Monday, May 30, 2016

A Dangerous Friend

We are restoring relations with Vietnam despite their human rights record in order to make common cause against a common threat--China. Vietnam will eventually pay the price for daring to befriend America.

Oh, China would lean on Vietnam regardless of what Vietnam does in regard to relations with America.

What I'm talking about is the American Left punishing Vietnam.

Think about it. Our Left seems to love looking at our allies and complaining they are not pure--even if they are better than the alternative.

And our Left idealizes American's enemies despite their human rights records--excusing that record as necessary to resist our hostility or even denying that record.

So when America actually befriends an enemy and that enemy befriends us, the Left here will eventually no longer be able to admire a state with a less than perfect record--because being a friend of America is damning and indicative that the country is not "authentically" nationalistic.

As a control group experiment, the Left's continued admiration for outreach to Cuba and Iran demonstrates clearly that neither state is actually a friend of America.

In Memory of Those Who Died to Defend Us


For the military, every day is a day to remember those who have died to defend us.



Sunday, May 29, 2016

Less Bridging, More Crushing

We did not get the Hiroshima speech I wanted. But at least there was no presidential apology in the speech (although the errors in the casual supporting statements--the EU brought peace to Europe? Really?--alone justify a fisking).

How do you know they are an evil regime? Build a bridge out of them?



I would like to correct this error in logic (in a speech prior to the main event), however, that indicates problems with this president drawing historical lessons from the atomic bombings:

Prior to his Hiroshima visit on Friday, Obama met with Japanese and US troops at Iwakuni air station and said the visit was a reaffirmation of "the great alliance" between Japan and the United States.

"This is an opportunity to honor the memory of all who were lost in WWII," he told the troops. "It's a testament to how even the most painful divides can be bridged. How two nations can become not just partners but the best of friends."

We did not "bridge" the differences between democratic and free America on the one hand and militaristic, authoritarian, aggressive, and cruel Japan on the other.

No, we crushed that Japanese regime, leaving no doubt in anyone's minds that the defeat was complete and total by stripping them of their conquests; ripped out the evil elements of the government and society; and redesigned Japan as a country worthy of being our partner and best friend.

There was no "responsibly ending" that war.

There was victory.

And then real friendship with a free, prosperous, and democratic Japan that is worthy of being a member of "the West."

So no, modern Japan is not the proof of the wisdom of reaching out to enemies like Iran, the Taliban, and Cuba and pretending these thugs can be our friends if only we can bridge our differences.

But no, we have a president wise in the ways of history in search of his own Holy Grail.

Time to Unleash the Killing Blow?

It really does seem like we are getting ready to liberate Raqqa, ISIL's capital in Syria. Are there enough Arab forces to do the job? And does that signal the beginning of the Mosul offensive?

In any event, Stratfor writes that the Raqqa effort is real:

But just how close [the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)] is able to get to the heart of the city will be determined by one thing: its ethnic composition. Raqqa is a city with an Arab majority. Because the SDF and its backers want to not only retake the city but also to hold and govern it, they will need a sizable Arab force if they hope to achieve their objectives with local support. However, the SDF is currently dominated by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which have been effective against the Islamic State in territory they are familiar with in the north and northeast but are less inclined to spearhead operations farther south toward Raqqa. Moreover, the deeper the Kurds push into overwhelmingly Arab territory, the more they risk cementing local populations' suspicions of the rebels and support for the Islamic State.

Still, Arab fighters have been joining the SDF's ranks in droves. In fact, training these Syrian Arab Coalition fighters is one of the core purposes of the 250 U.S. special operations forces deployed to Syria in April, and Votel was likely checking up on their progress during his visit to the country. (The general subsequently traveled to Turkey to reassure Turkish officials of U.S. support for the SDF.)

Once the Syrian Arab Coalition grows to the ideal size and strength, and final preparations are complete, the SDF will shift its offensive to a direct attack on Raqqa. Because the Islamic State will not give up the city without a fight, the ensuing battle will likely be expensive and lengthy, easily lasting weeks if not months.

I've noted that the Kurds are unlikely to want to die to liberate Arab territory. Which is understandable. But we seem to be doing a better job of training Arab forces there than we have in the past programs to train Syrian rebels.

Note too the claim is that Arabs living under ISIL don't want to be liberated by Kurds. Which seems just odd to me. ISIL may be sons of bitches but they are our fellow Sunni Arab sons of bitches?

Nothing is simple in this region.

The SDF will have plenty of our air power to help, of course.

With ISIL then fully engaged in holding their capital and Iraqi forces cleaning out ISIL in Anbar's cities; if I was Lord of CENTCOM, I'd launch the offensive to liberate Mosul while jihadis are dug in fighting for their lives in Syria and on the run in Anbar.

Oh, and in what is surely a bit of coincidence, the Iraqi Kurdish front in the north near Mosul seems more active:

Servicemen from the U.S.-led coalition were seen near the front line of a new offensive in northern Iraq launched on Sunday by Kurdish peshmerga forces that aims to retake a handful of villages from Islamic State east of their Mosul stronghold.

Really, is our strategy to defeat ISIL in Syria first to Assad's benefit and send the ISIL forces fleeing to Iraq where they would reinforce the Iraqi front?

We claim we are far from H-Hour for the Mosul offensive, by why put our firebases in the field so far ahead of the end of the year?

And if we are near, we would want to pretend to be far, wouldn't we?

Come on, ISIL doesn't have that many troops. And they seem to be having morale problems.

We really can carry out offensives on multiple fronts against these chuckleheads.

And taking our time about defeating ISIL could have consequences, don't forget.

[As a side note, I ran across a post of mine from August 2012 predicting that a war against jihadis in eastern Syria would be our next theater in the war on terror. And here we are. I forgot about that post.]

Feel the Burn

 Behold Venezuela where the eggs are all broken and yet the omelette tastes awful.

Funny enough, Venezuela generated super wealthy connected to the regime even as they destroyed the country:

Step by step, Venezuela has been shutting down.

This country has long been accustomed to painful shortages, even of basic foods. But Venezuela keeps drifting further into uncharted territory.

Funny enough, the New York Times can't fathom that socialism is what is shutting down Venezuela:

The growing economic crisis — fueled by low prices for oil, the country’s main export; a drought that has crippled Venezuela’s ability to generate hydroelectric power; and a long decline in manufacturing and agricultural production — has turned into an intensely political one for President Nicol├ís Maduro. This month, he declared a state of emergency, his second this year, and ordered military exercises, citing foreign threats.

What bad luck!

Well, not really bad luck. Foreign threats.

That dastardly President Obama, who has always had it in for poor Venezuela, has probably been plotting against this Pearl of Socialism since day one of his presidency, eh? Our president has always wanted to discredit socialism. And now he has done it.

Okay, not really. Or does our Left want to stand on that particular hill of American plots under Obama and defend that position to the death?

No? Can't blame this on American policy?

The problems cited are real, but socialism has eroded all of those issues--looting the oil industry and hydroelectric sectors that ended needed maintenance and investments while regulating the productive sectors to death--making them fragile enough to collapse at the first real problem that a healthy government system would have coped with.

This is what socialism does. No matter how many times Sean Penn claimed he was seeing a glorious future being built in Venezuela.

In the end it impoverishes you and then shoots and imprisons you for daring to mention your poverty.

The shooting and imprisoning will no doubt start in earnest pretty soon.

UPDATE: Socialism wrecks societies, making new elites who run the socialist system:

Well, this is old news: George Orwell explained the phenomenon in his Animal Farm many decades ago. But people keep falling for it: Like Ponzi schemes, socialism is an evergreen form of fraud, egged on by suckers eager to believe the lies hucksters tell them.

That's the most frustrating part. Socialists couldn't pour water out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel, yet people keep falling for the siren song of building stuff together, hoping that this time it will work just swell.

Well This is Good

The F-35 is getting some good reviews in the hands of users. As the only game in town, that's good news.

This is a relief:

Now, with the F-35 ready for service the growing number of pilots who have flown it and techs who maintain and upgrade it are reporting that the new fighter is better than they expected. This is because a lot of the new tech that was causing the problems (and indignant headlines) eventually matured and provided new opportunities that even the designers did not anticipate. Actually, the unexpected was expected because the F-35 is highly automated (as are ships, airliners and so much else) and the pilots can not only spend more time on the mission and less on the many details of operating a complex machine. ...

The F-35A matches the F-16 in terms of maneuverability, outperforms it in terms of stealthiness, payload, range, supportability, survivability and overall operational effectiveness. Not surprisingly the F-35 costs more than twice as much.

It's a relief that the problems are being solved. But I'm old enough to remember when the M-1 was too fragile for maintaining in combat conditions--until it dominated in two maneuver campaigns against Iraq--and old enough to remember that the Stinger anti-aircraft missile was too complicated for American soldiers to operate--until Afghan rebels started dropping Soviet helicopters with it.

But what is really a relief is the report that the plane is as maneuverable than the F-16. I was led to believe that this was not the case--and done on purpose:

Rather than entering a turning fight at the merge, the F-35 barrels through and takes an over-the-shoulder defensive shot. As a Northrop Grumman video puts it, "maneuvering is irrelevant".

As I worried in that post, fully aware of my limitations:

I'm nowhere near close enough of an expert on airplanes to really judge this claim, but 40 years ago, we thought dogfighting was obsolete with air-to-air missiles in our arsenal until cheap enemy fighters over the skies of North Vietnam disabused us of that notion. Forty years is a long time, of course, and times change. Perhaps no enemy can get close to us again to shoot us down with old-fashioned cannons or shorter-range missiles.

If the F-35 is as maneuverable as the F-16, that's pretty good, I say, if maneuvering is not irrelevant.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

When Fake But Accurate Goes Huge

At some level I find this complaint that Trump has killed the interview rather humorous:

In dismissing logic and consistency for pure emotion, Trump has created a powerful reality-distortion field in both politics and journalism. The field doesn’t actually permit Trump to “get away with” lying in interviews: If you query his supporters, most will concede their man’s many fibs. In their minds, though, the “truth” matters less than what’s in Trump’s heart. It’s not that truth and fact don’t matter to them—it’s that truth and facts don’t matter enough to affect whether you want to vote for him. In an environment in which political success is almost totally detached from information, the “truth-finding” interview is becoming one of the first casualties.

Ah yes, truth matters less than what is in the heart. Savor that.

The "fake but accurate" crowd on the Left set the rules that dismissed truth as secondary to the mission, and now they are upset that Trump is winning the game using those rules.

And the reprehensible Katie Couric's entry for this year's Dan Rather Award is part of that partisan hackery masquerading as journalism that the Left has championed and celebrated when it worked for them.

So congratulations to those on the Left for getting in Trump what you wished--good and hard. I spare a moment in my stream of despair to laugh at those on the Left who wrote the rules.

The problem is that I dislike the crooks and communists who hate Trump--to the point of rioting over their fear that he will promote violence--more than I dislike Trump, who is clearly a clown (excuse me, a "Clown-American") but at least not a crook or communist.

Which might be "meta," or something. I don't know. Consult a philosophy major on that.

God help us all. I guess I'll just have to lie back and think of 2020.

The Central Issue in the Middle East

I find it amusing that members of the Global Left still insist that the Palestinian issue is the central issue of the Middle East whose solving would have a domino effect on all the other problems, when nobody in the Middle East seems to act as if they think it is the most important issue.

Sunni jihadis are more interested in holding territory in Iraq, Syria, and Libya; while destabilizing Yemen, Mali, Somalia, and Egypt.

Hamas seems to provide far more support to jihadis in the Sinai who fight Egypt.

Nor has Hamas tried to build a functioning state on territory they hold, preferring to spend their efforts on enriching their leaders through corruption and killing or kidnapping the odd Jew here and there.

Even Hezbollah has committed to fighting for Assad.

Saudi Arabia is more interested in leading a coalition to fight Iran in Syria and Yemen; and even wants Israeli help to hold off Iran.

The Turks worry more about Assad, the Kurds, the Russians, Iran, and the Greeks than they've ever spent on worrying about the Palestinians.

Just who is focusing on the Palestinians? Except for the Global Left that insists everything else is secondary.

Even President Obama, who came into office with this kind of thinking, as put a reset with Iran at the top of his list and has all but abandoned the Palestinian peace process in favor of dealing with all the other problems without thinking the Palestinian issue would somehow cut the Gordian Knot to solve all.

Speaking of delusions, Assad actually claimed that his hostility to Israel--as if oppression paled in comparison to the chance to kill Jews--made him immune to the forces of the Arab Spring that have since engulfed his regime.

Even Iran--which basks in the glory of hating Jews--seems to spend more of their efforts trying to make Syria and Iraq their colonies and destabilizing Yemen and Gulf Arab states.

Although to be fair, the Iranians probably see their chance against Israel resting on getting nuclear weapons.

Yet fools continue to believe that "solving" the Palestinian issue is the key to the Middle East.

Actually, the central issue of the Middle East that pulls in a lot of the problems is the lack of rule of law in Middle Eastern states (even aside from whether there is democracy, too). But what the Hell, that's probably the Israelis' fault, too.

One Last Concert

Another part of my life continues to appear in the rear view mirror on the way to disappearing.

Lamb had her last middle school concert. So after many years of going to these concerts for both Lamb and her older brother, Mister, I will no longer make the trip to the school for this event.


It is bittersweet.

And a lovely, concert, of course.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Borg Absorbs More Powers

Seriously, what's next? A federal Department of Zoning?

Because this is insane:
Last week 16 Republican Senators green-lighted one of President Obama’s most radical attempts to transform America, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation. AFFH enables a de facto federal takeover of many functions of local government, and amounts to a massive scheme to re-engineer the composition of America’s neighborhoods by race, ethnicity, and class.

You wonder why so many Republican voters are mad at the party and open to the appeal of Trump?

Don't dismiss the notion of this kind of new federal department. We do have a federal Department of Education for what is a state and local responsibility.

And the feds have entered bathroom usage debates with more energy than they have focused on defeating jihadi enemies abroad.

We won't end divisiveness in our national politics until we again understand instinctively the admonition to "not make a federal issue out of this (whatever it is) relatively trivial problem."

Oh, and you can be sure that no neighborhoods that vote for Democrats--certainly not the wealthy districts--will ever face the long arm of the federal government to re-engineer their neighborhoods.

They are already enlightened, don't you know?

Where the Tweets Have No Name

This number seems awfully high, but even if off by an order of magnitude represents a horrific prison system:

At least 60,000 people have died in Syrian government prisons over the past five years from torture or due to dire humanitarian conditions, including a lack of food, a monitor said Saturday.

The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, Rami Abdel Rahman, said he compiled the toll from regime sources.

But given the high casualties overall in the war, perhaps not.

Yet where is the global outrage?

What's that? Nothing?

Keep this story about Assad's murder camps in mind when the global Left releases its latest Twitter blast about America's Guantanamo Bay detention facility where we hold actual terrorists--whose comrades in the wild still try to kill us--whose biggest threat is gaining weight because of too much rice pilaf in their culturally sensitive diets.

Yeah, Gitmo is the prison that the compassionate class cares passionately about closing.

Yeah, We Did It. And We'd Do It Again

Is President Obama's visit to Hiroshima a mistake?

Professor Richard Samuels of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Japan expert, told the New York Times on May 10th that "In Japan, I don't think there has been much real evolution, at least among the right wing and the amnesiacs who deny Japan's destructive war in Asia and insist they were the victims…For them, Obama's visit will be a chance to reiterate that they were right."

Hard for me to say if this visit encourages those in Japan who want to spread the notion that Japan was a victim in World War II.

What I will say is that I'd pay good money to hear presidential remarks like this at ground zero:

As I stand here in Hiroshima, at ground zero, I join all people in their sorrow for the great loss of innocent life here. The suffering breaks our hearts, even 70 years later.

But this loss of life and suffering at this place on that day in 1945 was at the end of a greater loss of life across the entire Asia and Pacific region that an evil imperial Japanese power inflicted on even more innocent lives for many years.

As I stand here, I remind those who would unleash evil on the world that America stands ready to use all elements of our national power to destroy that evil and end the death and destruction that such evil leaves in its wake when nobody stands up to evil aggressors.

And as I stand here, more than 70 years after the nuclear bombing that ended World War II for good, without further loss of life in brutal land combat, aerial bombardment, and wasting blockade, we can also share the joy of the new friendship between the people of America and Japan that developed since those dark days when we were bitter enemies, begun by the surprise Japanese attack on America at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

We built this friendship and prosperity despite the bitterness of that fight because Americans do not define "evil" in terms of entire nations and people.

America defeated the evil of the imperial Japanese regime that waged brutal wars of conquest and subjugation, and freed the people of Japan as much as we freed the people conquered by Japan.

We did not subject the people of Japan to new rulers who would use them for evil purposes. We set the Japanese free to achieve prosperity and freedom beyond imagination on the day we bombed Hiroshima.

So yes, America has shown that you can have no greater enemy than America. And we have shown that you can have no greater friend than America.

Japan's militarists believed America was weak and could not recover from a devastating blow against our military power on December 7, 1941, to oppose them.

Thankfully for many Asians who toiled under imperial Japan's rule, these militarist leaders of Japan were wrong. And thankfully for the Japanese today, the militarists were wrong, even though the people of Hiroshima, and then Nagasaki, paid the price for that aggression and gamble that America would not fight to defeat evil.

May future leaders of America continue this stance that has contributed to the Long Peace since 1945, which has brought unprecedented freedom and prosperity to the people of the world.

Thank you.

That would be a worthwhile message to deliver at Hiroshima.

UPDATE: Related:

To interpret the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as unnecessary acts, you must ignore the recent historiography on Japan’s end game, the American casualties that would have certainly resulted and the Chinese who were living through an unprecedented terror at Japanese hands. The dead would have been much higher without Hiroshima. Thus, I would argue that it was not only moral but imperative that the war be ended with the urgency that it was.

Don't think the Japanese hope of bloodying us into negotiations wouldn't have worked. We needed troops from Europe to invade Japan.

So morale of those American troops selected to go to the Pacific wasn't great, given that they'd won "their war" and now had to go fight Japan. How effective would they have been, really?

Those troops also had families in democratic America. Families who voted.

I'd also like to add that before their use and the horrifying nature of their destructive power was shown, atomic bombs were viewed as weapons and not as the world destroyers we see them as now.

Perhaps we should be grateful that they were used when they were small--and by America--before arsenals in America and the Soviet Union reached into the tens of thousands of warheads. What would have happened if these weapons had still been viewed as weapons in that environment?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Logically

I assume it won't be long before some 18-year-old walks into a bar, self-identifies as 21 years old, and gets served alcohol because their self-perception trumps any type of objective observation by an outsider.

Heck, maybe I should self-identify as 72 years of age to start collecting maximum Social Security right now.

When Her

Hillary Clinton is racing to the finish line of the Democratic nominating process under the power of super delegates lashed to her campaign. Should Clinton's super delegates be unchained?

Clinton should release her superdelegates to cast their votes on the convention floor for Sanders or herself in the same proportion as cast by voters in their state caucus or primary, and she should do it now.

Doing so will pose no real risk of costing her the Democratic nomination — she is that strong — but will demonstrate that she is listening to Sanders' supporters while potentially easing the path to a unified and uncontested convention.

That according the Democratic strategist Joe Trippi.

That's not going to happen. The Dignified Rant has obtained secret party video showing the Clinton campaign warming up the super delegates for the final dash to victory at the convention.



Nominating speed!

Nation Building is Hard But Not Impossible

Let's discuss winning the war and losing the peace:

Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.

The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.

We stayed after the 1999 victory over Serbian forces, although our total strength is quite low now.

But we apparently just stayed in our "basestar" at Camp Bondsteel for force protection rather than try to make Kosovo something worth fighting to create.

The Saudis, on the other hand, set about on nation building despite the apparently inhospitable human terrain of moderate, pro-American Moslems grateful for American assistance in throwing off Serbian rule and cruelty.

We have belatedly reacted, but rolling back Islamism is harder than preventing it from being planted.

So here we are, 17 years later in Kosovo, with radical Moslems having gained ground to build the caliphate. Because Saudi Arabia stayed for the long haul for nation building even though the job was tough.

Do read it all.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Fruits of Pivot

I may have doubts about the reality of our pivot to Asia and the wisdom of thinking we can pivot away from the Middle East and Europe to achieve this. But Vietnam's opening to us proves it is working well enough to reassure opponents of China. So kudos to President Obama on this issue.

President Obama will allow weapons sales to Vietnam:

The United States announced an end to its embargo on sales of lethal arms to Vietnam on Monday, an historic step that draws a line under the two countries' old enmity and underscores their shared concerns about Beijing's growing military clout.

The move came during President Barack Obama's first visit to Hanoi, which his welcoming hosts described as the arrival of a warm spring and a new chapter in relations between two countries that were at war four decades ago.

I can decry the motivation for reset with Cuba when we lack a common enemy to justify cozying up to a thug regime, but despite Vietnam's human rights record and conquest of the south, we do need a counter-weight to China. Vietnam holds the western shore of the South China Sea and sits nicely close to China's power projection bastion of Hainan Island.

And Vietnam's pursuit of relations with America is validation of my warning a number of years about convincing allies to join us in resisting China:

China would rather its neighbors not react to China's rising power by aligning with America, and is using that "soft power" charm that they supposedly have oozing from their pores:

China is warning Asian countries that holding military exercises with the United States is bad for their health. South Korea and Vietnam, both of which have recently conducted naval activities with their American counterparts, have been warned that the United States is far away, suffering from financial difficulties and is not a reliable partner while China is right next door.

China wants those countries to believe that. But China is not destined to surpass us in power. Which means that China won't grow so powerful that countries can't arm up to balance China's power.

But for all those neighbors to be willing to stand up to China's power, they have to be confident that we have the power and determination to use it against China and to be confident that other potential partners won't stop absorbing some of China's power by making deals with China to ally with Peking. If these countries don't have confidence that we will help them, they'll cut a deal with China to protect themselves and turn away from us.

So we have to be careful about maintaining our power in the Pacific and maintaining our reputation for supporting allies and fighting until we win. If any nation, like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, or Vietnam think that they can't count on us for effective military support, they'll withdraw from the potential balancing coalition against China. And once one country defects, the power potential arrayed against China will drop enough to perhaps push another country to defect and align with China rather than with us.

Given my caution and given our success in getting allies to side with us close to six years later, under President Obama's pivot policy we clearly have persuaded Asian allies that we are reliable enough to risk angering China by siding with us.

Hey, I call them as I see them. This is a foreign policy success.

Although I hope our president doesn't really believe that Vietnamese may welcome closer relations with America to fight climate change.

Let's Not Pretend Land Attack is the Mission

Zumwalt is afloat and ready to join the fleet. But let's not pretend that bombarding shore targets is its mission.

Zumwalt is the first hull delivered in the $22 billion, three-ship class. The second and third ships — Michael Moonsor (DDG-1001) and Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) – are currently under construction at BIW.

The ships are built around a first-ever electric drive system in which the main engines power an electrical grid instead a direct link to the ship’s props allowing more margin to add additional systems to the ships.The ships’ main weapons are twin 155mm BAE Systems Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) designed to fire a specialized rocket assisted guided round to attack land targets – Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP).

They are so expensive because the ship class was truncated, so the development costs had to counted for only three hulls. (Which will be "free" technology for the next class, by accounting rules!)

But good God, no enemy believes we will send such expensive ships (stealthy does not mean invisible) close enough to shore to use guns. Even long-range guns won't match land attack cruise missiles or standoff weapons on aircraft.

Why pretend to our public when our enemy surely knows this concept is nonsense.

But the ship class is good even at three.

One, the guns will be useful for integrating into the tactical cloud.

And two, the electric drive system provides a good platform to experiment with lasers, electric armor, weaponized AESA radars, and rail guns for the next generation of ships to replace all of our main surface combatants, the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers.

Our legacy destroyers lack the electric power for all those things. Although some are upgraded a bit to begin the shift to these electricity-guzzling systems.

So welcome to the fleet Zumwalt class ships. I expect a lot of good experiments more than I expect one more ship on station in the Pacific at any one time.

I Really Hate Microsoft

It is now a daily ritual where Microsoft decides I don't need my computer and makes it unusable for a couple hours.

I don't know if my next computer will be a PC despite decades of being a customer.

I'm writing this from my phone.

And I have a new category that goes beyond mere annoyance.

Defining "Blockade"

Israel is not blockading Gaza. Assad does blockade civilians, however.

After four years under siege, 10,000 Syrians are getting some aid:

Aid from the Red Cross and Syrian Red Crescent entered the besieged Damascus suburb of Harasta for the first time in four years on Wednesday, a spokesman said.

It is one of several areas around Damascus "sealed off" by Assad's forces.

That would be a blockade.

Israel does not blockade Gaza. Israel tries to quarantine militarily useful items to Gaza to deprive Hamas which rules the territory from preparing for a new war.

You'd think that Israel's restrictions take place in a vacuum.

You will recall that Hamas (or other terrorist groups) in Gaza continually seeks to kill Israelis with rockets, mortars, or tunnel-mounted ground attacks.

You can question what Israel allows or disallows in their effort to forestall more effective attacks, but if Israel actually blockaded goods and energy, there would be few Gazans--who rank 110 out of 224 entities for life expectancy at birth (two below Saudi Arabia's rank, and about a year less than those who live in the West Bank, ranked 92)--alive today.

And if Palestinians weren't relentless in trying to kill Israelis, it would be a peaceful border.

And even if Israel did literally blockade Gaza, Egypt shares the border with Gaza. So if civilians in Gaza were desperate for aid--which they are not, apparently--Egypt would share the blame.

Just so we know what "blockade" actually means.

UPDATE: And again, so we know why Israel "blockades" Gaza under Hamas control:

The corruption in the West Bank and Gaza is bad, but also different. Fatah leadership are traditional crooks, stealing money (most of it contributed by foreign aid donors) for themselves and their key supporters. Hamas does less of that and more diversion of aid money to build military capabilities. This means stealing a lot of foreign aid to finance the importation or local manufacture of rockets as well as rebuilding the 32 tunnels destroyed by Israel during the 2014 war.

Hamas is waging war on Israel yet Israel isn't supposed to resist? Even with non-military means?

It's almost as if the anti-Israel movement thinks Jews should just sit and take it in atonement for being Jews, or something.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Subject Expertise?

I don't trust Congressional Democrats to know what is and is not a lie, these days.

Really?

While Republicans led by Representative Jason Chaffetz wanted to use the session to explore the topic of how the Obama administration misled the American people about the Iran deal, committee Democrats preferred to use their time talking about whether the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq was based on lies.

Ben Rhodes led the campaign of lying over the Iran deal.

And there were no Bush administration lies about whether to invade Iraq.

Although if Democrats want to discuss lying and Iraq, I'm fine with that. At this point, insistence that Bush lied is the real lie.

Fight Them On the Ballot

Brexit will reduce your home value in Britain? Yes, and also your facial acne will increase and your beer will be served cold.

Really?

British house prices could fall by up to 18 percent if the country leaves the European Union, the Treasury says — a claim dismissed as scaremongering by campaigners for a U.K. exit from the bloc.

So the fans of the Brussels-based proto-empire of the European Union are promising that house prices will never drop if they are in charge? Really?

The pro EU crowd is moments away from this threat to the side that wants Britain to exit the EU (Brexit):

WE WILL KILL THIS DOG
IF YOU VOTE BREXIT

Vote Brexit on sight, vote Brexit first, Brexit to kill the EU, keep Brexiting.

Because given the history of "voting" about the EU, this could be Britain's only chance to avoid being strangled by the Brussels bureaucracy built on ever-expanding cheese regulations.

How can the British fail to take this opportunity to get out while they can before a Brezhnev Doctrine in Brussels makes it the EU Empire's policy that nobody gets to leave--e?

Well, the European Union isn't the first continental entity to believe Britain would be stronger in Europe.

In reality, Britain is stronger in NATO. I admit I'm biased. I think NATO and not the EU is the basis for our security interests.

But considering how long Britain and America have shared this interest, I find it nonsense that the British prime minister claims leaving the EU will harm Britain's security by making Europe less stable:

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned during a speech Monday that Britain would raise the risk of war if it chooses to leave the European Union in a referendum vote scheduled for later this year.

These Euro commissars-in-waiting really believe that the people of Europe are at fault for Europe's history of warfare and it is up to Euro royalty to end their bloodthirsty peasant ways:

The elites are pretending that the public is bloodthirsty and that only erasing democracy in a smothering European bureaucracy can prevent future bloodshed.

Imagine that, the Europeans looked to their past, noticed that the rulers of Europe often rallied their publics into repeated wars against each other and the rest of the world, and concluded that the key failure in this is their own public that failed to stop the leaders! Never mind that it was the leadership that led Europe to fight. I just want to know how putting an elite that has been prone to war back in complete charge will end European wars? Isn't this recreating the Europe of divine right rulers that created the bloody swath that Europeans cut across the globe?

I hope the British vote to exit the EU. June 23, 2016 could yet be Britain's finest hour.

UPDATE: The EU is not in America's interest any more than it is in Britain's interest to join that multi-ethnic empire.

UPDATE: There is a dull alternative to the European Union that doesn't involve impoverishing the country that forged the path to modern prosperity with industrialization. Join the European Economic Area.

The Hope and Change Make It Okey Dokey!

You will recall how the left vilified President Bush for the use of private military contractors (mercenaries). Apparently such contractors are okay now because of the curative powers of hope and change:

Obama has authorized the continuation or re-emergence of two of the most contractor-dependent wars (or “overseas contingency operations” in Pentagon-speak) in U.S. history. As noted previously, there are roughly three contractors (28,626) for every U.S. troops (9,800) in Afghanistan, far above the contractor per uniformed military personnel average of America’s previous wars. In Iraq today, 7,773 contractors support U.S. government operations — and 4,087 U.S. troops. These numbers do not include contractors supporting CIA or other intelligence community activities, either abroad or in the United States.

So when you claim that President Obama responsibly ended our wars, ponder this:

Under Obama, more private military contractors have died in Iraq and Afghanistan than all the U.S. troops deployed to those countries. Between Jan. 1, 2009, and March 31, 2016, 1,540 contractors were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan (176 in Iraq and 1,364 in Afghanistan). During that period, 1,301 U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq (289 in Iraq and 1,012 in Afghanistan). Last year was even more skewed toward contractors than the preceding six years; 58 contractors died in Afghanistan or Iraq, while less than half as many U.S. troops did (27) fighting in either country, including Syria.

But don't call them "mercenaries." Oh no! Now they are hopenaries.

Shameless plug for my collected blog thoughts on private warfare.