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Grim
Interests: history, philosophy, mythology, military science.
Recent Activity
I agree that it's very important that AR 670-1 doesn't end up on the streets. The mustache regs alone are an affront to human dignity.
Toggle Commented yesterday on This Scourge Must End! at BLACKFIVE
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Court cases in MO must be fast. "Are you sure you were in fear for your life when you killed your fellow citizen?" "Yes, sir!" "All right then, you're free to go."
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The New York Times asks, "Who will stand up for the Christians?" We have also seen the beheading of our countryman, and many others. We have heard that they will drown us in blood. Our first week of standing up a volunteer organization was very productive. There will be updates regularly as the process continues. As of now, I'll give you our informally-chosen theme song. But if you wish to say as the headline says, watch this space. Continue reading
Posted 10 hours ago at BLACKFIVE
Good advice, although these days it's probably just as legally perilous to start up any kind of business in America. :) I suppose we'll have to provide health care!
Toggle Commented Aug 13, 2014 on Volunteers for Kurdistan at BLACKFIVE
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Then you're in you want to be, Deebow, but it isn't "they" who are going to put this Expendables crew together. It's us. I've begun having some discussions in the back channels about it. Planning is very initial, but I'm quite serious about this.
Toggle Commented Aug 13, 2014 on Volunteers for Kurdistan at BLACKFIVE
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As even the Pope is on board now, surely there can be little objection to a few of us making a ride out to Kurdistan to defend the Yazidi and the Christians, and to strike a blow against this "Caliphate." The main problem will be funding, not finding volunteers. Logistics is always the problem, and the government of the United States will not be reliable at least as long as the current bunch is in charge. All the more reason to do as our ancestors from Tennessee did when they rode out to Texas to contest Santa Anna, or as our ancestors from the American Volunteer Group did when they rode out to China to contest Imperial Japan, or as many others have done in the history of these conflicts. We will need some money, ladies and gentlemen. We'll have to build an organization from the ground. It has been done before, though, and often in the history of the West. There is no reason we cannot do it too. Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
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When America was operating with what Bush called 'the coalition of the willing,' the idea was that the exercise was illegitimate because it wasn't broadly international. Now you have Russians and Iranians alongside NATO forces from Turkey and the US. Pretty international, that. So is it good news? Of course not -- now we're to be criticized for not being able to exert enough influence, because we've got too many international powers on board. I get it. Any stick is good enough to beat us with, and you'll gladly use whichever one comes to hand. But you'll forgive me if I don't take the criticism very seriously. The ideal outcome in Iraq from my perspective is a free Kurdistan, a free Sunni area under tribal leadership rather than ISIL's, and a smaller, less-powerful Baghdad whose alignment to Iran will be less pernicious than before the war (and which will no longer have the power to act viciously toward Sunni and Kurdish citizens). We don't need to be able to put much pressure on Maliki to obtain that, since the partition has happened in spite of him and his forces. What we need to do is to support the Kurds, and reach out to our Awakening allies among the Sunnis who want not to be subject to ISIL (a group they remember very well, whose abuses were a major part of what triggered the Awakening).
Toggle Commented Aug 10, 2014 on Airstikes and Reality at BLACKFIVE
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I agree we shouldn't double the bet. A sound policy shouldn't involve us deploying several divisions like last time. It should involve us deploying FID assets and air assets to keep the Kurdish region free (and safe for hosting an air component). As you say, they're the only friends we have. After that, I'd proceed by reaching out to our former Awakening allies to see if they'd like to try to take charge of the Sunni insurgency from ISIL. If they would, I'd offer clandestine support.
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2014 on Airstikes and Reality at BLACKFIVE
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Whether it was wise or a blunder depends on how it turns out, doesn't it? And we're only part way into the game. We might have been done with the game, if we'd kept some folks on the ground -- especially to enforce Maliki to keep his word with the Kurds and the Sunnis. But we didn't, and he didn't, and it's his fault that we're having another round. In the meantime, the real issue isn't that water under the bridge. It's that there are wicked men conducting genocide against a helpless Yazidi and Christian population, and we have the means to do something about it. I'd ride in that cause whatever came before, and whatever comes after.
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2014 on Airstikes and Reality at BLACKFIVE
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We have entered an age of genocide and ethnic cleansing, as a persual of the news will make clear. If you are on the Left, you are perhaps most concerned about Israel. Juan Cole wonders if "Zionists" are talking about a "Final Solution" to the long problems with Palestine. He links to an Israeli writer who seems to be wondering just when genocide is permitted as a defensive measure, a question the answer to which will be disappointing to the author.* If you are on the Right, you are probably thinking about ISIS/ISIL, who are waging a genocidal campaign against both Christians and Yazidis. This is being done according to the old forms: systematically killing the men and male children, taking the women and girls as sexual slaves. The Iliad was built around a war of this kind, as are some of the Old Testament books (especially the Book of Joshua). The Beowulf ends assuming that this fate awaits the Geats with their mighty king dead and their warriors humiliated. The Koran appears to advocate this in some of its verses as well. This was the way things were, and now it is the way that they are again. The question is therefore not why the age of genocide has returned, but why it ever stopped. The answer is that there was a brief window of history in which Western Christian states were the chief world powers, and those states had developed a religious and philosophical tradition of restraining war's violence against noncombatants. They wrote the rules of this tradition into the laws that are supposed to govern violence in our world, and they did something to enforce them or live by them. They failed at times -- especially the Germans did during the Nazi period, but there were other failures including our own treatment of certain American Indians -- but as a civilization they believed in these rules as if they were laws, and were willing to pay a cost to make them real. They believed in it so much that they wrote their laws as if "civilization" itself was synonymous with this tradition's understanding, though no such tradition existed in much older civilizations elsewhere. They used their power to compel, urge, bribe, or coerce the most of the world into signing documents attesting to these principles they called laws. True belief in these principles, though, was not as widely shared as the signatures would suggest. The reason that the age of genocide has returned is not that the West has ceased to believe, although much of it has, but that it has ceased to be strong, or willing to pay a cost. For decades the last true force of the civilization belonged to America, with a few brave warriors from allied nations though those nations as a whole increasingly voted against strength. When the American people chose the same path, the return of genocide was inevitable. * The answer is that, under the system of international laws to which he is appealing, it can never be justified as a punitive measure. The only case in which genocide might be justified is one of supreme emergency, and even that is controversial. Still, if Hamas represented in fact the existential threat to Israel that it wishes it were, it might be justifiable -- not to punish, but for Israel to defend itself against actual annihilation. Israel might reject that system in favor of a Biblical one -- just as ISIL rejects the Western tradition outright, and asserts its justification in its understanding of the Koran -- but Israel has invested quite a bit in the international laws against genocide. Indeed, having tried Eichmann under an assertion of universal jurisdiction, any Israeli linked to genocide would be subject to prosecution by any court of any nation worldwide by their own national precedent. Of course, if the system of international law is dying in any case -- and it will die, if no one steps up who is willing to pay the cost to enforce its norms -- Israel may have no more to lose than has ISIL. Yet I would wait, if I were them: it may well be that some strength remains in the West, though it is hidden for now. Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
You're on.
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If BLACKFIVE.net has to put forward a champion for a duel with the sword, with all due respect...
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It is, I should add, exactly the kind of cheap piece of trash that you'd imagine it to be. I gave it to a boy who had recently seen Temple of Doom for the first time.
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2014 on Dear State Department at BLACKFIVE
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I have one of those! That exact model. The guy at the pawn shop where I got it offered it to me for free if I would buy any other thing in the store.
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2014 on Dear State Department at BLACKFIVE
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Following today's events in Egypt, where your Secretary of State and his people were put through a metal detector before being allowed to visit the Egyptian President, you should issue uniform swords to all ranking diplomatic personnel. You have diplomatic immunity, after all; and the sword remains a powerful symbol where you are going. Not ceremonial swords, either. Real swords. Albion makes some good ones. Make it clear that you are carrying a weapon, and defy them to stop you. If you need any assistance in effecting this policy, don't hesistate to write. Actually, you probably should anyway. Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Better, WP. The fall of the religiously mixed town of Tal Afar to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) raised the specter of deepening sectarian violence. It came as the U.S. government announced that it was drawing down staff at its embassy in Baghdad. We remember Tal Afar for its gratitude to the Brave Rifles. "In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful "To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life. "To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months. "To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope.... Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life. "Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families." -NAJIM ABDULLAH ABID AL-JIBOURI Mayor of Tall 'Afar, Ninewa, Iraq I knew many of the al-Jiborui tribe. Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
A lot of us have actually been to Iraq, so when you report that a town has been taken by one side or the other, tell us which town! A Shiite militia seized control of an Iraqi town Saturday, blunting the advance toward Baghdad of radical Sunni fighters in a sign that the widespread mobilization of paramilitary forces may be starting to have an impact. Well, perhaps it is 'blunting the advance,' but I can't say for sure since no names of any towns appear in the first twelve paragraphs. By the time we get to Samarra -- which is apparently not the town, as fighting is reported as ongoing there -- the article has apparently lost the thread of which town the militia seized. Did you forget to ask? Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
The first half of this recruiting commercial may be a candidate for the sidebar. Female readers especially may want to skip the second half of the recruitment pitch. H/t: Terminal Lance. Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Good to see Outlaw Jimbo back, eh? Back in 2005, I wrote a piece on practical advice for those who want to carry arms openly -- a practice that, properly done, is one I think very worthy. But there are some best practices. 1) When wearing arms, go out of your way to be polite and courteous.... 2) Start off with less intimidating weapons. Once your neighbors and the people you meet daily have adjusted to the tactical folding knife on your belt, carry a sheath knife. Once they've seen you with that a few times, carry an older revolver in a leather holster. Yes, this is irrational -- there's no reason to fear a semiautomatic more than a revolver. But the fear you're trying to ease is irrational. You'll achieve the end faster and more smoothly if you are sensitive to that. It won't be long before people are used to seeing you wearing your pistol or knife, and it won't bother them at all because they know you and have always found you to be upstanding. 3) You may find it helpful to carry to one side of the small of your back. In this way, you will frequently meet and begin talking to people before they notice the weapon. At that point, they will already have had the positive experience of dealing with a courteous person -- almost all of the intimidation that they may feel will be gone. 4) Be especially kind to the elderly, the disabled, animals and children. This is the right thing to do in any case. If chivalry and courtesy are to be defended, they must be lived. 5) Step your openly carried weapon down a level (or two) if you are going somewhere where there will be few other men, and lots of young mothers with their children. In this circumstance, you must do whatever you can to be a reassuring rather than an intimidating presence. As the law allows, you may still of course carry whatever you like concealed. Awareness of the local culture is also important. In the university town of Athens, Georgia, a lawfully and openly carried knife -- I can well attest -- garners no objections, but a pistol would scare people. Since the point of the exercise is to persuade by gentle pressure in the right direction, you should keep that in mind. On the other hand, in the nearby town of Commerce, Georgia, it's not at all unusual to see guys walking down the street with a pistol on their belt. (You may wonder how crime rates in those cities compare -- this page contains a helpful chart.) Respect the people you're trying to persuade, and give some thought to what the experience is like for them. You want them to trust you to be armed around them, after all. Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Reforming an institution the size of the VA is extremely difficult. It may not, in fact, be possible to reform it. If it is, though, it is a monumental challenge. MikeD says it's like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. Here's his first three bites: Every hospital administrator of a VA hospital that has hidden "bad numbers" is to be immediately fired. Their position is to be given to the next in line at that same hospital. They are to be given explicit warning that bad numbers may be concerning, but that hiding them are grounds for immediate termination. So too for the VA hospitals where patients were sickened by unsanitary instruments. That strikes me as an excellent first step. For a second step, require all VA hospitals to undergo an investigation into their backlogs by anoutside third party agency. The days of the fox guarding the hen house must end. And for a third step (or perhaps step zero?) Shinseki must go. Period. Once again, five years is more than sufficient time to demonstrate leadership and take action to turn things around. He has done nothing but demonstrate that he is incapable (or unwilling) to do so. He must go. The fact that he has not even offered his resignation is indicative to me of his attitude towards command. He does not accept an OUNCE of responsibility for the malfeasance that has occurred under his watch. Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
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Spent a couple of days last week with Uncle Jimbo and his girl, who are good people. Apparently Special Forces training teaches you how to grill an awesome steak. Any time I get together with Jimbo or Wolf, it looks and sounds a lot like one of "The Damn Few" Ranger Up videos. Here are two of the best ones they've put together, to help your imaginations along. Thanks for having me. It was a blast. Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2014 at BLACKFIVE
Obviously acceptance is not universal at this time, or we wouldn't have been debating the issue for five years (and really somewhat longer). Nevertheless, at one time it was the commonly accepted belief -- before the latter half of the Cold War, when proxy fighters became important enough to both sides that there was some effort to legitimate them. International organizations like the Red Cross are often the front for such efforts. The alternative belief, that this is just a law enforcement matter, has never been universally accepted as was the old belief (that these are matters of the laws of war). The IRA is a kind of special case, since the very thing at issue was whether or not Ireland was properly under the legal jurisdiction of the UK. Of course the UK's position was that these were criminals defying lawful authority; the US adopted a similar position toward the Native Americans as soon as it was able to do so. Still, I think that Chief Joseph (say) was plausibly not a subject of American law by right.
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2014 on Final Decision on the KSM Trial at BLACKFIVE
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I am not an expert at estimating crowd size, as I almost never attend rallies or demonstrations or even concerts. Still, it was pretty crowded in the square while I was there. It was a damned miserable day, though, I can remember that very clearly. The rain was cold and the wind was bitter. As for the efficiency of the courts, as you can judge from my remarks to Mr. Sparkle (above), it strikes me as wholly beside the point. The issue is competence. This isn't a matter for the Federal Courts; it's out of order to use them.
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2014 on Final Decision on the KSM Trial at BLACKFIVE
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You're free to disagree, of course, and there may be some difference in the British and American systems that is informing our assumptions about what right looks like. To me, the idea that the Federal Courts are the right place for this looks like a kind of category error. It would be like a private in the USMC, accused of war crimes and violations of the UCMJ, demanding that his original trial be conducted in civilian court rather than by a court martial; or a man accused of violating state laws against murder in Georgia demanding to be tried only in Federal Court. It's not really germane whether the Federal Court does, or does not, offer a greater level of protection for the rights of the accused. It's a question of which court is really competent to consider the offense. I don't see any reason to believe that a US Federal Court has any right to try KSM, a non-US citizen, for things he did in a foreign country (Afghanistan and/or Pakistan). There's some precedent for doing it, because America is strong enough to do what it likes, but that doesn't mean it's right to do it. This kind of violation of the Geneva Conventions, on the other hand, is rightly considered by a military tribunal on the terms of the Conventions themselves. It's just the right place to do this work. Separately, I didn't mean by my remarks about torture to endorse the practice; rather, to condemn it. On the question of whether justice can be 'seen to be done,' I can't imagine that our probable enemies are going to be any more impressed with a Federal Court than a military court (and indeed, if I'm right, they ought to be even less impressed by the arrogation of jurisdiction by the US Federal Courts to apply American Federal Law to matters in their own countries). It would be somewhat like the way Saddam reacted by being tried, not by a US court, but by an Iraqi court: he denied that the court, and the government it represented, had any lawful standing to try him at all. (Immanuel Kant would have agreed with him, insofar as he was the sovereign of Iraq; but not insofar as he was its ruler, a distinction that you British have but that we Americans, like the Iraqis, lack. I'm reading that from Kant's Metaphysics of Morals, 6:317).
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2014 on Final Decision on the KSM Trial at BLACKFIVE
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