Sunday, January 31, 2010


This is coolbert:

"be on qui vive--or else."

Or else you are DEAD!!

The "jock" elite military unit. A figment of the imagination? Elite athletes, professional or otherwise, forming a distinct military unit. Persons of accomplishment on the athletic field, physically very fit individuals, known winners, team players, comprising a unit of very physically fit winners!!

A "jock" unit, an unstoppable and unbeatable combination on the battlefield? But, a mirage for the most part. Only in the figment of someones imagination.


From the era of World War One [WW1], we have the troops of the Gas and Flame Division.

"Remembering baseball hall of famers who served in the Chemical Corps"

"All of these men were assigned to the Gas and Flame Division where they trained soldiers in preparation for chemical attacks by exposing them to gas chambers in a controlled environment."

"athletes from the gridiron, polo fields, and race tracks were assigned to the 'Gas and Flame Division' as instructors"

A "jock" military unit comprised of star athletes, training the troops in the intricacies of chemical warfare. Dangerous stuff and not "sissy" duty.

Persons [athletes] to include:

* Frank "Home Run" Baker.
* Frank Chance.
* Ty Cobb.
* Christy Mathewson.
* George Sisler.
* Branch Rickey. [President St. Louis Cardinals]
* Perry Haughton. [President Boston Braves]

[all the above except for the latter two pre-eminent players of dead-ball era.]

Training that according to Ty Cobb, involved the use of lethal gas, perhaps at less than full strength but still enough to kill! [as recounted in his autobiography written in concert with Al Stump!]

Troops with instructors, placed into a gas chamber, poisonous gas introduced, the troops having to safely mask and protect themselves as if they were on the battlefield. Hazardous duty dangerous to troops and instructors both!!

[an episode of the public broadcast television series "Antique Roadshow" on one occasion featured a person who had a WW1 barracks roster that listed the names of Cobb, Chance, Mathewson, Baker all residing in the same quarters!! Such an "item" would be of some value??!!]


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quemoy & Matsu.

This is coolbert:

"A-bombs can be you would use a bullet"

From Reuters, the headline for today:

"WRAPUP 9-China, U.S. feud over Taiwan arms sales"

"* Beijing suspends Sino-U.S. military exchanges."

The continual adversarial relationship between Communist China and the U.S. again encounters the "festering sore" of Taiwan. American military equipment manufacturers selling the latest and most -up-to-date gear to the Taiwanese. To the extreme displeasure of the communist government in Beijing.

Taiwan, the stronghold of those Chinese anti-communists that fled the Chinese mainland in 1949, over sixty years ago now, still a major sticking point between the Chinese and the U.S.

China, seeking dominion over Taiwan and the obliteration of the traditional anti-communist Chinese movement [Koumintang KMT], angry at the U.S.

Anger, hardly without precedent.

From over fifty years ago now, we have the Taiwan Strait Crisis One and Two.

The little, itty-bitty islands of Quemoy and Matsu. Mere specks of land. Mostly forgotten now, but at one time, A POINT OF CONTENTION THAT NEARLY LEAD ON TWO OCCASIONS TO A WORLD WAR AND THE USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!

" . . . in 1949, with Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang (KMT) . . . abandoning the Chinese mainland and establishing a refuge on the island of Taiwan (also known as Formosa). This became, along with the islands of Matsu and Quemoy, the sole territory under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China."


The First Taiwan Strait Crisis (1954-1955).

The Second Taiwan Strait Crisis (1958).

[Quemoy and Matsu are only eight miles from mainland China. The Taiwan Strait is about 100 miles across, a formidable obstacle to an amphibious assault in a way Quemoy and Matsu were not!]

Taiwan, Quemoy and Matsu, NOT originally seen as being vital to American interests, becoming vital to U.S. national interests, so much so that war with China was contemplated during both of the Taiwan Strait Crisis [I & II]!

"On 05 January 1950 President Harry Truman announced that 'the United States will not involve in the dispute of Taiwan Strait', which meant America would not intervene if the Chinese communists were to attack Taiwan."

Recall that the under the pronouncement of Dean Acheson prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, Taiwan, Quemoy and Matsu were not included as being WITHIN the American sphere of interest.

In case of war with China over Quemoy and Matsu, the Eisenhower administration had made the decision in advance that nuclear weapons would be used, the deliberations had already been held and the authorization been made? It seems to be so!

And you have to ask yourself if the defense of Quemoy and Matsu would have been worth the use of atomic weapons? Surely the consequences would have been extremely severe!

The Taiwan Strait Crisis One and Two did not result in a war between China and the U.S. However, the continuing tensions, the prolonged and intense artillery bombardment of these two islands, was A MAJOR NEWS ITEM IN THE U.S. FOR SOME TIME. I can very well recall that the daily tally of artillery rounds hitting Quemoy and Matsu was always included in the evening news.

An artillery bombardment, more or less regular, that continued FOR A PERIOD OF OVER TWENTY YEARS!!

"Afterwards, both sides continued to bombard each other with shells containing propaganda leaflets on alternate days of the week. This strange informal arrangement continued until the normalization of ties between the US and PRC in 1979."

Quemoy and Matsu! Going to war with China over these itty-bitty disputed islands would have been worth it? Much less using atomic bombs? I think NOT!


Friday, January 29, 2010


This is coolbert:

The movie being reviewed is:

"The Last King of Scotland"

"The Last King of Scotland tells the fictional story of Dr. Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), a young Scottish doctor who travels to Uganda and becomes the personal physician to the dictator Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker). The film is based on factual events of Amin's rule."

I rate this movie as good, no more than that. Worth seeing, but not a masterpiece. The rise and fall of Idi Amin Dada, as seen through the eyes of a fictional doctor Garrigan.


* Amin did indeed have a fascination with all things Scottish. Two of his children had Scottish names, Mackenzie and Campbell. The latter undoubtedly named in honor of Colin Campbell Mitchell, the British army officer who "made" Amin!

* Amin had organized a Scottish-like pipe and drum corps, marching bagpipe playing band, complete uniforms, kilts and all!

* The infamous swimming pool scene is inaccurate. As shown in the French documentary "Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait", Amin enters the pool AFTER his cabinet ministers, NOT before.

* There was a real-life white Englishman, a fawning toady, opportunist and "advisor" to Amin that the character of Garrigan was based upon. This is "Major Bob" Astles, the Ugandan "White Rat". A man whose role during the rule of Amin is disputed and controversial to say the least!!

* In my opinion, the best cinematic depiction of Amin that I have seen was by Yaphet Kotto: "Raid on Entebbe".

* It has often been suggested that Amin WAS A MAD MAN!! Insane, beyond reason and reach! More probably - - the man - - WAS JUST A PLAIN OLD ORDINARY BAD GUY!!


Thursday, January 28, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here, first, from Daniel Pipes, the "Twenty-Seven Articles" of T.E. Lawrence:

1. "The 27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence".

"published in The Arab Bulletin, August 20, 1917, and bearing the supremely modest title, 'Twenty-Seven Articles.' In it, Lawrence offers his 'personal conclusions, arrived at gradually while [he] worked in the Hejaz and now put on paper . . . for beginners in the Arab armies.' He adds that the rules 'are meant to apply only to Bedu [Bedouin]'"

A GUIDE - - a cookbook like attempt to put into the proverbial nutshell the various "do" and "don't" for those British officers during World War One [WW1] seeing service as "advisers" to the Arab insurgents, the guerrilla movements fighting the Turks. A GUIDE intended specifically for those British officer serving with the Bedu, the Bedouin, and not applicable to other Arabic speaking groups!

As experienced and written by the great man himself. T.E. Lawrence. Lawrence, at the end of WW1, rated by Churchill as one of the seven most important men in the world. Lawrence, according to the granddaughter of Sir Winston, even saving the life of Churchill on one occasion!!

This particular admonition of Lawrence catches your attention: "Get to speak their dialect of Arabic, not yours"?

There is a standard form of Arabic, but a multitude of dialects, not all mutually comprehensible?

The "Twenty-Seven Articles" are today obligatory reading for those American officers serving with "national" units in Iraq and Afghan? Keeping in mind that Lawrence had the Bedu in mind, not all the tidbits of wisdom as espoused by Lawrence are instantly and totally transferable?

NOW, secondly: from the noted blogger who goes by the nom de plume of Spengler, and keeping in mind the language admonition of Lawrence:

2. "Why America Is Losing the Intelligence War, Redux"

"CNN reports that a senior US military intelligence officer, Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, condemns as incompetent the American intelligence-gathering effort in Afghanistan."

And, according to Spengler:

"The trouble [intelligence failure] stems from a deep American aversion to foreign languages."

"Today’s only superpower cannot recruit enough Arabic translators to handle routine intercepts"

There is a solution to the language problem? A solution, that for political reasons, the U.S. military does NOT avail itself of?

There is living within the borders of the U.S. an abundance of native Arabic speakers. I am speaking about the many tens of thousands of Sephardic Jews and Coptic Christian Egyptians that are residents of the U.S., citizens and otherwise. Persons in addition also familiar with the Middle Eastern culture and the mind set of the locals.

Even a student of Arabic, recently graduated from the Defense Language Institute [DLI] is probably not proficient in the many various dialects and colloquial forms of Arabic, and even after a year or more of intensive training, NOT able to communicate with the locals?

And as for Afghan, the speakers of Dari and Pashtu are even far fewer and even less proficient? What are we to make of all this? Rely upon translators of dubious reliability? I guess so!!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This is coolbert:

"Fight the enemy with weapons you have, and he does not" - - Suvorov.

Here thanks to DangerRoom.

"Call Off Drone War, Influential U.S. Adviser Says"

"an influential adviser to American policymakers is raising his voice against the unmanned attacks"

This from David Kilcullen. A very influential "expert" on counter-insurgency. A man whose ideas are listened to by the top echelons of command.

Drone strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan are at issue here. Too many civilians are getting blown away along with bad guys?

Becoming counter-productive, alienating the populace of Pakistan, reducing the possibility of Pakistan continuing as a viable and important partner in the global-war-against-terror [GWOT]? Drone attacks must either cease or be severely limited. "Fight the enemy with weapons you have, but he does not" is no longer an option here?

And if David says it is so, it must be so. He is an "expert".

According to David:

"using drones to attack those militants 'increase the number and radicalism of Pakistanis who support extremism, and thus undermine the key strategic program of building a willing and capable partner in Pakistan'"


"Before U.S. Air Force drones hit targets in Afghanistan as part of pre-planned operations, lawyers and intelligence officers in the Combined Air and Space Operations Center match it with cell-phone intercepts, informants’ tips, and 'pattern of life' analyses on the intended targets. Other airmen estimate the likelihood of civilian casualties, with 'Raindrop,' a classified simulation tool that models local traffic patterns, structural compositions, and bomb blast patterns. It’s a process so rigorous that even Human Rights Watch says that the chances of civilian casualties are near nil, when it’s followed"

David too qualifies his statement by saying that there certainly is a need and use for drones to "take out" your opposition, if used judicially. Exactly, and that is the value type of judgements already being made!!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Pirate Radio?

This is coolbert:

"now come on generals lets move fast, your big chance is here at last.
nite you go out and get those reds cuz the only good commie is one thats dead, you know that peace can only be won, when you blow em all to kingdom come." - - Country Joe and the Fish!

Here from the wiki entry on Art Bell:

"Bell served in the U.S. Air Force as a medic during the Vietnam War, and, in his free time, operated a pirate radio station at Amarillo Air Force Base. He would go out of his way to play anti-war music (like 'Eve of Destruction' and 'Fortunate Son') that was not aired on the American Forces Network."

See my prior blog entry on the subject of GI pirate radio during the Vietnam era. From sometime ago now, but still a topic of interest, something I was not aware of, and I thought I had heard it almost all about Vietnam!

IT WAS possible for an airman to set up and operate, ON A MILITARY FACILITY, a "pirate" radio station that would broadcast "prohibited views and music"!

There were others stations of this type out there during the duration of the Vietnam War? I know that I did hear anti-war, counter-culture type music being played at the base theatre, Camp Humphreys, Korea, 1969. In particular, the tune: "Vietnam Song" by Country Joe and the Fish!

DJ Dave of Vietnam "pirate radio" was a reality then? Stranger things have happened!



This is coolbert:

Here from an Iranian news source [?], the type of news headline that causes a diplomatic demarche [protest] to be lodged!

"dé⋅marche – noun - 1. an action or gesture by a diplomat, esp. a formal appeal, protest, or the like."

"Report: US weapon test aimed at Iran caused Haiti quake"

"An unconfirmed report by the Russian Northern Fleets says the Haiti earthquake was caused by a flawed US Navy 'earthquake weapons' test before the weapons could be utilized against Iran."

"United States Navy test of one of its 'earthquake weapons' which was to be used against Iran, went 'horribly wrong' and caused the catastrophic quake in the Caribbean, the website of Venezuela's ViVe TV recently reported, citing the Russian report."

Disinformation of an untrue and hysterical nature that just is intended to whip up anti-American sentiment! A grievously wrong-headed malevolently thinking mentality is at work here. Stirring up a pot when none needs to be stirred?

Reports of a spurious nature from the Russians and Hugo Chavez, purportedly. Allies of the Iranians, anti-American, further signs of a disturbing trend!

At first I thought they were thinking too of the "earthquake bombs" of the Tallboy or Grand Slam variety. Massively huge penetrator weapons, Massive Ordnance Penetrator type weaponry dropped on hardened targets, creating a cavity in the earth into which the foundations of the target, hardened and deemed as impervious to conventional attack, collapse and fall!

Weaponry, massive penetrator weapons designed to "take out" the Iranian atomic sites, those facilities involved in the Iranian "bomb" project we have been hearing so much about.

In this particular case, the Alaskan HAARP project and facility is to blame? A favorite topic of Art Bell and other conspiracy theorists. A supposed TOP SECRET project that most everyone knows a smidgen about.

Please folks, this type of Cold War style propaganda is not needed. Is very counter-productive and even downright EVIL!!



Sunday, January 24, 2010

The White Messiah III. [End]

This is coolbert:

"China shall be my Greece.”

“ To speak of the end of all wars is like speaking of the end of all earthquakes.”

“ Whenever there is fighting, there are opportunities for leadership.”

“ Battles are no longer the spectacular heroics of the past. The army of today and tomorrow is [a] sombre, gigantic machine.”

“ The most promiscuous murderer in the world is an ignorant military officer.”

“ The only justifiable war is revolution.”

- - Homer Lea.

Here is the American "White Messiah" - - Homer Lea.

"Homer Lea (November 17, 1876—November 1, 1912), was an American author of works on geopolitics who became military advisory and general in the army of Sun Yat-sen."

Homer Lea, American military strategic and geo-political thinker AND general officer IN THE CHINESE REVOLUTIONARY ARMY OF DR. SUN YAT-SEN!!

Homer, a man who from the earliest age, fancied himself to be a military man, a leader of genius. By age eighteen, had "studied" the military campaigns of Napoleon. Received an admission to the military academy at West Point but was dismissed for frail health. A man of obvious learning and intellect, matriculating from Stanford, having a sound background in military history and politics, in love with all things Chinese.

"he could discourse for hours on the campaigns of Hannibal, Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon."

"Lea’s Chinese idol was the Martial Monk, Chu Yuan Chang who overthrew the Mongols and founded the great Ming dynasty in 1378."

A man too, however, of poor physical health, deformed, a hunchback, diminutive in stature [4' 11" weighing less than 100 pounds!]! THE LEAST LIKELY CANDIDATE POSSIBLE FOR A MAN ASPIRING TO A MILITARY CAREER!

Physical frailties notwithstanding, Homer Lea was able to ingratiate himself with those Chinese seeking to overthrow the Chinese Imperial dynastic system that had ruled China for over 2,000 years. HOMER - - A MAN WITHOUT ANY MILITARY EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER, BECOMING A GENERAL OFFICER AND CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE CHINESE REVOLUTIONARY ARMY!!

Here is a photo of Homer in the uniform of a Chinese general officer. Homer made a deliberate effort to cultivate the appearance of a Chinese person?

[it should be noted that Homer on those limited occasions when he did lead and command troops in battle - - WAS UNIFORMLY UNSUCCESSFUL!!]

As a writer of geo-political and strategic thought, the ideas of Homer Lea were received favorably and caught the attention of those at the highest level and echelons of political and military command! Persons to include:

* Lenin. [Vladimir Ilych]
* Adna Chaffee. [Chief of Staff, U.S. Army]
* Douglas Mac Arthur. [no introduction needed]
* Gen. Hans von Seeckt.
* Lord Roberts. [Kandahar]
* Clare Boothe Luce. [publisher/Congresswoman/influential socialite]

Homer Lea still has a following and is kindly thought of to this day in Taiwan! See this web site devoted to Lea. [when Homer spoke of China as being his Greece, Lea had Lord Byron in mind!]

Homer Lea, the American "White Messiah", who for a short time moved very big on the world stage. Who would have ever thought such a thing was possible at the time!!


Saturday, January 23, 2010


This is coolbert:

Well, this is a surprise? But a reasonable explanation does exist? YES!

"Report: Hezbollah trains on missiles"

JERUSALEM, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- "Syria has allowed Lebanese Hezbollah militants to train with advanced anti-aircraft missiles in its territory, a U.S. source says."

". . . Hezbollah operatives trained in Syria on SA2 anti-aircraft missile batteries, and that Israel has warned Damascus that if such weapons are given to the Shiite Arab militants, Jerusalem would view it as crossing an undeclared 'red line,'"

A RED LINE in the sand that must not be crossed. WAR will be the result. Military action against Syria, Hezbollah, etc. A regional conflict, retaliation, etc. NOT pretty.

The operatives of Hezbollah, the BEST LIGHT INFANTRY IN THE WORLD - - now being trained on "advanced" rocketry? SA-2 missiles, a Soviet surface-to-air design first deployed in 1957. The "Guideline" missile, called S-75 "Dvina" by the Soviets, produced and deployed in enormous numbers all over the world.

Encountered by American pilots in the skies over North Vietnam, and by Israeli pilots over the Suez Canal. Not necessarily anymore considered to be an "advanced" air defense weapon. For some time, counter-measures that work against the SA-2 have been in the inventory of the various "western" powers, including Israel.

"The Lavochkin OKB S-75 . . . is a Soviet designed high-altitude, command guided, surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. Since its first deployment in 1957, it has become the most widely deployed and used air defense missile in history."

It is strange indeed that the Hezbollah fighters are training and preparing to deploy [?] such an antiquated "beast" into combat against the Israeli? This is the intent? Surely more modern and up-to-date surface-air-missiles can be acquired and utilized by the "best light infantry" in the world?

The intent is to use the SA-2 as a short-range-ballistic missile? THERE IS SUCH A VERSION OF THE SA-2 ALREADY IN THE HANDS OF THE IRANIANS!! CALLED THE TONDAR-69!! The Iranians recently DID test fire the Tondar with good results, photos of the launch being shown in the international media.

"The standard S-75 SAM is also capable of being used against land targets, and its crews were taught how to aim the missile. Recent pictures have shown Iranian S-75s fired in surface-surface mode."

The Tondar is based upon the Chinese CSS-8? The Chinese, for some time now, have taken missiles dedicated to the air defense mission, and modified them so they could be employed against ground targets. Missiles that in the ground role have a pretty good range and punch!!

"The CSS-8 can deploy its payload to any range between 50 and 150 km (31 and 93 miles). Its payload is typically equipped with a single 190 or 250 kg HE warhead."

Hezbollah - - right now - - is preparing for the eventual delivery of Tondar-69 from Iran. Allowing a capability to hit any target in Israel with impunity! Such a CAPABILITY ALONE could lead to a regional war?

This is all most troubling!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The White Messiah II.

This is coolbert:

Again, thanks here to Steve through Taki for the angle and lead-in to this blog entry.

The "White Messiah" was a popular theme in the various science-fiction writings of the famous sci-fi author Robert Heinlein. Heinlein, as previously has been noted, himself a military man, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.

To refresh, as shown in the recent cinematic block-buster - - Avatar:

"[the] main plot—a human soldier teams up with a seemingly primitive but actually wise alien tribe to prevent an evil Earthling mining company from despoiling their sacred tropical homeland"

Is a plot and theme: "found in Heinlein’s 1948 'young adult' story Space Cadet"

And also in additional works of Heinlein:

* Red Planet. (1949)
* Between Planets. (1951)

"In these, the heroes are human settlers on Mars or Venus who enlist the admirable indigenous aliens in their fight for planetary independence from the oligarchic rulers of Earth."

The "White Messiah" genre' is not limited to a series of popular movies, is also the stuff as found in "fantasy" literature as well? At least in the writing and imagination of Robert Heinlein!


Air Drop!

This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune today:

Discussing the air-drops of supplies, vitally needed, to the populace of Haiti.

Air-drops previously ruled out as TOO dangerous to those on the ground.

"Troops flood in, Haitians out"

"The 82nd Airborne carried out it first air drop of food and water in Port-au-Prince. A C-17 cargo plane dropped 40 skids of water and packaged military meals to a SECURED DROP ZONE [my emphasis!] in the city . . . The skids contained 14,000 gallons of bottle water and 125,000 meals, wrapped in canvas and attached to parachutes for the drop"

Unfortunate as it is, these air-drops can be mortally physically dangerous to those on the ground. A pallet of supplies, weighing a pretty good amount and being parachuted to the ground, having a velocity, represents a danger to anyone foolish enough and naive enough to be under the pallet as it descends.

See my previous blog entry on this topic from long time ago now. Allied prisoners-of-war, Canadians imprisoned on the island of Formosa [Taiwan], in the aftermath of Japanese surrender, hit and killed by pallets air-dropped from B-29 bombers. Pallets of life giving supplies, heavy, an instrument of death rather than life!!

[A battalion of Canadians were captured by the Japanese while defending Hong Kong, 1941!]

In this case, the drop-zone was secured, guarded, the pallets coming to earth safely without danger to those on the ground! No need to exacerbate an already tense situation!

Al L.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


This is coolbert:

You know that this particular article would catch my attention and interest right away!

"Morphine Combats Post-Traumatic Stress"

"U.S. combat soldiers in Iraq who received a shot of morphine within an hour of being wounded were less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, researchers reported on Wednesday."

U.S. troops wounded in Iraq are being given an antidote, a prophylactic against PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder].

And injection of morphine - - NOT necessarily being given to alleviate pain! Being given with the hope of averting future occurrences of PTSD!

An experimental procedure that is worth a try?

"The painkiller injections are no guarantee of preventing PTSD . . . but the findings may help doctors find a better way to prevent the debilitating psychic strain of combat."

Throughout history, even going back thousands of years, soldiers the world-over have found ways for dealing with the "debilitating psychic strain of combat"! "Ways" that usually involved the consumption of a "substance".

Within the western cultural domain, the popular "substance" of choice has been the consumption of alcoholic beverage, wine or beer or even hard spirits. Within the Asian cultural domain, the "substance" has usually been opiates taken in some form.

Even the Zulu - - a war-like nation, a "primitive" culture by western standards, as has been noted in previous blog entries, had military medicine and practitioners of same that possessed a whole range of "substances" that aided the warrior during combat! Calming of the mind and enhancing the perceptions being a primary goal!

The meditative practices of Hindu yoga and Zen Buddhism as found in Japan had an origin in the desire of the military man, the warrior, to again, calm the mind and prepare for the psychic stress of mortal combat?

The Iraqi jihadi too has been reported to imbibe the substance BZ prior to embarking on suicide missions against U.S. forces! A modern day version of the hashshashin from olden times?

There IS NOT NOW and NEVER will be an easy an instantaneous "magic bullet" that will allow doctors to treat the malady of PTSD? Amelioration yes - - CURE NO!



This is coolbert:

By now, we are all aware of the unmitigated earthquake disaster that has occurred in Haiti. A catastrophe of the worst possible proportions. NOT ONLY damage on an enormous scale, but those persons [first-responders], institutions, facilities, infrastructure, and equipment that would normally be needed for disaster relief have also been killed, injured, destroyed or rendered unusable.

OUTSIDE help is coming, and is the only recourse available now. Massive outside help from a variety of nations and sources that will rely heavily upon the U.S. military for support.

ONLY yesterday, the naval hospital ship USNS Comfort has sailed from Baltimore and will be on station, ready to assist probably this coming week.

Please ready my recent series of blog entries regarding the hospital ship beginning here.

It surprises [?] that the U.S. Navy still has any hospital ships afloat. The Comfort is a one of a kind? The U.S. Navy represents the LAST naval force in the world that could afford to keep such a vessel up-and-going?

Able to provide medical support on the basis of a floating hospital. Can accommodate up to two hundred fifty [250] in-bed patients.

Patients will have to be flown by helicopter to the Comfort, the ship anchored off-shore and not daring to enter port? Afraid of being swamped by an enormous number of persons seeking refuge and medical aid.

Providing medical aid during humanitarian operations is not a new phenomenon for the Comfort.

"she provides mobile surgical hospital service for use by appropriate US Government agencies in disaster or humanitarian relief or limited humanitarian care incident to these missions or peacetime military operations."

"When not actively deployed, Comfort is kept in a state of reduced operations in Baltimore harbor. She has been used many times over the years and has been ready to ship out of Baltimore with 5 days' notice."

[the Comfort was up and under way in less than the five days!]

The Comfort has a pretty good record of providing aid during both military and humanitarian operations. THIS IS THE THIRD VISIT OF THE COMFORT TO HAITI IN RECENT YEARS!!

Operations to include:

* Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm
* Operation Sea Signal. [Haiti]
* Operation Uphold Democracy. [Haiti]
* Operation Noble Eagle.
* Operation Iraqi Freedom.
* Joint Task Force Katrina. [New Orleans]
* Operation Continuing Promise. [Caribbean and Latin America]
* NOW 2010 Haitian Earthquake.

The Comfort and the capabilities it can deploy are sorely needed and NOW. And will represent ONLY a drop in the bucket of the aid needed, now and long-term? Haiti is in dire straits and this situation is not going to be ameliorated soon, possibly NOT for a long time in the future!!

Good luck Comfort.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The White Messiah I.

This is coolbert:

Thanks here to Steve for the lead-in and angle to this particular blog entry!

"Avatar", the latest blockbuster science-fiction [sci-fi] cinematic hit by the famous movie director James Cameron, has generated some mild controversy, allegedly for the use of a racial stereotype. A stereotype found from time to time in Hollywood productions.

The stereotype of "The White Messiah fable."

"This is the oft-repeated story about a manly young adventurer who goes into the wilderness in search of thrills and profit. But, once there, he meets the native people and finds that they are noble and spiritual and pure. And so he emerges as their Messiah, leading them on a righteous crusade against his own rotten civilization."

The "natives", the indigenous people of a locale, so-called "primitives", at the mercy of and under attack by a covetous and brutal group of "outsiders" [usually "white" western civilization], finding a champion who is himself a "white man". A man too possessing a military background and an extraordinary set of skills, and a profound charisma and leadership ability. The "white messiah" organizing and leading the indigenous and oppressed people to victory in mortal combat against the oppressors [whitey gets his just due!].

With regard to "Avatar", a sci-fi thriller:

"Avatar is a racial fantasy par excellence. The hero is a white former Marine who is adrift in his civilization. He ends up working with a giant corporation and flies through space to help plunder the environment of a pristine planet and displace its natives."

This Hollywood genre of the "White Messiah" has made for some popular movies:

* "The Mission." [Robert De Niro]
* "A Man Called Horse." [Richard Harris]
* "Dances With Wolves." [Kevin Kostner]
* "The Man Who Would be King." [Sean Connery]

Indeed, amazingly so, there have actually been such persons as the "White Messiah"!

Such individuals as Brookes Raja of Sarawak, T.E. Lawrence, Orde Wingate.

Wingate, a Captain in the British Army serving in British Mandated Palestine, preaching Zionism to the Zionists, quoting the Bible to rabbis, a man of zealousness and BELIEVING THAT HE WAS DIVINELY ORDAINED TO LEAD THE JEWS OF PALESTINE INTO BATTLE [in the book Exodus by Leon Uris, Wingate is referred to as P.P. Malcolm]!! Wingate impressed the Palestinian Jews to such an extent that Ben Gurion had made the decision to offer the command of the Israeli army to Wingate if the man had survived World War Two [Wingate tragically did not survive!].

The fable of the "White Messiah" is not necessarily then such a fable. Has a basis in fact, is not a racial or racist stereotype as generally perceived, but has an element of truth, and can and does make for some good movies!!



This is coolbert:

A protest song against the "Stop-Loss" policy of the U.S. Army has landed an American soldier in big time trouble? The man is now in the stockade awaiting trial. And all this because of a "song" with hip-hop lyrics?

"Stop-loss, in the United States military, is the involuntary extension of a service member's active duty service under the enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service (ETS) date."

"Is hip-hop a crime? Army imprisoned soldier over lyrical ‘threats’"

"Like Obama says somebody be held responsible
But some of you all gonna be held in the hospitals, whenever possible
I’m gonna round up all eventually, easily, walk right up peacefully
And surprise them all Yes, yes y’all, up against the wall, turn around
I got a motherfuckin’ magazine with 30 rounds, on a three round burst
Ready to fire down, spray and watch the bodies all hit the floor
I bet you don’t stop-loss nobody no more,
in your next lifetime of course"

The lyricist, Specialist Hall, charged under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice [UCMJ]. Intemperate speech that seems to advocate violence against other members of the military.

Specialist Hall, now incarcerated, having only about slightly more than two months remaining on his contract, now detained and in trouble.

" [Hall] [in a] Virginia jail after being charged with a violation of Article 134, which governs 'all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital'"

Hall is indeed protesting the "stop-loss" policy of the U.S. Army? Protesting where no protest is allowed!!

And the man too may possibly be in violation of UCMJ Article 88 as well? NO criticism of the President or members of Congress is allowed! Members of the military must remain mum regarding their attitudes and opinions of the Commander-In-Chief!

Specialist Hall is going to need a good lawyer. Specialist Hall is now in the "stop-loss" program, but not in a way as he intended!



This is coolbert:

Some slight corrections and qualifications regarding a previous blog entry.

Umar the Christmas Day suicide airplane bomber:

* Did buy a round-trip, two-way ticket, NOT a one way ticket.

* Did pay cash, buying the ticket[s] in Ghana - - his flight originating from Lagos [Nigeria].

NONE of this is totally out of the ordinary? Might have raised "some" eyebrows if the man was purchasing tickets and departing from a domestic U.S. airport, but not necessarily so when his flight originated "overseas".


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Air Marshals.

This is coolbert:

Here with some interesting statistics regarding the U.S. Air Marshal service. Those armed guards riding "shotgun" on certain specific airline flights, domestic and international.

Armed para-military guards ready to fight it out with hijackers and terrorists.

Thanks to Time magazine:

* In the 1990's, prior to 9/11, the total contingent of air marshals in federal service was thirty [30].

* In the aftermath of 9/11, the air marshal service has been dramatically expanded, there now being no less than 4,000 marshals available and "on call".

* Total number of arrests made in the eight years since 9/11 has been FOUR. That amounts to about $200 million per arrest taking into account all the money spent on the air marshal program!

* There has been only one instance where the air marshals have had to kill a passenger? A man threatening that he had a bomb, disembarking from an aircraft, shot and killed as he exited the plane!

[There were no air marshals on the Christmas Day flight to Detroit that was nearly blown out of the sky!]

Price and cost cannot be a consideration with regard to the deployment of the air marshals. Even stopping one hijacking or terrorist incident would be worth it!?

Also, here is a description of an "incident" - - from over four years ago now, where the mere presence of air marshals and armed bodyguards on an Israeli El Al flight thwarted the arrest of an Israeli general - - a man for which a warrant had been issued:

"Why Israeli general avoided Heathrow arrest"

"Major-General Doron Almog avoided arrest in September 2005 after he was tipped off that officers planned to detain him on landing at Heathrow airport."
. . .

"police did not board the plane to detain him at the airport because they were worried about the dangers of an armed confrontation."

Aboard that El Al flight were not ONLY the standard Israeli air marshals - - armed and ready to fight, but also the personal bodyguard of General Almog, also armed and ready to fight.

And too, probably almost every Israeli citizen on that El AL flight, they also would have been ready to fight, with their bare hands if necessary, using krav maga, the vast majority of those Israeli passengers having military training and experience?!

Those British cops were skittish, and with good reason!!

I may be wrong about this, but that El Al aircraft by international law and protocol is considered to be sovereign territory of Israel? Inviolate from armed intrusion by outsiders. Such a confrontation, an attempt to board that plane and arrest General Almog - - WOULD HAVE CONSTITUTED AN ACT OF WAR BY THE BRITISH AGAINST ISRAEL!!

With all that would mean!!


Saturday, January 9, 2010

HMS Victory.

This is coolbert:

Here with some interesting factoids concerning HMS Victory. The flagship of "Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar." [thanks to the wiki in all instances.]

The Victory, a First Rate ship of the line, even for the time, an extraordinary vessel and warship.

"the First Rate comprised those ships mounting 100 guns or more on three gundecks."

1. A First Rate ship, even when completed, at great expense, immediately placed in mothballs for a period of THIRTEEN YEARS!!

"she was placed in ordinary—in reserve, roofed over, dismasted and placed under general maintenance—moored in the River Medway for 13 years"

2. A ship, the construction of which required, just for this one vessel, the felling of an entire forest.

"used around 6000 trees, 90% of which were oak and the remainder elm, pine and fir."

That works out to about a half-mile [1/2] square of solid old growth oak forest, each acre having about fifty trees of considerable stature and girth. From the waterline down, the Victory had planking that was TWO FEET THICK. Not sure if this was solid, laminate, or overlap!

[it would be impossible to construct a ship the size of the Victory today, finding timbers of the requisite size? The wood required in the proper dimensions WOULD JUST NOT BE AVAILABLE?]

3. The firepower of the Victory was impressive - - to say the least!

The weight of shot as fired by a single salvo [is that the correct term?] from the vessel, each and every of the one hundred and four [104] guns carried by the warship firing ONCE, was equal to an army of 30,000 men-a-foot, each and every foot soldier discharging his Brown Bess musket a single time!!! [this precludes those infantrymen having and firing their own organic cannon!]

As I said, statistics and factoids, impressive, almost overwhelming in nature.


Monday, January 4, 2010


This is coolbert:

Thanks here to the PBS television program "The Ascent of Money" for the background material to this blog entry.

The Somali pirates - - and their setting up of a "stock exchange" has been the topic of a recent previous blog entry. A means by which private investors, foreign and domestic, can "invest" - - purchase stock and shares in "adventures" - - money making schemes of a quasi-military nature that return a dividend.

From four hundred years ago, we find a definite precedent for this sort of thing. Private investors providing finance, purchasing stock and obtaining shares in an "adventure" - - again - - of a quasi-military nature.

This was the The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC).

"the first company to issue stock. It was also arguably the world's first megacorporation, possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonies"

VOC, a privately financed institution, governmentally licensed and regulated, a private firm that CONTROLLED the spice trade during the 1600's, issuing stock to investors, handsomely paying dividends of about 18 % for a period of two hundred years.

A private firm, a commercial endeavor with a profit motive, engaging in warfare, the establishment of forts, trading posts, also engaging in diplomacy, negotiating treaties, etc.

Having shipyards that produced both man-of-war and commercial vessels, the former manned by "troops", a PRIVATE ARMY!

The Dutch during the same period [1600's] were very innovative with regard to finance. Again from the PBS series "The Ascent of Money":

"the Dutch financed their war of independence from Spain through a lottery."

"It doesn't matter whether the cat is white or black - - only that it catches mice"!

This is the attitude?


Sunday, January 3, 2010


This is coolbert:

Once more, we find an incident of where history needs to be re-written?

Thanks again to the Jungle Trader blog for the tip:

"Despite claims, UK did not gas Iraqis in the 1920s, new research finds"

Allegations, accepted as fact, common knowledge, HISTORY, that the British in the early 1920's, USED poison gas against Iraqi civilians are without credence. So says new research and scholarly study.

"It has passed as fact among historians, journalists and politicians, and has been recounted everywhere from tourist guidebooks to the floor of the U.S. Congress: British forces used chemical weapons on Iraqis just after World War I."

"But that claim has never been fully squared with the historical record . . . no such incident ever occurred."

The British mandated occupation of Iraq and other areas of the Middle East [British Mesopotamia], in the aftermath of World War One [WW1] created animosity and rebellion on the part of the locals. Tribesmen, Arabs [Kurds too?], seeking autonomy or independence, engaged in rebellion on a limited basis. British military forces employed chemical weaponry in response to the rebellions, so according to the standard history and lore of the region.


Also, the proposal to use gas did not mean using LETHAL CHEMICAL WEAPONRY!! It was proposed to use tear gas, a riot agent, and not lethal chemical munitions as used by the various combatants of WW1.

Read it all!!

"History is like a constantly changing tree" - D. Irving.


22 %.

This is coolbert:

Thanks to Der Spiegel:

"Landmines in the Desert Sand"

"Nazi Landmines Block Egypt's Access to Oil and Gas"

"Egypt is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. The unexploded ordnance left lying in its desert from World War II battles ranks the country right up there with Afghanistan on this dubious list."

"Some 22 million landmines and unexploded ordnance have lain hidden in the northwest of Egypt since World War II"

These mines were laid almost exclusively by the Germans and British, and to a much lesser extent by the Italians? Just around El Alamein alone the Germans placed into the ground a half million or so mines? Prodigious amounts of mines in a small spot. These mine fields to some extent were mapped and marked according to international protocols. Those maps still exist?

"So far, the military has only removed 2.9 million mines and unexploded shells from the core battle area"

This is the Egyptian military. I would have to think that just in the process of removing all that unexploded [UX] ordnance and mines a lot of troops perhaps died in the process. Removal of UX and mines in the western desert of Egypt would pose not so difficult a problem as it would in other locales? I am not sure.

"The former battleground is a treasure trove of raw materials such as oil, natural gas and ore."

"But the mines deny access to a landmass of approximately 22 percent of the national territory"

22 percent of Egypt is off-limits denied territory. NOT safe for anyone to enter for any reason. Too much danger from being blown sky high by a land mine laid down nearly seventy years ago now!!

22 percent of your territory being denied is a very serious matter for the Egyptian. A burgeoning population needs space to live and the over crowed masses living along the Nile need SPACE! Wealth too in the form of oil and gas reserves cannot be gotten to without great risk!



Saturday, January 2, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here are two news items, one confirming history, the other denying it.

Thanks in both cases to the web site Jungle Trader.

1. "Vanished Persian army found in Egyptian desert"

"Archaeologists have found the remains of a great Persian army believed to have disappeared in the Egyptian desert 2,500 years ago."

"According to Greek historian Herodotus, King Cambyses II sent 50,000 warriors to attack the Oasis of Siwa but they disappeared after reaching El-Kharga oasis."

"'A wind arose from the south, strong and deadly, bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which entirely covered up the troops and caused them wholly to disappear,' wrote Herodotus."

An entire Persian army, 50,000 marching on the Oasis of Siwa, engulfed, enveloped, by a sandstorm of prodigious proportions. So much so that the entire army perished, disappearing from the face of the earth, gone and not found, UNTIL NOW!

The Oasis of Siwa is located about five hundred miles west of the Nile, in the Libyan. An OASIS occupied for millenia, and OASIS of life in a desert almost devoid of all life.

An oasis sacred to the god Amon and famous for an oracle. An oracle sought out by Alexander [The Great] who HIMSELF ALSO ALMOST SUCCUMBED [with the most significant portion of his army] TO THE PERIL OF THE Libyan Desert.

"Prior to his campaign of conquest in Persia, Alexander the Great reached the oasis, supposedly by following birds across the desert. The oracle, Alexander's court historians alleged, confirmed him as both a divine personage and the legitimate Pharaoh of Egypt."

The Oasis of Siwa, also an important possession coveted by the various combatants fighting it out in the Libyan Desert during World War Two [WW2].

"The British Army's Long Range Desert Group was based here . . . Rommel's Afrika Korps also took possession three times."

2. "Historians Reassess Battle of Agincourt"

English historians, revisionists, "reassess" Agincourt and say that English victory was not quite triumphal as advertised.

Agincourt. An English army, under the personal command of King Henry, tired, sodden, exhausted, sick, withdrawing to safe quarters, encounters and defeats a much superior and much more numerous French force. A victory - - very decisive and against the odds - - a victory by the English that becomes A THING OF LEGEND!!

[the English are better than the French - - and Agincourt proves it, so is the perspective!!]

NOT so fast now?!

"[an] exhausted English Army against a French force that was said to outnumber his [Henry] by as much as five to one" [this is the common and widely accepted history!!]

"The historians have concluded that the English could not have been outnumbered by more than about two to one. And depending on how the math is carried out, Henry may well have faced something closer to an even fight"

[this is NOW the revisionist history!]

My own perception and instantaneous intuitive reaction is that the figures as generally accepted are probably correct, but just not exactly understood.

* Henry was severely out-numbered, but had a cohesive unified force under his command, fighting as a combined unit. The French were not so!

* All the English actually were committed to battle, the totality of the English force participating in combat. A much smaller percentage of the French force saw combat, the remainder becoming bystanders who after the initial clash of English bowmen and French heavy cavalry, were constricted by the terrain, the wet conditions, and the PILE of dead bodies from entering the fray! The English were focused with their energy, the French were not!

The French, throwing in the towel, having seen enough for one day, "the moral is as to the physical as three is to one" - - Napoleon!!