Saturday, September 20, 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!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ally Free

As 44's magical international community organizing skills enjoy another Epic Fail - time to ponder...

The so-called Islamic State has left destruction everywhere that it has gained ground. As in the case of the tribal Scythians, Vandals, Huns or Mongols of the past, though, sowing chaos in its wake does not mean that the Islamic State won’t continue to seek new targets for its devastation.

If unchecked, the Islamic State will turn what is left of the nations of the Middle East into a huge Mogadishu-like tribal wasteland, from the Syrian Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. They will happily call the resulting mess a caliphate.

It is critical for Great Satan to put together some sort of alliance of friendly Middle East governments and European states to stop the Islamic State before it becomes a permanent base for terrorist operations against Great Satan and her allies.  
Unfortunately, it appears unlikely that America will line up a muscular alliance — at least until the Islamic State reaches the gates of Baghdad or plows on through to Saudi Arabia and forces millions of Arabs either to fight or submit.

Why the reluctance for allies to join Great Satan?

Most in the Middle East and Europe do not believe the administration knows much about the Islamic State, much less what to do about it. The president has dismissed it in the past as a JV group that could be managed, contradicting the more dire assessments of his own secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

When 44 finally promised to destroy the Islamic State, Secretary of State John F. Kerry almost immediately backtracked that idea of a full-blown war. Current CIA Director John O. Brennan once dismissed as absurd any idea of Islamic terrorists seeking a modern caliphate. It may be absurd, but it is now also all too real.

Such confusion sadly is not new. The president hinges our hopes on the ground on the Free Syrian Army — which he chose not to help when it once may have been viable. And not long ago, he dismissed it as an inexperienced group of doctors and farmers whose utility was mostly a “fantasy.”

No ally is quite sure of what 44 wants to do about Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom he once threatened to bomb for using chemical weapons, before backing off.

Potential allies also feel that the administration will get them involved in an operation only to either lose interest or leave them hanging. When 44 entered office in 2009, Iraq was mostly quiet. Both the president and Vice President Joe Biden soon announced it secure and stable. Then they simply pulled out all U.S. troops, bragged during their re-election campaign that they had ended the war, and let our Iraqi and Kurdish allies fend for themselves against suddenly emboldened Islamic terrorists.

In Libya, the administration followed the British and French lead in bombing Moammar Gadhafi’s regime out of power — but then failed to help dissidents fight opportunistic Islamists. The result was the Benghazi disaster, a caricature of a strategy dubbed “leading from behind,” and an Afghanistan-like failed state facing Europe across the Mediterranean.

Now, the president claims authorization to bomb the Islamic State based on a 13-year-old joint resolution — a 43rd administration-sponsored effort that 44 himself had often criticized. If the president cannot make a new case to Congress and the American people for bombing the Islamic State, then allies will assume that he cannot build an effective coalition either.

Finally, potential allies doubt that Great Satanwants to be engaged abroad. They are watching China flex its muscles in the South China Sea. They have not yet seen a viable strategy to stop the serial aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Iran seems to consider U.S. deadlines to stop nuclear enrichment in the same manner that Mr. Assad scoffed at administration red lines. With Egypt, the administration seemed confused about whether to support the tottering Hosni Mubarak government, the radical Muslim Brotherhood or the junta of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — only at times to oppose all three.

44 himself seems disengaged, if not bored, with foreign affairs. After publicly deploring the beheading of American journalist James Foley, 44 hit the golf course. When the media reported the disconnect, he scoffed that it was just bad “optics.”

There is a legitimate debate about the degree to which Great Satan should conduct a pre-emptive war to stop the Islamic State before it gobbles up any more nations. So far, the president has not entered that debate, much less won it.

No wonder, then, that potential allies do not quite know what Great Satan is doing, how long America will fight, and what will happen to U.S. allies when we likely get tired, quit and leave.

For now, most allies are sitting tight and waiting for pre-emptive, unilateral U.S. action. If we begin defeating the Islamic State, they may eventually join in on the kill; if not, they won’t.

That is a terrible way to wage coalition warfare, but we are reaping what we have sown.

Pic - "And then there's Little Satan..."

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Operation Market Garden!

70th anniversary of the unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time.

Field Marshal Montgomery's goal was to force an entry into Germany over the Lower Rhine. He wanted to circumvent the northern end of the Siegfried Line and this required the operation to seize the bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine) as well as several smaller canals and tributaries.

Crossing the Lower Rhine would allow the Allies to encircle Germany's industrial heartland in the Ruhr from the north. It made large-scale use of airborne forces, whose tactical objectives were to secure the bridges and allow a rapid advance by armored units into Northern Germany.

Alas, Deutschland, unbeknownst to the Allies,  parked one of her premier Ss panzer divisions nearby to rest and refit after losing their hide in France.

Several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured at the beginning of the operation but Gen. Horrocks' XXX Corps ground force advance was delayed by the demolition of a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal, an extremely overstretched supply line at Son, and failure to capture the main road bridge over the river Waal before 20 September.

At Arnhem, the British 1st Airborne Division encountered far stronger resistance than anticipated. In the ensuing battle, only a small force managed to hold one end of the Arnhem road bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them, they were overrun on 21 September. The rest of the division, trapped in a small pocket west of the bridge, had to be evacuated on 25 September.

The Allies had failed to cross the Rhine in sufficient force and the river remained a barrier to their advance until offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Market Garden ended Allied expectations of finishing the war by Christmas 1944.

Pic - "Out of ammunition. God Save The King"

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Amidst all the non war non profit jaw flapping from the JV Team AKA 44's Posse, the fact is - Strategy = Ends + Means + Ways.

In essence, the strategist identifies the overall goals or objectives (the “ends”), then takes the available resources, including personnel and equipment (the “means”) and develops concepts (the “ways”) that use these resources to accomplish the overall goals. This elegant formulation of strategy has been taught widely, and its influence was evident in the president’s speech.

Today, it is striking to see this dialogue played out in near real time with speeches, bombs, tweets, and beheadings — both sides acting and reacting. This interplay will continue for some time, as ISIS is a thinking, learning, and adaptive enemy that will take steps to defend against U.S. strikes, reinforce its core constituencies, and attack in asymmetric ways. Eventually, the anti-ISIS coalition will need to adjust its strategy with an eye to gaining the continuing advantage.

That will be interesting indeed.

At least an Army combat Aviation Brigade (about 3,300 soldiers) to operate transport, reconnaissance, and attack helicopters.

These special operators will be at high risk of locally-overwhelming enemy force, as well as attacks by ISIS operatives infiltrating the tribes and even the security forces among whom they will be living.

They must have access to a large and responsive quick reaction force (QRF ) that can get to threatened units rapidly and with dominating force. We estimate that two battalion-sized QRFs will need to be available at all times, one in Iraq and one in Syria.

Sustaining the availability of two battalions requires the deployment of two brigades, perhaps 7,000 soldiers in all. Additional forces will be required to secure temporary bases, provide medevac coverage, and support necessary enablers.

Flight times and the medevac requirements to get wounded soldiers to help within the “golden hour” dictate that the U.S. will have to establish temporary bases inside Iraq and Syria. Bases in Kurdistan, Turkey, and Jordan are simply too far away from the core ISIS safe-havens along the Euphrates.

Subsequent phases depend entirely on validating the assumption that the Sunni Arab communities in Iraq and Syria are both willing and able to fight alongside the U.S. and our partners against ISIS. The details of those phases will depend on which specific tribes and groups step forward and what their capabilities and limitations might be.

They will also depend on the speed with which the ISF can be rebuilt and reformed
into a non-sectarian and effective security force. The first phase itself will take months. Subsequent phases will take longer.

Adopting this strategy entails signing up for a prolonged deployment of military forces, including ground forces.

Even then, this strategy suffers from the high risk of failure and the near-certainty that the U.S. will suffer casualties, including at the hands of supposedly friendly forces. American troops dispersed among the Sunni population are at risk of being kidnapped.

The significant anti-aircraft capabilities of ISIS put American helicopters at risk. It may turn out that the Sunni Arabs cannot or will not fight with us, finally, and that the overall strategy proposed here is infeasible. In that case, it will be necessary to abandon this strategy and reconsider our options.

Great Satan should adopt this strategy despite these risks.

The consequences of inaction or inadequate action are evident:
ISIS will retain control of much of the territory it holds, sectarian war will escalate, more foreign fighters including Americans and Europeans will cycle through the battlefield and get both trained and further radicalized, and al-Qaeda will benefit from the largest and richest safe-haven it has ever known.

It's worth accepting the risks of this strategy to avoid this outcome

Pic - "Last week, 44 announced a strategy to re-defeat the terrorists in Iraq. But instead of listening to his commanders this time around, 44 once again rejected the advice of his Generals."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Keep It Simple

Shout It Out Loud!

KISS - the olde Keep It Simple Stupid meme can also be applied like Black Diamond eyeliner to l'sitch au courrant in Suriya al Kubra and the Land Betwixt The 2 Rivers....

Complexity is all too often the enemy of success. When too many uncertainties mix together the unknowable amount of resulting risk always becomes unmanageable. Unfortunately, the administration’s newly announced strategy to deal with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) severely violates this principle.

First, the strategy seems ignorant of Iraq’s troubled history — the lessons of which a generation of American service members have learned at great cost. The administration is desperately hoping to hold together a state whose borders were defined by the West less than a hundred years ago, but which has been marked by internecine strife between three distinct cultural segments — Sunnis, Shi’a, and Kurds — for nearly 1400 years. Indeed, this is yet another instance of the tribalistic “my family against my neighbor, my neighbor against my clan, and my clan against the neighboring clan” cultural view dominant throughout much of the Middle East.

The past three decades have continued this pattern in Iraq: Sunnis brutally repressed and starved out the country’s Shi’a during a horrific decade-long war with Iran, a predominantly Shi’a country, and following the 1991 Gulf War there was a series of Shi’a and Kurdish uprisings against Saddam Hussein, the suppression of which included forcible relocation of the mainly Shi’a Marsh Arabs living in the Tigris-Euphrates river basin and the deadly gassing of thousands of Kurds.

Is it any wonder then that when Shi’a Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came to power he demonstrably favored his own sect and that Sunnis and Kurds roundly rejected him? More to the point, is there any real chance the new Shi’a prime minister will be significantly more successful in uniting these disparate, ages-old enemies when centuries of mistrust continue to cloud public and sectarian opinion, and be able to do so amidst an ongoing civil war?

It is a fool’s errand to try to force the state of Iraq to remain intact when that outcome requires political compromises and burying of religious and ethnic hatreds that are all too evident throughout the entire region. The facts on the ground and decades of Western political and military failures support the conclusion that forcing these disparate sects together without also accepting a ruthless dictator brutal enough to force public acquiescence is simply not possible. And, obviously, this policy also means hoping against hope that the complex swirl of sectarian divides, unstable (if not untenable) power-sharing arrangements, and splitting of spoils and oil revenues can be contained while the central government fights the prolonged civil war against ISIS that has taken root within its borders.

Yet the administration’s plans hinge on providing support to Iranian-backed Iraqi leaders in taking on the Sunni extremists of ISIS by arming and supporting moderate Sunnis who will be fighting to sustain their subservience to a Shi’a government. Wouldn’t it make more sense to recognize the reality of three distinct territories of what used to be Iraq and thus help Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi’a fight ISIS in the name of their own respective sovereignties? Then all the parties would be defending their own self-interest, and the anti-ISIS battle can be separated from the entangled complexity of objectives that arise when defeating ISIS leads to political outcomes against the fighting forces’ own interests.

Similarly, in Syria the administration has chosen the complexity of cross-cutting entanglements by being either unwilling or unable to make the necessary, but miserably distasteful, alliances with various actors like Syria’s President Assad and his Iranian backers – despite making alliances with those same Iranian backers in Iraq. Instead, we are choosing to try and find some elusive segment of Syrian society that, though they have not yet emerged three years into a civil war, is capable of bearing arms effectively against both ISIS and the Syrian military, is less radical than ISIS, and yet still strong enough to rule post-Assad.

No such force exists, and building one — if it is even possible — would take years and require arming untold hordes of fighters, any number of whom could easily switch sides and join ISIS at any moment or, perhaps more likely, retreat from the fight and leave all the U.S.-supplied weapons systems in the hands of ISIS, just as happened with the Iraqi Army earlier this year. Again, the complexity and opportunity for failure as a function of unknown and uncontrollable events is impossible to calculate.

In the end, the simplest military strategy almost always works best. Diplomacy and politics exist in a realm where there it is possible to navigate complicated and entangled subtleties, but when the bullets start flying and people start dying it is better to keep it simple: Identify the main enemy, make whatever alliances you have to in order to win, and get the job done. It was surely hard for Churchill and President Roosevelt to be aligned with Stalin to eradicate the greater evil of Hitler; and no one envies Truman’s difficult decision to drop the atomic bomb to achieve the end of World War Two. But that is what wartime strategy often entails — hard choices, anguishing alliances… and the will to win.

In his speech to the nation last week, the president clearly identified the three pillars of his real strategy for defeating ISIS: (1) ISIS must be destroyed, (2) he is unwilling to use our military on the ground to do it, and (3) he cannot or will not make hard choices like splitting up Iraq or partnering with Assad. Perhaps any two of these might be doable, but there is no way all three can hold for the period of time this effort will require. In the end, being unwilling to use our own troops means crafting a coalition of people with different interests, capabilities, and senses of morality.

Accepting this truth should lead us to a simple, straightforward plan that partitions Iraq and makes a deal with Assad. Instead, the president plans to make complex alliances with multiple Sunni states to strengthen the non-ISIS Sunnis in Syria — “moderate militants” — that also want to topple Iranian-backed Assad, while in Iraq he plans to support Iranian-backed Shi’a in fielding a mixed army of Shi’a and Sunni against ISIS. This plan has become a complex morass before we even start, and reflects a gross misunderstanding of what constitutes a plausible, successful military strategy. War is hard enough without undue complications, and keeping it simple is the best way to avoid making this another case of doing stupid “stuff.”
Pic " I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

Boots On The Ground

If it's true that Great Satan's security depends of foreign conscripts in 44's new IS/ISIS/ISIL War and those conscript boots are gon be from Araby - what kinda boots are we talking here?

For the most part, the Gulf states use their military to protect the ruling elite and menace civilians who dare challenge their authority. Their utility against a lethal force like ISIL is, at best, questionable.
How do Gulf Arab militaries compare with those of other nations? To rank 106 countries by their military strength, the website Global Firepower uses over 50 factors, not including nuclear weapons. By their reckoning, the highest-ranking Gulf Arab military belongs to Saudi Arabia, which is 25th.

 That’s in part because the quality of the military hardware at its disposal: the best that petrodollars can buy. (For instance, it ranks 13th in the number of attack aircraft and 9th in the number of armored fighting vehicles.) 
Even so, Saudi Arabia ranks just one place higher than Syria overall. And, as we’ve seen, Bashar al-Assad’s forces, despite overwhelmingly superior arms, have lost vast swathes of the country to ISIL. It’s far from clear that the Saudis would fare much better. 
The other Gulf states rank much farther down the list: the UAE is 42nd, Yemen 45th, Oman 69th, Kuwait 74th, Bahrain 81st and Qatar 82nd. 
How can this be? After all, Gulf Arab states spend vast amounts of their oil revenues on shiny military gear, most of it from the US and Europe. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is the world’s fourth-largest military spender—the second-largest, as a proportion of its annual budget. 
But, like most other Gulf militaries, the Saudis have little actual combat experience. They barely contribute to the UN’s peacekeeping forces

Although Qatar and the UAE contributed aircraft to the coalition that imposed a no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, the heavy lifting was done by US and European air forces. (More recently, UAE planes have bombed Islamist militants in Tripoli.) 
Ironically, the Gulf military that has the most fighting experience comes from the poorest state in the region: Yemen, where a Houthi insurgency in the north and an al-Qaeda franchise in the east keep the military constantly busy. 

Looking beyond the Gulf states, Egypt’s military is ranked 13th, which is impressive until you consider how much it has struggled to contain militant groups much smaller than ISIS and lacking serious weaponry in the Sinai Peninsula. (Jordan, another Arab nation that is part of the coalition, is ranked 67th.)
Outside the Arab world, Turkey is ranked 8th. The Turkish military has experience dealing with Kurdish separatists as well as a homegrown Islamist terror threat, so its absence from the coalition will hurt.

The other major power in the region is not invited: Iran is ranked 22nd. 
Untried and untested though they may be, Gen. John Allen, brought out of retirement by the  administration to herd the military cats of the coalition, will still be hoping he can get Arab air forces in the mix. That’s because the optics are important, even if their presence in any actual fighting is mostly optional.

Saturday, September 13, 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

  • *First place with 3 2/3 votes!Obama’s Untruth, Inc. submitted by Joshuapundit

  • Second place *t* with 1 1/3 votes The Noisy RoomCuba Trolls America’s Left for Spies

  • Second place *t* with 1 1/3 votes The Independent SentinelYour child’s school might be pushing Zinn’s Marxist view of US history

  • Third place with 1 vote The RazorIt’s Jews All The Way Down

  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote The Right PlanetThe Immigration Nightmare

  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote VA Right! - Bob McDonnell Guilty on 11 Counts, Maureen Guilty on 9 Counts

  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 voteBookworm RoomBook Review — Bing West’s “One Million Steps : A Marine Platoon at War”

  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 voteThe Glittering Eye -Second Term Foreign Policy

  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 voteNice Deb Ward Churchill Still Crazy After All These Years (Video)

  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 voteThe Colossus of RhodeyAs a life-long Rams fan, I say this is patently ridiculous

  • Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!