Friday, May 26, 2017

Fullbore Friday

A great story via our friends at ThinkDefence about an exceptional side-show to The Falkland Island war.
Pebble Island lies to the north of West Falkland and in 1982, its 25 inhabitants were mainly involved with tending 25,000 sheep. Its small airstrip was subject to a daring raid by the SAS.

It did have an airstrip, though, or more accurately, four, three of grass, and the other on the beach. On the 24th of April, Naval Air Station Calderon (as it was called) was established there.
HMS Hermes was detached along with HMS Glamorgan and HMS Broadsword. The SAS and personnel from 148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery made for a raiding force totalling 45 and were loaded aboard four 846 NAS Sea Kings for the flight into the assembly point at Phillips Cove.

HMS Glamorgan fired on the western edge of the runway to provide a diversion and draw in Argentine forces. Shortly after, the main attack commenced;
Then our own mortar opened up, lighting the whole place up like it was a bright daylight. The mortar man was having a lot of trouble. Every time he fired the bloody thing, the whack kicking the base plate further into the ground. There was virtually no enemy fire on us, so the boys got stuck into the planes. They split into seven two-man teams. It was a bloody big trip and they had a lot of ground to cover. It’s not as if the planes were all parked in a neat row. They were all over the strip. And all the time the boys were running against the clock. Five planes were destroyed using the explosive charges that they had with them. The Pucara was the tallest of the aircraft. As they approached each plane, one bloke would give the other a leg up on to the wing. Once up, he then leaned down and hauled the other one up to join him. The Skyvan was not a problem. The Mentors were very small, and with one great leap, the guys got themselves on the wings. (Ramsey, SAS: The Soldier’s Story)
Aircraft had cables ripped out and fuel tanks punctured with small arms fire and grenades. It was all over by 03:35 and the SAS teams withdrew to their waiting helicopters, the job well done.

Six Pucara, four T-34C and one Skyvan were damaged or destroyed.
That, my friends, is a nice, efficient OP.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hatchets well burried

USA, Japan, and Vietnam.

Once old enemies, now new friends.

A good.

I'm discussing in more detail over at USNIBlog.

Come on by!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

OK Rep. Palmer (R-AL), You Want to Talk Dogs? Let’s Talk Dogs

Let's shift fire from the UK's child sacrifice for a bit.

I’m going to show a little IRL passion ankle here, but I don’t care, there is an overlap of passions here and I cannot help myself.

There was this little bit about the dogs we use as a critical part of our national security infrastructure in the House Homeland Security Committee that I simply have to blog about.
Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., provided the only contentious moments of the hearing when he questioned Harvey on TSA's dog procurement practices. Palmer noted that he himself had recently been at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and saw very few canine teams.

Palmer, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, pressed Harvey on the procurement issue, citing Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" executive order. Harvey assured Palmer that the TSA has “an interagency agreement with DoD. We use the same vendors that they use . . . We also have a couple of agreements with domestic vendors from which we also get dogs.”

Still, Palmer complained that TSA dogs were being “foreign sourced.”

“The administration has an emphasis on 'Buy American' and it seems to me it would make sense that you would prefer American dogs and American-trained dogs over foreign-sourced dogs,” Palmer said. “Particularly, the vendors that train them from puppies. Why do you have a preference in any context for foreign-sourced dogs?”

Harvey explained that TSA doesn’t prefer foreign dogs over domestic ones, but that vendors aren't always able to supply the dogs TSA needs. “We have a large requirement for our large number of dogs,” Harvey said. She added that TSA is working closely to ramp up procurement of dogs from domestic vendors.
Here is the executive summary Congressman; we foreign source our dogs because on balance American breeders in general, and the AKC specifically, are the worst thing to happen to dogs since the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

Our problem is twofold, vanity and greed.

Let me give you an example. The worse national election of the last year was not Clinton-v-Trump, it was the German Shepard Dog winning the Westminster Kennel Club following the equally horrid disgrace at Crufts last year where the Mother Country picked up our bad ideas. The American GSD is the poster child for systemic animal abuse in the guise of “love” of a breed.

As they have with so many breeds, the “Bench” conformation crowd created a crippled, unhealthy, and generally useless line of GSD that come from the USA. See that sloping back? You do not see that deformity in German, Dutch, and Belgian lines of those dogs. Untold hundreds of puppies are born each year in conformation kennels who spend their lives in pain and misery just to get that look from a few.

As all they are concerned with is superficial conformity to an artificial standard created by people with no care for what the dogs actually are designed to do, nothing else matters. Hips, EIC, cancer, allergies, intelligence, drive, instinct – non of these things matter to the Bench people in the USA - and increasingly elsewhere as our bad habits spread.

The poor puppers have had their purpose bred out of them. Herding dogs can’t herd, retrievers cannot retrieve, pointers can’t point, guards can’t guard, terriers can’t terrorize, and hounds are scared of their own shadows.

Let’s look at what we Americans have done to some breeds. I could go through dozens, but I’ll just grab the few top-of-mind outside the GSD;

English Setter: Bench breed setters are huge, lumbering beasts who would not last 10 minutes in the field actually hunting, even if they had the nose, were trainable, and residual instincts to know what to do. Look at field bred lines or even the Llewellyn variant to see what it takes.

Labrador Retrievers: In the name of all that is holy, this breed is now actually devolved in to three major breeds and a few minor ones. The Bench Labs are fat, tumored, wheezing creatures who by age of 6 can barely bark at the mailman without becoming breathless and wincing in pain from arthritis. Because the American Field and Hunt tests have become something only an East German swimming coach would want to be involved in, top Field bred American labs are taunt, hyper animals that if not exercised two hours a day cannot live in a house without destroying it and putting half the kids and elderly in the hospital from knocking them over. In the USA it has gotten so bad that those wanting a Lab to be a reliable hunting dog look to get Labs from British lines. No American Field bred Lab could even start a British hunt test as they simply could not sit still long enough. A British champion hunting Lab wouldn’t get a callback at a US Field Trial due to lack of drive. Maddening.

Golden Retrievers: Just like the Lab, they were ruined by the puppy mills and conformation people. There are now distinct field lines that almost don’t look like Goldens if your standard is what you see in dog shows. Even with veterinary care better now days than most human health care, longevity is decreasing. Don’t even get me started on the average temperament of bench Goldens. Just a crime – especially if you’ve known a great Field Golden.

There, I could go on for days, so let’s get back to the topic at hand.

German Shepherd Dogs, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds – there are very few American breeders who can produce the quality of dogs needed for proper work in any quantity.

Personality, ability, and drive have a high genetic component in dogs. You have to have generation after generation of dedicated breeding to keep a dog genetically predisposed to do its proper job. 

The post-WWII era in the USA driven by the Bench Mafia (and to a lesser extent the Lab Field Trial Mafia) have ruined many lines of dogs to do anything but look pretty running in circles, running like a drug addled speed-demon, or ranges so far that it requires a person on a horse to keep up with them.

European dog breed clubs for guarding, herding, and gun dogs, especially the German ones, require dogs to prove their ability to do their job – and increasingly to pass hip and DNA screenings – before you can even breed them. Ability first, looks second.

(in the USA look at the English Cocker you'll find on quail plantations on the FL-GA border to see another example of the split)

You get what you prioritize, breed, and pay for – and in America we screwed up our priorities when it comes to dogs, especially working dogs.

As long as there is an AKC led as it is now, and the American public continues to subsidize American vanity breeders, we will need to go overseas to get dogs that still have the physical and mental ability to do their job.

Even in the hunting world, people go to Europe to bring home what we call German Shorthairs, Wirehairs, Clumber Spaniels, Weimaraners, Dachshunds (yes, Dachshunds. A German bred hunting-line Dachshund in the field would blow your mind on rabbit, tracking deer, or even pheasants) and many lessor known breeds. Why? Because the real world people you saw in the great cinematic masterpiece, Best in Show, have destroyed breed after breed for their own vanity and profit from an equally vain American public.

I am in full alignment with the Congressman here; we need more dogs in homeland & military service, not less. We always learn this lesson over and over.
“I think we can train [canine teams] to do even more,” Correa said. “I think we gotta go in that direction to defend our country to protect our citizenry and to make sure that you do the best job you can to protect our country.”
They’re good dogs, America. They love what they do … and some even volunteer to do it.

Rant over.

I don’t know about you, but I feel better.

As a side note, if you are thinking about getting a dog, I do breed consultation on the side pro bono. Send me an email with what you want a dog for and your lifestyle and I’d be happy to give you a few ideas. From lap to field, I’ll yap your ear off.

IRL, I would rather talk about dogs than anything else.

We owe our civilization to two animals, horses and dogs - we should show them the respect they deserve.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Child Sacrifice in Manchester

By any modern measure, the Roman Empire was a barbaric, brutal, and ruthless society built and maintained by slavery and slaughter. Yet, even to the Romans, the Carthaginians were considered nightmarishly brutal mostly due to one thing; child sacrifice to their god Ba’al Hammon.
We must also say something about her disasters and domestic misfortunes, just as Pompeius Trogus and Justin relate them. The Carthaginians have always had domestic and internal misfortunes. Because of this source of discord and its unhappy faculty of causing disturbance they have never yet enjoyed prosperity abroad, or peace at home. When they were suffering from plagues in addition to their other misfortunes, they resorted to homicides instead of to medicines; indeed they sacrificed human beings as victims and offered young children at their altars. In this way they aroused even the pity of the enemy.

Concerning this form of sacred rite—nay, rather of sacrilege—I am perplexed as to what I should discuss in preference to all else. For if some demons have dared to order rites of this character, requiring as they did that the death of men should be propitiated by human slaughter, it must be understood that these demons acted as partners and promoters of the plague and that they themselves killed those whom the plague had not seized; for it was customary to offer healthy and undefiled sacrificial victims. In doing this they not only failed to allay, but rather anticipated, the pestilences.
And so, in the modern context, we see another case in the United Kingdom, England usually, where once again the British people are more than willing to keep sacrificing their children to the post-modern god of national self-loathing begat in their own image.

This morning, how many families are in blind shock as they try to identify the seeping mass of scattered flesh in bags who were once their beautiful, happy, precocious teenage girls? How many mothers and fathers are pacing halls of hospitals wondering if their girls will survive? Will they walk again? Will they be able to see, hear - will they ever find a plastic surgeon good enough to make them pretty again?

How many girls too young to drive are standing in the shower in horrified tears, though they were untouched, yet they watch at their feet the dried blood of untold people rehydrate and fill the floor in a swirling soup of blood around the drain? How many with shaking hands do their best to pull the gore of shredded flesh, brains, bone and skin that overnight dried and knotted in their hair?

And for what? This did not happen by accident; this happened as a result of government policy over decades that enabled a huge mass of water for a fetid mass of Islamic terrorism to swim in.

Manchester is at the very heart of the UK, and just down the road, a little over 40 miles, from another of their scenes of child sacrifice, Rotherham. Yes, Rotherham, where those with the charter to serve and protect decided that it was best to look the other way as thousands of young girls were groomed as sex slaves by gangs of South Asian men. They looked the other way because they were afraid of the Orwellian PC culture that infests their Metropolitan Police and judicial leadership to the point that basic things such as free speech and protecting girls from pedophiles are of secondary importance not being called bad names, and as such – serve the career interests of police leadership and protect their jobs.

We know now, as fully expected, that the 20-something attacker whose name I will not use here, was “known” to authorities.

They did nothing.

There is a broad range of things that can be done, and yet still respect the rights of honest British subjects of all backgrounds – and yet they do nothing.
Last year, the Government admitted just 14 of nearly 400 returnee fighters have been jailed, raising fears the rest are living off the radar and may be vulnerable to radicalisation.
Until that figure is 386/400, the British are still not serious. People who fight for ISIS are no different than someone who was a member of an SS Einsatzgruppen, and should be treated as such ... like a returning British citizen in 1944 would have been treated who was a member of one in 1941 would be.

That is just one example. The no-go zones, speech laws, and hate-spewing Imams are just a few others.

As I have said over the years, the European failure to control their borders, defend their culture, and demand assimilation by those who come will, in time, force them to become something they don’t want to be.

Responsible, mainstream politicians need to take action before the people eventually turn to irresponsible, fringe politicians who promise to take action.

Some think the slaughter of the Manchester innocents might be a moment of change, but I don’t know if there has been a full ripening yet.

Let’s review, shall we?

- April 7th, 2017: 4 run down in Stockholm.
- March 22nd, 2017: 4 run down in London.
- December 19th, 2016: 12 run down in Berlin.
- July 14th, 2016: 86 run down in Nice.
- March 22nd, 2016: 32 blown up in Brussels.

That is just in Europe in the last year. Do I need to go further? Of course I do;

- November 13th, 2015: 130 shot and killed, blown up and run down in Paris.
- February 14th, 2015: 2 shot and killed in Copenhagen.
- January 7-9th, 2015: 17 shot and killed in Paris.
- May 24th, 2014: 4 shot and killed in Brussels.
- May 22nd, 2014: Lee Rigbey hacked to death in London.

OK. Enough. Perhaps I made my point, but perhaps not.

That does not include the hundreds, perhaps in all over a 1,000 now with major, life changing physical injuries they will carry the rest of their lives. Then you have the untold scores of thousands who are immediate family members and loved ones whose lives will never be the same … and so on.

And yet, the people are supine and the leaders accepting.

There will be more attacks. I actually think we in the West have been lucky. Many of the vignettes we have known as low hanging fruit for years, as simple and effective as the one in Manchester, have yet to take place – but they will.

“Rivers of blood.” Well, yes – you have that Britain, in a fashion.

You welcomed it with eyes wide open.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Defense vs. Foreign Aid: The German Fight to 2%

Especially for the American ear, this sounds very reasonable;
Both defense and crisis prevention require greater German contributions. Right now, Germany spends barely 1.6 percent of its more than 3 billion euros annual economic output on diplomacy, defense, and development altogether. That is not good enough. The Bundeswehr needs more ships, transport aircraft, helicopters, medics, reconnaissance, and much more, and most of it is equally necessary for peace operations as well as for common defense through EU and NATO. It is not just about military capabilities, however. We also need to get better at helping Iraqis in the liberated areas to rebuild their lives, to restart their economy, and to reform their political order in such a way that Iraq will not be such easy prey for the next gang of militant demagogues that will follow the demise of the Islamic State. We also need to be able to invest in real conflict prevention, particularly through smart development and diplomacy, where the next big refugee crisis is most likely in the making: in the Sahel.

For all that, the German government needs more effective instruments of crisis prevention, stabilization, and peacebuilding. It all starts with foreign policy. As long as we cannot afford more than a single political officer in our embassies’ political “departments” in many potential crisis countries, a lack of strategy should not surprise us. Similarly, development cooperation has barely started to adapt to the specific challenges of violence and conflict. There are not enough police officers, judges, and prosecutors for even small numbers to deploy to training missions in foreign countries. What we really need, then, is not just a cash injection for the Bundeswehr but a strategic buildup of diplomacy, development, and defense as a whole – in the service of an overarching peace and security strategy within a common European framework.
In the USA we have parallel discussions - or at least used to until the left side of the natsec community lost their collective minds earlier this year in a spiraling case of Trump Derangement Syndrome and have difficulty talking about anything else - but we have to remember two things. 

As Philipp Rotmann over at GPPI reminds us, the Germans have an election, and they ... well ... are Germans;
The 2017 election season has barely begun, but foreign policy is already caught up in politics. It all started with President Trump’s demands for higher military spending and a rhetorical gaffe by Jens Spahn, a deputy minister of finance from Angela Merkel’s CDU party, who said the country should invest in arms instead of social services. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel responded during his SPD party’s recent conference by railing against a “spiral” of military buildup. The fans cheered. Double the defense budget more than 65 billion euros per year? Not a chance, Gabriel said, whatever declarations of intent NATO may have collectively issued. For his social-democratic audience, Gabriel played the 2-percent goal for defense spending against the equally unattained 0.7-percent goal for aid. “The other way around, I’d get it,” he roared. His party delegates celebrated. A touch of then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s successful mobilization against the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was in the air.

Both Gabriel and the SPD know full well that Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, urgently need to modernize. Already in 2014, responding to Putin’s aggression, conservatives and social-democrats agreed to reverse the longstanding downward trend in German defense budgets. Since 2015, that trend has been reversed, and the military now has more money than it can spend. Trump’s bluster makes it look as if German political leaders wimpishly followed orders from the worst-liked US president in remembered history. Trump wants to cut billions from diplomacy and development to build up the military, and Germany follows like a poodle?

That image will not work for any party in German elections, but just opposing the 2-percent goal is not good enough. We lack a modern vision for a European strategy for peace and security, one that spells out what Germany can do to help Europe become a strategic, preventative foreign policy actor. This would be a debate worth having during this electoral season. We will not get there if some ask for huge increases in military spending while others ritualistically counter with demands for more aid.

A quick look at the numbers: There are basically three “international” budgets – those of diplomacy, defense, and development. In 2017, a good 70 percent (37 billion euros) of those budgets are earmarked for the Bundeswehr. Were the CDU to prevail with its demand to meet the goal of 2 percent of GDP by 2024, the relative weight of the military would rise to almost 85 percent of Germany’s combined international budgets. The others would barely rise at all, according to the government’s mid-term financial planning, which CDU (and its sister party, CSU) and SPD jointly approved. In relative terms, the weight of foreign policy would decline from 10 to 6 percent, the weight of development aid from 16 to 10 percent. The relative significance of diplomacy, defense, and development would massively change, and the resulting message would be stark: Germany wants to be a military power again.
I hope the CDU can make the point, rightfully, that they started increasing defense spending before Trump became CINC. Reading their press and "thought leaders" quickly lets you know that any association with Trump is toxic - and that is becoming a headwind to Germany doing the right thing in the face of emerging security requirements.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Springtime for Russia? Useful Russian Talk on Midrats

To say that the profile of Russia since the American elections last fall has increased in the minds of Americans would be an understatement.

Outside the 24-hr news cycle, there have been significant developments in Russia internally and externally. From the Baltics, to nuclear weapons, to her growing influence in the Middle East following her involvement in the Syrian conflict.

What should people be focused on with regards to Russia on the global stage this year?

Returning as our resident Russian expert for the full hour the Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss this and more will be Dr. Dmirty Gorenburg, Senior Research Scientist at CNA, a non-profit think tank, and writer at the Russian Military Reform Blog.

Dr. Gorenburg conducts research on security issues in the former Soviet Union, Russian military reform, Russian foreign policy, ethnic politics and identity, and Russian regional politics. He is also the editor of the journal Problems of Post-Communism and a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project. From 2005 through 2010, he was the Executive Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and from 2009 to 2016, the editor of the journal Russian Politics and Law.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fullbore Friday

Ordinary men doing extraordinary deeds? I don't know.

Not much ordinary about Master Sergeant Ross, USA (Ret.) who recently passed at age 94.

WaPo did a nice obit;
On Oct. 30, 1944, Sgt. Ross’s company took heavy casualties from German forces, losing 55 of its 88 men. About 11:30 a.m., Sgt. Ross moved to a forward position, 10 yards beyond his company’s riflemen, and set up his light machine gun.

He was an open target for German marksmen and artillery fire, yet he held steady for five hours, carrying on what was virtually a one-man battle.

“His position seemed to be on fire,” a U.S. officer who witnessed the battle said afterward, “because of the explosions all around him.”

Wave after wave of German soldiers attacked Sgt. Ross’s position, yet he managed to repel successive counterattacks with well-aimed machine-gun fire.

At one point, he grabbed a rifle from a wounded soldier nearby and aimed it toward approaching enemy troops. The rifle was struck by a German bullet, rendering the gun useless, but Sgt. Ross was not hurt.

“I throwed that thing down,” Sgt. Ross told the website in 2013, “and I had that machine gun pouring.”

When his machine gun temporarily ran out of ammunition, Sgt. Ross refused to abandon his post.

“He merely shook his head,” William T. Wardell, a lieutenant in the unit, said in 1945.

With the few surviving U.S. riflemen reduced to fixing their bayonets for hand-to-hand combat, German troops crawled as close as four yards to Sgt. Ross’s machine-gun nest.

They were to toss grenades into his emplacement when he received a fresh supply of ammunition.

“He opened up as they swarmed him, firing short bursts,” Wardell said. “In less than a minute I saw 50 Germans fall dead or wounded around his machine gun. When the enemy turned and ran, corpses were piled high around the gun.”

Sgt. Ross “broke the assault single-handedly, and forced the Germans to withdraw,” according to his citation for the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award for valor.

He killed or wounded at least 58 German soldiers and “saved the remnants of his company from destruction.”

He stayed by his gun through the night and next day, prepared for a possible return by enemy forces. After 36 hours, it was clear that the Germans had abandoned the field.

Sgt. Ross emerged from the battle unscathed.
Not the end of the story.
After the war, he worked for the Kentucky highway authority for a year or two before reenlisting in the Army. In 1950, after only nine days on the battlefield in the Korean War, Sgt. Ross was severely wounded in his legs by machine-gun fire. He remained in the Army until 1964.

He settled in DuPont, Wash., where he worked in a pickle factory and drove a van for a veterans hospital. He often attended veterans events and was one of 12 Medal of Honor recipients featured on postage stamps released in 2013.

His wife of more than 60 years, the former Monica Belford, died in 2011. They had six children. Complete information on survivors was not immediately available.

Sgt. Ross had few trappings of his wartime heroism, except for a commemorative Medal of Honor license plate that other motorists occasionally noticed in traffic.

“Sometimes people salute me,” he said.
That, my friends, is a man in full with a life well lived.