A busy chap

…that’s how I’d describe Curzon @ Coming Anarchy this week…in fact, I wonder if he was late getting his spring break leave app in and the other members of the team have bailed on him for a few weeks…? In Anyone Care For  A Burger?, he flags the decreasing public confidence and interest in global warming after a number of Climategate incidents that have called into question the science and method behind so much of the global warming literature and ‘studies’. I guess that ‘Be First With The Truth’ applies as much in the scientific community as it does elsewhere…

I saw the same STRATFOR article on Mexico as a failed state that Curzon comments in STRATFOR GOES CLINTONIAN ON MEXICO and had intended to make similar comments today (great minds…?). Like democracy and normalcy, failure is also in the eye of the beholder and totally subject to local conditions, expectations and cultures. One can actually sympathise with and even appreciate the Mexican Government’s pragmatic approach to a problem totally beyond its capacity to oppose, and one in which it is really on a way station between source and market. If the US is really that committed to the w(W)ar on drugs, then maybe it needs to look at turning off the tap at its end i.e. kill the market and thus the demand. Then the domestic and international distribution networks lose their raison d’etre – drugs is a business like any other and when the profits drop, the business dies…

If the US really is waging a War on drugs, then maybe someone in the Pentagon needs to reread Tom Clancy’s Clear and Present Danger for some tips on military means to stifle the flow of drugs. If we have little compunction about Predator and Reaper raids into various Middle East nations with varying levels of apparently acceptable collateral damage, then slipping a few extra lines into the ATO might give the cartels some food for thought…

And on the topic of ‘Truth’…

I stumbled across a link to the official report into the ‘accidental’ deaths of two Reuters reporters and a number of civilians in the Apache gunship attack discussed in Be First With The Truth the other day…it is an interesting read but one which ultimately reeks of whitewash. It notes that “…details that are readily apparent when viewed on a large video monitor are not necessarily apparent to the Apache pilots during a  live-fire engagement.  First of all, the pilots are viewing the scene on a much smaller screen…Secondly, a pilot’s primary concern is with flying his helicopter and the safety of his aircraft. Third, the pilots are continuously tracking the movements of friendly forces in order to prevent fratricide. Fourth, since Bravo Company had been in continuous contact since dawn, the pilots were looking primarily for armed insurgents. Lastly, there was no information leading anyone to believe or even suspect that non-combatants were in the area…” Taking each of those points in sequence…

Yes, the pilots were viewing the sensor imagery on a much smaller monitor in the Apache cockpit…but…the report also states that they were able to identify at least two other members of the group armed with AKMs and a RPG – detail that is not that discernible or obvious when the footage is viewed on a much larger monitor. Nitpicking but how does one discern between a AK-47 and AKM through graining gun camera footage?

Correct, a pilot’s primary concern is with flying his helicopter – that’s why the Apache and most other helicopter gunships since the damn things were invented carry a personality known as a gunner, or copilot/gunner (CPG), whose primary tasks is to manage the sensors, targeting and weapon systems.

OK, so the Apache crew is continuously tracking the movements of friendly forces. So what? That’s has nothing to do with the manner in which this incident played out other than in the avoid of fratricide which never seems to have been an issue here.

If the Apache crew was primarily looking for armed insurgents, then maybe they were only seeing what they expected and/or wanted to see – not what actually was there.

Why, after four years of fighting insurgency in Iraq would anyone not suspect let alone EXPECT the presence of non-combatants e.g. civilians, media, NGOs, etc in a large urban area. According to Chief of Operations at the time, MAJGEN Jim Molan in Running The War in Iraq, even during the final battle for Fallujah in 2005, US forces went out of their way to confirm the combatancy of targets before engaging them.

I’m sorry but this report reads as one where the objective from the start was clearly to butt-cover the Apache crew and not, in fact anything but, be first with the truth…

What was it all for?

Neptunus Lex provokes thought in Losing It…maybe America should just batten down and let the world go to hell in the proverbial hand-basket…? Somewhere down the track we need to objectively look at Iraq and Afghanistan, specifically the conduct of the wars there and LEARN for the next round – has anything really been achieved with these two long drawn-out campaigns or should the approach have more simplistically been “…just as soon as the invasion was done, we should have killed Hussein (and his sons), hand the reins over to the next guy, then said ‘don’t make us come back’….“?

Zombies Rule

I keep forgetting to post this link to a great show that Dean @ Travels with Shiloh put me onto…We’re Alive…that he has been following and that I have been downloading as my next big listen once I get through A Just Determination in a week or so…there’s at least twelve chapters to We’re Alive, each in three parts @20-30Mb, so you can only imagine fun I am having getting the parts – over the last fortnight I have so far managed to squeeze the first six parts through the dial-up straw…

So do Zulus…

Peter @ The Strategist has a top review of Washing of the Spears, one of the best tellings of the Anglo-Zulu Wars of the late 19th Century that is well worth reading. One of the points that comes out in the comments regards the value of popular movies on historical events – regardless of the accuracy or even quality of the movie, it can often serve a useful secondary purpose in encouraging viewers to find out more about the back story. One example of this would be the 1969 movie Mosquito Squadron, a blatant rip-off of 633 Squadron (without even a rousing theme track), and not a good movie at all but one which has inspired many people, myself included to find out more about the real exploits of the Kiwi Mosquito squadrons in WW2 that pulled off precision strikes like the Amiens prison raid


Target Amiens Prison (c) Robert Taylor

…and here’s a list of links to the first six parts of Peter’s novel, The Doomsday Machine

1 thought on “A busy chap

  1. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts about the podcast. My regret is that I blew through all the archived episodes in a flurry of listening and now I have to wait for new episodes to get released.


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