The Situation in Rojava – TTG


“Moments ago, the Kurdish-led 'Syrian Democratic Forces' (SDF) established full control over Tall as-Saman after a 48-hour battle prompted ISIS fighters to withdraw to the neighbouring village of Qaryah Armaniyah.

The capture of Tall as-Saman is significant as it lies on one of two main roads leading directly southwards to the predominately Arab city of Raqqa. The advance puts Kurdish forces some 28 kilometers north of the Islamic State capital.

12 days into the US-backed Kurdish offensive, codenamed operation 'Euphrates Wrath', over 30 villages have been liberated from the Islamic State. However, Kurdish forces have suffered heavy casualties due to ISIS guerilla tactics and suicide bombers.”  (Al Masdar News)



“All hell is loose in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo as ISIS, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) all battled one another on Wednesday. While ISIS mounted a counter-offensive on Qabasin, their forces completely withdrew from several nearby villages, leaving them easy prey for the US-backed SDF. Thus, the SDF was able to pinch out a largely abandoned ISIS bulge and took control over the villages of Al-Bughaz, Abu Hayj, Hutah, Jubb ad Dam (Qanlê Qoyê), Kur Huyuk, Ulashi, Kandarliyah, al-Qarah and Tall Bersaya – these villages are located northeast of al-Bab.

Meanwhile, Turkish-backed rebels fighting under the FSA banner seized the adjacent villages of Arab Wiran and Shuweiha.

Additionally, FSA fighters have once again captured Qabasin; ISIS was only able to maintain control of the town for three hours earlier today. Moments ago, rebel forces also captured the village of Agil (Aji), southeast of Qabasin.

While the FSA and SDF leadership are still firmly at odds with each other, both parties hope to liberate the Islamic State stronghold of al-Bab.”  (Al Masdar News)


While all eyes are focused on the beginning of the “final” battle for Aleppo, The YPG/SDF forces are continuing to make offensive gains on both the al Bab and the Raqqa fronts. The seizure of several villages near al Bab was impressive in how quickly the SDF/YPG was able to take advantage of an IS thinning of the lines. That takes discipline and initiative.

I’m also impressed by the early success of “Euphrates Wrath,” the SDF offensive to take Raqqa. That the YPG is the major element in this offensive is surprising. This is not Kurdish land. Phase one of this offensive kicked off with a pincer move similar to the one used to take Hasakah earlier this year. Despite this early success, this is going to be a long term project.

Both the DOD and YPG spokespeople have been making the point that YPG forces are leaving Manbij to take part in “Euphrates Wrath,” but not before they complete the training of the Manbij Military Council. Turkey has long pressured the US to force the Kurds to withdraw east of the Euphrates. While Turkey is pleased about the withdrawal, they are crying like rats eating onions about the recent SDF seizure of IS controlled villages near al Bab. At the same time the DOD announced that the US does not sanction the Turkish/FSA effort to take al Bab and will not provide air support. US advisors have also been withdrawn.

There is also a large build up of SAA and Hezbollah forces in the al Safirah area just south of Aleppo and al Bab. Russia has redeployed seven batteries of S-300s to the same area. Clearly this is all to support the reduction of the Aleppo pocket, but these forces are also in a perfect position to thwart Turkish dreams of taking al Bab, Manbij and beyond.


As a final note, I hope that the DOD plans to do a thorough study of the YPG/YPJ. There are valuable lessons to be learned here. This a remarkably successful, self-trained and self-organized force. Although it possesses  a small number of mortars, armored vehicles and other supporting arms, it is overwhelmingly a very lightly armed infantry force that can move rapidly on foot or in their fleet of light pickup trucks. The individual units enjoy tremendous freedom of action and display remarkable battlefield initiative down to the company equivalent sized force. The all female YPJ units seem to be far more than some new age publicity gimmick. Unencumbered by 100 pounds of equipment, they are effective against an enemy that is apparently terrified of dying at the hands of a woman. The YPJ fighters are also very effective in handling refugees and civilians in liberated villages. The Kurds may be on to something with their approach to the military art.


For your reading pleasure:

Kurdish forces capture another village in push towards Raqqa city

US-backed Kurds seize 9 villages from ISIS while Turkish-backed rebels attack both

Kurdish militia YPG to depart Syria's Manbij after training, U.S. diplomat says

U.S. halts military support for Turkey’s fight in key Islamic State town

Results of Wrath of Euphrates First Phase – SDF Campaign to Liberate Raqqa

Russia redeploys anti-aircraft missiles to Aleppo

People's Protection Units (Wikipedia)

Kurdish People’s Protection Unit YPG (Global Security)

YPG Rules of Procedure


This entry was posted in Syria, The Military Art, TTG, Turkey. Bookmark the permalink.

83 Responses to The Situation in Rojava – TTG

  1. robt willmann says:

    As a side note, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, resigned today (not unexpectedly)–

  2. I saw the big headline. After reading the article, I see this announcement is a lot of nothing. His term runs out in January and that’s what he chose as his resignation date. Big deal. If he said he was willing to stay on for a while for continuity’s sake, that would be news. I don’t like the man. I consider him a self-aggrandizing bloviator. His announcement of his resignation is further evidence of that.

  3. Prem says:

    OT The Russians have been hammering Homs and Idlib for the last few days. Are the loyalists going to move in that direction, or are they just keeping the jihadis’ heads down whilst western Aleppo is liberated?

  4. mike allen says:

    Thanx TTG –
    With regard to the YPG leaving Manbij, that was done I think primarily due to American pressure. I hope that there was some quid pro quo on the part of the Turks, you think? But since there are many Kurdish families living in Manbij, I suspect the YPG political arm stayed behind and some Asayish, possibly even some YPG in civvies.
    Agree 100% with your comments re a YPG/YPJ study effort.

  5. The Russians are hitting the supply lines in the Idlib area to prevent jihadi reinforcements from attempting to break the Aleppo encirclement from the west.

  6. Laguerre says:

    “The all female YPJ units seem to be far more than some new age publicity gimmick. …. they are effective against an enemy that is apparently terrified of dying at the hands of a woman.”
    You contradict yourself there. You claim the female units are not a publicity gimmick, but then cite an obvious piece of Kurdish propaganda as the proof, although in fact it is more likely an indicator that they may well indeed be to some extent a publicity gimmick. There isn’t the slightest evidence that Da’ish fighters fear “dying at the hands of a woman”. The idea just comes from the Kurdish propaganda. The point is to show off the Kurds as Westernised and modern, and Da’ish as backward and medieval. That’s why they appear in every single video about the Rojava Kurds in battle. It is necessary to show off the point.

  7. The Kurds are certainly milking the YPJ for propaganda value and the West is eating it up. However, the Kurds do not have the luxury of dedicating limited resources to the YPJ units just for the propaganda value. They use what they got in the most efficient way possible. They work as a military unit.
    As far as the truth of the Da’ish fighters’ fears goes, I’m open to correction. But I remember seeing reports of captured jihadis claiming this fear as well as Kurdish and Western claims.

  8. Allen Thomson says:

    Be interesting to see what his new gig will be. VP for something at a Beltway Bandit or Senior Fellow at a think tank would be my guess. Plus board memberships at MIC heavyweights.

  9. Of course. I doubt even he could stand being with himself in retirement. The thought of reflection and contemplation probably frightens the hell out of him.

  10. Frank says:

    Actually there is plenty of evidence that Daesh fighters are terrified of being killed by a woman. It consists of them openly admitting it themselves. They don’t believe they are rewarded with going to heaven for martyrdom if it’s a woman that kills them. I’m open to being wrong on this as well, but I’ve seen far too many clips out there of ISIS guys admitting it.

  11. turcopolier says:

    It will be interesting to see if BHO promotes him on the retired list. I suspect not and that he is leaving in a fit of pique. Someone mentioned me as a possibility for a job offer. Nevah hoppen, GI. The neocons would fight it to the bitter end. This below is more fun. pl

  12. pl,
    Sasquatch hunter… now there’s something that could draw me out of retirement. I remember you providing us a link to a show about sasquatch hunters. Some burly gentleman heard a feral noise out in the darkness and, without hesitation, ran outside armed with nothing more than a stout stick and a brave heart. I could sit around a fire and drink beers with those crazy bastards. I imagine you could, too.

  13. turcopolier says:

    IMO an application of sound intelligence analysis on what is supposedly known of the “Sasquatch People” would lead to an ability to go the right place and be waiting for them. If it is true that they are another kind of human there must be law to protect. pl

  14. pl,
    Damned good idea. I’ll be reading/studying that DNA material you found. It’s a good place to start. Considering that a trained sniper in a ghillie suit can be invisible, I can see how a population of “Sasquatch People” can remain undiscovered.

  15. Earthrise says:

    The sad part Dear Host is that the Empire will never let Rojava stand. Before all the shooting stops, the US are going to allow the Turks to destroy Rojava (either directly or through the Iraqi Kurds). What the YPG represents is far more dangerous than Assad, or even Putin, to the Masters of the Universe. The Syrian Kurds are committing the most heinous of crime; Anarchy. A group after my own heart; they have transferred all power to the lowest practical level, are radically democratic (by international norms), and they are able to defend themselves. They are not reliant on anyone, not dependent on the Global financial system, and bend the knee to no man. This will not stand. The Empire will not allow Rojava to become a beacon to oppressed people everywhere.
    Anarchy is the perfect foil to centralised power, hence the weight of the world will fall on their unbowed heads. Of course, once the Empire has finished using them.

  16. Earthrise says:

    Sorry Twisted, I didn’t see your name on this one. Many thanks for picking up the crown.

  17. Thanks, Earthrise. But the crown is still where it belongs. I’m just providing a little temporary supporting fire.

  18. VietnamVet says:

    As sovereign states fall victim to the globalist’s onslaught of looting, the Kurd’s People Protection Units are a means of securing communities from roving bands of religious nuts or corporate road warriors. Another means of achieving security is to restore the draft and 4-year militia tours duty for all able bodied Deplorables and One Percenters. If all hands are needed on the battle line to secure the peace; divisive identity politics will have to disappear.

  19. different clue says:

    Colonel Lang,
    It might be safer to have a pre-emptive law to protect them now, just in case they exist. If there is no such law now ahead of time, and some one who is “loaded for Sasquatch” sees one, there is nothing to deter such a person from killing him/her to prove it to science.

  20. esq says:

    I assume this is an inside joke?
    No harm if it is, but if serious no way they could have a sufficient breeding population and not have been found!

  21. Valissa says:

    The latest Trump update…
    Trump offers Flynn national security adviser job
    Flynn, who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has advised Trump on national security issues for months. As national security adviser, he would work in the White House and have frequent access to the president. The post does not require Senate confirmation.
    The official wouldn’t say whether Flynn had accepted the job, which left open the possibility that the arrangement was not finalized. The official was not authorized to discuss the offer publicly and insisted on anonymity. …
    The president-elect held his first face-to-face meeting with a world leader since winning the presidential election, huddling privately with Japan’s Shinzo Abe. While Trump made no comments following the meeting, Abe said the president-elect was “a leader in whom I can have great confidence.”
    Trump also consulted with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and sat down with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a potential contender to lead the State Department. …
    Trump’s actions Thursday aimed to show leaders both in the U.S. and overseas that he could soften his rhetoric, offer pragmatism in the White House and reaffirm longstanding American alliances. Since his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton last week, Trump has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and nearly three dozen other world leaders by telephone.
    Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, also visited the skyscraper and called Trump “a true friend of Israel.” He specifically cited as another “friend” Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon, whose selection as a top White House adviser has created a backlash among Democrats. Bannon’s news website has peddled conspiracy theories, white nationalism and anti-Semitism.
    “We look forward to working with the Trump administration, with all the members of the Trump administration, including Steve Bannon, in making the U.S.-Israel alliance stronger than ever,” Dermer said.
    Despite all the media hysteria about the “transition” it appears things are moving along at a good clip.
    The MSM headlines tonight about Trump are much less negative and more “politically normal” (for lack of a better phrase).
    Interesting times!

  22. Earthrise says:

    Amen VietnamVet,
    Identity politics is now only aiding the enemy, time for the patriots to rally around the flag. Sorry to ask, were you drafted or did you volunteer? I would not have expected a Vietnam vet to support the draft, but hopefully I am about to find out. The Syrian Kurds are using the same playbook that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps developed; part militia, part social service provider. I think this is the future once centralised control weakens, and our budgets hollow out.
    I would prefer not to have to draft our fellow militia warriors; the strength of the YPG is in their incredible motivation. A little gentle social pressure should do the job, seemed to have got my ancestors to travel all the way to France 100 years ago. If the times are serious enough, there will be no need to draft anyone. And we civvies are going to need you old vets to come back from your well-deserved retirements to show us a thing or two.

  23. robt willmann says:

    I have been engaging in some speculative and wishful thinking that Col. Lang’s taking some time off was a cover story resulting from an overture from the Trump camp to discuss a possible job or policy. But he would have to either go in a disguise to Trump Tower, or Trump could go out for another dinner. Not to the 21 Club, but maybe to a little authentic Italian restaurant. Or a meeting at an Irish spot in New York–
    If he is nominated or hired without the need for Senate approval, once pl’s experience is publicized, the neocons might not be able to block it, after Trump makes a decision.

  24. turcopolier says:

    Robert Willman
    not going to happen. I like 21. The lemon sole is grand. There used to be another chop house on 54th just across 6th Avenue that I liked more. Ben Benson’s. When it closed I thought to hell with it. Peter Luger’s is too hard to get into. I just stopped going to NY City. pl

  25. My younger son hits Peter Lugers whenever he goes to NYC. It is definitely out of the way, but it’s well worth the trip. He describes the steaks as pure artistry, outrageously expensive, but worth every penny. I’ve never been there and never will.

  26. Wonduk says:

    You have maybe already seen this analysis of the PKK’s female units by Walter Posch in the OEMZ. The female units fulfill different roles according to the area of their recruitment. Some from the more “progressive” areas have been in fighting roles for a long time and gathered the expertise. Recruits from more conservative areas are not used in a combat role. Fighting is only one role foreseen for them, the other and possibly major purpose is of course to mobilise women for the revolutionary transformation of Kurdish society.
    Link to the article (2ns part is onrganization):
    You can click on the English / French language tab on the top right to go to the translation.

  27. Valissa,
    Lieutenant-General Flynn seems to be something of a puzzle.
    After he was forced out as head of the DIA, in August 2014, he seems to have been, as it were, ‘nobbled’ by Michael Ledeen. They co-authored a book, entitled ‘The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies’, published in July this year.
    This was not exactly reassuring, as Ledeen really is the ultimate ‘Groucho Marx Machiavellian’ – one of the most appalling examples of a species whose activities pose a serious danger to the United States, the world, and – perhaps most of all – Jews.
    It is thus hardly surprising that a very thoughtful commentator, Daniel Larison of the ‘American Conservative’, has suggested that appointing Flynn would mean ‘that Trump’s foreign policy is going to be shaped to a large extent by someone with very dangerous views.’
    (See , and .)
    What I think Larison does not fully grasp is the scale of the puzzle.
    The – patently bonkers – notion set out in Flynn and Ledeen’s book of some kind of global alliance of ‘bad guys’ linking ‘radical Islam’ to a diverse group of states, including Russia and China, with Iran in the lead – seems a throwback to the worst elements of Cold War mindsets.
    But it also seems in sharp conflict with what we know of Flynn’s behaviour when he was in charge of the DIA.
    Here, a group of articles published by Seymour Hersh in the ‘London Review of Books’ are I think critical. It was perhaps unfortunate that when they were republished in book form in April, the title for the collection was taken from the May 2015 article ‘The Killing of Osama bin Laden.’
    Much more important, in my view, are the articles dealing with Syria, the successful transnational collaboration which enabled General Dempsey to thwart the attempts to use the ‘false flag’ sarin attack at Ghouta on 21 August 2013 to lend American air power to the jihadists, and related matters.
    All three relevant articles – the December 2013 one entitled ‘Whose Sarin?’, the April 2014 follow-up ‘The Red Line and the Rat Line’, and the January 2016 account of what happened after Ghouta, ‘Military to Military’ are freely available on the web.
    (See ; ; .)
    The critical importance of these articles is that they describe a reorientation of thinking among very important elements in the American military – with General Dempsey clearly playing a leading role – away from Cold War mindsets.
    In particular, this involves a realisation that the threat from – Sunni – jihadism to a wide variety of powers, including Russia, China, and also Iran, means that there is a basis for co-operation on matters of common interest.
    This is of course quite compatible with their being conflicting interests on other matters – but then a world where people are neither wholly ‘friends’ nor ‘enemies’ really is the normal state of international relations, and it is all-out ideological conflict which is the abnormal.
    From Hersh’s work and other sources, it had appeared that Flynn was wholly ‘on-board’ with this reorientation, and indeed was likely to have had a central role in it.
    If that was so, Ledeen appeared to have been very successful in dragging him back into the worst features of Cold War mindsets.
    Sitting in London, with limited knowledge of American military culture, I obviously have to be cautious in assessing these things.
    The impression many of us had of General Dempsey, rightly or wrong, was of a rather remarkable figure: a man who combined wide military knowledge and understanding with a broader intellectual culture – and also the ability to handle knotty political situations with subtlety and sophistication, without compromising a basic integrity.
    It would be hard to expect anyone, let alone Flynn, to be quite the man Dempsey appears to be. However, he does not seem in the model of the ‘Walmart generals’, or of the arse-licking careerists so familiar to many of us, in various walks of life – the kind of creature Clapper looks like.
    And if this is so, it may be that Flynn is capable of listening to good advice.

  28. jld says:

    ‘Groucho Marx Machiavellian’
    Thanks for that.

  29. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    Flynn is a paradox. He was fired for carrying truth to the WH concerning the WH/R2P/neocon view of the ME. My conclusion after some contemplation is that Flynn was accepting of the arguments of the senior analysts at DIA and that Dempsey let him go to the WH with that MSG while staying in what we call “name tag defilade” (specifically unidentifiable) I am not surprised that Dempsey would do that. There has to be some explanation as to how someone like him could have reached those dizzying heights. An Irish Catholic cavalryman with a fine singing voice who is a literary person does not normally become CJCS. As for Hersh, he has benefited for a long time from help from senior officers who, like Dempsey, needed an outlet. Flynn’s indiscretion in “hanging out” with Russians is incredible. Did he not think that such behavior would return to “bite him in the arse?” In my own little hermitage I was asked several times by RT to appear on their air and declined. Why? I did not wish to be denounceable as pro-Russian. Ledeen, is IMO a malevolent man. Flynn probably lent his name to the the book as the price of a publishing contract. pl

  30. LeaNder says:

    ‘Groucho Marx Machiavellian’
    I am not sure, if I would ever use a term like that for Ledeen. Never mind I was admittedly amused by his conversations via the ouija board with James Jesus Angleton.
    Although, admittedly. I was completely unable to finish reading this:
    “Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli’s Iron Rules Are As Timely And Important Today As Five Centuries Ago Paperback – May 5, 2000”

  31. LeaNder says:

    Thanks, IZ, linked Flynn Hill article or oped is interesting too.
    And yes, for other nitwits around, there is a for me new visualizing database:
    Two random choices:
    Sorry, not sure, but the recent Turkish Syrian musician encounter or concert in the South may have disappeared by now. Superimposed by new updated events? Are they struggling with what icons to use for unchecked rumors?

  32. Babak Makkinejad says:

    This “…threat from – Sunni – jihadism to a wide variety of powers, including Russia, China, and Iran…” was understood by Lt. General Odom.
    The civilian leaders were not interested.

  33. Colonel Lang,
    “An Irish Catholic cavalryman with a fine singing voice who is a literary person does not normally become CJCS.”
    That it seems to me is part of the problem.
    Long ago I learnt that there is a very wide range of matters in which a military dimension is inextricably bound up with others: one cannot think or act sensibly if one has military people with no grasp of the political and social dimensions and foreign policy people who – irrespective of whether they have genuine grasp of these – have zilch understanding of military technicalities.
    It makes for very bad intelligence and foreign policy analysis, and blundering policymaking.
    So precisely one class of person one needs most are people with real military grasp who also have a much broader intellectual ‘frame of reference.’
    And if one wants to come to grips with how bizarre and contradictory conflicts are in so many parts of the world, I can think of a lot worse starting points than time spend studying W.B. Yeats. The whole interaction between Protestant and Catholic cultures in Ireland is phenomenally complex, and fascinating.
    That was also why it seemed to me simple inanity to marginalise the humanities at VMI. It reflects a fundamental inability to grasp the kinds of understanding which are needed to cope with modern world.

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Right – genetic drift of a small population followed by decay…

  35. jonst says:

    What I can’t figure out is; is Flynn just a guy who thought he was done, career wise, at least in govt, and decided, what the hell, to get a free trip, with expenses, to Russia, drink champagne, get laid, and hob nob with ‘celebrities’? Or, was it something a bit more sinister?

  36. LeaNder,
    A favourite quote from Groucho, which seems to fit Ledeen and his like rather well:
    “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
    Unfortunately, another good one doesn’t fit so well:
    “Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.”

  37. LeaNder says:

    No harm meant, you understand?
    But, I simply somewhat dislike to see them that close.

  38. turcopolier says:

    I am puzzling over that myself. pl

  39. LeaNder,
    In some sense I did mean harm.
    There is a silly-clever kind of ‘Machiavellianism’, which one commonly finds in erstwhile underdogs who have become powerful. It has increasingly seem to me that this mentality is common both among many influential American Zionists, and also many Israelis.
    A central text in my ‘Cold War liberal’ education was Arthur Koestler’s 1940 novel ‘Darkness at Noon’ – I was interested to see that a draft in the original German has recently been recovered.
    The novel is prefaced by quotations from Machiavelli and Dostoevsky. At its heart are the exchanges between the arrested ‘Old Bolshevik’ Rubashov – partly modelled on Bukharin – and his fellow ‘Old Bolshevik’ Ivanov about Machiavellianism, which have Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ at their centre.
    Also central is Gletkin, the representative of the new élite created by the Revolution and Civil War – the product of the ideas of Rubashov and Ivanov, who in the end eliminates both of them.
    The argument about Machiavellianism in ‘Darkness at Noon’ is unresolved, because it is unresolvable. All that any intelligent person, informed by some attempt to seriously grapple with twentieth-century history, can do, is to try to find a sensible way of finessing tensions deeply rooted in the nature of the complex and contradictory creatures we are.
    Conspicuous by its absence in what Zionism has become is any serious attempt to do this.
    So the only lessons that people like Ledeen, and Netanyahu, can learn from the traumas of Jewish experience in the twentieth century is that you need to be as powerful as you can, and apply your power as brutally as you know how.
    (For a short piece illustrating how utterly unfitted Ledeen is to attempt to manage an ‘imperial system’, see .)
    These people belong in a mental home.

  40. Valissa says:

    Quoting from your response to LeanDer below…
    “All that any intelligent person, informed by some attempt to seriously grapple with twentieth-century history, can do, is to try to find a sensible way of finessing tensions deeply rooted in the nature of the complex and contradictory creatures we are.”
    IMO, this is a very important point! The complexity and ambiguity of human nature and real life is a topic I have paid much more attention to as I get older.
    My observation is that no more an ~10% of any group are hard core true believers/strong ideologues. The rest have similar but “softer” beliefs, or espouse certain beliefs that they will get them ahead in their group, or simply go along with the beliefs of the groups they are members of (through choice or culture or ancestry).
    Inspired by Eric Hoffer I have come up with my own aphorisms related to why people believe certain things.
    Two of them are… Ideology is Easy, Thinking is Hard; Believing is Belonging. With regards to political and gov’t officials I would add this classic quote “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. –Upton Sinclair.
    From personal experience, as an ex-liberal, I am well aware of the social cost of thinking independently and taking the trouble to analyze the plusses, minuses, and “neutral” aspects of a particular ideology or politician or policy or leader, etc. Most people are content with easy labels that support their belonging in a certain belief group, where these beliefs keep them “safe” from ostracism by the rest of the herd.
    In this election Liberal propaganda really went over the top in their belief that “Republicans are racists” (or fascists or what not), yet most liberals do not recognize this as hate speech, something they claim to be against, they see it as “truth.” One can easily come up with similar examples of simplistic hostile beliefs from conservatives/Republicans. But the MSM was so over the top pro-Hillary and pro-Democrat, and did so much fear mongering, that hate speech against Trump and his followers became acceptable. The irony of the Democrats basing their campaign on hate speech seems to have gone unnoticed by most liberals. Unfortunately this type of non-thinking name calling has become the basis for almost all political speeches and writing from both parties. When angry, hateful speech is the primary modus operandi how does this help the US resolve real world problems involving the classic issues of power and money and who gets it? Clearly it does not, and the elites seem to think this is just fine as a “divide and conquer” strategy for them to retain power.
    But I digress… back to Flynn… what was his reason for co-authoring such a book with Ledeen? Or traveling to Russia? Was it the money? Was it temporarily adopting certain beliefs to get another gov’t position or ingratiate himself with some group that could benefit him in some way?
    This leads to a more generic question…let’s say someone has adopted certain beliefs or ideology to “get ahead” then how long does it take and under what conditions do such beliefs become “permanent” versus the tension of holding one set of beliefs at an inner level and another for career or public reasons?
    With this appointment Flynn will most likely have to do some appeasing of things he doesn’t believe in, as all public officials do, to survive and accomplish what he can (many regular folk do this in their own jobs to get ahead or to avoid disapproval from bosses or co-workers). Therefore we, as outsiders, may never know exactly what he really believes. And I think this is true of many public officials.
    I do not seek “nobility” from public servants, I seek basic competence and pragmatism in solving problems in such a way that benefits the whole more than harms it.
    I am taking a wait-and-see attitude about the Trump administration and what is possible for it to accomplish given the difficult and complex conditions it inherits. Though I remain skeptical and cynical, I wish them well.

  41. VietnamVet says:

    I was not happy about being drafted. But, a conscript army has benefits. It won’t fight an endless colonial war on the other side of the world. It teaches draftees how to work together to defend their homes, hygiene and to make a tight bed. They see the world outside. Every family with a member serving in the military has a stake in what the government does and how well it does it. An effective militia provides community security against the ravages of cartels, gangs and headchoppers.
    It is tragic to see America fracturing apart. A major reason is that the last generation of Americans drafted together to serve their country is slipping into arthritic drooling old age.
    P.S. the last thing we called ourselves was warriors. “We Were Soldiers Once and Young”.

  42. Thomas says:

    I would go with less sinister and more what the eff, because considering at the time of his dismissal it looked like the Beastly Borgansim had a long life span to go and the professional career was over.
    And while drinking with the Russians if he gained an understanding of their contemporary views, then he will have a good cultural connection that should serve both sides well in the coming years.

  43. turcopolier says:

    Nothing sinister. pl

  44. Kooshy says:

    Colonel Lang hope I am
    Not disturbing your time off. But I was trying to understand why you equate Borg to “foreign policy establishment” specially since in past few days the focus of MSM is to shove someone they like as SOS in the Trump’ mouth.
    So I am trying to connect the dots, to make sense of the definition you made and to understand who would be interested to influence the US foreign policy and why.
    The way I see it there could be 2 groups who care to have a control on foreign policy beyond the norm, both groups can and have used the same instruments for their goals.
    IMO, one group is an ultra nationalist which believes in American hegemony
    and superiority, this group are the American exceptionalists, their primary focus is to control and divert the US foreign policy for their own global view and aims. I can see and understand this . However the second group are more cynical, this group wants to control and divert the US foreign policy to benefit a foreign power, foreign interest or entity. If I understand correctly, the most dangerous and damaging of foreign government influencers, of US policy, are the ones that act like parasites, who could only survive at the expense of US, like Israel and Saudis. Sir am I right on this? Is this why you say Borg is the foreign policy establishment.

  45. esq says:

    Even worse–law professor. Met you briefly once when you gave a good talk at UVA Miller Center on Syria/Middle East. Thanks for your blog!!

  46. Earthrise says:

    Thanks VV, I understand.
    I can agree with what we call National Service here; putting all the young unemployed people to work in the Army, or other social programs. As you say, national service in the militia, not going overseas. I think you and your fellow Once Young Soldiers have turned the Empire off using conscripts for quite some time, well done sir. They have been forced to use a professional army ever since.
    The resulting Stop Losses during the Iraq war stretched the US Army to breaking point. Who knows what might have come after Iraq if the US could have maintained it’s operational tempo. And rumour has it that some of the returned Vietnam vets were forming an armed resistance; that must have scared the crap out of Washington. There are countless people alive today because your generation made conscription too hard to bear. Thank you from the generations that came after.

  47. LeaNder says:

    I understand, David:
    In some sense I did mean harm.
    At least I think I do. Would be more easy in German, some type of of cynically defensive invocation of humor? Indicating the wrong type of applied Macchiavellism?
    Gaucho Marx – as some type of spiritual ban of the following term.
    Machiavellian – in a nutshell: master manipulator.
    The right versus the wrong master manipulator?
    It’s Alright, Ma [Pa] (I’m Only Bleeding)
    Darkness at the break of noon

    And if my thought-dreams could be seen
    They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
    But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only

  48. turcopolier says:

    “some of the returned Vietnam vets were forming an armed resistance” Your uncle and who else? pl

  49. turcopolier says:

    I thought I dealt with that a couple of weeks ago. I am a FP guy so I coined the term to deal with the FPE in its groupiness. Domestically the same left wing forces extend everywhere. People like Sister Rachel Maddoww exemplify the type. The Borg is somewhat different because of the somewhat feigned adherence of the neocons to it. I have started calling the domestic extension the “Multi Culti.” My former neighbor, a Canadian by birth used the term. I like that. pl

  50. Gabriel says:

    SST members,
    As a footnote to TTG’s links, I would add two interviews did last year (roughly during or a bit after the push south in the Hasakah area. One’s with a Frenc-h and the other with a German volunteer. Unlike its English-language mothership, Vice’s foreign subsidiaries actually seem to be run by adults, so the questions are quite good, or at least not irrelevant.
    Interview with French guy (translated)
    Interview with the German guy (in German)
    What I picked up from both interviews is that YPG/J forces indeed “a very lightly armed infantry force,” and (from my very cursory reading of fighting in Manbij) this can’t quite be compensated-for by air support, which is why (absent a concurrent offensive by SAA) I’m not that sure that YPG/J has the guns or even the people to push actually to conquer Raqqa. That said, I’m working off literally year-old information, so all kinds of things may have changed in the mean-time, but wanted to post the two interviews because, unlike unfortunately so many others, the conversation does go into training periods and organization.

  51. Earthrise says:

    Sir, I have read these reports, and put with the fragging of officers and the infiltration of Marxism into some units it sounded credible. It got me thinking about the danger to the ruling class of teaching your people to fight, then pissing them off sending them to a BS war. They haven’t tried conscription since.
    This from
    “1964-75 – Huge GI movement rocks United States Military, both in Vietnam and at bases at home and around the world. Over 300 GI anti-war newspapers are printed on base or near base, 10 percent of the U.S. military deserts or goes AWOL, and major incidents of combat refusal, mass draft resistance, refusals to deploy, and on-base protests and sit-ins occur. Movement brings the draft to an end and is a major force in bringing the Vietnam War to an end. GIs sabotage ships and stories of GIs switching sides (the so-called White Cong and the “Salt & Pepper” duo of white and black GIs) and fighting alongside the Vietcong are numerous.”

  52. kooshy says:

    Thank you Colonel Lang

  53. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    I’m another reluctant draftee* who now would support a draft under certain conditions, one of which is that blood relatives in the conscription age range of members of Congress and senior administration officials be required to do their service in a ground combat arm. IIRC, this is similar to suggestions made here previously by Col. Lang. Nothing like skin in the game to focus the mind.
    * I was Vietnam era also, although early (1963-1965). I had hoped I’d at least get to see some interesting part of the world on the government’s nickle, however the farthest away from home I got from my upper Midwest home town was basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.

  54. Earthrise says:

    Thanks for your service Chuck,
    Hell yeah, I ain’t no Senator’s son. One of my favourite part of Fahrenheit 9/11 is when MM is trying to sign up Congresspeople’s children to go to Iraq. The look on their face!

  55. Tom says:

    Regarding Flynn I have been as puzzled as David Habakukk. One possibility regarding Flynn and Ledeen is that Flynn is well aware of the power of Zionists in Washington and wanted to appease them. Same thing I suspect is going now regarding Bannon and the ADL. And it might have been the background of Trump´s curious turnaround regarding Israel during the primaries. Remember how he first promised to treat Israel and the Palestinians the same? How he earned howls of protest and the inevitable accusations of Antisemitism? Then turned around held such an impossibly groveling speech at the AIPAC conference that one wondered whether he was making fun of them? Maybe I am wrong…

  56. mike allen says:

    TTG –
    There are some twitter reports that Daesh just this morning retook Qabasin from Turkish backed FSA. If true this will be at least the fourth time it has changed hands. Perhaps the Turks were too focused on al-Bab and took their eye off the ball in Qabasin? The Kurd resident civilians (if there are any left there) are getting screwed over by both sides.

  57. LeaNder,
    A rational Machiavellian will realise both the limits of manipulation, and also that others may be trying to manipulate you. (This was some of what Putin tried to explain, in his speech to the UN back in September 2015.)
    A classic use of terrorism is to use the power-holders own power against them, by creating a situation in which they have to finesse the inherent tension between appearing to be weak by not responding, and responding in such a way that they become the terrorists’ recruiting sergeant.
    Handling these kind of dilemmas successfully is commonly a matter of finding the ‘least worst solution’ to successive challenges over time.
    This is not, repeat not, a matter for superannuated graduate students occupying a Washington ‘bubble’, in which the ‘lingua franca’ of a debased form of American nationalist rhetoric makes confronting the real world practically impossible.
    It is a matter which needs people who have a deep understanding of the cultures with which they are dealing. This requires on-the-ground experience, or serious ‘area studies’ scholarship – ideally a combination of both.
    When I first tried to make sense of the attack on the World Trade Center, the shadowy ghost of an old ‘Indian Civilian’ resurfaced in my head.
    It seemed to me likely that this was a classic attempt to bait the holders of overwhelming power into over-reaction. If this was so, people like Ledeen, Wolfowitz, Perle et al fell for the bait, hook, line and sinker.
    As to my use of the phrase ‘Groucho Marx Machiavellians’. Almost exactly thirty years ago now, I and a colleague produced a 90-minute programme entitled ‘Defending Europe’, in which, among other things, we had Perle on a satellite link from Washington.
    To someone coming from a kind of British culture decisively – and constructively – shaped by Jewish refugees from the disasters of continental European history, this was a kind of ‘culture shock’.
    Ironically, as a result of reading the writings of one of those refugees who had I known personally, I had taken an ignorant interest in some of the writings of the great Viennese Jewish satirist Karl Kraus.
    So already, Perle seemed to me like some monstrous apparition out of Kraus’s First World War satire ‘The Last Days of Mankind’: a pasty-faced civilian militarist, always happy to send other people’s children to wars in which he had no intention that his own people would fight.
    What was only partly apparent to me then was the extent to which the intense intellectual arrogance of people like Perle – the whole ‘devil’s brood’ reared by Albert Wohlstetter and his wife – actually obscured not only their deep spiritual ugliness but their utter intellectual incompetence.
    Many of these people are the ‘insulted and injured’ of the Russian Empire, out for revenge. Accordingly, their policy prescriptions are totally rooted in traumas from a century ago – and have no relation whatsoever to the world in which we live.

  58. Thomas says:

    “I’m not that sure that YPG/J has the guns or even the people to push actually to conquer Raqqa.”
    Caliph Ibrahim must still take that front as a threat (are they being supplied with needed equipment, could outside troops reinforce them, is their air support at higher, lower or at the same levels as in the past. …?) and devote his currently dwindling resources to it.

  59. Valissa,
    Yes. I generally agree with all of this, and there is a lot more to be said about it.
    Something which, from a British point of view, I find both puzzling and alarming.
    What the ‘Borg’ represents, essentially, is the emergence of ideological conformity as the fundamental ‘marker’ of collective identity. (In Britain, in the past, this was true but only to a much more limited extent.)
    As this has happened, the scope for acceptable intellectual disagreement has narrowed massively.
    But, as ‘Brexit’ and the victory of Trump have demonstrated, the results are self-destructive, even for the ‘Borgistas’.
    Some tolerance of dissent is necessary, for ‘course correction’ to be possible.
    My sense both of the ‘Remain’ campaign in Britain, and of the ‘mainstream’ response to the challenge from Trump, was that it was as though the officers of the ‘Titanic’ had been up on the bridge, hell-bent on racing further towards the icebergs, with only an occasional nervous twitch indicating some sense that this might not be a good idea.
    People on the deck shouting ‘be careful’ were simply ignored – it was assumed they were ideologically unreliable.
    As to Trump and his team, I think to remain skeptical and cynical, but wish them well, is precisely the right response.
    What I devoutly hope, however, is that ‘liberals’ will at long last cease behaving like ostriches. I have to say I am not that hopeful – but then, as Yogi Berra said, ‘It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.’

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A selection of Gen. Flynn’s opinions on Iran:
    I believe that he was being sincere in all of those pronouncements.

  61. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The marginalization of humanities has been, in my opinion, a direct consequence of the long-standing belief that the Newtonian Paradigm is equally applicable to Humanities.
    One only need to figure out the combination of – in this case, social – forces and one can then forecast the development of that social formation – provided one knows the dynamic laws and the initial conditions.
    That was also part of the Enlightenment Project – you see that programmer and the advent of the digital computers have made it possible to churn out more and more papers that claim to be able to simulate societies of humans; see for example
    And of course, the hidden claim is that one is only a few more simulations, a few more powerful computers, a few more decades of writing computer programs away from laying bare what makes human social formations tick.
    I think the Humanities professors, often not having sufficient mathematic background, were intimidated into accepting this quantitative computational approach. The rebuttal, of course, would have been to start from Plato and the notion of Justice – but everyone know that Philosophy is obsolete and with it Plato and all of his subsequent commentators.
    I think the denizens of the Foreign Office would have laughed at all these pretensions to Scientism )really pseudo-scientism). I wonder what Gibbon or Burckhardt would have made of all of this.
    Last week, 3 million Iranians crossed into Iraq to participate in a walk to commemorate the Martyrdom of Imam Hussein – one wonders what social forces caused them to do so – how does the Newtonian paradigm apply here.

  62. turcopolier says:

    Do any of the cognoscenti here know anything of the Generals Flynns’ father’s Army career? I have not found it described. He evidently worked for a bank in RI after 20 years service. It seems odd that neither of the boys went to WP. pl

  63. The Beaver says:

    Could he be this Charles F Flynn enlisted on 03-04-1946.
    Got married that same year:
    Miss Helen F. Andrews Weds Charles F. Flynn”. . Newport Mercury. May 10, 1946

  64. mike allen says:

    My understanding is that the YPG/J will only take part in the isolation of Raqqa, and not enter Raqqa itself. That will be left to non-Kurdish components of SDF.
    At least that was the original plan. But the non-Kurdish components are also lightly armed. So who knows???

  65. Amir says:

    Filip Dewinter also used the term multi-culti … in the ’90’s. He happens to be the foreman of the extreme-right wing Flemish xenophobic ultra-nationalistic Anti-Belgian “Vlaams Blok” (militaristic sounding Flemish Block/grouplet/regiment) cosmetically renamed “Vlaams Belang” (Flemish Interest).
    Through out the history in the Low Countries, these gangs collaborated with the foreigners to advance their interest and ended up each time frustrated and on the losing side. They suffer from what I call “The Kurden Syndrome”, ended up collaborating with “The Hun” first and “Dad Reich” a second time.
    I always suspected that party of getting the wind in it’s sail from over the Atlantic.
    This does not mean that I accuse you one way or the other, just give you some background about the term from PERSONAL experience.

  66. turcopolier says:

    “the fragging of officers and the infiltration of Marxism into some units it sounded credible” The infiltration of what? Utter fantasy. What are you doing here among adults? pl

  67. turcopolier says:

    “Loyalists?” Get off my site! Kerry was a self-indulgent little jerk who milked public disaffection for all it was worth and then married his friend’s rich widow, I am serious. You are gone. pl

  68. Chris Chuba says:

    Gen Flynn
    I was listening to the Larry Kudlow show and I was taken back by a criticism from one of his guests from the Wall Street Journal who sternly informed Kudlow that ‘Flynn does indeed have troubling ties to Russia, I prefer people who graduate to think tanks, people like Gen. Jack Keane who formed the Institute on the Study of war’.
    This told me why our views on Russia and just about every other country in the world is so distorted. We favor people who get sucked into think tanks where they have their pre-existing views reinforced. It’s not like these people actually visit or even read the media of the countries that they despise so much, they just confirm their own biases. It’s funny that Flynn is being condemned for actually talking to Russians, how dare you! it is better to talk about Russians to be considered a legitimate expert.
    Coincidentally, the day before I listened to Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer defend Gen. Flynn along these lines. From reading Shaffer’s bio, he seems to have a rather controversial past but I have always found his analysis quite sound the few times I have seen him on FOX and wished that they had him on their programs more often.

  69. LeaNder says:

    David, I wouldn’t mind to listen to what you experienced as ‘culture shock’ after all these years. But I suppose not easy to get the program you produced with your colleague in 1986/87 after all those years. You mentioned it before. Not sure if you mentioned the focus of the production.
    Perle, The Dark Prince, surfaced for me in only in the post 9/11 universe as one cog in a widening wheel of the larger security complex or industry. How did he draw your attention then? In this context?
    Appreciate the allusion to Karl Kraus, “the self-hating Jew” (scare quote).
    He surfaced for me on TeVe in 2003 with Rumpsfeld and Claudia Roth. It was interesting to watch little soul (Seelchen), Claudia Roth, surrender to his charms.
    He got her into serious mental twists. For me it looked as if he was simply ‘too charming’ for her to withstand.

  70. Babak Makkinejad,
    I agree that ‘scientism’ is a catastrophe.
    In my own case, a lot of puzzles came together when – quite late in life – I came across the brief ‘Autobiography’ which the British philosopher/archeologist/historian R.G. Collingwood wrote in 1939. (It is easily accessible on the net, and can be read in an afternoon.)
    When Collingwood wrote ‘all history is the history of thought’ he may have somewhat overstated his case. But the central point is right – that human action has an ‘inside’ as well as an ‘outside’, and the recovery of purpose, intention and meaning is quite different from an analysis of the behaviour of inanimate objects.
    What this also involves is a restatement of the theme of the ‘persistence of the past’.
    We carry the thoughts of our forbears inside us – often, as it were, in complicated and contradictory ‘layers’. But, by the same token, we can attempt to assimilate the pasts of others, and remodel ourselves in their shape, as we imagine it: as the Renaissance did with elements of Greek and Roman culture not absorbed into medieval thinking, and the Russian revolutionaries with the ideas of the French Jacobins.
    Understanding of others involves excavating these ‘layers’ in them; self-understanding, applying the same process to ourselves.
    A corollary is that different kinds of ‘modernist’ programme – be they traditional forms of ‘Jacobin’ project, or modern ‘multiculturalist’ versions – are inherently problematic. Moreover, if cross-examined, they commonly reveal actual or latent ‘totalitarian’ elements. Accordingly, it is of their nature that they produce bad history.
    One cannot recover the thoughts of others, if one is always assessing these in the light of the premise that they must really have known the ‘truth’ one embodies. (Also, here dangers of narcissism loom large.)
    In this sense, the notion what ‘liberalism’ has degenerated into is genuinely ‘secular’ is nonsense. It is largely premised on the attempt to retain notions of direction in human history which were originally premised on assumptions of a comprehensible divine purpose, while repudiating belief in god. This must, inevitably, produce ‘pseudo-science’, as well as gibberish history.)
    Another corollary is that the cultivation of the imagination ought to be a central part of education. This does not mean that one opens the door to unlimited arbitrariness – far from it. A good detective will commonly have to use imagination to recover purpose, intention and meaning.
    But, having formulated hypotheses, he – or she – will then seek to generate testable propositions.

  71. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    Sir Fred Hoyle, whose scientific creativity and imagination I have much enjoyed and admired, observed in his autobiography how he had experienced life over a period of 200 years; through his father and his grandfather – a point valid not just for the English but for all of mankind. And thus, the past persists, in pieces or in whole, and exercises influence over the minds of men.
    “All history is the history of thought’. Indeed.
    Concretely, let me bring to your attention 2 extant romances in the Near East (akin to those of “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” or “Tale of the Monkey King” in China) – namely, “History of the Bani Helal” – recounting the wonderings of the Beni Helal Arab tribe in the Levant and North Africa – and “Samak the Ayyar” – describing the exploit of one Samak who is an “ayyar” ( “vagabond” ), belonging to a secrete brotherhood of “ayyaran”.
    The ethos of Bani Helal is one of survival, through cunning for the most part. And what I have heard is that Arab audiences and readers are much charmed by the display of successful cunning by the various protagonists of this romance. The sort of cunning recounted in it reminds me of certain stories related in Genesis – which is also about survival.
    Could be that this is a common theme among Semitic tribes that had been wondering in Western Asian deserts for centuries
    On the other hand, the ethos of “Samak the Ayyar” is one of upholding the code of “Javanmardi” – Man-Young – something akin to the code of the Knight-Errant. This is dating back to pre-Islamic Iran and later was evidently adopted by the Seljuks. And to this day, “Javanmardi” is a quality to which men aspire in Iran, regardless of how cunningly they might behave in their personal or commercial interactions with others.
    I think these two romances, where they have gone and where they have stayed, demarcate the Seljuk World and the Arab World. One emphasizes survival and cunning, the other conformance to the code of conduct of “Javanmardi” of generosity, loyalty etrc. I cannot comment about Central Asia or Pakistan, I just do not know.
    I think the application to the current situation in the Middle East is quote clear. What is also clear is that political position of AKP – a Seljuk country with the “Javanmardi” code going against its own grain by collaborating with the Gulfies. In my opinion, that is not sustainable.
    In regards to “Progress” and “Sense of Direction “in History, I would like to learn wherein lies the source for that idea that imbues so much of historical writing among Western Diocletians.
    For myself, looking at the Near Eastern history, I just see periods of Peace and Tranquility, interspersed with periods of Chaos and Mayhem – during which millions were killed, or otherwise endured starvation, disease, and rapine; very reminiscent of Imperial China’s experience.
    I do not see any pattern of progress over hundreds of years; rather one of decay and stagnation (if one has been lucky).
    It is not just in historical research that one has to be imaginative; this is a requirement also for a successful natural scientist. Nevertheless, there is also something called “Insight” – a deep grasping of some essential truth or truths of a subject or a period of time or a person.
    I think Insight is something that all human beings are capable of – to varying degrees – yet its results cannot be substantiated initially; one has an insight and then one goes about marshaling evidence in its support.

  72. The Beaver says:

    @ TTG
    Sorry catching up on my reading over the WE and was wondering if you saw this from Jack Murphy:

  73. VietnamVet says:

    There is truth and reality. We live in two universes; one inside and the other outside. Human beings developed science to observe and record the actual world. Mankind has had history since it started telling stories to one another. Written languages preserved it. Formal education and the media have mostly superseded our oral story telling. The West has been seized by a cabal interested in only seizing wealth and power and who are intently transforming education and entertainment into perverted visions of themselves. In reality, mankind has a deep ingrained sense of fairness and will sacrifice themselves in the service to their families, tribes and nations. Our legends abound with stories of the downfall of the proud, selfish and greedy. The global neoliberalcons will fall from grace. Peace is possible. All that is left at the bottom of Pandora’s box is hope.

  74. The Beaver,
    Yes, I read that. That’s one of the reasons why CIA should be out of that business totally. If this kind of mission should be done, it should only be done by Special Forces.

  75. Earthrise says:

    Col. Lang,
    The political activities of the Black Panthers and Black Muslims within some units is widely published:
    “Black Panthers in the army
    The racial tensions in the ghettoes of Detroit and Chicago were now echoed in the armed forces. In July 1969, there was a race riot in Lejeune Marine Camp in North Carolina.[xxviii] Soon, the battlefield became a stage of conflict within the U.S ranks. Rebellion and mutiny amongst black soldiers began to occur. Also, in 1970, seven black soldiers from the 176th Regiment disobeyed orders to go on patrol duty, claiming their lives were being “deliberately endangered by racist officers”[xxix]
    Inter-racial clashes were commonplace in military prisons, army bases and even on aircraft carriers. In October, 1972, a fight involving black and white sailors aboard the attack aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, in the Tonkin Gulf, left 33 men injured[xxx].
    Groups such as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, encouraged violence against white racism at home and in Vietnam. Kathleen Cleaver the wife of Eldridge Cleaver
    (leader of the Panthers), urged black soldiers: “Right inside of the U.S. imperialist beast’s army, you are strategically placed to begin the process of destroying him from within.” [xxxi] Meanwhile, the Party’s Manifesto promised a programme of social transformation contradicting Johnson’s The Great Society programme of greater public expenditure for welfare, schools, housing and cultural works such as libraries and theatres (which had largely been curtailed due to the spiralling costs of the war in Vietnam). The Marxist rhetoric of the Panthers demanded and pledged the following requirements for black justice and equality in, what they perceived to be a white dominated society of prejudice, hypocrisy and double standards”

  76. David says:

    Thank you for pointing out those two Romances, I will look them up. Agree with you about Sir Fred Hoyle. He along with his collaborators Margaret and Geoffrey Burbidge should have all received Nobel Prizes.

  77. LeaNder,
    The British became what I later came to think was excessively comfortable with the ‘Peace of Yalta’. While outside Europe the Cold War was real, as regards the continent we were quite happy to have the division maintained, in particular because it ‘contained’ German power – and thought the Russians were too. (Tears about the oppression of the East Europeans were, to a substantial extent, of the crocodile variety.)
    The hidden agenda of a lot of British strategic thinking had to do with the problems of maintaining cohesion in an alliance of democracies. In the early ‘Eighties, what worried people was the prospect of a process of polarisation where the opposite ‘heresies’ of people like Perle – the ‘Team B’ people – and the ‘Peace Movement’ could fundamentally undermine the cohesion of the Western system.
    It is this mindset which underlies, for example, the 1983 study ‘The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy’ by Lawrence – now Sir Lawrence – Freedman. Part of this was that there was a natural ‘mesh’ between suspicions of Germany among certain kinds of Jewish refugee – as Freedman is – and ‘native’ British.
    Different people from similar starting points often end up in very different places. While Freedman – a careerist fundamentally – started as a fiery leftwinger, but was co-opted into ‘establishment’ thinking, Stephen Shenfield, also the descendant of Jewish refugees from the Tsarist Empire, has stayed a socialist throughout his life. (One of several reasons that, at the outset, I distrusted ‘Peace Movement’ people like him.)
    In fact, he has just posted on his website an account of his activities at this time, relating them to the experiences of his family, which also helps explain why he ended up as an anti-Zionist: in contrast again to Freedman. It makes fascinating reading.
    (See .)
    What people like Shenfield hoped for was precisely what, in those days, I did not want – a liquidation of the existing security order in Europe. As a ‘Peace Movement’ activist working at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at Birmingham, he was used, from 1983 onwards, as a conduit for ‘feelers’ put out by two Soviet security intellectuals, Fyodor Burlatsky and Colonel Viktor Girshfeld.
    Unsurprisingly, he was commonly interpreted among ‘mainstream’ people in Western security élites as a naïve dupe of cunning Soviet deception operations, designed to get the West to lower its guard.
    As Shenfield remarks, in relation to the scepticism of the RAND analyst Harry Gelman, ‘this perception was never subjected to the test of experience because such analysts had no real contact with Soviet people.’
    In the event it turned out simply wrong. Certainly, people like Girsfeld and Burlatsky were hoping to mobilise support in Western popular opinion for radical changes in NATO policy. But part and parcel of this was that they were dreaming of the kind of liquidation of the existing Soviet security policy that Gorbachev was to implement.
    In the course of researching our 1986 programme, I came across an article entitled ‘Deterrence: The Problem – Not the Solution.’ Probably I would not have bothered to read it, had I not noticed that its author, Michael MccGwire, then at Brookings, was a former head of the Soviet naval section in our Defense Intelligence Staff.
    When I mentioned his name to Freedman, the dismissive response was something along the lines of ‘retired spooks go the other way.’ In a way this was unsurprising. In MccGwire’s view, the whole elaborate structures of academic ‘deterrence’ theory to which Freedman’s book was largely devoted were mostly gibberish. This was not however the product of a collapse from alarmism into complacency following his leaving the service.
    Rather, it went back to MccGwire’s realisation, as a result of his very detailed work on Soviet submarine programmes in the ‘Fifties, that he and others had been too quick to interpret the new threat from the Soviets through the lens of the old one from Hitler.
    The armament and deployment characteristics of the major part of the force being constructed were clearly adapted, not to following the U-boats in attacking NATO’s transatlantic lines of communication, but to countering possible D-Day-style ‘amphibious operations’ in the Black Sea and Baltic.
    The result of the long intellectual evolution which began then was that, in the months after our programme went out, MccGwire – and his Brookings colleague Ambassador Raymond Garthoff – concluded that ideas for liquidating the offensive ‘blitzkrieg’ posture of Warsaw Pact forces in Central Europe had passed into the Soviet mainstream. Another result was that they both argued that to understand what was happening in the ‘Eighties, one had to go back to the arguments of the ‘Forties.
    All this is in the typescript of a paper which MccGwire sent to him at the time, which surfaced some time back on the web:
    (See .)
    In consequence, I began to take the work which Shenfield and his colleagues were producing very seriously, and – after many frustrating months – ended up making a couple of documentaries largely based on interviews with people about whom they had written in Moscow for BBC Radio in early 1989.
    What then happened was bizarre. Precisely the point of MccGwire’s paper was that the analysis of the April 1950 NSC 68 paper – out of which the worldview of people like Perle and Ledeen comes – was fundamentally wrong.
    However, having totally failed to predict the retreat of Soviet power, the ‘neoconservatives’ were successful in claiming credit for it.
    A bizarre corollary was that both figures like Freedman, and also a large part of the British ‘Peace Movement’, including Tony Blair and his like, moved towards ‘neoconservatism’. Behind the speech advocating ‘humanitarian intervention’ which Blair gave in Chicago in April 2009 were ‘ideas’ provided to Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, by Freedman.
    (See .)
    In essence, these were straight ‘neocon’ twaddle. What however was most remarkable was Freedman’s reference to the Cold War:
    “As we address world problems, at the NATO summit and G8 meetings, we might be tempted to think back to the clarity and simplicity of the cold war. There were arguments about the right strategy to adopt to contain the Soviet threat but the threat itself was well understood.”
    Actually, this is nonsense – and insolent nonsense. As it turned out, although MccGwire certainly got some things wrong, the broad lines of his and Garthoff’s critique of conventional wisdoms about Soviet military strategy was unambiguously vindicated by the 1995 study done for the Pentagon by the BDM Corporation, declassified in 2009.
    (See .)
    This matters, because a basic premise of Western élite thinking came to be that the elimination of challenges from non-democratic systems, whose dynamics were essentially similar, was going to pave the way for a utopian ‘liberal’ future. (Every opponent is Hitler, up to and including Putin and Donald Trump.)
    One then comes back to the centrality of the ‘German question’ and the ‘Shoah’ in all this. And here, my own rather complex attitudes reflect contacts with Jewish refugees from Nazis.
    Back in 2013, a fascinating study – into which I regret to say I have only dipped – was published by two German scholars, Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer. In English, it is called ‘Soldaten – On Fighting, Killing and Dying: The Secret Second World War Tapes of German POWs.’ The ‘tapes’ are those recorded at the surveillance operation run by the British at Trent Park and elswhere, and the corresponding American operation.
    It was only after his death in 2006 that I discovered that Peter Ganz, the father of a schoolfriend of mine, had been one of the ‘secret listeners’ at Trent Park. Growing up, we knew that he came from Mainz – once as I later learned a great centre of German-Jewish culture – had been in Buchenwald for six weeks after Kristallnacht, before getting over here by a lucky fluke, and also that he had been interned in the Isle of Man.
    As to the rest of the war, he told everyone, including his children, that he had spent it in the Pioneer Corps. What I also did not know was that his father had distinguished himself in the Imperial German Army in the First World War, and his grandfather converted to Lutheranism – I am not clear whether it was the same one who has murdered at Auschwitz.
    He was primarily a scholar of medieval German literature, who took Jacob Grimm as his academic role model, and later in his career devoted himself to editing and commentating the historical writings of Jacob Burckhardt, to whom Babak Makkinejad referred.
    (See .)
    It was as a result of his influence, and that of other refugees from Hitler, that when I started trying to think about the questions raised by Soviet retreat, I was not blinded by the assumption that – as Ari Shavit said to Avraham Burg back in 2007 – ‘yekke romanticism’ in some way ‘leads to Auschwitz.’
    (See .)
    Understanding the ‘Shoah’ is indeed a critically important matter. Making a cult of it – and in particular assuming that in some way it maps out a likely future in Germany, Europe, or anywhere else – in the way that Shavit and so many Zionists do, is a very grave mistake indeed.
    If one is to make one’s way into a reasonably hopeful future, it is necessary to think seriously about the more catastrophic elements of recent European history – and in particular, Soviet Communism and German National Socialism. A problem with the ‘neoconservative consensus’ which has dominated Western thinking for a generation is that it is based on facile readings of both.

  78. LeaNder says:

    Growing up, we knew that he came from Mainz …
    Jim Lobe’s family, Babak refers to him somewhere further down, was from nearby Frankfurt.
    In my private exchanges with him I found out both that and that he was a fan of Daniel Cohn Bendit when he studied in France, just as I was in earlier times. Still am, although, I wish he had slightly better controlled his anger in a recent TV appearance over here.
    It got a little murky of course emotionally for me when I stumbled across a longer paper about “us German post 1968 ‘leftists'”, in the post 9/11 universe via a temporary link in American academic circles.
    Anyway, it taught me that I could have never liked both Cohn-Bendit and sympathized in my own moderate ways with the left. Since the whole 1968 generation were actually anti-Semites the paper had it. … Not that I hadn’t somewhat suspected that picking up the side of one of former Nazi’s central enemies (one and the same?) seemed to be a bit of a too easy way out. Just as it often turned out that some of the most ardent leftists, intend on bringing the message to the workers, gave up their creed for a career along their way. Not Daniel from my limited perspective, by the way. 😉
    Ever stumbled across academic efforts trying to prove it might be more helpful to emphasize the “socialist” part of the National Socialists? …
    Mind you, I only realized to what extend I may have myself encountered or touched the diverse agencies or arms of the larger no doubt complex intelligence agents in Berlin at the time. Didn’t stay there very long. What made me rethink matters were facts from the larger alternative scene around a friend, who lived in Berlin much longer then I did. He told me about some of the biographies among other things. …
    “Berlin, capital of the GDR, is the capital of the GDR”=Berlin die Hauptstadt der DDR ist the Hauptstadt der DDR. As we joked at the time. It didn’t have the feel and touch of a system you wanted to live in either. Definitively not. The repression was easy to see.

  79. LeaNder says:

    Thanks a lot, by the way. But this deserves a deeper reflection.
    The above comment was more from the top of my mind and from a more personal layer. 😉

  80. A.I.Schmelzer says:

    The Russians are pretty fond of YPJ as well.
    Referring to Ludmilla Pavlichenko as your role model goes pretty well with Russian audiences.
    YPJ does a lot of different things pretty well, they are a morale booster (very few male Kurds will run while YPJ is still fighting, doing so would be the equivalent of social castration), greatly ease interactions with civilians (zero risk of rape by YPJ, greatly diminished risk of other occupation related stuff like looting etc. ), they are propaganda gold externally.
    They increase limited kurdish manpower as well.
    I would also add that they are fairly “cheap” in terms of upkeep and equipment.
    Loyalists got plenty of female fighters as well, but more generally as individual snipers, much less as organized units.

Comments are closed.