Sunday, November 06, 2016

Weekend Data Dump

Oh this is funny, after complaining about Trump's "rigged" election charges, Democrats chime in on how FBI Director Comey is rigging the election. And to bounce the rubble, just prior to the 1992 election, Bill Clinton celebrated a later-dismissed indictment that implicated Bush 41 that affected Bush's level of support in that election he lost to Clinton. Good times. Good times.

You'll notice that I haven't pilloried President Obama for "losing" the Philippines. While things can change, for now Duterte's rantings haven't destroyed the close ties we have. Our ties are closer than Duterte's insults and statements indicate. Although if Duterte is beginning to change the course of the Philippines in response to growing Chinese power, my warning about maintaining faith in our power was not heeded.

Did Russia ship a chemical weapons cargo from Syria to Russia? If so, could this be Saddam's stash that could have been removed from Iraq to Syria back in early 2003 (both before and after the fall of Saddam's regime)? Remember, prior to the Iraq War, the CIA said it was a "slam dunk" that Saddam had chemical weapons programs. It is customary to say the CIA was wrong. Was the CIA wrong? I'm still waiting for the conventional wisdom to change on this issue. Saddam's technical proficiency on WMD production was primitive, meaning he had to produce it just prior to use, so he wouldn't have been able to keep a large stockpile--just enough to bridge the gap until restarting dormant production lines.

A tour of Syria by Strategypage.

If the actual Turkish coup had as much support as the purges (and coming soon, executions) since then imply, Erdogan would not be ruling Turkey now. Tip to Instapundit.

Indian artillery pounded Pakistani border positions. How long will this conflict between nuclear powers remain low level?

So the European Union can sign trade deals with non-EU states? Huh. I guess Brexit doesn't preclude Britain from signing a trade deal with the EU.

A tour of China by Strategypage. Is China's expansion of the Communist Party to include business people replicating European hereditary royalty's admission of merchants to positions of power that eventually led to democracy? That took centuries, of course. Strategypage calls our recent sail in the South China Sea a "freedom of navigation" operation. I don't think it was any such thing.

Our Navy has abandoned the notion that our fragile Littoral Combat Ships frigates should operate in littoral waters within range of any shore-based threat to our ships, hasn't it?

It is not good to have so much of our offensive anti-ship power concentrated on our few big carriers with their short-ranged air wings. With Harpoon that once equipped our ships and subs fading, it is good that we are going to field this weapon: "The Navy is accelerating deployment of an upgraded Maritime Strike Tomahawk missile designed to better enable the weapon to destroy moving targets at sea, service officials said."

President Obama's accusation that men are denying Hillary Clinton the chance to be president because of sexism is pretty rich coming from the man who denied Hillary Clinton the chance to become president in 2008. In related news, some of Hillary's more rabid female supporters don't want to end sexism as much as they want to practice it more effectively themselves.

The Pope is going to let the Chinese communist leadership pick the Catholic Church's bishops in China. This has been a long-standing dispute that the Church had held firm on resisting. Apparently the roles of God and Caesar are no longer so distinct. This acceptance of the Chinese Communist Party middle position between Heaven and Earth will not end well for the Church or for China's Catholics.

The Army is eager to get new heavy armor designs into the pipeline to replace the Abrams and Bradley. Let me note as I did 14 years ago (in "Equipping the Objective Force") that the Army cannot have a tank armed and protected enough to go toe-to-toe with enemy heavy armor and be airlifted to the theater of war.

An odd incident in Jordan where three American military trainers were killed by gunfire in a vehicle that apparently was not going to stop as it tried to enter a Jordanian base. Was there a reason not to stop?

From the "Well, Duh" files: 99 percent chance that up to 5 foreign intelligence agencies hacked Hillary Clinton's private server emails. Set up to avoid FOIA to keep Americans from seeing her emails, foreign intel agencies have had years to analyze them.

Strategypage looks at some developments in North Korea.

Given that Trump was until recently a Democrat, it should be no surprise that he knows little about military matters. The notion that we needlessly telegraphed the Mosul offensive is particularly nonsense. Of course the Iraqis were coming after Mosul! Likewise, the Germans were hardly surprised that we landed in France in World War II! The only way to achieve strategic surprise in Iraq would have been to not attack Mosul at all. That would have surprised ISIL. We'll see if we manage some tactical surprise in the actual conduct of the fight.

George Will doesn't like Trump, but if this column doesn't persuade you that Clinton is worse I don't know what will at this point.

Yeah, I'd be more sympathetic about worrying about the source of leaks about Democratic Party communications and legal problems if the media had dug up this information--which oddly enough is supposed to be their job, rather than being a giant in-kind contribution to the Democratic Party.

Huh. I was suspicious that the Air Force had truly ended its campaign to kill the A-10, but it seems to be true.