Friday, July 20, 2007

Deja War

I'd recently been reading Harry Turtledove's novel about the fall of Fort Pillow during the U.S. Civil War.

For those who haven't read his other works Turtledove is real historian who branched into writing science fiction and fantasy. While his professional area of history is the Byzantine Empire he has a passion for the events of the Civil War.

He's visited it so many times from so many angles I half expect him to appear in portraits alongside Lee or Grant, or both together.

It was in the latest book that I'm reading that I ran across a passage that has real meaning in today's world. I don't know if Turtledove was incorporating thoughts of past soldiers later entered on paper or if he was thinking of today when he wrote it.

"What can we do about it?" Anderson echoed. "Keep fighting the Yankees as hard as we can. Keep licking them. Keep making them sweat. Keep making them bleed. Abe Lincoln is up for reelection this fall. If we make the North decide the war is more expensive than it's worth, if we make it decide the war is more goddam trouble than it's worth, they'll throw Lincoln that son of a bitch out on his ear. Whichever Democrat they put in will make peace and send the bluebellies home. And we'll have our own country then. That's what we can do, by God."

"I understand, sir." Ward looked respectfully at the officer, who wasn't that much older than he was. "I really do understand. When I joined up, I did it so I could fight the damnyankees."

"Who doesn't?" Anderson said.

"Yes, sir. But that was all I thought about, you know what I mean? What you said, I didn't think about that even a little bit. How the war and politics fit together, I mean. And they do. They truly do."

"You'd best believe they do," Charles Anderson agreed. "Way things are no, we won't ever drive the United States off our land with guns. Maybe we could have once upon a time, but we lost too many chances. But if we can make those Yankee bastards sick of fighting us, they'll give up and go home. And we win that way, too. So that's what we've got to try and do."
Though there are references and slang that are particular to the time and place, the thoughts are the same. This is the mind of the enemy we face today in Iraq.

They can not win any battle. Lee won more battles than any Iraqi ever got close to winning. In the book the two characters are both Confederates discussing the war after they finished winning one small battle of the Civil War, Fort Pillow.

The Iraqi insurgents can't win battles. Nor can the Iran or Saudi backed terrorists from outside win any battles. We win all the battles, yet our politicians keep talking about the "price" of this war.

The United States stood firm against defeat in a war that cost HUNDREDS of times the lives we have lost in Iraq. This at a time when our national population was only a tiny fraction of what it is today. On the battlefields armies nearly equaling the size of our total deployment in Iraq fought.

The cost to our nation then was staggering. Both in lives and money our nation hemorrhaged like no other time in all its history during the Civil War.

Why, suddenly, are we so hesitant to do unto those who attacked us on 9/11/01 what we did to those who shot at Fort Sumter? May I remind the ladies and gentlemen of the Left that when the South fired on Fort Sumter there was no loss of life. On 9/11/01 there were 3,000 dead, all civilians. People like you.

Get past your hatred of George W. Bush. Get past your clinging to "he lied" speeches. What we face now is far, far worse than letting the South break away from the Union. The Confederates weren't going to be coming to Chicago and forcing blacks into slavery who had never been slaves. Al Qaeda will.

But you can trust that if we do not halt the Islamic terrorists we will be having Muslims enslave those of us who are not. Literally.

Remember the fictional conversation between those two Confederates. That is how those we fight are thinking. If they can just hold on until a Democrat gets into the Presidency then they can finally win. They will have their own country.


Shore-Leave OIC said...

At the risk of sounding like a tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist, do you really think that we were attacked by Islamic terrorist on 9/11?

I'm very conservative but tend to put things in perspective. There a few things that seem incredibly odd, or a "one in a million" chance. For example, many planes have been hit skyscrapers, the twin towers were the first one's in history to actually "collapse". Then you have the unusual trading activity fight before 9/11, not to mention that debris from the twin towers fell conviently on a trade center that had a bunch of incriminating evidence, but somehow didn't cause other building to collapse.

I remember taking structural engineering when these buildings fell and my professor said, "Bullshit" and he was about as old and right-wing as you could get.

I support the president because I'm an American and this is my country. And I have and will continue to do whatever my country ask of me, however in regards to 9/11. There is no way on God's green earth I will ever believe that jet fuel and pure momemtum will weaken steel enough to make an ENTIRE BUILDING collapse.

I don't think the origins of this war are in any way similar to those of the civil war. The south succeded from the union in order to protect their way of life in that region. The north did not allow thta to happen because it was not in the best interest of the Union (Union including the South). They weren't looking for weapons that didn't exist. If we really want to stop a "crazy dictator" who has many weapons of mass destruction and uses them effectively as tools of intimadation, then when will we invade North Korea? I find it odd that one country "may" have weapons, but yet another one test launches ballistic missiles over our allies and military bases despite "harsh" warnings, otherwise known as "empty threats".

Hyunchback said...

" you really think that we were attacked by Islamic terrorist on 9/11?"

Yes. Without any reservation. I believe that there were 19 men on board 4 aircraft. I believe that two of those aircraft were flown into separate towers of the World Trace Center.

I believe that another one was slammed into the Pentagon and the fourth wound up nose-first in a Pennsylvania field as a result of the passengers trying to stop the terrorists.

I also believe that 15 of the 19 men were Saudis.

There may be some room to question what went on outside of those facts but I will not concede the above points.

I am reasonably certain that the collapse of WTC 1 and 2 was a direct result of the tremendous heat and the weight of the steel supporting the floors above the ones on fire. There is no doubt that the planes that hit the towers caused fire, that much is on video. Jet fuel burns hot, hotter than gasoline. The burning jet fuel could have caused such significant weakness in the floors which were on fire to cause the floors above to start pancaking down. It's not just the heat, it's the weight that the superheated steel was supposed to support. Only it was designed to support it while "cold".

Once those supports gave and the floors above pancaked then there was momentum from the wreckage above forcing the rest of the building to implode.

Instead of being incredulous that they came down I'm amazed that they stayed up as long as they did after the impact of the planes.

I don't remember if I posted about this on my own blog (and am too tired from work to check right now) but I have written it elsewhere.

I don't give a rat's ass about the WMD story.

I don't give a rat's ass about whether Saddam was a good guy or bad guy.

I don't give a rat's ass whether Al Qaeda was in Iraq before the U.S. invasion.

The reason I don't care is that this war is beyond that, now.

To continue to argue over the WMD issue is to say that the Civil War went on as long as it did over who fired first at the battle of Fort Sumter.

Our own Civil War morphed from a desire to keep the Union whole into a battle over slavery. If you had told the boys marching to First Manassas from the north that they were going to die in a war over slavery most of them would have turned around and marched home.

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation nearly caused mass desertion in the Union ranks.

Today every school child is told that the Civil War was about slavery. They don't find out until later, if at all, that the war didn't start for that reason.

No, I believe in fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq today. I don't care how we got into a close in fight with them. I care only that we really ARE fighting Islamic terror. Al Qaeda and Iran.

The truth is that this is as much war against Islamic terror as Bush will put up. It's a big sight more than the Democrats will put up, but he won't carry the fight to the real enemy.

The real enemy in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. In Indonesia and Iran. In Lebanon and Syria. In Jordan and Egypt. In Turkey and Pakistan.

No, George W. Bush won't carry the fight to the real enemy. They are his business partners.

But I'm not for pulling out of Iraq. Pull out of Germany, yes. Iraq, no.

Shore-Leave OIC said...

We simply can't pull out of Iraq or Afghanistan no matter how the war started. We started something as a country and so we must finish, but what burns me up is needless death in the WTC. Keep in mind steel that doesn't meet building codes must become at least 2000degrees F in order to bend or break, and much hotter to melt. 3000 degrees F rating is what we use in the US to make buildings.

I find it odd that planes crashed into skyscrapers made from cheaper materials only a few years ago, full on 747 and building didn't collapse. I don't buy the "hot jet fuel" theory. I've seen bomblaided plans crash in safety report and read everything that happened. These are wartime safety reports dating back as far as WWII and they hit buildings, nothing fell apart. I just don't buy it. There are too many odd things. But the best, which seems to come right out a comic book is how they can't find all the blackboxes but SOMEHOW they find the passport of one of the alleged hi-jackers. Lets not even get into the details that out of all hi-jickers listed on that plane, the MAJORITY of them are alive and well in their respective countries. You can read up on this, trust me. If you really think that this is somehow physically possible then talk to someone that has been in field artillery about what it takes to knock down a building, and the ODDS of it falling in a controlled manner. Then magically, everything was sped away to a FOREIGN COUNTRY so they could go through the ruble. A FOREIGN COUNTRY is looking at are crime scene, that didn't set off an alarm?

Its important to keep everything in perspective, and we as a nation must be united because we are a nation at war. But we should, as our forefathers warned us, question authority and be weary of a government that attempts to suddenly change the constitution (or just blatantly ignore it) after some catastophry.

Hyunchback said...

"We simply can't pull out of Iraq or Afghanistan no matter how the war started. We started something as a country and so we must finish, but what burns me up is needless death in the WTC. Keep in mind steel that doesn't meet building codes must become at least 2000degrees F in order to bend or break, and much hotter to melt. 3000 degrees F rating is what we use in the US to make buildings."

Consider that this steel was under many tons of pressure from above while heated. I can't picture anyone having tested the effect of having ten or more floors worth of weight on steel that is heated.

Also consider that this is a building put up in New York City. A city with a history of corrupt building practices that seems to stretch as far back as New Amsterdam. If the steel used in the construction wasn't up to code how would you know?

I'm reminded of a more recent tragedy. The furniture store which collapsed while on fire, killing several firemen. In that case there was structural failure from a fire that didn't involve jet fuel at all. There wasn't even another story to the building.

If that roof could fall in on those firemen why would I disbelieve that fire was the prime cause of the WTC collapse?

I don't have detailed knowledge of construction or demolition but have watched some information totally unrelated to the collapse of the WTC.

Professional demolition people don't use large amounts of explosives but instead concentrate on weakening the supports of a building to have its weight bring it down in a controlled fashion.

You can't compare that to what field artillery does. A largely inaccurate projectile filled with high explosives hoping to hit a critical weight bearing point is more luck than science.

The final point, though against any conspiracy by our government is that the bigger something is the more people who have to know about it. The more people who know about it the more chance someone will come out and spill the beans.

You can't mention Roswell, NM without some "confession" or other coming to light about an incident that happened in 1947.

Think of the manpower it would take to control 4 different jets leaving different airports and wire multiple buildings for demolition while those buildings are open to the public. Do you think that anyone could pull that off, let alone the Bush administration?

If there was even a GLIMMER of hope that Bush had something to do with the WTC attacks don't you think that the Democrats would be on it with both hands and feet?

We are talking about the Democrats who are trying to prove conspiracy behind the firing of a few lawyers. If there was any chance for meat in the story of 9/11/01 being an inside job then they would be in heaven.

That's the ultimate reason why I don't believe in conspiracy about 9/11/01. Such a story, if true, would doom the Republicans to defeat and the Democrats would surely have a firm control over both Congress and the White House.

They aren't waving this on C-SPAN or the Sunday politics shows. Even Kieth Olberman isn't touting this. If the Democrats can't find something of marginal credibility in conspiracy then there isn't a conspiracy.

Shore-Leave OIC said...

Well I have to correct you on one thing

"You can't compare that to what field artillery does. A largely inaccurate projectile filled with high explosives hoping to hit a critical weight bearing point is more luck than science."

Field artillery has advanced greatly in recent years. And it is possible (and practical) to put a single round accurately hundred of miles away, and in the future field artillery will only get even more leathal with the new Non-Line of Sight Cannon that is part of the Army's Future Combat Systems. Current field artillery technology can launch multiple rounds from the same cannon and have them all land on a tank size target miles away. Field artillery is the King of Battle for a reason (Infantry is called the Queen) as it is the most deadly piece of weaponary ever devised and responsible for more combat deaths than the Air Force, Nuclear Weapons, and Infantry tactics.

Many moons ago, yes artillery was basic, you field a volley and hoped it hit your target. Now you can cover an entire grid square with ordianance that explodes 15 feet from impact with the ground, enhancing the diameter of your kill zone. With UAV and trained forward observers, artillery is science. Keep in mind many of our artillery pieces find their targets using computers, and most soldiers usually emplace and set trajectories based on computer data fed back from UAVs or forward observers with laser/GPS equipment that sends back exact coordinates. If a round is off so much as 20 feet, it is automatically correct. And then an entire volley is unleashed from 2 batteries firing in tandum. Basically, the only warning you have of artillery before you die is that first round. It takes only seconds for the volley to follow, and there is no escape from that.

If your interested in reading up on the Army's advancements in field artillery I could recommend some books. Its a branch of the Army that I love. Many people have the misconception its all just guess work firing blindly into a general area, it has far evolved passed that. Firing off a volley based on "luck" would get a battery commander relieved of duty. Then you have air-defense artillery which is even more accurate and totally computer automated. Artillery also includes many pieces of weaponary, such as the MLRS or Multiple Launch Rocket System that is a completely automated "van of death" as I like to call it. I'm getting too worked up about Artillery, almost started to sign the Artillery song. :)

Okay, as for the WTC. We don't know who or what or why, and how these buildings came down. While many things seem odd and there is obviously some B.S. I stop short of accussing the command and chief or assuming some party did it. Its simply a matter of "no one knows". But from my experience, I don't see a building like that, which was designed to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes, a direct plane crash (yes they build skyscrapers with this in mind), falling like that. When I initially saw it I just assumed terrorist must have crashed the planes as a diversion in order to set off a controlled demolition. Because that was definately a controlled demolition if I ever saw one. I can assure you I'm no "conspiracy" theorist but I don't just take things at face value either. I don't believe in UFOs, I believe Kennedy was shot by Oswald, the city of Atlantis never existed, man made the pyramids, Santa Claus doesn't exist, or any of that crap in "The Da Vinci Code". But based on a military and engineering background, I can say, "No, those buildings did not fall as a direct result of two planes crashing into them". Keep in mind this was the first time in history any skyscraper anywhere has collapsed due to being struck by a plane. If you look at other skyscrapers that got hit by planes (and one that burned for 22 hours) none of them fell.

As for a furniture store falling, that doesn't suprise me. Furniture stores and skyscrapers are like comparing apples to organes. Furniture stores, factories, houses, farms, tool sheds collapse all the time while burning. They're structural integrity isn't the same. Heck, if you made a skyscraper out of a legos and a "Costco" style wharehouse out of legos and kicked them, guess which one would collapse first. (assuming they are glued to the floor or something). Its a lot easier to have a rectangular box shape enclose on itself then a cylinder or a rectangle standing upright. Knocking it over is more realistic (leaning tower of Pieza for example) but if you want to collapse it your going to want to have a more complex strategy then "hot gas".

I'm not interested in proving or disproving a conspiracy. There are plenty of nuts with their own agenda that are busy doing that, wearing "Bush Sucks" t-shirts and living of their parents money while they study "Russian Literature" and play Xbox in their dorms all day. I am only pointing out that we should look a little closer into what actually happened that fateful day, in the hopes that we as a people make the right decisions for our country and don't simply get whipped up into a rabid frenzy.

When you have thousands of people's sons and daughters marching off to fight a war, and continue the never ending (read as death march) war on terror, its important that a few of us are looking out for each other and know the EXACT reason we do what we are doing as we march of to our deaths.

Shore-Leave OIC said...

Also I just remebered something, you mentioned a very popular notion that conspiracy cannot exist because sooner or later someone will spill the beans.

That is a complete fallacy, and I've heard it many times before. I'm interested in why you, someone who is clearly an educated man, actually believe that? Haven't you ever pledged and been in a fraternity before? Or what about your professional life?

Hyunchback said...

I have never been a member of a fraternity, neither the collegiate version or the fraternal orders found outside of college.

I take for my opinion the very real conspiracy that was part of 9/11/01. That conspiracy was by the Al Qaeda terrorists and culminated in the attacks that day.

That conspiracy leaked. You had flight schools reporting "these guys don't want to learn how to land". You had an FBI agent who sent communications upward to her superiors asking about these guys.

It was a real conspiracy with no more than 20 members. There was a cultural and language barrier involved. There was hatred for the U.S. involved. Yet they still leaked.

That the FBI did what it usually does, ignore a problem until they can get a budget increase, the attack succeeded.

You keep referring to other aircraft hitting other skyscrapers. I'm not familiar with any other such incidents except by much smaller aircraft. If you can point me to a link that provides detail I might examine the issue.

What we do know is that the flights used were chosen specifically so they would have fuel tanks close to capacity when the craft were arriving at target.

I don't know of any other time that a jet aircraft deliberately flew at a sky scraper. Especially one fully laden with fuel.

Shore-Leave OIC said...

I for one don't really buy the "These guys are trying to learn to fly but not land" thing. It doesn't make sense. If these terrorist are so advanced to carry out coordinated attacks and attempt to destroy our economic infrastructure, why would they be so foolish to blow their profile by requesting to only learn to fly yet not land. It just doesn't make sense.

But you requested some additional information so here you go.

This link has three buildings that burned to a crisp for hours, none of them collapsed

High speed experimental aircraft slams into school (laden with fuel) building doesn't collapse,2933,290363,00.html

Brazilian plane slams into a building so hard only its tail is visible. Burns for hours, building did not collapse

The famous Empire State building crash, old news

December 6, 2005: A C-130 military transport carrying Iranian journalists crashed into a building in a Tehran suburb as the pilot attempted an emergency landing, killing 115 people _ 94 in the plane and 21 on the ground. Oh yea...building did not collapse

Military C-130 crashes into apartment complex (10 stories) did not fall

And there is more

But keep in mind the WTC was designed to withstand 4 direct hits from an airliner. It doesn't matter if it was fully loaded with fuel or not as with any crash, most of the fuel will burn up on impact on the outside of the building (where it has sufficient oxygen to fuel the fire)Even when you look at the video, most of the explosion was outside the building. This is why the Air Force developed "bunker buster" bombs. So that the explosion would take place "inside" an enclosed area, instead of it traditionally expending 90% of its fuel (fuel as in what supplies the explosion) outside of a bunker.

Also it should be obvious that if a building did collapse, it should have collapsed to an angle, or to one side. Not straight down. This should be painfully obvious, every other building that has sustained structural damage from a bomb/airplane/etc has always taken it on one side, and in the rare instances it does collapse, usually half of the building slides off, or collapses down to an angle. For it to go just perfectly straight down....odd.

Like I said, I'm no conspiracy nut but I do understand the basics of engineering and physics.


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