O, She was, the Mother of All Battles.

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Today at Froude Society, I’ll look at some twentieth century middle eastern history that is also, in part, a book review. Our piece in question is actually a series of interviews conducted by American military historians of Saddam’s General Hamdani during the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Since the work was conducted by red imperial agents for the betterment of their mission it must be scrutinized severely, yet, as a primary source, it is likely far more valuable than Woods’s secondary writings on the same subject. Being able to autopsy a recently deceased regime is a privilege for the historian. This food for Faustians should be enjoyed with guilt, as the suffering wrought by Saddam’s ouster is incomprehensible.

Martin van Creveld said that Bush’s invasion was the worst military disaster since the massacre at Teutoburg forest, perhaps hyperbolic, but not wrong. Opposition to the war was one of my first tangible political positions, the ignorant 4/5th grader that I was felt something true. Unless one is a direct recipient of GOPe power there is no possible way to argue in favor of that unlucky catastrophe. In every measure it was a failure. A hanged man from Tikrit was not worth a trillion dollars.

In another respect, the war revealed America’s elemental weaknesses and timidity. Casualties incurred, while unjust, were tiny relative to the total coalition population. Four thousand killed was reached in a few hours on the Western or Eastern fronts. Publics and their opinion makers responded with a deluging ‘war weariness’, expressed in cultural and electoral means. It permanently damaged militarism a la Vietnam as well as the parties who carried out the scheme- namely Bush & Blair. This represented a total inability, be it due to wickedness or hubris, for the hawkish faction to carry through a winning set, even with a cataclysm like 9/11. It was also emblematic of how important the information organs are to martial campaigns and how nonexistent outer party control is of them. “Faux News”, “Rummy lied people died”, ring any bells? I recall in early 2008 or so that the administration and Bush specifically had become the easiest punching bag in town. Monkey George a butt of any ‘stupid’ joke at my suburban white school. Neoconservatism did not error by inability or even political strategy, as Hamdani and Woods posit towards the end. They failed because democracy cannot win military conflicts when it plays by its own mad charade.

As General Hamdani goes into detail regarding, the Sham has been a historical convalescence taking innumerable forms. He notes the well know Sassinid vs. Roman and Ottoman vs. Persian conflicts but there is so much more to it beyond Iraq proper. From essentially Sinai and the Bosphorus to Astrakhan and the Indus, an immeasurable number of tribes and peoples have emerged, most to fall unmentioned. Magian civilizations have already passed through many periods of decadence like the West is going through now. If we are to take Spengerlian cycles truthfully then the West cannot understand the Near East because they are in different stages of their life spans, regardless of the essential facts.
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Yet, the Orient has always steered away, in the long run, from a demotism that factually binds sovereignty. Oriental despotism was known to the Greeks and has never lost sway in its homeland. Hamdani presents Saddam as a novel, though arch-typical, Oriental Despot. Even though Hamdani tries to describe him in pseudo-scientific (‘psychological’) terms right before this, the characterization is likely accurate.

We cannot call it schizophrenia, but Saddam lived a life of impersonation, where every personality would emerge in an instant. for instance, in one moment, you would find Saddam Hussein the intellectual, who would think as deeply as a philosopher would over a subject, as a good leader or decision maker. the next moment he would be like a naïve and backward farmer. He would switch from being a civilized person to the stubborn Bedouin personality he held deep within himself. This switching back and forth is what people who dealt with him could not stand.
Saddam saw the importance of the warrior unlike almost any modern statesmen, to a dangerous fault, which should be noted for any future HRx regime’s leadership.
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Saddam believed that military effectiveness was a matter of the “warrior”—much as in medieval terms—and the spirit and morale of soldiers, not necessarily of training, organization, or discipline. To him bravery on the battle-field, exemplified by his personal vision of the Arab fighter, was the only reasonable measure of military effectiveness. As Hamdani mentioned in reference to Saddam’s later confrontations with the Americans, the dictator could not grasp the significance of the scale and technological superiority of the American military.
There is also this remarkable insight that makes those in our station connect with Saddam on a spiritual level, he may have been foolish and somewhat mad, but he had his heart set on glory.
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…for his whole life, Saddam could only imagine war as a tribal conflict or like the conflict between Alexander the Macedonian and the Persian King Darius, or the conflict between Salahad-din and the Crusaders. I mean this was his concept of war, which did not adapt to modern times. He was always thinking of himself as a kind of Genghis Khan, Hannibal, or Alexander. He had a picture of these tribes or armies fighting with the sword. Saddam never actually realized that there was a huge difference between modern war and ancient war. [In modern war], there are other implications, political implications, international lines that you just cannot cross. Since I could not confront him too directly, I once told Saddam, “Most of our commanders looked at the war from the tribal perspective, more one-on-one warfare and not the bigger picture of modern war or today’s war.” He refused to listen

As troublesome as Ba’athist Iraq was, it was nowhere near as chaotic and insane as its mortal rival. While I plan to do a much deeper study of the Iranian Revolution in the future, from the outset, that event appeared to be more characteristic of revolution than of counter-revolution. Woods on the outset of the scene in 1980:

Even after the purges,the Iranian military had little standing with those in the political realm. Military professionalism was simply not in the vocabulary of Khomeini’s regime. the alternative to the professional military in Iran was a number of revolutionary militias. None of these militias had any serious military training, nor, as Hamdani would describe,did they possess leaders with even the slightest understanding of tactics.

The militias—in some cases no more than small groups swearing fealty to a local imam or ayatollah with political ambitions—often acted independently, obeying no instructions and initiating combat actions without orders to do so. Local Iranian commanders appeared to have had almost complete freedom of action, whatever the strategic or operational consequences might be. This may well explain the fact that some Iranian units began shelling Iraqi towns and military positions in a rampageous fashion before the Iraqi invasion began and before the initiation of large-scale military operations.thus, one can hardly speak of coherent Iranian military operations, much less a strategic conception, throughout the first 4 years of the conflict
Hamdani then goes on to recount the tale of a POW who had traveled 700kms with thirty other men directly to the front lines to meet the commander associated with their Imam,  this is logistically unprecedented in the West since probably the 17th century. Zeal can compensate for so much in war because winning is primarily about getting your opponent to concede, death and destruction to submission may be impossible. As is illustrated in the interviews, Iraq could not muster a military machine grand enough to march all the way to Tehran. While the converse, a conquest of Baghdad, was very much possible. We see here the geographic defence that prevented Roman and Ottoman conquest beyond the mountains east of the Tigris. Saddam, like Hitler or the First Coalition, thought they could swiftly knock out a purged, cannibalizing enemy wrapped in tumult- all three were wrong. I believe this trend is due to the fact that power is always the greatest, and most wieldable, in fresh states & sovereigns.
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Supreme leader Khamenei in his younger days
To survive, the Islamic Revolution had to defend itself, in which it succeeded. The majority of the war they were on the counter-attack, their failure to beat Saddam was due to a few factors.
The fact that Khomeini’s military forces, both the regular army and the militia, were increasingly becoming an all-infantry army that relied almost entirely on human wave attacks had a considerable effect on the fighting. The lack of armor and artillery limited the pressure Iranians could put on the Iraqis on the northern front, because while the mountainous terrain on the border favored infantry operations, the more open terrain lying beyond provided Iraqi armor with an enormous advantage, of which it made full use. Similar factors held in the south, where swamps and waterlogged terrain helped the Iranians to the east of Basra, but the more open and urban terrain around Basra and to the west favored the Iraqis.

What differentiated regional military strategy in 1989 has become confused, but there are easy translations to the modern war to be made. Kuwaitis up against Saddam were as woeful as the Gulf Coalition against Yemen. It is very, very clear from the 20th century record that the Hejazi race cannot fight with these technological terms. Arabs continue to prefer fighting to maneuver, as Hamdani notes for all Eastern peoples. Kurds seem to appreciate maneuver the most but that may be US-Soviet influence.

Assad looks to be linking the Ba’ath bond and stacking up on the armour like Hussein before him. During 2011-12 Assadist tanks would roll up to a rebel town like Rambo, only to be beaten by cheap Qaddafi looted rockets. Tanks are very vulnerable now to being spotted from the air, wire guided missiles (Iran can make copies) are sure to destroy unmodified machines. Shiite militias have really maximized the armoured infantry vehicle, putting on extra shielding. All factions have been able to acquire a massive number of anti-aircraft turret mounted pick up trucks. These facts demonstrate that only under quite unusual circumstances will warfare devolve into all infantry slugfests, artillery and some degree of armour has widely proliferated after the opening up of the ex-Communist stocks. Night vision, IEDs, TOWs, and good air support have kept infantry very competitive, well out ranking new reactive armour, Yet we do not see Assad or the ISF/PMUs employing sophisticated tank manoeuver doctrine like the Israelis did in 2006.

 

Iranian advisors are now considered, in both the Assadist and Western press,  necessary to lead the Arabs against ISIS, or at the very least they are more competent than the Arab armies themselves (& the KRG sort of). Hamdani conceeds that the Iranians did have superior infantry operations at the time. Combine that with time to flesh out doctrine and I am quite certain Iran is becoming a formidable regular  force. Nevertheless, I doubt they could beat an advanced Western army of comparable spirit, but I doubt there is any country that can now advance men enthusiastic and skillful enough to invade and occupy.
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With such a devastating loss of life and opportunity, the Shiite Revolution sanctified itself. Random peasants donned the red headband and dutifully charged to their deaths. Such deeds cleansed their societies of decay to such an extent that sclerotic Western peoples are no match without their wealth. While insufficiently Reactionary in many policy areas, the Iranian Revolution was certainly counter-revolutionary spiritually, in that it brought a nation back from liberal modernity to metaphysical supremacy.

The embargo and brain drain were incredibly damaging, it is only now, after the curious rapprochement by State, that their economy can start reflecting the industry of their race. Never ones to miss a redemption story, the international community has leaped to reëstablish talks and trade. Being embargoed in the first place, and for so long, is indicative of how difficult ‘exit’ for a non-progressive state really is.

An unquivering foreign policy ran by the Revolutionary Guard is certain to outplay the Democratic powers and Saudis. Much like Saddam, the Ayatollahs have marketed themselves as the sworn enemy of Israel. All their kvetching on the pobrésitos Palestinianos cannot distract from the fact that war with Riyadh is much more worthy and immanent. Iran has spooked the Saudis and Israelis into an awkward but close alliance. Though dislike of Obama&co is also critical for this odd new couple. An invasion of the Gulf Arab states shall not occur if they can call in the US and Israel, Iran is therefore on the defensive. In that area they have likely succeeded, with the delivery of the S-300 Iran need no longer fear a conventional Zionist invasion, nuclear weapons or not, they are prepared to deflect the Western air-sea stratagems.

 

The future of Iraq is much more bleak, the continuing terror bombings by ISIS will remain well after the Takfiris are defeated in Mosul and the border with Syria is sealed. It is doubtful Iran will be able to keep Baghdad under their thumb for long, Shiite Arabs never forgot their sacrifice. Yes, a tremendous amount of influence will remain but it will be challenging to maintain the current level of vassalage. With the political situation in Baghdad so volatile at the moment, it is pure speculation to predict what may happen even a few months from now. If Abadi is overthrown and the USA retracts its financial patronage, as it warns, then a chance for an overtly pro-Iranian ruling clique materializes. Tehran’s insistence on sponsoring only religious allies may be too restrictive, and it presupposed a confessional loyalty of their Iraqi compatriots that is not fully there.

HRx Takes Its Exit

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It’s not natural for ideological units to maintain a unified big tent for long, history has little precedent of it. Even millennial old institutions like the Catholic Church or the Chinese Empire had considerable splintering during their golden ages. For a marginalized rebellious current, like the contemporary Far-Right, division is much more likely. Not only are rival camps inevitable, they are probably good for us.

I was inspired to pen this post after reading a wonderful four part series by Reactionaryfuture. As a few readers may be aware, Froude Society’s first public notice was voicing reservation to Landian Neoreaction on Xenosystems. A foundational purpose of my writing is to strengthen doctrinally pure, anti-Whig, Reaction. Simply put, Neoreaction is liberal and must be undermined as the standard bearer of the emerging Brahminate.

Never one to shy from the terms “Rightist” or “Reactionary”, I wholeheartedly embrace the distinction #HRx (Heroic Romantic Reaction), as the enumerated rival of NRx. (Credit to Land for coining the term and making it popular, it’s okay the acronym was made up for us.) Let’s examine what distinguishes the two parties.

Moldbug, by laying an immense foundation, was complex enough to be interpreted in very distinct manners. NRx concentrates on his economic writings and proposed solutions: stockholder sovereigns, Patchwork, block-chain protocols, exit, financial incentives, Austrianism, butt coin, ‘the reset’. Alternatively, HRx concentrates on his reading suggestions and historical/international writings: Carlyle worship, high-Toryism/Jacobitism, classical international law, Absolute monarchy, generalist  historiography, imperialism apologia, political theory, and the general aesthetic. It’s fair enough to say that neither side is willing to embrace the whole package; unless Mencius comes back and picks a side we’re going to keep on squabbling over who are his true followers. Regardless, we all agree on MM’s critiques of Democracy, bureaucracy, progressive morality, and the dominant institutions.

I believe this dichotomy is fundamentally spiritual. NRx is a materialist ideology, post-Ancap in essence, it’s no surprise then that many Neoreactionaries started out as Marxists or Libertarians. Conversely, HRx places the metaphysical at the root of all civic affairs. With raw power politics also superseding catallaxy.

The topic at hand is very much so a dichotomy and not a scale. A few this-or-that examples will prove my point: Rule by computer programmers or rule by Kings, Gnon or God(s). Patchwork or Imperivm. Whig or Tory. Mises or Lueger. Protestant or Catholic. British or Continental. Individualist or Tribalist. Modernist or Perennialist. Anglo or Teutonic. Positivistic or Pessimistic. Capitalist or Mercantilist. Realistic or Romantic. Trans-humanism or the Heroic. Corinth or Sparta. Industry or Agriculture. Financial determinism or Political determinism. STEM or the Humanities. Realism or Romanticism. Jew or Gentile. The colour orange or the colour white.

While not all of these are clearcut distinctions they make a lot of sense- NRx is always the former statement, HRx the latter. Being underground for so long, it would expectedly take this many years to figure out how we’re disagreeing so much, and over what.

My suspicion is that it all goes back to the fact that classical liberalism, even in its monarchical pre-1789 version, is effectively Reactionary to everyone not HRx. My neocon friend who reads Macaulay and Blackstone seemed the most radical of counter-revolutionaries a few years ago, now he’s a Straussian traitor who bows to grave false idols. Liberal memes are very hard to break, their illusions can only be defeated by those authors contemporary to the liberal in question. Latent liberalism is what will send any ‘reset’ back on the course to modern madness, purity isn’t just a meme, but a key tenant.

Reaction is a chance to rectify all the wrongs of last four hundred years, not merely the last seventy. NRx may intensely oppose modernity but comes to that conclusion by a rational weighing of pros and cons, not the burning red hand of holy vengeance. Not to discount the commitment of our rivals to resistance, they surely will resist with us nobly. Nevertheless, without embracing the Romantic they will not be able to amass the spiritual energy needed to slay the Adversary. To a disillusioned young Brahmin in search of meaning HRx gives a much more appealing program since it directly satisfies his longing for glory, leadership, and the divine.

Neoreaction isn’t made up of “the trike”, two of the spokes are marginalized and better fit with us here. Techno-commercialism is NRx, one is the other and the other is the one, there is no distinction. If one has any reservations regarding capitalism/economism then EHNN ARRGH EXSC is certainly not the ideology for you. Tech-com thinks of capitalism as some sort of elder-God that must be sacrificed to by all means possible. It does not seek humanities’ redemption but the implementation of a post-human computerized despotism via cyborgs or super machines. Man may be a rough beast but he is our only reliable conduit to what is above and beyond, tech-com forfeits any bets on humanity for good reasons, yet, such a conclusion is untenable for several centuries more and is morally reprehensible. It is betrayal of the entirety of our species to the perceived wills of its own financial and computational tools. The true Reactionary perceives the phenomenal extent of greatness that may be achieved by great men, that fundamentally better results will be achieved by fostering excellence amongst the best of men, rather than tending to inanimate gadgets and lines of code. Disraeli stated it forthright to the materialist liberals of his day:-

That question is this: Is man an ape or an angel? I, my lord, I am on the side of the angels.

Aesthetically, NRx is beholden to two sources, universe of the robots-esque science fiction and the much more admirable Lovecraftian cosmic horror. There is certainly some beauty and grandeur that can be drawn from these reservoirs, nevertheless, they dwell upon very anti-Reactionary things. Primarily a lionization of chaos and entropy. The true Reactionary should hate such, casting it out forthwith!  He aught to strive for growth and structure always, especially so in an environment of pervasive disorder. We may be on the precipice of chaos, but that should only motivate us to strive harder to keep it at bay, to look hither, not down at the abyss. It is similar to the Marxist who obsesses over capitalism to where he cannot think without its presence, yes, it is chaotic out there, we do not need that anti-sucture to think as we do. Why not “Order Patch”, hmm?

Historically “free markets” have in no way been tied to Reactionary leaders or figures, since the position could be identified it was associated with mercantilism. Liberal revolutions: the American, Spanish American, the first French, KuK 1848, were greatly motivated by dissatisfaction with the mercantile policies of the court. Hungarian nationalism and to a lesser extent Italian nationalism, were indistinguishable from the local liberal movements. If one recalls the grievances of the Boston mob they mostly concerned import duties, minor tax for a standing army, and nonsensical “natural rights”. When NRx kvetch about shekels it is clear they have absorbed a tremendous amount of yellow intoxicant. As Rxfuture said, to criticize mercantilist policy as “socialism” demonstrates the narrow vision of our rivals, it is hardly worth a serious repose. Their eyes are so jaundiced that they see Pink when there is only White. Here is Carlyle obliterating libs in LDP:-

“Awake, arise — before you sink to death eternal ! Unnamable destruction, and banishment to Houndsditch and Gehenna, lies in store for all nations that, in angry perversity, or brutal torpor and owlish blindness, neglect the eternal message of the gods, and vote for the Worse while the Better is there. Like owls they say, Barabbas will do ; any orthodox Hebrew of the Hebrews, and peaceable believer in M’Crowdy and the Faith of Leave-alone will do : the Right Honorable Minimus is well enough; he shall be our Maximus ; under him it will be handy to catch mice, and Owldom shall continue a flourishing empire.'”

Firstly, one must wonder what exactly it is about our economics that they find so despicable. Since we hate the international banking cabal™ we would not further any of the financial insanity that is so blatantly criminal. If speculation is under control and the currency is stabilized any state with an able population will meet production needs. What exactly do you need more “growth” for? Over production, excess supply, short sighted planning, egregious waste, are all undesirable, not desirable. Cost of living, as any progressive could tell you, is a small fraction of total wealth available, this is quite advantageous to a wise sovereign seeking stability. Augustus gave the plebs a grain dole and public shows, was he a pinko too, Hurlock? Welfare may be dysgenic but the market is hardly much better, poor and stupid people regardless of the superstructure have more children with birth controls available. An authoritarian eugenics system plus patriarchy is the only way to guarantee human stock moves in the right direction. Neither of which are compatible with personal freedoms and individual rights, and from that, thus too, your precious markets.

Secondly, by acknowledging corporate bodies are all of the same organizational essence then one must also admit that allowing a more powerful corporation into the sovereign space disrupts the sovereign’s absolute control. If your “patch” the size of Lebanon allows Seimans or Coke to operate as they please, you’ll soon realize they are the dominate party simply by their size and wealth. USG Empire isn’t just DoD and State, it has levied corporations the world over to its side, it is impossible the whole world will buck democracy simultaneously, therefore, any reacto-society would have to struggle with a business culture still smoking progressive crack. Employees trained by “Five Habits of Highly Effective People” are not going to facilitate Pagan essentialist hierarchy if there isn’t an iron fist to guide them, the invisible hand will not do. Most all countries who are in opposition to the Cathedral also have national catallaxy, though their success varies wildly. It speaks volumes that Land, the defacto leader of tech-com, chooses to reside in the autocratic PRC even though he hails Capitalism as saviour, political structure ultimately takes precedence even to the most materially minded. I agree with Yockey that the Soviet Union was ultimately more Rightist at the end of the day because economics is not part of the Left-Right spectrum of Calrylean-Menciian theory, or at least mostly irrelevant to it. Yockey’s political theory outlined in The Enemy of Europe is closer to trve Rx than any mechanistic illusion wafting up from our festering yellow under-belly.

Why is the additional production of few more widgets apparently worth the socio-cultural costs of capitalism? I have another tough question- does Neoreaction attempt to be not Whigs in any capacity? If so they do not try at it.

In conclusion, illiberal Reaction is taking our leave from quisling revisionists. They are materialists who wish to govern by protocol, philosophically and spiritually joined to our enemies, at the foot if not at the hip. Any man of faith, be him Abrahamic or Pagan, must realize support of these leaders is a sin. They are deceivers who will stab us in the back the second our fight threatens their avarice, if they even take up arms when the time comes… They reject the hero, they reject the sublime, and thus any exoteric link to the Holy on High. Moreover, they do not even pretend to have any solutions for non anglo-civilizations, we speak truths that ring true for all peoples by historical precedent, that good governance and order is always Good. This is not universalist, this is an impetus for imperialism, we must seize, grasp towards, the chance of Imperivm. Let them be content in their insignificant, measly patches– our dreams are grander than a particularistic covetousness. It is Destiny, God is on our side.