All you new people are making life tedious. I have been teaching this course for twelve years and one can always hope that some lessons are absorbed but then a new wave of you come on the scene, asking questions like "what part of the defense and intelligence establishment is worthwhile?" If you want to ask me questions or anyone else at SST please look first in the archives of the blog and don't expect someone here to write you a summary course on government organization. I have quit working but I used to collect a reasonably high fee for such a task.
There are a few mildly interesting things in the news today:
1. The LA Times referred to Adam Schiff today as an "attack labradoodle." This adequately conveys the impression of a person straining to be fierce when it just ain't in him.
2. It seems that regime change in Syria is no longer the policy of the US. Well, thank God. Syria is infested with various kinds of jihadis and everyone needs to concentrate on exterminating them.
3. Fariid Zakariya had on his newsie today a pair of film makers who have generated a documentary that is clearly AQ propaganda, These two, a man and a woman had jihadi written all over them. If she had been any more covered up she would have been invisible and the man was glowering mass of beard and smoking eyes. These two claimed that the Syrian government had never fought against jihadism. They claimed that it is only against the freedom loving FSA that the dastardly bastards of the Tiger Forces, Syrian Marines, etc. have been fighting all this time. This was particularly funny given their clear visual representation of the jihadi ideal way of death. BTW if you are a non-troll and don't know that the SAA and friends are fighting IS out along the dusty trail to Deir al-Zor , as well as AQ derivatives in northern Hama, then you are ill informed. Ah, yes, there are also the SAA troops fighting their way eastward south of Lake Assad against IS. One can only wonder if Zakariya believes this drivel himself. I sure hope they had that woman searched before they let her on the set. You could hide anything under all that loose cloth.
4. And then there is the Gorsuch caper. McConnell made it very clear on FNS today that Gorsuch will sit on SCOTUS by the end of the week. He pointed out that it really only requires a majority for confirmation on SCOTUS. The 60% thing is a recent requirement for cloture to shut off debate in order to have a floor vote. OK Democratic Base! Go for it!
5. We killed a lot of civilians in Mosul as the R+6 killed a lot civilians in East Aleppo? Well, pilgrims, there is moral equivalence. Civilians get killed in war. Sometimes they are deliberately killed as in Hamburg, Tokyo and on 9/11. Sometimes they are killed per misadventure. War is a savage business. Sherman, whom I detest, had it right. It is not possible to avoid such horrors. Only civilians think it is possible to fight wars that are not murderous affairs.
If my post bother you. I am sorry. I can here because your blog was recommended by a friend.
1. I can’t stomach Fareed Zakaria anymore. A year ago he would at least assemble a panel where 1 or possibly 2 out of 4 actually had different views rather than push a narrative but ever since Trump got elected he has become unhinged. He hates Trump so bad that he hates anything that Trump seems to like, Trump said he wanted to reboot relations w/Russia so Fareed is all in on Putin is a NAZI. Trump says that he is out of the regime change business, so now Fareed is all in on demonizing the Syrian govt. It’s too bad, while Zakaria was always a Neocon, he has taken a turn for the worse.
2. It’s great that we are out of the regime change business but I find Nikki Haley insufferable. She has given exclusive interviews w/FOX calling Assad a war criminal who must be brought to justice for at least three chemical weapons attacks (10 fatalities?). She is now President of the Security Council for a month and channeling Samantha Power. Of all of the things in the world that she is concerned about, she worries about the anti-Israel bias at the U.N. and wants to teach the world U.S. values. She is not concerned about the KSA’s starvation blockade of Yemen but about a non-binding resolution that Obama pushed in his final days. How do we produce such people?
The March for Women in DC was led by a woman called Linda Sarsour who extols the virtues of shariah law and the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. She is lionised in the likes of Slate and the Huffington Post.
The love-in between feminists and Wahabism is very strange phenomenon. I can see why Israelis might have a tactical alliance, but what on earth do these people hope to gain?
Dear Pat, you have an open blog for correspondence and are complaining about getting participants with an elementary understanding. The solution is pretty obvious.
You think I should shut the thing down? pl
I find the quantity of your posts with just links annoying. IMO, it would be better to focus on just a couple that are germane to the discussion and your opinions & analysis of what was written on those links.
One problem that we have is that those civilians who make the decisions to go to war, have limited personal loss, if at all, as their kids are highly unlikely to serve. This of course can be solved with a draft or mandatory military or national service for all kids including those of the big muckety mucks.
Another problem is that Congress never actually declares war and gets the whole society behind that war as we did during WWII. They weasel out with the AUMF which is now enabling the third president to intervene whereever.
Is Nikki even in the loop? She seems to be saying whatever.
Adam Schiff strikes me as a sanctimonious whiny SOB. He always seems as if he’s on the verge of tears because he isn’t being accepted or believed. sniff
Please go away now. This forum is wasted on you.
Then it’ll be interesting to see what happens in Ecuador. Will there be a “color revolution” or will Lasso be “told” to go home and wait for the next election. The only fly in the ointment with the latter, is if the Democrats in their hatred of Julian Assange suggest that Trump is not starting a coup in Quito to protect his dear friend and ally, the man who put him in the White House, Julian Assange.
I would recommend:
Introduction email sent to for 1st time posters with the loose rules of commenting on this blog laid out.
Their bizarre symbiosis always reminds me of a great, old Internet post:
“Another thing worth noting is that the threshold for being offended is a very important tool for judging and ranking white people. Missing an opportunity to be outraged is like missing a reference to Derrida-it’s social death.”
The latest this morning:
Jared Kushner is in Iraq with General Dunford this morning. SoS Tillerson has not even been to Iraq yet.
Col Lang, kindly don’t shut the thing down. I come here for a warrior’s perspective and this is my 2nd comment only after years of reading. You give me that warrior’s perspective although I frequently do not like your answers. But truth is truth and you give that. Kindly don’t shut the thing down.
What if Sen. McConnell cannot get a majority vote to overturn the filibuster?
If the filibuster is ended, the GOP may not like it the next time that the Democrats control the Senate.
I have a terrible time searching the Internet for stories that might interest me about politics and foreign affairs. No matter what people suggest to prevent the computer screen from making my eyes hurt, those things just do not help.
So, I appreciate the stories you point out on those topics. Thank you.
According to information available online, you seem to have gotten several facts wrong. There was a smear campaign by right-wingers on the Internet and you seem to have accepted their fabrications.
I briefly attended that march and it was barely led by anyone. It was largely organic and the only organizing aspect was the use of social media that stated when and where and who planned to attend.
re”Trump said he wanted to reboot relations w/Russia so Fareed is all in on Putin is a NAZI”
Well, a sober man would openly accept that Putin is a lot of things – but not a nazi.
Amusingly, it was, of all people, one Mr Trump who made one grumpily Richard ‘Hail Trump’ Spencer – his speaker. An unwise choice IMO.
Sometimes you recognise who you have in front of you by judging what they do, what they say and what friends they have. To get my idea:
“Mr Spencer is banned from the UK and 26 other European countries, after he was deported from Hungary for organising a conference for white nationalists.”
A notable achievement – and only a small part of his glory. Speaking at a US event Mr Spencer …
“… railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”
As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. Mr. Spencer called out: “Hail Trump! Hail our people!” and then, “Hail victory!” — the English translation of the Nazi exhortation “Sieg Heil!” The room shouted back.”
Ok, re ‘what they do, what they say and what friends they have’ – what precisely do we have in front of us with Richard Spencer? Just a troll?
re: “How do we produce such people?”
Suggestion: By hitting an innocent wall with their heads a lot?
The love in will last until one of them gets whipped by the religious police over in Saudi Arabia.
I was about to make the same comment, but you beat me to it. How easily an activist like Sarsour but s smeared and then have it accepted as “fact” when he left view is indeed far more nuanced. In fact according to Wikipedia she ” in February 2017, Sarsour worked with other Muslim activists to launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to repair the damage and restore the gravesites. More than $125,000 was raised, and Sarsour pledged to donate any funds not needed at the cemetery to other Jewish community centers or sites targeted by vandalism. She said the fundraising effort would “send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate, desecration, and violence in America.” Hmmm.
I am probably one of the offensive people who comment, but I am sincere in my desire to understand what is going on with our intelligence agencies. And I have always understood that war is hell. I have read and studied as much and probably more than many of my male friends about World War I and World War II. I have also studied the ancient wars of Greece and Rome. Of course civilians are killed in war time. Who but mindless snowflakes, as they call them, wouldn’t know that? It doesn’t mean, however, that my heart can’t feel for those civilians caught in the middle of the conflict. During the GHWB war and the GWB war, I was reading and listening all the time to the news. I felt as torn up for everyone involved, soldiers and civilians. I was a bit concerned because I still hadn’t figured out how exactly we (our intelligence agencies) had been dealing with Saddam Hussein as an ally against Iran and then was suddenly someone to hate. So, yes, intelligence agencies have always been a concern for me as a citizen because their job is to be secretive, and that makes me a little nervous. Of course I want to trust them, but at the same time they have been used in a way that I might not approve if I did know all that was happening. It’s made me almost a libertarian no foreign interference sort of person.
The current political turmoil seems completely entangled in “intelligence” gathering agencies of our government. I will do my due diligence and search your archives.
But, at this time, the situation in regard to “intelligence” is causing more trouble than I think “intelligence” has before. There seems to be an obvious need to make some changes, clean out the bad actors from the agencies, or do some reorganization or retraining of some kind. Citizens try their best to trust our government, but lately I am afraid we have lots of young idiots who have been put in places they have no business being, and they’ve been put there for political reasons.
I did my best to figure out what was going on during Iran Contra. I read all I could in regard to Benghazi, knowing that a “secret” CIA compound was involved. I tried to figure out the Suxnet “incident.” I’ve tried to figure out what in the world caused Comey not to file a case against HRC for her obvious belief that she was above the law in regard to handling classified information. The problem for me is that it sometimes seems that intelligence agencies would prefer we didn’t know what they are doing and who is doing what, which is exactly why they are “intelligence” agencies. Btu at the same time, someone needs to be holding their noses to the fire in some way.
I have two boys–one did join the Navy, graduated from the Nuclear Power Program and served during peace time on a nuclear sub. He was at the time not very impressed with the captains he had to serve under. My son and his fellow “nuke” at first refused to carry out an order and as diplomatically as possible tried to explain They did this with with a certain hesitancy because the captain obviously had rank. What the captain was asking was something the nuclear powered engines could not handle. When the captain forced them to carry out the order, it caused an extremely embarrassing and completely expensive problem that meant the submarine had to be refitted with a new engine. (I am surely not using the correct words, but just trying to convey what happened.) My son finally chose to leave the service after this because this captain was just the worst of others he had served under. At first, my son felt he wanted a career in the Navy, but these experiences caused him to forget that idea. You may know how hard it is to get through the Nuclear Power School. My brother had also gone through that program during Vietnam.
So, despite the money the Navy had put into my son’s training, the Navy lost my son because of some of the officers he had to take orders from. Think about being submerged in those boats with an officer who has no real understanding of how dangerous that is for the crew if the officer gives an order that could cause the boat to malfunction.
My father and many of my uncles–farmers at heart–served during WWII and Korea. I had many friends from high school who served in Vietnam, some were drafted and some volunteered. One died of Agent Orange years later after he endured horrors in that war. He came home, finally married and was raising two beautiful girls. Then suddenly the symptoms appeared and before anyone could take a breath, he died from fighting in that war. One classmate came home from Vietnam with a Purple Heart. He has lived as sort of a hermit since, when in high school he was probably the most fun, crazy guy to be around. My best male friend from high school was thankful that I finally–since I was the only one–asked him about his experiences in the war. I cried for days after reading what he wrote because he couldn’t make himself tell me in person.
Just because Americans are not military families always doesn’t mean we don’t support the military.
My second son is the kind of person who would have come home with PTSD. He knew it and I knew it. It is only now that he is too old for the military to take him that he might be able to handle it. But it does not mean that he would not really care about what is going on and would not be concerned greatly for those who do join.
I am here trying to learn. But if I bother you, I will also leave. I read your last post on the fighting in Mosul. I really appreciated your taking the time to write it. I can still feel sorry for the civilians caught up in the mess. Every time I read those types of articles, I pray for those people and for the soldiers involved, and I thank God for the blessings I have experienced because I have never been caught up in war–yet.
Well, as I recall, the democrats are facing the “nuclear option” only because they created the situation before when they were incontrol.
In crazy times, things happen that sane people wish didn’t happen. No one is a true statesman during these times of deep division in our country.
No, but the irritation and derision you express towards participants who do not come to the table with adequate backgrounds to contribute meaningfully to the dialogue suggests to me you’d be happier with some screening out or selection of participants. SST is a great resource but it doesn’t make sense for a host to get pissed off with whoever comes in off the street when the door is always open.
@ Sam Peralta
Check her political appointees’pedigree at Turtle Bay , in particular her Chief of Staff Steven Groves and how she went along to keep Jeffrey Feltman as USG at Political Affairs ( Feltman is another Nuland and is a good ilk of Eliot Cohen)
Actually this forum has been a valuable resource for me. I’m suggesting this open door format to any and all who are walking down the street isn’t compatible with Pats personality and work history. A professor can’t have a herd of 8yr olds strolling through the class and a team of people working towards a goal don’t need a peanut gallery of amateurs wandering in and out.
Since this is a moderated blog, every comment has to be approved by Col. Lang before it shows up. Suggest putting multiple links in one comment (3 or 4) instead of separate comments for each link.
FYI, the comment culture here is very different from No Quarter. Once you learn it you should be fine 🙂
Col: The one clear difference between Aleppo and Mosul is that the Mosul equivalent of the “white helmets” won’t be getting gushing interviews on the MSM.
I see different things and post them to start discussion on the story.
Since the post does not show right away many times when there are different links on the same story I can not put them all together.
A friend who blog I posted on for many years came here and turned me on to this log.
If my way of posting offends people than off course I will stop.
thanks for your opinion
I think you have that backwards. That warning should have gone out to Senator Reid.
Sarsour was/is favourably covered in the librral media:
As for the march – it wasn’t entirely spontaneous. Various Soros NGOs were involved and it was originally planned to celebrate HRC’s victory. 2
That is a helpful clarification. If new people do a little research before asking a question that would be helpful. I have come to see that what we are running here is like a 600 or 700 level seminar in government, history, geography, etc. except for our occasional “entertainments” as Graham Greene might have called them. pl
That is true. My wife has complained about it for 54 years. pl
You just passed the entrance exam for SST. pl
Col Lang sir,
Why the intense dislike for Sherman?
IMO what he did in the March to the Sea was the equivalent of Douhet style terrorizing of civilians with strategic air. I disapprove of that also as both barbaric and immoral. pl
CP: “Amusingly, it was, of all people, one Mr Trump who made one grumpily Richard ‘Hail Trump’ Spencer – his speaker. An unwise choice IMO.”
Trump no more made Spencer ‘his speaker’, than former President Obama made Louis Farrakhan ‘his speaker’. Do you know something about this that I don’t know?
thank you for your advice.
My father was in WW2 in what was called the CBI theater. What I learned from him was the Chinese warlords were attacking our convoys and killing our soldiers. The government did not want the American public to know about it as they were supposed to be our allies.
so when you deal with the Chinese hold your wallet and wear a flak jacket.
My husband and many friends were in Korea, some at the frozen chozen. what I learned from that was we did not want to go to war with the Chinese. We could not match them in manpower. they could lose 10 to every 1 of ours.
Have family that was in Viet Nam. What I learned from them was that we were in places where we were not supposed to be and had a government without the will to win.
I have worked with people that fought in all these wars and I learned a lot from them.
One thing everyone of them said was if you want to know what is going on ask the sargeant because he has a clue and many officers do not.
Sergeants often propagate the idea that a lot of officers are incompetent. I have known many in both groups who would fit that description. the real difference between officers and sergeants as to who knows what lies in the fact that many officers are closed mouthed especially with strangers. As the fictional Captain Miller tells one of his men in “Saving Private Ryan,” “It is your job to bitch to me, not the other way ’round.”
You are bit too willing to believe what is known in the Army as “latrine rumor.” The UN forces killed Chinese Army troops in vast numbers in Korea and the Chinese were not able to overrun South Korea which had been their objective when they intervened in November 1950. pl
I don’t discount your son’s experience, but do know that submarine officers also have to be selected for and graduate Nuclear Power School (in my day, one had to travel to Naval Reactors in Crystal City / Northern Va and go through testing / interview process which culminated with the infamous personal interview with Adm Rickover). Then sea duty and “qualification in submarines”. Officers have to pass the Engineer’s Exam and be selected for duty as Engineer Officer (about the only exception are the “strategic weapons” officers, and in some boats (that have one) the Supply Officer. So prior to selection for command, officers have had more than a little experience. That’s not to say there aren’t mistakes made. Certainly Commanding Officers (and Chiefs of the Boat — think First Sergeant or CSM) have been fired in the past and will be in the future. I kind of doubt, though, that every CO was an idiot, and no one else (COB, LPO, etc) would support your son’s opinions.
“Trump no more made Spencer ‘his speaker'”
So, didn’t Trump do that? Maybe Mr. Bannon did do it for him then. That, or Spencer by speaking and insulting media and the public is just fighting utter boredom.
As for what you know and don’t, how the hell should I know that, and why should I care. Since for whatever reason you appear to assume Spencer is not Trump’s press secretary – well, why indeed?
If surprisingly Spencer wasn’t appointed by the Trump crew as a whitehouse press secretary, don’t waste your readers time by writing that to say so is ‘fake news’ – try to make yourself useful and try to prove it.
Last I looked, Spencer was (1) listed as the whitehouse press secretary and (2) as a former communications director for President Donald Trump.
I assume both points being correct.
That written, to me its rather clear that Spencer is Trump’s speaker. Denial of that isn’t just entertainingly hilarious, it also won’t change it.
I assume you won’t like to read this but I have met real life folks like Spencer before, so I know enough to have a rather accurate idea what Spencer is, what his goals are, or what his type of haircut is about.
Proposal: If Putin is a nazi, then Spencer, despite his peculiar haircut, is an angel. Accepting the bold proposal that Putin isn’t a nazi, then, well, perhaps Spencer isn’t an angel …
“try to make yourself useful and try to prove it” IMO that is abusive. pl
CP: Last time I checked the White House Press Secretary was a gentleman by the name of Sean Spicer not Richard Spencer.
Colonel – there used to be, behind all the formal discipline, some sort of give and take between the ranks. In some parts of the Royal Navy – I don’t know if it’s still the case – the officers were called Ruperts. If they got too Ruperty they had to be careful not to park their car too close to the edge of the dock. On one RAN ship, in war time, one of the officers was bothering the younger ratings. The men indicated, through proper channels, that that was disapproved of but the officer chose to ignore the hint. One night when it was blowing hard they threw him over the side. A clear case of insubordination, one would have thought, but the general feeling amongst those concerned was that it was quite fair and proper. The general feeling but not, one assumes, unanimous.
But that was the RAN. The Australians were always noted for enterprise and dash. Maybe give and take goes higher too. I think it was Sir Michael Jackson who declined the order to impede the Russians at Pristina on the grounds that he didn’t feel up to starting WW3 that morning. More insubordination but it didn’t seem to harm his prospects.
On whether sergeants think of officers as incompetent it could be that the British Army might be a little different, or was. I used to know a few old style sergeants and they never, in my hearing, propounded the thesis that their officers were incompetent. They thought of them more like lost sheep, really. But they always treated them humanely.
According to my son, after that event (it made the news), that particular captain was sent to an office somewhere instead of back to the boat. My son claimed he was an incredibly clueless guy, and that they tried and tried to get him to understand that he should not ask them to do what he had asked them to do.
And I am too clueless myself to remember exactly what that was. In the end the captain just demanded they follow orders.
His boat had gone through I think two other captains while he served. They weren’t as clueless, according to him, but they were not at all happy to be on a submarine.
My son served in the Pacific on a fast attack submarine. Most of any sort of submarine action at all during his years in the service was happening near the ME, of course.
The Chinese were the ones that pinned down our troops at the Chozen But we did not cross the Yalu River because we did not want an all out war with China If I remember correctly.
I do know that both my father and my husband would not trust China under any circumstances.
Funny thing is that neither one of them would no contribute to the Red Cross because of things they saw while in the service. Salvation Army yes Red Cross NO
Are you that confused?
“Last I looked, Spencer was (1) listed as the whitehouse press secretary and (2) as a former communications director for President Donald Trump.”
Sean Spicer is listed as Whitehouse press secretary.
I find no record for Richard Spencer being a “former communications director for President Donald Trump.”
Maybe you can enlighten us and support your assertions with a few links?
I have no military experience, of course. But Sherman’s March to the Sea has always made me dislike him also.
Nothing about the way WWI was fought seems sane to me at all. That was one crazy war.
I’m asking because I do not know and I’m interested in your opinion: “Was the final bombing of Berlin appropriate in your opinion? I know a large percentage of the people just left Berlin because of it. And I know that all the Allied Powers must have been pretty pissed off at Hitler by that time. But one of the responses I always have to war is also just the sense of utter disgust at all the physical destruction. Were they bombing mostly roads, air ports, trains? But I always get the sense that in the end Berlin was pretty much rubble.
Col. Lang, Sir, I don’t know why anyone would bother with any US mainstream media. I was watching coverage of the St. Petersburg on Euronews and RT and getting a pretty good balance of horror and forbearance — it was the BBC that rolled out the theory that it was a Putin false flag to distract from Russian gov’t corruption, and CNN had some other angle not worth mentioning… *eyerolls*. If the actual provenance of the attack is ISIS, the implied complicity of the Borgists must be flagged.
You see the result of leadership in the spirit of the led. Arriving at Ft. Bragg in ’84 I was placed in the midst a certain rabble that came back from Grenada pretty sour. Not to violate opsec or anything, but butterbar LTs calling in A-7s on goats (acc’d to legend) was a bit of a grim joke. On the other hand, the next wave of officers included a lot of West Point grads who were cut of a finer cloth. A platoon leader who taught me the finer points of handling an axe and double-clutching a jeep was exceptional. My 1st Sgt. made me understand the difference between crack troops and spike troops. Decades later, the lessons stick. I can empathize with PCD, because, but for the grace of God, etc.
I’m grateful for this forum and the benefits of being in the company of seniors who are willing to share. Looking forward to another war game.
wasn’t the reason McArthur got fired was because he wanted to cross the Yaloo and Truman said no?
It’s the Republican majority who are facing the nuclear option,not the Democrats, and they did much to bring it on themselves. Mr. Smith notwithstanding, historically the filibuster has benefited conservatives. McConnell and others in his caucus know this well and would prefer not to abolish the filibuster (which doesn’t mean they won’t). McConnell will also be eager to keep the filibuster alive for legislative purposes because it can come in handy when the GOP House passes horrible legislation over to the Senate, which the House tried to do just recently and failed. Elimination of the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees is likely to inconvenience Republicans more than Democrats in the long term, and from a Dem perspective, even better if it’s the GOP that presses the button.
Pat, no do not shut SST down. You shut me down now don’t shut the whole kit n’kaboodle down. I still read SST! Maybe be a little more selective in which posts make it to the board. Best.
What a load of incoherent nonsense. How are you even allowed to post such slander here?
Sarsour smears herself on twitter – here is a fairly typical example re the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia
It’s amazingly easy for Islamists to fool naive westerners by being polite and not frothing at the mouth. Liberals are so eager to have thrir delusions confirmed that they make easy “marks”.
Submarines don’t have nuclear engines. I know of no US nuclear submarines that had reactor failures, please enlighten me to which one that was? Then maybe you can explain how not one but two different naval officers were assigned as captains of submarines but were unhappy with that fate? Being a submarine captain is what all submarine trained officers – all volunteers – aspire to be. It sounds like you don’t know what you are talking about.
It was well established at Nuremberg, Manila and Tokyo that some actions may make sense militarily but are unacceptable in a civilized society. You should have included Grant’s admonition to Sheridan to strip the Shenandoah Valley of all things of economic value. OTOH you may not like Ranald McKenzie’s order to exterminate the great Comanche horse herd (2.,000 head) after the
battle of Palo Duro Canyon. pl
How about you? Have you passed the entrance exam? I’ll think about that. pl
I was always a fan of Sherman sir, though in some of the places I grew up, that would have been considered blasphemy.
In your opinion, who was the most effective Civil War general from either side?
US Grant pl