Open Thread – 9 December 2013


This entry was posted in Open Thread. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Open Thread – 9 December 2013

  1. JJackson says:

    I was hoping someone with great knowledge of the area might comment on the up-tick in French, and AU, military activity in Mali and the CAR.

  2. The Twisted Genius says:

    I was going to give you an answer until I found this article. It explains the issue pretty well. I also wrote several posts here about the French in Mali when AQIM threatened to overrun the whole of that country.

  3. The Twisted Genius says:

    I just read that France asked us to assist in moving AU troops to CAR. We will be flying troops from Burundi, another Francophone country to Bangui, CAR. I seriously doubt our involvement will go much beyond that. The French seem to have broken the code on how to effectively stick your nose into some other country’s business if you’re hell bent on doing such things. They go in fast and light and turn the bulk of the heavy lifting to indigenous forces, in this case the AU, as quickly as possible. Speaking the prevailing language also helps.

  4. Tyler says:

    Charles I,
    Here’s your request for a festive picture.

  5. Fred says:

    I tried that venison stew ala “Snake” Davis over Thanksgiving. I didn’t find any arrowroot at hand, nor bourbon. However I did have some Laphroaig. The ‘peaty’ flavor was just the trick, it brought out the backwoods feel. I almost at the entire pot in one sitting.

  6. Tyler says:

    Anyone here read Thud Ridge? The summary makes it seem like Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts with pilots and more black humor. Picked it up, just curious if its an entertaining read.

  7. Alba Etie says:

    Completely off the usual SST topics – but just wanted to say thanks to God ; because my wife’s surgery to fix Lumbar 4 & 5 with a bone graft so far has gone well – two days post op recovery then home to Spicewood ,Tx. When I stop and think about it we live in an age of Miracles – Medical and otherwise.
    And as an added Blessing it still raining here in Central Texas – which liquid or frozen is a good and welcomed occurrence.
    Happy & Prosperous New Year Y’all .

  8. North says:

    Ukraine, and more precisely the vulgar anti-Russia noise that passes for “media coverage”. I hope the folks behind the nihilistic “democracy in Ukraine” campaign won’t be “surprised” AGAIN when “the tings didn’t turn out as we expected”..

  9. Tyler says:

    I’m glad to hear it went well Alba.

  10. turcopolier says:

    Our best wishes to you and your lady. pl

  11. Charles I says:

    Thanks, sweet, don’t have kids, or old parents anymore, completely besotted by babies and little old ladies.

  12. Charles I says:

    Good news and good take – for all our bitching we do live in the age of medical miracles. Spent alot of time in hospitals and test lines with Mom, used to tell any one who bitched too hard: “Hey, we could have born under a stick in Burundi, no test line there.
    Godspeed to wife and to you as caregiver.

  13. JJackson says:

    TTG Thanks for your replies and link.
    It was not so much the historical background as the thinking behind the very recent MSN articles covering the area. Specifically the French re-engaging in Chad, and the increase in French troops in CAR along with a sizeable increase in AU forces with attendant US logistical support.
    Re Mali I do not see the end game. The French obviously have the capacity to attack and clear cities but when they pull back,job done,they leave it to the Bamako regime. With the immediate military problem resolved the regime seem to be in no hurry to find a political solution to the longer term grievances of the Tuareg (probably soluble even if the Islamist’s demands are not). This looks to me like a permanent loop.
    Re CAR
    Change in tactic? My guess is the French will take and disarm with the AU forces holding as the the French move on and repeat. If this is the plan then could they really remove enough hardware to make a significant difference? There seem to be an awful lot of weapons in that part of the world and nothing to stop more flowing in to replace any removed from the equation.
    I am just trying to understand what the objectives are and why now?

  14. Medicine Man says:

    I imagine it helps quite a bit when the locals want the help you’re offering and they want it for exactly as temporary a time frame as you’re looking to provide it.

  15. The beaver says:

    Two French soldiers were killed overnight and now the CAR PM Nicola Tiangaye is asking for more troops!!! ( BTW Hollande has said that the CAR president Michel Djotodia can’t stay in his post and that new elections are required).
    Looks a bit like Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbadbo who was forced to leave and now he will be facing the ICC ( his biggest mistake: closing that tunnel entry from his palace to the French Embassy)
    Surprising thing, four French nationals have been heading the UN DPKO one after another.

  16. AE,
    Hope it continues to go well. Best wishes to you and your wife.
    Sometimes when one is incessantly reminded of the ‘bad sides’ to the modern world, it is good to be reminded of the ills we can no avert, and the good things we can do.

  17. SAC Brat says:

    I rate it good read, but I was also interested in it due to a friend’s father flew them before moving to bombers and some of my coworkers had been maintenance personnel on them. You may also be interested in Phantom Over Vietnam by John Trotti and Flying From The Black Hole by Robert Harder. All three books do a good job of showing how much planning and work is needed to make air power a working weapons platform.
    It always impresses me when people strive to be the best they can be at what they do, always analyzing how they can improve their performance. It is a theme in many of the autobiographies of soldiers who were in the middle of their careers when the Vietnam war started. Has that professionalism disappeared or been worn down? I’m having a problem in my field where everyone wants to learn the shortcuts without getting the fundamentals down first.

  18. different clue says:

    I will offer a total layman’s guess. From what little I read, the current regime-lords in CAR were brought to power by Muslim-staffed militias from the minority-Muslim part of the country. Perhaps the French hope to drive all these militia-people back into their own Muslim minority part of the country to prevent another al Quaeda zone emerging next to other countries France cares about?

  19. Tyler says:

    Thank you for the recommendations. I had to order Thud Ridge from Amazon in print form, so I’ll see now if the other two are on Kindle.
    As for your second paragraph, its more of a generational thing. When I get together with my peer group its always griping about how you have kids (I’m not in my 30s yet, am I allowed to call other adults kids?) coming out of college and talking about being management in two years. Mind you they seem to think the basics are something they’ll absorb by osmosis, not part of a skillset you learn by doing.

  20. The Twisted Genius says:

    JJackson asks why now in the CAR. Different clue hit close to the answer. The previous government of CAR was overthrown by the Islamic Seleka rebel forces last March. Seleka was aided by Chadian mercenaries and probably arms from liberated Libyan stockpiles. In response the Christians who comprise 80% of CAR set up militias for local self protection. Only a week ago the fighting between Seleka and the Christian militias became widespread enough to cause the UN and the French to fear a genocide in the making. The French and the AU are moving in to attempt to disarm the militias on both sides. They don’t want to stay long and have put a six month limit on the operation. The French call this Operation Sangari named for an African butterfly that only has a 20 day lifespan.
    When I first arrived at DIA in the late 90s, it seems we were involved in a NEO (noncombatant evacuation operation) every month in central and west Africa. The region is notoriously unstable. I doubt the French know how to ultimately fix this any more than I do. I applaud them for doing what they can while using a light and temporary touch for the most part. The one thing they do seem dedicated to is the professionalization of AU forces.

  21. The Twisted Genius says:

    That’s Operation Sangaris, not Sangari.

  22. SAC Brat says:

    Too bad we couldn’t work something out, as I have a spare copy.
    Quiet professionals is what I wanted to allude to. I seem to be having less and less around me, when I used to be surrounded by them.

  23. Fred says:

    Best wishes to you and your wife.

  24. Alba Etie says:

    Thanks for the well wishes .

  25. Appears no further shutdown of the Federal Government this year but significant hit to the DoD budget looks like it will hold up!

  26. Tyler says:

    Thanks for the recommendation on Flying From the Black Hole. The book started strongly in the vein of what I was hoping for, then bounced back and forth between overwhelming technical detail to a pretty interesting description of how navigation and bombsights work. My eyes did glaze from time to time but as we get closer to Vietnam it gets more interesting. You weren’t kidding though about the realization about the time and effort put into maintaining an effective power platform though. It makes the claims of “drone warfare is the future” seem pretty silly.
    As far as the quiet professionals go, I think that is sadly a dying art due to the fact that self promotion is overwhelmingly expected, whether its legitimate or not. Too much emphasis put on spin, not enough on simply owning up to your mistakes.

  27. SAC Brat says:

    Here is a video of a B-52 (cake) operation:
    F-105’s in Thailand:
    The Black Hole book was interesting for me as my father was an aircraft commander on B-52s at the same time as the author, and flew Chrome Domes and flew all through Operation Niagara. I’m hoping to get his review on the book soon, as my copy got absorbed into his library.
    With The Possum And The Eagle by Ralph Nutter is another good read. Nutter was a lead navigator for Curtis LeMay, first in Europe and then in the Pacific. A good precursor to the B-52 book.
    Nutter appears in this video at 3 minutes in:

  28. Some have alleged that Bernie Madoff hid over $9B in Israel before turning himself in! Madoff is documented as fronting Russian criminal funds in various ways. Are there links to the Central Bank of Israel whose former head Stanley Fischer appears up for nomination to the position of Vice Chairman of the US Fed? Does the US FED support criminal elements worldwide? How does the US Fed police itself against internal corruption? Or help police against international organized crime?

  29. Should dual citizenship of USA citizens be a matter of public

  30. Fred says:

    It should not be allowed.

  31. Fred! Is it accurate that any dual citizenship must be surrendered when entering the Armed Forces of the US?

  32. Bandolero says:

    I wonder if anyone would like to comment on the Chinese “Air Defense Identification Zone” in the East China Sea?
    Is there any connection to the middle east?
    My second thought is that it might be quite helpful for those who argue that the US shouldn’t be so much entangled in the middle east because US military assets are needed elsewhere, too.

  33. Fred says:

    I do not know. The oath, however, is to protect and defend the Constitution. So dual nationality would appear to conflict with that directly.

  34. Fred! But non citizens do serve in the Armed Forces in substantial numbers?

  35. turcopolier says:

    We have several times been through this business of service by foreign nationals in the us armed forces. Foreigners may join if they are legally resident. Anything else is illegal. There were other laws in other times but that is ended. Commissioned officers must now be US citizens. The verbal flatulence that is seen on TV about “this poor lad serving in Afghanistan just now receiving citizenship” is simply pro-immigration reform propaganda. pl

Comments are closed.