Thursday, November 20, 2008


This Day in the History of Near Complete But False Victories

On this day in 1950, U.S. Marines followed Republic of Korea troops and pushed to the Yalu River, within five miles of Manchuria. The utter defeat of the guys who started the war in June, the Communist North Koreans, was already accomplished and had we prevented China from entering the war with the strategic use of nuclear weapons against Chinese troop concentrations, North Korea would have remained free (as free as South Korea) and the rest of the world would have noticed that we carried a very big stick indeed. How that perception would have changed subsequent military history in Southeast Asia is unknowable. Would the Russians have started a nuclear war with us over our keeping Chinese forces out of North Korea? That's the question which stopped President Truman from going 'all in' and allowed for unimaginable North Korean suffering for half a century or more. The Soviets and the Chicoms were never tight. In fact, Russia waged a lukewarm border war with China in 1969. I'm not saying we wouldn't have gotten our hair mussed, but I do believe the Soviets would have ultimately had only harsh language in response to our nuking Chinese divisions in Manchuria and North Korea.



Whereas I understand and agree w/ dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I believe advocating the use of tactical nuclear weapons against the Chinese is one of the more insane ideas you have ever suggested.

You're right. North Korea is hell on earth and too bad for them. If we had used tactical nuclear weapons against the Chinese in 1950, do you think our relationship w/ Chines wuld be what it has been since Nixon visited? Don't you think the Chinese would now view us they do the Japanese?

You should think that proposition out a little more.


I have thought this through.
A slightly worse relationship with China after they were shooting at and being shot at by Russians is the hair mussing I mentioned. It certainly pales in comparison to what the North Koreans have gone through. Also, the second use of all our weapons to defend freedom might well have banked down the Commie fire in the blood to liberate other nations from the horrors of a free market. Also rather than the paper tiger most of our enemies have (sometimes falsely) believed we are, which has led to commie adventurism at the cost of the locals, would have been further undercut. We (and perhaps the Brits) are the only ones who have the moral capital to use nukes. We should have spent that capital in the defense of others.
Sorry Rog. That proposal constitutes moral and empirical insanity.

A small nuclear weapon dropped in late 1950 would have likely worked wonders lasting for decades.

Don Drysdale threw a lot of knock-down pitches at batters. Very often he'd throw a second pitch at the same batter during a later at-bat in the same game. The second knock-down pitch was to let the batter know the first was not an accident.

Deterrence has benefited the world. When thug dictators fear the US, their danger to others is minimized.

Unfortunately, I have low hopes for the Obama administration when it comes to scaring thug dictators into compliance.

We'd get a lot of mileage out of sending a series of cruise missiles, carrying conventional warheads, into the government offices in Tehran and Damascus. I'm pretty sure the muslim middle east would become the picture of tranquility after that.
Look to tomorrow's thought of the day, T. No offense.
No slappz, I see what you're thinking, and I am in general agreement, but a series of nuclear weapons attacks on Chinese troops would be a bean ball to the batter's right eye rather than a little chin music. Strikes on the government heads of state invites a retaliation we're not sure we have the ability to avoid. Good strategic thinking though. Deterrence is the goal, and a moral one at that.
I know my view is controversial and extreme, but...

It has always seemed odd to me that we will spend vast sums fighting ground wars that take many lives when we can now simply wipe out a handful of people who are managing the opposing forces.

I'd rather see the leadership of Iran destroyed with a series of aerial attacks than see the US get into another conflict that goes on until we are exhausted, as we are now with respect to Iraq.

It would a relatively simple matter to neutralize the half-baked Iranian military as well as the political leadership. That would start a scramble for power and, of course, many angry Iranian fundamentalists would shake their fists and call for the death to the Great Satan.

If a new government emerges that is as hostile as its predecessor, then another round of missile shots would keep them hopping. After several rounds of defeat, the moderates might finally rise to power.

That would perform the dual function of liberating Lebanon.

A few shots at Damascus would have similar salutary effects. The world would be a better place without the Assad family..

And while we're at it, we can inform the other middle east muslim nations that it is their duty to accept the so-called Palestinians as naturalized citizens.

Those clowns are the only refugees in modern history to pretend they are citizens of a nation that never existed while generations of them are born in other sovereign nations.

If any of the "palestinians" pushed out of Israel in 1948 had reached the US and had had children, those children would be Americans. However, in the middle east, they are Palestinians, which means they have no rights anywhere and no country, even though there are now an estimated 4 million of them -- up from about 500,000 who left Israel in 1948. Amazing.

Bottom line: I think my strategy would lead to far fewer deaths for all, and an end to many burning hostilities in a relatively short period.
Lots of unintended consequnces from an attack on Iranian leadership. Like burning tankers off the Straits of Hormuz. Better in this day of precise munitions to take out leadership than a mass strike on a city, but even the cleanest of hits will ripple through history in ways we can only guess at. Thanks for the comments, very thoughtful and not that controversial to me.
I know that every action has its unintended consequences. But that's always true. Moreover, that's what we really deal with every day.

Our current financial problems can be traced to the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act which forced banks to offer mortgage loans to people with lousy credit scores, poor job situations and no downpayment money. At that point we started down the slippery slope that brought us to our current state.

We misjudged our impact in Iraq and instead of a war lasting a year or two, we're still there. However, I do feel we can claim victory.

Nevertheless, I think we'd have gained control much faster if we had fired a number of cruise missiles into government offices in Tehran and Damascus to clarify the risks to those leaders resulting from aiding the fight against our forces.
A few thoughts Gentlemen,

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, particularly 5 years removed from those bombings, the ethos of nuclear weaponry had changed to the extent that using them--at least for any sane and moral nation amongst whom I do not count North Korea or Iran--was and remains morally, politically, and environmentally unaceptable.

no_slappz. Good to read your comments again. I agree w/ you regarding the Plaestinians. I do not disagree strongly w/ the rest of your comments save one. Blaming the CRA for the subprime mortgage fiasco is a dog that won't hunt. Only about 30% of these loans were made by institutions that were subject to the CRA.

Whereas the problem does not have only one cause, what enabled the toxic mortgage mess to become systemic was the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 which repealed part of the Glass- Steagall Act of 1933. The GLBA permitted commercial banks to act like investment banks by permitting the securitization of mortgages.

I agree, T, that we haven't used nuke weapons since Nagasaki, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have. Now we don't have to as our conventional munitions now are a focused laser beam compared to a nuke blunderbuss. And I do agree that without repeal of part of Glass- Steagall (during the Clinton administration) there is no fiscal meltdown, but without the CRA there is no push to lend money to those who won't pay it back, and no fiscal meltdown either. Give the Devil his due.

The CRA had nothing to do w/ it. The problem was that the banks failed to check out the credit worthiness of the borrowers, instead delegating that chore to "mortgage brokers" whose only incentive was to close loans b/c that how they got paid. The banks did not care b/c the banks securitized or sold the loans and then it was someone else's problem, someone downstream.

It was like the Moldau, only ugly instead of beatiful.

Rog, didn't you pay attention to all of those sci fi movies we saw while growing up?



It was due to the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act that banks were first Prohibited from applying successful lending criteria to ALL borrowers.

As I stated, the 1977 CRA was the first step on the Slippery Slope.

Subsequent legislation expanded the market for uncreditworthy borrowers and Wall Street responded by creating methods for insuring the low-quality loans.

In the end, unreliable borrowers did was they usually do -- default. But this time their numbers overwhelmed the system.

If ALL borrowers had been required to have decent credit scores, reasonably secure employment and a hefty downpayment, would we be where we are today? No.

The Subprime Lending market is old and well established. But the successful operators always required big downpayments from subprime borrowers. The lenders prospered and the subprime market succeeded as long as those borrowers coughed up enough downpayment money.

But the legislative changes liberalizing and politicizing the lending process killed it.

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