Monday, February 29, 2016

The New Stealth Bomber

It's the B 21! Still on the drawing boards and she looks bunches like her older sis - with a few variations

So... what will the Air Force call this new bomber? The name will be up to the men and women of the Air Force. Leaders of the bomber program will be considering name suggestions from airmen. The bomber's name will be announced at an Air Force conference scheduled in the fall.

Until now the B-21 has been referred to as the Long Range Strike Bomber because it will be designed to launch from the U.S. and strike any target around the globe.
When Northrop Grumman won the contract to build the B-21 last year, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said it will allow the U.S. to "project power across the globe now and into the future," calling it a "strategic investment for the next 50 years."
Long term, the idea is for these planes to replace Air Force B-52 bombers, which have been flying for more than half a century -- and eventually the B-1 bombers, when they retire sometime in the 2040s.
Engineering and development costs are estimated at $21.4 billion (in 2010 dollars) over the entire life of the program.
Officials have been tight-lipped as to the specific capability expectations for the LRS-B, but indications are that it will be stealthy, able to carry conventional and nuclear weapons and could possibly operate with or without a pilot!
The Air Force said it plans to start testing the plane sometime in the mid-2020s.
The B-2 ended up costing American taxpayers more than $2 billion per copy. The plane was so expensive that the Air Force ended up buying just 21 of them. And the B-2 is so complex and unreliable that, on any given day, just nine are actually ready for combat.

The B-21 is supposed to remedy the B-2’s flaws and help the Pentagon deter Russia and China for 50 years or more after the first B-21 deploys some time in the mid-2020s. The Air Force wants 100 of the new bombers at a cost of just $790 million apiece, a bargain by stealth bomber standards. The quantity is key.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


WoW - 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.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Syria Delusions

“During all of the years of Assad regime mass terror, homicide, and collective punishment—practices supported by and participated in by its foreign enablers—the United States failed to protect a single Syrian inside Syria. It did not even try.”

Direct Hit! Fire For Effect!

In 2012, the group that is supposed to be the senior national security team–the secretary of state (Hillary Clinton), secretary of defense (Leon Panetta), and CIA director (David Petraeus)–urged 44 to support the Syrian rebels. He rejected their unanimous advice, instead maligning the rebels (“pharmacists”) while they were risking and often losing their lives fighting the Assad regime and ISIS. In 2014, Clinton said “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad … the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”

Four years later, we are in the same situation: 44 ignoring advice. The Wall Street Journal reported today this:

44’s top military and intelligence advisers, convinced Russia won’t abide by a cease-fire in Syria, are pushing for ways to increase pressure on Moscow, including expanding covert military assistance for some rebels now taking a pounding from Russian airstrikes.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter; Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan have voiced increasingly tough views in White House meetings, calling for new measures to “inflict real pain on the Russians,” a senior administration official said.

The Journal story explains the concerns voiced by the Pentagon:

At one point last week, the Pentagon came close to withdrawing its representatives from the cease-fire talks after the Russians claimed military cooperation between the U.S. and Russia was part of the closed-door discussions, according to senior administration officials.  
Mr. Carter was upset about the Russian claims because he had explicitly ruled out such discussions, the officials said.  
The Pentagon believes Russia was trying to try to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its coalition partners and to make it look like Washington would support Moscow’s military campaign in Syria and accept Mr. Assad.  
While Russia was engaged in the cease-fire talks, U.S. officials say its war planes stepped up their attacks on positions held by moderate rebels. Russia maintains its airstrikes are targeting terrorist groups.  
Mr. Kerry believes Monday’s agreement has “a viable chance of succeeding,” according to a senior administration official close to the secretary. In contrast, Mr. Carter told senior officials Monday that it won’t hold. “He thinks it’s a ruse,” a senior administration official said.

44 has an absolute right to reject the advice he gets from his national security team, as he did in 2012. He’s the Commander in Chief. Indeed he has an absolute right to dismiss these officials and find ones more attuned to his desire to do next to nothing in Syria, and attuned to Mr. Kerry’s view that endless palaver with Sergei Lavrov will solve Syria.

But there are two other things to consider. First, it does seem that 44 has no national security advisers and never did–not if by that term we mean people whose advice he values and sometimes takes. It seems that the pattern is simpler: they offer advice, he rejects it, and takes his own counsel. Constitutionally quite sound. In practice, we can now see after seven years, dangerous.

Second, what has been the real impact, in Syria, of 44’s certitude about his own path? 350,000 dead, ten million refugees. And what has been the real substance of U.S. policy? Perhaps the best way to answer the question is by quoting Fred Hof, who was 44’s Special Adviser for Syria until he resigned.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Gitmo Executions

Chiz au courrant about 44 closing down Gitmo brings back an idea that ancient cats have been asking for eons...

A main part of 44’s indictment of Gitmo is the fact — and there is no doubt that it is a fact — that the prison is used in recruitment propaganda by Islamic radicals. Gitmo, like drone strikes, is deeply unpopular among jihadists. There is a reason for that: Drone strikes kill jihadists, and Gitmo keeps them out of the game.

Everything the United States does to defend itself against Islamic supremacists is unpopular with Islamic supremacists — that doesn’t mean that we give them a veto over our national-security policy.

The prisoners held at Gitmo are, for the most part, what is known under international law as “francs-tireurs,” non-uniformed militiamen who conduct sabotage and terrorism operations against occupation forces. Under Article 4 of the Geneva Conventions, fighters eligible for the protections extended to prisoners of war are obliged to meet several criteria, including the wearing of uniforms or fixed insignia and — here’s the rub for the Islamic State et al. — conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
So why not firing squad time?  

Non-uniformed militiamen and insurgents sawing the heads off of Wall Street Journal reporters do not qualify for Geneva Convention protections. They are, under the applicable international law, subject to summary execution, as are captured spies, terrorists, and the like.

No doubt executing the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay would send a shock throughout Mohammedist world. 

And that may actually be a good thing
By way of comparison to what justice might actually bear, the conditions at Gitmo — three hot halal meals and a Koran — are indeed a powerful testament to American values, though not the sort of values that 44 imagines. Gitmo may not exactly be the “resort” that its defenders sometimes joke that it is, but we could do worse — much worse — with these men and be entirely justified doing it.
If the idea of Gitmo is truly uncool, there are alternatives. May not like those, either. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"Distributed Lethality"

"Splice the mainbrace!"

In January of 2015 the U.S. Navy’s surface leadership publicly described the concept of distributed lethality.

In broad terms, distributed lethality proposes creating small offensive adaptive force packages comprised of surface action groups (SAG) with a variety of support elements that operate across a wide region and under an adversary’ anti-access sea denial umbrella. Its purpose is to confound adversary locating and targeting while introducing a threat to their sea control ambitions. It is an offensive concept for the U.S. surface forces. After decades of investment in defensive technology, systems, and training to counter cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and submarines, distributed lethality represents a course change for surface warfare, or at least a return to accepting a major role in sea strike that had been ceded to the carrier air wings.

With several world powers developing challenging sea denial capabilities, establishing sea control in contested areas is again a concern of naval planners. A return to the offensive capability of surface action groups (SAG) is necessary to add resilience to a naval force structure operating in these contested areas. It also leverages the tactical offense, which in naval warfare is advantageous to overemphasizing defensive capabilities.

This paper describes a tactical doctrine to mature the concept of distributed lethality. By tactical doctrine we mean fundamental principles by which surface forces operate in the function-specific case of naval surface-to-surface engagements in a challenging electronic emission condition where adversaries may have an advantage in long-range detection of contacts. Its purpose is to guide efforts in providing surface forces with capabilities to conduct independent offensive actions and to develop specific combat tactics to employ organic surveillance assets, ships and weapon systems to find, fix, and finish enemy surface ships in wartime.

The tactical doctrine’s essence is that continuous emissions will be fatal and allow the enemy to strike first. It is not meant to preclude use of additional capabilities provided by cross-domain contributions, but it does focus first on the ship as the basic unit to build a distributed lethality system. This is a key philosophy for surface ship survival in a modern missile surface duel and somewhat of a sea change: we must use networked systems when they are available, but not rely on them. To do otherwise invites creating our own vulnerability for the enemy to exploit.

This tactical doctrine is based on three principle objectives:

Out think the enemy
Out scout the enemy
Out shoot the enemy

Reverse engines and check out the entire piece - it's fully crunk.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

44 In Cuba

Eight months after the U.S. Embassy opened in Cuba, what is the effect of this much-celebrated opening of diplomatic relations? Who has benefitted?

The Washington Post noted today that “there has been little movement on political freedoms…and the number of dissidents in detention has steadily increased in recent months.”

In fact there has been no progress on freedom whatsoever. So far, the real effect of 44's “opening” is an increase in the flow of funds to the Castro regime through tourism and business with state-owned companies.

But the White House says 44 will visit Cuba in March. Why is the President visiting, given the lack of change? Because he cannot resist the photo op with Fidel Castro. It’s as simple as that.

What about human rights? The Post tells us that “in recent weeks, administration officials have made it clear 44 would travel to Cuba only if its government made additional concessions in the areas of human rights, Internet access and market liberalization.” The President has said that “If I go on a visit, then part of the deal is that I get to talk to everybody. I’ve made very clear in my conversations directly with President Castro that we would continue to reach out to those who want to broaden the scope for, you know, free expression inside of Cuba.”

What does that mean? Will the President meet with the brave Ladies in White who have fought for freedom for years? Which courageous dissidents will he see? What does it mean to “reach out to those who want to broaden the scope for, you know, free expression,” to quote the President’s inartful words.

Not too hard to guess: a tame group of civil society types, some artists who have galleries catering to American tourists, some people who want the right to open new restaurants. The Cuban regime will never allow 44 to meet with “everybody,” and they will get away with it. They know that 44 is dying to make this trip and get his photo with Fidel, and that gives the police state the upper hand– just as it did throughout the negootiations with Cuba.

Yes, the trip could be salvaged–if 44 had a “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” moment. Yes, if he directly demanded free elections, and an end to the one-party rule, and free expression, and free trade unions, and demanded that every single political prisoner be released immediately.
This visit is about the President’s vanity and search for a legacy, not about freedom and human rights for the people of Cuba. And that’s a disgrace.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fight Or Flight

GsGf's long time Middle East militaries cat unleashed a killer bit 'bout - you guessed it - the Middle East.

Specifically, the modern Middle East has rarely been tranquil, but it has never been this bad. 45 is going to face a choice in the Middle East: do much more to stabilize it, or disengage from it much more. This piece was originally published in Foreign Affairs.

Grasping the real choices that the United States faces in the Middle East requires an honest understanding of what is going on there. Although it is fashionable to blame the region’s travails on ancient hatreds or the poor cartography of Mr. Sykes and Monsieur Picot, the real problems began with the modern Arab state system. After World War II, the Arab states came into their own. Most shed their European colonial masters, and all adopted more modern political systems, whether secular republics (read: dictatorships) or new monarchies.

None of these states worked very well. For one thing, their economies depended heavily on oil, either directly, by pumping it themselves, or indirectly, via trade, aid, and worker remittances. These rentier economies produced too few jobs and too much wealth that their civilian populations neither controlled nor generated, encouraging the ruling elites to treat their citizenries as (mostly unwanted) dependents.
This model clunked along for several decades, before it started falling apart

If the first-order problem of the Middle East is the failure of the postwar Arab state system, the outbreak of civil wars has become an equally important second-order problem. These conflicts have taken on lives of their own, becoming engines of instability that now pose the greatest immediate threat to both the people of the region and the rest of the world.

For one thing, civil wars have a bad habit of spilling over into their neighbors. Vast numbers of refugees cross borders, as do smaller, but no less problematic, numbers of terrorists and other armed combatants. So do ideas promoting militancy, revolution, and secession. In this way, neighboring states can themselves succumb to instability or even internal conflict.
So... Fight or Flight?

Ultimately, the greatest challenge for the United States if it steps back from the Middle East is this: figuring out how to defend U.S. interests when they are threatened by problems the United States is ill equipped to solve. Because containing the spillover from civil wars is so difficult, stepping back means risking the near-term collapse of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Turkey. Although none of these countries produces much oil itself, their instability could spread to the oil producers, too, over the longer term. The world might be able to survive the loss of Iranian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti, or Algerian oil production, but at a certain point, the instability would affect Saudi Arabia.

The great benefit of a policy of stepping back is that it would drastically reduce the burden that the United States would have to bear to stabilize the Middle East. The great danger, however, is that it would entail enormous risks. Once the United States started writing off countries—shortening the list of those it would defend against threats—it is unclear where it would be able to stop, and retreat could turn into rout. If Jordan or Kuwait slid into civil war, would the United States deploy 100,000 troops to occupy and stabilize either country to protect Saudi Arabia (and in the case of civil war in Jordan, to protect Israel)? Could the United States do so in time to prevent the spillover from destabilizing the kingdom? If not, are there other ways to keep the kingdom itself from falling? Given all these uncertainties, the most prudent course is for Americans to steel themselves against the costs and step up to stabilize the region.

That said, what the United States should certainly not do is refuse to choose between stepping up and stepping back and instead waffle somewhere in the middle, committing enough resources to enlarge its burden without increasing the likelihood that its moves will make anything better. Civil wars do not lend themselves to half measures. An outside power has to do the right thing and pay the attendant costs, or else its intervention will only make the situation worse for everyone involved, including itself. The tragedy is that given the U.S. political system’s tendency to avoid decisive moves, the next administration will almost inevitably opt to muddle through.

Given the extent of the chaos in the Middle East today, refusing to choose would likely prove to be the worst choice of all.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


WoW - 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.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Iraq Syndrome

Long time GsGf advisor and mentor Thomas Donnelly has a great bit that deals with GOP and Donkie Parties weekly debate club and Iraq

Money Shot:

"The 44-era "Iraq Syndrome" is thus far proving more debilitating to the traditional exercise of American power and leadership than the "Vietnam Syndrome" was during the Ford or Carter years."

"Ronald Reagan believed that victory in Vietnam had been possible and forever saw the American sacrifice there not as immoral or foolish but as a "noble cause." He sensed that to win the future he also needed to fight for the past. Which of his would-be heirs will do the same?"

That is exactly correct

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Collapse of the Saudi Kingdom

For half a century, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the linchpin of U.S. Mideast policy. A guaranteed supply of oil has bought a guaranteed supply of security. Ignoring autocratic practices and the export of Wahhabi extremism, Washington stubbornly dubs its ally “moderate.”

So tight is the trust that U.S. special operators dip into Saudi petrodollars as a counterterrorism slush fund without a second thought. In a sea of chaos, goes the refrain, the kingdom is one state that’s stable.

But is it?

In fact, Saudi Arabia is no state at all. There are two ways to describe it: as a political enterprise with a clever but ultimately unsustainable business model, or so corrupt as to resemble in its functioning a vertically and horizontally integrated criminal organization. Either way, it can’t last. It’s past time U.S. decision-makers began planning for the collapse of the Saudi kingdom.

Understood one way, the Saudi king is CEO of a family business that converts oil into payoffs that buy political loyalty. They take two forms: cash handouts or commercial concessions for the increasingly numerous scions of the royal clan, and a modicum of public goods and employment opportunities for commoners. The coercive “stick” is supplied by brutal internal security services lavishly equipped with American equipment.

The U.S. has long counted on the ruling family having bottomless coffers of cash with which to rent loyalty. Even accounting today’s low oil prices, and as Saudi officials step up arms purchases and military adventures in Yemen and elsewhere, Riyadh is hardly running out of funds. 

Still, expanded oil production in the face of such low prices—until the Feb. 16 announcement of a Saudi-Russian freeze at very high January levels—may reflect an urgent need for revenue as well as other strategic imperatives. Talk of a Saudi Aramco IPO similarly suggests a need for hard currency.

There are a few ways things could go, as Salman’s brittle grip on power begins cracking. 

One is a factional struggle within the royal family, with the price of allegiance bid up beyond anyone’s ability to pay in cash.

Another is foreign war. With Saudi Arabia and Iran already confronting each other by proxy in Yemen and Syria, escalation is too easy. U.S. decision-makers should bear that danger in mind as they keep pressing for regional solutions to regional problems.

A third scenario is insurrection—either a non-violent uprising or a jihadi insurgency—a result all too predictable given episodes throughout the region in recent years

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Third Offset Strategy

Put simply, the new strategy is an attempt to offset shrinking U.S. military force structure and declining technological superiority in an era of great power competition—a challenge that military leaders have not grappled with in at least a generation.

For all the hype and buildup, however, the new budget is opaque at best on what exact investments are part of the effort. While the third offset is a combination of both new capabilities and new concepts of operation, a bit of detective work is required to determine what weapons and systems actually support this approach.

The goal of defense officials is to exploit America’s enduring advantages and impose costs on enemies or potential adversaries. Pentagon leaders have long been in pursuit of this goal dating back to the 2008 National Defense Strategy in the last administration, and it is welcome to finally see some tangible if belated change behind it.

The third offset investments fall into six targeted areas: anti-access and area-denial, guided munitions, undersea warfare, cyber and electronic warfare, human-machine teaming, and wargaming and development of new operating concepts. Much of it is weighted toward the Air Force and Navy.

So what are the specifics of the Third Offset strategy in next year’s budget? There is a combination of small new-start research programs, “black” work in the classified world, and significant accelerations of existing developmental programs. The total investment in this new strategy is $18 billion over five years, with over $3.5 billion being spent in 2017. Over $6 billion of all money shifted to the third offset will be spent on classified programs.

The key to understanding offset investments is that it’s not only the many experiments and small bets being placed by the Secretary’s Strategic Capabilities Office. It is also a massive acceleration of dozens of programs that constitutes a significant shift in internal funding priorities. Still, close to $1 billion in direct offset funds are controlled by the Strategic Capabilities Office, which repurposes existing weapons to create asymmetric advantages.

By portfolio, here are some more details on the Third Offset strategy:

Anti-access and area denial (A2/AD): To overcome these growing challenges, the budget focuses hundreds of millions of dollars on accelerated Air Force and Navy aviation propulsion development programs, new counter-space investments like a reinvigoration of the Operationally Responsive Space office, and a Navy autonomous cargo re-supply platform.

Guided munitions: In the budget is a new $74 million lease on life for the program to counter hardened and deeply buried targets, expanded experimentation with hypersonic weapons, a $10 million effort to improve the jamming resistance of JDAMs, and development of alternative guidance technologies to reduce reliance on GPS.

Undersea warfare: There’s an acceleration of traditional investments in this domain, including surface anti-sub capabilities such as quieting and sensing improvements, and a diverse $200 million portfolio of unmanned undersea vehicles of all shapes and sizes, including the Large Diameter UUV and Extra-Large UUV.

Cyber and electronic warfare: A variety of smaller new starts combined with some significant increases for existing cyber weapons programs are in this basket, along with a $49 million acceleration of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile next-generation anti-radar missile, and a heavy cross-service investment in aircraft countermeasures against electronic warfare.

Human-machine teaming: While harder to detect within the budget, the acceleration of the machine-aided Joint Precision Approach Landing System may be counted, as well as a new program for a more intelligent logistics system and several unmanned systems projects.

Wargaming and concepts development: The new budget increases the Navy’s Fleet Experimentation program to $21 million and provides $60 million in investment for naval rapid acquisition programs such as Rapid Prototype Development and Unmanned Rapid Prototype Development, priorities of both Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson and Congress.

These are some of the highlights of the Third Offset strategy in next year’s defense budget, and even this list does not match exactly what Pentagon leaders consider it to be in totality. But the third offset does exist, and tradeoffs were made among many programs to finance the new emphasis on next-generation breakthroughs that might begin to restore American military technological superiority toward the latter end of the 2020s.

The question now is whether Congress will accept those present-day tradeoffs for an overdue bet on the future when investments in both areas are desperately needed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

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 by an influx of refugees from the 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." 

Monday, February 15, 2016

President Washington Day

Presidents Day?

Forget that - it should be George Washington Day.

Here's why:

George Washington. His birthday, spontaneously celebrated since the revolution and formally declared a holiday in 1879, has slowly morphed into the insipid Presidents Day you’ll hear about Monday.

Washington, the “indispensable man” of the revolution who was rightly extolled for being “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” has now been lumped together with the likes of James Buchanan, Jimmy Carter, Franklin Pierce and John Tyler.

It gets worse. Washington’s good name and great legacy are now shamelessly invoked to justify positions that he would never have envisaged.

Washington, who called on Americans to display “pious gratitude” for their Constitution and warned against any “change by usurpation,” is now a partisan of the sprawling welfare state and the unprecedented individual mandate.
Dedicated military service spanned over forty years of service. Washington's service can be broken into three periods (French and Indian War, American Revolutionary War, and the Quasi-War with France) with service in three different armed forces (British provincial militia, the Continental Army, and the United States Army).

Washington designed the American strategy for victory. It enabled Continental forces to Maintain their strength for six years and capture two major British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. Some historians have lauded Washington for the selection and supervision of his generals, preservation and command of the army, coordination with the Congress, with state governors and their militia, and attention to supplies, logistics, and training. On the day of battle, however, Washington was repeatedly outmaneuvered by British generals.

 Washington was not a great battlefield tactician; he sometimes planned operations that were too complicated for his amateur officers to execute. However, his overall strategy proved to be successful: keep control of 90% of the population at all times (including suppression of the Loyalist civilian population); keep the army intact; avoid decisive battles; and look for an opportunity to capture an outnumbered enemy army. Washington was a military conservative: he preferred building a regular army on the European model and fighting a conventional war, and often complained about the undisciplined American militia

One of Washington's most important contributions as commander-in-chief was to establish the precedent that civilian-elected officials, rather than military officers, possessed ultimate authority over the military. This was a key principle of Republicanism, but could easily have been violated by Washington. Throughout the war, he deferred to the authority of Congress and state officials, and he relinquished his considerable military power once the fighting was over.

 Upon his passing he was listed as a retired lieutenant general on the rolls of the US Army. Over the next 177 years, various officers surpassed Washington in rank, including most notably John J. Pershing, who was promoted to General of the Armies for his role in World War I. With effect from 4 July 1976, Washington was posthumously promoted to the same rank by authority of a congressional joint resolution. The resolution stated that Washington's seniority had rank and precedence over all other grades of the Armed Forces, past or present, effectively making Washington the highest ranked U.S. officer of all time

Saturday, February 13, 2016


WoW - 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.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

  • *First place with 3 2/3 votes!Stately McDaniel ManorSchools and Concealed Carry: Overregulation and Micromanagement
  • Second place with 2 1/3 votes The Noisy Room Beyonce Goes All In On RACISM: Honors Black Panthers… Hates On Cops 
  • Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnDThe Authoritarian Counterinsurgency Toolkit
  • Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes The Right PlanetPresident Obama Speaks at Baltimore Mosque with Known Ties to Terrorism
  • Fourth place with 1 vote VA Right! – What Trump’s ‘YUGE’ Victory in New Hampshire Means to the Rest of the Candidates 
  • Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes Fausta’s BlogMexico: Del Castillo crying foul over Sean Penn

  • Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes The Razor Why I Could Live With President Sanders
    Fifth place *t* with 2/3 votes The Daley GatorCan you be crazy and still attend Yale?
    Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote Bookworm RoomVIDEO] The reason behind free education — to get more of these people
    Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote The Independent SentinelWhite House Orders Climate Change War Games Because He’s Delusional
    Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote Nice Deb Hillary Taps Most Corrupt AG in American History To Appear in Campaign ads in S.C.
    Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote JoshuapunditA Few Words About New Hampshire

    Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!

    Friday, February 12, 2016

    The End Of Strategic Patience


    The concept of Strategic Patience with North Korea sounds great in a climate controlled environment surrounded by smart people. In the real world with the real North Korea - it's about as cool as allowing some chic Xanx'd out of her mind to drive you home

    After North Korea launched its sixth satellite, or long-range missile, on Saturday, U.S. experts of international politics seem to have given up all hope for changing Pyongyang's policy, according to media reports Tuesday.

    Prevalent views among these gurus of regional politics are that Washington should put ultrahigh pressure on the North that exceed the sanctions it put on Iran before the Islamic country reached an agreement with the United States to abandon its nuclear programs, the reports said.

    They call on 44's administration to discontinue its "strategic patience" policy and turn toward far bolder and more destructive steps with some even suggesting a shift such that regime change in North Korea might be inevitable. This indicates how seriously the U.S. experts regard the North's "lethal combination" of nuclear warheads and long-delivery vehicles, they said.

    "The recent nuclear test and missile launch have put an end to the possibility of improving the relationship between the U.S. and North Korea," Revere Evans, former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia, was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency. "There is no room for passive approaches like ‘strategic patience' any longer in the face of escalating threats from North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles."

    Evans, also a former U.S. deputy mission chief in Seoul, said he could not rule out the possibility that Washington would turn toward changing the North Korean regime given Pyongyang's ability to increase its nuclear and missile capacity. "Some experts here think the only way to terminate the North's nuclear programs is put an end to its regime," he said.

    This is a dangerous approach but the North Korean provocations and its pursuit of nuclear power have shut off room for all alternatives, said Evans who had emphasized the two-track approach of dialogue and pressure.

    "Some U.S. military officials think North Korea is capable of attacking the mainland U.S. with miniaturized nuclear weapons," he said. "The U.S. and its allies ought to take new, strong and unprecedented sanctions, and the focus of these measures is to put the stability and survival of the North Korean regime in danger."

    Evans said the allies should not only deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system but strengthen the joint military drills of the U.S., Japan and Korea, and put economic, financial and political sanctions on the North. "They should block oil supplies to the North, interrupt its access to the international financial system and adopt a ‘secondary boycott' of banks, businesses and individuals that deal with North Korea," Evans said.

    Robert Manning, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, agreed, saying, "The U.S., Korea and Japan will need to take strong measures in ways to drastically increase costs for the North's nuclear and missile development."

    He said the U.S. should strip Kim Jong-un of his "credit cards," as Washington did with Iran, and called for South Korea to stop all activities that could help the North earn hard currency, such as the operation of the inter-Korean factory park at North Korea's border city, Gaeseong.

    Alan Romberg, a researcher at the Stimson Center, said North Korea has already crossed an important line or is on the border line, and the Obama administration has no other choices but to cope with it on a different dimension. "As direct military sanctions accompany too huge a cost, however, the U.S. administration would avoid them," he was quoted as saying.

    Other experts also agreed on the need for drastically toughening sanctions on the North and to prepare for its eventual collapse while emphasizing China's role in the process.

    Victor Cha, chief Korea analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who has returned from "track two" (private) contact with the North, expressed concerns about escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula.

    "Sanctions may be important but we are entering into a dangerous phase," Cha said. "Regional countries conducting nuclear tests, and then having military exercises against them without any channel of dialogue are highly likely to lead to a misjudgment and likely raise the tension to an unthinkable level."

    Thursday, February 11, 2016

    The Anti ISIS Sunni Myth

    Oh yeah.

    Lots of cats talk about a magical coalition of Sunni combat cats from Sunni nation states on the ground attacking Sunni ISIS/ISIL/IS

    Face it - that is a myth.

    Why cause?


    Aside from the sorry fact that Arab League militaries are only good at tormenting girls or defeating unarmed protesters - Saudi Arabia has in fact done almost nothing against Daesh. Her efforts are fighting a tribal rebellion in Yemen and into overthrowing Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

    Check it

    The Saudis announced a broad military coalition against regional terrorism in December, a proposal that seemed to disappear as suddenly as it surfaced. That might be a sign of how seriously to take the kingdom’s suggestion last week that it would send ground forces if the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State deploys troops to Syria.

    To be fair, Saudi Arabia has acted in some uncharacteristically bold ways since King Salman ascended the throne last January: It is waging war against the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen; it executed numerous Sunni and Shiite prisoners early this year, including a prominent Shiite cleric whose death sparked protests; and it has shown a willingness to stand firm against Iran and to risk Western ire by supporting radical Sunni groups against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Saudis have made a point of regional engagement in recent months.

    The real question about Saudi ground troops is whether a substantial number of them would help or hurt the battle against jihadis.

    So far, the fight to counter ISIS has been a largely international effort. The Saudis are contributing funds and equipment to Syrian rebels, but the kingdom and other Arab states have joined in airstrikes only episodically. The U.S. and its European allies have carried out the vast majority.

    Islamic State’s aims may be global, but right now it is predominantly a Mideast plague. Greater commitment by the Saudis, such as a pledge to send ground forces, would signal needed regional buy-in. It would suggest that Sunnis Arabs are willing and able to confront the extremists in their midst. If ISIS is ever to be conclusively defeated, it will need to be taken down not just on the battlefield but also by Arab efforts to delegitimize the extremists in mosques, universities, and in the media. Such a change in mind-set is critical to the effort, though it will be difficult to achieve.

    Meanwhile, Saudi forces are bogged down in Yemen in a costly campaign against the Houthis that Riyadh is not prepared to abandon. It is doubtful that the kingdom would deploy troops to Syria unless they were part of a broader Gulf or U.S. effort. And if Saudi troops were sent to Syria, what if they didn’t perform well? The struggle against ISIS would be damaged by the jihadis publicly defeating Arab-state Sunni forces, particularly ones backed by the West. Pictures of Saudis taken prisoner by ISIS and subjected to the sorts of torture inflicted on a Jordanian pilot and others last year would set back the fight against ISIS, not advance it.

    The Saudis have long been more concerned about removing Iranian ally Bashar Assad from power in Syria than they have been about directly fighting ISIS. Saudi leaders would be bitterly criticized at home if they deployed forces and were not seen as taking on the Assad regime, which has been viewed by Saudis and other Sunni Muslims as killing innocent Sunnis. Without a specific effort against al Assad, who has been buoyed by Iranian and Russian support, Saudi Arabia would be accused of directly helping his ally Iran.

    As compelling as the idea of large numbers of Saudi ground forces fighting ISIS may seem, this is probably an idea whose time has not yet come.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    North Korea's ICBM


    Since way back in the Before Time the world has been magically blessed with 2 Koreas - the yankee part is little more than a starving, slave trading underground rocket factory with an unfree, unfun new clear weaponized nation state attached.

    Now North Korea has launched yet another missile - an ICBM.

    The rocket the North Koreans call the Unha-3 was probably the most advanced version of their Taepodong missile. It appears, from the location of Sunday’s splashdown zones, that the launcher has a range of 10,000 kilometers, the same as that of the 2012 version.

    Up to now, the North’s longest-range missile was never much of a weapon. It required weeks to transport, assemble, fuel, and test before launch. The calculus was that the U.S., in a wartime setting, would have plenty of time to destroy the launcher on the ground.

    The North Koreans since 2012 have obviously been able to compress the cycle. This time, Pyongyang moved up the launch window and sent the Unha-3 into space on the window’s first day, surprising just about every observer.

    That means, of course, the North Koreans are perfecting their launch skills, thereby decreasing on-the-ground vulnerability.

    The American intelligence community does not think the North Koreans have built a miniaturized nuclear warhead to go along with the Taepodong yet, but it’s clear they are on their way to developing such a device. The launch this week was one month and one day after their fourth nuclear detonation. Pyongyang, for all the snickering and derision it attracts, is capable of sneaking up on us and becoming an existential threat.

    When we examine evidence of the most recent crisis—scraps of the missile that fell into the sea Sunday and flight data—we will probably learn the North Koreans in fact tested their new 80-ton booster, which they have been developing for at least two years. It is almost certain Iran has paid for its development.

    That’s why Bechtol, author of North Korea and Regional Security in the Kim Jong-un Era, thinks America in the months ahead should be looking for evidence of sales of the new missile to Iran.

    Center for Strategic and International Studies told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in July that North Korea earns “upwards of two to three billion dollars annually from Iran for the various forms of collaboration between them.”

    Tuesday, February 9, 2016

    The Authoritarian Counterinsurgency Toolkit

    “Repression works, but not in moderation.”


    In fact by any measure of measurement - unfree, illegit despotic regimes should lose with counter insurgency battles, instead they often win

    Authoritarian states are often surprisingly successful counterinsurgents. In particular, authoritarians often repress on a vast scale and inhibit insurgent organization, transfer populations, have excellent intelligence penetration, and can counter war weariness in ways not available to democracies.

    The most obvious and remarked-upon difference between democracies and authoritarians is the authoritarian embrace of repression — though the use of repression as a counterinsurgency tool by democracies (particularly in colonial situations) should not be understated.

     Authoritarians act with brutality toward suspected insurgents, potential supporters, and indeed anyone else who crosses their paths. Torture, deportation, extra-judicial execution, indefinite detention, “disappearances,” and other abuses are common.

    COIN operations like Waffen Ss Das Reich at Oradour-sur-Glane or the Russian method like Grozny come to mind.

    Authoritarians, however, come to counterinsurgency with many disadvantages. They cannot rely on many of their conscripts. Corruption creates numerous problems, and authoritarian system often inhibits learning.

    Similarly, the politicized command structure often produces poor officers and discourages initiative. The repression they use often makes future unrest more likely.

    Finally, authoritarian regimes may find it harder to cut peace deals and win over pro-insurgent populations.

    Monday, February 8, 2016

    The Aleppo Effect

    Suriya al Kubra!!

    If Aleppo falls, Syria’s vicious war will take a whole new turn, one with far-reaching consequences not just for the region but for Europe too. The latest government assault on the besieged northern Syrian city, which has caused tens of thousands more people to flee in recent days, is also a defining moment for relations between the west and Russia, whose airforce is playing a key role. The defeat of anti-Assad rebels who have partially controlled the city since 2012 would leave nothing on the ground in Syria but Assad’s regime and Islamic State. And all hope of a negotiated settlement involving the Syrian opposition will vanish. This has been a longstanding Russian objective – it was at the heart of Moscow’s decision to intervene militarily four months ago.

    It is hardly a coincidence that the bombardment of Aleppo, a symbol of the 2011 anti-Assad revolution, started just as peace talks were being attempted in Geneva. Predictably, the talks soon faltered. Russian military escalation in support of the Syrian army was meant to sabotage any possibility that a genuine Syrian opposition might have its say on the future of the country. It was meant to thwart any plans the west and the UN had officially laid out. And it entirely contradicted Moscow’s stated commitment to a political process to end the war.

    The aftershocks will be felt far and wide. If there is one thing Europeans have learned in 2015, it is that they cannot be shielded from the effects of conflict in the Middle East. And if there is one thing they learned from the Ukraine conflict in 2014, it is that Russia can hardly be considered Europe’s friend. It is a revisionist power capable of military aggression.

    In fact, as the fate of Aleppo hangs in the balance, these events have – as no other perhaps since the beginning of the war – highlighted the connections between the Syrian tragedy and the strategic weakening of Europe and the west in general. This spillover effect is something Moscow has not only paid close attention to, but also in effect fuelled. The spread of instability fits perfectly with Russia’s goal of seeking dominance by exploiting the hesitations and contradictions of those it identifies as adversaries.

    Aleppo will define much of what happens next. A defeat for Syrian opposition forces would further empower Isis in the myth that it is the sole defender of Sunni Muslims – as it terrorises the population under its control. There are many tragic ironies here, not least that western strategy against Isis has officially depended on building up local Syrian opposition ground forces so that they might one day push the jihadi insurgency out of its stronghold in Raqqa. If the very people that were meant to be counted on to do that job as foot soldiers now end up surrounded and crushed in Aleppo, who will the west turn to? Russia has all along claimed it was fighting Isis – but in Aleppo it is helping to destroy those Syrian groups that have in the past proved to be efficient against Isis.
    The Aleppo Effect is gon be way more worse for Europe, Turkey and the Arab League than the Grozny Effect: full military onslaught on populated areas so rebels are destroyed or forced out.

    Likewise, Russian military involvement in Syria has put Nato in a bind, with one of its key members right on the frontline. Turkey’s relations with Russia have been on the brink for months. Now the Commonwealth has openly warned Turkey against sending forces into Syria to defend Aleppo. How the Turkish leader will choose to react is another western headache.

    Aleppo is an unfolding human tragedy. But it is necessary to connect the dots between the plight of this city, Europe’s future, and how Russia hovers over both.

    Sunday, February 7, 2016


    WoW - 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.

    Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

    Council Winners

    Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!