Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Latvian infantry KIA in Iraq

Our famous luck has run out. Latvian soldiers have successfully dodged a long, long series of IED attacks.

At 1255 on 27 December 2006 an armoured HMWVV of the Latvian infantry company in Iraq has been struck by an IED while returning from a patrol at Al Husa (?) near Diwaniyah. 2 soldiers - Lcpl Vitālijs Vasiļjevs un Lcpl Gints Bleija have been killed, and three more soldiers wounded. Two are lightly wounded, the third more seriously and now in hospital in Baghdad awaiting evac home. The guys were "short" - the patrol was a hand over tour for the new rotatio

The mission to Iraq is to continue through 2007. Some lesser politicians have began to talk about fleeing, but the leadership has already stated it will not affect the mission.

(compiled from the MoD homepage, LNT news, DELFI portal)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hot downrange III : attacks around Diwaniyah continue

29 July Al Reuters -
DIWANIYA - Seven police were wounded in a joint U.S. and Iraqi raid against members of the Mehdi Army, a powerful militia loyal to Shi'ite firebrand Moqtada al-Sadr. The incident took place in the town of Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, police and hospital sources said.
02 August Al Reuters -
A roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi army patrol, wounding two soldiers in Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad.

Gunmen killed an employee of a human rights group outside his home in Diwaniya, police said.
No indirect fire reported for the last few days, one hopes this indicates the new rotation is taking some action against the Sadrists around Diwaniyah.

Update : Last night there was the sudden surge of hits from Slovakian web adresses searching for "camp echo mortar" indicating something had happened, and lo!.

03 August Camp Echo was under fire in the early morning and late evening. Latvian contingent unharmed (MoD Latvia)

No more details given, MND(CS) website silent, the enemy reports do not mention the action.

Is there any additional information in Slovakian sources? If so feedback is kindly invited.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hot downrange II : attacks around Diwaniyah continue

Trouble around Diwaniyah continues, fortunately the Latvian contingent remains undamaged but the Salvadoreans are taking a beating .....

25 July
3 Iraqis killed and five wounded in a shootout between US forces and Sadrists in Diwaniyah, after the arrest of a Sadrist. (Monsters and Critics from Deutsche Presse-Agentur)
26 July Unknown firefight near Diwaniyah, US close air support from F-16s used (CENTAF airpower summary)
26-27 July Nightly rocket attack on Camp Echo, misses the base (MoD Latvia)
27 July IED attack 4km from Diwaniyah on a KBR convoy returning from Al Kut, about 630pm. The vehicle hit was a marked ambulance, two Salvadoreans wounded (1 fatally).(MND CS, Bloomberg)

Thats the second Salvadorean escorted convoy hit on the run to Al Kut, the previous - also with a fatality - on 19 July.

What the hell is going on down there? I had the impression that the Polish division was losing control of Diwaniyah back in June, but judging by the news its way worse now.....

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hot downrange : surge of attacks on Diwaniyah

After a apparent pause at the start of July, the weekly insurgent indirect fire attacks on Camp Echo have restarted. And also ambushes, IEDs and shootouts - daily.

17 July Several shots were fired towards the base in the evening but fell short. (MoD Latvia)
19 July IED attack on Salvadoreans en route to Al Kut, 2 heavily wounded (1 of hose fatally) (MND CS)
20 July 4 rockets fired towards the base at 0130 local time, all fell short (MND CS). The enemy propaganda claims :
In a dispatch posted at 2:45pm Makkah time Friday afternoon, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that Iraqi Resistance forces fired four Katyusha rockets into "Camp Eko" of the Polish occupation troops located 5km south of ad-Diwaniyah – which is 120km southeast of Baghdad late on Thursday night.

The ad-Diwaniyah correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported a source in the as-Salam neighborhood puppet police as saying that the attack set a massive fire burning in the northern part of the Polish base, compelling the occupation troops, who had tried on their own for an hour to extinguish the blaze, to seek the help of Iraqi firefighters to put out the flames.

The puppet police source said that the Resistance barrage had inflicted casualties among the Poles and their Asian mercenary workers.
The number of rockets and the target coincides as usual, but the muj wildly exaggerates the results, also as usual. "Asian mercenary workers" meaning KBR contractors presumably, and will the savages ever learn to learn to spell "Echo"?
21 July Ambush on MND(CS) near An Numaniyah in Wasit province convoy wounds 6 soldiers and translator, 10 insurgents captured (MND CS)
23-24 July Latvian contingent was on QRF and was involved in some shootout near Diwaniyah on night from the 23-24th July, no-one hurt and no details available (MoD Latvia)
24-25 July two Katjusha type rockets were fired at the base on the night of July 24-25th but exploded short of the base. (MoD Latvia)

Why the upsurge of unpleasantness? At a guess it looks to be a complex of several factors
  • It just happens that the MND(CS) Polish contingent, including divisional command, changed on July 18th, and Contingent change is a favorite time for local provocations in any mission.
  • The situation was none too secure before that.
  • Iraqi forces near Diwaniyah on July 16th arrested a local sheikh "suspected of directing local terrorist-run death squads". A local sheikh bust is usually a guarantee of tribal trouble (vengeance for loss of face etc etc).
  • Its mid-summer, mid 40s centigrade and too damn hot to sleep until past midnight.
  • IDF action against Hezbollah / Lebanon is probably stirring the Arab's pot, and Iran is a supporter of the terrs in both Lebanon and Iraq.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Latvia vs PC / liberalists / gays


The event has passed, and the deviants amusingly received a drubbing at the hands of a bunch of louts, but there are several disturbing aspects :

1. The Latvian main daily newspaper Diena has become a full on marxist mouthpiece on this topic. Failure to grant group rights to sexual deviants is front page headlines like "Failure of Democracy", and the paper has devoted full pages daily to reeducating the ignorant Latvian populace. The satirist produced a imbecilic cartoon with hordes of primitives (presumably) armed with spears leaping out of the trees to ambush a march labelled "pride". Diena has also taken onto itself the burden of reeducating Latvians about racism. Shame, Diena, shame.

2. The gay pride event started with defrocked (for unrepentant sodomy) Lutheran priest Maris Sants together with the usual suspects placing wreaths - at the Salaspils memorial assemblage. For those not in the know - Salaspils is a holocaust memorial on the site of the infamous nazi Salaspils concentration camp. Of course the news media was there, but they failed to comment on the pretentious incongruity of it.

3. The "main event" as per above was a service at Rigas only Anglican church. The slide of the various Anglican churches into amoral liberalism is well documented by Auster's VFR site.

4. The US embassy almost came out in support, the European Parliament did.

5. All manner of western liberal types crawled into the country to lend their support to "democracy" and decried our backwardness. At last count 75% of the electorate were opposed to group rights for sexual deviates, and 25% in favor of outlawing it. You give Palestinians the vote you get Hamas, give Latvians the vote and you get traditions, restraint and morality.

Democracy is government of the people, for the people, by the people. Democracy won in Latvia this week. The politicians and police heeded the opinions of the populace, instead of scurrying to curry favor with foreigners and the media. Sadly, some of our most prominent media, and some of our elite, seems to think democracy is imposing their will and social program on the "unenlightened" populace.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Why is a republican appointed US ambassador pushing gay rights / political correctness?

From the Baltic Times :

Interior minister meets with Christian leaders, US ambassador about gay pride parade

Jul 18, 2006
By TBT staff
Latvian Interior Minister Dzintars Jaundzeikars met separately with US ambassador Catherine Todd Bailey and Russian Orthodox priest Nikolajs Tihonirovs on July 17 to discuss the gay pride parade planned for Riga on July 22.

“[The parade] would be a mockery of feelings of all Orthodox believers,” Tihonirovs said after the meeting. “The event should not be allowed to take place at all as it offends morals of Latvia's population and every Christian. It is a challenge and provocation against our religions.”

Jaundzeikars himself voiced concern for parade marchers as many have threatened to block the march. "The police do not have so many men. What are we supposed to do -- use the weapons perhaps?"

"The police do its best but everything has its limits,” the minister said. "If I was the organizer and had to make the decision, I would definitely not hold the event. If the intention was to speak about tolerance, the result is just the opposite now.”

Bailey voiced concern for security at the parade and said that the US supported democracy, human rights and tolerance in Latvia. She said the embassy planned to participate in several events related to the gay festival, Riga Pride 2006, she said.
Polymorphous perversity is one of the cultural marxist planks intended to destroy traditional society. The hard left has consistently pushed for the rights of "sexual minorities" (ie. deviates and perverts of every stamp) in every country of the west. Sadly, the number of western countries which enshrine family rights over the rights of "sexual minorities" can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Hapily, for the moment anyway, Latvia is one of them.

Interior Minister Jaundžeikars has done the right thing by advising the Riga city council not to issue a parade permit.

So why the US ambassador? One would expect this kind of bullshit from the EU, or a Democratic Clinonista appointee, but this one is Republican (Catherine Todd Bailey is a Republican senate approved Bush appointment). Why is a Republican appointed US ambassador openly participating in the cultural marxist/politiclly correct agenda issue of gay rights? Is it official US government policy to push cultural marxism on the entire planet under the catchphrase of "human rights"? Is "tolerance" US foreign policy? How does democracy depend on celebrating sexual deviancy?

To any traditionalist/conservative US readers : please consider to take 5 minutes to e-mail your congressmen/senators/GOP organizers, and express your sincere dismay: Why the US ambassador to Latvia supporting anti-Christian latent marxism, in the name of the US of A?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Latvia rotates infantry company in Iraq II


Another mission completed. Latvian OIF contingent Team 7 - the now very experienced 2nd Infantry Company/2nd Infantry Battalion - has finished their tour and is en route home from Iraq.

They were busy. The Latvian portal TVNET reports that the company carried out 754 tasks in 6 months - patrols, escorts and other operational tasks outside the wire. While the Polish division was lavish with their praise, the soldiers rotating out were not as complimentary. One officer described working with the Polish a worse problem than the 50 degree heat or regular rocket attacks.

The Latvian Minister of Defence was in Iraq for the awards ceremony at Diwaniyah. He met with the Iraqi Defence Minister, and he reportedly stated repeatedly that "We will be here, as long as it takes".

Friday, June 30, 2006

Situation in Diwaniyah and the 16th June firefight

Latvian HMWVV armed with .50 cal - Iraq, October 2005


There is a lengthy article about the Latvians in Iraq published in the Latvian daily newspaper Diena and the web portal DELFI, including an interview with Captain Vents Lapsenbergs, veteran commander of the Latvian company in Iraq (2nd Infantry Company / 2nd Infantry battalion). The following two fragments summarize the interesting parts of the article :

Losing Diwaniyah
Lapsenbergs assesses the situation in Diwaniyah to have deteriorated lately, partly attributable to inaction by the Polish leadership. An area of Diwaniyah has become an unofficial no-go area for the coalition, and a support base for local insurgents who have repeatedly attacked Camp Echo. The Iraqi army and police appear uninterested to control the situation, and on occasion have refused to go on joint patrols in Diwaniyah. Lapsenbergs :
The local inhabitants are happy that we don't go in there. Now we are hated in Diwaniyah, seen as occupants, and this attitude has been fostered by local leaders.
- Captain V.Lapsenbergs
Diena 30.06.06
Firefight in the night of 16th June 2006.
After dark on the evening of June 16th, the 2nd platoon was on patrol mounted in HMWVVs was ordered into the "red zone", from which rockets had just been fired at Camp Echo. The platoon stopped at several Iraqi police posts who indicated the direction of the launcher. It is possible that the local police deliberately directed the Latvians into an trap which may have included more than 100 insurgents, who attacked with grenade launcher and small arm fire from the rooftops. The platoon returned fire (expending over 70% of their ammunition load) and drove out at high speed. One soldier was hit but protected by his body armor.


So, well done our brave lads, and again Latvian soldiers lead a charmed life. The June 16th attack appears to have been some manner of ambush, from which the Latvians had to shoot their way out..

Part of this is confirmed by the MND(CS), who recently held a press conference, where they stated that :
...recently the security environment in the area became unstable fueled by the anti-coalition rhetoric used by some provincial authorities.
Now Diwaniyah is a Shiite city, and that all (insurgents+police+leadership) points to a Shiite problem. I can find no reliable source, but there is this intriguing hint on pro-Muslim academic Juan Cole's website :
Monday, June 26, 2006 Fresh fighting broke out in Diwaniyah. Clashes took place in al-`Asri district, gunmen clashed with police commandos. (Just speculation, but this is probably actually a fight between Mahdi Army irregulars and Badr Corps who were recruited into the police commandos by the SCIRI-dominated Interior Ministry).
There are a number of disturbing conclusions. The Iraqi police here appear to have - at minimum - turned a blind eye to insurgent schemes, if not actually collaborating with them, or playing the coalition off against them. The local leadership is playing against coalition interests. And - unbelievably - it seems the Polish lead MND(CS) has let insurgents set up a safe area in a major city. A safe area in firing proximity to Camp Echo. An area from which Camp Echo gets hit damn near every week, and then the response is to send in Latvian troops .... unsupported.

Which all leads to two reasonable hypotheses :
  1. The insurgents are involved are local Shiite militia - and the indirect fire attacks on Camp Echo are merely the weekly hate mail and presumably far from the most the insurgents could do if they really wanted.
  2. The local police (possibly Badrists) may have deliberately sent coalition troops into a clash with their Shiite factional rivals (Sadrists = Mahdi army), who in turn were (fortunately) not really prepared for a clash with coalition soldiers.

Monday, June 26, 2006

And now, a siege begins

The popular Latvian web portal DELFI reports that Amnesty International has turned a round of criticism against Latvia for failing to pass the anti-gay discrimination law on June 21st. Notably, they don't bother with an reasoned argument, but demand implementation of the 2000/78/EK EU directive, and warn of EU sanctions. As if its their business to do so.

Maybe it shouldn't be surprising that an organisation founded by a socialist lawyer (Peter Benenson) is now deliberately pushing legislation enshrining cultural marxism. Amnesty was more worthy in the Cold War past, but now appears to being finally going completely off the rails (to the left, and then down, down, down into the deep chasm where Marx still lurks). As Wretchard writes, AI cannot bring themselves issue a statement to condemn the torture, mutilation and murder of US soldiers by terrorists, but can vigorously demand that homosexuals become a protected subclass, to the point of issuing warnings to a sovereign nation in the name of an international union of which they are not a part.

The Catholic World News reports that
Representatives from the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) are demanding that the EU reassess Latvia's membership and said it hoped that the European Commission would take legal action to ensure the law was implemented in full.
Latvia is on the correct track, making such enemies. The Brussels Journal has covered this circus, and says it well
The Latvian parliamentarians insisted on the right of private employers to turn down people whose moral behaviour they reject.
A victory for freedom - freedom of association over PC priveledges for a "protected class". Bravo again.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Weekly rocket attack on Diwaniyah, yet again.

This is getting a little too regular, MND(CS) reports that :
On 21th June 2006 at 23hrs Camp Echo in Diwaniyah was the target of unsuccessful rockets attack. Three rockets were launched in camp direction. Two of them explodes outside the base and the last exploded nearby the firing position.
No damages and injuries were reported.
As far as can be ascertained that's the fifth attempted indirect fire attack on Camp Echo in the last month (23rd and 31st May, then 5th, 16th and now 21st June). Does the Polish division have a handle on whats going down in Diwaniyah???

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Latvian parliament resists cultural marxism

The Latvian Parliament (Saeima) has passed amendments to the Labor Law, but removed those lines that banned discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.Which is in defiance of EU directives, and should be cause for celebration, but EU and PM and President have come out with criticism. PM Kalvitis :
Such intolerance as was seen in the parliament on Thursday had not been observed in Latvia so far.
So failure to pass cultural marxist "anti-discrimination" laws is intolerance, Kalvitis? Been boning up on the new marxism apparently.

The President, who previously hesitated to pass an amendment to the consitution that enshrines the primacy of the traditional family, has refused to sign the new law and returned it to the Saeima for reconsideration.

This issue brings out an unholy alliance between politically influential western Latvians (pro-Europe pro-US but horrifyingly liberal) and Russians. The Russian parties are anti-Eu, anti-US, but very leftist and in favour of every kind of anti-discrimination - against the wishes of their Russian speaking electorate. The marxism just shines through.

One can only hope the elected members hold to their guns and refuse to inject any more PC into the law. Remember this, elected memebers - its an election year, amd the Latvian voters recognize and reject crypto-communism when they see it. Do the will of the people or judgement will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Weekly mortar attack and ambush on Diwaniyah, yet again.

The Latvian MoD website reports that on the night from 16th to 17th June several shots (mortars again?) were fired at the base in Diwaniyah (Camp Echo). The QRF was Latvian (from 2nd infantry company/2nd infantry battalion) and was sent to the possible firing location to track down the miscreants. They came under small arms and grenade attacks - presumably either security for the mortar or ambushes. None of the soldiers seriously hurt, one somewhat deafened by a nearby grenade blast. Terrorist casualties unknown, hopefully sufficient to ruin their day.

The MND(CS) homepage again fails to list this news, instead preferring to waffle about some irrelevant Polish air cavalry day in bad english.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The New Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Islam, PC, Liberalism and Narcissm

Fjordman has written a excellent essay Political Correctness — The Revenge of Marxism on the Gates of Vienna, which does a really great job of popularizing William Lind's important work on the history of PC as cultural Marxism, and expanding on this and on a point repeatedly discussed at Gates of Vienna and elsewhere - that Islamism is merely an opportunistic infection of a diseased body politic.

However, Islam and political correctness/cultural Marxism is in turn part of a wider sickness in Western society. There are at least four layers to the disease :
  1. Islamism
  2. Political correctness (aka PC aka Cultural Marxism)
  3. Liberalism
  4. modernity induced Narcissm
As well as a number of enabling/aggravating factors
  1. the Mass media
  2. Globalisation / collusionsal selfinterested corporations
  3. collusionsal liberal elitist Governments
There is another layer of illness underlying PC, the illness that permits PC to flourish - the whole liberal anti-traditional anti-Christian mindset of the West. Fjordman has touched on this in the past, as has Brussels Journal's Paul Belien, but I notice commentators here and on LGF have mentioned other writers - Shelby Steele, Robert Spencer, Mark Steyn. Lawrence Auster on his excellent website , with impeccable logic and direct thinking at length demonstrates that even the aforementioned conservative writers have internalized liberal assumptions, and are in the end accordingly stumbling blindly.

The same can be said of Jyllandposten editor Flemming Rose (of Mohammed cartoon fame). Rose explains in Europe's Politics of Victimology that
Europe today finds itself trapped in a posture of moral relativism that is undermining its liberal values. An unholy three-cornered alliance between Middle East dictators, radical imams who live in Europe, and Europe's traditional left wing is enabling a politics of victimology.
So far so good, and most of the article is in the same vein. However he goes on to conclude :
What to do? Obviously, we can never return to the comfortable monocultures of old. A demographic revolution is changing the face, and look, of Europe. In an age of mass migration and the Internet, cheap air fares and cell phones everywhere, cultural pluralism is an irreversible fact, like it or not.
Irreversible ? Flemming has assumed a priori some of the liberal disease that he is writing against. He writes against the PC consciousness trap, in turn only to reveal inadvertently he is trapped in it himself.

But what of the roots of pathologic liberalism in western society? Shrinkwrapped has a reasonable explanation of the developmental roots in individual psychology that details why individuals in the modern western world are predisposed to narcisstic personality disorders, and how this translates into collective liberalism.

The main stream media? Like a mosquito carrying malaria, this is the vector that transmits PC to the vulnerable population. A population without a liberal bias would shrug off the nonsense - this is happening even today in Eastern Europe. The people there have been exposed to real Marxism, and seen hard times, and consequently have some measure of natural resistance to PC propaganda. I suspectthe MSMs predisposition to PC is also based in narcissm, but only more so than the rest of the population

However, the assault is unrelenting. In Latvia, a country awash with criminal problems, last week a man of African descent was assaulted by skinheads. No serious damage done - not even hospitalization However
the western infatuated media in Latvia has been absolutely awash with discussions/diatribes on the evil of Racism - first page news in the major papers! One assault with no harm and the media goes AWOL - ignoring very real and pressing problems of 2.3 million people to castigate the rest of the populace on their responsibilities to the 200 or so Africans in Latvia, and bemoaing the desperate lack of active anti-racism awareness in the country. Fortunatley the people are hardened by 50 years of real communism, are rightly suspicious and are not biting ... at least yet.

And the last? Collusion from unlikely sources - capatalists and liberalism infected governments. The elite of the corporate world have much to gain and little to lose from globalizatio. Perversly, the open borders and free movement of people is beloved of multiculturalism (one of PC's ugly stepchildren). The unholy alliance between corporate globalizationalists, cultural marxists (who may even campaign against globalization the rest of the time) and government shows up occasionaly, but the latest, most blatant and horrifying example of this phenomenon in the US is again shown by Lawrence Auster in the Nation Crusher .

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi wasted, now to dispose of him entirely ...

Zarqawi has finally been caught and terminated, squashed like a roach by a couple of 500 pounders. A half assed (literally) martyrdom at best for Zarqawi, no guns blazing glorious fighting end for him then (dying while fumbling with the safety on the SAW). Now remains the important process of demeaning and demystifying like was done with Saddam and sons. A nice corpse portrait in some dingy morgue etc.

Of course, I still maintain that his mortal remains should be fed to the pigs, or at least buried wrapped in pigskin with a can of cheap SPAM in his mouth and wearing American tennis shoes. At minimum, cremate the bastard - the Geneva Conventions provide no protection for the remains of terrorists. That should give wannabe true believers some pause. Theres no virgins for Zarqawi, but it should be done that they should "know" it too.

Will aceing Zarq the smalltown tryhard help in the long run? I'm not so sure, Zarqawi's radicalism went a long way to splitting the insurgency, discrediting al Quaida and alienating moderate insurgents.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Weekly mortar rocket attack on Diwaniyah, yet again.

The Latvian MoD webapge reports that
Naktī no 5. uz 6. jūniju militārās bāzes Divānijā virzienā tikai raidīti vairāki šāvieni, no kuriem divi uzsprāga bāzes teritorijā. Latvijas kontingenta karavīru vidū cietušo un ievainoto nav.
Which is to say that on the night from 5th to 6th June several shots were fired in the direction of Camp Echo in Diwaniyah, of which two exploded inside the base. No casualties.

Update

The MND(CS)homepage states that :
2006-06-05 08:20
Terrorist attack on Camp ECHO

On 5th May 2006 about 22.20 hrs at night, rocket attack took place on Camp ECHO. There were three rocket (3) explosions outside Camp ECHO and two (2) explosions inside the base. No casualties were reported.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Weekly mortar attack on Diwaniyah, again.

MND(CS) announces that :
Mortar attack on Camp Echo
At night 31May 2006 mortar attack took place on Camp Echo. There were 4 mortar grenades lunched in Camp Echo direction. All of them exploded in distance of 700 – 1200 meters from the Camp. The possible location of the place where mortars were launched was identified very fast. The ZU-23-3 crew from east side of Camp opened fire to this direction.
There were no injured personnel reported. During this attack joint patrol of Mn Grp and 8th IADiv conducted mission outside Camp Echo. Additionally 5 Iraqi Police patrols were sent to that location but did not confirm any suspected activities on that area.


Obviously the terr aren't real good with the mortar. A simple weapon, but not simple to use well, and not hugely effective in unskilled hands.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Weekly mortar attack on Diwaniyah

Another mortar attack on the Latvian contingent base at Diwaniyah, no casualties.

Its getting warmer there, daytime temperatures in the shade are already reaching 40°C. June/July and 50°C temperatures coming right up.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I've been noticed by the press affairs people from CENTCOM, who sent a pleasant e-mail requesting that I link to their website, and inviting me to use any material from the site. They appear to "get it".

Done, linked at the sidebar.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Gramscian narcissism

Shrinkwrapped gives a psychological explanation of the emasculation of western society after WWII, that helps explain the ability of the cancerous Gramscian meme of political correctness to penetrate the west so deeply so quickly.

Its also rather important in that political correctness is not a virulent disease in its own right, but an opportunistic infection that could only have grown in the west, in this era. No other society would have given political correctness the time or nutrients to grow and blossom, it would never even take root. Never before has such a dangerous vector (mass media) existed, that allowed it to spread quite so fast

However, the situation is unstable. Gramscian narcissism is self-negating. The key question is whether this self destruction will occur within the host, or like a cancer by killing the whole host.

Historically, technologically and culturally advanced civilizations have fallen again and again to primitive but more vigorous barbarians. Was the process something not unlike this? Except that effeminacy took centuries to finish Rome. Thanks to the PC infection, we may be seeing that process on fast forward right now.

I ruminated on this earlier, but if Shrinkwrapped is right the rot runs deeper than the media. Susan Sarandon and co are just the warped image in the mirror, reflecting the rotten side of western culture.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Belmont Club: Who will bell the cat?

Wretchard has also noticed the essential smoke and mirrors behind the empty calls for "someone to do something" about Darfur. The numbers being discussed (10000????) are, as I have said, laughably small for effective peacekeeping in Darfur - about an order of magnitude so.

Of course a UN peace force may well use the new UN SOP from Liberia : no sex = no food. In the case of UN deployment the population will be decimated by AIDS anyway. The modern UN - a lose/lose proposition.

Latvian troops in Iraq dodge yet another IED

From the Latvian MoD webpage (my translation) :
On the morning of 4th may, as the Latvian company's second platoon was conducting a patrol near Diwaniyah, an IED was detonated on the right side of the road. No casualties were incurred.
The 2nd infantry coy/2nd infantry battalion dodges yet another IED blast without serious harm.

Again, the MoD release went completely unnoticed by the media. In this case thats probably positive, a sign of phlegmatic maturity - omnipresent danger and close calls to the troops no longer count as news.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Army genocide prevention unit?

Darfur and more stupidity again. The surprising thing is the source this time. Michael O'Hanlon writes in the Washington Times op ed column Army genocide prevention unit? :
We should create a genocide prevention division in the U.S. Army -- a Peace Corps with guns
A what?
Soldiers in the new genocide prevention division would not need to execute complex operations akin to those carried out during the invasion of Iraq or current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They would largely monitor villages and refugee camps, inspect individuals to make sure they did not have illicit weapons, and call for help if they ever came under concerted attack. Their jobs could be somewhat dangerous, and would require discipline and reasonable knowledge of some basic infantry skills -- but they would not be extremely complex.
The METL is limited to monitor, inspect and call for help. Thats certainly in line with time tested standard UN practice in Lebanon, Croatia, Bosnia and Rwanda. Apparently, coming under unconcerted attack (like IEDs or occasional ambushes) is simple. So no great skill is required to wait for air support while pinned down in an ambush deep in the African bush at night? Apparently having American flags will immediately make up for total lack of fighting capability, and thereby deter the Janjaweed from disrespecting them. Of course, on the rest of planet earth outside the UN office building, it is sincerely believed that any such force, being neither equipped, trained or prepared for combat, would be abused by anybody with the slightest interest in doing so. Little children will point, laugh and throw stones, as they always have at the impotent UN peacekeepers.

From there it gets worse :
They would begin their service with roughly 12 weeks of boot camp and 12 weeks of specialized training -- and then go to Darfur next winter.
Mhmmm. 6 months of training. None of that expensive and time consuming unit collective training seems in order. As observed, the units being US, they are apparently assumed priori not to need actual combat training. That would be OK of course if the tasks are only simple as outlined earlier, but :
....such American main combat forces would probably not have to be larger than company-size formations -- 200 to 300 troops each. Assuming several such companies would be deployed, perhaps 1,000 American soldiers and Marines from existing units would be needed countrywide, to back up the 5,000 to 10,000 new enlistees in the dedicated genocide prevention force.
Aside from "company formations of 200-300" (and thats three contradictory elements in one phrase) being "main combat forces", even if the magic US flag somehow allows them to avoid combat/prevail in combat, how would those 5000 quickly trained meat shields genocide preventers prevent genocide across all Darfur where the 10000 African Union peacekeepers failed miserably? Is it the US flags again? Plainly ridiculous.

Who is this guy? How the hell can this Michael O'Hanlon make a career in defence analysis and get published in the Washington Post when he doesn't have a clue?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Zarkawi ... terrorist try hard

I love this, from the Counterterroism Blog. CENTCOM has gained excerpts from the Zarkawi tape, and it shows him as a bumbling tryhard in comfy shoes who can't actually handle the weapons. So the master terrorist is actually just a try-hard, a wannabe.

Encore! Encore!

Imagine! You become the world's second most wanted terrorist, idol of thousands of jihadi fanatics, except .... with a gun you are more dangerous to yourself than the eeevil A-Mericans.

You have to wonder. What was he actually saying during the bit on the tape where he was studing the maps with a music over? Maybe, "Ahmed, tell me again, what is thay. That one. What is that symbol meaning? A tower? Are you sure, Ahmed? ..."

Zarkawi should go the suicide belt, much more appropriate for his skill level.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Awards for Latvian solders OIF team 7


From the MND(CS) homepage :
Awards for Latvian solders

On Wednesday 12th April MG Edward Gruszka, MND CS Commanding General awarded Latvian soldiers. They were awarded with Multinational Division Central – South badge, which is given to the soldier after 90 days of their service in MND CS in Iraq. Latvian soldiers are an important part of the MND CS Maneuver Group and perform excellent duty as an escort of convoys and patrols.

Another tour well under way and so far so good .... congratulations for a job well done at the sharp end.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Norman Kember says thanks! Sort of.

Oh! The Christian Peacemaker Teams are offended that the British military appears to think them ungrateful for the rescue. Wherever did they get that idea? After all, didn't nonstormin Norman say thanks at least once or twice to those SAS chaps?

The interview with Norman Kember. He started out as a peacenik dodging the draft ... why is that not a surprise?
I have been a peace activist since 1950/52 when I was a conscientious objector.
Kember on the SAS:
“Well, we thanked them … I continue to thank them for what they did. They were brave. I disagree with their profession. But it’s ironic isn’t it? You go as a peace activist and then you’re rescued by the SAS, which is perhaps the most violent of all the British forces.”
Kember on his captors :
“I don’t wish them any harm. I wouldn’t like to feel that they’d been executed, or anything like that. They had humanity; they showed us humanity from time-to-time. They were misguided, because they were obviously men of violence.”
There we have it, Norman Kember, draft dodging peacenik who at heart believes the SAS and the terrorists are essentially interchangeable. At least he did say tank-you, publically .... after a mountain of criticism for his ingratitude.

But wait, wasn't Tom Fox of age for Viet-Nam??? :
Graduating from college in 1973, Fox was unwilling to serve in a combat role in Vietnam and fulfilled his military obligation by joining the U.S. Marine Band.

"During the Vietnam War, Tom figured out a way to have a career as a musician and not fight in Vietnam, which was against his convictions," said the Rev. Carol Rose, a co-director of Christian Peacemaker Teams who worked with him in Iraq.
Why am I not surprised?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Chad feat. Sudan

So then, rebels have assaulted the capital of Chad, a move of some 500 miles. Rather impressive by them, less impressive was Chads security and intelligence of course. Even if the rebels have been wiped out as the Chadian government claims, the guesture is significant. Furthermore, according to the CIA factbook there are 200 ethnicities in Chad with a small muslim majority - sounds like a country rife for ethnic-religious fragmentation and strife.

Anybody up for intervention in Darfur?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Flogging Estonian soldier for drunkeness

An Estonian sergeant will get a flogging in the UAE ....

The drinking in the airport is not that unusual, six months in the 'stan will make most people want a stiff drink. Of course, thats six months mostly or entirely without any drinks, so overreaction to the green dragon is no surprise either. Redeployment also tends to be tiring, too many connections, too much waiting for aircraft, after a pre-dark start from whatever base he was deployed.

All this goes strongly towards a understandable tendency for redeployment to be somewhat bleery.

The case appears more and more muddled every time news is heard of it. So is it sexual assault? Or drunkeness? Why is there talk of possible 15 year sentances, or maybe 80 lashes in lieu of three months? What is this business of procedural trangressions and blackmail. Is there any evidence that anything more happened than a tired and drunken soldier stumbled into the wrong toilet by accident? Very dodgy the whole thing.

One opinion that has a rather dark view of mentality underlying the proceedings :
What obviously happened is that he made a mistake, but most Muslims would have raped a woman asleep alone, so they assume he attempted likewise. Any other country this would have been chalked up to an inadvertent wandering of a drunk.


In light of this, it is more than a little surprising is that the Estonian government appears not to be doing its absolute utmost to defend their man .....

Of course, flogging was a traditional military punishment for drunkeness for centuries. Sometimes, I wish it still was.

Yahoo news :
A Sharjah police official was quoted as accusing the soldier of failing to respect the culture and religion of the UAE, a Muslim country.

Not respecting the culture? Here's a deal, the European Parliament should legislate this : Everybody coming to Europe MUST respect our culture. Any muslim transitting the Baltics will be required to dine on roast port with sauerkraut, washed down with about two litres of beer. But we are not barbarians : he may choose the brand of beer. Muslim women on the other hand will drink a selection of liqeuers, be forced to enjoy dancing on the table, thereafter sunning themselves on the beach wearing a string bikini until their husbands sober up enough to collect them.

Friday, March 24, 2006

CPT rescued, predictably ungratefull

Well, the Christian Peacemaker Team of Tom Fox fame has been rescued. Wretchard writes it up well in The Belmont Club: The widow's mite, but I feel moved to vent my spleen at the CPT ingrates. LA Times :
a British-led military operation Thursday rescued three Westerners whose abductors had held them hostage since November,
But true to form, they were somewhat ungratefull, CNN :
Christian Peacemaker Teams posted a statement on its Web site expressing joy in the hostages' release but also criticizing the U.S.-led operation in Iraq.

"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq," the statement said. "The occupation must end."
From the BBC :
The rescue had followed intelligence obtained from a detainee, the spokesman said.
Abu Graib at work. Probably should send some hapless MP corporal to jail for beating this information out of a suspect., beace CPT says that :
“We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally by the U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq.
CPT also said :
"They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers."
Good that .... so is the SAS the hand of God then? The Australian on the operation :
At about 3am on Thursday the SAS commander in charge of the rescue force summoned his team at their base inside the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Defence sources told London's The Times newspaper that helicopters with reconnaissance cameras and Predator unmanned aerial vehicles were deployed. The men who spearheaded the rescue arrived in a convoy of cars disguised as local taxis and utilities.

The 25 men who burst into the two-storey building used classic hostage-rescue techniques, storming every room simultaneously to ensure no one escaped. They found the three hostages sitting bound on the floor of a ground-floor room. Their captors had fled.

No shots were fired. Less than two minutes after the rescuers entered the building, the three were on their way to freedom.
FuckwitsHoly fools. The captives are rescued by a huge multinational elite forces operation, and they can't bring themselves to say thanks. "Its the Multinational forces at fault, not the kidnappers!" Their man gets brutally offed by the islamoid kidnappers they want to help, and they are pleased that none of the kidnappers were hurt by the eeevil occupation forces. Rescuing ungratefull idiots like these must surely strain the loyalty of the troops. Not that SAS feels the need for much thanks, but one must be tempted to leave such as the CPT pissants peacemeakers to their grisly but well deserved fates.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Darfur : Mission Half Assed III

If intervention in Darfur is a dodgy proposition just by itself, we need to factor Sudan in. As the government of Sudan has made clear, it isn't interested in hosting effective foreign forces. It is apparently more than happy to host half assed ineffectual foreign forces, that merely serves as cover for their nefarious activities a la Srebrenica.

Would the Sudanese government subsidise a deniable guerilla insurgency against competent peacekeepers in a limited area (Darfur)? Presumably. In any case, given the logistic constraints described previously, any peacekeeping mission would depend on Sudanese government good will to stay sustainably supplied via rail. They could cut that rail supply at any place or any time of course, via some deniable rag tag proxy group.

What would be the mission endstate? Defend the refugee camps with the half assed small force currently mooted (~20 000)? That can't be indefinate, so presumably there must be returns of refugees to their villages of origin then (like Bosnia or Kosovo). Of course, given Sudanese government actual ill will, any returns would have to protected, which would require the huge force as indicated (~100 000). How long to defend that? If Kosovo/Bosnia is any guide we are talking at least 10-20 YEARS while there is a generation change from the folks who participated in the conflict cycle.

The root problem is the government in Khartoum of course. Is there a solution....other than zapping it?

Could Arabic Sudan resist western invasion forces for long? Of course not. However, the resources for such an adventure would be greater than Iraq :

Sudan

Population : 40 million
Area : ~ 2 500 000 sq km (or about the same as the USA east of the Mississippi, or 2/3 of the entire EU)
Access very poor, internal rail, limited port access, little existing road network, airport, no developed countries adjacent
Number of NATO forces required to successfully occupy (base guesstimate from area and population from previous examples): 250 000 +

Sudan has the same Arab / muslim oriented population as Iraq, and has been agood host for al Quaida, so the terrorist "flypaper effect"* would be in action again. We can crush Khartoum, but presumably be left with a festering Arab/muslim insurgency in a country with more population spread over an area 5 times that of Iraq, bordering NINE countries (including hostile arabic Libya, dynamically unstable arabic Egypt, and anarchy central failed state Congo), with dozens of languages and tribes (some of which are Kababish, Ga’alin, Rubatab, Manasir, Shaiqiyah, Baggara, Beja , Nubians, Nuba, Fur, Dinka, Shilluk, Nuer, Azande, Bor, Jo Luo, Acholi and Lotuhu. There appear to be MANY more.) Can such a country work at all without a despotic central government? Would we be happy with a new mega-nightmare like the congo replacing the relatively stable (if despotic) current Sudan? Or is Sudan better off as a protectorate for 50 years until it can be tamed into a federation of some form?

Moral of the story : its not real. Intervention in Darfur may require intervention is Sudan as a whole in order to succeed, and that intervention may turn (logically but unexpectedly) into occupation and rebuilding just like Iraq did. That is a non-starter. Occupying Sudan properly is such a astoundingly large task that NATO is not capable of doing it sustainably with current standing forces! The enormous and well funded US armed forces is groaning under the strain of sustaining forces levels in Iraq - force levels less than the ones presumably required for Sudan. The people talking "intervention" should realize that means - if done seriously, and not some half-assed Somlia style venture - partial national mobilisations that would cost hundreds of billions of euros.

Hell, I personally am up for doing it seriously. Large scale drafting of European kids for a years service in Sudan would do wonders in forming a callous and intrepid toughened youth.

I would not be up for doing such a mission half-assed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Darfur : Mission Half Assed II


Now I've looked around and find I'm not the only one to have immediate logistical nightmares even thinking about Darfur. ZacZaca's Blog Turning to NATO for Darfur which had some great commentary :
On February 19, 2006 - 9:53pm hcberkowitz said:

Hello? General Clark? Have you forgotten the logistics courses at the Command and General Staff College?

OK. We have eight infantry battalions. Given the sparse population density outside the refugee camps, those battalions can't be foot-mobile light infantry, and will need vehicles. They won't need armored vehicle, but those trucks, all-terrain cars, etc., will need fuel and maintenance. Eight battalions alone won't be enough; there will need to be headquarters and support personnel. The soldiers need to eat, get water (in an arid area), have replacement clothing, and, if they fight, ammunition.

I haven't yet pulled out my Combat Service Support Guide, and really would prefer to get an Army friend with access to logistic planning software than do it myself by hand, but you are talking about tons of supply per day.

There are no paved roads in Darfur. It's a dry area, so that may not be as terrible in wetter areas, but heavy trucks will break up dirt roads and make them more and more difficult to pass.

One easy-to-attack rail line runs from the secure Sudanese rail junction at Babanusa to the Darfur city of Nyala. Nyala has a very limited airfield. The best airfield in Darfur is at El Fasher, linked by road to Nyala. All fuel in El Fasher needs to be flown or trucked in; aircraft flying in usually pay the weight penalty of carrying round trip fuel. El Fasher is also very limited in unloading and warehousing facilities.

The transportation routes do not yet exist to support a force of this size, if it does more than sit in garrison on short rations. While it might not have the glamour of "peacekeeping", the prerequisite to doing anything useful is going to include improving roads, securing the rail line (which has an inactive branch that goes into Chad), and making airlift more efficient.

An excellent start on the latter would be to stage supply flights not out of Lagos, Nigeria, where they have been originating, but from Khartoum International in Sudan. Khartoum has a nearby refinery, much greater traffic capacity, and road and rail routes to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Nyala airfield needs instrument landing facilities, unloading, and maintenance facilities.

If the peacekeepers use helicopters or light aircraft to spot the roving militias, the fuel and maintenance requirement for this capability goes up enormously. The militias move primarily on horses and camels. The militia most associated with atrocities is called the janjaweed, which translates to "man on a horse".

Is no one looking at Darfur on a map, and seriously considering the needed infrastructure improvements -- which would be good for Sudan in general? It may also be effective to improve road and rail transportation into Chad, where there is new oil production.

There is a legitimate humanitarian concern, but I suffer from the disadvantage of having studied Sudan in some detail. That study makes me regard the current suggestions as out of touch with reality.
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On February 20, 2006 - 9:19am hf jai said:

Excuse me? Are you saying NATO, with US participation, cannot provide logistic support to EIGHT maneuver battalions? A division minus? Complicated by a multinational composition to be sure, but with the support of American command & control and lift capabilities, I can hardly see overwhelming difficulties in such a deployment.

Yes, there's a need for logistical support planning. Yes, I'm sure there will be infrastructure building to be done. I don't see those as show-stoppers.

Perhaps the lesson you've missed in your Command & General Staff course is the need to provide sufficient force to accomplish the mission and provide force protection. And if there's any lesson to be taken from the mess in Iraq, aside from the strategic mistake of invading in the first place, it is the folly of undertaking military operations on the cheap. They appear on track to make the same mistake in Darfur.

Seems to me that General Clark has sketched out a thumbnail of what's needed operationally. The NATO planning staff, aided by the Pentagon, is fully capable of determining the support requirements and delivering a sustainable combat force.
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On February 20, 2006 - 10:07am hcberkowitz said:

Given the terrain and infrastructure, that is exactly what I am saying, until a good deal of civil engineering -- which may take force protection -- takes place. For all the problems in Iraq, it had a fairly decent road network, substantial airports that could be returned to service, and, again needing overhaul, at least one port connected to the road network. Not all the roads in Iraq are the nice freeways with US-looking green-and-white signs, which you might find on around Baghdad or on the Basra-Kuwait road.

There is not one paved road in Darfur. There is one airport that can handle roughly two C-130 loads at once, has no particular refueling or maintenance capability, or more than minimal unloading and warehousing space that can tranfer to trucks. Incidentally, those same unloading, warehousing, and distribution problems were the limiting factor in the immediate airlift into the area were the limiting factor in Hurricane Katrina relief -- and that was a matter of having existing facilities needing repair. Assumptions were made about Mogadishu Airport being adequate for Somalian relief, until the runways started collapsing under the wheels of heavy transports.

There is a reason that the US Air Force has a whole base building system based around "Red Horse" engineering squadrons, which still usually need pathfinders and ground security forces, and are limited in capability until they can link up with heavy ground or sea transport. The British have equivalent organizations.

Now, if someone were to offer a proposal to bring motorized infantry into the eastern and western areas of Darfur, protecting road construction and providing security to rail repair, I'd see some reasonability -- as long as those proposals had a plausible timetable and budget. It's entirely likely that there may need to be as many or more troops in what the US Army now calls Maneuver Enhancement Brigades (engineers, military police, base defense, permanent communications) as in Maneuver Brigades of infantry or combined arms. I'm assuming that Chad will cooperate in being a source of petroleum, oil, and lubricants from the west, just as there will need to be a POL flow by rail from Khartoum in the east to Babanusa, and then to Nyala by protected rail, or by truck convoy.

Perhaps you didn't understand the lesson on military operations on the cheap. Without an adequate supply line, those maneuver battalions won't be able to maneuver very much. Supply restrictions also contribute to refugee suffering, as the World Food Programme tries to get supplies into Darfur from Uganda, while the Sudanese government could be doing a lot more.

Putting maneuver battalions into Darfur, without adequate combat service support, is exactly what you describe as trying to undertake military operations on the cheap. Going back somewhat, the US had no real capability to bring more than a brigade force of Marines into Viet Nam until there were upgraded port facilities in Saigon, and much more infrastructure at both logistic centers like Cam Ranh Bay and in interior improvements.

8 maneuver battalions? For an area larger than Iraq I was thinking of more like 40-50. Of course, but I had forgotten to factor one thing in : the ethnic cleansing is already fait accompli(see the chart opening), with 2.5 million already cleansed (some killed and the rest mostly in concentration refugee camps). If the intent is only to defend existing camps than 8 battalions may be enough, and they would be considerably more static (= less log overhead). Of course, that would also turn those refugee camps into permanent conclagers, to the horror of the world and inhabitants, but in line with the wishes of the Sudanese government. The Sudanese government will of course agree to ghettoising Darfur, but will presumably oppose a stronger force that could roll back the cleansing.

Of course, 8 maneuver battalions is still most of a 20000 man division - the same as pacified Kosovo - and still verging on logistically unsustainable as per the quoted comments. (I'll have to do some reading for a tonnage per day guesstimate, but it is HUGE.)

One rail line, no roads, two airfields (that is airfields and not airports). The rail line from Chad is the only option, since running a single rail line from central Sudan against a uncooperative or hostile Sudanese government is a non-starter. But that line is not running, nor presumably does Chad have much support to offer from the desolate Sudan border region. Furthermore, access to Chad is even worse than to Sudan.

Of course, the trouble in Darfur started when two indigenous rebel groups attacked the government, and not the other way around. However, unfettered by western liberal values, the Sudanese government has carried out a good old fashioned evil counter-insurgency operation by draining the swamp ethnically cleansing the entire supporting population base for the rebels. Even more clever evil yet, they have delegated the ethnic cleansing to deniable local rag tag militias, and avoided using their regular army to do too much dirty work.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Darfur : Mission Half Assed

The UN desperately wants to send troops to Darfur. Ok, lets make the debatable assumption thats a good idea. But lets just look over the facts regarding implementation.

A quick review a few features of countries recently in which western forces have helped establish and keep the peace (in reality : benign occupations)

Iraq :
Population ~ 25million (Concentrated in narrow strip along the two rivers)
Area ~438 000 sq km, desert and two rivers
Access excellent via Kuwait (excellent existing ports and staging infrastructure), major airport Baghdad, NATO neighbor Turkey, good existing road infrastrucutre with major highways
Number of NATO forces to occupy : ~ 150 000+

Kosovo :
Population ~ 2,5 million (concentrated in central large valley)
Area ~10 000 sq km, valley surrounded by mountains
Access limited but via FYROM, close to NATO countries Greece (ports), Italy (air), major airport Pristina, good existing road infrastructure
Number of NATO forces to occupy : ~40 000

Bosnia :
Population : ~ 4,5 million (concentrated in valleys)
Area : ~50 000 sq km, mountainous as hell
Access limited, but next to developed Croatia (ports Split, airport, close overland access from NATO member Hungary, railheads), major airport Sarajevo, poor existing transport infrastructure (mainly a bridge problem)
Number of NATO forces to occupy : ~ 60 000

Darfur
Population : ~ 6 million (all over the shop)
Area : ~ 500 000 sq km, desert and savannah
Access hopeless, no rail, no port access, little existing road network, no airhead, no friendly/developed countries adjacent
Number of NATO forces required to successfully occupy (base guesstimate from area and population from previous examples): 80 000 - 100 000?

The size of force to successfully enforce peace in Darfur is large, as the area is huge but it is without infrastructure. The lack of roads demands many off terrain vehicles (jeeps and multi-wheeled APCs) and helicopters if the force is to be mobile at all. Worse, it is far, far from anywhere that can provide support for even minor but important stuff like bottled water or food or fuel, and there is no port of debarkation to be seen. A local APOD could be developed from near zero, but there is no SPOD, and will be none ... ever. Neither is there a railhead. Note that the baselines are western (NATO or near equivalent) forces - I have no belief in African peacekeepers doing much other than spreading AIDS.

Moral of the story : it is not going to happen.

Even if the forces are available (and they are not), the logistical challenge of maintaining forces without rail or sea access, without adjacent host nation services, in an area without infrastructure worth a damn, is just too daunting for words.

The UN can send some forces, but it is unlikely they will be of sufficient size, quality (African) or leadership (UN) to fix anything that isn't already fixed locally.

And so Sun Tzu might say : So much for peace enforcement in Darfur.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Vaclav Klaus has spoken. From the Brussels Journal :
Mr Klaus stressed that the nation-state “is an unsubstitutable guarantor of democracy (opposite to all kinds of ‘Reichs,’ empires and conglomerates of states).”
We should make our society free, democratic and prosperous. It will not be achieved by democratic deficit, by supranationalism, by etatism, by an increase in legislating, monitoring, and regulating us.

We need a political system which must not be destroyed by a postmodern interpretation of human rights (with its emphasis on positive rights, with its dominance of group rights and entitlements over individual rights and responsibilities and with its denationalization of citizenship), by weakening of democratic institutions which have irreplaceable roots exclusively on the territory of the states, by the ‘multiculturally’ brought about loss of a needed coherence inside countries, and by the continental-wide rent-seeking of various NGOs.

[...] We need a system of ideas which must be based on freedom, personal responsibility, individualism, natural caring for others and a genuinely moral conduct of life.
Absolutely. Compare the post-communist statesmen of Eastern Europe (Czech republic, Latvia, Estonia, Poland) to the cringe inducing Chirac, Blair, Shroeder or Berlusconi. Sometimes, Rumsfeld's famous Old Europe crack has more substance than given credit for.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Cultural marxism, star power and narcissism

Kim du Toit has made a good point about the modern status of actors :
From the Middle Ages right up until the 20th century, actors were regarded as scum by the general populace. An “actress” was a synonym for “prostitute” because, then as now, so many of them were. And since then both actors and actresses have seldom failed to live up to their dreary reputations, having the morals of stoats and the sexual proclivities likewise.

It’s a besetting fault of ours, thinking that because people have a skill in one arena (sport, acting, whatever) that we should give them a respectful hearing when they utter some vacuous statement, simply because they’re wearing a Super Bowl ring or won the Academy Award ten years ago. But it doesn’t look like this nonsense is going to end very soon, and more’s the pity.
Who played Hamlet in the opening performance of "Hamlet" by Sheakespeare? The correct answer is "who cares?". The genius was in the timeless play, not the prancing fool performing.

Today? The unfortunate side effect of the modern media (and particularly television) is that is has raised actors to be "stars". The scripts of Hollywood movies typically suck, and how many script writers are known to the general public? Cinematographers? Editors? Nope, its the actors that get the billing, and the producers that make a killing.

The deleterious effetcs of the modern media (TV particularly) in producing "stars" is ruinous. Sports stars, rock stars, movie stars. The growth of the modern media in the US, unfortunately coinciding with the importation of cultural marxism theory, has gut-shot western culture by producing a generation more influenced by vacuous stars than by the classics, philosophers and leaders that produced that civilization. And as Kim notes, actors are basically scum.

The condition of stars in one word ? How about narcissism?

Shinkwrapped and has a fascinating series on the disease of narcissism in western society, and its links to political correctness, as has Dr Sanity in NARCISSISM AND SOCIETY.

The media makes stars of actors and musicians, giving them far far far more influence and exposure than their limited intellects and talents deserve. These are often narcissists who are natural suckers for political correctness / cultural marxism. The media relentlessly pumps the effeminate attitudes of morons into western society, (particularly children!). The emasculated TV generation in the West now elects actors instead of leaders, and is now in real danger of dissapearing up its own ego.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

YAAFM 12

I saw this on No Pasaran and couldn't stop laughing. Offensive as hell, but manages to say some of the things we think but only dare say when smashed. Enjoy.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Latvia supports Denmark and Freedom - PM

Latvian PM Kalvītis has stated in an interview on state radio that :

We are in solidarity with Denmark and the other countries of Europe, because Europe will not step back from freedom of expression and the press, regardless of the fact that other countries have expressed condemnation
Yehaa. Only took several weeks to take a moral stand, and a mere three days after our peacekeepers were besieged in Maymana. [sarcasm] My heart runs over at the bravery of the government [/sarcasm]. The Latvian newspapers are yet to run the offending cartoons (as opposed to Respublika in Lithuania, which has done so).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

PRT Maymana

Of course the PRT that operates from Maymana has also Finns, Brits and Latvians. There is also some kind of Swedish prescence. Most of the MSM (hack, spit) is running stories along the lines of :
About 250 protesters armed with assault rifles and grenades attacked the NATO base in the northwestern town of Maymana, burning an armored vehicle, a U.N. car and guard posts, said a Maymana Hospital doctor.

Some in the crowd fired light weapons and threw stones and hand grenades, and the Norwegian troops responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and warning shots....
"Protestors" .... as if they were students at campus rally or pensioners protesting heating prices. OK, whatever. Some protests are more violent than others. But some fucking Canadian newspaper is covering the same story with the headline "Norwegian troops fire on Afghan cartoon protesters". Thats the sort of cheap and misleading sensationalist journalism we might expect from less than impartial muslim countries ..... but from Canada?

Islamic madness as an Iranian puppet

Its getting sillier and sillier - attack on the Danish battalion in Iraq, attacks on Danish embassies in Syria, Lebanon, Indonesia and Iran and now a crowd has attempted to storm the base for the Norwegian led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Maymana, Afghanistan. Considering that the PRT are very much in civil help mode, and only benefit local communities, that is a rather worrying incident.

I wonder how anyone can sanction Iran without causing a total conflagration, let alone attack (as William Lind is predicting)? Cui bono - is this Iran fomenting a brushfire, making for a smokescreen that will allow them to consumate their nuke program without intervention?

Arab-Persian relations have been iffy at times. How hard is it to see Iranian hands in at least the troubles in Afghanistan (teh trouble was at Maymana is in the north-west and NOT Kabul or the usually volatile pashtun South) and southern Iraq (shiitie, where the hand of Iran is well noted), or the knwon Iranian catpaws in Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Palestine (Hamas and Islamic Jihad). The current big Islamic ummah convention of muslim love and togetherness and hating the west would play directly in their hands come action against their nuclear facilities.

And if we are nervous, how is Israel? Rampaging muslims and nuclear Iran. A blog called The Officers' Club even provides interesting Tom Clancy-esque guesses as to the directions an Israeli intervention may take in Meanwhile Back in Iran . Personally it sounds a little far-fetched, the straight diplomatic nudge and wink and blinking duirng overflights is much much more likely.

And where is Al-Qaida? William Lind also warns that a big attack may be in the offing after Osama's peace offer.

May you live in interesting times. 2006 is getting rather interesting.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Islam and nazism

I can't believe the number of nazi - sypathetic references from the Islamists. Certain pro-Israeli articles claim the Islamists are direct descendents of the nazis (based on rather tenous links), while some Islamists appear to express pro-nazi sypathies on the strength of the enemy-of-my-enemy. Do they really understand much of any history?

If they ever really really hurt Europe (the nightmare scenario WMD attack, and economic chaos, mass uprisings), soft and fuzzy feel-good be-good euro policies will evaporate. It won't be openly revisionist, not sigrunen or hakenkreutz ressurected, nor bad mustaches nor skinheads (oooh white supremisists - the supreme liberal/marxist bugbear) - it would be something entirely new. New style then, but same old substance.

From the Kaiser to Kristalnacht took less than 20 years.The Islamists can either only lose now, but if they win now .... then they will bring the spirit of him back?

Dr. Michael Scheuer - Missing Zawahiri

Dr. Michael Scheuer - the CIA guy who wrote "Imperial Hubris" - has written a fine tract on the US should be playing realpolitik Missing Zawahiri - A Portent of America’s Defeat, in the US Cavalry site "On Point" :
In a rational, historically aware country, U.S. leaders would have told Americans that the attack on Zawahiri was facilitated by U.S. intelligence officers and Special Forces who risked their lives to gather intelligence that seemed to fix Zawahiri in a specific place at a specific time. Because Washington’s most important duty is to protect Americans, they would have said, we acted on the best information available and, so to speak, let 'er rip. Unfortunately, we missed Zawahiri, but we killed four of his fighters and will keep trying to get him and bin Laden. As for the dead Pakistanis, they are foreigners not Americans and we have no responsibility to protect them. And, in any event, they were about to serve up sautéed goat steaks and curry to one of America’s most dangerous enemies. The lesson all Pakistanis should take from the incident is that we are not concerned with the lives of Zawahiri’s abettors, that they were lucky the village was not hit by B-52s, and that next time they may not be so fortunate.
Of course the indiscriminate use of airpower in counterinsurgency inevitably backfires, but straight hard talk like suggested would be better than the squirming denials and excuses. But they can't, becuase that might be insensitive.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Blogs, politics and feedbacks in OODA loops II

US politics from the cheap seats and Daily Pundit again.

US domestic politics - interesting how? Interesting as the avangard case of internet influence, and of course the US as the worlds only superpower, whose globe shaping foreign policy (implicit, as well as explicit - it can be observed in opposition sometimes) is the product of internal politics meaningless elsewhere. 5% of voters in Florida swing votes because of local issues (crime? social security? policy towards Haiti? whatever!), and we get to occupy Iraq, or not. US domestic politics is the tail that wags the dog as far as 200 other countries are concerned, including Latvia. So - interesting.

James Lileks in Jewish World Review writes
But the pestilential keyboard pounders had best realize they're just screaming to the choir. Persuading the middle means acknowledging that the opposition is not composed of subhuman Moorlocks who hope global warming drowns coastal-dwelling gay stem-cell researchers. People on the right may be wrong, but it's quite possible they don't actually want a fascistic corporate state where the elite tour the country in giant hovercraft, vaporizing Wal-Mart labor organizers with microwave rays.
humorous, but Daily Pundit responds with Middle Me This....
So tell me again: What is so admirable about this middle, and why should people who actually know what they are talking about, are not afraid to form, hold, and express opinions, are willing to act on them and who, in general, take the time and make the effort to become what the Founders would have considered good citizens take a back seat to the Brobdignagian mob of mopes, dopes, goofuses, doofuses, and rubes that make up "the middle?"

Why is smearing "Duh, I dunno" in crayon across your forehead considered a badge of honor?
So not only are the Left insane, but swing voters are a pack of losers. There is no point preaching to the unconverted, because they are obviously clueless (since they have not converted already). Heaven knows where that leaves actuallly considering opposing arguments based on their merit, or of objective viewpoints. So, a blogger in danger of dissapearing up his own OODA loop. But how important are bloggers?

The Washingtom Post writes Blogs Attack From Left as Democrats Reach for Center. Not immensely coherent, but the radicalising influence of the left wing blogs is laid out. Is this part of a wider trend, where the internet allow the radicals to direct party events (as opposed to the old days they were merely embarrassing minor speakers at rallies)? Couple this to the selective input potential of blogs to close political wing OODA loops and thereby drive those same wings into extremism.

If the democratic system works, extreme closed parties should be rejected by voters and collapse electorally. If not we get ... democratically elected governments with radical policies and closed OODA loops. Examples : Nazi Germany, Milosevic Serbia, Mugabe Zimbabwe and now Hamas Palestine.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Operation Iraqi Freedom team VI awards

The fine lads of 1st Company /2nd Infantry Battalion received their campaign medals today from the defence ministress. Bravo, well earned. Sadly, the sort of event that Latvian MSM completely ignores as a matter of routine.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Latvian muslim nazis on LGF ....

An unrelated google search made looking into the glorious history of Latvian peacekeeping in former Yugoslavia turned up a most unexpected find. This old (2003) post made on Little Green Footballs called Arab Nazism: Then and Now, which links to an frontpagemag article of the same name which states :
The SS indoctrinated these Muslim fighters, variously called Trawniki men, Hilfswillige, Hiwis, or Askaris, at training camps or "Ausbildungslager" in towns such as Trawniki, Poland. The Askaris, who generally hailed from the Ukraine and the Baltic states....
Ah, how could we miss that the Trawnikis and Hiwis of WWII were mainly Latvian and Ukrainian muslims! Utterly laughable to anyone with even a passing clue of course (could the article be a parody???? LGF presents it straight faced)

But the LGF comments bear reading as well. The horror, the horror. Crass and aggressive ignorance at its finest. Baltics and Balkans, Lithuanians or Bosniacs whats the difference anyway? :D.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Just a flesh wound.....

The milnet version
A Latvian soldier and Iraqi civilians were injured in Iraq in separate incidents and Iraqi security forces found a bomb in Fallujah, U.S. military officials reported.

The Latvian guard was injured by small-arms fire today in al Kut when unidentified gunmen fired at an observation post in the Multinational Division Central South area of responsibility. The guards returned fire.

The wounded soldier was transported to a military medical facility, where his condition is stable.
Stable? Just a flesh wound to the upper arm, a clean puncture apparently.

Interesting trivia : he is the first Latvian soldier to be injured by actual gunshot during 10 years of peace support operations. There have been many various injuries, several much more serious, but this is the first actual operational bullet wound.

Media watch : for reasons I do not understand, this relatively trivial incident has been widely mentioned in the international news, and overreported in the Latvian news. Maybe it was a slow day for bad news from the front (MSM! hack! spit!), but then again MoD also made an overly large song and dance of the whole business to begin with.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Blogging and incestuous feedback in OODA loops

Daily Pundit has an interesting bit on blogs and polarization following on from BELTWAY BLOGROLL - The Rise Of Blogs. Daily pundit fastens onto a most interesting statement
Blogs, she added, tend to attract like-minded people -- and ones who are "slightly more ideologically extreme than the general population." The end result: "The Internet is exacerbating political polarization."
While Daily Pundit sees this polarization as true, but the reation as (well) reactionary, and concludes
Was this polarization a bad thing? I think not. Of course, I'm considered something of a polarizing force myself. I don't mind. In fact, I'm proud of it.
It has a different perspective from the OODA loop angle. If blogs allow people to selectively filter the news according to the own personal prejudices, and the virtual nature of the internet insulates those same indivisuals from personal reality checks, isn't it inevitable they will get inside their own OODA loops by incestuos amplification misdirecting orientation?

The existence of Incestuous Amplification shapes one's Orientation by naturally distorting the Observations feeding that Orientation. (The observer sees what he wants to see rather than what is.) When this happens, the Decisions and Actions flowing from that Orientation become progressively disconnected from reality. This process pumps dysfunctional behavior into the OODA loop which then becomes magnified as the effects of the disconnected actions are fed back into the Incestuously Amplified Orientation. As any student of nonlinear dynamics or evolution knows, this kind of positive feedback loop can produce confusion and disorder and ultimately degenerate into chaos or extinction, if the organism becomes disconnected from its environment. Any hint of Incestuous Amplification is therefore a bright red flag." - The View From Mount Olympus Seen from the Cheap Seats
Applied to politics via selective blog reading this would of course inevitably lead to polarization, and more extreme responses and irrational behaviour as opposed to reasoned debate. Regularly reading US liberal vs conservative blogs, I am always struck by the conviction of both sides that the other are not merely wrong in their beliefs, but actually insane. Come to think of it the Gore/Bush political cirus was most of the way there already. Its reminiscent of Israel-Palestine politics, where both accuse CNN of being stooges for the other side. It suggest that at least part of the divided US political camps are already well inside their own OODA loops. So it IS already happening ... one wonders where this increased polarization will lead. It suggests collapse of one or the other political party (if the democratic system works properly), but what if the symptoms are more widespread in the population than just the hard core political activists?

The new electronic media allows fragmentation of popular belief as opposed to the norming effects of the traditional media (and moreso outside the US where the state media is important). More traditionally the boundaries between communities and seperate information spaces have been made by language, geography and religion, but in the virtual world people can easily compartment themselves. Will such a e-seperation leak into the real world, is blogging part of a slippery slide to balkanization?

I'd much rather be watching this fascinating process (both unprecedented and unpredicted, and unpredictable) unfold in a country that wasn't so damn important.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Iraq as tar-baby

Stars and Stripes has published a letter expressing a most excellent grunt's eye appreciation of the situation (noticed first on the HNN blog).

The BLUF in Iraq

The bottom line up front (BLUF) is this: If the United States leaves Iraq before the job is at least 90 percent done, it would be catastrophic on a biblical scale (“War based on a lie,” letter, Nov. 28). First, you would have civil war and ethnic strife. Then would come the genocide — if I offended anyone, I apologize; I meant “ethnic cleansing.” After all that, another Taliban-style regime would take hold. Then another “coalition of the willing” would have to be assembled and we would be right back in Iraq.

Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. What would have happened if the U.S. had prematurely come home during World War II? This is no easy task. It takes time to force change on people.

Personally, I hate this country. I hated it the first time I was here. I will despise it and most of its ungrateful people until the day I die. Regardless of the reason we are here — weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein’s alleged ties to al-Qaida, or whatever — the BLUF is that we are here and have a job to do.

Staff Sgt. David J. Wallach
Forward Operating Base Summerall, Iraq

Friday, January 06, 2006

Some awake but others still sleep

The Latvian print media has awoken and noticed the OIF rotation (barely) - a day after the local Russian and Chinese medias.

Speaking of awaking, Military.com has still not published any of Lind's commentaries since On War #139 - C'est la Guerre. Guess it was too hot for them, even a milporn site like military.com has its political correctness tolerance limit.* Their loss.

*Of course the U.S. Marine Corp’s Liman von Sanders failing to heap adulation on the US military at every opportunity may have contributed.