“White Shroud” Hunting ISIS?

More than interesting. Inferences to be drawn: they make do with second-rate or third-rate gear and still score kills; they have steeled their hearts for the task at hand; ISIS (or whatever they call themselves) *can* be surprised and given an unexpected bloody nose. And they do it without airstrikes. Not a war-winning organization, and might just end up being another skid mark on the road of war, but this shows that some people just won’t lie down and die. Just imagine what they could do if a task-organized liaison element joined them to align efforts, provide some log support, […]

“The Islamic State’s Anbar Offensive and Abu Umar al-Shishani”

“Al-Shishani.” Shishani—born Tarkhan Batirashvili—is a young field commander, just twenty-eight years old. As his names suggests, he is of Chechen origin and was born in Georgia’s Pankisi Valley. He served in an intelligence unit in the Georgian army, and the Wall Street Journal reports in a profile of the young militant that in the 2008 conflict with Russia he “was near the front line, spying on Russian tank columns and relaying their coordinates to Georgian artillery units.” However, in 2010 Shishani was diagnosed with tuberculosis and ultimately discharged from military service. The Journal’s profile of Shishani noted that after being […]

Lepanto!

Good to remember: For those who know little history, today’s battle with the Islamic State in the Middle East may seem new and unprecedented. It is not. Are we ready for the struggle ahead?

Letters of Marque and Reprisal

Slater’s excellent post produced very thoughtful, spot-on observations from regular commentators John Minehan and Mike_B as well as our resident Townie. The takeaway from the comments is that Americans have divorced themselves from service, including warfare. Recently, Bill O’Reilly recommended a much-derided solution to the problems of sending Americans overseas at exorbitant costs in blood and treasure. O’Reilly recommended that the US raise a mercenary army to fight terrorism. To authorize such a force, our Congress must issue a letter, or letters of Marque & Reprisal. LETTER OF MARQUE AND REPRISAL, War. A commission granted by the government to a private individual, […]

The Burden of War

Falleth not upon the Soldier, or Marine, or Sailor, or Airman.  But on the people who sent him to that beach without water.  Here‘s an interesting article by Sebastian Junger who has spent much of his journalistic career embedded among Soldiers to tell their story. The Soldier. . .is a tool.  When you hammer a nail as you build a bed frame, what take responsibility for it?  The hammer?  I would say no.  It must be the person hammering the nail.  To that effect, the Soldier is a tool, he should not bear the majority of the pain or blame […]

Got Arms?

If not, you’d best be heading to procure some. And all manner of things thereunto belonging, which includes cold hard training in life-taking and life-saving. Do you understand what’s what? (Oh, and OF COURSE law enforcement said there’s no link to terrorism. To say otherwise would be to raise some ugly questions.) Mr Farnam gets it. Grand Master de Vallette would readily grasp the problem at hand, and would not be at a loss for a solution. And you?

The Long War

When I was studying in France back in 2009 one of the many unique opportunities I had was to attend the Collogue Guerre Irreguliere/Irregular Warfare Conference at Camp Coetquidan.  And one of the things a British General said was that NATO knew Afghanistan would be a 20 year war.  That it would take an entire generation to fight and rebuild that country. The reason I bring this up, one of our categories here on OPFOR is The Long War.  I’ve had this sneaking suspicion that my generation’s war never ended.  That this irregular enemy, the non-state actor, would continue to […]

“Fuelling ISIS”

Maddeningly impervious to airstrikes, at least this bit of it is. This is a pretty interesting article and I strongly recommend it. Here’s a telling passage, one that the article doesn’t expound upon but one that goes to the heart of of combating an insurgency, that is the answer to the question, “Who do you pay taxes to?” Western investigators have sought to trace bank account numbers in the Gulf and locate jihadi donors as far afield as Indonesia. In addition to nefarious ransom and extortion rings, Isis taps areas under its control for money, charging retail stores about $2 […]

“I Don’t Think We Should Reassure Our Enemy”

General Mattis and Ambassador Crocker weigh in on the emerging strategy to manage confront ISIS ISIL IS. There’s more to it than just that, so I enjoin you to read the whole thing. I had not yet heard Gen Mattis on the subject; as usual he’s very much worth listening to. As ETP0802 pointed out in a different forum, he has some experience in these matters.

The Day Our World Stopped Turning

As the junior member of the group I haven’t really reflected on this today.  11 September 2001, I was in the seventh grade.  12 years old, mom almost kept us home, but the college decided they were going to push and she dropped us off at school.  I honestly don’t know if she got much work done that day. As much as my teachers may have wanted it to remain normal, they exacerbated the issue by not playing the news for us that day.  We’d all watched the beginning with the towers smoking, I didn’t see either collapse until that […]