Both John and Tom have served in the Republic of Panama, John for some weeks while attending the Jungle School at Fort Sherman, Tom for four and a half years with Fourth Battalion, Tenth Infantry (as a sergeant) and Third Battalion, Fifth Infantry (as a lieutenant). Tom says, "If the place where you were happiest in life is home, then my home is Fort William D. Davis, Panama Canal Zone, with the 4th of the 10th Infantry, from 1977 to 1978."
It's a magic place, Panama, and we highly encourage our readers, or anyone, to visit it. (Did we play some games with the terrain in support of the story? You betcha. But Panama is still a great, wonderful and very beautiful place.)
Can they fight, though? Is the portrayal of the defense in the book realistic? After all, the United States took them down in a bit over twenty-four hours back in 1989. How good could they be?
And that is an interesting question. In 1989, in Operation Just Cause, the United States launched a sudden and surprise attack on the then existing Panama Defense Forces and did crush those forces in about a day, picking off holdouts over the next three to four days. This would not appear to be a great recommendation.
That is, it doesn't appear to be until you look at the particulars. We hit them in the night, where we have an overwhelming technological advantage. We hit them with little or no tactical warning. We hit them with greater, and in places overwhelming, numbers and overwhelming firepower, even though the use of that firepower was somewhat restrained. Further, we hit them with complete air supremacy and used that air supremacy to deliver, over and above the rather large forces we had in Panama already, three of the best trained, most lethal infantry battalions in the world, the three battalions of the 75th Infantry (Ranger) (Airborne). More forces followed on, later, as well.
The wonder is not that we took them down in a day, but that they were able to hang on that long. Indeed, if there's any wonder in the story it's that, even when abandoned by some (one remarkably loathsome and cowardly wretch, in particular . . . West Point . . . Class of 1980) of their U.S. trained officers, the others held on and fought.
The wonder is that at their Comandancia, parts of a couple of Panamanian infantry companies fought against hopeless odds, nearly to the last man. There were only five prisoners taken there, and all of those were wounded. The rest, true to their duty, died in place. Moreover, they drove us out of the compound more than once before they were finally subdued. There were more Texan prisoners taken at the Alamo.
The wonder is that, despite all those disadvantages, the PDF managed to inflict about three casualties on us for every four they took.
Did we mention that some young Panamanian kids with almost no time in uniform kicked the bejesus out of a U.S. Navy SEAL team?
So, yes, they're a tough and a brave people, well within the western military tradition, and—properly armed and trained—they can fight.
Of course, the western military tradition, outside of the U.S. and U.K., isn't what it used to be. Oh, the formations are still there, some of them. The weapons are, if anything, better than ever. Even the men—and women, too, of course—still have much of what made the West great inside them.
Unfortunately, the West itself has largely fallen under the control of civilizational Dr. Kevorkians. Some call them "Tranzis."
"Tranzi" is short for "Transnational Progressive" or "Transnational Progressivism." For a more complete account of their program, look up John O'Sullivan's Gulliver's Travails or some of what Steven Den Beste has written on the subject. You might, dear reader, also look at John Fonte's The Ideological War within the West. Lastly, for purposes of this little essay, look up Lee Harris' The Intellectual Origins of America Bashing. These should give you a good grounding in Tranzism: its motives, goals and operating techniques. All can be found online.
For now, suffice to say that Tranzism is the successor ideology to failed and discredited Marxist-Leninism. Many of the most prominent Tranzis are, in fact, "former" members of various communist parties, especially European communist parties. These have taken the failure of the Soviet Union personally and hard, and, brother, are they bitter about it.
Nonetheless, our purpose here is not to write up "Tranzism 101." It is to illustrate the Tranzi approach to the laws of war.
That's right, boys and girls. Pull up a chair. Grab a stool. Cop a squat. Light 'em if you've got 'em. (If not, bum 'em off Ringo; Kratman's fresh out.)
It's lecture time.
(WARNING! Authorial editorial follows. If you just
adore the International Criminal Court, then read
further at your own risk. You have been warned.)
One of the difficult things about analyzing Tranzis and their works is that they are not a conspiracy. What they are is a consensus. Don't be contemptuous; civilization is nothing more than a consensus. So is barbarism. Moreover, the Tranzis are a fairly cohesive consensus, especially on certain ultimate core issues. Nonetheless, if you are looking for absolute logical consistency on the part of Tranzis you will search in vain.
On the other hand, at the highest level, the ultimate Tranzi goal, there is complete agreement. They want an end to national sovereignty and they want global governance by an unelected, self-chosen "elite." Much of what they say and do will make no sense, even in Tranzi terms, unless that is borne in mind.
Below that ultimate level one cannot expect tactical logical consistency. Things are neither good nor bad, true nor false, except insofar as they support the ultimate Tranzi goal.
For example, if one were to ask a Tranzi, and especially a female and feminist Tranzi, about the propriety of men having any say over a woman's right to an abortion the Tranzi would probably be scandalized. After all, men don't even have babies. They know nothing about the subject from the inside, so to speak. Why should they have any say?
Nonetheless, that same Tranzi, if asked whether international lawyers and judges, and humanitarian activist nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, should have the final say in the laws of war, would certainly approve. This is true despite the fact that the next lawyer, judge or NGO that understands as much about war as a man understands about childbirth will likely be the first.
Why do we say they know nothing about the subject? By their works shall you know them.
The International Criminal Court is, after the UN and European Union, the next most significant Tranzi project (Kyoto being dead on arrival) and arguably the most significant with regard to the laws of war. A majority, if a bare one, of the world's sovereign states have signed onto it while about half have ratified it.
The ICC claims jurisdiction over all the crimes mentioned in its founding statute, irrespective of who committed them, where they were committed, or whether the "crimes" are actually criminal under the traditional and customary law of war. This is called "universal jurisdiction."
Universal jurisdiction, as a concept, has a number of flaws. Among these are that it has zero valid legal precedence behind it.
Zero precedence? Tranzis will cite at least two precedents. One of these is the jurisdiction exercised from times immemorial by any sovereign power over pirates at sea, when any were caught. The other is Nuremberg. These are flawed. In the case of Nuremberg, the jurisdiction exercised was not "universal" but national jurisdiction of the coalition of the victors over a Germany whose sovereignty had been temporarily extinguished by crushing defeat in war.
The piracy precedent as applied to modern notions of universal jurisdiction doesn't stand close scrutiny any better. The Tranzis claim that universal jurisdiction was exercised over piracy because piracy was, in its conduct and effect, so ghastly. This is wrong on both counts. In the first place, pirates were not necessarily subject to universal jurisdiction except insofar as they were caught where national jurisdiction did not run; typically at sea, in other words. Moreover, alongside piracy there existed privateering. In their conduct the two were often enough indistinguishable. In other words, however "ghastly" privateering may have been—and the former residents of Portobello and Panama City could have told one it could be ghastly, indeed—it was still not subject to universal jurisdiction. No matter that piracy was no worse than privateering, it was so subject. The difference was that sovereign powers, nation-states in other words, exercised sovereign jurisdiction over privateers, were responsible for their actions, and punished them at need, while they did not and could not with pirates. It was the lack of sovereign jurisdiction, both as to their persons and as to the locus of their crimes, that left pirates open to universal jurisdiction and not any supposed "ghastliness" of those crimes.
Along with the lack of valid legal precedence, the ICC and universal jurisdiction suffer other flaws. Recall, dear reader, the lack of Tranzi logical consistency on the questions posed above about abortion and the laws of war.
Anti-imperialism is yet another Tranzi tactical cause. But what is imperialism beyond one or several states or people using force or color of law to make rules for another or other state or people? And what is the ICC, using all the staggering moral and military power of . . . oh . . . Fiji . . . France . . . West Fuckistan . . . but the attempt at enforcing rules made by one group of states upon others? It's imperialism, in other words.
Of course, imperialism in the service of a higher cause—the raising of unelected, self-styled, global elites to power, for example—is praiseworthy, in Tranzi terms.
Nothing deterred, the Tranzis claim that Tranzi courts, to include notionally national Tranzi courts like those of Spain, have universal jurisdiction. Why?
Tranzis hate national sovereignty. It cramps their style. It interferes with their program. It's aesthetically unappealing.
Their goal is the destruction of national sovereignty. The right of a people to democratically make their own laws, to govern themselves, is anathema to Tranzi goals and dreams. When they say "global governance," boys and girls, they mean it. They really intend that unelected bureaucrats and judges, and self-selected elites ought be able to tell you what to do, how to live, what to pay in taxes, what rights you are not entitled to.
Sovereignty stands in the way. The ultimate expression of sovereignty is a nation's and people's armed forces. No army; no ability to defend one's own laws and way of life; no sovereignty.
But how to do away with sovereign control of national armed forces? It's a toughie. They've got all these guns and shit, while the poor Tranzis have none.
"Aha! We know," say the Tranzis. "We can control a nation's armed forces if we can punish the soldiers and especially the officers and a nation refuses to stand up and defend them. No nation which permits a foreign court to exercise jurisdiction over its military can any longer be said to own that military. Instead, that military will be owned by the courts able to punish the leaders. Onward, into the future, comrades!"
Let them punish your soldiers and the soldiers can no longer be counted upon to defend the nation. Nor would you deserve being defended by your soldiers. Let them punish the soldiers and there is no principled distinction to prevent them punishing the President, the Legislature, even the Supreme Court. For who would defend the President, Legislature and courts once the same have let down their soldiers? Let them punish your soldiers and you deserve what you get . . . and to lose what you will lose.
It would be one thing if the ICC were something more than a misguided exercise in legalistic Tranzi mutual masturbation; if it could, in other words, be effective in limiting the horrors of war.
It cannot be effective. Ever.
This is because of the very nature of war itself. There is nothing a court can do that, in terms of punishment that deters, even begins to approach the horror men inflict on each other in war, routinely, in the course of normal and legal operations. There is nothing any court can do that can even hope to catch the interest of tired men, hungry men, men fighting for victory and their lives. No sensible court would even try.
There is some conduct which cannot be deterred. When life is at stake, the law recognizes no "no trespassing" signs. When the choice is between picking pockets at a mass hanging of pickpockets, and risking the noose, or facing slow starvation . . . well . . . at least the rope is fairly quick.
Similarly, when the choice on the battlefield is life or death, what power has some uncertain court distant in both time and space to deter anything? The simple answer is; it has none. What trivial power has the law with its trivial possible punishments to deter conduct that might save soldiers' lives, their comrades' and their country's in the here and now?
* * *
Yet we can see that, however imperfectly, the customary law of war has often worked—even without any such body as the ICC and without Spain's recent disgusting, illegal, morally putrescent attempt at exercising sovereignty over American soldiers. It has worked imperfectly, to be sure. Yet it has worked often enough . . . indeed, within western war it has worked more often than not.
Where the laws of war have worked to mitigate the horror and protect innocent life they have, by and large, done so when the combatants were of the same culture, shared the same values, and had what we might like to think of as a basic decency.
That's rarely been quite enough. It needed a little something else, some other reason to follow the rules.
The other reason was the threat and fear of reprisals.
Tranzis hate reprisals, which are war crimes in themselves but war crimes which become legal in order to punish an enemy who violates the law of war, deter him from violating it, and remove the advantages which accrue from such violations. The Tranzis don't hate reprisals merely because they're ugly, cause suffering of innocents, etc., though they hate them for those reasons, too. No, Tranzis hate reprisals because reprisals work to enforce the laws of war and their own silly courts fail.
Reprisals work? You're kidding us, right?
Wrong. Why wasn't poisonous gas used in the Second World War? The threat of reprisal. What happened when, in 1944, the Germans threatened to execute some numbers of French resistance fighters and the French Resistance, which was holding many German prisoners, answered, "We will kill one for one"? The French prisoners held by the Germans were left unharmed. Why didn't the Southern Confederacy during the American Civil War execute the white officers of black regiments as they had passed a law to do? Because the Union credibly threatened to hang a white Southern officer for every man of theirs so mistreated. Why didn't the United States or South Vietnam execute, generally, Viet Cong guerillas who had gravely violated the laws of war in the course of the insurgency there? Because the North Vietnamese had prisoners against whom they would have reprised had we or the South Vietnamese done so.
Reprisals work; courts and statutes do not. The law of war, because of the nature of war, must be self enforcing, through reprisals. Nothing else can work and any attempt to do away with reprisal is an indirect attack on and undermining of the law of war.
But then, the law of war and mitigating its horrors are not really what the Tranzis are about. Undermining national sovereignty? Replacing sovereign nations with themselves? That's what they're about.
The Tranzis aren't about eliminating war's horrors? Oh, John, Oh, Tom . . . say it isn't so.
(Interject dual sigh at the vast iniquity of mankind here.)
Recall that we mentioned that Tranzism is the successor philosophy to Marxist-Leninism. It should come as no great surprise, then, that one of the key pieces of Tranzi legislation on the law of war should have been sponsored and forced into existence by . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . THE SOVIET UNION.
This key piece of Tranzi legislating on the law of war was Additional Protocol I to Geneva Convention IV. The protocol itself was shoved through by the Soviets at a time when it looked like People's Revolutionary War (guerilla war . . . communist insurgency) would continue to be a powerful weapon to advance the cause of communism. The United States has never ratified it and, pray God, it never shall. The Russians, who forced it through, have never paid it the slightest attention, as witnessed by their conduct in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 and, more recently, in Chechnya.
The protocol is interesting for three reasons: what it purports to do, what it actually does, and for the admittedly slick way in which it tries to do it.
The slickness is in the way the protocol is structured. It begins with a pious preamble, typically enough. That isn't the slick part. What is clever is that it repeats much of what was already in Geneva Convention IV (GC IV), which is concerned with the protection of civilians caught up in war (as is the protocol), and then interweaves some very new things. The new things include major advantages, given gratis, to guerillas and especially communist guerillas, a broad ban on the use of what it calls "mercenaries," one rather unreasonable restriction on the use of food as a weapon, and a subtle way of saying "It's okay to push the Zionist beasts into the sea."
Then, when a nation refuses to ratify the additional protocol for any of the at least five really good reasons not to do so, it stands accused of anything from being in favor of mass rape to forced medical experiments a la Josef Mengele. Never mind that all that is prohibited by the original GC IV and that the additional protocol adds nothing of importance. "You refuse to ratify the additional protocol? You Nazi bastards!"
Are these guys slick or what?
As to what the protocol is supposed to do, protect civilians, one has to wonder. It is part of the traditional law of war that, in case of a siege, a city may have its food cut off and civilians attempting to escape may be fired upon, even killed, to drive them back to eat up the food. This is cruel to be sure, an "extreme measure" as the U.S. Army's manual on the subject admits. Cruel or not, this was upheld in the late '40s in the case of United States v. Ritter von Leeb and is still—up to a point—good law, outside of Tranzidom. Geneva Convention IV ameliorated this harsh rule, and reasonably so, by requiring that some evacuations for particular reasons (maternity, infancy, infirmity, for example) be allowed.
The protocol, however, does not allow food to be cut off or civilians to be driven back into a besieged town to eat up whatever food is there. Naturally, one cannot permit food to enter without at the same time feeding the garrison, which will ensure for itself that it eats first. Therefore, the besieger has a choice, sit there forever—which is generally impractical—or take the place by assault. Now imagine what will happen to the civilians if the town is stormed, when every room receives its donation of grenade and bullet. And this is supposed to protect them? Starvation, at least, while unpleasant, offered a good chance for a besieged town to fall after a few lean days without the massacre intendant on an assault.
What then is the purpose of the additional protocol? It is to disadvantage the West, to reduce its military power, thus to reduce its sovereignty. Since being forced into existence by the Soviets the protocol has had no other purpose.
The law of war nowhere mentions the phrase "illegal combatants." Tranzis will tell you that, therefore, there is no such thing. This is false.
There is a legal principle, a Latin expression, "Expresio unius exclusio alterius est," the inclusion of one is the exclusion of the other. While the law of war does not mention "illegal combatants," it goes to some length to explain what is required to be a legal combatant. If there is such a concept as legal combatancy, and rules which must be followed to attain that status, then failure to follow those rules places one in the implicit status of illegal combatant.
Those rules are four. To be a legal combatant under the original Geneva Convention, which is quite different from the additional protocol to which the United States is not a party, one must a) wear a fixed insignia recognizable at a distance, b) carry arms openly, c) be under the command of a person or chain of command responsible for your actions (much like a privateer was under a sovereign and a pirate, again, was not), and d) conduct operations in accordance with the customs and laws of war. Failure to meet any of these conditions makes one an illegal combatant.
Note, here, that individuals do not "conduct operations." Organizations conduct operations. This implies that one is responsible for the actions of one's organization as well as for one's own.
Can you hear the sound of Tranzi heads exploding over that last?
They might seem to have a point. Civil law normally doesn't permit people to be held responsible for the actions of others, right? Wrong. Look up "conspiracy." Once someone becomes part of a conspiracy they become responsible for everything their coconspirators do. Moreover, within the law of war's concept of reprisal, perfect innocents may be effectively responsible for what their side does. After all, what happens when a side violates the law by using a hospital, say, for an ammunition dump? The perfectly innocent and otherwise protected wounded are blasted from this world to the next in reprisal.
Equally so, within an armed force, both by "d)", above, and under the practical effect of the doctrine of reprisal a combatant is responsible for both his own actions and those of his organization.
It works the other way, too, by the way. Note that General Yamashita was hanged not for anything he ordered or could have prevented but for things subelements only notionally under his command did.
What does this mean for the current war? It means that every Saudi kid, inspired to go to Iraq to fight by watching some truck driver's head sawed of on Al Jazeera, has—in civil law terms—voluntarily joined a conspiracy to fight illegally and is thus an illegal combatant and that—in law of war terms—he is an illegal combatant even if he personally follows the rules completely.
Those who would grant him legal combatant status, the Tranzis in other words, thus are trying to improve and enhance the effectiveness of those who would and do violate the law of war.
This is something you would expect from an enemy, right?
So what can we do? What would John and Tom like to see done?
Number One: Never forget that the Tranzi purpose is inimical to our own, that they are the enemy as much as Hitler was or al Qaeda is. They want us, as a distinct nation and people, to cease to exist. They want our constitution overthrown or made subordinate to their law, which amounts to the same thing. They want our military made subordinate to their judges, so that it can be undermined and made unable or unwilling to defend us. They want us to lose our wars.
Number Two: Remembering that the Tranzis are the enemy, give them no aid, no money, no support. Do not give them a foothold into the armed forces and if such foothold exists (say, in the form of an institute devoted to peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance) close it down. Audit the Tranzis' books; they're as corrupt as imaginable and could not well stand auditing. They tend to lie, especially to raise money. Require that their charitable activities advertise truthfully and punish them when they do not. Jail a few of the bastards. On second thought, jail a lot of the bastards. Remove their tax exempt status on the first whiff of impropriety. When the ultimate Tranzi organization, the UN, cheats the Iraqi people and hides the details of the thefts, withhold the funds otherwise due to the UN and pay it to the Iraqis instead . . . with no chance of ever making good to the UN any such amounts withheld and given.
Number Three: Did you know that the United States has what amounts to a conditional declaration of war in place should anyone have the gall to grab one of our soldiers to turn over to the ICC or some other Tranzi court? It's called the American Servicemembers Protection Act and it passed unanimously in the Senate. (Sometimes your country just makes you proud.) We should look for an opportunity to exercise that law . . . and sometime soon. Spain might be a good place to start.
Number Four: Even when we have them on the ropes do not let up. Finish them off. Make the Tranzi organizations extinct and the parasites who live off of them spend the remainder of their days poor and hungry. Do not weep for the Tranzis.
Number Five: Don't, don't, DON'T give up hope. The Tranzis are not going to win. Their center of gravity, Europe, is dying to demographics. Within the United States and with our own Tranzis much the same thing is happening regionally and subculturally. The prize Tranzi projects, the UN and EU, are staggering under a burden of incompetence, ineffectuality and corruption. Moreover, say what you will about Muslim extremists, they're still damned good at demonstrating to the world outside of Europe what happens when you let the Tranzis take over.
By the way, Tom and John intend to fight the bastards all the way.