Random Tuesday thoughts- 23 april 2019


  • Marcus, my avatar and muse seems in good voice today.  This reminds me of the scene in "Tears of the Sun" in which the column passes under a jungle tree limb on which sits a magnificent male mandrill.  I have seen many baboons but, alas, never a mandrill.
  • Bernie Sanders says that Bibi is a racist and that the US should treat the Palestinians as though they were equally human in their captive nation plight.  Heavens!  Such statements will never do!  Perhaps he should be de-circumcised, or at least deprived of any support from the righteous.
  • The US government, having failed thus far to uproot Hizbullah from its home territory in Lebanon now proposes a reward for suggestions as to how to accomplish this.  The Israelis want Hizbullah, a Lebanese Shia movement, army and political party to be gone but are at a loss as to how to achieve that goal.  The IDF ground forces got a bloody nose in 2006 when the Gucci generation of Israeli conscripts were sent to fight in the Tabbouleh Line complex of fortified villages, tank traps and canalized killing zones.  They do not want to do that again, but the tens of thousands of Hizbullah missiles and artillery rockets that threaten Israeli counter-value targets (towns) are a true strategic threat for which the IDF has no solution.  Well pilgrims, Occam's Razor provides the only viable (irony) answer to the problem.  This would be a heavy bomber stream provided by USAF proceeding to devastate a strip of south Lebanon  for the purpose of eradicating Hizbullah.  What would this suggestion be worth in dollars to some think tank like RAND or IDA?
  • I suspect that what Trump wishes to conceal in his financial records and tax returns is that he is nothing like as rich as he pretends to be.  One of the elements of the psychology of entrepreneurial hustlers like him is a relentless need to exaggerate his own importance and to puff himself up and preen like a tropical bird in mating season.  He is probably cash poor.
  • The Democrats surely know that they have zero chance of impeaching Trump before 2020.  Only dimwits and fanatics can think otherwise.  No, what they are aiming for in their campaign of harassment is to diminish the man enough in the public mind to beat him in that election.  This tactic may well backfire on them.  They look incredibly petty in doing this.
  • The Sri Lanka jihadi attacks on Easter Sunday are not something that should surprise.  The jihadis see themselves as waging war against Christianity.  They foolishly hope to break the will of Christian believers.  What better place to find Christian believers than at Easter services?  Expect more of the same.
  • I have asked TTG to keep track of the emerging desperation of Pompeo/Bolton in their hostility to Iran.
  • French anti-clericalism has been a major theme in their history since the Revolution.  It used to be a feature distinguishing those devoted to Republicanism, but that, thankfully, is gone.  There are not many monarchists in France these days.  The time when the Vendee rebellion of Catholics against the revolutionaries is gone as is the event in which General Thiers broke the back of the Communards by shooting tens of thousand of them in 1871.  A coalition of leftist political parties gained power in France in 1905 and produced a law that confiscated much Church property including Notre Dame and exiled all religious orders (Jesuits, etc) from the country for a time.  Sine that time the country and the government have been relentlessly secular.   Secularism is a feature of the national curriculum in the public schools. Notre Dame is viewed solely as a cultural monument and tourist attraction by the French government.  Should they leave it in ruins?
  • My genealogist wife tell me that a question regarding citizenship has been historically frequent in US census taking.
  • My eldest dog, Lola the Magnificent, A Norwich Terrier bitch, is almost 16  years old.  She went through a bad patch yesterday.  She went comatose for four hours and then suddenly woke up, walked around the TeeVee room and then peed in the middle of a 120 year old Kazak Caucasian Soumak rug.  She is bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning.  She gobbled up her breakfast and went for a stroll around the landscaped back garden in a survey of her domain.   Ah, well, rugs can be cleaned and I like her better than the rug.  She is pretty frisky today.  pl
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48 Responses to Random Tuesday thoughts- 23 april 2019

  1. Joe100 says:

    Agree with you on dogs vs. rugs and glad Lola seems quite well today! Something bright within the gloom…

  2. EEngineer says:

    shouting tens of thousand of them in 1871…

  3. Otto says:

    is a relentless
    yes “in”, my take.

  4. greg d says:

    About the dog.
    Did they test for Marijuana?
    I live in Sea and weed being legal this has turned into a problem vets diagnose now and then

  5. turcopolier says:

    greg d
    Ah, a Democrat.

  6. turcopolier says:

    you left the “italics” turned on. I shut it off.

  7. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang,
    Bibi’s best bet to solve his intractable Hezbollah problem is when his bitch Trump is in office. Nothing like getting for free the USAF to do the work his IAF can’t do. Of course Trump can follow Dubya’s footsteps and become the war president. Nothing like a neocon-inspired war to shore his support is what Bolton & Pompeo will advise and Adelson will be crooning too.
    How do you think Hezbollah will react when the die is cast and the casus belli is manufactured? Would they preempt and launch all they have knowing they would have to go down when the tens of thousands of sorties of the USAF commence? Syed Nasrallah apparently has warned his commanders to expect an Israeli war this summer.
    Would Putin & Xi sit it out & let Hezbollah go down in flames?

  8. akaPatience says:

    As someone whose business is commercial real estate albeit on a much smaller scale, and mindful that not all of Trump’s wealth is real estate-related, nevertheless it’s apparent to me that Trump’s net income when filing taxes may be significantly and legitimately lower (due to the shelter that real estate allows) than what he represents his wealth to be when submitting financial statements to lenders. While I agree that Trump’s ego may be a factor when it comes to perceptions of his wealth, it also may be that he’s smart enough to suspect that his political opponents/MSM would exploit the general public’s ignorance about distinctions between tax returns and financial statements, and use those distinctions to create a perception of deceit and corruption.
    Anyway, it’s obvious his opponents will never stop digging no matter how cooperatively transparent he’d be. Just look at how they’re reacting even though he didn’t exercise executive privilege in the Mueller investigation.
    PS – so glad to read Lola is feeling better. I hope you’ve seen the comedy, Best In Show in which a Norwich Terrier named Winky triumphs. Bow WOW!!!

  9. Rather good and informative thoughts. Truly glad for the dog.

  10. Serge says:

    IS released 2 communiqués this morning claiming Sri Lanka,few hours later a video of the 8 attackers giving bayah to Baghdadi. Deadliest attack since declaration of Caliphate in 2014. I really doubted that it was them for the first 2 days, not because of the radio silence which is pretty common for them in the first 24-48 hours, but because of the organized professionally executed nature of the attacks. Reminded me of Paris, the only top down directed ISIS attack outside of their immediate territory to my knowledge. Top down involvement in this one or a local cell with communication/organization links to IS operatives on telegram? Media seems to be focusing on the neat “christchurch revenge” narrative,totally misunderstanding IS ideology, which labeled the victims as citizens of the coalition and Christians at war with IS(non dhimmis) as an excuse for the bloodshed, not a word on Christchurch, which was brought up once in an audio message by their spokesman a week after the attacks in the context of encouraging hijra from the West, not in the context of threatening revenge.

  11. turcopolier says:

    BP – If a massive heavy bomber strike is made on Hizbullah it may cripple Hizbullah’s ability to lay down a lot of fire in Israel. This Hizbullahis must have figured this out. That creates a hair trigger possibility for a preemptive strike on Israel. This is a very dangerous situation. my crystal ball is cloudy. I have no idea what Putin and Xi might do. “Best in Show” is a great film depicting a wonderful breed.

  12. I had an up close encounter with a male mandrill during a “night at the zoo” school trip at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. We were able to tour the animal enclosures after hours. I stood about ten feet from Marcus who was even more impressive than your avatar and muse. I was the only adult male in the group of young women teachers and children so I’m sure I looked like an alpha male showing off his troop. Thank God there were sturdy iron bars between Marcus and myself. I stayed in the background and kept movements to a minimum. I was careful not to stare at him. Marcus sat still and looked at the children and women, but when he looked at me, he raised his eyebrows. That’s the beginning of an aggressive expression. I instantly looked away to diffuse the situation.Even though he a captive zoo creature behind bars, Marcus was magnificent. He exuded a confident dominance and was far more awe inspiring than Rousseau’s peaceable portrait.
    The teacher’s explained that the year before there was smug wiseass as a parent chaperone. He thought he was far tougher than Marcus and engaged in a staring contest. The wiseass ended up with a forcefully and accurately hurled handful of warm, fresh mandrill feces in his face. Don’t mess with Marcus.
    On the Pompeo front, I read an Elijah Magnier tweet about Turkey continuing to import a million barrels of Iranian oil and being willing to soon keep Syria supplied. Nasrallah also gave a speech yesterday basically telling both Pompeo and Netanyahu to pound sand straight up each other’s asses. I predict there will be a regional realignment, but not to the liking of Pompeo or Bolton.

  13. Les Priest says:

    RE: Dr Strangelove solution to Hizbullah; I haven’t seen anything to change my mind about what I read on middle east sites last year. Which was that if Israel hits Hizbullah, Syria & the Iraqi Shia militias are in too. Syria has missiles but what might be worse for Israel is a wide front war against experienced infantry. The Israeli AF wouldn’t be able to turn the tide if said infantry has manpads. I don’t have definite information but I’m sure this terrifies the Russians; there’s such a likelihood of this going ‘major-league’.

  14. eaken says:

    The Iranians can and are probably trying to hunker down for another 18 months and see what happens in the US presidential campaign. Bibi on the other hand I suspect is not. I think things will be coming to a head here soon and it will be mighty interesting to see what happens when Trump is going to be put in the position of having to get the US militarily involved.
    But who knows, maybe the Art of the Deal is to let the Israelis start the war convinced that Trump would never leave them at the altar, only to have him sit back and watch the Israelis run out of ammo.

  15. Jack says:

    Yes, indeed. Financial statements and tax returns are for two different audiences. The former for investors and creditors with the goal to maximize, while the latter is for the taxman with the goal to minimize. The US tax code is designed for the super wealthy and large corporations with its complexity and many loop holes. I’m sure Trump was aggressive in his tax strategy just like Bezos. Amazon hasn’t paid a dime in taxes throughout its operating history.
    Trump hasn’t been a commercial real estate developer for sometime. He’s a brander who puts his name on a development for a fee. I believe furthering that was his primary motive for running. I don’t believe he expected to win.

  16. Jack says:

    I believe you are spot on that Trump is not as wealthy as he would like us to believe. He’s created this myth that he parlayed a million dollars from his father to billions. But it seems he actually inherited half billion dollars or more. His sister retired as a judge recently to prevent an ethics inquiry into inheritance tax dodges. His father was a very shrewd and successful real estate developer.
    He’s used his celebrity with great skill to build the Trump brand which he licenses. In any case he’s also very skilled in using the media despite their intense opposition to his presidency.

  17. Fred says:

    Trump should announce that he is going to have the IRS release the tax returns for the past six years for all living presidents and majority members of the legislative branch of government. Sauce for the goose, served cold.

  18. Unhinged Citizen says:

    “Would Putin & Xi sit it out & let Hezbollah go down in flames?”
    That is almost certain.
    What the Russians have demonstrated is there absolute weakness in the face of US economic dominance and military might.
    These Chinese have demonstrated their inability to show any sort of political backbone, but suck in as much world capital as they possibly can in silence.

  19. Francois says:

    Dear Colonel,
    did you mean the law of 1905 in your comment about secularism in France?

  20. turcopolier says:

    Francois – Merci

  21. turcopolier says:

    You guys have evidently never seen strategic bombers used as tactical weapons en masse. It is like God plowing the earth.

  22. Eugene Owens says:

    I’ve walked that ground afterwards. Glad I wasn’t there when the plowing happened. And weapons are an order of magnitude more deadly and more accurate now.
    But no matter IMHO the Air Force won’t pull the trigger. And I understood that Pom-Poms $10-million reward was for info on Hezbollah funding. NOT for targeting info on specific positions which StratCom probably already has. Drying up their cash streams is certainly more viable than arclights.
    Hope your pup gets better.

  23. Jackrabbit says:

    Great story! And well told.

  24. turcopolier says:

    EO – I remember one BDA I accompanied in Phuoc Long province. the jungle was ravaged with twenty foot deep loamy craters everywhere and big hard wood trees thrown around like straws. Wild animals wandered in out of the tree line concussed into zombies. Deer wandered up to 1st Cav soldiers like pets. In the space between four craters were six NVA soldiers, all dead from the blast without a mark on them. Yes, it would be much worse now. If you think USAF would refuse such an order under the terrorism AUMF you are just kidding your self.

  25. Eugene Owens says:

    Outright refusal? No. But probably a great deal of pushback.
    Trump of course can make some changes in leadership and elevate someone picked out by Bibi and by the Mousetashe-of-Idiocy.
    But why would he? The current thrust is to defeat Iran and Hez via strangling their finances and NOT through bombing them into the stone age. If that comes, it will be in the future – perhaps if IRGC naval contingents try to shut down Hormuz Straits.

  26. aleksandar says:

    Yes but remenbering Verdun or the Fort de Vaux during WW1, some soldiers were still alive.
    It is said that Tabbouleh lines ( 2 minimum and parrallel ) are very complex and dug deep.
    To destroy such a line, maybe 80 miles long,will need a enormous USAF raid.Does USAF have such capacity nowadays when everybody boast about precise bombing instead of carpet bombing ?
    Because you have to destroy it completely in one shot to prevent Hezb to use their 100 000 + missiles.
    At the very moment , US bomb begin to fall on Hezb, a rain of missiles will fall on israel and probably israeli infrastructures, electrical plants, telecom centers,fuel depots, highways and so.
    Even if only 25 % of Hezb missiles can be used, I doubt Iron Dome and all will prevent israel to be back to stone age in less than a day.

  27. Joe100 says:

    How likely is it that the US could surprise Hizbullah with a massive strategic bombing strike?
    Would not Russia see this coming and probably warn Hizbullah?
    And does anyone her have a sense of the extent of area that would need to be covered and the density of Hizbullah fortifications within this area? Would it be plausible to cover the full extent of the threat to Israel in one strike?
    Also, I recently read an article by an air force officer assigned to the MACV combat operations center during the siege of Khe Sanh. He indicated that intelligence was received that the NVA were going to try to tunnel under the Marine defense lines. This officer vaguely remembered that a bunker-busting/deep penetration weapon for B-52s was somewhere “in the inventory”. It turned out some were in stock in Okinawa, so were relatively immediately available to use at Khe Sanh. So if these weapons (or something similar) remain available, their impact could potentially be greater on Hizbullah fortifications than what Col. Lang observed on his BDA.

  28. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re: “Elijah Magnier tweet about Turkey continuing to import a million barrels of Iranian oil and being willing to soon keep Syria supplied. Nasrallah also gave a speech yesterday basically telling both Pompeo and Netanyahu to pound sand straight up each other’s asses. I predict there will be a regional realignment, but not to the liking of Pompeo or Bolton.”
    Highly likely that things might go kinetic. If it does, the celestial hoover folks are in for a surprise.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  29. turcopolier says:

    The US is very good at OPSEC and IMO Hizbullah would have no warning at all until the bombs started to fall from way up in the sky. And unlike a lot of target system the Tabbouleh line cannot be moved without a lot of trouble. How big a target set? Essentially the width of Lebanon and three or four miles wide against what by now must be a fully developed picture of the arrray of targets. This will have been developed in full by now by DIA and the USAF targeting people. You people are living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. And since Hizbullah is designated as a terrorist organization the AUMF would apply. The only thing protecting Hizbullah in Tabbouleh Line is fear of the reaction of the American people and that can be overcome by a supposed attack on Israel.

  30. turcopolier says:

    This is not WW1. The air campaign against Hizbullah would have many, many sorties. It is well within present USAF capability.

  31. Turcopolier says:

    That may be, but Hizbullah and Israel would probably be massively damaged.

  32. Eugene Owens says:

    I do not share that opinion of US OPSEC. Hopefully they are better now than the late 1960s when NVA Air Defense units had six to eight hours warning that the B-52s were taking off from Guam. Or even up to two hours for missions flown from Thailand. And pilot chatter frequently hinted at targets. Plus I heard rumors (unsubstantiated) that VC sympathizers in ARVN or VNAF units gave away specific arclight target locations and expected times on target.
    I am sure we have improved since then. Even so, Russian early warning radars in Syria could give a heads up to Hezbollah. Not just land based, but shipborne radars and AEW aircraft could give them an even longer lead time.
    I would be curious to hear if TTG has an opinion on capabilities of Russian GPS spoofing effects on US strategic bombers. Could they maybe mislead them off of their designated target coordinates in southern Lebanon? I suspect not. But I am no expert, not even a dabbler.

  33. optimax says:

    This from the Independent article Matt linked to:
    “Mr Johnson has previously claimed without providing evidence the CIA, and not Moscow, may have been behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee…”
    Never read that from L.J. Shameless lies the Western media accuses Russia of propagating.

  34. turcopolier says:

    You are right. He has never claimed that.

  35. turcopolier says:

    Do you not understand, dummy, that we are discussing a hypothetical? And BTW who on earth cares what the Lebanese think?

  36. turcopolier says:

    All of that sounds like latrine rumor to me. From my perch in MACVSOG 2nd tour I interacted with the arclight targeting process all the time. It seemed to work real well. The NVA did not have a capability to intercept that kind of radio signals. ARVN was never briefed on arclight boxes until the strikes were inbound. You are spreading some really vapid bullshit.

  37. Eugene Owens says:

    Soviet Naval ELINT “fishing trawlers” operated off the coast of Guam to monitor B-52 operations flying from Anderson Air Force Base. It is an eight hour flight from Guam to Viet-Nam for a B-52. Draw your own conclusions.
    For B-52 flights from Thailand, there was a large community of Vietnamese expatriots living in villages just outside of U-Tapao Airfield. They had eyeball visibility and a count of B-52s lifting off. No intercept of radio signals was needed. So they did not know the target, but they knew a sh!tstorm was on the way and could pass the word.
    So ARVN was not briefed on arclight boxes. But I would bet that VNAF squadrons did receive NOTAMs on airspace restrictions based on B-52 flight paths.

  38. turcopolier says:

    EO- Were you in SEA during the war? You sound like someone who has read a lot of “academic” articles about all this. Yes, there were SIGINT trawlers. Yes, they were relentlessly shadowed and jammed. Were they useful? Sure, but what could they contribute? A lot of big planes took off headed SW? Soviet cryptanalysis was not up to reading our electronic cipher systems. I was CO of an Army SSO detachment in that period while I was in Germany and Turkey between VN tours. The same thing is true of ground observers around Utapao AFB in Thailand. What could they pass on” “Many big planes headed east?” NOTAMs? So what? One over the world stuff I am very familiar with the aftermath of B-52 strikes in VN. There were a hell of a lot of dead Dinks inside those strike boxes. Lebanon would be a lot easier task.

  39. Donald says:

    I just came to post that. Anyway, here is a similar story in the Washington Post.
    Assuming there isn’t some mundane or bizarre natural explanation, I think I would prefer it be aliens rather than Russians. Hard to believe the Russians have leapfrogged into 23rd century physics ( or whenever one might expect the sort of paradigm shift in physics this would require.) If they have, we’d go nuts.

  40. Eugene Owens says:

    Two and a half tours. I also saw the devastation you mention.
    And yes I have done much reading since. But not the “academic” articles you mention.
    I agree Lebanon will be a lot easier. Hopefully it won’t happen. Why do Bibi’s work for him?
    I also agree that Soviet cryptanalysis capability could not break into our ciphers. But did they need to with Navy radioman John Walker selling them crypto key lists? Plus their reverse engineering of cryptos taken from the USS Pueblo? Many AF crews believed their targets were compromised. Oleg Kalugin says they were, but that could be self-aggrandizement for his book trying to make himself more in the loop than he was. Others say no, never happened, including Walker’s KGB handler. But that could also be BS?
    As for the NOTAMs, if you know the flight times and a rough idea of the flight path it would be fairly simple to compare those with your key base areas.

  41. turcopolier says:

    VN is almost as big as California. Knowing that strikes are in the air did not do much for NVA ability to get out of the way. What did you do in VN? “Many AF crews believed their targets were compromised.” What could they possibly know about that? they flew back and forth from Guam to Thailand, bombing on both legs at altitudes of over 20,000 feet. They dropped their loads when they crossed intersecting radar beams. It was like driving a bus until Linebacker 2 when they went in over NV and a number of aircraft were hit by missiles.

  42. Eugene Owens says:

    Humped mortars in I Corps. Later went back as a Bn Ops NCO. Nothing glamorous and no inside insight.
    And no insight into the minds of B-52 crews. Although I recall reading that Seventh Air Force brass were royally outraged that the US Ambassador to Laos demanded (and received) advance notice and target coordinates of all B-52 strikes in Laos. How many locals in the Embassy were privy to that info? And wasn’t convicted spy, retired Colonel George Trofimoff, working there at the time as a civilian intel specialist?
    Truong Nhu Tang, who was Justice Minister for the VC provisional government, claimed in his memoirs that the VC leadership had tipoffs from COSVN on incoming B-52 strikes.
    But we are at opposite ends of a moot point. We both agree on the effectiveness of those B-52s. They – along with the mining of Haiphong Harbor – brought Hanoi to the table. Too bad we did not keep up the pressure in 75.

  43. Jim Ticehurst says:

    Sir..its nice to be back here on SST poking around finding all your great material in different parts of your Homestead…First I Hope your wife is well…and that LOLA has recovered ok,,I remember your storys of drives ,,and Finding great places for food and wines,,,?and sightseeing ….I recently found the Best home made Clam Chowder and Fish (Halibut) and Chips and Slaw at a Club House Diner Near the Olympic Mountains…I too…enjoyed doing my Family Genealogy over Three Years …Compiling Three Binders of Material and meeting Wonderful Distant cousins all over America…who sent me Old Photos and their own Data..So..Hope Lola and the others stay Well..Our 18 Year Old Best Friend and Companion..”Shadow” The Cat…recently passed away too..We miss Him Dearly..and Sadly Long to Hear His Morning Greeting..The Paw Rattling the French Door Handles..of His Sun Porch Domain..So He could Share Morning breakfast with Us…His Way…Best Regards..To Old Friends,,and Good Memorys..

  44. turcopolier says:

    Jim Ticehurst
    Lola is two months dead. we yet survive.

  45. Or the Russians and Chinese realise that the problem is to get through the next decade or two as quietly as possible.

  46. Jim Ticehurst says:

    Ah,,,Well..You Spoke Fondly of Lola..and honored your Friend..Lola…is the Name of Our Daughters Dog..Another “comforter”…Yes..The Moons Pass by……..We Survive to be Thankful for another Day..We Survive enough Times..On and Off the Job..To Believe in Miracles.. .Understand Life is only a Breath Away..And Keep Our Eyes on The Horizon..and Polish Our Boots..

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