Periodic World Craziness Update # 16

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Obama Says Iran A Year Away From Nuclear Weapon: The most telling quote and also begging a question from this piece is: “Iran is about a year away from developing a nuclear weapon and the United States remains committed to doing everything in its power to prevent that from happening…”  What exactly can the US do?  In the face of the budget cuts this year that are forcing a virtual shutdown in training and the resultant effects on military readiness are not US options even more reduced than before.  It would seem that the President is making empty veiled threats and if I … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Dresden: A Survivor’s Story by Victor Gregg

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] Victor Gregg’s Dresden: A Survivor’s Story is a short work describing the author’s experience as  POW who got caught in Dresden in February, 1945 when the Allies bombed the city in what would become known as the Firebombing of Dresden.  The attack essentially destroyed the city center and killed an estimated 25,000 German’s.  Wikipedia has a pretty good article on the attacks that also discusses the controversy surrounding them that has grown up since the war.  To sum up the controversy, general anti-war people claim they were a crime and … More after the Jump…

How to Build and Fire a Medieval Trebuchet

Who would not want to build their own Trebuchet and rain down destruction on various targets in their backyard? I know I did. Luckily, I got a Trebuchet kit from my wife for Christmas. The below video is the result of that and one I put together for a class I am currently taking on Desktop Video Production. The assignment was to make a five minute video on a topic of our choice. It had to have x-number of transitions, background music, narration and video effects. That is why there are so many crazy transitions in the video. Believe me, shooting it is way more fun that watching me shoot it. That doesn’t bother me because … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 15

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Pressure builds in Iran nuclear stand-off:  It is quite simple really.  Nobody wants to do anything with regards to the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons that can really stop them because that would entail Iraq style regime change and there is not a single country willing to go that far that has the capability.  (That would be the US)  The diplomatic dancing will continue until Iran tests a weapon at which point it will be too late.  I also think that at that point Israel will have no choice but to unilaterally attack Iran as they are the country … More after the Jump…

The Transformation of War Wrought by the Armies of the French Revolution and Napoleon

In the years before the French Revolution, warfare in Europe was moribund at best.   The wars of the period were dynastic wars fought to maintain the traditional balance of power and were generally limited in scale and scope.   The armies of this era were professional armies with an aristocratic officer class and private soldiers drawn from the lowest segments of society and subject to brutal discipline.   Desertion and looting were rife in the pre-revolutionary or old regime army’s, which partly explains the discipline, the other part of the discipline equation was the need for soldiers to execute their battlefield actions in concert to maximize the effect of … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 14

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Mali & Central Africa – West faces ‘decades’ of conflict in N Africa, Death Toll Climbs Past 80 in Siege in the Sahara:  My only question is when are we going to get serious about stamping out terrorism?  My guess is never because a true solution would cause most Westerners to blanch in disgust.  It will take several attacks similar in scale to 9/11 in most Western countries for people to really come to grips with the threat of terrorism and then develop the resolve to do something effectual. Why Algeria Didn’t Warn the U.S. About Its Hostage Raid:  We are supposed to wonder why any 3rd World Country distrusts the … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Anatomy of the Castle by John Gibson

Anatomy of the Castle by John Gibson is perhaps the best book describing Castles aimed at the general reader that I have ever read.  The author manages to make the somewhat technical and dry language of describing castles and their construction lovely and entertaining. It is a coffee table sized book that is jam packed with beautiful color photos of castles from all over Europe and the Middle East.  There are 200 pages with a glossary, index, and bibliography.  It is divided into 6 chronological chapters with a lengthy introduction that describes the development of the art of fortification up to the development of the first castles.  He also includes a chapter describing what living in a castle must have truly been like.  The glossary is … More after the Jump…

Women in Combat Part 2

Pentagon announces decision to lift ban on women in combat roles: How prescient I now feel given that less than a week after I posted about this the Defense Secretary announces an end to the female combat exclusion.  I wish I had been wrong.

A couple of examples of the reaction in the press (I will only note in passing that most of those praising this decision have never served in the military or if they have were not Combat Arms): Women in combat: Let’s get real, Women will add combat strength: editorial, Women in combat — the controversy that wasn’t, Editors’ Roundtable: Women in combat?, Women in combat a dangerous experiment, Our View: Women in combat, Women in combat - The generals defer to political fashion in the Age of Obama, Women Have No Business in Combat.

Finally, the transcript of the SecDef’s Press Briefing where he announced the policy change.

 

Image credit CNN.com
Image credit CNN.com

Women in Combat

The role of women in combat has been much in the military press and civilian papers recently because of a lawsuit filed by several women who claim the military’s ban on women in combat positions is discriminatory.   There are folks who argue that women belong in combat  although those arguments generally boil down to it ain’t fair and it it’s sexists that women cannot be in combat.   The amount of intellectual dishonesty around this debate is amazing and should stun any thinking person. I will take the above pro-women in combat piece and debunk it as it is full of the kind of drivel that gets tossed around by … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 13

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Egypt’s Islamists aim to build on constitution vote:  We are now starting to see the logical outcome of the “Arab Spring.”  I would guess that more Islamist regimes will come to power but they will at first cloak themselves with legitimacy of Democracy.  We are seeing a repeat of the patented Arab “one man, one vote, one time” phenomenon that occurred in the wake of WWII. Mexico urges US court to block part of Arizona law:  I just wonder why we don’t hear any US politicians or the administration telling a foreign nation to stay out of internal US affairs. I also find … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 12

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Red Flag Over the Atlantic:  Everyone who follows China understands that China wants and is trying to increase their influence in the world.  They are doing this by exercising their considerable economic clout in places such as Africa and South America and also by increasing defense spending an acquisitions.  This year they launched their first Aircraft Carrier and have increased defense spending by double digit percentages every year for the past dozen years or so.  That they would be interested in an Atlantic base should surprise nobody.  If they aspire to regain the Great Power status they lost hundreds of years ago they must have a … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 11

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship.  Greece, Spain ‘in depression’: Nobel winner Stiglitz:  The slow motion death of the Euro continues and the only people that seem to not recognize it are the technocrats in charge of the various EU government.  At some point, probably too late, the signs and symptoms will be so overwhelming that the EU’s leaders will have no choice but to stop trying to apply band-aids and have to do something that will actually work.  That end is probably the dissolution of the Euro. China’s increasing military spending unnerves neighbors:  Count me among the people who is alarmed by the growth in Chinese … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 10

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. U.S. military suspends joint patrols with Afghans:  All I can say is that it is about damn time one of the higher ups realized that the joint patrol and living policy is a failure.  Absent a robust vetting process, which is obviously lacking, it is unconscionable to have our troops living side by side with Afghans who cannot be trusted as far as we can throw them. Pakistanis Try to Storm U.S. Outpost; One Is Killed:  I expect that demonstrations supposedly in outrage over the video will continue for a another week or so.  I am more and more … More after the Jump…

Battle of the Nations Monument – Leipzig, Germany

I had the opportunity to visit Leipzig this past weekend and while there stopped briefly by the monument to the 1813 Battle of the Nations from the Napoleonic Wars.  At the Battle of the Nations the Sixth Coalition consisting of Prussia, Britain, Russia, and Austria fought the French Army of Napoleon and over the course of three days defeated him and forced him to retreat back to France. I only had about 20 minutes at the monument and Leipzig is on my list of places to see again as one day was not enough to see all that I wanted to see.  The monument is currently undergoing renovation in preparation for events surrounding the 200th anniversary of the Battle next year. It is … More after the Jump…

Periodic World Craziness Update # 9

The latest month’s wackiness in the world of international relations, politics, and  brinkmanship. Afghanistan: a ragged retreat threatens to turn into a slow-motion rout: Afghanistan is increasingly in the news again. I don’t know if that is because the US Presidential race is entering the final stages or that the war does in fact seem to be turning into a slow motion disaster. I suspect a little bit of both with some other factors thrown in. What ,most journalists and commentators fail to acknowledge however is that the war in Afghanistan went south a long time before Obama came into office. It went out the window when the US invaded Iraq and … More after the Jump…