It starts of in bootcamp and ends in an inhospitable landscape fighting guerillas in unconventional warfare. It is a fictional portrayal of The Battle for Hill 3234.
That being said, the value of this film lies in what can be gleaned not from the similarities with the former film, but with the differences.
First of all, we are introduced to Russian culture in the form of dedovshchina, a term which encapsulates the institutions of the former Soviet Union ( and which continue to this day).
Russian hierarchies have their cultural inheritance in the gulag, and in The Bitch Wars. A brutal, and demoralizing structure is created where only the most ruthless and sociopathic element rise to the top.
Second of all, we have a very clear image of the Majahideen fighting tactics. Majahideen fighters are absolutely unbeholden to death; they are experts at using the mountainous landscape, and are capable of launching attacks where they can disapear into elaborate cave systems without a moment’s warning.
Children are often actual beligerants, at an age where Western children are still playing with legos.
This film is pertinent for an idea of what American troops are facing in Afghanistan (it is so superior to the Robert Redford fiasco, and I refuse to name the latter film).
It is also pertinent to understand the Russian attitude towards non-Russians, whom they deam as being in need of help from their benevolent hand (think Ukraine at this moment).
I need your aviation stories. The anthology will be titled SkyWriting: Essays on the Art and Craft of Aviation. See my website for submission guidelines, and send your flying tales for inclusion. Proceeds benefit Angel Flight, the service that flies kids for medical treatment.
Deadline for issue #1 is March 30th, so scribble your story, and send it along.
The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and brinkmanship.
Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Detonates, Kills 21 Students In Iraq: I just about fell out of my chair laughing when I read this story. I was reminded of the moron one afternoon in January 2005 who came out of a side road racing towards me and my wingman’s Bradley’s as we were driving into Ad Dawr, Iraq. As he got to about 300m from our two vehicles his car suddenly disintegrated. Stuff like this is why Arabs make horrible fighters.
Remains of a prematurely detonated Car Bomb (VCIED) outside of Ad-Daw, Iraq in January 2005
Ukraine protests turn into fiery street battles: The brewing conflict in Ukraine bears watching. Ever since the Orange Revolution and the 2010-2011 politically charged ouster and criminal prosecution of former president Yulia Tymoshenko I have been convinced that a day of reckoning is coming in Ukraine between the pro-Western and pro-Russian factions. It appears that day is here. The question now is whether the violence will escalate or if a peaceful solution will be found. I am not sure enough to make a call one way or the other.
Kiev Truce Falls Apart, and Unrest Resurges: The question I have now is not if but when the situation in the Ukraine will degenerate into civil war and if Russia will send troops to “assist” the regime. If Russia sends troops will the EU sit idly by and watch the rebellion be crushed is the next question at the top of my list and I am afraid the answer to that one will probably be yes. I simply cannot envision any European country being willing to risk soldiers lives to help themselves much less the Ukraine. The only countries I can see helping Ukraine are Poland, Czech, and maybe France or Britain.
Iraqi army clashes with militants near Fallujah: based on my personal experience daling with what Iraqis call soldiers I expect that any Iraqi Army attempt to recapture Fallujah and Ramadi will turn into bloody failures. Arabs in particular are the stereotype of incompetent soldiers as the history of Arab Wars against Israel show.
Germany preparing third financial rescue for Greece: On the geopolitical front the EU is apparently preparing to get Greece to triple down on the so-far failed policies of their efforts to save the Greeks from themselves. I just wonder if the EU power brokers seriously think they will ever really get their money back or if they are just playing sops to the northern tier of EU countries. The continual support to Greece shows that the Eu is in fact a suicide pact, at least as far as Greece is concerned.
Just before Christmas last year the Taliban in Afghanistan apparently captured a British War Dag and true to form have posted a capture video of it.
Now that is going too far. I wonder if they are torturing the dog and trying to get information out of it. It would not surprise me if they were. The dog appears to be a Belgian Malinois, one of the favorite breeds for working dogs because they are smart, diligent, and not easily distracted from their tasks. Their is apparently some confusion as to whether it is a British or American dog.
As the article mentions, the Taliban have been extremely critical of the use of what they call “infidel” dogs in theater. They cling to the somewhat esoteric claim that Islam holds dogs to be unclean.
I hope the dog is recovered soon. I had no working dogs on my FOB during deployment to Iraq but we did have some FOB dogs that were useful because they hated Iraqis and would go off every time one came near the FOB. This was especially useful at night when they would try to get close to the walls and pitch hand grenades.
Originally posted at The Sky Behind Me blog January 14th 2014.
Oooops… Recently (and once again) a commercial airliner landed at the wrong airport. Southwest flight #4013 from Chicago enroute to Branson Missouri landed at a nearby college airstrip instead. This is reminiscent of a cockpit mistake in a similar incident many years ago in Columbus Ohio, my home town. In that episode, a Trans World Airlines 707 landed at Ohio State University’s Don Scott Field, fifteen miles northwest of Port Columbus, the plane’s scheduled destination. Why does this continue to happen? What can prevent it? Here’s one reason it happens, and one way to lower the possibilities. Continue reading →