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The War Nerd / February 5, 2009
By Gary Brecher

I come back from sick leave and there’s a whole pile of wars in my “in” box, like one of those old office cartoons. Still got to write up the dustup in Gaza, and then there’s the so-called final victory of the Sri Lankan Army over the LTTE. But for sentimental reasons I’ve got to give first mention to my boyeez, the Somali pirates. This is what democracy looks like: the Somali pirates. This is what anti-globalization looks like when you do it for real, not like deadheads following the WTO from city to city, banker groupies in black masks and red armbands.

Not only are the Somali pirates doin’ it for themselves, they’re like a spotlight on all the most interesting stories out there. Remember that Ukrainian freighter the pirates grabbed a few months ago? That freighter was veeeeeeery quietly carrying 33 Russian tanks and a few thousand AKs, with ammo, to Mombasa in Kenya. But it wasn’t the Kenyans who wanted all those Russian tanks. It was the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the gang that runs Southern Sudan right now, after using the Darfur distraction to force a ceasefire with those Arab hotheads in Khartoum. It seems the SPLM, a sensible bunch who’ve had years of experience in Khartoum treachery, decided that “the best way to keep peace is to prepare for war.” Not that that slogan means anything, actually. The best way to keep the peace—no such things. Too many variables. All those pundit-speak clichés are crap. You can find counterexamples to all of them. But knowing the sort of scum who rule Sudan, it just seems sensible to get as many tanks and aircraft as you can. In third-world vs. third-world wars like the one in Sudan, that sort of mid-price Soviet hardware works perfectly well. It’s only when you go up against a first-world AF that it turns into scrap iron.

And we owe all this cool dirt on how the Sudan war’s going to our friends the Somali pirates. Nobody would have known that this ship was sending all those tanks to southern Sudan until they grabbed it. That’s what I mean when I say these guys are natural stars, born hams, scenery-chewers. They’re not in it for the publicity, they’re strictly about the money, but they just can’t help stealing the show.

Like today: they officially handed back that Ukrainian freighter and collected their 3.2 million dollar ransom. But that wasn’t enough: they did it in style.

The pirates zoomed out to the drop zone in their little boats, right in view of two USN warships, collected their loot, counted it—I love that part, that they actually counted out the money, which must’ve weighed a few kilos, right under the guns of the world’s most expensive navy—then waved goodbye and zoomed off home, to turn their booty into SUVs, satellite dishes and extra wives. I hear the price of virgins has zoomed in the most “pirate-infested” parts of Puntland since these multimillion dollar ransoms started pouring in. This is the golden age, in Puntland. And why shouldn’t they have their little fun time? It’s not like there’ve been a lot of golden ages in Puntland. It’s kind of hard to feel too sorry for the oil companies, Russian arms dealers, or other sleazy fat cats whose insurance is going up. Especially when you remember that these pirates used to be fisherman, never bothering anybody, until the Asian trawlers took advantage of the fact that Somalia has no authorities, no government, to scoop every last sand-dab out of the fishing grounds. If you saw that happen, and all you had left was guns and little boats, and you had to watch the wonderful parade of global commerce going by flipping you the bird for a few years, you might start thinking Jack-Sparrow thoughts your own self.

It’s too good to last, of course. When the costs really start biting, we’ll go in—no use letting the Euros try to do it like we’re doing now, they don’t have the will to pull the trigger any more—and we’ll turn a few boats into floating splinters, and the good times will be over for Puntland. Too bad, too. Once the pirates are wiped out or chased back to their little burrows on the coast, people will start missing them and realizing how great they were, what goddamn heroes, actual reallife Robin Hoods they were. That’s how we do it in the big world: kill’em, then make movies about how great they were. Just ask the Sioux or the Highlanders.

Now Gaza, that’s not nearly as much fun of a story. If I was in a mood to gloat, I’d have to mention that it ended exactly the way I said it would: just before Obama’s big day like I predicted. On January 18. The IDF declared a ceasefire so the news crews could catch the planes to DC in time to see Jesse Jackson do his crying act again. I swear, that man does the worst crying on cue since Stallone. He needs crying lessons.

The lowdown on Gaza is simple: in the short run, Israel did a decent job of killing Hamas’s cadre. Gaza’s a small place, and it was pretty much shooting fish with headscarves in a sandy barrel. They blew up the place real good, made themselves feel better after getting roughed up by Hezbollah a couple years ago. OK, so you’re a Hell of a counterpuncher; so what?

Meaning, what happens five years from now when all those dead Hamas guys’ little brothers are ready to graduate from the rebuilt Gaza I-Hate-the-Jews Academy. You can’t kill some, like this, and hope to do much. If this was Georgia or some other squeamish middleclass country, then killing a few locals like the Russians did with the Georgians would work. Which it did; the Georgians have gone real quiet, real peaceful, since they got that lesson in the dark alley.

But Gaza isn’t Georgia. Israel spent twenty years driving these people insane, and that wasn’t such a hard job in the first place. You can’t stop them by blowing up their shitty slums or killing the eldest brothers in a thousand families. Those are big families in Gaza; the guy they elected has 13 kids, and he’s nothing special in his neighborhood. All they have is babies and hate. There was probably a time when the Israelis could have done something that would really work. Say, after the big win in the Six-Day War in 1967. Back then everybody still loved them, so if they’d decided to expel all the Palestinians, there wouldn’t have been much blowback. Or if they’d gone the other way, bribed the Hell out of the Pals, killed them with kindness. That might have worked…maybe.

But this, killing a few and driving the rest even crazier in their little prison camp on the beach; it’s stupid. A lot of macho stupidity, short-term gratification and long-term disaster.

What a lot of people don’t realize about war—and this is war, all of it, the demos and the weeping moms, the whole thing, all ways of making war—what a lot of people don’t get about war is there comes a time when there ain’t no smart moves any more. Say you started playing chess against a master and messed it up so bad after twenty moves that they brought Bobby Fischer back from the dead to take over for you. He’d have to resign. Nobody, not Subotai or Belisarius or Alexander, could save some situations. And Israel, in the long term…well, they’ve got those 200 nukes, and the US Congress…and that’s about all. They won’t get driven into the sea like Arafat used to screech, but they’ll get meaner and smaller until all the smart people, the ones who can, will get out, and what’s left will be another scrappy desert fort making deals with the locals. A lot of Crusader kingdoms went out that way, just one decision away from getting re-absorbed into the Muslim soup. If they’d made a deal with the Mongols, maybe we could’ve done something with this. But nooooooo, they were too snotty. Nope, doesn’t look good, and worse yet it’s going to be some ugly maintenance wars, where you have to blast a lot of schools and hospitals, and still don’t get anywhere. Like that scene in Fight Club where he bleeds all over the Mafia guy, till the wise guy screams he can use the basement. “Lou! Lou! You don’t know where I’ve been!”

Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to

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Add your own

  • 1. Paul  |  February 5th, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    good stuff

  • 2. wengler  |  February 5th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    The true aim of the war was to get Kadima more votes. Soon-to-be PM Benjamin Netanyahu would like Olmert’s group of clowns for their idiocy. Likud and the religious nuts can now do whatever the hell they want.

  • 3. WC  |  February 5th, 2009 at 9:29 pm


    I actually believe Hamas is gaining momentum and improving militarily.

    The Israelis achieved absolutely nothing in this war. The shelled the place and destroyed and killed a lot of children but that is about it. Hamas rule did not end. The Hamas homemade rockets did not stop. They have not freed Shalit and in fact Hamas may exact the price the want given that they still have him.

    I totally agree with your assesment about the future. This war has created more soldiers in Hamas’ war of tomorrow.


  • 4. Fissile  |  February 5th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Interesting that you mention Fight Club. The song at the end of Fight Club would make the perfect theme tune for the entire Mideast mess.

    Have a listen.

  • 5. Jake1  |  February 5th, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    What about Nkunda? Think he’ll make it out of this one alive? I keep thinking that either he’ll live and it’ll be one of those epic stories where the hero was at deaths door and by some mundane miracle he lives to take the whole region or some kid gathering firewood is going to stumble upon his half decayed corpse and go on about his business. The suspense is killing me.

  • 6. DrKiwano  |  February 6th, 2009 at 12:18 am


    Are you on crack? Sure Nkunda is going to live, but it isn’t going to be any sort of epic story. I mean it’s not like the arrest is some sort of massive setback for him. It’s pretty damned easy to imagine a conversation between Kagame and Nkunda, before the arrest, along the following lines.

    K: Hey bro, I got some good news here for you, and some bad news; the good news is that I’ve got a tentative deal here with Kabila that’d let me roll the Rwandan army into Kivu, normalize your army, and have this combined force flush those Interahamwe motherfuckers.
    N: That’s fucking awesome. Um, what’s the bad news?
    K: My end of the deal is that I’ve gotta arrest you
    N: Shit. Ok, so what if that bitch Kabila backs out once I’m in jail?
    K: Well I’ll make sure that I keep you in one of my jails. I’ll set it up all nice, good family visits and shit. You’ll get a little bit of martyr-cred for hanging out in jail, and if Kabila tries to fuck things up, then you’ll “escape”, yes?
    N: Yeah, I guess that works, so how should we go about staging the arrest…

  • 7. Jake1  |  February 6th, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Um, actually Nkunda, as a decent man and an actual soldier is in a considerable amount of danger. Paul Kagame has long been a CIA tool and Nkunda’s head being part of a horse trade with the Congolese is not that far fetched an idea. Remember, it was the Rwandans that actually arrested Nkunda, and in quite the underhanded manner. And bad-ass popular military leaders have been known throughout history to inspire fear and loathing in fat, corrupt leaders back home. Add the fact that the world press (often an extended arm of 1st world intelligence services) was obviously out to demonize Nkunda and you have cause for genuine concern. Nkunda’s goals seemed to be stability and the protection of the Tutsi diaspora while Kagami is obviously more interested in getting in on the free-for-all looting spree that has been the Congo since Mbutu’s death. So no, I’m not on crack. I just appreciate a good show.

  • 8. Tyon  |  February 6th, 2009 at 7:45 am

    “I totally agree with your assesment about the future. This war has created more soldiers in Hamas’ war of tomorrow.”

    But those kids would have been in the hamas even if the IDF done nothing.

    Israel should just end Gaza. The civilians seem to like Hamas and thats pretty much their fault for being killed.

  • 9. dick buttkiss  |  February 6th, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Wow, warnerd, really dropped the ball on that hezbollah comment. Hezbollah didn’t really inflict any damage on the IDF, they just did a good enough job of hiding so that even though the Israelis decimated southern Leb they still survived. Hardly call that getting roughed up.

  • 10. cynic  |  February 6th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    “But those kids would have been in the hamas even if the IDF done nothing.

    Israel should just end Gaza. The civilians seem to like Hamas and thats pretty much their fault for being killed.”

    Umm.. check your facts. The IDF was responsible for Hamas becoming what it is today. Blaming the civilians is like blaming a rape victim – which I guess you’re happy to do…

  • 11. warbuff  |  February 6th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    > Hamas rule did not end.

    I guess – even if they could end the rule – they are happy with Hamas down there:

    1. it gets them votes.
    2. they have the Palestinians against each other.
    3. the current Hamas leaders are considered rather “moderate”. So killing them would do exactly what Gary wrote about: Get even more crazy people on top.

  • 12. Baked Dr. Luny  |  February 6th, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Gary, you should do a piece about democracies and war. This israeli thing was obviously a political move, a move that a nondemocratic state might not make. Democracies seem to be good at getting into wars if they can play it up to the public for votes, but not very good at winning the long conflicts that often result.

  • 13. 28  |  February 6th, 2009 at 11:31 am

    The solution is simple: high-fructose corn syrup and TV. The DoD can cut out a piddly .5% of its budget for Gaza Psy-Ops that’ll hook everyone there up with a cheap-ass DVD player and a Netflix queue.

    “Hamas training tonight? I think I’m going to stay in and watch bootleg Bollywood dvds. Tell them I’ll show up next week.”

    And while we’re at it, let’s do the same to Israel, and schedule some prime-time TV for Friday through Sunday, so the kids stay out of the mosques and synagouges.

  • 14. Eye del Cul  |  February 6th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    About the war against Hamas:
    (12th September)

  • 15. CB  |  February 6th, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Hey dick, did you know that IDF lost roughly 50 Merkava MBTs in that conflict? That was a fact pointed out to me by a “Hezbolla didn’t hurt Israel” guy, cus you know Israel does in fact have a lot more than 50 tanks. But 50 MBTs is a lot of tanks to lose in a single month of fighting, especially against an irregular force like Hezzie! Certainly more than anyone expected. That’s more tanks in a month than M1s that have been lost *ever*. So sure IDF has many more tanks left, they aren’t running out, but they didn’t send those tanks in. What they did send in got bloodied.

    The result of that war caused a row in Israel and nearly cost a number of people their jobs. Maybe you should pay more attention to their assessment than the American media’s rah-rah take?

  • 16. ewank  |  February 6th, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    hey gary, if ye haven’t already o’l chum, read up on this great Khan series-novel — GENGHIS birth of an empire. By Conn Iggulden.

    Good arrow action stuff yo.

  • 17. dick buttkiss  |  February 6th, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    According to Wikipedia, 120 IDF forces and 40 Israeli civilians, vs. roughly 600-650 Leb Combatants and 1100 Leb civilians. All depends on how you look at the phrase roughed up. Did they do better than expected? Yeah. roughed up? nah.

  • 18. pete  |  February 6th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I have loved your articles in the past and I have bought your book. With this new format it seems like you are being encouraged to write faster and print more material. Please don’t dilute yourself. Some of your material lately seems like it were written by someone else. You have had a good run so far, don’t ruin it. Take your time and come up with great shit like I know you can do. So much for the pep talk.

  • 19. Genghis  |  February 7th, 2009 at 3:45 am

    I second comment number 13, but would add: what about porn? Give the Gazans something else to do. The technology’s simple and cheap: shovel porn dvds from helicopters and beam porn into every home in Gaza. Everyone’s a winner! Have any two nations with easy, widespread access to hard-core porn ever gone to war?

  • 20. Eddie  |  February 7th, 2009 at 7:31 am

    The middle east wars show the current state of affairs in the realm of warfare. If you have the money and technology you will get at least a factor of 10 in kill ratio. It will however cost you a factor of 500 or more then the enemy. With this kind of economics you can only afford a set number of enemies. Not nearly enough to actually win. But enough to claim a superficial victory. The facts on the ground remain the same until the enemy feels strong enough to provoke another ass kicking. Nuclear weapons are useless in offensive warfare and are guaranteed to piss of any friendly countries in the neighborhood. Until someone dares to experiment with the alternatives things there will be no wins to be seen.

  • 21. bogatir14  |  February 7th, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Nice analysis.

    One parameter missed thoigh: the natural gass supplies of the Gaza coast.

    I am under the impression that if the Israelis could get the coastline back they wouldn´t mind let them rot in the dessert slum “in peace”

  • 22. SFG  |  February 7th, 2009 at 7:38 am

    I second comment number 13, but would add: what about porn? Give the Gazans something else to do. The technology’s simple and cheap: shovel porn dvds from helicopters and beam porn into every home in Gaza. Everyone’s a winner! Have any two nations with easy, widespread access to hard-core porn ever gone to war?
    The Russians have porn, no? And the Chinese?

  • 23. glenn  |  February 7th, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Great reading..

    But can you stop the Darfur BS. Here’s the low down. The rebels are supported by US (SLA, the leader even gets to walk the red carpet in White House 2005) and Brits (JEM, this guys even have an office in London), and french are doing it from Chad…and all these while the so-called genocide is supposely on going. Add Oil in chinese hands to the equation.. you have “The Great Game” right there in Darfur.

    How the hell can Khartoum be blamed for the darfur shit-hole situation when they are not allowed to seize control the area. How can Sudan, the legit government, bombing and attacking machette, rapist, banditary rebel controlled villages be genocide.. it’s a freaking Civil war. Nato and US has done worst in Afghanistan (Weddings). The most beautiful part is the the Rebels almost recieve no Western media mention at all, while any actions done by Khartom is front page news. It’s nonsense that gary’s previous articles says that the Darfur people recives no media attention. it’s really simple in logic, if you simply just read the bare facts, then dump the journalist opinions looking like facts.

    Did you know the Sudanese actually brought the “Free Darfur” to the British media authority to proof the 400,000 death in late 2007.. and they couldn’t prove shit. The judge even pointed out “Opinions are not facts” and how many western media reported this not even BBC.. “Free Darfur” puts all their donation into advertising. There you have it’s a propaganda outfit.

    The whole Sudan genocide propaganda started from New York times who inflated the figure from 20,000 to 400,000 in a single week.

    Hopes this helps..

  • 24. Lysander  |  February 7th, 2009 at 9:00 am

    @ # 16

    The 650 Hezzies KIA is Israel’s claim and sounds a lot like wishful thinking since Hizb probably only had 2-3 k fighters at most. So if the claim is true it means that after loosing 25% dead and prolly that same number wounded and were still able to do their best fighting on the last day of the war. So I’m gonna go with 650 KIA being a dream they had.

    But more to the point 2-3 million Vietnamese died vs only 60 K Americans, but guess what, the U.S. still lost. Same with the Russians in Afghanistan.

    Keep in mind **nobody** is saying Hizbullah is stronger than Israel. We’re only saying it can extract a price for any Israeli invasion of Lebanon whereas before Israel could invade for free.

  • 25. Carpenter  |  February 7th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    “Have any two nations with easy, widespread access to hard-core porn ever gone to war?”

    Genghis, you just blew my mind!

  • 26. Paul  |  February 7th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    The Israelis refuse to take casualties. Israelis talk about the palestinian demographic “problem”, but if the israeli demographics continue like they have been, meaning secular white jews emigrating out of israel for the US then that will leave Israel with a hardcore religious population. Seeing as how the only people having 8-15 kids in Israel are the hardcore orthodox religious, then the country will be in their hands in a generation.

    It is undoubtable that the religious fight better and fiercer than the secular left or right. Compare PFLP and PLO to Hamas and Hezbollah. Furthermore, The ethiopians immigrating to israel are fiercer than the liberal russian types.

    So yeah, this thing will get better

  • 27. Fissile  |  February 7th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    @Paul (post #26). You are being sarcastic, right? Religious Jews fight better?? You do realize that Orthodox Jews refuse to serve in the military, don’t you? The Hasidim you see with 8-15 kids do nothing but sponge off welfare (in the US as well as Israel), and make babies, who, in turn, make their own babies as soon as they hit puberty, and sponge off welfare.

  • 28. kotek besar  |  February 7th, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Genghis – that would make a great topic for a PoliSci thesis!

    Exiled – that’s a photo of a South East Asian (Filipino? Thai? Indonesian? Hard to tell!) pirate! What’s up with that?

  • 29. pakk  |  February 8th, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Plizzz, these are UKRAINIAN tanks, not RUSSIAN tanks. These are kinda two different countries these days..

    BTW, this is the SECOND batch of MBT’s delivered to Southern Sudan since 2007. The real question is where they got the money to buy all that stuff. A used Ukrainian T-72 is abt $450k, so 33x450k is $14.85mln. Might not sound like too much, but not for Southern Sudan. Juba is still a real bush, revenue collection is not there, no gold or tantalite around..

    Why do these guys in Africa love buying tanks so much?? They only use them (except Ethiopia and Erithrea maybe) in a fire support role, where there’s a hundred cheaper alternatives to the T-72.

    And I bet those T-72’s are real junk. Wouldn’t be surprised if half have dysfunctional weapons stabilizers.

    #6 – AGREE (I heard Nkunda has been spotted in a cafe in downtown Kigali)
    #23 – AGREE

  • 30. Hidden Author  |  February 8th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Fissile, are you joking? Yes, the Haredim sponge off welfare but the Religious Zionists are the vanguard of Israeli expansionism. They also form something like half of the NCOs of the Israeli army even though they are like 13% of the population. In fact, the Kahanists/Hilltop Youth we hear about are merely the most militant subsection of the Religious Zionists!

  • 31. Jake1  |  February 8th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    #30- I read that too:
    But then there was this:
    There is also a NYT article that says the same thing as the Bloomberg article except in a more cryptic manner. While neither mentions a handover date for Nkunda and I would not presume to know the outcome I would say that betting on Nkunda to die in the near future isnt the worst bet a man could make right now. And if he doesnt for some reason, well thats the kind of shit legends are made of. Non?

  • 32. Paul  |  February 8th, 2009 at 5:26 pm


    they will fight. I’m not talking necessarily about the hardcore hasadim, moreso the Avidgor Lieberman types. Think Meir Kahane

  • 33. Pedro  |  February 8th, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    How about an article on Richard Baer’s new book? I liked “see no evil” but who can afford to buy the new one in hardback? Like to hear your take on things?

  • 34. reginald jenkins  |  February 8th, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Nah, the really crazy religious don’t fight in the army, they study. The Lieberman wackos fight, though, but they aren’t really that religious. And the russians are anything but liberal. They are russians, and they fight like russians. no care for civilians. the ethiopians are lazy soldiers for the most part. you’re misinformed. The russians and the druze are the craziest fighters (they believe in reincarnation) along with the western european jews that come to israel to fight when they turn 18. they hate arabs more than anyone.

  • 35. gasparilla  |  February 9th, 2009 at 2:09 am

    blah blah. yes, the w/n is without a doubt the shining star of the exile, but……. i guess i have a right to be disappointed. i began reading this rag while downing tri bogatyrya on tverskaya. why is it that mums the word on all things russia nowadays?? hey hungry ducks, are you waiting until complex events become transparent enough to bring predictions? is the actual editor to busy eating a plate of crow to add any more “high water” remarks of his own? funny how far these boys have drifted from their bread and butter game. except for the “war nerd” the whole staff has become timid and irrelevant. yeah i know, expectations are a b**** but your readers still have them.

  • 36. Fissile  |  February 9th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    #34. Yup. I’ve run into countless Hasidim in the NYC area, to my great misfortune. These people do nothing except make babies, sponge off welfare, cook-up swindle schemes, and file harassing lawsuits against the hated goyim. The vast majority of these people (both young and old) are in horrible physical shape, since they avoid any kind of physical activity like the plague. To suggest that they will form the backbone of a new revitalized Israeli Army is a sad joke.

  • 37. Tam  |  February 10th, 2009 at 12:05 am

    I really don’t get Israel’s behaviour at the moment.
    Don’t they realise that the only reason for their current strength is all that financial support from the US to pay for all that hardware which gives them their military supremacy?
    The US is going to have to cut back on this, whether they like it or not, because they’re broke which is going to have consequences for Israel… The Gaza thing might’ve been Israel’s last throw of the dice from a position of strength, so why have they gone out of their way to piss off even more people? It seems a suicidal strategy.
    Am I missing something obvious here? Any explanations would be welcome…

  • 38. JSJ  |  February 10th, 2009 at 6:43 am

    As for the U.S. supporting Israel with aid, I would worry more if I were an Arab than an Israeli. The Arabs need our aid more than the Israelis do, and that goes for European aid as well. Of course the Pals can pretty much survive on sh*t and sand, so what do they need cash for? (Weapons, I guess.) Lack of basic sundries will just make them angrier.

    The inevitable result of not letting the two sides finish this scrap fifty years ago is that either the Pals or the Israelis will wipe the other one out. The Jews emigrating away should probably leave, if they don’t have the stomach for it, because it is going to happen some day and it is going to be the ugliest stuff since Africa.

    When oil doesn’t matter as much (due to shifing energy sources), and when the world figures out that the Saudis have been lying about their “proven” reserves for a couple of decades now, the world will let Israel settle with Palestine properly. Logistics and technology win wars, but it’s sheer hate that wins a war of extermination. Israel doesn’t have the stomach for it now, but it will get there.

    It’s not quite as clear what will happen with the Hezzies… a lot of that depends on Iran and Syria… etc.

    …my $.02

  • 39. fireclown  |  February 11th, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Again, I want to put forth my “Make Gaza suck less” idea, as it goes pretty well with the “give them fatty food and porn” strategy.

    Poor people with a good scapegoat do violent crazy stuff. If Gaza were to have an actual GDP, this could change. WHat they have at their disposal is some truly beautiful coastline. With some investment from the Muslim world (I’m looking at Dubai: those guys can build) they could build up something of a resort industry. The rest of the Muslim world could drop by, soak up some rays and drink 20 dollar mai tais while demonstrating their solidarity with their struggling brothers. And without having to launch a damned nuisance rocket at anyone.

  • 40. Shannon  |  February 11th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    “I second comment number 13, but would add: what about porn? Give the Gazans something else to do. The technology’s simple and cheap: shovel porn dvds from helicopters and beam porn into every home in Gaza.”

    that reminds me of something I read a while back. Most Westerners believe that 3rd worlders consider Abu Ghraib as a terrible humiliation. But, in fact, Abu Ghraib just confirmed want many 3rd worlders already believed: that Westerners are degenerate sex fiends. We can tell them all we want, that the Abu Ghraib torture was done deliberately to extract information. They nod, but nevertheless many believe the American soldiers were doing it to satisfy their sick sexual desires. So, go ahead, drop your porn dvds. What you reap may not be what you hoped to sew.

  • 41. Shannon  |  February 11th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    “The US is going to have to cut back on this, whether they like it or not, because they’re broke which is going to have consequences for Israel…”

    That’s not how I understand political realities in the US. The US will cut government spending on everything else to zero before they’d consider cuts to military or economic aid to Israel. Besides, aid is not the primary prop to Israel anymore. They have a free trade agreement with the US, Canada and others, giving them preferred economic access that not even China or Japan have.

  • 42. Church of Here and Now  |  February 12th, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Fabulous post. I also predicted the outcome of the stupid shooting exercise to a T. Check it out:

  • 43. Justin  |  February 12th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I wouldn’t count out the Jews. I’m sure if you were living at the time of the Roman suppression of the Bar Kochba revolt you woud have never have thought that the Jews would declare a Jewish State in that land 1600 years later.

  • 44. Sammy  |  February 14th, 2009 at 5:00 am

    Where is the bit about Sri Lanka and the LTTE then?

  • 45. Tomasz Wegrzanowski  |  February 19th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I don’t believe Gaza war had any military goals, it was just to get more votes, and it seems to have worked. Just like Bush went after Afghanistan and Iraq, and in countless other wars since the Roman empire – a “victory”, even if meaningless from a military point of view, is great for getting popularity and votes.

    And don’t count Israel out just yet – it still has high demographic growth, and demographic war correlates with wars very strongly, as you must have certainly noticed.

  • 46. BBee  |  February 19th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Hey mark, I’ll fight u. You’re pretty old right?

  • 47. A-Lex  |  February 20th, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I’ll have to update you, Gary: the released Russian/Ukrainian sailors from Faina have told their stories to the press, and their depiction of the ransom collection part doesn’t match your story.

    The pirates didn’t actially “zoom out” on their boats to collect the dough, because it was dropped aboard the freighter from a helicopter, $3.2 mln packed in two travel bags. There were about 60 Somalis on the freighter, and they all got involved in counting the money, with the hostages watching =)

    “The pirates were splitting the money between two gangs,” a Russian sailor recalls. “The one that boarded our ship, and the one that guarded us. They all looked very happy.”

    There’s another interesting part in his interview. According to the seaman, the pirates were constantly chewing on some “narcotic weed”, which they got from… Americans. A few Amercian warships were permanently on guard near Faina, keeping track of the negotiation process and supplyting the captors with whatever they requested.

    At some point the Somalis didn’t get their weed on time — that’s when they got all itchy and nasty. They declared that they would now treat the hostages the way Americans treat themselves. So they took all food and water from the sailors, then hustled them to their cabins in the lower deck. The captives spent about 9 hours there until the weed was finally shipped over from the Yankees.

    Don’t you love that story?

  • 48. VegasBallysHotel  |  February 20th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    A-Lex, where do you find that info? this could be something to read!

  • 49. ccL1  |  March 4th, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Where’s War Nerd? I miss him!!!

  • 50. OrangePlus  |  March 6th, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Dude, long time no hear. What’s new?

  • 51. kaangeya  |  March 18th, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Gary isn’t going to be writing about Sri Lanka, because like all pandits, he only provokes counter-examples. Attrition warfare works v.well. The LTTE thanks to the Indian noose it drew around its neck, unasked is well a truly finished. The LTTE is definitely the best rag-tag army ever. But norag-tag army can fight a war of attrition. There’s no counter-example to that. Don’t waste your time with Gary. Likewise for Somali punks. A shot in the gunwales works v.well.

  • 52. G. Tingey  |  April 15th, 2009 at 12:16 am

    “no use letting the Euros try to do it like we’re doing now, they don’t have the will to pull the trigger any more”


    The French just proved you wrong.
    Also, the RN still has standing orders regarding piracy, as do most real navies……

  • 53. SA  |  April 17th, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Garry, I am thrilled about your knowledge for Belisarius, you an American (I am only kidding)! The irony is that Belisarius, when the Carthaginians rebelled against the Byzantines; it sounds like Palestinians rebelling against the Israelites, he went in with the army like the IDF, flatten the city and massacred its inhabitants irrelevant of age or sex. However, that was nearly 1500 years ago, but attitudes in wars, it seems haven’t change much.

  • 54. montenegro  |  May 25th, 2009 at 5:50 am

    The onley thing that matters is moneyyyyy, and you go figure who has the moste of it.

  • 55. Frank  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Preach it, brother, preach it! How could anyone hate the somali pirates? They’re the snotty little mutt that barks down the doberman by dint of sheer moxie, right up until the doberman breaks their neck with one neat bite.

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