Network is the engine of liberation

The Frisco paper ran an interesting story on the role of networking in the execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom:

In network centric warfare, U.S. forces are held together by a global communications grid. Ships, aircraft and land vehicles are all plugged in and can exchange information with each other — just like PCs and servers on the Internet.

One advantage of this approach is that forces can disperse, so they are less likely to be spotted and can maneuver with more agility. Because everyone on the net can share battle data with everyone else, each unit has a better picture of the battlefield.

Up to now the United States has had a clear edge in these kinds of military operations. Indeed, the British army may be the only other military force in the world that can operate with U.S. forces.

That last point underscores why the support of nations other than Britain is tactically irrelevant, even if it is politically desirable.

On the question of unilateralism, there’s an interesting exchange of e-mails between Andrew Sullivan and Tom Friedman on Sully’s blog.

BBQ Spaghetti

storySouth / southern barbecue BBQ culture and foodways tells how to make BBQ spaghetti, more or less:

But the curious highlight was the spaghetti, of which I was initially skeptical. Quite simply, this was large vermicelli, cooked well past al dente (but not mushy at all) and sauced with the Cozy Corner formula we’d enjoyed on the ribs. I tasted out of pure curiosity, but I finished the cup with sincere fascination.

Don’t read if you’re hungry.

IRA backer bashes France

I’m going to have to re-evaluate my criticisms of France now that IRA supporter Peter King of New York is bashing them. Click Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Rod Liddle: We’re their allies – so why aren’t they ours? for details:

And then, rather disconcertingly, it suddenly occurred to me that this was the same Pete King who has spent the past 15 years similarly eviscerating the British, or the “Bruddush”, for “centuries of oppression” inflicted upon the Irish people. Pete could always be relied upon to say a few words in support of Martin Galvin’s evil Noraid organisation, or to wade into some delicate and confusing conundrum of Northern Ireland politics with his size 12 cowboy boots, ready to give succour to the IRA for the sake of securing a few more votes from his Irish and faux-Irish constituents. He always did so with a mixture of brio and crass ignorance. It is the same Pete King, isn’t it?

King, like Teddy Kennedy and Tom Hayden, has a long history of supporting the terrorist IRA. His views therefore don’t matter.

Hillbilly Reynolds, BTW, disregards the article on King since it mistakenly identifies him as a Senator rather than a Representative. That’s not too bright.

Link via Dr. Frank, who’s not soft on the IRA.

Standing With Saddam

The Washington Post has a surprisingly harsh editorial today, lambasting France and Germany for Standing With Saddam and weakening NATO and the UN:

FRANCE AND GERMANY have finally responded to Iraq’s flagrant violation of United Nations disarmament orders by mounting an offensive. Yet the target of their campaign is not Saddam Hussein but the United States — and the proximate casualties look to be not the power structures of a rogue dictator but the international institutions that have anchored European and global security.

The behavior of these two states is so extreme that it’s prompted Greece to advocate arming its long-time nemesis, Turkey.

Time is clearly running out for France, Germany, and Iraq.

link via Eric Alterman, whose knickers are abunch, reflexively.

Where’s Silicon Valley on Iraq?

Silicon Valley is a deeply liberal-Democratic, without a single Republican or moderate Democrat in elected office. It’s been described as Ground Zero for America’s feminist political movement, and it shows all the symptoms of Progressive politics in falling-down schools, a dysfunctional traffic infrastructure, SUVs festooned with “Save the Whales” bumper stickers, maniac gun control, and schoolteacher politicians like Mike Honda who say Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution.

The local newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, has relentlessly pounded the drums of appeasement on both its editorial and news pages, but I don’t sense that the spirit of mindless acceptance of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime is at all strong here. For one thing, the Valley is home to several major defense contractors, such as Lockheed, whose latest contribution to the defense arsenal is a bomb that can loiter over a target area looking for prime targets before attacking:

The Small Diameter Bomb range is classified but expected to be extended by pop-out wings and the speed and altitude of the aircraft using it. A Phase 3 version may have the ability to loiter or autonomously seek out targets. The Small Diameter Bomb is considered one of the most significant programs on the books because it will dramatically increase the strike capability of every combat aircraft in the inventory.

During the Gulf War, I worked with a couple of Lockheed alumni who watched the CNN coverage we had going on an in-house TV set with propietary interest, eager to know if the systems they’d worked on were going to work in real-world circumstances, and jubilant when they did.

One measure of sentiment on Iraq is the letters column of the Mercury News, where today’s selection has three letters in favor of regime change to two in favor of appeasement. One of the good ones was mine:

YOUR statement (Opinion, Feb. 6) that “clear and imminent danger” has always been the precondition to U.S. military action does violence to the historical record. Our military attacked Bosnia, Grenada, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Korea, Germany under Hitler, Germany under the Kaiser, Cuba under Spain, the Confederacy, and King George’s England without a first strike by the other side.

While we can argue the wisdom of these wars on their various merits, the fact that we struck the first blow isn’t disputable. The time has come to retire the rhetoric of pre-emption to the same trash can where the empty rhetoric of unilateralism was sent by the letters of support from 20 European democracies in the past week.

The U.N. Security Council gave Saddam Hussein two options in Resolution 1441: Disarm voluntarily by cooperating with the inspectors, or face disarmament by force. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation showed, in Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s words, that “the inspections are not going to work.” Only one course of action remains.

Richard Bennett
Santa Clara

Even liberals and progressives can be sensible, so as time goes by I predict that Silicon Valley will come to support regime change in Iraq, if it doesn’t already.