Down the Drain

Twenty years it’s been, as of yesterday. Twenty years and Afghanistan is down the drain, the Taliban back in charge. At least a comprehensive malignant menace like Bin Laden is dead, with his corpse – supposedly – dropped into the deep ocean, although I suppose that his organization staggers on, zombie-like, and possibly subsidized by Pakistan’s secret service. The dust of the fallen towers is settled, and the American troops are home, more or less. Still under a cone of silence as far as the US media is concerned, as are tales of hairbreadth escapes by American citizens, employees, and American-employed Afghan nationals … perhaps they were all made to sign a binding non-disclosure-agreement, as a condition of getting on that big Freedom Bird. Or our national establishment media is doing their bidding, as obedient handmaidens of the Dem party, and doing their best to disappear this latest disaster. Well, good luck with that. There are too many of us out there, and we have a voice, for at least a little bit longer.

Michael Moore, that dragging blubberous sack of Commie Crud morbidities, says that he is “flabbergasted by the grace and precision and safety” of Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal. Well, this is a guy who must look in the mirror of a morning and see the body of a trim, fit, athletic god. The rest of us – especially American military veterans – see something else. Booking from Afghanistan without a single word to our allies and other nationals there, especially Britain – is classless, tacky, diplomatically and strategically ill-considered, if it was considered at all, which doesn’t seem to have been considered by our current ruling class elites. It was once said when judging this kind of development that one ought not to attribute to malice that which could be explained by incompetence – but this kind of incompetence goes all the way over the border into deliberate and calculated malice.

This kind of willful, wasteful, blind incompetence which hasn’t been seen since Vietnam, only this is a thousand times worse and more damaging – to our own morale, to that of those who have been allies – Britain and Australia, especially, and those who trusted us regionally to defend their interests – say, Taiwan and Japan. At least, Robert Strange McNamara (was there ever a more fitting middle name?) and JFK didn’t despise ordinary patriotic Americans and casually dispose of their lives as if they were some kind of magic political confetti, in pursuit of power, power for its own sake. This differentiates them from the Biden administration, at the very least. An administration which seems now to have gone all-out in forcing everyone to take the Commie Crud vaxx, most likely as a distraction from the utter dog’s breakfast of the withdrawal from Kabul. (Definition added here, as if there wasn’t enough in this to gross out a sensitive soul. Yeah, the dog scarfing up vomit from drunks from the sidewalk…)

Just as the evening of 9-11, when I got home after a very long and strange day at the office of the concern which once employed me … I am at home, and after a couple of glasses of cheap chardonnay, am looking at a video screen and thinking …

You will pay for this, you …. (explicative deleted). You will pay for this. Discuss as you wish, and give us your thoughts on where we go now.

86 thoughts on “Down the Drain”

  1. ‘the mouth of the flint river’ has been a real jackass for a long time, going back to the 90s, he went into hysterics over Florida, blaming my people, for it, along with ted rall, said the pipelines were why we going into afghanistan, called the murderers who decapitated nick berg ‘the equivalent of freedom fighters

    Yes General Milley and his General austin and his minder Bishop (lne) have much to held accountable, we were concerned about al quaiq (the missile depot in iraq) we’ve given then 1,000 of them, with uniforms, id gear, aircraft enough to attack any target within 500 miles,

  2. “booking without a word to our allies”
    I read a story about Sweden and The Netherlands, having told their people to pack and keep the bugout bags ready, then in the middle of the night sent messages not to go to work, go to the airport. All dependents had been cleared out the week before. The others working at their embassies got group emails on arriving at work that basically said “you might want to think about leaving, hugs and kisses, HR.”
    This was the day before the Taliban arrived in Kabul. Evidently there are people over there that (a) know how to read a map and (b) know to not listen the US gov.

  3. Sgt Mom — You might want to read Mark Steyn’s take on the current situation. You may be surprised to learn that you are the optimist!
    https://www.steynonline.com/11669/defeat-and-dishonesty

    There are so many potential failure nodes in the current circumstances that any prediction of what will cause the inevitable coming collapse is likely to be wrong. My current guess is that some CCP trading house will insist that Walmart starts to pay for its imports in Yuan — causing the dollar to collapse, and the Biden* administration (and perhaps the USA) along with it. But that will just be the start of what the Russians called The Times of Trouble.

    The image in my mind comes from that old Anthony & Cleopatra movie — on the morning of the deciding battle, Anthony (I mean Biden*) wakes up to find that his entire army (I mean the American people) have deserted him. It makes me smile! We are powerless in front of the steamroller of Political Class arrogance, corruption, & incompetence — so let’s just look forward to the sight of the mighty (in their own minds) being humbled.

  4. McNamara and his peers were willing to spend 58,000+ American lives to send a message to the Kremlin. Whatever else descended from that November day in Dallas, it let all the Camelot fanboys claim Kennedy would have done better. The problem with following true believers is that however they value their own lives, they value the lives of their followers too cheap to matter.

    So it turns out the American Military hasn’t won a war in my life time and seems to have forgotten how. They weren’t outfought, they were just outwaited. George W. said many times he learned to lesson of Vietnam, apparently so well he managed to copy it.

  5. Bush finally cemented his disgrace with that speech. We should have left right after bashing the Taliban in 2001, as Tommy Franks and Rumsfeld wanted to do. The Pakistanis helped bin Laden escape and that should have told any sentient being that it was time to get out. Bush threw in with the neocons like Kristol and the rest and tried to create a nation from 12th century tribes. Then, once his failure is exposed, he compares Americans to the terrorists.

  6. There are going to be more defeats in our future. After Afghanistan, and seeing that our command structure hates America, Americans, and especially the American armed forces; how many enlistees are there going to be? How many officers, the good ones, are going to resign their commissions? How many of those doing the literal grunt work, the hard stuff, are going to want to continue.

    We had something happen in the Navy recently that shows that it cannot be depended on.

    We have named our first female nuclear aircraft carrier captain. There are requirements for that post. First, you have to be a fixed wing pilot or rarely a Naval Flight Officer. Helicopters do not count. You have to have catapult launches and arrested landings. This woman, while she flew a helicopter for a short while, has neither, nor has she even flown off a carrier in a helicopter.

    As a fixed wing pilot or NFO you need multiple tours flying in a squadron. Then if you are good enough, you need at least one tour as a squadron commander. Then if you prove you are good enough you may be considered for a tour as CAG [Carrier Air Group] Commander. If you do well enough at that, you may be considered for a two year tour as XO of a carrier, and then and only then are you in a group where you can be considered for command. In betwixt and between those tours, you have to have all the schools that fit you for higher command [Naval War College, etc.] AND an actual tour commanding some sort of seagoing vessel.

    CAPT Amy Bauernschmidt will be the new CO of USS Abe Lincoln, CVN-72. While Amy is a Naval Aviator, she was a helo pilot for a while and never served aboard a carrier. She has 0 catapult shots, 0 arrested landings. And she has spent most of her career as a staff weenie with NO command slots or command responsibility. Her released Navy bio says: “Four years she was J6, ‘which represents the Joint Warfighter in support of the command, control, communications, and computers/cyber (C4) requirements validation and capability development processes while ensuring joint interoperability.’ ” She was a computer person, who did no flying or command duties. She also was “In 2013, she served with the U.S. State Department as the Senior Military Advisor to the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, enhancing women’s peace and security through worldwide initiatives. She was then selected for Aviation Nuclear Officer program and upon completion, reported to the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) in September 2016 as the ship’s executive officer.”

    She is a staff weenie/HR type with no command or real operational experience, dropped into the XO slot and now the captain’s slot without meeting any of the normal requirements.

    By the way, I got this info from a friend of a friend who is a retired Navy helicopter pilot.

    I remind all of Kara Hultgreen. She was sponsored by then Representative Patricia Schroeder [D-CO-1] to be the first woman F-14 Tomcat pilot. She washed out of flight school repeatedly, and was put back in at Schroeder’s insistence until they passed her to get rid of her. When you finish flight school at Pensacola, you go to a Fleet Replacement Unit on one of the coasts where you are trained on the specific aircraft you will be flying operationally. You HAVE to qualify or you don’t fly. She flunked out several times until Schroeder had the Navy order her qualified without qualifying.

    In October 1994 while attempting to land on the ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Hultgreen crashed killing herself after a pilot error causing compressor stall to one engine while landing. Her RIO initiated ejection for both of them, but the automatic system ejects the RIO first. He, luckily, survived.

    Now, I am going to be called all sorts of misogynistic names for bringing this up. I note that my first desired career over a half century ago was as a Navy officer. I have absolutely no problem with women in command, as long as they meet the same standards as everyone else. Commanding a carrier has the potential for a lot more deaths and damage than flying an F-14.

    If you were in the Naval Aviation community, would you want to stay?

    Subotai Bahadur

  7. Kurt Schlicter is advising non-enlistment and bailing at the end of current tours of duty in our newly-woke military. Still others are recommending staying and fighting the good fight, from a position underground … but how can a simple, focused human being endure the years of grinding obedience to insane obedience to political correctitude which that would involve?
    No idea. Comment on.

  8. If you remain in the now un-American armed forces, you are taking the risk that you will be put in the position where you will be ordered to and forced to commit an atrocity on Americans. Are you willing, to use an example from the past, burn American women and children to death for political reasons? Do you think you could forgive yourself for that?

    My children are for various reasons outside the draft pool, although I note that in the “reconciliation bill” sponsored by the Democrats, women will be subject to the draft. I do have a nephew who did over 20 ending as a Marine E-8. He spent most of his career in places where we were officially not, and doing things that did not officially happen. I am really, really glad that he is retired. I would advise that parents discourage their kids from enlisting, and that those in get out as soon as possible.

    YMMV

    Subotai Bahadur

  9. @Subotai – I would have one minor nit with this in that I still very strongly feel that the services are the best option for most inner city kids who don’t happen to have any other chance to succeed in life or even have one that is barely productive. I would rather see anyone in the services than dealing drugs or gang banging. Yes there is that chance that they could have an issue as you described if they enlist, but it has to be far, far less than the chances of an eventual poor outcome gang banging.

  10. “I would rather see anyone in the services than dealing drugs or gang banging.”
    The problem is that the military does serve as that outlet for many people, but that in recent times that sort of social benefit has overtaken the actual mission, which as someone once said is to kill people and break things.
    A powerful military where an egalitarian, meritocratic ethos is a means to that end–very good.
    A “woke” military where actual military results are secondary–very, very, very, very (a million more very’s) bad.
    Is there any indication that Milley Vanilley or any other DoD brass are one tenth as worried about incompetency in Afghanistan as they are that some private somewhere has a Gadsden flag, or that half of SEALs aren’t women?

  11. Taiwan is next. I invited my friend and his wife, Taipei residents, to come live in a rental property I have until the dust settles from the PRC invasion but he has grandchildren there so he said he’s just going to keep his head down, saying that it’s just ROC government and military folks who will be persecuted.

    After The PRC’s subjugation of Hong Kong, it’s inevitable.

  12. If Taiwan is taken over by China, then with it goes what is arguably the world’s most important semiconductor manufacturing company. TSMC does have plants in other countries…building a very large new one in Arizona…but I don’t know what the geographical distribution of their expertise is.

  13. Like I’ve said, I am very skeptical about China invading Taiwan, since it’s been talked about as “China’s next move” for decades now.
    That being said, if you were wargaming it from inside China, what’s the drawback? No one is going to come to Taiwan’s defense, and no one is going to put sanctions on China, or do anything at all.
    If no one who matters in the world is willing to say that it’s overwhelmingly likely that covid came from the Wuhan lab, whether accidentally or intentionally, and no one cares that they just ripped Hong Kong to pieces, what possible action are they going to take if they seize Taiwan?
    We’ve been sold out.

  14. According to a commentator at Zero Hedge (I know! I know!) Taiwan exports 15.7% of global chips. If we assume that most of the exports ascribed to Hong Kong are merely pass-throughs from China, then China exports 34.5% of global chips — twice as much as Taiwan. The issue is probably that no-one else in the world apart from Taiwan can make the most advanced chips. But between them, Taiwan & China are exporting half the chips supplied to world markets — which gives the CCP a very big lever if they ever decide to use it.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/china-trying-control-rising-semi-prices-fining-auto-chip-manufacturers

    “Integrated Circuits Export by country 2021

    Hong Kong: US$153.9 billion (19.6% of exported electronic circuit components)
    Taiwan: $122.9 billion (15.7%)
    China: $117.1 billion (14.9%)
    Singapore: $86.3 billion (11%)
    South Korea: $82.9 billion (10.6%)
    Malaysia: $49.3 billion (6.3%)
    United States: $44.2 billion (5.6%)
    Japan: $28.9 billion (3.7%)
    Philippines: $20.2 billion (2.6%)
    Vietnam: $14 billion (1.8%)
    Germany: $12.7 billion (1.6%)
    Netherlands: $11.6 billion (1.5%)
    Ireland: $8.2 billion (1%)
    Thailand: $7.1 billion (0.9%)
    France: $6.5 billion (0.8%)”

  15. Subotai: “CAPT Amy Bauernschmidt will be the new CO of USS Abe Lincoln, CVN-72.”

    President Xi smiles. Now all he has to do is arrange for an island-sized Filipino cargo ship to cross the path of the Abe Lincoln and history will repeat itself with the female-manned USN smacking straight into it — just like before.

    Where are the women protesting this kind of inappropriately-accelerated promotion?

    This kind of action is extremely demeaning to women. It says that the men in charge of the US Navy believe women are not capable of meeting the same standards as men, and need to have the bar lowered to match women’s lesser competence. Real feminists would be demanding that women be held to exactly the same standards as their male compatriots.

  16. “hong kong is like bahrain to the kingdom, it’s not like they could realistically resist”
    Of course, but that’s always been true…the interesting thing to note is that it wasn’t until now that China decided to move on them…

  17. “Real feminists would be demanding that women be held to exactly the same standards as their male compatriots.”
    Come on, now, let’s not waste our time. That’s like saying “Real liberals would be demanding that their ideas get debated in an open forum and are treated with exactly the same standards as their conservative counterparts.” We need to face the world as it is, and not waste a moment wishing otherwise.

  18. “Real feminists would be demanding that women be held to exactly the same standards as their male compatriots.”
    Come on, now, let’s not waste our time

    We see the “White Privilege” of lowering standards for POCs at their demand. If shame had been invented by white supremacists, it has been vanquished by the victim class. Standards are symbols of the “Whiteness” those running our military, our colleges and one, at least, political party are determined to eliminate. “White Supremacy” seems to be the aim of the POC movement to prove objectively. Women, of course, are honorary POCs.

  19. … it turns out the American Military hasn’t won a war in my life time and seems to have forgotten how.

    It turns out, too, that American’s Congress hasn’t DECLARED a war in my lifetime and seems to have forgotten how. Truman sent MacArthur and US forces and UN tokens over the borders and into Korea without any declaration of war. Johnson sent land forces into Viet Nam before obtaining the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which even then only authorized him to ““take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States”. Clinton put “boots on the ground” in Kosovo without consulting Congress.

    Even more or less successful operations less than war typically began, lately, without Congressional participation. Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Desert Storm …

    Compare to the first reaction of an American president (Jefferson) to Muslim extremist terrorist criminal pirate kidnappers such as Pasha Yusuf Karamanli. Even under sharp criticism by political rivals such as our newly-anointed Saint Alexander Hamilton, TJ held back on responses until gaining Congressional approval. Too bad a Broadway musical about that chapter of our history has not yet been staged.

  20. In October 1994 while attempting to land on the ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Hultgreen crashed killing herself after a pilot error causing compressor stall to one engine while landing.

    It’s actually worse. Someone had to risk prison by leaking the classified report to make it known that pilot error was involved at all, otherwise the navy would have continued to blame banal “engine failure.” For that matter, perhaps the navy still does.

    Anyway, I was assigned to one of the first ships to have women onboard, late in the last century, and a few years before the Hultgreen incident. It was blindingly obvious that the navy brass were determined to force women upon the navy, and they didn’t care how well that worked in practice or how many problems it caused.

    Thus, I’m not surprised that we now have a female CVN captain who did essentially none of the usual things required to qualify for that job. It reminds me of something a Google executive reportedly said when faced with complaints about their never-ending diversity initiatives- basically, good code is a given, but diversity takes work.

    Paraphrasing, successful carrier operations and naval supremacy are assured, but getting a female carrier commander takes real work.

    I’m sure nothing will go wrong, nothing at all.

    Right?

  21. “Paraphrasing, successful carrier operations and naval supremacy are assured, but getting a female carrier commander takes real work.”
    Recall what George Casey (I won’t honor him with his title, he’s a disgrace to it) said after the Fort Hood massacre:
    “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

  22. they fail upwards don’t they, he’s probably working for some sinecure like general kelly did with caliburn, or general mattis does for brookings, (representing turkey, iran, qatar, who knows) mark steyn had some words about the Kennebunk medicis

  23. Is there a parallel between the situation with China and Taiwan and that between Germany and Switzerland in WWII?

    The Swiss have been net importers of food since about 1700, and by mid-1940 were completely surrounded by Axis territories. Hitler and the Swiss generals were both closely monitoring Guderian’s progress as he closed up to the French-Swiss border; the Swiss had no guarantees from any other power nor any allies.

    What was the key? Apparently, the Swiss were the world’s best (only?) producers of jeweled microbearings, which they sold to both sides in a series of ad-hoc deals whose aim as far as the Swiss leadership was concerned was to keep their people and the numerous refugees they harbored fed. Leaving aside the potentially formidable Swiss Army, the Germans knew well that the Swiss had rigged all their important transportation sites for destruction in the event of invasion.

    Do we have any reason not to suspect the Taiwanese of similar precautions?

    Is Taiwan too valuable as things are for the Reds to risk destruction of a golden goose?

  24. Cousin Eddie…very interesting precedent. One difference is that I don’t think the German regime had the same kind of emotional obsession with Switzerland that the Chinese regime has with Taiwan.

  25. David Foster–clearly the cases are not identical, and you’ve pinpointed the biggest difference.

    But few historical analogies are perfect, and this one I hope can stir some discussion.

  26. Couple of points… One, it is not necessarily the “women in the services” that are the problem, here. The root problem is that the people in charge of it all refuse to recognize and deal with reality, and demand that reality change to meet their desired end-state, which is total equity of outcome for the women.

    No matter what you do, you’re going to run into the issue of pregnancy and motherhood, unless you plan on making the military a freakin’ nunnery filled with celibates dedicated to perfecting their arts of war–And, that ain’t happening.

    The refusal to acknowledge that when you put boys and girls together, they’re gonna fuck, and that some of those girls are gonna get preggers? That’s the damn problem. Nobody wants to deal with the consequences, they just want to be able to say “We’ve opened up opportunities for women… Yay, us!”.

    Reality of it all is what I lived as a Support Platoon Platoon Sergeant whose fuel section was supposed to be supervised and run by an actual E-5 Sergeant fuel handler. Who I never had, ‘cos they’d just opened us up to women in the HHC, and one of the first ones they sent us was that specific MOS. And, when she arrived? Pregnant. No contact with fuels, no working around them. Period. Stayed that way the entire two years I was in that job, because once she got done nursing, she got pregnant again. I never passed a goddamn fuel section inspection the entire time I had that platoon, because I had nobody who knew the goddamn job, and the person who was supposed to be doing it and training all the lower enlisted was working in the Admin Center for the Sergeant Major. Where she did excellent work, BTW–Outstanding NCO, really. But, she never did a day’s work in her position, and that left me screwed, blued, and tattooed.

    I went to the CSM, and I said “Hey–SGT Fuel Handler is preggers again… Could we maybe transfer her ass over to the Support Battalion she’s supposed to be working in, let her do admin over there, and get me someone who can actually… Y’know… DO THE FUCKING JOB?”.

    Went over like a lead balloon, one each. CSM did not want to ruffle any feathers, see, and if he requested a transfer, that was anti-woman or some such bullshit. He never treated any of the females we got in as soldiers, either–They were like his daughters or something, who could do no wrong.

    I’ve got no brief against women in the military. I welcome the good ones, but… Jesus H. Criminey… Ya gotta cope with the differences, and when you say “120lb female who’s never done sports in her life is gonna do the same physical job as a 180lb male who played football in high school…”, you’re out of your goddamned mind. I had the first four junior enlisted females assigned to a Wheeled Combat Engineer HHC under me. Of those four, not one of them managed to last out their full terms without significant physical damage from trying to keep up with the guys. They spent more time broken after about the first year than they did without physical restrictions on their duties, and I can’t say that any of them were goldbricking–We legit broke them. Overuse injuries, stress fractures, broken bones, you name it. Long-term, I don’t know what the consequences were, but I ran into one of them, who’d been a soccer star in high school. She needed both knees and a hip reconstructed, and thanks to shitty leadership after she left my supervision, she got pushed out of the Army without proper medical documentation, so she pretty much got screwed out of anyone taking care of it for her. She was in outstanding condition when we got her, but you don’t put 80lbs of gear onto a chick that weighs maybe 110lbs soaking wet, march her cross-country 10 miles every quarter, and then expect things to just “work out”. They don’t.

    I worry more for the long-term health effects on the lower enlisted than anything else. The brass? They can quit any time they like, and their jobs are nowhere near as physically demanding. Female enlisted, though? LOL… Yeah, tell me all about how I get time to heal from injuries as an enlisted leader, or the sort of long breaks from the troops that the officers get. Doesn’t work that way, and I guarantee you that if you go look at the actual numbers, the females pushed into combat arms are going to break long before they hit their twenty, and long before their male peers succumb to the damage. Which is only going to make it worse for the males, because those few jobs where you can get away from the ruck and run are going to be filled with females, likely on a permanent basis, just so the bosses can say “Yeah? We got ’em…”.

    You could manage women in the military, even in combat arms. But, you would have to have a sane and rational set of leaders that weren’t delusional about all the details. Which, I am afraid, ain’t the US military.


  27. Brian
    September 13, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Like I’ve said, I am very skeptical about China invading Taiwan, since it’s been talked about as “China’s next move” for decades now.
    That being said, if you were wargaming it from inside China, what’s the drawback? No one is going to come to Taiwan’s defense, and no one is going to put sanctions on China, or do anything at all.

    Is anyone going to put sanctions on China? Not the US for sure.

    Now, y’all can believe this or not. I started out in writing some decades ago, under my own name, for various professional military journals. Some of my articles were paid for and printed, . . . and some were paid for and kept. Some of those I later found out were used by the service involved.

    I got used to doing research most people did not, all unclassified of course. One of those things I researched in the 1980’s was the possibility that the ROC had nuclear weapons against the will of the US [they were caught by us a couple of times trying]. Won’t go into all the pages it took, but as of the 1980’s I believed that they did have nuclear weapons and means of delivery. One key thing to look at is their delivery means and the CEP’s. It makes no sense to go into mass production of a delivery means whose CEP is worthless with conventional warheads. However, if the country has a counter-value nuke it does make sense. And Taiwan has the nuclear industry to have such. As does Japan and ROK by the way. Taiwan and the ROK have cruise missiles capable of carrying small counter-value nukes in production and deployment. Japan’s space program is advanced enough that they could drop a warhead in Xi Jinping’s codpiece from the other side of the globe.

    Whether they choose to use a deterrent force is open to question. South Africa dismantled their nukes before surrendering [Hmm. by the way, Taiwan worked with the South Africans in their nuke development program.]. But the capability is there, I believe. I can think of a collection of a half-dozen or fewer counter-value targets, the loss of which would break the PRC as a nation.

    Speaking as someone of Chinese ancestry, I would be saddened, but would rather they get hit than us or any other free people.

    Subotai Bahadur

  28. Taiwan may indeed have nuclear weapons — and they would be fools if they do not already have explosives planted under those state-of-the-art chip making plants.

    But the CCP would also be fools if they went beyond sabre-rattling at Taiwan. Indeed, the whole point of the CCP’s threats against Taiwan may simply be to remind the Taiwanese that they are isolated, on their own. No English aircraft carrier or German fighter squadron is going to show up and fight for them. No Lincoln Brigade of volunteers fighting alongside the Taiwanese. And absolutely no help from CCP-owned Resident Biden* and the bought-and-paid-for Democrat Deep State.

    The most likely scenario leading to Taiwan’s reincorporation into China remains economic rapprochement — many Taiwan businesses have factories on the mainland — leading to bribery & subornment of Taiwanese politicians. Hell! It worked for the CCP with the US!

  29. Vis-a-vis China and Taiwan… I think the Chinese are going to come to regret the whole idea of what they did in Hong Kong and may well try in Taiwan.

    You may manage to suppress the ideas for a generation or two, but when you spread out all those people across China in the various re-education camps, and all the rest of their little brain-washing empire, the effects may not be what the oligarchy thinks they will get.

    My guess is that the Uyghur “thing” is going to turn around and bite China in the ass, along with all the other things they’ve done to the various and sundry ethnic minorities. They may all look at the whole of it, and decide that they either go down fighting the Han, or they die. The fact that the oligarchy is pushing them into a corner may well result in a whole lot of desperate rats turning on them.

    I don’t think there’s really ever been a case in history where you can pull off something like what the Chinese oligarchy is attempting, which is a degree of control unprecedented in human historical behavior. Something has got to give, and I suspect it’ll wind up about how the Ming did–There’ll still be a CCP Chairman, but he’ll be hidden away in a palace somewhere, being fed a line of bullshit a mile wide by his underlings, whilst the rest of China goes about the business of being China. His writ may not extend past the door of his throne room, or whatever they wind up calling it.

    You look over the span of Chinese history, and there’s an awful lot of “management” conducted by the Chinese mid-grade types, wherein they tell the boss whatever he wants to hear, and just keep on keeping on with their little fiddles, without him ever finding out. They’ve got this down to a science, by now–They managed the Mongol invaders into becoming more Chinese than the actual Chinese, and then managed them right into an ineffectuality that still defies belief when you read about it.

    Honestly, I think the bigger worry with China is what happens when the demographic time bomb goes off, and the whole house of cards collapses. We’ll probably go first, of course, but the worry I really have is that the Chinese collapse is going to come right about the time we’re trying to recover. As a one-two blow to the world economy, that may be more than it can handle.

    Which, truly, might be for the good of us all. Coming Ice Age, and all…

  30. Even without nucs, Taiwan would be a costly undertaking for China. Imagine D-Day if the Germans had anti ship missiles with hundreds of mile ranges and radar and satellites to tell them where to aim them.

    If you look at a map of Formosa, you’ll see that at least two thirds of the island is empty and rather rough mountains. Some of these mountains have been hollowed out to form air bases and missile bases. The ROC Air Force is well equipped, trained and well regarded by our Air Force. They have subs capable of mining Chinese harbors.

    If China was willing to pay the very high price of a direct attack, they would almost certainly prevail eventually. What they’d end up with wouldn’t be worth much. What they could achieve by treachery is another question. American Generals are probably very cheap on the market right now, I don’t know what the situation is in Taiwan.

  31. }}} My current guess is that some CCP trading house will insist that Walmart starts to pay for its imports in Yuan — causing the dollar to collapse

    The question, Gavin, is whether China can afford to lose the USA as a market. A collapse of our economy will send the world economy into a tailspin, with theirs to follow shortly after.

  32. If they move against Taiwan it wouldn’t look like D Day. They’d have agents and traitors in place to neutralize all defenses and booby traps, and would have troops hidden in commercial vessels, and convince Taiwan and the world that fighting would cause unacceptable harm to the world economy and they should just give up. Do you really doubt that the US regime wouldn’t do so?

  33. Brian, you may be right, but there’s no reason to think the Reds are more wily than the Taiwanese about Taiwanese security.

    On the economic and trade issues, the basic facts are that they supply a lot of our high-tech, consumer products, and plastic junk. From us they don’t get just $US, but a lot of their pork bellies and soybeans.

    That doesn’t prove a mutual dependence that guarantees no conflict, but it does suggest that the costs to them and us may dampen any military ventures.

    Or maybe not.

  34. OBloodyHell: “The question, Gavin, is whether China can afford to lose the USA as a market.”

    That is indeed a serious question — one which we should assume the Chinese Communist Party has spent much effort investigating. For what it is worth, in 2020 China exported $2,494 Billion worth to the world, of which only about $435 Billion went to the US. More than 80% of China’s exports are to countries other than the US, which gives the CCP a bit of a buffer.

    You might find a recent book by Thomas Orlik to be interesting: “China – The Bubble That Never Pops”. To my taste, Orlik focuses too much on the financial end of China’s progress since the death of Mao. He glosses over the process by which China moved from a manufacturing also-ran to the World’s #1 in electronics, steel, shipbuilding, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, etc. However, he does address how China dealt with a previous downturn in exports.

    The Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008 resulted in a global economic contraction — and a significant reduction in China’s exports. The CCP responded by redirecting much activity into construction of infrastructure, which created millions of jobs for workers displaced from export industries. As a result, the visitor to today’s China is impressed not only by the state-of-the-art airports, the magnificent superhighways, the stunning High Speed Rail network, massive bridges, huge ports, and the endless malls — there are also amazing numbers of tourist facilities for internal Chinese tourism; museums, amusement parks, aquariums, zoos, parks. Faced with an external crisis, China developed durable assets for its population — whereas the US Political Class faced with Covid stopped people from working and instead dropped helicopter money so non-working US residents could buy more stuff from China.

    Could the CCP do something analogous to 2008 if there were a major disruption to exports to the US? They have the infrastructure now, but they could certainly greatly expand things like their space program, research facilities, their navy. Orlik’s view could perhaps be summarized — Don’t count China out! It pains me greatly to say that it is easier to imagine the CCP responding effectively to a trade disruption than it is to imagine the DC Swamp responding constructively.

  35. “The question, Gavin, is whether China can afford to lose the USA as a market.”
    Again, what reason could anyone possibly have to think that our politicians, or the leaders of our major corporations, would ever even think about cutting ourselves off from China? It’s a pitifully empty threat, everyone knows it, and don’t think that there aren’t hardliners in China who are pushing for extreme actions based on that.

  36. It’s impossible to say what should happen to Milley Vanilley without risking getting banned, and put on an FBI watch list. “Pour encourager les autres” is the phrase that comes to mind…

    https://twitter.com/JerryDunleavy/status/1437816948633579532
    “In a pair of secret phone calls, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the PLA, that the U.S. would not strike, according to a new book by Bob Woodward & Robert Costa.”

  37. James, good one.

    I’m not predicting anything based on calculations of economic interest–in 1914 IIRC the two biggest trading partners in Europe were Germany and France.

  38. (Although let’s be honest, this story today is probably the way that the Deep State is going to make Milley Vanilley the fall guy for Afghanistan, and let’s be honest, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy, that loathsome fat toad).

  39. Yeah — definitely time Milley Vanilley was replaced by a woman. Nothing would so frighten the bad guys in this world as the sight of the Chief of the US General Staff in high heels. And all the gold braid would look better on a woman too.

  40. Kirk, you are quite right to worry about the health effects on the enlisted, especially on female troops. (Leaving aside pregnancy – yep, I had to work around that as a supervisor of female troops – fortunately, in a field where an uncomplicated pregnancy wasn’t all that much of a temporary disability, and bless them — the women who worked for me were adamant about carrying on and doing their damned jobs.) But the demands that hard physical services places on bodies is not something that can be carried on for too many years, even for fit and healthy males. I knew guys in specialties which involved jumping out of perfectly usable AC – blown-out knees, repeated breaks and sprains. My daughter, the two-hitch Marine was no hundred-and-ten pound waif, but she collided at a full run with another Marine in a training exercise. He was one of those six-foot somethings, probably three hundred pounds in full gear – and she fractured a couple of bones. We met another female veteran in Kingsland at the local VFW post a couple of months ago – and she also was sidelined by bone breaks in a training scenario. I think it involved pulling a HUMMV, with brute muscle. She was medicaled out, because of the injuries – and she was keen and loved her job. I had read a memoir by a female Marine officer veteran who did her best to keep up in the field with her troops … and in the end, she was just a physical wreck. Stress fractures, repetitive strain injuries … the works. I’m not saying that there aren’t tough women who can keep level with their male counterparts – but they are really, really rare.

  41. Sgt Mom: “I’m not saying that there aren’t tough women who can keep level with their male counterparts – but they are really, really rare.”

    Let’s be blunt. There are not many men who can keep level with an active marine. Those guys are definitely at the top end of the distribution. They deserve our respect & admiration.

  42. Imagine this: Chinese generals and politicians are having a(nother) meeting about whether it’s worth it to invade Taiwan. Same old arguments they’ve had for decades, but commies love to have meeting, you know? An aide comes in and whispers to the senior general that Milley Vanilley is on the phone and wants to speak to him about an urgent matter. General gets up and leaves, comes back a few minutes later. Everyone looks at him. “Gentlemen, my mind has changed–proceed with invasion planning immediately…”

  43. If Thoroughly Modern Milley was prepared to disobey an order from President Trump, can he at least assure us that he will ignore any order to launch nukes from geriatric confused Resident Biden* ?

    Thinking things over, the real cowards/traitors in Milley’s tale are his subordinates who accepted his order about President Trump. They should have arrested Milley there & then — or shot him before he potentially seized power. The entire top ranks of the US military need to be shipped to Guantanamo Bay — inside the fence — and then handed over to the Taliban after they have publicly performed Chinese-style self-criticism. Send Congress too, while we are at it.

  44. The military was designed to accomplish things. It is not a “reform school” for inner city defectives or a place for a computer weenie to show her stuff and play with the “big boys” on the way to a desk in Arlington. Look at the useless Democratic urban agencies to see what is coming. The violence in Chicago, Detroit, Saint Louis, Baltimore, etc is what is coming world-wide. And the new machine will not hesitate to grind up “Whitey” in “‘Murica”.

  45. “the real cowards/traitors in Milley’s tale are his subordinates who accepted his order about President Trump. They should have arrested Milley there & then — or shot him before he potentially seized power”
    They’re products of the system that let Milley Vanilley rise to the top. They are the same worthless trash as him.

    It’s good to have things out in the open. No more pretending. Clarity is better than self-deception.
    https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1438190911842930699
    NOW – Psaki: “The President has complete confidence in [Gen. Milley’s] leadership, his patriotism, and his fidelity to our Constitution.”

  46. Can anyone describe (at an unclassified level, obviously) what is the chain of communications and command for a nuclear launch or other nuclear weapons delivery?…I’m wondering how many people there are in the chain who could block a launch order from a President on their own initiative.

    Presumably, no one could *issue* a launch order of their own initiative, because they wouldn’t have the requisite codes (I hope)

  47. I can’t answer that, I’m sure you can find something on wikipedia or elsewhere.
    That being said, let’s not get distracted from the fact that no such order was given, which makes Milley Vannilley’s actions, which did in fact happen, completely and totally indefensible. He should be taken out back and .

  48. lol. Apparently you can’t put brackets in your comments. Last line should read:
    “He should be taken out back and (censored for self-preservation purposes).”

  49. David Foster: “Can anyone describe (at an unclassified level, obviously) what is the chain of communications and command for a nuclear launch or other nuclear weapons delivery?

    In a nutshell: If there’s a confirmed inbound attack, the president will get on a conference call with the NORAD commander, the USSTRATCOM commander, and the senior officer (a one-star general) at the National Military Command Center in the Penatgon. The SECDEF should also be online.

    Close to the president is an officer with the “football” containing summaries of nuclear options and a satellite phone. Once the president makes his choices, he authenticates himself using his “biscuit,” a card with codes that certifies to the controller that this is really the president. The president relays his decision (specific options to be executed). The NMCC team then creates and transmits an Emergency Action Message directly to the nuclear forces. There may be some scenarios in which the president directs his decision to the STRATCOM commander who then generates and transmits the EAM.

    The JCS chairman, if available, may also be on the conference call. But note that he has no command authority whatsoever over any forces, day-to-day or during war. His role is strictly military advice. In military parlance, he holds no OPCON or ADCON. Day-to-day, the president conveys his direction to the SECDEF who then passes orders to the Combatant Commanders. The JCS chairman is, at most, a pass-through since he owns the NMCC through which orders are conveyed.

  50. Thanks. If the JCS chairman ‘owns’ the NMCC, then it sounds like he could pretty effectively block any order despite his lack of operational command authority.

    There must be procedures for what a lower-level officer should do if he is contacted directly by the President or his representative (with proper authentication) rather than through the normal chain.

  51. One of the several bad points about Thoroughly Modern Milley’s traitorous behavior is the often observed comment — Lefties accuse other people of doing or planning to do what they themselves are doing or planning to do. Milley the Medal Model has clearly thought long & hard about wagging the dog — presumably in the interests of his owners in the Chinese Communist Party.

    Milley’s sorry record: Abandoning Bagram, which will probably end up in the hands of the Chinese. Abandoning $Billions of military equipment in Afghanistan, which will presumably be useful to the Chinese & Russians. Making a complete & utter international joke of the USA through implementing Biden*’s Botched Bug-Out. And directly telling the head of China’s military that he would give him traitorous advance warning of any US military attack. In any rational society, Milley would already be standing in front of a firing squad — as would his duplicitous underlings who failed to take him out.

  52. To David Foster:

    Here is what I wrote last night at LEGAL INSURRECTION that covers your questions in more detail. Part of it repeats what I said above, for which I apologize.

    No, he [CJCS] is not part of that procedure unless invited, nor part of that chain of command. In the ’80’s and ’90’s I had a sideline writing for various professional military and naval publications and was a member of various Defense industry organizations. It was a break from my main career as a Peace Officer.

    I was invited to a number of interesting places for briefings, and did some interesting and chilling things. I have been inside Cheyenne Mountain several times, in CinC NORAD’s war room. I have been inside an active duty missile control capsule at Warren AFB and gone through the launch procedure. While this excerpt below is not from the official manuals, it is unclassified and can be published, so here is roughly how it goes:

    “If these staffs receive any indication that we may be under attack, they have three minutes from the time the first sensor data arrives until they have to provide a preliminary assessment as to whether North America is under attack. If the assessment is of medium or high confidence that there is a threat, they initiate a process that will bring the president and his top advisors into an emergency conference no matter what time of day or night.

    Imagine that the president has decided to initiate a conference with his top advisors to consider the first use of nuclear weapons. The United States does not have a no-first-use policy. Furthermore, under the current review of our nuclear policy [this was written in February 2018-SB], undertaken primarily by the Pentagon, there is an emerging thesis that we should move further away from no first use and consider use of nuclear weapons in a wider variety of contingencies. We are on the verge of modifying our assurance to non-nuclear-weapons countries that we would not use nuclear weapons against them, in contradiction to the position adopted by the Obama administration.

    The emergency meeting of the president and his top advisors will typically include statutory members of the National Security Council: the secretary of defense; the secretary of state; the national security advisor; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who participates at the discretion and the invitation of the secretary of defense [emphasis mine-SB]; and a number of key military command centers and personnel, the most important of whom is the commander of strategic forces based in Omaha, Nebraska, who commands all our strategic nuclear weapons.

    Time and circumstances permitting, the commander will brief the president on his nuclear options and their consequences. It will not be a long briefing. He’s going to have to boil this down into very, very brief sound-bites for the president: here are your options and here are the consequences. The commander will then ask the president a couple questions, such as whether he wants to withhold attacks on a particular location, such as a populous city. That briefing, if we are under attack, will be as short as 30 seconds. Of course, if the president is considering the first use of nuclear weapons, the timeline is not nearly as short and that conversation can last for quite a long period.

    If we are under attack, the president is going to have to consider his options in about six minutes, given how this protocol tends to work. If we’re not under attack, he can deliberate longer. Then he makes a decision: What option am I going to pursue? Am I going to decide to attack North Korea, for example? (With the current preprogrammed attack plan, I estimate we would have 80 nuclear aim points in North Korea.)

    Let’s say the president chooses an option. It will be conveyed instantly to the war room at the Pentagon, which probably initiated the presidential conference in the first place. The people in the Pentagon war room are listening in on the conversation and are beginning, as they hear the president moving toward a decision to use nuclear weapons, to prepare a launch order.

    Note that the secretary of defense does not confirm the president’s decision, nor does he or she have a right to veto it, nor does anyone else have the authority to override the decision. This is what Elaine Scarry has identified as, in effect, a “thermonuclear monarchy,” which gives the US president almost carte blanche command over the nuclear forces.

    When the president conveys his decision to the war room, they ask him to authenticate his identity using a special code. It’s referred to colloquially as “the biscuit,” otherwise known more officially as the “gold code.” If that code matches, the war room at the Pentagon, or an alternate, will format a launch order that will be transmitted down the chain of command to the executing commanders of the submarines, land-based rockets, and bombers.

    That launch order is roughly half the length of a tweet. It contains all the information necessary for the crews down the chain of command to launch their forces: the time to fire, the chosen war plan, an unlock code that the crews need to physically unlock their weapons prior to the launch, and special authentication codes that the crews check with the codes in their safes to satisfy themselves that these orders came from the president (those codes are not in the possession of the president, but of the military).

    That takes two minutes: 10 seconds to authenticate, then a minute or two to format and transmit the order. And in two more minutes, from the receipt of that order down the chain of command, missiles could be leaving their silos; it takes only about one minute for a Minuteman crew in the plains states of the Midwest to carry out their launch checklist. This was my job in the 1970s and at the time, it took me one minute. We delayed a little bit, for classified reasons, but that’s how long it took then and that’s how long it takes today.

    After the crews enter the war plan it goes out to all the missiles, which are preprogrammed with what wartime targets to strike. In peacetime, they are aimed at the ocean, but changing their targets to Moscow or any other targets is as easy as changing the channel on your TV set.”

    The Chairman of the JCS is only in the conference if invited by the SecDef. None of the other JCS are involved. Orders go pretty much simultaneously to whoever is on duty that shift at the Pentagon and at Strategic Forces, and from there on down the chain of command right smartly.

    I will close with something to think about. Consider the collection of fools, miscreants, maladroits, and unindicted co-conspirators that make up the current regime. How secure do you feel?

    Subotai Bahadur
    ps. Don’t know if it worked, but between the ” ” should be in italics as it is someone else’s writing. The sentence that begins “While this excerpt below . . ” should be in boldface. The clause that begins “the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who participates at the discretion . . ” should be underlined. I don’t know if those work here.

  53. “Consider the collection of fools, miscreants, maladroits, and unindicted co-conspirators that make up the current regime. How secure do you feel?”
    1. They’ve already sold us out, so not very.
    2. If I was delusional enough to think they hadn’t in fact already sold us out, then putting myself in the shoes of the CCP, I’d feel it was complete open season on these pitiful non-entities.
    3. If I was stupid enough to think otherwise, I could just read about how the CCP openly mocked and humiliated this Blinken character in Alaska months ago, and allegedly just told Chernenko Joe they weren’t the slightest bit interested in a summit with him. The emperor doesn’t take calls from provincial governors…

  54. “How secure do you feel?”

    Possibly irrelevant — possibly an early warning of worse to come. Chinese Communist Party authorities are apparently taking steps to discourage anyone from forecasting Yuan/Dollar exchange rates. Why?
    https://www.reuters.com/world/china/exclusive-china-brokers-drop-yuan-forecasts-avoid-regulators-ire-2021-09-15/

    As Reuters notes: “Chinese corporations’ dollar deposits stood at an enormous $999.7 billion at the end of August, enough dry powder to shake up the exchange rate if they were suddenly swapped for yuan.”

    If the CCP were planning to crash the Dollar by suddenly converting massive amounts of deposits to other currencies (and what Chinese corporation would refuse to follow President Xi’s command?), shutting down the information flow would be a good preparatory move — make sure that Soros gets screwed too. Ideal time to bring down the once mighty Dollar would be while the DC Swamp is messing about raising the Debt Limit and committing to spend Trillions of Dollars they do not have — or, as we say, next month.

    I hate being on the losing side. But we brought this upon ourselves. See California “voters” and Newsom, for example.

  55. In other news, beware of something happening in DC this weekend, the regime isn’t putting up their stupid fences again without having something planned…

  56. “If these staffs receive any indication that we may be under attack, they have three minutes from the time the first sensor data arrives until they have to provide a preliminary assessment as to whether North America is under attack.

    The key issue in the Milley scandal is not warning the Chinese that we would attack. Trump is the least likely of modern presidents to attack China or anyone else, except an individual terrorist like Soleimani. The key issue is what if we detected an Iranian or Chinese attack ? We would have three minutes to respond. The most likely would be an Iranian EMP attack. Would Milley interfere with a response ? That is the question.

  57. Somebody mentioned Lemay. IIRC he managed to get launch-approval for SAC into his own hands for a time.

    Also, the policies of “No No-First Use” and “Don’t Press Your Luck, Asshole” hearken back to Ike’s days.

    Whatever the truth of the specific allegations, denials, and non-denials, we are truuly fuucked–people I once had a scrap of respect for are nodding sagely and expressing relief that the CJCS (of ALL people!) was trying to organize a junta.

    Enjoy the time that remains, and be prepared for a wretched future.

  58. David F: “Note that when the dollar falls, American products become cheaper relative to import alternatives, and American exports become cheaper relative to foreign products.”

    Only if there are American factories & mines to produce those products which are now imported. But environmental regulations closed the mines, and key machinery from the factories was shipped overseas when the factories were closed.

    You are exactly right over the longer (decade+) time frame — when the Dollar falls to the level which balances exports with imports, US industry, jobs, and tax revenues will all be stimulated. But until the manufacturing infrastructure can be rebuilt, many shelves will be bare. Remember the great CovidScam rush on toilet paper; now imagine that on a much larger scale. Is a country in chaos going to be in a position to lead opposition to Chinese expansionism?

  59. Gavin…depends on the industry and the specific company & its situation. I don’t think all manufacturers in the US are running flat-out…in some cases, it may be possible to add a shift…if equipment is needed, there is an awful lot of industrial equipment, from machine tools to various kinds of robots, available on various used- equipment sites. It doesn’t seem crazy to think that overall US manufacturing output could grow 10 or 20% over a couple of years.

    Also need to think about agricultural products; the US has a lot of good land and skilled farmers–crop cycles obviously matter, but I wonder how much overall US farm output could grow over a few years if the (profitable) demand was there.

  60. David — I agree. There is a lot that could be done. Serious rebuilding will be a quarter century project — see Japan & Germany post-WWII; but smaller scale activities could ramp up more quickly, for certain products. Even so, how long would you guess it would take to create the manufacturing base and train the workers to build a US cell phone industry, for example?

    In the meantime, there would still be an army of regulators trying to justify their government jobs by impeding efforts to expand production. And there would be empty shelves for some period of time — partly due to the absence of imports, partly exacerbated by panic buying when products are available. In the fractured society the Wokesters have created, that is a recipe for a lot of looting, burning, shooting.

    I remain optimistic about the long term. But the long term is likely to exceed my Sell By date.

  61. Just saw an ad on LinkedIn from a company I met a couple of years ago…they are manufacturing paper bags in the US (most US bags imported, largely from China IIRC) using a new process involving some machinery they acquired the rights to. The ad points out the huge port congestion that is going on, and says that if you are want paper bags for the holiday season, you’d best be making arrangements to get them right now. Clearly they are seeing the current supply chain mess in this field as an opportunity for themselves.

    https://www.americanpaperbag.com/

  62. @Sgt. Mom,

    I don’t know too many guys in combat arms that didn’t retire after their 20 with significant issues. I got off kinda-sorta OK-ish, but… Man, do I feel it some mornings. And, I’m built like a literal Neanderthaler–Joint sizes significantly larger than average, better muscular attachments, and all that jazz. The guys built to a more fragile model did not do well, especially if they were big.

    It was interesting, looking over the retirement physical process. The SF guys from 1st Group that retired about the same time I did? The bigger they were, the bigger the health records, indicating that they usually had more injuries over the years. The little wiry dudes? Very, very thin jackets. Also, a lot lower rate of disability awarded, on average–The big guys? Normally, 60%-80%, on average, after 20. Or, so said the PA who was working that when I went through. He got a lot of feedback from the process because of VA asking questions about the records, and the various veteran’s organizations working the system.

    What I think they really need to be doing is taking a baseline at enlistment, and then doing longitudinal studies of the various physical types in each career field, and do some weeding out of people who’re identifiably already in possession of “issues” contributing to PTSD. There are some folks out there with seriously traumatic childhoods that are work-hardened, so to speak, and who’re more the sorts who hand out PTSD as opposed to suffer from it… But, that ain’t the way to bet; most PTSD survivors that come out of things and actually recover are folks with strong, stable backgrounds that don’t include broken families, lack of spirituality, and extensive histories of drug and alcohol use. People like that should not be recruited for high-stress jobs, no matter how well they’re doing “right now”.

    And, once they do the studies over decades? Use ’em–If a specific body type shows up as not being suited for Infantry use, quit slotting people like that into the damn job. It’s nuts to tell some 18 year-old girl “Yeah, hey… You can be all you can be, in the Infantry…” when you know damn well that she’s going to be broken by the end of her first enlistment. That’s a betrayal of trust, at a fundamental level, as well as a huge cost when you go to figure out what she will cost in VA care vs. that young male you could have enlisted instead of her. Not to mention, the opportunity cost–All that money you spent training her, knowing she’d be likely to break before the end of her first contract? That’s money down the drain, in terms of acquiring her as a long-term career soldier. The raw fact is, experience is what makes for good senior NCOs, and if you start cutting off the pyramid early by recruiting physically feeble females who won’t last, you’re going to have far fewer career enlisted to select your senior NCO cadre from.

    The whole idea is nuts, TBH. I’ve got no problem with women in the service; what I have a problem with is the fact that the American military is utterly unable to stand firm in the face of the “activists” who are unable to grasp that the necessary policy adjustments and real-world assessments are not “sexist”; they’re just recognition of reality.

    Frankly, the fact that some idiot mandated female field medics in a Combat Engineer unit is flatly insane. I had four female medics at one point, out of about 9 I was authorized. We did CASEVAC drills one morning for PT, where you had to do series of different carries of simulated casualties. I also had a Samoan in the platoon, and from that alone, I think you can see what’s coming: Four female medics working together couldn’t move his ass off the field, period. Physically incapable of it. They were game as hell, and tried their best, but… Wasn’t happening. In contrast, all of my other troops that were in his same size category could get up under his ass and move him or at least drag him. Of course, on the other hand, my Samoan could pick up one of the female medics, throw her over a shoulder, and then tuck one more under each arm and move off with all three of them at a fair rate of speed, so maybe it was a wash…? Dunno; I left that morning’s training with severely sore back and a lot of questions in the back of my mind.

    You could probably make “women in the military” or even “women in combat arms” work, but you’d have to do it with some other set of military leaders than we’ve got. Ours are way, way too ‘effed in the head to make anything but a hash of it all.

  63. You could probably make “women in the military” or even “women in combat arms” work, but you’d have to do it with some other set of military leaders than we’ve got.

    Sure, sure. It depends on what you want- a military that can defeat adversaries, or a military that has women in combat arms.

    My take is that competent leadership would assess all this and decide we’d be better off with a military that can win wars. The women can find something else to do.

    All the problems you mention were well known and discussed in the last century- and yet the leadership went full steam ahead despite them.

    Hence, I conclude we haven’t had leadership that was interested in winning wars since at least then.

    Or worse, they aren’t worried about losing wars. General William Westmoreland, loser of the Vietnam War, said during his lawsuit against CBS (paraphrasing) that he figured no matter what decisions he made, we were certain to win the war.

    That’s our so-called leadership today- no need to worry about actual events, because victory is assured.

    What can go wrong?

  64. I think the issues of “military that can win wars” and “military with women in it” are two entirely separate things, as if you’re trying to cram “apples” and “left-handed gollywoggets” into the same category.

    Our problem is our leadership. Their inability to make proper use of human resources is a symptom. Just like the way they can’t figure out how to do damn near anything with the organization–They really, truly, do not know how it all works, so they can’t quantifiably tell when or even if something isn’t working. There’s no metric because there is no clearly stated standard or easily understood definition of “working military”. It’s all subjective; they can say it is whatever they want it to be, and who is to judge when and if it’s not working?

    Of course, the enemy will likely be the ones telling us that, once they’re standing on the ruins of Washington, DC. That’s how these things work.

    I don’t know why things are the way they are, I just observe that they are. The US military has been “broken” in some very fundamental ways for a very, very long time. Fixing it will require exactly what is required when you’re trying to “fix” an alcoholic–Until they hit rock-bottom and realize how ‘effed up they are, and decide to change, they’re not going to. I strongly suspect that the quickest and most effective way to solve our problems would be to shut the whole thing down, and start over from the ground up, with an entirely different cultural system. That’s not going to happen with the US military until the nation it supports does the same damn thing, so I’m not expecting reform. By the time your commissioning and training systems are churning out Milleys and Mattises, you’re done. That institution is unsalvageable.

    Hurts to say it, but there it is.

  65. Kirk: “… the enemy will likely be the ones telling us that, once they’re standing on the ruins of Washington, DC.”

    It is sad, but there are growing numbers of us who could see the upside in an enemy demolishing the DC Swamp. Unfortunately, the Canadians are not up to the job; the Europeans are even less capable; and the Russians & Chinese have zero incentive to destroy a DC succubus which is doing such a bang-up job of bringing down the United States.

    The same problems you see in the military recur throughout human organizations. One example is Sears — which once was well-established in retailing and had massive resources. If the leadership of Sears had been even modestly competent, Walmart and Amazon would never have got off the ground. But they ended up eating Sears lunch.

    From what I have seen through my keyhole, it seems that big organizations (and even not-so-big organizations) become increasingly internally-focused over time. Doing the job they are supposed to do for their customers becomes less important than looking good to their peers within the organizations — leading to the rise of the greasy pole climbers, of whom Milley the Muffin is merely one of the most obvious.

    The problem in the Swamp is that the “organization” has grown to include all the excrescences in the agencies, the media, the contractors, the law firms, and all the others buzzing around in what some call the Hive. Their “peers” are strictly other DC denizens; the hundreds of millions of us outside their inwardly-focused Hive hardly matter in their little world.

    The outcome is inevitable. The fall of the US is as inevitable (and as unnecessary) as the decline of Sears. Only the details of the process remain to be revealed.

  66. The cliche is that organizations start by being run by people dedicated to the mission and end up being run by people dedicated to the organization. Seems to be a pretty universal rule. The important thing is to preserve a system where no one is Too Big To Fail, but we’re long since past that point…

  67. I think the issues of “military that can win wars” and “military with women in it” are two entirely separate things…

    I don’t.

    Both you and Sgt. Mom have listed examples of the sort of problems that occur having women in combat arms. It further seems- based upon my personal experience and what you wrote- that a significant amount of time is spent by local commands simply trying to work around the fact that the national command authority does things such as mandating female field medics in Combat Engineer units. Again, these sort of problems were well known and widely discussed long ago, before that decision was made. I also have to wonder just what fraction of the women now attempting to be combat engineers would have been classified as 4-F during the draft era, if they were evaluated as if they were men.

    But they aren’t men. What to do, what to do? One obvious solution is to not assign women to combat arms. But then what? Do women subsequently get all the easy rear echelon and shore duty assignments because they can’t physically do the hard stuff without breaking bones? If so, what happens to the morale of the men?

    I don’t know about the army, but what happened in the canoe club was that women eventually soaked up all the available shore duty slots, because they can’t remain on ship after some point in their pregnancies. So the poor unfortunates who had (say) a five-year sea duty tour, away from their families for long stretches, then found that they were rewarded by another sea duty tour thanks to the pregnant E-1 who needed to be near a hospital. Not good for either morale or retention.

    Also- how many of our adversaries are also assigning women to their combat engineer units? Or navy ships? I’m guessing the answer is “none at all.”

    Our problem is our leadership.

    We agree here. The country is ruled by fools.

  68. The fall of the US is as inevitable…

    As long as I’m being disagreeable I’m going to disagree here too.

    I note that the US is frequently described as being an empire, but I think that’s nonsense.

    The US is the exact opposite of an empire, in that the supposed conquering nation-state has been eviscerated by our supposed conquests.

    Let me list a few examples.

    1) We have huge numbers of soldiers defending foreign borders at no cost to our supposed conquests, at great expense to ourselves, while our own borders are infamously open. Somehow the US military is always just too busy to defend US borders.

    2) Our economy is almost completely open to foreign exports, while the economies of our supposed empire are famously much more closed off to ours. I note especially the long ago complaints about Japan and US-produced consumer electronics, and more recently just about everything from everywhere.

    3) Empires generally settle their people in conquered lands, forming colonies. Rome was famous for this, as was England. In the case of the US, our supposed foreign conquests send colonists here, and very often we are immediately forced to support them. I note the billions now demanded by the regime to support the unknown Afghans they’ve flown into the country- and I also that the regime was apparently flying in 747-loads of Africans even as the current pandemic began. This is not how an actual empire behaves.

    4) Empires often demand tribute from weaker states nearby, if for no other reason that they can. The supposed American empire sends many billions of dollars of “foreign aid” to our supposed empire, every year, without end. Lately, this aid has been deliberately arranged in such a way to give a middle finger to people who object to this state of affairs, such a the $5 billion dollars for border walls in foreign countries instead of the $5 billion Trump wanted for a fence for the US border.

    5) Empires also choose factions friendly to themselves in foreign countries and advance common interests. Empires back those factions by force, using violence to keep their friends in power. When the supposed US empire does that, our friends end up getting murdered en masse and the survivors get driven out of their homelands- and we get a new set of refugees. Note the fate of South Vietnam, Iran under the Shah, and lately, the few Afghans who actually supported us.

    The best thing that could happen to America would be the end of that sort of “empire.” It would be like having an entire set of anvils untied from our ankles. It can’t go away soon enough, in my opinion.

  69. During WWII, female partisans that found themselves in the family way were generally shot by their comrades. Nothing personal, they couldn’t afford the dead weight.

    Most of the wars we’ve fought since, we have done with one hand tied behind our back. What’s one more source of friction? The real question is: if we are confronted with a capable adversary, will we be able to get serious fast enough?

    China isn’t there yet and my personal expectation is that they’ll implode before they get there. That’s probably not a good basis for our defense policy though.

  70. @Xennady,

    As I’ve said, the problem isn’t the women, it is the management/leadership.

    Pregnancy? Easily solved: “Young man/lady, you’re enlisting for X years of active service. Time spent unfit for active service is not counted towards that contract, such that the moment you willfully become incapable of being actively deployed (sea duty for the naval types…), the clock stops…”. Bang. Right there, you’ve made it of no benefit to a young woman to get herself pregnant to get out of deployment or sea duty. Not to mention, covering those relatively rare circumstances where a young man does the same thing through some stupidity off-duty–Which does happen.

    But, because our leadership is incapable of managing women in the services honestly or administering them fairly, they refuse to address the issue. Were it I, I’d also make sure to include rules that separate initial enlistments from career personnel who’ve made a commitment to the service–You go career, then there have to be accommodations made for family needs, although some sanity and planning have to engage. If you’re in a deployment slot as a careerist, you need to work with the career management/assignment types to make sure you’re taking care of your duties and responsibilities in both realms, which is a huge pain in the ass when you’re a woman.

    A lot of this crap has come about because we’ve very idiotically decided to make these changes before technology and medicine catch up to our desires. Once we’ve got artificial wombs and routine embryo transplantations going on, pregnancy becomes a non-issue. Until then, it’s a huge one, and you have to make reasonable accommodations if you’re insistent on integrating women into the forces. I think it is reasonable to say “No pregnancies for first-termers” or some set period like four years, and then “No unplanned pregnancies”, with reasonable “Shit happens” contingencies for failures of birth control–Which do happen.

    Frankly, I think that an outright ban on women in the service is foolish, but not as foolish as how we’re going about integrating them right now. Given what we’ve got to work with in terms of delusional senior and civilian “leadership”, it’d be my vote to say “Yeah… No women. They can’t cope with it.”. Put the policy-making in the hands of common-sense types that you might normally find in the mid-grade NCO ranks who have to deal with the BS accrued from current policy? You might come to a happy, functional medium. But, with the current set of idiotic dolts we have running things? Nope, nope, and more nope.

    I worked with some really, really good women officers and enlisted while I was in–Easily superior to the average male soldier in performance, conduct, and devotion to duty. The root problem was the fact that they did that on their own–It wasn’t the standard that all women were held to, and that fact dragged us all down together. I think the presence of women adds a few things to a military, not the least of which is a bit more in the way of restraint and self-consciousness on the part of a lot of the males. And, as well, I’m highly suspicious of any military force that automatically bans specific categories unrelated to duty performance, like gays and Jews. You exclude a class or group, then that military is entirely too likely to be used against it. The Imperial German Army, for all of its vices, was not about to start running death camps for the Jews, if only because of the significant number of said Jews serving in it.

    That said, some sanity has to prevail… If you’re mentally unstable, like Bradley Manning, then you damn well should be excluded from service. Not because you’re gay, but because you’re ‘effing nuts and not worthy of a position of trust. Likewise, if you’re Jewish and demonstrate unfitness for duty or a position of trust? Ban ’em, but not because of their religion/ethnicity.

    Frankly, I think it’s far past time that women had to pay the same price for the franchise that men always have–Namely, liability for armed service. However, comma… Some gods-damned sense needs to be applied. No matter what Hollywood’s delusionals might think, a 110lb waif is not going to batter the average grown male around like some tackling dummy, not when he’s got sixty-seventy pounds and six-eight inches on her and the corresponding musculature that goes with that. I don’t care who the hell you are, that size/strength imbalance doesn’t go away, no matter how hard you wish upon a star.

  71. Xennady: “As long as I’m being disagreeable I’m going to disagree here too.”

    Disagreement is welcome! It is through disagreement that we learn and modify our assessments. However … I am not sure what you are disagreeing with.

    You give a lucid explanation of the ways in which the US is not an empire — and I agree with all your points. But I did not say the US was an empire, and the inevitable decline of the US will happen regardless of whether or not the US Political Class behaves as if they think they have an empire.

    You are right — an avoidance of foreign entanglements would greatly reduce the burden on the US. But the inevitable collapse stems from the destruction of our own productive economy and consequent reliance on the kindness of strangers to send us the material goods we want in exchange for IOUs which we can never redeem.

    Just as there were reasons post-WWII for the US to practice unilateral “Free Trade”, there were reasons then for exporters to trust in the US Dollar and accept it in trade. Those reasons are fading fast. Ultimately, the US will have to produce before it consumes, and import only as much as it exports. But that reality is too elementary for the credentialed fools in the Political Class. The bought-off traitors in the Swamp may recognize what will happen, but they are pursuing their own agenda.

  72. But I did not say the US was an empire, and the inevitable decline of the US will happen regardless of whether or not the US Political Class behaves as if they think they have an empire.

    Point taken, and I have no particular disagreement with this comment. I’d just like to add that from my perspective the decline has already happened.

    The only question is how much will be left to rebuild with after the collapse.

  73. Pregnancy? Easily solved…

    Uh-oh. I feel more disagreement coming on.

    Young man/lady, you’re enlisting for X years of active service. Time spent unfit for active service is not counted towards that contract, such that the moment you willfully become incapable of being actively deployed (sea duty for the naval types…), the clock stops…”.

    I suspect this wouldn’t pass muster in court, or be politically sustainable, either. Also, are the pregnant woman still getting paid while undeployable? Still getting medical services? What happens if they remain undeployable for several years? If so, then they’ll also bump up against the up-or-out policies, so the military doesn’t have the 10-year E-1. What happens if they’re undeployable for 18 years, getting paid the entire time, still enlisted, while their family grows up? I’m being extreme, but the point is that I can see an entire fleet of problems with this idea.

    Not to mention, covering those relatively rare circumstances where a young man does the same thing through some stupidity off-duty–Which does happen.

    Maybe I’m too old fashioned for today’s enlightened era, but men don’t get pregnant.

    I worked with some really, really good women officers and enlisted while I was in–Easily superior to the average male soldier in performance, conduct, and devotion to duty.

    I wasn’t there to see that. Part of my negative evaluation of women in the military is based upon what I did see- that is, women who got to the ship already pregnant, or left the service immediately when they became so, or didn’t finish their enlistment because they suddenly discovered they were a lesbian (btw this was a young lady who had a boyfriend who visited her regularly), or the E-1 so clueless that the command stopped bothering to attempt to get to show up for muster (and then the command sent her away to school to get rid of her), or the E-4 who came to the ship after attending two separate A-schools, then complained to the media that she didn’t have educational opportunities- and then was sent to three more schools, the last being a specialized O2/N2 C-school that guaranteed her de facto permanent assignment to a ship that would never leave port.

    I’m highly suspicious of any military force that automatically bans specific categories unrelated to duty performance, like gays…

    Oh. Stop right there.

    As it happens, I do recall serving with a few really good women in my time. I still recall a particular officer who was briefly the ship’s XO- she was filling in after the previous exec was medically retired- who was quite impressive. I also recall another young lady who very competent- but I also recall that she told me once that she was afraid to take a shower because of all the lesbians.

    Hence I question the idea that gayness is “unrelated to duty performance.” But of course, if you object to people staring at your privates when you get out of the shower- well, you’re a bigot.

    Frankly, I think it’s far past time that women had to pay the same price for the franchise that men always have–Namely, liability for armed service.

    Shrug. At this point, what difference does it make? Functioning societies place significant importance- one way or another- upon producing and educating the next generation into that society.

    Not America. We’re soon likely to subject young women to the draft, as if they were men, and as a necessary consequence attempt to prevent them from making new Americans, should they be drafted.

    This is not how a successful society operates. This is not what a successful society should want to do.

    But that’s today’s America. Enough crazy from me today.

  74. I can’t comment on the gender and sexpref issues, except to say that even Kirk’s fairly positive take doesn’t make me feel a lot better, and Xennady’s is downright scary.

    Prof van Creveld finds it telling that while women can’t hack American football against men, some people like to pretend that active operations, or even battle, are somehow in their province. The experiences of armies that come to rely on women too much are not happy ones, which is why the fashion for pointing to the Red/Russian Army and IDF female soldiers has died down–those armies have decided against more of it. My understanding is that the famous Kurdish amazons are largely PR. Anyone know better?

    As for a draft, hah. Maybe if there’s a Martian invasion, otherwise it would tear the country apart even worse. Besides, most young people are mentally and physically unfit for anything more strenuous or demanding than Call of Duty or HALO.

  75. Xennady is putting words into my mouth and making assumptions about the things I’d be doing if I ran the military which are more in line with his assumptions than reality.

    My preference would be to wipe out any form of sex or race demarcation of any kind, period–You either demonstrate performance, or you’re out. Can’t hack the road march? I don’t care if you’re male or female, you’re not making the cut. If you can hack it? Sure; we’ll let you give whatever career you like a try–And, once we determine the long-term issues with that, in terms of things like “What does it actually cost the VA, male-vs.-female infantry soldier”, we’ll go from there. Some things are unassailably true due to sexual dimorphism, but there’s not a hell of a lot we can do about that, at this point. Men don’t come equipped with wombs, so they ain’t having kids, period.

    I would prefer, however, that instead of doing things like “Women’s only sports” and dividing things up along whether the subject has an “innie” or an “outie”, we do it by actual physical capacity. You’ve got the muscle mass and build of a 90th percentile male? Well, you’re going into the “big folks category”, and competing there. Don’t care what your hormone balance is, don’t care what genitalia you’re wearing, let’s split things up along muscle mass and other things that are the end-effects of our inherent biological natures, rather than the simpler “boy/girl” thing. There are a lot of men out there who have no business in the combat arms, and there are a few women who might do well there. Vanishing few, but that’s their choice if they want to make it.

    The reality is that our society has prematurely gone nuts with this crap, and about the only thing you can do is try to impose as much sanity as you can. One day, we’ll likely be at a point where you can do as you like and you’ll actually be able to overcome your biology and inherent physical constraints. That day ain’t here yet, and until it is, the only way you’re going to deal effectively with the equalist mentality is by imposing strict standards based on actual physical capabilities and disabilities.

    Right now, the problem is that there’s too much wishful thinking, and no attention paid to the real details like “Can a damage control party with three of its five members being female do their jobs and save the ship…?”. That’s an objective standard; it’s not met, then bye-bye to the unfit and ineffective–No more “gender-norming”, no more accommodations made ‘cos “they’re girls”. Pay no attention to whatever BS they’ve got between their legs or what their skin tone might be–Unfit and ineffective are the sole criteria.

    I’m not personally in favor of this kind of stuff, but the unfortunate fact is that I’m in the minority. I like the current setup, and I find being a member of a sexually dimorphic species entertaining and fulfilling. A lot of people don’t, and they don’t want to play that game, so until we can accommodate that, we’ll just have to organize things as rationally as we can–And, screw the idea of just doing it by fiat, ignoring the physical manifestations of dimorphism. That doesn’t work. It may be grossly unfair that little Suzy can’t play the barbarian warlord in real life that she plays in World of Warcraft, but that’s the thing about reality: It’s real, and you have to deal with it as it is, not as you want it to be.

    I think a lot of this crap stems from the fact that we’re still adapting to the vast change in circumstances engendered by the implications of Semmelweis, modern medicine, and mechanization. That’s led to a backlash as our culture/civilization tries to adapt to these bedrock-level shifts, and we’ve massively over-compensated in some ways, while still trying to maintain a delusional facade in a lot of others. The male/female dichotomy is a major area where things are seriously out of balance, and I have no idea when that’s going to come back into balance. Right now, though? We have what we have, and the only way to fix what’s not working is to impose a sanity that doesn’t include two different standards based on sex. The question of what sex you are while the ship is sinking and you’ve got to get that damn pump into the right compartment is entirely unimportant. That pump getting where it needs to be is, and that’s what we need to concern ourselves with.

    But, as I have said… Our current military establishment is entirely incapable of doing this, so either it or the women in the military really need to go. Of course, we ain’t doing either one until the collapse comes, so we’ll just have to wait and see what eventuates.

  76. My preference would be to wipe out any form of sex or race demarcation of any kind, period–You either demonstrate performance, or you’re out.

    If we could arrange that, we wouldn’t be having the problems we’re having- and I wouldn’t advocating something that not only has no chance of happening but also wouldn’t be popular. My experience was literally in the last century, and the political pressure was already strong enough to force the navy to ignore reality. Kara Hultgreen would likely be alive, if not for that political pressure. Nothing I’ve heard since has made me think the situation has improved- quite the opposite.

    We have what we have, and the only way to fix what’s not working is to impose a sanity that doesn’t include two different standards based on sex.

    Until we graduate into a Lois Bujold novel, only one sex can make new people. That’s an important fact, in my opinion. I presume you’d agree, and I’m not attempting to suggest you argued otherwise.

    But it seems to me that if you treat men and women exactly the same, then you will necessarily have fewer new people created. Considering that Western World seems to be on the verge of being overrun by goat-****ing savages from the 9th century thanks to their high birth rate, I think we need more Westerners.

    Bluntly, we should be doing the sort of things Russia and China are doing- encouraging women to have children, encouraging marriage, etc.

    Of course, we ain’t doing either one until the collapse comes, so we’ll just have to wait and see what eventuates.

    I agree. Nothing will be done and disaster will follow, etc. I expect Trump will be blamed, somehow.

  77. @Xennady,

    If it were me that some set of fools made “God-Emperor for a day”, I would probably implement exactly what you’re saying, and tell the various fantasists to sod off until reality matches their fantasy-land view of “how things ought to be”.

    I think the coming centuries are going to see a recognition that Malthus and Ehrlich were delusional panic-mongers, what with the actual effect of modernization being that we’ve actually incentivized not reproducing to the point that it’s effectively demographic suicide. The coming “birth dearth” is going to have the same discrediting effect on the supposed experts that the coming (hopefully, mini-…) Ice Age we have waiting in the wings. Of course, by the time both occur, said experts will no doubt all be telling us how they all saw it coming, and we didn’t listen to them, and that’s why things are so bad…

    And, of course, the answers to those problems will be more government, more experts, and more socialism. Failing to recognize, of course, that all three are why we’ve got the situation with fertility rates in the first damn place… They’re managing us into a grave. And, none of them have the brains to either admit they were wrong, or that it’d be wise to reverse course on a lot of this crap.

    When they do the autopsy and write the inscription on the tomb of our civilization, the three things they’re going to cite as “cause of death” will be experts, bureaucratic inertia, and organizational cruft building up to the point where no organ of the state could function inside the bounds of reality.

  78. The book has already been written, and is out in paper: Niall Ferguson, “Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire.” Ferguson’s a pro-empire guy, btw.

    Also interesting is Thomas Madden’s “Empires of Trust: How Rome Built–and America is Building–A New World.” Pro-Rome and USA.

Leave a Comment