Who Needs Spies?

Obama’s drawdown speech at Camp Lejeune gave away our game plan, and signalled that our priority is not keeping Iraq secure, but leaving.

Who needs Spies?


I’m surveying an interesting contrast at the moment, between the insistence of the National Football League on the protection of team signals against “spying” by opponents, and the remarkable clarity with which President Barack Obama today insisted on announcing the precise timing of our drawdown plans in Iraq to the world.

I have to confess, I was not among those who thought it was some kind of travesty for the New England Patriots to have someone videorecord the defensive signals being made from the sideline of the New York Jets.  This case from the 2007 season seemed a bit silly to me.  Seriously, how hard would it be to sneak around NFL rules – and minimize the chance of getting caught — by just putting the recorder(s) elsewhere, and ensuring there is no obvious connection between the people doing the recording and a team that’s on the field that day?



Of course opponents want to know each others’ signals in advance.  Sportswriters and blogs spent considerable time, during the investigation of the Patriots, on how much good teams’ “spying” – with or without recording technology — even does them; and in general, concluded:  Not much.  Maybe they are right.  Maybe they’re not.  But in any clash of opponents, intelligence on the other guy is as basic as human nature – and keeping your plans and intentions from him is a measure as old as human conflict itself.  Coaches whom we see holding clipboards and papers in front of their mouths, as they bark orders into their head-mikes, are simply doing what you do:  try to hide your signals from the opponent.  Any opponent who’s not trying to gather your signals and interpret them – ain’t tryin’. Continue reading “Who Needs Spies?”


Too often, Westerners speak of being willing to die to preserve our liberties when what we really have to be willing to do is kill — kill an enemy’s means and will, even while minimizing casualties among his people. In war and national security, dying is heroic — but killing is effective.

Another Hobby Horse

… out for a trot.  This whinnying nag is an ugly old devil, mean-tempered and surly.  He’s also the truest and most reliable quadruped in the stable.  His barn name is Buster, but he runs under The Ugly Truth.

Thomas Sowell writes today about the potentially “fatal trajectory” our nation is on; and there is a lot of material for discussion in the issues he brings up.  But one is of particular interest, because even the flawlessly logical and precise Dr. Sowell gets the wording wrong – as almost everyone does. He writes:

Although, in some sense, the United States of America is still the strongest nation on earth militarily, that means absolutely nothing if our enemies are willing to die and we are not.

He repeats the idea a few sentences later:

It doesn’t matter if we retaliate and kill millions of innocent Iranian civilians – at least it will not matter to the fanatics in charge of Iran or the fanatics in charge of the international terrorist organizations that Iran supplies.

Ultimately it all comes down to who is willing to die and who is not.

Democratic nations invariably put the proposition in Sowell’s terms:  whether we are willing to die or not.  But the Ugly Truth (neigh-h-h) is that the successful use of force for national security objectives depends not on being willing to die, but on being willing to kill. Continue reading “Clip-Clop”