Category Archives: GWOT

See-Saw

By lex, on January 16th, 2012

When our forces first went into Afghanistan, it was all about the kinetics.  A couple of years ago, the mission moved to “hearts and minds”, firepower being eschewed in favor of making nice. Then came the “Afghan surge”, which never included as many forces as the forward commanders requested, but definitely resulted in increased presence and concomitant kinetics in places the NATO coalition had never been, or where they had been too thin on the ground to effect either a tactical or strategic difference.

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The Latest Outrage

By lex, on January 12th, 2012

Third Battalion, Second Marines is in the headlines, and not in a good way:

The U.S. Marine Corps is investigating a video that surfaced online today in which several Marines appear to urinate on the corpses of suspected Taliban fighters.

The video, which is less than a minute long, appears to show four men in uniform looking around before urinating on three dead bodies, at least one of the men chuckles as they do so.

“Have a great day, buddy,” one of the men is heard saying, apparently to a dead body.

The Marine Corps responded quickly after reports of the video surfaced, calling for a full investigation.

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M/V Sunshine

By lex, on January 7th, 2012

More on the “dumbest pirates ever“:

Brandishing a rocket-propelled grenade and several Kalashnikov rifles, (the pirates) rushed alongside, threw a grappling hook and tried to lash a ladder to the Sunshine’s side. They hoped to scale the gunwales and seize the bridge.

Their plans unraveled immediately. As the Sunshine radioed for help, and tried to deter the boarding by spraying the pirates with fire hoses, the pirates were unable to board.

“Our ladder broke,” Mr. Mahmoud said.

See? Marlinspike seamanship.

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Casualties of War

By lex, on January 4th, 2012

We got punched in the nose 10 years, 3 months, and 24 days ago. We got up, dusted ourselves off, buckled on our armor and went righteously to war against those who had conducted or facilitated that beating, throwing in an untrustworthy rogue regime with a history of manufacturing and using weapons of mass destruction into the bargain.

There were some, chiefly among the civil libertarian left who argued that the modes and methods used to prosecute that war from the home front were threatening to our civil liberties as enshrined in our foundational documents. That the Patriot Act, for example, was a slippery slope to constitutional dismemberment.

Stuff, said I at the time. Hard times call for hard measures, and any loss of liberty – I strained to find even one – would be temporary in nature at best.

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Non Sequitur

By lex, on December 13th, 2011

So, some goon in Belgium lights up a Christmas celebration with hand grenades and small arms fire, killing at least three people and wounding some 45.

If, like me, your antennae quiver when you hear of such an event, your suspicions are if anything enhanced rather than otherwise when you learn that the attacker’s name was “Nordine Amrani”. Which doesn’t sound terribly Belgique, does it? As best as I can tell from a casual Google search, the surname “Amrani” is of North African provenance. Think Egypt and Morocco, although there are also Israeli references.

Amrani apparently had a long criminal record, to include firearms offenses.

But what followed immediately after the attacker’s naming in the BBC bears scrutiny:

He was named as Nordine Amrani, aged 33. He was known to police for firearms offences. Officials said the attacker acted alone, ruling out terrorism.

Well, the people in the square were certainly terrorized. And since when did an act of terrorism require partnership?

Too soon to say his real motive. Far too soon to start wishing unpleasant ones away.

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Running Out of Bugs

By lex, on November 23rd, 2011

The WaPo reports that the war on al Qaeda is essentially down to two targets:

The leadership ranks of the main al-Qaeda terrorist network, once expansive enough to supervise the plot for Sept. 11, 2001, have been reduced to just two figures whose demise would mean the group’s defeat, U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials said.

Ayman al-Zawahiri and his second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, are the last remaining “high-value” targets of the CIA’s drone campaign against al-Qaeda in Pakistan, U.S. officials said, although lower-level fighters and other insurgent groups remain a focus of Predator surveillance and strikes.

Al-Qaeda’s contraction comes amid indications that the group has considered relocating in recent years but that it ruled out other destinations as either unreachable or offering no greater security than their missile-pocked territory in Pakistan, U.S. officials said.

Should make it easier to concentrate resources and finish the job.

When you’ve got your boot in your enemy’s neck, the important thing is to keep pushing.

 

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False Flag?

By lex, on October 16th, 2011

I didn’t comment on last week’s story about the Iranian government’s purported plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador here in the US because I was pressed for time, and the story didn’t immediately make a great deal of transparent sense to me. In the millennial campaign between Saudi Arabia’s majority Sunni branch of Islam and the Persian-led Shia minority, it was clear that somehow the US had come to be a battlefield. But who were the players in this contest, and what were their aims? It wasn’t clear to me at the time, and still isn’t.

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