China is using its world’s largest fishing fleet as surrogate Navy

Adam Pasick reports for Defense One, July 28, 2014, that China has the world’s largest commercial fishing fleet, totaling 695,555 vessels. That fleet is more than double the size (pdf, pg. 36) of the next biggest, from Japan. That’s primarily because China eats a lot of fish per capita, and catches more fish than any other country in the world by a huge margin.

But it’s not just about keeping Chinese bellies full. According to an excellent in-depth report from Reuters, Beijing is increasingly equipping fishing boats with geolocation devices, filling them up with subsidized fuel, and dispatching them to the disputed waters of the South China Sea, where they are clashing with rival fishermen from Vietnam and the Philippines.

When China stationed an oil rig near the Paracel Islands in May, provoking violent anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam, Chinese fishing boats were part of the ad hoc armada protecting the rig (which was later withdrawn). At one point a Chinese fishing vessel rammed and sunk one of its Vietnamese counterparts (paywall), according to video evidence published by Hanoi.

South China Sea

“It’s pretty clear that the Chinese fishing fleet is being encouraged to fish in disputed waters,” Alan Dupont, a professor of international security at the University of New South Wales in Australia, told Reuters. “I think that’s now become policy as distinct from an opportunistic thing, and that the government is encouraging its fishing fleet to do this for geopolitical as well as economic and commercial reasons.”

China has laid claim to about 90% of the South China Sea, most notably the tiny island chains know as the Spratlys and Paracels, which are claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam, respectively, along with many other countries in the region. The disputes encompasses issues of sovereignty and energy exploration, but it’s also about fishing rights. And as China’s near coastal waters become increasingly over-fished, its vast armada of fishing boats will have to travel even further to fill their nets, to sate their countrymen’s ever-growing hunger for seafood.

By 2030, the UN projects that China’s fish consumption will increase more than 60% from 2008 levels, to 57.4 million tonnes (63.3 million tons)—more than a third of the global total (pdf, pg. 205).

See also:

~StMA

China’s space station veiled in secrecy

Tiangong

Steve Weinz writes in The Week, July 29, 2014, that months after its scheduled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, China’s first space station, Tiangong (“heavenly palace”), boosted into a higher orbit and is still speeding around Earth, doing … what, exactly?

No one outside of China’s popular but opaque space program seems to know.

Tiangong first blasted off atop a Long March 2F booster in 2011.

During spaceflights Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10, three-person Chinese crews lived aboard Tiangong‘s small habitat for as long as 15 days at a stretch.

Chinese astronauts in space stationChinese astronauts inside space station Tiangong (l to r) Zhang Xiaoguang, Wang Yaping, and Nie Haisheng

All Chinese astronauts are members of the armed forces. Two-time astronaut Nie Haisheng received his promotion to general just prior to a Tiangong flight last year. The Chinese military provides much of the infrastructure and training for the civil manned space program. This is nothing unusual, as the histories of the American and Soviet space programs prove.

But China’s space efforts are making other spacefaring nations nervous. Beijing wasn’t invited to the International Space Station partly because Washington worried the Chinese might steal American technology. And like other space powers, China actively seeks military advantage in space.

Like its companion Shenzhou — “heavenly vessel” — spacecraft, Tiangong reflects its Soviet design heritage, its layout resembling Soviet space stations. The bus-sized Tiangong’s “base block” core module is based an old Soviet space-station part. Altogether, astronauts have around 15 cubic meters of pressurized space inside the space staton. Tiangong would make a great orbital target for rendezvous-and-dock tests of China’s forthcoming cargo spacecraft

Or it could be doing other things.

The U.S. has its own mysterious X-37B robot space plane, the purpose of which is unknown.

During the 1960s, the U.S. Air Force spent several years and several billions of dollars pursuing a military space station. Had the government not cancelled the project, so-called Manned Orbiting Laboratories (MOL) and their two-man crews would have shot into orbit aboard beefed-up Titan missiles for month-long surveillance missions. After the 1969 cancellation, the Keyhole series of spy satellites adopted MOL’s eyes-in-the-sky mission and its huge imaging systems. Drone space stations, if you will.

Meanwhile, as their own nation’s moonshot faltered, the Soviet leadership decided to accelerate space-station efforts. Several military stations flew under cover of the civil Salyut program. One mission — Salyut 3, in orbit from June 1974 to January 1975 — successfully hosted one crew and test-drove giant spy scopes and even a space cannon. Like the Americans, the Soviets found greater success adapting these big man-rated modules into unmanned platforms. Between 1987 and 1992, two drone Almaz stations fitted with large side-looking radars gave the USSR a last, clear look from up high.

The Chinese are putting a lot of effort and hardware in space, but only they know what they are doing up there. It’s clear Tiangong is more than a scientific habitat.

See also:

~StMA

Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield intercepts 90% of Hamas’ rockets

West Bank & Gaza A year after Hamas’ seizure of power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the Palestinian State was split between Fatah in the West Bank, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In the present renewed military conflict between Israel and the Hamas Palestinian terrorists (1) of the Gaza Strip, Hamas has not had much success with its rockets fired toward Tel Aviv and other major population centers in Israel. According to the Israeli Army, 90% of the rockets have been intercepted and shot down.

_____________

Note:

(1) Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel and a number of Western and non-Western governments, including the United States, Canada, the European Union, Jordan, Egypt and Japan

_____________

According to Barbara Ordman, who lives in Ma’ale Adumim on the West Bank, “one of the terrorists from Gaza was reported to say when asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets more effectively: ‘We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air.’”

Rather than God changing the path of those rockets “in mid-air,” the credit should be given to the impressive success of Israel’s 5 “Iron Dome” antimissile batteries:

Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, with generous U.S. funding. (The U.S. has “contributed” more than $1 billion to Iron Dome.) The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 2.5 to 43 miles away.

Iron DomeThe “Iron Dome” in action, launching an interceptor at an incoming missile

In spite of U.S. defense officials’ cautioning that an Israeli short-range antimissile system would be “doomed to fail,” Iron Dome was operational and first deployed on March 27, 2011 near Beersheba. 11 days later, on April 7, 2011, the system for the first time successfully intercepted a Grad rocket launched from Gaza. By November 2012, Israeli officials said Iron Dome had intercepted and shot down 90% or 400+ rockets launched from Gaza, which would have landed in populated areas. That led defense reporter Mark Thompson to call Iron Dome “the most-effective, most-tested missile shield the world has ever seen.”

Go here for a dissenting view that Iron Dome works just a small fraction of the time, according to a detailed analysis carried out by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Iron Dome’s manufacturer claims the air-defense system will operate day and night, under adverse weather conditions, and can respond to multiple threats simultaneously. Iron Dome has three central components:

  • A detection and tracking radar system built by Israeli defense company Elta and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces).
  • A battle management and weapon control (BMC) center built by Israeli software company mPrest Systems.
  • A missile firing unit built by Rafael which launches the Tamir interceptor missile, equipped with electro-optic sensors and several steering fins for high maneuverability. The missile is built by Rafael.

On January 17, 2014, Barack Obama signed the fiscal year 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act that includes $235 million for Israel’s Iron Dome system, with an agreement by the Israeli government to spend more than half of the $235 million in the United States. In July 2014 it was announced that Raytheon will be the major U.S. partner in co-production of major components for the Iron Dome’s Tamir intercepting missile.

Iron Dome does have its detractors.

Writing in The Washington Post on July 14, 2014, Yoav Fromer, who teaches politics and history at Tel Aviv University, cautions:

…over time, Iron Dome may do them more harm than good. What looks like a tactical miracle may, accidentally, help engender a grave strategic blunder. Technology can mislead us by providing a false sense of security. But it cannot – and must not – become a substitute for effective diplomacy. And Iron Dome’s ability to protect Israelis from periodic rocket attacks so far will never remove the strife and discontent that has produced the motivation to ruthlessly fire them in the first place.

Iron Dome was originally engineered to defend Israelis from rockets launched in Lebanon and Gaza. But what was once a tactical defense mechanism to temporarily protect the civilian population has become a strategy unto itself. In that way, it may actually undermine Israel’s long-term security. By temporarily minimizing the dangers posed by Hamas and Hezbollah, it distracts us from seeking a broader regional political solution that could finally incapacitate these terror networks and make systems such as Iron Dome moot.

Amir Peretz, Israeli defense minister from 2006 to 2007 and widely seen as the godfather of Iron Dome, echoes Fromer’s view. As reported by The Washington Post on July 14, 2014, Peretz recognizes that Iron Dome is no more than a stopgap measure, for “In the end, the only thing that will bring true quiet is a diplomatic solution.”

That being said, one wonders, however, how there can be “a diplomatic solution” when Hamas consistently and continues to call for nothing less than the obliteration of the State of Israel from the face of the earth.

~StMA

Website invites bids to assassinate Obama and other world elites

The Powers That Be

The initials TPTB stand for The Powers That Be — an expression of the helplessness and alienation of some people who believe that, despite democratic political institutions, the world is controlled by a group of elites, both public and concealed in shadows.

(See “Secret Group Controls the World” for a sober and sobering view of TPTB.)

Now, populist resentment against TPTB has found disturbing expression in a website that, in the guise of a dead pool (1), invites bids to assassinate world leaders, including U.S. president Barack Obama.

Andy Greenberg reports for Forbes, Nov. 18, 2013, that he received an encrypted email from an individual using the alias Kuwabatake Sanjuro (2) about a website he’s created called Assassination Market, which enables anyone to put a bounty on the head of any elite by using bitcoins.(3) If someone on Assassination Market’s hit list is killed, the assassin collects  the accumulated bitcoins, so long as he or she can prove to Sanjuro that s/he is the perpetrator.

_________________

Notes:

(1) A dead pool, aka death pool, is a game of prediction which involves guessing when someone will die. Sometimes, money is involved in that the person who guessed correctly collects the financial “prize.”

(2) Kuwabatake Sanjuro is the name of the rōnin (masterless samurai) played by Toshiro Mifuni in the 1961 Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo.

(3) The Oxford Dictionary defines bitcoin as “A type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.” According to Wikipedia, payments are recorded in a public ledger using bitcoins as its unit of account without a central repository or single administrator, which has led the US Treasury to call bitcoin a decentralized virtual currency.

_________________

Sanjuro told Greenberg he was provoked by revelations of mass surveillance by the NSA exposed in a series of leaks by agency contractor Edward Snowden: “Being forced to alter my every happy memory during internet activity, every intimate moment over the phone with my loved ones, to also include some of the people I hate the most listening in, analysing the conversation, was the inspiration I needed to embark on this task. After about a week of muttering ‘they must all die’ under my breath every time I opened a newspaper or turned on the television, I decided something had to be done. This is my contribution to the cause.”

Sanjuro said he accepts only user-suggested targets “who have initiated force against other humans. More specifically, only people who are outside the reach of the law because it has been subverted and corrupted, and whose victims have no other way to take revenge than to do so anonymously.” On the Assassination Market website, Sanjuro wrote “This should primarily be a tool for retribution. When someone uses the law against you and/or infringes upon your negative rights to life, liberty, property, trade or the pursuit of happiness, you may now, in a safe manner from the comfort of your living room, lower their life-expectancy in return.”

Like other so-called “dark web” sites, Assassination Market runs on the anonymity network Tor, which is designed to prevent anyone from identifying the site’s users or Sanjuro himself. Sanjuro’s decision to accept only Bitcoins is also intended to protect users, Sanjuro, and any potential assassins from being identified through their financial transactions. Bitcoins, after all, can be sent and received without necessarily tying them to any real-world identity. In the site’s instructions to users, Sanjuro suggests they run their funds through a “laundry” service to make sure the coins are anonymized before contributing them to anyone’s murder fund.

As for technically proving that an assassin is responsible for a target’s death, Assassination Market asks its killers to create a text file with the date of the death ahead of time, and to use a cryptographic function known as a hash to convert it to a unique string of characters. Before the murder, the killer then embeds that data in a donation of one bitcoin or more to the victim’s bounty. When a target is successfully murdered, he or she can send Sanjuro the text file, which Sanjuro hashes to check that the results match the data sent before the target’s death. If the text file is legitimate and successfully predicted the date of the killing, the sender must have been responsible for the murder, according to Sanjuro’s logic. Sanjuro says he’ll keep one percent of the payout himself as a commission for his services.

Sanjuro believes that if Assassination Market can persist and gain enough users, it will eventually enable the assassinations of enough politicians that no one would dare to hold office. He says he intends Assassination Market to destroy “all governments, everywhere. I believe it will change the world for the better. Thanks to this system, a world without wars, dragnet panopticon-style surveillance, nuclear weapons, armies, repression, money manipulation, and limits to trade is firmly within our grasp for but a few bitcoins per person. I also believe that as soon as a few politicians gets offed and they realize they’ve lost the war on privacy, the killings can stop and we can transition to a phase of peace, privacy and laissez-faire.”

When I first read Greenberg’s Forbes article on Assassination Market (AM) about 3 months ago, using my browser’s “private window” function, I had accessed the AM website, https://assmkedzgorodn7o.tor2web.blutmagie.de/. This was what the website said:

The Assassination Market

Anonymous, safe, secure, crowdfunded assassinations.

The concept is simple:

Someone adds a name to the list along with some information.
People add money to the dead pool.
Other people predict when that person will die, but the content of the prediction stays hidden until after the fact.
Correct predictions get the pool.

The hit list at the time had seven names. Top of the list was Ben Bernanke, then chairman of the Federal Reserve System. Barack Obama was second.

Name Country Status Pool Size
Ben Shalom Bernanke United States Alive ฿124.22
Barack Hussein Obama United States Alive ฿40.26
Keith Brian Alexander United States Alive ฿10.49
James R. Clapper, Jr. United States Alive ฿1.97
Eva Carin Beatrice Ask Sweden Alive ฿1.02
François Hollande France Alive ฿1.00
Jyrki Tapani Katainen Finland Alive ฿1.00

The website had detailed instructions on how to enter the pool, submit bitcoin payment, maintenance of anonymity via encryption, and an address to transfer the funds to, etc.

Making the prediction come true is entirely optional.
The person meets his untimely demise
I confirm the death through independent news sources, or whatever else I can think of. I’ll be very thorough. I may have problems with confirmations in foreign languages, so the person should be famous enough for at least one English news-source to report his or her death. This may take a few weeks, depending on the probability of fraud and the strength of the evidence.

If the person is missing, but strongly suspected to be dead, I wait for 5 years before allowing predictions for deaths in the 5 days after the person was last seen to be claimed.

Claim the correct prediction
Send me the plain text file matching the hash in the blockchain. If this is the only prediction, the money is paid instantly. If there are multiple, allow one month for other predictors to state their claim. Payout is manual and may take a while. When a new prediction gets claimed the month restarts if there are more of them. I take 1% of the pool for my trouble.

If the person dies with no predictions, the money is refunded. Payments without a refund address are considered donations. If there are outstanding predictions, I wait for claims for one year before refunding. If there are multiple accurate predictions, the pool is split into the number of days between the first prediction and the death, and each prediction gets an equal claim on all the days it has been valid. For example, if the pool is 500 BTC after my 1%, and there is one 5 day and one 3 day old prediction, the first gets 200 for the first two days and 150 for the other three. Days of validity includes both the day it was entered on and the day of death.

To a reader’s question of whether a person can be taken off the hit list, Sanjuro replied: “No. Once you’re on the list you’re on it until you die. Allowing this would complicate the protocol a lot and corrode trust in the system.”

In answer to another reader’s question “What if you’re found?,” Sanjuro wrote: “I take great pains to avoid discovery, but in that unfortunate event, if the system works, there are no traces that could lead back to any of my users. All the money will be confiscated by the state, and I will probably be killed or spend a considerable portion of my life in jail.”

Today, when I tried to access the Assassination Market market, I got this message:

Tor2web Error: Generic Sock Error

Sorry, we couldn’t serve the page you requested.

In his Forbes article, Greenberg wrote that he had contacted the Secret Service and the FBI to ask if they’re investigating Assassination Market, “and both declined to comment.”

Greenberg also noted that “the launch of Assassination Market may be ill-timed for Sanjuro, given law enforcement’s recent crackdown on the dark web. In August, the FBI used an exploit in Tor to take down the web hosting firm Freedom Hosting and arrest its founder Eric Eoin Marques, who is accused of offering his services to child pornography sites. And just last month, the FBI also seized the popular Bitcoin- and Tor-based black market for drugs known as Silk Road and arrested its alleged creator, Ross Ulbricht.”

It would appear that someone finally did get to Kuwabatabe Sanjuro.

In his Forbes article, Greenberg noted that there had been other crowd-funding assassination efforts before Sanjuro’s. Given that, no doubt there will be successors to Assassination Market, some of which may well be faux dark web sites deployed by TPTB to entrap wannabe political assassins. If you were TPTB, wouldn’t you do precisely that?

Caveat Emptor!

~StMA

Non-pilot to be new commander of US Air Force in Pacific

Instead of achievement or performance criteria, the U. S. military under Obama is making personnel decisions based on political criteria of “diversity.”

The latest case in point:

Although all previous Air Force combatant commanders in active large theaters of operation — the Pacific, Europe and Central Command — have been combat pilots, for the first time a non-career pilot has been nominated to be Commander of the U. S. Air Force in the Pacific.

She is Lt. Gen. Lori J. Robinson who, although she’s had more than 900 flight hours, is not a career or combat pilot.

Lt. Gen. Lori RobinsonLt. Gen. Lori J. Robinson

Rowan Scarborough reports for The Washington Times, July 17, 2014:

The White House has picked the first female general to head the Air Force in the Pacific, which will make her the first non-pilot to command air power in such a large theater of operation.

The Pentagon announced this week that Air Force Lt. Gen. Lori J. Robinson has been nominated for promotion to four-star general and as commander of Pacific Air Forces, the Air Force component of U.S. Pacific Command. It is a major combatant command whose air, ground and naval forces have broad responsibility for security in the Asia-Pacific region. Her nomination was sent to the Senate for confirmation.

Officials said pilots historically have commanded Air Force war-fighting components for the Pacific and for U.S. Air Forces Europe; Air Forces Central, which covers the Middle East and Afghanistan; and the 1st Air Force, which is part of Northern Command and protects U.S. skies.

Gen. Robinson is not a career pilot. Her military profession is air battle manager. She has served aboard the Air Force’s surveillance aircraft, the E-3 AWACs and E-8 JSTARS, and she was nominated for a promotion amid a drive for more diversity in the Pentagon.

A retired pilot said there is a reason the Air Force historically has put a pilot in charge of large combatant command Air Forces.

“It is because you make operational decisions that require the understanding of what you are going to ask pilots to execute in combat where the wrong decisions mean the difference between life and death,” the retired pilot said. “Now her vice commander and director of operations will be rated fighter pilots, but still she makes the decisions.”

Rose Richeson, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon, said, “The Air Force operates across three domains: air, space and cyberspace and provides capability and capacity in five core mission areas: Air and Space Superiority, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Rapid Global Mobility, Global Strike and Command and Control. Lt. Gen. Robinson has demonstrated knowledge and experience across the entire spectrum of these mission areas as well as recent operational application supporting coalition activities for United States Central Command.”

Gen. Robinson is now vice commander of Air Force Air Combat Command, which oversees the service’s fleet of bombers and fighters, and maintains readiness.

In the Pacific, she is replacing Gen. Herbert Carlisle, a career F-15 pilot who is assuming leadership of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

An Air Combat Command spokesman said career air battle managers, such as Gen. Robinson, “principally provide command and control in the battle space and aid combat aircraft in finding, identifying and engaging their targets. They provide pilots with a tactical picture, which increases their capability by enhancing situational awareness. ABMs also provide early warning for inbound enemy aircraft and direct friendly assets to intercept them.”

The Air Combat Command history office and Air Force representatives said all previous Air Force combatant commanders in active large theaters of operation — the Pacific, Europe and Central Command — have been combat pilots.

However, Gen. Robinson would not be the first female officer to command an Air Force component. From 2010 to 2012, Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, a career transport pilot, commanded the 17th Air Force, which was then the Air Force component for Africa Command. She led the air campaign against Libya in 2011. The 17th was disbanded in 2012. Today, a career F-15 pilot commands Air Forces Europe and Africa.

A career navigator heads U.S. Special Operations Command Air Forces. That component operates AC-130 gunships, drones, transports and other aircraft, but does not conduct air campaigns.

Gen. Robinson was nominated amid a diversity push by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and a general focus on women’s issues by the White House. Mr. Hagel has vowed to stamp out sexual assaults in the military and said he is open to studying whether transgender people are permitted to serve.

The military also is preparing to put women in direct land combat units. 

The Navy promoted its first woman this month to four-star rank: Adm. Michelle J. Howard, a surface warship commander, to vice chief of naval operations, the Navy’s second-ranking officer. The Air Force promoted its first woman to four-star rank in 2012, when Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger took over Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The Army’s first female four-star general, Ann Elizabeth Dunwoody, has retired.

To observers, the twin moves to promote a woman to vice chief of naval operations and to place a woman in charge of a major combatant command Air Force means that female officers are destined to be elevated to the six-member Joint Chiefs of Staff, which comprises the four service chiefs, a chairman and a vice chairman.

Women make up 14.5 percent of the active force but only a small percentage of combat pilots, 21 years after the Pentagon lifted the ban on women in those jobs. Of 3,714 Air Force fighter and bomber pilots last year, 85 — or about 2 percent — were women at the rank of lieutenant colonel and below.

See also:

~StMA

Obama admin wants $3.7 billion for illegals, but US troops in Afghanistan now gets only 2 hot meals a day

The Obama administration is spending $250 to $1,000 a day to house each of the illegal aliens from Central America “surging” across the Mexico border into the United States. That’s what Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Jeh Johnson told the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.

That’s why the Obama administration is requesting from Congress $3.7 BILLION in emergency funds for the border “surge” that began in 2012. The Daily Mail reports that only about 3% of the $3.7 billion would actually be used to strengthen border security, with the bulk of the requested funds going to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to care for the “unaccompanied children,” the majority of whom are males ages 15 to 17, according to the New York Times.

The Obama administration also awarded a $50 million contract to Baptist Child & Family Services (BCFS) to buy the Palm Aire resort and hotel in Weslaco, Texas, and transform it into a 600-bed facility for “juvenile” illegal aliens. Palm Aire’s amenities include an indoor Olympic sized pool, an outdoor pool, Jacuzzis, sauna, steam room, two racquetball courts, outdoor tennis courts, picnic area with grills, a fitness center with 20 machines and free weights, as well as free Wi-Fi and cable TV in all the guest rooms.

Palm Aire1Palm Aire Resort & Hotel

Public backlash to the news was swift, which led BCFS to withdraw its bid.

But the Obama administration has seen fit to cut the number of hot meals for U.S. troops in Afghanistan from four to two a day.

MRE

Carol Hills reports for PRI, June 21, 2013:

All US combat troops are to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

And the Pentagon is already making tough decisions about how to manage the drawdown.

That includes reducing the number of cooked meals available to the troops.

Until recently, because of the round-the-clock nature of war, the US military has been offering most troops in Afghanistan four cooked meals a day.

Now that’s in the process of being reduced to just two hot meals a day.

In an email to The World, a Pentagon spokesman said “The change is part of our transition to a more expeditionary posture, and is necessary to ensure US forces and DoD agencies make the best use of the resources available in the time remaining and while meeting retrograde requirements. By adding operational rations to the meal cycle, we will significantly reduce contractor and supply chain requirements.”

In other words, it will save money and reduce the American footprint in Afghanistan by cutting the number of contractors.

The troops won’t go hungry; they’ll still have MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), and packaged food available.

But it’s still a bad idea according to David Brown, an army veteran of Afghanistan, and now an author and journalist who writes under the name D.B. Grady.

An MRE doesn’t measure up to a hot meal after a long mission, says Brown.

He goes on, “being able to sit down across from your comrades over a meal, where everyone to a certain extent has let their hair down, it’s a stress-reliever, and it’s also a way of building solidarity with your brother-in-arms.”

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Brown described how a single army cook was able to transform morale on his base in Afghanistan by creating meals at midnight that people really wanted.

Sure speaks volumes about the priorities of the Obama administration.

~StMA

 

US Marine Corps commandant openly blasts CIC Obama

USMC Gen. James AmosU.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos

On July 15, 2014, speaking at the Brookings Institute think tank in Washington, DC, the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, 4-star Gen. James Amos, openly and publicly criticized Commander-In-Chief Barack Hussein Obama.

Reporting for The Fiscal Times, David Francis observes that “It’s highly unusual for a high-ranking soldier, let alone a high-ranking Marine, to publicly question White House and Pentagon policy. Yet that’s exactly what four-star Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, did yesterday in Washington.”

Speaking at the Brookings Institute, Amos criticized the Obama administration for:

1. Paving the way for the emergence of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) by completely withdrawing American troops in 2011. Amos said: “I have a hard time believing that had we been there, and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don’t think we’d be in the same shape we’re in today.”

2. Failing to live up to U.S. obligations around the world. Amos said: “We may think we’re done with all of these nasty, thorny, tacky little things that are going on around the world — and I’d argue that if you’re in that nation, it’s not a tacky, little thing for you. We may think we’re done with them, but they’re not done with us. We’re probably the only country in the world that has the resources and the capability to be able to do some of this that others can’t.”

3. Forfeiting gains made in Iraq and Afghanistan for which U.S. troops had fought and sacrificed. Referring to the fall of the Anbar province in Iraq, which Marines won in 2010 and in whhich 852 Marines were killed and naother 8,500 injured, Amos said “It breaks our hearts. They believed that they’d made a difference.”

Reporter David Francis opined that “Perhaps Amos felt free to voice opinions on White House policy because he is set to retire this fall. Now, his comments are likely to influence the debate within the defense community about how to handle the myriad of crises going on around the world.”

H/t CODA’s M.S.

See also:

~StMA