It’s Kind Of Amazing…

…how the big media is doing its best to spin this story – the Administration talking peace with the Taliban after 17 years of war – as a bad thing.

Especially given that when the Administration reversed the Obama-era policy of giving the insurgents a “save the date” card, and cut off all talks six months ago, the same experts were wondering – as they always seem to – what was so wrong about diplomacy.

(There was actually a very good, even-handed story about this on an NPR broadcast last night.  I can’t seem to find it.  I’ll hold off on the conspiracy theories and assume I’m missing something, here…)

Being Necessary To The Security Of A Free State

While Trump plies his wiles trying to get the feckless Germans and Dutch to pay their share of defending their stagnating continent, at least part of free Europe doesn’t need reminding of the consequences of not standing up for their own freedom.

The Poles need no reminding about keeping their defenses strong.

And to their north, the Latvians, Lithuanians, and especially Estonians, in the wake of Obama’s debacle in Ukraine, seem to grasp the need to defend their freedom.  Four percent of Estonia’s entire population is in the military or the (voluntary) reserves – not bad for one of the more libertarian states in Europe.

It‘s very personal to them:

Like almost all Estonians of his generation, what drives [Estonian special forces Colonel Riho] Uhtegi is intensely personal, and tends to be tied up in the history of his country.

“We all had one grandparent that remembered independence,” said Uhtegi, speaking of growing up during the Soviet occupation, “and they filled our heads with stories of it.” He shifts his very blue Estonian gaze back from the distance. Unspoken is the fate of all the other grandparents—the ones who were executed by the Russians or died somewhere in a gulag. Wartime casualties aside, more than 10 percent of Estonia’s population was deported before Stalin’s death in 1953.

And it’s not even a little bit abstract:

“You know why the Russians didn’t take Tbilisi in 2008?” Uhtegi asked me. “They were just up the road, 50 kilometers or so, and nothing was stopping them.”

Having spent many years in Georgia, I knew the answer to this one: because Georgians are crazy. Uhtegi barked a laugh. “Yes. Exactly. Georgians are crazy, and they would fight. The idea of this unwinnable asymmetric fight in Tbilisi was not so appealing to the Russians.”

He continued: “There are always these discussions. Like, yeah. The Russians can get to Tallinn in two days. … Maybe. [The Estonian capital is about 125 miles from the Russian border.] But they can’t get all of Estonia in two days. They can get to Tallinn, and behind them, we will cut their communication lines and supplies lines and everything else.” That dead-eyed Baltic stare fixes me again. “They can get to Tallinn in two days. But they will die in Tallinn. And they know this. … They will get fire from every corner, at every step.”

Read the whole, fascinating thing.

Uncharted Mental Territory

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

People who don’t understand Trump, don’t understand what he’s doing with Korea. There’s no written agreement. There’s no procedure for verification. We gave away too much and received too little. It’s a disaster!

Calm down. Trump is a real estate developer. This is standard operating procedure. Say anything, promise anything, to get the customer committed to the deal. After that, we hammer out the details. The final agreement may look nothing at all like the initial offer, but it’ll fly because we’re all committed to the deal.

Same technique as selling a used car. Go ahead, sit in it. Drive it around the block. Look at the great tread left on the tires. Feel the cushy seats. You look good in that car. You want it, don’t you? Why not, you deserve it. And the payments, so affordable. Can we do this? Sure, we can.

Trump took the first step at getting North and South committed to a deal, some deal, any deal, something to break the stalemate, something to take to their own people and claim as a victory. Hey Kim, maybe you’d like to own a hotel on the beach? Put your name up in lights? Sure, we can do that, as part of the deal. Ever eaten at McDonalds? Come on, every major city has a McDonalds. We’ve got to get your city into World Class, we’ve got to get you a McDonalds. Can we do this? Sure we can. All part of the deal . . . .

Give the man time to do his thing.

Joe Doakes

The left calls Trump “not presidential”.  And they’re not wrong.

But the big problem seems to be that he’s “not like a politician”.

Which can be both a feature and a bug, of course.

Leverage

Donald Trump, 1999:

Donald Trump’s October 24, 1999 Meet the Pressinterview with Tim Russert is a historically illuminating flash forward to the most surprising, promising and history-altering opportunity since the Soviet Union collapsed: “denuclearizing” North Korea without the could-be belligerents waging a hideously destructive war that scars East Asia and seeds a global economic depression…In the interview, Russert says Trump once indicated if he were president he would attack North Korea preemptively in order to end its nuclear threat.

Despite Russert’s vapors and wailing, Trump’s grammatically-challenged beer and barbecue answer is a superb twofer. One: Trump answers Russert’s core question. Two: Trump accurately summarizes the American government’s spaghetti-spined responses to North Korea’s slow but insidious quest for nuclear weapons.

World, today:

On March 5, remarkable news broke: North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un said he is willing to discuss denuclearizing his regime. He made no demand on South Korea and the U.S., other than that they meet to discuss the subject face to face. The South Korean delegation that met with him in Pyongyang indicated Kim said he understood South Korean and American joint military drills would continue. That was a major concession. For decades the Communist state’s propagandists have portrayed allied military exercises as preparations for an invasion of the North. In exchange for negotiations, the Kim regime would demand the allies suspend exercises. Not this time. Moreover, the dictatorship also agreed to halt its provocative nuclear weapons and missile tests while talks continue.

Why, it’s almost as if Winston Churchill was right all along; the only thing tyrants and bullies understand is strength.

Go figure.

I’m proudly on record as a Trump skeptic – but between Gorsuch, his cabinet, his deregulatory frenzy, and the unspooling, unprecedented changes in Saudi Arabia (and its various clients) and now the Korean Peninsula, I’m warming up to at least the foreign policy side of The Donald.

Rational Basis Conclusion

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Supreme Court declared the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right.  But we all know fundamental rights can be infringed (can’t yell fire in a crowded theater).  The question is: what’s the test to decide whether a government regulation affecting a fundamental right is valid or void?

The Illinois city ordinance banning ‘assault rifles’ is staking out a “rational basis” test.  If the regulation is rationally related to a legitimate government purpose, it stands.  That’s the test we use for zoning ordinances, or speed limits.  That’s the least protective of citizens’ rights.

In contrast, the test for freedom of speech is “strict scrutiny,” which is a much harder test for the government to pass.  That’s why a crucifix in urine, nude dancing, flag burning and Citizens United’s right to show a film critical of Hillary Clinton are all protected by the First Amendment.

These tests are all made-up rules adopted by the Supreme Court, which hasn’t stated the test it will apply to gun rights cases.  It’s absolutely critical Second Amendment supporters keep the pressure on politicians and the courts to make certain the right to defend yourself with arms is as vigorously protected as the right to defend yourself with words.

Joe Doakes

The good guys have been on a fifteen year winning streak.  Some have gotten complacent.

It’s time to change that.

Ordnance

SCENE:  Waikiki, January, 2019.  Mitch BERG is taking a rare vacation.  

Improbably, while standing at the hotel desk, he notices that Avery LIBRELLE has checked into the hotel just ahead of him.   Worse, BERG notices LIBRELLE has just noticed him, and his about to strike up one of LIBRELLE’s usual “conversations”…

…when a text message crosses both of their phones simultaneously warning of a ballistic missile attack that is not a drill.  

Pandemonium breaks out in the lobby, as customers being to panic over the thought of nuclear annihilation.  But BERG instinctively begins moving for the most substantial cover he can find, when a subsequent message crosses his phone. 

The message reads “The missile was shot down by a missile interceptor.  In retaliation, a US Air Force bunker-buster bomb found and obliterated Kim Jong Un; a Republic of Korea Army Ranger team made contact with a rival faction in the DPRK government, and installed a regime that stood down the Nork Army and began seeking an end to the seventy year old impasse on the Korean Peninsula.”

BERG:  Wow.  That was quick.

BERG turns around.  

Hey, Avery…

BERG stops short, noticing that LIBRELLE is in a bizarre permutation of a yoga pose, allowing the lips to be affixed to the butt.  

BERG:  Avery – what the …

LIBRELLE:  I’ve been practicing this move for a nuclear war my whole life.

BERG:  Of course you have.  So…you haven’t kept up with the news?

LIBRELLE:  How should know?  Hey – could you help me up?

BERG:  I’m really not sure.

And SCENE

“You Guys Are Lucky I Don’t Know How To Build A Bomb”

I haven’t talked much about the case of Tnuza Hassan, the woman accused of setting fires at Saint Kate’s last week.   If the allegations in the press are true, she couldn’t have been more clear about her motives if she’d hired a Madison Avenue ad firm:

Tnuza J. Hassan, of Minneapolis, allegedly told police that “she wanted the school to burn to the ground and that her intent was to hurt people,” ..lShe told police and fire investigators, “You guys are lucky that I don’t know how to build a bomb because I would have done that.”

I’ve reached no conclusions – we don’t know much, and even when we do, my conclusions will be of little or no consequence.

Just a couple of observations:

Hold The Narrative:  The usual suspects have pointed it out – “She’s a domestic Muslim terrorist”.   I’ve seen some snarky comments about Hassan’s family travel plans: ” She said she had been a student at Saint Catherine’s but quit last fall because she and her family were planning to vacation in Ethiopia,”

Which has caused the usual crowd of Fudds to chant “Ah HAH.  She’s going back to her Muslim terrorist hellhole”.

The thing is, though, that Ethiopia is majority Christian; most of its people are Coptics.  There is a sizeable Muslim minority, but there’s just not a lot of strife between the two over there.

And while Somalis have picked up a dodgy reputation – some earned, some unfair – the story of Ethiopian immigration to the US is placid and successful; Ethiopian immigrants’ crime rate is vanishingly low, and they have assimilated well into American society.   And I’ve seen or heard of no split between Ethiopian Coptics and Muslims when it comes to assimilation.

Now – there are plenty of Somali Muslims who’ve moved to Ethiopia over the years; like Democrats moving from Minneapolis to Edina, they have brought some problems with them.  We don’t know much about Miss Hassan’s family or background.   Does that bear on it?

We’ll come back to that.

Homegrown:  When I read Miss Hassan’s rhetoric (as related by the police to the press, anyway), I thought “something here sounds amiss”.

To me, Hassan’s statements didn’t sound like those of a young, self-radicalized Muslim – or, I should say, not just like one.  The tone – again, third or fourth hand – sounded like the sort of thing you could hear (with or without accompanying violence) at a Women’s March, or a BLM rally, an “Anti”-Fa rally, in any campus newspaper opinion (or “news”) section, or any number of other events common among young, identity-politics-addled bobbleheads found on today’s campuses…

…especially relentlessly PC institutions like Saint Kates.

So while many are asking the young Muslim woman accused of arson “do you think you, a woman, could get any kind of education at all in your squalid homeland”, it may be worth asking if in fact Miss Hassan’s little outburst isn’t a repudiation of her education…

…but a symptom of it?

The Ballad Of The Pink Beret

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

We knew the decline had been ongoing for a while.  This is simply the Army adopting the St. Paul school method.  The student didn’t fail, there is no fail, there is only quit. If the student didn’t quit, then the student must have passed.  Good job, here’s your participation award.

The author deplores lowered standards but misses the point – none of the standards matter.  What matters is: can you do the job?  For that, we must define the job.  If it’s going hand-to-hand against elite enemy soldiers, then yes, these girls are going to die.  But is that the job of the Green Berets anymore?

Maybe the job of modern Green Berets is to parade around wearing the uniform to convince congresswomen who are fixated on feminism that they should siphon money away from the Neanderthal Marines so the Army can buy more tanks and helicopters for men who do the actual fighting to use in combat.  Okay, yes, that means Green Berets are now little more than props for the budget presentation, but so what? Advertisers dress up pretty girls to sell products all the time. Congresswomen are the Army’s “customers;” give the customers what they want.

If you’re really interested in debating whether physical standards matter, find some enterprising businessman to organize a reality show.  People who graduated from Green Beret school during the past year will compete against equally ranked recent graduates of other programs.  The best female Green Beret might have placed fifth in her class, for example.  She will parachute into a forest, land-navigate two miles carrying a ruck and rifle to find the target location, then “kill” sentries and destroy an enemy supply dump before escaping a mile away to build a shelter for the night.  Judges will time the run, effectiveness of the attack (grenade, shooting, etc), dump rain on the shelter and score the results.

Next up, the fifth best Force Recon Marine.  On deck, the fifth-best graduate of the equivalent course of the military in the Philippines.  In the hole, the fifth best graduate from Israel.  People love those silly ninja obstacle courses on television.  Let’s see how modern female Green Berets stack up against potential allies and enemies, doing things we would expect actual combat troops to do in the field.

If American girls suck as badly as this author seems to think they will, I bet the show would be a gigantic hit in China and Russia. The only remaining question is: swimsuit competition, or not?

To play devil’s advocate for a moment here – the “Green Berets” (‘ mission is as much about “unconventional warfare” – in other words, going into enemy territory and creating guerrilla groups – as it is about killing sentries and blowing things up (although there’s plenty of that as well).  Part of the job is being able to go deep into enemy territory and use language and cultural skills to create the relationships needed with the indigenous guerrillas.    And women are just fine at language an culture, so that when a team parachutes in to deal with an indigenous culture that has high respect for women, like in Afghanistan or Yemen or…

…oh.

Let me start over.

If we ever have to fight a war against Cambridge, San Francisco or Portland, female Soecial Forces operators could be useful.

Caste Forth

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Former professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point writes about the failure of leadership at the academy.

But enough hammering on the Army.  Let’s talk about the Navy, with two collisions this year, what’s happening to its leadership?

Makes one wonder: do we need a professional officer corps?  Would senior non-coms be enough to teach new recruits the basics, leaving strategy and tactics to a small group of experts?  Do we need military officers worrying about diversity and career opportunities for women – aren’t there enough people in academia, the media and politics doing that already?

Joe Doakes

It’s not an academic question.

Collateral Messaging

Joe Doakes from Como  Park emails:

If a conventional war breaks out, there won’t be enough targets in North Korea to go around.  The admirals know that but they sent a third carrier group anyway; therefore, the targets we are threatening are not in North Korea.

This move must be intended to send a signal to some other nearby nation.  Let’s think – who needs a reminder that war in Korea could boil over with disastrous consequences?  Who needs an incentive to step on a bug?

Joe Doakes

Most everyone?

Something Seems To Be Wrong With Our Bloody Destroyers

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Here’s a retired Navy guy who thinks the reason Navy ships keep hitting civilian vessels and running aground is . . . .

The Navy suggests they might have been hacked, or maybe the other ship was, probably by the Russians, since that’s the universal fool-proof excuse for manifest incompetence nowadays.

If I were at the helm and looked out the window to see a tanker that’s 100 feet wide and 50 feet tall bearing down on me, I’d be thinking about taking evasive action.  We need the captain on the bridge for that, the guy at the wheel isn’t smart enough to make that decision?  But I’ll bet every sailor on board completed sexual harassment prevention training, promptly and on time.

Joe Doakes

Perhaps, but God help the 19 year old Seaman Second Class who turns the wheel without an order from the Officer of the Deck.  Who, on the other hand, should have exactly that reaction.

The Real Concern

Charlie Martin echoes my real concern about Kim’s new nuke arsenal – that they’re aiming to launch and electromagnetic pulse attack on the US.

Or at least, planning on appearing to be able to.  In some ways, a big-enough EMP strike might cause more damage to the US than nuking one city, especially given the likely poor accuracy of Kim’s missiles.

And it’s an imposing deterrent:

The possibilities of a NEMP attack have been talked about for a long time, as John Moore’s articles show. It’s possible that the real risk is finally becoming clear to our politicians and our legacy press. The Boston Herald recently had an extended story on the danger of a North Korean NEMP attack, and Tucker Carlson recently showed interest in the problem.

Of course, there are others who don’t think it’s much of a risk, In that Boston Herald story, they quote Joshua Pollack, the editor of the Nonproliferation Review, as saying:

[A]n EMP attack doesn’t warrant more alarm than any other type of nuclear offensive because its efficacy is still uncertain — and it would have consequences for whichever nation launched it.

“It’s just an untested approach to trying to use a weapon, and just invites retaliation without doing a lot of damage,” Pollack said. “I’m much more concerned with blasting fire and radiation. Those will kill lots of people and destroy lots of stuff, and can do it very reliably.”

The problem here is that it’s based on a false assumption: that NEMP has not been tested. It’s never been applied as a weapon, but it has certainly been tested — and I don’t think my little fiction above is a worst-case scenario. So, how much damage from an inefficient NEMP attack should we plan on absorbing?

The mainstream media were wrong during the 70s and 80s, and they’re wrong today.

By The Roots

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Trump gave a speech in which he explained why he’s changed his mind on pulling out of Afghanistan: it would create a power vacuum and enable the Taliban to sweep in.  Instead, we’re going to stay and kill terrorists until conditions on the ground allow us to leave.  But we’re not going to engage in nation-building.

Great, he’s going to pivot to Afghanistan and focus like a laser on killing terrorists.  Where have I heard that before?

I don’t object to killing terrorists but why aren’t we nation-building?  Because nation-building was proposed as the cure for the root cause of terrorism but it turns out the root cause of terrorists is not poverty or lack of democratic institutions.  Establishing a puppet regime with purple-finger elections and midnight basketball won’t stem the flow of terrorists so we’re not going to waste time and money doing it.

Fine.  If that’s not the root cause, what is the root cause of Islamic terrorism?

I suspect the root cause of Islamic terrorists is radical Islam, even if everybody in Washington is terrified to say it.  Why not fight them?  Because there are different sects with different agendas and different funding, making them hard to find and kill, and the press would crucify you for trying.

But we know one of those sects is Wahhabism.  Which is funded by Saudi Arabia.  Which is run by the Royal Family of the House of Saud who the US protects from domestic unrest with US troops even as the Saudis work to get OPEC to undermine American domestic oil production.

As it sits now, our War on Terror policy is to kill the individual puppets but support the puppet masters even as they attack our economy.  That’s insane.

Forget the terrorists.  Let them squat in their mountains and kill each other.  Close our border so terrorists can’t come here, then go after the root cause.  Go after the money.

Issue drilling and pumping permits to produce oil on leased federal lands which will flood the world market with American oil and depress Saudi incomes.

Declare Saudi Arabia to be a financier of terrorism and seize all Saudi money in American banks.

Pull US troops out of Saudi Arabia to force them to spend their remaining money defending themselves from their own people. If we have any AK’s laying around that we captured in Libya, hand them out to the locals as we’re leaving Saudi Arabia.  Regime change on the DIY plan.

We’ve been fighting a War on Terror since 9-11 by going after street-level terrorists.  It’s not working.  Try something else.

Joe Doakes

Nope. Never Seen This Before.

SCENE:  Avery LIBRELLE is running down the street, clearly hysterical.  BERG sees Avery. 

BERG:  Avery!  What’s the matter?  Do you need help?

LIBRELLE:   There is  no help for this!  Trump is going to lead us into a nuclear war with North Korea!  We’re all doomed!

BERG:  How on earth do you figure?

LIBRELLE:   All that toxic masculinity!  That always leads to disaster!

BERG:  Er – have you read this yet?

LIBRELLE:  (Reads article).  Ah.  Another big win for Obama’s legacyi of diplomacy.

BERG:  That makes no sense… (But LIBRELLE has already skipped away)

And SCENE. 

Don’t Eschew The Reaper

David French on the wrong response to Manchester…:

Let me share with you some deeply flawed words from the editorial board of the New York Times. I do this not because the Times is alone in its sentiment but because the paragraph below is perfectly representative of the wrong approach to fighting terror. Reflecting on the Manchester bombing, the editors say this: Meanwhile, as hard as it is amid the shock and the mourning, it is important to recognize this attack for what it is: an attempt to shake Britain — and, by extension, the rest of Europe and the West — to its core, and to provoke a thirst for vengeance and a desire for absolute safety so intense, it will sweep away the most cherished democratic values and the inclusiveness of diverse societies.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447972/manchester-attack-britain-needs-vengeance-not-justice

…and the right one. 

So, Britain, ignore the New York Times. Give in to your “thirst for vengeance.” In a manner that is consistent with the laws of war and the great tradition of British arms, make an example of ISIS. Destroy terrorist safe havens with prompt, decisive force, pursue terrorists wherever they flee, and send a clear message. Terrorists have sown the wind. They will reap the whirlwind. Avenge your fallen.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447972/manchester-attack-britain-needs-vengeance-not-justice

Read the whole thing.  

Branding

Donald Trump called ISIS “Evil Losers” in the wake of the Arianna Grande bombing last night.

Some on the left called the appelation the illiterate interjection of a trained chimp.

Not so much, says Scott Adams, who has over the past two years proven to be the only pundit in American who actually gets Trump.  It’s part of Trump being, as Adams calls him, the Master Persuader.

He’s “branded” ISIS.  And – says Adams – it’s genius:

If you call them monsters, they like it. If you call them ISIS or ISIL they put it on a flag and wave it around. If you call them non-Muslim, it just rolls off their backs because they have Korans and stuff. Almost any other “brand” you can imagine is either inert or beneficial to Loser recruitment.

Loser is different. No one joins the Loser movement. Try at home, with your family or friends, to concoct a more effective brand poisoning than Loser. You probably can’t. Remember, your brand has to fit with future confirmation evidence. The Losers on the battlefield will continue to be losing, so the brand is engineered to get stickier over time. Your alternative idea for a brand solution has to have that quality of future confirmation too. Good luck finding a better persuasion brand.

This is not accidental. President Trump does (laugh if you will) have the best words, at least for this sort of thing. He’s proven it over and over. Just ask Jeb, Ted, and HIllary.

The whole thing is worth a read.

The Problem With Being Goliath

All the usual caveats apply:  it’s Breitbart.  Yadda yadda.

But this piece here jogged my thinking about something that’s been on my mind lately.

Kim Jong Un’s hold on power pretty much depends on keeping his nation convinced that he can defeat the United States in an open conflict.

Now the Norks have been plugging gamely away trying to build nukes, and the ICBMs to launch them with.

Do they ever have any hope of matching the US’s immense (if ageing) nuclear arsenal?  No, not a realistic one.

For that matter, could they even beat the Republic of Korea in a conventional war, much less the US?  No – the South’s army is huge, well-equipped, and highly motivated.

And yet Kim blusters away.  And naturally some of that is going to be the inevitable blustering of tyrants to their enslaved people.

But what if he believes he can not only bring down the US, but do it fairly decisively…

…and on the relative cheap?

Turns out there’s a solid chance he could do exactly that.  While Hiroshima-sized nuclear device can devastate an area a few miles across if it blows up 2,000 feet in the air, and spread radioactive dust hundreds of miles downwind if it blows up at ground level, if it explodes 50-60 miles in the air it will cause no direct damage on the ground – but it’ll fry every unprotected electronic circuit within hundreds of miles.

During the Cold War, some experts calculated that a half dozen nukes detonated in the trophosphere could fry nearly every non-hardenedelectronic circuit in the United States and most of Canada and Mexico.

Every non-hardened computer – and the switches, routers and other electronic hardware that the Internet runs on.  Every cell phone – and the switches and routers and modulators and demodulators at every cell tower and service center.  Every electonic ignition system and engine control computer in every vehicle that had one – which is pretty much every one built after about the mid-eighties.  Every bit of avionics – radar, GPS, transponders, altimeters, and, in the new “glass cockpits”, the flight instruments and the processors that link them to the controls in every airplane in the sky and on the ground, and in the air traffic control centers that route the air traffic.  The computers that monitor where all the money is, and who has it, and who’s getting it.   The processors that make many of our healthcare miracles possible.

And the electronic infrastructure that controls the “supply chain” that grows our food, harvests is, processes it and ships it to wherever you live, assuming you yourself are not a farmer.

Anyway – while the Norks’ nuke tests are being played as comedy fodder in the American media…:

“The April 29 missile launch looks suspiciously like practice for an EMP attack,” [Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and= chief of staff of the Congressional EMP Commission] wrote. “The missile was fired on a lofted trajectory, to maximize, not range, but climbing to high-altitude as quickly as possible, where it was successfully fused and detonated — testing everything but an actual nuclear warhead.”

Western “experts” quoted by the likes of NPR scoff that the Norks’ missile technology would have a hard time reliably hitting a city-size target.

But that’s the thing with EMP – you don’t have to hit even a city-sized target.  You have to hit the trophshere, somewhere above a region of the country – and if you manage to do it half a dozen times – say, over upstate New York, near DC, over southern Georgia, Iowa, Bakersfield and Oklahoma City – you wreck the vast majority of America’s electronic infrastructure.  Banks?  The power grid?  The poiwer grid?  The internet – outside the bounds of the original ARPANet, at least?  All cell networks and land-line networks?  All major media?  A good chunk of the military, for that matter?  The control of the entire food supply chain?   Every non-carbureted vehicle in the US?   All shut down.

There are alarmist claims that an EMP attack could kill 100 million Americans.  I doubt those claims; humans are a lot more resilient than that.  But it’d be a huge hit – it’d send most of this country back a century.

Anyway – such are the things that keep me up nights.

Perhaps a more rational – or at least constrained – assessment here.

I Wanna See Some History…

Trump bombed s Syrian military installation.  It’s been in all the papers.

I’m not going to comment about that, per se – what can I possibly add?

No, I’m not commenting about the pros and cons and rights and wrongs of yesterday’s action in Syria, or of whatever might be around the corner…

… but listening to the “sky is falling” reactions of some of my social media network – especially those below the age of about 45 or so – all I can think is “holy cow, good thing none of you were alive during the Cold War.”  They’d all have died of heart attacks or institutionalized themselves from stress in mere weeks.
 
It seems that something like this, or worse, was happening every month throughout my childhood – which was spent twenty miles from a Minuteman III missile silo.
 
Just a sample, off the top of my head, from a couple of my high school and college years:
  • Soviets invaded Afghanistan; US supplied equipment to the Afghan resistance.
  • Polish labor unions started agitating against their Soviet oppressors; Soviets were ready to invade when the Polish Army staged a ‘coup’ and brutally shut down the protests; the US/UK, the Pope and the AFL-CIO smuggled money and other aid to the Polish trade unions to continue resisting the Communists.
  • China and Vietnam fought a war
  • India (then a Soviet ally) and Pakistan (then a US ally) fought a war.
  • India developed a nuke.
  • North Korea – a Soviet proxy – was in a constant state of war with South Korea, a US ally. While Kim Jong Il didn’t have the technology his son has, he also launched *many* raids into the South; Nork commando raids, with frequently-bloody resolutions, were a semi-regular thing.
  • Soviet sponsored terrorists – Baader-Meinhof, Brigati Rossi and many others – killed people in the streets in Europe.
  • Faced with Iraq (a Soviet proxy) building a nuclear reactor that could lead to the Arab Nuke, Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor that was being built by the French.
  • Israel (a US proxy) invaded Lebanon to push back terrorists sponsored by Iran, who’d been bombarding the Kibbutzim in the north with Soviet-made rockets; they ran into Syrian (Soviet proxy) forces (in brand-new Soviet tanks and aircraft), and destroyed them in head to head battle, leading to the brink of yet another Mid-east war.
  • Cuba (Soviet Proxy) sent troops to aid various sub-saharan dictators (Soviet proxies); US sent aid to the opposition.
  • Hezb’allah (a Syrian/Iranian proxy) kidnapped American diplomats, businesspeople and military advisors in Lebanon, killing some of them.
  • Soviet planes and submarines constantly probed US and NATO defenses; US and NATO planes and submarines constantly returned the favor, leading to many tense moments)
  • Various communist (Sovet proxy) groups launched terror, guerilla and electoral campaigns in South and Central America; the US supported their opposition. Borderline civil war erupted in many countries, supported by both sides.
  • Several times during the ’70s and ’80s, errors on both sides led the nuclear forces on *both* sides to go to advanced stages of alert – basically tightening the finger on the hair-trigger. This, at a time when US missile crews were on fifteen minute alert, and at every US bomber base (including Grand Forks and MInot), there were always a couple of B-52s loaded with nukes, their crews in a ready room yards away, warmed up and ready to take off on five minutes’ notice
  • The US, responding to the Soviet deployment of “SS20” intermediate range missiles to eastern Europe, sent missiles of our own to Western Europe.
  • The Soviets spent millions of dollars of hard-earned foreign currency to support a “peace” movement – against US nukes in Europe.
  • During talks over these nukes in Rejkjavik, Iceland, President Reagan called Premiere Gorbachev’s bluff, and walked out. The world’s landed punditry solemnly intoned it was the most dangerous event in human history. (In fact, Reagan called Gorbachev’s bluff, Gorbachev blinked. It was the beginning of the end of the USSR – but nobody knew it then).
  • And the entire time, half a million US troops and a ready-for-war NATO (in 1980, the militaries of most NATO countries were 4-6 times larger than they are today) faced something like a million Soviet and “Warsaw Pact” soldiers across a completely militarized border that split Germany into two countries.
Again – not commenting on yesterday’s events themselves. Just the reactions I’m seeing.

By Christmas?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The military is the smallest its been since WW II which makes sense as the Founders feared a standing army would become a tool to oppress the citizens and there is no threat to the United States that would justify maintaining one.

 So why is our military engaged in so many wars around the globe?  Aside from Afghanistan, we also have boots on the ground in the Middle East and in Africa.  What national security interest are they defending?  Why not pull them out, bring them home, stand them down?

 Joe Doakes

Dunno.  Ask the guy with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Neerja Bhanot

It was thirty years ago today that Neerja Bhanot won India’s highest honor for bravery in peacetime, the Ashoka Chakra Award when her jetliner, Pan Am Flight 73 from Mumbai to the US, was hijacked by terrorists from Abu Nidal, who were specifically targeting Americans.

Wikipedia takes up the story:

After 17 hours, the hijackers opened fire and set off explosives. Neerja Bhanot opened one of the doors. Although she could have been the first to jump out of the aircraft and flee to safety when she opened the door, she decided not to and instead started helping the other passengers to escape. Neerja was shot while shielding three unaccompanied American children from a hail of bullets of the hijackers. Out of a total of 41 American passengers, two were killed during the hijacking. A child on board, then aged seven, is now a captain for a major airline and has stated that Neerja Bhanot has been his inspiration and he owes every day of his life to her. 

I’m including the story partly due to its historical value…

…and partly to counter the notion that the cultural left continues to push – the idea that the individual is helpless in the face of adversity, to say nothing of aggression, without “the village” – the suffocating fog of government there to protect and validate them.  This thesis is trashed on a nearly-daily basis.  Faced with imponderable evil, against the most daunting odds, ordinary people do the most extraordinary things.  To attempt to has always been considered one of the greatest virtues of mankind.

And I’m here, in part, to keep reminding you of that.

So that, more importantly, you can remind others of that.