Mail 735 Thursday, August 02, 2012
Still to ponder…
The comments are even more interesting.
My take is that the US has slowly lost the ability (mind you, not the capability) to conduct light infantry operations. The USMC is taking steps back to that, but it won’t go far enough. The first step would be (should be, HAS to be) ditching body armor. Sending warriors into 4th generation combat weighed down heavier than Lind’s referenced jousters is just plain foolish. Movement, individual firepower, and local command of the situation is vital to winning in a 4th generation scenario. Soldiers have to mingle with the population and be respected by them. The second step is to stop being squeamish about fighting. As Forrest said, "War means fighting, and fighting means killing." The observation goes both ways, but Patton puts additional perspective, "Make the other poor bastard die…." Sadly, I don’t see either of these two steps being accepted by the current political or social climate – even worse, I don’t foresee the US moving close to this in several generations (caveat – unless we engage in another civil war at home). We want war clean, sanitary, and without consequences. Won’t happen. Never has. Never will. Once control is achieved, then the mailed fist can be covered with the velvet glove – sympathy, concern, assistance, and respect can be made to win the day (and it IS day to day! That means a long time) in 4th generation warfare.
I use my own experiences as example. See attached.
Cheap energy = prosperity!
Drill here, DRILL NOW!
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Avoider of Yard Work
Intangibles vital to change in Iraq
If there is still a lot of danger in Iraq for American troops, there is also an incredible opportunity to help a long-oppressed people get back on their feet and create a working democracy.
We can think of no better example for the people of Iraq than the men and women of the United States, in uniform and in civilian aid services. Our people are there not only to provide security and restoration of essential services. They are there to provide a role model for citizens of a free country.
One unit that is providing aid, tangible and inspirational, to the people of Iraq is the 3rd Battalion of the 23rd Marines, commanded by Lt. Col. David Couvillon and including many Baton Rouge-area reservists.
Couvillon is military provincial governor of Wasit Province, a farming region along the Tigris River south of Baghdad.
Through all sorts of difficulties for the daily life of Iraqis — power blackouts, shortages of essential items, long-term neglect of roads or other essential structures — the Marines toil on. They sleep in a hot hangar at an airfield, and during the hotter days they work on security and trying to restore civic order.
Unemployment and disorganization still are hallmarks of many towns and cities in Iraq.
Couvillon notes that many of the occupation army’s tasks cannot be done overnight, but that expectations among ordinary Iraqis are very high. "It’s hard for people here to see it," he said in a telephone interview. "With America and Great Britain so powerful and so rich, (they want to know) how come it’s not happening right now."
If the Marines can’t work all those miracles, they nevertheless can do a great deal of good in a short time.
But if their contributions to the Iraqi people are tangible and will increase in time, the most important thing is providing leadership on the future of the country — where until recently any dissent was punishable by torture and execution.
Couvillon and his men are also educators, about the importance of liberty and the rule of law. Free enterprise and democracy might not come easily to a people whose lives have been directed from the top down for so long.
Even Wasit’s best-educated residents are ignorant about Western processes and ideas, Couvillon said. "We’re proud that we can bring the idea of freedom and democracy to another country," he said. "Iraq is for Iraqis, and we want to make sure it stays that way."
If the path toward stable and efficient self-government might be a long one, the people of the United States can be proud of the role of Marines and other Americans in building democracy among a people starved for progress and modern ways of life.
As you note there is a difference between ability and capability. In 1940 the US had no ability in jungle warfare. As the Japanese learned to their sorrow, we learned fast. If given a mission, the US military responds. If told precisely how to do the work by amateurs and intellectuals, the result is generally a failure. Some Presidents learn fast. Others never do. I see I neglected to post the links to attachments. I will fix that now.
Apologies. I have not way to link to the second article. I seem to be doing something wrong because it wants to link to my own hard drive although it appears on Firefox. I have not time to straighten this out.
Support for Syrian rebels
So the news today President Obama has authorized CIA support for the Syrian rebels.
These would be the same rebels who are driving Christians out of Syria
And who are increasingly allying with Al Queda.
Hmm … since he’s allying the US with Al Queda, whom we are at war with, does this mean he is affording aid and comfort to our enemies and can be impeached for doing so?
Guess not. Foolishness isn’t an impeachable offense. If it were Washington DC would be empty. And we’d have to put Bush up right next to him in the dock for sending us into Iraq and starting this whole mess in the first place.
"See now, the Lord .. is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah .. the hero and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter. I will make mere youths their officials; children will rule over them.”
There are many more interesting questions here. The problem started with Bush I and the notion that we had reached the end of history. Liberal democracy would take over and all would be well. Clinton allowed Allbright to continue the folly of American involvement in the territorial disputes of Europe. Bush I at least had the good sense to get us the hell out of Iraq. Alas, that resulted in massacres – predictable if Hussein were left in power – and huge guilt complexes and the continued delusion that we could play the Empire game. Had we been a real Empire and hired Gurkhas to police Iraq after we broke its army, and sent in security forces to pump oil and pump oil and pump oil so that the price of oil fell to $25/bbl the economy would have boomed – but instead we sent in an arrogantely incompetent civilian pro-consul to undo all the work our Legions had done.
And in Afghanistan we conquered but in our arrogance we thought we could impose the will of Kabul on all of Afghanistan. We could do what Alexander the Great understood he could not do.
We sowed the wind.
We continue to sow the wind. But perhaps we have learned that there are limits to what the Legions can do.
When Napoleon reviewed his army before marching to Russia he is said to have turned to Talleyrand and said “See my splendid army! See how their bayonets gleam.”
“You can do anything with a bayonet, sire. Except sit upon it.”
: Olympic coverage
A couple of notes about the Olympic coverage. We watched the opening ceremony and parade of athletes on European television, and the whole thing was seamless. The opening ceremony told the story of Britain – perhaps not to your taste, but nonetheless that’s what it was. The parade of athletes contained only about 1/3 of the total participants, but all countries were represented, and the parade was continuous, with no breaks.
In other words, if you saw chopped up coverage with lots of commercial breaks, this was an entirely American phenomenon!
For the sports coverage itself, we have mostly watched live streams on the Internet. As others have noted: the *lack* of a commentator was a sheer relief. One can watch 2-3 hours of continuous sport, with no commercial breaks, no stupid "personal interest" stories. Without the commentator, you can hear the athletes, their coaches, and the crowd – the atmosphere is as close to "being there" as you can get.
If there is no need for commentators, and network coverage is worse than the raw streams off the Internet, is this the beginning of a sea change for sports coverage?
Well, your TV is better than ours. I suppose what we must do is nationalize the stations? Or perhaps it has something to do with badly written exclusivity laws.
As to whether that was the history of Britain, perhaps my sources are not very good. I have to rely on Macaulay, and Green, and Churchill, and my picture of the rise – and, alas fall – of England is something different from what I saw in the performance there. And were I telling the story of England, and had that much talent at my disposal, I might have thought that Kipling deserved a larger place, and perhaps Churchill, but then I guess one cannot offend the other nations.
I used to do baseball games on radio. I thought the game was more important than what I thought of it.
If this is true, we are doomed. This President is useless, if this is true:
The Russian Federation has fulfilled all terms of the agreement. And even more. I shut down not only the Cuban Lourdes but also Kamran in Vietnam. I shut them down because I gave my word of honor. I, like a man, has kept my word. What have the Americans done? The Americans are not responsible for their own words. It is no secret that in recent years, the U.S. created a buffer zone around Russia, involving in this process not only the countries of Central Europe, but also the Baltic states, Ukraine and the Caucasus. The only response to this could be an asymmetric expansion of the Russian military presence abroad, particularly in Cuba. In Cuba, there are convenient bays for our reconnaissance and warships, a network of the so-called "jump airfields." With the full consent of the Cuban leadership, on May 11 of this year, our country has not only resumed work in the electronic center of Lourdes, but also placed the latest mobile strategic nuclear missiles "Oak" on the island. They did not want to do it the amicable way, now let them deal with this," Putin said.
Cuban Missile Crisis II? And, I’m sure this President wouldn’t want to do anything before the election….
Joshua Jordan, KSC
Well, that is one way to get our attention. I must be alone in believing that Mr. Putin has better motives than are usually imputed to him, given the needless insults the United States flings toward him and his people. I thin he believes himself a patriot, and a pan-slavist, and I do not think we take him seriously enough. The US and Russia have many common interests, although we do not seem to notice that. And what would constitute a legitimate government in Russia?
Islamists in North Mali Stone Couple to Death http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/world/africa/couple-stoned-to-death-by-islamists-in-mali.html
By ADAM NOSSITER
BAMAKO, Mali–Islamists in control of a town in northern Mali stoned a couple to death after accusing them of having children outside of marriage, a local official who was one of several hundred witnesses to the killings said Monday.
The official said the bearded Islamists, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, brought the couple into the center of the town of Aguelhok from about 12 miles away in the countryside. The young man and woman were forced into holes about four feet deep, with their heads protruding, and then stoned to death at about 5 a.m. Sunday, the official said.
"They put them into the holes, and then they started throwing big rocks, until they were dead," the official said, speaking by satellite phone from the remote desert town near the Algerian border.
"It was horrible," he said, noting that the woman had moaned and cried out and that her partner had yelled something indistinct during the attack. "It was inhuman. They killed them like they were animals."
The continuing joys of diversity. Perhaps Egypt will move toward this. Or Syria. Does anyone know?
Lights going out
We’ve already discussed this, but even the Washington Post is now noticing that the power grid is having trouble.
"The U.S. grid is aging and stretched to capacity. More often the victim of decrepitude than the forces of nature, it is beginning to falter. "
What is that line you are always quoting?
"We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome."
Literal, in this case.
And the gods of the copybook headings, with terror and slaughter return. When you sow the wind…
Speed kills! US Navy targets hypersonic, GPS-guided bullets — RT
Remember the old cartoons where a bullet could chase you around a corner? What if that bullet was fired at 5,600 mph from an Electromagnetic Rail Gun? If the US Navy has its way, these sci-fi,supersonic GPS-guided projectiles could soon be a reality.
The futuristic munitions come as part of the US Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Hyper Velocity Projectile program, which was announced on July 19. The agency’s researchers hope to develop equipment that would allow high-velocity weapons to accurately strike far-away targets – without having to depend on rocket propulsion, Military and Aerospace Electronics reports.
The Navy hopes the supersonic ammunition, with a potential “in-flight retargeting” capability, will be compatible with both its conventional guns, like the Mk 45 155-millimeter gun systems, as well as its experimental 20–32MJ railgun systems, which fire projectiles using electrical energy instead of chemical propellants.
The bullets are slated to be two feet long, weigh somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds, and have a range of 30 to even 200 miles depending on the system deploying them.
Significant in-flight retargeting of (more or less) ballistic ammo is a nice feature.
‘Homeland Security’ issuing YouTube takedown notices.
What an astonishment!
Muller not a skeptic?
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I read with interest the link on your site which showed statements by
Dr. Muller which showed that he was not a skeptic. I have another source (sent by a liberal friend) which shows statements he has made recently which do indeed show skepticism.
So if all the statements by the parties by your previous correspondent
and this one are correct, it appears that he has gone back and forth on the issue more than once.
Regardless, I do still agree that this adds nothing new to the debate
– the facts are as they are, and the conversion of one person to one side or another persuades no one who is not already amenable to Appeal to Authority.
That’s the point. But I got so much mail on it that I thought it ought to be mentioned.
Elon Musk mentions that James Cameron has "Birth of Fire" in LA Times
Please don’t use my name if you publish this.
There is an interview with Elon Musk in the LA Times on August 1st, 2012 which says:
> The movies provide us with two space future models: "Star Trek," where a government agency governs space, versus "Alien," where a private space mining company makes its own rules.
> We need a new archetype. I’ve talked to James Cameron about this. He’s got a script for a realistic Mars mission because there’s not been a good Mars movie. That’s another thing that bugs me: The Mars movies have been so bad. I mean, honestly! And it’s going to be tricky getting funding for another Mars movie after"John Carter." It was a good comic book, and they totally screwed up the movie.
Mr. Cameron had intended Birth of Fire to be his next movie before he was persuaded that the technology existed to let him do Avatar. Perhaps he will consider it now. Needless to say, my Mars story has little in common with John Carter of Mars. Indeed, it remains quite consistent with what we know about Mars. And it takes place with technology we could build now if we wanted to. I believe the option he bought has expired but I would be glad to discuss renewal. He’d make a great movie of it.
You write of "NBC commenters who made sure that no part of the ceremony was unaccompanied by mindless chatter".
Don’t you know commentators, journalists, and anyone even remotely connected with reporting are all the real stars of the show? The Olympics exist only to make TV journalists and commentators look good.
That’s why, for example, reporters are so irate when a Presidential candidate doesn’t give them the attention they deserve.
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.