Saturday, October 15, 2016

Weekend Data Dump

Here are some stories that I didn't get around to blogging, but which are interesting to me.

Libyan militias--with our air support--are making further progress in clearing Sirte of ISIL fighters. Whatever else you may say, the Libya ISIL members seem to have more fight in them than the Iraq branch of the caliphate.

I don't understand why people insist that Britain's exit from the European Union will weaken NATO when the existence of the EU weakens NATO as the EU aspires to its own military capabilities that must come at the expense of capabilities allocated to NATO; and when you consider that NATO's capabilities have shrunk as the EU pursued ever closer union. Focus on NATO rather than EU (which the Europhiles oddly credit with protecting European prosperity rather than NATO) military capabilities, and Europe will be better off because "when it comes to security and defense, 'NATO is the only show in town.'"

ISIL holds the small Syrian town of Dabiq. Based on Moslem quasi-scripture, jihadis think "if they mean to have an Apocalypse, let it begin here."

I mentioned an earlier air attack on an ISIL chemical weapons plant in Iraq. But according to Strategypage it was just a source of raw materials--and our rules of engagement don't allow us to strike chemical weapons plants from fear of collateral damage from escaping poison gas.

A brief discussion of India and Pakistan military options under the threat of nuclear weapons. With short missile flight times, small arsenals, and lack of a third country where "tactical" nuclear warfare can take place (the Germans in the Cold War can be excused for not seeing the difference between tactical nukes exploding on their soil and strategic nuclear war), any clash however small it is intended to be, could lead to mushroom clouds.

A top Hillary Clinton aide thinks there are people in this country who have bastardized their religion which features backwards gender relations and whose members don't appreciate democracy. What a raging Islamophobe--wait, what? The aide was talking about Catholics? Well, move along. Nothing to see.

The Russians are trying hard ("a campaign of covert economic and political measures") to undermine democracy in several eastern and central European countries, including Hungary. So it is nice that the Pentagon has an exhibit up on the Soviet 1956 invasion of Hungary (better to be publicized in Hungary, however).

Think we have explored everything strange in our current election? So what happens when the Electoral College makes the vote official?

Romania and Ukraine have signed a defense project cooperation agreement. Ukraine isn't a member of NATO, but for countries like Romania which is in NATO, keeping Ukraine as a buffer between them and the Russians is the smart thing to do.

Pakistan's civilian government has a message for their army (and intelligence agency) with a state: "The message: military-led intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action" Usually when push comes to shove, the military just pushes the civilian government aside and rules directly. In a "clarification" on the story, the government denies the story is true at all. So this is interesting.

The Navy has commissioned the amphibious warship  (LPD-26) John P. Murtha. Which is a shame in case al Qaeda ever gets a navy. What will they name their first ship with this name taken? Seriously, this is an insult to every Marine who will serve on that ship.

The X-37B continues to rack up the hours in space. Doing what, I have no idea. Although if the Air Force has decided to "aim high" that's good.

If FBI agents are truly outraged that Hillary Clinton was let off from being prosecuted for her security outrages for political reasons, those agents need to do more than quietly leak their complaints.

The fall of Mosul won't actually "turn the tide" against ISIL in the battle for Iraq--that happened last year with the recapture of Ramadi. But it will signal a step down the escalation ladder to insurgency/terrorism for the Iraq branch of the caliphate. Likewise, the capture of Aleppo by Assad's forces will require the rebels in that region of Syria to revert to insurgency tactics rather than holding territory. We'll see how the Iraqis and Assad's allied forces handle that job.

Yes, Trump is a clown and quite likely a louse who I would never want near any female in my family. He would be an awful president. I've always thought that. Despite that, I still might have to vote for him if it looks like my failure to vote for him could contribute to a Hillary Clinton win (although a Clinton win looks increasingly likely every day). Because Clinton would be a damaging president with few restraints placed on how much damage she could do to rule of law.

I think I'm going to make this a semi-regular practice. Heck, with a little more restraint on word length, it's almost Tweeting.