Friday, October 9, 2015

Sign of the Times

It's been a pretty shitty weak to have served in Afghanistan, both from the perspective of seeing something crumble that you put effort into building and from the perspective of seeing your countrymen babble about something that are almost inherently clueless about, and lastly, from the perspective of seeing your government and institutions flail about wildly without consequence.

Still, I don't think what I've written above will be surprising to anyone who reads this and is pretty par for the course around here, so I figured I'd pose an alternative "sign of the times" and catch some opinions on the matter.

I recently read this article.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter will personally hang the Purple Heart around the neck of Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, the Carmichael, Calif., native hailed as a hero for having helped thwart a gunman’s rampage on a French train last month.
 This is interesting, I thought, why would this person be getting a Purple Heart?  Sure he's in the military, and yes he stopped a gunman and was injured, but I don't think that France is a warzone?
The 2015 Defense Authorization Act expanded Purple Heart eligibility to include service members killed or wounded in attacks by foreign terrorist organizations.
 Ah... so now being injured in an attack by foreign terrorists is grounds for Purple Hearts.  Traumatic Brain Injury is still a murky area but at least we can get this airman free license plates for his life.

Also from the article is this:
 Hasan’s August 2013 court martial, which sentences him to death, revealed his jihadist ties. The Pentagon initially classified his crime as an act of workplace violence, but under pressure from members of Congress and families of the victims, the military members who were wounded or killed by Hasan later received Purple Hearts.
So not actually foreign terrorists but foreign terrorist inspired or something.
Honestly, I don't know how I should feel about this.  All awards are political and I can imagine that getting a Purple Heart is a great way for our nation to show gratitude for sacrifice and for a politician to show he cares about those who serve.  I know mom was happy about this.  I'm sure everyone involved felt pretty good about getting this airman a medal in addition to whatever France gave him.

So I think I understand the positive.  I think the downside to giving out the first purple heart earned in France since the Nazis were around is that we're now transporting the war zone closer and closer to home for sentimental feel-good reasons.  But when is transporting a war zone closer to home ever a good idea?

Thoughts?  Am I just raining on this guys parade or am I justified in being creeped out by these political decisions?  Or both?

PF Khans

Saturday, October 3, 2015

German Unity Day

It has been 25 years now. 

I hope to visit Dresden and then the spas of rural Saxony for my lumbago if I can ever raise the cash.  Would be great if the ROK's Sunshine Policy was able to entice the hermits of the north into a unified Korea.  The world needs more unification and less political disintegration and breakup.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Torpeckers and PigBoats

Fire Direction Chief has put up another of his excellent historical battle posts.  This one a sea battle.  The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot that took place while the world was looking to Normandy.  AKA the Battle of the Philippine Sea, this was the last of the five great carrier versus carrier battles of  WW2.  Although the submarine service had some fangs in this fight also.

Check it out.  It is well researched, well worth the read and great graphics:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Manufactured Humanitaran Crisis

--Germany and Refugees,
Arend van Dam

Sufficient to have stood,
though free to fall   
--Paradise Lost, John Milton

This isn't right.
It's not even wrong
-Wolfang Pauli

 Subtitle: Duckspeak on the Prolefeed.

Ranger and I are growing tired of the Duckspeak on the Prolefeed (thank you, Mr. Orwell), specifically surrounding the latest immigration crisis. The wailing, the babies, the fences. We should all shed crocodile tears and open up the borders, yes? No, not really.

Why has the number of refugees the U.S has agreed to accept tripled in the ten days since 10 September? And why is the United States so enthusiastically encouraging the Europeans to open the floodgates?

The majority of these people are not political refugees fleeing for their lives. They are instead, Discretionary Émigrés seeking to illegally force their entree into cowed Western nations for economic and educational benefit. Discretionary emigrés following a discretionary war.

The photographs in the news show well-fed and well-dressed people vociferously demanding entrance, circumventing the legal protocol which all previous asylum-seekers have had to pursue. We would not honor this mass exodus to those from persecuted African nations; in fact, Greece, Italy and the others ship them back.

So why the carte blanche to the Syrians, the Iraqis, et al.? Could it have something to do with the fact that their skin color is more in line with ours?

Sure, the U.S. has had a major hand in fomenting this madness by unleashing the roiling secularism which strongmen like Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammer Qadaffi had held under wraps, but that does not mean it or any other nation is responsible for setting these nations aright and instilling 21st century modes of behavior. Yes it was fatuous to imagine a garden of democracy would spring up in the desert wasteland, but our job, poorly-executed as it may have been, is done.

Perhaps the only people leaving their home countries who deserve the title "refugee" would be the Syrian and Iraqi Christians. Much as Syria obliterated its Jewish population in the decades before, so now is it attempting to purge this next group of undesirables. 

The remaining travelers are largely Sunni or Shiite Muslims, and their internecine warfare is their own gift that keeps on giving. The U.S. removed the strongmen of the Middle East (Assad is still hanging on) as a gift to the peoples of those nations (said with some sarcasm), with the thought was that the residents would now carve out their new heaven. That is what a people must do in their homeland, so why are these people leaving, and why is it our responsibility to house them?

No case has yet been made that the Islamic State (IS) is composed of dead-enders who are out of step with the population, and we straddle the fence. Either the populations of these countries don't like this form of "radical" Islam, or they are fine with it. If it is the former, they do not seem able or willing to step up to the plate (with massive U.S. aid) to confront their "nemesis".

Do we now recognize the IS as a new nation, a caliphate? If so, who will be defined as undesirables in that state? This is the undefined moment for those who will not fight to exploit the guilt-laden Western nations, so the non-fighters are bolting -- and maybe some of the fighters, too.

Notice the appearance of most refugees: Besides being well-fed and dressed, and the women all wear the Hijab, Niqab or burkha. These are not people renouncing their ways or clamoring for Western-style humanitarianism; if it were so, they would have had it at home.

But they all want to bypass the Eastern European hard-scrabble lives which would await them in Serbia, Croatia and Hungary -- nations which do not want them, anyway -- to get to Germany and Scandinavia. They're not fools.

Are the emigres majority Sunni? Are they Shiite? Will they carry their long-standing racial and ethnic animus in to their new lands? For those who settle in the U.S., will they carry their resentments against the Great Satan? This is surely some kind of Mobius strip which, as we endeavor to rout out radical Islam in our midst, folds back upon itself and opens the floodgates to unvetted Muslims.

It's a nice day for Middle Easterners hedging their bets, and for having your cake and eating it, too.

[cross-posted @ RangerAgainstWar]

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Being Pope Francis

 This is the struggle of every person:
be free or be a slave
--Pope Francis

Terrorism Counteraction (TC/A) training taught us to think like terrorists, but that may be a fool's errand since few who have been brought up in the Western mindset can think that way.

But today, let us try and think like a terrorist.

Pope Francis, controversial in some circles, will visit the United States on 22 September. He recently held said priests could absolve women of the sin of abortion if they are contrite when they seek forgiveness. To some fringe fundamentalists, this is as bad as sanctioning abortion itself, and much as they would kill an abortion provider, so too they might try to kill the Pope. (It is not as though attempts have not been made on the lives of other pontiffs and abortion doctors.)

Feminist extremists could also see the Pope as a target for his refusal to eliminate the "celestial glass ceiling" and keeping women in support positions (=nuns) versus ordination to the forward leadership positions. To hell with being Rangers, these women would aspire to being Pope.

Add in the contingent that wants to throw illegal aliens out of the U.S. Doesn't Francis argue for compassion, and isn't he suspect of being their advocate, being of South American and not European origin? So here are three disaffected groups before we even leave the runway.

Now add in Islamic extremists and you have some real possibilities for an assassination attempt. It would be quite a coup, in terrorist-think, for any of these groups to execute a mission on U.S. soil.

The Pope would be a fine symbolic target, worthy of expending valuable western-trained operatives. If they have the assets, the Pope would be a logical target for expenditure.

What could the U.S. do to counter the threat?

  • Cancel the Pope's visit due to the threat level
  • As the head of a foreign government (the Vatican), provide him an aircraft with ECM capabilies for his trip 
  • Require the Pope to stay in unknown and unannounced secure military locations (much as President Bush hid out following the events of 9-11-01.)
  • Limit his exposure to the public

If there is anyone who wants the Pope dead, the U.S. would be a great place to kill him. This is a sad thought, but it is thinking-like-a-terrorist. 

Is anyone discussing this potential eventuality?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Georgia Veterans Hall of Fame

The only thing that makes battle psychologically tolerable
is the brotherhood among soldiers.
You need each other to get by
---War, Sebastian Junger

Without heroes, we are all plain people,
and don’t know how far we can go
--Bernard Malamud   

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends
--John 15:13

An addendum to 7 Oct PSA on the "Airborne Instructors Reunion" (The Black Hats):

For those able to attend the Airborne Instructors Reunion, a special guest will be Col. Paul Longgrear (Ret'd), the last surviving officer from the well-documented Vietnam Battle of Lang Vei. Ranger wishes to bring attention one of Paul's latest accomplishments, the founding of the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame (GMVHOF).

When Paul was inducted into the Arkansas Military Hall of Fame in 2012, he told us he was humbled to be in the company of such decorated fellow Arkansawyers. Upon realizing there was no such recognition given to Georgia Veterans (the home of Ft. Benning!) Paul decided to form a nonprofit in 2013 to give veterans in his adopted home state the same recognition.

Georgia is now one of only 20 states that honor veterans through a Hall of Fame.

Of the more than 770,000 veterans who have hailed from the Peach State, 18 have been inducted into the first (2013) class of the GMHOF; 16 were in the second (2014).

Paul's goal in forming the organization was to ensure that Georgia military veterans are properly honored for their service and sacrifice and to introduce young people to heroes. He said, "Athletes and entertainers are stars, but not heroes. When they signed on to serve their country, military veterans signed a blank check for an amount up to and including their lives. They are real heroes."

For those interested in making a nomination, candidates may be living or deceased and nominated for valorous military performance, extraordinary achievements or combined military and civilian community service. An independent selection committee reviews the nominations and honorees are inducted at an annul banquet in November.

Visit for more information or to make a nomination. You can contact Col. Longgrear directly at GMVHOF, P.O. Box 745, Pine Mountain, Ga. 31822, (706) 302-2220.

[cross-posted @ RangerAgainstWar]

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ranger Rule of Order

Today's entry is in the "Oldies but Goldies" category, re-titled,

"Not that he's a Cassandra ... "

Ranger nailed this one two years ago to the day: 



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ranger's Rule of Order

  Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God 
--Matthew 5:9 

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ,
think it possible that you may be mistaken
--Oliver Cromwell

The run-up to the bombing of Syria has been full of the usual bloviation justifying the use of violence as the American Way of problem-solving. But if and when we bomb Syria it will not be war, because the United States has lost the ability and skills to fight  a real war with all attendant features.

If we contravene the efforts of the world community to stave off our brinkmanship -- if we drop bombs on Syria -- this will be violence without purpose. Do not mistake the application of violence as war; it is not war. It is simply a flash and bang simulacrum of war.

Ranger's Rule of Order #1:
Adding violence to an already violent situation will not ensure a peaceful outcome.

Corrolary: The result will be de facto a continuation of the violence. For civilians, this act is akin to adding salt to an overly salty soup; potatoes would be a more sensible addition if the goal is to ratchet down the saltiness.

Dropping bombs is not peacekeeping.

In war, violence is added to achieve goals, but in peacekeeping violence is SUBTRACTED to reach the goal. At least, that's how it should be.

Even for a Ranger who prides himself in his simplicity, this is embarrassingly simple to have to state.

[cross-posted @ RangerAgainstWar.]