Clausewitz and Involvement of Military in Politics

I’m republishing this piece for the readers of this blog.

In Presidential Sweepstakes McCain Sees Stars

By William M. Arkin

Washington Post December 19, 2007

A response by Con George-Kotzabasis

If Clausewitz’s dictum is correct that ‘war is the continuation of politics by other means’, then Arkin’s “dictum” that ‘the military…stays out of politics,’ is a caricature of reality.

I am using Clausewitz’s dictum to illustrate that one cannot separate war from politics if the military arm which is engaged in hostilities is going to be successful in defeating an enemy. Politicians to make the right decisions about a war must rely for their concrete data on those engaged directly in war, i.e., the military, even if these data could be influenced by the beliefs and values of the latter. Therefore the “rule” that decrees that the military should not be involved in politics, as Arkin argues, is an oxymoron.

It’s a farcical rule and goes against the grain of all experience. A perfect admittance of this reality was the questioning of General Petraeus by Congress, of the former’s military report on Iraq, when its democrat representatives, and indeed, many from the media and the anti-War movement, like MoveOn org, accused Petraeus of being involved in politics, since they all considered his report of being politically biased as it purportedly supported the policy of the Bush administration on Iraq.

Ironically, the critics of Petraeus while upholding the fiction that the military should not be involved in politics were admitting at the same time that the general’s military report was influencing politics. As indeed it should have done. Where else politicians would get their information so they could make their judgment about the policies that are needed for the conduct of war?

It’s absurd! One cannot put the political beliefs and values of the military in general, and of its commanders in particular, that inevitably flow into the political process, in the straitjacket of an unrealistic rule that ordains that the military stays out of politics.

Anti-terrorist Laws to Protect Australia Unacceptable to Soft Academics

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Professor of jurisprudence George Williams demonstrates conclusively that it’s not the vocation of constitutional lawyers to either “understand thy enemy” or protect the public from his more than probable lethal attacks. He woefully laments that the anti-terror laws enacted by the previous Howard government and continue to be implemented by the present one without any revision, “imprison people for words rather than actions”. This quote of his reveals clearly that he is oblivious of the historical fact that it’s more often than not that it’s “words” that inspire and lead to action. And this happens to be truer in the case of terrorists who are inspired by the words of their fundamentalist imams and perpetrate their atrocious actions.

Further he seems to be unaware that in all critical situations and especially in war times, individual and collective liberties are ineluctably constrained. A simple example would be that in a collision of several cars in a highway the motorists’  ‘liberty’ to use this highway is temporarily abrogated. Likewise the anti-terror laws are a temporary repeal of few liberties until this great Islamist threat hovering over and lurking under the cities of Western civilization is extinguished.

American Scholar Turns into Agent Provocateur

By Con George-Kotzabasis

In the context of the flotilla incident for Clemons to display this intellectually asinine and politically insipid article by Ebinger, in the pages of The Washington Note, it is obvious that Steve relishes his new vocation as agent provocateur. He says, “I myself would not go back to the USS Liberty as a driver to this debate,” but surely he is not so cognitively short sighted not to see that by giving it top billing on the pages of TWN he is driving it into the debate through the back door. He also needs a lot of luck to escape the bolts of criticism for his incendiary involvement in throwing this ‘petrol bomb’ of the USS Liberty at Israel at this critical moment.

 The above comment emitted the following responses: 

larry birnbaum says,

I agree with kotzabasis above that Clemons’s disclaimer is too cute by half. We aren’t in the realm of honest discussion; at best we are in the realm of emotional acting out. The clue is Ebinger’s use of the word “impunity.” He isn’t focused on the strategic issues here — it is Israel’s attitude that bothers him. It’s all very personalized and emotional.

Which is Clemons’s weakness as an analyst as well.

 samuelburke says,

“If Steve relishes his new vocation as agent provocateur”, then
kotzabasis relishes his as agent provocateur squashateur
disqualifier.

you”re oh so erudite Kotz, you have lost your ability to think.

Kotz the accuser.

discredit away.

I think Steve ought to be commended for his coverage of the
many issues that americans are interested  in, better to
understand.

Soft Intellectuals Call for Dismissal of Victorious General

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The unsated gratification of nipple-fed intellectuals, like Steve Clemons and Dan Kervick, is to replace the savvy and the strong with their own brand of weakness. This has happened to UN Ambassador John Bolton and is now happening to General Stanley McChrystal. The successful general who had killed thousands of insurgents and al-Qaeda fanatics and their leader Zarkawi in Iraq by his Special Forces operations which was the major contributing factor to the success of the Surge that had turned an American defeat into an American victory, is to be swept out by the anti-war animus of all the dilettantes of strategy and military affairs for his so called insubordination to his civilian superiors.

What McChrystal has done other than, according to his aides, express his disappointment about Obama and Holbrooke, and one of his aides saying that Jim Jones, the National Security advisor, is a clown? And is it surprising that McChrystal in describing a Pentagon meeting in which among a coruscating constellation of generals of strength, tenacity, and success, Obama with his inexperience and weak character was found to be “uncomfortable and intimidated?” And why McChrystal cannot express his view about the timorous Ambassador Eikenberry, who opposed the sending of more troops to Afghanistn and who is more concerned according to McChrystal to cover “his flanks for the history books” than in winning the war and McChrystal saying about him, “Now if we fail, they can say, I told you so.”

In what way in all of the above was McChrystal in breach of his subordination to his Commander in Chief Obama? Is criticism by the military of some members of an inept and incompetent administration reason to dismiss a general who has the knowhow, tenacity, and great potential to win the war in Afghanistan as he has done in Iraq? Only goofy and malevolently biased people against the military would place criticism toward members of the administration as of primal importance over military victory.

Opportune Moment to Eradicate the Breeding Grounds of Terror

The following piece was written and published on November 2003. I’m republishing it on this blog hoping its readers will find it to be of some interest.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

 

The tragic bombing of the residential compound in Riyadh by Muslim terrorists that killed and maimed a large number of their fellow Muslims from Egypt, Jordan,Lebanon, Sudan, and Syria, who were guest workers in Saudi Arabia, can serve as a “god-send” vengeance against global terror. This fanatic and stupid action of the terrorists against brother Muslims, is a huge fillip for strategists against global terror and must be used by them creatively and imaginatively, to stem the deadly flow of recruits into its murderous arms. This opportune moment handed out by this breathtaking dull-witted action of the terrorists, must be utilized swiftly, not losing a moment, by the strategists against global terror, and all its political advantages be turned into a battering-ram that will breach the walls of breeding terrorism.

The strategy will involve, in addition to defeating active terrorism, the simultaneous goal of  defeating also future terror, by the eradication of the nests that breed it, i.e. the radical Islamist schools which propagate terror, and furnish their students with an “armor of belief” that makes it easy for them to sacrifice themselves in Jihadist actions.

The policy will comprise the following: (a) The coaxing and encouragement of the governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, and Jordan, to pass a decree prohibiting schools from propagating radical Islamist teachings, and to punish the imams who continue to do so with the most severe punishments. In case that some schools however, covertly continue to spawn the radical teachings of the fundamentalists, they will be closed down. Politically, except perhaps for the latter, this will not be difficult to be done by these governments, as the overwhelming majority of their populations are completely affronted and outraged by this terrorist attack against their fellow Muslims, and will support their governments’ action, or at the least will be quiescent about it. Moreover, such action on the part of these governments will be both in their own interests and in the interests of their own people.  However, in regards to the closing of these schools, before such a drastic step is taken, America, Europe, and the economically developed countries of Asia, should immediately set up an international body with the authority of building schools in these Muslim countries quickly, with the purpose of accommodating the students from the closed schools.  Consequently, none of the above governments which took this radical step of closing down these fundamentalist schools, could be accused of depriving the youth of their countries from getting an education. 

(b)The building and running   of these schools will be funded by an international entity, which could be named the International Global Fund For Education ( IGFFE ), whose financial resources will come from global corporations and from governments of the economically developed countries.  (The funding of the IGFFE by global corporations will have the additional benefit of showing the benign face of globalization -that it does care for the poor of the world, and will serve as a counter argument to the detractors of globalization.)

Such a policy would contribute immensely to the defeat of global terror, and I repeat, it should be put in place speedily in this opportune moment that has been provided by the terrorists, by their moronic bombing of the Arab quarters in Riyadh.

The war against terror must not only be taken where the active terrorists are, but it must also be taken to the breeding grounds of terrorism, i.e. to the radical Islamist schools, both in the East and in the West. Moreover, this is a favorable and advantageous moment for the newly established covert commando “hit” squad of the CIA, to be hitting hard– as I’ve suggested twice in the past to high officials of the U.S. Administration – the preachers of radical fundamentalist Islam  wherever they are.

The crashing of this infamy can only be accomplished by taking ab ovo, extreme, iron-fisted measures against these schools of fanaticism and their preachers. The most effective means of defeating terror is to put the fear of terror into their own hearts. The West cannot rest until the breeding nests of terrorism are torn apart.

CON GEORGE – KOTZABASIS

( FORMER DIRECTOR OF SBS TV 1986-1996 )

NOVEMBER 10 2003

MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA

Liberals Favour Show Trial for Mastermind of 9/11

By Con George-Kotzabasis

“The administration has long” wrongly “argued that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be tried in civilian court.” Clemons of course would be loathe to admit that Obama’s administration might have realized its great mistake politically and strategically to prosecute Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court and is ready now to be corrected for its stupendous error by “the dark side,” to quote Clemons, methods of former vice-president Cheney and chief of staff of the Bush administration David Addington, which politically and strategically were always on the correct side.

Liberals who tend to support a civilian prosecution for the mastermind of 9/11 are fugitives from reality and are impresarios of a burlesque show trial, since members of the administration like Press Secretary Gibbs and Attorney General Holder already publicly declared him to be guilty. And as Nadine hints to the critics of military tribunals, among who is Clemons himself, and who are in favour of a show trial for Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court, the way to hellishly bankrupt arguments is paved with good intentions.

Neo-Conservative’s Cognitive Power Haunts Liberals and Obama

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The concept of the “Axis of Evil” had a politically pragmatic Machiavellian sense in the context of religious-riddled America, and not a metaphysical one. Religion can also be used not only as “glue” to societal values that binds people and commands them, as the French sociologist Emile Durkheim suggested, but also as glue to certain critical foreign policies that are vital to the security of a nation. Apropos the Axis of Evil in the context of global terrorism and the rogue states which support it overtly or covertly. Statesmanship does not govern in a vacuum; it has to rally its people, like Churchill did, by certain concepts that appeal to them behind its policies and strategies. Neo-conservatives as pragmatists are amoral, and have no relationship with any kind of Manichaeism, of good and evil.

Interestingly, WigWag’s first comment in The Washington Note, ironically as a past opponent and slightly diminishing opponent presently of the neocons, has loosened all the “demons” of neo-conservatism from their “caves” to come and haunt all liberals in their wishful thinking that Obama was a game-changer. From the “prince of darkness,” Richard Perle, who presciently said in 2002 that “we are all neoconservatives now,” Wolfowitz, Feith, Frum, the Kristols and the Kagans, Cheney and Bolton, have taken the centre stage of American politics by “winning the argument,” according to WigWag, and shattering the unrealistic, idealistic, nursery rhymed policies of the liberals, and especially Obama’s.

And presumably even the White House is presently neo-conservative turf as Obama himself has become their disciple, according to WigWag. But Obama is the bastard offspring of the neocons as he was conceived not by their spiritual virility but by the impotent idealistic policies of his own, which in a profligacy of ‘many nights stands’ on the domestic and international arena proved to be total failures, as the neoconservatives had predicted they would be. The clang sound of the chain of failures in health care, in climate change, in his toothless supine diplomacy in the Middle East, in his hope of changing the view of America’s enemies by practicing American values and asking for penance from those wronged from America’s past ‘sins’, have forced President Obama to semi-adopt the policies of the neocons. Being a ‘pragmatic chameleon’ he had to change his colors purely for his own political survival. Obama is no voluntary convert to neo-conservatism. He is perforce adopting and implementing some of the policies of the neoconservatives because they are the only reasonable policies in town and the only ones that can save his political scalp. It’s due to the poverty of liberal policies that Obama is ostensibly attempting to become politically a ‘nouveau riche’ from the wealthy and fecund policies of the neo-conservatives.

WigWag responded to the above as follows:

Kotzabasis, I enjoyed this comment and think you made some excellent points; especially when you characterize Obama as the “bastard offspring” of the neoconservatives.

At the risk of sounding wishy-washy, I’m not sure that it’s a question of whether I was once an opponent of the neocons or am slightly less of an opponent now.

I thought the war in Iraq was a mistake for the United States and the West. Whether it was a mistake for Iraq is an open question. Clearly the Kurds are delighted that the United States invaded and eliminated Saddam Hussein; presumably the Shia are too. The Sunni, not so much.

I think it’s hard to argue that the War in Iraq has not left the United States and all of its allies worse off than they were before the invasion…

But opponents of the neoconservatives will be making a serious mistake themselves if they think that the failures in Iraq or other errors in judgment by leading neoconservatives prove that as a philosophy neo-conservatism is wrong.

After all, the serious tactical blunders that the United States made in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia didn’t prove that containment was the wrong strategy to confront the Soviets.