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10 December 2015


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Ghost ship

Perhaps the Israelis will stop being friendly with the jihadis to curtail the learning experiences of the SAA and Hezbollah - but you just know they won't.


Why should the US suffer from the five-deferment Cheney (of Halliburton and Plame fame), Israel-firsters Feith & Kagans and the prostituting Baybee &Yoo instead of restoring the US to a position of a beacon of freedom and justice? The answer seems to be that plutocracy does not have a motherland.



Are you not OT? Try to get your head around the subject of Clausewitz' chapter. pl


While this does not elaborate on the positive factors of creating the "militaerische Tugend" raised above, CLausewitz remarked also that it is most difficult to operate in a setting pitting a standing army against a guerilla war, long campaigning and the lack of a focus on one geographic sector. SAA held together even while in decline over the last four years. Overcoming the threat, obstacles and maintaining cohesion must have forged men and officers together.

I speculate that the intense counter-intelligence of the SAR had a role to play in it, aided by co-housing of officers in housing projects. SAA officers and soldiers suspected of collaboration or sympathies to the enemy were routinely starved to death.

But mainly this cohesion may have been caused by the adversaries. AQ/JaN and ISIL regularly executed Sunni members of the SAA. Not only this year but since some years. 2012 was the last year I remember significant defections.

The continuing lack of unity among the opposition in Riyadh is likely to further firm up the unity on the government side. Ahrar al-Sham's refusal to join the rebel-conference makes it clear.

Confronted with this hate, who would contemplate desertion?


Islamic Front – Ahrar al-Sham
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
A statement of withdrawal from the Riyadh Conference

We were careful to be pioneers in any political initiative aiming to achieve the goals of the revolution of our people and to reduce their suffering, and from this aspect we participated actively in the sessions of the Riyadh Conference to unify the opposition, despite our objection to the weak representation of the jihadi factions, and the presence of personalities belonging to the Syrian regime is not hidden.

We went to the Riyadh conference thanking those who invited us, bearing a task from our people inside, whom we promised to do political and military struggle to preserve their principles and tenets that were previously declared.

But we find ourselves before a Shari’a and national duty which makes it inevitable upon us to withdraw from the conference and object to its results, for the following reasons:

1. Giving a political role to the National Coordination Commission and other groups that are considered to be of the regime, which is a clear violation of the revolutionary work.

2. Not taking into consideration a number of notes and additions offered by the factions to modify the tenets agreed upon in the conference, including the document of the five tenets, and not confirming the identity of our Muslim people.

3. Not giving real weight to the revolutionary factions, both in the percentage of representation, or the size of the participation in the results.

And thus we withdraw from the conference and call upon the Jihadi factions and the working revolutionary factions to stand a historic stand for their religion and Ummah and people, putting before their eyes the size of the great sacrifices that were made to achieve these goals and tenets.

And thanks be to Allah the God of the two worlds

Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement
The General Command
28/Safar/1437H [10 December 2015]

source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/syrian-ahrar-al-sham-pulls-riyadh-conference-151210151441852.html


Sorry, I was not clear. Here are Clausewitz' words: "The principal moral elements . . . . are: the skill of the commander, the experience and courage of the troops, and their patriotic spirit." Plutocracy is devoid of patriotism, as well as the plutocracy' servants that were mentioned in the previous post. Hence the unjust wars and their results.


something perhaps could be done to level the hearts&minds PR playing field in the West - 'Sunni' in the current transliteration is too close to 'sunny'. 'Shia/ Shiah' does not invoke such a stream of consciousness

(Different clue, thank you very much for your continuous focus on words and their underestimated power!)



Was Clausewitz's observation, "...no doubt it may last at least for several generations, even under generals of moderate capacity,...", one of the reasons Field Marshal Montgomery opposed the amalgamation of British army regiments?


Wunduk: "AQ/JaN and ISIL regularly executed Sunni members of the SAA."

They have almost certainly kiled more Sunnis that any other religious group. Why do you think so many are runnign away from them.

Yes they hate gays, Shiites, Christians and every other group, but 'apostate' Sunnis are the number #1 target (similar in Saudia Arabia)

And that, in the end, will be their downfall in Syria. If Iraq gets smart and offers a half decent power and wealth sharing to the Sunnis there as well, then they will die there too.



IMO Carl v C was simply saying that the spirit of a unit can survive a long period of peace. War sharpens the edges of the knife. Peace inevitably causes a decline into bureaucracy. pl

Joseph Moroco

Would you think the Swiss would not put up a good fight considering that they have not been tested and have no history of war other than constant training?

Babak Makkinejad

I do not think that there is any chance of that; War is joined and one side has to be the looser.


Joseph Moroco

Switzerland's forces would fight for a while in prepared defensive positions but when things got really tough they would fold up. They have no context in their individual or collective experience for the great stress they would be under. The transition to becoming a real soldier is made through repeated stress that gradually transforms. If you have not experienced that you probably won't believe what I just wrote. Perceptive writers like Stephen Crane ("The Red Badge of Courage") and James Jones ("The Thin Red Line")have captured that psychological process. I would think that the Swiss forces have no offensive value whatever. Orchestrating attacks is a stage of military individual and group development for which they have no real preparation at all. BTW, some people are incapable of making this transition either from a lack of natural inclination to the warrior's rtade or because of poor leadership. These unfortunates usually break down mentally and become a burden often for life. Yes, I am talking about what is now called PTSD. pl

Joseph Moroco



Col: But how can one know in advance if you are going to one of these unfortunates? Is this something that the Army can measure or screen for?



"This spirit can only be generated from two sources, and only by these two conjointly: the first is a succession of wars and great victories; the other is, an activity of the army carried sometimes to the highest pitch."

In the context of our military who have been at war or other military operations since Korea including Vietnam, Lebanon, Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya; in your opinion are they at level of spirit that I think Clausewitz writes about? Is victory as he writes it individual battles or something overall like the surrender of the enemy?



Through the supreme effort (training in this case) our forces are very capable but they could surely benefit from being allowed to win a few major combat efforts. pl

William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

In the absence of battle and "great victories" (von C.), he (von C.) is saying that constant rigorous training in all weather conditions is necessary to generate the spirit which carries an army to victory. I believe that is what he meant by "activity carried to the highest pitch" and "overcoming toil". He seems to be describing activity beyond mere training to proficiency in the various skills required of soldiers.

What are your thoughts on the U.S. Army in the first 3 months of the Korean War? Certainly there was the experience of great victories, a little less than 5 years earlier.



William Fitzgerald

You seem to have missed the part about the "spirit" dying out in peace time. It had died out in the 1945-1950 period of budget cuts and occupation duty. The same process of spiritual decline and atrophy has taken place in the IDF ground forces. pl



People usually have doubts about themselves before they experience combat. Eventually they learn the truth one way or the other. Good basic training under the watchful eyes of sound drill instructors helps, and some unsuitable people are eliminated that way. That is why troops have to be repeatedly stressed in training. What is needed is to see how they handle it, but the real test is actual and repeated combat. pl


am guessing that training teaches people to modulate adrenalin responses - a bit like learning to hold one's liquor. would also guess that the ability to manage two unpredictable adverse responses to adrenalin (1. red zone and 2. total paralysis) can only be acquired by "flying without a net" (metaphor).


debating ... will chance it. post.


Very insightful passage explaining the difference between professional forces and volunteer/civilian forces.

Given that there is diminished 'military virtue' or even defeatism now present in the rebels being allowed safe passage to Idlib,

1) Will their arrival in Idlib be demoralizing to the rest of the rebels? and

2) The Turkish border not yet sealed, are these surrendered rebels likely to return home wherever that is? Or to some other place like Libya where they are unlikely to encounter any professional army? Either way, the end of the civil war in Syria will have negative effects in Europe and elsewhere.


Col. I was at a Massachusetts Fallen Heroes event last night with 1300 other people that still give a damn. I can tell you the "tree is strong". The MSM, the Pentagon brass and political classes that float in and out of Washington on the political tide have no idea of the white fisted intensity brewing. The next 911 scale event will not be answered by COIN - not even reason. There are tipping points when Americans assert themselves as a free people after periods of what look to foreign adversaries like effete indifference and then in an instant its not.

Chris Chuba

As I have mentioned before, I never served in the military but I have noticed that part of a military tradition seems to revolve around awards and honors related to specific battles. Along these lines, I would think that if the SAA ultimately prevails there should be some recognition for their tank crews.

I know that infantry can and do die in horrific ways but I shudder when I read about how shaped charged weapons kill occupants of a tank and many Syrian tankers have died in this manner. The shaped charged weapons basically become a super heated mass that penetrates the armor and swirls around in the tank burning the contents and detonating the munitions. This sounds like the crew is most likely burns to death rather than dying by concussion. If I am wrong about this let me know. War really is brutal trade.

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