Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I've been following up on the "war" theme.  Iraq?  Get out.  Treat the troops well--give them a rest.  Iran?  Now is not the time to be pushing things.  Defence, not attack.

I've been to his website, where there is a long bio of him in a style I would call, "Well, it's all true!"  It is important to know, maybe, that

About James Webb

His fifth novel The Emperor's General was purchased by Paramount pictures as the largest book-to-film deal of 1998.

But then I thought.  Hold on.  What about the other countries?  What are his views on Pakistan, for instance?  In my search, I came across a 1998 piece of his called, "What to Do about China."

Here's the final paragraph--the context is: He has declared that China is an expansionist power.  His evidence: China, he says, helped Pakistan build their nuclear bomb, so expansion here means influence, I think.  Anyway, here's his summing up.

What To Do About China

Beyond doubt, China will object to such a refocusing of. policy with accusations of an attempt to "contain" legitimate Chinese interests. But every expansionist power in this century has made similar claims against those who have tried to quell their aggression. And it is China, through its internal repression, encouragement of nuclear proliferation, and even the possible manipulation of our political process that has made such efforts necessary.

Oooooookay.  He's a soldier.  Everything is a battle to him.  But, you know, this is war talk.  In the article (written in 1998) he talks about the key countries whose relationship with the US should be...heh...he wrote it better than me.

What To Do About China

They can begin by putting American relationships with Japan, India, Israel and Russia on a much firmer footing. Along with the United States, these four countries possess the key ingredients of geography, military and economic power, and technological superiority to insure that China's future conduct conforms to international norms.

Here we go:

What To Do About China

First, Japan. Despite continual bickering over trade policy and its recent economic problems, Japan remains our sin le most important bilateral relationship. At the same time, Japan to date accounts for nearly 10 percent of direct investment in the Chinese economy, and 30 percent of China's external borrowing. Through its power to reorient these activities, Japan has the standing to influence China's economic and military conduct, particularly with American backing. As relations with China enter a new phase, we should work to strengthen this most important of alliances.

Second, Israel. It stands to lose greatly through the strategic axis China is developing with the Muslim world. The first foreign official to visit Pakistan after its detonation of nuclear devices was Iran's Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, who proclaimed that "Muslims now feel more confident that Pakistan's nuclear capability would play a role of deterrence to Israel's." Though he later played down this statement, the world must consider it in the context of Iran's attempt to develop nuclear weapons of its own also with Chinese - and Russian,-assistance. The United States and Israel must keep the rest of the world focused on this, and should not rule out pre-emptive military strikes if there is evidence that Iran is building a weapon.

Third, Russia.  Its, assistance to Iran and even to China seems based on its own economic need in the absence of a national strategy, as opposed to China's conscious designs. With respect to these two nations, American foreign policy has reached a true historic paradox. Having brought the Soviet Union to its knees, we watched Russia struggle with democracy at the same time we were flooding nondemocratic China with an excess balance of trade. As a result China now is rich enough to short-cut its rise as a superpower by buying Russian hardware and technical assistance off the shelf.

A principal goal of American foreign policy should be to offer Russia incentives to cease providing China and other nations with such capabilities. Russia itself should need little coaxing. The Soviet Union developed a strategic alliance with India in the early 1970's partly as a counterpoint to then-evolving Chinese power. Russia has a history of immigration and boundary disputes emanating from 2,600 miles of shared border with China, and remains at risk in its sparsely populated and mineral-rich eastern territories.

Fourth, India. Its importance to our strategic interests deserves fresh scrutiny. Although American businesses have become India's main trading partners, it has long been ignored by United States policy makers. India, a democracy with a legal system based on English common law, has the demographic makeup and geographical position to become an important ally, as well as a trading partner on a much larger scale. Its population of nearly one billion represents a potential consumer base almost as large as China's.

Our past tensions with India can be understood in part by choices made during the cold war, when both India and Indonesia sought warmer relations with the former Soviet Union based on their mutual fear of China's move toward regional dominance. Although India signed a security treaty with the Soviet Union in 1971, it did so when the Nixon Administration was vigorously pursuing fresh relations with China. Nor should stronger relationships with India be interpreted by Pakistan as a rejection of our interests in that country, any more than Pakistan's closeness to China has been viewed here as a rejection of the United States.

I mean, I sort of understand it, country's are considered as things, things with influence and--heh!  That was Jim Webb on Foreign Relations back in 1998.

Ya know, he's not a peace-monger.  He's been a soldier, his son is a soldier, his father was a fighter pilot, war war--always another war.

My thought a few moments ago: Would he--in history books far in the future--be seen as first having brought the US back to economic efficiency, and then continued wars across the world--does he believe in diplomacy--well, that's where they lie to you and you pretend to believe them.  And lie back, of course!

There's something about his visceral war stories, the guy who wrote Jarhead said (if I'm remembering right) "You know, they think all those war films will put us off.  Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Black Hawk Down.  But you know, we watch those films.  We love 'em.  And then we go sign up."

PARADE Magazine Articles

Journey's end.

And here, in the shadow of the Pakistani border at the far edge of Afghanistan, we finally link up with Corporal Ramirez. Dripping sweat, he breaks from a working party when our helicopter arrives, greeting Jim and me with a handshake and a quick embrace before getting back to work. My son later joins his squad on a combat patrol up into the steep mountains. Then, as night falls, we talk for more than an hour of home and of Afghanistan. The seductive quiet of the mountains, where al-Qaeda's forces watch, listen and hide, can be deceptive. Shortly before our arrival, a three-man patrol repeated an earlier route and was quickly wiped out as it stepped down a ridgeline into a ravine. The platoon is still haunted by the bravery of the patrol's radio operator, a 19-year-old Tennessean who fought the attackers to his death, giving up his radio only when they cracked his forearm on a rock to pry it out of his hand.

The message for Corporal Ramirez, carried so many thousands of miles by my son, is a letter from my daughter, Sarah. I have no need to read it to know the gist of what she said.  This is the second time that Corporal Ramirez has deployed to Afghanistan in little more than a year. I have seen her struggle with the pain of these separations-forgoing normal college rituals, forcing herself to learn more about this proud oddity called the Marine Corps and this remote country that has the potential to so drastically alter her life. I have listened on the phone as her calmness descended into sudden tears when asking about news of casualties. Two days before my trip, I watched her celebrate her 21st birthday, an evening of forced gaiety with one glaring, remembered absence.

And yet, saying good-bye to Jose the next morning as a Black Hawk helicopter swoops in to take us back to Bagram, I know something else-that he and I, and so many others, cannot allow ourselves to feel unique in these emotions. Indeed, they are being repeated a hundred thousand rimes over, every day, among those who have been sent into harm's way. My only wish is that the rest of America might somehow comprehend their depth and their intensity.       

Ya know, I want to ask him why those tears are so marginal, while sitting on a hill in Afghanistan is so necessary.

It's those al Qaida in the bushes!  Which makes me think his political thinking....

Heh....that wry smile of his when he was asked if he'd run for Vice President.  I can't find the clip...eh...He said something like, "I would recommend they don't ask me."

American Legion Magazine

How Did We Fight? The Vietnam War varied year by year and region by region, our military's posture unavoidably mirroring political events in the United States. Too often in today's America we are left with the images burned into a weary nation's consciousness at the very end of the war, when massive social problems had been visited on an army that was demoralized, sitting in defensive cantonments and simply waiting to be withdrawn. While reflecting America's final months in Vietnam, they hardly tell the story of the years of effort and battlefield success that preceded them.

Little recognition has been given in this country of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground and how well our military performed. Dropped onto the enemy's terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America's citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompetently on a tactical level should consider the enormous casualties to which the communists now admit. And those who believe that it was a "dirty little war" where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that it was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought. Five times as many Marines died in Vietnam as in World War I, three times as many as in Korea. And the Marines suffered more total casualties, killed and wounded, in Vietnam than in all of World War II.

I don't know--he doesn't seem to have ambitions as leader of the US just yet.  He's a military man and he wants to (help) sort out the US military.  His geo-political thoughts read, to me, as standard conservative.  I've read very different accounts of the events he recounts--I probably read them here or at moonofalabama.org

Yet the nature of growth is change, and for now he wants to get the military out of the hands of the republicans.  (Is how it seems to me now, anyway ;)

So I'd give him the special job of clearing up the mess left by the republicans--with special orders to arrest the guilty and bring them to court, soldier.  Yes Sir!

Yes!  He's the classic grunt.  Grit you teeth, follow the orders, you want to change things, you'd better get yourself into a position where you can give orders, but never forget the grunts.

But...I dunno.  Those grunts fighting for geo-political reasons that don't make sense to me.  Why would a US politician be interested in clipping China's expansionist wings--well, I suppose a career soldier--a military defender of the Constitution of the United States of America.

U.S. Armed Forces Oath of Enlistment

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of (STATE NAME) against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of (STATE NAME) and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.

....budr--I'm just hunting around, there does seem to be a belief that he would make a good leader, from both sides of the political fence, and those towards the right seem, to me, to be old-style Cold War soldiers--

So...hmmm...he represents...the Obama Republicans in the same way he calls himself a Reagan Democrat?


hey!  I'll finish with something (slightly) more lighthearted.

I end up thinking--will my toothache go away?  Ah!  The power of meditation.  heh!  I liked it when he said one reason he decided to run for the Senate was seeing the absolute lack of leadership after Hurricane Katrina.

Virginia Senator Jim Webb Speaks Out Against Marijuana Laws | Stop the Drug War (DRCNet)

Freshman Virginia Sen. Jim Webb's name has come up as a possible Democratic VP candidate. Judging from his new book, A Time to Fight, the decorated Vietnam vet might be a good choice. "The time has come to stop locking up people for mere possession and use of marijuana," he writes. "It makes far more sense to take the money that would be saved by such a policy and use it for enforcement of gang-related activities."

Webb, who took office in 2007, criticizes the drug war and prison-industrial complex: "Either we are home to the most evil population on earth, or we are locking up a lot of people who really don't need to be in jail, for actions that other countries seem to handle in more constructive ways."

Yeah, a complex character.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 09:53:43 PM EST
Yes!  He's the classic grunt.  Grit you teeth, follow the orders, you want to change things, you'd better get yourself into a position where you can give orders, but never forget the grunts.

rg, I think you're onto something there.  Webb sees the world as an old soldier, a classic man of honor.  I think he would not hesitate for a moment to commit troops if he really believed the security of the United Stated depended on it.  He would throw himself on a grenade if that were the only way he could save his comrades.  But by the same logic, he would never, ever send our troops into harms way for mere political gain as Bush and Cheney have done, nor would he stand quietly by and allow that to happen.  I think he would fight them all if he had to to prevent such a thing.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 02:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that soldiers that have known combat (real combat) are always going to be those that are the least likely to support military action unless absolutely needed? They will be willing to support the threat of military action, and to recognise its necessity (both things which can already be seen as too aggressive, for sure), but have a higher thershhold to actually go for it.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 05:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that must depend on the soldier.  Black Ops are carried out by military personnel, the School of Americas, torture, assassination...I wondered what Webb's take on these kinds of things was/is.  From my very limited experience, I think the "good soldiers" follow the rules and are kept out of the "do what we have to do" loops--Abu Ghraib being an example--

"Special Forces"....

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 07:00:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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