Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2018

It’s Independence Day here in the US, in which we celebrate our break with the British Empire. We’re 242 years old and, despite what some sanctimonious Lefty scolds might think, I think we’re doing pretty darned good. We’re not without our problems or faults, but I continue to believe America is exceptional among the nations of the world and that we are indeed a force for good. If you’re looking for some good Independence Day reading, there’s always the Declaration of Independence itself. Think of it as a short ideological summation of who and why we are.

Then there’s the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which function as a citizen’s “owner’s manual.” And yes, to those of you in other countries raising an eyebrow about now, we do tend to place those documents on a pedestal. You have to admit, however, they’ve worked well for over two centuries. How many republics and constitutions has France had in that time?

Gosh, it’s become quiet…. Winking

A lot’s been written around the Web about today, so I’ll spare you my musings. Instead, I want to leave you with something that I think symbolizes the best of the “Spirit of 1776:” new American citizens being sworn in at naturalization ceremonies across the country.

Welcome, fellow Americans! 

Happy 4th of July, folks. Enjoy the hot dogs and fireworks. 

UPDATE: Historian Victor Davis Hanson, as always, puts it better than I:

On this troubled Fourth we still should remember this is not 1776 when
New York was in British hands and Americans in retreat across the
state. It is not 1814 when the British burned Washington and the entire
system of national credit collapsed — or July 4, 1864 when Americans
awoke to news that 8,000 Americans had just been killed at Gettysburg.


We are not in 1932 when unemployment was still over 20 percent of the
work force, and industrial production was less than half of what it had
been just three years earlier, or July, 1942, when tens of thousands of
American were dying in convoys and B-17s, and on islands of the Pacific
in an existential war against Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Thank God it is not mid-summer 1950, when Seoul was overrun and arriving
American troops were overwhelmed by Communist forces as they rushed in
to save a crumbling South Korea. We are not in 1968 when the country
was torn apart by the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin
Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the riots at the Democratic
convention in Chicago. And we are not even in the waning days of 1979,
a year in which the American embassy was seized in Tehran and hostages
taken, the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, thousands were still
being murdered in Cambodia, Communism was on the march in Central
America, and our president was blaming our near 6-percent unemployment,
8-percent inflation, 15-percent interest rates, and weakening
international profile on our own collective “malaise.”

We live in the most prosperous and most free years of a wonderful
republic, and can easily rectify our present crises that are largely of
our own making and a result of the stupefying effects of our
unprecedented wealth and leisure. Instead of endless recriminations and
self-pity — of anger that our past was merely good rather than perfect
as we now demand — we need to give thanks this Fourth of July to our
ancestors who created our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and suffered
miseries beyond our comprehension as they bequeathed to us most of the
present wealth, leisure, and freedom we take for granted.

Note: This is an updating of a post I made years ago for this holiday.


D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2018

Seventy-four years ago today, American, British, Canadian, French, and Polish soldiers charged the gates of Hell — and won:

Black Five put up an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs a few years ago. It’s still worth reviewing. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

Photo courtesy of Confederate Yankee.

RELATED: The Daily Mail tells the story of one Medal of Honor winner who still wonders how he survived Normandy.

NOTE: This is a reposting of a post I put up every year in honor of Operation Overlord.


D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2017

Seventy-three years ago today, American, British, Canadian, French, and Polish soldiers charged the gates of Hell — and won:

Black Five put up an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs a few years ago. It’s still worth reviewing. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

Photo courtesy of Confederate Yankee.

RELATED: The Daily Mail tells the story of one Medal of Honor winner who still wonders how he survived Normandy.

NOTE: This is a reposting of a post I put up every year in honor of Operation Overlord.


(Video) VDH on why we fought in Vietnam

May 29, 2017

Another video for Memorial Day. In this case, it’s not America’s Forgotten War, but the war America would like to forget: the Vietnam War. Historian Victor Davis Hanson explains why we fought there and how we lost:

Over the past several years, the reading of recent revisionist histories of the war have convinced me that, for all the domestic turmoil we experienced, we threw away a won war in 1974-75 and that, as I’ve long suspected, following a strategy similar to what we pursued in the second part of the Korean War might well have preserved South Vietnam as an independent state. As Dr. Hanson mentions, our failure to do so had terrible repercussions in Vietnam and in Cambodia.

A parallel with Iraq also inevitably comes to mind: as did Nixon in Vietnam, the Obama administration inherited a divisive war, but a war that was being won. All that was needed was to show endurance and political will to secure the peace. And, again -though not for the same reasons- we failed to do either.

Both conflicts show the need for the United States to come up with a coherent political strategy to secure the victory after we’ve won on the battlefield. We’re great at the latter, but, since Korea, we’ve been terrible at the former.

And Memorial Day is a good day to remind ourselves of the need to fix that, so that the sacrifices of the honored dead aren’t wasted.


Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2016

Sprit_of_'76.2

It’s Independence Day here in the US, in which we celebrate our break with the British Empire. We’re 240 years old and, despite what some sanctimonious Lefty scolds might think, I think we’re doing pretty darned good. We’re not without our problems or faults, for instance two major parties that manage to find the two worst people possible to nominate for president, but I continue to believe America is exceptional among the nations of the world and that we are indeed a force for good. If you’re looking for some good Independence Day reading, there’s always the Declaration of Independence itself. Think of it as a short ideological summation of who and why we are.

Then there’s the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which function as a citizen’s “owner’s manual.” And yes, to those of you in other countries raising an eyebrow about now, we do tend to place those documents on a pedestal. You have to admit, however, they’ve worked well for over two centuries. How many republics and constitutions has France had in that time?

Gosh, it’s become quiet…. Winking

A lot’s been written around the Web about today, so I’ll spare you my musings. Instead, I want to leave you with something that I think symbolizes the best of the “Spirit of 1776:” a reenlistment ceremony held in 2008 in Baghdad in Saddam Hussein’s former palace, Al Faw. Over 1,200 enlisted personnel volunteered for another tour of duty, sworn in by General Petraeus himself:

 

Petraeus reenlistment

Eat that, Michael Moore. Oh, and Congressman Murtha? What was that about our military being broken?

Happy 4th of July, folks. Enjoy the hot dogs and fireworks.  smiley party

LINKS: More at Sister Toldjah, and Cassandra’s “love letter to America“.

UPDATE: Historian Victor Davis Hanson, as always, puts it better than I:

The Founders’ notion of the rule of law, coupled with freedom of the individual, explains why the United States runs on merit, not tribal affinities or birth. Most elsewhere, being a first cousin of a government official, or having a prestigious name, ensures special treatment from the state. Yet in America, nepotism is never assured. End that notion of American merit and replace it with racial tribalism, cronyism or aristocratic privilege, and America itself would vanish as we know it.

There is no rational reason why a small republican experiment in 1776 grew to dominate global culture and society — except that America is the only nation, past or present, that put trust in the individual rather than in the state and its elite bureaucracy. Such confidence in the average free citizen made America absolutely exceptional — something we should remember more than ever on this Fourth of July.

Those notions are being put to a test these days as progressives try ever harder to divide us on tribal lines and turn free citizens into wards of the State while the two parties nominate exemplars of “cronyism and aristocratic privilege,” but I still believe they’re true. smiley us flag

Note: This is a republication of a post I wrote in 2008, edited to repair broken links or replace text no longer available on the web.

 


How the North Korean Air Force trains: with paper airplanes

June 13, 2016

That sure seems to be the import of the video at the end of an article about other North Korean weirdness. Here’s a screen clip:

"Planes go ZOOM!!"

“Planes go ZOOM!!”

Click the link or the photo, then go to the bottom of the article to watch the video. I’d swear they are practicing attack runs on a giant map, all while Dear Leader III looks on, happy as a pudgy murderous dictator can be. Mel Brooks would steal this for one of his movies.

North Korea: Where surrealism found its home.

Afterthought: On a more serious note, I’m reminded of something George C. Scott says toward the end of “Patton.” I’m paraphrasing, but General Patton (Scott) says he knew the Germans were beaten when he realized they were using wagons and horses for their retreat. In other words, they were running out of fuel and thus the ability to sustain modern combat operations.

Makes one wonder how long North Korea could keeps its planes flying if the Korean War turned hot again.


D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2016

Seventy-two years ago today, American, British, Canadian, French, and Polish soldiers charged the gates of Hell — and won:

Black Five put up an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs a few years ago. It’s still worth reviewing. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

RELATED: The Daily Mail tells the story of one Medal of Honor winner who still wonders how he survived Normandy.


(Video) Israel: The World’s Most Moral Army

February 1, 2016

Whenever Israel gets into a fight with its Arab neighbors, cries go up from those Arabs of unspeakable, innumerable Israeli atrocities. A left-leaning, anti-Israel press all too credulously accepts these reports, which are echoed uncritically by transnational NGOs and even the UN, which has its own anti-Israel bias. Thus the image the world sees is of a monstrous Israel Defense Force, one that is heedless of the civilian casualties it may cause.

The truth, as one might expect, is far different and begins with the fact that the Palestinians lie regularly and often. Here to correct the record is British Army Colonel (ret.) Richard Kemp in a video from Prager University:

It’s a point that has to be made over and over, as it does on behalf of our own military, often accused of crimes it never commits. (1) The Left and their allies in the jihadist movement will never, ever stop telling lies about either the Israeli or the American military, and so we must never stop telling the truth.

Footnote:
(1) No, I’m not saying either nation’s military is perfect. But both go to extraordinary lengths to avoid or at least minimize harm to civilians. The same cannot be said about our enemies.


So, Iran was responsible for 14% of our combat deaths in Iraq. And our response is…?

November 8, 2015
X

TR would have known what to do.

Back in the old days, this is what was called a casus bellia cause for war:

Nearly 200 U.S. troops have been killed and nearly 1,000 injured by Iranian-made explosives in Iraq, according to new disclosures from a partially declassified report conducted by U.S. Central Command and described by sources to the Washington Free Beacon.

The number of U.S. deaths resulting from Iranian terrorism were revealed for the first time on Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during a hearing focusing on the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute terrorists directly responsible for the deaths of Americans.

At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq were killed directly as a result of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, according to Cruz and congressional sources familiar with Centcom’s mostly classified report.

The deaths took place between 2003 and 2011. The Iranian explosive devices wounded another 861 U.S. soldiers, and a total of 1,534 attacks were carried out on U.S. military members over this period, according to sources familiar with the report, which was provided to Cruz’s office.

The devices bore the signs of the Iranian “Quds Force,” their external terrorist/special operations group within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. And, though not mentioned in the article, similar attacks took place in western Afghanistan, in regions near the Iranian border. The Iranian government was killing and maiming our soldiers.

I call that an act of war.

Note that this is a failing of both the Bush II and Obama administrations: Iran (and Syria, for their support of jihadist rebels) was never properly punished for its actions. This is a region of the world wherein strength and brutality is respected: the failure to hurt Iran for its attacks on our forces only invited further aggression.

Think I’m misreading things? A 2007 National Intelligence Estimate noted that Iran has seriously slowed or even halted its nuclear program after we invaded and liberated Iraq. The Iranians were afraid we’d do something similar to them, so they tucked their tails between their legs and laid low. This is not a brave regime. But, once they realized we weren’t going to do much to really punish them, they began and continued their attacks through 2011.

I’m not saying we should declare war on Iran and invade, though the ill-advised restraint of George W. Bush and President Obama’s incompetence have made eventual war more likely, not less. The American public isn’t ready for such an undertaking, and the military needs a lot of rebuilding.

But, at the same time, the Middle East isn’t going away, and our necessary involvement there isn’t over. Potential foes have to know they will pay a high price for attacking us: we must fight back. A response doesn’t even have to be military. In fact, it’s too late now to do anything like direct retaliation.

However, the Iranian regime is afraid to death of its own people, so why not (finally) start giving substantial political support to the opposition? Make the mullahs fear for their own necks, rather than going after ours.

If we don’t show them we’re not bin Laden’s “weak horse,” they’ll only do it again.

 


Good News! Israeli and Russian fighter jets confront each other over Syria

October 5, 2015
Leadership

We’re in the best of hands.

You have to love the Obama Administration’s Smart Power(tm) foreign policy: by being as non-confrontational as possible and always leading from behind, we’ve opened the door to the Chekist (1) gangsters in Moscow to move in and start shoving around our closest allies, with the risk of starting World War III.

Well done, President Obama. Well done!

Six Russian fighter jets type Multirole Sukhoi SU – 30 SM have intercepted 4 Israeli McDonnell Douglas F-15’s fighter bombers attempting to infiltrate the Syrian coast. The Israeli F 15 warplanes have been flying over Syrian airspace for months and in particular the coast of Latakia, which is now the bridgehead of the Russian forces in Syria.

The Israeli jets would generally follow a fairly complex flight plan and approach Latakia from the sea

On the night of 1 October 02, 2015, six Sukhoi SU-30 Russian SM fighters took off from the Syrian Hmimim airbase in the direction of Cyprus, before changing course and intercepting the four Israeli F-15 fighters off the coast of Syria, that were flying in attack formation.

Surprised by a situation as unexpected and probably not prepared for a dogfight with one of the best Russian multipurpose fighters, Israeli pilots have quickly turned back South at high speed over the Lebanon.

(…)

This ‘incident’ between the Russian and Israeli combat aircraft struck with amazement the command of the Israeli air force, which has estimated that a possible dogfight between F-15 Israelis and the Russian Su-30 would have led to the destruction of the four aircraft Israelis.

The Obama administration has created a not-unjustified impression of weakness on our part, and Moscow, determined to regain its status as a world power to be reckoned with, has moved in to exploit the situation. Not just to protect its client regime in Damascus and aid its ally in Tehran, but to inform the rest of the world who the new boss is. Intimidating the IAF is one good way to do it, a message no one will miss.

Except the clown-show in D.C., which thinks we can win Moscow over if we keep showing we’re no threat.

One wonders if Putin has stopped pinching himself to see if he’s dreaming, yet.

Meanwhile, in the world away from fundraisers and golf courses, this situation is fraught with danger for everyone: what if the next confrontation between Israel and Russia turns “hot” and IAF and/or Russian jets are shot down? Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East (and one of the few we have left): Will Obama risk a face-off with Moscow to show that we stand by our clients and thereby risk a broader war with Russia? Our angry-at-Israel and possible antisemitic president, whose words at a dinner for a Palestinian activist were so inflammatory the LA Times has hidden the tape? Hardly likely.

Will he stand for our interests in the Middle East?

Don’t bet on it.

via Godfrey of Bouillon


Germans with frickin’ laser beams…

September 24, 2015
Science fiction becomes reality

Science fiction becomes reality

Looks like we aren’t the only ones with the coolest toys:

During this week’s defense and security expo in London German defense contractor Rheinmetall Defense Electronics unveiled a new sea-based anti-drone laser system.

The system, unveiled at the Defense and Security Equipment Industry Expo in London, features four high energy lasers mounted on turret, making it look like some kind of laser Gatling gun, Popular Mechanics reported.

The four 20 kilowatt lasers fire simultaneously, in a technique known as superimposition which combines them into a single powerful 80 kilowatt beam.

According to the company, using superimposition there’s not limit to the amount of energy that can be focused on a target — just add more lasers.

The Gatling laser can reportedly shoot down a drone at 500 meters. Lasers can also detonate ammunition, explode artillery shells, blind the sensors of another ship, and even burn holes in smaller ships.

Remember when they laughed at Reagan for his “Star Wars” missile defense system that included energy beams? Not only are the Germans working on energy beam weapons (you can bet this will be extended to deal with battlefield rockets), but so are we, the Israelis (Iron Dome), the Russians, undoubtedly the Chinese, and many others. What was scoffed at as the stuff of comic books and science fiction movies just 30 years from now is swiftly becoming reality, and perhaps presaging the end of the “missile age.”

This technology is only going to get better.

But, come on. Who didn’t read “Germans” and “lasers” and immediately think of this (1):

Footnote:
(1) Well, if you’re above a certain age. But, if you haven’t seen Goldfinger, you need to rethink your life choices.


Lacking enough ships of our own, US Marines will serve aboard foreign ships

June 23, 2015
"You're not welcome."

“Good thing we could catch a ride here!”

This is embarrassing:

Faced with a shortage of U.S. Navy ships, the Marine Corps is exploring a plan to deploy its forces aboard foreign vessels to ensure they can respond quickly to global crises around Europe and western Africa.

The initiative is a stopgap way to deploy Marines aboard ships overseas until more American vessels are available, said Brig. Gen. Norman Cooling, deputy commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa.

The Marines will be able to respond quickly to evacuate embassies or protect U.S. property and citizens, a need highlighted by the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

“There’s no substitute for U.S. amphibious” vessels, Cooling said. “We’re looking at other options” in the meantime, he added.

The Marines have been working with Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and other close allies to determine the suitability of the foreign ships for U.S. personnel and aircraft.

Hey, at least these are allies. What’s left of our space program has to hitch a ride with the Russians.

I can just see it now: an emergency somewhere in the Middle East, and US Marines have to run onto some boat in Sicily asking “Hey, buddy! Can you give us a lift?”

This is what happens when you have a Socialist (1) president and his party is dominated by progressives: through budget cuts and initiated by the White House and a budget process in Congress so screwed up by the then-majority Democrats under Harry Reid that the sequestration meat-ax was inevitable, our military has been starved of funds to the point that it’s having an effect on operational capabilities. And that, in turn, will further affect stability around the globe, which has relied since 1945 on US power.

None of this has to be, of course, but it’s the tragic consequence of electing a government more interested in fundamentally transforming America at home than in protecting her interests abroad. A government that, in fact, views American interests and American power as a problem and views our decline as a positive choice for the world.

I hope they’ve at least budgeted for cab fare for our Marines.

via Tammy Bruce

Footnote:
(1) This is beyond doubt. The only question is what kind and to what degree.


ISIS: Is Barack Obama merely “incompetent,” or malevolently so?

June 10, 2015
Leadership

Leadership

I was wondering what that sound was I heard the other day. Turns out it was jaws dropping at the Pentagon when they heard their commander in chief say this:

The US does not yet have a “complete strategy” for helping Iraq regain territory from Islamic State (IS), President Barack Obama has said.

He said the Pentagon was reviewing ways to help Iraq train and equip its forces.

But Mr Obama said a full commitment to the process was needed by the Iraqis themselves.

How long has ISIS/Daesh/The Islamic State been in the news as they rampage across what used to be Syria and Iraq butchering thousands? Over a year? And yet the president says his military still hasn’t presented him with a “complete strategy?” (Which begs the question of why he wasn’t pounding his desk demanding one, being the commander in chief, after all.)

Reacting to the news that they’ve just been thrown under a bus, a Pentagon official had this to say:

One military official reacted angrily to Obama’s blamesmanship:

“What the f— was that,” the official told Fox News. “We have given him lots of options, he just hasn’t acted on them.”

I guess this is how community organizers smooth over civil-military relations: take no responsibility for what’s in your job description and then find a scapegoat to take the fall for you, hoping enough of your toadies in the press will run with that to at least confuse the issue of your own failings. Deflect and distract, it’s the Obama way.

Of course, we’ve known for years that he just isn’t really that interested in his job, especially foreign affairs, which is one of his three major constitutional responsibilities. Hence his failure to really act on the options the military chiefs have given him and his need to blame someone else for his own failings.

As the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, sometimes says, if Obama really were trying to destroy America’s foreign relations, what, exactly, would he do differently?


Syria: You know it’s bad when your allies have to execute your own officers

June 9, 2015
x

Soon to be an ex-dictator

Via Anne Bayefsky:

Iranian commanders overseeing the Assad regime’s fighting efforts on the frontlines south of Idlib have reportedly executed three Syrian army officers.

London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi said that the three officers were Sunnis who were among the regime troops that withdrew from the Mahmbel and Bsanqoul checkpoints following rebel advances in the southern Idlib province area on Saturday.

The three officers, who were also accompanied by several soldiers, were accused deserting their duty and “betraying the homeland,” the daily reported Sunday.

According to the report, none of the other Syrian officers or soldiers present at the time were able to prevent the execution as “officers responsible for military operations in the Jourin area are under the command of Iranian officers.”

A Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander told the paper that “the regime has handed over the operations room to Iranian officers and leadership.”

“The recent execution has caused a state of fear and terror among remaining regime troops,” the FSA commander added, saying he expected “more defections and more field executions.”

“There are still Sunni soldiers and officers bearing arms in the ranks of the regime’s army who will receive humiliating treatment during the coming period.”

Activists in the Latakia region also spoke to the paper about the impact the Iranian takeover of the operations room has had on morale among regime troops.

“Morale is very low among regime soldiers; in fact, it has become non-existent since the Iranian officers took over the operations room,” according to an activist identifying himself as Abu Said.

“Syrian officers, among them Alawites, have become secondary members, whose tasks can sometimes be reduced to handing out tea and coffee.”

Assad’s position is crumbling, and the only thing keeping him afloat is Iranian aid. And that means the Iranians are the senior partners and call the shots. And shoot people, even their “allies.”  One reason Iran is taking this hard line, aside from being refugees from a medieval lunatic asylum, is that they cannot afford to lose Syria, which gives them a strategic foothold in the Levant and the Eastern Mediterranean, and also serves as a conduit through which to send money and supplies to their Hizbullah cats-paws in Lebanon. Wouldn’t want to lose that opportunity to strike at the Zionist Entity (1), would we?

Meanwhile, Assad can surely escape; dictators like him usually have a few million dollars stashed in Europe and a jet on standby somewhere close. But, for his minions left behind? They’d better hope the Iranians like the tea and coffee they serve.

Footnote:
(1) That’s Israel, for those lacking an Islamic-Fascist to English dictionary.


D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2015

(Note: This is a re-posting and slight editing of a post I put up every D-Day.)

Seventy-one years ago today, American, British, Canadian, French, and Polish soldiers charged the gates of Hell — and won:

Black Five put up an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs a few years ago. It’s still worth reviewing. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson reflects on D-Day at 70:

Seventy years ago this June 6, the Americans, British, and Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion of Europe since the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece in 480 b.c.

About 160,000 troops landed on five Normandy beaches and linked up with airborne troops in a masterly display of planning and courage. Within a month, almost a million Allied troops had landed in France and were heading eastward toward the German border. Within eleven months the war with Germany was over.

(…)

D-Day ushered in the end of the Third Reich. It was the most brilliantly conducted invasion in military history, and probably no one but a unique generation of British, Canadians, and Americans could have pulled it off.

Read the rest. While giving the Russians their due, he puts their contribution in perspective.

RELATED: The Daily Mail tells the story of one Medal of Honor winner who still wonders how he survived Normandy.

UPDATE: In today’s newsletter, Real Clear Politics quotes the prayer FDR read when announcing the invasion to the nation:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity,” the president said while the outcome of the battle was still in doubt.

“They will need Thy blessings,” FDR continued. “Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph…”

Imagine a president saying something like that nowadays; the Left would have a fit.

But, forget them. Today’s a day to remember genuine heroes and thank Divine Providence we had such men on our side.

UPDATE 06/06/2013: This is a real president commemorating D-Day:


American soldiers kill ISIS commander, rescue slave. Yeah, we’re still the Good Guys.

May 16, 2015
"X"

“Nice work.”

John Wayne would be proud: Kick in the door, kill the bad guy, and free his captive.

Boom.

U.S. commandos mounted a rare raid into eastern Syria overnight, killing a senior Islamic State commander in a firefight, capturing his wife and rescuing a Yazidi woman held as a slave, the Pentagon said Saturday.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the raid, identifying the militant as Abu Sayyaf. He said no U.S. forces were killed or injured in the operation.

(…)

A U.S. defense official said the raid was conducted overnight Friday (Friday evening Washington time) by a team of Army Delta commandos who flew from Iraq into eastern Syria aboard V-22 Osprey aircraft and Blackhawk helicopters.

Upon arrival at the target, which was a multi-story building, the Americans met stiff resistance. A “fairly intense firefight” ensued, including hand-to-hand combat, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the raid by name.

The U.S. estimates that about a dozen IS fighters were killed but no civilians were wounded, even though women and children were present. The Americans returned to their base unharmed by about midnight Washington time.

The IS leader who was killed was a Tunisian national designated by IS as the organization’s “emir of oil and gas,” according to the U.S. official.

(…)

The statement said the commandos rescued a young Yazidi woman “who appears to have been held as a slave” by the slain militant and his wife. IS militants captured hundreds of members of the Yazidi religious minority in northern Iraq during their rampage across the country last summer.

The target was apparently at an oil and gas facility that some elements of Syrian state media also claim was attacked by Syrian forces, though not all government organs broadcast the news. It’s possible this raid was carried out in conjunction with the Syrians: it wouldn’t be the first time enemies have cooperated to take out a mutual foe. The subsequent silence and denials might have been to keep this occasional cooperation clandestine, as certain other parties might not be happy to learn that Washington and Damascus were talking. In that case, the single mention was an accidental “blabbing.”

Or, the Assad team was simply trying to grab some credit. It will probably be a long time before we know, if ever.

Regardless, a rare “well done” to President Obama for ordering this operation, to our commandos for their valor (never rare), and good wishes for the former slave as she recovers from her ordeal.


Awww…. Poor little Vlad’s shiny new tank wouldn’t go.

May 7, 2015

“Comrades! A little help here?”

Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, when after the fall of Berlin the Germans finally surrendered. Soviet Thug in Chief President Vladimir Putin wanted to celebrate in a big  way, befitting his new neo-Stalinist regime: a giant military parade honoring the Soviet effort (1) and coincidentally showing off Vlad’s neat new toys.

Oops:

A state-of-the-art Russian tank, which was shown to the public for the first time earlier this month, on Thursday ground to a halt during the final Victory Day rehearsal.

The tank, T-14 Armata, is said to surpass all Western versions because of its remotely controlled cannon and the protection it offers to its crew. The T-14, which replaces the T-72 and T-90, is set to undergo trials next year.

Weaponry was rolling across central Moscow Thursday morning in the dress rehearsal of the military parade on Red Square on May 9 as Russia commemorates the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

One of the eight T-14s suddenly stopped while others drove on. The engine was still rumbling but it wouldn’t move. After an attempt to tow it failed, the T-14 rolled away under its own steam about 15 minutes later.

Not a good image to project when you’re trying to intimidate NATO. Someone got yelled at. Loudly.

*snicker*

UPDATE: The original AP article quoted above seems to be a non-working link, now. Here’s a link to a similar story from International Business Times. Thanks to Jack Tinker for the heads-up.

Footnote:
(1) Seriously, while I despise the USSR and everything Bolshevik, their contribution to destroying Nazi Germany should never be slighted. If not for the Soviets being willing to feed endless number of troops into jaws of the German war machine, killing millions of Nazi soldiers while losing millions of their own, we would likely have had to face Germany’s best troops in France, and the result might well have been far different. One cannot deny the Russians the right to remember it with pride. (2)
(2) What they did to the peoples they supposedly “liberated,” on the other hand…


Marines: No weapons surrendered to Houthis during #Yemen evacuation UPDATE: Retired Marines angry

February 12, 2015

Marine Corp emblem

“News” was flashing around the Internet yesterday that the Marines had surrendered their weapons to the Iranian-allied Houthis rebels who have seized control of Yemen, some saying it was on the orders of President Obama and Secretary Kerry, which would have been a humiliation for them and the United States.

The Corps is denying that happened:

“The Marine Security Force left the American embassy in Yemen for the movement to the airfield as part of the “ordered departure” with only personal weapons. All crew served weapons were destroyed at the embassy prior to movement. None of them were ‘handed over’ in any way to anyone. The destruction of weapons at the embassy and the airport was carried out in accordance with an approved destruction plan.

“Upon arrival at the airfield, all personal weapons were rendered inoperable in accordance with advance planning. Specifically, each bolt was removed from its weapons body and rendered inoperable by smashing with sledgehammers. The weapons bodies, minus the bolts, were then separately smashed with sledgehammers. All of these destroyed components were left at the airport — and components were scattered; no usable weapon was taken from any Marine at Sana’a airport.”

The weapons were destroyed because the Marines were leaving on a commercial flight.

UPDATE: Similar to what a commenter said below, retired Marines are finding it unbelievable, maddening even, that the Marines in Yemen were forced to destroy their personal weapons:

Some retired Marines took to social media and websites to express frustration with what they described as a “blatant blunder” of evacuation procedures.

“Whether a commercial flight or military flight, either way it does not add up,” said Yinon Weiss, a former U.S. Marine and the CEO of RallyPoint, a military community website. “I cannot think of any other time in recent U.S. history that any service member had to destroy their own personal weapons.”

To Mr. Weiss, the peculiar act indicates that the Marines were unwitting participants in “a hasty evacuation” and “under duress.”

“The fact that this happened indicates to me that something went terribly wrong,” he said.

Other former Marines took to his web site to complain.

“I guarantee every single one of those Marines was pissed off and swearing with every swing of those hammers,” one commenter said. “Chartered civilian airline or not, we traveled with weapons without issue.”


And…. North Korea shoots another general

February 5, 2015
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“Who said I was wrong?”

“Pour encourager les autres,” (1) I’m sure:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un executed an army general last month in his latest purge of senior officials.

General Pyon In Son, one-time head of operations in the Korean People’s Army, was killed for expressing an opinion that differed to that of to MrKim’s, a South Korean official told reporters in Seoul on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official didn’t say what they disagreed on.

Mr Kim still mistrusts the military, the official said, adding that senior officers are growing increasingly uneasy. The “Supreme Leader” also removed Ma Won Chun, a National Defence Commission official overseeing construction design, from office in November for alleged corruption and a failure to follow orders.

Mr Kim has relied on purges to consolidate his grip on power since he took over North Korea, a country with a nuclear arms program and 1.2 million troops in 2011. After killing his uncle and one-time deputy Jang Song-thaek in 2013, he executed about 50 officials last year on charges ranging from graft to watching South Korean soap operas.

“The purge of Pyon sends a message that helps to discipline the military,” said Kim Yong Hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul. “The execution is a symbol that will help tighten loyalty.”

Well, that’s one way to put it, I suppose, though I’m not sure it’s their loyalty that “tightens” at the possible consequences of saying something Psycho III Kim Jong Un doesn’t like.

This kind of capricious tyranny often contains the seeds of the tyrant’s downfall: not only might his subordinates get rid of him to save themselves (as the Romans did with Caligula and Domitian, among others), but no is going to give this guy the bad-but-necessary information every ruler needs in order to make good decisions. Instead it’s “Yes, Dear Leader” and taking notes on his every word, while hoping he doesn’t decide you annoy him. In a regime dependent on one (pudgy, alcoholic) man, that’s a recipe for disaster. And that includes his neighbors, should a nuclear-armed Lil Kim decide that now is a good time to settle the Korean War.

Meanwhile, one has to wonder how many high-ranking generals Kim can kill before one of them decides to shoot first.

Footnote:
(1) Admiral Byng could not be reached for comment.


Confirmed: former French soldiers defecting to ISIS

January 23, 2015

France flag

From Canada’s National Post:

Several French former soldiers have joined the ranks of jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq, the country’s government confirmed on Wednesday, as it outlined a series of new anti-terrorism measures following the Islamist attacks in Paris.

Most of the ex-soldiers, reportedly numbering around 10 and including former paratroopers and French foreign legionnaires, are said to be fighting on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Most worrying is the reported presence of an ex-member of France’s elite First Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, considered one of Europe’s most experienced special forces units and which shares the “Who Dares Wins” motto of the SAS.

The unnamed individual, of North African origin, had received commando training in combat, shooting and survival techniques. He served for five years before joining a private security company for which he worked in the Arabian peninsula, where he was radicalised before heading for Syria, according to L’Opinion, a news website.

The danger is not just the fighters being trained for combat in the Middle East, though that’s bad enough. But consider that these defecting soldiers were born and raised –or immigrated to and grew up– “being French.” They understand French culture: how to behave, how to fit in, the right lingo, the perfect accent. With their military training, they can move around France and Europe without standing out, which makes them perfect for terrorist operations there in ways no Egyptian-born jihadi could ever equal.

And as I asked before, how many sympathizers do they have who are still in French ranks? It’s no wonder Paris is planning to spend a lot more on counterintelligence to monitor… their own troops.

They’ve got a real problem on their hands.