Category Archives: Military

Animal’s Daily Battle Rifle News

It seems the USAF is fielding a new rifle, and it’s kind of interesting.  Excerpt:

The Air Force is almost finished distributing nearly 1,500 new rifles to security forces, pararescuemen, Guardian Angels, and explosive ordnance disposal Airmen, the service announced April 16.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is in the final phase of delivering the Squad Designated Marksmanship Rifle after procuring approximately 1,464 of the guns.

The SDMR is a semi-automatic, 7.62x51mm-caliber rifle designed by Heckler & Koch, initially developed for the Army to give units the ability to engage targets precisely up to 600 meters away.

For the Air Force, the SDMR will help fulfill multiple missions.

For security forces performing base defense operations, it will replace the M24 Sniper Weapon Systems currently in use.

For pararescuemen and Guardian Angels tasked with personnel recovery, it will replace the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems rifle. The SDMR will save Airmen five pounds in gear on missions.

For explosive ordnance disposal technicians, the SDMR will be used to “to eliminate small munitions in their standoff munition disruption activities,” according to an Air Force release.

“Being able to field one solution that can effectively achieve multiple missions epitomizes Air Force acquisition strategies and shows [Airmen’s] ability to adapt to any situation,” Matthew Hamer, head of AFLCMC’s Small Arms Program Office, said in a statement.

The Army first began accepting deliveries of the SDMR in 2020 and is scheduled to finish fielding the new rifle by the end of 2023, with some 6,000 rifles being distributed.

What’s interesting here is that the new SDMR is chambered for the good old 7.62x51mm NATO round, making it (unlike the M-16/M4 platform) an actual Main Battle Rifle (MBR).

Well Armed.

Frankly I’d hope to see this weapon more widely issued.  In today’s world of mechanized warfare, a rifle cartridge firing a heavier bullet that can penetrate light vehicle bodies would be preferable.  Also, the .30 caliber cartridge – a rework of the famous old Cartridge, Caliber .30, Model of 1906 – has a greater effective range than even the newer, heavier-bullet versions of the 5.56 round.

Granted I’m a big-gun man in my sporting guns as well, so some of this may be my bias talking.  I’m large-framed and not very recoil-sensitive, and prefer the .338 Win Mag and the .45-70 fir hunting.  But I’m nevertheless glad to see an honest MBR being fielded for use.

Animal’s Daily 1914 News

Are there parallels between today’s situation in eastern Europe and the Europe of 1914?  History may not always repeat, after all, but it frequently rhymes.  David P. Goldman thinks there are such parallels.  Excerpt:

World War I had no good guys and no winners. France rightly sought the return of the provinces Germany had annexed in 1870. Russia rightly feared that German influence would sever its industrial centers and tax base in the Western parts of it its empire; England feared that Germany would encroach on its overseas empire; Germany feared that Russia’s railroad system would overcome its advantage in mobility and firepower. None of them wanted a war, but each of them decided that it was better to fight in 1914 than fight later at a disadvantage.

Historian Christopher Clark in his 2013 book The Sleepwalkers forever buried the black legend of German aggression in 1914, with proof from Russian archives that the Czar’s mobilization – with French incitement – provoked the outbreak of war. There’s no hero to cheer, no villain to boo in the first tragedy of the 20th century, just mediocre and small-minded politicians unable to step back from the brink.

All of them acted rationally in the pursuit of their vital interests, but at the same stupidly as well as wickedly, and the ensuing world wars undid the achievements of a thousand years of Western civilization. We look back to 1914 in horror, and wonder how the leaders of the West could have been so pig-headed. Nonetheless, we are doing it again today.

That should be an object lesson for today’s Ukraine crisis. Vladimir Putin acted wickedly, and illegally, by invading Ukraine, but also rationally: Russia has an existential interest in keeping NATO away from his border. Russia will no more tolerate American missiles in Kyiv than the United States would tolerate Russian missiles in Cuba.

The United States could have averted a crisis by adhering to the Minsk II framework of local rule for the Russophone provinces of Eastern Ukraine within a sovereign Ukrainian state but chose instead to keep open Ukraine’s option to join NATO. That was rational, but also stupid: It backed Putin into a corner.

I’m not so sure keeping that option open was rational, but I wholeheartedly agree it was stupid.  And I’m not 100% certain NATO is still relevant, although it’s vastly more relevant and useful than the UN at this point.  Frankly, Ukraine isn’t any of our damn business.  Is the Russian invasion a bad thing?  Certainly.  Are there any compelling U.S. interests involved?  Not so that I can see.

Look, Russia is likely due for a scrambling overhaul in any case, and within a generation.  Putin won’t live forever, the Russian GDP is roughly the same as Spain’s, and the Russian people aren’t having babies.  A poor state whose people aren’t reproducing isn’t a recipe for long-term success; at this point it would seem Russia is doomed for the ash-heap of history in time, Putin’s desire to resurrect the Soviet Union aside.  But now we are involved, and without one U.S. soldier involved, we are paying the price – at the gas pump and, with the latest boom in inflation, everywhere else.

Goldman concludes:

In Chinese official media, there is a grim discussion of the parallel between Ukraine and Taiwan. We misjudged Putin, just as he misjudged us. No sanctions or denunciations will hold back the Russian Army. We should not misjudge China. Sometimes an uncomfortable status quo is infinitely preferable to a roll of the dice on peace or war.

Especially when the folks you’re rolling dice with have nuclear warheads on intercontinental launchers.

Rule Five Critical Military Theory Friday

This guy gets it.  “This guy,” being retired Marine LTG Gregory Newbold, on the subject of critical military theory.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow:

Many Americans, particularly our most senior politicians and military leaders, seem to have developed a form of dementia when it comes to warfare. The result is confusion or denial about the essential ingredients of a competent military force, and the costs of major power conflict. The memory loss is largely irrespective of political bent because all too many are seduced by a Hollywood-infused sense of antiseptic warfare and push-button solutions, while forgotten are the one million casualties of the Battle of the Somme in World War I, or the almost two million in the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II.

This “warfare dementia” is a dangerous and potentially catastrophic malady, because the price for it could alter the success of the American experiment and most assuredly will be paid in blood. The condition is exacerbated and enabled when the most senior military leaders — those who ought to know better — defer to the idealistic judgments of those whose credentials are either nonexistent or formed entirely by ideology.

Warfare dementia is a pretty good way to describe what’s going on now, when we have a visibly dementia-ridden Commander in Chief who seems determined to make the military into a jobs program for the neurotic.

The purpose of this essay is to explain the fundamental tenets of a military that will either deter potential enemies or decisively win the nation’s wars, thereby preserving our way of life. What follows are the tenets of Critical Military Theory:

1. The U.S. military has two main purposes — to deter our enemies from engaging us in warfare, and if that fails, to defeat them in combat. Deterrence is only possible if the opposing force believes it will be defeated. Respect is not good enough; fear and certainty are required.

  • Relevant Wisdom: “If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for War.” George Washington.

In other words, the military exists to kill people and break things.  Anything that distracts or detracts from that primary mission is unacceptable.

Having put in my own rather modest term in Uncle Sam’s colors, and being the son and grandson of men who have done the same, I find all of the tenets listed in this article laudable.  The military is not like any other organization, private or public; they have a mission, that mission ultimately being to close with and destroy our nation’s enemies by fire, maneuver and shock effect.  Nothing else matters.  The skin tones of the individual soldiers don’t matter.  They can either carry out the mission or they cannot, and nothing that stands in the way of that mission can be tolerated, or else we’re asking to, sooner or later, lose not a brush fire (Afghanistan) but a major war – one that will end our country and our way of life.

The essay concludes:

So what’s the problem? The problem today is one of both priorities and standards. We signal a dangerous shift in priorities (as just one example) when global warming, not preparedness to defeat aggressive global competitors, is considered the greatest problem for the Department of Defense and headquarters and rank inflation blossom out of control to the point that the support element greatly diminishes the ground combat element that wins wars. A problem of standards when every service and the Special Operations community dilute requirements based purely on merit in favor of predetermined outcomes to favor social engineering goals, and when new training requirements crowd out expectations and measurements of combat performance. 

This principle is the most clearly and frequently violated in our current military environment. Although the examples are many, the most egregious sidestepping of scientific evidence occurred when the U.S. Marine Corps’ lengthy examination of the effects of integrated (coed) ground combat performance was refuted and ignored (often by those who hadn’t read it). This brings to mind the verbiage used in another context: “inconvenient truths.”

Indeed.

Read the whole thing.  Think on it.  Those of you True Believers who have served will recognize the character of Lieutenant General Newbold; he may wear stars on his shoulder straps but he obviously has the heart of a rifleman.  We need more like him.

Unfortunately, given the entrenched bureaucracies in the Imperial City, we are probably going to get more of the likes of the soft-shelled invertebrate Milley.

I like General Newbold’s emphasis of his tenets by following each with what he calls “relevant wisdom” from military thinkers from days gone by.  Here’s one from one of the General’s fellow Marines, Colonel Jeff Cooper:  “If you find yourself under lethal attack don’t be kind. Be harsh. Be tough. Be ruthless.”  Colonel Cooper was talking about citizens attacked by criminals, but the same rule applies to nations.

The last time the United States fought like this was in 1945.  We couldn’t do that now.  And that doesn’t bode well for our future.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

This mid-holiday week is a short work week for most folks, and a quiet, relaxing week for others.  Even pols and Imperial City bureaucrats and talking heads are pretty quiescent (by comparison), so the links are a bit sparse this week.

Our sunrise on Monday.

For our part, Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. enjoyed a quiet Christmas, our first in our new Alaska home.  We left the house only to go to Wasilla to take in a matinee of Spiderman – No Way Home, which we enjoyed.  Some folks look down their noses at comic-book movies, but sometimes we enjoy light, easy escapist fantasy, which is what these are.  You don’t have to think about them too much, they’re fun, and the good guys always win in the end.  Some folks think they’re silly.  That’s fine.  As my late Grandpa used to say, every cat its own rat.

And so…

On To the Links!

No shit, Sherlock.

Fuck off, slaver.

See a beautifully preserved dinosaur hatchling.  Cool!

Not without changing out a lot of politicians.

Can New York reverse its population drop?  Not unless they reverse their habit of electing corrupt and incompetent politicians.

There’s a red wave on the rise.

If, you know, we can get a clean election.

Yes, CRT is being taught in our schools.  It would be nice if they were teaching things like reading, writing and math.

Lint has DNA? 

The Navy is testing laser weapons – again.  Those wacky squids.

Fuck off, slaver Part Deux.

The Texas vs. California Challenge?  If it’s all the same to you, Colonel Schlichter, we’ll stay in Alaska.

Top ten dinosaur discoveries of 2021.  Cool!  I remain just as fond of dinosaurs and dino-discoveries as I was when I was a little kid.  Also, dino-era sea monsters were a thing.

Brian Stelter continues to rehearse for his second career as an actual potato.

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Rebecca Solnit is an idiot.

Slate’s Jordan Weissmann is an idiot.

HuffPo’s Phoebe Cohen is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Sam Levine is an idiot.

Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy is an idiot.

Nikole Hannah-Jones is an idiot.

Kamala “Heels-Up” Harris continues to prove herself an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

This seems appropriate, for our last cultural edification before a new year.  This is the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, playing Auld Lang Syne, accompanied by some lovely views of the Scottish Highlands.  A part of my own ancestry springs from the hills shown here.  I can trace my lineage in part back to one Donald MacKay, who fled northwestern Scotland in the late 1600s for the New World.  I don’t know what he was running from or why, but I’ll be there was a damn good story in it, and if somehow I was able to set down with him over a wee dram of single malt, we’d find plenty to talk about.

Maybe that’s why bagpipe music still gives me chills.  Happy New Year, one and all, and may your 2022 be happy, healthy, productive and profitable.

Animal’s Daily Veggie MRE News

Yr. obdt. 1991

Before we start, check out the ending of my current series over at Glibertarians!  If you haven’t, read the whole series.

A fellow veteran and buddy of mine directed my attention to the other day to this, the veggie omelet MRE, which apparently came out after my time, but that looks… disgusting.  Excerpt:

A newly declassified report alleges that the infamous vegetable and cheese omelet MRE was not accidentally spawned in a wet market, but was intentionally created in a laboratory to advance “gain-of-function” research into the development of even shittier field rations.

The report from the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases rejects the long-accepted wet-market theory, and instead concludes that the dreaded “vomelet,” which has spawned tens of thousands of disability claims, was first developed at the Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, in Natick, Mass.

“Conventional wisdom from the CDC, WHO and other respected health entities have traced the origin of the vegetable omelet MRE to recombinant DNA from a farmer’s market frequented by the strippers who work along Victory Drive outside Fort Benning,” the USAMRIID paper’s unnamed authors wrote. “However, it now appears that the omelet was, in fact, created by our very own Natick Army Labs to spur breakthroughs into even more MRE menus that look and taste like someone took a dump in a pouch.”

Image from article.

All I can say is, yuck.

I never saw one of these; as I said, I think they came along after my time.  I did hang around long enough to see some of the newer packs with the little Tabasco bottles in them, which made some of the entrees…  edible.  Sort of.

It’s important to note that the Chicken Ala King wasn’t terrible, and the chocolate fudge cookies that came in some packs were good enough to be pretty valuable trade items.  But for the most part…  Well, MREs would keep you alive, but you would have to find your happiness someplace else.

Hopefully the Army is improving these damn things.  But, the Army being the Army – somewhat – I’m skeptical.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Whores and Ale, Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!

So, last Saturday was a key anniversary.  Twenty years prior, a bunch of Bronze Age savages attacked America as it had never been attacked before.  On that day, the New York Fire Department and the New York Police stepped up, and did so heroically, many of them dying trying to save the lives of the innocent.  America was, for a time, united.

So what happened?

Now, today, twenty years later, we have a senile, third-rater meat-puppet President who only appears when his dementia meds are briefly moderated enough to make him coherent for a short time, so he can repeat the canned statements that some shadowy figures are “instructing” him to make.  We’ve pulled out of the third-world shithole that sponsored the 9-11 terror attacks, and allowed the Bronze Age savages who sponsored the 9-11 terror attacks to waltz back into control.  Said withdrawal, of course, being one of the worst cluster-fucks in military history, one which left hundreds of Americans and American allies behind to face the wrath of the Taliban.

The aforementioned meat-puppet President is almost daily announcing egregious violations of the Constitution that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago.  He is doing this at the behest of… somebody, because, you know, fuck the separation of powers, fuck Federalism, fuck the Constitution’s restraints on government, and fuck the autonomy of the citizenry.  His (handler’s) economic policies and the prolific spending of his socialist allies in Congress have reignited inflation the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades, and are in the attempt of doubling and tripling down with trillions – trillions of dollars of new happy-bag Free Shit giveaways.

Twenty years ago, a bunch of Bronze Age savages attacked America as it had never been attacked before.  Their goal was to bring down the nation that was a beacon of freedom and prosperity the likes of which the world had never seen.

Have they won?

Animal’s Daily Projecting Weakness News

President Biden(‘s handlers) weakness, fecklessness and incompetence has implications far beyond Afghanistan and the southern border.  Take, for example, the Taiwan Strait.  Excerpt:

One of the worst aspects of Biden’s handlers’ thoroughly preventable disaster in Afghanistan is the message that it has sent to the world. Among those who have received that message loud and clear is Communist China. Focus Taiwan reported Sunday that “a total of 19 Chinese military aircraft, including fighter jets, flew into Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday, the fourth time this has taken place in September, according to the Ministry of National Defense. The aircraft involved were 10 J-16 multi-role fighters, four H-6 bombers, four SU-30 fighters, and one Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, according to a report released by the ministry.”

It’s hard not to see China’s new belligerence toward Taiwan as yet another core element of the Biden legacy: When America projects weakness to the world, malign actors take advantage. Nor is this even anything new; the ChiComs began acting aggressively toward Taiwan just days after Old Joe took office. The Daily Wire reported that “this is not the first time during the Biden administration China has sent a multitude of jets into Taiwan’s air defense zone; on January 24, 15 aircraft were spotted; on 12 April, Taiwan reported 25 jets.”

On June 15, after the G7 issued a statement calling for “peaceful resolution” of issues between Communist China and Taiwan, the People’s Republic made it clear that it understood the significance of this less-than-ringing defense of the freedom of the Republic of China, sending a record 28 aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ.

None of this should come as any surprise; the Communist Chinese have known what Old Joe is made of for quite some time. The Daily Wire noted that back in 2001, then-Senator Joe took to the Washington Post to declare that “as a matter of diplomacy, there is a huge difference between reserving the right to use force and obligating ourselves, a priori, to come to the defense of Taiwan. The president should not cede to Taiwan, much less to China, the ability automatically to draw us into a war across the Taiwan Strait.”

Frankly, if the PRC doesn’t take advantage of the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration’s weakness to do something about Taiwan – well, I won’t be shocked, but I’ll be a little surprised.  Taiwan may be a bridge too far, though.  I’m skeptical of China’s ability to project power, even across the Taiwan Strait.  The Chinese Navy (actually oddly called “the People’s Liberation Army Navy”) is basically a frigate navy, with one old Cold-War era surplus Russian carrier and a new “super” carrier in the building.

Still – the PRC may surprise us.  But Taiwan may have a trick or two up their sleeves as well.

Taiwan has been preparing for an eventual confrontation for a couple of generations now.  Also, I wouldn’t rule out Japan getting involved, as they are surely savvy enough to know they’d be next on the chopping block if China got increasingly frisky about building some kind of new Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The main point of all this speculation is this:  Our western Pacific allies don’t trust us any more.  Frankly, they shouldn’t.  I wouldn’t be a plugged nickel on the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration having their backs if anything went sideways.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Bacon Time, Pirate’s Cove and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links and to our blogger pals over at The Daley Gator for the mention!

Late last week, the Taliban – Afghanistan’s new de facto, if not yet de jure government, released a statement referring to China as “their trusted friends.”  Excerpt:

Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy director of the Taliban’s office in Doha, Qatar, said the terror group would “take effective measures” to protect Chinese institutions and personnel in Afghanistan and would allow China to continue its expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative.

“China has been a trustworthy friend of Afghanistan,” Hanafi said in a Thursday phone call with Chinese assistant foreign minister Wu Jianghao, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “The Afghan Taliban is willing to continue to promote friendly relations between Afghanistan and China and will never allow any force to use Afghan territory to threaten China’s interests.”

And while Chinese foreign minister Wang Webin would not directly answer questions at a press conference Friday about whether China will recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan, he did say that the situation on the ground is being followed closely by the Chinese government.

Webin also pointed out that China’s embassy in Afghanistan plays an “important channel for China-Afghanistan exchanges” and is operating normally.

Through its partnership with the Taliban, China will be given access to Afghanistan’s natural resources such as copper and aluminum.  (emphasis added by me.)

“The cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative advocated by China is conducive to the development and prosperity of Afghanistan and the region at large,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement following Thursday’s call.

Maybe the Taliban could ask some Chinese Uighurs about how conducive China was to their prosperity – but then, the Taliban would have to go find some Uighurs in one of China’s concentration camps to ask them.

Here’s the thing:  Afghanistan was known as the Graveyard of Empires for centuries before President Biden(‘s handlers) catastrophic retreat.  But China has a couple of things the Brits, the Soviets and the U.S. lacked:  A population base measured in billions, and a callous disregard for the lives of that population base.  The Brits and Soviets tried wars of conquest, the U.S. a war of pacification and “regime change.”   However, it’s not unlikely that, were China to decide to simply annex Afghanistan to take advantage of their mineral wealth, that they would simply fight a war of extermination.

We left the Taliban a lot of military hardware, sure.  But most of the vehicles and aircraft will be useless in a very few years without the complex maintenance structure that a Bronze-Age goatherding culture simply can’t provide.  And China has, of late, been making a lot of noise about toughening up their population.  What if China sent an army of 25 million into Afghanistan, supported by armor and aircraft, with orders to simply kill everyone they meet?

Would the U.S. go to war with China to stop them?  Unlikely, I should think, especially given the invertebrate-like nature of the current administration.  Would the Russians?  Not if China makes a deal – say, to turn a blind eye if Russia continues annexing part of eastern Europe to ensure lebensraum for Russians.

Someone once said that war is armed robbery writ large.  I’m sure not inclined to do the Taliban any favors, but if I were them, I’d look at China’s offers with a very jaded eye.

Animal’s Daily Signs and Portents News

Before we start, check out the latest installment of my current fiction series over at Glibertarians.

Now then:  You’ve probably read about Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, who recently sacrificed his career, pension and benefits to call out the incompetence of the military leaders who botched the withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Well, he’s made some interesting statements following his relief from his position and subsequent resignation of his commission.  Watch the entire video statement here.  My take on it is this:  He’s got something in mind.  Excerpt:

In a tell-all video posted on social media, Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller acknowledged he was sacrificing a comfortable retirement by criticizing the way the withdrawal was handled. 

“I could stay in the Marine Corps for another three years, but I don’t think that’s the path I’m on. I’m resigning my commission as a United States Marine, effective now,” Scheller said. “I am forfeiting retirements, all entitlements, I don’t want a single dollar. I don’t want any money from the VA. I don’t want any VA benefits [even though] I’m sure I’m entitled 100%.” 

Scheller ignited a firestorm of controversy Thursday for posting a less than five-minute video in which he went after top military brass for not taking responsibility over an ISIS attack in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of 11 Marines, an Army soldier, a Navy corpsman and 169 Afghans. 

“I’m not saying we need to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying, did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, ‘Hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone’?” Scheller said last Thursday. “Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say, ‘We completely messed this up’?” 

Speaking to the pushback he had received from that video, Scheller said all he was asking for was “accountability of my senior leaders when there are clear obvious mistakes that were made.”

But here, this is the bit that jumped out at me and should jump out at you:

He reiterated that he was forfeiting a potentially $2 million pension fund for the rest of his life by going through with his actions, but warned that going after “stability and money” makes one a “slave to the system” and makes you compromise on your principles.

“I don’t need a single dollar. I just need every single person that’s willing to go back outside the wire every single day to wear a blue-collar and just go into work every single day and feed their families. Those are the people that I need,” Scheller said. “Follow me and we will bring the whole f***ing system down. I am honorable and you can ask any Marine who served with me for 17 years. I dare you to ask them all and find out what I’m made of. We’re just getting started.”

Take a look at what Colonel Scheller has in front of him in that video:  A chessboard.  Now, as to this statements, there are two that are key:

I just need every single person that’s willing to go back outside the wire every single day to wear a blue-collar and just go into work every single day and feed their families. Those are the people that I need,” Scheller said. “Follow me and we will bring the whole f***ing system down.

And:

I am honorable and you can ask any Marine who served with me for 17 years. I dare you to ask them all and find out what I’m made of. We’re just getting started.”

He’s planning something.  Now that something may well be an entry into politics; he sure would be far from the first veteran to ever do so.  He may be considering some other kind of activism.  And no, I don’t think he’s planning to foment a rebellion – at least, not yet.

But his use of the “we” and the chessboard – very, very interesting indeed.  Bear in mind what chess is, at its heart – a game of military strategy.

My take on Colonel Scheller is this:  This is a man who has just taken on a mission.  We’ll have to wait a bit to see what shape that mission takes, but he sure seems to have one, and I suspect holding accountable the military leaders who fucked up the Afghanistan withdrawal is only a part of it.  And a self-directed man, a Marine, with that kind of motivation, could well make himself a force to be reckoned with.  So, Semper Fi, Colonel Scheller; we will watch your new career with great interest.

We live in interesting times, True Believers.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links, and thanks as well to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the links post linkback!

Here’s a facet of the whole Afghanistan calamity that a lot of folks may not have yet considered; the place is full of valuable and strategically important rare-earth metals, and China is in a great position to take advantage of this.  Pakistan and Russia have plans for the area, too.  None of these things are to the United States’ advantage.  Excerpt:

China is clearly positioning itself to be a major international partner to the Taliban. They could care less about human or gender rights in Afghanistan, and will only want to consolidate a dominant position in regard to the $1-2 trillion worth of rare earths — most notably lithium. As China seeks to consolidate as much control as they can over strategic supply chains for everything from microchips to electric car batteries, they want primacy in Kabul — and will be the first major nation to recognize the new regime.

For Pakistan, this is a moment of triumph. They have assiduously supported the Taliban for the past two decades, both to control terrorist groups that occasionally threaten Pakistan and to deny India a foothold in a country on the other side of their border. Closely aligned with China internationally, they will seek to partner with the Chinese in exploiting the mineral wealth and blocking India from a role with the Taliban regime. Pakistan also wants a certain level of stability to avoid mass illegal migration, something they have dealt with repeatedly from Afghanistan.

Russia has a different set of interests than the China-Pakistan axis. They seek first and foremost a stable situation that can reduce the propensity for radical Islamic terrorism exported north through the former republics of the old Soviet Union.

And while Putin is always happy to see the U.S. receive a black eye, the Russians are also hopeful that the Taliban can be encouraged to exert a higher level of control over the massive heroin production — much of which ends up in the arms of young Russians and other Europeans. Look for Russia to quickly recognize the Taliban, ignore any human or gender rights violations, and offer modest assistance in return for stability and at least some level of reduction in the narcotics trade.

Not only is this the biggest screw-up in American military history since Pickett’s Charge (which was, arguably, Lee’s charge, as he ordered it) but it’s a screw-up on the international trade scene as well.

Even without the rare-earth metals, Afghanistan is in kind of a key position; it’s nowhere, but it’s on the way to everywhere in central Asia.  And now that America, the UK and the EU nations are out of the picture, that leaves the door open for China and Russia to swing a big economic bat in the region, and believe you me, neither nation has any warm-fuzzies for the United States.

And Pakistan?  Ostensibly a U.S. “ally,” Pakistan has watched America’s disorganized assholes-and-elbows retreat from Afghanistan and is now in the position of still having a traditional enemy on one side (India) and the Taliban, who they have long supported, on the other.  And Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

The world is now looking at the United States and seeing it as the image of its “leader” – weak, feckless, incoherent and doddering.  And nothing good for us will come of that.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.