The Duffel Blog: If you have ever been in the military, especially if you were an NCO, you will get some awesome belly laughs from the fictional but could be true satire on this site.
FNG meets Lady Hooker
As much tension, tragedy and mayhem as the war provided it gave a group of crude, vulgar young pilots a fair amount of fun, too. The officer’s club was the hub of our hormonally driven behavior. It was where we drank ourselves silly, releasing the tension and bravado endemic to twenty-year old males, in or out of a war zone. The club was our sanctuary, watering hole, mailroom, our hello and goodbye spot where, as the saying goes, everybody knew my name. But before I could fully partake of the blandishments the club offered I had to pass in front of my fellow pilots. I had to get the secret handshake, to undergo the inevitable ritual without which Kearsley would have been right: I’d always be a new guy. The protocol involved an encounter with a lady named Hooker. (It’s not what you think.) Continue reading
Obama: Nuclear deal blocks Iran’s path to bomb In an ironic twist showing that the 60+ years since World War II have only fostered institutional amnesia the US and five other powers buckled and agreed to appease Iran in talks about its nuclear program. Agreeing that sanctions will be eased in return for Iran behaving US Secretary of State John Kerry channeled former British Prime minister Neville Chamberlain by paraphrasing him and tweeting:
Agreement in Geneva: first step makes world safer. More work now. -JK #IranTalks
— Department of State (@StateDept) November 24, 2013
I just wonder if he is going to wave a piece of paper around when he gets home too?
Has the world really forgotten that appeasing tyrannical regimes is a recipe for getting heartbroken and sore? Why would any sane, rational person think for a minute that Iran would give up the nuclear program they have defended so fiercely over the past decade+ in return for access to less than $10 billion dollars of oil revenue? My guess is that Iran already has enough fissile material for at least one but probably more bombs and thus it suits them to play nice right now in return for concessions. Remember, Hitler agreed to only take the Sudetenland in September of 1938, because he was not quite ready for war. But then he turned around and occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia in spring 1939 and kicked off World War II less than a year later.
Should I be worried about being recalled to active duty to go fight in the next world war?
The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and brinkmanship.
Syria: Al-Qaida group changes shape of civil war - It seems increasingly clear that the Syrian Civil War is starting to morph into a more regional conflict. I would expect that before next summer we will star to see more overt regional alignments and the conflict will start to spread. Give it another 18 months and we may very well start to see the fighting spread outside of Syria. I would expect that Lebanon would be the first foreign country to see significant fighting spread onto it’s territory although I can picture a scenario where Iraq is also the new battleground given the weakness of the Iraqi government and their inability to control the violence there.
Israeli Strike Coming?: Absent serious movement on getting Iran to open its nuclear program to IAEA scrutiny and given the apparent seriousness with which Israel takes the threat of Iranian possession of nukes. It is not out of the realm of the possible that Israel will conduct a preemptive strike to stop or slow down Iran’s march to being a nuclear state. Israel must be careful though and have very evidence to back up their claims or they risk losing international support. Then again, I am convinced that most western countries would be glad to see Israel do something that they are unable to do themselves because of domestic political considerations.
Assassination pushes Libya towards civil war two years after Gaddafi death: Libya, who everyone liked to think was squared away, is not, as many of us warned when Gaddafi fell. Radical Muslims are not going to just allow the establishment of anything approaching western style democracy unless they can be the power behind a democratic facade. We are seeing that again and again in the Muslim world.
Afghan special forces commander defects with guns to insurgents: I wonder how much Schadenfreude the Russians are feeling right now as they watch American and Western strategy collapse in Afghanistan? I also wonder when the political and chattering class will understand that you cannot win in in the traditional sense in Afghanistan. The best we can achieve is to reduce the threat posed by Afghans and Afghanistan based radical and be prepared to go in their for another short term ass-whipping as the situation dictates. To eliminate the possibility of threats emanating from that god-forsaken country would require a Carthaginian solution. As in a “they made a desert and called it peace” type solution.
Saudi Arabia severs diplomatic ties with US over response to conflict in Syria: If nothing else this is an interesting development. It also begs the question of what exactly the house of Sad is doing in regards to Syria. I have heard of them supporting several “initiatives” but not of them doing anything concrete. To paraphrase, methinks the Saudis doth protest too much. Syria is their backyard and if they want a mes cleaned up there then they should by god build a coalition to do so. The US is no longer in the position to play World’s Policeman, a fact many on the world and the US seem very reluctant to accept.
Report: Iran may be month from a bomb: The question is not when can Iran build a bomb, it is when can Iran build a miniaturized bomb? Just having the bomb signifies ability but development of a small device, and it does not have to be high-yield, signifies intent to use it. I don’t think any serious strategic thinker believes for a minute that Iran’s intent is only to develop a nuclear weapon but also to have the plausible ability to use such weapons as bargaining chips to strengthen their position in the Middle East and pursue their long-term goal of regional hegemon. I also think that they would use on if they calculated that the benefit or destruction caused by one outweighed the risks of retaliation. The biggest problem with nuclear weapons is that the major Nuclear powers are afraid to use them. This fear of using them, which the US telescopes, emboldens rogue states. The Iranians have no reasonable expectation that someone like Obama would really nuke them if they used an atomic weapon. Talk is cheap, and they know it.
Car bombs kill scores in Baghdad, in sign of crisis in Iraq: The war in Iraq has never stopped. It just fell out of the news because American troops were not dying there anymore. Figure the conflict there to last another 10-15 years at a minimum or until another strongman comes to power who is ruthless enough to his boot to everyone’s necks.
Obama orders curbs on NSA spying on U.N. headquarters: What was all that in 2008 about if Obama is elected the whole world will like us again? It certainly appears appears that he has made enemies out of countries that were once our friends with no good reason for doing so. It is a binary solution set, either Obama is stupid and incompetent or he is deliberately going out of his way to be a disaster. I have not figured out which yet.
Iran blames France for failure of nuclear talks: Perhaps the West should be thankful that France is not following the lead of the US in trying to achieve an agreement at seemingly any price. I have the distinct impression that the US Administration will settle for even a very flawed agreement if it means they can use such an agreement domestically to distract from the raft of problems facing Obama at home. History has shown that appeasement is at best porr policy and at worst disastrous.
The following is an excerpt from The Sky Behind Me: A Memoir of Flying & Life. Taken from chapter 14, this piece is dedicated to my fellow veterans, of Vietnam and all wars Americans have been involved in through the years. For non-veteran readers, please keep in mind that returning GIs want nothing more than to be welcomed home, that politics and ideology play no part in that welcome. When I returned from Vietnam all those years ago I was expecting hostility, judgement, interrogation and doubt concerning my effort in that conflict, and my behavior in the war zone. Imagine my pleasant surprise when the following event took place instead. This is a true story. It happened at Port Columbus Airport on March 21st 1971 at about four o’clock in the afternoon. Thanks for reading it, and please keep it in mind if you’re ever in position to do the same for a returning GI.
Home from the War
The airplane landed at Port Columbus and taxied to the gate. It was a full flight. I was seated two-thirds of the way back, in coach. In order to use my military free travel option I had to be in uniform. So flying home I wore my dress greens, which were at that point festooned with medals: Army Commendation, Good Conduct, Air Medal with 24 oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign, Bronze Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. Though I was very far from it, according to the decorations on my chest I looked like a damn war hero, Vietnam’s answer to Audie Murphy.
My fellow passengers on the airplane that day must have thought so. Their courtesy to me is something I’ve not forgotten. The plane stopped at the gate, and the seat belt sign chimed. But unlike the typical frantic scramble of panicked passengers grappling for overhead bags, elbowing each other, scrapping toward the exit, no one moved. Instead, people turned in their seats, looked at me, and waited. Not one of them stirred, or stood.
I stared at them a bit dazed. Then, understanding what they were offering, I got up, grabbed my carry-on and walked off the airplane. It was an odd, but gratifying experience. I still see those people waiting for me, their deference to a returning soldier obvious in their gracious behavior. When I hear about rude and dismissive acts against returning Vietnam vets I think of those people on my LA to Columbus flight that day. And I thank them again. They didn’t have to do that, but they did.
Years later, during the height of the conflict in Iraq, I had a chance to return the favor. On a flight from Columbus to Dallas two troops were seated about where I’d been all those years ago. I asked the flight attendant to make an announcement, which she was happy to do. When the plane stopped at the gate in DFW we civilians waited for those men to deplane. I watched them shuffle up the aisle, desert-camo fatigues, sand-colored boots, small duffels in hand. I knew just how they felt.