wombat_socho: Wombat (ASA)
Jean Larteguy's The Centurions: It's coming back into print. - By Sophia Raday - Slate Magazine:
A copy of Jean Larteguy's The Centurions, an out-of-print French novel about paratroopers in Indochina and Algeria, can go for more than $1,700 on Amazon. That's reason enough for its republication this January by Amereon LTD for a list price of $59.95. But when I called the publisher, Jed Clauss, it turned out money wasn't his primary motivation: "Look, I'm an old guy," he said, "I'm at the end of my publishing career. I now only do fun projects. But David Petraeus wanted this republished. So I'm doing it."


I was tremendously surprised by the author's refusal to go down the rather obvious road of bashing Petraeus and McChrystal for emulating the disaffected French paras in Algeria, or more accurately their reaction to being sold out by deGaulle. Maybe she hasn't read The Praetorians, or maybe she doesn't know the history of the war in Algeria. I continue to hope that both books will eventually be reissued in Kindle editions.
wombat_socho: Wombat (ASA)
Good summary of all the various wars, insurrections, revolts, and just downright murderous crap going on around the world, as well as various places which aren't actively at war yet but are pretty damn close. A lot of these places, you probably haven't heard of and wouldn't want to visit for a million bucks.
(Ace of Spades)
wombat_socho: Wombat (Comfort Eagle)
I'm not much on encouraging people to donate to charity. For that matter, even during those rare times in my life when I haven't been scuffling and trying desperately to match up incoming pay with outgoing bills, I haven't done a lot of giving to charity, but there are a couple of exceptions to that. One of them is the Salvation Army, since they helped my struggling family when we were dirt poor in Minneapolis, so I try to throw the odd dollar bill or so in the bell-ringers' kettles come Christmas. The same goes for the Marines and their Toys for Tots program. Which brings me to this video by Max Uriarte, creator of the sardonic webcomic (now featured in the Marine Corps Times, of all things) Terminal Lance. Max has something he wants to say:


NOTE: do not send me money! Go to Terminal Lance and hit the PayPal button!
wombat_socho: Wombat (Comfort Eagle)
The Military's Deepening Geographic Divide - Richard Florida - Business - The Atlantic:
The map is pretty useless, and the analysis by the mapmakers was brainless.


This comment at the end of the article pretty much sums it up. What kind of wet-brained fool would try to figure anything out about the social origins and culture of the military by looking at where the bases are? Richard Florida, that's who! *facepalm* Honestly, the more I see by this guy, the less impressed I am. Commenters do an excellent job of ripping the article to shreds and suggesting more intelligent ways of looking at the question; maybe you should just read the comments first and skip the article.
wombat_socho: Wombat (military)
Ace of Spades HQ:
So it is more than a little surprising that a Reserve officer has thrown the bullshit flag.

For headquarters staff, war consists largely of the endless tinkering with PowerPoint slides to conform with the idiosyncrasies of cognitively challenged generals in order to spoon-feed them information. Even one tiny flaw in a slide can halt a general's thought processes as abruptly as a computer system's blue screen of death.

The ability to brief well is, therefore, a critical skill. It is important to note that skill in briefing resides in how you say it. It doesn't matter so much what you say or even if you are speaking Klingon.

Not surprisingly, COL Sellin has been relieved.


When I left the Army in 1991, the scourge of PowerPoint had not yet arrived, probably because laptop computers weighed damn near as much as a M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun after you added the "tactical" MILSPEC case which also bloated them to the size of steamer trunks. If Colonel Sellin is within the same area code as the truth, no wonder it's been taking so long to squash the insurgents. I've long believed that the military in general has way too many staff officers and support people and not enough guys carrying rifles, and this just confirms that belief.
wombat_socho: Wombat (die now)
I probably should have posted this yesterday, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki, but better late than never.
The annual whining in the press about the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki leaves me cold, but then, unlike most of the journalists and commentators, I actually know something about the war against Japan. I know that it didn't start with the attack on Pearl Harbor - by the time the Arizona went down on December 7, the The Rape Of Nanking was almost four years in the past. The truth of the matter is that for eight years before Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the soldiers and sailors of the Japanese Empire had cut a barbaric swath of rape and pillage across Asia from Manchuria to Imphal in India, butchering prisoners of war and civilians alike. They had fought suicidally from New Guinea to Okinawa, burned Manila to the ground with 100,000 civilians trapped in it, and given no indication that they would ever surrender.

Which meant that after the fall of Okinawa, the United States was looking at the very real possibility of having to invade Japan in the same way they had invaded Guadalcanal, Leyte, Okinawa, and a dozen other islands all across the Pacific. From the most recent invasions, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, we knew that the Japanese would be dug in deep, determined to resist to the last man, and anxious to kill or wound every American that they possibly could. American casualties would be horrific, estimated to be in the millions for the first phase, Operation Olympic, alone. From the experience of Okinawa, we could anticipate that the Japanese - military and civilians, although the Japanese plans drew no distinction between the two- would suffer over 90% casualties.

And people wonder why Truman dropped the bomb? What would history say of him had he not done so? As for me, I have no sympathy for the Japanese on this account. They had it coming. There has not, to this date, been a official, written apologies to the Chinese or Philippine nations for what happened at Nanking or Manila; even after those apologies are delivered (if they ever are), I hold that apologizing for the atomic bombing of Japan is unnecessary and stupid.

Unless, of course, you actually think we should have had millions of Americans killed or wounded in the process of exterminating 90% of the Japanese nation. I refuse to speculate whether this is the case with the current Administration.
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
...or too politically naive to be working in Washington DC.

The General and His Senate Vassals:
Whatever you may think of General Stanley McChrystal and his succession by General David Petraeus, something very sad is about to happen. The Senate Armed Services Committee has already scheduled its hearing for the constitutionally required confirmation of General Petraeus in his new job. Watch that hearing. (It will occur at 9:30 am on Tuesday, June 29 and will be broadcast by the committee's webcast, and surely C-SPAN.) You will observe how useless and ineffectual the Senate Armed Services Committee, among others, has become at performing its most important job.


Wheeler fails to appreciate that the Party requires General Petraeus services to save their ass in Afghanistan, or at least provide an acceptable facade of success that will give Obama an excuse to withdraw the troops. The Party is not about to allow its antiwar loony wing any time to bitch at their chosen general. In this instance, the standard kabuki of Evil Pentagon Generals v. Righteous Social Justice Warriors has been laid aside. As for Lieberman and the Republicans, they're not about to give the new CinC Afghanistan a hard time by asking him difficult questions. The GOP is the Pentagon's traditional ally, and Lieberman is the last of the Scoop Jackson Democrats.

Wheeler will have to wait for the traditional "Democrats as steely-eyed critics of defense" kabuki until the GOP is back in control of the White House and/or Congress. Then and only then will the Pentagon and its generals be viewed as bloodthirsty thugs clawing the bread from starving children and the medicine from sickly seniors. i. e. business as usual for the New Left.

Thhhpppt.

Jun. 23rd, 2010 10:08 pm
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Maintenance replaced the filter while I was at class tonight. Good.
Instructor confirmed that all the Wiley Plus online problems & self-tests were indeed part of the homework. Not so good. It's only 15% of my grade, but it might be enough to knock me back from an A to a B, possibly from a B to a C - but I don't think I did that badly on the third test. Which we won't have the results of before Monday, and that's okay. Anyway, I've been avoiding the Wiley Plus online stuff because, well, I get kinda ADD when I'm sitting here in front of the computer with the intertubes RIGHT THERE. Also, I have problems with the way the WP software presents ledger entry problems. Instead of letting you fix whatever it was you got wrong, it forces you to re-do the problem with new numbers, which means you now have twice the opportunity to fuck up the problem. I've found it's just better for me to practice journal entries by actually writing them down in the ledger books I picked up from Staples. So much the worse for me.

Humidity and temp finally got into the ugly range today. I turned on the A/C when I got home, and will probably leave it on overnight until it gets down to a decent temperature & humidity again.

I don't have a whole lot to say about the McChrystal thing, except that it just goes to show that staff officers are just as big a bunch of dumb-asses as the rest of us. After fifty years of this kind of bullshit, it should be burned into the institutional DNA of all military personnel by now that the press is not your friend. Especially when they're pretending to be your buddy. And a reporter from Rolling Stone, at that. :facepalm: Well, Petraeus will have another shot at pulling the haggis out of the fire, except this time around they're blowing a pretty uncertain trumpet at the White House, and God only knows what those idiots in Congress are going to do between now and next January. The irony of the Democrats calling on the man they were busy slandering as "General Betray-us" only two years ago isn't lost on me, either. We'll see what happens.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)
Saturday Verse: G.K. Chesterton - Maggie's Farm: Maggie's Farm, a blog I thank RS for introducing me to, reprints one of my favorite poems not written by Kipling. It's a stirring retelling of the Battle of Lepanto, one of the pivotal battles in history and another in the series of battles that kept Islam out of Europe and ensured the survival of Christendom, which evolved into Western Civilization as we know it today. For those who want to look deeper into the battle, Victor Davis Hanson has devoted a chapter in his excellent book Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power
to it, and if that isn't enough, there's this: Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto, which is also most excellent. Buy them both! :)
wombat_socho: Wombat (die now)
NSFW due to foul language )
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
I missed Simo Hayha's birthday this past Thursday. Hayha is probably the deadliest sniper in the history of modern warfare, having killed over 500 Russians with his Mosin/Nagant M/28 - over iron sights, because he felt using a scope carried too much risk of exposure. He then went on to kill another 200 Russians with his Suomi submachine gun. At the age of 34. Under weather conditions that could be charitably described as "appalling". More details at Mitch Berg's joint.
Hayha is one big reason why this mopo is so true:

Jarhead

Dec. 7th, 2009 04:06 pm
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
Probably the best short description of this movie would be Full Metal Jacket Goes to The Gulf. I read the book some years ago but never quite got around to seeing the movie until last night. The movie is pretty faithful to the book, which is a good thing since I liked the book; the changes made to the book didn't strike me as terribly important. Jamie Foxx does a surprisingly good job as S/Sgt Sikes, and Gyllenhaal's portrayal of Tony Swofford is also very good; very understated but at the same time convincing in the scenes where he's freaking out.
I probably won't buy a copy for myself, but I do recommend it.
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
Awesome video of Marines getting down to the music. Keep an eye on the Latino (Asian?) Marine dancing in front of the barracks doors with the taped windows - he does stuff I would have sworn was just not possible. Hats off to the Corps and to the editor of this vid.


(Jules Crittenden - RTWT and donate if you can.)
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
Saved by medics, helo crew, operating room staff and EODs with enormous brass balls.
Video is extremely bloody in parts.



(Small Dead Animals)
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)


More info here about the most decorated officer of the Third Reich. Dude blew up a battleship, FFS.
My father used to talk about how a Lufthansa pilot bought him rounds until closing time while lecturing him on the greatness of Oberst Rudel after Dad name-dropped the author of Stuka Pilot. On the other hand, Rudel was an unrepentant Nazi, so it's not like the guy was some kind of stainless hero. On the gripping hand, the folks who designed the A-10 Warthog consulted heavily with Rudel, and we all know how that went. :)
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
John Miller of National Review pens a gorgeous little essay on the life of Bruce Catton. Catton, obviously, is one of my favorite historians, and I think is responsible not only for the shift in military history from generals and admirals to privates and seamen, but also for the spread of "popular" military history - the stuff written not as a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation, but to inform and amuse the public. Catton and others like him (for example, Samuel Eliot Morison and S.L.A. Marshall) are the reason that military history is thriving even though academia has turned up its nose at the subject. People want heroes.
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
Ladies and gentlemen, the XM-25 grenade launcher: the first weapon in history to put variable-time fuzes in the hands of the squad grenadier, thus denying the enemy the advantage of cover. (Ace, which helpfully includes a Top Ten Cool Facts about the XM-25 list.)
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
Or, how to land an F-16 with a spinal injury. (Maggie's Farm)

Anyone who claims there are no more heroes isn't paying attention.

UPDATE & BUMP: They're not all in uniform, either. (Instapundit)
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
Went down to Accountemps and lucked out by finding an empty two hours free space on Diagonal Street around the corner from their office. Got paperwork brought up to date, talked with a staffer for about ten minutes, then headed back home. Hopefully they'll get me some work tomorrow and/or Monday.

Freshly bookmarked: Closing Velocity, a blog dedicated to missile defense. I've been a fan of BMD since the 1960s, when it was politically incorrect before PC was cool on account of the Mutual Assured Destruction orthodoxy, and this blog satisfies my need for information on the topic.

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