Thursday, April 29, 2004

FROM L.A. TO FALLUJAH. General Ralph "Blood 'n' Guts" Peters continues to hold the hard line, calling for Wyatt Earp and/or Rudy Giuliani to ride into Fallujah and tame them Ayrab varmints:
If any adult touches a damaged or destroyed U.S. military vehicle, he must be shot. Start with a one-week warning period to get out the new rules. Then execute. The Iraqis playing trampoline on the hoods of our charred vehicles aren't the ones who will build a better future.

As for the juvies, send them to reformatory camps. No exceptions, even if daddy's the Sheik of Araby.
He also wants to shoot looters, natch.

This kind of thing is Peters' raw meat and blood-infused potatoes: witness his 1996 article, "Our Soldiers, Their Cities," on urban warfare:
The future of warfare lies in the streets, sewers, high-rise buildings, industrial parks, and the sprawl of houses, shacks, and shelters that form the broken cities of our world. We will fight elsewhere, but not so often, rarely as reluctantly, and never so brutally. Our recent military history is punctuated with city names -- Tuzla, Mogadishu, Los Angeles, Beirut, Panama City, Hue, Saigon, Santo Domingo -- but these encounters have been but a prologue, with the real drama still to come. [italics added]
The name "Los Angeles" pops out because General suggests training elite street-fighting units in actual American cities:
Why build that which already exists? In many of our own blighted cities, massive housing projects have become uninhabitable and industrial plants unusable. Yet they would be nearly ideal for combat-in-cities training. While we could not engage in live-fire training (even if the locals do), we could experiment and train in virtually every other regard. Development costs would be a fraction of the price of building a "city" from scratch, and city and state governments would likely compete to gain a US Army (and Marine) presence, since it would bring money, jobs, and development -- as well as a measure of social discipline.
Of course, since then Starbucks and gentrification have stolen the General's march, which may be why he is so eager to experiment in Fallujah. If he can't "discipline" American city-dwellers, for the time being he'll settle for Iraqis.

I recommend the whole 1996 article, which has many undoubtedly sound suggestions, as well as this interesting bit of speculative quartermastering: "Eventually, we may have individual-soldier tactical equipment that can differentiate between male and female body heat distributions and that will even be able to register hostility and intent from smells and sweat." I wouldn't be surprised if General Peters already had this capacity.

But there is plenty to enjoy in the General's more recent article. My favorite passage is this:
I still believe that most Iraqis want democracy -- in some adjusted form that gives them a voice in their country's affairs.
Hey, how do we get that "adjusted form" of democracy?

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