And So It Began (1939 Version)

URR reminds us, in this this centennial of the Great War, of the follow-on act and how it was brought about. In 1914, the world was plunged accidentally into a bloodletting that spiraled out of control, by incompetent and irresponsible leaders in the nations of Europe.   In 1939, the world was again plunged into bloodletting, this time deliberately so by monsters who spewed their hatred and made no secret of their plans for conquest and subjugation.  Following a half a decade of weakness and appeasement from the Western democracies, whose desperation to avoid war only fueled the appetite of the […]

Good Pieces of Kit

Laminated and taken to the field since 1066! This is really fascinating, and you could spend a lot of time– time well spent, I’d say– poring over the lists and the photos. (You’ll have to overlook some problems with the weapons terminology and description, such as calling the 7.62 L1A1 (the FAL) of Falklands War fame a “very light” rifle. But we’re dealing with Limey pinko journalists here, and what do they know about guns??) Still– a pretty nifty look at the Soldier’s Load.

The Hagelian Dialectic

Perhaps a certain Senate Majority leader was premature. SecDef Hagel is certainly inspiring confidence.   History tells us in the last 3,000 years we’ve had perhaps 250 years of peace, with millions slaughtered to make way for various and sundry master races, religions, and ego. Maybe SecDef Hagel’s Aide could read him a bedtime story about Hannibal and Scipio some time. Or Bellisarius and Narses. Something besides Ernest P. Worrell.

Happy Birthday, C-130!

Sixty years old! Here’s a great vid of the landing on the carrier (starts at about :30)– I’ve ridden a C-130 from 29 Palms to Cherry Point, another from Bagram to Kabul, I’ve jumped out of a few, and I’ve watched one pound the shit out of Fallujah in 2004. It’s a pretty nifty piece of gear, and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.  

What is the philosophy of grand strategy?

**Updated** The times make the man, and the men who defined strategy for the past two hundred years have been shaped by near-constant or very long wars, and informed by philosophies that brought perspective to the question of what assures victory in war? Clauswitz spent his years fighting, learning and teaching about Napoleon. The French Emperor at the time was more a force of nature, and master of the operational and tactical arts. While Napoleon owned the battlefield, he failed France and Europe in terms of economy, diplomacy, and industry. France’s strategic force, its navy, was expended in futile combat with the […]

Failure To Lead: The Islamic State Ascends

I recently shared amongst the five of us the first dispatch from VICE News on the Islamic State.  If you don’t have HBO, fear not VICE News posts everything onto their website and youtube channel.  Where these guys go makes Michael Yon look an amateur of epic proportions.  They go and get the story, for you and I. Today the top American Advisor in Iraq, LTGEN Mick Bednarek, was quoted saying: “This is not just an Iraqi issue. This is not just a regional issue. This is a common enemy issue that we’ve got to address.” Remember the $100M that went […]

This Day in History: Task Force Smith

Not a pretty story, not the greatest hour for American arms. http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and-defense-policy/defense/the-lesson-of-task-force-smith/ The soldiers of Task Force Smith were the victims of a conscious policy, even if not stated openly, to be unready. When you hear people say, “No more Task Force Smiths!” understand that they mean no more being caught unready. Yet, readiness has a steep price tag and it has to be planned out and paid for up front. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. The cost of the alternative is even steeper.

Re-writing the Declaration of Independence

Just in time for the 4th of July comes this question: of what value is a period? So what does punction, or lack thereof, mean in this case?

Deserters: CPL Wassef Ali Hassoun surfaces.

Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, who has been declared a deserter on two separate occasions a decade ago, has turned himself in to U.S. custody and will face charges, the Marines confirmed. The 34-year-old arrived in Norfolk, Va., on Sunday and is scheduled to go Monday to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where his case will be adjudicated, according to a Marine spokesman. He had been in the Middle East, the spokesman said. I must say summer is a crazy time of year.  Bring one home and another wants to come back.  Should he be found guilty, he faces a maximum penalty […]

WWI: And So It Began

One hundred years ago today. I remember as a 3rd Classman taking a class on the Cold War from a visiting professor– his name escapes me at the moment. One of the first things he told us, and this has stuck with me, was that it was World War One that brought on the world as we knew it in 1987, that  the Great War shattered the old order.   (http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/06/28/the-assassination-of-archduke-franz-ferdinand-and-the-drumbeats-of-war/)