Chaos Manor View, Monday, February 29, 2016
Leap Year Day
Daesh/ISIS having murdered some Americans and continuing to instigate the murder of others, the US government’s quintessential duty is to exterminate any and all who have any part in it. Any number of US politicians make noises more or less in this direction. But he who wills the ends must also will the means. That is the first touchstone of seriousness. The second is like unto it: those means cannot be out-sourced. Minding our safety is our inalienable responsibility.
“We came, we saw, he died!” she exclaimed.
on hearing that Libyan dictator Khadafy was dead.
The Oscars are over. The theme was diversity, after the Academy failed to nominate a single black. The result was mixed, with what seemed to me to be an extraordinary number of black presenters hastily pressed into service, with varying degrees of sophistication. It seemed very long, although it ended on time. During the requiem scroll of last year’s deceased I did not find David Groll’s guitar presentation appropriate, but he was dressed in a way appropriate to this year’s men’s clothing, which was often bizarre. Apparently one resentment is directed at traditional formal clothing for men; women, of course, often dress to be spectacular.
Lady Gaga did not wear a meat gown, but was quite well attired; I’m not qualified to assess her rather traditional performance because I couldn’t hear it very well — my hearing, not her singing –but it got a standing ovation and the audience seemed to be quite moved.
Angelo Codevilla has, in his three part series in the Asian Times on Romancing the Sunni — http://atimes.com/2015/12/romancing-the-sunni-a-us-policy-tragedy-in-three-acts-act-i/ — given us the best summary and critique I have seen of the modern situation and critical past events in the Middle East. I have chosen a paragraph from part three – the third act – as an epigraph for today’s view. Obviously it is one I agree with. For those willing to spend the time, I recommend all three parts (parts two and three are linked at the end of the part one link I have given.)
Act One gives some basic history and takes us through the initial US actions in Iraq;. Act II is incomprehensible if you are not familiar with the events of Act I, but takes us from the “Surge” to the present. It also says much about the wisdom of the surge, and some of its aftereffects. Act Three presents a cold and clear eyed picture of the present situation; it can stand alone for those really familiar with the Middle East, but will be a lot better understood if read after the other two.
I repeat here:
Daesh/ISIS having murdered some Americans and continuing to instigate the murder of others, the US government’s quintessential duty is to exterminate any and all who have any part in it. Any number of US politicians make noises more or less in this direction. But he who wills the ends must also will the means. That is the first touchstone of seriousness. The second is like it: those means cannot be out-sourced. Minding our safety is our inalienable responsibility.
Making any foreigner’s concurrence a condition for executing the government’s duty to protect Americans is dereliction. Waiting for Sunni states and potentates to fight the Sunni Islamic State is an excuse that disregards reality. Nor will the Sunni fight for us against the Shia.
The past quarter century’s experience demolishes our establishment’s expectation that the goodwill of the likes of Wahhabi Saudi Arabia can shield us against Iran’s Islamic Republic. No. If the American people are going to be protected against violence from both sides of the Sunni-Shia divide, it will be strictly by our own government’s wise warfare.
That is a true statement. I do not believe either the Democratic or Republican establishment(s) find it appealing. The neocons want nation building. The democrat establishment policy is hard to understand, but seems to be a little at a time, waiting to be drawn into conflicts too late with too little.
I said when ISIS first emerged that it must be, not defeated, but destroyed. I said at the time that I could do that with the 101st Airborne and the A-10 Warthogs. Of course I meant that I know commanders who could do it; I am not a General. At the beginning of last Summer I concluded that it would take two divisions and the tactical air power – A-10’s and some supporting air superiority support.
Last Fall the ante was up: it needed three divisions, all the A-10’s, and considerable air supremacy forces to take out Surface to Air missile forces.
It will now take a division of heavy armor in addition to all those forces. By next January it will be more.
The first truth of war is that nations fight only for their own sake. Lately, the US government has led the American people into wars for other peoples’ sake. Americans will have no more of that. But Americans are eager enough to exterminate Daesh/ISIS. Were the US government to commit to doing that, it would be easy enough to find governments that would cooperate in that work for their own reasons and in their own ways.
There are a lot of first truths of war. His is important. There are others, and it is a fun but fruitless exercise among strategic theorists to debate which should come first. My own is: If you think it will take a platoon send in a company; if you think you need a company, send a regiment; and so forth. This is the true economy of forces: faced with overwhelming force, few enemies will stand. Sun Tzu teaches us to build golden bridges for our enemies; the point being, rational people will run away in the face of superior force, and the more overwhelming the force, the shorter the actual combat, the more efficient the pursuit, and the fewer the casualties you will take.
The United States at present enjoys the capability of opposing ISIS with overwhelming force. It also has feasible alternatives once we have captured ISIS territory: we need not do “nation building” and we have choices as to whom the captive territory and peoples are to be given, and at what price. We will not enjoy those advantages forever
For a picture of Hillary Clinton’s way of thinking: http://nyti.ms/1RlCSWR
Another lengthy reading assignment. Apologies
And considerably more:
US military preparedness
Sent: 2/28/2016 11:51:07 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Re: US military preparedness
This way lies battle bots and clone armies. And if the Star Wars prequels had any purpose at all (most people think they didn’t…), it was to remind us that hackable armies, whether electromechanical or artificial-biological, are not a good thing…
(And whatever else is true, Apple will never be the lowest bidder…)
Of course, when it comes to draftees, hack armies are only marginally better than hackable armies – and a lot less morally defensible.
Two generations of socialist indoctrination by the schools have left us with nothing… if I may expropriate from a private email from one of you, I can understand the desire to break the schools to rubble and sow salt among the ruins. Or as Jerry Pournelle says frequently, we have sown the wind and reap the whirlwind – with the addendum that it appears to be EF3 at a minimum.
Regarding what follows, the quote attributed to Machiavelli is not exact, but is probably extracted and condensed from one or more of the following …
From The Prince
· Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed.
· Ch. 6
· The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws.
· Ch. 12
· A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. And, on the contrary, it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art; and what enables you to acquire a state is to be master of the art.
· Ch. 14; Variant: A prince should therefore have no other aim or thought, nor take up any other thing for his study but war and it organization and discipline, for that is the only art that is necessary to one who commands.
· Among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised.
· Ch. 14
· Because there is nothing proportionate between the armed and the unarmed; and it is not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed, or that the unarmed man should be secure among armed servants. Because, there being in the one disdain and in the other suspicion, it is not possible for them to work well together.
· Ch. 14; Variant: There can be no proper relation between one who is armed and one who is not. Nor it is reasonable to expect that one who is armed will voluntarily obey one who is not.
· And therefore a prince who does not understand the art of war, over and above the other misfortunes already mentioned, cannot be respected by his soldiers, nor can he rely on them. He ought never, therefore, to have out of his thoughts this subject of war, and in peace he should addict himself more to its exercise than in war; this he can do in two ways, the one by action, the other by study.
· Ch. 14
In a message dated 2/24/2016 8:04:03 A.M. Central Standard Time, writes:
Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 3:26 PM
Subject: US military preparedness
As received from a friend..
Yeah, we’re done. The new Dark Ages are beginning. The Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution have failed. Half the people in the world still have below-average I.Q., and they call the shots, all over the world, for all of us. It looks like western civilization is over. God help our kids and grandkids.
The world’s population has a collective mental illness. It’s not a ”rational process”. Most people are not rational. ”I am a rational man, who lives in a rational universe. All other ways are madness.”
Before all else, be armed.—-Machiavelli
Overhauling the Army for the Age of Irregular Warfare
The U.S. military isn‘t prepared to wage long fights against Islamic State and other enemies.
By Andrew F. Krepinevich
Feb. 18, 2016
On Jan. 29, the National Commission on the Future of the U.S. Army released its report on a wide range of issues confronting the Army. Its more than 60 recommendations addressed details as specific as the proper ratio of attack-helicopter battalions between the active Army and the Reserves. Yet for all its good work, the commission neglected to tackle the Army biggest problem: its declining ability to wage the kind of protracted irregular wars that America enemies increasingly prefer to fight.
The roots of this problem lie chiefly in the social choice the American people made following the Vietnam War to abolish the draft and field the military entirely with volunteers. That decision has become so expensive that it now threatens to limit U.S. defense options.
The shift to a volunteer force seemed logical at the time. A Cold War Army of volunteers would stand guard in Europe and Korea to deter aggression. In the event war came, the National Guard and Reserves would be mobilized and the draft reinstated if necessary. Following the Iraq war that began in 2003, however, the Army found itself in protracted conflicts against irregular forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are the new Vietnams the Army civilian masters said it didn‘t need to plan for again.
It turns out there is a big difference between attracting volunteers for service in the peacetime Army as opposed to one that sends its soldiers on repeated combat tours. To maintain the numbers of soldiers needed for these wars, compensation had to be increased and the risk of casualties reduced. Since 9/11, the Army personnel costs have increased, on a per-soldier basis, by over 50% after adjusting for inflation.
The Army has also taken unprecedented steps to reduce casualties. For example, it has spent more than $40 billion since 9/11 on heavily armored vehicles, and nearly $20 billion on other ways—such as detection and defusing methods—to reduce the threat of roadside bombs.
Providing protections for soldiers is only going to get harder. Developing and fielding improved vehicle armor to protect soldiers against roadside bombs takes months or years to accomplish. Yet our enemies have consistently found ways—such as simply emplacing larger bombs—to defeat these improvements far more quickly and cheaply than we can counter them. Enemies like al Qaeda in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan are daunting enough. But they have nothing like the firepower possessed by terrorist groups like the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which has tens of thousands of rockets, missiles, mortars and artillery munitions.
The Obama administration response to this challenge has been to reprise No More Vietnams. Hence the president ordered the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and major force reductions in Afghanistan, and has directed the Pentagon not to size the Army for these kinds of wars.
But to paraphrase Trotsky: While the U.S. may not be interested in irregular warfare, our enemies are. Iran has increased its support of its proxies in the Middle East. Moscow has employed its own proxies to annex Crimea and seize chunks of eastern Ukraine. ISIS has emerged from the power vacuum created by the Army withdrawal from Iraq, while the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan as the U.S. Army footprint there fades.
The administration has now curtailed the drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan. But it isnâ€™t clear that the small residual force will be able to do much more than defend itself—thus becoming what the military refers to as a self-licking ice cream cone.â€ Nor is it clear what a handful of U.S. Special Forces troops can accomplish in the Middle East.
There are ways the Army can address the persistent threat of modern irregular warfare without returning to a draft, which is neither politically feasible nor necessary. It involves investing in better training of allies and partners, in unmanned systems and in special forces. The administration needs to do a better job of identifying partners and supporting its allies in these conflicts. Spending $500 million to field a few Syrian freedom fighters against Bashar Assad does not square with the president injunction to avoid doing stupid stuff. The Kurds, though, have proven to be reliable and effective partners. They deserve more support, and we should look for similar partners to assist. Fortunately Gen. Mark Milley, the Army new chief of staff, is exploring creating specially designed training and advisory brigades for this purpose.
Second, the Army must leverage technology. As the Air Force use of remotely piloted drones has shown, rapid advances are being made in the area of artificial intelligence and robotics. The Army needs to exploit these technologies.
During the Korean and Vietnam wars the Army sought to minimize casualties by substituting firepower for manpower whenever possible. Increasingly the Army will need to send in the droids instead of soldiers whenever possible.
Finally, the Army must concentrate on protecting the size and readiness of its special-operations forces, preserving these high-quality forces to offset the effects of a continuing 20% cut in the active Army size that began in 2012 and should be completed in 2019.
Our enemies are pursuing an effective strategy, creating irregular-warfare forces to exploit our weakness in this form of warfare. The proper response to this challenge is not to abandon the field to our enemies, but to develop our unique advantages and leverage them in ways that transform our weaknesses into a strength.
Mr. Krepinevich, who served in the Army for 25 years, is president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
Original URL: http://www.wsj.com/articles/overhauling-the-army-for-the-age-of-irregular-warfare-1455839486
Fortunately, terminating ISIS does not require a long protracted conflict. ISIS does not exist if it does not have territory to govern; the Moslem Brotherhood is not ISIS. A Caliphate must have a sovereign territory, or it is just another gang of terrorist thugs,
My paper today takes Apple to task for its stand.
Apple’s Rotten Core
CEO Tim Cook’s case for not aiding the FBI’s antiterror effort looks worse than ever.
L. Gordon Crovitz
Feb. 28, 2016 4:58 p.m. ET
By refusing to help the FBI unlock the iPhone used by a dead terrorist, Applesucceeded in shifting the debate over privacy and security—but not the way it intended. Apple’s recalcitrance makes it likely technology companies will no longer be allowed to ignore court orders or design devices to evade reasonable searches. The question is whether Congress or the courts will set the new rules.
It also has http://www.pressreader.com/ which tells us The Los Angeles Times has a story of how police all over the country have similar tasks for Apple.
CEO Tim Cook’s test case for Apple is rotten to the core.
Eight Memorable Passages From Apple’s Fiery Response to the FBI
It’s a legal motion for the ages.
The response Apple lawyers filed Thursday to a court order that the company write software to defeat its own security protocols is exhaustive, fiery, accessible and full of memorable passages.
The lawyers were asking a federal magistrate judge to vacate what they called her “unprecedented and oppressive” order demanding that Apple design and build software to hack into an iPhone used by San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook.
And they were relentless.
Years from now, people will look back and recall:
- When Apple called the government out for trying to make Apple compromise on its security when the government itself has terrible cyber hygiene:
- When Apple said the government was stoking fear but was too afraid to make its case before Congress:
- When Apple said the Department of Justice and the FBI were lying because they knew full well this case isn’t about just one phone.
- When Apple pointed out the government reset the phone’s password without asking Apple for help first.
- When Apple told the world about how the government obtained the court order in secret, and then told reporters about it before Apple had a chance to respond:
- When Apple pointed out that the FBI director was behaving somewhat suspiciously:
- When Apple pointed out that it couldn’t just write the software then destroy it and forget it ever existed:
- When Apple spelled out the potential consequences for companies in the future, if the FBI succeeds:
- New Court Filing Reveals Apple Faces 12 Other Requests to Break Into Locked iPhones
- FBI Says Apple Court Order Is Narrow, But Other Law Enforcers Hungry to Exploit It
Outlook 2016 POP Bug
It looks like last week Microsoft updated Outlook 2016, and there is an apparent bug with POP accounts where the setting to retain mail on the server is ignored and all mail is either downloaded, or duplicate downloads occur.
In my case, I discovered all my mail server copies were removed and downloaded to my main computer’s PST file. No emails were lost, but I had no access to my historical mail on my other computers and devices, like my phone. This was particularly annoying since I leave the mail-server as a sort of backup, and I could not reference mail from my phone I had received only an hour earlier.
Google is my friend on a work-around. See: http://wp.josh.com/2016/02/24/outlook-2016s-new-pop3-bug-deletes-your-emails/ and https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3145116
I switched my Outlook to IMAP for now, which I don’t like on my main machine, but I will have to suffer it for the time being.
I hope this helps others.
The Latest Raspberry Pi Gets Wi-Fi Powers, Keeps $35 Price
Raspberry Pi, the computer that literally fits in the palm of your hand, isn’t for everyone. It comes with circuitry exposed, without a case, input method, or, until now, much in the way of connectivity. With the addition of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, though, Raspberry Pi 3 comes closer to a pocketable PC for everyone.
The third generation of Raspberry Pi in its four years of existence, Raspberry Pi 3 integrates 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1. Previously, you had to employ some dongle magic to add that functionality.
The only other big upgrade—there are, after all, only so many components to upgrade—is the processor. Where previously sat a 900MHz 32-bit, quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU now sits a 1.2GHz 64-bit, quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU. If those numbers mean nothing to you, just know that it’s about 10x the performance of the original Raspberry Pi, and over 50 percent better than the previous iteration.
Otherwise, the Pi remains largely the same. It’s roughly the same size and shape as generations past, aside from some minor component shuffling to accommodate the antenna that allows for its newfound wireless connectivity. Most importantly, it’s holding on to that $35 price. For the cost of a few decent deli sandwiches, you can still own a fully functional (and now, even more so) pint-sized computer.
It’s important, too, that Raspberry Pi keep building on its success. No shortage of micro-computer competitors have sprung up in the years since the original Pi’s introduction, some of which, like the Arduino 101, have already either promised or delivered an advanced feature set. And for three or four times the price of a Pi 3, consumers can opt for a “PC on a Stick” dongle, like Lenovo’s Ideacentre Stick or Intel’s Compute Stick, that offers the convenience of a dongle form factor, and the ability to plug directly into a monitor.
Nobody’s done it better for longer, though, than the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It still takes a little bit of know-how to fit it into your life, but one of the best bargains in tech is even more so now.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.