Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
A daring rescue operation by Special Forces flew scores of British citizens out of Libya last night as the net closed in on Col Muammar Gaddafi.
A more descriptive headline might read:
"Special Operations Forces Swoop on Libya . . ."
This was a daring operation that no doubt involved a LOT of risk taking on behalf of British Special Air Service soldiers, but a thing like this is actually a combined arms operations involving all services, most especially logistical personnel.
Phases of an operation like this include issuing warning orders to the ground operators (SAS) as well as the air arm involved (RAF and RN); planning; reconnaissance; infiltration of the main body; actions on the objective; consolidation and preparation for exfil; exfiltration. Intelligence gathering and operational security (OPSEC) would be involved throughout each phase of the operation.
An advanced recon element would be launched - given present circumstances they may have inserted by air - either civilian air transport, helicopter or High-Altitude-Low-Opening parachute (HALO); personally I would prefer MH-47 Chinook because I can get a fully-loaded vehicle on board - you can't get very far in the desert without a truck. Presumably they had some stay-behind personnel from the embassy who could coordinate a lot of the above.
Of course all of the above is contingent upon a forward staging area and launch site - this has to be selected and coordinated with host country - in this case (presumably) the former British colony of Malta. At the same time the forward element is being launched, the main body is being assembled; equipment, aircraft and vehicles prepared; medical and life support supplies collected, and phases of movement coordinated - home station to forward operating base (Malta) to Libya and return. Fuel has to be coordinated and paid for to cover each leg of the operation.
Preparations have to be made for reception of the British refugees once they arrive in Malta; temporary accommodations (aircraft hangers, large tents, cots, toilets, showers, medical facilities, etc.). Feeding will probably be accomplished via takeout from local restaurants or airport caterers.
Meanwhile tasks for the advance (recon) party would include locating all potential evacuees and informing them where and when to assemble; locating and surveying suitable landing zone for the C-130 Hercules aircraft (primary, alternate & contingent); possibly acquiring ground transport for the evacuees; reconnaissance and security tasks while awaiting the arrival of the main body to include a steady stream of situation reports (SITREPS) from the ground, via encrypted satcom.
Last but not least all of the above involves an incredible amount of headquarters staff personnel to plan and coordinate, cut movement orders, and communicate, communicate, communicate . . .
There are very few militaries in the world capable of pulling off such a contingency operation - this time the UK shows us how it's done.
"Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics" - General of the Army Omar Bradley
SEAN LINNANE SENDS
"HOW I DESTROYED MY DAD's KALISHNIKOV ON MY SUMMER VACATION
OK let's take it from the top:
1) Unstable firing position = zero control of rounds impact downrange.
2) Firing 180 rounds on full auto is going to wear your bore out . . . make it look like YOUR backdoor after your first night in prison . . .
3) Now your forearm grips are on fire - congratulations Genius you just destroyed a perfectly good full-auto assault rifle . . .
4) On top of all that you're a member of the Hats-on-Backward Brigade . . . go away and come back when you're mature enough to wear your hat on the right way. In the meantime, perhaps you should seek a professional for some real combat military marksmanship techniques.
Today's Bird HERE
Saturday, February 26, 2011
If these guys are anything like any and every African soldier I ever trained, worked with or encountered on the battlefield; they've all got malaria, half of them can't read or write, and their only understanding of the Law of Land Warfare is that they're breaking every law in the book. No matter how hard you train them, in contact they revert to the "spray-and-pray" school of gunfighting and the safest place to be when they're shooting at you is right out in the middle of the street because they can't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside.
These are heathen savages, capable of the most horrific atrocities. To call them barbarians is an insult to all barbarians everywhere and the only thing professional about Qaddafi's mercenaries is the fact that they've been doing what they're doing for a prerequisite period of time. Their knowledge of tactics or gunnery starts at the buttstock of their Kalishnikov and ends at the business end.
Despite the public's fascination with the subject, there's a lot of misunderstanding about the term "mercenary". Most people consider a mercenary to be a soldier that serves merely for wages. According to this broad definition, practically every member of every standing, professional army in the world is a mercenary - and I've actually heard American soldiers referred to in this vein.
A more selective definition is found in Webster’s Dictionary: "a mercenary is a soldier hired into foreign service serving merely for pay or sordid advantage." According to this criteria, every foreign national serving in the U.S. military - including yours truly - is a mercenary.
According to the definitions found within the Hague and Geneva Conventions; a mercenary is a professional soldier hired by a foreign army, as opposed to a soldier enlisted in the armed forces of the sovereign state of which he is a citizen, and is "motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the Armed Forces of that Party" (Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention of August 1949).
Non-conscript professional members of a regular army are not considered mercenaries even though they get remuneration for their service. Under this definition, even members of the French Foreign Legion and the Gurkha Regiment are technically not mercenaries under the Laws of Land Warfare, even though they meet many of the requirements of Article 47 of the 1949 Additional Protocol I; they are exempt under clauses 47(a)(c)(d)(e)&(f). Journalists tend to describe these soldiers as mercenaries regardless.
There ARE mercenaries out there; I have known a few. Adventurers, guns-for-hire, some of them I even consider professional counterparts, but more often than not their activities are of questionable legal or ethical nature. I myself have been called a mercenary but this is a stretch; I retired honorably from the military, and I work in the security profession. I am certainly not a criminal, and there are some things that I simply will not do for pay.
The notorious Thahan Phran (ทหารพราน; literally "Hunter Soldiers") - an irregular light infantry force which patrols the borders of Thailand - are considered mercenaries, although they are technically part of the Royal Thai Army, and they certainly are not foreigners.
The private security contractors in the hire of the U.S. Department of Defense or State Department are not mercenaries; they are technically no different than the private security manning the gates at U.S. government facilities throughout the United States - they not mercenaries anymore so than postal inspectors are Federal Law Enforcement.
On the other hand, Qaddafi's goons ARE mercenaries, although I consider them professionals only in that they serve for pay. And in light of the way these brigands are conducting themselves, they are not soldiers any more than the Khmer Rouge or Hitler's SS were; "uniformed organized crime" is how I refer to this kind of scum.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . SEAN LINNANE SENDS
. . . trained by Elvis, a tradition of his show was the women in the audience THROWING THEIR PANTIES AND THEIR HOTEL ROOM KEYS AT HIM.
Saturday Bird HERE
Friday, February 25, 2011
" . . . . I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I'd never want another . . ."
My mission statement said something about patrols, so I took it to heart and I started going deep into the interior for a week at a time. I kept a patrol log, sent in coordinates of features not on the map; wells, oasis, cleared areas suitable to land fixed-wing aircraft. I always took a local with me - this turned out to be good planning on more than one occasion.
On this particular occasion I was in Choum, headed north to F'derik. We waited in Choum during the hottest time of the day. There was a whitewashed mud hut - it was a sort of caravanserai; the only furniture was Moroccan carpets. Everybody lounged around, sat with their backs up against the wall, and passed around this wooden bowl full of camel milk yoghurt, which isn't bad; it's the thick black line of flies all along the rim that are the bad part.
When it cooled off to a bearable 95°F everybody went outside to the trucks - a caravan had assembled - and made ready to make movement. You travel at night in the desert, part of the reason is it gets so hot in the middle of the day, the tires pop. One day I had to fix five flats - and that included breaking the tire off the rim, pulling the tube out and patching it, then putting the tire back on the rim and pumping it up - by hand - popping the bead and all - in the middle of the Sahara Desert in the middle of the day.
Anyway we were rolling across the desert track - there aren't any roads out there; it's all track - all these trucks full of Moors all over the place, it looked like a North African re-make of The Road Warrior.
The trick is to stay on track. The other trick is to constantly be checking your navigation. I was doing the dead reckoning thing and keeping an eye on the stars just to be sure we were heading in the right direction, but I wasn't too worried about it because everybody knows the Arabs have this uncanny sense of direction, right? It's like they always know where Mecca is, right?
WRONG. Turns out I was the only one doing any kind of nav checks out there. Around about the time I noticed we'd made a big circle about twice I called a halt to the Great Migration. Everybody dismounted and that was a LOT of everybody - there were at least twenty trucks in our convoy and each truck held between ten to thirty Moors. The leaders all assembled and I said in a mixture of French and bad Arabic, "Look, we've lost the track and we're going in circles."
What I picked up from them as they mumbled amongst themselves was, "This guy is the weirdest Frenchman ever been around these parts," and "He isn't French, can't you tell he's Egyptian?" That's the kind of Arabic they teach at Fort Bragg.
I said, "This is my good idea - let's just stop here and rest for a couple hours." It was already 0230. "Then when the wolf's tail comes" - the early, early morning pre-light just before dawn - "then we'll go on the track again, and this time we'll be able to see it, and we'll be in F'derik before it gets hot."
Everybody agreed to this, then split up to report back to their individual crowds. I pulled out my trusty poncho liner and threw my bag up against the tire of my truck and leaned against it, pulled the poncho around me to help beat the wind and try to get some shuteye. All around me there were clusters of people, making tea, having conversations, a group of them would get together and do a sort of line dance where they were all doing their prayers - "Allah-wuh-Allah-wuh-ak-b-a-a-a-r . . ."
It was like the Tribes of Israel in the Wilderness; there were hundreds of people all around me, huddled in little clusters all about me in the darkness, and it was dark as Sin. Suddenly it occurred to me that NOBODY KNEW WHERE I WAS; not the embassy, not the guys up at SOCEUR in Stuttgart or back at Bragg, none of my friends, my family . . .
. . . NOBODY . . .
I was out there - WAY out there - my life was in the hands of these strangers who were all around me . . . and not a SOUL I knew had any idea where on Earth was Sean Linnane.
If a snake had bitten me, I'd have been done.
I looked up at those stars - in the desert night the stars look like diamonds on black velvet - then the vast solitude of it all, and the reality of my situation - it all hit me all at once: my home & my people might as well be way out there beyond those stars, and I started feeling . . . SO . . . . . . ALONE . . .
The sensation of being out there - all by myself - surrounded by strange strangers . . . Stranger in a Strange Land . . . I felt SO . . . ALONE . . .
. . . I never felt . . . SO . . . LONELY . . . IN . . . ALL . . . MY . . . LIFE . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . SEAN LINNANE SENDS
Friday Bird HERE
Thursday, February 24, 2011
by Timothy Elliot - special correspondent to STORMBRINGER
One of the central truths of the Special Operations is that competent Special Operations Forces (SOF) cannot be created after emergencies occur. The idea is that it’s impossible to fully prepare soldiers during any emergency because of a variety of environmental, political, and practicality. This foresight and preparation has been a primary cause of the undeniable success of the US Military’s SOF, but the military hasn’t shown the same sort of planning towards a burgeoning mesothelioma emergency in veterans. Over 1,000 veterans a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, because at one time the military used asbestos in over 300 products ranging from electrical insulation to cloth.
Although the military issued warnings about the dangers of asbestos as far back as the early 1920’s, in 1939 the Navy mandated that all new ships must be built using asbestos. The military’s use of asbestos, in fact, peaked in the 1960’s. At that time although there were concerns about the dangers of prolonged asbestos exposure, it was not known to be the only cause of mesothelioma.
However several military bases, including Fort Braggs, were so infested with asbestos that in the early 1990’s the EPA declared them Superfund sites because of their health dangers. Fort Braggs, in fact, came under fire as recently as 2008 for putting soldiers in danger of asbestos exposure in the barracks.
The Veterans Administration is already struggling to take care of the growing numbers of veterans with mesothelioma and although asbestos use in the military decreased significantly in the late 1970’s diagnoses are expected to rise for the next 5-10 years. Because mesothelioma has a latency period of between 20-50 years before it begins to spread through the body thousands of veterans who will likely develop mesothelioma are still undiagnosed.
Worst of all, because it commonly goes undiagnosed until it has metastasized and spread throughout the entire body the mesothelioma life expectancy is only between a year or two years after diagnosis. If mesothelioma is detected early enough, surgery to remove the tumor is an option.
Unfortunately, because the mesothelioma symptoms are so similar to other, less serious diseases mesothelioma can be extremely difficult to diagnosis. Most victims report only heavy breathing and a heaviness in the chest. As such, mesothelioma is one of the deadliest cancers.
Fortunately, the outbreak of mesothelioma amongst veterans is not the sort of emergency that the military cannot plan better for. Knowing that there are thousands of service men and women who have been exposed to asbestos and may develop mesothelioma, the military needs to make a concerted effort to make sure that veterans are well aware of the danger.
When I did my retirement physical, nobody said a word about this threat and I certainly wasn't checked for Mesothelioma - now think about it: if that's how Government preventative healthcare works for the most deserving members of our society, how is it going to be for the regular citizenry? If you are a veteran, or you have worked around military bases in the past, be sure to get yourself checked out, because it is deadly serious - S.L.
© 2011 STORMBRINGER
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
All I gotta say is I'm so glad I spent those five winters in Germany - that taught me how to deal with the cold. First thing they did to me when I got over there was take me to the top of the Alps and left me at 10,000 for six weeks. What I learned was as long as you stay warm & dry you're OK - the minute you start feeling the cold that's it; you're done.
Despite all that the coldest place I ever went was last winter in Chicago and the industrial sprawl in the surrounding hinterland. Colder than above 10,000 feet up in the Alps, in the wintertime . . .
. . . and I STILL ain't feeling the cold ! ! !
- SEAN LINNANE SENDS
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
More than 150 are feared dead after a major earthquake hit Christchurch, one of New Zealand's biggest cities, in what the prime minister described "New Zealand's darkest day".
This place looks like Sarajevo did when I arrived there in '95:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Christchurch, New Zealand . . .
. . . . . . . . . . S.L.
From American Patrol Report - February 21
To show just how open our borders really are, this weekend a concerned citizen took his camera out to the desert just south of Interstate 8 in Arizona and took video of people walking into the U.S. Were they illegal aliens? Is the Pope a Catholic?
A number of groups were spotted and reported; but the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended only one.
We are showing just a part of the videos that were taken. (Click here to see.)
These people had crossed 70 miles of open desert without being detected. Sensors were not triggered (or they were ignored) and the highly touted Predator B UAV didn't spot them (or the report was ignored.)
Would DHS Secretary Napolitano be shocked to see this sort of thing? Probably not.
1 Camera, 1 Trail, 21 Days, 63 ILLEGALS:
Wednesday Bird HERE
By George Friedman
The Muslim world, from North Africa to Iran, has experienced a wave of instability in the last few weeks. No regimes have been overthrown yet, although as of this writing, Libya was teetering on the brink.
There have been moments in history where revolution spread in a region or around the world as if it were a wildfire. These moments do not come often. Those that come to mind include 1848, where a rising in France engulfed Europe. There was also 1968, where the demonstrations of what we might call the New Left swept the world: Mexico City, Paris, New York and hundreds of other towns saw anti-war revolutions staged by Marxists and other radicals. Prague saw the Soviets smash a New Leftist government. Even China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution could, by a stretch, be included. In 1989, a wave of unrest, triggered by East Germans wanting to get to the West, generated an uprising in Eastern Europe that overthrew Soviet rule.
Each had a basic theme. The 1848 uprisings attempted to establish liberal democracies in nations that had been submerged in the reaction to Napoleon. 1968 was about radical reform in capitalist society. 1989 was about the overthrow of communism. They were all more complex than that, varying from country to country. But in the end, the reasons behind them could reasonably be condensed into a sentence or two.
Some of these revolutions had great impact. 1989 changed the global balance of power. 1848 ended in failure at the time — France reverted to a monarchy within four years — but set the stage for later political changes. 1968 produced little that was lasting. The key is that in each country where they took place, there were significant differences in the details — but they shared core principles at a time when other countries were open to those principles, at least to some extent.
The Current Rising in Context
In looking at the current rising, the geographic area is clear: The Muslim countries of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula have been the prime focus of these risings, and in particular North Africa where Egypt, Tunisia and now Libya have had profound crises. Of course, many other Muslim countries also had revolutionary events that have not, at least until now, escalated into events that threaten regimes or even ruling personalities. There have been hints of such events elsewhere. There were small demonstrations in China, and of course Wisconsin is in turmoil over budget cuts. But these don’t really connect to what is happening in the Middle East. The first was small and the second is not taking inspiration from Cairo. So what we have is a rising in the Arab world that has not spread beyond there for the time being.
The key principle that appears to be driving the risings is a feeling that the regimes, or a group of individuals within the regimes, has deprived the public of political and, more important, economic rights — in short, that they enriched themselves beyond what good taste permitted. This has expressed itself in different ways. In Bahrain, for example, the rising was of the primarily Shiite population against a predominantly Sunni royal family. In Egypt, it was against the person of Hosni Mubarak. In Libya, it is against the regime and person of Moammar Gadhafi and his family, and is driven by tribal hostility.
Why has it come together now? One reason is that there was a tremendous amount of regime change in the region from the 1950s through the early 1970s, as the Muslim countries created regimes to replace foreign imperial powers and were buffeted by the Cold War. Since the early 1970s, the region has, with the exception of Iran in 1979, been fairly stable in the sense that the regimes — and even the personalities who rose up in the unstable phase — stabilized their countries and imposed regimes that could not easily be moved. Gadhafi, for example, overthrew the Libyan monarchy in 1969 and has governed continually for 42 years since then.
Any regime dominated by a small group of people over time will see that group use their position to enrich themselves. There are few who can resist for 40 years. It is important to recognize that Gadhafi, for example, was once a genuine, pro-Soviet revolutionary. But over time, revolutionary zeal declines and avarice emerges along with the arrogance of extended power. And in the areas of the region where there had not been regime changes since after World War I, this principle stays true as well, although interestingly, over time, the regimes seem to learn to spread the wealth a bit.
Thus, what emerged throughout the region were regimes and individuals who were classic kleptocrats. More than anything, if we want to define this wave of unrest, particularly in North Africa, it is a rising against regimes — and particularly individuals — who have been in place for extraordinarily long periods of time. And we can add to this that they are people who were planning to maintain family power and money by installing sons as their political heirs. The same process, with variations, is under way in the Arabian Peninsula. This is a rising against the revolutionaries of previous generations.
The revolutions have been coming for a long time. The rising in Tunisia, particularly when it proved successful, caused it to spread. As in 1848, 1968 and 1989, similar social and cultural conditions generate similar events and are triggered by the example of one country and then spread more broadly. That has happened in 2011 and is continuing.
A Uniquely Sensitive Region
It is, however, happening in a region that is uniquely sensitive at the moment. The U.S.-jihadist war means that, as with previous revolutionary waves, there are broader potential geopolitical implications. 1989 meant the end of the Soviet empire, for example. In this case, the question of greatest importance is not why these revolutions are taking place, but who will take advantage of them. We do not see these revolutions as a vast conspiracy by radical Islamists to take control of the region. A conspiracy that vast is easily detected, and the security forces of the individual countries would have destroyed the conspiracies quickly. No one organized the previous waves, although there have been conspiracy theories about them as well. They arose from certain conditions, following the example of one incident. But particular groups certainly tried, with greater and lesser success, to take advantage of them.
In this case, whatever the cause of the risings, there is no question that radical Islamists will attempt to take advantage and control of them. Why wouldn’t they? It is a rational and logical course for them. Whether they will be able to do so is a more complex and important question, but that they would want to and are trying to do so is obvious. They are a broad, transnational and disparate group brought up in conspiratorial methods. This is their opportunity to create a broad international coalition. Thus, as with traditional communists and the New Left in the 1960s, they did not create the rising but they would be fools not to try to take advantage of it. I would add that there is little question but that the United States and other Western countries are trying to influence the direction of the uprisings. For both sides, this is a difficult game to play, but it is particularly difficult for the United States as outsiders to play this game compared to native Islamists who know their country.
But while there is no question that Islamists would like to take control of the revolution, that does not mean that they will, nor does it mean that these revolutions will be successful. Recall that 1848 and 1968 were failures and those who tried to take advantage of them had no vehicle to ride. Also recall that taking control of a revolution is no easy thing. But as we saw in Russia in 1917, it is not necessarily the more popular group that wins, but the best organized. And you frequently don’t find out who is best organized until afterwards.
Democratic revolutions have two phases. The first is the establishment of democracy. The second is the election of governments. The example of Hitler is useful as a caution on what kind of governments a young democracy can produce, since he came to power through democratic and constitutional means — and then abolished democracy to cheering crowds. So there are three crosscurrents here. The first is the reaction against corrupt regimes. The second is the election itself. And the third? The United States needs to remember, as it applauds the rise of democracy, that the elected government may not be what one expected.
In any event, the real issue is whether these revolutions will succeed in replacing existing regimes. Let’s consider the process of revolution for the moment, beginning by distinguishing a demonstration from an uprising. A demonstration is merely the massing of people making speeches. This can unsettle the regime and set the stage for more serious events, but by itself, it is not significant. Unless the demonstrations are large enough to paralyze a city, they are symbolic events. There have been many demonstrations in the Muslim world that have led nowhere; consider Iran.
It is interesting here to note that the young frequently dominate revolutions like 1848, 1969 and 1989 at first. This is normal. Adults with families and maturity rarely go out on the streets to face guns and tanks. It takes young people to have the courage or lack of judgment to risk their lives in what might be a hopeless cause. However, to succeed, it is vital that at some point other classes of society join them. In Iran, one of the key moments of the 1979 revolution was when the shopkeepers joined young people in the street. A revolution only of the young, as we saw in 1968 for example, rarely succeeds. A revolution requires a broader base than that, and it must go beyond demonstrations. The moment it goes beyond the demonstration is when it confronts troops and police. If the demonstrators disperse, there is no revolution. If they confront the troops and police, and if they carry on even after they are fired on, then you are in a revolutionary phase. Thus, pictures of peaceful demonstrators are not nearly as significant as the media will have you believe, but pictures of demonstrators continuing to hold their ground after being fired on is very significant.
A Revolution’s Key Event
This leads to the key event in the revolution. The revolutionaries cannot defeat armed men. But if those armed men, in whole or part, come over to the revolutionary side, victory is possible. And this is the key event. In Bahrain, the troops fired on demonstrators and killed some. The demonstrators dispersed and then were allowed to demonstrate — with memories of the gunfire fresh. This was a revolution contained. In Egypt, the military and police opposed each other and the military sided with the demonstrators, for complex reasons obviously. Personnel change, if not regime change, was inevitable. In Libya, the military has split wide open.
When that happens, you have reached a branch in the road. If the split in the military is roughly equal and deep, this could lead to civil war. Indeed, one way for a revolution to succeed is to proceed to civil war, turning the demonstrators into an army, so to speak. That’s what Mao did in China. Far more common is for the military to split. If the split creates an overwhelming anti-regime force, this leads to the revolution’s success. Always, the point to look for is thus the police joining with the demonstrators. This happened widely in 1989 but hardly at all in 1968. It happened occasionally in 1848, but the balance was always on the side of the state. Hence, that revolution failed.
It is this act, the military and police coming over to the side of the demonstrators, that makes or breaks a revolution. Therefore, to return to the earlier theme, the most important question on the role of radical Islamists is not their presence in the crowd, but their penetration of the military and police. If there were a conspiracy, it would focus on joining the military, waiting for demonstrations and then striking.
Those who argue that these risings have nothing to do with radical Islam may be correct in the sense that the demonstrators in the streets may well be students enamored with democracy. But they miss the point that the students, by themselves, can’t win. They can only win if the regime wants them to, as in Egypt, or if other classes and at least some of the police or military — people armed with guns who know how to use them — join them. Therefore, looking at the students on TV tells you little. Watching the soldiers tells you much more.
The problem with revolutions is that the people who start them rarely finish them. The idealist democrats around Alexander Kerensky in Russia were not the ones who finished the revolution. The thuggish Bolsheviks did. In these Muslim countries, the focus on the young demonstrators misses the point just as it did in Tiananmen Square. It wasn’t the demonstrators that mattered, but the soldiers. If they carried out orders, there would be no revolution.
I don’t know the degree of Islamist penetration of the military in Libya, to pick one example of the unrest. I suspect that tribalism is far more important than theology. In Egypt, I suspect the regime has saved itself by buying time. Bahrain was more about Iranian influence on the Shiite population than Sunni jihadists at work. But just as the Iranians are trying to latch on to the process, so will the Sunni jihadists.
The Danger of Chaos
I suspect some regimes will fall, mostly reducing the country in question to chaos. The problem, as we are seeing in Tunisia, is that frequently there is no one on the revolutionaries’ side equipped to take power. The Bolsheviks had an organized party. In these revolutions, the parties are trying to organize themselves during the revolution, which is another way to say that the revolutionaries are in no position to govern. The danger is not radical Islam, but chaos, followed either by civil war, the military taking control simply to stabilize the situation or the emergence of a radical Islamic party to take control — simply because they are the only ones in the crowd with a plan and an organization. That’s how minorities take control of revolutions.
All of this is speculation. What we do know is that this is not the first wave of revolution in the world, and most waves fail, with their effects seen decades later in new regimes and political cultures. Only in the case of Eastern Europe do we see broad revolutionary success, but that was against an empire in collapse, so few lessons can be drawn from that for the Muslim world.
In the meantime, as you watch the region, remember not to watch the demonstrators. Watch the men with the guns. If they stand their ground for the state, the demonstrators have failed. If some come over, there is some chance of victory. And if victory comes, and democracy is declared, do not assume that what follows will in any way please the West — democracy and pro-Western political culture do not mean the same thing.
The situation remains fluid, and there are no broad certainties. It is a country-by-country matter now, with most regimes managing to stay in power to this point. There are three possibilities. One is that this is like 1848, a broad rising that will fail for lack of organization and coherence, but that will resonate for decades. The second is 1968, a revolution that overthrew no regime even temporarily and left some cultural remnants of minimal historical importance. The third is 1989, a revolution that overthrew the political order in an entire region, and created a new order in its place.
If I were to guess at this point, I would guess that we are facing 1848. The Muslim world will not experience massive regime change as in 1989, but neither will the effects be as ephemeral as 1968. Like 1848, this revolution will fail to transform the Muslim world or even just the Arab world. But it will plant seeds that will germinate in the coming decades. I think those seeds will be democratic, but not necessarily liberal. In other words, the democracies that eventually arise will produce regimes that will take their bearings from their own culture, which means Islam.
The West celebrates democracy. It should be careful what it hopes for: It might get it.
Revolution and the Muslim World is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I am writing regarding Colombia's treatment of our military's wounded on your campus. Specifically, Anthony Maschek, an American hero. This is absolutely disgraceful. You need to denounce such behavior for it is because of wounded veterans your students have free speech but this is certainly lost on the Columbia student body and administration.
My uncle a WWII veteran (now deceased) received his masters from Columbia. Your students and administration dishonor him.
Blackfive points out General Dwight D. Eisenhower served as Columbia University's President from 1948 to 1953 . . . Read more HERE - the entire episode is astonishing, but the veteran's families' response is incredible - S.L.
Dear Americans, these are some questions I have collected in 16 years of living in your country. Please see if you can answer them for me:
* If all cultures are equal, why doesn't UNESCO organize International Cannibalism Week festivals?
* Why do those demanding "equal pay for equal work" never protest against "equal pay for little or no work"?
* Why has no politician ever run on men's issues or promised to improve the lives of males?
* If all beliefs are equally valid, how come my belief in the absurdity of this maxim gets rejected by its proponents?
* Ever noticed that for the past thirty years, we've been hearing we have less than ten years to save the planet?
* Once a politician labels the truth as hate speech, can anyone trust him to speak the truth afterward?
* If a politician gets elected by the poor on a promise to eliminate poverty, wouldn't fulfilling his promise destroy his voting base? Wouldn't he rather benefit from the growing numbers of poor people? Isn't this an obvious conflict of interests?
* How did the "war on poverty" end? Has there been a peace treaty or a ceasefire? Who is the occupying force and who are the insurgents?
* Why weren't there demonstrations with anti-feudal slogans under feudal rule? And under Stalin, no anti-communist demonstrations? And under Hitler, no anti-fascist demonstrations? In a free capitalist society, anti-capitalist demonstrations are commonplace. Is capitalism really the worst system?
* If capitalism makes some people rich without making others poor, who will benefit when capitalism is destroyed?
* If the poor in America have things that people in other countries can only dream about, why is there a movement to make America more like those other countries?
Read them all - and the confrontation that inspired this piece - HERE
Tuesday Bird HERE
Monday, February 21, 2011
By ANNIE KARNI
Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.
"Racist!" some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.
Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.
"It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting," said Maschek. "There are bad men out there plotting to kill you."
Several students laughed and jeered the Idaho native, a 10th Mountain Division infantryman who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/hero_unwelcome_Zi3u1fwtRpo87vXAiAQfSN#ixzz1EYaPSetJ
These worthless idiot college punks have no idea what honor is even when its looking up at them straight in the eye from the wheelchair. In this business, you want to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk. I doubt a single one of these student kids have spent a single day in combat boots. They are worse than worthless; their conduct is disgraceful; they have no shame. . .
. . . . . . . . . . SEAN LINNANE SENDS
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
- John Stuart Mill
"For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
Anonymous - possibly Vietnam, found on the back of a C ration carton during the siege for Khe Sanh. Click HERE
Monday Mystery Bird HERE
Sunday, February 20, 2011
STORMBRINGER is a military blog, primarily dedicated to honoring heroes of the great US / UK / ANZAC / CANADA / ISRAEL Alliance in this conflict forced upon us by the Evildoers of Islamic Fundamentalism. Themes include reports on international security, great battles and notable events of military history, the greatness of Ancient Greece and Rome (and how the civilization of Ancient Rome still exists and prevails), the story of United States Army Special Forces (the Green Berets) and of course from time to time bits of my personal philosophy; inspired by Aristotle, Cicero, Atilla the Hun, John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, the Duke of Wellington, Winston Churchill, Ayn Rand and Rush Limbaugh, to name a few.
An essential ingredient of my personal philosophy - a.k.a. The Philosophy of STORMBRINGERISM - is what Ayn Rand refers to as laizee-faire capitalism. The phrase laissez-faire (pronounced: lah-zay-fair) is French and literally means "let do", but it broadly implies "let it be", or "leave it alone." In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies.
Also from Ayn Rand, I embrace the concept of Human Exceptionalism; the belief that human beings have special status in nature based on their unique capacities. This belief is the grounding for some naturalistic concepts of human rights. Taking it a step further, Rush Limbaugh describes the philosophy of American Exceptionalism: the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other nations. This stems from our emergence from a revolution, and the uniquely American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire. This observation is traced to Alexis de Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the United States as "exceptional."
STORMBRINGERISM is also about the Cult of the 1911 and the individuals right to self-defense - up to and including lethal force - is a justifiable defense in a court of law:
But, you say, how does this include the Great Alliance; our worthy allies the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel?
Simple: the American experience would not have been if the foundations of Democracy had not been laid in Britain, and before that in Ancient Rome, and before that Ancient Greece. In that, the UK is the Mother Country - has been and always will be - and by default this makes Canada, Australia and New Zealand our brothers and sisters.
But . . . but . . . what about tiny (yet MIGHTY) Israel?
Israel is the oldest country, and at the same time the youngest. The ancient Egyptian Empire and civilization has come and gone . . .
. . . and the people who built the pyramids are not the same folks who live in Egypt today. Likewise Babylon . . .
. . . it is gone, ground into the dust, even less of it left than in Egypt. There is still a Syria, but the ancient Assyrian Empire is dead and gone and it's people flung far and wide across the globe in diaspora.
Of these ancient kingdoms and empires of the Old Testament, only Israel remains, the smallest - yet most powerful - of all the countries of the Middle East.
Modern Israel exists because of Britain and the United States - if it was up to the rest of Europe and the Middle East there wouldn't even be anybody left to occupy a State of Israel. The Islamists - al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Mullah-led theocracy of Iran - view Israel as a Western foothold in their territory, much like the Crusader Kingdoms a thousand years ago. They - the radicals who have hijacked Islam - consider it only a question of time until they drive the Israelis into the sea and get that land back.
As such, Israel is with us, or like the Israeli girls say:
While we're on the subject of girls, women, chicks, sheilas, females, and members of the opposite sex - Israeli or otherwise - there was a bit of resistance when I first introduced the BIRDS OF STORMBRINGER; on the grounds that this would affect the way people view STORMBRINGER as a serious literary outlet - to which I replied "When did anybody take STORMBRINGER seriously in the first place?"
Here's the deal with The Birds: my brother is a journalist for an afternoon paper in a large American city in the Northeast. It's a tabloid format; he takes himself seriously so of course I always tease him; "If your paper was on the other side of the Atlantic, there'd be a Page 3 Girl." Warning! Warning! Danger Will Robinson: NSFW
When I first signed up, SOLDIER Magazine always had a bikini babe featured on the back cover. Sometime toward the end of my first tour I picked up a copy of SOLDIER and flipped to the back page. Staring back at me was a sergeant; all cami'd up and in full battle rattle - talk about taking a hard dose of reality. The Birds of STORMBRINGER are a throwback to an earlier, simpler time when it was okay for a warrior to tape a pinup girl in his wall locker, or depict one on the nose of his mighty war machine:
OK now we've covered THAT subject to death, let's get on with the weekly BLOG ROLL:
CHRIS ROCK DISSES THE TEA PARTY: "Tea Party is full of racists . . ."
What exactly are you basing that on, Chris?
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price (Democrat) Tells Citizens, 'All Of You Are White! Go To Hell!'
These are the same folk who say the Tea Party full of racists.
TSA agents busted at JFK Airport for stealing $160,000 from checked bags.
I remember the Democrats insisting that airport security had to be a part of the Government because "Government equals professional" . . . I say: "This is your Government taking care of you."
CARTER: "Muslim Brotherhood nothing to be afraid of . . ."
Jimmy Carter should know; he never met a dictator or a terrorist he didn't like.
News networks may yank female reporters out of Egypt after rape of Lara Logan by Muslim mob.
Lara Logan was brutally raped by an Egyptian mob chanting "Jew! Jew!" in a crowded public square while covering the chaos in Cairo - tell me about that Muslim Brotherhood again, Mistuh Jimmuh?.
Egypt's Health Ministry says 365 killed in unrest . . . Labor unrest hits Egypt's strategic Suez Canal
ABCNEWS Correspondent Beaten in Bahrain Protests: At Least 2 Dead in Crackdown; ABC's Miguel Marquez Roughed Up.
The Fat Lady hasn't even BEGUN to sing on this Arab unrest thing yet . . .
. . . . . . . . . . SEAN LINNANE SENDS
It is a long clip but worth taking the time to watch; Oleg saw the worst of the Soviet Union and lived to tell the tale. Now this country has forgotten the horrors of Communism and is making the pitfalls that lead down the slippery slope to Socialist Hell on Earth - S.L.
The family of kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit marked the 1,700th day of his captivity on Saturday along with hundreds of supporters in front of the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem.
Shalit was captured by Gaza-based militants in a cross-border raid in 2006.
Negotiations between Israel and Hamas over his return in exchange for the release of Hamas prisoners have thus far been fruitless.
Read more HERE
- this week's issue of "The Week"
From family friend Matt in the UK:
No wonder so many people are reluctant to interfere and go to the help of somebody being attacked in the streets although an elderly lady did recently, God Bless Her.
When I was a small boy I saw my father make it very clear to a man who had threatened me with a stick, by picking him up and shaking him, that that was not to happen. Years ago an Uncle of mine went to the aid of a lady being attacked. The attacker was held in the police cells for some days before the police decided his facial bruises had faded enough for him to appear in court. I did a similar thing although not quite to the same extent, not long after the end of WWII.
Nowadays it would be us charged and sentenced.
In Australia my nephew went to the aid of a lady in similar circumstances and was rightly rewarded by the police.
While returning to their car after visiting a cemetery, an 82-year-old man and his 76-year-old wife were accosted by a man wearing a mask. The suspect drew an illegally possessed gun and ordered the couple to the ground. But his elderly targets were no easy victims. The husband, who has a concealed-carry permit, drew a .22-cal. revolver from his pocket. The suspect took cover behind a pine tree and both men opened fire. The husband's shots forced the suspect to retreat from the area. Police arrested the suspect and an alleged accomplice, aided by a witness who described the getaway car as white with an "abnormally loud muffler." - Chronicle Independent, Camden, SC, 12/17/10
Reprinted with the encouragement of the NRA
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Spy Magazine Goes Digital by Katherine Rosman
Before there was snark and irony littered on a million blogs all over the World Wide Web – in fact, before there was a World Wide Web — there was Spy magazine. Published from 1986 to 1998, Spy was a phenomenon among the media and political cognoscenti. Since, only those who keep dusty old magazines in attics have enjoyed its archives.
But on Wednesday, Spy co-founding editor Kurt Andersen tweeted, “Google’s digitized every issue of Spy magazine. Half up now, the rest soon. (The internet has justified itself).”
“I don‘t think I’ve every had as many retweets or happy ‘hallelujahs!’” Andersen said yesterday.
Read it all HERE
"It's pretty safe to say that Spy was the most influential magazine of the 1980s. It might have remade New York's cultural landscape; it definitely changed the whole tone of magazine journalism. It was cruel, brilliant, beautifully written and perfectly designed, and feared by all. There's no magazine I know of that's so continually referenced, held up as a benchmark, and whose demise is so lamented" -Dave Eggers.
"It's a piece of garbage" -Donald Trump.
I've been referred to as a spy and a spook but that was never truly the case - I always considered what I was involved in 'strategic reconnaissance'. One time I had a remarkable encounter in an airport lounge with an older gentleman who explained to me he was a spy in post-war Austria. This was amusing because at the time I was enroute to Sarajevo, and I wasn't wearing a uniform - S.L.
The biggest ship ever built for the Royal Australian Navy has been launched amid pomp and ceremony at the northern Spanish port of Ferrol.
HMAS Canberra and the HMAS Adelaide are amphibious assault ships being built by a Spanish ship-building company, and they are not expected to be in service for three years.
While they are based on an off-the-shelf aircraft carrier design, the ships are billed as a whole lot more.
Saturday Bird HERE