Friday, February 27, 2015

The Coming Battle Of Mosul

General Dempsey, chaircat of the Joint Chiefs, recently pointed out, “We may need to ask to have our advisers accompany the troops that are moving on Mosul.”

Oh Snap! 

However, there is no “may” about it. While the offensive will mainly be launched by the Iraqi Army, it cannot succeed without American forward air controllers and advisers, plus thousands of backup U.S. troops. CentCom did not give its briefing without knowing whether the plan included advisers. In that sense, the briefing was a trial balloon to prepare the public for a change of mind by the president.

The two battles for Fallujah show what would be likely to happen in Mosul.

Some 18,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed by 540 air strikes and 16,000 artillery and tank shells. Knee-deep water flooded the shattered city. Seventy Americans were killed and 600 wounded.

The coming offensive will be war on a scale without precedent in the past decade. To get to Mosul, 200 miles north of Baghdad, the Iraqi Army has to fight its way through five cities. Once that is done, logistics supply requires holding open a single highway that will be subject to repeated IED explosions and suicide-bomber attacks. Between 30,000 and 50,000 tons of munitions, water, fuel, and equipment must be delivered to the frontlines. Delays and shortages are inevitable.

This fight will not be swift. ISIS knows it will crumble if it cannot hold onto territory. If ISIS were to retreat, what happened in Anbar Province in late 2006 would be repeated: namely, the local populace would point out every jihadist and every hiding place.

A despised army is most vulnerable as it tries to retreat. Every identifiable enemy vehicle would be a target for air strikes by our forces. When ISIS first attacked Mosul, the Iraqi Army ran away. So ISIS will fight with confidence when the Iraqi Army comes back. The jihadists will hold tens of thousands of civilians as human shields, while hundreds of thousands will flee, guaranteeing confusion. Thousands of fanatical Islamists will be hiding among 150,000 buildings, determined to fight to the death.

The part of Mosul on the east side of the Tigris is Kurdish. That likely can be seized. On the west bank of the Tigris, the city is primarily Sunni, and the fighting will be tough. In Fallujah, about 150 squads searched 18,000 buildings, engaging in more close-in shootouts than all the police SWAT teams in history.

Iraqi soldiers, lacking the determination of United States Marines, will not battle house to house. Instead, they will stand off and smash the city with artillery and American air power. Mosul is five times larger than Fallujah. More than 2,000 air strikes and 100,000 artillery shells are likely to be delivered, with 50,000 buildings wrecked. The press will show pictures of rubble and misery day after day, week after week.

There will be nothing surgical about this offensive. A State Department spokesperson recently repeated a mindless trope: “We cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war.” Well, get ready for a lot of killing.

44 must prepare the public for an operation that will be fierce, long, and messy. Given the enormous costs, the White House must not commit to this operation unless it is convinced that taking Mosul would significantly advance American interests.

Now comes the strategic kicker: Who is the winner if Mosul is seized? Iran.

Currently, Iran has 7,000 troops and advisers working with the Shiite militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army. Our bombing and our advisers would be supporting Iranian soldiers and Shiite militias advancing amidst Iraqi Army units. This operation would make America the de facto wartime partner of Iran. If the Shiite Iraqi Army did capture the destroyed Sunni city, Iran would stand out as a winner, having extended its regional power into a Sunni heartland.   
How would the White House explain that outcome to Sunni states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt — already estranged by the administration’s actions over the past six years?

By briefing about a military offensive for public-relations effect, the White House and CentCom have posed strategic questions without providing the answers. The war would not stop with Mosul. Seizing that city would still leave ISIS in control of northwestern Iraq, half of Syria, and large swaths of North Africa.

Before we again enter this war on the ground, we need to clearly define the final objectives in Syria, Iraq, and across the Maghreb.

Pic - "No True Glory"

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Payambar-e Azam IX

Great Prophet Bay Bee!

Gay Free Persia's Preacher Command and Revo Guard fan boys commence their annual Great Prophet war game

The first day of these exercises will see mining operations by IRGC speedboats with various capabilities including marine radars and advanced communication systems, cruise missiles with a range of 25 km, medium-range anti-ship missiles, medium- and large-caliber torpedoes and naval mines.

For the first time in the world, helicopters equipped with missiles will be used in today’s military drills and also two coast-to-sea ballistic missiles will be fired which will be able to cover up to 270 kilometers of distance.

In another part of today’s operation, radar-evading missiles called Nasr (Arabic for Victory) will also be launched from the vessels which can fly at the altitude of 2-5 meters above the sea level.
The big deal about this Pyambar - e Azam is the fake believe American air craft carrier Iran has built to practice attacking...

State TV showed footage of missiles fired from the coast and the fast boats striking the mock U.S. aircraft carrier. The drills, which also included shooting down a drone and planting undersea mines, were the first to involve a replica of a U.S. carrier.

"American aircraft carriers are very big ammunition depots housing a lot of missiles, rockets, torpedoes and everything else," the Guard's navy chief, Adm. Ali Fadavi, said on state TV, adding that a direct hit by a missile could set off a large secondary explosion. Last month Fadavi said his force is capable of sinking American aircraft carriers in the event of war.
Pic - "Sepāh-e Pāsdārān-e Enqelāb-e Eslāmi"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Arab Miltary Myth

Many in the West will take heart from the news that Egypt’s dictator, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is calling for a joint Arab military force to take on Islamist extremism in the region. Coming shortly after his air force carried out bombing runs in Libya against groups that have pledged fealty to ISIL, it is tempting to take Sisi’s proclamation as a call to arms against the monstrous terrorist organization that calls itself the Islamic State. It raises the prospect of Arab boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq, taking on‚ with the help of Western planes and drones—ISIL.
Ready for the reality check?
It is one thing for the Egyptian air force to bomb ISIL—aka ISIS—from the air. But when it comes to ground troops, the ability of Arab militaries to fight an organized, motivated enemy is highly suspect. (That may explain why, only last week, Sisi was calling for a United Nations force to bring order to Libya.)
It has been decades since the Egyptian military has fought a full-fledged war, and the last time it was deployed in another Arab country—in Yemen in the 1960s—it was humiliated. Since then, Egypt’s rulers have used their army mainly to bully and beat up unarmed civilians protesting against oppression, and to fight homegrown terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula. They’ve been pretty good at the former, but not especially effective at the latter. Despite official claims of successes in the Sinai, terrorists attacks have been on the rise, and it is a bad sign that the Sisi regime feels it necessary to exercise strict censorship on reporting from the peninsula.
If Egypt’s recent track record is dismal, the history of Arab military cooperation isn’t especially reassuring, either. Some Western analysts hope that the GCC Peninsula Shield, a 40,000-strong force made up of countries in the Persian Gulf, can be brought to bear against ISIL. But like the Egyptian military, this mini-military was built mainly to protect Gulf regimes from internal political unrest. The Peninsula Force was most recently deployed in Bahrain in 2011, to stamp down civilian rallies against the royal family.
It’s worth remembering, too, that one of the most powerful Arab militaries—Syria’s—has been fighting against ISIL for nigh on four years. The forces of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad enjoy home-field advantage, and are not restrained by any concern for civilian casualties or such niceties as the Geneva conventions. Assad’s planes and tanks have flattened entire towns and cities, and still have failed to defeat ISIL, much less recover territory under the terrorists’ control. 
The other Arab military in the war against ISIL, Iraq’s, seems to be leaving the hardest fighting to Kurdish militias and Iran-backed Shi’ite gangs. Last week, as the Pentagon talked up an Iraqi-led, US-guided offensive against Mosul, many Iraqi leaders were skeptical that their troops would be ready.
None of this is to suggest that the fight against ISIL will not require Arab military involvement—it will. But just as in the current air campaign against the terrorists in Syria and Iraq, regional forces can at best be expected to put in a token effort.

When the time comes for a ground offensive against ISIL, expect the heavy lifting to be done by battle-hardened Western troops, rather than the tin soldiers who make up most Arab militaries.

Swarm Baby Swarm


First China blinds her enemy, than she drops the hammer. A large body of recent Western literature assumes China would leverage the large amounts of cruise and ballistic weapons it has developed and deployed over the last several decades in any conflict with America and its allies. This includes mostly accurate short, medium, and long-range weapons and the much ballyhooed anti-ship ballistic missile or “carrier-killer.”

After Beijing is assured Washington and its allies are in C2 and C4ISR hell, the Chinese version of “shock and awe” would be on full display. Beijing would launch a massive barrage of cruise and ballistic missiles from the land, air, and sea. The likely targets: U.S. and possibly allied air bases with many of their advanced aircraft on the tarmac like sitting ducks, physical command and control centers, and U.S. naval vessels around the Pacific. China would attempt to do as much damage in one massive blow, and hope that it was strong enough to would induce either a meager U.S. and allied response or possibly none at all.

Consider the below when we apply the Chinese missile threat to just naval assets and get a little creative: if Beijing was really slick it could fire off older missiles that were not as accurate towards allied naval vessels— almost like decoys— just to shrink the number of available interceptors:

“Think about it — could we someday see a scenario where American forces at sea with a fixed amount of defensive countermeasures facing an enemy with large numbers of cruise and ballistic weapons that have the potential to simply overwhelm them? Could a potential adversary fire off older weapons that are not as accurate, causing a defensive response that exhausts all available missile interceptors so more advanced weapons with better accuracy can deliver the crushing blow?"

Pic - "Shashoujian!"

Monday, February 23, 2015


WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!
And now - without further adieu or a don't

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rising ISIS

Shaken and stirred - nicht wahr?

Egypt carried out airstrikes against ISIS targets in Libya over the weekend in response to a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians. The strikes are Egypt’s most high-profile attack against the group yet, and also a sign that the global conflict with ISIS is spreading beyond the central battlefield in Iraq and Syria. In Libya the group has been gaining clout for some time and now controls the city of Derna, near the Egyptian border.

Egypt: Before the Libya strikes, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s government had been battling ISIS-linked militants in the Sinai Peninsula. The local affiliate, known as Province of Sinai, killed 32 people in an attack on soldiers and police in January.

Algeria: Jund al-Khilafa, a splinter group of al-Qaida’s North African affiliate, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, declared allegiance to ISIS last fall. The group made international headlines with the beheading of a French hiker in September.

Jordan: Support for ISIS is believed to be strong in parts of southern Jordan, and the country, which shares borders with both Iraq and Syria, is a leading contributor of fighters to the Syrian civil war. But ISIS may have miscalculated with the burning of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, which enraged even some of its sympathizers.

Lebanon: ISIS doesn’t hold any territory in Lebanon, where Syrian refugees now make up a quarter of the population. But the group has been blamed for a number of terrorist attacks in the country and has threatened more.

Yemen: Yemeni officials say the group has thrown its hat into that country’s volatile conflict, competing with the still more dominant al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Saudi Arabia: While many blame Saudi funding for facilitating ISIS’s early rise, a charge the government rejects, the kingdom has also been threatened by the group. Saudi Arabia claimed to break up a local ISIS cell last summer.

Afghanistan/Pakistan: Several former Taliban commanders have pledged their allegiance to ISIS, and this month, the U.S. military carried out its first strike against one of them in Afghanistan. A number of members of the Pakistan-based Tehrik-i-Taliban  have defected to a new ISIS-affiliate as well.

Former Soviet Union: A number of Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Russians from the Caucasus are believed to be fighting for ISIS. A group of Tajik militants fighting for influence in the Fergana Valley, long a hotbed of Islamist militant activity, have declared their allegiance to ISIS, as have some fighters in the North Caucasus.

Southeast Asia: Authorities in Malaysia and Indonesia say local radical groups planning attacks there have pledged allegiance to ISIS.

And beyond: ISIS sympathizers have carried out attacks in Canada, Australia, and most seriously in France, though in all of these cases, the attackers were most likely sympathizers acting on their own rather than under specific orders from the group. Alleged ISIS cells have been busted by authorities in Belgium, Spain, and Germany. At least 100 Chinese citizens are thought to be fighting for ISIS, raising concerns that the group could operate in that country’s already restive Xinjiang region. One of the group’s leading online propagandists turned out to be in India. But while a significant majority of Americans are concerned that the group is active in the United States, there’s been little evidence of such activity so far.

Pic - "What ISIS wants"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

44's Middle East

Meet the new Middle East: a soon-to-be-nuclear and ascendant Iran, the spreading ISIS wasteland, Egypt and Libya as Somalia, and the end of Syria and Iraq. This was not foreordained, but instead the result of a series of bad mistakes.

I. Iran

Sanctions were starting to squeeze Iran, which had been unable to absorb Shiite-dominated Iraq. Unrest in Iran was rising, spearheaded by pro-Western young reformers. Less than a month after 44's inauguration, over a million Iranians hit the streets to protest their country’s rigged elections. The Europeans were beginning to understand that a nuclear Iran posed a greater threat of nuclear blackmail to the EU than to the U.S.

Poland and the Czech Republic had agreed to partner with the U.S. in creating an anti-ballistic missile system to deter Iran’s growing missile program. The U.S. and its friends occasionally sent armadas slowly through the Strait of Hormuz to remind Iran that we were determined that international waters would always remain international.

So what happened?

The new administration kept silent as the pro-Western Iranian protests deflated. In herky-jerky style, 44 at first upped the sanctions as Tehran ignored his serial empty deadlines on curbing enrichment. Then, unilaterally and without much warning, 44 relaxed sanctions. He reopened negotiations, even as Iran’s centrifuges multiplied. Currently, Iran is on the cusp of nuclear acquisition, and it quietly advises its supporters that the U.S. is both weak and naïve — and will soon be gone from the region.

Tehran is creating a sort of Co-Prosperity Sphere at the expense of Sunni and Western interests, as it sabotages Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon. There is no longer talk of regional U.S.-led missile defense.

In brilliantly diabolical fashion, Iran has maneuvered a deer-in-the-headlights U.S. into an embarrassing de facto alliance with it against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The partnership was designed by Tehran to save the pro-Iranian Assad government, to bolster Hezbollah, to relieve diplomatic pressures on its own nuclear-enrichment program, and to increase tensions between the U.S. and the Sunni moderate states like Jordan and the Gulf monarchies.

There has never been a greater likelihood than there is now, under 44, that Iran will get the bomb, that it will create a radical theocratic Shiite alliance from Yemen to Iraq to Syria to Lebanon, and that it will direct Hamas and Hezbollah to start another war against Israel — this time backed by an Iranian nuclear deterrent.

II. Iraq

In Iraq, U.S. strategy hinged on forcing the fledgling democracy to create loose alliances between Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis, with the understanding that they would all resist both al-Qaeda and Iranian-sponsored Shiite affiliates. And from 2009 to 2011, consensual government in Iraq seemed to be working, albeit mostly through the implied threats that nearby U.S. troops would intervene if it did not.

The country was more quiet than not. Indeed, the U.S. military there was losing more personnel each month to accidents than to combat. In December 2009, three Americans were killed in Iraq — the lowest figure for any month since the war began. In December 2011, no Americans were lost.

44, who had opposed the Iraq war, termed the country “secure” and “stable.” Vice President Joe Biden, who as senator had voted for the war, bragged that it might become the administration’s “greatest achievement.” American proconsuls kept the pressure on Iranophile Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to treat Sunni tribes more equitably, and to keep Iraqi territory free of the Iranian military. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was comatose. Most Sunni Islamists had no desire for a replay of the Anbar Awakening and the Surge.

Then, for the sake of a 2012 reelection campaign point, 44 pulled out all U.S. constabulary troops at the end of 2011. The result was a void that drew in the dregs of the Middle East, as ISIS and the Iranian-back militias fought over the corpse of what used to be Syria and Iraq.

At the same time, the administration proclaimed empty red lines to Assad, in the manner it had given Iran empty deadlines — even as 44 called ISIS a “jayvee” team that posed little threat to the U.S or at least no more worries than what street criminals pose to the average big-city mayor.

A growing ISIS soon appealed to disenchanted Sunni tribes who felt that they had been ostracized by Baghdad, even as Iran encouraged the Iraqi government to ostracize them even more.

The ayatollahs’ great fear from 2008 to 2011 was that a viable, consensual Iraq on their border might weaken their theocratic control in Iran. Such anxiety vanished, replaced by a new confidence that, in the absence of U.S. garrisons, Tehran had turned Iraq into a vassal state.

III. Libya

When President Obama took office, Moammar Qaddafi was a psychotic monster in rehab. The U.S. was opening a new embassy in Tripoli. U.S. military officials were allowed nearly complete freedom to round up defunct WMD programs.

Western investors were welcomed in Libya. Westerners were talking of investing in Libyan enterprise zones, improving Libya’s oil and gas network, and reopening spectacular archaeological sites to tourism. Qaddafi had clamped down on Islamists, and seemed increasingly to be leaving decisions in the hands of his progeny. The Westernized next generation of Qaddafis were courted by the international jet set, and were subtly sending signals that even greater liberalization was on the horizon. Qaddafi had become a buffoon, not a beheader.

All that vanished when Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice ordered the bombings that turned Libya into a terrorist paradise, whose ultimate trajectory was Benghazi. They had turned up a day late and a dollar short in piggybacking on the Arab Spring unrest in Cairo. This time around they wanted to ride rather than watch the growing protests against Qaddafi — an odd thing, given their prior warnings about Bush-administration naïveté in trying to promote consensual government in the volatile Middle East by force of arms.

The first thing that went wrong was that the U.S. intervention violated U.N. resolutions — which we had supported — about actions limited to humanitarian assistance and no-fly zones. That double cross alienated the snookered Russians, who had signed on to the U.N. resolution.

Then the U.S. ceded its traditional military leadership to the French and British through a lead-from-behind recessional. It turned a new diplomatic presence into dead Americans and a wrecked consulate in Benghazi.

Libya’s oil and gas industries currently resemble Nigeria’s — on a good day. Tripoli is a Mogadishu on the Mediterranean. No Westerner in his right mind will set foot on Libyan soil. The Obama administration’s experience in Libya can be summed up by its election-cycle fraud of jailing an obscure video maker for supposedly causing a “spontaneous” demonstration in which the consulate was ruined and four Americans were killed, including the ambassador — a yarn that even its promulgators no longer believe.

IV. Egypt

In Egypt, the old kleptocrat Hosni Mubarak was accustomed to chronic U.S. scoldings to democratize, even as he kept offering his own pushback warnings about the worse alternative of Islamic theocracy. If Egypt was not so stable, it was also not chaotic.

Unfortunately, the U.S. saw the Arab Spring as an excuse to dump a tired old ally and to welcome in his stead the U.S.-educated Mohamed Morsi and the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood. 44’s team perhaps believed we were the belated avatars of the Arab Spring, as if the latter were analogous to our own revolution rather than something akin to the 1917 nightmare in Russia or the 1950s cutthroat Baathist takeover from the old corrupt Middle East monarchs.

The administration assured us that the Brothers were “largely secular,” even as they almost immediately went to work Islamicizing the largest nation in the Arab world and subverting the very elections that had brought them to power.

Here the administration’s achievement is quite surreal: Somehow we remain Egypt’s largest donor while being hated by all three of Egypt’s major groups — Islamists, the army, and the rest — who hate each other only slightly less than they do us. In practical terms, the administration earned the hatred of the vibrant General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in place of the good will of his decrepit mentor Mubarak — at the same cost of multi-billion-dollar-a-year subsidies.

V. Little Satan

Little Satan recently inflicted serious damage on Hezbollah in the 2006 war in Lebanon. For all the talk of Little Satan's ineptitude in that war, the final toll on Iranian interests was considerable. There seemed no desire on Hezbollah’s part to replay its aggression. Strong U.S. support for Little Satan defensive measures discouraged Islamists from starting a new Intifada on the West Bank or in Gaza. Iranians worried that the U.S. might at any moment preempt their nuclear facility or welcome a Little Satan strike on them.

Not now. The administration immediately berated Little Satan for building houses around Jerusalem. Then came the Palestinian flotilla, and more American ambiguity. Then lectures during the Gaza war. The United States’ relationship with Little Satan is now at its weakest since the founding of the Jewish State. Administration aides leak slurs about war hero and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him a “coward” and “chickensh-t,” as if 44’s open-mic smear of Netanyahu during the G-20 summit in Cannes was not enough.

The radical Arab world has a hunch that another war launched from Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, or Lebanon would not entirely anger a U.S. administration that is more worried about Jews building houses in Jerusalem than about Iranian subsidies to and military support of Hamas. When an American president characterizes an Islamic hit on a kosher market in Paris as a random attack, then it is clear — both to Americans and to the enemies of America — that Jews and Israel are mostly on their own.

Pic - "Next Month will be a Perfect Storm for the Middle East"

Meet The New Def Sec

Great Satan's newest Defense Secretary...

The Senate overwhelmingly approved Ash Carter as the new defense secretary Thursday, clearing the way for him to take over the Defense Department's top job.

A trained physicist and a longtime Pentagon bureaucrat, Carter will take office at a time when the military faces political battles at home and complex confrontations abroad.

Carter will be the fourth defense secretary under 44, and he'll be responsible for guiding the commander-in-chief's policies through to the end of a tumultuous two-term administration. A rundown on the new boss:

Background: Carter, 60, was born in Philadelphia into a military family; his father was a Navy doctor. A Yale graduate, he is a Rhodes scholar with degrees in theoretical physics and medieval history. He did not serve in uniform. He has two grown children with his first wife, Bates College President Clayton Spencer, and is now married to Stephanie Carter.

Experience: Carter has served in several top Defense Department posts, including as its top weapons buyer and the deputy secretary earlier in the Obama administration. During his tenure as the Pentagon's No. 2 man, his name was floated as a possible defense secretary in 2012, but he was passed over at that time in favor of Chuck Hagel.

Arrival: Carter will officially move into the defense secretary's office on the Pentagon's E-Ring on Feb. 17. As Hagel departs, Carter will bring in a his own team to include a new chief of staff and a new military adviser, to help him strategize for the array of complex challenges he will immediately face, both overseas and at home.

Overseas challenges:

Iraq — Carter will be thrust into the role of a wartime leader overseeing the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Within a few months, it is likely that thousands of U.S troops will be helping the Iraqis fight the imminent battle of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, which is now controlled by ISIL.

Afghanistan — Carter arrives at the Pentagon just as the top U.S. general in Afghanistan is signaling the need to rewrite the current drawdown plan. Carter will be at the table this spring as top White House advisers decide how to tamp down concerns that the Taliban could threaten the current Afghan government and tilt the country back toward its 1990s-era chaos.

Eastern Europe — Russian aggression and concerns about stability in Eastern Europe is likely to be an ongoing issue. Specifically, if the latest ceasefire in Ukraine fails, Carter will be involved in the decision on to provide more arms to Ukrainian forces in their fight against Russian-backed separatists. He has already told senators he would be inclined to increase U.S. assistance to Ukraine.

Homefront challenges:

Budget — Lawmakers are beginning to dig into the White House's 2016 defense budget request. During his confirmation hearing, Carter lamented looming sequestration cuts that military leaders say will cripple force readiness, and pledged to push Congress to fix the issue before this fall.

War powers — Debate is heating up over President Obama's request for a new authorization for military force in the fight against Islamic State forces in the Middle East. it's not clear the issue will have much impact on operations in the U.S. Central Command region, but it will be an intense and controversial political battle in Washington.

Military compensation — Carter takes office just a few weeks after the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission proposed a massive overhaul of the retirement and health care systems. As Congress vets those ideas and considers possible legislation, Carter will face pressure from all sides to weigh in on the controversial matter.

Pic - "Providing for the common defense is one of the paramount responsibilities of the United States government"

Monday, February 16, 2015


Whee! 44's hang up 'bout getting all hooked up with another Authorization To Use Military Force (or AUMF) is yet another example of 44's goofy Unseriousness about Nat'l Defense...

First, and most glaring, the authorization will have only a three-year lifespan, after which Congress would have to pass a new law to resurrect the war. No important declaration of war or authorization to use force has ever had such a sunset, because no armed conflict will ever obey an arbitrary deadline. Even the Framers, removed by centuries from our modern battlefield with its non-state enemies and asymmetric tactics, understood this. Alexander Hamilton argued against critics of the Constitution who wanted to impose similar limits on the government’s war powers (such as forcing armies to disband every year): Because the “circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite,” he wrote in Federalist 23, “no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power.”
Constitution’s Framers understood that war was so unpredictable that it could not be dictated by rules beforehand. But this is exactly the course on which the White House’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) would set the nation. It makes little sense to announce to your enemies in advance when you will stop fighting.
A three-year deadline will have the same harmful effects that 44’s arbitrary withdrawal dates in Iraq and Afghanistan did. Groups and nations opposed to the United States, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan, ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and Iran in the Middle East, will simply wait us out. Or they may employ destructive delaying tactics in the hopes that war-weariness will lead a small minority in Congress to block a reauthorization in 2018. Try to imagine that, on December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had asked Congress for a declaration of war that would last only three years. It is impossible, because FDR took war seriously and understood that our enemies fight not according to our plans, but according to their own.
In addition to the three-year deadline, the White House proposes that Congress prohibit the use of force “in enduring offensive ground combat operations.” This bizarre restriction has never appeared before in any declaration of war or authorization for combat operations, nor does the proposal define it. Does it prohibit the deployment of large bodies of troops, such as a whole brigade or division (which, we have informed ISIS, will be there no longer than three years)? Does it restrict the use of heavy armaments, such as M-1 Abrams tanks? Does it bar the construction of bases and military infrastructure?
Whatever it might mean, the ban on “enduring offensive ground combat operations” further violates the Hamiltonian principle against arbitrary limits on war. Suppose American commanders identify a rare opportunity to topple ISIS and bring order to Iraq and Syria, but only by deploying American ground troops ready for full combat. According to the White House proposal, the president should not have the ability to take advantage of these tactical and strategic opportunities, because they involve ground troops.
44 makes a third grievous mistake by calling for repeal of the 2002 AUMF, which approved the war in Iraq, and, in a separate letter, promising to seek repeal of the 2001 law authorizing force against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Both of these laws approve the operations that 44 has already launched against al-Qaeda and ISIS around the world. The 2002 AUMF is particularly important because it permits the use of force against ISIS even if it is unconnected to al-Qaeda.
Even without a new AUMF, the president has constitutional authority as commander-in-chief, supported by congressional funding, to wage the conflict. Even if one had the view, as Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) does, that Congress had to pre-approve all wars, the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs provide sufficient legal authority to attack ISIS and any other hostile groups in Iraq. If Congress wants to send a clearer signal of American unity and resolve, it should reverse the recent blind, automatic cuts to defense spending and bring the military’s capabilities up to the demands of America’s global responsibilities. Congress would not only save 44 from his own policies, it would also preserve the powers of the presidency for times — like this one — when the nation needs them most

Friday, February 13, 2015

Reap The Whirlwind

One of sev memes preachers, "rents and Me Maw/Paw Paws enjoy endlessly looping on is the semi sorta true tale 'bout reaping what ya sow.

And if ya sow the wind - whale - look out bay bee!

May such chiz designed to scare grrls away from behaving unlike ladies in a world of hoochies, hotties and hoes be applied like "kini wax to history l'guerre? 

Oui oui m'suer!!

Warsaw, Rotterdam, London. 3rd Reich's flying artillery - nom d'voyage"d Luftwaffe brought devastation, destruction and misery on a new scale into warfare.

 "They sowed the wind and now they are going to reap the whirlwind."

Royal Air Force's Lord Bomber Harris made good on that blood chilling promise. Taking Lord Cherwell's fact finding thingy about carpet bombing centers of German industry to impose Allied will   - not so much the factories  - but to hit the workers in their homes to make them scream "God! Please! Stop!"

The aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive...should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.
The destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.
By February 1945 - 3rd Reich had less than a 100 days to live. Kicking and screaming, she was  crashing down in an orgy of pulverized, burning cities and a river of blood — civilian and military, German and non-German. Massive Allied Armies were fixing to strike on the Fatherland's turf on multiple fronts and sides. Unconditional Surrender was the safe word.  Military history knows no year quite like 1944 -45 and if lucky, will never see another.

On February 13th - Lord Bomber Harris dispatched a massive raid with one aim - destroy Dresden. The ancient postcard pretty city fully crunk with wooden houses, loaded to the gunwhales with refugees from Red Army's juggernauting nastiness and lucky enough to make the target profile  
Dresden, the seventh largest city in the Reich and not much smaller than Manchester is also the largest unbombed builtup area the enemy has got. In the midst of winter with refugees pouring westward and troops to be rested, roofs are at a premium, not only to give shelter to workers, refugees, and troops alike, but to house the administrative services displaced from other areas. At one time well known for its china, Dresden has developed into an industrial city of first-class importance.... 
The intentions of the attack are to hit the enemy where he will feel it most, behind an already partially collapsed front... and incidentally to show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do 
Over a thousand American and British bombers hit Dresden on February 13th...
"The horror and terror on the ground was indescribable, destruction was extensive, and the loss of life was frightful. That beautiful little city, its population swollen be an influx of refugees from thew east fleeing before the Russians bent upon revenge, pillage and rape, and its predominantly wooden buildings, ideal for incendiaries, all but vanished in a whirl wind of incineration" 

Pic - "We saw terrible things. Fire everywhere, everywhere fire, and all the time the hot wind of the firestorm drew people back into the burning houses they were trying to escape from." 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Over the last several weeks, there has been a lot of chatter about the supposed death of Air-Sea Battle. Here is an exclusive look—from the Pentagon's ASB Office itself—at what is actually happening ...
The advancement and proliferation of disruptive technologies designed to counter power projection are undermining traditional U.S. military advantages. The worldwide growth of anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities, the changing U.S. overseas defense posture, and the emergence of space and cyberspace as contested war-fighting domains enable potential adversaries, both state and nonstate, to counter qualitatively superior U.S. and allied forces. These formidable A2/AD capabilities can also cause U.S. and allied forces to operate with higher levels of risk and at greater distances from areas of interest.
“Joint Operational Access Concept” means “The Joint Force must maintain the freedom of action to accomplish any assigned mission.”
An updated supporting joint concept will also describe an evolutionary approach to joint and allied operations across service, component and multinational lines in A2/AD environments. Building on existing JOAC precepts, the refined concept will incorporate the most useful ideas from the existing “ASB Concept” to include a force that is networked, fully integrated, and capable of cross-domain attack and defense in depth by U.S., allied and coalition forces in the global commons  
The new joint concept will also advocate for a more comprehensive approach to land and sea basing, as well as a modified approach to logistics and sustainment. The ability to establish expeditionary land and sea bases in times of crisis and to sustain joint operational capabilities in contested areas is critical in the fight for access and operational maneuver.
An idea that will also be further amplified in the new joint concept is an expanded role for land and amphibious forces in countering A2/AD threats to the global commons. Land and amphibious operations in these environments can consist of raids, demonstrations, shows of force, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and other types of relatively small-scale, impermanent operations by mobile and lower-signature expeditionary forces.
Finally, the evolved concept will include an increased focus on integration and interoperability with allies and partners in order to gain and maintain friendly access to and maneuver within the global commons.

Such improved understanding of operational requirements to address A2/AD challenges in the global commons, the military services have agreed to rename the “ASB Concept” as the “Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons” (JAM-GC).

In the coming months, a team of subject-matter experts and concept writers will collaborate to author the JAM-GC to capture insights and lessons learned from the initial years of ASB development.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Strategic Patience

From the Whisker Tangy Foxwhat? file...

The much-delayed second iteration of the administration’s National Security Strategy (NSS) was published on Friday, after the longest gap between such publications since the NSS came into existence. As predicted in a January Chatham House research paper, the new document underlines the administration’s ‘cautious, restrained approach to the wielding of American power and its aspirations to facilitate the integration of rising powers into the liberal order’. 
However, it did little to specify how the United States will find equilibrium in its efforts to balance competing imperatives on three key fronts: American intervention in others’ civil conflicts; support for democracy and human rights in places where the US has other priorities; and the management of China’s potentially destabilizing rise.
The NSS has two purposes.

First, it provides a means by which the president can explain his worldview to a wide audience and try to link that worldview to current events and strategic trends. But it also provides a means by which the president and National Security Council can attempt to bring the large organizations of national security into concert in pursuit of something resembling a coherent vision.  
Like others before it, the administration’s NSS surveys a wide array of issues, but nevertheless manages to convey a central theme: restraint in the use of American power, combined with the establishment and maintenance of American ‘leadership’ and a ‘rules-based international order’ with liberal characteristics. This continues themes articulated in the administration’s first NSS, released in 2010.   
The administration has faced a growing chorus of criticism for passivity in the face of emerging threats, from Islamic State to Russian actions in Ukraine. In response, the new NSS defends the philosophy of the administration as one of ‘strategic patience’ and cautions against ‘overreach’. It also seeks the high ground against critics on both moral and practical grounds, emphasizing the importance of non-military means to achieving American objectives, the power of example and the importance of leading ‘with a long-term perspective’.   
The strategy struggles, however, to clarify how the US will find balance between competing imperatives in three key areas in the years ahead.  
First, the strategy makes it clear the US has ‘moved beyond’ and ‘shifted away from’ the fighting of ‘costly, large-scale ground wars’, but also commits to ‘acting decisively to defeat direct threats’ from Al-Qaeda and Islamic State, and build ‘the capacity of others’ to counter ‘extreme and dangerous ideologies’.   
This sets the stage for an à-la-carte combination of direct military strikes and the arming and training of proxies in civil wars where the US perceives a security interest. But the criteria based on which the US will assess whether it has a truly vital interest at stake in the outcome of others’ wars − or the actions/events that would trigger particular levels of American response on the spectrum from detached well-wishing to direct military engagement − are unspecified, and thus remain to be decided in the heat of future crises.  
Second, the strategy affirms the United States’ belief in the ‘universal’ validity of liberal values and ‘enduring commitment to the advancing of democracy’, while expressing the desire to ‘advance equality’ and ‘support emerging democracies’. At the same time, however, it notes the existence of cases where ‘our strategic interests require us to engage with governments that do not share all our values’, and admits that it will ‘support’ such governments, though this will be ‘balanced with an awareness of the costs of repressive policies for our own security policies and the democratic values by which we live’.   
In other words, the US will support democratic forces in the absence of an incentive to do otherwise, but if antidemocratic leaders have something of value to offer then the US can and will support them (while taking care to remain ‘aware’ of the dissonance, of course).  
For those keen to know whether the United States will support an authoritarian government or its internal opponents in any particular case, this affirms only that the judgment will be made case by case, though it does highlight that such governments need to earn their keep by contributing tangibly to US strategic objectives.  
Third, the strategy seeks to tread the delicate line between welcoming ‘the rise of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China’, while also putting down a marker that it will ‘manage competition from a position of strength while insisting that China uphold international rules and norms’ and will ‘closely monitor’ China’s ‘ expanding presence in Asia’. Essentially, the US needs to show enough steel to deter China from bold, expansionist behaviour towards its neighbours, but without allowing American efforts to contain China to become the pretext for confrontation themselves. The hope that a rising China can be assimilated within the ‘rules and norms’ of the American order is clear – but what the US would do if China tests those boundaries remains much less so.  
This new strategy, issued just under two years before 44’s successor takes the oath of office, is unlikely to be remembered as a turning point in the history of American national security. Rather, it is – as predicted in January – an adaptation of the strategy of 2010 designed to retroactively justify the administration’s choices in the tumultuous years since.  
Meanwhile burning questions regarding the limits of American restraint, and how balance between conflicting priorities can be found, remain unanswered here.

Pic - "44 has two more years in office to match his grand ambitions to the grim realities in foreign policy."

Monday, February 9, 2015

44's Persian Strategy

Inexperience is a problem in this administration, but there is no lack of strategic vision. Quite the contrary: a strategy has been in place from the start, and however clumsily it may on occasion have been implemented, and whatever resistance it has generated abroad or at home, 44 has doggedly adhered to the policies that have flowed from it.

It's kinda all about the benefits of cooperating with Iran and Syria. Those two regimes, supposedly, shared with Washington the twin goals of stabilizing Iraq and defeating al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadi groups. In turn, this shared interest would provide a foundation for building a concert system of states—a club of stable powers that could work together to contain the worst pathologies of the Middle East and lead the way to a sunnier future.

If, with 43, America had behaved like a sheriff, assembling a posse (“a coalition of the willing”) to go in search of monsters, 44 would disarm its rivals by ensnaring them in a web of cooperation. To rid the world of rogues and tyrants, one must embrace and soften them.

During the 43 era, an elaborate myth had developed according to which the mullahs in Tehran had themselves reached out in friendship to Washington, offering a “grand bargain”: a deal on everything from regional security to nuclear weapons. The swaggering 43, however, had slapped away the outstretched Iranian hand, squandering the opportunity of a lifetime to normalize U.S.-Iranian relations and thereby bring order to the entire Middle East.

44 based his policy of outreach to Tehran on two key assumptions of the grand-bargain myth: that Tehran and Washington were natural allies, and that Washington itself was the primary cause of the enmity between the two. If only the United States were to adopt a less belligerent posture, so the thinking went, Iran would reciprocate. In his very first television interview from the White House, 44 announced his desire to talk to the Iranians, to see “where there are potential avenues for progress.” Echoing his inaugural address, he said, “If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.”
The short lived bloody "Green Revolution" shows Iran's Supreme Leader used his clenched fist to smack democrazy fans

For their part, the protesters, hungry for democratic reform and enraged by government rigging of the recent presidential election, appealed to 44 for help. He responded meekly, issuing tepid statements of support while maintaining a steady posture of neutrality. To alienate Khamenei, after all, might kill the dream of a new era in U.S.-Iranian relations.
In fact a case is strongly made on everything from unassing Iraq, backing off Syrian Red Lines, intervening in Libya and semi sort not intervening against ISIS is all about and part of 44's Persian Strategy...

Pic - "44's big legacy may be empowering Iran..."

Sunday, February 8, 2015


The Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse. 
Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

Thus, sans further adieu (or a don't)

  • *First place with 3 1/3 votes!The Noisy RoomThe Muslim Brotherhood Calls For “A Long, Uncompromising Jihad” In Egypt After Meeting With US State Department
  • Second place *t* with 1 1/3 votes Bookworm Room Neo-Paganism is sweeping the First World – and that’s a bad thing *UPDATED*
  • Second place *t* with 1 1/3 votes Joshuapundit-Breaking: NYT Admits Obama Deliberately Manufactured Netanyahu Spat
  • Second place *t* with 1 1/3 votes The Right PlanetMan In The Mirror
  • Third place *t* with 1 vote Nice Deb Don’t Trust Do Verify: Questioning Corrupt and Politicized Climate Science
  • Third place *t* with 1 vote Ask Marion
    Washington Times’ Bombshell Tapes Confirm Citizen Commission’s Findings on Benghazi
  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote VA Right! - CCRC Chairman Don Williams Jeopardizing the GOP Committee’s Tax Exempt Status
  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote Simply JewsSaving a man or Aaron Dover on my couch
  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote Rhymes With Right Obama Decries Decision That Keeps Government From Limiting Political Speech, Activity
  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnDThe Foreign Policy Vacuum
  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote The Glittering Eye -In Which I Learn That I Am Not a Liberal
  • Non-Council Winners

    Friday, February 6, 2015

    High Horse

    44's recent lec lec lecture about the evil doings of Xians like a thousand years ago makes one wish 44 would like you know - stand up for Xians or America instead of constantly going on about m'Hammedism...

     "And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

    And say what now?

    Christianity ended greater barbarisms under pagan Rome. The church often fell short of its ideals — which all human things do — but its ideals were indisputably a great advance for humanity. Similarly, while some rationalized slavery and Jim Crow in the U.S. by invoking Christianity, it was ultimately the ideals of Christianity itself that dealt the fatal blow to those institutions. Just read any biography of Martin Luther King Jr.

    It is perverse that Obama feels compelled to lecture the West about not getting too judgmental on our “high horse” over radical Islam’s medieval barbarism in 2015 because of Christianity’s medieval barbarism in 1215.

    It’s also insipidly hypocritical. President Obama can’t bring himself to call the Islamic State “Islamic,” but he’s happy to offer a sermon about Christianity’s alleged crimes at the beginning of the last millennium.

    Should be no problem judging the behavior of the Islamic State and its apologists from the vantage point of the West’s high horse, because we’ve earned the right to sit in that saddle.
    Pic - "Culture Clash!"

    Wednesday, February 4, 2015


    Vlad has resumed his Commonwealth versus Ukrainia battle. Europa has appearantly  decided economic chiz is off the table while some Americans  are calling for equipping Ukraine with lethal weapons.


    It risks misleading the country -- which is now pressing to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- into believing the U.S. will do what it takes to defeat Russia. It also risks encouraging Russia to expand the war, because it knows the U.S. and its NATO allies don’t have sufficient interests at stake to go all the way. The parallels often drawn with the war in Bosnia, where a U.S. arms and training program eventually turned the war and forced a peace, aren’t helpful: Serbia was a military minnow next to Putin’s nuclear-armed Russia.

    With Europe’s resolve to impose additional sanctions fading, it’s natural to want to find other tools to deter the Russian president. After all, Ukraine is in a terrible position. No doubt this is why a group of former U.S. security officials are calling for a $3 billion program to provide the Ukrainians with American drones, anti-tank weapons and other defensive lethal equipment. The goal would be not to defeat the Russians, the former officials say, but to deter Putin by raising the cost of attack.

    They "vehemently" reject the concern that putting U.S. arms into Ukrainian hands would simply goad Putin into expanding the conflict -- on the grounds that he has needed no provocation to attack Ukraine until now. But while Putin has certainly acted aggressively to this point, that hardly means U.S. military intervention wouldn't push him to do more. Indeed, it's hard to see how the entrance of American military equipment and advisers could do anything but goad Putin to expand the conflict.

    Ukraine is already buying weapons from other countries in the region, but if anything can stir the Russian people to accept an open war with fellow Slavs in Ukraine (so far they don't), it is the idea that they would be fighting not Ukrainians but NATO, the military alliance they have grown up believing was bent on their destruction. A U.S. intention to provide only "defensive" weapons may be an important distinction in the U.S., but it's meaningless in Russia. Anti-tank weapons and even radar that allows Ukraine's military to locate and strike enemy artillery positions will still kill Russian soldiers. They would be perceived by ordinary Russians as offensive weapons, even without help from Russia's inflammatory propaganda machine.

    These are large risks that can't be waved away. If the goal of military assistance is not to defeat Russia and its proxies, but to pressure Putin, then the weapons would have to be accompanied by a plausible diplomatic track. Yet the law that President Petro Poroshenko signed in December to end Ukraine's neutral status and set a course for membership in NATO has removed the minimum requirement for diplomacy leading to peace.

    The U.S. and its allies should make clear to Ukraine that its NATO ambitions are unrealistic. Right or wrong, the alliance doesn’t want Ukraine, and Russia sees its membership in NATO as a red line. So long as that’s the case, the U.S. should stay out of eastern Ukraine.

    Pic - "Yeah but sometimes it takes guns to stop other guns."


    Tuesday, February 3, 2015

    The Foreign Policy Vacuum

    First and foremost, there was not a single notion of how this administration sees American strategy – let alone how to achieve it. Americans are accused of being too focused on the present, thinking in terms of the year or the week rather than the decade or the century. This is a president that has no trajectory for the hour or the day. What will his legacy be in foreign affairs? What stamp has he made? There has not been a single success and no planning for how to keep America preeminent. If 42's years were a foreign policy disaster, 44's years have been a foreign policy vacuum. Which is worse? This is a tough choice, but at least a disaster can be reversed.
    Second, is the inability to direct and command. This is directly related to the first issue: Since there is no strategy, there is nowhere to lead and no allies willing to follow. We have traded a trajectory of success in Iraq and Afghanistan for a meltdown in both, while declaring a hollow victory. We allowed the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad to murder tens of thousands, let a virulent brand of Islamic extremism metastasize and put the entire Arab world into tumult.
    Enemies of the United States or its interests – Russia, China, Syria, Iran and North Korea – have been emboldened. Allies have been blindsided, brushed aside or, in one case, ceased to exist: Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Great Britain, France, Japan, South Korea and Israel. Al-Qaida has new strength, the Islamic State group holds large areas of Iraq and Syria, China exerts greater influence in Asia, and the Russians make continuous advances and gains in the Ukraine. We must remind ourselves that these issues and places are interrelated: Chaos in Yemen changes the dynamic in the Persian Gulf, just as the chaos in Syria changes the dynamic in the Levant.   

    Third, Iran deserves special attention as this administration’s policy of appeasement under the cover of a diplomatic arrangement is now under greater fire from allies abroad and the U.S. Congress. The president’s policy of a deal at any price could literally be the tipping point to set the entire region on fire. The administration’s pursuit of such a dangerous policy calls into question all thoughts that this administration has concern for anything beyond its own failed term.
    Fourth, perhaps most unbelievably, the Department of Defense was largely absent from the State of the Union address. The United States continues to have more worldwide commitments than ever before; the world is worse off now on the security front than it was four years ago; the American military is asked to do more with less. The defense budget accounts for just under 20 percent of the federal budget, but it is providing 50 percent of the sequestration cuts. Further, the paper military that continues to show some strength in combat arms is often a partial illusion as cuts in training and maintenances are hollowing out aspects of the military similar to 39's years. This is the most dangerous long-term policy that could affect generations.
    The tired rhetoric of the administration is finally wearing thin: They can’t bring themselves to use terms like Islamic extremism, enemy combatant or even terrorism properly. They are justifying negotiating with the Taliban because they are suddenly an insurgency, but somehow the Islamic State group is not? The real question is not if the Taliban or the Islamic State group are terrorists or insurgents. They are both. Nature abhors a vacuum, international relations won’t suffer it, and the American electorate won’t forgive it.
    Pic - "If a pistol is present in the first act of a play, someone will be shot in the third act."