There Is No Iraq War; There Is Only the Euphrates War

The Anbar Campaign,” by Bill Roggio, The Fourth Rail, 4 August 2005, http://billroggio.com/archives/2005/08/the_anbar_campa.php.

Is “the Iraq War” now really a name for operations in Anbar province, the Sunni Arab rejection portion for the country? Is our focus really just subduing a small violent minority?

medium_iraqalanbar.png
The Anbar War?

That is one impression of a detailed post over at The Fourth Rail, arguing that recent Coalition offensives are all focused on the Euphrates River in Anbar province.

Map of Battles:

medium_anbar_campaign_md.jpg

List of Battles:

Operation River Blitz
February, 20 2005 to Present
Ramadi, Hit, Baghdadi and Hadithah.
Iraqi Security Forces and elements of the 1st Marine Division

Operation Matador
May 7, 2005 – May 14, 2005
Western Iraq
2nd Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Marine Division

Operation Squeeze Play
May 23, 2005
Baghdad
Two battalions from the 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division; two battalions from the 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force; three battalions from the 2nd Brigade Special Police Commandos; and Soldiers from Task Force 2-14, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

Operation New Market
May 25 to Present, 2005
Haditha
Marine Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division; a company of the Iraqi Security Forces

Operation Thunder/Lightning
May 25-29, 2005
Baghdad
Upwards to 40,000 Iraqi and Coalition soldeirs

Operation Veterans Forward:
June 16, 2005
Tal Afar

Operation Spear
June 17, 2005
Karabilah
Regimental Combat Team-2, 2nd Marine Division and Iraqi Security Force

Operation Dagger:
June 19, 2005
Thar Thar
1,000 Marines and Iraqi troops

Operation Sword
July 6, 2005
Hit
Regimental Combat Team-2, 2nd Marine Division and Iraqi Security Force

Operation Scimitar
July 9th, 2005
Zaidan about 20 miles southeast of Fallujah
3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team-8, a company of Iraqi soldiers

Rawah
July 18th, 2005
Elements of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team

Let’s hope so. The Iraq War has been a skilled combination of encircling, subverting and co-opting the most important state in the region: Iran.

The correlation of forces is constantly improving. If we can remove the Sunni Arab threat to the free Iraqi Government, the Kurdish-Shia government can be a force for liberation in neighboring dictatorships and one of the greatest achievements of the Bush Administration.

The Beloved Warrior’s Theme (Lyrics for "All The Way Up to Heaven" by Guster)

All The Way Up to Heaven,” by Guster, Lost and Gone Forever, 28 September 1999, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00001SIEW/002-8053330-8680837?v=glance (lyrics).

Why is monotheism positively correlated with violence?

Because when God loves you this much, you can do anything for Him.

He said to only look up
He said to never look down
Down is where he came from
He said to hope for the best and take a load off my chest
Soon I could be happy
And go all the way up to heaven
And go all the way back home
(whistles)
He thought I might need his help
No one gets high on themselves
I just seem so lonely
He’s just trying to be nice
And spread around his advice
I could be that happy
And go all the way up to heaven
And go all the way back home
Stay the way I am today and serve to more disaster
He could tell a fairy tale that’s happy ever after
Just relax and green of grass will grow here for a change
Maybe then we’ll last a million years or more..or more..or more
And go all the way up to heaven
And go all the way back home
Yes, I do believe what he says
I want to be happy
I could show you this hell
No one gets by on themselves
He can make me happy
(It’s a long silent peace)
And I will only love him
(It’s a weakness in your knees)
And I will never look down
Down is where we came from
(It’s a perfect place to go for everlasting love)
Because it’s all in the past
(Nothing to fear, nothing to hide)
He took a load off my chest
(You just say what’s on your mind)
(Needn’t think before you speak)
Ooh cause it’s not happy
(This is how it’s meant to be)
Cause I had needed his help
(Never high, never fall)
No matter how by myself
(You can do no wrong at all)
I am going nowhere
(In this heaven up above filled with everlasting love)
And now I’m changing my plans
Because we only live once
Ooh could be this happy
Once, I could live by his side

It might be the theme of Saint Paul and Heavan.
It might be the theme of Mohammad Atta and Paradise.

It’s the theme of any super-empowered monotheist faith-warrior.

No wonder the polytheist Romans were spooked.

No wonder the faithful can embrace struggle and pain.

Computer Games Are Good For You (And Your Children)

Chasing the dream,” The Economist, 4 August 2005, http://economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=4246109 (from Slashdot).

A wonderful article on The Economist and intellectually empowering computer games, and their critics:

First, an interesting divide between the Generations of Virtual Warriors and strangers to such mental dexterity

Start with the demographics. Attitudes towards gaming depend to a great extent on age. In America, for example, half of the population plays computer or video games. However most players are under 40—according to Nielsen, a market-research firm, 76% of them—while most critics of gaming are over 40. An entire generation that began gaming as children has kept playing. The average age of American gamers is 30. Most are “digital natives” who grew up surrounded by technology, argues Marc Prensky of games2train, a firm that promotes the educational use of games. He describes older people as “digital immigrants” who, like newcomers anywhere, have had to adapt in various ways to their new digital surroundings.

Then, statistical evidence that computer games physically pacify the population, as generations are raised up used to fighting with their minds, not hands

Game players, it turned out, were no more aggressive than the control group. Whether the participants had played games before, the number of hours spent gaming, and whether they liked violent movies or not, made no difference. The researchers noted, however, that more research is still needed to assess the impact of other genres, such as shoot-’em-ups or the urban violence of “Grand Theft Auto”. All games are different, and only when more detailed studies have been carried out will it be possible to generalise about the impact of gaming.

But as Steven Johnson, a cultural critic, points out in a recent book, “Everything Bad Is Good for You” gaming is now so widespread that if it did make people more violent, it ought to be obvious. Instead, he notes, in America violent crime actually fell sharply in the 1990s, just as the use of video and computer games was taking off. Of course, it’s possible that crime would have fallen by even more over the period had America not taken up video games; still, video gaming has clearly not turned America into a more violent place than it was.

And some concrete examples of the benefits of being a Virtual Warrior

Another area where games are becoming more popular is in corporate training. In “Got Game”, a book published last year by Harvard Business School Press, John Beck and Mitchell Wade, two management consultants, argue that gaming provides excellent training for a career in business. Gamers, they write, are skilled at multi-tasking, good at making decisions and evaluating risks, flexible in the face of change and inclined to treat setbacks as chances to try again. Firms that understand and exploit this, they argue, can gain a competitive advantage.

Not that facts will stop the Puritan Left from attacking


Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
He Knows What Is Best For Your Children,
So You Don’t Have To

This summer there has been a huge fuss about the inclusion of hidden sex scenes in “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”, a highly popular, but controversial, game in which the player assumes the role of a street gangster. The sex scenes are not a normal part of the game (see above for a typical image). But the offending scenes can be activated using a patch downloaded from the internet. Senator Hillary Clinton and a chorus of other American politicians have called for federal prosecutors to investigate the game and examine whether the industry’s system of self-regulation, which applies age ratings to games, is working properly. Mrs Clinton accused video games of “stealing the innocence of our children” and “making the difficult job of being a parent even harder”.

In June, Senator Charles Schumer held a press conference to draw attention to the M-rated game “25 to Life”, in which players take the role of a policeman or a gangster. “Little Johnny should be learning how to read, not how to kill cops,” he declared. True, but little Johnny should not be smoking, drinking alcohol or watching Quentin Tarantino movies either. Just as there are rules to try to keep these things out of little Johnny’s hands, there are rules for video games too. Political opportunism is part of the explanation for this double standard: many of gaming’s critics in America are Democrats playing to the centre.

Happily, in this fight time is on the side of the right

Like rock and roll in the 1950s, games have been accepted by the young and largely rejected by the old. Once the young are old, and the old are dead, games will be regarded as just another medium and the debate will have moved on. Critics of gaming do not just have the facts against them; they have history against them, too. “Thirty years from now, we’ll be arguing about holograms, or something,” says Mr Williams.