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The Twisted Genius
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Keith Harbaugh, Your link jumps to the top of the post rather than to your comment. No worries. Your comment is number 44 in that post. Mattis' comments do point to a burning desire on the part of the Pentagon, and probably the Trump administration, to establish a US-controlled protectorate in eastern Syria. OTOH, we shouldn't just cut and run. We should be preparing the YPG/SDF for reintegration into Syrian society on whatever terms those Kurds and Arab tribes can negotiate with Damascus.
steve, McMaster and Mattis are shaped by their experiences, especially those experiences in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. They and the DOD as a whole see our military as an expeditionary force rather than a home defense force. I don't see that changing.
robt willmann, That claim about "recognized international authorities" is absurd. It's become more absurd as Putin talks of pulling his forces out of Syria. That whole line of reasoning offered by Colonel Manning is the work of what we called shithouse lawyers.
Back in 1987 a reporter interviewed Mike Tyson about his upcoming fight with Evander Holyfield. The reporter asked Mike if he was worried about Evander and his fight plan. Mike famously replied,”Everybody has a plan until they get punched in... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Eric Newhill and Patrick Armstrong, I never would have taken you two for birthers. My family always got a kick out of the birther movement. My sons have the same "long form" certificate of live birth as Obama. They've sometimes joked about being Kenyans because of those certificates. Not believing Russia was behind the DNC and Podesta email hacks is reasonable. I doubt either of you spent time digitally amongst Russian hackers and government official organizing and conducting these kinds of activities like me, but I understand the reasons for doubt. Not believing Trump is guilty of collusion with the Russians during the 2016 election is not just reasonable, it's prudent. I'm skeptical of that myself. But this birther stuff. Wow.
WJ, Given Strzok's career, I wouldn't expect to find much, if anything, about him on the internet. If he spent his career working "in the shadows," he rightly would have stayed off the internet. He certainly would have had CIA connections if he was involved in CI activities targeting Russian and China. Anyone actively working in a classified environment would be grossly negligent to allow himself to be plastered all over the internet. Why do you think I still use a light cover of TTG just to post here years after retiring? It's just force of habit. I was glad to hear that Mueller banished him to HR as soon as his anti-Trump emails were discovered. If he stayed, he would have cast an ugly shadow over the Mueller investigation. It's much like the partisan shadow extending over much of the NY FBI office. Their pro-Trump/anti-Clinton stance was notorious. I also think the FBI should review the entire Clinton email server file in light of this.
pl, Yes, very familiar. DOL
Patrick Armstrong, I haven't read those books, but I think I'd enjoy them. I am a great fan of James Fenimore Cooper and Kenneth Roberts "Northwest Passage." My team passed around a copy of that book during the Robin Sage training exercise. It made for fitting reading. I still have that dog eared paperback. Do the Eckert books convey the same atmosphere as Washington's orders to General Sullivan for his 1779 expedition against the Iroquois Nation? "The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more. I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed." Orders of George Washington to General John Sullivan At Headquarters May 31, 1779
pl, Well I'm sure that was a worthwhile endeavor. From the reviews I read, it's a very good book filled with well researched military detail. I'll have to read it. I'm enamored by that period of American history, but I confess I know little of that battle. I can vouch for the difficulty of the terrain. I've driven the interstate between Williamsport and Hagerstown many times. I took the shortcut to Pittsburgh past Fort Necessity once. That road is hellacious, especially in the fog. I'm more familiar with the French and Indian War battles in upstate New York spending a lot of time around Fort William Henry at the southern end of Lake George. I ran in a showshoe/ice skate race commemorating Robert Rogers battle of the showshoes. I'm in awe of the men who fought in this terrain in that time. period.
Publius Tacitus, I read your article several time as well as the full statement of offenses and I cannot follow your logic in concluding this exonerates Trump of possibly violating election laws by soliciting or receiving anything of value from foreign nationals leading up to the 2016 national election. Of course there's nothing there that can be construed as supporting such a violation either. The charges against Flynn have absolutely nothing to do with the election. Trump says this will all be over in 28 days. That statement is as much bullshit as all the claims of exoneration and guilt. I don't expect this to approach conclusion until next Summer. And I don't know how it will turn out. I see Mueller approaching this as an intelligence operation. He has all the SIGINT available. We don't so we don't know what conclusion that SIGINT points towards. Mueller doesn't want to draw his conclusions solely on SIGINT. He wants HUMINT. That requires him to acquire sources. Flynn is now one of those sources. He spotted, assessed, developed and recruited him. That's all this plea deal was, the acquisition of a source. Maybe this source will pan out. Maybe he won't. I'm pretty sure he'll acquire more sources beyond Papadopoulos and Flynn before this is all over.
ambrit, I still think those old air-cooled 4 cylinder VW engines are works of art. I had my 71 Super Beetle in Hawaii. I went to the auto craft shop at Fort Shafter one morning to work on the cylinder heads. I had the engine out of the car and was about to take the heads off when my wife called the shop. She was going into labor one month early. I put the engine back together and back in the car in 20 minutes. I got a standing ovation as I drove back home to Red Hill. I arrived home in plenty of time. We went to Tripler and my second son was born a few hours later. I didn't take that engine apart again until my second son was 3 years old and I was in Fort Devens. The number 3 cylinder was almost split in half, but it was still running. I beat the hell out of that car for 13 years and didn't trade it in until 1986. I really should get another one.
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2017 on A roadster in Mars orbit? at Sic Semper Tyrannis
ambrit, I just read that NASA fired up the backup thrusters on Voyager 1 after being dormant for 37 years. They had to hack the old assembler coding to change those thrusters from long burst to short burst before testing them. That's damned near as impressive as the videos I've seen of old VW microbuses being fired up after sitting out in a cow pasture for years.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2017 on A roadster in Mars orbit? at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Musk launched a wheel of cheese into space when he first tested the Dragon 1 capsule. He did that in an ode to Monty Python. Maybe the interplanetary Tesla Roadster is a joke, but it would be one I also appreciate. Who knows what Musk will put aboard his new spacecraft. Whatever it is, I'm sure we'll enjoy it.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2017 on A roadster in Mars orbit? at Sic Semper Tyrannis
I agree with your outline of the final deal, but your 2nd point is not as rosy as it appears in some accounts. This story stems from an interview given by Riad Darar,co-chairman of the Syrian Democratic Council, to Rudaw TV. Darar clarified his initial comments after many thought he said the YPG/SDF would integrate with the SAA under a federated Syria. He later specified that the YPG/SDF would be part of a New Syrian Army separate from the "regime army" as part of a new federated Syria. I think the Rojava Kurds want an independent Rojava with an independent foreign policy and defense force only loosely connected with Damascus. That's overly optimistic and totally unrealistic. I bet CENTCOM is pushing that position among the YPG/SDF leadership. That's as dumb as the day is long. My fervent desire is that every Green Beret in Syria, every swinging dick one of them, is quietly preparing their Kurdish and Arab counterpart in the YPG/SDF for the demobilization phase and an integration into the SAA. Trump's instructions should bolster that course of action. I also agree that Trump doesn't give a damn about the Kurds or Turks. I don't think he gives a damn about the Iranians, Israelis or Russians either. Nor does he care about the flyover America of his base. He cares only for himself and his brand. This total lack of ideological compass is a good thing, as opposed to his apparent total lack of a moral compass. Nothing would bolster Trump's brand and his ego more than to have a prosperous nation at peace with the world on his watch. Ideologies only get in the way of that.
We usually have fairly standard faire for Thanksgiving, turkey and a ham. This year it will be just the turkey. For quite a while now, I start off the day with stuffed mushrooms to keep the lads at bay while I prepare the meal. We've settled on sausage stuffed mushroom as the family favorite. That French Canadian stuffing recipe reminds me of my father's recipe. The base was always Nabisco milk crackers that I would help crushing into crumbs with a rolling pin and a sheet of waxed paper. That and Bell poultry seasoning were always in there. Everything else varied. The one dish that we all looked forward to was the Lithuanian potato sausage. Mostly potato with a little bacon and left over ham. What set it apart was the way my father seasoned it. Eat it hot out of the oven or cold as a late night snack. My father is one hell of a chef. He dreamed of going to the CIA, the Culinary Institute of America. Instead he became a tool and die maker. Just talking with my sister. Seems all my brothers do a lot of the cooking. It's become a family tradition. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
ISL, I don't know of anyone being dismissed for incompetence or ineffectiveness for actions in the CENTCOM AOR, in or out of uniform. I find the situation pretty damned disheartening.
AEL, That all could come about and I think it would be a smart move for Turkey. I don't think the US, Israelis and Saudis will stand still for any of that happening though.
Sid Finster, Someone made that same observation to that original tweet. The SDF is incorporating tribal militias formerly allied with IS. Some of that probably works, but it does also provide a safe haven to to die hard jihadis. As long as we impede the YPG/SDF reconciliation with Damascus, we continue to provide aid and comfort to the anti-Assad jihadis. Our smartest move would be to continue striking the remnants of IS east of the Euphrates and encourage (or at least non discourage) YPG/SDF reconciliation with Damascus. I just don't know if we can get over our "Assad must go" mentality to do this.
Peter AU, CENTCOM is the US Central Command, a combatant command of the Department of Defense. It has no connection to the Department of State. The chain of command goes from the President to the Secretary of Defense to the combatant commander.
Earlier today this tweet by Elijiah Magnier caught my eye. “USA protects SDF and ISIS east of the Euphrates and agreed that Russia won't fly over the area occupied by the US Forces in north-east Syria. USA is officially an... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2017 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
BabelFish, My youngest brother, living in Center Sandwich, NH, says the ticks up in that area are out of control and are taking a real toll on the moose population. There have been some odd winters lately. Last year was unusually mild. The year before was a killer. A late extended freeze hit here in Virginia that year and killed all my holly berry blossoms leaving nothing for the robin flocks the following winter. The up side was that it also killed off the bagworms in my spruce trees. I've been fighting them for years and this year nothing. It also killed off the Washington Hawthorne and golden rain tree blossoms This year we have a bumper crop of holly berries which are turning red now with the arrival of cold weather. The robins will be pleased. My 88 year old father in Fryeburg, Maine was tuning up the snowblower this week. He doesn't hunt anymore, but he does still fish.
Patrick Armstrong, There are plenty of reasons to doubt Steele and his "dodgy dossier," but the reason you cited isn't one of them. Trump first expressed interest in the presidency in 1988. He ran for the Reform Party candidacy in 1999. Oddly enough, Roger Stone was involved in that early campaign. He also considered running in 2012. And I'm sure you're familiar with the Soviet and Russian intel services penchant for grooming and recruiting agents early and having the patience to wait for them to grow into a position of influence. I'm not saying Trump was recruited or even developed. I seriously doubt it. I would think Trump would be notoriously difficult to handle, but it would have been prudent of RIS to keep an eye on him.
pl, I remain your friend and brother in arms. I truly enjoy the spirited give and take with fellow correspondents. It's how we all grow. Echo chambers rot the mind. Of course I'll stick with SST.
David Habakkuk, That's your prerogative. Perhaps deep down I am still a traumatized Lithuanian. However, if you look back on my contributions to SST, you will see I've been a cheerleader for Novorossiya and the reintegration of Crimea back into Russia. I've also been complimentary and supportive of Russian actions in Syria. I've even been complimentary of Russian skills at IO and definitely consider their current theoretical framework (reflexive control) for IO far superior to ours. I fail to see how this marks me as an emotionally crippled Russophobe. Outside of these contributions, I'm quite fond of all manner of Russian culture, although, if given the opportunity to confront the NKVD and MVD troops or the Communist officials that sought to eradicate my family, I'd gladly kill them. Yes, my Lithuanian connection definitely led me to swell with pride at the "Forest Brothers" NATO propaganda video. I was also surprised at the visceral reaction to that video by Russian media and government officials. Putin has done very well in owning Russian history, the good and the bad. I don't understand how the Soviet treatment of the Baltics can be defended.
pl, My collection team along with the analysts and IO operators we worked with never produced work product or finished intelligence. That was the realm of the DI analysts as it always was. My only connection to that process was the granting of release of LIMDIS or ORCON information reports for use in the analysts' finished products. I was allowed to review the draft of these products, but only as a courtesy. I had no editorial control. The embedding of collectors and analysts into operational units became a major feature of DIA in Afghanistan and Iraq and every other place our troops were fighting. It lead to the emphasis on "actionable intelligence" over finished intelligence product. This process preceded Clapper at DNI and, I have heard, only accelerated under Flynn at DIA. AFAIK, the DI within DIA is still independent of the DO and produces its own work product. I'm not sure about recent reorganizations at CIA. I would think their attempts to fully integrate the DO and DI would lead to a weakening of the DI and their analytical independence.