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09 August 2012


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RKKA is a familiar abbreviation to me. It stood for the "Red Army of Workers and Peasants" in the old days. Perhaps this is "sponsored" testimony.

I have no need for this person to be banned, although I am somewhat bemused by the comments. Nothing I wrote in the descriptions of current military capabilities is untrue, and I think I am far from being a flack for the aerospace industry. Perhaps rkka thinks our policy makers would make better (or different) decisions if we lied about the capabilities of weapon systems.

I admit to being puzzled.


If there are to be any restrictions on the expression of opinions, I hope they will be objective rather than subjective. The example offered seems to be nothing more than a personal opinion. Which can be agreed or disagreed with.


Col. Lang,

This fellow's comments seem more vapid and dumb than actively malicious. The last sentence is pretty rude, and the whole comment is very shallow, but I'd say it's more worthy of ignoring than banning. I suppose it mostly depends on whether you want to maintain a high level of discourse or an "acceptable" level of discourse. It seems to me that this guy's comment is not the former, but is more-or-less the latter. Just my two cents, as it were.


Nothing wrong with pointing out context.


Please direct us to the context of the "offending text."


I must be blind, because I'm just not seeing an ad hominem attack in the offending paragraph. Who's being called what name?

Bill H

Depends on what it was in response to, but by itself I see it as a put down of government foreign policy and therefor inoffensive. I do not see the military as the intended target of the put down. A big part of the decision is, to what was the party replying?



I refer all of you to the thread "Death From Above" which presently has 94 comments. RKKA objects not so much to government policy but to the discussion of weapons systems characteristics and considers that discussion to indicate a esire on the part of Basilisk and others to encourage contractersto develop more such weapons ans to encourage their use. I consider that to be an ad hominem attack. He has also given me a false E-mail address which by my rules is sufficient reason to ban him. Going once, going twice... pl


agree the false email is somewhat invertebrate...

Martin Oline

I don't see the need but I sure don't like the false E mail address.
I don't like anonymous posters so I'd say ban them and let them come back with a real E mail.

Like the old cartoon of two dogs talking and the caption reads:
"On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog."


Col. Lang-

Sir, I have a different perspective on this. First let me say that I have the highest regard for this forum and those posting/commenting here.

From Basilisk's comments in the past I know that he and I served together in Berlin so I understand somewhat of where he's coming from.

That said Basilisk opened that particular thread with a quote from Starship Troopers:

" . . . The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him . . . but to make him do what you want him to do. Not killing . . . but controlled and purposeful violence."

Military means > military aim > political purpose. This is basic Clausewitzian strategic theory and necessary to seeing war/military operations as supporting a rational political goal. But where was this link between military means and military aim, let alone political purpose in the comments which followed? Confusedponderer, FB Ali, David Habakkuk and Babak addressed the political purpose side, but most of the other comments were strictly about capabilities . . . whereas the intention of the thread based on the above quote seemed to be linking military means with political ends . . . so something was missing.

I had noticed this as well, but refrained from commenting.

On the other hand, "drooling" was over the top and RKKA should apologize for that imo. Otherwise, his "frustration", if that is what it was, is somewhat understandable.

Bill H

Well, Col, that does put a different light on things. Certainly the false email address is reason enough, but given the context I have to change my perception. It seems to represent an ad hominem attack on everyone who did not express disgust with respect to said weaponry.

Eric Dönges

Forget about the ad hominem - if he gave you a false E-mail address I don't see why you're even thinking about not banning him.

Medicine Man

He seems to be peddling shallow, free-form hostility to military topics.

It's no loss if you ban him, so I say go ahead.



I read your blog and the postings of the committee of corresponence for an informed, intelligent and challenging view on world events. As such I believe your expectation that posters follow some common standard of discource to be entirely resonable and banning posters who do not meet these standards to be acceptable.



He is gone. pl


I think the comment is pretty mild as far as Internet comments go, but on my site I would ban on the basis of false e-mail address.



"as far as Internet comments go" We seek a higher standard here. pl


Well, initially I was going to suggest....off with his head, but.....

r whitman

The first sentence is a valid point of view.

The second sentence is inappropriate.

The false email address is intolerable.

Ban him.


I agree.

The Moar You Know

This 'seeking of a higher standard' is a big reason that I keep coming back here.

I may not agree with some opinions here, but enjoy the discussions hugely. Not only are they almost always informative, but the civility manifested by virtually all commentors here is something that is frankly not to be found anywhere else on the internet.

As to the subject at hand: you did the right thing by banning the guy.


What about putting him in the men's synchonized swimming team, along with Martin Short and Christopher Guest? I've been having nightmares about that. Not only incredibly shameful, but also gives me the paranoid sensation of being laughed at by someone I cannot see, though I swear from the corner of my eye I got the sight of a muumuu shirt.

Bill H

I quite agree, but would say that the second sentence is insulting, given the context of that to which it is responding.

And I still curse my old English teacher. It sounds much less pedantic when you just abandon the old crone's rules and go ahead and end the sentence with a preposition.

..given the context of what it is responding to.

David Habakkuk


I think we share a common point of reference – Aleksandr Svechin. My interest, which is certainly more amateurish than yours, had a peculiar origin.

At the start of 1989, in the course of making a couple of programmes for BBC Radio on the so-called ‘new thinking’ introduced into Soviet security policy following Gorbachev’s accession, we interviewed the military figure most closely associated with it, General-Mayor Valentin Larionov. Having explained that the roots of the ‘new thinking’ went back to the realisation in the Seventies that it was impossible to win a nuclear war, Larionov talked at length about a military theorist of the Twenties who he said had been ‘repressed’ under Stalin – Svechin.

Years later, I came across the translation of Svechin’s 1927 study Strategy, and read in the introductory essay by Jacob W. Kipp the extraordinary history of how in a few short months its author went from being chief of staff of the Northern Front of the Imperial Russian Army to being chief of the All-Russian Main Staff of the RKKA.

Had I been aware back in 1989 of the Soviet Army Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, where Kipp worked, I would have realised that Larionov had compiled the classic statement of strategy of nuclear pre-emption. And I would also have understood much better the significance of his adoption of Svechin’s ideas.

As to this rkka, I very much agree that a false e-mail address should be sufficient grounds for exclusion. However, I do so with regret, as I came across his, or her, comments several times on Nicholas Gvosdev’s blog, and often found them extremely interesting.

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