Category: Clyde Ward

American Exceptionalism and Antifa's Phony War


However, if fascism is really evil, then there really is nothing anyone can do about it, unless the Creator of the Universe is such a bumbler that He needed FDR, Churchill, and Stalin (an atheist, of all people) to correct His mistakes.

No, the answer is that fascism is European and that America’s Constitution of 1787 achieved everything for which Europe would struggle for the next century and a half.

The French Revolution of 1789 failed when Napoleon Bonaparte returned from his Egyptian-Syrian campaign as a French Caesar in 1799 and then plunged into wars until his defeat and first exile in 1814.

Europe rejoiced with the return of peace and the Ancien Régime.  After 23 years of revolution, genocides, and war, “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” were despised.  The Allied powers (Russia, Prussia, England, and Austria) assembled under Prince Metternich in the Congress of Vienna, determined that this would never happen again.  Within a few years, however, ancient problems returned.

The Ancien Régime was a hierarchical class system based upon inequality.  The king, hereditary aristocracy, and high clergy legislated privileges and restrictions for each class according to its function.  It was so intrusive that a peasant could not marry without permission of his craft guild or seigniorial lord.  Bourgeois businessmen enjoyed greater liberty but chafed under trade restrictions.  Aristocrats were prohibited from many occupations even if impoverished.  All functions accrued power to the state, viewed as encompassing the good of all, in a predatory contest with other states doing the same thing.

Additionally, the sale of offices and tax-farming invited corruption, since the buyer expected personal profit from dispensing government services.

Napoleon’s return of “The 100 Days” in 1815 convinced the Congress that liberals or nationalists, as they became known, remained a threat – so much so that Metternich obstructed assistance to the Greek War of Independence against Ottoman rule.  However, working-class revolts in the 1830s and 1848 forced the nobility to ally with bourgeois bankers and businessmen who only proved more efficient exploiters of the workers than aristocrats.

Liberals split into nationalist and socialist camps.  Both found inspiration in nostalgic tales of Napoleon, who became the mythical liberator of both classes and nations from monarchs.  To an extent, he was.

 Napoleon had hit upon a formula of harnessing mass politics for military conquest.  He abolished feudal privileges, installed a professional bureaucracy, and imposed his Civic Code equally upon all.

When his conquests stalled at the English Channel, he turned east into Russia and a defeat in 1812.  His continental empire suffered more from his own embargo on English trade than Britain’s empire overseas.  Bankruptcy added to his burdens of war taxes and conscription.  His secular liberation antagonized deeply Catholic Spain into unremitting guerrilla war.

Baron von Stein turned Napoleon’s formula into a German war of liberation from the French.  The Italian Republic, Napoleon’s consolidation of feudal states, stood with Napoleon.  Under Metternich, however, both returned to Imperial Austrian rule, which regarded their national aspirations as a threat.  In Spain, Ferdinand VII restored a regime so reactionary that a French army had to rescue him in 1823.

This, however, was Metternich’s system.  Austrian Emperor Francis I summed it up: “My people are strange to each other and that is all right[.] … I send the Hungarians into Italy, the Italians into Hungary. Every people watches its neighbor[.] … From their antipathy will be born order and from their mutual hatred, general peace” (1).

Socialists posed the greater threat.  They elevated Robespierre’s idea of virtue and terror into a cult of ideological purity, the possibly 80,000 victims of his Reign of Terror and genocide in the Vendée offered as proof.  Gracchus Babeuf had added the idea of abolishing private property and “equality of results,” ideas for which he was executed in 1797.  Karl Marx consolidated all this into a secular religion after the revolutions of 1848.  His “dictator of the proletariat” would be a second Bonaparte.

The nobility leaned on the nationalist cult of tradition and religion.  They proposed modernizing the hierarchy of class, pedigree, and money into one of merit rather than destroying it all for a Marxist utopia.

Between 1860 and 1871, the kings of Piedmont and Prussia turned Napoleon’s formula into wars of national liberation and united their feudal principalities into the Kingdom of Italy and the German Empire, respectively.  Both were constitutional monarchies and adopted a Charter of 1814, which Metternich accepted as a concession to Napoleon’s reforms, which he could not reverse.  It provided a representative body that ratified budgets and legislation that only the king could propose.  Liberals tried to expand its authority while monarchs ignored it.  Additionally, Germany crushed the Second Empire of Napoleon III and relieved Europe of another Bonaparte scourge.

WWI destroyed the ancient Hapsburg, Romanov, and Hohenzollern dynasties, while Bolsheviks, now in tenuous possession of Russia, incited global class war and revolution.  Civil wars broke out from Spain to Finland and east into Russia.  Not even the Middle East was spared.  But only in Russia did the “Reds” succeed.  Nationalists dominated “White” coalitions while adopting Red methods and branding their corporatist economics as “socialist” for mass appeal.  Derived from 1 Corinthians, corporatism recreated the craft guild system on an industrialized, capitalist basis under government planning.

By 1939, most continental regimes were White and authoritarian.  Mussolini’s National Fascist Party was one of them, the only significant party to use the term at the time.  Red propaganda transformed it into a pejorative to smear most of these regimes, at one time or another, effectively transferring the Reds’ own subversive stigma in order to acquire allies for the next war.

Mussolini served as prime minister under King Emanuel III, who remained until 1946.  Hitler and his aristocrat generals overran the continent and then followed Napoleon’s path from the English Channel into Russia and defeat.  For Franco’s Nationalists, the Spanish Third Republic was another Napoleonic regime with Bolshevik advisers.

On 8 May of 1945, the White Nationalists were done, forever.  The USSR was poised for another war.

Almost two hundred years prior, by 1776, the American colonies had already become a nation without feudal classes.  After the Seven Years War, 1756-1763, there was no foreign power on the American continent to seriously contend with.  Establishing a liberal republic went as stated in the Declaration of Independence and nothing more: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them[.]”

Antifa is fighting something that never did and never can exist in America, or anywhere else in the Western world, at this point in time.  Even worse, they’re fighting for identity politics and American elites who are creating a feudal class system of their own.

(1) Frederick Artz, Reaction and Revolution, 1814-1832, Harper and Rowe, New York, 1934, pg. 238.

Antifa poses a problem no one is comfortable with.

What’s wrong with fighting fascism?  Ever see a movie in which the sallet helmet wasn’t a symbol of evil?  Not even Star Wars could resist.  FDR also used some pretty strong-arm tactics.

However, if fascism is really evil, then there really is nothing anyone can do about it, unless the Creator of the Universe is such a bumbler that He needed FDR, Churchill, and Stalin (an atheist, of all people) to correct His mistakes.

No, the answer is that fascism is European and that America’s Constitution of 1787 achieved everything for which Europe would struggle for the next century and a half.

The French Revolution of 1789 failed when Napoleon Bonaparte returned from his Egyptian-Syrian campaign as a French Caesar in 1799 and then plunged into wars until his defeat and first exile in 1814.

Europe rejoiced with the return of peace and the Ancien Régime.  After 23 years of revolution, genocides, and war, “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” were despised.  The Allied powers (Russia, Prussia, England, and Austria) assembled under Prince Metternich in the Congress of Vienna, determined that this would never happen again.  Within a few years, however, ancient problems returned.

The Ancien Régime was a hierarchical class system based upon inequality.  The king, hereditary aristocracy, and high clergy legislated privileges and restrictions for each class according to its function.  It was so intrusive that a peasant could not marry without permission of his craft guild or seigniorial lord.  Bourgeois businessmen enjoyed greater liberty but chafed under trade restrictions.  Aristocrats were prohibited from many occupations even if impoverished.  All functions accrued power to the state, viewed as encompassing the good of all, in a predatory contest with other states doing the same thing.

Additionally, the sale of offices and tax-farming invited corruption, since the buyer expected personal profit from dispensing government services.

Napoleon’s return of “The 100 Days” in 1815 convinced the Congress that liberals or nationalists, as they became known, remained a threat – so much so that Metternich obstructed assistance to the Greek War of Independence against Ottoman rule.  However, working-class revolts in the 1830s and 1848 forced the nobility to ally with bourgeois bankers and businessmen who only proved more efficient exploiters of the workers than aristocrats.

Liberals split into nationalist and socialist camps.  Both found inspiration in nostalgic tales of Napoleon, who became the mythical liberator of both classes and nations from monarchs.  To an extent, he was.

 Napoleon had hit upon a formula of harnessing mass politics for military conquest.  He abolished feudal privileges, installed a professional bureaucracy, and imposed his Civic Code equally upon all.

When his conquests stalled at the English Channel, he turned east into Russia and a defeat in 1812.  His continental empire suffered more from his own embargo on English trade than Britain’s empire overseas.  Bankruptcy added to his burdens of war taxes and conscription.  His secular liberation antagonized deeply Catholic Spain into unremitting guerrilla war.

Baron von Stein turned Napoleon’s formula into a German war of liberation from the French.  The Italian Republic, Napoleon’s consolidation of feudal states, stood with Napoleon.  Under Metternich, however, both returned to Imperial Austrian rule, which regarded their national aspirations as a threat.  In Spain, Ferdinand VII restored a regime so reactionary that a French army had to rescue him in 1823.

This, however, was Metternich’s system.  Austrian Emperor Francis I summed it up: “My people are strange to each other and that is all right[.] … I send the Hungarians into Italy, the Italians into Hungary. Every people watches its neighbor[.] … From their antipathy will be born order and from their mutual hatred, general peace” (1).

Socialists posed the greater threat.  They elevated Robespierre’s idea of virtue and terror into a cult of ideological purity, the possibly 80,000 victims of his Reign of Terror and genocide in the Vendée offered as proof.  Gracchus Babeuf had added the idea of abolishing private property and “equality of results,” ideas for which he was executed in 1797.  Karl Marx consolidated all this into a secular religion after the revolutions of 1848.  His “dictator of the proletariat” would be a second Bonaparte.

The nobility leaned on the nationalist cult of tradition and religion.  They proposed modernizing the hierarchy of class, pedigree, and money into one of merit rather than destroying it all for a Marxist utopia.

Between 1860 and 1871, the kings of Piedmont and Prussia turned Napoleon’s formula into wars of national liberation and united their feudal principalities into the Kingdom of Italy and the German Empire, respectively.  Both were constitutional monarchies and adopted a Charter of 1814, which Metternich accepted as a concession to Napoleon’s reforms, which he could not reverse.  It provided a representative body that ratified budgets and legislation that only the king could propose.  Liberals tried to expand its authority while monarchs ignored it.  Additionally, Germany crushed the Second Empire of Napoleon III and relieved Europe of another Bonaparte scourge.

WWI destroyed the ancient Hapsburg, Romanov, and Hohenzollern dynasties, while Bolsheviks, now in tenuous possession of Russia, incited global class war and revolution.  Civil wars broke out from Spain to Finland and east into Russia.  Not even the Middle East was spared.  But only in Russia did the “Reds” succeed.  Nationalists dominated “White” coalitions while adopting Red methods and branding their corporatist economics as “socialist” for mass appeal.  Derived from 1 Corinthians, corporatism recreated the craft guild system on an industrialized, capitalist basis under government planning.

By 1939, most continental regimes were White and authoritarian.  Mussolini’s National Fascist Party was one of them, the only significant party to use the term at the time.  Red propaganda transformed it into a pejorative to smear most of these regimes, at one time or another, effectively transferring the Reds’ own subversive stigma in order to acquire allies for the next war.

Mussolini served as prime minister under King Emanuel III, who remained until 1946.  Hitler and his aristocrat generals overran the continent and then followed Napoleon’s path from the English Channel into Russia and defeat.  For Franco’s Nationalists, the Spanish Third Republic was another Napoleonic regime with Bolshevik advisers.

On 8 May of 1945, the White Nationalists were done, forever.  The USSR was poised for another war.

Almost two hundred years prior, by 1776, the American colonies had already become a nation without feudal classes.  After the Seven Years War, 1756-1763, there was no foreign power on the American continent to seriously contend with.  Establishing a liberal republic went as stated in the Declaration of Independence and nothing more: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them[.]”

Antifa is fighting something that never did and never can exist in America, or anywhere else in the Western world, at this point in time.  Even worse, they’re fighting for identity politics and American elites who are creating a feudal class system of their own.

(1) Frederick Artz, Reaction and Revolution, 1814-1832, Harper and Rowe, New York, 1934, pg. 238.



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The Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon


If you’re not familiar with the term “Perfumed Prince,” take a look at Air Force LTG Jay Silveria, Commander of the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs.

Silveria achieved the national spotlight by chewing out the entire class over racial slurs posted on five cadets’ quarters.  Months later, it turned out that one of the targets was actually the perpetrator.

Here are some bullet points from a field manual.

Get the facts, before you act.

Solve problems at the lowest level.

Concede a mistake.

Praise in public, reprimand in private.

General “Knee-Jerk” violated all of them.  When confronted with his error, he replied that this had to be said anyway.  Apparently, he was conflating the Charlottesville protests with his own command, not to mention a likely disdain for his commander in chief.

But here we have an intelligence failure.  Charlottesville may well have been a false flag operation.  So was the “hoax” at Silveria’s academy.  Intelligence must be timely and adequate.  Silveria was spot-on with time but dismally inadequate despite plenty of open source information, aka “news”.

The general ranted himself into an ambush.

Wonder why we don’t win wars?

Colonel David Hackworth coined the term “Perfumed Princes”  to describe the leaders who sidestepped the Vietnam disaster and infested the senior ranks, playing the academic or business manager while they squeezed out soldiers on the soggy end.

But Silveria’s rant went beyond careerism.  Silveria ordered everyone to video his rant on their cell phones to make sure his spiel went prime-time.  Everyone from Senator McCain to Joe Biden heaped the praise.  The Washington Post opined, “Too bad Trump can’t emulate the military when it comes to matters of race.”

“Eau de Diversity” is the fab fragrance of the Perfumed Princes as required by the political elite.

Martin Dempsey, 18th chairman of the Army chief of staff, 2011-2015, persisted with the hyphenated American being our strength to the end of his career.  Never mind that the attack at Fort Hood in 2009 was perpetrated by a Muslim-American Army psychiatrist-major.  Of this, Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. chimed in at the time, “as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

The tragedy was that Hasan’s behavior had been scaring the pants off his colleagues in Army mental health, of all places, for years.  But they understand.  Diversity comes first.

The tragedy was that the Army maintained that firing some 140 rounds in a medical processing center while yelling “Allahu akbar” was “workplace violence” until 2015, when a funding bill forced the Perfumed Princes to reclassify the incident as “combat-related.”  Until then, all the dozens of victims had been denied appropriate benefits and the Purple Heart, thirteen awarded posthumously.

Marine staff sergeant Joseph Chamblin was punished for having urinated on a Taliban corpse five years ago.  The conviction was overturned this November, after discovering that then-general Amos had interfered in the judicial proceeding.  Amos wanted this sort of thing “crushed.” 

Chamblin maintains that he made the incriminating video as a propaganda ploy, “because if an infidel touches the body, they’re not going to Mecca or paradise.”  This is right out of Brigadier General John Pershing’s successful tactics in the Philippines, 1909-1913, not to mention Clausewitz’s concept of “the will” and of knowing one’s enemy.  Of course, the opponents are “diverse,” or they wouldn’t be at war to begin with.

Chamblin is luckier than Lt. Clint Lorance, who is serving a twenty-year sentence for opening fire on suspected Taliban scouts when they ran his check point.  Lorance is one of the Leavenworth 10, referring to a fluctuating number of U.S. servicemen serving time while known terrorists are released from GITMO.

This isn’t a matter of holding ourselves to higher standards.  It’s a matter of having no standards at all.  Despite having made “war on terrorism” for sixteen years, the Perfumed Princes have yet to provide guidance – neither on trying terrorists nor on how novel rules of engagement translate into traditional military jurisprudence.  It’s all just fine, just the way it is, whatever it is, even with terms more generous to the enemy than to our own troops, who are just canonical cannon fodder.

Two Navy SEALs are presently under investigation for the death of Green Beret Logan Melgar in Niger.  (Where is Niger, anyway? ) Pilfering money from a fund intended to pay informants may be involved.  Funds like this are tempting.  That is their military purpose.  Proper administration requires multiple levels of oversight so that everyone up the chain has to be complicit if anyone pilfers.  External audits look for money spent with no results.

But the Perfumed Princes don’t really care about money.  They don’t care about results, either.  Congress appropriates money it borrows from a printing press and dumps it into an Authorization for the Use of Military Force that doesn’t have any milestones.  How can anyone audit that?

A rule of thumb is that if pacification hasn’t succeeded in seven years, then the insurgency has won, or another insurgency has taken its place.  Parallel wars can spin off as long as someone’s around with a gripe and guns.  Our “war on terror” has become another “war on poverty” or “war on crime.”  But that’s fine just the way it is with the Perfumed Princes.  Funding, anyone?

The latest snafu is a recruit shortage.  No kidding!  Word gets around.  Bradley Manning gets a pardon.  Bowe Bergdahl walks on a dishonorable discharge.  Clint Lorence remains in jail.  Got it!  Corrective action is to waive mental disorders, a novel solution even for an army as committed to diversity as ours.

Understand: the Perfumed Princes are not lowering the standards.  The perfumed policy is to forward waivers for evaluation in the light of “new knowledge” about mental disorders.  The mental health evaluators are Nidal Hasan’s colleagues.  They understand.  Numbers count.

There also remains a large body of “old knowledge” in which homosexual behavior indicates mental disorders.

Bradley Manning received counseling regarding his sexual problems as required by regulation and cognizant authority.  The problem here is that cognizant authority is a Perfumed Prince.  It took a full-blown act of treason and espionage to reach the proper diagnosis.

American elites are killing America.  But when our most focused, disciplined, and universal institution withers, it’s time to stop, smell the roses, and pin the carnations.  Perfumed Princes are not going to fall on their own swords.

Bowe Bergdahl and Bradley Manning are of grotesquely inadequate characters, but it’s not to avoid jail that they enlisted.   ‘Twas a time when a judge could offer enlistment, in certain cases, in lieu of jail.  It put a burden upon the military, but not an unusual one.  Numbers count.  Some didn’t make it, although many did, under military leaders.  But that’s not what LTG Silveria is training up.  God knows this generation is hurting for leaders like what no generation America has ever bred.

If you’re not familiar with the term “Perfumed Prince,” take a look at Air Force LTG Jay Silveria, Commander of the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs.

Silveria achieved the national spotlight by chewing out the entire class over racial slurs posted on five cadets’ quarters.  Months later, it turned out that one of the targets was actually the perpetrator.

Here are some bullet points from a field manual.

Get the facts, before you act.

Solve problems at the lowest level.

Concede a mistake.

Praise in public, reprimand in private.

General “Knee-Jerk” violated all of them.  When confronted with his error, he replied that this had to be said anyway.  Apparently, he was conflating the Charlottesville protests with his own command, not to mention a likely disdain for his commander in chief.

But here we have an intelligence failure.  Charlottesville may well have been a false flag operation.  So was the “hoax” at Silveria’s academy.  Intelligence must be timely and adequate.  Silveria was spot-on with time but dismally inadequate despite plenty of open source information, aka “news”.

The general ranted himself into an ambush.

Wonder why we don’t win wars?

Colonel David Hackworth coined the term “Perfumed Princes”  to describe the leaders who sidestepped the Vietnam disaster and infested the senior ranks, playing the academic or business manager while they squeezed out soldiers on the soggy end.

But Silveria’s rant went beyond careerism.  Silveria ordered everyone to video his rant on their cell phones to make sure his spiel went prime-time.  Everyone from Senator McCain to Joe Biden heaped the praise.  The Washington Post opined, “Too bad Trump can’t emulate the military when it comes to matters of race.”

“Eau de Diversity” is the fab fragrance of the Perfumed Princes as required by the political elite.

Martin Dempsey, 18th chairman of the Army chief of staff, 2011-2015, persisted with the hyphenated American being our strength to the end of his career.  Never mind that the attack at Fort Hood in 2009 was perpetrated by a Muslim-American Army psychiatrist-major.  Of this, Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. chimed in at the time, “as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

The tragedy was that Hasan’s behavior had been scaring the pants off his colleagues in Army mental health, of all places, for years.  But they understand.  Diversity comes first.

The tragedy was that the Army maintained that firing some 140 rounds in a medical processing center while yelling “Allahu akbar” was “workplace violence” until 2015, when a funding bill forced the Perfumed Princes to reclassify the incident as “combat-related.”  Until then, all the dozens of victims had been denied appropriate benefits and the Purple Heart, thirteen awarded posthumously.

Marine staff sergeant Joseph Chamblin was punished for having urinated on a Taliban corpse five years ago.  The conviction was overturned this November, after discovering that then-general Amos had interfered in the judicial proceeding.  Amos wanted this sort of thing “crushed.” 

Chamblin maintains that he made the incriminating video as a propaganda ploy, “because if an infidel touches the body, they’re not going to Mecca or paradise.”  This is right out of Brigadier General John Pershing’s successful tactics in the Philippines, 1909-1913, not to mention Clausewitz’s concept of “the will” and of knowing one’s enemy.  Of course, the opponents are “diverse,” or they wouldn’t be at war to begin with.

Chamblin is luckier than Lt. Clint Lorance, who is serving a twenty-year sentence for opening fire on suspected Taliban scouts when they ran his check point.  Lorance is one of the Leavenworth 10, referring to a fluctuating number of U.S. servicemen serving time while known terrorists are released from GITMO.

This isn’t a matter of holding ourselves to higher standards.  It’s a matter of having no standards at all.  Despite having made “war on terrorism” for sixteen years, the Perfumed Princes have yet to provide guidance – neither on trying terrorists nor on how novel rules of engagement translate into traditional military jurisprudence.  It’s all just fine, just the way it is, whatever it is, even with terms more generous to the enemy than to our own troops, who are just canonical cannon fodder.

Two Navy SEALs are presently under investigation for the death of Green Beret Logan Melgar in Niger.  (Where is Niger, anyway? ) Pilfering money from a fund intended to pay informants may be involved.  Funds like this are tempting.  That is their military purpose.  Proper administration requires multiple levels of oversight so that everyone up the chain has to be complicit if anyone pilfers.  External audits look for money spent with no results.

But the Perfumed Princes don’t really care about money.  They don’t care about results, either.  Congress appropriates money it borrows from a printing press and dumps it into an Authorization for the Use of Military Force that doesn’t have any milestones.  How can anyone audit that?

A rule of thumb is that if pacification hasn’t succeeded in seven years, then the insurgency has won, or another insurgency has taken its place.  Parallel wars can spin off as long as someone’s around with a gripe and guns.  Our “war on terror” has become another “war on poverty” or “war on crime.”  But that’s fine just the way it is with the Perfumed Princes.  Funding, anyone?

The latest snafu is a recruit shortage.  No kidding!  Word gets around.  Bradley Manning gets a pardon.  Bowe Bergdahl walks on a dishonorable discharge.  Clint Lorence remains in jail.  Got it!  Corrective action is to waive mental disorders, a novel solution even for an army as committed to diversity as ours.

Understand: the Perfumed Princes are not lowering the standards.  The perfumed policy is to forward waivers for evaluation in the light of “new knowledge” about mental disorders.  The mental health evaluators are Nidal Hasan’s colleagues.  They understand.  Numbers count.

There also remains a large body of “old knowledge” in which homosexual behavior indicates mental disorders.

Bradley Manning received counseling regarding his sexual problems as required by regulation and cognizant authority.  The problem here is that cognizant authority is a Perfumed Prince.  It took a full-blown act of treason and espionage to reach the proper diagnosis.

American elites are killing America.  But when our most focused, disciplined, and universal institution withers, it’s time to stop, smell the roses, and pin the carnations.  Perfumed Princes are not going to fall on their own swords.

Bowe Bergdahl and Bradley Manning are of grotesquely inadequate characters, but it’s not to avoid jail that they enlisted.   ‘Twas a time when a judge could offer enlistment, in certain cases, in lieu of jail.  It put a burden upon the military, but not an unusual one.  Numbers count.  Some didn’t make it, although many did, under military leaders.  But that’s not what LTG Silveria is training up.  God knows this generation is hurting for leaders like what no generation America has ever bred.



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North Korea: Not Nerve Gas Again!


The World Intellectual Property Organization probably has been assisting a North Korean patent application for sodium cyanide, as the article states.  And cyanide is a precursor used to manufacture the nerve agent Tabun.

After that, however, it’s just down the rabbit hole.

The chemical structures, below, say it all.

The organophosophorus moiety is center of nerve agents.  This is the acetyl cholinesterase inhibiting group, which disrupts nerve function.

The R3 group in Tabun is cyanide “CN.”

The R3 group in Sarin, Cyclosarin and Soman is fluorine “F.”

In the VX type, R3 is the larger sulfur-nitrogen group.  

These R3 groups are responsible for most of the differences in volatility and lethality, although the R1 and R2 groups also contribute.

Tabun is the only nerve agent that requires cyanide, and Tabun is not a good candidate for manufacture.  Sarin and VX are superior agents.  They’re more lethal and no more difficult to manufacture, and they fulfill the requirements for a volatile offensive agent (sarin) or a persistent defensive agent (VX).  Tabun and Soman are in between.  They are simply inferior analogs discovered during the research.

Sodium cyanide is produced in Western countries via treating hydrogen cyanide with sodium hydroxide.

Hydrogen cyanide is produced via the Andrussow process via combining methane(CH4) and ammonia (NH3) and oxygen at elevated temperature, requiring a platinum catalyst.

Ammonia is obtained via the Haber Process, a high-temperature, high-pressure process requiring an expensive, sophisticated plant that condenses atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia.

The North Korean sodium cyanide process apparently uses urea, , for the nitrogen source and combines it with sodium carbonate (washing soda), which is probably more readily available than the sodium hydroxide we currently use as the alkali.

If that’s what they’ve done, it’s pretty clever, especially for countries that do not have a Haber plant to produce ammonia.  Urea can be obtained from urine.  It would definitely be “green.”

Why make sodium cyanide?

U.S. demand was 1.6 billion pounds in 2000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.  It finds its way into welding gasses, metal cleaning, ore refining, herbicides, optical brighteners, dyestuffs, and synthetic rubber, among other products.  Hydrogen cyanide is used to manufacture nylon, acrylates, sodium cyanide, and chelating agents, among other things.

Yes, hydrogen cyanide has been used in execution chambers and as a chemical weapon during World War I.  As a chemical weapon, it was disappointing, because it is lighter than air.  The gas rises before an effective concentration can ever be achieved on the ground.  The gas chamber confines the gas, and its lower density renders it easier to evacuate than a gas that sinks to the ground.  Reports of hydrogen cyanide use on battlefields surface every so often.  From a technical view, they are highly suspicious.

This is the sort of hysteria poison war gas usually produces, and it’s a dangerous thing.  It sufficed as a casus belli for Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq.  Belligerents accuse each other of just about anything to arouse hate – a will to war, as Clausewitz put it.

Just my opinion, but if North Korea really did intend to manufacture Tabun, it’s doubtful they’d have applied to the U.N. to patent the process or any part of it.

Theft of intellectual property is one of our complaints with China among other countries, but here we are, penalizing North Korea for possibly the most compliant thing it’s ever done.

There are certainly reasons for nations to go to war.  But there are a lot more reasons not to.  Fabricating reasons is one of the most reprehensible things any nation, its leaders, and its journalists can do.

There’s a cabal in Washington, D.C. that really doesn’t need much of a reason to war and media that pounce on every sensation.  This is what gets us into unintended consequences.  Then we come up with a mystical “formula of national self-interest” as though it were some novel revelation.

Clausewitz wrote a century ago that war is politics by other means.  So what is the political outcome of disarming one’s enemy?  North Koreans aren’t going to like us because we disarmed their military.

Anti-partisan warfare is something no conventional army has ever been any good at, not without resorting to the harshest methods.  The propensity for this sort of warfare is greater now than it’s ever been.

If we cannot answer the question of political objectives, with a view to avoiding partisan war or other complications, then we are not ready to go to war.

Articles like this demonstrate how easy it is to lose prudence and lunge into things we wind up regretting.

They also demonstrate how inept world regulatory bodies are.  Sarin: phosphorous, carbon, oxygen, fluorine.  All have commercial uses.  You could easily have them all in your house.  If you knew what to do with them, you could make sarin.  Patent a better mousetrap with the U.N., though, and you may wind up a war criminal.

The will is the larger part of it all, and the will is ours, not some regulatory agency’s, the media’s, or the government’s.

Clausewitz: “No one starts a war – or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so – without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.”  

I’m no fan of North Korea, but the news media in America need to do better if they’re to avoid becoming just as discreditable.

The May 15, 2017 Fox News article “UN Agency Helps North Korea with Patent Application for Banned Nerve Gas Chemical” is a case in point.

The World Intellectual Property Organization probably has been assisting a North Korean patent application for sodium cyanide, as the article states.  And cyanide is a precursor used to manufacture the nerve agent Tabun.

After that, however, it’s just down the rabbit hole.

The chemical structures, below, say it all.

The organophosophorus moiety is center of nerve agents.  This is the acetyl cholinesterase inhibiting group, which disrupts nerve function.

The R3 group in Tabun is cyanide “CN.”

The R3 group in Sarin, Cyclosarin and Soman is fluorine “F.”

In the VX type, R3 is the larger sulfur-nitrogen group.  

These R3 groups are responsible for most of the differences in volatility and lethality, although the R1 and R2 groups also contribute.

Tabun is the only nerve agent that requires cyanide, and Tabun is not a good candidate for manufacture.  Sarin and VX are superior agents.  They’re more lethal and no more difficult to manufacture, and they fulfill the requirements for a volatile offensive agent (sarin) or a persistent defensive agent (VX).  Tabun and Soman are in between.  They are simply inferior analogs discovered during the research.

Sodium cyanide is produced in Western countries via treating hydrogen cyanide with sodium hydroxide.

Hydrogen cyanide is produced via the Andrussow process via combining methane(CH4) and ammonia (NH3) and oxygen at elevated temperature, requiring a platinum catalyst.

Ammonia is obtained via the Haber Process, a high-temperature, high-pressure process requiring an expensive, sophisticated plant that condenses atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia.

The North Korean sodium cyanide process apparently uses urea, , for the nitrogen source and combines it with sodium carbonate (washing soda), which is probably more readily available than the sodium hydroxide we currently use as the alkali.

If that’s what they’ve done, it’s pretty clever, especially for countries that do not have a Haber plant to produce ammonia.  Urea can be obtained from urine.  It would definitely be “green.”

Why make sodium cyanide?

U.S. demand was 1.6 billion pounds in 2000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.  It finds its way into welding gasses, metal cleaning, ore refining, herbicides, optical brighteners, dyestuffs, and synthetic rubber, among other products.  Hydrogen cyanide is used to manufacture nylon, acrylates, sodium cyanide, and chelating agents, among other things.

Yes, hydrogen cyanide has been used in execution chambers and as a chemical weapon during World War I.  As a chemical weapon, it was disappointing, because it is lighter than air.  The gas rises before an effective concentration can ever be achieved on the ground.  The gas chamber confines the gas, and its lower density renders it easier to evacuate than a gas that sinks to the ground.  Reports of hydrogen cyanide use on battlefields surface every so often.  From a technical view, they are highly suspicious.

This is the sort of hysteria poison war gas usually produces, and it’s a dangerous thing.  It sufficed as a casus belli for Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq.  Belligerents accuse each other of just about anything to arouse hate – a will to war, as Clausewitz put it.

Just my opinion, but if North Korea really did intend to manufacture Tabun, it’s doubtful they’d have applied to the U.N. to patent the process or any part of it.

Theft of intellectual property is one of our complaints with China among other countries, but here we are, penalizing North Korea for possibly the most compliant thing it’s ever done.

There are certainly reasons for nations to go to war.  But there are a lot more reasons not to.  Fabricating reasons is one of the most reprehensible things any nation, its leaders, and its journalists can do.

There’s a cabal in Washington, D.C. that really doesn’t need much of a reason to war and media that pounce on every sensation.  This is what gets us into unintended consequences.  Then we come up with a mystical “formula of national self-interest” as though it were some novel revelation.

Clausewitz wrote a century ago that war is politics by other means.  So what is the political outcome of disarming one’s enemy?  North Koreans aren’t going to like us because we disarmed their military.

Anti-partisan warfare is something no conventional army has ever been any good at, not without resorting to the harshest methods.  The propensity for this sort of warfare is greater now than it’s ever been.

If we cannot answer the question of political objectives, with a view to avoiding partisan war or other complications, then we are not ready to go to war.

Articles like this demonstrate how easy it is to lose prudence and lunge into things we wind up regretting.

They also demonstrate how inept world regulatory bodies are.  Sarin: phosphorous, carbon, oxygen, fluorine.  All have commercial uses.  You could easily have them all in your house.  If you knew what to do with them, you could make sarin.  Patent a better mousetrap with the U.N., though, and you may wind up a war criminal.

The will is the larger part of it all, and the will is ours, not some regulatory agency’s, the media’s, or the government’s.

Clausewitz: “No one starts a war – or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so – without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.”  



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Imperial Obsession and the War on Terror


That after 16 years of counterinsurgency, we resorted to deploying the largest conventional bomb in our inventory to kill only 36 militants begs a question. How much more of Afghanistan might we have to flatten to defeat an adversary that doesn’t even have an air force? It’s an ominous question. It has come up before.

Mohammed Najibulah holds a certain world record, launching 1,700 to 2,000 SCUD missiles between 1988 and 1992, following the withdrawal of Soviet 40th Army from Afghanistan. When the Soviets began extracting their army from the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) in 1986, they transferred power to Najibulah’s National Reconciliation government. Afghanistan would become an “Islamic state” rather than Marxist. Regardless, it was the Soviet Army that still held everything together. As the Soviets left, counterinsurgency degenerated into civil war. To everyone’s’ surprise, the Afghan National Defense Force (army) actually could fight rather well once the Mujahedeen became less accommodating to defectors. More important, however, were continued Soviet air assistance and three SCUD missile batteries. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 prevented resupply. The DRA fell shortly after. The CIA warned that the new government would be worse than Najibulah’s.

America facilitated all this by providing the Mujahedeen with Stinger Missiles. The Soviets had actually begun to win in 1984, shifting to innovative small-unit tactics, air assault, and strategic bombing. But it was still a bankrupt war, the projected cost exceeding anything Afghanistan had to offer. And then, there would be the mess left behind. At the time, the USSR bordered on Afghanistan. In the end, the end of the USSR was the end of the DRA and the war in Afghanistan was the end of the USSR.

General Boris Gromov marched the Soviet 40th out of Afghanistan in 1989. He left prophetic messages to the West and NATO. “In fact, we [the Soviet Union] were the first to defend Western civilization against the attacks of Muslim fanatics. No one thanked us.’   

It was a victory for us, to be sure. The Soviets were our enemy. We paid them back for Vietnam. The Cold War and the threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction finally came to an end. But the Mujahedeen never were the “freedom fighters” as so often portrayed in American propaganda. Some of them became the Taliban who perpetrated 9/11. Victory has unintended consequences.

Today, the Islamic State and its brothers in arms such as Ahrar ash-Sham and an-Nusra, started as proxy fighters for foreign powers, mostly America and Turkey, fighting Bassar Assad. Hizb’allah and Hamas are on the other side.

Proxy wars gone sour has become a new theme in the 21st Century.

Between the Red Lines of Obama and Trump lies an investigation of the alleged Syrian sarin attack at Gouhta in 2013. Chemical analysis of samples taken on site didn’t match Syrian army stockpiles. MB-14 rocket fragments recovered from the site didn’t match Syrian Army inventory or even standard issue. Some fragments appeared to have been moved after detonation. It began to appear that the Russians were right. The rebels had staged a false flag, on the eve of peace talks, probably to bolster their bargaining position.

Evidence of a supply system feeding al Qaeda labs in Syria through Turkey for the purpose of false flags also emerged.

Obama backed away from his red line. He’d shot his mouth off too soon. Putin offered him a way out before he did something really stupid and the compliant media spun it all as a triumph of statesmanship. The Russians would supervise Assad’s chemical disarmament. They probably did. The last thing either wanted would be another close call.

Naturally, Turkey’s President Erdogan is very pleased with Trump’s attack on Shayrat airfield. It’s exactly what Erdogen wanted Obama to do, but paralysis by analysis stole the show. As it turns out, our establishment interventionist intelligence agencies were frustrated by Obama’s dithering. That they’re suddenly ecstatic about Trump, a man they once considered a menace to democracy, says a lot. But perhaps this is not good.

Then, there is the hysterical Jingoist media. The “new sheriff in town”: testimonials by authentic Syrian refugees! Americans — win our war in Syria so we can go home! There’s something wrong with that. Few rebellions have ever succeeded without foreign assistance. Both sides seek allies in war. Ideology will become expendable in pursuit of victory.

Look at video footage, purported to be on the site of the latest Khan Sheikoun attack. They present anomalies similar to the Ghouta attack in 2013. Here, a doctor treats a sarin victim without protective gear.  A helper kisses the contaminated baby. There is more if one looks with a cynical eye. All the “conclusive proof” propagated by the media is really circumstantial. It doesn’t really tell us much of anything that we didn’t already know. There has been yet no formal investigation — presuming, of course, such an investigation wouldn’t be biased to begin with. The problem here is that our intelligence people seem to feel entitled to make policy rather than just support it. Classified information is a cagey way to do it.

Did Trump make a big mistake? No, not really. He exposed Susan Rice as coarchitect of the failed Assad chemical disarmament. He discredited the Trump-Putin conspiracy theory regarding the election. This is a big win against the enemy within, who would like nothing better than to relive those halcyon days of their Vietnam protests.

Make no mistake. Whatever we do in the Middle East, the Council for American Islamic Relations, the Muslim Brotherhood, current Bill Ayers affiliates, and other Democrat allies will make it all go sour. It’ll end another in Iraq War blame game. We cannot fight the Jihad without first defeating Democrats as well as RINOs like Lindsay Graham and John McCain as well as all the foreign lobbying groups which have an agenda of their own.  

U.S. policy toward Russia actually remains ambivalent. The Russians play brinkmanship, policy stated in action. So does Trump. Here, we can only hope that if America’s war on terror escalated into war with Russia, the one that we avoided during the Cold War, a war from which Al Qaeda could emerge the winner in a devastated Western world.

There is, of course, a certain amount of speculation here. But even if it’s wrong in some places, all the powers are still in the same boat of frustration sailing into global chaos of their own making. In the new century, proxy wars are no longer an option. Proxy fighters have become much more sophisticated. They’ve established themselves as polities that can not only resist conventional armies but can manipulate them and even bring down the very governments that sponsor them. The great powers need to settle their disputes between themselves rather than by reducing entire subcontinents to no man’s land. They need to destroy the menace that they created before it destroys them. Resorting to things like SCUDs, MOAB or sarin — presuming Assad did use it at Kahn Sheikuon — indicates that we are running out of time. We are in a phase of imperial overkill, a last gamble of violence against a situation that had gotten out of control. This global chaos is the fault of neocon interventions and Obama appeasement. Whether Trump can pull order out of disorder remains to be seen. He’s on the right path with China concerning North Korea. Iran is the rogue nuclear aspirant in the Middle East. Nuclear weapons are the game changers.

This may be giving credit for more scheming than any of these characters are actually capable of, the stuff of conspiracy theory. However, there is a test for this one. Reports of collateral damage and casualties will follow the MOAB bombing and use of similar weapons. There will be more false flag attacks and some may even use poison gas again. Our enemies will play our sentimentality, which they regard as simply a weakness. Jihadis don’t mind dying for their cause.

Ultimately, and unfortunately, conspiracy theory is the way for the voters to run our republic when so much of the required information is classified. This is inevitable in protracted wars.

We can only hope that Dr. Sebastian Gorka is correct, that the new Trump policy is neither neocon interventionist nor Obama appeasement. Insisting upon an “evil” in the world is not reassuring, however. This is the stuff of intervention and empire. But, it may also be a just a ploy to unite the less informed masses to a new policy. We have seated a new player in the White House, but the game remains the same as it’s always been.

That after 16 years of counterinsurgency, we resorted to deploying the largest conventional bomb in our inventory to kill only 36 militants begs a question. How much more of Afghanistan might we have to flatten to defeat an adversary that doesn’t even have an air force? It’s an ominous question. It has come up before.

Mohammed Najibulah holds a certain world record, launching 1,700 to 2,000 SCUD missiles between 1988 and 1992, following the withdrawal of Soviet 40th Army from Afghanistan. When the Soviets began extracting their army from the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) in 1986, they transferred power to Najibulah’s National Reconciliation government. Afghanistan would become an “Islamic state” rather than Marxist. Regardless, it was the Soviet Army that still held everything together. As the Soviets left, counterinsurgency degenerated into civil war. To everyone’s’ surprise, the Afghan National Defense Force (army) actually could fight rather well once the Mujahedeen became less accommodating to defectors. More important, however, were continued Soviet air assistance and three SCUD missile batteries. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 prevented resupply. The DRA fell shortly after. The CIA warned that the new government would be worse than Najibulah’s.

America facilitated all this by providing the Mujahedeen with Stinger Missiles. The Soviets had actually begun to win in 1984, shifting to innovative small-unit tactics, air assault, and strategic bombing. But it was still a bankrupt war, the projected cost exceeding anything Afghanistan had to offer. And then, there would be the mess left behind. At the time, the USSR bordered on Afghanistan. In the end, the end of the USSR was the end of the DRA and the war in Afghanistan was the end of the USSR.

General Boris Gromov marched the Soviet 40th out of Afghanistan in 1989. He left prophetic messages to the West and NATO. “In fact, we [the Soviet Union] were the first to defend Western civilization against the attacks of Muslim fanatics. No one thanked us.’   

It was a victory for us, to be sure. The Soviets were our enemy. We paid them back for Vietnam. The Cold War and the threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction finally came to an end. But the Mujahedeen never were the “freedom fighters” as so often portrayed in American propaganda. Some of them became the Taliban who perpetrated 9/11. Victory has unintended consequences.

Today, the Islamic State and its brothers in arms such as Ahrar ash-Sham and an-Nusra, started as proxy fighters for foreign powers, mostly America and Turkey, fighting Bassar Assad. Hizb’allah and Hamas are on the other side.

Proxy wars gone sour has become a new theme in the 21st Century.

Between the Red Lines of Obama and Trump lies an investigation of the alleged Syrian sarin attack at Gouhta in 2013. Chemical analysis of samples taken on site didn’t match Syrian army stockpiles. MB-14 rocket fragments recovered from the site didn’t match Syrian Army inventory or even standard issue. Some fragments appeared to have been moved after detonation. It began to appear that the Russians were right. The rebels had staged a false flag, on the eve of peace talks, probably to bolster their bargaining position.

Evidence of a supply system feeding al Qaeda labs in Syria through Turkey for the purpose of false flags also emerged.

Obama backed away from his red line. He’d shot his mouth off too soon. Putin offered him a way out before he did something really stupid and the compliant media spun it all as a triumph of statesmanship. The Russians would supervise Assad’s chemical disarmament. They probably did. The last thing either wanted would be another close call.

Naturally, Turkey’s President Erdogan is very pleased with Trump’s attack on Shayrat airfield. It’s exactly what Erdogen wanted Obama to do, but paralysis by analysis stole the show. As it turns out, our establishment interventionist intelligence agencies were frustrated by Obama’s dithering. That they’re suddenly ecstatic about Trump, a man they once considered a menace to democracy, says a lot. But perhaps this is not good.

Then, there is the hysterical Jingoist media. The “new sheriff in town”: testimonials by authentic Syrian refugees! Americans — win our war in Syria so we can go home! There’s something wrong with that. Few rebellions have ever succeeded without foreign assistance. Both sides seek allies in war. Ideology will become expendable in pursuit of victory.

Look at video footage, purported to be on the site of the latest Khan Sheikoun attack. They present anomalies similar to the Ghouta attack in 2013. Here, a doctor treats a sarin victim without protective gear.  A helper kisses the contaminated baby. There is more if one looks with a cynical eye. All the “conclusive proof” propagated by the media is really circumstantial. It doesn’t really tell us much of anything that we didn’t already know. There has been yet no formal investigation — presuming, of course, such an investigation wouldn’t be biased to begin with. The problem here is that our intelligence people seem to feel entitled to make policy rather than just support it. Classified information is a cagey way to do it.

Did Trump make a big mistake? No, not really. He exposed Susan Rice as coarchitect of the failed Assad chemical disarmament. He discredited the Trump-Putin conspiracy theory regarding the election. This is a big win against the enemy within, who would like nothing better than to relive those halcyon days of their Vietnam protests.

Make no mistake. Whatever we do in the Middle East, the Council for American Islamic Relations, the Muslim Brotherhood, current Bill Ayers affiliates, and other Democrat allies will make it all go sour. It’ll end another in Iraq War blame game. We cannot fight the Jihad without first defeating Democrats as well as RINOs like Lindsay Graham and John McCain as well as all the foreign lobbying groups which have an agenda of their own.  

U.S. policy toward Russia actually remains ambivalent. The Russians play brinkmanship, policy stated in action. So does Trump. Here, we can only hope that if America’s war on terror escalated into war with Russia, the one that we avoided during the Cold War, a war from which Al Qaeda could emerge the winner in a devastated Western world.

There is, of course, a certain amount of speculation here. But even if it’s wrong in some places, all the powers are still in the same boat of frustration sailing into global chaos of their own making. In the new century, proxy wars are no longer an option. Proxy fighters have become much more sophisticated. They’ve established themselves as polities that can not only resist conventional armies but can manipulate them and even bring down the very governments that sponsor them. The great powers need to settle their disputes between themselves rather than by reducing entire subcontinents to no man’s land. They need to destroy the menace that they created before it destroys them. Resorting to things like SCUDs, MOAB or sarin — presuming Assad did use it at Kahn Sheikuon — indicates that we are running out of time. We are in a phase of imperial overkill, a last gamble of violence against a situation that had gotten out of control. This global chaos is the fault of neocon interventions and Obama appeasement. Whether Trump can pull order out of disorder remains to be seen. He’s on the right path with China concerning North Korea. Iran is the rogue nuclear aspirant in the Middle East. Nuclear weapons are the game changers.

This may be giving credit for more scheming than any of these characters are actually capable of, the stuff of conspiracy theory. However, there is a test for this one. Reports of collateral damage and casualties will follow the MOAB bombing and use of similar weapons. There will be more false flag attacks and some may even use poison gas again. Our enemies will play our sentimentality, which they regard as simply a weakness. Jihadis don’t mind dying for their cause.

Ultimately, and unfortunately, conspiracy theory is the way for the voters to run our republic when so much of the required information is classified. This is inevitable in protracted wars.

We can only hope that Dr. Sebastian Gorka is correct, that the new Trump policy is neither neocon interventionist nor Obama appeasement. Insisting upon an “evil” in the world is not reassuring, however. This is the stuff of intervention and empire. But, it may also be a just a ploy to unite the less informed masses to a new policy. We have seated a new player in the White House, but the game remains the same as it’s always been.



Source link

Unpacking the Latest Chemical Attack in Syria


The chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017 has aroused a slew of hyperbole of political rhetoric, and it’s all predictable.  Each side blames the other.

So far, the latest is a replay of the chemical attack on Gouhta in 2013.  There was never a consensus on whether chemical weapons were used by Syrian forces or by warring factions within the rebel camp – or if the entire incident was manufactured within rebel forces to acquire foreign assistance.  No consensus between Russia and America, at least.  

After the Gouhta attack, Syria’s President Assad relinquished his chemical stockpile, to the satisfaction of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  Syrian opposition insists that stocks were withheld.  Do they know something, or was this just an ace up the sleeve?

All state parties are aware of the political ramifications of using chemical weapons, which mitigate any military gains.  Deploying chemical weapons did make sense in the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988.  Here, Western and Soviet powers supported Iraq, for reasons of their own, along with Saddam Hussein’s profligate use of chemical weapons against Iran as a decisive weapon.  Sporadic, tactical use, on the other hand, is a losing deal unless there’s a ground follow-up for some particularly valuable terrain that just can’t be taken any other way.  This did not occur in Gouhta or Khan Sheikoun.  (Sarin is non-persistent and sometimes regarded as an “offensive chemical weapon.”)

For this reason, state powers fastidiously control the use of whatever chemical weapons they possess.  Authority to use them comes from the political top.  Civil wars are more chaotic than most, but all the more reason for the 2013 Syrian agent disposal to have been thorough.

Chemical munitions require troops specially trained to handle them and respond to leaks or other unique liabilities.  Improvising is more the insurgent tactic.  However, there are lots of government-trained troops fighting on the rebel side.  According to the Russians, al-Qaeda runs agent munitions manufacturing facilities at Kahn Sheikhoun.  The sarin released was their own.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) attempts to ban or closely monitor precursors used in manufacturing chemical agents.  However, precursors also have precursors.  Sarin used in the 1995 Tokyo subway attack and 1994 Matsumoto attack was apparently the real thing, and home-brewed.

Chlorine is still regarded as a “classic agent” because it was used as such in the First World War.  Any industrial gas can be used for military purposes if it’s heavier than air.  It displaces air.  It’s an asphyxiating agent, and if it’s readily available, as many are, it’ll do.  This, however, is again improvising.  A state power can deliver far more effective agents far more easily but with no more  political cost.  Strangely enough, an OPCW-UN panel finds Syria using chlorine and the Islamic State using mustard agent, which has only military application.

It’s difficult to believe much of any of it or figure it out.

In general, military operations are conducted according to a plan conceived on intelligence.  Intelligence must be timely and adequate.  By the time one learns everything there is to know for sure, the enemy will have moved.  If the operation succeeds, then the execution, plan, and intelligence were good enough.  Things can always go better, but at least the operation didn’t fail.  If the operation does fail, then the blame goes around among intelligence, planning, and execution.  Many inquiries accurately conclude that the enemy always has his say.

Not to say that armies don’t hide things, but journalists and politicians looking for a scoop are accustomed to a much more orderly world than a battlefield.  But military operations are not a guessing game, either.  They are based upon an analysis of risk versus gain that has to be made before the premises disappear altogether.

So what is the risk-versus-gain analysis on the Khan Sheikhoun attack?

For Assad, dumb.  Not to say that people don’t do dumb things, war itself being one of them.

For the rebels, it’s not so dumb.

Syrian opposition member Basma Kodmani insists, “This is a direct consequence of American statements about Assad not being a priority and giving him time and allowing him to stay in power,”  amounting to “a blank check for Assad.”

Guess we’d better get right over there and “play al-Qaeda’s air force” again.

We don’t know all the facts, but there are a few that we do know.

We’ve been fighting “terror” for over a decade and still haven’t gotten it right.  If anything, we’re worse at it than when we started.

We don’t need Russia as another belligerent, because Russia is already committed to Syria and actually seems to have gotten the game down better than we have.  Assad is winning.  Iraq isn’t.

Our intelligence agencies are better at spying on other politicians than they are terrorists – never mind that the latter post their intentions on Facebook.   

Democrats think Republicans are more the enemy than terrorists.

We’re broke.  The debt is pushing $20 trillion by some estimates and more by others.  That amounted to about $167,000 per taxpayer last I looked.  Whenever you’re ready!

Hamas has placed rocket launchers in civilian areas to discourage Israeli counter-battery fire.  Nice guys!  How could anyone think they would gas their own for a strategic advantage?

I hope “America First” wasn’t just a campaign promise.  Yes, we have interests in the Middle East, but the trick to that is to have as few of them as possible.

As for sarin, chemical warfare has aroused sentiments like that since the days of poison arrows, long before anyone knew if he’d really been poisoned or just picked up an infection in the wound.  The politics and propaganda in it proved a lot more useful than the chemical weapon ever was.

With every new weapon comes the hand-wringing until the other side adopts it and then finds himself doing everything he ever accused his enemy of doing – pikes, gunpowder, armor, aircraft, submarines, and chemical warfare agents.

We’re in for long haul against radical Islam, and it’s going to get nasty, because it already is nasty.

Leaders puff and posture.  It’s not always what it seems.  No doubt, repugnance for President Trump is a good first response.

But I hope “America First” isn’t just a slogan, because it’s the only America that we’ve got, and the rest of the world just plain isn’t.

The chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017 has aroused a slew of hyperbole of political rhetoric, and it’s all predictable.  Each side blames the other.

So far, the latest is a replay of the chemical attack on Gouhta in 2013.  There was never a consensus on whether chemical weapons were used by Syrian forces or by warring factions within the rebel camp – or if the entire incident was manufactured within rebel forces to acquire foreign assistance.  No consensus between Russia and America, at least.  

After the Gouhta attack, Syria’s President Assad relinquished his chemical stockpile, to the satisfaction of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  Syrian opposition insists that stocks were withheld.  Do they know something, or was this just an ace up the sleeve?

All state parties are aware of the political ramifications of using chemical weapons, which mitigate any military gains.  Deploying chemical weapons did make sense in the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988.  Here, Western and Soviet powers supported Iraq, for reasons of their own, along with Saddam Hussein’s profligate use of chemical weapons against Iran as a decisive weapon.  Sporadic, tactical use, on the other hand, is a losing deal unless there’s a ground follow-up for some particularly valuable terrain that just can’t be taken any other way.  This did not occur in Gouhta or Khan Sheikoun.  (Sarin is non-persistent and sometimes regarded as an “offensive chemical weapon.”)

For this reason, state powers fastidiously control the use of whatever chemical weapons they possess.  Authority to use them comes from the political top.  Civil wars are more chaotic than most, but all the more reason for the 2013 Syrian agent disposal to have been thorough.

Chemical munitions require troops specially trained to handle them and respond to leaks or other unique liabilities.  Improvising is more the insurgent tactic.  However, there are lots of government-trained troops fighting on the rebel side.  According to the Russians, al-Qaeda runs agent munitions manufacturing facilities at Kahn Sheikhoun.  The sarin released was their own.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) attempts to ban or closely monitor precursors used in manufacturing chemical agents.  However, precursors also have precursors.  Sarin used in the 1995 Tokyo subway attack and 1994 Matsumoto attack was apparently the real thing, and home-brewed.

Chlorine is still regarded as a “classic agent” because it was used as such in the First World War.  Any industrial gas can be used for military purposes if it’s heavier than air.  It displaces air.  It’s an asphyxiating agent, and if it’s readily available, as many are, it’ll do.  This, however, is again improvising.  A state power can deliver far more effective agents far more easily but with no more  political cost.  Strangely enough, an OPCW-UN panel finds Syria using chlorine and the Islamic State using mustard agent, which has only military application.

It’s difficult to believe much of any of it or figure it out.

In general, military operations are conducted according to a plan conceived on intelligence.  Intelligence must be timely and adequate.  By the time one learns everything there is to know for sure, the enemy will have moved.  If the operation succeeds, then the execution, plan, and intelligence were good enough.  Things can always go better, but at least the operation didn’t fail.  If the operation does fail, then the blame goes around among intelligence, planning, and execution.  Many inquiries accurately conclude that the enemy always has his say.

Not to say that armies don’t hide things, but journalists and politicians looking for a scoop are accustomed to a much more orderly world than a battlefield.  But military operations are not a guessing game, either.  They are based upon an analysis of risk versus gain that has to be made before the premises disappear altogether.

So what is the risk-versus-gain analysis on the Khan Sheikhoun attack?

For Assad, dumb.  Not to say that people don’t do dumb things, war itself being one of them.

For the rebels, it’s not so dumb.

Syrian opposition member Basma Kodmani insists, “This is a direct consequence of American statements about Assad not being a priority and giving him time and allowing him to stay in power,”  amounting to “a blank check for Assad.”

Guess we’d better get right over there and “play al-Qaeda’s air force” again.

We don’t know all the facts, but there are a few that we do know.

We’ve been fighting “terror” for over a decade and still haven’t gotten it right.  If anything, we’re worse at it than when we started.

We don’t need Russia as another belligerent, because Russia is already committed to Syria and actually seems to have gotten the game down better than we have.  Assad is winning.  Iraq isn’t.

Our intelligence agencies are better at spying on other politicians than they are terrorists – never mind that the latter post their intentions on Facebook.   

Democrats think Republicans are more the enemy than terrorists.

We’re broke.  The debt is pushing $20 trillion by some estimates and more by others.  That amounted to about $167,000 per taxpayer last I looked.  Whenever you’re ready!

Hamas has placed rocket launchers in civilian areas to discourage Israeli counter-battery fire.  Nice guys!  How could anyone think they would gas their own for a strategic advantage?

I hope “America First” wasn’t just a campaign promise.  Yes, we have interests in the Middle East, but the trick to that is to have as few of them as possible.

As for sarin, chemical warfare has aroused sentiments like that since the days of poison arrows, long before anyone knew if he’d really been poisoned or just picked up an infection in the wound.  The politics and propaganda in it proved a lot more useful than the chemical weapon ever was.

With every new weapon comes the hand-wringing until the other side adopts it and then finds himself doing everything he ever accused his enemy of doing – pikes, gunpowder, armor, aircraft, submarines, and chemical warfare agents.

We’re in for long haul against radical Islam, and it’s going to get nasty, because it already is nasty.

Leaders puff and posture.  It’s not always what it seems.  No doubt, repugnance for President Trump is a good first response.

But I hope “America First” isn’t just a slogan, because it’s the only America that we’ve got, and the rest of the world just plain isn’t.



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