Posts Tagged ‘Military’

Happy 111th Birthday to Veteran Richard Overton!

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

BattleSwarmBlog would like to wish a happy (belated) 111th birthday to fellow Austinite Richard Overton, who, at the spry age of 111, is America’s oldest living veteran!

Another point of congratulation: After 70 years in the same house in Austin, he just got air conditioning for the first time…

Guns, Tyranny and Asymmetrical Warfare

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

One Standard Anti-Second Amendment Talking Point is that the Second Amendment is outdated and can’t possibly provide a bulwark against tyranny, because no group of citizens armed merely with legal firearms could possibly stand up to the technological might of the U.S. armed forces. The notion has a certain surface-level plausibility, as a bunch of guys armed only with AR-pattern rifles isn’t going to take out an M1A2 tank in open combat.

Tiny problem with this argument: recent history shows it’s demonstrably wrong:

Who exactly do you think has stymied the U.S. in Afghanistan for 16 years? The Taliban is made up of Afghan Bubbas. The Taliban doesn’t need to defeat nuclear weapons, though they are humiliating a nuclear power for the second time in history. They use a mix of Kalashnikovs and WWII-era bolt-action rifles. Determined insurgencies are really difficult to fight, even if they are only armed with Enfield rifles and you can target them with a TOW missiles system that can spot a cat in the dark from two miles away. In Iraq, expensive tanks were destroyed with simple improvised explosives.

If the U.S. government (and the American people behind them) doesn’t want to use nuclear weapons on foreign fundamentalists in Afghanistan, why does anyone presume they’d use them against Americans in Idaho?

It is not just our fecklessness. All great powers take into account the moral and manpower costs of implementing their rules and laws on a people. And an armed citizenry, especially if they seem to have a just cause to rally around, will dramatically raise the price of ruling them. The British Empire controlled one quarter of the world’s territory and ruled one quarter of the earth’s population in 1922. In that very year, they were forced to make an effective exit from the main part of their oldest colony, Ireland. Why? Because a determined group of Irish men with guns made the country ungovernable. The British technically could have deployed their entire navy, blockading the restive island, and starving any rebellion into submission. But they were unwilling to pay the moral price, or the price in blood. It was precisely this foreseeable event that had caused the British to ban Irish Catholics from possessing firearms hundreds of years earlier.

And just as in the 1770s or the 1920s, governments in similar positions today or in the future would have a difficult time maintaining military morale while trying to impose rule on a people who resist it manfully.

Let’s say that liberals get their wish, put Democrats in control of congress and the White House, and instantly pass Australian-style mandatory gun confiscation laws. If Democrats jump straight to violating the Constitution, the gloves come off. Not only will American gun owners form the largest armed insurgency the world has ever seen, but the “civilized” rules of engagement would no longer apply.

Let’s let Scott Adams spell it out:

The way private gun ownership protects citizens is by being a credible threat against all the civilians who might be in any way associated with a hypothetical tyrannical leader who uses the military against citizens. Citizens probably can’t get close to the leaders in such a scenario, but it would take about an hour to round up their families, and the families of supporters.

That would do it.

America is unconquerable.

Imagine the top hundred Democratic Party donors in every state being taken hostage by an American insurgency. Imagine the immediate families of every Democratic U.S. Senator and Governor being taken hostage.

Beltway snipers Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad had two states and a dozen police departments freaking out in the Beltway Sniper attacks of 2002. Now imagine that times a thousand.

The problem is compounded even further that those same “bubbas” are exactly the sort of men who make up the bulk of the United States armed forces. Do liberals seriously believe that, come an actual civil war and suspension of the Posse Comitatus Act, troops from Texas, Kansas and Georgia will cheerfully do the bidding of elites from New York and San Francisco to disarm their own fathers and brothers (many ex-military themselves) in deep red states?

Once again, liberals openly pining for a civil war between red and blue America seem to have overlooked the tiny obstacle that red American is the half with all the guns.

A well-armed citizenry as large as that in the United States would make Afghanistan and Iraq look like calk walks compared to trying to occupy America. That’s why the Second Amendment remains the ultimate bulwark of American liberty.

Raqqa Liberated

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

The onetime capital of the short-lived caliphate of the Islamic Republic of Iraq and Syria has been completely liberated by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces:

A US-backed alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters says it has taken full control of so-called Islamic State’s one-time “capital” of Raqqa.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Talal Sello said the fighting was over after a five-month assault.

Clearing operations were now under way to uncover any jihadist sleeper cells and remove landmines, he added.

An official statement declaring victory in the city and the end of three years of IS rule is expected to be made soon.

IS made Raqqa the headquarters of its self-styled “caliphate”, implementing an extreme interpretation of Islamic law and using beheadings, crucifixions and torture to terrorise residents who opposed its rule

The city also became home to thousands of jihadists from around the world who heeded a call to migrate there by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“On Tuesday morning, the SDF cleared the last two major IS positions in Raqqa – the municipal stadium and the National Hospital.”

Here are a series of maps (captured from Syria.livemap.com) that paint a picture of how the battle unfolded:

June 9:

July 12:

August 13:

August 25:

September 5:

October 8:

October 14:

Some additional perspective from Robin Wright in The New Yorker:

“There are other places for ISIS to go and survive, but there’s something special about Syria and Iraq and the Fertile Crescent,” [Will] McCants, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said. “It’s the theatre of prophecy. It’s where the apocalyptic drama unfolds. It’s the heartland of the historic caliphate, and it’s the scene of the final end-of-times drama, as predicted by Islamic scripture. Nowhere else in the Islamic world compares with it.”

McCants said that the fall of Raqqa, a city that was once home to more than two hundred thousand Syrians but is now mostly destroyed, will weaken the group’s ability to recruit fighters and inspire attacks. “The fight will go on, and ISIS will morph into an insurgency and may try to reëstablish another state, but, for now, it’s a crushing blow,” he said. “ISIS put all its chips on creating a state and taking territory as proof of its divine mandate. Some of its followers now have to have doubts.“

At its height, the Islamic State was about the size of Indiana, or the country of Jordan, with eight million people under its control. ISIS transformed the world of jihadism by recruiting tens of thousands of followers from five continents—faster, in larger numbers, and from further corners of the Earth than any other modern extremist group. The caliphate was formally declared by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on June 29, 2014, from a pulpit in the Grand Mosque of Mosul, the largest city under ISIS control. It, too, was liberated, in July, after a gruesome nine-month offensive by Iraqi security forces.

ISIS still holds bits and pieces of territory in both countries. But it no longer rules. Baghdadi, an Islamic scholar who was detained by the U.S. military in Iraq for almost a year, in 2004, as prisoner number US9IZ-157911CI, has not been sighted in public since the unveiling of his caliphate.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition supporting the campaign against ISIS, said, “Over all, ISIS is losing in every way. We’ve devastated their networks, targeted and eliminated their leaders at all levels. We’ve degraded their ability to finance their operations, cutting oil revenues by ninety per cent. Their flow of foreign recruits has gone from about fifteen hundred fighters a month down to near zero today. ISIS in Iraq and Syria are all but isolated in their quickly shrinking territory.” Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS at the State Department, tweeted that an estimated six thousand fighters had died in the battle for Raqqa.

There’s talk that the Islamic State’s surviving foreign fighters will relocate to Libya, where a civil war has ranged off and on since Moammar Gadhafi’s ouster/execution (thanks, Obama).

Now if only the various factions fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria can finish it off there rather than turning on each other…

Raqqa’s Fall: “Hours or Days”

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria’s Raqqa and a deal has been reached to evacuate civilians and Islamic State fighters, but not foreign militants, the U.S-led coalition fighting ISIS said on Saturday.”

Here’s the Syria LiveMap screencap from October 8:

And here’s a screencap from today:

It looks like the already compacted Islamic State pocket in Raqqa has already been reduced by 80% in that time.

Here’s some video of the most recent push:

I look forward to putting up the “Raqqa Liberated” post in a day or two…

Islamic State Update: Hawija Falls, Final Push for Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor Fully Invested

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Quick update on the ongoing destruction of the Islamic State.

First, “Iraqi forces have driven Islamic State fighters from the northern city of Hawija, the militants’ final urban stronghold in Iraq, three years after they seized control of nearly a third of the country, the Iraqi government said Thursday.”

There’s still lots of fighting along the Euphrates, but the Islamic State doesn’t control any cities outside that region any more.

Second, the the final offensive against Islamic State holdouts in what remains of their territory in besieged Raqqa just began, with commanders of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces estimating that all of Raqqa will be liberated this week.

Third, like Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor has been completely cut off from the rest of the Islamic State by both SDF and Assad’s Syrian army. SDF also captured the Islamic State’s Deir ez-Zor headquarters.

(Pictures, as usual, from http://isis.liveuamap.com/.)

In western Syria, there are conflicting reports about the remaining Islamic State pocket near Hama there. The Syrian government claims it has destroyed the last elements of the Islamic State there, while the Islamic State claims that it is attacking and gaining ground from the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the rival Islamist group in the Syrian civil war that incorporates former elements of the al-Nusra Front.

In 2014, the Islamic State took and ruled vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. Now they struggle to hold on to what few cities they still control, and soon will rule over nothing at all.

LinkSwarm for September 29, 2017

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Looks like I’m going to get out of this week without having to do a separate post about the NFL. (Yay me!) A good thing, since I’ve been chronically short of time this week (for work and Reasons). Here was a supposedly irresistible force (the SJW Long March through every possible institution of American life) meeting the immoveable object (the fact that the vast majority of NFL fans are more conservative than the liberal identity politics the league suddenly feels necessary to espouse). But President Donald Trump, like Bill Ciinton, is very adept at getting in front of a parade. In this case, Trump noticed that the vast majority of Americans who don’t hate the flag weren’t being represented in the controversy. With one tweet, Trump turned the debate on its head, forced the league to make its support for #BlackLivesMatter identity politics explicit.

The ironic thing is that #BlackLivesMatter was a George Soros gambit to keep black voters riled up enough to ensure they voted for Hillary Clinton, and it failed miserably. So the NFL is stuck degrading its own popularity to continue defending a political gambit that failed.

  • How President Trump’s NFL stance helps him:

    He takes a commonly held sentiment — most people don’t like the NFL protests — and states it in an inflammatory way guaranteed to get everyone’s attention and generate outrage among his critics. When those critics lash back at him, Trump is put in the position of getting attacked for a fairly commonsensical view.

  • And the whole controversy is not helping Democrats either:

    What voters in that big chunk of the country turned red do you plan to win back on a platform of kneeling for the national anthem, revoking due process, removing monuments of our founders, sympathizing with jihad, glorifying property-destroying (and journalist-punching) thugs or backing Kim Jong Un in a nuclear showdown? The more the left has ramped up its cultural war, the more their governing power has diminished. Who cares if the Affordable Care Act wiped them from the electoral map, as long as Jimmy Kimmel gets his sick burns in.

    Donald Trump’s election should have been a giant wake up call to both the media and the left that the causes they care about and blast out with their bylines are not the issues Americans care about. They may view Donald Trump’s twitter commentary as beneath the office of the presidency, but they can forgive a lot when the other party is demanding they bend the knee.

  • And least anyone forget, Democrats are already plenty screwed. “If Democrats don’t refine their pitch to alienated white voters, Trump could win re-election with ease.”
  • The biggest threat to the lives of black males is not police officers, it’s other black males. And the “Ferguson Effect” of reduced policing in the inner city is making things worse. (Hat tip: Powerline.)
  • Another day, another Russian hacking story that turns out to be complete hogwash.
  • Washington policy is screwing the Kurds. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Illegal Aliens Cost US Taxpayers An Average Of $8,075 Per Illegal.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Gay Jew argues for free speech rights for everyone, instantly gets labeled a Nazi. “The mob cannot be reasoned with…It is truly frightening to see how deeply marinated the Left has become in hate that it sees itself as righteous for committing violence against all it views as evil.”
  • “Healthy” food researcher accused of wholesale data manipulation.
  • Ted Cruz wants to repeal Dodd-Frank.
  • The city of Marienthal, Austria tried out that “guaranteed income” thing liberals raved about in the 1930s. Spoiler: it didn’t work:

    “Cut off from their work,” the workers “lost the material and moral incentives to make use of their time.” They began to “drift gradually out of an ordered existence into one that is undisciplined and empty. . . . [For] hours on end, the men stand around on the street, alone or in small groups, leaning against the wall of a house or the parapet of a bridge.”

    “Nothing is urgent anymore,” the report observes. “They have forgotten how to hurry.”

    “It used to be magnificent,” one woman told the researchers. “During the summer we used to go for walks, and all those dances! Now I don’t feel like going out anymore.” Another man summarized, “[ T] here was life in Marienthal then. Now the whole place is dead.”

    And Democratic policies have done the same for black America.

  • Scholar withdraws article ‘The Case for Colonialism’ after social media and professional attacks.” What attacks? “After demands for retraction, to fire the journal editors, to fire and blacklist the author, and to revoke his PhD.” And even though no less a liberal icon that Noam Chomsky defended his right to publish the controversial piece.
  • Fight in ’empathy tent‘ at UC Berkeley leads to 4 arrests.” “You’ve got a guy with purple hair with a f—ing lightsaber talking about Hitler. It’s hard for me to take any of this seriously.”
  • A “summary of President Trump’s UN speech. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Dogs actually do love us.
  • Bulldozer 1, Police Car 0. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Florida man: “Man wields machete, makes off with $17 worth of potato chips.”
  • Florida woman: “Maid of Honor Chugs Bottle of Fireball, Punches Best Man, Steals Car, Nearly Runs Him Over During Wedding.”
  • SR-72?
  • Jerry Pournelle’s eulogy by his son. (Hat tip: Borepatch, who also shares another Jerry story.)
  • World’s largest flawless diamond to be auctioned.
  • The story behind the recording of Devo’s cover of “Satisfaction.”
  • Heh.
  • Heh II:

  • Prototype Laser Weapon Shoots Down Drones

    Sunday, September 24th, 2017

    Lockheed Martin has developed a battlefield laser weapon to shoot down drones. Here’s video of it in action.

    Keep in mind all the caveats of corporate-produced weapon test videos (if a test run was a failure, you wouldn’t be seeing that video), and don’t expect these to be deployed in the battlefield anytime soon. But it’s still promising.

    Islamic State Near Collapse?

    Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

    That’s what this headline implies. The truth is a little less dramatic: Raqqa is on the edge of full liberation and the Islamic State is in retreat everywhere else.

    Static lines of control that held for months in northern Raqqa have collapsed, as seen in this Syria Livemap screen cap:

    Compare that to this map from September 5:

    Islamic State fighters are running out of territory in Raqqa to defend.

    Here’s a video from the battle of Raqqa:

    Southeast of Raqqa, Syrian government forces and the SDF are both pushing toward Deir ez-Zor.

    SDF also say they have captured Syria’s largest oilfield from the Islamic State near Deir ez-Zor.

    Elsewhere in the theater, “Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces have cleared ISIS out of about 50,000 square miles and liberated more than 6 million people who were living under Islamic State occupation.”

    Here’s a map of Iraqi forces collapsing the pocket of Islamic State forces to the southwest of Kirkuk that have been cut off from the rest of the Islamic State at least since the investment of Mosul.

    Everywhere within it’s supposed caliphate, the Islamic State is in retreat, and nowhere is it counterattacking successfully. But it still holds a lot of territory, and there’s a lot more fighting left before declaring it dead.

    Bonus video: Royal Air Force drone stops Islamic State public execution:

    LinkSwarm for September 22, 2017

    Friday, September 22nd, 2017

    Welcome to the first LinkSwarm of fall! Between a new job, car trouble, dog trouble and iPhone updates, you’re lucky there’s a LinkSwarm at all!

  • Final total for J.J. Watt’s YouCaring campaign: $37,131,967.
  • Death toll in the Mexico City earthquake hits 273.
  • Mexican rescue dog saves over 50 lives.
  • 100% of Puerto Rico is without power following Hurricane Maria.
  • Obama Administration official Samantha Power asked for over 260 unmaskings of American citizens. “She continued to seek identifying information about Americans caught up in incidental surveillance right up to President Trump’s inauguration.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • And Obama’s FBI Director James Comey was apparently eavesdropping on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “House IT Worker At Center Of Scandal Allegedly Abused Three Muslim Women.” “Multiple women in relationships with Imran Awan, the indicted former IT aide for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have recently called Virginia law enforcement and alleged being abused by him, police reports obtained under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act show.”
  • President Trump didn’t forget Poland.
  • “The mainstream media failed to see the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Now it’s overlooking another grassroots movement that may soon be of equal significance— the growing number of liberals “taking the red pill.” People of all ages and ethnicities are posting YouTube videos describing “red pill moments”—personal awakenings that have caused them to reject leftist narratives imbibed since childhood from friends, teachers, and the news and entertainment media.”
  • “Federal Prosecutors Say Anthony Weiner Convinced [15-year old] Teen To Strip, Touch Herself On Skype.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Evergreen State College has settled a tort claim against it from embattled Professor Bret Weinstein and his wife, Professor Heather Heying, for $500,000, according to an email sent to faculty Friday evening.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Article on the decline of NFL ratings offers and explanation in the comments section: “One after another, cogent, thoughtful comments clearly stating the exact reason that life long NFL fans have turned off the TV, dropped their cable subscription, and moved on.” Sample: “There will be no NFL at my house until the employment of players that disrespect our flag and anthem is terminated.”
  • More signs of NFL’s decline in popularity: Los Angeles Rams can’ even sell out their temporary stadium. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Flashback: Ted Kennedy, drunken serial sexual molester.
  • Wisconsin appeals court dismisses union lawsuit against right-to-work law.
  • Armed citizen stops would-be rapist near downtown Austin. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’ capable of building molecules.” No indication these 150-atom “robots” can contain programming or self-replicate, so we’re still a long way from K. Eric Drexler’s nanotechnology…
  • Valerie Plame steps in it:

  • Possible Conflict Between Assad/Russia and SDF/U.S. Brewing?

    Saturday, September 16th, 2017

    Remember how a month ago how almost all the different Syrian factions were concentrating on crushing the last remnants of the Islamic State?

    Good times, good times.

    Well the good times may be over, as Russian and Syrian forces launched an airstrike against the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces northeast of Deir ez-Zor.

    Both are converging on Deir ez-Zor, thought to be the de facto capital of what’s left of the Islamic State. SDF also wants to keep Assad’s forces on the western side of the Euphrates.

    Here’s the situation from Syria Livemap:

    It would be nice if both sides could finish dismantling the Islamic State before launching the next war…