« New DIA Director | Main | "Israel’s battle plan" by Richard Sale »

19 April 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


"One is this happened two years ago in a unit that I know from my own experience has high standards of leadership and training."

Thank God that not a single commissioned officer or senior NCO in any leadership capacity whatsoever has ANY responsibility. Apparently responsibility is what gets 'delegated'.

So it was two years ago - what were all those officers and senior NCOs doing over the past two years - and where are they now - another unit providing the same 'high standards of leadership'? Train the Afghan army? I bet that helps to say 'this was 2 years ago, sorry for violating all the standards of your religious belief, but hey, so sorry, it was just 'bad apples' at the bottom.

So Secretary Panetta says we should keep such events secret from the American People and the Afghan people? Certainly, otherwise we might change our minds - not on the conduct of the senior officers and political leadership, but on our 'will to win!" - which certainly implies that the American people are at fault for the failure of leadership. So much better to keep it secret, otherwise a bunch of colonels and brigadiers might get fired and some congressman not get re-elected.


"The IRA were particularly prone to this accident. I remember one fellow who did himself in while mixing fertiliser and other "goodies" with a steel shovel on a concrete garage floor. Special Branch and MI-5 had a good chuckle over that."

There are those who claim that the British security forces introduced PIRA to ANFO with such an outcome in mind. Unfortunately for some***, PIRA had the last laugh as they cracked the process of mixing ANFO, went on to bring the UK government to the bargaining table and globalized the knowledge. Natural selection won in the end.

*** - the British government should has crushed the UVF back in 1966 and the sorted out the civil rights issues in Northern Ireland in the late sixties, so the British government should accept a large part of the responsibility for "the Troubles". It's a shame it took thirty years to end them.


Colonel Killebrew doesn't seem like much of an apologist. Did he mean posing with dead bodies was okay because it happened two years ago, or did he mean it was okay because the perpetrators were "intelligence soldiers?"

I didn't like the tone of that, and I'm afraid Leon Panetta is dancing around the edge of the abyss. He is usually better than that. I suppose it must mean the balance of the photos not yet released are really horrible and he is hoping against hope that they will not be released.

It is certain they will. Nothing can stay secret anymore.


This is from Uri Avnery's column today on the brutal incident on the West Bank. It seems apropos.

"Every occupation, every oppression of another people, corrupts the occupier and makes the oppressor stupid.
While still a teenager I worked as a clerk for an Oxford-educated, Jewish-British lawyer, many of whose clients were members of the British colonial administration. I found them mostly nice, intelligent and courteous with an engaging sense of humor. Yet the British administration acted with an astonishing lack of intelligence. Living between the two worlds, I constantly asked myself: how can these nice English people behave so stupidly?
My conclusion was that no colonial masters can behave intelligently. The colonial situation itself compels them to act against their better nature and their better judgment."



You are certainly right that having that much power over a subject people is a temptation to evil, but from family history and lore I would say that the US colonial experience in the Phillipines was better than that. know all about the "water treatment," Samar, etc., but the way the Filipinos in the main stuck with the US in WW2 under Japanese occupation is interesting. pl


Process of mixing ANFO? What process? Filling the beer jug with diesel and cutting the corner off the bag?


I hesitate to post this link, but could we be forgiven for wondering if we seem to be seeing a pattern of behaviour that perhaps reflects on the values, basic education and training of the majority of American soldiers? If this was the case, is there any another Army that is so uniquely suited NOT to implement a successful COIN campaign?

Does the Army still dream of tank battles in the Fulda Gap?




I don't think any body of conventional troops in any army anywhere on earth is suited to carry out a long COIN campaign. That would include those of Australia. Early in the GWOT Bushies and neocons used to tell mt that they wanted the whole Army and Marine Corps to become like th Green Berets. I laughed then and I laugh now. In my day people used to ask what was so special about the Green Berets. The answer was simple - They were. Don't kid yourself. War has not "evolved." There will be conventional force battles. pl


What I missed last night on the News Hour was any question from Jeff regarding the number of deployments of that brigade.

Pirate Laddie

Col. & Brenner --
Not sure the Philippine example is all that good a fit. Remember, the Filipinos were some of the most advanced and well off folks in the neighborhood, at least between the wars. They were also closer to the flames of Japanese atrocities in the '30's and less prone to the "savior of the Asian peoples" rhetoric the Japs were spouting.
I did a non-military 2.5 years traveling around the Philippines in the late '80's -- in the run-up to their Senate oligarchs voting us off the island. Few believed that we would let the vote go against us and the hatred for Japan still burned pretty hot. The feeling was "You 'canos are our best bet -- surely you won't leave us to the mercy of the commies and our own worst instincts!"



I disagree. The Filipinos were better off than their "neighbors" when we tfirst ook over in spite of 300 years of Spanish rule. The reason they were prosperous in the 20s and 30s was that American business continued the development phenomenon started by the Spanish and we brought them prosperity. Yes. That's right. They much preferred us to the Japanese. IMO the Filipinos made a massive mistake when they opted for independence but we accepted it and so be it. BTW, if another ass kicking contest starts here over the US in the Phillipines.... pl


Denigration of intel troops isn't confined to the Army, sadly. I saw it myself in the Navy and Air Force on multiple occasions. In one egregious example, a Navy pilot who violated another nation's airspace tried to blame the intel people for not including such information in his pre-flight briefing. Unfortunately for him, we recorded all our briefings and he was shown to be a liar (but not punished). The reason we recorded our briefings was CYA against such bogus accusations.

Pirate Laddie

Col -- my recollection was that we "gave" the Philippines commonwealth status in the early '30's, with independence pencilled in with an effective date of 1946. (Of course, the Filipinos declared independence from Spain back in 1898, but that's another shot of tuba.)
The Japanese occupation pretty much took the "independence ready" status off the table, and the Filipinos were pretty much agast (or so I've been told by folks there at the time) when the USG went ahead & gave the broke-back and pretty much decimated archipeligo its formal independence "as promised" while there were still Jap hardasses hold up in Mindanao & some of the lesser islands. I knew quite a few Malay & Chinese Filipinos who used to shake their heads in disbelief over the legal punctiliousness of the USG at the time.


pirate laddie

And people say that I am a negative son of a bitch! Well, good, I hope the LBFMs are happy in their misery as one of the wretched peoples of the earth. All those Filipinos who used to come and beg for my help on the basis of our "special relationship..." What a bunch of con men! You don't come back to the US anymore do you? I sure hope not... stay in Oman or wherever the f--k it is. You are right FDR really conned'em good didn't he! You are too much for me. Life is short. pl

James Coyle

See George Orwell's essay "Shooting an Elephant" for an elegant example of the thought contained in your last sentence.



I seriously doubt that ANFO have a problem from too high sensitivity. You have to go to very great lengths to be able to detonate ANFO with a blasting cap. Normally you have to detonate it with some sticks of dynamite.

Globalizing the knowledge happened a long time ago. There was the horrible 1947 industrial disaster in Texas City, which is the deadliest accident in U.S. history. Melvin Alonzo Cook invented a new explosive 1956 consisting of ammonium nitrate, aluminum powder, and fuel oil. For this and later work, he was awarded the Nitro Nobel Gold Medal.

ANFO is most widely used industrial blasting agent. You can not keep something like this a secret. I seriously doubt it was MI-5 that introduced IRA to ANFO.

Corrections are welcome, I am far from an expert on this.


I come here to bask in the bonhomie, PL.

"And people say that I am a negative son of a bitch!"

only the ass-kissing toadies.



I like that and in your honor have unbanned a few. pl

Pirate Laddie

Negativity is a fairly underrated charm. Sorry to disappoint, but I've been in CONUS (well, Texas) for quite some time now. My time in the PI (in keeping with your LBFM tone) only deepened my "appreciation" for the Flip tendency for games and self-serving jerks on the chain of the former colonial master. Kinda fitting that G*d His Own Self took Clark off the table at a propitious time, ain't it? Good thing the Filipinos aren't as electorially or financially important as the Zionist seekers of special status.
BTW, Oman's got it charms, ephemerial though they may be.



rjj says she comes here for the "Mr Chips" warmth of the place.

"Oh the monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga..." pl



A navy chief who worked for me told me about the LBFM thing. so, you know that... Well they are still Filipinos and not Americans, poor sods as the Brits would say. pl

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad