclear weapons and other such WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) whereas Iran, which no big power apparently wants to directly clash with the US over, is not. The idea being, the nuclear US cannot possibly lose attacking Iran which lacks nuclear arms.

Seems this has to do with the fact that hypothetically, the US could always retaliate against Iranian retaliation, by say destroying an Iranian city every time Iran hit the US with any kind of military force, and that hypothetically, such could go on until Iran simply ceased to be able or willing to resist the US.

Problem is such nuclear hubris fails to take into account, that in attempting to predict the results of an attack on Iran, you have to take into account the near-certainty that the US will decide to refrain from such blatantly ruthless step by step extermination of Iranians, even if it uses tactical nuclear weapons against certain Iranian targets.

In its attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US despite severe setbacks, has not been known to have resorted to WMD exterminator-style attacks on Iraqi civilians; same could be said for the Israel attacks on Lebanon in 2006.

There are various reasons one could speculate for such US and Israeli "restraint": the fear of public opinion in the US and in the world; the "those who live by the sword shall die by the sword" type fears; the invisible hand of God manipulating humans unaware of such manipulation; natural instinctive impulses of self-preservation; the fear of God Himself.

The fact remains that recent history shows, and with this the predictions of all analysts unanimously concur, that if the US attacks Iran, even if the attack involves tactical nuclear weapons, the US will refrain from forcing Iranian surrender by exterminating Iranian civilians.

Those in the US afflicted with nuclear hubris take note--history and the predictions of the analysts indicate, that the US will if it attacks Iran have to suffer powerful effects of an Iranian counter-attack, just as earlier it has had to suffer and bear Iraqi counter-attacks, and Israel has had to suffer Hezbollah counter-attacks, even though theoretically the US/Israel could have forced unconditional surrender by using WMD such as nuclear weapons against civilians, a course they chose not to take.

Thus the consequence of a US attack on Iran will, despite US WMD power, be not a dead or prostrate Iran, but rather a wounded defiant Iran, just as the consequence of the US attack on Iraq was not a dead or prostrate Iraq but a defiant wounded Iraq, and the consequence of the Israel/Hezbollah 2006 conflict was not a dead or prostrate Hezbollah but a defiant wounded Hezbollah.

Those of nuclear hubris in the US take note--the wounded Hezbollah mauled Israel in the battle it was wounded in, its wounds are healing, it is a powerful force feared by Israel. The wounded Iraq inflicted tens of thousands of casualties on the US, and still today despite its wounds continues to wound and frighten the US. And a US nuclear or non-nuclear attack on Iran, which is now a much stronger power than Hezbollah or Iraq when they clashed with Israel/US, will produce not a dead Iran but a wounded fighting Iran which will damage the US in the battle in which it is wounded, and then thereafter continue to maintain at least a signicant capability to cause further damage to the the US despite its wounds.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Friday, February 16, 2007

Logical Deficiencies in Republican Arguments Against US Pullout from Iraq

IMHO as of now:

A democratic congressman has apparently obtained a letter sent by two republican congressmen to their fellow-republicans, which attempts to coach the fellow-republicans in the art of debating the "radical Islam" issue with democrats ( ).

This letter, implies that the troop surge in Iraq is but a minor part of the general war on global "radical Islam" and therefore should not be discussed whereas instead the general global war on "radical Islam" of which the Iraq situation is merely a subcategory, should be discussed.

I do not understand the logic of this. Their general global war on "radical Islam" is ultimately the sum of many activities such as their war in Iraq and their troop surge in Iraq. If they neglect to study the wisdom of these "minor" activities which put together form their overall global war on "radical Islam", how can they expect to sponsor a competent struggle against or intelligent co-existence with global "radical Islam"?

The letter merely asserts, that efforts to contain global "radical Islam", will be damaged by a pull-out from Iraq, and will be advanced by staying in Iraq. Such assertion is not argument or evidence. Where is the proof that the war in Iraq and the troop surge in Iraq, are better alternatives in terms of the cost-benefit outcome (taking into account probabilities of various outcomes) than other possible alternatives, if the goal is to contain global "radical Islam"?

The reality is that a pull-out from Iraq could damage efforts to contain global "radical Islam", but that such would nevertheless be more than compensated for by a re-allocation of resources spent on Iraq, to other ways of dealing with "radical Islam".

These republicans themselves declare that the war in Iraq is but a small part of the general effort to contain "radical Islam"; yet at the same time they seem blind to the possibility that resources could be shifted from the war in Iraq to other approaches to dealing with the problem of "radical Islam"--as if pulling out of Iraq would not free up resources for use in other approaches to the problem.

In similar fashion such republicans in their fanatical free-trade-ism argue as if money spent on goods resources and services simply dissappeared when it was spent, whereas the reality is of course that those who sell the goods resources and services proceed to do things with the money that they obtain for the goods resources and services they sell.

The letter states, "If we do not win in Iraq then where will we win". Iraq is the country the US has devoted the most energy to so far...this statement simply assumes that the way to deal with "radical Islam", is to rush into Islamic countries and fight and "win". Where is the proof that such is the best expenditure of resources when it comes to dealing with the "radical Islam" problem?

There are many areas of endeavour with regards to the "radical Islam" problem in which one would expect greater chances of success (a "win") than in a war in Iraq: exerting a moderating impact on immigrant Muslim populations; reducing the amount of wealth and money leaking away from non-Muslim states to Muslim states through trade; strengthening border security; strengthening detection of source of attack capability; doing good to not just Christians but to all, as said St Paul; building peace and understanding between the Muslim and the non-Muslim world; helping the Muslim and non-muslim worlds to rise higher in wisdom and spirit; devoting resources to activities which strengthen the non-Muslim world without harming the Muslim world; strengthening internal security; altering immigration policies; guarding non-Muslim leaders; funding non-Muslim movements that stand up for non_muslim interests.

The letter asserts that Americans do not understand the situation. To simply assert that people do not understand the situation, and to combine such with the simple assertion that the un-understood opinion reflects actual reality, is not argument or evidence...we all have encountered people who expect us to submit to them, who simply declare that we do not understand things and that such and such is the way things are--and we have all been disgusted with such persons, because they are like people saying, just give up on understanding the matter and trust me, because I am smarter than you.

But where is the evidence that these republicans are either smart or trustworthy?

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Low Quality of Pro-War Arguments Indicates Nation Should for Now Refrain from Risky Military Adventures

Various reasons have been put forth by both the pro-war and the anti-war factions re the question, why should the US get involved in combat in Afghanistan/Iraq/Iran? These reasons include: the suppression of 'terrorism'; the defense of Israel'; the strategic need to gain control over foreign sources of oil; the defense of the United States.

These excuses for combat operations against Muslim middle eastern nations have been backed up by pro-war people with laundry lists listing the advantages of US combat operations in such middle eastern muslim nations, or listing the dis-advantages of not engaging in such attacks.

Such laundry lists are inadequate defenses of the proposed combat actions, because they fail to take into account: the cost-benefit ratio of the proposed combat operations compared to the cost-benefit of using the funds spent on combat operations for other purposes; the probability that given actions will produce various possible cost-benefit outcomes.

With regards to a range of various possible policy options, the options vary in terms of the likelihood that they would produce a given cost-benefit outcome--such has to be taken into account by competent policy analysis of the level one would expect from a well staffed well funded entity such as the US govenrment, especially when the matter is as serious as a large war.

For example, the US could replace imported oil with domestic sources through a tax on imported oil, subsidies for domestic sources, rationing, or various combinations of such measures (some such combinations would prove more palatable than others to the ivory-tower-purist-fanatic-free-trade-theoreticians). Such would create spin-off effects in terms of the domestic producers spending the money they receive for the alternative energy supplies domestically, those selling to the domestic energy producers spending their money domestically, and so on and so forth.

(The free-trade purist-fanatics are blind to how sometimes a slightly more expensive domestic resource is preferable to a slightly less expensive foreign resource; history is filled with examples of the failure of those who are afflicted by such blindness and the success of those who are not).

The fact is, it is easier to predict with a relatively high degree of certainty, what the cost-benefit outcome of switching to domestic energy resources would be, than it is to predict what the cost-benefit outcomes of military adventures such as combat in Iraq/Afghanistan/Iran would be. Meaning, the situation is similar to say, there is a 90 percent probability that switching to domestic energy resources would boost the real actual (as opposed to the phony economy based on impermanent sources such as borrowed foreign money) economy by at least 20%; but all we can say regarding a war with Iran is that there is a 20% chance that it would be more productive than counterproductive, in terms of accomplishing its objectives.

One way to estimate such percentage probability rates is to look at the success rates of such predictions in the past. Historically the US has not enjoyed a high degree of accuracy predicting the outcomes of its military adventures or various stages of its military adventures; but the prediction of the effects of economic policies, though subject to fraud, had advanced to a high state of the art.

Along this line it is simple common sense, that for example if with option A, every time I bet a dollar, there is a ten percent chance of me winning twenty dollars, and a ninety percent chance of me losing my bet, and with option B there is a twenty percent chance of me winning fifteen dollars, and an eighty percent chance of me losing my bet, in such a situation option B is the better choice because though I win less if I win, the chance of me winning is greater.

One would expect in situation such as we have now where the case for war is far from obvious, that a huge well staffed and well funded federal government to when discussing a huge serious matter such as a war, look at the probability of success for various options as well as at the cost/benefit compared to other possible options. When instead the government only presents laundry lists of advantages and disadvantages, one is led to suspect that the actions proposed are designed to serve special interests foreign and domestic, as opposed to the general interest foreign and domestic; and one is led to suspect that the government is incompetent in the art of weighing various possible options against each other.

Common sense declares that at times when the government is incompetent and/or in subservience to special interests foreign and domestic, the nation should so to speak "freeze", come to a halt, and refrain from embarking on risky expensive military adventures. At such times it becomes probable that the government would make better use of its resources, if it waited until it became competent and freed itself of subservience to special interests and foreign interests, before it embarked on any risky and dangerous adventure such as a war with Iran.

Common sense declares that in such situations as the US finds itself in now, the burden of proof should be on those who advocate a risky dangerous act such as a new war, as opposed to on those who advocate refraining from engaging in any such new and strange proposed military adventure.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

US military Doctrine Seems Obsessed with Attacking Enemy Forces at their Source & Base


The latest hysterical thing is that people are alarmed by this idea held amongst certain elements of the US government, about how Iraq's neighbor Iran has been arming anti-US fighters in Iraq, which is supposed to be yet another reason to launch an aerial attack against Iranian targets.

Some say that the evidence brought forth to prove Iran has been arming violent anti-US Iraqi groups is 'phony' others think the evidence is real. For the sake of argument, let's assume and concede that the evidence is real. Even if we all knew with certainty that the evidence showing Iran has been arming anti-US Iraqi fighters is real actual evidence that proves Iran is arming Iraqi anti-US fighters, such does not in and of itself prove that the US should therefore attack Iran.

All indications are, that if the US were to attack Iran, the level of Iranian support for anti-US fighters in Iraq would increase not decrease. Thus what you would have in a US attack on Iran, is the US being like someone who after being bit by a mosquito, sprays some weird insect repellant on himself that merely results in getting bit by hundreds of mosquitos instead of just one. Counter-productive.

The US seems to always in its military doctrine assume, that the best solution to being struck at point A by weapons and/or men coming to point A from point B is to attack point B, as opposed to disrupting the flow of enemy men/weapons between point B and point A.

Even before the US attacked Iraq, then Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld--now disgraced in the eyes of many--was punching the air with his fist an declaring that the only way to solve matters is to "go on the offensive".

At the same time the US has been neglecting defensive measures that prevent men/weapons from getting to the attack points. One would think the US thinks everyone who ever in history resorted to defensive measures such as walls, castles, moats, obstacles, fortifications, shields, and armor, was a fool. (But if they were all fools, why does the US still put armor on its troops and combat vehicles, why does it continue to use sandbags and forts, barbed wire, walls and the like?)

Where has the US obsession with "going on the offensive" punching at the "enemy"'s homeland gotten it so far? It has gotten it into a war on which a trillion dollars has been spent, and in which the US has suffered tens of thousands of casualties, a war which according to the consensus of opinion has thus far been a defeat and a failure, the US failing in its attempt to conquer Iraq, failing in its attempt to own and control Iraq's oil supplies.

Retrospectively the US should have paid more attention to alternatives to the invasion of Iraq. Imagine what could have been accomplished if the trillion dollars spent on the Iraq war, had been spent instead on border security, on tracing sources of attacks, on developing alternatives to the importation of oil, on providing security for the leaders of the alternative energy initiatives, on decreasing the power of harmful elements amongst those who benefit from US attacks on nations such as Iraq and Iran.

Yet despite the lessons of its experience in Iraq, powerful elements in the US government are now declaring that the US should attack Iran for supporting Iraq, just as earlier they wanted Iraq and Afghanistan attacked for allegedly supporting the militant Islamic movement a subgroup of which allegedly attacked the Pentagon and the WTC in 2001.

This despite the fact that history shows, that nations (and groups similar to nations) when attacked at point A by men and/or weapons from point B, have done wisely by dealing with the enemy forces at point A, or blocking the movement of enemy forces from point B to point A, as opposed to attacking the enemy at its base of operations at point B.

History shows that nations have made serious mistakes by attempting to, when attacked by enemy forces at point A, retaliate against point B the enemy's base from which the enemy forces are sent to the attack point at point A.

Yet there appear to be elements in the US government who are obsessed with attacking enemy forces at their source and at their base, as opposed to interdicting the movement of enemy forces from their source and base outwards.

The US acts as if homeland security were not important when it comes to its own homeland; but at the same time it acts as if the most important thing is to disrupt the enemy's homeland security. This is logically inconsistent. If disrupting the enemy's homeland security is indeed of such strategic value, than protecting one's own homeland security must be of similar value also.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Nation Ignores the Perils of Empowering War-Promoting Groups Within

Groups emerge in society, whose message is, "empower us, so that we can fight the bad guys, who are a threat to our society".

The wars these groups seduce the nation they are inside of into fighting, benefit these war-promoting groups financially and also by way of government legislation passed as a result of the war(s) and preparations for the war(s), legislation that increases the powers of the war-selling groups. Even before they start their wars, they the war-selling groups become powerful as the nation they seduce gives them funding and passes laws that empower them.

Once the nation is plunged into war by the war-selling group, it usually becomes disgusted with the war because it sees the war as a fruitless, futile waste of time, energy, and money, a waste of human life, a source of injuries and disease that is not worth the changes produced by the war, a violent poicy that arouses enmity and decreases rather than increases security.

(which leads one to wonder, could it be peoples see wars in this light, because wars indeed generally flunk the cost/benefit ratio test, costing more in time energy money, injuries, diseases, fatalities, and decreased security for the combatants, compared to the benefits such wars produce?)

As the nation rebels against the war(s) it has been seduced into fighting, the anti-war movement becomes myopically focused on issues such as: the immorality of the damage caused to the enemy nation by the war; the immorality of the damage caused to the home nation by the war; the reduction in national security as a result of the enmity produced by the war; the failure of the war to enhance security; the war's waste of human and non-human resources.

In its myopic focus on such matters, the nation forgets all about the elephant in the room, which is the war-selling group in the home nation, and the question of whether a reduction in the financial and legal powers enjoyed by the war-promoting group might benefit and enhance security in the home nation and in the rest of the world.

Like a deer mesmerized by headlights, like an audience failing to notice a magician's sleight of hand because the magician has distracted them, the war-weary nation fails to even consider questions such as: how dangerous is an increase in power fo the war-selling group? How dangerous are the reductions in power for groups other than the war-selling group that accompany increases in power for the war-selling group? Instead, the nation becomes hypnotized into debates such as, "on a scale of 1-10, 1 being not at all dangerous, and 10 being very dangerous, how dangerous do you think it would be to fail to attack ____________?"(fill in name of nation targetted by war-selling group).

Yet it should be very obvious, that the mere fact that a war-selling sub-group of society, comes to the society and points the finger at a foreign nation, saying "empower us so we can attack them, so that by attacking them we can be empowered even more", does not indicate in and of itself, that the finger-pointing, war-sellling group, is a group whose empowerment (either with or without the war(s) it seeks) causes more good than harm for the home nation and for the world.

@2007 David Virgil Hobbs

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Questions Brought to Mind by US General's Speech Re Iraq

The official message delivered by the US military leadership to the US military regarding Iraq seems to be: "Suprress civil strife in Iraq, bring security to the new US sponsored Iraq, protect the new Iraq from the bad guys who are the terrorist/insurgent/criminals, because providing security for the new US sponsored Iraq is the way to save Iraq from descending into violent civil strife.

This military message brings to mind several questions:

Is it not true, that often when the US or some other powerful nation has NOT attempted to police civil strife in a foreign area, this has been in the best interest of the US or the given powerful nation?

Is it not true, that many areas of the world have historically been torn by civil strife, civil strife which powerful nations outside the civil strife, have wisely refrained from interfering in, having correctly judged such restraint to be in their own best interest?

Is it not true, that historically powerful nations have sometimes damaged the cause of their own self interest by meddling in foreign civil strife?

Where is the proof that attempting to suppress civil strife in Iraq is a better use of national resources such as time, human energy, mechanical energy, and money, than other alternative possible uses of such national resources?

Some worry that the Christians of Iraq will be exterminated if the USA leaves Iraq. Where is the proof that attempting to police Iraq is the best possible use of resources when it comes to the service of Christendom in general?

Is it not true, that historically civil strife has sometimes died away in societies, without any 'superpower' intervening to attempt to suppress the civil strife?

Is it not true, that historically sometimes intervention in foreign civil strife by so-called 'superpowers' has prolonged and intensified the civil strife instead of pacifying it?

Is it not true, that historically civil strife in foreign societies, has been pacified by outside third party interventions NOT involving the use of the outside third party nation's troops as combat policemen involved in the foreign civil strife?

For example, is it not true, that historically there have been situations in the world where nation A has intervened to decrease civil strife in nation B, without committing nation A's troops to combat in nation B?

For example, is it not true, that sometimes historically and also possibly in the future, there are situations where nation A works without committing its own troops, to produce a balance of power between competing factions in civil-strife-torn nation B wherein no one faction is able to abuse a competing faction?

@2007 David Virgil Hobbs