Category Archives: Military

Interesting article on drones and balloons

Adversary Drones Are Spying On The U.S. And The Pentagon Acts Like They’re UFOs

The U.S. military seems aloof to the fact that it’s being toyed with by a terrestrial adversary and key capabilities may be compromised as a result.


I saw this article posted on Twitter and read through it once. Please note this article is from Apr. 2021. It’s a very long article and has a lot of links that I haven’t checked into yet. Of course, a lot of the technological information is beyond my abilities to understand, but I could understand most of the points the author was making.

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Short blog note

I decided to remove my short blog post from earlier today that was pure speculation on my part, because as I thought about it, there’s enough speculation floating about concerning the Chinese spy balloon and “flying objects.”

I just listened to tonight’s Pentagon briefing that was broadcast during the Super Bowl apparently and learned next to nothing new, other than the phrases “kinetic threat” and “out of an abundance of caution” make me grit my teeth and feel like I’m being misled. The Assistant Sec, of Defense who took part in this briefing with the NORAD commander is the same one who spouted WH talking points during the Congressional hearings last week.

Here’s where I listened to the briefing:

It’s not a good thing to hold a briefing, provide no real information and people walk away with even more questions than before the briefing started.

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More on the Chinese spy balloon

This is going to be a Chines spy balloon blog post. I like stating the topic in the beginning, as sort of a warning.

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the Chinese spy balloon incident. There was a public portion and then later they held a closed hearing in a classified setting. I watched the public hearing and came away with more questions than answers.

Following the hearing Senator Chris Murphy (D) took to Twitter to post this:

Well, as I mentioned many times I like to read through news articles, because often further through the article I learn important bits of information that weren’t in the flashy headlines. The idea that we learned so much information from tracking what the balloon was doing took a hit, when I read this CNN update, US officials disclosed new details about the balloon’s capabilities. Here’s what we know, which was updated at 11:13 pm Feb. 9, 2023, when I pulled this information from it:

“The officials told lawmakers that the US has assessed that little new intelligence was gleaned by the Chinese balloon operation because the Chinese appeared to stop transmitting information once the US learned of the balloon, in addition to US measures to protect sensitive intelligence from China’s spying operations, according to the sources.”

So, we couldn’t track what they were transmitting.

Then there was this information:

“Only evidence that was on the surface of the ocean has been delivered to FBI analysts so far, one official said, which includes the “canopy itself, the wiring, and then a very small amount of electronics.” The official said analysts have not yet seen the “payload,” which is where you would expect to see the “lion’s share” of electronics.”

So, how on earth we know for sure what kind of threat this balloon posed without the payload recovered yet and only a “very small amount of electronics,” I have no earthly idea. The Pentagon officials also gave some explanation about the conditions in Alaska for recovery influencing the decisions not to shoot the balloon down and also fears of provoking an escalation of tensions with China, according to this article. I heard the one Pentagon official offer a rationale on the Alaskan recovery difficulties rationale in the open hearing.

This CNN update also included this information about the classified briefing and I think this is the real reason the Biden administration didn’t act sooner:

“In the classified congressional briefings, the administration officials argued that the US didn’t move earlier to shoot down the balloon in part over fears it could provoke an escalation of military tensions with China or even a military conflict. Biden gave the order to shoot down the balloon whenever the Pentagon felt it was safe to do so, the sources said, so the Pentagon ultimately made the call on when to shoot it down.”

Our Pentagon was paralyzed for days over fears of how China might react to shooting down an unmanned balloon…


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Figuring out where we are

This post is going to be about how people view situations and where they get their information. In my blog post yesterday, which was about an American national security issue, I mentioned that I just recently moved from cable to streaming TV. My sister, who convinced me to try streaming, told me I would find news and other things to watch streaming that I don’t with my cable. I was thoroughly sick of the American news media and that includes liberal news media and FOX and right-wing news media. Along with the various big streaming services, she mentioned some free apps with news and other programming.

Last night I watched a Euro News broadcast. I found the coverage of the earthquake aftermath in Turkey and Syria very informative. I also watched an interview with the prime minister of Moldova, who explained the Russian efforts to destabilize her country. I hear a lot of Americans, who hold right-wing views, say things that sound like Russian propaganda and that worries me. I’ve heard this line about how “we shouldn’t poke the bear,” so many times that I automatically grit my teeth every time someone says that. While it’s true the West has expanded NATO and alliances close to Russia, at the same time Russia has been aggressively targeting its neighbors for years now, while America and our European allies paid mostly lip service to that aggression. Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.

While I don’t have a crystal ball, I feel we’re already on a path to a wider war, even though I still hope leaders can find ways to avoid that. I have believed for a few years now that China and Russia intend to challenge America’s global economic position and try to bump us to third place. I also, due to years of news reports on China and Russia, believe Russia wants to regain some of its territory from the Soviet era and that China is preparing for war. The news has reported on China’s activities in the South China Sea and toward Taiwan for years. What I wonder is how many Americans will just keep ranting about “don’t poke the bear” or “don’t mess with the dragon” and blame America for our adversaries aggression?

In WWII there were plenty of Americans who held this same attitude – until America was directly attacked. One thing I will say about aggression is appeasement and shows of weakness are actions. Every school yard bully knows how to read displays of weakness too and it does not deter a bully. In fact, usually it emboldens them.

I assume most Americans have no idea where Moldova is, but I won’t be surprised if Moldova is in the news more in the near future. Here’s a quote from that EuroNews interview with the prime minister of Moldova (the video is at the link):

“Russia is trying to destabilise Moldova by sponsoring protests and conducting cyber attacks, the country’s prime minister told Euronews on Tuesday.

“We are seeing elements of hybrid war. We are seeing, for example, pro-Russian forces trying to destabilise the country politically through paid protests which quickly subsided when the oligarchs that fled Moldova were put on the sanctions lists and their money flows were restricted,” Natalia Gavrilița said.

“We are seeing cyber attacks. We’ve had the biggest cyber attacks in 2022 in the history of our country, and we are seeing bomb threats.”

Somewhere down the road, in years, I expect historians might look back at this time and instead of wondering about “poking the bear” or “messing with the dragon,” they might be wondering how devastatingly weak the US looked with that Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and an incident like failing to take down an unmanned Chinese spy balloon, as it floated over the American heartland and our most sensitive military sites for a week. They might ponder again, how provocative weakness really is to countries with territorial aspirations on their minds

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Winners and losers

On Saturday, a US fighter plane shot down the Chinese spy balloon, after the balloon had been allowed to traverse the continental US for a week. The liberal media and Dems are in full narrative rewrite mode and polluting common sense thinking about national security. I’ve heard statements from Dems and liberal media that this was strategic brilliance to let that Chinese balloon float across the US for a week and statements about how much intel the US gathered by doing that. I also saw assertions that the US military had blocked the Chinese balloon from being able to transmit information. The narrative emerged that Biden had approved the shootdown last Wednesday, the day before this story became widely reported due to concerned citizens in Montana reporting it and taking photos of the balloon.

All of these revised narratives are likely complete fabrications to cover-up the glaring fact that the Biden administration failed to defend American airspace from an unmanned Chinese spy balloon for a week – that’s the truth.

Of course, the Dems and liberal media are spinning up a story that these sort of incursions are nothing new and that there were 3 incidents of Chinese balloon incursions during the Trump years. All of those stories thus far are attributed to unnamed defense officials. Using Trump as the piñata, incited the liberal media and Dems, plus it deflects attention away from Biden’s failure to act swiftly to defend American airspace. Trump officials say there was no event like what happened in the past week during their tenure. Here’s an example of the Dem narrative rewrite effort:

Somehow “briefly transited” does not sound like the 8 day Chinese spy balloon spectacle last week. The fall-out comes when clueless and incompetent government officials buy into their own false narratives rather than face mistakes and learn from them. It was not strategically sound to let a hostile country fly a spy balloon over the entire continental US and especially over some of our most sensitive military sites. It’s also dangerous to buy into the belief that eliminating all risk is required before acting. The Biden excuse about it was too risky to shoot the balloon down due to concerns about the debris field in sparsely populated Montana makes no sense at all. What would this administration do if it was a hostile manned aircraft entering US airspace over a populated metropolitan area? Would the president decide not to act?
This entire new backstory narrative the Biden WH has created sounds like complete fabrication and a face-saving effort to me.

The important takeaway isn’t whose narrative will win in the American spin information war waged in American media, it’s that the Chinese and America’s other enemies don’t care one iota about Democrat or Republican spin wins – they care about humiliating and defeating America. They witnessed an American administration stating the risk to take down an unmanned spy balloon was too great and a new fabricated backstory where President Biden said he ordered the balloon to be shot down “as soon as possible” on Wednesday and it took until Saturday for our military to accomplish that…

Beyond the optics and the obvious display of weakness by this WH and our Pentagon leaders, there’s a whole host of other serious concerns that come with even high-altitude balloons. Balloons can serve as a platform for other unconventional nefarious activities. That’s why swift actions should have been taken to take down this enemy spy balloon before it floated across the entire continental US.

I’ve said for years the only winners in our domestic spin information war are America’s enemies – they scored another win this past week, regardless how much hot air politicians and the media put into narratives. It wasn’t just the Biden WH and the Pentagon who looked weak – it was America.

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Ukraine and tanks

This is going to be a post on my views about the situation in Ukraine, since the news today is all about tanks being sent to Ukraine… tanks Ukraine’s military isn’t even trained to operate. I heard the Biden spokesman, Kirby, blabbering on this afternoon about how we’re going to have tank training teams and this was like echoes of the same claptrap we heard for 20 years about Afghan security forces, Iraqi security forces, and even training those imaginary “moderate” Syrian rebels” forces… It felt like he was reading the same old script.

First, I believe that pushing back against Russian and Chinese aggression is in America’s best interests, because allowing Russia and China to expand their influence, while we bury our heads in the sand by buying into hyped narratives about how we shouldn’t “poke the bear” or “mess with the dragon,” are really just appeasement. Appeasement sends the message of weakness and only invites more aggression.

That said, the approaches taken by European countries and the US thus far have not worked as expected and while Russia has aggressively worked to cut new energy deals around the world, Europeans and the US tried to have their cake and eat it too. They were still importing Russian oil and gas, while imposing more and more sanctions against Russia and telling us how evil Putin is. If he’s so evil, why weren’t they feverishly working to ramp up their own fossil fuel production, so they wouldn’t have to rely on Russian oil and gas?

On top of that insanity, at the same time the West was trying to have it both ways with buying Russian oil and gas, while imposing more and more sanctions against Russia and pouring more and more arms and money into Ukraine, the West decided to escalate their economic war against their own countries’ fossil fuel industries and citizens by running full steam ahead with their Great Reset effort.

None of this makes any strategic sense. Wars still require vast amounts of weapons, equipment… and fossil fuel. No military in the world runs on green energy. If you’re serious about supplying a war effort, you ramp up your own fossil fuel production; you don’t keep trying to import it from your adversary and decimate your own fossil fuel production capabilities.

The Biden team travelled around the world, hat in hand, begging despotic regimes for oil… They’d rather grovel to despots than do the sensible thing and unleash American fossil fuel production and ramp up green energy development. We should utilize every means of energy production that we can.

As far as what the actual end game strategy is in Ukraine, I don’t think any of the Western leaders have clearly articulated that and then had all of these other leaders agree on a strategy.

This isn’t about Republicans vs. Democrats, it’s about the reality of war, I think, and nothing I’ve seen thus far with how Western leaders have conducted this proxy war in Ukraine has made much sense.

I’d like to believe our leaders have learned something from the defeats of the GWOT strategy and regime change strategies we followed for 20 years, but it seems like no one has learned anything, except our adversaries…

The way I see it is either we really want Russia to be pushed back or we want to wage this crazy green energy war against fossil fuel and our own citizens, but trying to do both at the same time will be disastrous.

Update 1/28/2023: I was thinking about the endless string of failures in US strategy since 9/11 and the string of military misadventures, that were just memory-holed, as the strategic DC brain trust came up with one bad idea after another and faced no accountability for their previous failures. Here’s a short excerpt from a 2015 blog post I wrote:

” In 2014 Jamal Maaroof was touted:  “Meet Jamal Maarouf, the West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies”.  After receiving US training and weapons, to include TOW anti-tank missiles, Maaroof struck a peace deal with ISIS.”

The first link is the media hyping the latest strategic “big idea” in 2015 – arming “moderate” Syrian rebels to help in the fight against ISIS. So, the US Army embarked on supposedly vetting Syrian rebel groups and finding “moderates” (here’s a clue in a Sunni insurgency there aren’t any moderates) to train. This rebel leader, Maaroof and his rebel band were trained and armed by the US Army with TOW anti-tank missiles and as soon as they returned to the battlefield in Syria, they struck a peace deal with ISIS. Some groups that the US armed handed their US weapons over to ISIS or united with ISIS fighters. So much for vetting these groups. The same people – politicians, retired top brass and military experts, who hit the media and sold all these bad ideas, are still hard at selling this proxy war in Ukraine, which they’re not prepared to really fight. The Biden administration and European leaders, I think, are more committed to their Great Reset, which will cause endless suffering and mayhem on their own citizens, not defeat Russia in Ukraine.

Pushing back on Russian aggression is in American and European strategic interests, but doing it in such a half-assed way has already shown Russia (and America’s other adversaries) again, that we’re not really serious and time is on their side. It doesn’t matter if it’s an R or a D after the name of the President, because both sides are fully-invested in this corrupt military-industrial game and this mess is going to drag on and on, with the potential to escalate bubbling right below the surface.

Trying to work out some sort of ceasefire and deal between Ukraine and Russia would be the least bad option, I think, since the US and the Europeans can’t seem to agree on much of anything and have been dragging their feet on getting arms to Ukraine all along, despite the lip service that they’re sending more. Even this tank announcement was followed by :

Despite President Biden’s promise to send 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine on Wednesday, it could take months for the artillery to arrive, according to reports.

The New York Post reported that Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh confirmed that the U.S. does not have enough of M1 Abrams tanks in its stockpile to send over to Ukraine at this time.”

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A few Veterans Day reflections

Today is Veterans Day, so every American owes a debt of gratitude to all those who have served and continue to defend our great nation. I had planned to visit the Veterans cemetery today but due to the rain with this tropical storm, I’ll take flowers another day, when the weather clears up.

I ended up tweeting some about politics this morning, but I want to limit how much time I spend on politics Twitter, since I haven’t completely broken the habit. I have gone days without looking at Twitter at all and that’s progress. Another goal is to limit how much politics news I ingest. Trump declared all-out war on Ron DeSantis, apparently, while DeSantis is doing his job as governor and FL deals with another storm. Then apparently, Trump was posting crap on Truth Social, his new social media home, trashing the governor of VA, Glenn Youngkin, saying his name sounds Chinese and spelling it Young-Kin. Yes, that’s how threatened Donald Trump feels, that he wants to destroy any potential 2024 upstarts in the GOP. I say, apparently, because I didn’t verify this information and don’t have an account at Truth Social and don’t want to join anymore social media formats.

That’s it on the politics in this post, because with it being Veterans Day, one of the things I was thinking about was how the US military is now an all-volunteer force, where patriots from all walks of life, decide to serve. The glue that holds our military together are shared values and a dedication to a mission larger than yourself.

While everyone certainly is entitled to their own personal beliefs and views, we can all benefit from regularly taking a step back and looking beyond ourselves and listening to other people’s ideas, views, and beliefs. When my kids were growing up I used to tell them not to judge people based on what they look like, where they live or work, what kind of clothes they wear, etc. I told them if you take the time to get to know people a bit, not what you think you know about them (which is often gossip), that you’re likely to be surprised often when you start getting to know a bit about people and listen more. It’s not uncommon to find that even a guy working at a gas station might have developed an interest in reading Shakespeare or painting, at some point in his life or that some lady working in a store, who came to America from a much poorer country, went to college or developed great skill at some other type of work or craft. Many years ago, when I worked at Walmart, our store had Bulgarian immigrants as the overnight crew that cleaned the store. As I got to know them, I learned that one of the men had been a Bulgarian army officer and another one had been a hospital administrator.

When I joined the Army in 1979, one of the things I loved the most was meeting people from all over America and the world. It was wonderful to be exposed to so many different people, who although coming from completely different places and backgrounds, worked together as one team.

We are all fortunate to have people, who are willing to put aside their differences and commit to a common goal – defending America. We can all spend less time investing in being partisans and more in being Americans. Today is a good day to give a moment’s thought to that.

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Lots of worries ahead

A frequent commenter on my blog, JK, asked me a question about US military readiness this morning and I’m going to post my response as a blog post. I will be writing more blog posts to expand on several issues in my response. Suffice it to say, way back in February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, many people, including the world-famous Russian chess champion, Gary Kasparov, warned of Putin cutting off gas and oil to Europe and the prospect of a very cold, dark winter across the European continent this year. I am not ahead of the curve here warning about any of the things in my response, but too many leaders in Washington (on both sides of the aisle) got caught up in the “Zelensky Show” propaganda war and allowing that spin drama to cloud their judgment. This is especially true for the Dem retired general crowd who fill mainstream media with their military expertise, in my opinion. Here’s the comment (and there will be more blog posts upcoming):

JK, I was all for aiding Ukraine, because the big picture of Russia steamrolling across Ukraine unimpeded had my Cold War warrior feathers way beyond being ruffled – I was fighting mad and still am on that big picture strategic necessity for the West to remain steadfast against Russian and Chinese aggression. Period…. and then we come to the BUT.

But Western leaders and the Biden WH are craven, wimpy, globalists who have always believed they can cut deals with the Russians and Chinese. With Biden, there’s the nightmares of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle fresh in my mind, which assures me the Biden Team is more like the WeHateAmericaTeam – total sell-outs to America’s adversaries and corrupt nitwits.

But… they still push their crazy leftist pipedreams like their climate change/green agenda, along with all their other pet causes, all while ignoring the cold hard truths about the real world, where the rubber meets the road and military might, national defense and protecting and defending national interests outweighs hand-wringing about cow flatulence. Their leftist agenda has taken priority over actually stopping Russia. Instead, it seems they believed they could “win” by spending more time “fighting” the Ukraine propaganda war, thinking a Hollywood production of the “War in Ukraine” starring Zelensky, with cameo appearances by Western leaders in Kiev was a substitute for the real nuts and bolts strategic planning that real war requires. Most of the rest of the world will cut deals for Russia and China goods if Russia and China can deliver what their own countries need. This is how the real world works.

Unfortunately, many Dem retired generals and some new military “expert” faces started getting heavily invested in the Zelensky Show too. Russia made disastrous mistakes, but they’ve regrouped and too many of the Dem Twitter military experts, who should know better, seem to have gotten high on CNN and MSNBC spin fumes and it’s clouding their judgment. Ditto this for too many leaders in Washington, on both sides of the aisle. I always place American national interests above other countries and I refuse to wrap myself in other countries flag, just like I chafed at the US military ever allowing UN blue hat adventures to supersede over direct US control of US forces. Our top priority should always be US national defense.

That said, I don’t know what the real state of US military combat readiness is, what level our military stockpiles are at, the morale of the troops and the competency of leadership from the top down. All I can say is I’ve seen a lot of warning signs for several years now. Accidents being a huge one. Add in the Biden administration recklessly depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and no one’s asking what are the plans to replenish that reserve stockpile.

Also, add in I have no idea what level our nation’s emergency food and other emergency stockpiles are at, from federal programs to many states have programs. There seems to be no reality-based comprehensive national security assessments – it’s all partisan talking points.

I suspect during the Obama years and now in the Biden administration, federal assets were and are quietly used for humanitarian pet projects, sent to private entities, many of which are religious-based (thanks, GWB), who run these programs to house, feed, transport, illegal immigrants around the country, while making big bucks from the US govt. And who knows where else federal US assets have been sent. No one’s addressed the stockpile issues on vital assets we need for domestic emergencies and national defense.

I’m fleshing out a blog post on what in the Hades, big picture catastrophes, I think, are brewing that no one seems to be talking about. The state of the US military is a huge one, but there are plenty of others.

My main worry is the stage may be setting for massive populist flashpoints in many Western countries, if people can’t heat their homes this winter or afford food or there are strikes, civil unrest and other major disruptions to the food supply. Then there’s the reality that many Dem fools (and probably some Republican governors too) may try to reimpose Covid restrictions this fall, which will add to the chaos. Ditto this for Canada, Australia and in Europe.

I’ll stop here, JK. Should have gone with the short answer – it’s a cluster… you-know-what brewing.

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Some Ukraine thoughts

Although Ukraine has dominated the news the past month, there’s a lot of important news here in America that’s not getting nearly the same attention – especially in Washington. The emotional and rash ways in which Washington politicians talk about sending weapons system and aid to Ukraine with no concern about the price tag, the sensitivity of handing over advanced technology on a battlefield we have no control over or thinking about the “post-war” ramifications of all that weaponry (another likely international weapons open market bazaar forming) disturbs me. I do support sending more military aid to Ukraine, but I wish more thought went into decision-making, especially in light of the vast amount of military equipment we abandoned in Afghanistan and the 20-year US foreign policy failure of regime-change/democracy-building.

Even more disturbing has been the ways in which our politicians are like lemmings, who mindlessly rush to fall in line with the latest hot talking point. First it was the hysteria about the US and NATO establishing a no-fly zone, which alarmed the heck out of me, because that means being at war with Russia and being willing to shoot down Russian aircraft and taking out Russian anti-aircraft assets. The past week or so, it’s been hyperventilating about sending Ukraine MiG jets. It seems certain there will be more military hardware items that will fuel endless media hysteria with the situation in Ukraine.

The absolute most disturbing hot takes in American political and media circles have been the hysterical politicians and pundits demanding we stop the war immediately, as if there’s some magic off-button to make Putin stop his war of aggression. I have no idea what Putin’s going to do and presently what he does certainly determines how long this war drags on.

Some of the same politicians who called for more and more military action during the past 20 years of our “Global War On Terror/Building Democracy Project” now seem overly eager to beat their war drums about Russia. Senator Lindsey Graham, who gets a whole lot of air time on FOX News, has been saber-rattling about “regime change” in Moscow now and while many people may embrace the idea of Putin being gone, they’re missing the reality that Russia has a vast nuclear arsenal and a coup or uncertain control of a nation/state nuclear arsenal of that size would be a very dire world crisis situation. I remember when the Soviet Union collapsed (we were living in Germany at the time) and there were serious concerns about loose nukes within the US foreign policy and military communities, but it seems a lot of people in Washington, who are old enough to remember that, seem to have forgotten. A country with a vast nuclear arsenal that collapses or where there’s no clear governmental structure poses a huge global crisis, but Graham is always rushing on TV to beat his war drum and sound tough.

With all eyes focused on Ukraine, our own domestic problems have been shoved aside and the people who react emotionally aren’t just liberals who run from one cause to the next to virtue-signal, from masks to wrapping themselves in the Ukrainian flag, it’s Republicans in Washington too.

Yes, I see the seriousness of the situation in Ukraine, but when it comes to deciding how much military aid to send or how America responds, well, I prefer calmer heads to prevail and instead, there are a lot of overly emotional politicians reacting instantly to pleas from President Zelensky and a video intended to pull at our heartstrings. Here’s the reality – we need calm people making carefully thought out decisions, especially when it comes to such a serious decision as war and our elected officials should be weighing America’s national interests over any other interests. Zelensky, understandably, wants every possible means to save his country, but America has national interests here at home and around the globe and those need to be weighed carefully too.

At some point the politicians and pundit crowd in Washington need to seriously look back over our post-9/11 foreign policy military adventures and do some deep soul-searching. We left train wrecks all over the Middle East and beyond with this regime change/democracy-building pipedream and in the process squandered trillions of dollars, military equipment, humanitarian aid, and most of all American lives. There is little to show for any of it. And that’s why I am hoping we think more about how much and what kinds of aid we pour into Ukraine and if we have even thought about what happens down the road.

In our present media-driven, hot takes, political culture another important assessment tool that seems to have disappeared is a lessons learned approach, where after-action reports are compiled, analyzed and studied, looking for things that worked and things that didn’t work, then drilling down to see at which levels in an organization the failures occurred and why. Our military and intel agencies seem to skate by the lessons learned approach now and behave just like the politicians in Washington, using deceptive language and sliding on by, as if the debacles never happened.

I hope the military aid to Ukraine is done in close consultation with US military officials and NATO officials and designed to be things the Ukrainian fighters know how to use and that’s it’s weapons & assets that will bolster the type of battles they’re actually fighting. That means I’m hoping there’s strategic and tactical advice accompanying all of this military aid too.

One last comment about the war in Ukraine – the modernized Russian army sure seems to be way less impressive than advertised. The news keeps reporting high-ranking Russian officers (think it’s five generals so far) killed on the battlefield. I saw someone online posted a link to this story at a news site in Estonia: 12 March 2022 – Estonian expert: Russia is losing generals in Ukraine due to its communication failures. Here’s a quote from that short piece:

“Kunnas says the reason to that is that the Russian encrypted communication system had failed. “In today’s militaries, it’s a standard that communications are encrypted,” he says. “The Russian army uses a system called Era. It’s a very smart solution – all communication relies on 4G and 3G networks. What happened in Ukraine was, the Russians themselves destroyed the communication towers – to cut the Ukrainians off from being able to communicate. But the result is, the messages of the Russian army went into the air openly. Even British radio amateurs have been able to listen to Russia’s ‘secret’ messages.””

I haven’t heard any American military analysts mention this yet, so I’m awaiting more information.

Update 3/20/2022, 5:21 pm – I came across another article about the Russian army communication problems:

Russian troops can’t use Era encrypted phone system in Ukraine after destroying 4G masts, suggests expert

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A few more thoughts on the Scheller situation

I’ve been thinking a lot about my last post, because as a conservative, my view seems to be a lone one. Looking at this situation I tried to break things down into a timeline and who said or did what and when. Then I assessed it based on my limited understanding of UCMJ, of the military, and any events similar to this that I recall. I tried very hard to view Lt. Col. Scheller’s actions through an apolitical lens, which is quite a challenge these days. My feelings of outrage about the lack of accountability of top generals and the Biden WH for the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle are very similar to Scheller’s, but (yeah, there are always those buts) my feelings aren’t what matters.

Bolstering the US military as an institution matters.

In our current hyper-partisan culture, coupled with the social media and news media rage machine spin war culture, each and every one of us is manipulated and influenced by this constant media incitement. We get the videos that go viral to stir up emotional responses. We also get a lot of inaccurate and often deliberately dishonest framing, to feed and fuel partisan views.

It’s easy to spot the spin crap on the other side, as I can attest, because after trying to understand the Dem spin information war since the 1990s, spotting dem and liberal spin seems second nature to me. I disagree with probably 99.9% of Dem and liberal spin narratives. It could be 100%, but perhaps a miracle will occur and there will be a Dem spin effort where they’ll say sometime that I agree with. Hasn’t happened yet, though.

The harder challenge is to spot the spin crap or inaccurate information from the side that feeds into my partisan political views. I’ve been very conservative my entire adult life.

I feel a great deal of anguish for Scheller’s parents, who have spoken out defending their son. Scheller served faithfully and with honor for over 17 years in the Marines, as an infantry officer. His father said Scheller did 5 deployments in that time. I’d imagine how the Biden administration misled this Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and the way several top generals and the Sec. of Defense paid lip service to the Biden spin effort felt like a betrayal and a disgrace to many servicemembers, who actually had skin in the game in Afghanistan and Iraq. Scheller’s father (around 3:00 in the above video) said after the suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport, his son snapped and was very angry. I felt a great deal of anger and a burning sense of outrage too and and I didn’t personally sacrifice anything in the “war on terror.” One of my sisters, a career Air Force vet, deployed to Afghanistan in the early years and one of my sons, who was in the Air Force, deployed to Iraq. Scheller’s parents went through 5 deployments with their son serving in the Marine Corps infantry – directly in harm’s way.

I understand Scheller’s anger. I also suspect that if Scheller had stopped posting videos to social media and abided by the gag order, he would not have ended up in the brig. He chose to disobey that lawful order. And here’s where there’s a bit of an information gap in my understanding – I wonder how many right-wing political types and pundits had contact with Scheller and if they influenced his decision to disobey the gag order. I wonder if they encouraged his efforts, made any promises to support his efforts, etc.

After a few days reflection on this situation, I still believe rules matter, I still believe blatant insubordination in the military can’t be ignored, and I believe that Scheller ended up in the brig for disobeying that gag order.

One of the things that bothered me was in the Ingraham interview (at 7:26) Ingraham asked Scheller’s parents about Senator Cotton asking Sec. of Defense, Lloyd Austin, why Scheller is being held in pretrial confinement. Austin appropriately did not answer. If Austin had weighed in, that is undue command influence in a pending case. Austin shouldn’t make any public comments on that case. Period. Ingraham foolishly was spouting that the Pentagon chief should be weighing in on a pending case. This is the spin world we live in – rules don’t matter, upholding institutional norms don’t matter. Only partisan spin incitement matters.

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