Archive for the ‘war’ Category

The cost of war is death

Artwork by Sergey Grechanyuk.

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Propaganda and lies

Propaganda is defined as “material meant to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.” Here is a reminder that the best propaganda is that which is true. If it makes you sob uncontrollably it is even more effective. The above short film, shown to the U.S. Congress, shows a modern European nation with smiling white people being murdered and destroyed. I cannot watch it without tears coming to my eyes. This is one of the most devastating and effective propaganda short films I have ever seen, and even more devastating for being true.

Meanwhile Russian propaganda mutters nonsense about “removing the Nazi regime in Ukraine” (a regime headed by a Jewish guy and with Jews over-represented in both its government and as lead figures in its business community, only Russia could with a straight face call Jews Nazis), and more nonsense about weaponized birds carrying bio-weapons (uhm, that is *not* how birds work). That stuff might work inside Russia where any dissenting voices are given polonium smoothies and the Russian people are propagandized 24/7, but anybody outside Russia just laughs at that nonsense. Jewish Nazis? Weaponized birds? Really?!

But nobody can laugh at that short film above. There are no laughs in murder and destruction. None.

  • Badtux the Sobbing Penguin

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In a word: No.

The Afghans didn’t so much “kick out” the Soviets as the Soviets decided to declare victory and go home, much like the United States did in Vietnam a decade prior. The change in leadership in Moscow from Brezhnev through a couple of place holders to Gorbachev removed any support for the war from the top leadership (well, the top generals in the Kremlin still supported the war but Gorbachev overruled them). Gorbachev viewed Afghanistan as a distraction from his goal of reforming the Soviet Union’s crumbling economy into something capable of being competitive with the West. So as the Americans did in Vietnam a decade prior, Gorbachev found some Afghan patsies willing to provide the cannon fodder on the ground, paid them off to support the Soviet Union rather than the United States, and brought his troops home.

And honestly, that strategy worked. As long as the Soviets kept the money and military supplies flowing to “their” militias in Afghanistan, the “Communist” government in Kabul stayed in power. It was not until the final collapse of the Soviet Union that the militias, seeing their Soviet funding dry up, turned on the “Communist” government and kicked it out and then Afghanistan descended into the long civil war of militias fighting each other that ended up with the Taliban sweeping in from Pakistan and, thanks to everybody being totally PO’ed with the militias, taking over most of the country to the utter relief of virtually everyone in the country who was tired of all the fighting and just wanted peace. Yeah, the Taliban were nasty people who imposed medieval laws. But at least they weren’t blowing things up and killing people at random like the militias had been doing. It was a peace enforced by nasty people, but at least it was peace.

Well, peace until October 7 2001, anyhow, when the militias, renamed the “Northern Alliance” and now paid by the Americans rather than the Soviets and with American air support and American special forces “spotters” on the ground to mark targets for the air support, were re-tasked with driving out the Taliban so that Osama bin Laden could be captured and brought to trial. But that’s another story for another day.

– Badtux the History Penguin

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* Iran is a largely mountainous country.
* Iraq is a largely flat country.

* Iran has been a country since the early 1500’s, when the Safavids conquered Persia from the remnant Mongol regime and set up a government that has continued to rule Iran for the subsequent 500 years with occasional regime changes. That Iran claims to be heir to a 2500 year heritage of being a unified nation. Iran is a country that has a long and proud history of being a country for longer than the United States has existed, and has a culture and heritage older than Western civilization as a whole.
* Iraq was never a country until the British cobbled it together from three Ottomon provinces in the 1920’s and then fought a bloody war against rebels in those provinces to enforce their rule.

* Iran controls all of their territory as a unified nation, and its military is loyal to the Iranian nation.
* Iraq has never been a unified nation, and even under Saddam much of the nation and much of the military was under the rule of warlords who were paid off by the national government to stay loyal. The slick thing the U.S. did was pay them more than Saddam paid them, so that they (and the army units they controlled) stayed home when the US invaded. Obviously that cannot be done with Iran.

* Iraq’s military was based upon obsolete Soviet export gear that the Iraqi military barely knew how to operate, and operated via Soviet military doctrine which assumed the availability of unlimited amounts of men and equipment and the ability to retreat and wait for winter if facing defeat.
* Iran’s military uses a hodge-podge of American-derived (reverse-engineered), ex-Soviet, Chinese, and home-grown gear, and has home-grown military doctrines to go with it that have been actually tested against a Western army in Lebanon in 2006 and worked relatively well, in that the invading Israeli army’s tanks were swiftly disabled and the Israelis were forced to declare victory and go home, towing their disabled tanks behind them.

* Iraq had MANPADs which disallowed using helicopters for close support, but that didn’t matter because it’s flat so the US could use tanks.
* Iran has MANPADs wich disallow using helicopters for close support, but the US can’t substitute tanks there for close support because the land is so mountainous.

* Iraq’s air defense system was obsolete Soviet gear that they didn’t know how to use.
* Iran has the latest systems from Russia and China, which aren’t perfect but mean that we can’t just fly B-52’s over Iran and carpet-bomb them until a very lengthy (and expensive) process of degrading those air defenses take place.

Summary: Invading Iran would be much different from invading Iraq. Expect a constant stream of explosive devices, missiles, mines, and rockets to bring progress of U.S. tanks along tank-trap roads in mountainous territory to a crawl. Air superiority will be a given but it won’t be usable in the early days of the war, when Iranian air defenses would make things miserable for U.S. aircraft.

Now add in the fact that the Strait of Hormuz is overlooked by literally tens of thousands of Silkworm anti-ship missiles, all of which will render it impassable due to being littered with hulks within minutes of an invasion of Iran starting, and you will see why only a lunatic would start a war with Iran. Or Donald J. Trump. But I repeat myself.

What’s going to happen? Not war, hopefully. But when it comes to Trump, “*nobody* would be stupid enough to do *that*” doesn’t seem to work anymore for predicting what’s going to happen….

– Badtux the Grouchy Penguin

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What was interesting about life in Germany during WW2 was that until late 1943 when mass bombings of Germany began, life for the average German really didn’t change once WW2 started. Sure, everybody knew someone who’d been drafted and sent to the front, but you still got up, went to work, went to church, children played in the streets, grocery stores had food in them, etc. And yeah, “those” people had been taken away and put into work camps to build war goods, but so what, everybody knew “those” people weren’t any good anyhow, they were all criminals, so it was okay that Germany ran the biggest prison system on the face of the planet.

Then 1943 happened, with massive numbers of Germans killed on the Eastern front as the Soviets pushed back at German advances, and the beginning of mass bombings of German cities causing huge disruptions to daily life. Suddenly life became more desperate. Hellish, even. Support for starting new wars suddenly disappeared. People didn’t want to surrender, exactly, they were still patriotic Germans, but war was no longer a fun and happy thing for them.

The United States has been at war for 18 years now, and we’re still Germany in 1941. We’ll probably always be Germany in 1941 as long as we don’t have waves of bombers flying over us dropping bombs on our cities, because when war seems to have no cost other than full employment for our people, why *not* go to war?

Well, other than the fact that the last war we won was frickin’ seven decades ago, and we needed a huge help by the Soviet Union (which killed 3/4ths of the German military personnel killed during the war) to do it. But if victory isn’t your goal, well.

– Badtux the History Penguin

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Talk of another American Civil War is going mainstream. The MAGAts don’t seem to mind. They think they’ll win one if it happens.

They are, of course, wrong.

Wars are generally won by the organized. Most of the MAGA-hats have never organized anything bigger than a church potluck, and a lot of them couldn’t even manage that. Meanwhile we here in the civilized states have organized some of the biggest corporations known to man, with world-wide supply chains and millions of employees. We control the logistical supply chain of the nation from the civilized states. The ships, trains, trucks, and planes that keep the nation’s goods moving are owned by us and run from our states.

The MAGA-hats are expecting the police and military to enter the fray on their side as their margin of victory. That expectation is the only reason why they would even dare try to wage civil war. But that was true in the first American Civil War too, where most of the U.S. Army and its equipment and gear went to the South. In the end it didn’t matter, the South proved unable to manage its economy to maximize its assets and was beset by inflexible leadership that chose generals based upon compatibility with Jefferson Davis rather than based upon competence (thus the sidelining of their best general, General Joseph Johnston, at multiple critical points because Jefferson Davis didn’t like him). In the end guns win battles but logistics are what wins wars — and we have the logistical expertise here in the civilized states.

My guess — in a second American Civil War the eventual outcome would be the same as in the first — the bubbas will mismanage their economy to the point where their armies collapse for lack of food and boots while at the same time food rots in the field because they cannot get it from where it is grown to where it is needed because they lack the logistical expertise, equipment, or mindset. Things would get bloody long before then, of course, and they could probably win some quick victories before lack of a logistical tail takes its toll, but in the end logistics will tell.

– Badtux the History Penguin

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So, you have the former director of the FBI saying this:

“I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013,” Comey said. “It’s possible, but I don’t know.”

And you have the news media following the aftermath of the raid on Twitler’s lawyer’s office, allegations that his fellow oligarchs paid off former mistresses, and so forth.

What to do, what to do….

Oh yeah, that thing.

So, Cheeto Mussolini fired off $224M worth of Tomahawk missiles at Syria to distract from all the bad news coming out about him. Meanwhile, Flint, Michigan, needs only $55M to replace its pipes so it’s no longer poisoning children.

But apparently a dictator poisoning his own people somewhere overseas is more important than our own children getting poisoned. Make America first! TruMp! tRump! TrUMp!

Yeah, are we tired of all this winning yet?

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Apparently Deadbeat Donnie is questioning why we’re still in Afghanistan after 17 years and suggesting it’s time to leave. Actually, it’s only been 15 years (16 years in December), but hey, at least His Fraudulency is asking the question.

So, there may have been a reason to stay in Afghanistan when Osama bin Laden was just over the border ready to pop back in and turn it into his terrorist playground again. But Barack Hussein Obama whacked bin Laden like a Mafia don whacks a disobedient goomba. So what do we gain by staying in Afghanistan? The only thing Afghanistan produces is heroin, watered with blood. We don’t need the heroin, and we don’t need to be the ones expending blood. As far as I can tell, the only difference between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in Afghanistan is that the “good guys” wear white head wraps and the “bad guys” wear black head wraps. Or maybe it’s the other way around, I forget my movie western hat specs. So anyhow, they both pretty much agree on the same repressive 13th century policies, all they disagree with is which one of them should implement it. So … why the hell are we involved in that mess, anyhow?

– Badtux the “Time to go, folks” Penguin

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This Memorial Day, feel sad for all those who died for old men’s wallets. Because other than WW2 and the initial Afghanistan war, none of our wars have been about defending our nation from outside attackers. They’ve all been about making old men rich (or, in the case of the American Civil War, defending old mens’ slave riches).

My dad had the measure of it when he signed up for the U.S. Navy during the Korean War to avoid being drafted into the Army. He wasn’t interested in dying on Hamburger Hill in order to defend South Korea against a North Korea that posed no threat to the United States. Especially given that South Korea was ruled by a brutal vicious dictator at the time and thus he would have been dying to keep one dicator from subjugating people already subjugated by another dictator, not for anybody’s freedom. That’s been most of our wars in our nation’s history — voluntary wars against people who never attacked the United States nor threatened the United States in any way, and nothing about freedom. Making the world safe for old men’s wallets.

– Badtux the Memorial Penguin

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Bonus music: Vera Lynn is 100 years old today!

I’ve been watching nuclear bombs go off. Only on archival footage from the 40’s and 50’s, thankfully, all scratchy and low-def black-and-white. But seems like our current administration, with its focus on the Pentagon rather than the State Department, might make it possible to view nuclear bombs going off in hi-def color. Specifically, if the U.S. ever attacks North Korea, they have nuclear weapons, and it’s likely that Seoul goes up in a nuclear blast a few hours thereafter, Tokyo a few days after that, and San Francisco a few weeks after that. (Hey, it takes *time* to haul a nuke across the Pacific on a fishing trawler!). Because that’s what happens when you threaten the existence of a nuclear power — they figure that if they’re going down anyhow, they’ll take their enemies down with them as much as possible.

Meanwhile, it’s time to revive another word that we thought died with the Soviet Union: политрук . Or “Politruck”, or “political monitor”. These are political officers embedded into government agencies to monitor loyalty to the regime. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the Orange Racist Russian Stooge is using an old Soviet tactic to ensure that the government apparatus is loyal to him, but it does make his Russian connection look rather … obvious?

Talking about which, FBI Director Comey testified to Congress and verified that there was, indeed, an investigation into the connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians — but, unlike with the Hillary investigation, he refused to discuss details. Because IOKIYR, I guess.

Finally, expect a new distraction shortly. Only 39% of voters now approve of Trump’s performance in office. The good news for Trump is that it won’t get much lower, or at least it won’t get lower than 27%.

The sad thing about the prior link is that it’s from 2005, and could be discussing the current President just as much as it was discussing President Bush back then. Progress. 😦 .

– Badtux the Dejavu Penguin

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