View from Chaos Manor, Monday, February 02, 2015
I got Firefox spelling checker to work on the SFWA forum, but it was a lot of effort.The easiest way to explain it is that after much searching I found:
Firefox Enable Internal Spell Checker
I occasionally find a problem with Firefox where it will stop spell checking all fields. It’s a small bug, but it’s easily fixed.
Firstly, make sure you have spell checking on:
Tools > Options > Advanced > Check my spelling as I type
If that is checked then uncheck it and restart the browser, then recheck it and again restart the browser – if the spell check still doesn’t work, then once again uncheck the option, then enter about:config in the address bar.
Search for Layout.spellcheckDefault and change the setting from 0 to 1 to enable spell checking in all <textarea> fields, or make the value 2 to enable spell checking in all text input fields.
It told me more about Mozilla than ever I wanted to know – I just use the thing, I’m not developing it – but going through that rigmarole did the job.
Yesterday we got a lot said about air supremacy; if you are interested, scroll down. There was plenty. Alas I have had many distractions today and I am a bit tired.
“About 75% of these sorties were in Vietnam (shame we didnâ€™t win that one, eh?). “
The United States did not lose the Vietnam war. The United States destroyed the Viet Cong, and drove the North Vietnamese Army out of South Vietnam. The United States signed a peace treaty with North Vietnam and withdrew its troops from Vietnam.
After that, North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese request American aid to repel the Northern Invasion. Congress under the control of the Democrat Party refused to provide funds or permission for the US to aid South Vietnam, which in due course collapsed, causing the deaths of millions of innocent people in Vietnam and Cambodia.
This is an extraordinarily shameful chapter of American History. But it is about the treacherous behavior of the Democrat Party, not about any failure of the United States Armed Forces.
The leftists who run the schools and the media have created the legend of the loss of the Vietnam War, as part of their mimetic assault on patriotism, and also because they want to lie and blame others for their perfidy.
Actually it’s worse than that: in 1972 the North invaded with 150,000 men. Fewer than 50,000 ever got home. The Army of the Republic of Viet Nam, (ARVN) with US air support decisively defeated an invasion force the Wehrmacht would have been proud of, and it had more tanks than many WW II campaigns in Russia. ARVN won big, and there were only 650 Americans KIA in a campaign as big as Kharkov. ARVN won big. Then in 1975 the North sent another invasion force south, just as large, and the Congress would not allow US air support, while Russia supported its ally. Viet Nam accordingly fell. But America was not defeated. And the tanks destroyed in 1972 were Russian and had to be replaced, with bad effects on the Soviet economy.
We could have won the Viet Nam War, but Congress did not want to.
I do not say our air support in Viet Nam was not effective, even though we did not have many USAF planes designed for that mission – the Navy and Marines were better. USAF did a good job when they had to. But we need better ground support against ISIS.
: The End of Mutually Assured Destruction?
This article is worth your time; it covers how changes in ballistic missile accuracy undermine the assumptions necessary for Mutually Assured Destruction; to wit, second strike capabilities and the relatively haphazard nature of nuclear weapons.
Matt at 1913Intel.com wrote a small commentary about this article that presses the point:
Changes in missile accuracy in effect force the other side to act earlier. They lower the threshold for a bolt-out-of-the-blue preemptive nuclear strike </> http://www.1913intel.com/2015/02/01/the-5-most-dangerous-nuclear-threats-no-one-is-talking-about-the-national-interest/
The crux of the article is here:
However, after modeling a prospective first strike against Russia’s strategic forces, Lieber and Press concluded that the U.S. could execute a successful first strike with a high degree of probability against even Moscow’s massive nuclear arsenal. In fact, they claimed that U.S. policy makers had actually constructed America’s strategic forces with the goal of strategic primacy (defined as “the ability to use nuclear weapons to destroy the strategic forces of any other
country”) in mind. Furthermore, they later concluded that this effort extended beyond nuclear weapons. As they explained in 2013, “the effort to neutralize adversary strategic forces—that is, achieve strategic primacy—spans nearly every realm of warfare: for example, ballistic missile defense, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence surveillance-and-reconnaissance systems, offensive cyber warfare, conventional precision strike, and long-range precision strike, in addition to nuclear strike capabilities.”
This is most interesting and it almost forces Russia to keep pace, develop it’s own methods of primacy, and — perhaps as Matt points out
— act while they have the advantage. And, what about China?
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Joshua Jordan, KSC
We have seen the increasing accuracy of ICBM’s coming on since the 60’s, although I doubt anyone anticipated Moore’s Law then; I certainly did not when I was editor of Project 75 in 1964, We knew technology was advancing on an s curve. See the Strategy of Technology by Possony and Pournelle. And in my International Stability Study for the Air Council I noted that the stabilizer power needs escalation dominance at the high end. That remains true – but we have given up SAC. Nuclear stability requires a Force that is always ready but if successful will never be used. That is an elite force, hard to build, and USAF has let it go. It’s more fun to zoom around.
We sow the wind.
How long is Australia’s history with Jihad?
Now, that’s not a question I expect many people to be able to answer. As it turns out Australia imported a number of “Ghans” in 1860. While that’s short for Afghan the group included Muslims from many places around the world.
In 1914 the Ottoman ruler issued a jihad fatwa.
The Ottoman fatwa declared that it was a religious duty “for all the Muslims in all countries, whether young or old, infantry or cavalry, to resort to jihad with all their properties and lives, as required by the Quranic verse of enfiru.” The verse of enfiru (Arabic ‘go forth’) is a reference to Sura 9:38:
You who believe! What is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the path of Allah, you cling heavily to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless you go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place…
===8<— end quote
===8<— end quote
“From Broken Hill to Martin Place: A Tale of Two Jihad Assaults in Australia a Century Apart”
You’d think people would have learned by now that Jihad is built into Islam.
True believers must answer calls to Jihad.
The saving grace is that such calls can only be issued by a real Caliph, a ruler over the entire (or a very substantial portion of) the Islams in the world. So today, nobody is authorized to issue the call to Jihad. This is why ISIS and all the others try so hard to pass themselves off as setting up a Caliphate. Then their calls must be obeyed by all observant Muslims.
Another saving grace is that most Muslims really do not understand or know the Qur’an or Sunnah. The Sunnah is the way of life for Muslims derived from Mohammed’s words and actions. The Qur’an, by contrast, is supposedly revealed to Mohammed by the angel Gabriel and is Allah’s actual words, despite how utterly clumsy they appear.
So Australia has had 100 years to have figured out that regardless of how many Muslims adopt the strict Islamic way of life, terrorism, violence, and destruction follow Muslims as they migrate.
I wonder when WE will figure out what Thomas Jefferson had figured out when he sent the Marines to visit Tripoli et al.
This email is from a Marine who’s in Afghanistan; his buddy Jordan provides many of the details.
No politics here; just a Marine with a bird’s eye view opinion.
1) The M-16 rifle: Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. Jordan says you feel filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it’s lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also. They lack the ability to mount the various optical gun sights and weapons lights on the picatinny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment.
They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinder block structure common over there and even torso hits can’t be reliably counted on to put the enemy down.
1) Random autopsies on dead insurgents show a high level of opiate use.
2) The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon): .223 cal. Drum fed light machine gun. Big thumbs down. Universally considered a piece of shit. Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly (that’s fun in the middle of a firefight).
3) The M9 Beretta 9mm: Mixed bag. Good gun performs well in desert environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm: Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight.
4) Mossberg 12 ga. Military shotgun : Works well, used frequently for clearing houses to good effect. (Great weapon – I used these when transporting prisoners).
5)The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 NATO (.308) cal . belt fed machine gun, developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was!) Thumbs up.Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts ’em down. Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there.
6) The M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun : Thumbs way, way up. “Ma Deuce” is still worth her considerable weight in gold. The ultimate fight stopper – puts their dicks in the dirt every time. The most coveted weapon in-theater.
7) The .45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol around out there. Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one. With few exceptions, one can reliably be expected to put ’em down with a torso hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it. The old government model .45’s are being re-issued en masse.
8) The M-14: Thumbs up. They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special ops guys. Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 round.
9) The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle suicide bombers (we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy. It is definitely here to stay.
10) The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in .308 but some in 300 win mag. Heavily modified Remington 700’s. Great performance. Snipers have been used heavily to great effect. Rumor has it a marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock’s record for confirmed kills with OVER 100.
11) The new body armor: Thumbs up. Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs. and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an AK-47 round.
The bad news: Hot as hell to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat (which averages over 120 degrees). Also, the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible. All the bullshit about the “old” body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IED’s was a non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn’t make any difference at all in most cases.
12) Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up. Spectacular performance. Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period. Very little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more enemy being whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. We’ve all seen the videos.
13) Lights: Thumbs up. Most of the weapon mounted and personal lights are Surefires, and the troops love them. Invaluable for night urban operations. Jordan carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and loved it. I can’t help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old! With all our technology, it’s the WWII and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants! The infantry fighting is frequent, up close and brutal. No quarter is given or shown.
Bad guy weapons:
1) Mostly AK47s: The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in the desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably. PKM belt fed light machine guns are also common and effective. Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like shit. Undisciplined “spray and pray” type fire. However, they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles. ( Iran, again)
2) The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys. Simple, reliable and as common as dogshit. The enemy responded to our up-armored Humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range. Still killing a lot of our guys.
3) The IED: The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old Soviet anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells. A lot found in Jordan’s area were in abandoned cars. The enemy would take 2 or 3 155 mmartillery shells and wire them together. Most were detonated by cell phone and the explosions are enormous. You’re not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank. Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there. Lately, they are much more sophisticated “shape charges” (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor.
Fact: Most of the ready made IEDs are supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That’s why the attacks have been so deadly lately. Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges, in Styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the cinderblocks that litter all Iraqi roads. We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.
4) Mortars and rockets: Very prevalent. The soviet era 122 mm rockets (with an 18 km range) are becoming more prevalent. One of Jordan’s NCO’s lost a leg to one. These weapons cause a lot of damage “inside the wire.” Jordan’s base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue (It did.). More of a psychological weapon than anything else. The enemy mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds, and then haul ass in a matter of seconds.
Fun fact: Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness. Let’s just say they know better now.
Bad guy technology: Simple yet effective. Most communication is by cell and satellite phones and also by email on laptops. They use handheld GPS units for navigation and “Google Earth” for overhead views of our positions. Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent. Their explosives and bomb technology is TOP OF THE LINE. Night vision is rare. They are very careless with their equipment and the GPS units and laptops are treasure troves of Intel when captured.
Who are the bad guys? These are mostly “foreigners,” non-Afghan Jihadists from all over the Muslim world (and Europe). Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in various “sacrifice squads.” Most, however, are hard core terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.). These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse and cutting heads off.
The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasian) are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters. They have been fighting the Russians for years. The terrorists have been very adept at infiltrating the Afghan local government, the police forces, and the Army. They have had a spy and agitator network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80s.
Bad Guy Tactics: When they are engaged on an infantry level they get their asses kicked every time! Brave, but stupid. Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very common earlier in the war and still occur. They will literally sacrifice 8-10 man teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing AKs and RPGs directly at our bases just to probe the defenses. They get mowed down like grass every time (see the M2 and M240 above). Jordan’s base was hit like this often. When engaged, they have a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand. Instead, we call in air and that’s the end of that more often than not. These hole-ups are referred to as Alpha Whiskey Romeos (Allah’s Waiting Room).
We have the laser guided ground-air thing down to a science. The fast movers, mostly Marine F-18s, are taking an ever increasing toll on the enemy. When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre Gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night. Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all.
Fun facts: The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45-50 thousand. That is why we’re seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED, suicide bomber shit. The new strategy is just simple attrition. The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and especially Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons, and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for inflicting civilian casualties. They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans. Kidnapping of family members, especially children, is common to influence people they are trying to influence but can’t reach, such as local govt. officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc. The first thing our guys are told is “don’t get captured.” They know that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the internet. They openly offer bounties for anyone who brings in a live American serviceman. This motivates the criminal element who otherwise don’t give a shit about the war. A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to them. As such, for our guys, every fight is to the death. Surrender is not an option. The Afghanis are a mixed bag. Some fight well; others aren’t worth a damn. Most do okay with American support.
Finding leaders is hard, but they are getting better. Many Afghanis were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and the police forces went right up, along with their motivation. It also led to an exponential increase in good intel because the Afghanis are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians.
Morale: According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe that they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. Our guys are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see lies like “Are we losing in Iraq” on TV and the print media. For the most part, our guys are satisfied with their equipment, food, and leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say this, is that there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren’t enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Afghanisan and Pakistan. The Iranians and the Syrians just can’t stand the thought of Afganistan being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there).
Anyway, that’s it, hope you found this interesting.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.