Known Knowns, Known Unknowns, Et Cetera

“There are known knowns, things we know that we know;
and there are known unknowns, things that we know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns, things we do not know we don’t know.”
– Donald Rumsfeld

So last week’s post regarding the paucity of lefty anti-war protesters regarding the Ukrainian war is still going strong with comments, reminding me once again of the great sage, Donald Rumsfeld, regarding what we know, and what we know that we don’t know … and what we really don’t know that we don’t know.
What do I know for sure about the war? I know that both sides are … parsimonious with the truth about everything that is happening in the zone of conflict, to the point where a truckload of salt is necessary when reading the headlines, no matter if it’s the established print media, or blogs. What to believe? Practically nothing, save that yes, indeed, there is a war and a pretty hot one, too.
I am pretty certain that Ukraine served basically as the Biden family’s ATM. Corrupt government – yeah, that I do believe. But as corrupt than Russia itself, Nigeria, Pakistan, Belarus, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Venezuela, and other frequent fliers on ‘most corrupt evah!’ list?
I do believe that Putin’s Russia apparently went into the Ukraine believing that it would be a one-two punch and settled to the advantage of Russia within a fortnight. That the war has been going on without a resolution since February of this year argues that Putin and his generals did indeed bite off more than they could chew, seriously overestimating their own capabilities and the Ukrainian will to resist.
The modern Ukrainians are descended from the Cossacks, in culture if not in blood, who had for centuries a tradition of making war … enthusiastically. They also, if I read my history right, still hold a grudge for being subjected to the Holodomor, the mass starvation under Stalin’s harsh rule in the 1930s. And that has to cast a very long shadow, among survivors of that state-instituted horror and their descendants.

I still wonder at the absence of serious peace protestors. Why, one might even hazard a supposition that the Biden administration really and truly wants a nuclear war, as an excuse to crush any of this insurrection talk. Wartime measures, for the good of the nation – that’s always been a fine pretext for crushing domestic opposition. And our current American ruling class certainly wouldn’t shed any tears over the deaths of flyover country, conservative middle- or working-class Americans – their open contempt for ordinary citizens can’t even be hidden any more.
Was the blowing up of the Nordstream pipelines deliberate or accidental? That’s one of those elements which falls into the category of known unknowns. The blogger Lawdog (whose Africa tales of his youth, growing up as the dependent of an oil industry manager are freaking hilarious) postulated an industrial accident. Now if we had a national news media worth anything, reporters would be taking Lawdog’s suggestion to as many oil and gas industry experts as they could get ahold of, asking them for their opinions. Alas, too many reporters for the national media who aren’t Salena Zito, are instead expensively educated twenty-somethings who don’t know anyone who drives a pickup truck … and very likely many of those experienced oil industry experts do drive a pickup truck and live way outside of the Acela Corridor. Just too infra dig to talk to one of those icky people, y’know.
Another known unknown – that retention and recruiting in our own military is collapsing. That last withdrawal from Afghanistan was a debacle, and the current fixation on DEI initiatives, dodgy Covid vaccinations and general incompetence among generals is doing a number on morale and effectiveness among the troops. Exactly how deep morale among our own armed forces has collapsed, right along with retention and recruiting is a deep dark secret. Probably one would have to take pliers to the fingernails of our current Secretary of Defense to get any straight answers at all … but the sense that my daughter and I get through our various veteran networks does not give any cause for reassurance.
And then there are the unknown unknowns… comment as you wish.

36 thoughts on “Known Knowns, Known Unknowns, Et Cetera”

  1. DEI should always be put in the proper order — DIE.

    But to the point — none of us know what is really happening in the Ukraine. We know that the corrupt Kiev Krew lie through their teeth all the time. We know that the Russian side never reports their setbacks. We also know that Russia started off with a relatively light approach. Only now are they beginning to adopt the standard US/NATO approach of bombing the civilians back to the Stone Age — see Serbia, Libya.

    Russia’s great miscalculation was probably that they did not realize how deeply the Biden family corruption was bedded in the Kiev Krew — and that consequently the US Administration would send $Billions it does not have and weapons it cannot spare to support the Kiev crowd. Russia probably also expected more international surprise when we all found out that there were something like 30 US-funded Fauci-labs actively generating who-knows-what in the Ukraine. Without that incredible (& unexpected) level of support, Kiev would have come to the negotiating table months ago … and tens of thousands of lives would have been saved.

    Lawdog’s hypothesis about the four (4!) pipeline explosions is arrant nonsense, not worthy of any serious consideration. The simple test of Cui Bono points to the Biden crime family as being responsible, in a clumsy effort to remove from the Germans any temptation to get sensible, unilaterally remove the sanctions on Russian gas, and encourage all parties to come to the negotiating table. “Our Guys” want war, the bigger the better. “Our Guys” are no longer the Good Guys, which does not bode well for any of us peons.

  2. I’m going for the most simple explanation – that the pipeline burst due to poor/no maintenance, and/or corruption.

  3. The Nord Stream footage now being shown via the Norwegians (a fairly trustworthy bunch as these things go) shows a 50 yard section of pipeline destroyed. Basically gone. That sounds a bit more like an internal boom than an explosive charge placed along side. What, did some undersea drone operated by guys with unusual accents just seed limpet mines along a section half the length of a football field? Then do it again in other places? Did the lines have enough boom juice in them for this large a secondary explosion?

  4. The pictures I saw showed the line splits are facing outward, which shows the explosion was internal.
    Lawdog was 100% correct.

  5. I was going to say; “As far as the pipeline is concerned, video or it didn’t happen.”

    Well here’s some:

    The metal looks to bent from the inside out, but remember that it was under pressure so that might not mean anything about where the explosion, if any, occurred. The Swedes seem to believe it was deliberate and they have a better view than I do.

    Don’t forget what you know that just ain’t so. Maybe one of Rumsfeld’s biggest blind spots.

  6. The pipeline was at 3,500 PSI, there’s a better chance that a fairly small hole would cause a fracture to propagate up the pipeline until the pressure dissipated than a 50 meter bomb. And really, why bother with something that big when any hole will be sufficient to shut the pipeline down for a long time, if not permanently.

    There’s a long list of entities that could put a fairly small bomb in fairly shallow water, remember, it’s just sitting there on the sea floor, I wouldn’t bet you couldn’t do it with a heavy enough anchor. Enough localized stress and the internal pressure would do the rest.

  7. In re: the Nord Stream footage mentioned by Tacitus. While the issue is far from settled, if it was an explosive charge or charges placed on, under, or alongside, what you would see would be a round crater on the seabed, and the edges of where the pipeline was pierced pushed into the pipeline. If Lawdog’s hypothesis was correct, the destructive means would be a pipeline sized plug of solid, very frozen Methane Hydrate accelerated to bullet speed and punching through where the pipe was not straight. This would leave something approximating a straight trench in the seabed, or possibly a series if it skipped along the bottom for a while. And the edges of where the pipeline was pierced would be pushed out of the pipeline. The footage released is limited data, and more is needed. We shall have to wait for it. However, we know that there were months of no regular maintenance that would prevent such plugs, and that trying to do it from only one side without the cooperation of the other is a long, delicate procedure that frequently fails. Betting against Russian maintenance being done properly when things are working properly is a good bet. When they are trying to do something that they are not used to doing, is delicate, and perhaps on a dictated too short timeline has worse odds. We shall see.

    What I really wanted to note, however, is somewhat ancient history. What became Russian civilization and an empire actually started in Kiev. Viking tribes went up and down European rivers, alternately pillaging and trading, as much as they crossed oceans . . . to trade or pillage. One Viking group, known as the Rus, took the town of Kiev, settled there, and became known as the Kievan Rus. And under the Rus, Kiev grew and became more powerful and the overlord of the cities and towns around.

    Incidentally, some of the Rus went on down the river to Constantinople after Kiev became Christian [another long story] in the 800’s and helped found the Byzantine Emperor’s personal guard and were known then as the Varangian Rus.

    One of the areas controlled by Kiev was the Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal. In 1147 was the first written mention of the village of Moscow on the western border of Vladimir-Suzdal. It was controlled by Vladimir-Suzdal, and Vladimir-Suzdal was controlled by Kiev. So Moscow was controlled by Kiev.

    In 1240 the Mongols under Batu Khan, with my online namesake as an advisor, knocked on Kiev’s doors. Actually, it appears that they came seeking peaceful submission. The Prince of Kiev’s response was anything but submissive. It came down to Kievan peasants with sticks, rocks, and holy icons -v- Mongol bows and horses. After defeating them in the field, and then besieging Kiev, it surrendered and got squashed.

    When the Golden Horde was done, it ruled ALL the Kievan territory and subordinates. They were not into direct occupation and policing. What they would do is every few years they would call all the rulers of the subordinate cities to a meeting on the steppes. There the various Princes would compete. What they would compete for was to act as the Vichy overlord of their fellow Slavs, and the competition was about who would best oppress their own people for the benefit of the Mongols, with said Mongols being on call to slaughter anyone who resisted.

    The winner and champion almost always was the by-then Principality of Moscow. This affects all of the cultures of the Slavic peoples that deal with Moscow/Russia. Eventually, the Mongols were finally chased out, with Moscow being predominant in 1480.

    Remember I said that Kiev, and its subjects became Christian in the 800’s. Specifically they were Byzantine Christian. About the same time that the Mongols were chased out, Constantinople fell to the Muslims. Constantinople both politically and theologically regarded itself as the “Second Rome”. After the fall of Constantinople, Moscow believed and declared itself to be the “Third Rome”. And again, that is a long story.

    In short form though, Moscow [Russia] and Kiev [Ukraine] have a tremendously complex and intertwined history. There are ties of blood, faith, and history, and there are divisions of blood, faith, history, and ideology. Since they are at open war, whatever happens is going to be messy, and either side may be motivated by things that we have no conception of, but at the moment seems critical to them.

    Subotai Bahadur

  8. Anent the Muscovite-Kievan relationship, and the memories and motivations of that part of the world, the late John Lukacs was blunt: the peoples of the former Russian-Soviet sphere had suffered under Germans and Russians alike.

    The difference is that they all hated, respected, and admired the Germans, but merely hated Russians.

  9. “The pipeline was at 3,500 PSI”

    “Nord Stream designed the pipeline with three different design pressure sections (220, 200 and 177.5 bar)”

    [Google search URL clipped by Jonathan]

  10. I find it not credible that three out of four pipelines would suddenly explode within 17 hours of each other, because of supposedly poor Russian maintenance.

    Did they somehow maintain the fourth line properly? If not, why hasn’t that one blown up too?

    Of course, it’s ridiculous to think that they’d all fail at about the same time- but, oops, three of them already have, somehow.

    Nordstream-2 is brand new and never used. I wonder just what sort of maintenance needs to be done right away in a line engineered to carry methane at 3500psig deep under water, simply to prevent an apparent explosion significant enough to be detected on a seismograph many miles away.

    I’ll second the statement that the Lawdog hypothesis is nonsense.

  11. A considerable portion of the preparation of gas for transport is the removal of ALL of the water that is usually present in the gas as it’s produced. First at the well head before it enters the gathering line and then , before it enters the transport pipeline. Problems with hydrate are exclusively concerned with deep undersea wells where the gas passes through very cold strata. Further, this pipeline was at a stand still, so there is no way to transport something down it.

    It was pressurized, so a hole, either from a weld defect, bomb or anything else could propagate, probably in both directions from the initial breach. It is about four feet in diameter and I’ll bet a properly placed shaped charge wouldn’t leave a noticeable crater in the seabed after a few hundred tons of gas exited the pipeline at supersonic velocity. We’re either going to have to take the word of those on the scene, doing the investigation, or not.

  12. Above commenters point out a known known, multiple explosive cuts in multiple pipelines in near simultaneous timeframe pretty much rules out coincidental accidents. As for the violence of the damage, let’s remember the physical incompressibility of water. That’s why torpedoes work so well, why their explosions throw enormous ships up in the air, pierce the armor of the heaviest battleships, snap the keels of the the largest ships. Virtual impossibility of coincidence plus known effects of high explosive underwater argues against accident.

  13. At those pressures, the pipeline’s gas and entrained water are above the critical point and so exist in only one phase, neither gas nor liquid but solid plugs of water would not exist.

    This was the concept of the proposals years ago for an Alaskan gas pipeline. The cost of removing the entrained liquids on the North Slope was prohibitive but by operating the pipeline above the critical point, >3000 PSIG as I recall, the entrained liquids would remain a gas and then could be separated at the port of Valdez.

    My boss at the time at Brown & Root, Don Hale, who died a few years after this proposal, came up with the idea and promoted it. However, the costs were still prohibitive, I recall it was about $6 per million BTU when the world price was much less.

    I do not know at what pressures these lines were maintained. I am more than willing to believe poor maintenance by the Russians combined with no gas flowing could have caused a rupture in these pipelines but so many in such a short time? seems pretty unlikely. Who knows? My bet is on sabotage but I, like many others are speculating as it is speculation as to who did the sabotage if it was sabotage. Who ever ordered this is an evil person as the potential losses are incalcuable.

  14. I would place my bet on hydrate plugs having formed in both pipelines due to a lack of steady flow of gas. You do recall that Nordstream 1 was down for “maintenance” to pressure EU and Nordstream 2 had yet to be certified for full production. Start pressurizing the pipeline and realize the plug. Drunk Russian bosses ain’t happy nor are the oligarchs running the company ( they don’t want to take flying lessons out a window). Orders come down. Get that gas moving. NOW! But it will take three weeks or so to safely dissolve the plugs so the gas can flow. The hell with safety, the boss said RIGHT NOW! I don’t care how you do it. JUST DO IT NOW!!! Drunk Russian tech pass around the vodka bottle, crank up the heater and the pressure valve on the pipelines. Then go back to their vodka drinking. First pipeline blows. turns the valves down. well we still have the 2nd one. 17 hours later. Opps. Hey Ivan you have any more of that vodka?

  15. No hydrate because , no water. Here’s a good article, including a phase diagram on methane hydrate.

    Again: no water, no flow= no possible mechanism for hydrate formation inside the pipeline. If hydrate existed on or immediately below the sea floor, which would depend entirely on the temperatures and depth, the damage to the pipeline would be from an eruption displacing the pipeline. Given the pressure inside the pipeline, it might be difficult to tell the difference from a bomb. Unstable sediments would be one of the things you’d think would have been considered and avoided when they routed the pipeline.

  16. who had for centuries a tradition of making war … enthusiastically
    The Cossacks also had a tradition of allying with all sorts of people their fellow tribes considered the enemy, and stabbing their allies in the back at crucial moments. The Cossacks and Scots have a lot in common, IMO.

  17. Lawdog’s ridiculous hypothesis plays right into the prejudices of those who really truly want to believe that the Russians are all drunk incompetents — the same drunk incompetents who operate the largest gas pipeline network in the world and who for years have been doing something which the US could not do … launching US astronauts to the US-funded “International” Space Station. The world can be a dangerous place if we let our biases ignore Known Knowns!

    To get back to the thrust of Sgt. Mom’s post, the biggest Known Known is that the consequences of the foolish Western sanctions against Russia are going to be serious & long-lasting. The big one is food supply. European fertilizer production is shutting down due to the lack of affordable Russian gas. Without fertilizer, the planet can support approximately half its current population. Since food grows according to the seasons, the impact of the loss of such a large part of global fertilizer supplies will not be felt fully until next Fall.

    Another major Known Known is that the Biden* Mal-Administration is simultaneously sanctioning critical industries in China such as chip-making — the same China that supplies electronic equipment and much else to the US. The wisdom of driving Russia & China into an anti-US alliance escapes any reasonable person.

    Let’s not even get into the foolishness of the US turning against Saudi Arabia and the UAE, without whose oil exports the global price of gasoline will go to the Moon.

    Just like it is incredible that 4 separate gas lines of two different vintages should all suffer from maintenance problems on the same day, it seems unlikely that even Biden* could accidentally manage to turn so much of the world against the US.

  18. I still wonder at the absence of serious peace protestors.

    I don’t.

    It’s because the ruling class has successfully convinced the kind of people who would be “serious peace protesters” that the geopolitical politics of the Russia-Ukraine War of 2022-? are perfectly congruous with current year domestic politics in the Western world, and furthermore, that being anti-Russia/Putin is the Western social liberal thing to do. And it’s also the LGBTQ-BLT-BBQ-LOL-y thing to do. To wit: All the Ukrainian flags flying next to rainbow flags in the LGBTQ-BLT-BBQ-LOL parts of Western cities right now.

    That’s why the formerly peaceknick left have turned into the biggest warmongers and warhawks and military spending hawks.

    It’s similar to the way the Western left has totally sold out their previous economic populism for a pronoun. Not thirty pieces of silver, a pronoun. Or, as the alternate universe Thomas Frank might have titled his book, What’s the Matter With Seattle?

  19. GWB comments on Uke (Cossack) and Scot unreliability. Huh.

    Perfidious Albion, anyone? And I’m sure there are Vietnamese, Iraqis, and Afghans who could point out some betrayals . . .

    The first thing to understand about power politics is that changing sides at the opportune moment is the way to survive and thrive.

    When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, the “French” Army included large contingents from (among others) Prussia and Austria, who had been defeated by the French, along with all manner of German minors (Saxons, Westphalians, etc.). Bavarians stayed home but acted as France’s constable.

    In 1813, patriotic Prussian officers defied the French alliance and their wishy-washy king and switched sides; the Austrians went from French auxiliary to neutral to French enemy, and when France was invaded in 1814 there were Russians, Prussians, Austrians, Bavarians, Saxons, etc all doing their part for their cut.

    The same story could be told about the major wars since.

    Medals and promotions all around. All completely honorable and no hard feelings. It’s the way things work.

  20. In addition to to what Rumsfeld I would also add the dictum of “It’s not necessarily what you don’t know that will kill you, but rather what you think is true but isn’t” Please save me that the refutation to that is the kid who is unaware of what happens when you stick screwdriver into the breaker box

    We can apply Rumsfeld to two basic areas of inquiry – competition (especially diplomatic and military strategy) and investigation and interpretation of specific events. When it comes to competition we have a problem in seeing such events as a game of chess. Such a comparison has value because that game does require one to plan their actions several moves in advance. However in terms of Rumsfeld it suffers one fatal flaw and that is all pieces on the board are known, there is no queen hidden ready to parachute onto the board or flying monkeys ready to descend from the sky like a SBD Dauntless to take out the board. (cue a Calvin Ball analogy here ) The game retains an aura predictability as seen by attempts to develop computer programs that can compete against grandmasters. There aren’t any unknown unknowns and really few known unknowns. Even with poker with incomplete information, you still know how many cards and of what type are in a deck.

    When it military strategy the first example on an unknown unknown comes to mind was in the Civil War in the last week of June, 1863 when Lee gave the Army of the Potomac the slip marched north toward Pennsylvania, Hooker did just not know where Lee was he didn’t even think there was a problem in the first place. When Putin prepared to invade Ukraine, it appeared that he thought he had the known/unknown dichotomy solved at least to his satisfaction that any unknown unknowns weren’t really relevant. What is interesting is that in our NCA and supporting military/intelligence communities we still don’t have an adequate grasp of the unknown unknowns. In fact all of the resources that we have plowed into signal intelligence has only hindered our ability to adequately plan because we have developed the false belief that just because we can see or hear something that there is nothing else worth seeing or listening to. Those assumptions, blind spots, can be exploited and the Russians have a word for that (Maskirovka)

    Relate that to our Ukraine policy as you will, but in any given interaction by definition the other side gets a say and you cannot know all the possibilities (also see “Mike Tyson, Plan”) When you aren’t sure about the terrain that you are entering you approach with caution and do not unnecessarily concede resources but keep options open and maintain both a strategic and tactical reserve. An example here would be the current strategic situation in Ukraine.

    The other part of this are investigations into past actions, in this case the Nord Stream pipelines. A good detective novel (I’m thinking like a Bernie Gunther) points to two main problems in any investigation, an incomplete information set and false assumptions based on the ABC principle (Assume Nothing, Believe Nothing, Challenge and Check Everything) The only things we know for sure about the actual Nord Stream action is that the pipes burst, that it could have been sabotage or malfunction, and that if it was sabotage no one is too interested in either claiming they did it or finding out who did. We also have some assumptions about possible motives, we have some theories on how the malfunction or sabotage might have happened, but all of that is speculation though I will add some of the speculation in this comment thread seems well informed and grounded.

    One problem is obvious and that is for most news stories we follow, the known unknowns. We just do not not have access to the complete set of primary information and are reliant on those who have gained it second-hand or worse. This is a common problem in intelligence-gathering and analysis in any layered system. The other problem is that we do not know the scope of the game, we saw a board with pieces, we have information on what’s happening on that board, but we aren’t sure if there isn’t something more (unknown unknowns)

    The unknown unknowns in any investigation is what drives wild assumptions. When we encounter a Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark, our rationalist mind looks for an explanation. In the past, given our limited time and resources, we would accept an explanation for these occurrences from a trusted elite agent such as the media or government official. At least we would trust those people up to a certain point because while they might be biased we assume that we are all roughly on the same team and want somewhat the same things (a job, food to eat, someplace where old heroes can walk safely down the street) Now given the Russian collusion hoax, Biden lap-top, and origins of COVID – things that we once dismissed as conspiracies but now proven largely true – we find that those we trusted have systemically lied to us for their own purposes so that not only has the universe of unknowns grown, but our ability to resolve any of it has shrunk.

    We here are not sure what happened to Nord Stream. If we use the ABC methodology not only are are at least compelled to analyze that which may seem to be a conspiracy theory but the burden of proof to dismiss such theories has grown. When you look at the current Democrat-Media campaign against MAGA, you see that much of the substance behind is to dismiss them as deplorable conspiratorial election denialists. In other words our current political divide isn’t Right/Left, Republican/Democrat, but about we consider Known and Unknown

  21. Cousin Eddie
    October 20, 2022 at 11:15 am

    It’s not simply turning on your ally. The Scots and Cossacks seem to have had a profound inability to hold together as “nations” when fighting for independence and such. Scots clan in-fighting destroyed them every time they were on the verge of achieving some semblance of independence and national unity. The Cossacks seem to have had the same trait – they’re on the verge of achieving great victory and becoming more unified… and some hetman gets upset and stompy and goes off to fight with the Turks instead of against them. Or the Rus. Or the Poles.

    I’m not saying those are unique traits in human nature. Merely that they seem to afflict those two cultures more than some others. (I have not studied other cultures’ history as much. This could be true of other groups, as well.)

  22. Trying to parse the morality of wartime actions is difficult. More so here because we are not technically at war with Russia. I would not put it past the current dotard to blow up the pipeline or more plausibly to look the other way – eating an ice cream cone somewhere – while somebody else did it with our tacit approval. Or active involvement. Hey, stuxnet to be you Russia.

    If so why should we be surprised when something similar happens on our end? FancyBear or other GRU affiliated hackers could certainly cause a few well timed power failures during the coldest week of January.

    This is dabbling in dangerous stuff for all sides. I would rather like it to be vodka induced ineptitude on a Chernobyl scale. I’d also like a pony for Christmas…

  23. Fair comment GWB (and I muddled the Bavarian bit, a bit).

    Think too of the Poles, whose ‘liberum veto’ was national suicide.

    OTOH, once the Scots had settled down under the Georges, they were over-represented in “British” imperialism when it came to officials, officers, and engineers, (inventing the modern world on the way, according to some).

    I don’t have any strong opinion about the pipeline business–I know some of the things I don’t know–but have no good reason not to believe it was the US Organs (Deep State.)

    Nice to see another Bernie Gunther fan here.

    Finally, honesty compels me to say that my man Martin van Creveld has gone utterly mush-brained about Biden and the Organs. Sad to read.

  24. When discussing Ten-Percent-For-The-Big-Guy finances you do need to distinguish between Russian-dominated pre-Maiden Crackhead-Biden-On-The-Board Ukraine and post-Maiden Joe-bragging-about-threatening-the-prosecutor-to-quash-investigations Ukraine, and it does sound like Ukrainian governance is at least slowly moving in the right direction before February 24.

    Post February 24, attriting the Formerly-Red-Army using someone else’s headcount sounds like a deal to me.

  25. Didn’t some “Russians Hackers” shut down one of our pipelines a while back?

    Eye for an eye you know. Just wondering…..

  26. “reminding me once again of the great sage, Donald Rumsfeld, regarding what we know, and what we know that we don’t know … and what we really don’t know that we don’t know.”

    Made my day. ;)

  27. Lawdog’s ridiculous hypothesis plays right into the prejudices of those who really truly want to believe that the Russians are all drunk incompetents

    Well, there is history. Chernobyl anyone ? Nuclear submarines?

    On August 10, the submarine was in the process of being refueled. Reportedly, the reactor lid—complete with new nuclear fuel rods—was lifted as part of the process. A beam was placed over the lid to prevent it from being lifted any higher, but incompetent handling apparently resulted in the rods being lifted too high into the air. (One account has a wave generated by a passing motor torpedo boat rocking the submarine in its berth, also raising the rods too high.) This resulted in the starboard reactor achieving critical mass, followed by a chain reaction and explosion.

    The explosion blew out the reactor’s twelve-ton lid—and fuel rods—and ruptured the pressure hull. The reactor core was destroyed, and eight officers and two enlisted men standing nearby were killed instantly. The blast threw debris was thrown into the air, and a plume of fallout 650 meters wide by 3.5 kilometers long traveled downwind on the Dunay Peninsula. More debris and the isotope Cobalt-60 were thrown overboard and onto the nearby docks.

    Yup. There is a history.

  28. or we might revisit the USS Maine in Havana harbor, it turned out it was a boiler explosion, not the actions of a revanchist Spanish naval faction, of course the statements from the regime suggest otherwise,

    they weren’t actually Russian, fwiw, the dog that didn’t bark, yes miss luzhkov nee baturina, did chip into hunter’s piggy bank, as did certain errant kazakh oligarchs, and other parties,

  29. or the sverdlovsk smallpox leak, although that was farther in the past, that was the domain of biopreparat,

    it didn’t move the needle that far, the drones the iranians shot down in 2012, have been reengineered for the latest wave of attacks on kiev, which has excalated some steps in terms of maneuvers, on both sides,

  30. Mike K: “Well, there is history.”

    You mean like the US company which blew up its chemical plant in Bhopal, India with dreadful consequences? Or the repeated US Space Shuttle disasters? Or that US gas plant which blew up not so long ago? That history?

    The Known Known is that accidents happen, and disastrous accidents will keep on happening no matter how hard we humans try to prevent them. The Known Known is that those accidents will happen for all kinds of reasons to US installations as well as to Russian installations.

    With Our Betters in the US engaging in what is effectively an illegal undeclared war against Russia, we should remember Sun Tsu’s admonitions against underestimating the “enemy”. The haters who tell themselves that the Russians can’t do anything right are going to get us all killed.

  31. one can argue it both ways, we shouldn’t pretend they are 10 feet tall, they have advantages, we have bloodied them, in rather personal ways, general gerasimov for example who was too cavalier with the means vs the ends of the recovery project,

  32. miguel: “we shouldn’t pretend they [Russians] are 10 feet tall”

    Exactly! As Sun Tsu said, we have to know our “enemy”, and we have to know ourselves. We need to be realistic. And one of the basic questions we need to ask is — What are we fighting for?

    Are we fighting so that a corrupt, non-democratic clique in Kiev can get back to their 8 year long pogrom against fellow Ukrainians in the West, murdering them by the thousand?

    Another of the basic questions is — Having decided that a critical National interest is at stake requiring us to fight at the cost of our treasure and our lives, what is the victory we are fighting for? Victory certainly does not look like pushing Russia into a corner and wiping all of us in the US off the map through a global nuclear war.

  33. exactly now comparing to their tried and true tactic of zachista, which is search and destroy, that they practiced in chechnya, and filtration centers, this has been relatively mild, I still say gerasimov miscalculated how many men and how much time it would take to accomplish this mission, but the regime has made it quite clear, Putin cannot backdown, anymore than Milosevic, (that was the pair of wars of choice, we engaged in, while al queda was on the march, and we served as their aircover, effectively,

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