Archive for the ‘Military’ Category
Despite comments to the contrary by the White House spokesman, we are at war with ISIS and they are a real and sophisticated threat. The intentions of the Islamic State have been made crystal clear: kill the infidel and establish the caliphate by any means necessary. The escalations in just the last few weeks, specifically the beheadings, have awakened many to the dangers of the Islamic State, but is has also caught the President flat footed on the back nine.
ISIS isn’t Al Qaeda. ISIS has a different infrastructure and aims. The gains made in land and treasure set ISIS apart from Al Qaeda and should give everyone pause. In an article yesterday at Foreign Policy, two authors reported on a ISIS laptop found in Syria with instructions for making a chemical weapon on it and noted that ISIS may have access to the facilities to take this next step, which long eluded Al Qaeda.
Despite all of this, along with members of Congress, the intelligence community, and a few Generals, raising the alarm, this President and his Administration have no real strategy to address the threat of ISIS. Our aimless foreign policy, directed from the golf course by President Obama, has impacted the world. Just not in any positive fashion.
At the very least we should acknowledge that we are at war, clearly state who the enemy is, even if that enemy is an extremist ideology, and prepare the people of the nation to be on guard.
Right after this next round of golf, of course.
The Defense Department violated the law when it didn’t tell Congress before transferring five Taliban detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar in return for the Taliban’s release of captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office said in a legal decision made public Thursday.
Pentagon officials “did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” as required by law, GAO General Counsel Susan A. Poling said in a letter to nine Republican senators who had sought the analysis.
What’s more, Poling said, “because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act,” which “prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”
The GAO ruling provides legal backing for the position that the administration flouted the notification requirement — a view held by most Republicans and more than a few Democrats. The GAO does not address other issues that many lawmakers have raised about the merits of the exchange.
The requirement for a 30-day notice of transfers is part of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization law ( PL 113-66 ). Moreover, the fiscal 2014 Defense appropriations act ( PL 113-76 ) prohibits spending on any transfers that do not comply with the authorization law’s requirements.
Defense Department lawyers told the GAO that they believe the transfers were lawful regardless of the notification requirement, but Poling said the GAO did not accept that argument.
Pentagon officials also told the GAO that the notification requirement is unconstitutional. They argued that it “would have interfered with the Executive’s performance of two related functions that the Constitution assigns to the President: protecting the lives of Americans abroad and protecting U.S. service members.”
The GAO did not assess the validity of that claim.
“As I sit here constantly hearing and watching you execute innocent men, women and children in the Middle East I chuckle. Why do I chuckle you may ask? Well let me explain something to you cowardice fools who think you are so tough behind all your propaganda videos. You are scaring a population that doesn’t know how to fight, you’re bullying the weak.
You say Islam is the religion of peace, but since when does terrorizing the innocent and beheading men, women and children constitute peace? WTF? But keep in mind, what did Saddam’s troops do when we came rolling into town? They surrendered, twice… So all your empty threats of coming to America and raising your flag over the White House amuse me more than any of you sick, sadistic bastards could ever imagine or comprehend.
In 2012 there was about 21.2 million veterans in the United States. Do you understand what that means? Let me break it down for you. That means there are literally millions of disgruntled, dysfunctional, pissed off veterans who have been dealing with years of abuse from their government stabbing them in the backs and having to watch their friends die because you Islamic extremist idiots can’t seem to act like normal human beings and stop terrorism and the violence.
It’s one thing to take over an Islamic state, but if my memory serves me correctly, I’m pretty sure we plowed through Fallujah in 4 days. Better yet, it took us about month to control your entire country. At this point, with 13+ years of war under our belts, how long do you think it would take us to do it all over again? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that one. Do you really think you stand a chance on US soil? Do you really think it would be smart to poke that bear? Remember, never bite the hand that feeds you.
Remember we are armed to the teeth in the US and I can promise you this… the Geneva Conventions will not apply to you. You attack us and there will be no mercy. We will bring the righteous hand of God down upon you and crush you. The ball is in your court now ISIS. We are more than ready to arrange your so called “meeting” with your 72 virgins and send you to your “prophet” Mohamed.”
– Nick Powers
Don’t make us angry. You won’t like us when we’re angry…
We’ve been covering some of the more troubling details of police militarization across the US, and specifically what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri over the past couple of weeks. However, we knew fairly little about the actual military equipment being used there. And we know that sometimes scary looking military equipment isn’t necessarily so scary when put to use. So it’s interesting to read a former Marine’s analysis of the military equipment being used in Ferguson, which more or less confirms that it not only looks scary but absolutely is scary. Much of the discussion is about how all those “non-lethal” “riot control” weaponry is actually quite dangerous and potentially lethal. Here are a few examples:
There are scattered reports of stun grenade use in Ferguson. Also known as flashbangs or flash grenades, this weapon of choice for American SWAT teams (and Israeli soldiers) originated in the British special forces community more than four decades ago. Ostensibly less than lethal, stun grenades have been known to kill or severely injure numerous victims, and the device was recently in the news for burning a 19-month-old baby in Georgia, resulting in a coma, during one of the thousands of domestic police raids this year.
There’s a lot more in the article as well. But here’s the bit that really stood out for me. After posting a picture of militarized police moving down the street looking pretty scary, the former marine, Lyle Jeremy Rubin, explains how they’re more well armed than the actual military in Afghanistan:
What we’re seeing here is a gaggle of cops wearing more elite killing gear than your average squad leader leading a foot patrol through the most hostile sands or hills of Afghanistan. They are equipped with Kevlar helmets, assault-friendly gas masks, combat gloves and knee pads (all four of them), woodland Marine Pattern utility trousers, tactical body armor vests, about 120 to 180 rounds for each shooter, semiautomatic pistols attached to their thighs, disposable handcuff restraints hanging from their vests, close-quarter-battle receivers for their M4 carbine rifles and Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights. In other words, they’re itching for a fight. A big one. It’s a well-known horror that the US military greets foreign peoples in this fashion as our politicians preach freedom, democracy and peace. It’s an abomination that the police greet black communities in the States with the same trigger-happy posture. Especially on the occasion of an unarmed teen’s death by cop.
Little Boy, the nuclear bomb that U.S. forces dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, leveled a two-mile radius of the city, killing an estimated 80,000 people. It was an enormous amount of destruction—and it was caused by less than two percent of the uranium carried by the bomb.
In a recent interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, author Eric Schlosser explains just how inefficient this early nuclear bomb was (skip to 11:13 in the recording).
In the case of Hiroshima, the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was an incredibly crude and inefficient weapon. When it exploded, about 99 percent of the uranium that was supposed to undergo this chain reaction, didn’t. It just blew apart in the air, and a very small percentage, maybe two percent of the fissile material, actually detonated. And most of it just became other radioactive elements. [. . .] Now to imagine how small an amount that is, seven-tenths of a gram of uranium is about the size of a peppercorn. Seven-tenths of a gram weighs less than a dollar bill. So even though this weapon was unbelievably inefficient, and almost 99 percent of the uranium had nothing to do with the destruction of Hiroshima, it was a catastrophic explosion.
As Schlosser puts it, “nuclear weapons since then have become remarkably efficient and small and capable of destruction that makes Hiroshima seem trivial.” Given the stories of false alarms, nuclear accidents, and harrowing near-disasters contained in Schlosser’s book, and the reports of shaky security in the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal, it’s enough to make you wish humanity had never figured out how to make these weapons in the first place.
The leader of ISIS (a group so vicious al-Qaida has disowned it), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — was released by U.S. authorities. We released a known Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist named Ali Musa Dadduq who had the blood of five U.S, Army Soldiers on his hands — kidnapped, ritually gutted, and killed. Recently we released five senior Taliban leaders to a Qatar, a country that fully embraces and supports Islamic terrorism — and they will return to Afghanistan next year. And just recently we reported on the Afghan who killed three Marines in their FOB gym who only serve seven-and-a half-years according to an Afghanistan justice system — which means he probably won’t serve any time at all.
At the same time, a young Army Officer sits in Ft. Leavenworth prison with a 20-year sentence, First Lieutenant Clint Lorance. We wrote on Clint’s travails, and for those who would castigate him for his actions, take a walk in his shoes.
1LT Lorance was in a volatile area of Kandahar province and made a decision to engage the enemy based on his experience of their tactics — they were scouting his patrol. However, the insidious rules of engagement resulted in 1LT Lorance being sentenced for murder — which is like handing out speeding tickets at the Daytona 500.
Clint’s mother, Anna Lorance, joins the list of mothers like Vicki Behenna and Jill Tahmooressi who anguish over the unconscionable treatment of their sons. And just compare that to the White House Rose Garden ceremony for the mother of known deserter Bowe Bergdahl — who is still on active duty and may end up with $350,000 in back pay in his bank account.
Imagine the heartbreak of Anna Lorance as her son sits in prison at Ft. Leavenworth for facing the enemy, while Bergdahl roams freely on Ft. Sam Houston for abandoning his post in the same combat zone. That simple comparison should cause anyone to ponder, how did we get so upside down?
1LT Lorance’s legal team has put together a packet requesting his clemency, which was anonymously shared with me. I am humbled that even without an official title, people believe I will fight for them.
In her letter to U.S. Army Major General John Nicholson Jr., Clint’s mother Anna writes about her son,
“It is so sad that because of his leadership, his soldiers did not lose their lives on his watch. He came home and is now called a murderer. But if he would have not made that split second call and he and his men been killed, he would now be called a hero! KIA!”
How did we get to be so upside down? Is our military “punishing” our warriors and their families for not welcoming death and becoming martyrs — as the enemy does so willingly?
Scientists have developed a color-changing device inspired by octopuses and their natural camouflaging techniques.
The research, carried out at the University of Houston and University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, looked at how the skins of octopuses, squid and cuttlefish can change color so rapidly. From there, researchers were able to design a heat-sensitive sheet that quickly changes color when detecting light.
At room temperature the flexible sheet is black. Once the device’s top layer, which contains a heat-sensitive dye, detects light it becomes transparent. True, this is hardly a rainbow of hues, but scientists believe it is the first step to developing a camouflage material for human use.
“[The device] is by no means a deployable camouflage system but it’s a pretty good starting point,” said a lead researcher, John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, to National Geographic.
Popular Mechanics broke down the layers of the new device as follows:
The top layer of the new device is loaded with a temperature-sensitive dye that appears black at low temperatures and clear at temps above 116 degrees F. This dye-filled layer sits on top of a layer of white reflective silver tiles, an ultra-thin layer of silicon circuits that control the dye’s temperature, and a transparent silicone rubber foundation. All together, this stack measures less than 200 microns thick. (The average human hair is 100 microns wide.)
Underneath this flexible sandwich is a base layer containing an array of light-sensing photodetectors. The corners of each dye-filled pixel and silver tile above this photoreceptor layer are notched, creating gaps that are like holes in a mask, allowing light to get through to the photoreceptors so they know how and when to change color. This adaptive camouflage system can respond to changing patterns of illumination within just one to two seconds.
On Thursday, Major General Harold Green was laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery. MG Green is the highest ranking US officer to die in combat since MG George Casey was killed in Vietnam on July 7, 1970, he was killed August 5 by an Afghan soldier who was being trained by NATO troops.
On Martha’s Vineyard, his Commander in Chief was playing golf with celebrities on Martha’s Vineyard. That tells you all you need to know about the contempt Obama has for the men and women in uniform.
Guess there was no line-of-sight from Martha’s Vineyard’s golf course to Arlington…
It would come with almost no warning. Without any immediate signs as to why, the lights go out, cars stop dead, telephones cease to function, everything with a microchip in it fails, and most of it all never works again.
In the wake of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States, part or all of the country is thrust back into the 1860s but with 10 times the population. The threat is real, it is pressing, and the United States is doing little to address it.
It strikes many Americans as a fanciful prospect, almost cheesy apocalypse porn, to suggest that something as simple as the destruction of the nation’s power grid could thrust the United States into the dark ages. But those who have investigated this prospect are not rolling their eyes to the threat as are so many of the country’s sophisticates.
In The Wall Street Journal opinion pages on Wednesday, former CIA director James Woolsey and CIA veteran and congressional EMP Commission member Peter Vincent Pry warn of the threat posed by an EMP attack on the United States.