In Christendom, under which the Gregorian Calendar developed, New Year's Day traditionally marks the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, which is still observed as such by the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church. pl
In Christendom, under which the Gregorian Calendar developed, New Year's Day traditionally marks the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, which is still observed as such by the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church. pl
This article has been found to be entirely spurious and the product of a malicious group operating from Tel Aviv who describe themselves as "American Zionists." pl
"The female skeleton has been identified thanks to DNA testing, as Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas. The DNA of the skeleton which was found in October, was compared to that of modern day descendants of Governor John White, her grandfather. The test confirmed that the bones were indeed with more than 99.8% certainty, those of Ms. Dare. Four of the others corpses have also been identified through the same process by the scientists, including that of the girl’s father Ananias Dare, a tiler and bricklayer from London. The other identified skeletons are those of Arnold Archard and his son Thomas, as well as the young John Sampson. The last two skeletons have not been identified yet, as the researchers were unable to collect any valid DNA samples from the skeleton." Worldnews
The nice Indians, innocent children of the forest free, born in Rousseau's "state of nature" kept slaves? Surely that cannot be.
It is amusing to read some of the comments on this article. The efforts to absolve the Indians of the sin of slaveholding are pathetic in their self deception and naivete. The basic argument for that effort is that the Indians were nice slaveholders unlike the bad White slaveholders both North and South of a later day. These nice Eno Indians, could, of course, have freed their British captives any time after the establishment of the Jamestown colony, but they did not. The skills of the captives were useful and so they kept them.
The Roanoke, Jamestown, Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies are usually spoken of as though they were the first substantial contacts that the East Coast Indians had with Europeans, but that is not the case. European fisherman had been in contact with the Indians on a regular basis for a long time. The cod fishery was well exploited and the fishermen habitually set up "factories" ashore to prepare their catch for shipment home. That contact had disastrous results for the Indians who contracted what we would consider to be mainly "childhood diseases" that killed most of the members of the east coast tribes.
Some Indians sailed back to England, Portugal, etc. with the fishing fleets, and later returned to America. At Plymouth several Indians walked into the colony early on seeking employment. They all spoke English having learned the language from the fisher folk. pl
This time I want to do this by teams with me acting (perhaps with others) as control and "all others."
I want to have a number of player teams:
Turkey (I have two Turkish volunteers)
Write me at email@example.com to volunteer. I will make selections. Play will be in turns as before. Tell me if I have missed something.
"WASHINGTON — Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, sought help this summer in solving an urgent problem for the American military: What makes the Islamic State so dangerous? Trying to decipher this complex enemy — a hybrid terrorist organization and a conventional army — is such a conundrum that General Nagata assembled an unofficial brain trust outside the traditional realms of expertise within the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies, in search of fresh ideas and inspiration. Business professors, for example, are examining the Islamic State’s marketing and branding strategies. NY Times
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute of God himself;
And earthly power doth then show like God's
When mercy seasons justice.
"Jennifer McDonnell Zubowsky wrote a letter of support for her father that was one of 440 submitted by his attorneys to a federal judge ahead of his Jan. 6 sentencing. Bob and Maureen McDonnell were convicted in September of a range of corruption charges in connection with gifts and loans they accepted from a wealthy businessman. Each faces up to 30 years in prison.
The letter from Zubowsky supports the attempt by McDonnell's lawyers to portray the former governor as a man ethically betrayed by his wife in a crumbling marriage. Among the defense's contentions was that the couple could not have conspired in the alleged corruption because they were barely speaking.
"My mom ... has always been concerned about getting discounts or freebees [sic]," Zubowsky write, according to the Post. "She hid her coordination with people for free or discounted things or services and she didn’t communicate with my dad because she knew he would not approve. ... The testimony about my mom ... unfortunately, was the reality."
Zubowsky also wrote that she believed that her mother had suffered from mental illness for years, with the governor saying that he planned to address the matter after leaving office. McDonnell served as Virginia's governor from 2010 until January of this year, and he was indicted days after leaving office. " foxnews
IMO Judge Spencer is going to "throw the book" at McDonnell. I have no connection whatever with the case or trial but I have deep belief that this will be seen as a chance to make an example of a politician.
I think Maureen McDonnell's personality defects and mental condition caused the former governor to do things that good judgment should have caused him to refuse, but at the same time most of us have had relatives whose spouses have been so outrageous in their behavior that they distorted the lives of those they should have supported.
McDonnell is finished in politics. Is that and the humiliation of the trial not punishment enough?
"The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven..."
IMO opinion President Obama should pardon the two of them after sentencing, insisting instead on a lengthy program of volunteer community service.
Obama wants and needs cooperation from the Republicans. IMO this show of mercy would help him get that help. pl
According to Democratic Party orthodoxy, Virginia is rapidly evolving into something like New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. McCauliffe's capture of the governor's mansion (after several attempts to win commonwealth wide office) was supposed to be a milestone in our progress toward becoming a society in which a man and a woman are addressed as "you guys."
Somehow... That has not happened. In spite of the best schmoozing, good booze and a keg in the governor's house, the "rubes" in the General Assembly have been remarkably unimpressed. The guv has fallen on his face in his attempts to expand Medicaid. I, personally, think that is a tragedy for armies of poor Virginians, but I understand the impulse to put Terry (master of the political game) in his place.
He "da man," and his agenda now includes such fodder for the national Democratic base as proposing gun control legislation to a legislature that loves guns. So do most Virginians. This fact is obscured by the propagandists in citing polls claiming that most of us favor background checks. That is probably true in the broadest sense if details are not given, but the pollsters and their media pals don't mention that what is really desired are universal pre-sale checks on ALL gun transfers including those among family members and other private citizens who happen to own a gun. The "gun show loophole" is always cited as evidence of something that should be done... Well, pilgrims, there is no gun show loophole in Virginia. NONE! All registered vendors at licensed gun shows are equipped for on-line federal and state checks before sales and these are executed. What is referred to as the "gun show loophole" are PRIVATE sales out in the parking lot. McCauliffe now proposes that the State Police will begin to "hang out" out there to "assist" people in making on-line checks using state police equipment. I wonder how well that will "go over."
In Today's Washington Post it was explained that Terry M. wants to create a "neutral" commission to re-district the General Assembly. Well, since the Republicans already, massively control the legislature, why on earth would they agree to that? The citizenry will think they are not "playing nice?" I will tell you a secret. Most Virginians do not care about "playing nice" in politics. They care about winning and in securing what they see as their interests. My father used to say that I should remember that the US is not a popular democracy. He stressed that it really is a federal republic with limited democracy. Remember that Wyoming and California each have two US Senators. The system was designed that way and the example is not lost on Virginians. There is no possibility that Terry M. will be able to change the system of districting the General Assembly. He is just grandstanding for the Clintons and the rest of that crew.
Mark Warner is a good senator but he almost lost his seat to Ed Gillepsie, someone not greatly admired in the Old Dominion. Warner won by 17,000 votes. That was a surprise. Perhaps McCauliffe should think about that. pl
Any mention of a member of the German armed forces in WW2 as other than a demon seems to bring such messages.
Some of these messages seek, rather transparently, to draw me into discussions that the writer clearly hopes will justify his/her opinion.
Well, Pilgrims, stay tuned because I am hard to silence. pl
(The Purple Assed Mandrill of Peace speaks again)
Afghanistan as presently configured by the US, has 200,000 men under arms. This costs about $11.6 billion. Afghanistan's GDP is about $45 billion. A lot of that is created by massive foreign aid driven projects. The country's biggest cash crop and foreign exchange earner is opium poppies. The army and police lost over 4,000 killed this year, a year admittied to be the bloodiest in a long time. Do the arithmetic, folks, do the arithmetic.
Barry McCaffery was on the tube this AM explaining to ayman muhi ad-din (nobody can pronounce his name) that the great danger for the present government of Afghanistan is that the US Congress will become bored with the whole project and cancel future assistance to that distant and miserable land. McCaffery said that would result in "immediate civil war and collapse." He is absolutely right.
The US Congress cut off aid to South Vietnam in 1975 and that is what happened. We are going to see a re-run. pl
The boy was pulled out of his high- school class, interrogated by the police, arrested and charged with insulting the president, the reports say.
The website of the Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported that the teen, identified only by his initials, MEA, had become an activist and started a Facebook page.
During a speech, Today's Zaman reported, the boy said, "We view Erdogan as the head of theft, bribery and corruption."" Haaretz
IMO Erdogan's Turkey is a de facto ally of the Salafist jihadi movements, Nusra Front and IS. He has recently made agreements with the Shia run government in Baghdad. the only way that makes any sense is that it will enable cooperation between these natural enemies against the Kurds. pl
The ISIL militants attacked the Baghdadi district with mortar shells loaded with chlorine gas, the unnamed sources said on Wednesday.
According to the source, the district has come under siege and heavy shelling by the ISIL terrorists.
The situation has already left people, mostly children in the area, in dire need of food supplies.
The area is also suffering from water shortage as the ISIL snipers have prevented water department employees from entering the region to fix a water project.
The Takfiri ISIL militants killed at least 300 Iraqi soldiers in a chlorine gas attack on an army battalion in al-Anbar Province in September." Press TV
Yes, I know that this is Iranian news, but as I have said many time one must evaluate the information and the source separately. pl
My sister Maureen wrote from her paradise on the central California coast to gift us with this. pl
I am moving to a Forty acre country property shortly. I am required to advise the firearms register people of the new address for my Four firearms. The Police will then inspect my new gunsafe arrangements. From what I have been told, it appears that "someone" has unauthorised access to the registry and is providing a menu service to well organised thieves. Furthermore from what I have heard, the Police response to firearm thefts is somewhat muted. Another unintended consequence of firearm registration - becoming a target for thieves. I intend to fit a number of cell phone equipped trail cameras to protect my property, but will the Police be interested in catching someone in the act? Does anyone have any suggestions?
"On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, NASA scientists attending the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco announced the detection of organic compounds on Mars. The announcement represents the discovery of the missing “ingredient” that is necessary for the existence – past or present – of life on Mars.
Indeed, the extraordinary claim required extraordinary evidence – the famous assertion of Dr. Carl Sagan. The scientists, members of the Mars Science Lab – Curiosity Rover – mission, worked over a period of 20 months to sample and analyze Martian atmospheric and surface samples to arrive at their conclusions. The announcement stems from two separate detections of organics: 1) ten-fold spikes in atmospheric Methane levels, and 2) drill samples from a rock called Cumberland which included complex organic compounds." Universe Today
I would bet my own money that there is a lot of water on Mars. Terraforming is probably a real possibility. pl
Okay. I couldn't resist. It's been bouncing around my head since I set up the nativity this year. Besides, my younger son works for the ad agency that handles Gieco. He's pretty much responsible for their dancing caveman ads. It runs in the family.
I fervantly hope this brings a smile to all. I wish Colonel Lang, his family and the entire SST committee of correspondence a Merry Christmas and the peace and joy of the season.
"United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) is an armed forces sub-unified command subordinate to United States Strategic Command. The command is located in Fort Meade, Maryland, and centralizes command of cyberspace operations, organizes existing cyber resources and synchronizes defense of U.S. military networks" wiki
If it is established that the North Korean government and/or its agents attacked Sony then I say, let slip the dogs of cyberwar. Hacking? You like hacking and destructive cyberwar activity? Hah! We will burn your servers into piles of smoldering kimchi !! pl
"Heberprot-P is the brand name of a drug developed by scientists at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in Cuba as a cure for diabetic foot ulcer. The product contains epidermal growth factor (EGF) to be applied by intra-lesional injections directly in the wound site. It has been found to "promote granulation and healing in advanced diabetic foot ulcers". Heberprot-P is indicated for the treatment of poor prognosis of deep, extensive, and terminal DFU not responding to comprehensive and/or extensive conventional methods, particularly in grades 3, 4 and 5 of Wagner's Classification with average ulcer size bigger than 20 cm2, of both neuropathic and ischemic etiology with high risk amputation. Clinical studies in 344 patients with advanced diabetic foot ulcers (Wagner´s grade 3 or 4, median size >20 cm2, ischemic ulcers not excluded) have shown that injected recombinant EGF has the potential to promote complete granulation in more than 80%, with complete wound healing (re-epithelialization) in more than 50% of subjects usually unresponsive to other treatments. Injected recombinant EGF has the potential to reduce amputation rates, with a considerable personal and public health improvement, including longer survival." Wiki
As I have just explained to someone who used to comment on SST, I have no use for communism and its friends but the devil must be given his due.
Many Americans are mutilated or die every year because of diabetic foot ulcers. First the toes go, then the feet and later the legs. Death follows.
This drug has been available since 2007? One might ask why it has not been available in the States? Was this caused by the idiocy of the present sanctions against Cuba? Did the possession by the Cuban government of the world patent pose an insuperable barrier to entry of this drug into our marketplace? Would the FDA have proven to be another insuperable barrier?
This article appeared in the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, my local paper, on 15 December. Inspired by Mr. Polk’s excellent essay on the history of the Russian people, I’ve decided to take a break from laying tile and post the article. Mayor Greenlaw may have a fine appreciation for history, but I don’t think this appreciation extends to most Americans. That’s a shame.
“History surrounds and speaks to us,” Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw told a small crowd gathered at the Kirkland Memorial on Sunken Road, where a ceremony Sunday marked the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg. She went on to relate a story about a pair of her ancestors involved in the tumultuous times of the Civil War. One was a tailor who bucked the consensus in Fredericksburg by voting against secession. The other was a banker who had bought a family of slaves at the auction block site on the corner of William and Charles streets. Both of her ancestors were considered good men, Greenlaw said, but they held very different positions in a time when the country was fractured by the war. One ancestor was vilified for taking a courageous stand, Greenlaw said. The other bought a family on a corner, something that was routine at the time.
The U.S. is a “remembering” country, she added, but said we also tend to forget the uglier aspects of our history. Yet, she said, good can still be found when considering stories like those about her ancestors, as well as that of Sgt. Richard Rowland Kirkland. In these stories, she said, we see the challenges of the times and find humanity in the ugliness of war. (Free-Lance Star)
Since becoming a Virginian, I’ve been fascinated by the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg. The actions at the sunken road and the fate of the Irish Brigade are well known, but I am most impressed by the battle that occurred a few miles south of Marye’s Heights. Here at Prospect, Hill General Jackson fought a close run defensive battle and emerged victorious. IMO Jackson was brilliant in taking advantage of the terrain and mitigating his enemy’s strengths. He controlled the action from start to finish and that’s no small feat for a defender. I think his only major fault was failing to impart his full plan for the defensive battle to his subordinates. If I'm not mistaken, that was something he was prone to do. A major part of this battlefield was acquired by the Civil War Battlefield Trust in 2009. Listen to historian Frank O’Reilly describe the events and their significance of this battle at Slaughter Pen Farm.
Well, good. I was going to be in the assault echelon for the landings on the north shore of Cuber in November 1962. That prospect went away. Good! Then, when I was in SF in Panama in 1965, I was on the list to parachute into Cuber to link up with anticommunist guerrillas if war came between the US and Cuber. That never happened. Good!
Now Obama has used the power of lameduckhood to seek a return to normalcy between the US and Cuber. Good!
Rubio is on the tube bleating about Obama's fecklessness. Absurd!
Hey folks! There are seven, SEVEN, Cuban American members of Congress. Seven. There is only one state in which Cuban-Americans are more than 1% of the population, mostly they are less than .5%. That is Florida where they are 6.5% of the population. 6.5%
The US Chamber of Commerce will press for removal of the embargo by the Congress as will various other trade groups, farmers, ranchers, etc. Good!
Church bells rang spontaneously all over Havana as President Obama and Raul Castro made their announcements. Both praised the fisherman's heir.
Let us all pray for peace in this season. pl
The medieval principality of Kiev was the origin of the Russian state, but from before it existed, the area we today call the Ukraine was as much a passageway as a destination: from the north, Vikings (who called themselves Rus) came down the rivers to trade and hunt for slaves; from the south, Byzantium sent missionaries and traders; and nomadic peoples from inner Asia, Scythians, various Turkish peoples, Tatars and Mongols periodically surged in from the East. Natives and descendants of previous invaders accommodated to these intrusions. They had to. Many, of course, died or were killed, but many more intermarried or converted to the customs, languages and religions of the most recent of the newcomers.
Historians often describe these accommodations in religious terms: in the vast steppe lands near the Sea of Azov, the Khazars, a Turkish people, converted to Judaism while the people living around Kiev, then a trading post on the Dnieper river, became Greek (Orthodox) Christians and most of the nomads converted to Islam. There was no single overarching political, religious or social Ukrainian authority, but the bosses, chief men or warlords of towns, districts and large estates constituted themselves a sort of primitive parliament, the veche, to negotiate with one another and with the titular rulers. For a brief period in the Twelfth century, under this arrangement and led by a major figure in early history, Vladimir II, Monomakh, "Kiev" dominated most of what today is the Russian Federation including what later became the Tsardom of Moscow, but it did not include all of what today is the Ukraine.
Kiev's sway was shattered within half a century, and in 1169 Kiev itself was sacked and burned by armies from northern Russian city-states. As the great Kievan-Russian historian Michael Florinsky wrote, "The Kievan chapter of Russia's history was closed." The center of "Russian" power moved north to the city-state of Vladimir in what had been a mainly Finnish area. The district's later major city and capital, Moscow, was then just a small trading post crowding around a wooden stockade that, burned, demolished and rebuilt, came to be known as the Kremlin. Then in the Thirteenth century the Mongols of Chingis Khan arrived.
First published at SST in November, 2007. Re-published today on the occasion of the Taliban slaughter of children at a Peshawar government school for the children of military families. pl
"Let's not be delusional about the U.S. government's influence. This is a huge, complex country, and most everything is going to happen outside of our play," said Rick Barton, a Pakistan expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "But we can be a leader here."
By putting military rule ahead of the rights of his people, Musharraf has presented Bush with a test of sincerity of his freedom agenda, Barton said.
"Let's just accept that Musharraf's probably going to go down," he said. "Let's just do the right thing, and be seen by the Pakistanis as holding true to our own values and principles. Musharraf has clearly moved from being a force of moderation to being somebody who's more of a self-serving leader."
Another hopeful scenario in the U.S. view is that Pakistan's emergency states ends fast — a setback, but not a devastating one. Democracy is still the path that Pakistanis want, Johndroe said. "This is a slight detour," he said. "But I think they will get back on it. And we will strongly encourage them to do so."
Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear security expert and senior fellow for the liberal Center for American Progress, said there are few good American policy options in Pakistan. He said Pakistan is the world's most dangerous country — an unstable place of strong Islamic fundamentalist influences and a nuclear arsenal.
"If the government falls, if the Army splits, who gets the weapons?" Cirincione said. "Who gets the material for the weapons? Who gets the scientists who know how to build the weapons? Pakistan could go overnight from a major non-NATO ally to our worst nuclear nightmare." BEN FELLER
Pakistan was always a bad idea. It is an artificial state created out of the flanks of the equally artificial British Indian empire, a state summoned into being on the basis of Muslim aversion to a shared existence with the Hindu kuffar. British weariness and exhaustion after the trauma and bleeding of the two world wars set the stage for the creation of a country based on an IDEAL of religious communal exclusivity. The country once had two halves but revolt in East Pakistan (Bangla Desh) severed that relationship long ago and left the remnant of Pakistan to simmer in a broth of communal hatred directed toward India, a country which still has a huge Muslim population, a functioning democracy (no military governments there) and an economy that is one of the world's marvels.
Pakistan is prone to religious fanaticism, tribal unrest and the rule of warriors? What a surprise! This is the traditional pattern of government throughout the Islamic World. There are places where this pattern does not typically exist; Jordan, Morocco. the UAE, Oman and a few more. The crowd will roar but I would include Egypt in this group. Strong, traditional rulers who govern with a modicum of common sense are the pattern in such places. Do we applaud their methods in such states? No! We Westerners typically seek to undermine them because they are not what we think they should be. What is that? Exactly like us, that is what we think they should be. For all our talk about the "blossoming" of freedom in locally acceptable forms, we Americans (and a lot of others) do not believe in that for a minute. We want people to be exactly like us.
In places like Pakistan where the veneer of Tom Friedman's flat world is mighty thin, meddling in the local social order carries a high risk of de-stabilizing society and releasing forces that we have no ability to manage.
Our pressure for "Democracy" in Pakistan has been incompatible with our willingness to engage an already Islamist state like Pakistan as an ally. We have wrecked the status quo in Pakistan. Now we will all pay a price. pl
In the comments to both my post and Walrus's original post on HR 758, Brigadier Ali raised an interesting and important point about another bill that recently passed: House Resolution 5859. Brigadier Ali and several other commenters expressed concern that this bill, which has passed both chambers and is awaiting the President's signature, would require the Administration to provide various forms of defense support to Ukraine. The concern is that this could lead to a further deterioration of relations with Russia. The link to the Congressional information on HR 5859 is here. I've attached the pdf of the bill at the bottom of this post. The first several sections define terms and basically legislative authorize what the Administration has already been doing with sanctions, visa denials, prohibitions on investments, etc.
The pertinent section to Brigadier Ali's concerns is section 6. Section 6, subsection a explicitly states: "The President is authorized (my emphasis) to provide defense articles, defense services, and training to the Government of Ukraine for the purpose of countering offensive weapons and reestablishing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including anti-tank and anti-armor weapons, crew weapons and ammunition, counter-artillery radars to identify and target artillery batteries, fire control, range finder, and optical and guidance and control equipment, tactical troop-operated surveillance drones, and secure command and communications equipment, pursuant to the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.), the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), and other relevant provisions of law."
The remainder of this section includes a lot of "shalls" and "shoulds". While HR 5859 is not a "sense of the House" bill like 758 is, my reading of its impact on US action vis a vis Ukraine similar to that of 758. It does not require the President to do anything, but it does give him permission to both continue doing what he's been doing and to take additional actions if so desired. All of that said, perhaps it might be good to remember that sanctions are themselves often considered an act of war... That, sobering thought, is, however, a discussion for another day.
It is a standard procedure for criminal prosecutors targeting large-scale criminal enterprises to "start at the bottom" and work up through the ranks of the organization to ultimately bring to justice the higher-ups who ordered and ran the crimes. The record on the torture program of the CIA is now partially revealed, with the release of the 500-page unclassified summary. Col. Lang is absolutely correct that the full, unredacted 6,000 page SSCI report should be declassified and made public. It should serve as the prosecutors handbook for pursing a RICO case against the entire apparatus behind the policy. This is not only a matter of sound criminal law. It is vital for the United States to be able to move beyond the post-9/11 slope towards unconstitutional police-state authority vested in the executive branch and its agencies.
CIA officers interviewed by the media since the release of the SSCI summary have made clear that many officers inside the Agency knew that the program being mandated from the Bush-Cheney White House was illegal and would lead to disaster. They explained that many CIA officers refused to participate and, as a result, outside contractors were widely used--including the so-called psychologists who adopted the S.E.R.E. methods to the "enhanced interrogations."
This program was ordered, top-down by Vice President Cheney and others in the White House. The CIA attorneys went to the Department of Justice to obtain authorization for the "enhanced interrogation" methods employed. The culpability within the Bush-Cheney Executive Branch extends beyond the CIA.
Yesterday Walrus posted that the US Congress passed a bill that essentially authorizes war on the Ukraine. After reading his post, the comments, and then the actual text of the legislation, I was pretty sure that Walrus had misunderstood a subtle nuance of the American legislative process. As COL Lang noted in his comments to the original post, since the US is not a parliamentary system, this type of legislation is non-binding. The US Congress passes non-binding measures all the time. A lot of them are feel good constituency servicing, others attempt to get everyone on board some issue that should not be the concern of the Congress. These should be, but are not always, reported on as "sense of the House" or "sense of the Senate" measures. Basically they are a formalized way of telling everyone what the House, Senate, or entire Congress's opinion is of an issue. This is the case with House Resolution 758. I double checked this with a friend who works for Congress. His response was:
"This is a simple (House) resolution, and does not hold the force of law. Basically, the House is expressing its opinion ("Sense of the House") on the issue. Anything they are asking the President to do would not be required like it would be if this was a law and used the word "shall" in instructing the President to do something. That said, by putting themselves on the record like this, the House could use this to try and pressure the President to take certain actions, but I have no way of knowing what that might mean or if it would be at all effective."
For anyone interested the full text of the resolution can be found here.
The link is to the fine print announcement in the New York Times that The United States Congress, silently, speedily and with no public debate has passed a motion authorizing the supply to Ukraine of American lethal weapons and other forms of support which ratchet up, in my opinion, the probability of a direct military confrontation between NATO and Russia.
No further proof of the degeneracy of American politics is required. I can find no information let alone public debate on this matter in the complaisant, lickspittle mainstream media.
My concern is that the Washington establishment, like Kaiser Wilhelm, concluded that war with Russia now is preferable to a confrontation with an invigourated Russia, perhaps with Chinese support, in Ten years time.
I would also add that in my opinion the Russians will prove far better fighters than any opponent. I think a re reading of Anthony Beavors book on Stalingrad might be instructive.
"They’ve waited more than a decade in Downey. They’ve tried all the usual tricks to bring good-paying jobs back to the 77-acre plot of dirt where once stood a factory that made moon landers and, later, space shuttles. Nothing brought back the good jobs.
Those jobs aren’t coming back. Not at the old North American Rockwell plant, and not in thousands of similarly socked towns.
Yes, the stock market is soaring, the unemployment rate is finally retreating after the Great Recession and the economy added 321,000 jobs last month. But all that growth has done nothing to boost pay for the typical American worker. Average wages haven’t risen over the last year, after adjusting for inflation. Real household median income is still lower than it was when the recession ended.
Make no mistake: The American middle class is in trouble.
That trouble started decades ago, well before the 2008 financial crisis, and it is rooted in shifts far more complicated than the simple tax-and-spend debates that dominate economic policymaking in Washington." Washpost
IMO we Americans wrecked our own Middle Class (whatever that really may be) We did things like this:
- By embracing Free Trade as an unequivocal good we shipped a lot of our manufacturing base abroad. I agree with Adam Smith that Free Trade is a good thing if it benefits the polity of which one is a member. There is a principal in economcs called "competitive advantage." In a Free Trade situation China has a great competitive advantage over the US in terms of labor costs and a lack of quality regulation in manufacturing. Embrace of NAFTA and similar arrangements has produced what Ross Perot predicted would be a "great sucking sound" as jobs left the USA for parts abroad where competitive advantage would result in wonderful profits for people like me who are invested in the equity markets.
- The US government has wasted vast amounts of money, often borrowed, on wars abroad that were completely unncesessary. The enemies we fought were real enemies and they needed to be fought, but they could have been fought with counter-terrorism methodologies; commandos, police, intelligence, diplomacy. It was not necessary to invade and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan and then try to transform the countries. The money drained off into such wars was lost to the general American econmy and siphoned into private hands both overseas and in the US. This kind of loss of circulating capital is generally detrimental to the level of enterprise and taxes paid in a country. A loss of revenue in government leads to reductions in discretionary expenditures in things like the space program. Think Downey.
-The cost of higher education has been allowed to escalate to levels at which people who were in the Middle Class or had a chance to be in the Middle Class face choices between beggaring themselves in an attempt to educate their children or seeing their children carry burdens of crippling debt for much of their lives. None of that promotes prosperity.
"We have met the enemy and it is us." pl
"The primary international treaty against torture, the Convention against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1994, contains two key requirements. First, it bans torture, without exception, as well as other inhumane treatment. Second, it requires that torturers be prosecuted.
President Obama has been firm in stopping torture. On his second day in office, he ordered an end to the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” — a euphemism for torture — and the closure of the secret CIA detention centers where torture was carried out.
But Obama has utterly failed in the second requirement. He has flatly refused to investigate the torture, let alone prosecute those responsible. The sole exception was a limited inquiry into any CIA interrogations that exceeded what was authorized, but even then the investigators didn’t interview victims or recommend charges. The Senate intelligence committee report should lead the president to reexamine this refusal." Kenneth Roth in Washpost
IMO Obama does not want to break his own toys anymore than Tiberias Caesar would have wished to do so. With regard to the Tormentors and their enablers, it should be clear that if you let them get away with it, their successors will do the same things. pl
CIA Director Brennan's self administered auto de fe fell flat. He met with POTUS this AM and was evidently told to get his statement in line with the president's position "or else." The "else" is pretty clear. He could easily find himself doing the "Hagel Two Step." As a result the gospel according to Brennan backed away from any real defense of the deeds of CIA in its tormented and torturing history since 9/11.
On the one hand, he told us that information derived from torture was, at times, useful. On the other hand he told us that it is "unknowable" if the information so derived had any real value. He said that some of the things done by CIA officials were "abhorrent" but in answer to a question was ambiguous and non-committal as to whether or not it might be necessary to do the same kind of things in the future.
Well, pilgrims, as shown in the map above the US is a signatory of the UN Convention Against Torture. This convention signature was ratified by the US Senate and for that reason has the status of US federal law.
The CIA and its Corps of Tormentors disgraced and soiled the United States as did the US Army at Abu Ghraib. Insufficient punishment was meted out to the senior army culprits at Abu Ghraib, but now there is a chance to make an example of the monstrous fools who motivated, directed and executed this renewal of the Inquisition. It should be mentioned that Cheney and Rumsfeld played a direct role in encouraging US Army intelligence to torture prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
I suggest the following as steps to be taken by the SST community:
- Brennan has made himself an accomplice in what amounts to a criminal conspiracy to violate federal law. He should be fired and should be prosecuted for that crime.
- The Obama Justice Department should reverse its stated position and re-open investigations that may lead to the indictment of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rodriguez, and all those who participated in this criminal violation of US and international law. For the president and Holder to fail to do this would make them be in violation of their oaths of office. They swore to see that the law of the US would be upheld and enforced.
- All interested readers of SST should press their governments abroad to have their courts indict all those guilty of crimes against the Torture Convention in international law.
- The full senate report on this matter is over 6,000 pages long and is at present classified as was the 500 page summary. The full report should be de-classified and released to the public. The material to be released is mainly CIA cables and internal documents that support the summary judgments aleady released. IMO the full report should be released in an unredacted form so that those guilty of these crimes against US and international law can be identified and prosecuted for their crimes.
- The large sums of money paid to the torture psychologists should be "clawed back" in the process of prosecuting these consultants.
- To prevent future "adventures" of this sort, covert action should be removed from CIA's menu of missions and placed under DoD where effective oversight by Congress and a bias against adventurism is predominent. This was the case in WW2 when OSS (a JCS subordinated organization) ran covert operations. CIA should be an organization that does clandestine HUMINT (espionage) and nothing else.
I appeal to this committee to move history in this matter and to help restore the honor of the United States. pl
"At the time, the C.I.A.’s operational handbook declared that the agency did not engage in “torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment, or prolonged detention without charges or trial,” according to the Senate report. But agency lawyers also began exploring a different approach, though it is not clear why. A Nov. 26, 2001, draft memo lists several tactics — extreme cold, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, and humiliation — and began discussing possible legal justifications. Such measures are prohibited in federal and military prisons.
The C.I.A. had a corps of experts that specialized in getting people to talk by building rapport with their subjects. In interviews known as “fireside chats,” they extracted information and determined whether it was reliable. Coercive interrogation, the agency’s experts believed, led to unreliable information. After 9/11, there is no evidence that the C.I.A. conducted much research into how to conduct interrogations or reviewed its own history with harsh interrogation techniques during the early days of the Cold War, according to the Senate report." NY Times
I am going to make recommendations to the SST community as to what should be done... by us... about this.
I think it is a good idea to let the Haydens, Harlows, Rodriguezes et all burn themseles out on TV before proposing a list of steps to be taken.
Please forward suggestions to me. pl
"In late July 2002 the CIA turned to the psychologists, according to both former intelligence officials and congressional investigators. Jessen was then a senior psychologist at the Defense Department agency that taught special operations forces how to resist and endure torture via so called "SERE" training, or Survival, Evasion, Resistance Escape training, at a special "SERE" school. Jessen was sent to the CIA "for several days" to discuss the techniques, according to congressional investigators. Jessen immediately resigned from the Air Force and, along with Mitchell, another recently retired colleague, founded Mitchell, Jessen & Associates.
The Senate report states the contractor "developed the list of enhanced interrogation techniques and personally conducted interrogations of some of the CIA's most significant detainees using those techniques. The contractors also evaluated whether the detainees' psychological state allowed for continued use of the techniques, even for some detainees they themselves were interrogating or had interrogated."" NBC News
As is reflected in the two cited SST posts below I deduced in 2007 and 2008 that the CIA run interrogation torture program had its roots in the "Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape" (SERE) training program that the USAF ran during the Cold War. This program existed for the purpose of preparing air crews for what they might experience if shot down and/or captured by a communist enemy.
Several theater air force commands ran such training courses. The civilian psychologists who are mentioned in the NBC News story were the technical experts for all these schools.
USAF South ran such a school in the Panama Canal Zone and the Republic of Panama in the '60s. 8th US Army Special Forces Group was home based in the Canal Zone. The air force asked 8th SF to send a few men to each class in the belief that the "Greenies" would keep the air force students alive out in the jungle during the course. Accordingly, I was a student in one of these course. The survival training in the jungle near Columbia was routine business for the SF people. That was much like our usual environment. We ate a lot of wild turkey, monkey and palm heart. We showed the air force people how to find their way around in the wilderness. It was much like a picnic. Then, at the end of the course, we were all seized and put in a "practise" PW camp where we were held naked for days without shelter during the monsoon, subjected to many of the "techniques" described in the senate report and then at the end, waterboarded. I am here to tell you that anyone who thinks waterboarding is not torture has not been waterboarded. I thought then and think now that the psychologists and air force people who ran the camp were dangerous sadists.
When the question of waterboarding and torture arose after 9/11 I decided that such abuse must have its roots in the SERE schools since, in spite of leftist fantasies, the USG had not tortured people since the Phillipine Insurrection. There was no basis in dictrine for such behavior. In VN there were occasional vilations of US military law in this area but when discovered they were punished.
Bush 43 said that the people who ran this program were American patriots because they sacrificed their own sensibilities for the greater good. Himmler said much the same thing to a gathering of SS leaders in 1942. The torturers and their Mengele clone advisers are probably safe from prosecution but they should be shunned by all decent people. pl
The New York Times is reporting on the contents of the Senate CIA Interrogation report. My personal comments about the alleged actions of the CIA and its contractors detailed in the report are largely unprintable.
My comment however about President Obama is not. If he truly said: “it is important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had.”, then he is as depraved as the rest.
The lack of punishment and other corrective action, let alone any atonement, by successive American Administrations puts the final seal on the coffin of the idea of America as "exceptional" or "indispensable". How can America make any moral arguments for intervention in world affairs with this still hanging over its head?
"Billions of years ago, a lake once filled the 96-mile (154-km) wide crater being explored by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, bolstering evidence that the planet most like Earth in the solar system was suitable for microbial life, scientists said on Monday.
The new findings combine more than two years of data collected by the rover since its sky-crane landing inside Gale Crater in August 2012.
Scientists discovered stacks of rocks containing water-deposited sediments inclined toward the crater’s center, which now sports a three-mile (5 km) mound called Mount Sharp. That would mean that Mount Sharp didn’t exist during a period of time roughly 3.5 billion years ago when the crater was filled with water, Curiosity researchers told reporters during a conference call.
"Finding the inclined strata was ... a complete surprise,” said lead scientist John Grotzinger, with the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena." Reuters
What's the chance of finding water in some form beneath the surface of Mars? pl
"Pierre Korkie, 56, and American journalist Luke Somers, 33, died of wounds after being shot during a special forces raid intended to free Somers shortly after midnight on Saturday. Washington says they were killed by their captors, members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Another 11 people, including a woman, a 10-year-old boy and a local al Qaeda leader, were also killed during the raid in the village of Dafaar in Shabwa province, a militant stronghold in southern Yemen" reuters
IMO the US had no choice but to act in this effort to rescue Somers. AQAP had announced that they were about to kill Somers.
Raids of this sort are likely to result in heavy friendly losses. They are much more difficult to execute than simple attacks because of the inhibition that the presence of prisoners causes in the use of maximum fire power and shock action.
In VN I belonged to a unit that had among its tasks the rescue of US POWs. This was in the Blue Light program. We had a number of aircraft and some very special troops dedicated to this mission if the opportunity for a fairly safe rescue arose. It never did. Intelligence several times located little camps inside South Vietnam where US POWs were being held. In each case the high command in VN decided not to risk the death or injury of the prisoners in a raid. They reasoned that the war would end soon and that the prisoners had a better chance of survival in waiting. In this case that is not true and so the US has little choice but to act.
Expect more losses of this kind. SOF people are not supermen in spite of all the nonsense fostered by the media. pl
The Israeli Air Force have conducted several airstrikes on Syria's Damascus International Airport, targeting an arms depot, a source in Syrian army's Joint Staff told Sputnik on Sunday.
"The Israeli Air Force have conducted airstrikes on an arms depot, which caused huge blasts near the [Damascus] International Airport," the source said in a phone conversation.
According to the source, explosions are heard near the Damascus airport and the capital's suburb Al-Dimas.
He added that the Joint Staff will release a statement on the attack soon.
Last reports on Israel's resorting to military action against Syria date back to June, when Israeli aviation hit nine Syrian military targets in the disputed territory of the Golan Heights. Sputniknews
IMO , this set of attacks and another down near the Golan Heights line of demarcation strongly support "b's" contention that Israel is backing the advance of a Nusra Front/FSA force toward Damascus from the south. US cooperation in this effort is probable. I have been told that the nearly complete collapse of the unicorn army of FSA moderates has caused the US to covertly approach Nusra with a proposal to offer support if Nusra will scale back its IS-like habit of butchering its enemies when they are captured. That would include a more tolerant attitude toward US journalists. pl
"Records from Israel’s Ministry of Health have revealed that so far about 1,000 Syrians have been treated at four hospitals in the north of Israel, among them fighters from the Free Syrian Army, Israeli news site i24news.tv reported.
i24 further noted that last month, Israel’s Druze minority staged a protest against the hospitalization of wounded fighters with links to the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Israel. i24 explained that Israel’s Druze community, like the Druze communities in Syria and Lebanon, largely support Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, fearing what may happen to their community should Islamist rebels succeed in toppling him.
Asked by i24 if Israel has hospitalized fighters from al-Nusra and the IS, an IDF spokesman said that “in the past two years the Israeli Defense Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity.”"
This is more proof of "b's" contention. Many Israeli Druze serve in the IDF and Border Polics. The Sunni militants are the enemies of their blood. pl
Lastly the FZ newsie program this Sunday featured a panel in which some remarkably ignorant and self serving things were said. The nadir of rational discussion was reached by Richard Haas who says he thinks that an international military task force should be formed to impose a new government on Syria by force. He would include; Turkey, the US, the UK, France, Jordan and various groups of cats and dogs from the Gulf. Just thought I would mention it. Someone, please put up a link. Remarks welcomed. pl
"An account of sexual assault in Rolling Stone magazine that shook the University of Virginia and horrified readers showed signs of crumbling on Friday as the magazine admitted to doubts about its report of a premeditated gang rape at a fraternity party and the fraternity issued its first rebuttal of some details.
Rolling Stone’s backpedaling came after several days of critiques that questioned aspects of its article about a woman who asked to be called Jackie, and concessions by campus activists against sexual assault that they had doubts about some parts of her account." NY Times
It is true that drunken young women have been taken advantage of at frat parties. I never belonged to a fraternity but I have heard rumors... I suspect that this is an age old phenomenon. One would think that mothers, aunts and indeed grandmothers would counsel the young against the notion that boozing it up at a private party in which the hosts are a crowd of sexually deprived young men is a good idea. Nevertheless, young women continue to do just that. In fact they are thrilled to be invited.
Having written that I think it is necessary to say that facts DO matter. Rolling Stone libelled the university and this fraternity without sufficient fact checking and due diligence. IMO, the fraternity should sue the newspaper. There evidently was no social event at that house on the date specified. That ought to make the lawsuit an easy project. I suppose that the frat house could be re-painted or some other project devised.
This sounds a lot like the Duke rape fiasco a few years back. The hysterical persecution of the suspects collapsed in that case just as this case is collapsing. Unfortunately, the managers of Rolling Stone cannot be disbarred as the prosecutor was at Duke.
The desire to destroy the reputations of Southern schools like Duke, Washington and Lee, William and Mary, etc. is alive and well among the paladins of the left. pl
"the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 — which can avoid sensor detection thanks to its special shape and coating — simply doesn’t work very well. The Pentagon has had to temporarily ground F-35s no fewer than 13 times since 2007, mostly due to problems with the plane’s Pratt & Whitney-made F135 engine, in particular, with the engines’ turbine blades. The stand-downs lasted at most a few weeks.
“The repeated problems with the same part of the engine may be indications of a serious design and structural problem with the F135 engine,” said Johan Boeder, a Dutch aerospace expert and editor of the online publication JSF News.
Pratt & Whitney has already totally redesigned the F135 in an attempt to end its history of frequent failures. But there’s only so much engineers can do. In a controversial move during the early stages of the F-35′s development, the Pentagon decided to fit the plane with one engine instead of two. Sticking with one motor can help keep down the price of a new plane. But in the F-35′s case, the decision proved self-defeating.
That’s because the F-35 is complex — the result of the Air Force, Marines and Navy all adding features to the basic design. In airplane design, such complexity equals weight. The F-35 is extraordinarily heavy for a single-engine plane, weighing as much as 35 tons with a full load of fuel." reuters
Most here on SST will not remember the F-111. In the case of that design, the McNamara whizkids decided that having different fighter bomber aircraft for the different services; USAF, US Navy and USMC was wasteful and lacking in elegance from an ORSA applied math point of view. To overcome that awkwardness a shotgun marriage was ordered in which one airplane would be designed, produced and issued to all three services.
"A grand jury is a legal body that is empowered to conduct official proceedings to investigate potential criminal conduct and to determine whether criminal charges should be brought. A grand jury may compel the production of documents and may compel the sworn testimony of witnesses to appear before it. A grand jury is separate from the courts, which do not preside over its functioning." Wiki
Grand Juries were first created in English law in the time of Henry II. He was the first Plantagenet king of England (and of about half of France if you include his wife's posessions in Aquitaine). The purpose of the GJ has always been to limit the sovereign's ability to try people arbitrarily in whatever form of proceeding he liked without regard to the likelihood of an actual crime having been committed. The idea is that sovereigns can be influenced by; reasons of state, the demands of mobs, sheer capriciousness or any number of other factors. The Grand Jury exists for the purpose of giving the "peers" of the suspect a chance to tell the sovereign (or his representative - the prosecutor) that there is not enough evidence to think the suspect BROKE THE LAW.
The issue before the GJ is not whether or not the suspect made bad decisions, did stupid things or is an unpleasant object. The issue is simply a sufficiency of evidence to make it likely that the suspect BROKE THE LAW and therefore a trial by jury is justified.
It is evident that many people do not understand or accept the function of the GJ. There are a lot of ignorant people in the US. Many of them have no conception of the structure or functions of government. They tend to operate on emotion rather than reason and in situations like Ferguson and NY City the process is of no interest to them unless the result is something they like. If they do not like the result there are demands for the abolition of the present rule of law in favor of what? Lynching? Arbitrary prosecutions by the states or federal government?
Lawyers like to say that a GJ will indict a ham sandwich if led in that direction by the prosecutor. That is simply not the case however much lawyers would like to believe in their Svengali-like powers of persuasion. I served on a Virginia GJ 10 or 15 years ago. It met on and off for 6 months and heard many, many cases presented. We refused to return an indictment in 2 of those. The 1st time it happened the Commonwealth's Attorney (state prosecutor) lectured us about how hard his people worked to assemble evidence, how sure they were of the justification for a trial, etc. He then waited for an apology. One of the jurors asked him if it was his belief that we should vote however he wanted us to vote. He left the room quickly in the sure knowledge that if he answered the question wrongly the GJ would speak to the Attorney General of Virginia.
At the first and last meeting of that Grand Jury a state district court judge appeared briefly to remind us that if we knew of or suspected any other criminal behavior we had the right to open an investigation into the matter.
I like Grand Juries. pl
So, it looks like Carter will be nominated to be SECDEF. The Obamanites would have preferred Flournoy as part of their effort to achieve a grand-slam in the field of "Hope and Change" but the lady decided she was "not for burning." Smart.
Carter is filled with wonderfulness as an academic prodigy, physicist, budgeteer, procurer (in a nice way), etc., but he "don't know s--t from Shinola" about actual war or foreign policy. That last was a quote from one of my old NCO friends.
The industrial part of the fabled military-industrial complex is said to be rejoicing about the prospect of this man handing out contracts. Yes, I am sure it is.
IMO, the prospect of Carter as SECDEF means that McCain is right when he says that Carter simply will not be a player in strategic decision making. That, in turn means that Dempsey's role as chief strategist at the Pentagon will grow to be even larger.
CJCS is not in the chain of command under Goldwater-Nichols but in this situation that seems irrelevant. I think it unlikely that General Austen (CENTCOM) would choose to get crosswise with Dempsey on anything important.
IMO the struggle between the JCS and the Girls Club at the WH will continue with Dempsey being the chief protagonist on the DoD side of the conflict.
There are all kinds of serious matters to be dealt with in the next two years. Presumably the money fight will be ably led by SECDEF. This is the kind of thing that he is well qualified to do, but there are real wars to fight:
"The Iraqi army has been paying salaries to at least 50,000 soldiers who don’t exist, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Sunday, an indication of the level of corruption that permeates an institution that the United States has spent billions equipping and arming.
A preliminary investigation into “ghost soldiers” — whose salaries are being drawn but who are not in military service — revealed the tens of thousands of false names on Defense Ministry rolls, Abadi told parliament Sunday. Follow-up investigations are expected to uncover “more and more,” he added.
Abadi, who took power in September, is under pressure to stamp out the graft that flourished in the armed forces under his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki. Widespread corruption has been blamed for contributing to the collapse of four of the army’s 14 divisions in June in the face of an offensive by Islamic State extremists." Washpost
The "padding" of muster rolls is a common practise in 3rd world armies. In such a setup commanding officers simply add fictive people to their accounting and pocket the money supposedly paid to the non-existent. Often there is a "split" with higher commanders for the privilege of running such a scam. I have seen this many times and it is among the first things I looked for in units I advised. I suggest court-martial and harsh punishment as curative therapy. I.E., Article 45. PL
" Seventy-two Syrian rebel groups on Saturday announced a new coalition to battle the government of President Bashar Assad. But hopes that moderate rebels would dominate the meeting were dashed when extremists gained more of the 17 executive positions than had been expected.
Col. Muhammad Hallak, who represented a moderate faction attending the three-day organizational meeting, accused Islamists, especially Ahrar al Sham, which is known to work closely with al Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, of capturing more positions than its influence in the rebellion deserved.
A review of the names by McClatchy indicated that moderates hold only six or seven of the 17 executive positions." bnd.com
This kind of gigantic fumble-f--k is typical of CIA run attempts to organize covert resistance warfare anywhere at any time in its checkered history. The mediocre quality and lack of qualifications of the people with whom CIA typically mans its Special Activities Division (SAD) seem responsible for their ineptitude. It is for this reason that the US armed forces are once again moving to put all such operations under the JCS just as was done in WW2 when OSS was placed under the command of the military.
That, of course, does not absolve the conventional US military of its own ineptitude in "training" and advising the now largely defunct conventional Iraqi Army. pl