Tuesday, October 21, 2014


A few hours after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers and Zero fighters began a devastating offensive against the U.S. Far East Air Force based in the Philippines. Japanese soldiers landed ashore the same day.

For several months, American and Philippine troops battled the Japanese onslaught. Despite a fierce defense of the Bataan Peninsula and heavy enemy casualties, 32 ordered the commanding general, Douglas MacArthur, to retreat to Australia before the Philippines was cut off completely.

Before leaving and then again upon arrival in Australia, MacArthur bitterly vowed, “I shall return.” Seventy years ago on Monday, MacArthur fulfilled his promise.

It would take over two and a half years for the Allies to return. In that time, the Japanese front expanded in the Pacific from the Aleutian Islands in the north to the Solomon Islands in the south. Hundreds of Americans and thousands of Filipinos died at the barbaric hands of their captors during the Bataan Death March. The Axis advance was finally stemmed in 1942 as the United States won a decisive naval victory at Midway and American and Australian forces repelled Japanese land troops in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. A bloody campaign at Guadalcanal that claimed tens of thousands of lives then ended Japan’s offensive capabilities. By 1943, Allied forces were ready to begin “island hopping” or “leapfrogging” toward the Japanese home islands.

With American forces gaining greater control of the Pacific by the summer of 1944, a decision needed to be made over the Allies’ push into the western Pacific. MacArthur believed Luzon, the largest Philippine island, needed to be taken before moving closer to the Japanese main islands. Overruling Admiral Chester Nimitz, who favored bypassing the Philippines and invading Formosa (Taiwan), Roosevelt sided with MacArthur. Some speculate that MacArthur pushed for the Philippines primarily because of an obsessive notion of redemption. MacArthur also did not want the Australians to play a prominent role in the recapture of American territory.

The Allies were ready for the amphibious retaking of the Philippines in October. A guerrilla resistance movement comprised of former Philippine soldiers, American soldiers who had never surrendered, local militias, and civilians had been harassing the occupying force and providing intelligence to MacArthur, but the operation would not be easy as the Japanese had amassed hundreds of thousands on the archipelago to defend Japan’s critical oil and supply lines from Southeast Asia.

On Oct. 17, U.S. Army Rangers orchestrated raids on the small islands off Leyte to make way for the main invasion force on Oct. 20. After hours of naval bombardment, American forces landed and quickly secured on the eastern shores of Leyte. With a grand, photographed entrance, MacArthur and his staff waded ashore near the town of Palo that day. The larger-than-life commander proclaimed, “People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil.”

As American and Philippine forces pressed inland, a massive naval battle, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, unfolded. Having lost hundreds of aircraft and three carriers at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the crippled, desperate Imperial Japanese Navy attempted to cut off the invasion at Leyte, but it encountered a much larger American force of two fleets.

From Oct. 23 to 26, American and Japanese ships and aircraft fought in a sea battlefield of over 100,000 square miles in what is arguably the largest naval battle in history (More ships were involved at Leyte Gulf than in any other battle, but greater tonnage of shipping was present at the Battle of Jutland in World War I). During Leyte Gulf, the Japanese introduced a new tactic: the terrifying Kamikaze attack. Despite the attacks from sea and air, the Allied naval force repelled the Japanese Navy, which would longer have the strength to conduct to large-scale offensive operations for the remainder of the war.

Although Japan had been cut off from the Philippines, the fight for the islands was far from over. General Tomoyuki Yamashita decided Leyte should be the main line of defense. The fighting at Leyte lasted until the end of 1944, and individual Japanese soldiers would fight until the end of the war. The Allies would take the remaining major islands of the Philippines by April the following year, but, like Leyte, remnants of the Japanese Army would fight on the islands for months longer. The Allies suffered 62,000 casualties in the campaign, while the Japanese casualties reached a staggering 348,000.

Yamashita would pay for his ferocious defense of the Philippines with his life. After the war, he was tried for war crimes and was hanged after being found guilty. Many considered the trial a gross miscarriage of justice and Yamashita a victim of MacArthur's vengeance.

Pic - "I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil -- soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed, to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a foundation of indestructible, strength, the liberties of your people."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Path To Defeat

IS/ISL/ISIS on the rampage?

Despite its advances in northern Syria and western Iraq, there is every reason to think ISIL may finally be on the road to defeat. In spite of its technical competence and impressive adaptability, the militant group may have overreached. The range of territory controlled by its fighters involves vulnerable supply lines and large tracts of land that are highly vulnerable to attack and rollback.

This is particularly true in Iraq. ISIL may be apparently on the march, but as Michael Knights has recently noted in Politico, reaching the Sunni areas on the outskirts of Baghdad has probably maximised the limits of ISIL’s potential reach in that country.

Moreover, while the American-led coalition has obviously so far resisted ISIL insufficiently, many of the necessary steps to augment air power, particularly in the Iraqi battleground – including augmenting Iraqi government forces and creating a “Sunni National Guard” – are in the process of development. It may take a year or more, but both should be entirely achievable.

There’s almost no question that, having committed to “degrade, and, ultimately, destroy” the power of ISIL, the  administration has put Great Satan on an inevitable course of unavoidable and continuous mission expansion.

It cannot afford either practically or politically to back away. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius recounts that American measures under consideration include: raising the number of air sorties from 10-20 a day to 10 times that number, the transfer of Apache helicopters to the Iraqi government, the creation of a no-fly zone on the Turkish border, the revival of a new moderate Syrian opposition force and the introduction of a limited number of American “ground troops” in the form of “advisers”.

Despite its reticence, Turkey is getting closer to being drawn into the conflict. Ankara’s concern about the Kurdish PKK/PYD forces in northern Syria, and its commitment to overthrowing the Damascus dictatorship are important indications of where the United States and its allies have to accommodate others. But, in the long run, it is virtually impossible that Turkey will openly side with ISIL.

ISIL is thus now surrounded by enemies. These include Westerners who know that they are the ultimate target of these millenarian fanatics; Shiites and other religious minorities who understand that the immediate future for them in any ISIL-controlled area is genocide or slavery; and the existing Sunni Arab powers and religious establishments that understand that ISIL is also a massive existential threat to them.

More even than Mosul, Fallujah is the key to the pushback. Should ISIL lose control of that city, as it simply has to, its foothold in Iraq will be profoundly disrupted, and a pushback into Syria guaranteed. The real battle will probably begin in Mosul, but the end of ISIL in Iraq will come with the liberation of Fallujah. Then will come the far more challenging prospect of expelling ISIL from Syria, or at least neutralising its threat there.

Finally, ISIL’s Arab poll numbers are simply dreadful. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy commissioned a recent poll in several Arab states. ISIL got a mere five per cent approval rating in Saudi Arabia – a most heartening repudiation. Egypt followed with three per cent and Lebanon with one per cent. Such marginal numbers tend to correlate with those fringe types believing in the most absurd conspiracy theories.

ISIL is clearly exceptionally unpopular outside of the areas it controls. That’s a good thing. On the other hand, because it poses as a group that brings order to chaos, and because most people prefer any form of law and order to mere anarchy, ISIL has managed to win hearts and minds in some parts of Syria and Iraq where it has falsely posed as a champion of local Sunni populations and a generalised Islamic universalist and apocalyptic agenda.

And what of the small percentage outside their areas who do favour them? Well, it’s already obvious that ISIL does, in fact, have a coherent narrative that appeals to a small but potent group of people who think that it really is a vanguard for the Muslims of the world.

There are always extremists and fanatics. The challenge, as in so many other instances throughout history and geography, is for mainstream societies to come together – as indeed they are starting to – to make sure that they are not able to destroy the regional system, the global order and balance of power, and, especially, Arab and Islamic civilisation as we know it.

The strongest evidence, reading between the lines is that, slowly but surely, this is very much starting to happen, and ISIL is, thankfully, on a one-way path to eventual and decisive defeat.
Pic - "Walking Through The Ruins"

Sunday, October 19, 2014


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)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


ISIL/ISIS/IS - Raid versus Invasion? 
In an invasion, you come to permanently occupy the terrain. In a raid, you destroy the enemy and leave.

Gen. Anthony Zinni, the former head of the Central Command, estimates that the equivalent of two Marine Expeditionary Brigades would be needed to systematically destroy the ISIS standing army; I agree.

That’s about 20,000 soldiers, with one brigade attacking east out of Syria and the second attacking west through Iraq. They’d meet at the old Iraqi-Syrian border in a classic squeeze play.

This would be a war the American people can understand. The number of cities and towns cleared of ISIS’ conventional combat power is quantifiable, and there is a recognizable military end state.

It would not be without cost. In retaking the Iraqi city of Fallujah alone in 2004, we lost 94 Marines and sailors killed while killing 10 times that many Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters.

This campaign of large-scale raids would likely be more costly and take months, but it’s preferable to armed nation-building, where body bags stream back for years.

It is likely that when driven from the occupied areas, ISIS’ people will disperse and try to consolidate elsewhere. We have to plan for that; you can destroy an army, but not an ideology. We may need to attack them again elsewhere sometime.

The political end state would be in the hands of the Syrians and Iraqis. We could do some advance good by training what passes for a moderate Syrian rebel coalition to administer and police the liberated areas of Syria after we’ve cleared them of ISIS fighters.

Similarly, we could work diplomatically with the Iraqis to rebuild the trust of the population and tribal leaders of the Sunni regions.

Yet there is no guarantee that they will succeed in governance, only that the ISIS threat will be dispersed.

We must prevent a terror sanctuary similar to that which existed in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks. We are the indispensable nation in this effort.

And while we may be able to recruit a posse, a global marshal has to lead from the front.

Pic - "The Spy Who Told Me"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Oh America! Is there anything you can't do?

Juliet Marine Systems' Ghost exhibits a combination of "stealth fighter aircraft and attack helicopter technologies," and is designed to combat naval swarm attacks of fast enemy boats, waterborne improvised explosives, and piracy. 

As her name suggests, Ghost is intended to have zero radar signature, and the vessel is supposedly difficult for the enemy to spot, let alone target. She is like totally nonmagnetic and hard to detect via sonar, making her ideal for infiltration and surveillance of enemy areas

Our Navy is in a revolutionary period of change. Historic military tactics combined with modern materials and technology present a formidable fleet protection challenge for our Navy today. One of the greatest threats to our Navy is low tech vessel attacks with conventional explosives, as seen on October 12, 2000, when the USS Cole was attacked, killing 17 sailors and wounding 39 others and in the continued success of pirates. As a maritime systems think tank, Juliet Marine Systems provides offensive, defensive and ISR solutions that are developed in a skunk works operation able to rapidly invent and construct needed technologies and systems for the Navy and armed forces. We have already developed a surface variant of a super cavitating craft and are planning to apply our unique technology in a UUV prototype. 

While the GHOST is a surface vessel, the hydrodynamics of the twin submerged buoyant tubular foils are also a test bed for Juliet Marine's next planned prototype, a long duration UUV. The GHOST is a revolutionary proprietary technology vessel platform that will assure force protection through stealth fighter/attack capabilities along with integrated situation awareness. These vessels would create a protective fleet perimeter, providing sensor and weapons platforms, allowing no surface or subsurface intrusions.

The GHOST is a combination of stealth fighter aircraft and attack helicopter technologies packaged in a marine platform. The awesome capabilities of GHOST are designed to provide a marine surface and subsurface platform for tracking and identification of multiple targets. Systems for integrating on-board weapons will be designed to be capable of multi-target firing solutions while GHOST operates at very high speed. These weapons integration systems will also allow for attacking several targets simultaneously with a variety of weapons systems options.

The same capabilities that have made helicopters valuable to get to hard to reach locations fast, will apply to the GHOST in commercial applications in the maritime environment. Crew rotations or resupply runs for critical items to off-shore oil rigs can be accomplished two to three times faster than the craft currently in use and would be far less expensive and have fewer weather restrictions than using helicopter assets. The GHOST is two to three times as fast as most ferries in use today.

Pic - "A piece of the the action!"

Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day!

Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue way back in 1492.

This delightful ditty firmly places the date of the discovery of the New World into the minds of saavy kids everywhere in Great Satan.

Later on, CC get's dissed in crash courses for introducing alien concepts like slavery, STD's, baby Jesus and advanced weaponry to hapless, childlike human sacrificing races in places from South America all the way to Alaska.

What ev.

What was the motivation for CC to split sail from Europa and head west?


Find a short cut to India.

The real quiz is quite significant. Why?

After all, Europa was the centre of the world for the tech saavy Europeans - India's locale was well known since Alexander the Great's era and thanks to Prince Henry (the cat who put the 'gator' in navigator) sealanes and land routes could have sweetly hooked up to provide the fastest transport times circa 1500 anywhere on earth.

Check out a World map from 1500 AD and the answer is prett obvious.

Critical portions of any route to and from India were totally beseiged by totalitarian monarchies like the Ottomans, Safavid Persia and an unhealthy mix of sundry and "...various m"Hammedist states..."

Plus, a newly reconstituted Xian Spain had just fought an expensive, bloody reconquista against 7th century time traveling control freaks and all of Europa wanted to get as far away as possible from said jerks and creeps.

Amazing that the reason for the season of Columbus Day is traced back to probs that kicked off Great Satan's very 1st regime change and are facing the world today.

Unfun, unfree and unhinged regimes built, cruelly maintained and by their very design expansionist, feature intolerance, nonegalitarian and misery projection with all the trimmings like slavery, pitiful lit rates and of course - violence.

Detours allowing the avoidance of such 'tardist, backward civs were in high demand, thanks to Columbus - Europa turned her back on the faux, played league of failed states - and concentrated their efforts on the "New World"

Pic - "Admiral of the Ocean"

Saturday, October 11, 2014


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)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!