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Paveway Mk IV
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LeaNder: 2WS is the Second Widow Syndrome. Philosophers at the Legion date it back to Viet Nam. The Colonel's dig at the USAF is grounded in fact - most members are far removed from the lines in wartime and see little of the cost. You can remain blissfully ignorant in your youth of why we're anywhere doing what we're doing. I was. You don't have to question anything - just show up for your shift. The experience is different of course for the tiny percentage of airmen that actually engage in combat missions. The Second Widow Syndrome is the messy part when your friends and relatives start coming back from wars in aluminum boxes and you have to bury them. Widows and mothers want closure and rarely get that from the military, themselves. They want to know that their husbands and sons sacrifice meant something because - despite everyone's assurances - it seems as irrational and meaningless to them as the war itself. Was it worth it? If you are (or were previously) wearing a uniform, that makes you magically able to answer the question for them. Not in reality, of course. You have no better answer than anyone else. You're grieving the loss of your friend or relative and hardly have a quick answer for "Did his sacrifice mean anything?" It takes you by surprise and you blurt out the usual assurances that he (or perhaps she) were convinced they were doing the right thing and they would have thought the sacrifice was worth it... blah, blah, blah. Then you have the rest of your days to think about that moment. Some think nothing of it and go on with life. For others, it sort of strips away your comfy blanket of stupidity and hypocrisy. You feel really bad about 'sort of' lying to them to console them. You understand the nobility of their sacrifice, but if they died in Viet Nam, Afghanistan or Iraq, you are forced to consider exactly what their death meant in context. That forces you to question the nature of your own service, patriotism, the U.S. government and everything else. You can't hide behind stupid any more. Then a second friend/relative comes back in a box and you have to bury them. The second widow (or mother, son, daughter, etc.) is probably going to ask you the same thing. You dread the moment, but bumble though it better than the first time. For us overly-sensitive 2WS types, it has a profound effect on your soul. You're compelled to find some rational explanation for things. Either that or you just drink yourself to death. Instead of studying Clausewitz or Jackson to understand war, we go off in our dark corners and find answers in the writings of people like Lobaczewski. Then we wring our hands for the rest of our lives trying to figure out how to fix the government and restore the constitution.
I would settle for a synthetic government official with a functional brain.
Thanks Will, but I'm just guessing by sifting through all the trash out there and the few quality sites I can find like everyone else. And no need for the Col. to boot me if he finds my posts unhelpful or irritating - I understand clearly that I'm a guest here on *his* site. He need only mention it and I will disappear without another word. SteveG: You can judge me by the content of my posts. Beyond that, you can safely assume nothing other than I am probably a 13-year-old angst-ridden girl posting from her mom's computer in the basement between texts to her other junior high school friends about the latest Keeping Up With The Kardashians episode. I claim no expertise nor insider knowledge of anything. I just Google and read a lot - a chimp could be trained to do as much.
"...You're right in noting that Rojava is not some modern state in waiting..." Glad to hear someone else say that. The MSM narrative to the opposite has already been gearing up. One can only guess why. "...I never suggested anything like that. Nor am I talking about Kurdistan..." Sorry - that's entirely *my* horrible tendency to project. I'll have to get use to the idea that people here are actually aware of what's going on there. "...Rojava is more like a Syrian version of Nunavut..." [embarrassed] Yes, I had to look that up. Nunavut doesn't make the news much, but the quiet little northern province of Canada is a good comparison. "...Any successful effort to aid the Rojava Kurds and the Arab members of the Euphrates Volcano has to be based on who they are, how they fight and what they want. Don't try to make them into a modern army with an unsustainable and unmanageable logistical tail. That's not who they are. ..." And that fundamental understanding is exactly why the military should manage all military operations, not the CIA, the State Department or the Administration. But of course, that's never going to happen - not in my lifetime. I'm sure they have several nightmarish plans cooked up without the military's input (or at least without the right minds in the military). "...You're also right about letting them move across the Euphrates to close off ISIS supply lines West of Jarabulus. That should be a key objective..." Makes perfect sense - I think a child could understand that. So I have to ask myself what screwed-up policies or criminally-incompetent planning causes the U.S. to do just the opposite and (unofficially) prohibit them from crossing the Euphrates and securing the border. If I were king of the world, I would have a train of C-17s LAPESing armor and weapons 24x7 to Afrin and Kobani intentionally so they could join territories and secure the entire Northern border and hold it. Obviously, there are forces at work in the U.S. government that have some other scheme in mind, undoubtedly to do with supplying head-choppers in Aleppo from Kilis. Between the now-defunct 'ISIS-Free Zone' (= unhindered ISIS resupply route) and the refusal of air support West of the Euphrates, I can only conclude that we are way over our heads in another flawed Syrian scheme. Take that for what it's worth though. I'm no expert - just another 2WS whiner.
My apologies - I mean IRAQI Kurds in all cases, not Iranian Kurds where that appears in the above excessively-long post.
TTG - It sounds a bit like you're projecting the usurped Iranian Kurd politics on to the Rojava (Syrian) Kurds, don't you think? Rojava Kurds have a mild desire for a unified Kurdistan someday, but were never excited about military conquest (certainly no like the PKK vis Turkey) to achieve that. Rojava Kurds (both Kobani and Afrin) are dirt farmers fighting for their *homes*, not some artificial political *homeland*. Rojava Kurds were ignored for the most part because there was nothing there. Indeed, Assad pretty much kept his hands off of them and was moving to grant them more autonomy. They have no central bank, gold reserves or oil, so they were ignored by the U.S. until recently. In fact, the Kobani Kurds lost every bit of their land to ISIS (save a few blocks in Kobani itself) without the U.S. lifting a finger to help. I realize this was to appease the Turkish government, but the Rojava Kurds were never really a threat to them anyways. They're just simple farmers. The fact that the U.S. started aiding them only after they were almost annihilated simply to close the ISIS Kobani supply routes isn't lost on the Rojava. While they welcomed the air support, they were fully aware that it had nothing to do with saving them - it was about closing ISIS supply routes. And no Rojava Kurd is going to forget airdrops where some meager supplies and a little ammo made it to them, two remotely steerable cargo parachutes with crates of German hand grenades went straight to ISIS positions. It is in the Kurds interest to stop all arms, bulk explosives and ammo coming across the northern Turkish/Syrian border since virtually all of it ends up in al Qaeda-linked extremist hands (ISIS, al Nusra, etc.). The U.S. (via the CIA or whomever) needs those supply routes for *it's* arms and explosives shipments. So you have the impossible situation now of the U.S. stepping in to prevent Kobani's annihilation at the last minute, but effectively telling them not to go past the Euphrates further west to link up with Afrin. That is, of course, a social media-sourced claim - nothing the DoD will announce. But anyone looking at the pattern of air attacks can see this is the case. The U.S. wants the Rojava to go south. The Rojava don't live there and are reluctant to do so. They're fighting for their homes and farms and don't care to chase ISIS all around Syria with small arms (and a few German hand grenades, if any made it). At the same time, the politicized Iranian Kurds sent in to 'help' are engaging in their usual Israeli-like land-grabbing behavior: ethnic cleansing of Arabs and Turkmen after ISIS is cleared out. The second anyone who understands the situation there saw the ethnic cleansing, they immediately identified it as something the Iranian Kurds would do, not Rojava Kurds. I would humbly suggest any train & equip program for the Rojava Kurds is long overdue, but will never really happen. Rojava Kurds are useless to the U.S. because they only want their homes and farms back and secure. A T&E program aimed at them can easily be usurped to funnel PKK and Iranian Kurds into Syria to push further south. Worst of all though (and once again) the Rojava Kurds will be used to further later foreign political aims: keeping the region unstable with a fake Syrian Kurdish uprising. Everyone who sees this from the outside will immediately know it's manufactured. The Rojava Kurds just want to be left alone. It was always in the U.S. /Israel gameplan to instigate a unified Kurdistan stuffed with puppets under their control. One need to look no further than the Mosul to Haifa Blood-for-Oil pipeline. I'm not against the FSA - they lost. Time to retreat and figure out something else. I'm not against the Kurds - the Rojava Kurds are salt-of-the-earth people. I am against a military action-created Kurdistan - the Rojava don't want to die for one, and the Iraqi Kurd armies and politicians are corrupt tools of the U.S. and Israel - they don't represent Iraqi Kurds any more. Want to help the Rojava? Equip and train them like a modern army. Not a boot camp, a few sniper rifles and a Toyota Hilux with ZUs. Then expect nothing more of them then what they have the heart for: protecting their current homes and farms, not some ersatz puppet Kurdistan and not anti-ISIS campaigns of attrition in central Syria while not allowing them to close off ISIS supply lines West of Jarabulus. And for God's sakes, don't start mixing in politicized Iraqi Kurds with their specious motives. The Rojava are smart enough to know two things: Don't trust the Americans and don't trust the Iraqi Kurds. As an American, I have to applaud their perceptiveness.
Sorry. This was the Twitter account: No endorsement either way - he just has some good pictures and links.
I agree with the overall sentiment expressed in that article, Macgupta. Unfortunately it's filled with unnecessary hyperbole and erroneous details to bolster its point. 1. Austin's comment is deceptive in a subtle way. There are no more 'pure' and independent FSA units effectively left in Syria. Take the current Idlib/Latakia area. There are three jihadi mafias running ALL opposition gangs there: Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), non-JaF al Nusra and ISIS. They are jihadi mafias in every sense of the word: all individual opposition groups have to belong to one of those three or be their prey. Someone can claim FSA membership and wear a FSA patch, but they don't exist or fight without the permission of one of the three. I'm sure the five leftovers are fighting, but they only identify themselves as FSA fighters when they're on the phone with their handlers. Don't be fooled by references to 'Alliances', 'Coalitions' or 'War Rooms'. They are takfiri jihadi mafias, plain and simple. They are not SIMPLY military organizations - they are instruments of the caliphate and enforce mafia policy. As such, Gen. Austin's comments about four or five still fighting as the FSA is disingenuous if they are anywhere in the Idlib/Latakia area. He didn't say where they are, but the situation is similar in almost all the rest of Syria. There are a few remaining large groups of FSA (mostly small towns and remote areas) that act independently as the FSA, but they are basically just holding ground. They absolutely must align themselves with one of the head-chopper mafias to participate in any meaningful campaigns. When they do and act as part of a head-chopper mafia campaign, then they are as guilty of atrocities as their mafia. 2. Russian Insider confuses two separate events. There was an initial group of around sixty 'Train and Equip' graduates sent back into Syria in June, I think. All of the members of that group are fighting in Syria today - there's only five that will still admit or claim to U.S. handlers that they are FSA. All the rest identify with other groups or the controlling regional mafias. It's not like they simply quit the fight and went home - they just added head-chopping to their toolbox and don't talk to their U.S. handlers any more. Subsequent to that, there was a second group of over seventy T&E trainees that graduated and were sent back to Syria two weeks ago. As expected, one of the regional mafias - in this case, Jabhat al-Shamiyya (Shamia Front) head-choppers stopped them and wanted to know who they were and what they were doing with a dozen new pickups sporting ZU-23 anti-aircraft cannons. The new batch of FSA did what any Syrian opposition would do - they said they were on the same side. JaS said "Great, you're joining our gang. Hey, we can sure use some of those new sniper rifles and pickups. You don't mind if we take a few, do you? And by the way, report to our commander and find out what he wants you to do." So the weapons were commandeered and the 'FSA' assimilated into JaS. So between 1 and 2 above, technically all the T&E-trained FSA are 'in the fight'. They're just waving their mafia's flag and fighting under their command, not the FSA. Note that none of these mafias are 'moderate' - all of them are head-chopping violent extremists and classified as terrorist organizations. 3. The T&E program *allocation* for this year was $500 million. They haven't spent nearly all of that. I heard $50 - $75 million so far. So maybe 130 or so 'graduates' and more in the pipeline. Much of the cost was recruitment, vetting and setting up the joint training base in Turkey with the Brits. Yes - still an expensive failure, but not $500 million worth (yet). I think they also asked for a $500M allocation for next years as well.
Yours is a much better description than mine, Patrick. They are good at collecting and organizing all the events chronologically and have great maps and graphics. I would only hedge a bit on describing their information as 'accurate'. Case in point: their latest Russian Weekly Activity (in Syria) report available through links on their site: It contains this event description: "...4) Caspian Sea. 07 OCT: Russia launched cruise missiles into Syria from the Caspian Sea without warning the U.S. The cruise missiles passed through Iranian and Iraqi airspace and some reportedly crashed in Iran." I'll leave the readers to judge whether this is an accurate description. I still insist it's a useful one. It reliably summarizes aspects of a narrative that ISW and the U.S. government are pushing. Side note: I see Ash Carter has now gone on the record claiming that four crashed in Iran, but gave no details. Is it just me, or does this seem to be happening more and more regularly now? MSM makes unsubstantiated claim to test the waters. If they get TOO beat up for their less-than-credible 'un-named government sources', then someone will go on the record with a one-liner a day or two later seemingly designed for damage control of the MSM's credibility? I'm not the least surprised that this happens - it always has, here and everywhere else. They just seem extremely shameless about doing this today and they apparently think nothing of repeating the same sequence of events tomorrow. Whether any Russian cruise missiles actually crashed or not is a different and interesting matter - I'm speaking only to the willingness of the MSM to participate in this charade of journalism in such an obvious and frequent way. I do have to hand it to them - it still works well for it's intended purposes.
I agree, Babak. Dr. Alyami doesn't address this in much detail in this specific interview, but acknowledges it as a near-unsurmountable problem for him and his cause. Indeed, he apparently hasn't had much success in Washington over the years convincing policy-makers who they should be backing. Politicians and businessmen probably mistakenly seek him out for a quick answer to "What's up with the royals? Who is going to be the next king?" so they can position themselves advantageously. His answer has been consistent over the years: "I don't know and neither does anyone else - the royals don't talk and there are no insiders. But here's what would be good for the Saudi people..." at which point he's probably shown the door.
Degringolade re ISW (my opinion): informative and nicely packaged information, but driven by a strong undercurrent of what people describe as neoconservatism and Syrian pro-rebel, Ukrainian pro-government bias. Founded by Kimberly Kagan and related to a group of similarly-themed think-tanks. ISW focuses much of it's material on the Syrian and Ukraine conflicts because it's only a few years old, i.e, it wasn't around during the Iraqi war. Most of the young authors are a step above the superficial analysis of the average grad student and write better, but you're not going to find much critical thought or seasoned reasoning there. The articles and reports are sprinkled with the occasional nugget of what seems like 'inside info' that lends their work some sense of authority, but the bulk of it seems like buckets of academic facts hand-picked to (weakly, IMHO) support their assertions or conclusions. I'm sure it has it's fans on Capitol Hill and it's undoubtedly loved by the MIC. Maybe may here - I'm not sure. I don't mean to disparage it as much as I probably sound - I try to read everything there even though I disagree with many of their positions or conclusions. The internet is the most superb confirmation-bias enabler ever invented, but it's also the antidote. And they may be right about everything - I don't know. For a much more decidedly antagonistic description of ISW, you can read how the haters describe it in this article regarding the Elizabeth O'Bagy affair a couple of years ago. I link it because it lays out most of the behind-the-scenes connections and people that supposedly influence it:
According to the various UXO commenters who know these things - These are AO-2.5RT submunitions designed to be dispensed above a thousand meters AGL. They are armed centrifugally from the spinning imparted by the vanes. An impact fuze blows the two halves of the submunition apart, followed by a short pyrotechnic delay before detonation. An intact one means it hasn't been armed or the impact fuze failed. If split and enough time has passed (and they're not smoking) the pyrotechnic fuze probably failed. For ghetto EOD in a Syrian battle zone, you could move them if you had to. Gently. Probably not safe for soccer practice though. 'If you had to' means they're sitting in your bombed-out Syrian house, your backyard or along your town's residential street after an attack and there's kids running around. I don't think al Nusra has an EOD team with a toll-free hotline for civilians, so you're pretty much on your own. If you do call them, they will come out and disarm the bomblets - but then they'll chop your head off. So 'suicidal' to handle is relative in a place/situation like that. Slightly better video of the same submunitions: You can make out the halves, intact ones with and without the vanes. They didn't land together like that. This is a pit where they're being collected for detonation. That vid was posted on this guy's twitter page: No idea what 'side' he's on - he just collects a lot of interesting pictures and videos. He also had a tweet about this Daily Beast article: I generally steer clear of the Daily Beast, but found this little nugget in the article interesting: "...Hasan Hagali, the top commander for Suqour al-Jabal and a former captain in the Syrian Arab Army, explained via Skype to The Daily Beast: “Yesterday, at 5:30 p.m. a base belonging to Suqour al-Jabal was targeted in two air raids in Mansoura... ...That’s our main arms depot, where we supply all our units. At the same exact time—5:30 p.m.—ISIS sent a car bomb against us in Deir Jemal, against our base. This is about 130 kilometers away from Mansoura.” An earlier ISIS attack against a Suqour al-Jabal frontline position, he added, occurred in Ehres, also in western Aleppo, at around 3 o'clock. But ISIS locations in the province, no doubt equally visible from the air, were left unscathed by the Russians..." The interesting part (if any of it is true) is that Suqour al-Jabal is one of those ex-FSA outfits that quit and pledged allegiance to the Islamic Front head-choppers almost two years ago. So these Idlib Civil Defense guys were apparently clearing UXO from a head-chopper ammunition depot, not a schoolyard or anything like that. Unless the ammunition depot was in the schoolyard. The humorous part is the 'top commander' of a head-chopper outfit is whining in the quote about how those darn Russians didn't attack ISIS (who was attacking him a couple of hours earlier) even though ISIS would have been just as good of a target visibility-wise. That's just not fair!
Er... no, just a nobody American. I realize the necessity and utility of governments (even bad ones) and I know a Saudi guy bleeds just like me. The rest is all details.
Nothing to do with this blog - my computer went belly-up and my Google, Twitter and all the others were lost a couple of years ago. You can't use the old one again so I made all the new ones back then as IV. When this computer dies, I'll probably be back as Paveway V because I have no idea anymore what I used for all these new passwords. "...You are in the upper Midwest. I won't say where exactly..." Yes - there are actually several USAF vets here. It's because of all the blonde, corn-fed Mid-west women, I think. "...Your remarks about the Mark IV are a direct lift from the wiki on the bomb..." The Mk IV was way past my time and a different continent - I have to use Wiki now like everyone else. "...My point about the USAF is that I do not think anyone in that service would have the depth of knowledge about SA to write that analysis..." Oh, hell... were we really THAT bad? Come to think of it, you're probably right. We were paid by the AF for our dashing good looks and witty repartee, not our analysis skills. "...My guess is that you are a university type playing games. Don't. This is a blog full of spooks..." Jesus - have you read anything produced by our 'university types' lately? I would be delighted to find one that can put together a coherent thought longer than 140 characters. I'm not going to fax you my DD-214, but it's your blog. If this place is filled with spooks, then you guys already have a selector on me because of my rants on ZeroHedge (just ignore the dirty words - it's a rough place).
Not my intention and I don't think Dr. Alyami does either. I've read a few different interviews of him as well as some of his articles, so I'm speaking from a collective memory of his writings - not just this one. My comments were meant as a response to the question about any valuable insights in his interview. My American friends that don't follow international affairs like to hate the easy, simple, cartoonish villains our mainstream media likes create for them. Possible Saudi coup? "Who is the evil Saudi guy supporting terrorism now? If he get's booted out, will the next guy be any better?" It's impossible to answer that kind of over-simplified question - the situation is extremely complex with layers I can't even begin to comprehend. For a start, though, I think most Americans miss the subtle but complex relationship between Wahhabist extremism and the Royals. Each enables the other to some degree. It's not *just* as simple as an obscenely-rich princes throwing bags of money at unemployed jihadis. Of course it depends on that happening first, but that act alone doesn't explain it's spread and persistence. Wahhabism is integral to what's happening in KSA & M.E. as well as marginalization of Sunnis. The point (at least as far as what the U.S. should be concerned with) is that with enough social unrest, Wahhabi jihadis will work for free. If the royals fled the KSA for some reason, someone would step in to fill the vacuum. The clerics would have every reason to do that, even though their main donors just left. They would certainly have a big say in who will be allowed to take the reigns and could get rid of someone they didn't approve of. That doesn't make clerics the main force to be reckoned with, it just makes them an important one. Could they be removed or their role somehow diminished with a new government? I don't know. But I could see the U.S. attempting to 'fix' things by throwing in some hand-selected puppet. I'm guessing the clerics wouldn't be too happy about that. And if the royals left and took their loot with them, how long is the middle class going to last? Do you have walls high enough to keep all the newly-starving poor Saudis and the millions of migrant workers out? I'm not a big fan of the current KSA government, but I shudder to think what the people of Saudi Arabia might go through during a change. There's way too many bad things that can happen. I wouldn't want to see the people of KSA suffer because of the hate everyone has for the takfiris. Nobody had a vote among the people of Saudi Arabia whether they wanted to flood the Middle East with jihadis. We know the royals did it because they could afford to.
Oddly enough, only Raytheon UK makes them for the RAF and they have recently been exported to the RSAF (to my dismay), but the USAF does not and is not planning on using them at all that I know of. The USAF is sticking with the Small Diameter Bomb and the Laser-JDAM. I use to use the more familiar Paveway Mk III but forgot my password, so I upgraded my login ID. Not sure I understand your comment about nobody in the USAF writing that. Do you mean wouldn't write it for political / career-ending reasons? I've been out a while and the VA hasn't stalked me yet. Maybe they should.
My two cents: I wouldn't describe him as a denizen of the think tanks as much as he is an advocate anywhere in Washington for the two causes listed in his foundation's title: Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. That is what it is - he doesn't appear to have any other obvious political or business agenda other than reform in Saudi Arabia. He is unique in that he is one of the few (the VERY few) informed and vocal critics of the Saudi rulers, their policies and their profound exploitation of religious extremism - via Wahabbism - to extend their control over the Middle East. That's why I doubt he's very welcome around many of the think tanks, which have - in many cases - a financial interest in keeping the Saudi royals happy and looking after their interests. Likewise, there's plenty of politicians who don't care what he has to say because they are already feeding at the Saudi royal trough or have interests complementary to the royals. Alyami is not anti-Saudi Arabia in the least. He just doesn't like the current management (with good reason) and will say so honestly. He wants (wishes?) for a better country for his people there, and tries to influence anyone that will listen in Washington what the problems are now. He's the 'Emperor has no clothes' guy. I would say that Walrus missed the real meat relevant to the U.S. from that interview quoted. Not sure if this is the original source, but it appeared in full on ZeroHedge: The parts everyone missed (I insist) is central to understanding Saudi support of Wahabbism: 1. Speaking of the power block of Wahabbi clerics, "...they have more in common with ISIS than they do with the Saudi royal family. So they are plotting against the regime that has always supported them and promoted them to important positions..." 2. Re Assad: "...In reality, the Saudi regime’s insistence that Assad has to go is partially to appease its own religious establishment who see Shiites as heretics and who want to establish their dominance over Syria as if they are entitled to do so..." Wahabbi clerics are a kind of shadow co-government that are never going away if current (or future) Saudi leaders continue to use them to project Saudi influence in the region. They can extend that influence under Wahabbism much further than any army or political system affords them. The same holds true for *anyone* holding the reigns of power in Saudi Arabia, so rotating the ruling Royals will do absolutely nothing to curb their eternal support for exporting Wahabbism. Dr. Alyami's hope is that a more rational group of the younger royals might gain support amongst the disenfranchised young adults in Saudi Arabia and break the yoke that saddles the conservative Saudi royals to Wahabbism. He knows some kind of change is coming and wants younger reformers to take the helm, but I don't see any conviction that he thinks that this is the way it WILL play out. He merely hopes it will. His views are a breath of fresh air because the current obsession amongst the House of Saud watchers is who will be the next likely king and what will that mean. Short of an Arab-Spring-type revolution, it will simply be another flavor of a conservative royal bound at the hip with Wahabbism. In other words, nothing will change for the U.S.: Wahabbism, al Qaeda, ISIS and every other form of Salafist extremism will continue to spew from SA. On the same token, the shadow government (the clerics) will never call off jihadis in Syria - it's a religious war that they will never stop feeding with fresh blood. The U.S. and/or Russia will make things complicated for them, but they will never stop. Regime change in Saudi Arabia will be meaningless unless the conservative Sauds go AND the clerics powers are neutered. Short of that, nothing changes.
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Sep 9, 2015