Saturday, October 31, 2009


This is coolbert:

"Despite stepped up security, Headley was able to talk his way into the newspaper's offices, according to an FBI complaint"

From the Chicago Tribune today, more on the Kinsman, IL. terrorism case:

"In alleged terror plot, a troubling twist"

That twist, what are described as "Americans" traveling to Europe to engage in terrorist activities, recce [reconnaissance] of the target, planning an attack on the newspaper in Denmark that published the so-called defamatory cartoons of the the Prophet Mohammad.

David Coleman Headley, described as a Pakistani-American businessman, with his school years friend from military academy prep school in Pakistan, Tahawwur Hussain Rana.

Rana, the proprietor of a goat and sheep ranch in Kinsman, producing halal food for the umma living in the U.S. Rana also running a travel agency as well!

Headley, also [??] a businessman, a self-described IMMIGRATION CONSULTANT!

"the FBI complaint alleges that his company did little business and may have been just a front."


"American" in the sense that both men are naturalized American citizens, eligible for an American passport, this Headley even CHANGING HIS NAME AS TO NOT SET OFF ALARM BELLS IN VARIOUS SORTS OF COMPUTERIZED "Total Information Awareness" systems?

[Donald Coleman Headley, originally name Daood Gilani, Daood legally changing his name in 2006!!]

Headley on two occasions doing the recce role, even getting inside the guarded Jylands Posten building, in part thanks to his American passport and American name?

These two men too are alleged to have "links" to Al Qaeda, whatever those "links" consist of? Hopefully more will follow as the story further transpires.

Satire is said to be an important part of Danish humor. I wonder if those cartoonists and the editor of Jylands Posten now regret their actions? This sort of threat will exist more or less forever?


Friday, October 30, 2009


This is coolbert:

"The problem is that we have no real information on this program." - - P. Ashton.

This only from yesterday:

"UN: U.S. Drone Strikes May Violate International Law"

"An AFP article from October 27 says that drone attacks by the United States against individuals in Afghanistan and Pakistan might be in violation of international law. The United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, Philip Alston, says the drone strikes may amount to summary executions, which are illegal under international law."

What is this? Since when is killing the enemy in a time of war ILLEGAL?

This law professor at New York University has some questions!

Something very troublesome will be the result of this? The U.N. is telling the U.S. that these drone strikes on Al Qaeda and Taliban jihadists may be illegal! Firing a Hellifre missile and "offing" a jihadi who is heart and soul dedicated to killing as many Americans as he can - - is now an illegal act? This is a violation of international war? Persons are being deprived of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness without judicial process?

What are we to make of all this? Joe Biden has said that the U.S. should continue the war in Afghan fighting more or less solely via the drone and Hellifre missile attack. Where does this "plan" stand now?

Killing of the jihadi, an unlawful enemy combatant [and I stress the use of the word UNLAWFUL!] during a time when a state of war exists, is no LONGER PERMISSIBLE!!??

At least when the bad guy is lit up from afar by a missile that turns him to the proverbial toast quick and pronto! [drones so far have proven to be effective too!]

The legal reasoning of the U.N. is what here? I am just not sure. War is war, and in war, you kill the enemy before he kills you! NO details of the "program" are being made public. That is the point of contention?

And Philip - - when you were on active duty - - what again was your MOS?

"PHILIP ALSTON: There are circumstances under which it could be legal . . . if you are definitely in an armed conflict situation"

Thank you Philip!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Goats & Sheep.

This is coolbert:

“He seemed to be a nice guy.”

Well, of course, aren't they all?!

Thanks in both instances here to the Chicago Tribune and the Globe and Mail!

Back on 18 October, this raid by the FBI created a mild stir:

"FBI raid in U.S. heartland may have Canadian connection"

"Mystery surrounds dragnet that saw of scores of armed federal agents overrun Islamic slaughterhouse"

FBI and other federal agents, in significant numbers, raiding a sheep and goat ranch [?] in Kinsman, IL. Kinsman, a sleepy little hamlet, about 100 persons, woken up by an influx of "outsiders", armed to the teeth, feds with a purpose in mind, at the time, exactly what not being totally not clear.

A sheep and goat ranch and halal slaughter house, critters killed in the Islamic manner, ritually being rendered suitable for consumption by the faithful!

The purpose of the FBI raid now more clear!

"Danish terror plot: 2 Chicago friends accused of scheming to attack Danish newspaper over cartoons about Muhammad"

"Federal authorities say operation linked to al-Qaida"

Persons plotting a jihad attack against the Jylands Posten newspaper in Denmark, conspirators run to ground after being observed doing a recce [reconnaissance, several of them]! Persons with MORE than mere aspirations! Jihadists [?] with murder in their hearts, thwarted by law enforcement!

The accused being David Coleman Headley [a/k/a Daood Gilani] and Tahawwur Hussain Rana. Daood and his friend Rana, best friends, having both been students previously at a most prestigious Pakistani military prep school!

"Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani in 2006, allegedly to avoid raising red flags when he traveled, was charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. Rana, 48, was accused of financially supporting Headley, arranging his overseas travel and discussing potential targets with him."

"Headley was to attack the Jyllands-Posten office or launch a more focused attempt at killing cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and an editor there."

"Headley and Rana as classmates at Cadet College Hasan Abdal, Pakistan's first military prep school"

Attack and kill the cartoonist and the editor of the newspaper in Denmark who published the cartoons so offensive to Muslims worldwide.

Pre-emption worked here? One guy is freely talking now? Caught up in a situation for which there is no remediation!

Make a hard bed - - sleep on it pal!


Stevie Nicks.

This is coolbert:

“I call it a soldiers' iPod. It has all the crazy stuff that I listen to, and my collections I've been making since the '70s for going on the road, when I'm sick..."

Here with the charitable work of the rock singer and musician, Stevie Nicks [Stephanie].

Passing out iPods to the wounded soldiers in the military hospital, a personal visit, some small talk, and a token of her esteem - - a music device [iPod] loaded with musical selections, personally selected by Stevie herself.

"Stevie Nicks' Band of Soldiers"

"In late 2004, Nicks began visiting Army and Navy medical centers in Washington, D.C. While visiting wounded service men and women, Nicks became determined to find an object she could leave with each soldier that would raise their spirits . . . She eventually decided to purchase hundreds of iPod Nanos, load them with music, artists, and play-lists which she would hand select, and autograph them. She now regularly delivers these tokens of her appreciation [to wounded soldiers]"

An ongoing project, for which a lot of praise ought to be given. Done without fanfare, and honest-to-GOD selfless charity, seldom seen.

Very remarkable and to be lauded and praised.

Stevie too is still a very sexy looking older lady!!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Range Detective!

This is coolbert:

This was a new one on me:

"Bounty hunting in Rhodesia"

"During the Rhodesian Bush War, cattle rustling reached epidemic proportions in the late 1970s. This was part of . . . [the] strategy of the guerrillas against the white minority government in Salisbury. . . . mercenaries were hired to confront the rustlers. They were called Range Detectives, and most of them were [American] Vietnam veterans . . . Payment was roughly 7 Rhodesian dollars a day, and a 750 Rhodesian dollars bonus for each rustler caught."

Americans, primarily [?] Vietnam combat veterans, performing a quasi-military role during the Rhodesian "Bush War". White Rhodesian settlers versus the black African insurgent forces of the ZAPU and ZANU.

An integral part of insurgent strategy was cattle rustling? Seems so. American "troops", mercenaries in Africa, combating the "epidemic" and using military style tactics, and weapons to do so. Performing an important function on behalf of the conventional Rhodesian military.

These "Range Detective" reminds one of the American Tom Horn. Frontiersman/scout/tracker/translator/STOCK DETECTIVE from the period of the American Old West, almost one hundred years earlier!!

"Mercenaries" - - military men functioning in a role normally reserved to law enforcement, and doing so in a war zone, hostile action being a given! "Troops" adept at the use of weapons and prepared to use same on a moments notice, and having to do so with regularity. As was the person of Tom Horn.

Tom Horn is seen in some circles as a hired gun - - an assassin - - a man quick on the trigger and in the pay of rich men - - Horn doing the biding of those less than scrupulous!

Tom Horn was a man probably only responding to perceived threats, in an environment that was hostile at all times, the threat of violence, as it was in Rhodesia, being an accepted way of life. Stock detective or range detective either was dealing with persons ready to kill or be killed, everyone understanding the rules of the game and behaving with ruthlessness!


Monday, October 26, 2009

A Troop.

This is coolbert:

“Troop A skillfully penetrated four kilometers of nearly impassable jungle terrain and unhesitatingly mounted a fierce assault directly into the heavily fortified North Vietnamese Army position."

This was just recently a major news item! American soldiers FROM THE VIETNAM WAR, RECEIVING THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION! The highest collective award that the American nation can award to the deserving!


"39 years after jungle battle, unit awarded"

This has been termed: "The Anonymous Battle".

"The battle that day, March 26, 1970, was fierce and bloody."

A company-sized unit of the 1st Air Cavalry, American infantrymen in Vietnam, having walking into a bunker complex of a North Vietnamese Army [NVA] battalion, pinned down and in sore need of help.

Aid and assistance coming in the form of the cavalry. The armored cavalry of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment [ACR], A Troop [a company sized unit also].

"For the next eight hours, Poindexter and his soldiers would battle the jungle and a determined, dug-in enemy force as they fought their way to their fellow soldiers."

Just as in the western movies, the cavalry arriving just in time, saving the day. Distinguishing themselves in the process, ONLY BEING PROPERLY AWARDED FOR THEIR HEROICS FORTY YEARS LATER!!


* The armored cavalry concept was one of the few American ideas in Vietnam that seemed to work. Against the odds, and the perceptions of the "experts", ARMOR could and was used in Vietnam! Armored cavalry, those self-contained combined-arms units consisting of armored personnel carriers [laden with heavy infantry], tanks, artillery and helicopter-gunships, all worked as a charm in Vietnam, jungle notwithstanding!!

* In this particular instance, perhaps ONLY the armored cavalry could have saved the day. That NVA battalion-sized unit was dug in, with bunkers of earth and wood, relatively impervious to even air strikes. Close-up direct fire from the main guns of tanks, and assault by fresh infantry backed up by the organic firepower of the protected APC's WAS THE ONLY THING THAT WOULD HAVE WORKED IN THIS CIRCUMSTANCE.

* A Troop would have had to "hack" their way through the jungle the hard way, bulldozing with tanks and special bulldozers [Rome plows?] in the lead, a trail being created for the remaining APC's and armor to follow. Where no path existed, the ACR MADE THEIR OWN!!

* A troop of ACR had extraordinary firepower. Each APC had mounted one fifty caliber [.50] machine gun and two thirty caliber [.30] machine guns, each MG protected by a gun-shield. That does include organic main gun tank fire or on call artillery and helicopter-gunship supporting fires.

* This was not the only occurrence where an armored cavalry unit saved the day in Vietnam. An Australian unit under assault and in a precarious position at Long Tan also called upon and were rescued by a company sized unit of APC. Same occurring during the relief of the embattled U.S. firebase GOLD! ACR units in Vietnam performed admirably and with distinction, such combined-arms units, however, not even being deployed until 1968 or so - - too late!!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Electra & Orion.

This is coolbert:

Here is an aircraft, that in the civilian version was less than successful, BUT in the MILITARY version, was an eminent success.

The Lockheed Electra [civilian passenger aircraft] and the P-3 Orion [naval reconnaissance aircraft]!

1. Lockheed L-188 Electra.

"The Lockheed L-188 Electra is an American turboprop airliner built by Lockheed. It was the first turboprop airliner produced in the United States. It first flew in 1957, and when first delivered had performance only slightly inferior to that of a turbojet airliner while at a lower operating cost"

The Electra was a propeller driven turboprop passenger airliner that filled a gap that existed in the late 1950's. That period when the piston-driven internal combustion engine powered airliners were to be replaced by the jet airliner of the family Boeing 707 and such.

The Electra was propeller driven but very fast! Had "lower operating cost" and could operate from conventional air fields that existed a the time. Air fields quite often too small to handle an accommodate a jet airliner.

There was however, the perceived and probably true unenviable safety record of the Electra. Had a bad habit of crashing. That aircraft JUST DOES NOT LOOK RIGHT!! Short stubby wings with the oversize and what appear to be TOO-BIG turboprop engines attached!

I was just a kid at the time, but recall quite well the news media covering the various crashes of the Electra with some degree of consternation. Airline travel to an extent was STILL a novelty in the 1950's and any danger to the public, perceived, real or otherwise, was widely publicized!

* "On February 3, 1959, American Airlines Flight 320 en route from Chicago to New York City crashed on approach"

* "On September 29, 1959, a Braniff Electra (Braniff Flight 542) crashed in Buffalo, Texas"

* "on March 17, 1960, an Electra operated as Northwest Orient Flight 710, en route from Chicago to Miami, Florida, broke apart in flight"

And indeed, there WAS a basic structural design FLAW with the Electra that made the aircraft more susceptible than usual to possible breakup and CRASH!

"engine mounts---following the failure of an engine mount during a hard landing---allowed too much processional movement of the propellers at a critical frequency which allowed 'whirl-mode' aeroelastic phenomenon, 'flutter' in flight."

AND - - EVEN modifications and repairs had been made to existing Electra already in service, there continued to be "accidents" of a catastrophic nature!

"A total of 144 L-188s were built, 57 of which have been destroyed in accidents"

[it was not until the mid-1980's that the last of civilian version L-188 were retired? Those planes still in service functioning as freighters!]

2. Lockheed P-3 Orion.

In CONTRAST, the military version of the Electra, the naval P-3 Orion, has a MOST enviable safety record. A workhorse that has acquitted itself with panache', having a very good reputation, and doing so for a period of ALMOST FIFTY YEARS!!

"The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a maritime patrol aircraft used by numerous navies and air forces around the world, primarily for maritime patrol, reconnaissance, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare."

"is based on the same design philosophy as the Lockheed L-188 Electra. It is not the same aircraft structurally" [NOT EXACTLY THE SAME BUT VERY SIMILAR!!]

"Over the years, more than 40 combatant & noncombatant variants of the P-3 have been developed due to the rugged reliability displayed by the platform flying 12 hour plus missions 200 ft (61 m) over salt water while maintaining an excellent safety record."

The Orion is a "yeoman" type aircraft, and has functioned very well. Liked as a flying machine and again - - having an outstanding and enviable safety record so unlike the civilian version of the airplane.


ONLY now and in the next few years will we see the Orion replaced - - the fifty year record of the P-3 going to be difficult to equal, much less surpass!

"The U.S. Navy's P-3C aircraft are slated for replacement beginning in 2013"

Perhaps I am wrong about all this? Merely NOT looking right is not necessarily an indication of something really being NOT right?


Friday, October 23, 2009


This is coolbert:

From the prior blog entry:

"during WW2, the best minds of the entire world were devoted to this question."

"This question" - - continual research and engineering development the intention of which was to improve the performance of the World War Two [WW2] war bird to the highest possible degree of operational status. Improvements to all aspects, engines, weaponry, electronics, aerodynamics, etc. Produce an aircraft that can fly higher, faster, further, carry more ordnance, equipped with the latest and most sophisticated avionics! Aerial superiority, supremacy, and dominance being the goal - - "aerial superiority, supremacy, and dominance" being at the time absolutely vital and critical to final victory!

Here are three such men, "best minds of the entire world", who devoted themselves during the war years to such "development".

Three men who also, in the years subsequent to the end of the war, also distinguished themselves as writers in the genre' of science fiction.

1. Issac Asimov.

"Isaac Asimov . . . was an American author and professor of biochemistry, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, he also stated that (he had ever met) only two people who . . . were more intelligent than himself [Marvin Minsky and Carl Sagan]."

"he [Asimov] spent three years during World War II working as a civilian at the Philadelphia Navy Yard's Naval Air Experimental Station."

2. Robert Heinlein.

"Robert Anson Heinlein . . . was an American science fiction writer. Often called 'the dean of science fiction writers', he was one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of the genre. He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality."

"During World War II, he did aeronautical engineering for the U.S. Navy, also recruiting Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp to work at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Pennsylvania."

3. Sprague de Camp.

Sprague de Camp in the center, Heinlein on the left, Asimov on the right.

"Trained as an aeronautical engineer, De Camp received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1930 and Master of Science degree in Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1933."

"During World War II, de Camp worked at the Philadelphia Naval Yard with fellow authors Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve."

"Lyon Sprague de Camp . . . was an American author of science fiction and fantasy books, non-fiction and biography. In a writing career spanning 60 years, he wrote over 100 books, including novels and notable works of non-fiction, including biographies of other important fantasy authors."


* Heinlein was a military man. Graduate of Annapolis, the Naval Academy, and a man who had worked closely with the original developments regarding radio communications and the applicability thereof for aircraft carrier operations. Was personally known to the highest authorities in the U.S. Navy. It should be noted his war-time was in capacity of a civilian.

* Asimov was one of the most brilliant human beings of all time? A prodigious writer - - possessing a mind of the most probing and inquisitive type. Prior to his untimely passing, the man set to journal all his thoughts regarding the future, science, inventions, etc. War-time service too as a civilian, at a very young age, his superior intelligence being recognized for what it was!

* Having persons of the caliber of Asimov, Heinlein and Sprague de Camp, ALL THREE working on the SAME PROBLEMS at the SAME TIME at the SAME FACILITY is a novelty NEVER again to be repeated. The most absolutely astronomic priority was placed on improving and developing the entire line of military war birds to the highest level of development in the shortest amount of time - - IT BEING RECOGNIZED THAT CONTROL OF THE AIR WAS CRITICAL TO VICTORY DURING THE PERIOD OF WW2!!

* AND, these three men, war-time colleagues and collaborators, post-war, REVOLUTIONIZED THE ENTIRE GENRE' OF SCIENCE FICTION. The standard, the acme, the archetype of outstanding science fiction writing is attributable to all three men, each in their own manner and style!!

"science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality"! Prior to WW2, science fiction was in the category of "pulp-fiction"? Persons such as Heinlein, de Camp, and Asimov not only raised the literary quality of the genre', but also well understood the "science and engineering plausibility" from a practical, experimental, and theoretical standpoint, each man having been at the "cutting edge" of such developments during WW2!

"best minds of the entire world"? You had better believe it!!


War Bird!

This is coolbert:

As long as we are on the topic of World War Two [WW2] war birds [Spitfire, Mustang, La-7], specifically the fighter interceptor, called at the time the "pursuit plane", here is a "thought exercise" from an interesting web forum, thanks again to Mombu:

"Modern day propeller fighter - hypothetical "

The question is posed, by Mombu:

"With relatively easily available technology off the shelf (no railguns or laser cannon please). Lets say a reasonable development budgetof oh say $300 million. The question is are we capable of producing superior prop aircraft than the great fighters of WWII and what configuration would it take?"

Criteria as follows: [defined by Mombu]

1. "Mission: Air superiority/dominance during WWII. Land based."

2. "Must be a propeller aircraft."

3. "Only armament allowed are guns/cannons."

"all of modern technology is allowed to be used . . . Just as long as the driving force isn't a jet."

Design a modern propeller driven military aircraft, a fighter/interceptor/"pursuit" plane the primary mission which would be to SHOOT-DOWN OTHER ENEMY AIRCRAFT - - the goal being air supremacy!! AND a design that would have the "configuration" with the appearance being?

"Air supremacy . . . is complete control of the skies."

"Air superiority . . . being in a more favorable position than the opponent."

"Air parity . . . control of the skies only above friendly troop positions."

Modern technology, design concepts, systems, used within the confines of the criteria as enunciated by Mombu, producing a "boss" fighter/interceptor/"pursuit" plane of the highest possible caliber!!

Some interesting comments and suggestions from the forum:

"I assume you mean to allow turboprops"

"Gun sights tied to radars and computers would be 'death dot' types. Gatling gun or high speed revolver would shred any WWII fighter in a second."

"I'd guess you'd end up with an all weather plane between a P-38and P-61 in size. Likely twin turbo prop to free up the centerline for radar and the gun. Slightly sweep [sic] wing and aerodynamics. . . a top speed something better than 550mph. Engines and pilot virtually proofed against any air fighter guns of the period andthe rest pretty robust."

"a CIWS or two mounted, then you would even have to point the nose at em'."

"A couple of alternatives for the center line gun . . . Through the prop hub - - Rear engine"

"Trike gear would be essential even for a single engine"

"2 different powers, one small for cruise efficiency and range with a bigger one for combat (oil etc. preheated)."

"Take one Kuznetsov NK-12MV turboprop giving 14,795 shp . . . For a single engine fighter . . . An even more mind boggling configuration would be two NK-12MV's in a twin boom design, ala' the P-38."

"The real value of this design would be using the . . . transonic counter-rotating propellers" [should read contra-rotating!]

"Come to think of it, the single engine version would probably resemble the Convair XFY-1, Pogo."

"[might resemble] the Japanese Shinden interceptor."

"[resembling a] P-61 Black Widow."

From the comments of the various contributors to the forum, we are able to surmise that:

The modern version of the WW2 "pursuit" war bird might have the appearance of:

1. P-38 "Lightning".

2. P-61 "Black Widow".

3. Japanese "Shinden".

One view of the "Shinden".

Here with a three-dimensional view of the "Shinden".

4. German Do-335.

Note the engine in the rear. This is the push-pull design.

5. XFY-1 "Pogo". [sans "tail-sitter" landing posture!]


* The consensus is the turboprop is the way to go! NOT the piston-driven, internal combustion engine as used during in the WW2 war bird! A turboprop with dual contra-rotating propellers [not counter-rotating], two four-bladed propellers on the same shaft.

* One engine or two is not clear. That push-pull design of the Do-335 is most interesting. Called a center-line-of-thrust concept. Allows for a MORE streamlined and aerodynamic perfect design?

* Firepower consisting of the 20 mm "gatling" gun slaved to a controlling radar. Guns carried in turrets in the manner of a CIWS? Two turrets [one top, one bottom of the fuselage] and one additional gun [no turret] firing through the center of the prop? Boss!

* Mombu does not specify if the modern prop-driven fighter/interceptor is to be a one-seater or a crew-served aircraft. A pilot with a "weapons officer" in the rear, in the manner of a Phantom F4 is the way to go? The P-61 had a crew of three, pilot, gunner, radar operator/co-pilot and gunner [facing backwards].

* That Japanese interceptor "Shinden" greatly resembles a Burt Rutan type aircraft. Or does the Burt Rutan type aircraft greatly resemble the "Shinden"?

* The cockpit, engine or engines, critical electronics all to be protected by a titanium armored "bathtub", similar to what is found on the USAF A-10? Protection of an enviable variety!

* With regard to the tricycle landing gear rather than the "tail-dragger" variety:

"Tricycle gear aircraft have the advantage that it is nearly impossible to make them 'nose over' . . . Tricycle gear planes are also easier to handle on the ground and reduce the possibility of a ground loop."

* Do not preclude the possibility of a goodly number of enemy aircraft being DESTROYED ON THE GROUND FROM A HIGH-FLYING YEAR 2009 MODERN PROPELLER DRIVEN WAR BIRD! The modern war bird would have day/night capability and be able to attack enemy aircraft with impunity during periods of darkness, firing that 20 mm turret mounted "gatling gun" downward, the modern war bird not even having to strafe in conventional ground attack!!

A modern fighter/interceptor, propeller driven [turboprop engine], with modern weaponry [CIWS] linked and slaved to modern radar and electronics and formidably armored would be more or less unbeatable. Such an aircraft, taking advantage of inherent strong points over the much prosaic WW2 designs, could engage and defeat any number of 1940's-style war birds with ease, in a leisurely fashion almost!!??


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


This is coolbert:

Don Wade and Roma, WLS - - 890, are talking this morning on the local listen-as-you-ride-to-work radio show.

Subject is Afghan and the vacillation of the President on the decision shortly to be made [?] whether or not to send more troops [40,000] to Afghan!

According to Don Wade:

The decision that was made this last February by the President to send an additional 17,000 troops HAS YET TO BE IMPLEMENTED!! NONE of those soldiers have yet to arrive in Afghan!! HOW MANY months is that and deployments so far are nada!

Infrastructure is so lacking in Afghan that there is no place to house the PROMISED FORCES THAT EVERYONE ALREADY PROBABLY ASSUMED ARE THERE AND ON THE GROUND!!

Well even the most casual of observers is here able to make an instantaneous, intuitive inference that is "spot-on"! If you NOW cannot accommodate the 17,000 promised troops that are supposed to be in the pipe-line, how will you be able to accommodate an additional 40,000 soldiers by next summer at the latest?


The supply routes - - logistic support - - to Afghan - - AND EVEN MORE SO WITHIN AFGHAN ITSELF, ARE TENUOUS AND DIFFICULT AT BEST! Increased troop presence, massive even, will only make a bad situation more dire!

"Lieutenants think tactics - - generals think logistics!"

How true! Mc Chrystal at this point has to have his thinking cap on - - and pronto!

[Don Wade and Roma have an abiding interest in the military. Their son Hunter is a career Marine officer and a pilot who has flown as a member of the Blue Angels.]


Monday, October 19, 2009


This is coolbert:

"This is it. They're finally together. Right now we can detonate our explosive and destroy the Chairman."

From way back when. Forty years ago exactly.

The current jihadi suicide bomber technique, the entire concept, all the rage and the fad now, of placing a remotely controlled and detonated bomb in the rectum [or swallowing], or even having a explosive device [remotely detonated too], surgically implanted into the body of a jihadi, was originally thought of [??] by the Hollywood producer/director/screenwriter types as seen in the 1969 movie:

"The Chairman (1969)"

"Gregory Peck is a scientist. He is sent on a mysterious mission to China [Red] . . . Peck is equipped with a micro-transmitter in his brain which monitors his physical status and bugs his every conversation, including the one he has after playing table tennis with Chairman Mao."


If the opportunity presented itself, the option TO KILL CHAIRMAN MAO COULD BE REALIZED, PECK ALSO DYING AS A RESULT OF THE DETONATION [obviously, the big bang in the head would have done Peck in as well!!]!

Mao and Peck actually have a scene in the movie where they engage in a ping-pong game [table tennis]! The decision to detonate and kill Mao being a no/go!

Life imitates art - - is the adage! True?



This is coolbert:

Here today, from the Times of India:

"China projects Kashmir as a separate country"

This is troubling? China - - apparently trying to meddle in the affairs of India. Using the disputed border and region of Kashmir as a pretext to "cause some aggravation"!

NOT since the days of the Tang Dynasty, thirteen hundred years ago, has China attempted to exercise dominion and sway in this part of the world?

[one can speak of a thirteen hundred [1300] year continuity of Chinese culture. A historical context since the Tang of amazing proportions]

"Besides issuing separate visas to Indian passport holders from Jammu and Kashmir, China is also projecting the disputed territory as an independent country in other ways."

"Visitors to Tibet, especially journalists invited by the Chinese government, are given handouts where Kashmir is indicated as a country separate from India."

China - - snubbing legitimate Indian claims to Kashmir, seeking to exacerbate existing tensions as part of an expansionist scheme?

The Kashmir situation has festered for over sixty years now! NO resolution in sight either. At the end of the British Raj, the ruling Maharajah of Kashmir [a Sikh] opted for consolidation of his realm into India, a decision NEVER acceded to by the Pakistani.

AND, for the last twenty years, Kashmir, the Indian-controlled half, has been the scene of a particularly brutal insurgency, Islamic groups contesting by force Indian rule!

Kashmir, at one time, along with the Swat valley, were both POPULAR INTERNATIONAL TOURIST DESTINATIONS - - IDYLLIC SPOTS!! Have not been so for some time now. And are not likely to be seeing an influx of tourism for any time in the foreseeable future!

Again, China now seeks to exacerbate an already tense situation and make matters worse? Taking sides more decidedly so - - to the detriment of India!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rall & Krupinski.

This is coolbert:

"Why did the Germans have such high scoring?"

Here are two excellent YouTube videos. Interviews with top German fighter pilots from World War Two [WW2].

1. "Bf109 Ace Günther Rall Interview"

An interview Gunther Rall. The authoritativfe source answers in an authoritative manner"

"Why did the Germans have such high scoring?"

There valid reasons why the top German aces of WW2 had "such high scoring" [KILLS]!

"Three conditions!" Which are - - according to Rall:

Watch the video and you will find out.

The Me-109 is often referred to as the Bf-109. It can go either way? Bf is short for: Bayerische Flugzeugwerke [Bavarian Aircraft Works]!

2. "Me262 Ace Walter "Graf" Krupinski Interview"

An interview with Walter Krupinski. "Count" Krupinski to his fellow German combat aviators.

An interview that could be perhaps better entitled: The "Count" that felt like a "King"!

Walter Krupinski was another top German WW2 aviator and fighter pilot ace:

* "accredited with 197 victories in 1,100 sorties."

* "Krupinski had bailed out four times and had been wounded five times"


* Rall and Krupinski both are the authoritative sources speaking with authority? When they speak, you should listen?

* Krupinski was shot down on four occasions and wounded five times, surviving the war, living to old age, still apparently healthy and spry even in his later years!

* It is almost embarrassing to hear these Germans expound in such excellent, fluent and almost profound English.

Watch these videos and enjoy. Thanks to SexyToshi in both cases.



This is coolbert:

"surely foreign elements, particularly those linked to the global arrogance were involved".

These sort of comments create a lot of worry. Dire reprisals are promised. Suicide bombing begets suicide bombing?

"Iran vows response to suicide blast "

A suicide attack in Baluchistan [on the border between Iran and Pakistan] directed at Revolutionary Guards commanders has claimed a lot of victims.

A group, Sunni Muslim as opposed to the predominantly Shia of Iran, claims responsibility?

But the Iranians suspect other actors as well?

"According to state media, an armed Sunni group claimed responsibility for the attack"

"Iran has promised a swift and crushing response to a suicide attack in the country's Sistan-Baluchestan province that killed at least 35 people, including 11 Revolutionary Guards commanders."

Code words are being bandied about here right and left:

* Foreign elements.

* Global arrogance.

That means the U.S. and perhaps other players, such as Britain? Anglo-American interests beware?

This is merely locals raising havoc? NOT having "foreign elements" as mentors? In the minds of the Iranians, their perspective is that - - anything that goes wrong - - is undoubtedly "foreign elements" - - "global arrogance"!


Saturday, October 17, 2009


This is coolbert:

"When I saw Mustangs over Berlin, I knew the jig was up." - - Reichmarshal Hermann Göring

Again - - from an obviously biased but generally factual web site:

"The aircrafts [La-7] record was legendary, matching 115 La-7 losses to over 3,100 victories over German enemy aircraft."

Speaking here of aerial combat, "dogfighting" between Red Air Force piloted La-7's and the German opposition.

Definite, even overwhelming advantage to the Red Air Force. Statistics that make you sit up and take notice, and even make you wonder if this could be so! A kill ratio in favor of the La-7 over German opposition of about 27:1!!

The Soviet La-7, analogous in performance to the American P-51 Mustang? So it is generally thought?

Consider these statistics from the wiki entry for the Mustang:

"By 8 May 1945, the 8th, 9th and 15th Air Forces' P-51 groups, all but three of which flew another type before converting to the Mustang, claimed some 4,950 aircraft shot down . . . and 4,131 destroyed on the ground. Losses were about 2,520 aircraft [Mustangs]"

In the case of the P-51, a favorable ratio of about 4:1 over the Luftwaffe!

Aerial combat over the skies of Germany, Luftwaffe aircraft defending their airspace against the strategic bomber offensive of the allies, German aviators being blasted out of the skies by escorting Mustangs. And A LOT of German aircraft destroyed on the ground too [do those kills count as shoot-downs?]!!

Goering too, when he saw those Mustangs, knew that Germany was now more or less defenseless against the allied strategic bomber offensive, the fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe now having met their match and then some, the Nazi war effort from that point forward [all well before that too?] doomed!!



This is coolbert:

Here with some info on the Lavochkin design bureau.

Soviet aircraft design group from the era of World War Two [WW2].

"named for its head designer, Semyon Lavochkin"

Most famous for the La-7 of WW2!

But for decades now has not been heard from? Went the way of the dodo for some reason that is not discernible? Tupelov, MiG, Sukhoi, Antonov are still going concerns. But not Lavochkin?

"The company was founded in 1937 as the Lavochkin Aircraft Design Bureau . . . named for its head designer, Semyon Lavochkin . . . The bureau was closed in 1960 upon its head designer's death, but was later re-opened . . . to work on interplanetary probe designs"

"NPO Lavochkin (also called Lavochkin Research and Production Association) is a Russian aerospace company. It is a major player in the Russian space program"

"one of Russia's leading companies on development and practical use of funds for unmanned space exploration, the heavenly bodies, as well as for solving problems related to strengthening the country's defense"

The Lavochkin group is still going strong! NOW concentrates on unmanned space vehicles - - still - - however - - concerned with "strengthening the country's defense"!



This is coolbert:

"Rall flew against all the major Allied fighters and had a high regard for the Spitfire and the Russian Lavochkin 7"

Rall, the German fighter ace from World War Two [WW2], the authoritative source [?], had a "high regard" for the British Spitfire and the Soviet Lavochkin-7!

I am of course familiar with the British Spitfire.

And too I am am of course familiar with the American P-51 Mustang.

But much less so familiar with the Lavochkin-7.

Indeed, hardly familiar at all with any of the Soviet aircraft as flown by the Red Air Force during WW2.

"The Lavochkin La-7 . . . was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II."

The La-7 was more than a match for German fighter aircraft of the time [Me-109, Fw-190, etc.]? In the proper hands was equal to the Spitfire and Mustang? Does this surprise anyone?

Here comments from an obviously biased but perhaps generally factual web site:

"very likely the best fighter aircraft of the entire war, on either side."

"The aircrafts record was legendary, matching 115 La-7 losses to over 3,100 victories over German enemy aircraft. The excellent performance of the La-7 combined with a veteran pilot made it nearly untouchable but more importantly it kept novices from succumbing to the enemy before they could acquire the necessary combat skills."

"By later 1944 German AF even issued an order to not engage newer Russian fighters below 5000m [about 15,000 feet] unless by completely surprise and numerical advantage."

And served in the years subsequent to the end of the war as a "testbed" for advanced "propulsion systems":

"The aircraft was also used as a testbed to explore advanced propulsion systems, including a tail-mounted liquid-fuelled rocket engine (La-7R), two under-wing pulse jets (La-7D), and two under-wing ramjets (La-7S)"

The La-7 seems to be a slightly improved version of the La-5? An improved leading edge to the wing and some components [wooden] replaced by metal alloy manufacture. [slight improvements can sometimes result in big advantages?]

The La-7 was more or less analogous to the Spitfire and the Mustang? And in the Soviet fashion able to operate off of unimproved airfields and also rugged, requiring less maintenance and stood up better under greater stress?

Just a few minor improvements meant a significant edge in a "dogfight". Soviet fliers by 1944 and 1945 had the means available to dominate the skies and even if necessary tussle with and defeat American and British aviators if the need arose?


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This is coolbert:

"In my experience, the RAF pilot was the most aggressive and capable fighter pilot during the Second World War." - - Rall.

Here with the obituary [4 October] for Generalleutnant Günther Rall. Thanks to the Telegraph.

"Generalleutnant Günther Rall"

German fighter pilot and World War Two ace. Survived the war and had a subsequent successful military career as well. Another German pilot from that conflict [WW2] whose exploits almost defy the imagination. In the same league as Hartmann and Rudel, and perhaps even more so!

"Generalleutnant Günther Rall, who has died aged 91, was one of the few outstanding German fighter leaders to survive the Second World War; by the end of the conflict he was the third-highest-scoring fighter ace of all time with 275 aerial victories."

"He achieved a total of 275 victories during World War II: 272 on the Eastern Front, of which 241 were against Soviet fighters. He flew a total of 621 combat missions, was shot down 8 times and was wounded 3 times"

"In postwar years he was one of the founding fathers of the modern German Air Force and rose to become its chief"

"During his time on the Eastern Front, Rall came up against many excellent Soviet pilots and was himself shot down seven times"

"On May 12 1944 he attacked a large formation and shot down two USAAF P-47 Thunderbolts, but was then himself shot down"

"He flew the P-51 and was amazed at the luxury and quality of the American planes."

"Rall flew against all the major Allied fighters and had a high regard for the Spitfire and the Russian Lavochkin 7, which appeared on the scene as he was leaving the Eastern Front, but he always considered the USAAF's P-51 Mustang to be supreme."


* Rall should be considered as the authoritative source concerning WW2 aerial combat? This man of all would know? I think so. When Rall says the British combat fliers were the best, or that the Ameerican P-51 was the best fighter aircraft of WW2, no further comment is required?

* Personally I have a degree of skepticism about those very high number of "kills" the Germans aerial aces of WW2 were able to attain. I am wrong about this? Extraordinary claims of aerial victories were valid and NOT exaggeration nor included planes destroyed on the ground, etc.? Granted, in the early days of combat on the Eastern Front, flying against inferior Soviet aircraft piloted by Russians of inferior training and experience, a high number of "kills" was "easily" possible? Things got stiffer as the war went on however! Rall excelled at all times, regardless of who was the adversary! 275 "kills" is NOT embellishment, exaggeration, or anything other than the truth!!

* The number one American pilot and ace of WW2 was Dick Bong, with forty "kills". An achievement for which Major Bong was awarded the Medal of Honor. Contrast that forty kills figure with the 275 of Rall!!

* Rall was shot down eight times, wounded three times, surviving the war in a miraculous manner! Rall had to bail out eight times while his plane fell from the sky? Rall was very LUCKY too. And not totally omnipotent in the air as a combat pilot. Was human, fallible, and again, very LUCKY!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This is coolbert:

From a prior blog entry:

"I have often thought that an experiment, the U.S. Army should issue entire units AK's and PKM's . . . Give the troops a quick and dirty lesson in AK and PKM marksmanship and let them have a go at the enemy."

Well, this has happened and is happening right now, as we speak! U.S. troops carrying and using the AK in combat.

NOT sure about Afghan. But in Iraq some U.S. troops are being authorized to carry AK's!

Thanks to Mombu:

"U.S. Troops Use Iraqi AK-47s"

"'in certain circumstances we allow soldiers to have an AK-47. They have to demonstrate some proficiency with the weapon ... demonstrate an ability to use it,'"

In this particular case, American armor troops, normally NOT provided with a full complement of M16 or M4 rifle, the troops allowed to carry an AK if demonstrably showing a proficiency with the weapon, needing additional firepower when confronted with Iraqi insurgents.

Also, from the Iraq conflict, I have seen pictures of U.S. troops carrying the PKM machine gun. Complete with attached scope!

The PKM fires the old-fashioned but very lethal 7.62 X 54 Russian round. The .223 M249 SAW has not provided the desired firepower in city and urban conflicts! Dismounted M240 machine guns are an option, but why not use the alternative PKM when available?

I would think that the entire nation of Iraq is awash with AK and AK ammo. And U.S. forces have captured a long time ago just enormous stockpiles of weaponry that is being used to some extent! Ammunition and spare parts should not be a problem!

Jam proof weapons are available and right now! Perhaps a devoted reader to the blog, on active service right now, experienced in these matters can comment!


Missile Launchings?

This is coolbert:

Here are some interesting graphics and photos of what are described as "missile launchings"!

One by North Korea, the other by Iran.

NOT really "missiles" as the term is generally, ordinarily and commonly understood!

Rockets, rocket artillery, not possessing an internal on board-guidance system.

One photograph purportedly "doctored"!!

1. North Korea.

North Korean M1991 MLRS - - 240-mm.

This is the North Korean M1991 MLRS [multiple launch rocket system]?

"The M1991 MLRS is a more powerful version of the older M1985. It
has 22 launching tubes and fires the same 240-mm rockets . . . A
claimed maximum range of fire is 43 km."

2. Iran.


"IRAN: Doctored missile image?"

"The New York Times is reporting today on its The Lede: Notes on
the News blog that a photograph released by Agence France-Presse
AFP) of the Iranian missile launch Wednesday showed one too many

The original photograph as allowed by the Iranian authorities shows three "missiles" being launched, one "missile" apparently a misfire! The second released photo [doctored?] shows "four missiles" successfully fired!

These "missile" launchings make for good graphics and photos. UNLESS they go bad. Lots of flame, smoke, etc. Actually are impressive to watch. And in person I would think even more so.

Such "missile firings" are to impress and intimidate and contribute to "brinkmanship" and diplomatic "jostling", even if "misfires" occur?



This is coolbert:

"Generalissimo Field Marshal Doctor Professor President-for-Life King of Scotland Idi Amin Dada of Uganda hajii"

Here, thanks again to the TimesOnline, is a whole series of historical articles dealing with that most loathsome and odious of creatures, the now deceased Idi Amin Dada.

Idi Amin, perhaps the ultimate archetype of the military man gone bad. Rated in the year 2000 one of the ten worst dictators of the last thousand years. Had an incredible sadistic streak about him - - combined with certain degree of "street smart" savvy that made him doubly dangerous to deal with. AND TOO SUFFERED FROM SYPHILITIC INDUCED MENTAL ABERRATION WHICH ONLY MADE MATTERS MUCH WORSE?

And - - yes - - Amin was a Muslim who had made the pilgrimage to Mecca, thereby justifiably claiming the title of hajii!!

Amin - - gone - - BUT HARDLY FORGOTTEN!!


Monday, October 12, 2009


This is coolbert:

"A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a 'critical moment' during the firefight on July 13, 2008"

This headline catches your attention immediately:

"Weapons failed US troops during Afghan firefight"

As it was in Vietnam too, American weaponry, as carried by the common infantryman, failing during a critical phase of the battle. Jamming, becoming so hot from constant firing it is no longer operable.

In particular, this battle was from the Afghan war, last year, 2008. An American forward operating base [FOB], a sitting duck for attack, partially overrun by a force of Taliban/Al Qaeda bad guys, American casualties being: "nine U.S. soldiers . . . dead and 27 more were wounded".

The M4 rifle, in actuality a carbine, a cut-down, modified, and shortened version of the M16 rifle, seems to be the culprit here [but not exclusively so]. Wielded by U.S. troops in Afghan and Iraq, the M-4 has not had the appreciative and positive approval you would have hoped to have been the case!

"Cpl. Jonathan Ayers and Spc. Chris McKaig were firing their M4s from a position the soldiers called the 'Crow's Nest.' The pair would pop up together from cover, fire half a dozen rounds and then drop back down"

"The soldiers also had trouble with their M249 machine guns, a larger weapon than the M4 that can shoot up to 750 rounds per minute."

"Cpl. Jason Bogar fired approximately 600 rounds from his M-249 before the weapon overheated and jammed the weapon."

"the weapons had breakdowns, especially when the rifles were on full automatic, which allows hundreds of bullets to be fired a minute."

Some comments:

* Overheating of weapons in Korea was a major problem as well. When faced with overwhelming numbers of attacking enemy troops [Chinese], employed in a profligate manner, the then-standard air-cooled Browning machine gun was often observed with a glowing red-hot barrel, rendering the accuracy of the weapon problematic!

* The M249 is the replacement for the M60 machine gun as the squad automatic weapon [SAW]. Normally the main firepower of an American infantry squad is built around that SAW, rifles as carried by the remainder of the troops merely considered to be supporting weapons. The M249 fires the same ammo as the M4!

* The M4 is NOT capable of full-automatic fire. Is capable of burst automatic-fire. three rounds at a time. Ten bursts of three rounds each per thirty round magazine.

* "The pair would pop up together from cover, fire half a dozen rounds and then drop back down". NO! Something not right here. I am not an infantry expert, but THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO "POP UP", FIRE AND "DROP BACK DOWN"! Should have been firing from behind cover continuously, one man firing from the left side of a frontal berm [cover], the other man firing from the right side of the same berm [cover]. This 'Crow's Nest.' was an observation tower of some sort where this was not possible?

I have often thought that an experiment, the U.S. Army should issue entire units AK's and PKM's [each in 7.62 caliber] and see what the results are. Give the troops a quick and dirty lesson in AK and PKM marksmanship and let them have a go at the enemy. Doubt that will ever happen.

[the AK and PKM [machine gun] might both be rifled for 7.62, but do not use the same exact round, the latter weapon, PKM, firing the larger, old-fashioned but highly lethal 7.64 X 54 Russian round. The AK rifle round IS currently standard in NATO, a variety of the eastern Euopean nations still sporting the Kalashnikov!!]


The China Connection!

This is coolbert:

"I still cannot comprehend that why are senegal and Libie, supporting this drug adduct [sic], murdering and raping animal??" - - anonymous.

My anonymous friend:

It is not only Senegal.

It is not only Libya.

It is China TOO!!

Bert was somewhat on the money with this one!? Smelled the coffee, but not exactly so!

The Chinese - - giving aid and comfort to the dictator, the despot, the just plain ordinary bad guy! Thanks in all instances here to the TimesOnline.

"China tightens grip on Africa with $4.4bn lifeline for Guinea junta"

"Chinese businesses in Angola have built roads and rehabilitated railways but their investments in rogue regimes across the continent is attracting criticism"

"Guinea, the world’s largest exporter of bauxite, also has huge deposits of uranium, iron ore, diamonds and a host of other minerals. It is also believed to have significant off-shore oil reserves."

"For years Guinea has been one of the most sinister regimes in West Africa. In recent years it has become a conduit for drug smuggling from Latin America to Western Europe, much of it believed to be organised by the young army officers now so reluctant to give up power."

If this was on the east coast of Africa, the Swahili Coast, that I could understand full well. That part of Africa is within traditional trading routes of the ancient Chinese Treasure Fleet. And is also part and parcel of the Chinese "String of Pearls" strategy.

Guinea is on the west coast of Africa and not a place traditionally having any contact with those from the Chinese cultural domain.

China is making a very determined and successful penetration of the African sub-Saharan continent?!

Africa is the land of the future? Resources, minerals, oil, diamonds, etc. BUT ONLY FOR CHINA!!?? The locals except for the dictator and his cronies at the top will see nothing!



This is coolbert:

From only today:

"North Korea fires 5 short-range missiles off coast, despite earlier signs of cooperation "

"SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired five short-range missiles off its east coast on Monday, news reports said, even as South Korea proposed working-level talks with its communist neighbor."

"Yonhap [South Korea's Yonhap news agency] said the missiles were surface-to-surface KN-02 rockets with a range of up to 75 miles (120 kilometers)."

These are called the KN-02 by the North Koreans? A variant, a indigenous manufactured version of the Soviet/Russian OTR-21. Called the SS-21 Scarab by NATO!

A tactical battlefield missile having some pretty good degree of accuracy, range, and a capability to deliver a nuclear warhead [?]!

"North Korea is known to have developed a local variant, the KN-2 Toksa (Viper) . . . The Toksa has a range of 120 - 140 kilometers, and it is the most accurate ballistic missile in KPA's inventory to date."

"The OTR-21 is a mobile missile launch system, designed to be deployed along with other land combat units on the battlefield. . . . can be used for precise strikes on enemy tactical targets, such as control posts, bridges, storage facilities, troop concentrations and airfields. The fragmentation warhead can be replaced with a nuclear, biological or chemical warhead."


* The North Koreans seem to have a pretty good ability to take a basic weapons system, such as the SS-21, and make some impressive improvements! Range, accuracy, payload, mobility, etc. North Korean and Israeli ordnance personnel share a similarity here?

* How much more tube artillery, rocket artillery, short-range, ballistic missiles must the North Koreans have? Their capacity in this regard is nothing short of extraordinary. It must COST THEM A LOT AND YET THEIR NATION "WALLOWS" IN POVERTY!!??

* The SS-21 has an on board capability for GLONASS? The Soviet/Russian GPS! That enhances to a marked degree the accuracy of the Viper. The U.S., China, Russia, and Europe all have their own independent functioning GPS. Those systems put into orbit at a date subsequent to the American GPS are more sophisticated and accurate than the U.S version? NOT SURE! There is an advantage to the North Koreans using GLONASS in the event of conflict with the U.S. American military planners will be very hesitant to interfere in any manner with the Russian GPS?

* These missile firings while negotiations and renewed cooperation between North and South Korea is merely an indication of the mercurial character of Kim and indeed the entire North Korean regime?


Czech Legion.

This is coolbert:

"The retreat through Siberia became an element of the heroic military cult around the legions, compared to the Anabasis of Greek mercenaries across Persia"

More unknown history of World War One [WW1].

The saga of the Czech Legion.

Persons, ethnic Bohemians [Czechs and Slovaks] so wanting to participate in the combat of the Great War that they nearly circumnavigated the planet to get into the heat of the battle, the main fray, the western front!!

"The Czechoslovak Legions . . . were Czech and Slovak volunteer armed forces fighting together with the Entente powers during World War I."

And doing so when the opportunity for demobilization and a return to civilian status was made available.

Bohemians desirous to gain independence for their people, the creation of a nation-state for the Czech and Slovak people in the aftermath of WW1 being a main goal.

"Their purpose was to help the Entente and win their support to the creation of an independent country of Czechoslovakia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire."

[the Czech and Slovak people at the time of WW1 of course were under the rule of the Hapsburg monarch, citizens and nationals of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.]

A legion of ethnic Czechs and Slovaks, fighting under the auspices of the Russian Czar, taking sides for the Entente powers, against those [Austro-Hungarians] to whom they owed nominal allegiance.

The Czech Legion, a distinct "national" unit within the Russian Army, formed from:

* "volunteers from America"

* "ethnic Czechs living in the Russian Empire"

* "prisoners and deserters from the army of Austria-Hungary"

With the Treaty of Brest-Litvosk, the Legion found itself in a precarious position. An army [about 50,000 men] of Czechs and Slovaks, still hoping to contribute to the defeat of the Central Powers, but stranded near the Russian city of Kazan, the route westward blocked by the Red Army of the Bolsheviks!

The Bolsheviks, first favorably disposed toward the Legion, then becoming mortal enemies in accord with the peace treaty signed with the Germans.

The Czech Legion, to-the-death-adversaries of the Bolsheviks, the Legion acquitting itself well in combat with the Reds!!

This particular graphic shows a pile of dead bolsheviki those standing of course members of the Czech Legion!!

The Czech Legion, having no recourse but to FIGHT EASTWARD, TOWARD VLADIVOSTOK, 6,000 MILES AWAY!!

A "march" successfully completed, the Legion in constant combat, fighting all the way, following the route of the trans-Siberian railroad.

The Czech Legion, eventually reaching the Western Front, only after arduous journey, Vladivostok/Pacific/United States/Atlantic, arriving just in time for the final combat actions of the Great War.

This too is surprising? "National units" such as the Czech Legion were in actuality a violation of international law as it existed at the time [and maybe does right now?]!!

"Forming volunteer military units from prisoners of war (POW) was a case without precedent in international war law and the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention specified that POWS could not be employed in any task that would cause even indirect harm to their countries or origin."

"But Russia's primary concern was the potential for violating the Hague Convention. The principle espoused by supporters of volunteer units, namely that the volunteers wished to fight not against their own countries but against an oppressor, was not considered adequate."

The nation-state of Czechoslovakia WAS formed in the aftermath of WW1, in no small measure to the devotion and battlefield prowess of the Legion!

Bert too is going to quibble! This was not an anabasis. A movement from the sea to the interior. Was a movement from the interior to the sea! A katabasis. Such is the nature of being pedantic!

Anabasis (from Greek ana = "upward", bainein = "go") is an expedition from a coastline up into the interior of a country. Katabasis, by contrast, is a trip from the interior down to the coast.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Fait Accompli!

This is coolbert:

Well, it is all the talk of the town today. And for the rest of the nation and probably the world as well. President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. This was totally unexpected. The man had only been in office for twelve days when he was nominated!! And his accomplishments to further the "cause of world peace" are scant at best!!


But still, the award has been made. A fait accompli, as the diplomats say.

Like I said, this awarding has been the talk of the town today, especially on talk radio. And the callers into the various radio stations are almost unanimous in their opinion THAT THE PRESIDENT DID NOT DESERVE THE AWARD!! [3 % yes, he deserved it - - 97 % no, he did not deserve it!!]

NORMALLY the Peace Prize is awarded for HAVING DONE SOMETHING. Being a symbol, a "ray of hope", a beacon, etc., generally is not enough for the prize committee!


A person or an organization offering their "good offices" to mediate or arbitrate a war or conflict between parties locked in endless strife without any possibility of a negotiated settlement.

"good offices  - –noun 1. influence, esp. with a person in a position of power: 2. services rendered by a mediator in a dispute."

Warring parties, at loggerheads, unable perhaps even to begin negotiations, needing a push or a shove in the right direction from a third party, a settlement being the eventual conclusion.

A person or an organization that cajoles, coaxes, entices, makes suggestions and acts as an intermediary, even threatens when necessary, the goal being a negotiated peaceful settlement to a conflict.

Such a person, perhaps the archetype of all such individuals holding sway over mediated and arbitrated negotiations is - - President Theodore Roosevelt.

NOTED primarily in the history books for having brokered the peace treaty in 1905 ending the war between Japan and Russia.

But a person, Roosevelt, whose credentials for being awarded the Peace Prize were more extensive than most realize:

"In 1902 President Roosevelt took the initiative in opening the international Court of Arbitration at The Hague . . . . The United States and Mexico agreed to lay an old difference of theirs, concerning the Pious Foundations of California, before the Hague Tribunal . . . this example was followed by other powers"

"In 1904 the Interparliamentary Union, meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, requested Roosevelt to call another international conference to continue the work begun at The Hague in 1899. Roosevelt responded immediately"

"In June, 1905, President Roosevelt offered his good offices as mediator between Russia and Japan . . . in August they met at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and after some weeks of difficult negotiations concluded a peace treaty in September, 1905."

ACTIONS such as were the work of Theodore Roosevelt surely did merit the Nobel Peace Prize! NOT merely hope, but ACTIONS! Brokering a peace treaty, using good offices, facilitating negotiations in a successful manner.

[my perception is that even the most enthusiastic supporter of President Obama understands that this award is an over-done mistake greatly cheapening the prize in itself!?]