The Profession of Arms and History

As many of you know, I am fascinated by the history of World War I.  I have been since my first semester in graduate school, when I took a seminar entitled, “Europe in the Age of World War I.”  This course taught by the formidable professor of European history at James Madison University, Dr. Catherine Boyd sought to guide us to understand why the European powers stumbled, bumbled, and fumbled their way war; and why despite all evidence to contrary continued to fight a war of attrition.  Like historians before and since there was no easy answer. Dr. Margaret MacMillian, […]

Donald Rumsfeld, A Documentary

I ran across the trailer for the Documentary: The Unknown Known.  The title of the documentary comes from a DoD briefing in February of 2002 when he famously said: “There are known knowns.”  It was directed by Academy Award winner Errol Morris whom also directed The Fog of War, which was an excellent documentary about the life of Robert McNamara. I’m unsure how I will take this, I grew up in the shadow of war following, 11 SEP 2001.  However, I will say I was well read, knowing of the Neo-Conservative movement and all of the folks that were in […]

1714, 1814, 1914, 2014?

1714, 1814, 1914, and now 2014? Around the thirteenth year of each century, the nations of the world find it necessary to engage in warfare (economic, diplomatic, and military/naval) so intense that the world order gets upset worse than the BCS rankings every other Saturday. And like OU’s decisive and enjoyable thrashing of Bama, the underdog plays the game of its life against the respected favorite. This is the cycle of time. Professor Margaret MacMillan, of the University of Cambridge, writing for the Brookings Institute makes the argument that today’s economic, political and military environment finds our world looking at […]

Material for Thinking

Robert Kaplan whom I first encountered when I read his Balkan’s Ghost prior to deploying to Kosovo in 2000, is in my opinion one of the big thinkers of our age.  Over at Foreign Policy, he has a fascinating article that I urge all to read and think about, entitled Augustine’s World. Syria is the Levant, the geographical core of Late Antiquity. And its disintegration, like the crumbling of Libya, Yemen, and Iraq, along with the chronic unrest in Tunisia and Egypt, signifies not the birth of freedom but the collapse of central authority. Rome could not save North Africa, […]

More on Kalashnikov

What– you ain’t got nothing better to do on a Christmas Eve?? Duffel Blog pays (a hilarious) tribute. John Farnam pays his own fine tribute, which I just received by email and reprint here almost in its entirety: Comments on the life of Kalashnikov: When confronted, innumerable times, by air-headed Western journalists (is there another kind?) with regard to his AK-47 rifle and it ubiquity, Kalashnikov always replied with some variation of: “I sleep well. It’s politicians who are to blame for failing to come to agreement and resorting to violence.” In context, Kalashnikov was a patriot, who did his […]

Gun-Day Monday: Good Night, Mr Kalashnikov

Mikhail Kalashnikov– perhaps you’ve heard of him– has assumed room temperature. WRSA has two links. Love him or his gun, or hate ‘em both, his (their?) influence has been profound. As for me, I think the AR is a much more comfortable and easy gun to shoot and run, but I’ll own up to a deep admiration for the AK and its peculiar qualities. I bought one in ’08 to train with for my pending deployment to Afghanistan and, while I figured I’d come away with a solid respect for it, I didn’t think I’d like it as much as […]

“They got away with murder”

Women like Petri, according to the historian Wendy Lower’s new book Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, “were not marginal sociopaths,” but ordinary German citizens. These women were raised in the shadow of World War I, and their primary education consisted of ideological indoctrination. The League of German Girls were taught to reject makeup and cultivate their beauty outdoors, to seek a dewy glow from marching drills and sharpshooting. In school, Petri no doubt received the Third Reich’s pamphlet on finding a husband, a process that began by asking, “What is your racial background?” They were trained […]

Hold on to Your Scabbards… For Now

Some of you have written in about THIS recent article: The U.S. Army War College, which molds future field generals, has begun discussing whether it should remove its portraits of Confederate generals — including those of Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Nestled in rural Pennsylvania on the 500-acre Carlisle Barracks, the war college is conducting an inventory of all its paintings and photographs with an eye for rehanging them in historical themes to tell a particular Army story. I ran it past one of my Brother Rats who is, even as we speak, a student at the War College […]

The Battle of the Bulge

I was working on a post, but our good friend PsyOp Cop provided one that I will borrow shamelessly.* Sixty-nine years ago, this day: The second half of 1944 had seen remarkable advances by American and British forces in Europe. Following the landings in Normandy, France on June 6, allied forces quickly broke out and sped across the French countryside; Patton’s Third Army headed east hell-bent for Germany while Montgomery’s British Eighth Army and Bradley’s First and Ninth Armies headed north to northern France and the Low Countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, and Holland). The pent-up energy of men, equipment, and supplies, […]

Pearl Harbor Day

Never forget. READ THIS; strongly recommended.