Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘War’ Category

TURKEY, SYRIA, TRUMP … SHOES, SHOES, EVERYWHERE. AND A CORRECTION.

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Turkey has launched a full scale invasion of the Kurdish controlled region of northeastern Syria. This link has a good map, not a trivial bit of real estate, about a third of Syria. Serious fighting, dozens to hundreds dead. Tens of thousands of refugees, hundreds of thousands is possible. The operation is very popular among Turks, among ethnic Turks at least. In the US Trump’s political opponents are pillorying him, claiming that by pulling out of Syria he gave Turkey a “green light” to attack. Claiming Trump is betraying our allies, the Kurds, who we supported in their war on ISIS. Yes, Turkey’s leader Erdogan was undeterred by Trump’s threats to destroy Turkey’s economy. It’s unclear to me just how true these claims by Trump’s opponents are, the Turks would likely have invaded sooner or later. The presence of a tiny handful of US troops wasn’t going to stop them.

While I agree this is a terrible thing, I really wonder where all these people who are enraged by Trump’s “genocide” and “betrayal” of the Kurds have been for the past 20 years. The US has been waging war on half a dozen countries for a decade, where’s the outrage? Where was the outrage when Obama illegally sent troops into Syria with no coherent mission and no exit strategy? Or more precisely, when Obama’s disastrous blunder in Ukraine handed Crimea to Putin, why no outrage at Obama? To be suddenly outraged by Trump, when the US has been conducting and supporting invasions for decades is the height of partisan hypocrisy.

A couple of points. The Kurds are not our allies, they are people we support when they are fighting people we don’t like. Granted Trump’s bizarre rant about how the Kurds “didn’t help us on D-Day” was surreal. We’ve betrayed the Kurds before and we will betray them again. And like Vietnam, it would be harder to find a region of the world less important to the US. The Kurds are in no position to help us protect American interests in their sphere, because there basically aren’t any. Turkey on the other hand, is absolutely a key US ally and NATO member, with key US military bases inside Turkey. So I’m not sure what Trump’s critics thought we should do, stay in Syria forever? Go to war with Turkey?

Basically the world is run by 300 or so armed gangs, and the US is one of the worst, despite our lip service to freedom and democracy. And most of them are rational actors, ruthless in protecting their own interests. And that is exactly what Erdogan is doing, a Kurdish enclave in Iraq would certainly act as a supply base for Kurdish separatists operating in Turkey. If part of Mexico was being run by people inimical to the US, you better believe the US would intervene. That doesn’t mean it’s right, but it does mean to criticise it while accepting and supporting the international order that creates these situations in the first place is absurd. As long as there are over 5,000 ethnic groups on the planet but only 300 or so of them have nations, this sort of thing is the reality. The Kurds may be one of the larger stateless peoples in the world, but there are hundreds of others equally deserving a state of their own. As long as this elephant in the room  is unaddressed, the US is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

God help the Kurds, nobody else will. We have failed as a species. As for what will happen now, I suspect it won’t be pretty. Efforts to set up a Turkish occupied neutral zone in Syria will likely prove unstable in the long run. Like the Israeli occupation strip in Lebanon, it may create more problems than it solves. Maybe it will drive the parties involved to the negotiating table and something will be done. It would actually make sense for parts of Iraq, Turkey, and Syria to be made into an independent Kurdistan. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

A sad week all around. I admit I overstated my case in my last post. I claimed there was a period of global peace after the Vietnam war. It was something I read decades ago, and it was only partially true then. A warning, once again, that so much of what I think I know is wrong. Yet I can’t double check every single thing I write. C’est la vie. The number six chart on this page shows battle deaths over recent decades. There was a big downtick in the late seventies, that is what I was referring to. Then horrible butchery taking off in the eighties, mostly in Africa. Battle deaths are low in recent decades, but they are only part of the story. And fodder for another blog.

I write to try and understand the world. My current take: Claiming Trump is a ‘monster’ for ‘betraying the Kurds’ is using the Kurds for domestic political points. That colonial mindset is far more a betrayal of the Kurds than Trump’s blundering, it’s what made the world a dystopian nightmare for people like the Kurds. I rest my case. Even blogging about it is a betrayal by those standards I guess. The more one knows, the more one hates oneself.

Good chance this will get edited in the AM. Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Polish cavalry during the German invasion in 1939. Credit: Unknown, wikipedia image, appears to be Public Domain under US copyright law. From Wikipedia: “Battle of the Bzura: Polish cavalry in Sochaczew in 1939.”)

Written by unitedcats

October 11, 2019 at 4:10 am

Posted in Kurds, Syria, Trump, Turkey, War

TURKEY TELLS TRUMP TO ‘TALK TO THE HAND’

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This week started off with Trump thinking he was a Mafia don I guess. He threatened “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)” Yeah, that’s presidential. Where did he get the idea that threatening a major US ally in this way was going to lead to anything good for the US? This is all about the Kurds in Syria, which the US was perfectly willing to pay to fight ISIS. Trump is pulling the US out of Syria, Turkey apparently plans to invade Syria to both keep the Kurds from getting any ideas about independence, and to create a zone in Syria where they can resettle Syrian refugees that fled the Civil War in Syria.

Why is Trump up in arms about this? I don’t know, it’s not like he gives a crap about the Kurds or the Syrians. I think it’s just because he doesn’t like being crossed, Trump has always used his wealth and power to get his own way, regardless of the cost to others. The silly thing about this threat, is any economic action taken against Turkey is going to cost the US too. In fact it’s not clear to me that Trump has many options for hurting Turkey’s economy, it’s not like the world is going to agree to sanction Turkey. We’ll see what Turkey does, but my guess is they will proceed as planned and tell Trump to “Talk to the hand.”

Oh well, at least Trump is entertaining. Sadly the joke is on the American people. The impeachment circus grinds on, I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon, so I’m guessing it’s about rallying the base. Or more accurately, keep the base rallying around the prefered “centrist’ candidates, and away from Bernie sanders and his ilk. And if impeachment does succeed, probably by causing Trump to melt down completely and resign, we get Pence. Yeah, another Evangelical neocon. More “Bombing in the name of Jesus” basically. Here’s an interesting article about a potential Pence presidency.

Well, poot, reality is overtaking this post as I type. Turkey has called Trump’s bluff. With the Washington establishment’s blessing. What a complicated mess. Trump is being pilloried for “abandoning” our Kurdish “allies” to attack by Turkey. Well, we are abandoning the Kurds, as we have done before when they were no further use to us. And they aren’t our allies, just locals we armed and paid to defeat a mutual enemy, ISIS. Turkey is a member of NATO and thus most definitely our allie. A member that has no intention of allowing an autonomous Kurdish defacto state to be established in Syria. It would give the millions of Kurds living in Turkey ideas.

Yes, this post is almost incoherent. Like America’s strategy in the Middle East. Let’s try to sum it all up. Revolution/Civil War breaks out in Syria some years back. Numerous other countries get involved, but eventually with help from Iran and Russia, the Syrian regime wins the war. A large part of Northeastern Syria remains under de facto Kurdish control. Trump announces he is going to actually fulfill a campaign promise (gasp!) and pull at least some US troops out of Syria, who are there completely illegally by the way. The neocon Washington ‘all war all the time’ establishment goes nuts over Trump’s decision, then the Turks announce they will be going into Syria. Trump does his Mafia don schtick and threatens turkey, while also praising them, in a series of classically Trumpian (IE near incoherent) tweets. Turkey announces Trump can “talk to the hand,” Turkey is going into Syria. And now we wait for other shoes to drop.

What a complicated mess in other words. Wars within wars. I miss the seventies. For a time after the Vietnam War there was peace in the world. No wars anywhere. What a concept. For about 8% of the last 3,400 years the world has been at peace. So it’s not an impossible dream. Since the peaceful days of the seventies, we’re now involved in half a dozen wars, with other wars ongoing as well. And most of the wars the US is fighting are stalemates, and are at least as senseless as the Vietnam War. Great for profits in the war industry and promotions in the Pentagon I guess. My point here is that if the world was at peace in the seventies, but is riven with war now, who’s to blame? I would posit that the people who rule the world, the US and its allies, are to blame. In fact the current pile of pointless and hopeless wars we are involved in proves Washington’s strategy, if “kill all the bad guys” can even be called a strategy, has failed.

Alas, America is the country that can do no wrong. So no matter how often our wars fail, we just pay the toll in blood and gold (usually not American blood) and carry on. This is why the world is a mess, this is why by all objective metrics the US is worse off than any other developed nation, this is why Trump got elected! And this is why it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

I know, I know, ranting again. I’ll go take a Valium.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: From Wikipedia: “Part of the set of five hanging scrolls Extermination of Evil depicting benevolent deities who expel demons of plague. This scroll was originally part of a handscroll known as the “second edition of the Masuda family Hell Scroll” before being cut into sections after World War II. The text on the scroll explains the acts of the god in exterminating evil. The Divine Insect is an euphemism for the silkworm which takes the form of a moth here. The set of five scrolls has been designated as National Treasure of Japan in the category paintings.” Credit: Unknown, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 9, 2019 at 5:13 am

THE SOUND OF SHOES DROPPING

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Insurgency in Yemen detailed Map according to published reports. This map’s information is sometimes based on w:Module:Yemeni Civil War detailed map.

Key to map here. Houthis are green, former government red.

There has been another ominous development in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. It made the news, but mostly in a perfunctory way. Basically on Saturday the Houthis claimed a major military victory over Saudi Arabian forces near the Saudi border city of Najran. (see map above) The Houthis claim that three Saudi brigades surrendered/were captured. Thousands of troops captured, hundreds of AFVs (armored fighting vehicles,) and numerous officers. They say their prisoners will be displayed Sunday, though no word yet. There has as yet been no comment from the Saudi government. It’s hard to imagine why the Houtis would make such a claim if it wasn’t true, hopefully there will be more information before I finish writing and publish this post.

If this news is true, it’s a military disaster of the highest order for Saudi Arabia. Their army only has eleven brigades, so the loss of three of them would more than a quarter of their army. It’s also got to be bad for morale all around. More importantly, if three brigades and thousands of men surrendered, it sure implies that morale was already low in the Saudi army. I mean, this is one of the well equipped armies in the world, they certainly didn’t lose a major battle because they lacked firepower. There’s some even scarier implications, more on that in a bit. (OK, updated news indicates they likely weren’t regular Saudi army brigades.)

There’s not a lot to read about this new attack yet, but it is being reported on. Take note of the narrative that most of the news outlets adhere to. The Houthis are almost always referred to as “Iran backed” or even “Iran aligned.” The implication being that somehow Iran is behind this problem, and the Houthis are just their catspaw. And sometimes that’s simply stated outright. It would be like referring to George Washington and the rebels as “French backed” or “French aligned” rebels. See how weird that sounds? And of course the Houthis are still “rebels” even though the former government was largely driven from Yemen years ago. Apparently the Saudis think if they just bomb Yemen enough, they will see reason and let Saudi Arabia reinstall the government the Yemenis kicked out of the country.

So, aside from being a military disaster, this attack also highlights another little feature of this war that the western press seems determined to ignore. The Houthi are winning. This war has cost Saudi Arabia dearly in blood and money. The Houthis seem to be able to strike at will, they certainly have the initiative. Which, in warfare as in chess, is a big deal. And there’s every reason to believe the Houthis are getting support from inside Saudi Arabia. Mohammad bin Salman (MBS,) the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, has murdered purported political opponents. Tends to hurt one’s popularity. And pointless wars don’t help with popularity either. The possibility that parts of Saudi Arabia might openly revolt, or even worse, is definitely on the table. Wouldn’t be the first time a western supported autocrat fell out of favor with his own people. All the weapons in the world won’t keep a leader in power if the street turns against him.

So God only knows what’s going to happen next. I think MBS has wildly overplayed his hand. And there’s really no one home in the Oval Office. …

Wait, something happened. The Houthis released video. It really doesn’t show much, they claim they can’t release actual video of the attack for security reasons. It does show captured national guardsmen, which implies it wasn’t the Saudi Army that suffered the losses. It also shows quite a few non uniformed prisoners, which they claim are Yemeni refugees the Saudis pressed into service. Plausible enough, but it does imply not quite the stunning victory they claimed. Still, must cheese MBS off.

MBS is a madman, that’s kind of my worry at this point. There’s no real diplomatic way to put it, he came into power and promptly got Saudi Arabia into two wars. The War on Yemen and the War in Syria. Neither has gained Saudi Arabia anything except body bags and ill will. If he wasn’t a US satrap America would be calling him the next Hitler and preparing a “regime change” intervention. The old folks just called these what they were, invasions. He’s been making threats, who knows what he might do to raise the ante.

Lastly, if one wants to see the Washington version of latest developments, read the BBC article. The British Empire never ended, they were just subsumed into the American Empire, and switched to doublespeak with the rest of the west.

Crazy disjointed post, like the times. Next post, police dogs. If something happens between now (Sunday night) and the planned posting time (Monday morning) the post will get more disjointed. Like life.

Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Current situation in Yemen. Credit: Koopinator. See map. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

You are free:

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Under the following conditions:

attribution – You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

share alike – If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same or compatible license as the original.

Doug Stych added the city of Najran, and various geographic names in black.)

Written by unitedcats

September 30, 2019 at 3:58 am

THE BLITZKRIEG OF OUR TIME? IS TRUMP UP THE CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE?

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Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor_Japanese_planes_view2

OK, one last time. All week I have been checking the news obsessively, hoping that the situation with Iran hasn’t deteriorated. And trying to get my head around the Saudi Arabia Abqaiq–Khurais oil facilities attack. I still think it represents a sea change in the region, if not globally. I am also starting to think the attack was brilliant both tactically and strategically. That’s the main reason there has been no response besides threats and power blaming. I’ll likely repeat some things from earlier posts on the topic, but will try to keep it short and to the point.

A year ago Trump effectively went to war with Iran, imposing on Iran the most draconian sanctions ever imposed in peacetime. And Mark Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, presented Iran with a list of twelve demands they must comply with. If they comply,  maybe the US will think about lifting the sanctions. The demands are outrageous, the sort of demands one imposes on a vanquished enemy or a defenceless country. (See Appendix I at bottom.) Iran is neither. And Trump is pretty much going this alone, aside from being cheered on by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

So what’s Iran to do? They can’t comply with the demands, no nation would agree to be another nation’s slave basically. Diplomacy is out, Trump doesn’t want to talk. And while most of the world doesn’t go along with Trump bullying Iran, there’s not a lot they can do besides a certain amount of passive resistance. Iran can’t just go to war with the US, even though it would be perfectly reasonable under the circumstances. That would be national suicide. If they do nothing, the situation continues to deteriorate in Iran, with all the while the possibility that the war will get worse. They basically had their hands tied.

And then the attack happened. Whether it was the Houthis or Iran, the big lesson is that it could happen again. And the west seems unable to defend against the possibility. For a long time people have been pointing out how soft the world’s infrastructure is, let alone things like oil storage and refining. And that the idea that it could all be defended against by a clever attacker was a pipe dream. You can’t defend everything. Which is why wars should be the last resort, not the first.  I wish I could express how paradigm breaking this attack was. It was like Pearl Harbor, but since no one died, few are paying real attention to what is going on. Well, outside of astute military types. The Blitzkreig of our day has been revealed, what to do?

This is why the US nor Saudi Arabia has responded yet to the attacks. Iran and /or the Houthis may well have thousands of drones and cruise missiles aimed at dozens of very soft but very economically valuable targets in the region. And right now, the west has no real way to defend against these attacks. Yes, Trump is sending troops to Saudi Arabia, pretty much an admission that he has no good options. What are the troops going to do, shoot down the next drone attack? Yeah, that’s not going to work.

So what’s going to happen now? If the US or Saudi Arabia were going to retaliate, likely they would have done so. The US doesn’t even have a reason to retaliate, Saudi Arabia isn’t a US allie. And the new Crown Prince’s wars and repression aren’t actually helping America’s interests in the region. As at least one wag has pointed out, Trump is about “America first” except when it comes to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Honestly, Trump’s a fool and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is a madman. I think they will stay the course, and the best thing that could happen is another attack by the Houthis.

We know Iran isn’t going to surrender, that’s for sure. I will keep obsessively monitoring the news and posting as need be. Here is a fantastic article in that it presents a very different picture than the silliness on the MSM. It basically makes the claim that Trump gambled big time when he pulled out of the nuclear agreement with Iran, and now with this attack he has lost. And his only option is to find a face saving way out of the mess he made. I highly recommend it.

Yeah, Trump will admit he made a mistake, and try to fix it. Snort. I guess we’re gonna find out how well sharpies work against drone attacks. Have a great week everyone.

***

Appendix I: Pompeo’s demands, they are both outrageous and insulting to Iran’s sovereignty, and in some cases even divorced from reality.

  1. Iran must “declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program.” They already have. And they had every reason to try and build nuclear weapons when Iraq was attacking them fully backed by the west!
  2. Iran must “stop uranium enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing,” including “closing its heavy water reactor.”  Iran, like numerous other countries, has a civilian nuclear power program. This is an essential component of such programs, and fully legal and reasonable under the NPT. In other words, this is a deliberately insulting and ridiculous demand. It gets worse, trust me.
  3. Iran must “also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the country.” Basically asking Iran to allow US spies to go anywhere they want, anytime they want. No sovereign nation would agree to this.
  4. Iran “must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further development of nuclear-capable missiles.” Again, this is like telling a nation they can’t build tanks or artillery. No sovereign nation would agree to this, especially since Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia are armed to the teeth with missiles.
  5. Iran is  to “release all U.S. citizens … detained on spurious charges or missing in Iran.” Just imagine if another country demanded that all of its citizens in US jails be released. How would that fly among Trump supporters?
  6. Iran “must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad” All of these groups have widespread popular support, all of them have legitimate causes, and two of them participate in the electoral process. The US routinely supports groups like these all over the planet. Again, a hypocritical and insulting demand.
  7. Iran “must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias.” Yes, Iran and Shia Iraq are on good terms. It’s the US who has never respected Iraq’s sovereignty, not Iran.
  8. Iran must “end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.” Iran has proposed a diplomatic solution to Yemen from the beginning, and whatever support they give the Houthis is dwarfed by the arms pipeline flowing into Saudi Arabia. The US’s refusal to recognize the Houthis is the stumbling block, not Iran.
  9. “Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command from Syria.” Iran’s forces are in Syria legally, at the request of the Syrian government. Unlike US forces in Syria.
  10. “Iran must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring Al Qaeda.” Um, no, those are Tehran’s enemies, Iran can’t stop doing what it isn’t doing in the first place.
  11. “Iran must end the IRGC Quds Forces’ support for terrorists and militant partners.” Iran supplies its friends in the region, exactly as the US does.
  12. “Iran cease its threatening behavior against its neighbors.” It’s the US and its allies that have invaded and are waging ongoing war on multiple countries in the region, turning whole countries into failed states. Not Iran.

I got these from this site, much of the above is just a shortened version of theirs, sans much editorial comment. If I made any errors in fact, happy to be shown otherwise.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The attack on Pearl Harbor. Credit: Imperial Japanese Navy. This photograph is in the public domain in Japan because its copyright has expired according to Article 23 of the 1899 Copyright Act of Japan (English translation) and Article 2 of Supplemental Provisions of Copyright Act of 1970. This is when the photograph meets one of the following conditions:

It was published before January 1, 1957.

It was photographed before January 1, 1947.

It is also in the public domain in the United States because its copyright in Japan expired by 1970 and was not restored by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.)

Written by unitedcats

September 23, 2019 at 3:54 am

WHAT ROUGH BEAST II

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DN-SC-87-06412

Well, knock on wood, no US attack on Iran … yet. The quiet before the storm? Nothing has happened yet, but the more I learn about the attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil facility, the more worried I am. This attack was important in at least four scary ways. It’s a new and possibly game-changing addition to the world’s arsenal. It’s exactly the sort of incident the US has used to justify wars before. It’s an attack on major oil production facilities, which are usually tacitly off limits to the major players. Lastly, this really highlights how vulnerable the world’s infrastructure to, well, smart drones. In that order:

This attack was like something out of a James Bond movie. Drones that flew in and hit their targets with precision. I tend to mostly agree with the just linked article, this has been coming for awhile. The technology is off the shelf, the next gen Scud missile if one wills. Insurgents just got a lot more dangerous. One can bet that military and intelligence people are quietly meeting around the globe to discuss this attack.

The US has a long history of using incidents far more trivial than this attack to justify wars. Going back almost to the beginning of our republic. And there are certainly elements in the power structure in Washington calling for an attack on Iran. Trump’s base has certainly bought the idea that Iran is behind all the problems in the region. Trump likely believes it himself. An attack on Iran could have unexpected consequences. More on that later.

Attacks on major infrastructure are rare. The big players generally avoid it because they are all equally vulnerable. So this either means minor players can now attack economic infrastructure in precision ways, or a major player just really upped the ante. Neither possibility is a good thing. Maybe it’s an attempt by the Houthis’ to force peace talks, like what the IRA did to drive the U.K. to the negotiating table. Economic terrorism. Still, not a happy development.

Lastly, this really highlights just how vulnerable the world’s infrastructure really is. You can deliver small explosive loads accurately over hundreds of miles, this makes World War Two bombing raids look like catapults and arrows in comparison.   Hundreds of tons of explosives dropped willy nilly at great risk and expense, hoping the damage done exceeds the cost. Or a few hundred pounds of high explosive delivered to pinpoint targets to maximize damage at little risk or expense. A new day in warfare has dawned.

What does it all mean? Who knows. Oil prices have spiked some, Iran and the US are trading accusations and denials. One of the big takeaways is … whoever did this could do it again. Which is likely a big factor in why no knee jerk response. Iran or the Houthis or the Taliban or Hezbollah could have thousands of drones ready to launch. Even if they don’t, orders are being issued as I type to acquire them. And Iran has plenty of other military options as well. Unlike the defenseless countries the US has been waging war on since 9/11, Iran has teeth. And powerful friends.

Every day that goes by without further escalation is a good thing. The conspiracy mongers are going nuts, but such is life. I don’t think it’s a false flag attack, false flag attacks are generally trivial in their costs. And as I keep saying, the actual details of who launched it really are academic. The US has already made it abundantly clear that it regards Iran as responsible, and will act accordingly. Maybe that means war. Maybe Trump will X-out Iran on a map with his sharpie. Frack if I know, the world post Supercollider weasel is a strange place indeed.

I’m going to call it a night and hope this post doesn’t require major revision come morning. Hopefully nothing will happen by Friday, and I can get back to aliens and comets. BB all.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The USS Stark struck by two Exocetxocet missiles in 1987 during the Iran-Iraq War. Credit: Unknown. This image is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain in the United States.)

Written by unitedcats

September 18, 2019 at 4:42 am

Posted in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Trump, War

THE DOUG’S DARKWORLD GUIDE TO NOT SURVIVING A NUCLEAR ATTACK

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usa-potential-nuclear-targets

This is a reprint of a Patreon post I made some months ago. Due to unforeseen circumstances the post I was writing for today has been delayed.

Yes, the gentle reader read the title correctly, it’s not a typo. There’s been a lot of talk lately about nuclear war, and for good reason, it’s all too likely with the current crew in Washington. And a sentiment I have heard from a number of people in such discussions, is that if there is a nuclear war, they would prefer to be killed outright. I’m a “where there’s life there’s hope” kind of guy, but I guess I can understand. No fast food, no pizza delivery, empty Walmart swarming with radioactive zombies. And of course, no cable TV. That alone would make life not worth living for some folks. So thinking on this, I realize there’s lots of books and websites about how to survive a nuclear war, I’ve even written some myself. These are of no help for people whose goal is non survival. So as a public service in these perilous times:

OK, the first step, as in real estate, is location location location. The nearer one lives and works to a nuclear target, the better one’s odds of being a casualty before one is even aware there is a war going on. This is especially true the closer one gets to a coast. The above map is a rough guide, but basically if one looks out one’s front window and sees a major military base, major transport hub, or major urban area … all good. And try to have the bedroom window facing the same direction, wars are often scheduled at night.

Of course, if a war starts or seems like it is about to start, great time to take a vacation near a target  if one isn’t fortunate enough to live near a target. As a bonus, the traffic jams will likely be going the other way, and the motel room will be cheap or even free! Room service may be limited or non-existent, so bring along food and booze. Might as well be comfortable while awaiting vaporization.

Still, if one isn’t close enough to ground zero, it gets trickier, but there’s still hope if one isn’t instantly turned into a shadow on a wall. One just needs to know how to recognize a nuclear attack, and react appropriately. The first sign will be an incredibly bright flash of light, it might even be blinding or cause severe burns. If so, all good, just stay where one is. Now if one is sheltered somehow from the blinding light, quick action is essential. There are moments, up to a minute, to get into the open and face the direction the flash came from. That’s because within a minute of the flash, the blast wave will hit. Standing in the open facing it, or even looking through a window in the right direction, will do the trick. In fact after watching this link, handy tip: If the blinds in a room suddenly burst into flame, quick, jump in front of the window!

OK, dammit, the war started, but unluckily one was in a basement or otherwise not close enough to ground zero. Don’t lose hope, with a bit of perseverance blessed relief can still be had. It may take a few days, and they may be unpleasant days, but think of the years of suffering avoided. Simply head towards the nearest mushroom cloud. Breath deep, keep the car windows open and the AC off. If it starts to rain, run around in it and drink as much as possible, roll around in the mud. With a little luck, more bombs will go off in the vicinity, increasing the odds of being a first strike casualty.

When one arrives at ground zero, and there’s a crater, booyaa, fallout city. Roll around in the dirt, swallow it, with any luck at all nausea, hair loss, and death will soon follow. If no crater, well, head downwind. And think of everything around as being covered in magic pixie fairy dust, and the goal is to get completely covered with the dust, inside and out. The more the merrier, and the faster relief will come. Turn down any misguided offers of medical care of course, unless it’s purely palliative care. Keep the goal in mind.

Lastly, worst case scenario, nuclear war has started. (And maybe even ended already.) There’s not a mushroom cloud in sight. None within driving distance even. In this case, yeah, it’s hopeless. You’re well and truly fucked … life goes on. Hope for the best.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Nuclear targets in the USA.  Credit: FEMA and thus is being used legally here.)

Written by unitedcats

August 19, 2019 at 4:34 am

Posted in War, WMDs

SAD DAYS IN HISTORY: THE FALL OF TENOCHTITLÁN, AND SYMBOLICALLY DEFACING THE STATUE OF LIBERTY

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Tenochtitlán

Yesterday was the 498th anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlán to Spanish barbarians. Tenochtitlán was the capital of the Aztec Empire, a marvel of engineering being built on a lake, and the largest city in North America. The European conquest of the world, euphemistically called “The Age of Discovery,” was the greatest crime in world history, and the destruction of civilizations in the New World was possibly its ugliest chapter. The natives weren’t Christians though, so it was all OK. Snort. Pretty sure Christ would have disagreed, the only good thing is that at least some of the Christians of the day were horror struck and did their best to stop the genocide and horror.

It’s interesting to speculate what the world would be like if any of the Native American states had been able to resist conquest, but there really wasn’t much chance of that. Within two generations of the Spanish arrival, the Aztec population crashed from about 20 million to less than a million. Smallpox being the primary culprit. No nation can resist conquest with that kind of population loss.

I wasn’t even going to write about the fall of Tenochtitlán, because, well, my capacity for horror and sad is being tested these days. Then the same day I met a nice person who had posted about the founding of Tenochtitlán on her Facebook page. So I thought, well, if people are still celebrating the founding of Tenochtitlán, I can honor the memory of all those who died defending their homes and in the horrors that followed the city’s fall. I used to wonder why we have so many movies about aliens invading Earth for purely malicious reasons. Once one studies some world history, it becomes painfully obvious why the senseless invasion by barbarian aliens is such a well worn trope. It’s what humans have been doing to each other since we invented “civilisation,” and probably before.

The thing that temporarily overloaded my empathy and compassion yesterday was the Trump administration symbolically changing the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. Most have heard it before:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

While announcing changes to immigration policy a Trump official was asked if the quote still applies. Instead of responding “of course” or “no comment,” he said a line should be added that basically says “but no freeloaders.” This is wrong for a number of reasons. And its racist as hell, though racism deniers, and there are a lot of those in America, will sputter and spit and claim they are just speaking the truth. The ugliest lies often hide under the rubric of truth.

It’s wrong because it’s reinforcing the whole racist anti-immigrant trope that the Trump administration has been fomenting. The idea that immigrants are flooding into the country to get on welfare and vote for Democrats. And the idea that only white people are “real” Americans. This sort of horrid crap led to the El Paso shooting, where the shooter claimed he was deliberately shooting Mexicans. Which of course is ridiculous, he was targeting Latinos because he assumed Latino=Mexican. In reality he mostly killed Americans.

In real life, the vast majority of immigrants from south of the border are poor people seeking a better life. Many of them fleeing poverty and violence that most Americans can’t even imagine. Even worse, a lot of that poverty and violence is a direct result of Washington’s foreign policy in the region. And by and large immigrants are more law abiding than the average American citizen, and they contribute more to society than they cost.

In modern America though, fiction replaced fact in public discourse long ago. And the people at the top who have been robbing the poor and working class for decades work very hard to convince people that people on welfare and immigrants are the problem. (The unspoken assumption being these are mostly non-white people.) And Trump is the apogee of that type of thinking, we now have a president who not only reinforces racist and destructive tropes, he actually believes them. Jesus wept.

And regarding yesterday’s tweet, turns out I did have the words.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Fall of Tenochtitlán, late 17th century. Credit: unknown, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

August 14, 2019 at 8:27 am