Regular posts resume tomorrow.
President Trump has changed the rules of engagement. Excerpt:
On Wednesday morning, Earth Day no less, when any responsible president would have been hectoring people about global warming, President Trump had other concerns on his mind. “I have instructed the United States Navy,” he tweeted, “to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
Predictable scorn ensued from the Left. Writer Nick Jack Pappas was just one of the many who focused on Trump’s choice of words, tweeting, “Trump is giving the order to shoot down boats. I didn’t realize Iran had flying boats now.” They ignored the fact that one can shoot a man down without his being able to fly, but anything will do for a dig at the President. Iranian freedom activist and journalist Heshmat Alavi was more focused, tweeting: “The mullahs’ regime ruling #Iran harasses UN [sic] Navy ships for propaganda purposes. Thank you, President Trump, for reminding this regime that the Obama years are gone. And BTW, this regime does not represent the Iranian people.”
Alavi was right. The Iranian mullahs, apparently having forgotten that Barack Obama is no longer President, were at it again just last week. According to Business Insider, “nearly a dozen Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels sailed out Wednesday to harass a collection of US Navy and Coast Guard vessels conducting operations in international waters.”
The U.S. Navy stated that eleven Iranian boats of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) “conducted dangerous and harassing approaches,” and added that “the IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision.” The Iranians, said the Navy statement, were violating the “rules of the road.”
As an old soldier myself, I’m inclined to think, “Fine, if you little pricks want to play, we’ll damn well play.”
One suspects the Iranian regime, beset on one side by renewed sanctions, on the other by the Kung Flu, are acting out like a bunch of neglected four-year-olds. And that’s not an inapt analogy for a country run by a cabal of Bronze Age savages.
And here’s the real laugh line:
The deputy commander of the IRGC, Hossain Salami, said in May 2015 that Iran actually wanted war with the United States: “We have prepared ourselves for the most dangerous scenarios and this is no big deal and is simple to digest for U.S.; we welcome war with the U.S. as we do believe that it will be the scene for our success to display the real potentials of our power.”
Yeah. The real potential to have your “Navy” sunk, the pitiful collection of Vietnam-era relics you call an air force destroyed, your army walked over, probably with a matter of hours. Granted the Iranian regime could wage an atrocious (in the original sense of the word) irregular campaign against the U.S. and American citizens all over the world for decades; but here’s the thing: Iran is also home to many young people who were educated in the United States and Western Europe, who would love to see the mullahs gone and their country finally returning to the modern world.
It is they, not the U.S. military, that the Iranian regime really needs to worry about. If another Green Revolution happens today, President Trump won’t throw them under the bus, as his predecessor did.
I’ve been slowly working out the format of my Wednesday links posts; as things are developing, I think I will include links from the entire week since the previous links post, to better bring you a comprehensive presentation of stuff I found interesting. And, the last week has been an eventful one. And so, it’s…
On To the Links!
There is a plant in Iran that makes American flags. For burning. Really. Seriously, fuck those guys.
Once again, activists are actively harming people for bullshit reasons. Seriously, fuck those guys.
Serpent-Head Carville tries to talk some sense into his fellow Democrats.
Florida gets the first U.S. Space Force base. Look for even more Florida Man incidents, possibly involving rockets.
This Week’s Idiots:
This week, we bring you idiots in entertainment!
It’s been a fun week so far, but Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. have an interesting little side jaunt planned for the weekend, so stay tuned! And on that note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.
Now the Washington Examiner’s Tom Rogan has gone full-blown UFO conspiracy batshit. Selected excerpts, with my comments:
The United States government makes it very hard to figure out what and where UFO-related stuff is going on.
Is that because the government is behind some great conspiracy to cover up the proof of alien visitation to Earth? Is it because the government is in cahoots with alien species to create human-alien hybrids?
Perhaps, but I suspect not.
What I believe is really going on here is that the few individuals in the U.S. government who know about this issue believe the phenomena might be a threat. And that they don’t know how to deal with it.
Tom, you’re an idiot. There isn’t anyone in the U.S. government with three brain cells to rub together (note: this exempts most of Congress) that believes UFOs are a threat. Why? Because they don’t exist.
This isn’t to say that these UFOs are hostile (although it must be noted that the diverging shapes, behaviors, and capability patterns of UFOs suggest more than one originating source). On the contrary, UFOs appear to be quite friendly, except when rather ill-advised Russian aircrews attempt to engage them.
But pretend you’re a senior military or intelligence officer.
You see the nuclear connection point, and you’re struck by something odd going on. Now, add to the nuclear issue that some UFOs are intelligently operated machines capable of instantaneously reaching hypersonic speeds. Oh, and that they’re also anti-gravity and invisibility capable, and they have been tracked moving in and out of Earth orbit, the atmosphere, and underwater. Suddenly, you have something that is making the U.S. military’s most advanced capabilities, and those of every other military on Earth, look like an absurd joke in comparison.
Anti-gravity and invisibility capable? What the hell have you been smoking, Tom? You’re attributing all of these science-fiction capabilities to fuzzy, half-glimpsed lights and objects that may or may not have been lens flares or some other optical artifacts.
Again, put yourself in the military officer’s shoes. Something has repeatedly shown it can easily find carrier strike groups, which are designed and operated to be hidden in the far oceans, and to find nuclear ballistic missile submarines running near totally silent deep under the water. Something can penetrate the most securely guarded areas of the most important areas in the U.S. military and render our most critical deterrent platforms improbable. For Pentagon planners, this is Armageddon-level stuff.
Not something strange, Tom; just something stupid. As in, burning up bandwidth speculating about this kind of stupidity.
The Washington Examiner isn’t exactly the most credible news source out there, but honestly, this sort of hooraw is just beyond the pale. This kind of crap would be more at home in the Weekly World News than in the Examiner.
Tom Rogan should be dismissed, and so should the editor that allowed this nonsensical woo to be published.
Now, today, I’m not going to discuss the backgrounds or motivations of the shooters, neither of whom I will deign to mention by name. I’m not going to mention the actions of first responders. I’m not going to talk about the weapons used. All that has already been hashed over.
What I am going to talk about is this: Why are our military bases soft targets for gunmen?
At Pensacola, the shooter walked into classrooms and opened fire, assured that there would be no meaningful response for some time until local law enforcement arrived to save military servicemen. In this instance the local law enforcement would seem to have done a good job, but my question remains: Why was their response necessary at all?
At Pearl Harbor, the gunman attacked workers near the dry dock of the U.S.S. Columbia, an attack submarine to which the shooter was evidently assigned; he did so knowing that there would be no meaningful response until local law enforcement arrived, and even though in this case the victims were civilian workers, there were still service members in the immediate area. Again, my question remains: Why was their response necessary at all?
I’m particularly concerned about the Pearl Harbor incident, as a Los-Angeles-class attack submarine in dry dock sure seems to me like something you’d guard with armed Marines. If there are any former Navy types among all of you True Believers out there, please confirm.
Service members are in the profession of arms. They serve knowing this. So why are our military bases rendered soft targets by the refusal of the DoD to acknowledge this fundamental fact?
All officers and all enlisted personnel above the rank of E-5 (I’d be willing to consider raising that to E-7 if necessary to get this done) should be each issued a personal sidearm, should be required to train with that sidearm, to qualify with it at least annually, and to carry it loaded at all times while in uniform and on duty on base. The sidearm should literally be part of the uniform.
When off-duty and in civilian attire, I’m not sure if I’d require carry of the sidearm, although I’d certainly allow it, and further, I’d consider serving active military to be by default concealed-carry permit holders just as serving law enforcement officers are, and therefore able to legally carry a personal sidearm concealed anywhere they go.
Anywhere they go.
Further, gate guards at closed installations shall be armed. Back in the late Nineties when I was reactivated for the Balkans fracas, I worked in a Top Secret facility in Heidelberg, Germany; that facility was guarded by three layers of MPs, the first with a holstered sidearm, the second with a loaded M-16, the third at the end of a long approach hallway with a loaded riot shotgun. Gate guards at secure installations should be no less well armed, and roving patrols of MPs likewise.
Our service members are, as I’ve said, in the profession of arms. It’s staggeringly stupid that we can’t acknowledge that by ensuring they be armed, and it’s even more staggeringly stupid that on our domestic bases we deprive them of the very thing that would make our bases secure, and not the soft targets for gunmen that they are today.
President Trump, as Commander in Chief, could fix this with the stroke of a pen. Where is he on this issue?
On to the links!
Attorney General Barr on the Executive Branch. Worth the read.
Economic Ignorance 101: Pete Buttigieg Has a $1 Trillion Plan to Drive Up Housing, College, and Labor Costs.
Why Navy SEALS love the Sig P226. Sigs are great guns; we’ve had a few at one time or another, even though I’m more of a wheelgun guy.
Elsewhere in the Special Ops community, SOCOM is looking to “upgrade” the 7.626 NATO M110 sniper rifle to fire the 6.5 Creedmor.
Should we make every weekend three days long? As I get older, I’m increasingly down with this, even if it means making up for it the other four days.
Guess what? The Democrat’s presidential candidates are being funded by billionaires. Here’s the list.
And on that well-heeled note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.
Moving right along: This popped up over the weekend. Excerpt:
U.S. troops in northern Syria came under artillery fire from Turkish positions on Friday but none were wounded, the Pentagon said, an incident that highlights the risks to U.S. troops as Turkey wages an offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish militia.
“The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present,” Navy Captain Brook DeWalt, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
DeWalt said that all U.S. troops were accounted for after the incident near Kobane, Syria late on Friday.
U.S. troops have not withdrawn from Kobane, he said.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said it had taken all measures to ensure that no U.S. base was damaged while it responded to harassment fire that originated near a U.S. base close to Kobane.
“The firing was ceased as a result of the issue being relayed to us by the U.S.,” the ministry said in a statement.
U.S. forces have had a successful partnership with Kurdish YPG militia in Syria to oust the Islamic State group.
In the movie version of Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October, there’s a great scene where the late Fred Thompson, playing a U.S. Navy admiral in charge of a carrier task group, rushes to the flight deck to see the wreck of an F-14 that tried to crowd a Soviet Bear away from the task group and, damaged, crashed on landing. Thompson as the admiral snaps angrily, “This thing will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”
That’s what bothers me about this whole Turkey/Syria business. Syria is a festering shithole, true; Turkey is a NATO ally, also true. But the Kurds are also allies, and some of the very few loyally pro-U.S. folks in that part of the world. But the Turks hate them and persecute Kurds within their own borders.
There’s an obvious answer, but it would probably require mediation by some international body. The UN may have been able to do it in the 1950s, but that organization has grown so ossified and so corrupt that it is now essentially useless. Maybe NATO would be able to pull it off. The answer, of course, is a free and independent Kurdistan, carved out of traditionally Kurdish portions of Turkey, Syrian and Iraq. This is part of a recurring issue in this region dating back to 1918, when borders were set arbitrarily with little regard to ethnic and tribal divisions.
Setting up an independent Kurdistan would be a good start on unhosing that goat-screw.
The U.S. Army may be getting a new Squad Designated Marksman Rifle as early as next year. Excerpt:
Heckler & Koch Defense Inc. will soon begin delivering thousands of 7.62mm squad-designated marksman rifles to the Army to give infantry and other close-combat units a better chance of penetrating enemy body armor.
H&K will deliver “between 5,000 and 6,000” variants of the G28 rifle, which the Army plans to issue as its new squad designated marksman rifle (SDMR), according to a July 12 H&K news release.
Under the agreement, the rifles will be manufactured by H&K in Oberndorf, Germany, and will begin to arrive in the H&K-USA facility in Columbus, Georgia, early next year, according to the release. Once there, H&K-USA workers will install scopes and mounts purchased by the Army under a separate agreement.
“This is a significant achievement for Heckler & Koch,” H&K-USA’s chief operating officer, Michael Holley, said in the release. “The HK SDMR system will add much-needed capabilities to virtually every squad in the Army. We are honored by this opportunity.”
An alternative to the old M16 platform, firing the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, is a great idea. The Army hasn’t fielded an effective Main Battle Rifle since the less-than-perfectly acceptable M-14. The H&K rifle should be a great selection; that Oberndorf-based company (I’ve actually visited the site myself) has a great reputation for quality firearms.
But here’s the passage that I find concerning:
In the long term, the Army is working with gunmakers to develop the new Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) that is slated to fire a special, government-produced 6.8mm projectile that promises higher velocities at greater ranges, service officials say.
I don’t see the value in messing about with a new cartridge. The 5.56mm is a NATO standard round and works well enough in an assault rifle/carbine combination. The 7.62mm NATO is a well-regarded round with a long and successful design history. Both are NATO standard rounds, which would greatly simplify logistics. Both already have large infrastructures in place to produce these rounds.
But, in my own experience with that institution, I know that there are three ways to do anything – the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way. That would seem to apply to personal weapon selection as well.
Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!
President Trump has saved the taxpayers a bunch of cash by negotiating down the price of the F-35 fighter. Excerpt:
Trump never had any trouble understanding the operational advantages of a supersonic, multi-mission fighter that is invisible to radar. But from day one, he was not happy with the trillion-dollar price-tag attached to the program for buying over 2,000 planes and then keeping them in operation through 2070. Even after it was explained to him that much of that cost was inflation estimates for future years, he still thought the price was way too high.
So he decided to do something about it. In fact, Trump began his campaign to lower the cost of F-35 even before he was inaugurated. In a tweet he wrote on December 12, 2016, the President-elect said “billions of dollars can and will be saved” by pressing contractors for a better deal. Lockheed Martin, the company building the plane, saw its share price plummet 5%, and CEO Marillyn Hewson soon found herself meeting with a grim Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort to explain why the fighter cost so much.
As old Groper Joe might say, this is a big fuckin’ deal.
The military procurement process is badly busted and has been for decades. It takes forever to push a new program through the increasingly complex, Byzantine procurement system; back in World War II a new fighter could go through the process from concept to squadron service in a matter of months, where now it takes years. Granted aircraft now are much more complex than they were then; but maybe, just maybe, this instance of a President actually sitting down with a defense contractor and saying “you know, I think you can get us a better deal” might be the start of something.
Of course the President won’t get the credit for it; as the article concludes: It’s a safe bet that President Trump won’t get any more credit for his F-35 triumph from the mainstream media than he has gotten for creating six million new jobs or eliminating regulations. But his administration has now positioned its biggest weapons program to reap huge savings as production ramps up for America’s joint force and its allies. This is the kind of efficiency that the people who originally conceived the F-35 fighter had hoped for, but it took Trump to make it happen.
Credit is as credit does, but in the end, a few bucks were saved. Now if he could only apply that to the rest of the Imperial government.