Saturday, October 29, 2016

Weekend Data Dump

If California National Guard soldiers received illegal bonuses a decade ago to go overseas to fight, unless the soldiers knew of the fraud the solution isn't to demand they repay the bonuses, but to go after the state officials who illegally offered the bonuses. Good God, how were the troops supposed to know that the state offer was illegal? After the publicity, the Pentagon is addressing this. Although I heard that some of the soldiers did know or should have known the bonuses were illegal. But the innocent should get some help, it seems.

Perhaps the Air Force has changed its mind about the value of the A-10 or another aircraft like it, but given the past efforts by the Air Force to kill the A-10 I sincerely doubt this effort to plan for the A-10 is real. My guess is that the F-35 will emerge from their careful analysis of what the perfect close air support plane looks like.

When the Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov went through the English Channel on the way to take part in the Syria fight, it belched smoke like a steam-driven ironclad. Ah, the pride of the fleet. For the British ships sent to shadow the task force, that made the degree of difficulty close to zero. And here's more on the deployment.

I know crossing red lines is old news by now, but the UN has concluded that Assad's government is responsible for a third chlorine poison gas attack. I know we are all shocked that this is going on notwithstanding the much-celebrated Kerry-Lavrov deal a few years ago that "eliminated" Assad's chemical arsenal.

Enemies don't sing much in the steel rain. Used effectively by our rocket launchers against Saddam's artillery during the Persian Gulf War, we have abandoned the weapon while Russia has shown how brutally effective it can be against Ukrainian targets. We need to bring them back. Dispersed soft targets like infantry, artillery, air defenses, and supply columns are vulnerable to destruction by this type of weapon. Precision unitary warheads are great, but sometimes quantity of small booms has a quality all its own--especially when you don't have the luxury of time during high-tempo conventional mechanized combat to keep identifying individual targets for precision strikes as we've had in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist campaigns since 2001.

I know I remain a dinosaur in defending the Iraq War. Here's a defense in 2013 before things went belly up in 2014 and we initiated Iraq War 2.0 to belatedly defend what we had won.

Rule of law in Venezuela is dead, and Maduro is stabbing the corpse, unwilling to chance his ability to rig the vote counting in a recall election.

You'd think that in the modern West, we'd assume a ten-year old boy is incapable of giving consent to anal sex. But no, not in Austria. What the Hell, people. On American college campuses, a man just about has to get affirmative consent for each in and out stroke with a willing partner, but in Austria, the question of consent of a little boy to anal rape by a man with a "sexual emergency" was a mystery to the judge.

Are we really going to say this isn't corruption?! Ah, rule of law. It was nice while it lasted.

Sixty years ago, Hungary unsuccessfully revolted against Soviet control. Which makes it amazing that Hungary's ruler would suck up to Putin.

Is Iraq War 2.0 against ISIL--being run by a president who (wrongly) said that the Iraq War "distracted" America from waging the "real" war in Afghanistan--distracting our president from the real Middle East problem we face: Iran? Well, only if you assume we'd try to defeat Iran if ISIL didn't exist. In regard to Iran, this administration is self-distracting.

Clearly, these student "activists" don't have very difficult college majors to have time to build a human wall of Asshole Americans and make white students pay the price for it.  Tip to Instapundit.

Spain decided to be a NATO ally and deny the Russian naval squadron heading to Syria to bomb civilians access to Spanish territory for refueling. Good for them.

Assad's forces have clawed some high ground away from the opposition in rebel-held Aleppo. And rebels, including jihadis, are counter-attacking.

No, it would not be shocking if Russia is responsible for a string of assassinations of rebel leaders in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

A tour of Colombia and Venezuela, who are on opposite trajectories.

China seems like it is willing to make a play for the Philippines in light of Dutere's odd statements challenging alliance with America by pulling back their armed vessels from Scarborough Shoal which will allow Filipino fishermen to return. Note that this play does not involve ending China's illegal claim to the land and waters. So I doubt much will come from this unless Duterte uses the Chinese withdrawal to insert a Philippines military outpost to the shoal. UPDATE: China says nothing has changed about the basic situation.

You know, I truly am embarrassed that the Republican Party nominated Trump. The horrible behavior of Clinton's supporters in and out of the media to demonize Trump supporters may push me to vote for Trump, but I could never say I am proud of that. My question is why aren't Clinton supporters embarrassed by their candidate who is easily the most corrupt candidate in the modern era who I have ever seen. Sanders is a fool but I never thought he was corrupt. President Obama in retrospect had slightly more relevant experience than Trump, but while our president is too left wing to be successful, I never suspected him of corruption. Yet here we are with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee and none of the people who proclaim "I'm with her" seem one bit red-faced about that enthusiasm. UPDATE: While I still don't think our president is corrupt, his truthfulness is another matter as Hillary's private email is not just one more thing that he learned about by hearing it on the news. Silly me, I even spun out a scenario that could explain how President Obama might not actually have known of Clinton's private email until he saw it on the news. But he knew about it. And another issue.

Given America's overwhelming conventional military power and geographic isolation that protects our core national territory from invasion by any conceivable stronger power, a nuclear-free world as the UN General Assembly will vote for is in our interests. Sadly, we have enemies likely to cheat and in a world of zero American nuclear weapons a hostile state with even 50 MIRVd missiles has a lot of leverage unless missile defenses get a lot denser.