Enjoy your complimentary Friday LinkSwarm, and be sure to tip your waitress!
Archive for the ‘Military’ Category
Central Kyiv turned into a war zone on Feb. 20, with indiscriminate shooting, burning fires and the mass evacuations of government buildings.
At least 35 people were reported dead by noon, bringing the total count to at least 61 persons this week.
It became increasingly clear that both sides have lost control of the streets across Ukraine as reports of deaths, looting, and violent attacks poured in.
Foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland, walked into a meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych around noon with one message on the agenda: you have to stop the violence now, and the quickest way to do it is to resign.
Yanukovych’s snipers are now shooting people in the streets:
— Vitalii Sediuk (@VitaliiSediuk) February 20, 2014
— Euromaidan__ENG (@Euromaidan__ENG) February 19, 2014
— 15MBcn_int (@15MBcn_int) February 20, 2014
— Thomas van Linge (@arabthomness) February 20, 2014
— Dave Pugh (@davepugh) February 20, 2014
Former Israeli General and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died at age 85 after being in a coma since 2006.
While Sharon was a hugely important and influential political figure, I want to highlight his brilliance as a general. Israel’s swift and sure destruction of numerically superior Egyptian forces in the Sinai (with a total area significantly larger than Israel itself) under the leadership of Sharon, Israel Tal and Avraham Yoffe in a mere four days in 1967 are a big reason it’s called the Six Day War.
Here’s a History Channel show on The Six day War, complete with Machinima recreations of the battles.
I got one of the most amusingly ridiculous pieces of political spam in my email box recently:
please can be seated in your nice wormchair and email to the rest off the world to forward the red note to their head of state, if the world peace treaty ever take place (with your help and those that read this), there are enough monie spent on each country on defend budgets (that %30 off our taxes monie) we can all have 3 presents each every day for the rest of our lives the and also our great great great grand children lives, not including the ten year early retirement which we should have
together we can kindly ask the world top 20 leaders to sign a world Peace treaty
please can you copy and paste the message in the red below then email it to your local Members of Parliament (MPs) or someone who s head of state
in your country or county
do this once (mean you r a true beliver))
copy and email all the text to a hundred people (mean this will happen, 100x 100 x 100x 100= 1 bilion people
Etc. etc. etc., at great length.
It would be the height of laziness to take potshots at a naive piece of badly-spelled spam, but since it’s the day after Christmas, and I’m feeling very lazy indeed, let’s grab the pump-action Remington and stroll out to the pike barrel, shall we?
Putting aside the fact that this particular email seems to have been dictated by a Nigerian Prince to someone for whom English was not their first (or even second) language, let me concentrate on the underlying idea animating the missive, namely a world peace treaty to end war.
Hate to tell you sparky, but it’s been tried. It was called the Kellogg-Braind Pact:
WHEREAS a Treaty between the President of the United States Of America, the President of the German Reich, His Majesty the King of the Belgians, the President of the French Republic, His Majesty the King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, His Majesty the King of Italy, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, the President of the Republic of Poland, and the President of the Czechoslovak Republic, providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, was concluded and signed by their respective Plenipotontiaries at Paris on the twenty-seventh day of August, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight, the original of which Treaty, being in the English and the French languages, is word for word as follows:
THE PRESIDENT OF THE GERMAN REICH, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF THE BELGIANS, THE PRESIDENT OF THE FRENCH REPUBLIC, HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF GREAT BRITAIN IRELAND AND THE BRITISH DOMINIONS BEYOND THE SEAS, EMPEROR OF INDIA, HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF ITALY, HIS MAJESTY THE EMPEROR OF JAPAN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND THE PRESIDENT OF THE CZECHOSLOVAK REPUBLIC,
Deeply sensible of their solemn duty to promote the welfare of mankind;
Persuaded that the time has, come when a frank renunciation of war as an instrument of na tional policy should be made to the end that the peaceful and friendly relations now existing between their peoples may be perpetuated;
Convinced that all changes in their relations with one another should be sought only by pacific means and be the result of a peaceful and orderly process, and that any signatory Power which shall hereafter seek to promote its ts national interests by resort to war a should be denied the benefits furnished by this Treaty;
Hopeful that, encouraged by their example, all the other nations of the world will join in this humane endeavor and by adhering to the present Treaty as soon as it comes into force bring their peoples within the scope of its beneficent provisions, thus uniting the civilized nations of the world in a common renunciation of war as an instrument of their national policy;
Have decided to conclude a Treaty and for that purpose have appointed as their respective Plenipotentiaries
[List of Plenipotentiary signatories omitted]
who, having communicated to one another their full powers found in good and due form have agreed upon the following articles:
The High Contracting Parties solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.
The present Treaty shall be ratified by the High Contracting Parties named in the Preamble in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements, and shall take effect as between them as soon as all their several instruments of ratification shall have been deposited at Washington.
This Treaty shall, when it has come into effect as prescribed in the preceding paragraph, remain open as long as may be necessary for adherence by all the other Powers of the world. Every instrument evidencing the adherence of a Power shall be deposited at Washington and the Treaty shall immediately upon such deposit become effective as; between the Power thus adhering and the other Powers parties hereto.
It shall be the duty of the Government of the United States to furnish each Government named in the Preamble and every Government subsequently adhering to this Treaty with a certified copy of the Treaty and of every instrument of ratification or adherence. It shall also be the duty of the Government of the United States telegraphically to notify such Governments immediately upon the deposit with it of each instrument of ratification or adherence.
IN FAITH WHEREOF the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty in the French and English languages both texts having equal force, and hereunto affix their seals.
DONE at Paris, the twenty seventh day of August in the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight.
The brainchild of French foreign minister Aristide Briand and U.S. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg, the Pact was conceived as a way of constraining future German aggression and eliminating the horrors of war for all time.
Didn’t work out so well.
Like all Utopian schemes, the Kellog-Briand Pact failed because it assumed human beings were both perfectible and rational in large numbers, neither of which is the case. Forged in a time of relative economic prosperity, when Hitler was an ex-con running the fringe National Socialist German Workers’ Party, no one could foresee the Great Depression and the conflagration of World War II just around the corner.
Wars happen for a variety of reasons, none of which can be derailed solely because the countries involved signed a piece of paper saying war is bad and naughty and they’re having none of it. Treaties work when they either benefit both nations (see, for example, the Rush-Bagot Treaty, which demilitirized the Great Lakes), or because one party to the treaty has the obvious ability to completely beat the snot out of the other.
Treaties with non-democratic regimes are only as good as the obvious willingness of democratic nations to use force to back them up. Which is why I have little-to-no faith that the recent treaty with Iran will have the slightest effect on Iran’s nuclear program beyond accelerating it…
It’s Friday, and I’m feeling to lazy to put up a real LinkSwarm, so here’s the Mini-Me version:
Busy working on a book catalog, so here’s some low calorie Content Substitute in the form of M1A2 tanks blowing things up:
Also provides a distinct contrast in music, rap vs. (I think) Hans Zimmer…
It looks increasingly like a moot point, but since I previously mentioned it, I wanted to confirm that my own Representative, John Carter, is a firm “No” on bombing Syria, as per this letter from him:
Dear Mr. Person:
Thank you for contacting me about President Obama’s proposal to launch a military strike against Syria.
President Obama has asked Congress to authorize a U.S. military strike in the wake of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces use of chemical weapons on August 21, 2013.
My constituents and the majority of Americans have voiced their opposition to this ill-conceived proposal and I stand with them. The President has not provided a solid reason as to why he believes the United States should attack the sovereign nation of Syria or how this action would deter al-Assad in the future. A political agenda is no reason to put our sons and daughters in danger or involve our country in another costly war while dealing with a budgetary crisis, the President’s damaging sequester and reduced troop levels.
The lack of a legitimate foreign policy since the beginning of this administration has placed America into the situation we face today. I believe the President’s decision to attack Syria is not based on defending the security of our nation, but is based on defending his political agenda and his ‘red line’. The administration’s plan to support and aid the rebel faction which include members of Al Qaeda and the assumptions that they will call America their friend after attacking President Bashar al-Assad is a misguided strategy at best. There are many issues that the country should be focused on and kicking a hornets’ nest is not one of them.
Nothing has proven President Obama’s proposal would be effective and he has not given specific timetables for a resolution to the crisis. I believe we should work with the world community through diplomatic measures that will protect others from the deplorable use of chemical weapons. The central question for policy makers remains how best to bring the conflict in Syria to a close before the crisis consigns the region to one of several destructive and destabilizing scenarios.
You can be sure I will keep your strong views in mind as I monitor developments in Syria and surrounding regions. If given the opportunity to vote on this matter, I will oppose the President’s dangerous request. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website (www.house.gov/carter) or contact me with any future concerns.
Member of Congress
Yes votes to bomb Syria seem mighty hard to come by…
Who knew stopping a war could be so easy?
Not the Syrian war itself, of course; that grinds on unabated. But Obama’s ill-advised attempt to directly involve the U.S. in it seems to have been derailed.
Now, instead of the fig leaf of an unbelievably small attack on Syria to assuage Obama’s wounded ego over Assad waltzing all over his red line with a chemical weapons attack, now he gets to climb down thanks to the fig leaf of what will be a laughable, easily circumvented UN supervision of whatever chemical stockpiles Assad wants to turn over to them. We’ve seen how ridiculously ineffective UN oversight was in Iraq even with US force to back it up; there’s no reason to assume it will be any more effective in Syria.
But make no mistake: This is a better outcome than an attack that would be various parts ill-advised and laughable, depending on the size. Now Obama gets to accomplish exactly as much as he would before (namely nothing) without the risk of going to war.
It’s a win-win solution.
Obama’s call for attacking Syria is meeting such heavy opposition that he already has a domestic quagmire on his hands getting it approved. Here’s a mini-roundup of Syria news:
It’s taking a while to get back up to speed after Worldcon, but here’s a little content to prove I’m not dead (just dead tired). And it’s proven a moving target that took longer to put together than I expected
The Hill has an an ongoing whip count on those who oppose or support a strike against Syria. Huffington Post has another count. This is shaping up to be a case of actual Americans on both the left and right opposing Obama’s Big Adventure, while the Permanent Party of Washington Insiders is supporting it.
Texas Congressmen On Record Opposing A Strike On Syria
(if no link from their name, they’re on the Hill or Huff Puff lists)
Texas Congressmen On Record Supporting A Strike On Syria
Here’s a list of Texas Republican Congressmen who were listed as undecided in the Huff Puff piece, along with contact info:
Contact information for Texas congressional critters from Dwight’s blog.
So, for those of you playing along on the home game: Both Ted Cruz and Lloyd Doggett oppose attacking Syria. That’s a pretty broad coalition.