Living with Pigs

I had a good vacation, the first since 2002. Two weeks of no computer, news feeds, and work intruding. I liked it so much I’m doing it again next month around Thanksgiving. You’re welcome! The title doesn’t refer to riding a Harley. Around here, a Harley is an RV. No, the title refers to pigs living in America.

Unless you get your news from the Disney media complex (Disney-CNN-HLN-ABC-NYT), NBC and its associated networks, you’ve read about Harvey Weinstein and his decades-long piggish behavior. That Weinstein was a pig isn’t what pissed me off. It’s that SO MANY HOLLYWOOD STARS and DEMOCRAT POLITICOS KNEW who Weinstein was doing, what he was doing, and kept their mouths shut because The Silence of the Hams meant millions of dollars, and awards like Oscars, BAFTA and Golden Globes – guarantees to future work – so long as the actress didn’t go conservative. Never go full conservative in Hollywood. Perhaps a movies about this entitled “The Hypocrisy of the Lambs”?

I don’t go to movies, and haven’t since 2015 when the Old Ranger and I went to see the premier of the seventh Star Wars movie. Hollywood is so corrupt that folks don’t even blink when the casting couch is mentioned.

Also acting like a pig is an Army Major General. I wonder how many soldiers’ and officers’ were ended by this pig for similar offenses? But he’ll get off with a reduction to Brigadier General and cushy retirement with requisite sinecure with a defense contractor.

Speaking of defense contractors, that biggest of hogs – the F-35 – is back in the news again. The plan now is to leave over 100 aircraft incapable of combat. Who’s getting rich? Who’s getting a job with the contractors after this pig farts?

Over on the civilian side, guess what folks?!

And for little piglets, learning to feed at the trough, we have the University of North Carolina. VMI, if it stays tied to honor, and even to education, will never be able to compete with professionals. But, truth be told, I’d rather have a VMI grad who can read, write, and sort out his bills and which baby-mama is his than these so-called “Professional” athletes and their college piglets.

West Point is certainly a hog farm these days. Who knew about the commie and why did they let him continue? And, how in the world does one get removed for ‘failure to adapt’ by 1st Batt and then go to West Point? How many others are infected?

Lastly, because they are my favoritest of favorite jerks, the VA. A thought: most VA workers are not veterans. Why not require them to receive their medical care from the VA, too?

Seems when I go on vacation the assholery goes to stratospheric levels. Still, I highly recommend turning off the computer, the cellphone, and making a trip to the library for a good read under the open sky.

Posted in Cyberwar, Idiocy, Readiness, Stray Voltage, Veterans' Issues, VMI | 1 Comment

Good, Evil, and Kneeling During the National Anthem

Hello Readers of InTheOldCorps. I was called away to work in lovely New Mexico – and it is lovely. This is a temporary change of scenery, but welcome all the same. The change prevented me from viewing the rest of Ken Burns’s documentary on Vietnam, but I did record it for later viewing and comment. In a recent exchange on the subject of professional athletes taking a knee during our National Anthem, the question of the value of the acts of kneeling and saying the Pledge of Allegiance was raised. The intention and message of kneeling was redefined in an Objectivist manner that attempted to flip the very value from evil to good by covering the evil with the good of our Constitution. This change conceals the intrinsic value of kneeling and of standing, of saying the Pledge or refusing to pledge.

What is “intrinsic value?”

The intrinsic value of something is said to be the value that that thing has “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” or “as such,” or “in its own right.” Extrinsic value is value that is not intrinsic.

Many philosophers take intrinsic value to be crucial to a variety of moral judgments. For example, according to a fundamental form of consequentialism, whether an action is morally right or wrong has exclusively to do with whether its consequences are intrinsically better than those of any other action one can perform under the circumstances.

Are showing respect for our flag or pledging allegiance to the country in and of themselves intrinsic good or evil? The physical act of standing or kneeling is simply a consequence of intention – of the thought and will that demonstrates a belief. A man with no legs can not stand or kneel, but his intention is what matters. Are showing respect for our flag or pledging allegiance to the country in and of themselves extrinsically good? What is extrinsic good?

That which is extrinsically good is good, not (insofar as its extrinsic value is concerned) for its own sake, but for the sake of something else to which it is related in some way. For example, the goodness of helping others in time of need is plausibly thought to be extrinsic (at least in part), being derivative (at least in part) from the goodness of something else, such as these people’s needs being satisfied, or their experiencing pleasure, to which helping them is related in some causal way.

Respect for the flag is not an intrinsic good, but it is a derived good. Likewise, pledging allegiance to our country is a derived good. From what do these derived good inherit their goodness?

Community. The philosophy of community is Communitarianism.

Communitarianism is a philosophy that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. Its overriding philosophy is based upon the belief that a person’s social identity and personality are largely molded by community relationships, with a smaller degree of development being placed on individualism. Although the community might be a family unit, communitarianism usually is understood, in the wider, philosophical sense, as a collection of interactions, among a community of people in a given place (geographical location), or among a community who share an interest or who share a history.

In the US of A, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution provide the structure and definition of community as intrinsically good. In the Declaration, America recognized that King George III had divided the community of Britain in such ways that unity of community was impossible to repair. The Constitution codified how people could live to thrive by ensuring its government and governing principles and laws do not divide the people who were genetically and ethnically not homogeneous.

From this foundation came the forms of respecting the flag. Observing the form of respect is respect, and unites one American to another irrespective of gender, race, age, and every other difference that makes each human unique.

From this foundation came the Pledge of Allegiance which ties each citizen to every other citizen: “…One Nation…” In a country that came from every nation on earth, with over a hundred languages, thousands of dialects, cultures, food and drink and religions, what was to keep them from carrying out ancient grudges and continuing wars between their countries of origin? A pledge that binds them to loyally be American. Roll your eyes and snort all you want, it worked and it works. This strengthens the community and leads to consequences that are also good.

For the professional athletes, kneeling during the National Anthem is disrespect – an act to irritate others into action. The kneeling is only, and is only, to show support for Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter’s stated objective is to divide. Unstated is the ‘conquer’ that is usually associated with division. So kneeling is to show disrespect in order to divide the American community.

Community is intrinsically good, and showing respect is extrinsically good, then division is intrinsically evil and kneeling/disrespect to the community is extrinsically evil. Redefining evil as good because evil uses a tool of good, such as freedom of speech, does not exchange the nature of the evil act for a good one. The anger of America at its most privileged citizens: professional athletes – most of whom rose from nothing to everything based on their own innate abilities – who’s disrespect of the National Anthem is disrespect of every other American. It is promoting division, which is intrinsically evil, and cloaking it in our 1st Amendment does not change that.

Posted in Insurgency & Counterinsurgency, Resistance, VMI | 3 Comments

Why I Served

I served in the United States Army, the Army National Guard, and the United States Army Reserves for over thirty years.  I retired as a Colonel.  I consider myself, like my father before me, a quiet Patriot.  I stand and place my hand over by heart when the National Anthem is played.  I render proper honors to the flag when it is raised in the morning or lowered in the afternoon.  When I hear the mournful sound of taps being played I get a lump in my throat as I know another veteran is being laid to rest.

For the last several days there has been a lot of high bile and spleenitis over the fact that some players in major league baseball and football have decided not to stand for the National Anthem.  It all began when the President took to twitter and in a speech called them out.

One of the reasons I served in the military was to protect the freedoms we enjoy.  The freedoms found in the Constitution of the United States, the freedoms found in the Bill of Rights.  Among those freedom is the “Freedom of Speech.”  Not standing for the National Anthem is a form of speech.  It is a way of making a statement, it is a way of sending a message.  I served to preserve and protect the Constitution, I served to preserve and protect the right of those who refused to stand, to preserve and protect the right of those to disagree with them not standing, and yes, to preserve and protect the right of the President to say and tweet what he thinks.

Without freedom of speech, there can truly be no liberty and justice for all.

Posted in Constitution, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Ken Burns’s Vietnam, Part 5

There’s a saying in the Pentagon: “No horse is too dead to beat.” Ken Burns proves himself eager to box the pony with the best of them. He entitled this episode “This Is What We Do.” A better title may be “Welcome to the Dead Marine Zone.” There are three points that Burns misses in his rush to beat a dead horse.

The first point concerns battlespace. Is land important when one’s enemy rejects owning it? Borders meant nothing to the communists. Villages, roads, rivers and railways served as fields of dreams: they would occupy only to watch the Americans charge in. Occupy, hit, melt, refit, move was the 5-step tactic used. The North Vietnamese were people-oriented.

In contrast, America committed to observing borders and providing safe places for the communists. America fought as land-oriented. North Vietnam fought one war, the Americans fought another war entirely.

The second point concerns learning. Burns talks about units – this battalion of marines, that 173rd Airborne. What isn’t being talked about is the system of personnel replacements used to fill the ranks. Along with this was the attrition among experienced small unit leaders – the NCO and company-grade officers who are invaluable to winning. The Americans fought each battle as an amateur unit, with Instant NCO and no formed, bonded teams. What of the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong?

In our unCivil War, Union and Confederate regiments would be enter a rest-&-refit stage to recover from combat and prepare for the next fight. General Grant changed that dynamic in his drive from DC to Petersburg in 1864. His regiments fought, marched, fought, marched – with fresh units replacing combat-ineffective ones. The Confederates had gone through a different process in which small units were consolidated again and again so that some regiments had veterans, survivors of many other regiments.

Grant did not seek to gain land, or hold it much beyond the basics of security lines of communication. Lee had to focus on land with Richmond so close behind him. Grant sought to inflict casualties among the Army of Northern Virginia, and to force Lee to consume supplies beyond the Confederacy’s ability to replace.

Americans did the same in World War I, pursuing the enemy; and again in World War II with the Island-Hopping Campaign that made casualties of Japanese garrisons – cut off and as good as dead while they secured their islands. Land becomes important after total victory, not before. Destroying the enemy’s will to fight is the goal. We forgot that Vietnam.

The third point is one of culture. Burns shows us hippies, but not how a hippie is made. Hollywood was in the process of exchanging “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” for “Hang ‘Em High” revisionism. The new films brought a seeming-new point of view to young audiences – Americans as bad guys. Winners as losers, You are not only NOT special – you’re probably a villain. Music, art, sports, and education underwent similar transformations. Like the South Vietnamese in the countryside, young Americans at home lost their sense of security as the changes destroyed their Ozzie & Harriet lives.

This is what we do? The American way of war is most-violent maneuver, Vietnam was an aberration. Thoroughly beaten, the horse is still dead. The only thing sadder is the tears of a clown.

Posted in History, Insurgency & Counterinsurgency, Strategy | 1 Comment

Ken Burns’s Vietnam, Part 4

This episode’s theme was ‘The Home Front.’ The experiences of North and South Vietnam and the US were presented as equivalent in their social violence, but these are false equivalents. Burns presents the North as undergoing the ravages of bombing. The South undergoes successive political coups, creating a ‘flavor of the month’ mentality that erases security. The US experiences a purely organic – and this is stupidly stressed – Antiwar movement, which opportunistically linked itself to racial and political movements. Purely. Organic. Like astroturf is organic. Burns missed an incredible opportunity to tell the story of the Vietnam War on the home fronts.

Home front is the informal term for the civilian populace of the nation at war as an active support system of their military. Military forces depend on “home front” civilian support services such as factories that build materiel to support the military front.

I call these false equivalents because each is unique in their primary stressors and actors and effects. Burns presents what was a massive logistics enterprise on the part of the USSR and Communist China to give North Vietnam the means to fight. What we don’t see is that the logistics is enough to survive to fight, but not sufficient to prosper and to absorb the South and eventually their Laotian and Cambodian puppets. This was an effective strategy on the USSR’s and China’s part to ensure Vietnam would willingly enslave themselves to foreign masters in exchange for the means to survive the post-war challenges of life.

North Vietnam’s way of life was abandoned after the French left. Le Duan put the country on the warpath so being bombed and being reliant on European and Chinese allies was not a new thing. Being in this mindset, and the subsequent organization of society allowed the North Vietnamese to absorb the abuse and keep on fighting.

The South’s experience was significantly different because the military junta ruling the South was filled with infighting, regular coups d’etat, and riots in the cities that distracted from the existential threat outside of Saigon. The people were preyed on by the communists, and then victimized by the South. These many changes created internal contradictions: who is in charge – today? In this location? At this moment? If I live my life as a Vietnamese commoner, who will kill me for harvesting my rice and raising my family?

The cities remained French in aspect, and were considered safe. They weren’t safe, and neither were the fortified villages scattered across the provinces. Civilization gave the illusion of security that the South Vietnamese could not reconcile among themselves.

Like the North, the South’s economy – it’s essential means of surviving as a society is not discussed by Burns. What is presented is the friction of four distinct groups: farmers, Buddhist monks and nuns, white collar professionals and students (who were from the white collar group). There is a fifth group, the soldiers, but they are a blend of the other four. We don’t see a middle class, we don’t see industry outside of farming and servicing the war. There was no ‘after the war’ thoughts.

Meanwhile, in America, there was a desperation to get to ‘after the war.’ The prime movers of that desperation were a highly organized “antiwar” movement and sheer, unadulterated fear of combat. Bill Zimmerman, a career antiwar activist who provided genuine material aid to North Vietnam is presented. He gives a very honest assessment: when the antiwar movement was billed as an ethical response to war, it failed. But, when America’s young men were faced with combat, they signed on with the antiwar movement. From principles to self interest. I find little to wonder where the idea that the protesters were less than men, beta males whose genes were passed on to children and grandchildren who fought against OIF and OEF, and today fight as Antifa. I can respect genuinely held beliefs, such as religious objections. But decadence-grown fear of doing man things? No.

My other objection is, once again, the concrete Leftism of Burns’s editorial view. The Antiwar movement was not organic. It was brilliant in linking itself to racial and political change movements, but it was still a KGB and GRU-run operation. Burns’s flippant dismissal of that fact relegates genuine history to a conspiracy theory. Burns is a story teller, not a historian, but the story dies with this 2-second burial of fact. Beyond that, Burns gives us nothing new. Everything presented isn’t worthy of second thought. It’s what Burns leaves out, what he just can’t explain that is interesting. Like Holmes’s dog that didn’t bark in the night, the absence is the key to unlocking the mystery.

What was absent? The economies and the societies were examined beyond the surface. There is a lot missing and it took 20 years before the effects of the war on Vietnam leaked out. Did anyone examine and learn from that?

Another discussion absent was the global strategic/operational activities going on in Europe, Africa, Central and South America as well as the civil war next door in Laos. What are the lessons in this?

What were the pro-communist operations going on in the US, as an extension of the operational arts in the major muscle movements on the continents and areas listed above. How can similar be applied today in order to produce victory in places like Lebanon and Afghanistan?

It’s a shame. So much to cover, but even in music Burns lets his audience down. Perhaps if he changed his editorial bent, we wouldn’t have had the same old song inflicted on us. The 4 Tops do it so much better.

Posted in Defending the Homeland, History, Leadership, Strategy | 3 Comments

The Sergeant Major of the Army Is At It Again

I won’t comment on all the ideas, I have not had time to digest them.  Off the top of my head I think Up or Out for NCOs is stupid, just like I think it is stupid for well performing officers.  The idea that really sticks in my craw, is his notion of bringing back “Pinks and Greens” for the Army.  Read it for yourself.

Three comments; 1.  You can’t be serious that you want to change our uniform again, 2. How much will this cost the Army? 3.  You do realize that “Pinks and Greens” was an officers uniform.  Enlisted wore OD Green Jacket and Trousers.  Officers had a cloth belt all the time and a Sam Browne belt for dress occasions, enlisted had no belt normally and NCO belt for dress occasions.

Posted in Army, Idiocy, Sergeant Majors being stupid | 2 Comments

Ken Burns’s Vietnam, Part 3

Ken Burns presents the US escalation of involvement in Vietnam as a couple living together: committed to remain uncommitted. As is the norm, whomever goes all in wins. Maybe VMI’s football team could learn a thing or two from that. Maybe? But I digress. Burns presents the theme of commitment in three acts: political empowerment, the operational arts, and mobilization.

Act 1 opens with Burns telling of Le Duan’s seizure of power away from Ho Chi Minh and the subsequent consolidation of that power the Moscow Playbook of Purges. The North Vietnamese Politburo met in November 1963 and voted in favor of Le Duan. This gives Burns a reason to excuse Uncle Ho from further responsibility for the war. Ho’s allies were purged and Le Duan committed North Vietnam to active if not formally declared warfare in the south.

Burns starts his contrasting illustration using LBJ as an almost-sympathetic figure, an inheritor to a meandering mess, and pushed by the provocation of Le Duan and Barry Goldwater (because aren’t Republicans responsible for everything?). Le Duan committed. Johnson would not.

Act 2 continues the Little Lost LBJ meme through the absence of the operational level of war on the part of the RVN and US. There was a strategy – stopping communism and creating an environment that allowed for the Far East to stabilize and restore itself after WWII and the Korean War. There were tactics emphasizing mobility and firepower. There was nothing in between – no invasion of North Vietnam, no indirect approach to stretch the North’s resources to breaking. Perhaps the presence of 320,000 Chinese PLA soldiers performing support duties in the North caused Johnson and the JCS to blink.

The North had an operational-level plan and carried it out, with allies in the US, USSR and China. The Anti-war Movement was a cheap investment that paid huge dividends, and having spawned today’s Antifa, continues to return on the investment. For the American people and their military, the absence of a larger vision meant Vietnam was about patrols, in combat, with casualties broadcast during the evening’s supper – young men resembling meatloaf to watch with leftovers.

Other evidence of commitment was the mobilization of civilians to maintain and act as porters on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The USSR and Communist China committed men and materiel to prop up North Vietnam so more men and women could be sent into combat with the single tactic of attrition – and the North refused to count the cost. The US responded with first 3 battalions of Marines. Then 2 more. Then Army units. Then a request for 200,000 troops while still maintaining a presence in West Germany, Korea, and across the globe.

Some questions that Burns doesn’t ask:

Had LBJ not had to focus on Vietnam, could he have effectively ended Jim Crow without the pain and creation of abiding anger? Could his Great Society actually have achieved at least 1 positive thing?

Where did the Anti-war (now Anti-fa) come from? Why did they only protest wars and incidents in which the USSR had a vested interest?

Marshall, Ike, Nimitz and MacArthur were gone, so whom among their lieutenants – the Vietnam-era generals and admirals gave a thought to the operational arts?

Communist China would have had to react just like it did in Korea had the US decided to reunify Vietnam as a one, pro-democracy country. Could China and the USSR afford to react, or would they have folded from the increasing internal contradictions that make up communism?

Would a similar anti-war movement in the USSR and China have caused them to restrict support?

Does a new, pet theory of war – in this case JFK’s belief in limited, guerilla warfare obligate the officers of our armed Services, and the diplomats and spies, to forget how to prosecute warfare at the strategic, operational and tactical levels of war? To integrate, synchronize, and to go all in?

Has Anti-fa and the Progressives ever actually studied the Moscow Playbook? I know that means being exposed to real history, not Zinn’s horsesh*t. It never ends well for those committed to the ideals of the resistance/revolution.

Posted in Elements of National Power, History, Insurgency & Counterinsurgency, Leadership | 1 Comment