WAR – excerpt from Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor

Posted by admin on June 14, 2013 in from Jerry Pournelle's blog, Politics |
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Go back a few years. Imagine a CIA plot to get Iran which considers us the Great Satan and hates us, to declare war on al Qaeda and expend blood and treasure on exterminating al Qaeda – which long ago declared war on us, and which is the most easily defined enemy in our War of Terror. Imagine that al Qaeda might be induced to expend its resources fighting Hezbollah and Iran. Imagine that we could get our enemies to fight each other using whatever weapons they could muster, and expend their blood and treasure on exterminating each other, so that neither had very much to spend on killing Americans.

Come to the present, where that is happening. Israel after careful consideration has stayed out of the Syrian civil war on the grounds that the Assad Family has kept the peace with Israel for decades, while al Qaeda attacks Israelis. Imagine that somehow the trick has been made to work, and our enemies fight each other in a war in which the United States has no describable national interest.

Now imagine that having achieved that result we decide to enter the war.

Obama to step up military support of Syrian rebels

President Barack Obama has authorised sending weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time, U.S. officials said, after the White House disclosed that the United States has conclusive evidence President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against opposition forces trying to overthrow him.


Napoleon Bonaparte once said that one should never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. The problem comes when the incompetence is so grossly incompetent that one begins to wish for more competent malice…  Anatol France once said that a thief in power is to be preferred to a fool, for a thief may upon occasion take a vacation.


We have no national interest in Syria, and we have no obligations.  The Assad regime has been more tolerant of Christians and Bahai minorities than al Qaeda anywhere al Qaeda is in power. The rebels against Assad recently beheaded a 15 year old boy – after a trial – on a charge of blasphemy and insulting the Prophet. The al Qaeda insurgents have no chance of winning without powerful Western support, but they can make the war drag on a long time, neutralizing both Hezbollah and al Qaeda or at least slowing them down.  Whereupon the United States will give aid and comfort to our enemies no matter which side we choose to support.

Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence, but one need not choose to support incompetence.

Obama apparently is rushing to enter his third war, and one in which we have few allies and no national interests at all. We do so on the basis of far less intelligence evidence about Assad’s use of Sarin than we had of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.


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