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Mr Wolf
Colorado, USA
Interests: motorcycles, cars, racing, outdoors, hiking, rafting, kayaking, climbing, biking, camping, books, reading, gadgets
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Wednesday I posted a piece indicating the need for NORTHCOM to coordinate any advanced response to the Ebola outbreak. Just a few short hours after that, Pres. Obama announces that he is ordering the National Guard and the Reserves to respond to Africa and assisting with Ebola efforts there. This is interesting in many many ways, and many are a bit confused and concerned about this. I'm still mixed, not yet knowing which units will be selected and from where. My main concern is that a large group of these units have extensive deployments in their backgrounds already, and this just piles it on. But why these 'backup' units? Several issues make this probably necessary- one, the Reserves now hold 67% of the Army's Combat Service Support units. Back in the late 1990's, Guard and Reserve units 'exchanged' roles; the Guard picked up more combat units, and the Reserves picked up CSS. Here in Colorado, the Guard ended up with a Field Artillery brigade, and the reserves have medical units and PsyOp units. The Guard also picked up a role supporting NORTHCOM headquarters- the first ones to have direct slots in a COCOM. The Reserves will have a huge role in providing MEDREP missions to Africa. Another problem is that AFRICOM does not have any 'assigned' units like CENTCOM and EUCOM and NORTHCOM. One, it's too 'new', and two, its mission sets are not fully staffed out. While there are QRF units assigned out of Italy and Med areas, AFRICOM missions are usually supported from CONUS units, with fillers from CENTCOM and EUCOM; rarely PACOM might throw them a few bones. So, in order to fill out the mission planning, Reserve and Guard units are going to have to step in, for now. Speaking of NORTHCOM, it looks more and more like they are going to have to step in to coordinate agencies with this preparedness in the U.S. As I mentioned, this is a fully-fleshed out role for NORTHCOM; we drilled responses to 'pandemic' situations on a weekly basis. Whether the pandemic situation was 'stand-alone' or part of a broader response (say, a terrorist attack occurs, and as a result of some mass movement, an outbreak occurs among that populace) we had to prepare to respond. We never knew whether the pandemic response was the 'key' event, or something else. Several times it was the only event; H1N1 was usually the trigger event, but the responses for Ebola and others would be very very similar. So NORTHCOM is quite prepared to coordinate this without going full-militia. So far, Texas (or any other state) hasn't declared any disaster response for Ebola, which would almost automatically flush NORTHCOM out and require response. (I must explain that Emergency Response Functions (ESFs) 6 and 8 were the main ones. This is in addition to the Defense Act of 2005 that allows the President powers in pandemic situations.) One concern: how long of a lead is required to get the Reserves and Guard into theater? While they have response guys that can go within 72 hours or so, full units are going to take a minimum of 45 - 60 days to train-up for this. Do we have time for that? One last consideration: dropping the 173d or the 18th ABN into the situation would NOT be likely; politically, sending our top-line first responders would look VERY bad. Not just for 'escalating' the situation, but, sending the message that Ebola is more of a concern than ISIS. Why would we send the 82d to Africa, but not Iraq to help? This response to Ebola in Africa, as well as here, is going to get very interesting over the weekend. BELOW POST UPDATE: 9:10am- President has named Ron Klain as the 'Ebola Czar.' I'm extremely curious why, since there are people in NORTHCOM, as well as those who have served there, that are eminently qualified and knowledgeable about this stuff. This is PURELY a political play to keep it off the headlines. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at BLACKFIVE
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This Ebola thing is potentially spiraling out of control. What with the UN declaring that we only have 60 days to control this thing, to promises of it not getting out in the US, to Africa having up to 10,000 cases a week, we are potentially watching history before our eyes. Hopefully, not the end of it. One essay I find interesting is the comparison of Ebola to the Influenza of 1918-1919. I understand the history of this pandemic well, as it affected my home area of Wayne County WVA quite harshly. Out behind the homestead, we have 2 cemeteries. In each of these there are many graves of those in the family and area that succumbed to the disease- in one plot, a mother, son, and 2 infants all died within a week in late 1918. My grandfather, who fought in WWI, told the family of all of the sick people he knew. Ebola may be our generation's plague, if we don't get this under control. What I do know about this potential outbreak (and it's still not a full-fledged one in any way) is that, should we need to really break glass on this, the duty for overall coordination will fall to USNORTHCOM in Colorado Springs. Likely under ESF's #6 and #8 (Mass Care and Public Health) NORTHCOM could, nay SHOULD, come to the fore to address coordinating the prevention of the spread. Why NORTHCOM? Since a full outbreak would require more than one federal agency to coordinate, and FEMA isn't a lead, HHS/CDC can't, then it would fall to NORTHCOM to coordinate all responses, should the President declare it. And he should. HHS, DoS (travel ban? and coordinating with Canada/Mexio) as well as many other local and federal groups would require some entity with the resources to assist. THIS WOULD NOT INDICATE TROOP INVOLVEMENT on the ground- just an agency that would help alleviate 'who's in charge here' problems. This is an outgrowth of Hurricane Katrina; yes, Homeland Security would be involved, but they are NOT the ones that should be running the show. NORTHCOM has the personnel and expertise. So far, we've heard nothing from NORTHCOM on any response preparedness. I wish we would. I'd feel better about it than the CDC trying to go it alone... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
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Last night, the NYT (PBUT) released a long, detailed article regarding chemical weapons that were found in Iraq. It is interesting to note that they waited until now to release this information. If you've been paying attention, you'd recall that within the last week, reports out of northern Iraq have said that ISIS may have used some chemical weapons against the Kurds. Based on photos that were obtained of the Kurds who were killed, the injuries on the bodies seem to indcate some sort of chemical weapon affected them. Speculation by experts points to ISIS having obtained and used some of Iraq's old chemical weapons. Back in the day (was it really only 10 years ago?) during my tenure there, I handled reports by the Iraq Survey Group, who was tasked with finding Saddam's 'special weapons' that he had squirreled away since the UN ordered them dismantled in 1991. Saddam had manufactured tons and tons of nasty stuff; the ISG was primarily concerned with locating and disposing of WMD's, which don't always include chemical munitions. I had a few discussions with Charles Duelfer, who was the lead of the ISG (after David Kay resigned) on things they were finding; chemical artillery rounds were NOT something they keyed on; the MANUFACTURING facilites were however. Saddam had dispersed these munitions so far and wide that finding all of them was a sisyphean task. Most were likely to have been taken to Syria to try to keep them out of reach of the US and the UN inspectors. These munitions were certainly a huge problem, a risk, and a serious one. BUT THESE WERE NOT WMD. So why is the NYT coming out with a huge article now? To take pressure off of the administration. To throw this football back in the Bush camp. That since he didn't find and destroy all of these munitions that any use by ISIS is his fault. This is patently false. ISIS has had opportunity to recover munitions on the Syrian side of the border; these could have been Assad's munitions, or, just as likely they were ones ferreted away from Iraq post-1991. The article also tells the stories of soldiers who handled these munitions, and that their command chain didn't take it seriously. That is the fault of their commanders and health care providers- for not realizing just how dangerous the regime munitions could be. In one incident where I had to contact ISG, I received a call from a sergeant who had been on a patrol that had set off an IED; but instead of blowing half his squad up, it sort of 'poofed' and fizzled (his words). When EOD showed up to recover it, they found out that these were wired 155-size artillery rounds that were chemical in nature- not high-explosive. The insurgents could not tell the difference back then- that these were not meant to blow but to disperse. So the sergeant called it in as a 'chem find'. The insurgents had set this up like a typical IED- and the chemicals never fully released (go to Castle AAARGH if you want an artillery primer). Another implication of the article is that the US didn't do anything about what we found, and that we tried to 'sweep it under the rug'. While we didn't go buying full-page ads in NYT or USAT, we never discussed operations in such detail that the NYT was ever satisfied. I find this entire article disingenuous, especially on the part of Eric Schmitt. He visited us several times, received briefs on items such as this, and we sat and discussed them at length. All in 2003 and 2004. So I really find this 'shock face' they are putting on pretty insulting. But it's par for the course for a media outlet that cannot let the legacy of this administration bear any burden of shame and fault. If you want a more historical look at these, take a look at this CIA article; we were releasing reports as far back as 2003 and 2004 on the fact we were finding chemical rounds, and admitting we were going to find many more. Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
My buddies down in CENTCOM have their hands full this week. As the missions kicked off late Monday against the swine ISIL and ISIS housed in Syria, teams all over the command have amped things up a bit. In a posting from last week, I mentioned what it will take to mount an airstrike campaign against targets in Syria. Given that we're going to do this using every available air asset possible, we are looking at a combined force of about 15,000 strong. Navy, Marine, USAF, Army will all be posted to supporting this effort, at least initially. Wait, Marines? Yep- look at some of their assets based on Navy ships; we'll use a few of them during the campaign. I'm not sure we've established the Erbil base yet, so most of these will be flying from Qatar, Kuwait, and ships throughout CENTCOM and EUCOM areas (the Med being a EUCOM responsibility). With assets coming in from other countries, the total amount of people involved could easily exceed 20k. But wait, we couldn't afford to put 15k worth of people into AFG or Iraq, could we? That wasn't feasible, we were told. We couldn't afford it. Well, now we have little choice. 10k then turns into 15k now, and 50k or more if the refugee problem overwhelms Jordan. Should that happen, brother this gets real... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
I read thru the statement that President Obama made last night regarding his plan to address ISIS (which he kept calling ISIL) and I'd like to address some of the problems we will face with this. As someone who's actually developed the plans to address problems in Iraq and Syria, and had to brief them to senior leaders, I have a hard time understanding why it has taken so long for him to address this, and why he's picking the 'strategy' that he has. I have agreed, up to now, with the cautious approach- that 'picking sides' in Syria is fraught with huge problems. NONE of the groups fighting in Syria are in any way trustworthy- it would be like trying to pick one Mafia family in NY to help clean up crime problems. No one you work with would benefit you in the end. And ultimately, you may end up with a result you still don't like. Syria plans had an especially troubling problem- we had ZERO guidance from above on exactly what the end state was to be- we ended up having to develop multiple plans based on assumptions that no senior leader had given guidance on. No, the CENTCOM commander wasn't the problem- HE wasn't getting guidance either. Neither Mattis nor Austin either one knew what we really wanted to end up with. So, we built plans based on minimal intervention all the way thru full-on ops. From humanitarian assistance missions thru 'BOG' ops. From containment thru air power only, to SOF-only training assistance. And then we went back and re-did them. Several times. We had no choice- we could only assume, based on our collective experience, on what the end state could be. We used Bosnia, Iraq, AFG, DS-1, and a few others as 'models'. Plus, we considered different types of UN missions that may be used as approaches, in case we had to support only those. What we also had to contend with was the fact that, at the time, Iraq was in NO WAY to be a part of the mission set. We had zero troops there; we had no presence, and even tho our own intel told us that the border area of Iraq and Syria was the real 'hot zone' developing, we could not address any activity there. All of our effort was to 'contain' within the borders of Syria, and try to prevent further refugee problems into Lebannon and Jordan. Especially Jordan. Pay SPECIAL attention to the Jordanian issue should we start hitting Syria hard- there are going to be real problems along that border as people flee areas of Syria and Iraq. AQ and ISIS may use that as a 'distraction' to force our hand there, and really end up with problems we haven't prepared for. Remember, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees along the border, and its a complete powder keg readly to go up in flames at the slightest provocation. Now that Iraq territory has to be worked into the mix, at least we will have areas of 'safe zones' working with the Kurds that allow us some help. Erbil airport is a good backup location, and I'm assuming they will use that as a potential staging area. It's new, it's got a HUGE runway, and it's close-by. Fueling will be the most logical, if we can secure it further. As someone who worked ops in Yemen and SOM and other areas, using these as 'models' for what we intend to do in Iraq is fraught with enormous issues- these are missions that are very very different than what is needed to address ISIS (if you want a very good rundown of this, go to Bill Roggio's column here.) We have 'advisors' deep into these missions, and the end-states are very very different. In fact, end-states in Syria and Iraq are completely different- so addressing ISIS across them is NOT going to be simple. Air power alone isn't going to do it, and you are not going to get Kurds or Iraqi's to chase ISIS into Syria to combat them- and that's exactly what ISIS is going to do. The one issue that remains to be seen is how ISIS-supporting factions take on Baghdad; this is the nightmare scenario that could very well develop as a counter to US-centered actions. The fact that Baghdad becomes a focus is a very real fear; it would force the Iraqi gov't and forces to abandon northern Iraq to concentrate on securing that area alone, leaving the Kurds as the only support we'd have up north. And that ain't enough. Another problem we could not solve internally was this issue of 'sharing intel' with anyone. How the HELL do we share intel with these guys? We can't even legally brief the mayor of NYC (deBlasio) because he doesn't have a clearance; there is NO such thing as 'REL YEMEN' or 'REL IRAQ' or 'REL SYRIA' for classified, useful intel info. So we'd be breaking the law to even attempt it. And we've been working with the Yems for years. The only winner that comes out of this in the short-term is Iran. Shiite factions get defended in Iraq, Iran basically gets a free pass, and we (the west) end up doing the dirty work. How is this beneficial to us? Let me ask all of you this- and leave your estimates in the comments- how big of a force do you think this is going to take to support? PBO said 475 additional will be sent; that's basically a company, and that ain't gonna do it. If we use air power alone, how many do you THINK that will take? I'll look at your estimates and let you know in a few days how close you are. Wolf Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
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This is an event that requires a military response. What we gonna do, protest them to death? Let's say we capture the guy doing this evil act- then what? Off to GITMO for a few years? Chance to eat n' pray a few more? Back in WWII, these guys would be hanging before we left the parking lot. What in the hell is there to debate about their evilness? But no, leftists gotta be left. Gonna give 'em a trial.
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2014 on Religion of Pieces at BLACKFIVE
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Mr Steinberg mentions 'On The Beach'- if you've not read this one, get to it. VERY good Cold War-era book. Plus it has Aussies in it. What's not to like? BTW, the movie wasn't that bad either. Pretty cool period piece.
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UPDATED 2000 hrs MDT: Today PBO's remarks on Ferguson included the following quote - "OBAMA: I spoke to Jay Nixon about this, expressed an interest in making sure that if in fact the National Guard is used, it is used in a limited and appropriate way. He described the support role that they’re gonna be providing to local law enforcement. And I’ll be watching over the next several days, to assess whether, in fact, it’s helping rather than hindering progress in Ferguson." IOW, it's likely that if he doesn't like what is going on, he's gonna federalize them. This is a warning to the governor of Missouri (oh, and Texas, too) not to push too far. Can anyone think of Little Rock 9? - W This was bound to happen- the Missiouri governor has called in the National Guard to help restore order in Ferguson. This could be problematic- you'd expect that doing this would help restore order, but, it may be an escalation that could backfire. One good point is that this unrest has been small-scale for the most part; there haven't been tens of thousands coming in to add to the festering sore this has become. The main concern I have is the training of the Guard- as a former commander in MOARNG, we never participated in riot training. Ever. And I doubt any of these units have either, at least not recently. My hope is that the reason they are late to the party is that they've been off somewhere getting that training. You don't just hand out riot batons and shields and line up down the street. That would make things far worse. In Ohio and Illinois, we received yearly refresher training on riots. My Ohio units were stand-by forces for university and prision riots; Chicago units always get riot training (1968 anyone?). But the units I had in MO didn't have such missions, and anyway they've focused on deployment readiness of late. Another issue is this- with the involvement of ARNG folks, USNORTHCOM is now watching this VERY closely. Not that they've ignored it to this point- but now it's likely at full attention for the time being. You can bet this has made the Morning Brief for the 4-star there now. So are we going to see MBRs, batons, shields, and troopers on the street this week? Armored humvees and REAL tanks? Just how far will this go? OR, will the troops just be used to truck in stuff and remain in the background? If people hated seeing cops in cammo, how about now? Luckily, I don't think anyone is going to be issued bayonets. Will the feds take over the Guard if things go REALLY badly? Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
You wouldn't be able to get Mattis to stay behind. Nuh uh. ''Back at home''. Wouldn't.Happen.
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2014 on Volunteers for Kurdistan at BLACKFIVE
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Yanno, you ought to re-create/re-do some of the famous WH press briefings from movies... What would also be fun is doing a Chevy Chase-style rant on some country from the podium :)
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I don't think it's because we are not willing to pay a cost, or are less willing to be strong. I believe it's an ineptness, and unwillingness, to actually do what is necessary. While you may categorize this in the 'strong' box, it's the inability to define what is really going on here. You touch on it with the genocide angle- but it's a RELIGIOUS genocide. Our too-secular society fails on every level to grasp it, and our gov't reps do anything they possibly can to prevent it from being framed thus. Our enemy defines it as such; many military/civilian people do, but, there is a complete paranoia out there that if we actually DO frame it in those terms it would be really bad. Or over everyone's head or something. Religious genocide vs. social genocide means there is no chance to turn the oppressors. It also means that, in their minds, our counter-argument/position means zero. ''This is in our creed- so it must be so.'' Only an utter, total, physical defeat will win the day. I give you Nazism (in an anti-religious way) and the views of the Japanese that their emperor was 'god-like' as examples. Poor ones, but Stalin and Mao's genocidal tactics were ideals-based, not religious fervor. Want to see another version? Take a look at the film 'Tears of the Sun'. Or 'Rwanda'. Until we frame this in proper context, we will face some form of this violence for the next 200 years or more. Oh, and in case no one has noticed, this IS a 'world war'.
Toggle Commented Aug 8, 2014 on An Age of Genocide at BLACKFIVE
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Worse, the MSM-effers are trying to determine his 'motivation'. WTF? Motivation? You need 'motivation' to attack an enemy general? They are treating this more like a 'crime' than a wartime event- again, failure to see the forest for the trees. CNN sure knows how to raise blood pressure before noon. Here's the linky: http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/06/world/asia/afghanistan-insider-attacks/index.html?hpt=hp_t2 I sure as hell don't need 'motivation' to want to wipe out every one of those Talib mf'ers. I just need opportunity.
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2014 on And Now They Got a General at BLACKFIVE
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The Islamists perfected this process during the Iraq war; Zarkowi set the standard there. This is where they learned to effectively put civilians in harms way, and to use schools/mosques as military points. Even hospitals. In effect, they are far more effective at IO than we could ever be, because they are willing to 'go there' and use our own 'standards' against us. Kinda like Democrats. It was a daily battle to try to refute or answer to the accusations caused by AQ's actions in Tikrit, Fallujah, Sadr City, Najaf, ad infinitum.
Toggle Commented Aug 4, 2014 on The Laws of War & Killing Civilians at BLACKFIVE
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So, Che' shirts are ok, as long as they are 'stylish'? I think you need to know that CUBA is known for its cigars- CASTRO is known for SMOKING them. Like he smoked people. With Che'. Cuban cigars ain't what they used to be- Nicaraguans, Ecuadorian, Dominicans, Honduran, Filipino, and even a few US wrappers are considered better in many cases. Cuba hasn't been able to keep up with the growth in tobacco types that occur in Central America. Cubanos are known mostly because ya can't get them here (legally).
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2014 on Castro's Cigar Shop, in America? at BLACKFIVE
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Steve- so how's he putting these Guard guys out there taking heat off ICE? - They won't be armed (at least initially) - They cannot arrest anyone - They cannot detain anyone - They won't be able to stop anyone coming across the Rio So what are they actually going to DO? Feds will likely put out an 'order' saying 'don't bring them to any ICE facility; we're full.' Will TX put them up somewhere? Legally, they cannot stand on the border and prevent someone from crossing it (that's federal purview). If they arm them in ANY way, WH will put those pics on every street corner and turn the tide or up the rhetoric to a level TX won't tolerate. Because racism or something. Posse Comitatus doesn't apply here; these guys will be Title 32, not Title 10. State active duty. The Gov could grant them police powers, but that's not very likely at this point. Again, we're doing something without actually doing anything...
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2014 on Texas Governor Perry wimps out at BLACKFIVE
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Not just yet. I want to say tons, but, been advised against it just yet. There is a lot still going on, due to the investigation by MG Dahl.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2014 on Texas Governor Perry wimps out at BLACKFIVE
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They've just announced that the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is going to be ordering 1,000 troops to the border to help 'secure' it. Like hell. According to reports just in after a news conference, ''Texas Adjutant General John Nichols said his troops would simply be "referring and deterring" immigrants and not detaining people -- though Nichols said the National Guard could if asked. "We think they'll come to us and say, `Please take us to a Border Patrol station," Nichols said." THIS is securing the border? The TSA is doing more than this, and they aren't even checking ID's on illegal immigrants anymore. This is a sham. 12 mil a month to post Guardsmen there, and all they'll be doing is tour guides? My suggestion is that they hand them a map to California and send them there. I think that's a fair deal- California sends companies and millionaires to Texas, and they send them immigrants. Gov Perry is running a huge risk, with zero payoff, hoping he'll look 'leader-y'. Granted, he's looking far far more Presidential than the current office, but that's not difficult to do. It may be that should he do anything more than that, he runs the risk of the WH federalizing the guard troops, a-la Little Rock 9, and losing any semblance of control. But what are the chances of THAT? Gov Perry, you are doing zero to address the problem of our borders, or of the illegal immigrants. Time to start over. Wolf Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
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A good friend and camp follower of Blackfive made this little show for us. Those of you who've been subjugated upon a FOB somewhere know exactly what this is about. Any of you with merchandising and manufacturing skills, well, you know where to reach us. Have a great Fourth of July weekend! -W Download All Army PRT Reflective belt policy, version 3 Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Mr Tobin- It's not in what you say. It's what you DO. It's in all of what WE do. Do you set the example for them- do you vote? Do you question campaigns? Do you speak out when these things come up? Do you contact your reps, from local to national? 'Saying' does little but vent. 'Doing' brings attention, brings activity, brings change. Sadly, this is where we are today- because too many people just stayed home. "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing"
Toggle Commented Jul 2, 2014 on What Do I Say? at BLACKFIVE
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Unfortunately, this guy likely won't see a courtroom anytime soon, if ever. IF he lives long enough (depending on where they hold him) the prosecution faces issues from Khattala's lawyers of who authorized incursion into Libya, what authority, how did they get extradition, legality of seizing someone from foreign country not in declared war, evidentiary issues, witness issues, etc etc. He'll rot in a hole somewhere before they ever get him to a public trial. They might get him to cough up some intel, but they won't be able to use it in court (based on an assumption that he'll make some deal). It's good that they caught him and they demonstrate the long arm of the US reach, but what overall good do we get out of it? It could also potentially turn into a PR disaster. I chuckle at the thought he stands up and declares ''We saw the video! We decided death to America, and ran to the nearest embassy!''
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2014 on Benghazi suspect captured at BLACKFIVE
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Put this in your mind to consider: if the US sends drones or even aircraft to fly CAS, we'll basically be flying cover for the Iranian Guard. Think about that. US flying cover for the mullahs. Conflicts make strange bedfellows
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This is where maneuver becomes the winning strategy. The only way this plays out to the Iraqi's benefit is that there are not nearly enough insurgents to hold all that ground; Mosul, Tikrit, Fallujah, Ramadi, etc. Likely the best way to get this turned around is as insurgents flee captured areas, and head toward Baghdad (where we all know they're heading) the Iraqi forces need to lift and drop into those captured areas behind them. Make them lose their gains, or, expend much much more effort to hold them, distracting forces from moving on Baghdad.
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2014 on Losing the peace in Iraq at BLACKFIVE
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This will not end easily, soon, or prettily. Mosul will be a flashpoint- due the the Arab re-settling that went on here (to push out Kurdish influence) there is a larger amount of Arab presence here than in other areas of Northern Iraq. Taking this town gives ISIS access to the biggest nugget of all- the gas and oil lines flowing northward out of Kurdish territory. There is a very very good chance this will be the straw that send Iraq into separate pieces- Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd. Report have that troops are being massed to move from the Baghdad areas and southern areas up towards Mosul. That would then leave those areas devoid of support, and ANOTHER type of strikes will occur. It could have a domino effect. Erbil (Irbil) is to the east of Mosul; only about 100 miles or so, and is in the heart of Kurdish territory. It is also the economic hub of the area, having built one of the largest and most substantial airports in the entire region, entirely financed by the Kurds. They have been acting somewhat autonomously from Baghdad's central government, and have pushed forward strong economic advances. Kurdish areas have been the most stable of the entire country. That, I'm afraid, is about to change. If 500k people are truly being displaced out of Mosul, most will head toward Erbil, down into Tikrit, and some all the way into Baghdad. To give you some scale, when Fallujah I occurred in April 2004, we were dealing with about 48k displaced persons. It was complete and utter chaos. Up it by a factor of 10, and you have REAL trouble. ISIS has been building for some time across Syria and northern Iraq. If they manage to hold onto the resources they 'acquired' in Mosul, you will likely see eastern Syria and Iraq folding into one entity; hopefully not a full-on caliphate. And oh- I wouldn't worry TOO much about all those Humvee's and things they got; given their lack of ANY sense of maintenance, they will probably last about a week. The aircraft? I'd be SHOCKED if they could get one started, let alone coax it off the ground...
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Solomon- I said I'm not defending him. At all. I have NO, NONE, ZERO knowledge of his intent nor his emotions at the time. As he is alive, HE can and will answer for them. Hopefully, to the full extent of the UCMJ. Our mission was SOLELY to find, fix, and recover him. Period. No games, no 'negotiations', just locate and recover by any means possible. Were we going to send in a battalion of Rangers across the border into PAK to accomplish it? No. The political fallout from the bin Laden raid precluded that. Had not PAK had nukes, this would have lasted about a month, not years. Had not our supply lines into AFG so GREATLY depended on PAK and other countries, we could have had other options. The U.S. has turned cowardly in how it deals with protecting its own interests. This swap only reinforces that view. I'm going to add this: based on prior info, that swap involved a LOT of money somewhere. HQN got paid, likely via Qatar, then HQN handed BB to the Talib, the GITMO 5 got freed via Qatar. What still is not clear is WHAT QATAR got out of this deal. No one does anything for free, and the 'wasta' in this is too short-lived to be of any use to them. Is there an arms deal pending here? An intel share of some sort? We will see.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2014 on About That Bergdahl Thing... at BLACKFIVE
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People have been asking. I have been delaying. And I'm going to delay some more. Because vindictive. As someone who worked the Sgt Bergdahl issue for 4 years, I have a long, sordid history with this issue. And I WAS going to come out on the topic this week- I had mentioned to several people that I wanted to post up about it. But I've been advised not to, by some people who understand the 'why'. Much has been said- and most of it is inaccurate, if only because we've not heard from either the family, or from Bowe himself. I'm not going to defend him; my mission is done. But until I read something from his team of reintegrators (and I know who they are) I'm holding back. This issue is FAR from over; this isn't going to be gone anytime soon. If you want to read things that I find 'credible' at least in part, head here, here, and here. I won't give reasons as to exactly why, yet, but suffice to say these have more to them than much of the other speculation (outside the direct interviews with his platoon members). I won't give up on this. But the time isn't right. Yet. Wolf Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2014 at BLACKFIVE