Tag 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

Max Brooks

We’ve become so hyper specialized,” Brooks said. “Everybody sees everything through their specific lens.”

Which is a problem. For instance, an Army that specializes in state-on-state warfare performs terribly against an insurgency. So how does Brooks think we should prepare for the conflicts of the future? “It is really important to have conversations that make us all feel like 7th graders.”

“The biggest mistake we made … after Vietnam was to get away from what felt uncomfortable and to leap back to what made us feel like high school seniors,” he added. According to Brooks, America faced a counter-insurgency it wasn’t ready to fight and the Pentagon should have learned from it. “Instead, the Army ran screaming and crying back to what it did best and what it felt good doing,” he explained. “Which was tank warfare in West Germany.”

“That would have been great if every other war we were ever going to face was going to be Desert Storm.”

Because the Pentagon either didn’t remember or chose to forget the lessons of Vietnam, it’s had to learn them all over again in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brooks said that everyone needs to get comfortable with feeling ignorant and asking big questions. They need to get used to feeling like 7th graders.

I asked him how that’s working out, asking military men and women to think like middle schoolers. (Brooks has lectured at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.) His answer surprised me.

“I’ve found … the military [has] been going on a soul-searching nervous breakdown,” he said. “I’ve found the military to be infinitely more open to new ideas … whereas the civilian leadership has been trying to placate the people who will re-elect them.”

Brooks thinks this nervous breakdown made the military receptive, but World War Z made him believable. “I try to root all my crazy ideas in real research,” he said. “When you take away the zombies from World War Z you have a reasonably credible global disaster scenario.”

“I think what makes zombies such a great tool for learning is that the solution to a zombie plague is no different than any other large disaster,” he elaborated. For Brooks, the solution to zombies is no different from the solution to Ebola, an earthquake or even war.

Max Brooks

ISIS

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.

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

Seven countries in five years

While the Bush White House promotes the possibility of armed conflict with Iran, a tantalizing passage in Wesley Clark’s new memoir suggests that another war is part of a long-planned Department of Defense strategy that anticipated “regime change” by force in no fewer than seven Mideast states. Critics of the war have often voiced suspicions of such imperial schemes, but this is the first time that a high-ranking former military officer has claimed to know that such plans existed…

More than a decade and a half later, the neoconservative obsession with regime change persists and flourishes in the upper reaches of the Bush administration, where Vice President Dick Cheney is reportedly pressing for action against Iran. (Of course, by overthrowing Saddam and putting the Shiites in control of Iraq, Cheney and President Bush have already done more to empower Tehran than the ruling mullahs could ever have imagined in their fondest fantasies.) The stated reasons range from Iran’s suspected sponsorship of attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq to its worrisome pursuit of nuclear power, but Clark’s allegations strongly suggest American policymakers chose war years ago, no matter what Tehran ended up doing.

In “Time To Lead…” Clark also tells of meeting a senior Pentagon general less than a week after 9/11. The senior staffer is beside himself, furiously waves a paper around, and tells Clark “..see this; seven countries in five years!”

Seven countries in five years? Sounds like somebody had a plan., hell…still has a plan. Those of us who relentlessly castigated The Dark Lord & George the Lesser took Clark’s revelations as a teaching moment: always listen to your gut. 1

A few events recently brought back to mind Clark’s warnings; the drumbeat for war with Syria is just the most obvious. More subtly, but more convincingly, is the way the mainstream press has ignored Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh’s (Minnesota’s Mint Press) thorough article claiming –with evidence — that Saudi supplied rebels were behind the chemical attacks. 2

The kicker is how Obama quietly had DOJ go to court last week seeking a Get Out of Jail Free card.

Back in March an Iraqi single mother (Sundus Shaker Saleh) filed a federal case 3 in San Francisco, alleging George the Younger & The Dark Lord should be tried for violating international law in the execution of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

However, DOJ argued Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfield, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc et alis fall under the Westfall Act 4 umbrella 5 , which grants absolute immunity to government employees for actions taken within the scope of their employment.

Taken en toto it seems blindingly obvious the president intends, at a minimum, to bomb the holy fuck out of Syria for his own reasons, regardless of the wants of America’s citizens and her allies,  while disregarding the inevitable collateral damage 6

Seven countries in five years… 7

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Show 7 footnotes

  1. Though it availed Shrub naught.
  2. The Mint servers may be overwhelmed, in which case InfoWars has posted a backup copy of the article.
  3. Saleh v. Bush (N.D. Cal. Mar. 13, 2013, No. C 13 1124 JST)
  4. A thorough explanation of the judgement from Harvard Law.
  5. Westfall Act of 1988.
  6. No sense referring to them as “people” or “humans”: they’re alredy dead.
  7. If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.

U.S. to Invade Syria

In testimony before the US Senate Armed Forces Committee on Wednesday, top US defense officials announced that they are deploying 200 troops of the 1st Armored Division to Jordan. They will establish headquarters near the Syrian-Jordanian border and plan for a rapid build-up, involving 20,000 or more US troops, awaiting orders from the White House to invade Syria.

A US invasion force would reportedly include Special Forces troops and regular units preparing for operations inside Syria, as well as air defense units guarding against possible retaliatory Syrian air strikes on Jordan.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the Senate committee that these deployments are part of “robust military planning for a range of contingencies,” carried out by the United States and its European and Middle Eastern allies.

At the same time, Washington is carrying out an international diplomatic offensive setting the stage for war with the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The topic of US military operations against Syria will reportedly be on the agenda of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s discussions in Turkey this weekend, of General Martin Dempsey’s talks with Chinese officials next week, and of Hagel’s upcoming talks with military officials in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.

As US officials admitted, invading Syria would likely involve the United States in a regional war throughout the Middle East. Hagel said that a US intervention in Syria “could have the unintended consequence of bringing the United States into a broader regional conflict or proxy war.” He noted that this “could embroil the US in a significant, lengthy, and uncertain military commitment.” 1

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Show 1 footnote

  1. If you switch out ‘could’ for ‘will’, then this is an accurate bit of reporting.