Wandering ’round the ‘net

Could a modern US Marine infantry battalion defeat the legions of Rome? James Erwin took to Reddit to solve this mystery. I have an opinion – what say you?

It is taken as an article of faith that beer foam makes one ten feet tall and bullet proof. Then the nerds got involved: Foam stops bullets and pulverizes them.

Here’s a nice gift for your Liberal Arts major.

That popping sound is the sound of heads exploding. No, not really. Russia really did hack the American elections, in a manner of speaking, in 4 steps.

Posted in History, Humor, Marine Corps, Russia | Leave a comment

The A.T.F.’s Off-the-Books Cigarette Fund

NYT: “ATF Filled Secret Bank Account With Millions From Shadowy Cigarette Sales”

(“Shadowy” appears to be a polite word for “kinda sorta illegal”.)

Why do we have this agency? What the hell does it do that needs doing? Let’s hope POTUS45 moves to axe it.

Posted in Idiocy | 2 Comments

War Sycophants and ROTC Kids

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Tom Ricks lecture at Arizona State University.  In his retirement as a defense reporter he is a Fellow at Center on the Future of War.  He currently writes the Foreign Policy Blog: Breaking Defense.

I found myself in the minority of the audience as a conservative, but I found the whole talk troubling financially.  It was free for all attendees with food provided.  If there had been a price of admission, it would not have been paid.  I would say 40% of the small audience of not more than 50 was retirees who read his blog.  10% were working professionals and the rest ROTC kids attempting 5 points of extra credit.  I guess I’m an enigma having been a liberal in most aspects and now find myself conservative in most aspects, but I have never set foot on a massive state university as a student.

I expected a cogent talk on the future of war, but rather a lot of fears were displayed by a man who has covered so many battles and conflicts that Trump may be the worst president since James Buchanan, which makes me think he forgot about Warren Harding.  He seems to think that Trump is deeply indebted to Russian Oligarchs who of course always get their principal back on investments as well as satisfaction.  (A quick google search gives no credible evidence)  He thinks that many people in this administration will go to jail for perjury.  He thinks that there are only three priorities for Trump and thats: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.  What he fails to understand or maybe doesn’t agree that globalization is bad.  I for a fact know we’re not getting jobs back from China, that’s a fact, but China is losing jobs to Robots.   We just need not ship robotic jobs overseas, we can have technicians grown here.  The H1-B Visa program which should be eliminated has created a dearth of domestic IT talent.  The majority of people that would enjoy the high paying jobs in the tech sector do not seek the education and training because it is just simply cheaper to hire folks from India and Pakistan.

Ricks thinks that Trump is going to have a problem with actually bringing back jobs, also believing that the recipe for crazy inflation of the 1970s because of the intent to cut taxes, increase infrastructure and defense spending.  Admiring Eisenhower because of the high tax rates on the wealthy between income and capital gains taxes of the 50s.  He definitely sounds like a re-distributor, but with multiple successful books I wonder if he understands that he’s only taxing himself.  Talks a little bit about the Market and how he has removed all treasuries from his portfolio and bought equities which he claims is the reason for the Trump Rally and not the ever confidence in a Pro-Business President.

Then he gets into Mattis, Kelly, and McMaster, although he finds it a bit concerning with Kelly as the SecDHS.  This team of rivals could be what keeps Trump afloat.  But he thinks that the first crisis Trump faces with Foreign Policy he’s going to go internal and fail.

A lot of the questions asked seemed to fall into the lines of emotional liberal arguments, and then there was a very well put together student talking about the most recent polling data in Sweden.  Actual Swedes believe their country is being run over with immigrants and refugees…and now there’s riots.  The Murder rate since the surge in refugees from the middle east has skyrocketed in Sweden.  I’d say that’s a problem.

Ricks is about strategic energy independence, he thinks coal is done, but is all about fracking and shale oil.  But what he doesn’t understand is the need for the Saudi’s, this isn’t the 1970s where we actually need oil from the Middle East.  We need the OPEC countries to play ball so that the price of oil globally isn’t in the drink, otherwise it will destabilize a lot of places.

In the end Ricks seems fearful of Trump, not because of domestic issues, as Ricks has a zero tolerance for any political violence, (although that’s interesting because the only political violence currently is coming from the liberal/anarchist camp) but whether we will weather the storm with our first foreign policy conflict.  He does not seem to be a fan of engagement with Russia, which is something the last administration failed at.  Russia is not an ally in most things, they are a competitor.  But you still need to engage the Bear in healthy diplomacy.  Pence appears to be a place holder, but so was Truman.  You don’t know what you may get, you could get Gerald Ford, or even John Tyler.

It was informative, but not what I thought I was getting into.

Posted in Afghanistan, Air Force, Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, China, Diplomacy, Friends & Allies, Marine Corps, Mattis, NATO, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Schofield’s Definition of Discipline

I was rooting around the Old Ranger’s papers the other day when I came across a mimeographed copy of Schofield‘s Definition of Discipline.

The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels and hence manifests disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.

 

Posted in Leadership | 1 Comment

Notice of Transfer: LTG Hal Moore to Fiddler’s Green

Lieutenant General Harold G. “Hal” Moore PCS’d to a posting on Fiddler’s Green on February 10th of this year. He will be reunited with his Command Sergeant Major, Basil L. Plumly, and other members of 1-7 Cavalry. LTG Moore is known for his service as Commander of the 1-7 CAV during the First Battle of Ia Drang; and for his co-authorship of two books with War Correspondent Joe Galloway, “We Were Soldiers Once… and Young,” about the battle, and for “We Were Soldiers Once… and Still” about returning to Vietnam.

General Moore’s command fought a determined enemy at the first battle of Ia Drang. Moore’s tactics can best be summed up as ‘move to the right, and fight like hell.’ And fight like hell they did. Moore’s decisions and actions, and the sheer guts of his men fought an enemy determined to wipe them out, just as the Sioux and Cheyenne had destroyed another commander of 1-7 CAV, George A. Custer.

Tactically, the first battle was a victory for the Americans. The second battle not so much. General Moore later commented on the Vietnamese point of view in fighting Americans.

In the late 1940s, General Vo Nguyen Giap wrote about the Viet Minh war against the French: “The enemy will pass slowly from the offensive to the defensive. The blitzkrieg will transform itself into a war of long duration. Thus, the enemy will be caught in a dilemma: He has to drag out the war in order to win it and does not possess, on the other hand, the psychological and political means to fight a long-drawn-out war.” After this battle, he said: “We thought that the Americans must have a strategy. We did. We had a strategy of people’s war. You had tactics, and it takes very decisive tactics to win a strategic victory… If we could defeat your tactics — your helicopters — then we could defeat your strategy. Our goal was to win the war.”

Commenting later on the battle, Harold (Hal) G. Moore said, The “peasant soldiers [of North Vietnam] had withstood the terrible high-tech fire storm delivered against them by a superpower and had at least fought the Americans to a draw. By their yardstick, a draw against such a powerful opponent was the equivalent of a victory.”

What is written here won’t do the man any justice, but the short of it was my father respected and admired the man, and I studied the 1st and 2nd battles of Ia Drang at several points in my career. The lessons Moore teaches aren’t about tactics, but leadership and how a unit is glued together in human relationships and character.

It is amazingly easy to mistake the officer’s craft as simply a mastery of tactics. It is not. Moore’s tactics were ‘move to the right and fight like hell.’ That doesn’t cover the fight to get the Lost Platoon, or then-lieutenant Marm’s charge, or three days of fighting at belly-height.

From General Moore I learned to not mistake form (tactics) for substance (leadership and unit cohesion). Move to the right, and fight like hell. Never give up, never give in, never stop learning and never set your humanity aside. For those who are interested, there are several books on General Moore, but one is intriguing: “A General’s Spiritual Journey.”

Thank you General Moore, we salute you.

Posted in Heroism, History, Leadership | Leave a comment

Surviving the times

In this era of wide-but-not-manspread fear and panic over the loathsome Cheeto Jesus and his circus of clowns and amateurs and -Ists practicing their -Isms, unlike the Studied Professionals of President Jarrett’s administration, it is good to have knowledge of how to survive.

Recently the Afraid-&-Panicking have taken to reading and viewing George Orwell’s “1984.” This is an excellent book and many of your professors and members of your social set are well-versed in the grammar and timbre of ProfSoc newspeak. You may need to read the book several times to find all the nuggets of wisdom you’ll need to survive chance encounters with Trumpismo.

Another tip – take it from me, most of us here did these to survive President Jarrett’s light-hearted and whimsical attempts at governing with an iron fist, so these will – I say again WILL help you get through until Paul Ryan initiates the counter-revolution with an impeachment.

Where were we? Ah yes, another tip! Another tip is arm yourself with secret, esoteric knowledge. The Illuminati have nothing on Goldman-Sachs – have you ever known a POTUS who didn’t have his Treasury and economic advisers sit on the board at Goldman-Sachs? One founding member of #Resistance goes by the social media name of Adam Smith. He’s got two books out that are the Go-To books for all things Social Justice and money. His “Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” and his “Theory of Moral Sentiments” are hot lava to burn down the fascists and establish Social Justice across America. No reich-winger can hold a candle to these arguments. You know the rich fascists stole all the  money from the poor and non-whites – Smith gives them their money back, so who’s side are you on?

You’ll be able to tell who is a true Social Justice Warrior and loyal to America and who is a hipster poseur avec cerveaux comme le chili by who gets angry at having to explain what they mean. Serious! You met those d-bags. Can’t think the talk, spout herds of words with no rhyme and -Ism’d to the max. They Kant, but you can! Check out Immanuel Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason.” He throws it down like a world-class MMA fighter and you’ll beat the ass of every one of the Cheeto Jesus’s tea-bagger disciples with logic trains so strong everybody can get on board. Survival of the fittest, yo.

You not fit? Hitting the lattes instead of the lats? Compete. Do athletics. Now, I know, I know. Everyone gets a ribbon or a piece of paper saying “YOU GO ZIR” and that is just so, so patronizing! Be real, be pure: if you win – keep it. If you come in anywhere from second to last toss that bit of sexist garbage in the trash like a boss! In fact, show those patronizing clowns you don’t need the ribbons, you’re just there for the purity of the contest. A ribbon for not winning keeps you down, keeps you oppressed. Go. Compete.

But don’t be a hipster alt-right -Ist hating on everyone. Protect yourself – use these tips I mentioned. Don’t trust your buds, your girlfriends, or even folks who aren’t quite sure who they are. Talk over what you found with the rebels, rascals and rogues you find here on IntheOldCorps.com. Well, rebel, rascal and rogue. The other four writers are gentlemen and scholars, but they try! We got your back so you can survive these times and make it to the revolution.

Posted in Humor | 1 Comment

Washington’s Birthday

Happy birthday to the Indispensable Man!

When asked who in my opinion is the greatest of our Presidents, I invariably answer, “Washington: However, he was such a singular figure that no honest comparison can be made with his successors, even those of the Founding generation. The better question is, “Who is the greatest of our Presidents after Washington?” Then, the answer becomes more difficult.

And without question, while Monticello and Montpelier are very much worth seeing, Mount Vernon is, like its master, in a class by itself. (Pick up a bottle of the General’s rye, if you can– you won’t be disappointed.)

Finally, if you have not read Fischer’s superb “Washington’s Crossing”, you really must.

Oh– and maybe next year for the great man’s birthday, make it a point to pay all of your transactions in dollar bills and quarters. 🙂

Posted in History, Leadership | 2 Comments