War

Unseen WW2 pics thru lens of AIF Lt. Norman Peterson

 

Most powerful thing I’ve read in a very long time

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As ANZAC day approaches tomorrow I went through my grandfather’s WW2 memorabilia. This is a message Lt. Norman Martin Peterson sent my grandmother on 10 May 1941. Puts our petty modern day quibbles into perspective. He survived 6 years of battle on the front lines as a medic – from Crete to Tobruk to the Pacific Islands. He never got hit by bullets but no doubt remained scarred inside for a long time after. I was always amazed at him. I do not know what brave is. Lest we forget.

Rasmussen slaps down mainstream media criticism of its polling

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Rasmussen Reports didn’t hold any punches when responding to criticism from the mainstream media for reporting the latest  figures showing  Trump’s (best of the Western world leaders) popularity. The full comment here. Boom!

Australian Army to ban death symbols

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This is an Australian Army helicopter patch. The new Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, who will step into the role in July reported soldiers will be banned from displaying “death symbology or iconography” including the pirate skull, crossbones, the punisher symbol, the Spartans or the grim reaper. Such symbols  are supposedly “at odds with the army’s values and the ethical force we seek to build and sustain“.

Surely a country wants its fighting forces to be effective. Period. The whole point of a military is possessing inequality on the battle field. That the enemy lives in fear of taking on our soldiers. If such patches make soldiers feel 10 foot tall then surely the morale boosting benefits outweigh getting in step with the times. As General Patton once said, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

The Australian Army is already moving down accelerated politically correct recruitment practices. Instead of pushing for those most qualified, emphasis is being placed on gender balance.

Recruiters at the ADF have been told they must hire women or face relocation if they don’t comply. The recruiters say there are no jobs available for men in the in the infantry as a rifleman or artilleryman. But these positions are marked as ‘recruit immediately’ if a female applies. If a 50kg woman is in the artillery, a 43.2kg M-107 shell is over 80% of her weight. An 80kg man would be lifting the same shells at around half of his weight. This is basic physiology.

The West Australian newspaper reported one recruiter who said, “This is political correctness gone mad. I don’t care if it is a man or a woman – I just want to get the best person for the job.”

The military is no place for social experiments. The same argument should be made about subs. A $50bn bribe for votes was made to ensure they’re manaufacturer in South Australia. Instead of aiming for the best possible equipment built in the most cost efficient manner  these subs won’t only be late but obsolete and potentially so over budget that the fleet will be compromised. At least we appeared to do the right thing.

Darkest Hour

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Saw Darkest Hour yesterday. Extremely well cast movie. Oldman plays Churchill impeccably well. Great storyline and is actually more relevant today than ever. The portrayal of Chamberlain after his disastrous run as PM is so indicative of the weak and feckless political class we have today across the Western democracies. Despite Chamberlain’s gross incompetence, out of power he still tries to undermine Churchill who ultimately roasts him alive. Well worth seeing. If only we had more Churchills today.   As there are more than enough dictators to stand up against.

The only thing that spoilt the film was the health and safety ‘environmentally friendly film making’ rubbish during the credits and an advisory that Churchill smoking cigars like a chimney was only a portrayal and people should be aware of the health risks of tobacco. Yet more evidence of the PC culture that overwhelms every walk of life,

What happens when you poke a Russian bear?

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As written earlier in the week, regardless of one’s views on the righteousness of any attack on Syria, Putin is being faced for the first time in a long time, a leader of a foreign nation (nations as it turns out) prepared to stand up to him. Obama fled the Syria battlefield after being given a two hour window when Russia first went to the aid of Assad. If that wasn’t the ultimate sign of a bully in the Kremlin it is hard to think of what is. While sanctions may have bitten to a degree post Ukraine and the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines flight, Syria is essentially a testing ground for Putin to weigh up Western (specifically Trump’s) resolve. If we look at Russia’s response post the Syrian strike,

The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard…A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences…All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris…Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible.

Kind of says it all really – Russia hasn’t been insulted. Putin has. He must have a glass jaw  like Trump! Two bullies flexing muscle. In a show down Should Putin wish to pick a direct conventional fight against 3 nuclear powers (explicitly mentioned), he knows that ‘mutually assured destruction’ is the very last option in the drawer and next to no chance of being selected despite all of the media beat up. On a conventional basis, Putin wins more battles by stirring up the hornet’s nests in other regions. Lending more support to Iran, Lebanon and Yemen. Destabilize Saudi Arabia and antagonize Israel.

CM wrote,

It is worth nothing that Syria is Rosoboronexport’s (Russia’s military export wing) 2nd largest customer after Iran. Putin is sick of having the West try to remove his clients. Assad is key to Russia’s foothold in the Middle East. With an essentially pro-Iran Iraqi government and Syria as well as Hezbollah Putin has a geopolitical doormat from the troubled separatist states to Russia’s south to Lebanon.

Some arguments have been made about the risks of the American, French or UK strikes killing Russian troops or civilians on the ground in Syria handing Russia free will to attack its enemies. Scroll back to November 2015 when the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter it claimed entered its airspace. Two Russian pilots were killed in the shooting and subsequent rescue. The Russians were incensed but President Erdogan is still in power and Ankara isn’t flailing after seeing its capitol turned into smoldering rubble.

This argument that the Russians weren’t given advance warnings of the attack is ridiculous. Had the Russian defence forces been on proper alert (they most definitely weren’t passed out behind their radar screens after a vodka binge) they would have detected the missile launches. Wind back to the 59 missile launch earlier last year against Syrian chemical facilities. We didn’t hear a peep from Putin. Why now? Of course he is incensed over the booting of diplomats on the nerve agent scandal but this is a showdown of ego.

Think of the long geopolitical chess board here. Should Trump have backed down on Putin’s threats, wouldn’t China’s Xi feel equally empowered to annex Taiwan by telling POTUS that he risks ‘grave reprisals if he meddles with Chinese sovereign territory’?

For all the initial snubbing of Trump by Macron on his historic election win in France, there is no way he would have gone in alone to attack a chemical facility without the guarantee of the military might of America. It is unlikely Theresa May would have done it either. So for all of the ‘unhinged’ lunatic rhetoric bandied about by the media, foreign nations don’t gamble their own sovereignty lightly, especially over something like Syria.

General Mattis has said they plan no further strikes at this stage. Does Putin order his forces to sink a US destroyer in the Mediterranean which launched those missiles? Highly unlikely. He does have the best weapon available to do that (the ‘Sunburn’) but sending US naval vessels to the bottom of the sea on a strategic strike would seem a big response to a targeted hit.

Let there be no mistake. There is a new sheriff in town. Russia has a bloody nose it didn’t think it would find itself. Putin miscalculated that Trump isn’t all Twitter-fueled bluster. Uncertainty in foreign leaders is always a risk for enemies. Trump has shown Putin he won’t be bullied like his predecessor.

Putin doesn’t want a hot war with America. The best way to strike at the US is like the last 6 decades. Undermine her at every opportunity. Supply her enemies. As mentioned before, if the Russians didn’t think it worth hitting back at Turkey for deliberately targeting its fighters, it is unlikely that Putin, no matter how ‘insulted’ he might feel will take a strike not aimed at Russians as a pretext to pick a fight with Trump. Putin has worked out the US president’s measure. He miscalculated. He won’t make that mistake twice.

For the media, running all the scare campaign stories is not only highly irresponsible (as it did over Yemen’s attacks on Saudi Arabia) but proving the lack of depth of analysis. They can beat Trump over the head all they wish but should note the actions of Macron and May following him into the region as a tacit approval of the US leader. Was he the madman they portrayed him as in the first place they would have stayed well out of it.

Watch for Putin’s response (unlikely but will threaten it will come when the evil Americans least expect) and think deeply about why it is important that the real despots (Putin, Xi, KJ-U, Erdogan) around the world no longer have the ability to exercise free will in knowledge that the worst they face is a slap on the wrist from the UN.

Sounds more like grounds for congratulation than censure. 

US military aircraft deaths up c.40% since 2013

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Of 5,500 aircraft accidents since 2013, almost 4,000 were generated by the military’s fleet of manned warplanes — bombers, fighters, cargo planes, refuelers, helicopters and tiltrotors. In 2013, those aircraft reported 656 accidents per year. By 2017, the rate had jumped to 909 per year, an increase of 39% according to Military Times. It’s doubled for the Navy and Marine Corps’ F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets. 133 service members were killed in those fiscal year 2013-2017 mishaps.

The rise in military aircraft incidents and deaths has been tied in part of the massive congressional budget cuts of 2013. Since then, non-stop deployments of warplanes and crews, a vacuum in maintenance personnel and deep cuts to pilots’ flight-training hours have been factors.

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who led the Pentagon in 2013 when defence budget cuts were enforced, said, “We stopped training, for months…Of course, all of that affected readiness. It’s had an impact on every part of our defense enterprise…And that means, surely, accidents.

Wartime is the worst thing for defence budgets. 75% of a military budget is put toward wages, salaries, housing, education and healthcare. Then there is the operations and maintenance slice. This leaves little left over for the development and procurement side. Go to war and the easiest place to find cuts is to defer new purchases. The logistics of stationing 100,000 troops in a foreign country and maintaining tanks, feeding and housing them costs a fortune. So budget cuts lead to deferred servicing of equipment and lower preparedness. This data presented by the military comes as no surprise. The air force now leases aircraft on commercial terms to the defence contractors as a way to get new equipment and drop feed the payments.