Showing posts with label War and Peace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label War and Peace. Show all posts

Jul 11, 2015

Why stop there?

Washington says it's time to update the obsolete M4 carbine in its various passé costumes.   RFPs and bids and spec sheets and dream sheets and I don't know what-all are flying around the Pentagon and all rest of the Military-Industrial Complication.

Okay, look, I admit modern warriors know infinitely more about modern warfare than I do, and they can point to many glorious and clear-cut military victories in the past 40 years or so to prove it.

But sometimes a fellow wonders.

According to this guy, one of the many new specs will be "Adding room for more attachments on the carbine (e.g laser sights, flashlights, bipods)."

Is that the limit of the desiderata, or is the "e.g." meant to include other handy enhancements? How about a barrel-attached manifold to heat C-rats?   A flip-up,  lighted makeup mirror? Other e.g.?

(Off-stage voice) C-rats, you idiot? They haven't been issued in at least two generations. Shaddup!

Good point. The last OD can of lima beans was issued when the soldier's weapon was considered a rifle, a battle weapon, instead of just another MOLLE load-bearing gizmo. My bad, and I'll drag my sorry old butt down to the VFW club and whisper my opinions into a  50-cent draft Grain Belt while the guy next to me brags about potting NorComs at 800 yards with his Garand up near the Chosin Reservoir.

Feb 11, 2015

Hey Amigo. Let's see whose gun is loudest.

De Voto on the Battle of Palo Alto where Taylor's young artillery officers mowed down Mexican  troops by the the score, perhaps unnecessarily:

"That the Mexican troops faced such fire and stayed on the field is ample evidence they were good troops. (but) Few of them, here or later,  could shoot straight. Government policy, taking account of revolutions, had forbidden the citizenry to bear arms."

(Ahem, Mr. Obama.)


As I've opined before, you have to love De Voto for a lot of reasons. Another one, referring to future CinC  Taylor on the same battlefield near Matamoros in 1846:

"...he had no nerves and nothing recognizable as intelligence, he was afraid of nothing, and he was too unimaginative to know when he was being licked, which was fortunate since he did not know how to maneuver troops. Add to this a dislike of military forms and procedures and a taste for old clothes and you have a predestinate candidate for the Presidency."


Bernard De Voto, The Year of Decision 1846, Little-Brown 1942 pp. 189-190

Sep 9, 2014

Shades of Checkpoint Charlie

Flash bang and smoke as Putin shows that wimp Obama that Russian leaders have the bigger balls.

We are getting used to that kind of neo-tsarist theatre, but I'm especially unhappy with his latest Speedo pose because it is upsetting folks in one of my favorite countries-I've-never-visited.

...according to several Estonian accounts, smoke grenades detonated at an Estonian customs post, and all radio and telephone signals were jammed as armed Russian men suddenly materialized and dragged away ... Eston Kohver. 

Kohver is identified as a counter-intelligence  official, but his main job seems to have been keeping an eye out for smugglers at the  Luhamaa crossing to Russia. It could therefore look like one of those small-potatoes border squabbles dreamed up by bored local poobahs, more to relieve bureaucratic tedium than anything else.

Probably, though, it is more geopolitically significant. Or at least a credible plot  line for whomever is doing Eric Ambler's work nowadays.

...Kohver's fate has now become entangled in a much bigger issue: the question of just how far Vladimir Putin's Russia is prepared to go to goad the Nato allies on its doorstep.

That is, Putin and his capos are getting their kicks humiliating the West in general and our president in particular  by proving they can be utter nuisances -- and dangerous to boot, sometimes -- all the way from the Ukraine, where everyone is watching, to the Baltic, where hardly anyone is*.

As the Guardian has it:

The capture has been seen as particularly provocative because it came two days after the US president, Barack Obama, visited Estonia, a trip aimed at reassuring the Baltic states of the US commitment to the security of its Nato allies in the face of Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis. It followed the announcement of the creation of a "spearhead force" – a Nato unit of 4,000 soldiers to be tasked with defending Baltic countries including Estonia.

Putin had to grin when he heard that. Four thousand NATOians to defend  Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania? "I mean, Hell, Barack,  I purge more soldiers than that every couple of weeks or so. Wanna arm wrestle?"


*Except of course for the Estonians, including a smart and pretty lady named Kristin who keeps her Face book friends updated and rates a hat tip for this report.

Jun 29, 2014

The New Caliphate

A tragic thing.  Over all these years of  desert war, none of us has ever thought to remind our American government that spending young blood and vast treasure in the Middle East was merely another stupid attempt to police religious wars and tribal spats of 1,500 years standing.

Perhaps our leaders in Washington might re-deliver their inspirational Arab Spring speeches of a couple years back. Just, you know, to make certain we don't lose confidence in their wisdom and foresight.

Jun 16, 2014

Do I need glasses or is truth really getting even fuzzier?

Three days ago our Commander-in-Chief stood on the White House lawn and told America: No combat troops to Iraq.  That was pleasant to hear given that American warriors are relatively untrained in adjudicating disputes between rival religious sects.

This afternoon we learn that he has told congress he's sending "up to"  275 special forces troops to Iraq.

If I know government flackery correctly, the Ministry of Truth is warp-speed keyboarding the logical explanation that these forces are not "combat"  troops. While "equipped for direct fighting," they're really some other kind of troops. Therefore the White House/State Department complex is not nearly as schizoid as any intelligent observer would first believe.

If so -- if they are other than active warriors -- then WTF are we directing them to do? Organize block parties? Hold knitting bees? Help the Jihad reduce its carbon foot print?

When we learn to our amazement that none of this works, we can surge in some more people. Why not? It is certainly a vital national interest to promote a reasoned dialog about who gets first crack at the afterlife virgins, not to mention the lion's share of oil loot; well worth all the young American blood it takes.

Jun 6, 2014

The Longest Wind

Good Lord. Can it be that long since President Obama first showed his arse to the world in a D-Day speech?

He's still fumbling for his Commander-in-Chief britches,  but in all fairness he has improved since the rhetorical embarrassment he uttered five years ago today when he proclaimed that the Normandy invasion was launched by generals who planned to fail.

Today's 2014 edition is less laughable, pretty good, in fact for His Ineptness. If you want to think he ordered his speech writers to study up on Peggy Noonan's  the boys of Pointe du Hoc gem I won't argue with you.

On the other hand, he forgot to remind his staff that maybe they might want to think about consulting someone who is at least casually acquainted with the summer of '44.

By the end of that longest day, this beach had been fought, lost, refought and won -- a piece of Europe once again liberated and free. Hitler's Wall was breached, letting loose Patton's Army to pour into France.

All I can figure is that his pollster told him Patton is a supremely recognizable name while Omar Bradley is  by now a whoduhhellizzat?  I mean,  George even had a movie made about him, and it is still getting decent numbers on teevee reruns.

On D-Day, Patton was giving speeches in England and commanding a ghost army of rubber tanks and plywood trucks to fool Nazis into believing in a main attack later across the Dover Straits. He was quietly training his real army -- the Third -- which went operational more than a month later, long after the first Normandy beach breakouts.

The point isn't Patton. It is a president who commands resources vast enough to inform him -- assuming he gives a damn --  that, among the Americans, Bradley and his First Army carried the load for weeks beyond "The Longest Day." It's basic stuff.

But maybe it is important only to old cranks who cling bitterly to the notion that when presidents speak their stuff gets written down in books and, therefore, the lower the nonsense quotient the better.


And then he read off his Teleprompter:

To the East, the British tore through the coast, fueled by the fury of five years of bombs over London, and a solemn vow to "fight them on the beaches." 

Just for the record, the quote is from Churchill in 1940 and had nothing to do with Overlord. Winston was rallying the home army -- and the home folks with shotguns and cricket bats -- to hold fast on the beaches of Britain.

Oh well. What difference does it make, anyway?

Mar 28, 2014

The Corps of REMFs Speaks Out

Congress is about to give His Ineptness a billion dollars. The president is to forward it to the Ukraine. Where the money goes from there God only knows, but a fair bet is Putin's left hand out for a hefty share, maybe the whole pie. A Makarov will occupy his right. After all, the Ukraine owes him money.

It is absolutely cynical of you to reason that (a) Russia grabbed a hunk of the Ukraine (b) putting the Ukraine further into a pickle and (c)  therefore  it is your job to pay Russia.

But what really caught my attention is

"We must target those guilty of aggression against Ukraine and stand by our allies and friends to ensure peace and security in Europe," the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Ed Royce said."

Congressman Royce happens to be  a serious war hawk, sometimes called the most pro-military legislator in the U.S. House. So far, not much of a problem.

(Somebody has to finance those sweetheart deals between the nation's admirals and a Malaysian thug. Not to mention the the three-star gambler caught with fake casino chips. (Couple of generals, too, on the hook for hosing babes in their commands, I hear, but I'm Navy. Let the damned land lubbers sort out their own messes.)

More important, the militaristic Mr. Royce seems to have achieved his warrior-hood at a most convenient time -- after he passed beyond combat age and found himself in power. When you get there you can be as macho as you please without that nagging fear that someone might hand you a gun and order you to sit in a hole while people shoot at you.

He was about about 22 when the Sand Box began overheating, prime age for a dedicated patriot to leap to his nation's defense. He found it more amiable to stay in California, hustle tax breaks for a living, then get elected to something.

Sep 6, 2013

Barack Obama: Man of Destiny

Here's part of his recent oral output in quest of a heroic place in history.*

"These kinds of interventions, these kinds of actions are always unpopular because they seem distant and removed," Obama said. "I'm not drawing an analogy to World War II, (Then why the Hell do you bring it up, Sir?) --

--other than to say, you know, when London was getting bombed, it was profoundly unpopular, both in Congress and around the country, to help the British."

Mr. President,  Lend Lease was lopsidedly approved by congress months and months before Pearl Harbor and after a Gallup poll showed a majority of 1941 Americans approved "help(ing) the British" so long as our aid did not drag us into their war.

Did you, you know,  like skip all your history classes to practice up on your organizing neighborhoods skills south of the Blackstone Hotel?


*Apparently he's given up on Obamacare as his ticket to Mt. Rushmore.

One Syrian, One Vote; No Americans Need Apply

His Ineptness the president demands that your "representatives" vote their "conscience" no matter what you think.

(1)  The presidential argument is, therefore, that his cherished democracy must be abandoned in the United States in order to create it in Syria.

(2) Asking a congress critter to vote his conscience is like asking Diane Feinstein to vote her balls.


Jun 21, 2013

So many revolutions, so few Marines

We all anxiously await the Obama solution to Brazilian riots.  Our vital national  security interests pivot on free bus rides in Rio and Sao Paulo, so minding our own business is not an option.

Speaking of His Ineptness, it's hard to dispute this reaction  "...pure mush..." to his Brandenburg Gate gig. (The writer is a Thatcherite Brit, so make whatever allowances you care to.)

Obama made it to the White House in large part because of his powerful tent-preacher oratory. His skill seems to be fading.

Personally, I think the only shot he has at burnishing  his image is to hire Peggy Noonan.


Jun 12, 2013

Calling Paul Wolfowitz

...and all the other neocons to whom God spake about His  Divine Plan for a world  in the image of Peoria, Illinois:

Isn't it about time you guys started agitating to arm the Turkish rebels? Or at least declare Ankara a no-fly zone? 

With the promised wind-down of Afghanistan adventuring, the prospect of minding our own business portends a period of boredom, and we could use the stimulation of training a fresh batch of American kids to get themselves shot while adjudicating tribal and cult snit-fits in the Stans.

i understand that this one gets a little complicated.  We love the boss poltician, but the kids in the square seem to favor preserving a pretty workable constitution and not tinkering with a culture which tries to temper Islamist excess.

So what? A nice fresh little war always reminds foreigners how cool we can be about projecting our power.

Besides, it is a great way to give American teevee something to report instead of all this blather about the IRS cheating and NSA  spying and Eric Holder running guns and eyeballing reporters, right down to their indictable skivvies.

May 26, 2013

1,2,3,4 What are we fighitng for?

A little for Flag and Mom's apple pie, but mostly for the girl back home.  Ask Sgt. York.

Joan Agnes Theresa Sadie Brodel of Detroit.

Jan 22, 2013

Mali: The next great American adventure

Reuters drops the big secret this morning. If France wants to send some French  soldiers adventuring in Mali, it calls Uncle Sam.

"PARIS (Reuters) - The United States has started transporting French soldiers and equipment to Mali as part of its logistical aid to French forces fighting Islamist militants in the north of the country, a U.S. official said on Tuesday."

Two points:

This can send a fellow's mind skittering across the past 99 years of American history. He's thinking of all the wars, beginning with Black Jack Pershing's anti-Kaiser campaign and continuing through our "lend-lease" to Churchill, to Vietnam, and the various bloody Sand Box errors. You try to think of U.S. overseas wars which did not begin with benign "logistical aid."  Not many. "It's only money folks. We ain't agonna put even one American boy in harm's way." *

And because our client this time is la Belle France, the same fellow is likely to recall a certain arrogance of late  20th Century Paris. "F--k no you can't fly your evil, imperialistic planes through our air space."


*There a difference this time. In most of the other crusades we owned the money we gave away. Here in 2013, we'll need to secure an increase in our MasterCard limit. Call Peking.

Jan 19, 2013


We're sending a company of National Guard troops to Afghanistan. A helpful public relations officer told us what they'll be doing there. Unfortunately, some members of the public are not well-versed in the dialect spoken by the military literati. As a public service the TMR offers a translation of  "A release from the Iowa National Guard (which) states the company’s mission is... 

-- to  “increase the combat effectiveness of United States and coalition forces (usual cant, either obvious or meaningless)

--  by removing physical obstacles, (Bulldozing stuff down while in the vicinity of armed people who hate you.)

-- identifying and reducing minefields and explosive devices  (Shitting pants while in possession of a metal detector in the vicinity of armed people who hate you.)

-- executing mobility missions, (Driving to the PX through crowds containing armed people who hate you.)

-- emplacing barriers (Piling up dirt between you and some of the armed people who hate you.)

--constructing protective positions (Digging fox holes)

--and performing infantry missions (Shooting at armed people who hate you with the strong suspicion that they will shoot back.


Good luck ladies and gentlemen. Stay safe.  I mean it.

Sep 15, 2012

G' morning, fellow anarchists

With all the world crises going on, a fellow really ought to get busy with a careful analysis.

But I don't feel like it. Not even a short take on Topless Kate, a crisis that could rekindle the ancient Anglo-Gallic wars. (Since I haven't watched the news  about our president this morning, I don't know whether the Frogs and Brits are currently our enemies or allies or what. But I'm pretty sure the last thing we need is the Coldstream Guards assaulting Brest.  What a bump in the geopolitical road that would be.)

So I'm just playing with toys, namely a new three-volt cockroach by Nikon. If I get it figured out I'll send y'all some pictures of stuff I didn't build, like the pile of sustainable, renewable biomass, or perhaps the new knife abuilding (by someone who isn't me, of course) for a beloved survivalist grandson.

Or maybe not. I just found a dozen nightcrawlers left over from the last fishing jaunt. Shame to let them go to waste, eh?

Sep 13, 2012

Party time in Dubai

Our friend Joel has been there, and his recollection of riot day is well worth a read. As are the comments, particularly one by "Buck."

There's no particularly sexy money quote, but the entire thing is a useful reminder that our leaders keep dinking around in a culture whose bases they do not understand -- except possibly as a series of crises which they can manipulate for  domestic electoral purposes.

See also: Identity group politics.

Well of COURSE I feel like shooting some wogs. And YES, I think the Marines en route to the Shores of Tripoli should be issued live ammo and given permission slips to defend themselves.

Now, if someone will explain just WHICH Egyptians and Libyans and Yemenis need shooting, we'll be ever so grateful.

Meanwhile, I believe I'd tell President Mursi that because of his failure to operate a civilized government we're planning to reduce our annual $1.3 billion Cairo bribe.

Arab Spring. Vive la revolucion.  I see no way out for us unless we get busy with high-speed rail.

Aug 15, 2012

Win a war, kiss a nurse

Happy V-J Day. This is one of them as denoted by Japanese time.  Or it is about three weeks from now if  you insist on marking it by the USS Missouri ceremonies.

It was yesterday, our time, and Times Square was the place to be. We're lucky Alfred Eisenstaedt was there.

The Navy gets the gravy...

Apr 15, 2012

Tam strikes again

Pocketa, Pocketa, Pocketa, Mr. Mitty.

It's just you and a couple of girls heroically engaging the 82nd Airborne and at least one MEU, the ladies with their right-way Smiths and wrong-way Colts, you with whatever banger that most tickles your tactical gonads.

After many adventures you are victorious. America is restored to liberty and prosperity, and the Fred Waring Singers warble Over the Rainbow as the females vie for your heroic affections.

The reality might vary a smidgen from that.

What disturbs me is how many of the "I bought a Century Arms AK and a case of ammo; let's get iton!" crowd talk like they're looking forward to this because, I don't know, it means no more mortgage payments, or they won't have to go in to work on 

It is one thing to expect an Obama or Romney or successor to fiddle away America's last burning days. It is something else to hope for it, even with oodles of charged magazines, a basement full of canned tuna,  and 50 MREs in the bugout bag.

The odds do not favor our run-of-the-mill Armageddon Arnie as the alpha warlord in a real world of total collapse, his daydreams to the contrary notwithstanding. I suspect about the best he could hope for is being the sergeant in charge of burning the civilian corpses.  (Put the little kids in this pile, Corporal. Stack the rest over along the creek. Send a detail for kerosene. And detail a private bring me my gas mask.) 

It could come to that, and to ignore the possibility is foolish.  Preparation -- the equipment and supplies and attitudes to preserve the people you love -- is not foolish. But that is plan B or C or Z.

Plan A is to keep scrabbling, even if it means continuing to vote. To keep talking, even if it means discourse with statist idiots. We might even win. Meanwhile we can always side with that old poseur Winston Churchill. During the leadup to the Suez crisis he was chided for not being sufficiently belligerent and replied:

"To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war."

Feb 15, 2012

Way too Early Squirrley

Woke up about 3:30. Followed usual pre-dawn routine anyway. Scan the AP and Reuters reports. Pour a cup of coffee.  Plug in teevee just in time to catch the intro to "Way too Early."

Barnicle (subbing for Annoyingly Smiley Kid Willie) all excited about the seas off Iran where Dinner Jacket's patrol boat passes close to U.S. war ship. Worries about accidental war. Teases that MSNBC will report later from the "deck of one of the battle ships" there in the gulf.

Battle ship turns out to be either a carrier or a tin can. Too bad. For a brief moment I thought maybe we had recommissioned the Iowa. No such luck, just teevee doing what it does best -- phucking up phacts

I know. Battle ships are so 1940s, and they cost like Hell. So what?  Romance is worth something. Like Amos (Andy?) said, "It's just the  yo ho ho of the thing." The price of admiralty. Great White Fleet.  Murder's Row. All that.


About "accidental"  war as a result of opposing ships playing chicken. I urge one and all to refamiliarize him-or-herself with that accidental Gulf of Tonkin deal. It's pretty disheartening.

But at least we can be thankful that we don't have an LBJ top-kicking our armed forces any more. We're blessed in this era with a commander-in-chief far too moral to consider that a spot of election-year war might divert voter attention from  --ohhh, I dunno -- Solyndra, the flat national wallet,  record number of folks on food stamps, his flip-flop on super PACs and subsidized contraception.  Stuff like that.

Thank you for your kind attention. I am returning to my bed. Foetally. Thumb in mouth. Whimpering.