Category Archives: endless wars

Little Wars

It is a century since HG Wells published the first proper set of rules for hobby war games. There’s a hardcore of gamers who are still playing in his style.

Pine tips are stuck in the grass to represent trees. Roads are laid out with trails of compost.

This is the Battle of Gettysburg, with Union soldiers on one side and Confederates on the other. But the soldiers of this new Gettysburg are 54mm (2in) tall and mostly made of plastic.

The battle is taking place between a group of enthusiasts in a garden at Sandhurst military academy under rules derived from Little Wars, devised by HG Wells in 1913.

War was then looming in Europe and Little Wars was both an expression of Wells’s passion for toy soldiers and to his fears over the coming slaughter. The science fiction author even believed that war games could change attitudes.

“You only have to play at Little Wars three or four times to realise just what a blundering thing Great War must be,” wrote Wells. 1

Little Wars

Show 1 footnote

  1. Emphasis ours.

The Whole World Quakes

Brian Williams’ tone deafness, while deplorable 1, does not upset me as much as OMP‘s eagerness to prove his manhood. 2

I expect when told that tossing that many 3 Tomahawks Syria’s way would “only” cost a hundred mil, and that there was zero chance of US casualties (and only a slightly larger likelihood of Syrian civilian deaths), OMP adopted his best “manly” pose and offhandedly responded “Let’s do this thing.”

OMP is exactly the type of short “fingered”, low intelligence bully most likely to lead us into World War III simply to assuage his ego, “There, Melania! See what happens when you don’t move into the White House with me?!”

If the jackass tries something similar with Dear Leader’s offspring, all bets are off.

The Whole World Quakes

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Not to mention wholly out of context.
  2. Remember how he went on and on about how Clinton would start World War III over Syria? Not to mention the useful distraction it would provide while she looted the presidency for her friends and allies?  Ah, such sweet reminiscences…
  3. 59? Who came up with number? What, we’re too cheap to make it an even 60? Although, even for am airfield, nearly 60 Tomahawks seems like overkill.

Panicked Cowards

On Thursday evening, a 40-year-old man — with dark, curly hair, olive skin and an exotic foreign accent — boarded a plane. It was a regional jet making a short, uneventful hop from Philadelphia to nearby Syracuse.

Or so dozens of unsuspecting passengers thought.

The curly-haired man tried to keep to himself, intently if inscrutably scribbling on a notepad he’d brought aboard. His seatmate, a blond-haired, 30-something woman sporting flip-flops and a red tote bag, looked him over. He was wearing navy Diesel jeans and a red Lacoste sweater – a look he would later describe as “simple elegance” – but something about him didn’t seem right to her…

Then, for unknown reasons, the plane turned around and headed back to the gate. The woman was soon escorted off the plane. On the intercom a crew member announced that there was paperwork to fill out, or fuel to refill, or some other flimsy excuse; the curly-haired passenger could not later recall exactly what it was.

The wait continued.

Finally the pilot came by, and approached the real culprit behind the delay: that darkly-complected foreign man. He was now escorted off the plane, too, and taken to meet some sort of agent, though he wasn’t entirely sure of the agent’s affiliation, he would later say.

And then the big reveal: The woman wasn’t really sick at all! Instead this quick-thinking traveler had Seen Something, and so she had Said Something.

That Something she’d seen had been her seatmate’s cryptic notes, scrawled in a script she didn’t recognize. Maybe it was code, or some foreign lettering, possibly the details of a plot to destroy the dozens of innocent lives aboard American Airlines Flight 3950. She may have felt it her duty to alert the authorities just to be safe. The curly-haired man was, the agent informed him politely, suspected of terrorism.

The curly-haired man laughed.

He laughed because those scribbles weren’t Arabic, or another foreign language, or even some special secret terrorist code. They were math.

Yes, math. A differential equation, to be exact.

Had the crew or security members perhaps quickly googled this good-natured, bespectacled passenger before waylaying everyone for several hours, they might have learned that he — Guido Menzio — is a young but decorated Ivy League economist. And that he’s best known for his relatively technical work on search theory, which helped earn him a tenured associate professorship at the University of Pennsylvania as well as stints at Princeton and Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

Seriously? How stupid did the blond bimbo have to be to not recognize maths:

a) `(d^2y)/(dx^2)+((dy)/(dx))^3-3x+2y=8`

And that looks like…what? “…cryptic notes, scrawled in a script she didn’t recognize“?

Blondie apparently pissed herself because she couldn’t stay awake in High School long enough to recognize the format of algebraic equations.

Not only have we become a nation of panicked cowards, we’re stupid, to boot.

Panicked Cowards

Piss On Them

A tiny excerpt/update from our eternal wars:

Several Marines gathered around Richards’s mother. It was late, and everyone had been drinking. His platoon commander started to tell the story of the video — a story that he has told dozens of times over the past two years. This time he picked it up at the moment when they were all standing over the Taliban fighters’ blood-stained corpses, just before the camera began recording. “Someone said, ‘Piss on these guys,’ ” he was remembering. “And someone else was like, ‘Yeah, you know what, let’s piss on them.’ ”[…]

There was a relentlessness to their war. But, on some days, there was also a joy to it. After shooting a Taliban fighter, Richards and Deptola would often slap hands. Sometimes Richards would do a little celebration dance. “To the average guy, you’d look like a complete psychopath,” Deptola said. Over there, he said, “It made perfect sense.”

The down time between missions — recuperating and waiting for another assignment — was often the hardest part. “We’d be like crack addicts,” Deptola recalled. “We were on that adrenaline drug. We’d get our high when we killed people, and the only way to get our high was to kill. We were honestly addicted to killing people.”

The more Taliban they killed, the more praise they received from the top brass. The commandant of the Marine Corps set aside a morning to have breakfast with them and laud them for their work. Richards’s commanders recognized his battlefield valor by nominating him for a Bronze Star. […]

The snipers were buzzing with joy, anger and adrenaline as they approached the enemy dead. Then came the moment just before the video. Then came the 38 seconds, and now several years later, Deptola was explaining why they decided to urinate on them.

“Because killing them wasn’t enough,” he said. “That wasn’t enough justice.”

Well, there you have it. And it’s much as we opined in the immediate aftermath of Richards’ public castigation. And we’re still of the same opinion – piss on it. There are far worse things our troops could be (probably are) doing.

And if president Obama gets his way and we string out our endless wars for another decade, you’ll get to read about them as well.

Please click-through to read the full article in today’s WaPo. While you’re reading remember: Richards, pre-deployment, was just another American male.
Piss On Them

A Hundred Years

BRIAN LAMB: Warren Strobel, who writes for the Washington Times, was here on Friday, and he has a piece in Monday’s paper that starts off by saying, “Pressures are beginning to mount for the United States to bring the eighteen day war against Iraq to a quick end, creating a political timetable that conflicts with the military’s best judgment.” In other words, maybe a ground war?

HITCHENS: I think it’s appalling in a way that people talk about deadlines in terms of days, weeks and months, especially if they’re talking the political deadline. The political engagement the United States has made is one of appointing itself the arbiter of inter-Arab border disputes and of the middle east region as a whole—uninvited, in effect, and without proper debate. When people ask me how long this is going to go on, I’d say, “Something like a hundred years.” And it’s not begun to sink in yet.

C-Span, February 4, 1991

A hundred years. It was always in the works…

100 Years


As Philip Gourevitch succinctly points out, “Every American President in the past quarter century has now gone on television during prime time to tell the nation and the world that he has decided to bomb Iraq.”

Wow. That’s so much indefensible war in one spot we’re surprised it hasn’t already become an innernetz meme.

Hilariously Congress is fence-sitting the whole thing; they may or may not pass a FY15 CR (to which is attached the necessary funding mechanism for Obama’s little escapade) by the end of September. Of course…our memory fails to recall even a single year out of the last 25 when Congress actually performed this constitutionally mandated task on time, so, you know…plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

As for Obama’s authority to murder people in their own homelands, well…that’s on even shakier ground. The original AUMF has long since expired and Congress has yet to bless this latest bout of military adventuresomeness: what’s a Noble Peace Prize winner to do?

Fortunately, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.-Land of the Vaginal Probe) spoke up last week concerning his new (putative) bill. Wolf’s proposed bill would authorize the use of military force against terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) infinitely, and with no limitations. In fact, Wolf’s creation is so vaguely worded that it would allow the use of military force virtually everywhere and against anyone or any group designated as terrorist.

Forever: there’s no expiration date in the language.

What could possible go wrong there?

In another funny 1 connection to “terrorism”, Dropbox has just announced it received 268 data requests from the US Government this year. Surprisingly not a single one of those were for business users.

Wake up, people.

The Palins

Show 1 footnote

  1. If by funny you mean  in a “mwahahahahahahahaha” kinda way.



I hear you, John; I understand Congressional Republicans won’t do anything. That’s not really a surprise; Republicans haven’t done anything in years. What I’m saying is I don’t need ’em to bomb Iraq & Syria the fuck back to the Stone Age. But thanks for coming by…

That’s pretty much what Obama told Boehner yesterday: “You know…just fuck off with your “cooperation”; I’ll do this shit myself.” 1

And tonight Obama will take to the airwaves to make the same case, buttressed, we’re sure, by histrionics to the effect of that if we don’t bomb the shit out of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said terrorist organization will surely end Western Civilization as we know it.

Obama’s theory plays to both certain members of the chattering class 2 and the sagacity of the American public, 90% of whom (as polled by CNN) believe ISIS is a real threat right here in the Homeland. Perhaps ISIS is lurking, even now, down there in Tijuana, eating greasy fish tacos and swilling Modelo’s, waiting on the final word from their Supreme Commander to smuggle across our porous border — chain-link fence be damned! — all the nuclear weapons we could never find in Iraq, these to be unleashed on unsuspecting American cities from El Cajon, Cali, to Lubec, Maine. Holy Radiation, Batman!

That this narrative of America’s easy susceptibility to the dastardly ISIS machinations deliberately elides the existence in the US of 300,000,000 gun owners 3, not to mention the uncountable number of illegal weapons, to include LAWs, RPGs, fully automatic M-16s and M-60s; that this dread tale will not touch on the numerous American cities where ISIS would be handed its collective heads the minute it showed up in their Iraqi Army uniforms (East St. Louis, Kansas City’s eastside, hundreds of small hamlets in Montana, Wyoming Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi…you get the idea); that Obama’s tale of doom will also not mention the impressive array of forces aligned against an invading ISIS – every service’s reserve units, as well as America’s locally based standing Army, Air Force and Marines -, all the above is so risible as to be beyond belief.

Thoroughly and easily predictable, yes. Believable, no.

Yet tonight that is what you will be asked to accept.

Wake up, people; if the military-industrial complex does not yet have a stranglehold on our country, it will not be long before the imaginary war of Baron Munchausen becomes a permanent fixture in America.


Show 3 footnotes

  1. Yet another perfect example of a Schrödinger’s asshole: House Republicans are in the process of suing Obama over executive actions while at the same time ducking a vote on authorizing action against ISIS militants, said maneuver guaranteeing that Obama will…wait for it…use executive actions to deal with ISIS.
  2. David Brooks is an easy target, though I do prefer Ackroyd’s “Jane, you ignorant slut..” style: far more honest.
  3. If the NRA are to be believed…and who would doubt such a fine, upstanding organization?

Latin American Military

…Daniel Kovalik, a human rights lawyer and Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, is among a small group of academics that have dedicated their time to write about the bitter legacy of these crimes. When I contacted him for comment, he told me that the U.S.’ “war on Latin America” really began in 1962 in response to the emergence of Liberation Theology, a Marxist-influenced school of thought within Catholicism which emphasized social justice and advocated peaceful activism designed to improve the lives of the poor.

American assaults on multiple societies below its southern border were “designed, in large part, to wipe out that movement” Kovalik suggested, recalling that “we know from its training manuals and training exercises as well, the [U.S.-run] School of the Americas trained Latin American military personnel to view community priests as suspect and to attack them accordingly.”

“The result was the murder of scores of Catholic priests, nuns and a number of Bishops from 1962 and continuing indeed to the present time,” he added…

We need no convincing of the dreadful, calculated outcome of Reagan’s policies, what with having suffered through them.

And we have long empathized with the nations of the world where the U.S. has decided to assist interfere.

However…as for the murder of the Catholic priests and Bishops?

We view that as nothing but a good start.

Latin American Military