I've survived some terrible summers, but this is the worst. Somebody kill me. Fresno's been putting on a show, crunching a whole lifetime of stupid misery into a few hot months. And I mean hot. We've been setting records down here. Today it hit 107 degrees. Tomorrow we're due to reach 109. Luckily, Thursday should be a cool, breezy 103.
I had figured this summer would be a little easier to handle now that I've shucked off a layer of blubber (I slimmed down a bit to try to ease my kidney situation). But no, God just made it a few degrees hotter to make sure I stay as sweaty and miserable as ever, cooking in my own fat.
People here have been going crazy since it started heating up. The Fresno PD managed to get our fine city some international press with a new approach to fighting crime: cracking down on 11-year-olds. In case you didn't read about it, what happened was this 11-year-old girl threw a rock at some kids who were splattering her with water balloons, so the Fresno cops swooped down with three squad cars and a chopper. They wrestled her down, cuffed her and charged her with felony assault. She did a week in juvie isolation, with no access to even her parents, before they let her go.
Jailbait: Fresno's Most Wanted!
Naturally her lawyers yelled racism, because she's Mexican. I don't buy that. It's not racism, it's plain cowardice. That's the key to understanding what's happening in the world today: plain old cowardice. Somewhere along the line we lost all the brave people. Now we've just got a lot of phony blowhards. The cops who wrestled that little girl around were just like the cops you see on Reno 911, playing tough once they were sure the suspect couldn't fight back. I drive past gang corners every damn day, and I never see the Fresno PD giving those bastards any trouble-they're too scary. So they wait till it's a little girl who defended herself against a bunch of bullies, then they swarm her like a SWAT team.
We've got this Fresno intellectual who likes to strut the same way in the local paper. He's one of these snotty assholes with three names: Victor Davis Hanson. Oh, sorry: Doctor Victor David Hanson. He's got a Ph.D. and he teaches at Fresno State.
This fool passes himself off as a military historian, writing columns about Iraq and Afghanistan and everything else he feels like babbling about, but he doesn't have a clue about contemporary warfare. Every war nerd on the net knows more about what's happening in Iraq than he does. But that doesn't stop him. He teaches Classics, he's written a half dozen books on ancient warfare, and he never lets you forget that he's a professor and you're not.
In his last column for the Fresno Bee, he sneered at people who don't have Ph.D.'s for daring to have opinions about the war in Iraq: "What do a talented Richard Gere, Robert Redford and Madonna all have in common besides loudly blasting the current administration? They either dropped out of, or never started, college. Cher may think George Bush is 'stupid,' but she-not he-didn't finish high school."
Since I never even finished my AA degree, I took that kind of personally. I guess it's my fault for not getting into Yale on pure merit like Bush did. That column got me so furious I daydreamed about driving down Highway 99 to Hanson's farm and setting all his orchards and vineyards on fire. I kept thinking of what the Spartans said when one of their neighbors threatened them: "Your cicadas will chirp from the ground," meaning, "We'll burn your fucking olive orchards if you mouth off again."
Professor Hanson is one of these "back to the land" assholes who can afford to live on a farm because he's got tenure for life at Fresno State-they can't fire him for anything less than a major felony. It's classic welfare state socialism that funds his estate, but that doesn't stop him from moralizing about the benefits of free market solutions. So he writes these columns from his farm in Selma, a few miles down the road from Fresno, about the sanctity of private land and private enterprise and the life lessons of farming.
He doesn't even suspect what a total hypocrite he is. According to his official online bio, Hanson graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1975. I don't know if you non-Californians understand what that means. UC Santa Cruz is the official sex-and-drugs campus of the whole UC system. It's so hippie-cool and mellow it doesn't even give grades, which are just too bourgeois. You just get little notes from your teachers. The kids who go there are rich brats who don't have to worry about getting a job-because graduating from there is like telling your future employers you were stoned for four straight years.
And Hanson graduated from there in 1975. I can only dream about what it must've been like to be a student at Santa Cruz back then, at the climax of the hippie days. I seriously doubt if anybody on that campus was un-stoned from enrollment to graduation, or un-laid for more than a week.
So here's a question for you, Professor Hanson, Mister Morality: how many coeds did you screw when you were at UC Santa Cruz? And how many drugs did you take?
But you know, I could take all Hanson's hypocritical pompous bullshit if he only knew something about contemporary warfare. He doesn't. All he knows is that he's in favor of Gulf War II, and to defend that mess he's willing to slander Bush Sr's magnificent victory in Gulf War I. This is insane, really insane-taking America's only outright strategic victory since 1945, our most glorious campaign since Inchon, and turning it into a defeat just so you can make Bush Jr's fiasco look a little better. Here's Hanson's treasonous account of Gulf War I:
"War I (January 17 to March 3, 1991)
"The First Iraqi War : started over Saddam Hussein's August 2, 1990, invasion of Kuwait. His occupation precipitated the American-led coalition's efforts to reclaim Kuwait through land and air attacks. Saddam's complete capitulation was seen as satisfying the war's professed claim of restoring the sovereignty of Kuwait.
"But despite retreating from Kuwait and suffering terrible damage to his armed forces, Saddam, like the Germans in 1918, claimed that his armies had been repelled while on the offensive. So he passed off a setback as a draw against the world's superpower - and thus a win by virtue of his own survival against overwhelming odds.
"In any case, we called off our forces before the destruction of the Republican Guard. We also refused to go to Baghdad; we let rebellious Shiites and Kurds be tragically butchered; and we failed to enforce all the surrender agreements. Apparently the U.S. wished to bow to the U.N. mandates only to expel Saddam from Kuwait, or was worried about our Sunni partners who wanted a lid on Kurdish tribalism and Shiite fervor inside Iraq."
There are so many evil lies here, I don't know where to start. First there's the phony comparison to Germany after WW I. There's no comparison at all. Saddam's Kuwait invasion wasn't a nationalist war like WW I, and no matter what Saddam said, every dog in the street in Baghdad knew perfectly well that the Iraqi army had been outclassed and savaged. Moreover, the Germans fought for four years and nearly won, whereas Saddam got his ass completely whipped in a three-day land war. Fact is, we did it right in Gulf War I. We neutered Saddam, destroyed his ability to threaten anybody, and left him in charge of his hellhole country. It was American diplomacy combined with military power at its finest. And this pig tries to say it was a defeat!
Hanson goes on to say that we "refused to go to Baghdad" because we wanted to please the UN. Bullshit. We used the UN to build a huge alliance (something Bush's idiotic son didn't think was necessary), and we stayed out of Baghdad because Powell and Bush Sr. knew what would happen if we tried to occupy Iraqi cities. We're going through the consequences of that mistake right now; how can anybody pretend not to understand, by now, why it was a bad idea, and why Bush Sr. was right the first time?
What's amazing is that Hanson is actually trying to blame Bush Sr. for not jumping off the cliff first, before his idiotic son did. Like I said, it's insane-until you realize it's being done just to make Junior's disaster look good, which Hanson needs to do because he's been shilling for Bush Jr.'s war from day one. Hanson isn't just insane. He's one sleazy dude.
He proves his sleaze when he moves on to Gulf War II:
"War IV. (April 2003 to present)
"The Fourth Iraqi War ("The Insurrection," "The Occupation") began immediately after the end of the conventional fighting and continues today. It was framed by the fact that the United States would not simply leave after toppling Saddam yet had never really gone into the Sunni Triangle in force during the three-week victory. War IV was waged by a loose alliance of Wahhabi fundamentalists, foreign jihadists, and former Baathists against the American efforts to fashion an indigenous Iraqi democratic government."
Here again, there's so many lies it's hard to know where to start. Like, what the hell does Hanson mean by saying we never attacked the Sunni Triangle? As military history, that's pure nonsense. The only reason he says it is because he has to explain to himself how come the insurgency was able to come on so strong after we kicked ass in the conventional war. And see, Hanson can't admit to himself that there was a difference in the kind of war being waged, a transition from conventional to urban-guerrilla warfare. If he once admitted that we're dealing with an urban guerrilla war now, he'd have to face the historical fact that modern armies still don't have an effective counter for that mode of warfare.
Victor Hanson: American Traitor disguised as a fit, likeable "doctor" of Classics
And all that ancient Greek stuff won't help Hanson deal with urban guerrilla war, because there was nothing like it in the ancient world. In those days conquerors wiped out cities the second they showed any sign of uppity behavior. Urban guerrilla wars were pretty quick and pretty unsuccessful: rise up against the occupier, and literally every man, woman and child gets slaughtered, and the offending city covered in salt. End of story.
One of my favorite examples of Roman "pacification" policy was what happened to the Helvetii, a Celtic tribe that used to live where Switzerland is now. Europe was a feisty, tricky place in those days, like Africa is now. Tribes were always on the move.
The Helvetii decided they'd make a move on Northeastern Gaul, grabbing the land and wiping out the Roman-vassal tribes occupying the land. The entire Helvetii tribe numbered about 370,000, and from that they could field about 110,000 fighting men-every male who could hold a spear. They smashed into the settled Gaul tribes easily, grabbed a swathe of territory and prepared to keep advancing until they had enough good land to support the whole tribe.
What the Helvetii hadn't factored into their big move was the Romans. Julius Caesar got a message from his Gaul vassals pleading for help against the Helvetii. At this point he had six legions under him in Gaul, almost 300,000 men. But he wanted more, because he had something a little more drastic in mind than just defeating the Helvetii. He was out to exterminate them. So he called up another two legions, which meant he had 400,000 trained soldiers against 110,000 part-time tribal warriors.
It was no contest. The Romans surrounded the Helvetii and started stabbing their way through the mass of warriors, then the civilians. As they advanced, the legions would herd a few saleable-looking women and children away from the killing. They were sent to holding pens in the rear to be sold as slaves. The main body of Roman soldiers kept working through the mass of Helvetii, stabbing and stabbing. Roman soldiers were taught to use the short sword-"gladius," which is where "gladiator" comes from-to stab, not slash. Stabbing made a deeper wound, more likely to tear up a guy's guts and give him a fatal infection. The stab was also quicker than the big dramatic downward smash those hammy heavy-metal barbarians were addicted to.
At the end of the battle, they had slaughtered 220,000 men, women and children-60% of the whole tribe. Must have been exhausting too. Imagine the sheer hard work it took to kill that many screaming, scrambling people with the Roman short sword, not much bigger than a Bowie knife.
We could do it, way more easily than the Romans. We'd burn only as many calories as it takes to press a button. If we had the will, we could wipe out the whole population of the Sunni Triangle in a few days. If we used neutron bombs, we could do it without even messing up the area too badly. It would sure stop the insurgency.
Trouble is, that kind of genocide just isn't popular these days, and nobody, not even Professor Hanson, is ready to argue for it. It's hard to argue you want to bring democracy to the Sunnis by making them extinct. And what Hanson and morons like him won't admit is that short of genocide, there is no military solution to urban guerrilla warfare.
So Hanson cheats like a ninth grader, trying to avoid facing the urban-guerrilla problem. He makes fake lists like this one: "From the various insurgencies of the Peloponnesian War to the British victory over Communist guerrillas in Malaya, there remain constants across 2,500 years of time and space that presage victory or defeat."
Oh, like we're supposed to believe he chose that Malaya example just by chance, huh? It so happens that the Malayan insurgency of the 1950s is the ONLY guerrilla war that was won by the occupying army, in this case the Brits, and that's why Bush's spinners like to cite It. You know why the Brits "succeeded"? It's real simple: the insurgents were all ethnic Chinese, and the Malays hated their guts. They were a small, easily identified ethnic minority. The Malays never needed much of an excuse to start chopping up Chinese people, and when the Brits gave them license to kill they went at it full time. Then the Brits up and left.
It was a relatively small affair: over 12 years, some 7,000 MRLA guerrillas were killed. Just to give you a real comparison, one American general recently said that in the last year alone, we've killed or captured 50,000 Iraqi insurgents, yet, this same general admitted that the insurgency is only gaining strength.
If Hanson thinks we can chop up millions of heavily armed, aggressive Sunni Iraqis the way the Brits mopped up a few thousand Red Chinese in Malaysia, he's insane. And maybe he is-all those years of the state subsidizing his phony "farm" and students sucking up to him for a good grade have driven him into a psychotic delusional state.
But I don't really think he's insane-just a traitor, a liar willing to keep shoving American troops and money into a meatgrinder just so he doesn't have to admit he was wrong. Sooner or later we're going to have to face it: these NeoCons don't care about America any more than Stalin cared about Russia. They're not just wrong. They're traitors.