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Well, when it comes to playing the Indians to your cowboys perhaps Somalis ought to take a ticket and join the line. And that's a pretty long line, yes?
14 hours, 56 minutes ago on The Best Defense | Foreign Policy
Out of curiosity (yes, I know what it did for the cat), which fixed-wing close support plane do you mean? The A-10? Isn't it still being produced?
15 hours, 1 minute ago on The Best Defense | Foreign Policy
There is, of course, the old saw that the Saudi 'royals' are actually from a Jewish tribe , can you say, Khaybar? This ought to prove beyond all doubt that the current ... um.... government is uniquely unqualified to guard the so-called holy places. In any case, did they not control the oily places they'd not be of much account. This would also largely explain why Saudi Arabia has been gloriously unsuccessful in getting anywhere with their efforts to advance solutions to the Palestinian problem. The Palestinian problem with Israel, that is. Not the Palestinian problem that affects them.
The Iranian 'threat' serves as a diversion for Israel and Saudi Arabia. For the first, it is used to hide intentions towards the implementation of a two-State solution (ain't gonna happen -- nickle and dime it to death) . For the second, invent an external threat to divert attention from domestic stumbling. As for the minor Gulf statelets, they're probably eying Abu Musa and the Tunbs and the allegedly bases in and around them. Which they hope to take back. As soon as Uncle Sam does it for them. In between, wait for the stories of Arab babies ruthlessly ripped from respirators... :-)
1 day, 10 hours ago on The Best Defense | Foreign Policy
Well, Churchill didn't exactly have conventional warfare in mind when 'Set Europe ablaze' was the Word Of The Day. Via the SOE.
Norway would be regarded as a disaster for the British mostly because of their not seeming to know what they wanted to accomplish. Did they even have in mind the degradation of the Kriegsmarine?
One might just as well invoke manpower losses in Poland, Holland and France as additional reasons.
As for those periphery things, it was admittedly a tad later that it could have been seen as a necessity because of Uncle Joe's griping.
And Operation Torch somewhat later also involved firing on the French, neh?
5 days, 14 hours ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
A damn sight less of a chance than, say, the Pakistanis giving Riyadh a nuke or three. Yes, less. Not more.
1 week, 5 days ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
There is an older 'network'. Rumour. A good deal of this sharing thing is made up of rumour, wilful misrepresentation and editorialising.
2 weeks, 1 day ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
In ye olde days it was surely not merely a question of getting to where you were going (assuming that you actually arrived at the place you wanted to go to). Local knowledge must have played a part. Such as knowing the position of reefs and shoals, not to mention currents and tides. As your illustration demonstrates quite nicely, a map need not necessarily be complete and the information contained might be of a summary nature. As for the disappearance of the oldest charts, that's what happens with time and wear and natural calamity.
2 weeks, 4 days ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
I'm well-rested now, which is why I understand your puzzlement. I don't understand myself either. That said, the biggest military-civilian arguments I've ever seen in the press have had to do with the size of UK armed forces andt he budget Guidance of the defence secretariy place-holders usually was of the "Get stuck in* variety, cliché masquerading as policy.
Blame Blair. There was no obvious reason for the UK to enter Afghanistan; Blair's former defencewallah (Robertson) as NATO sec-gen decided that as the US had been attacked, NATO had to join in. Or had it decided for him but <God knows by whom. As for Iraq, Blair was hardly forced into it by his military.
Howm little things have changed since has been demonstrated by Libya; similar tiomfoolery in Syria was averted only narrowly. Again, no evidence of a hard-line military oushing politicians to action. Wait a while, it's not going to be long before Iran comes up.
Look at it this way. Heed what the US 'ally' says equals heaven. Heed what military advice from Brit brass which clashes with the wishes of that 'ally' equals misery. In any case, at one time, defence matters were nominally in the hands of hapless Labour apparatchiks, in reality these worthies were sock puppets of whichever PM. Adept in mouthing clichés but giving advice that'd be heeded. Have mercy.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
In sum, remove artificial and annoying constraints. Why restrict oneself to decapitation and minor culling of cannon-fodder? When the entire military panoply can be deployed. Let the Shebab tremble, entire city blocks can be destroyed as a 'lesson in frightfulness.' Why make a public circus over this Guano Bay and rendition when 'we can keep you forever offers itself? And a bit of Nacht und Nebel as a side-dish, as a 'tool in the kit.'
However, it is possible to be grateful for one thing. No mention of a 'neutron bomb' to spare damage to building s n0r use of a small nuclear warhead... 'Hey, we used it against a terrain feature and intelligence was that nobody 'innocent' was cluttering up the countryside. But patience...........
Ah, collective punishment. Available in China, ancient or modern, and in Syria. How fortunate that it is unknown in the Palestinian territories or wasun known, say, in occupied Iraq.
IAs for death, which must not be proud -- it is a Donne deal. Any stories of premature babies being removed from respirators or legs being ground in some outsized industrial mixer?
3 weeks, 6 days ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
Rommel had his staff car shot up some near Ste Foy de Montgomery (or some such). Allegedly a Montgomery connection there. As to his allegedly lack of l'audace, there is Arnhem..............
4 weeks ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
'Battle Cry Of Freedom' (McPherson) is not only on your Civil War but the finest study that I've ever read. Instead of a pillow fight, perhaps people would do better to try to excel this excellent book.
1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
One sparrow doesn't make a summer and a victory or a near-victory with minimal outcome on the end of the campaign, well... (shrugs) It's of course perfectly true that the Khalsa gave commanders plenty to fear. And there was at least one American soldier of fortune who did well out of Ranjit Singh.
The Brits speak of Isandlwana readily enough, it's true. But just as a lead-up to Rorke's Drift. The Italians had no RD after their little embarassment. A single battle won isn't really significant. Not necessarily.
And the jolly old Ethiop beat the Italians at the end of the nineteenth century (Adowa). Doubtless, Brit historians are only interested in ,say, the (successful) campaign to oust the 'Mad King Tewodros.
Artillery was around early, only it wasn't gunpowder artillery. See Alexander at the Jaxartes River fr'instance.
When it comes to consequences, there is a case for caution. The success of, say, the Huns well to the east of the 'West' had a considerable knock-on effect before the Huns themselves ever got to Europe. They did send other forces scampering for refuge with resulting disruption culminating in Adrianople, which made your list.
For an insignificant battle outside the West, there is the battle of the Makar between the First and the Second Punic wars. If Hannibal's daddy been defeated and killed who knows whether there would have been a second Punic War.
If the First Crusade had come before the death of Alp Arslan Seljuk, victor of Manzikert, who is to say that the result may have been different. Even the fall of Jerusalem didn't exactly immediately precipitate a counter-Crusade.
If Mohammed the Khwarizm had beaten back the Mongols, who can deny that there would have been no knock-on effects for the 'West.?
I'm sure that thre are plenty of other events floating around but which are beyond my ken.
I must admit to being far more interested in 'Ancients' than in anything else.
The First Crusade could qualify, Manzikert and the fall of Constantinople too. More recently, Solferino, but for Henri Dunant. In the eastward reaches, Talas. The Dogs Heads is fine, but perhaps Pydna could replace it? Adrianople: Goths, surely.
Well, the Islamic empire expanded in the other direction as well. Witness the battle of Talas. The biggest threat right from the beginning would have been internal, not merely personality and faction fights but the debate of how Muslim some nominal Muslims were. You'd suppose that an Umayyad exile setting up shop in al Andalus would have troubled the sleep of the Abbasids but apparently not. As for Tours, one version I've seen is that this was the end of a large-scale raid rather than an attempt at long-term occupation.
It is possible to bewail the caricatures inflicted on history by the silver screen. But there you go.
One wonders, would contemporary democacy be improved by the re-introduction of the ostrakon and the duel.
The fate of Pausanius, the victor of Plataea, is instructive. And his victory seems to lack the lustre of, say, Salamis. Which is curious.