The Null Device

A modest proposal

A gonzo rant about critique of where the Forces Of Good's Iraq strategy falls down, and why attempts at recruiting idealistic young peacekeepers is exactly the wrong way to go about it:
The last kind of person we need in Iraq is a young, idealistic intellectual. These people make lousy conquerors, as was proven repeatedly in Vietnam. In colonial wars, what you really need to get the job done are efficient professional killers, like the French Foreign Legion or the Korean mercenaries we used in Indochina. People like this, when they go into a "problem" village, they dont spend a lot of time with the Inspector Closeau search for the hidden insurgents among them. They just chop everyones heads off and move on.
If you want to recruit killers for foreign conquest, you need to be able to offer them the three basics: treasure, murder and pussy. This is why Iraq is a dead end. There is no pussy in Iraq, absolutely none. No "me so horny" scenes will be shot in the inevitable Iraq movies. There is treasure, but the soldiers dont get any; you cant steal a sack full of oil. Impotent white guys in Texas get all the treasure, which must really piss off the soldiers. That leaves murder as the prize. And as is made clear in the Klein column, we are not making murder part of our sales pitch.

Mind you, actually conquering Iraq may be the wrong way to Win The War(tm):

A much simpler and significantly more profitable strategy would be to invade France and Germany and leave Afghani and Chechen sentries there to keep the peace. No more worries about Airbus contracts or the euro in that scenario. And with Shamil Basayev sitting in Jacques Chirac's office, it is hard to imagine domestic unrest being a serious problem. Beyond that, we wouldnt need to pay a ransom for our new mercenary security force: The women of France would be sufficient compensation for at least the first few years.

There are 15 comments on "A modest proposal":

Posted by: Ben Fri Nov 28 15:25:02 2003

Korean mercenaries in Indochina? I don't think this person knows what he/she's talking about.

Posted by: Nostradamus Sat Nov 29 01:06:54 2003

Hmm...this article is more than a little misguided, especially in its presumption that the American occupation is a "colonial war." One would assume from the stigma his diction attaches to the conflict that he was opposed to it from the outset. Only a fool with that mindset would believe that the United States truly intends nothing more than the brutality of a conqueror towards the Iraqi people, and should adopt such a stance.

Posted by: nyx Sat Nov 29 10:08:19 2003

Hahahaha, that's great stuff. *applause*

Posted by: Ben Sat Nov 29 13:55:06 2003

The odd thing is that Iraq has been (and still pretty much is) a loyal client-state of the US and British for 30 years. Why they invaded them is anyone's guess, but remember that a collapsed economy such as the US's requires perpetual war. The US Govt. has been busy looting the corporate sector and manipulating the stock-market bubble, now things are so bad that they are going to have to keep on invading their allies.

Posted by: Graham Sat Nov 29 15:55:45 2003

Ah! Though in Australia, they wouldn't have to invade by force. See the pending Free Trade Agreement.

Kind of like the auld Whitlam/CIA theory.

Posted by: mitch http:// Sun Nov 30 00:00:41 2003

You all should read some of the new Iraqi bloggers - not just Salam and Riverbend.

Posted by: mitch http:// Sun Nov 30 00:28:07 2003

...I'd better say why. The urgent and earnest discussion going on at places like is just light-years from the views of a paid cynic like Taibbi, with his musings about the difficulties of recruiting "killers for foreign conquest".

Posted by: acb Sun Nov 30 07:35:40 2003

I just liked the idea of a cabal of triumphant neoconservatives in Washington deciding to conquer France and install puppet Afghan/Chechen warlords in Paris, just because they can.

Posted by: mitch http:// Sun Nov 30 10:33:10 2003

Well, Cosma Shalizi's own "modest proposal" is that the Afghan army be used in *Iraq*. Under the Mongols, Iraq was apparently ruled from Iran, and Afghanistan used to be part of Iran, and OBL is always comparing Bush to Hulegu Khan, Mongolian destroyer of the Abbasid caliphate (when he's not calling him the "Pharaoh of the age")...

Posted by: acb Sun Nov 30 15:52:55 2003

I thought that "Pharaoh" was a specifically Jewish term for the oppressors, and that Moslems were more likely to use "Crusader".

Posted by: Joe http:// Sun Nov 30 18:19:26 2003

Still trying to blame everything on the Jews?

Posted by: mitch http:// Sun Nov 30 21:36:41 2003

Remember that Moses, like Jesus, is also considered a prophet of Allah. I think there's a hadith which says that every people had a prophet, some time before Muhammad the final and universal prophet came along (which gets around the old "Why would the Amazonian Indians go to Hell, when they've never even heard of Jesus?"). Anyway, pharaohs are figures of worldly tyranny in Islam too.

Posted by: Nostradamus Sun Nov 30 22:53:27 2003

Hahaha, I'm assuming his suggestion of using the "Afgan Army" (If such a thing exists) in Iraq is just absurdist humor. I fear for him if it's not, being that not only is Afghanistan being critically ignored by developed nations who have pledged to help it, but the last thing we need is a horde of ragtag illiterate brutal mercenaries "peacekeeping," in Iraq.

Posted by: mitch http:// Mon Dec 1 08:26:08 2003

Judge for yourself:

Posted by: Ben Tue Dec 2 13:33:44 2003

Which reminds me, there are some rather good hour-long rants from Reverend Fred Phelps you can download from his websites and There are some fantastic soundbites there.

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