War

Quick post on the Islamic State

Posted on

Won’t have time to delve deeply into the problem of the rampaging Islamic State. Suffice for now to say that my way of dealing with them will surprise many. What to do? Ignore them for a year or so. Force Europe to do something. Europe will do something. Don’t doubt that in the secret cabinet meetings in Berlin and London, the discussion orbits around how to get America to do what is both distasteful and needed. Per usual. Then they can point fingers when things get nasty.

I’ve said before, time to pull back and let the kids go to bed without supper. Deprivation feeds appreciation.

Boko Haram is nothing new

Posted on Updated on

For almost three years, myself and other intelligence analysts, working in a 10th Mountain Division battalion S2 (Security and Intelligence) produced multiple unclassified briefs for the commander concerning the Nigerian Terrorist organization known as Boko Haram.

Boko Haram recently made headlines for holding over 200 school girls captive and threatening to sell them in to slavery. 

Boko Haram was ignored by the media and the State Department, because it was not politically expedient to mention that yet another Islamist terror organization was growing in power. This year in particular Boko Haram set fired to several villages in Nigeria, destroying hundreds of houses and killing dozens of people. Boko Haram’s destruction of a Nigerian air force base in December went almost unnoticed by the media. In one report, I noted that the Nigerian government was incapable of annihilating Boko Haram and that the violence was growing more intense, despite the Nigerian government’s attempts to destroy the terror group. The group even drove an armored personnel carrier during an attack.

Yet the US State Department waited for years to place Boko Haram on its list of terror organizations. It certainly wouldn’t have fit the “al-Qaeda is on the run” narrative” that was so popular at the time, to announce to the world that a powerful terrorist group had arisen in Africa, especially during the time that America was busy obliterating the Libyan government and handing over that country’s hinterlands to brigands and jihadists, cheering the fall of Mubarak in Egypt only to see chaos reign there after his fall, and then seeing US representatives slain in the Benghazi debacle.

Sadly, this isn’t the half of the African and Asian stories, where multiple democracies are falling to pieces. The American withdrawal from the world is leaving a vacuum in its wake. As much as many dream that the world is a better place without a strong hegemon, The Coming Anarchy will see it differently. We need not, and we should not, endeavor to fix every problem with democracy, for democracy, like pie, is only as tasty as its ingredients. But the chaos that even now has begun to swallow Africa and parts of Asia will result in the deaths of thousands, and quite possibly millions. Doing something when we have the chance to stop mass killings is the responsibility of those that are given much. To do otherwise is decadence and cowardice.

Russia’s move toward fascism Part 1

Posted on

In the following weeks, I plan on publishing a series of articles analyzing Russia’s transformation into a fascist state, perhaps the only such state in the world. These articles will look at not only current events, but will analyze history, the Russian and Soviet mind, and Vladimir Putin. Russia’s military capabilities as well as the role of the KGB, FSB and GRU (military intelligence) in the current state of world affairs will also be prominent issues.

First, in order to show Russia’s descent to fascism, we must first consider what this term really means or implies. As Orwell noted “fascism” may be one of the most overused and abused words in the English language.  Below is a list of traits typical to fascist regimes, as noted by Dr. Lawrence Britt:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. 4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposedto the government’s policies or actions.9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

An analysis of each of the above points would be sufficient to show that Russia is moving toward, or may even now be, a fascist state. However, there are other points to consider in why this is important, and to show people that much of this was possibly planned years, if not decades ago by Soviet leadership. It is also important because it is possible that certain politicians in Russia may still dream that Russia will dominate Europe, or at least the parts of Europe that were once members of the Soviet Bloc. Some of the analysis concerning possible Soviet plans, the KGB, and Russian intelligence will be conspiratorial in nature. As many know, I’m not much for conspiracies. But, there is there is a plethora of data to prove these points, including released KGB documents, information from defected Soviet intelligence officers, the testimony from exerts in the CIA as well as current world events.

This series is rather broad in scope and will likely require several months to complete.

 

The Femininization of Everything

Posted on Updated on

[T]he regime of diversions, surrogates, and tranquilizers that pass for today’s ‘distractions’ and ‘amusements’ does not yet allow the modern woman to foresee the crisis that awaits her when she recognizes how meaningless are those male occupations for which she has fought, when the illusions and the euphoria of her conquests vanish, and when she realizes that, given the climate of dissolution, family and children can no longer give her a sense of satisfaction in life. ~Julius Evola, Ride the Tiger

I miss men. I miss my grandfather.  He was a man. And he wasn’t sorry for being a man. He was never told to be sorry for being a man, or acting like one. He never pondered the “social constructs” of gender. He liked Lawrence Welk, Archie Bunker, knives, guns, boxing.  He welded for a living. He wore flannel. He killed animals and ate them, fed them to his family. He didn’t pop his collar. He used Lava soap to rip the grease off his hands after doing the work men did. For him and his generation, life was not a sterile, over-analyzed bore.

Safety killed us. Such are the heights of the giants’ shoulders we stand on, such were their labors, such were their sacrifices, we were made too safe, too comfortable. We came to hate our betters, just as the Helots hated their Spartan masters. And so we dived into every fantasy, every unrealism, believing the opposite of reality as a sort of revolt. We became lazy, ungrateful. We enjoyed the nectar of being critical, and so criticized to disintegration those who made our free nation: Men.

Women didn’t freeze to death at Valley Forge, storm Normandy, they didn’t rot in Hanoi. And they never will, because the current “integration” of our military is theater and a power grab.  It’s playing doctor, cowboys and Indians at the expense of us all.  The people who want women in military combat arms know woman can’t actually do what men can do, but they enjoy seeing men cringe and squirm over such excesses.  Of course, women won’t pour into such billets, because they are difficult, though even when they end up there, they still won’t find it as difficult as do men, because men will treat them better than they do other men. And the feminized bureaucracy will ensure they have it easier, national defense be damned.

The United States Marines require that men do 20 pullups in order score the maximum points on their physical fitness test. Women are required to do exactly zero.  How’s that for egalitarianism? The Marine Corps tested 318 female Marines, and found that on average, they could do 1.6 pullups.  Yet, when I last tested myself at 39 years old, I could do 20 pullups. Many classically male jobs, such as firefighting and police work have distinctly different physical qualifications for women than men.  Women do not have to register for the draft, but of course their  inferiors–men–do.

The way we fight war itself has become feminized. We treat our enemies like the single mom treats her kids: We try to buy them stuff until they quit throwing temper tantrums.  We don’t win wars any more. The trade schools are considered a sub-par option for those not worthy or capable of the “higher” intellectual pursuits of gender studies. No thought is given by these elite snobs as to who builds their cars, roads, laptops and latte machines.

In a strikingly Nietzschean world, Slave Morality reigns, the Spartans now serve the Helots. As Nietzsche states, Slave Morality originates in the weak and is deployed by the weak as a weapon against the strong.  It is not necessarily drawn as a weapon of righteousness; it’s usually the sword of resentment. Slave Morality–Feminism–does not seek the impossible, that is, to make men and women equal in all things. Instead, it seeks to neuter men and weigh them down with a lodestone that will ensure men cannot surpass women in any meaningful way. The Helots now rule the Spartans.  The feminists used the tactic commonly employed by children on mothers in order to get what they do not deserve: Whining.

The false notion that sexual assault is rampant in our military was predictably seized by the Left, who lose sleep nightly over racial and gender issues.  The number of sexual assault reports in the military this year is up 50% this year, after it became fashionable to be raped. Ignored are studies that show over 40% of rape allegations are false [Kanin, 1994].

Everywhere we look, from our earliest days to our last, we see the philosophy of woman. Television shows, movies, politics, almost all of it aimed at women’s tastes. This is not to say that the feminine, the womanly, or motherhood are bad things, indeed they are good things, but so are classically manly traits. Yet our entire cultural system is bent on making boys more like girls. They must be sensitive, they must sit still, they must not joust. The NFL now celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness by allowing players to wear pink football gear during allotted games. Men must be made aware of female supremacy, that we are being watched, monitored controlled, at all times. Even during our classically male moments, such as playing football. What is the male color by the way? Do we have a color? I’m not sure.  I’m trying to imagine Dick Butkus or Mike Ditka in pink. It’s not working for me. But of course, there are no women in the National Football League, but Americans actually care about their team winning football games, unlike winning wars. We’ve become an unserious country, rolling toward the glue factory.

Oprah decides the fate of nations. One study found that Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Obama resulted in an additional one million votes.   She tells women to go their own way, that they can do anything men can do. Can they? Should they? At the core of the modern feminist movement and others Leftist movements like it, is the the use of pity as a weapon.  Pity is used to relieve people of the duties of a Natural Law they despise. Pity is used to escape the carrying out of some people’s duties, to gain power over those susceptible to pity’s draw. It is a perverse utilization of a subtle Christian ethic, taking advantage of those who lack street wisdom.  Pity has its place, but it can also be misused. We need not agree with everything Nietzsche had to say, just as Nietzsche did not agree with everything that his mentors, Arthur Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner said. This does not mean we cannot glean truth from some of Nietzsche’s writings. The cult of pity, and the misuse of pity as a sordid sentiment has resulted in an American military that is barely functional. First, an army draws its soldiers from a population organic to its nation, thus, it can suffer from many of flaws endemic to that nation. I have a ground-level view of those flaws as an NCO in the Army.  The call for pity is the default setting for many soldiers wishing to avoid Duty.  I’m not averse to having pity on those that deserve it, but I regard those who attempt to avoid Duty by feigning weakness (or the belief that feeling any discomfort at all means that something is “wrong”) as thieves. They are trying to steal something to which they have no right. They long for victim-hood and all its benefits. This perverse inverse of traditional values for women began with perhaps its most troubling aspect: Its loathing of motherhood, of parenting, of homemaking, as if being a housewife were tantamount to slavery. from this root grew the withered tree of cultural demise.  As the German philosopher Oswald Spengler wrote,

“When the ordinary thought of a highly cultivated people begins to regard ‘having children’ as a question of pro’s and con’s, the great turning point has come.”

A proto-feminist, upon reading my concerns of birthrates and modern attitudes toward motherhood, quipped that she did not feel it necessary to reproduce merely to prop up her society. But she misunderstood. The mere fact that she and the rest of the West has asked the question: “Are children worth it?”, means that the fatal seed is already planted and even blooming. Such a question is like asking, “is eating worth it?”, “is the sun rising worth it?”.  So, if Spengler was correct, we are already dying.  When motherhood becomes tantamount to dishonor, count your nation as dead and rotting. The perverse inverse continues in its paradoxical reinvention of what is feminine. Oddly, it is now feminine to be masculine, yet masculinity when practiced by men is demonized. This can only equate to men being deemed as bad. Again paradoxically, the feminist disapproval of motherhood has led to even more doting over children, who are not allowed to take risks common to children of even 15 years ago. We now give “timeouts”, as opposed to concrete discipline. Can youn imagine a child being sent to bed without Doritos, err, dinner nowadays? The typical male response of men from my grandfather’s age was “toughen up”, and parents were not seen as human entertainment machines. It was well established that doting over children ruined them, that even picking them up too often could damage them. Whining and pouting earned a trip to their room, excommunicated for conduct unbecoming.  Now such behavior earns more soda and candy.  The hours spent outdoors by young people in past years is now replaced by hours on a couch.  So spoiled are many of today’s children, that nothing can sate their appetites, nothing can satisfy, nothing can make them content for more than 30 minutes.  Such are the wages of overindulgence and the absence of the classic male response to unjust complaints: Toughen up. We have made children into anti-stoics, the opposite of the Buddhist ideal of the Middle Path.

But perhaps the feminists have overplayed their hand. There is a surge of male unrest, a revolt against the metro-sexual ideal of the sedate, passive man willing to serve his time as house Helot. Some men have realized they don’t want participation trophies, as they have no transcendental meaning, no value. A man’s inner longings are often about value, giving life meaning, about the fact that the things that are earned through pain and blood are the things most valued in life. Some men like emerging from an athletic game, tired, bloodied.  In the feminine society, there is something wrong with this. In the man’s world of old, pain was viewed as the refiner’s fire, moving men beyond the materialism so prevalent today.  To those men, life is not about smart phone apps, the latest fashion, a perfectly comfortable life, Doritos, Starbucks, Oprah, GLAAD, strippers, drugs, Obamacare, or Miley Cyrus. For some, life is about the transcendental state that can only be achieved by doing what is difficult. The feminized society tried to make war safe, against Sherman’s warnings.

I think Camille Paglia is right.  What we’re seeing is the decline of our civilization, but no one wants to move to do anything, because as with the Methamphetamine addict whose body withers and erupts with boils as death approaches, the pleasure felt during our death is too great.  Even those who secretly see the problems at hand are embarrassed to contradict the herd. They are not sufficiently convinced by their own convictions, the modern culture has shamed them into submission. But as for me, count me as Riding the Tiger, the good Roman soldier who stood at his post fulfilling his Duty even as Vesuvius erupted and slew him.

Oswald Spengler: We Are Doomed
Oswald Spengler: We Are Doomed

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.” `~Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics

Go Tell the Spartans, here lays Mickey Mouse

Posted on Updated on

It is vain to do with more what can be done with less. ~William of Occam

In an age of drastic military cuts set against a background of international instability and conflict, a sane person could be excused for thinking the US Army would have to cut out as much nonsense as possible in order to assure it fulfill its central role: winning wars.

But no.

Instead the Army has upped its impressive resume for pettiness.  Big Brother is watching, not just the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but our own Soldiers. “Courtesy Patrols” skulk the halls of PXs and commissaries, ready to pounce on the heretics who’d dare talk on a cell phone while walking.  Soldiers at some posts are assigned the duty of policing for small violation of regulations on Army posts. The title “Courtesy Patrol” is an interesting manipulation of language, a key aspect of all authoritarian regimes, and reminiscent of Orwell’s observation that “pacification” is a term used when the military bombs a village.  Courtesy. The Army is doing Soldiers a favor. Honest. These courtesy patrols even keep their eyes peeled for the exposed underwear of Army spouses. Who could make this stuff up?

There’s a problem, though. No one cares except the Commissars.

As a cop, I learned that enforcing laws with no moral force earns not only scorn for the law, but  scorn for the enforcers of those laws. Rules concerning walking whilst talking on cell phones hold no moral force. None. Nada. Zilch.  Want Soldiers to hate the Army (many do), just institute and enforce regulations that hold no moral force. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn stated, morality is above the law, always. If murder were legal, murder would still be wrong, just as lying is now legal but wrong under most circumstances. The US Army’s Commissars believe they are maintaining discipline with small rules, controlling every aspect of a Soldier’s life. In truth the Commissars are merely bored.  The Long War is now short. The Commissars have to hurry to ensure their careers have meaning. After two COIN debacles,  the idea that senior Army officials will now have to sit virtually inert signing leave forms is driving these Type A personalities bonkers.  So it’s now to making petty rules, to make sure every Soldier knows the importance of the Commissars.  Reflective belts, cell phone rules, mustache regs, the, the power!! Lost to the authoritarians in the Army is that we suck at fighting. For the billions of dollars spent on the Long War, barely an American benefited. A witch’s brew of multicultural nonsense and bad strategy,  Americans got robbed. Making petty rules is easy, winning wars is tough. Any high school student can make up inane rules and assign them arbitrary relation to “discipline.” It takes real genius to win wars.  Real discipline is bravery. Fake discipline is rote memorization.  Now, I know some will excuse this as all part of military rigor. Nope. There’s a historic term for this BS. It’s called Mickey Mouse, an old military pejorative.

The Free Online Dictionary defines as the slang use of Mickey Mouse as:

1.a. Unimportant; trivial: “It’s a Mickey Mouse operation compared to what goes on in Lyons or Paris” (Jack Higgins); b. Irritatingly petty: the school’s Mickey Mouse requirements for graduation.
2. Intellectually unchallenging; simple: His Mickey Mouse assignments soon bored the students.
3. Melodramatic or sentimental. Used especially of popular music.

Here’s the Commissars, err, Courtesy Patrol. Wait, they’re out of regs. Who knew. As commentators on this post pointed out, no one can follow all the regs all the time. There’s too many. “Let’s first start off by putting a picture with the article where the Soldiers are within AR 670-1. The two middle Soldiers have ink pens/pencils showing in uniform – not IAW with AR 670-1, 1-14.2” “They are within the current regulations. AR 670-1 is so far out of date, I can’t even keep track of how many ALARACT messages are in place to update it. ALARACT 140/2007 para 4 states “PENS/PENCILS WORN IN THE PEN/PENCIL SLOTS ON THE ACU COAT CAN BE EXPOSED. NOTE: THERE ARE NO STIPULATIONS ON THE COLORS OF PENS/PENCILS WORN IN THE SLOTS ON THE ACU COAT.”” Yes, the proper wear of pencils and pens is indicative of military discipline. Pathetic.

Soldiers are crushed under a mountain of petty regulation that have nothing to do with the reasons armies exist and nothing to do with the reason people join the Army. Entire days and weeks are spent completing “online training”, surveys, and certifications. Staff Soldiers often have no time to train skills fundamental to fighting modern wars, such as using radios. We are well on our way to a Hollow Force, a military in which blocks are checked but can’t win wars. The Hollow Force will be great at wasting Americans money, allowing its citizens to be killed, and conducting meetings in which Mickey Mouse and the Commissars can share ideas on how to enforce discipline.  Count me out.

Instead, the Commissars and Authoritarians would be better off taking advantage of the odd psychological aspects of victims of Stockholm Syndrome. People under the influence of Stockholm Syndrome come to worship their captors should they be allowed the most basic of human necessity.  Merely being allowed to use a toilet is interpreted as god-like righteousness on the part of terrorists. Cutting out the petty regulations in the Army would probably result in an increase in morale more than commensurate with the actual impact on daily life. Moreover, many good Soldiers would gain respect for an an organization that realizes rules and laws should have something to do with morality, and in the Army, winning wars is moral.  The military’s rules are bound by Natural Law, just as are all good rules. No matter how some try, they cannot find true outrage at those walking and talking on cell phones. Yet they will still fight and die for the American way of life. Like a fat Soldier, the Army is carrying too much flesh, so much so that it’s hindering the mission. Cut the fat, and by fat this isn’t just concerning budgets.

The Wikipedia entry on  the Authoritarian Personality notes:

Alfred Adler provided another perspective, linking the “will to power over others” as a central neurotic trait, usually emerging as aggressive over-compensation for felt and dreaded feelings of inferiority and insignificance. According to this view, the authoritarian’s need to maintain control and prove superiority over others is rooted in a worldview populated by enemies and empty of equality, empathy, and mutual benefit.

Note to the Commissars: Our Founding Fathers were anti-authoritarian. Read some Thomas Jefferson and put down AR 670-1 for a few hours.  The Army defends the foundation upon which our country stands, not 670-1.

We are becoming an Army of Martinets, not the Spartans of Thermopylae that so many military people adore. So, think, are we upholding our Western values in our own Army? The epigram, placed upon the grave of the Spartans that saved Western Civilization, read:

Stranger, bear this message to the Spartans,
that we lie here obedient to their laws.

What laws did they speak of? The eternal laws, Natural Law, that great men fight and die for foundational values, not minutiae that only small minds find important. I’d first have that every Soldiers carry a copy of Sun Zsu’s Art of War and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense before AR 670-1.  Freedom is the reason the Army exists.

Again, Clausewitz’ model fails us in Syria

Posted on Updated on

We’re stuck in 18th century military thinking and we barely do that as well as Napoleon or Sherman.

Clausewitz’ theorem, that all war is extension of politics (or policy) by other means, simply does not hold in the majority of the wars America has been involved in in the last 15 years. War as politics is the brood of RealPolitic , that is that wars have a logical purpose which in the end makes for a better peace.

As Ralph Peters states, modern warfare has largely reverted back to its default setting, before the state became all-powerful. It is now, “Wars of Blood and Faith”, as Peters terms it. Clausewitz assumed that people, army, and government were separate entities in a war. Current engagements involve people fighting that do not represent governments, are not an organized army per se. This is one reason that when we see dead “civilians”, many in America want to do something to stop war crimes, as civilians are not lawful targets in war. But in the case of Iraq II, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria, civilians were in fact the enemy. They wore no uniform and held few conventions that modern armies hold to. A US soldier can shoot a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, and someone can protest: “You shot a farmer!”–and they’d be right. Current laws of war are wholly inadequate in this type of war. The outrage many express at the slaughter in Syria is merely what war always was before the last 200 years. In fact, Qaddafi and Assad are fighting in the only way they can win. Assad cannot throw down his arms, build a school, and quell the insurgency. Historically, this is how insurgencies were stopped: Remorselessly hunt down the insurgents and kill them until they quit. Because of the nature of a “people’s war” the combatants become so marbled with noncombatants, that innocents inevitably die. It’s why America will not win another “small war” in our lifetime.

Our confusion on this matter is clouding the analysis of Syria. It ruined our analysis of Libya and Egypt. If the exact same people fighting against those governments wore uniforms, America would not have sided with them. It was merely our instinct to protect civilians that resulted in US intervention. In both countries, chaos now reigns. In Syria, the most powerful forces of blood and faith are now at work–those of the Sunni/Shia schism. Little talked about, perhaps because Americans do not properly understand the intensity of hatreds that can arise between sects, is the fact that the Syrian conflict is boiling down, just as the Iran/Iraq War, and Iraq II’s insurgency did, to Shia vs Sunni Islam. In the case of Iraq, when the minority Sunni Baathist regime fell, and was replaced by Shia, disavowed Sunni Baathists, desperate to retain power, joined al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). In Syria, a Shia minority, led by Assad, rules a Sunni majority. Iran, a majority Shia nation, backs Assad. If Assad falls, the civil war will rage on. This is not about the despot Assad, it is about Sunnis coalescing power in the form of al-Qaeda, against Shia Assad, backed by Hezbollah irregulars.

Deepening American involvement in Syria threatens to bring much more chaos. Iran is already threatening retaliation, Russia, more intervention. Better to let Hezbollah and al-Qaeda hammer each other.

Sad

Image Posted on Updated on

I was going to write a post about the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s body language throughout the whole congressional hearing on Syria, but someone beat me to it, here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/us-military-planners-dont-support-war-with-syria/2013/09/05/10a07114-15bb-11e3-be6e-dc6ae8a5b3a8_story.html?tid=pm_opinions_pop

 

ummm. Yeah…..

As I sat and watched, it was obvious that General Dempsey was not happy while listening to Sec State Kerry argue his hypocritical stance. When all government is now run by people who were never in the military, were never in a playground fight, have never played a serious sport, and don’t drink beer, expect this. And even those whom were in the military are people like Kerry…swift-boating America.

WMD and the War in Syria

Posted on Updated on

As of this writing, judging from the tone in the current congressional hearings in regards to attack authority on Syria, it seems that America will soon commence open military operations against Syria.  Secretary of State’s speech seems a time-warp: He argues vehemently for military interdiction in Syria, stating the use of chemical weapons by Assad without international retribution means an encouragement to use more WMD in the future.  Unfortunately, when you draw the “red line” in the sand, you’re stuck on punching those who cross it. Words matter, especially when they’re uttered at a national level.

Largely forgotten and possibly willfully ignored by a compliant media, is the May 2013 event in which members of the al-Qaeda franchise group, Al Nusra Front, were captured in Turkey with a sarin gas canister.

Let us consider the ramifications of setting the WMD “red line”.  The Syrian rebels have been brokering for significant American military support since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.  Announcing the red line to Assad as a potential deterrent to Syria’s WMD deployment also creates an incentive for the rebellion: Utilize WMD to encourage US intervention.  Now the situation in muddled. We know al-Qaeda had sarin  gas, which astoundingly does not alarm the media to any great extant. Further confusing analysis, is the machination of several regional countries vying to affect the Syrian outcome.  Turkey wants the Assad regime removed. It has already hosted Syrian rebels for training purposes. The red line state also forced the American hand; if nothing is done at this point, the President’s words seem empty.

Turkey has for almost two years called for multilateral intervention into Syria, after failing to convince President Bashar Al-Assad to enact reforms and avoid the escalation of violence in his country. Turkey, which shelters hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and houses the main opposition Syrian National Coalition, has also repeatedly called for the establishment of a no-fly zone, or a safety zone, at the neighbor’s 565-mile border.

The Arab world has often snickered behind American backs, astounded at the US’ willingness to do Arab nations’ dirty work. It happened in the first Gulf War. Saudi military leaders knew Saddam had to be contained, and used Machiavellian psychology on the US to minimize Saudi involvement and maximize US firepower employment.

It is a Clausewitzian dictum that all wars escalate.  Present day America’s failure to decisively win its wars is largely the result of its attempt to prevent wars from escalating. Current counterinsurgency doctrine attempts to win without killing. The US government does not understand that oftentimes in war, a monumental amount of force must be applied to get an enemy to quit.  Americans, largely divorced from struggle and strife, have forgotten just how much force it takes to make a determined enemy quit.  We are guilty of mirror-imaging; superimposing our own agendas and motivations on those of the enemy. The typical American is not sufficiently enraged to engage in warfare and has a difficult time imagining the mentality required to become so enraged.  The same American does not understand, that without such a mentality, any war in question would not exist in the first place.  Consider the Iran-Iraq war. That war ended after 7 years, and not before almost 1 million people were dead. Current US COIN doctrine would have us killing a handful of “key leaders” with a drone strike, and then rebuilding schools and hospitals in hopes of pacifying militants. It’s never worked in the past. It won’t work in the future. So, assuming the war in Syria will escalate further with more US intervention, we can assume more people will die. Some of those people will be civilians. US military aid is often imagined to force the enemy to suddenly capitulate. This simply isn’t the case. I often use the arm-wrestling analogy. An arm-wrestler does not suddenly give up when he feels his opponent applying force. If he were that mentally weak, it’s doubtful he’d have come to the table at all. Instead, he applies as much force as he has, in hopes of quickly dispatching his opponent. Each arm-wrestler in turn attempts to match, and surpass his opponent’s force. Finally, the force applied by one arm overcomes the other. Throughout, the force escalated, as each person attempts to summon more and more power–if he can find it. Syria’s military has much more force in reserve. It has thus far restrained much of its military ability, because like most insurgencies, the rebels cannot muster much force themselves.  Increasing the military power of the rebels guarantees escalation by the Syrian military.  In some cases, in other wars, this is a necessary evil. In the case of Syria, we have two enemies of America fighting each other, and there is no concrete American security interest.  So the calculation reveals that non-intervention best serves America. And all of this says nothing about the possibility of Russian intervention, leading to regional escalation.

If and when civilians die as a result of US airstrike, (and even if they don’t), America is likely to lose yet another battle, a type of battle in which the US has proven remarkably inept: The information war.  The information war is a key component in “war among the people”.  Terrorism is only minimally effective without propaganda.

Never could the War on Terror have taken such a positive turn. But leave it to Washington to steal defeat from the jaws of victory.  Strategy, not a strong-point of DC’s intelligentsia for the last 50 years, simply eludes most on The Hill.  Two of America’s great enemies slugging it out, but John McCain and John Kerry aren’t happy.  Instead they split The Prophet’s hairs as to whom’s bad enough and who’s good enough, never realizing that the bad and the good are on the same side: al-Qaeda’s side.  The Left interprets Sun Tzu’s winning-without-fighting maxim as diplomacy.  The ancients knew this also meant letting your enemies slaughter each other, saving your energies for bad men not so occupied.

What’s the desired end-state? Testimony today indicates it’s to degrade Assad’s ability to use similar attacks in the future.  Chemical weapons cannot be bombed with any certainty on controlling the resultant poison plume.  If strikes intend to hit chemical depots, this presents a significant risk for civilian casualties.  More likely targets are the missile launch systems suspected of delivering VX on the civilians. Of course the military could try to kill Assad himself.  Syria’s attack helicopters will be tempting targets while they’re on the ground. If an attack is too weak, it will be meaningless or many even encourage more aggression from Assad. If it is moderately effective, but does not decapitate the regime, it may invite attack from Syria against US targets. Syria is not without significant military capabilities, thanks to huge contracts with Russia. Of primary concern, if the US attacks involve aircraft, is Syria’s s-300 anti-aircraft missiles.

It seems unlikely that a US attack will have any significant effect on the war in Syria. Since success in warfare is largely based on controlling unknowns through good intelligence, and since US strikes are unlikely to impact the outcome of the war one way or another (except that they are likely to bring outrage in one form or another), policy makers must consider the unknowns and not merely focus on punishing Assad. All in all, the intervention in a fight between Syria and a US archenemy seems foolish.

 

A prayer for an Army family

Posted on Updated on

Two days ago, a Soldier from my unit, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan.  SSG Michael Ollis, 24 years old, was killed when Taliban insurgents attacked FOB Ghazni with a vehicle-borne IED, indirect mortar fire, and small arms fire. The insurgents penetrated the wall of the base, and remained inside, fighting for 6 hours.  

michael+ollis

FOB Ghazni is controlled by Polish forces.  Soldiers from 2-22IN moved through FOB Ghazni on their way north while leaving Ghazni, only a couple of weeks from returning home.  SSG Ollis made it 8 months. This was his third deployment to a combat zone.

I ask that you say a prayer for his mother and father, the two surviving members of his family.

“Deeds Not Words”

Don’t Tread on Me and Don’t Nerf My World

Posted on Updated on

“He wants his home and security, he wants to live like a sailor at sea. Beautiful loser, where you gonna fall, when you realize–you just can’t have it all…he’ll never make any enemies.” ~Beautiful Loser, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band.

Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.~General John Stark

In the world of video games, there is a term that denotes making something decidedly less potent or dangerous: The term is Nerf. 

My Army and indeed my country is trying to Nerf my entire world. It does this under the pretext of caring so much for my safety. Our obsession with safety is in fact making us weaker and thus less safe.

I cannot say that I expect nothing from my government. I expect it to smash the hell out of any enemy that tries to destroy our way of life. I expect it to maintain internal security so that people can enjoy their families and the things they have worked for.  Thus I expect the government to toss people in jail whom have committed crimes which harm me or my family–or any other American family.  I expect my government to defend its sovereign borders so that my country does not become what others without an American ideal want it to be.

What I do not expect of my government is that it protect me from myself. I do not expect the government to worry about the minutia of dangers that  confront man everyday. The government cannot protect me from myself as well as I can.  The United States Army has become one of the most risk-averse entities in our risk-averse nation.  Soldiers must watch hours of safety videos every few months, many many more hours than they fire their rifles on a practice range, and are expected to wear a reflective belt at times, even when off duty in broad daylight, and must wear knee and elbow pads when in a war zone on patrol. Packing lists for Soldiers readying to deploy easily bring to mind a 5 year Soviet planning cycle.  Make sure you bring your sewing kit. Who the hell is Sun Tzu?  Because of the (most times) well-meaning cry for troop safety, our troops are weighed down with heavy body armor while trouncing over 8000 ft high mountains, exhausting them.  Our enemies dance around in man-dresses and sneakers. In my unit, Soldiers pulling CQ duty (a 24 hour duty in which two Soldiers sit at a desk and communicate any problems to the chain of command), have been ordered to stop any Soldiers whom leave the barracks in shorts, because it’s too cold to be outdoors in shorts.  Yes, that’s right, a military  that helped annihilate the Nazis and nuked Hiroshima is worried about people wearing shorts in the cold during their off-duty hours. Every Friday, Soldiers must endure long speeches from the chain of command about what not to do during the weekend. They must be reminded that slapping their wives is illegal and driving drunk can result in car crashes. If we have Soldiers that are so stupid they require to be told these things every week, well then, I say let them make their mistake and get them out of the Army. Because that guy will probably blow the back of my head off with an accidental discharge from his M4 carbine.  Our gown men used to be able to drink beer while deployed to war. No more. In the Vietnam War, US grunts could bye a 24-pack of beer for $2.40.  We did better in Vietnam than in Afghanistan, according to authoritative writer, Bing West… We couldn’t have that now, could we? Surely American Soldiers would go on mad rampages across the Hindu Kush, slaying everything in sight. Somehow we beat the British with many of our troops half in the bag. As far as I’m concerned, denying a man a beer while he endures war is not just cruel, it’s downright un-American.   The Puritans–those great foes of the Libertine Left– fed kids the stuff for breakfast, but then MADD busted up the party.

Here’s a quote from the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Glenn Beck’s book, Arguing With Idiots: 

Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1980 after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver, but she ended up leaving her own organization. Why? Mission creep. Here’s what she said….

“[MAAD has] become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned…I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol, I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”

“We humble Pilgrims give Ye thanks for our reflective belts, bike helmets, and the heavenly gun-free Mayflower. We never could enjoy this new land without our blessings.”~Quote from the only Progressive Pilgrim who made the tough trip over.

In the same chapter, Beck goes on to explain how legislation has been proposed to install devices on all cars that prevent people from driving drunk. As of now, only people whom have been convicted of DUI can have such devices installed by the government.  He goes on to make the point that if we focus on the person offending, and not the tool of the offense, we do a better job in dealing with the problem, and we don’t needlessly bother those whom don’t drink and drive, since the majority of the DUI problems come from repeat offenders. And it’s the same thing when it comes to gun control. Taking away guns from the 99% is a tyranny. Many want to do it because the modern Left simply has a difficult time calling anyone whom is not named Dick Cheney or George Bush, evil.

The true shame of this, is that in the Army, NCOs are told that they are not leading unless they are micromanaging the private and professional lives of the Soldiers that work for them. I simply refuse to live like this or lead other men like this. As a kid, I did all kinds of dangerous things, and I’m proud of it. I never wore a bike helmet, yet rode my bike everywhere. Most of my bikes didn’t even have brakes; I had to use my foot on the rotting (dangerously so) tires, to slow myself. I proudly displayed the scabs and scars on my hands from the times I went over the handlebars on the pavement.  Myself and groups of other kids engaged in rock fights and BB gun wars. We threw ice-encrusted snowballs at each others face, hoping to give each other black eyes. I carried a rifle around in the woods, unsupervised, at the age of twelve, shooting cute, furry squirrels until I could hear the weeping of bleeding-heart liberals for miles around. And I felt nothing for it except proud of my outstanding marksmanship….I endured 5 knee operations before the age of 25, all from playing that rough, dangerous sport: Backyard football. I boxed and had my brain concussed.

And every one of us boys is better off for having beat the hell out of ourselves.

And why did I do all of it? Because I don’t want to feel completely safe. I never have. I most certainly don’t want someone else making me safe from everything. I mostly want to be left alone to make my own decisions. I want to learn on my own. I don’t want to go to jail, get a fine, or get demoted in rank for failing to make my Soldiers wear knee pads. I want to live in a country that demotes me because my troops didn’t kill enough Taliban fighters, because my troops didn’t make the enemy quit. I know, I know, that makes me a brute. Yet, our addiction to safety helped us lose the war in Afghanistan. Make no mistake, COIN “warfare” is the child of an addiction to safety. It is a system designed to win wars without fighting the enemy. We hope to build the enemy stuff until he quits, we hope that he becomes as sedated with free stuff from the government as this American generation has become. COIN hopes to keep our Soldiers out of danger, but in reality it makes him so at-risk for lack of ridding the battlefield of armed insurgents, that the American fighter spends most of his time running back and forth between villages and friendly bases, instead of rooting the enemy from his enclaves. March to a village,  shake some hands and smile at people lying to you and helping safeguard the people whom will kill you, then hurry the hell back to the base before you get shot.

I enjoy danger in my life. Yeah, there are always things the government could do to make us all safer. But at what cost? Should we make a law mandating all cars be coated in 12 inches of nerf material? I’m sure the guy who gets bumped into at a crosswalk would appreciate it.  I measure my danger with what it can provide me. I understand there are some dangers we want to control. For instance, I argued quite vehemently for increased screening at Airports, but I’m against gun-free zones around schools. Why? Because I believe one does what it’s supposed to and the other doesn’t. If there were two airlines to choose from, one offering increased screening and pat-downs before boarding a plane, and one that did not, I would choose to use the one that offered increased screening.  If there were two schools to choose from, one with a gun free zone and one without, I would choose the one without, hoping the well-vetted principal with 20 years experience in education is well armed and trained. Get it? I lift Russian kettlebells. There is an element of danger in using these, which makes me enjoy them all the more. Throwing around 70 lb iron balls cannot be made purely safe. My hands get torn up, and I’m damn proud of it. They make me a better person, even if I break a wrist.

My kettlebell hands
My kettlebell hands

I don’t want to be told how to pack my rucksack, how many bars of soap to bring with me to Afghanistan, and I sure don’t want to shave my chest, wear pop-collared polo shirts or gloves while weight lifting. I want to be allowed to not wear knee pads. I want to be allowed to fight when I go to war. In short, I want to be a man and not a giant baby. Let me be a big boy so we can focus on the important stuff, and not the things that end up costing us more  in the creation of rules and their enforcement than in any protection we gain. We are a country of laws–too many of them–not of men. Why not think like Bruce Lee, and begin to take away before we add. Less is always more efficient, and maybe we can toughen up a bit and remember what a great feeling it is to be able to do things on our own without having to hope the government will protect us from all evil, and maybe fix our toilet if we whine and play the victim well enough.

Maybe we can teach our kids, again, the value of hard work, self-reliance, responsibility and toughness. A nation of individuals that values those things does not require a government that has to keep them in line.