Open Thread – 18 April 2017



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48 Responses to Open Thread – 18 April 2017

  1. Fred says:

    Nothing says springtime in Paris like seeing a beautiful young woman in skirt and heels pushing a stroller across Pont des Arts in the early afternoon. There were many an eye drawn to the sight and a few whispered comments between older ladies. Nothing says this isn’t the Paris of old like seeing another stroller heading in the opposite direction, pushed by a woman in a grey chadore, her husband at her elbow.

  2. trinlae says:

    I find it strange that the wwiii freak out related to North Korea is on high volume, while the news of South Korean president indictment for $52million bribery scandal gets very little coverage, as if the one isnt a context for the other.
    It almost looks like the military hype is a message to SouthKoreans daring to fire and jail their leaders, than a message to the North Korean regime.
    …In other news, long retired major general Grazioplene got a 30 year old rape of minor charge lodged…leading to popular questions from the public circulating about how it was covered up and he was protected for so long.

  3. scott s. says:

    It does seem like the current events have boosted the “conservative” (as that term is understood in ROK) in the polls. Remains to be seen if that’s more than a “blip”. As far as Park and the chaebols, seems to be life imitating art, as Korean TV dramas have long used that as a plot device (the proverbial “box of apples” stuffed with 50K bank notes).

  4. Doug Colwell says:

    What? He was not in front? Stone them!

  5. trinlae says:

    That is a helpful insight, thanks.
    The deposed president was said to be a puppet representation for her father, so it sounds a bit different from the Goldman Sachs – style deposing of the Brasilian presidency. Surely a chunk of change was lost on the exploding Samsung batteries, but unfortunately investigative journalism is not what it used to be (following the purse strings in all of the shadows etc.)
    The public demonstrations were the biggest since the 1980s, reportedly.

  6. trinlae says:

    There was an interesting clip on SANA tv showing what looks like an Asian mediated Syria pow wow, but i cannot read the arabic to understand what was going on:
    Maybe if it is interesting, someone can translate some details?

  7. Mikey says:

    Even the garbage men speak French. (Laugh-In 1969)

  8. YT says:
    ‘Tis a terrible logic, the calculus of supremacists.
    This pagan Chink sees the rationale of their arguments but…

  9. confusedponderer says:

    Ah Paris. Interesting city, with great things to visit or see.
    I recall eating a ‘l’americaine’ near Sacré-Cœur … while watching pickpockets looting the tourists. Fortunately they spared me. In any way, the utter brazenness was something novel to me at the time.
    When I went to Paris the first time I saw a shop with the title of iirc “vêtements de travail” in quarter Montmartre. The truly amusing part was that the shopping window was full of lingerie.

  10. turcopolier says:

    Having been commissioned in 1962, (if only in the Regular US Army) I remember the legal personnel strictures of those days and would venture the opinion that there was no Regular USMC commission available for him in 1968. Reserve commissions were virtually infinite in supply. He became a regular later. pl

  11. LeaNder says:

    You are clearly a much better observer then me, cp.
    I know about some supposedly high crime environments around me for ages. It also is usually crowded with commuters. …
    I think one of my best defenses against pick-pockets is my basic: noli me tangere instinct. But strictly I didn’t understand the 8-10 policemen assembling there recently on the above ground level of our ‘U-Bahn’/tube. When I asked them why they gathered there, I once again got the answer ‘high frequency crime scene’. Didn’t make much sense, considering their visibility. Ok, maybe a preparation for something further down. 😉

  12. Allen Thomson says:

    This seems odd, at least to me. Does the readership here have any comments?
    13 Indians reported killed in U.S. MOAB bombing
    Special Correspondent
    New Delhi April 18, 2017 23:14 IST
    Updated: April 19, 2017 09:45 IST
    An Afghanistan-based news agency said on Tuesday that 13 Indians were killed in the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) attack by the U.S. military in Achin district of Nangarhar province last week. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it was not sure of the claims and was still verifying it.
    Last year, as a well thought-out conspiracy, 21 men, women and children from Kerala had left for Afghanistan via Iran to live in the IS-controlled territory. Mainly comprising defectors from Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), the Wilayat Khorasan of Islamic State in Afghanistan came into existence in 2015.
    The NIA was investigating the case and over the past two months, at least two of them Mohammad Hafezuddin and Murshid Mohammad have been killed in drone attacks.
    Quoting a credible source, the Afghanistan news agency said, “13 Indian Daesh militants were also among those killed in the attack. Daesh commanders Mohammad and Allah Gupta were from India.”
    An NIA official said they were in touch with the families of the missing Indians.

  13. Joe100 says:

    It looks like Mattis took the commissioning path available to students at colleges that did not have NROTC programs (which led to regular commissions). In this program ( I can’t remember the name) students went through Officers Candidate School (OCS) during the summer before their senior year and were commissioned upon college graduation. Once commissioned, their first duty assignment was the six month “Officer Basic School” (TBS) course at Quantico, VA.
    Nothing unusual about this commissioning path.

  14. Joe100 says:

    Recently finished reading “They Fought Alone”, by John Keats, that tells the story Wendell Fertig’s role in organizing and “sort of” leading the resistance to Japanese occupation on Mindanao during WW II.
    One hopes many lessons were learned that folded into SF doctrine from this challenging experience. Curious what the SF community hear thinks of Fertig? He appears to have down a remarkable (if unassigned) job, despite the apparent lack of thoughtful support from MacArthur’s team once they became aware of Fertig’s role in the Mindanao resistance.

  15. turcopolier says:

    having researched and written about the origins and creation of the Green Berets (USSF) I would say that although Aaron Bank took notice of the Philippine experience his focus was much more on the European OSS experience. pl

  16. turcopolier says:

    I presume you are a Marine. I seem to remember that NROTC then produced both Regular and Reserve officers depending on whether or not you had a full scholarship. pl

  17. Joe100,
    I agree with Colonel Lang about Aaron Bank and his European OSS experience. That shaped the organization of SF. Fertig’s and Volkmann’s experiences were influential in formulating UW doctrine for SF. Volkmann wrote a lot of the doctrine. I think the combined influences of the OSS European experiences and the self-organized Philippine guerilla forces were instrumental in producing the finest UW force in the world. DOL

  18. turcopolier says:

    I wouldn’t argue with your blend of the two influences but the OSS one was dominant. You would also have to include OSS in China and Burma. But, IMO the long term disaster contained in the founding was the admission of a lot of Rangers from the Korean War Ranger companies. In the end they were a virtual Trojan Horse. pl

  19. Fred says:

    I was spared by them today too; the artists were not so forgiving; but it’s only little pieces of colorful paper…

  20. turcopolier says:

    Folks should understand that the president/CinC of the US has the power to order war on his/her own even though he/she does not have the right to do so without congressional approval. pl

  21. Joe100 says:

    I stand corrected, you are right that NROTC awarded regular commissions only to full NROTC scholarship students. I was commissioned through NROTC in June 1968, did my Vietnam tour in 69-70, serving initial for three+ months as an artillery FO with D 1/5 while Jim Webb was a platoon commander. I most likely taught the 106 RR and other weapons odds and ends to Mattis’s basic officers class during the end of my time as an instructor at TBS.

  22. Gene O. says:

    Mattis enlisted as a USMC-R Private in 1969 while he was attending college at Central Washington University. This was somewhat common at the time for kids wanting a Marine commission but attending a college that did not offer NROTC.

  23. turcopolier says:

    OK. I remember this because I looked at NROTC when Tulane offered me a lot of money to go there. Like a typical kid I wondered what I would do with two scholarship. Where did you go to college? pl

  24. turcopolier says:

    Gene O
    That makes sense. VMI did not have naval ROTC when I was there, but there were a number of cadets in the Platoon Leader’s Class and they were legally Marine Reserve enlisted men. pl

  25. Joe100 says:

    TTG –
    What struck me most about the Mindanao experience was the essential role of several members of this “pick up” leadership group with extensive knowledge about and personal experience with the quite distinct and varied local cultures involved. I can see that it would be challenging to build this into a “proactive” SF capability.
    The other point that stuck me was how unhelpful MacArthur’s team was once Fertig connected with them – although the Navy submariners were much better. Unfortunately Fertig really needed support and could not just “break the radio”..

  26. Joe100 says:

    Harvard – I had a choice of Yale with a small scholarship or Harvard with a full NROTC scholarship, so the choice was easy.

  27. Imagine says:

    Mike Cernovich Apr 8 ’17 says McMaster (+ Petraeus) want 150,000 ground troops in Syria.
    Apr 17 ’17 AP reports ABC’s This Week talked with McMasters, he said “remains to be seen” [whether additional US troops would be needed, but he doesn’t] “think so”; instead US will support its “partner forces” in Syria.
    Bloomberg Apr 13 ’17 says Keane is eyeballing 10,000 troops for Syria.
    If US is indeed looking seriously at entering the Syria quagmire with tens of thousands of troops, there is a short window for someone to organize a massive fax protest campaign and not sleepwalk on cruise control into The Big Muddy.
    McMasters, also advisers, can’t be both for and against intervention. What is really going on? How likely is it that the advisers will recommend >=10K troops to Syria, and that Trump will follow through with that?

  28. turcopolier says:

    The organizers of the guerrillas in the rest of the islands were pretty much all pre-war Regular Army officers. That army was a small club and MacArthuer’s people knew them. I think that made a big difference. pl

  29. Joe100 says:

    That sounds right, Fertig was a mining engineer who had worked in the Philipines for some time before the war. He was called to active duty to work on demolitions after Pearl Harbor, so definitely not a member of “the club”.

  30. serge says:

    Thought you would find this amusing:
    So Noam Chomsky gave a talk at UMass Amherst last night. Though it wasn’t on Syria, in the Q&A period someone asked his take on Syria, and he mentioned four names. What a commentary on his moral and intellectual decay:
    Lawrence Wilkerson
    Patrick Lang
    Scott Ritter
    Theodore Postol

  31. trinlae says:

    If true and given the damage zone of the blast, the possibility would also be that they were also business merchants and logistics workers, Nepali and Indian people work contracts all over South Asia and the gulf.
    With Modi in office and the Shiv Sena/RSS “saffron brigades” pumping their usual vitriol at full volume, any collaterals will be given a full media narrative to whip up fervor, following their typical modus operandi. Also, if Indians wanted to sympathize with Wahhabis. they can go straight to work in Saudi, as many do. No need to muck around in Afghanistan, especially South Indians.
    However, I can add that I did notice in Karnataka last year that many more Muslim women young and old wore full black chador than I had ever seen in the past 30 years. Normally one can barely tell Hindu or Buddhist or Muslim or Christian women in India apart: they all dress similarly colorfully yet modestly and cover head as per wind, dust, weather, companions, etc. So there could be saudi money & infuence coming directly, or some kind of revival following a haaj or something like that (and asserting identity in light of political climate).

  32. turcopolier says:

    I am willing to accept Chomsky as a paleoconservative and originalist if he wishes to “swim the Tiber” on this. Wilkerson? Not so much. pl

  33. Joe100,
    “I can see that it would be challenging to build this into a “proactive” SF capability.”
    That is a core capability that is built into SF. We learn the language, study the culture and tour the area with great intensity. We work with indigenous forces every chance we get. The more one does this, the more natural it becomes.

  34. turcopolier says:

    Yes, knowledge becomes capability. DOL. pl
    Sent from my iPhone

  35. Marko says:

    Just about every episode of her Empire Files is excellent , I think. And she’s getting better and better at conducting interviews. She gives her guests the time to develop their thoughts , instead of constantly interjecting – breaking the train of thought of guest and listener alike – as so many others are prone to do.
    This recent Hedges episode of “On Contact” with Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal discussing the Syria conflict is also can’t-miss , IMO :

  36. Marko says:

    I agree with you about Wilkerson. He get’s all kinds of time on The Real News and I can’t figure out why. He believes in empire-building and taking whatever we feel like taking from any country we can bully, but wishes we didn’t always have to kill quite so many innocents to do so. And he’d prefer we didn’t dance so close to the WWIII slippery slope. Not much to say on questions of right and wrong.
    So , Chomsky’s batting .750 on Syria. That’s not bad at his age.

  37. YT says:

    I now kinda understand why they didn’t want any more gypsies in Deutschland during the Third Reich…

  38. Ghostship says:

    India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, behind Indonesia and ahead of Pakistan and Bangladesh according to Wikipedia. That a few might have gone to Afghanistan for jihad is very likely.
    Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that US and Afghan forces are still fighting ISIS near the site of the MOAB attack.

  39. Ghostship says:

    Came across this on Deutsche Welle:
    Mali too hot for half of Bundeswehr MINUSMA vehicles
    Bundeswehr service vehicles can’t take Mali’s heat, a German newspaper reported. According to the daily, only about half of German military vehicles sent to a UN base in the West African desert are still running.
    You would have thought that after WW2 the German Army would pay attention to the climate in any area they intend to operate in and make sure their equipment could handle it. Then again, it could be a “design feature” to persuade the Germans not to get involved anywhere outside their own country.

  40. Pangolin says:

    I recently listened to an audio version of “News of the World”, written by Paulette Jiles, read by Grover Gardner. The central character is a 72 year old itinerant news reader who is a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War. The book is set in occupied Texas, 1870. I enjoyed this so much I read “The Color of Lightning” set in the same place in about the same time. Now I read “Enemy Women” which is about Civil War Missouri. Jiles is a fine writer and she writes well about horses, Indians, settlers, rebels and soldiers.

  41. irf520 says:

    An admission that some kind of jamming system was used on the Donald Cook?

  42. Keith Harbaugh says:

    When Patrick Buchanan (Wikipedia, website)
    with Taki Theodoracopulos (Wikipedia, website)
    and Scott McConnell
    founded The American Conservative (Wikipedia, website) in 2002
    to attempt to rouse opposition to the march to war with Iraq
    (see, especially, “Whose War?”, published 2003-03-24)
    I was delighted to find a member of the elite whose ideas actually seemed to make sense.
    Now, in 2017, Politico has written a very extensive profile of Buchanan:
    ‘The Ideas Made It, But I Didn’t’
    Pat Buchanan won after all.
    But now he thinks it might be too late
    for the nation he was trying to save.
    By Tim Alberta
    If you like Buchanan’s ideas,
    and wonder why they took so long to gain popularity,
    that is a very good read.
    Actually, none other than our Patrick Lang gave in 2008
    some information on why Buchanan and his ideas
    have been in the wilderness for so long:

  43. Perhaps I missed it but was there a post and thread on significance or lack thereof of President announcing an American Armada headed to N.Korea?

  44. turcopolier says:

    Keith Harbaugh
    Flynn is legally vulnerable on both the failure to seek and receive permission from DoD for working for a foreign government and also for not registering under FARA. If they want they can strip him of everything under either of these. I doubt that they will do that since generals are very adverse to screwing each other. pl

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