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09 February 2016

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LeaNder

Thanks, Margret. Appreciated.

Poul

The US is already causing plenty of refugees. The Kurds have taken a page from the Afghan play book on tribal conflicts, and calls in air strikes on their Arab neighbours to get them to leave the future Kurdistan under the pretends of bombing IS.

http://www.globalpost.com/article/6727117/2016/01/31/us-killing-far-more-civilians-iraq-and-syria-it-says

robt willmann

The New York Times article by Anne Barnard referenced in the post above about Syrians trying to leave Syria is linked to in a couple of notes by a person who is not a fan of Ms. Barnard's reporting--

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2016/02/what-anne-barnard-left-out-from-un.html

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2016/02/this-is-how-western-media-report.html

As'ad AbuKhalil grew up in Beirut and went to school at the American University of Beirut and at Georgetown University in the U.S. He has done a little work for U.S. television networks, but very little, because his pointed opinions are not what are broadcast here. He has been teaching at the California State University at Stanislaus. It was on his website where I first saw the photograph of John Heinz Kerry and his wife having dinner with Bashar al-Asad and his wife at a restaurant in Syria that I linked to here quite a while ago. Here is another website with that (perhaps now famous) photograph which apparently was taken when Kerry was in the U.S. Senate and on the "foreign relations" committee--

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10283045/John-Kerry-and-Bashar-al-Assad-dined-in-Damascus.html

I wonder if that once nice restaurant still exists, or has had much business the last few years.

Chris Rogers

In the UK our official media, namely the MSM gives the impression that bombs dropped by UK military aircraft in Syria only cause damage to buildings and infrastructure, as such these are good bombs. However, it would seem the same Russian bombs kill indiscriminately, particularly the so-called freedom fighters and their families. Funny is it not.

Still this is the narrative they peddle as they render assistance to forces opposed to Assad, many of which are in no way 'moderate'. And that's before we get to the UK Prime Minister's claim, one David Cameron, that the moderate forces number some 70,000 - a pretext used by the UK government to push through its Syrian bombing campaign via our Parliament.

Suffice to say, war, any war is brutal, civilians die as do combatants. And yet our nation refuses to sign a new UN-sponsored Charter to avoid bombing schools in war zones.

Have friends living in the old district of Cologne in Germany, they inform me that during the allied bombing campaign of that city many were able to survive by hiding in deep cellars merchants built into their homes, these being deeper than your average cellar. However, if these buildings received a direct hit, those taking shelter were killed - most of whom I hasten to add were civilians and not NAZIS's. Indeed my friends recently deceased father was initially conscripted by the Army and manned AA guns, that was until he was moved to the Eastern Front in late 1944 - he was one of the lucky ones and survived capture.

In a nutshell, war is brutal, people die, children die, hence its best to avoid War if possible, however we should never deny the sheer brutality of war whether its carried out by the Russians or the USA.

SmoothieX12

What is "indiscriminate?"
-----------------------------------

"Main Stream" mass media do not operate with clearly defined categories. Were they clearly defined (as it is done in leading military academies and staffs) there would be much less space for manipulation and planting all kinds of simulacra. Newspeak is already here and is already now. In the end, a proverbial "housewife" (or "househusband") are not interested in the "operational tempos" or tactics of company in the assault. Nor are they interested in the policies' details in which the devil hides.

Jack

Margaret

IMO, the Borg is attempting to spin the "humanitarian disaster" story to gin up momentum for R2P hysteria. Their hope is that they can prevent an outright victory by R+6 on the battlefield. I seriously doubt Putin is gonna fall into that trap. He's seen this movie before.

Babak Makkinejad

They were all NAZIs.

Ulenspiegel

"Thanks for that, and for the photo (the angel atop Dresden Cathedral?)."

The photograph is labled "view from the tower of the town-hall"

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neues_Rathaus_%28Dresden%29

Jackrabbit

Oh the horror! But one should not forget how this horror came about: US-Saudi-Israeli support for extremists as a weapon as described by Sy Hersh in 2007 in "The Redirection":

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

"To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East.... bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda....

Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities....

This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”" "

David Habakkuk

All,

On the question of Anglo-American bombing of civilians, I would recommend, to anyone seriously interested, the interview with the American scholar Professor Tami Biddle on the WW2HISTORY.COM site.

(See http://ww2history.com/experts/Tami_Biddle/Professor_Tami_Biddle .)

Also, there is a fascinating piece by the physicist Freeman Dyson, who was one of the scientists in 'Operations Research' in Bomber Command who thought 'Bomber Harris' did not know what he was doing.

Such people had both pragmatic and moral objections to 'Douhetist' strategies – which is one reason one found a number of them emerging later as sceptics about nuclear 'deterrence'.

That said, in his recollections, Dyson provides a fascinating vignette about how many people in Britain felt at the time:

'I remember arguing about the morality of city bombing with the wife of a senior air force officer, after we heard the results of the Dresden attack. She was a well-educated and intelligent woman who worked part-time for the ORS [Operational Research Section – DH.] I asked her whether she really believed that it was right to kill German women and babies in large numbers at that late stage of the War. She answered, ''Oh yes. It is good to kill the babies especially. I am not thinking of this war but of the next one, 20 years from now. The next time the Germans start a war and we have to fight them, those babies will be the soldiers.'' After fighting Germans for ten years, four in the first war and six in the second, we had become almost as bloody-minded as Sir Arthur.'

(The recollections of Dyson, which I would strongly recommend to anyone interested in a range of issues, of which the intractable ethical dilemmas posed by wars is only one, are at

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/406789/a-failure-of-intelligence/ .)

A good few years ago now, there was an argument here, relating to statues in the Strand. At a key location, there had been, for some considerable time, a statue of Lord Dowding. It was this elderly Wykehamist – which means, product of a very rarefied 'public school', as we say in England – who turned Fighter Command into a force capable of preventing the Germans winning the 'Battle of Britain', and with it, the war.

So he can justly claim to be one of the more significant of our 'great commanders'.

Some of us would have far preferred to have seen Dowding's statue joined by that of Air Chief Marshall Keith Park, the former New Zealand 'lance-bombardier' who was his key subordinate, and managed the conflict over south-east England on a day-to-day basis.

And I would far prefer not to see Harris's statue, as I walk along the Strand. It reminds me of things I would rather forget.

That said, there are two things I cannot stand. One is those who simply denounce Harris, and Churchill, and Lindemann, as though they had no other motive but a desire to kill people: there was an element of that, but one needs to be careful about comforting histories, be they from supporters or critics of strategic bombing.

The other is when people in this country, and the United States, produce 'crocodile tears' over the absolute evil supposedly displayed in the 'barrel-bombing' of civilians by Assad, or the casualties incurred in Russian strikes in support of Syrian government forces.

I have not had time adequately to look at the excuses offered by 'Borgist' spokesmen for U.S. Government agencies for their failure to strike at the oil convoys from which the 'Islamic State' has got so much of its revenue.

However, I learn from the 'Military.com' website that, at a Pentagon briefing, Navy Captain Jeff Davis explained that:

'the warplanes dropped leaflets warning of the convoy attack before the strike commenced to allow truck drivers who may not have been allied with ISIS to escape.'

(See http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/11/16/us-a10-attack-planes-hit-isis-oil-convoy-crimp-terror-funding.html .)

Words fail me. The combination of strategic imbecility and posturing moral pretension is almost beyond belief.

Do not think this is British condescension. Our people are quite as bad.

Chris Chuba

I am actually interested in knowing how many civilians have actually died in the Syrian civil war and who has done the killing. I don't think that it would necessarily change my mind but it's just that one should not be oblivious to the human cost of these things. Unfortunately, I simply do not trust the people who do the reporting for the reasons that you stated.

I wish I had book marked it but someone had posted an analysis of the first and second Russian / Chechnyan wars and analyzed and graded the performance of the Russian army at the tactical level. I hope to see something at that level eventually posted on the R+6 campaign.

To bring this closer on topic. I don't know if we will ever get accurate numbers but if one sees the actual tactics used then that would be the best way to gauge the appropriateness of the air power used. My gut tells me that the Russians have been going after specific targets on the ground in direct support of the SAA and not used indiscriminate bombing. They don't have enough aircraft and munitions to waste on that. If true then they are doing what is appropriate. They would be going into a gray area if they used saturation bombing of general locations, like cities. I do NOT have any reason to suspect that the Russians have done this. I don't know this for certain because I am not there.

Walrus

Margaret, "Indiscriminate bombing" is BS! The reason? Russia only has some Thirty aircraft in Syria. The Russians simply do not have the military or logistical capacity to "Indiscriminately" do anything in Syria!

"Indiscriminate bombing" as a term of art refers to Carpet bombing by high flying aircraft of the sort that was done by Allied thousand bomber raids in WWII and perhaps B52 squadrons in Vietnam to completely destroy a particular area.

If by "indiscriminate" we mean targeting buildings which have civilian as well as military value then that is simply the horror of war.

The SU 24 carries about 8 tons of bombs on Eight points (one per 1 ton bomb)

The SU 25 is a purely close air support aircraft that carries about 4 tons.

Neither of these is a "blunt instrument" carpet bombing tool.

Furthermore, as a tactic I fail to understand why any airforce would do anything "indiscriminately" when friendly troops are in close proximity.

I would add that you are not alone in falling for this indiscriminate/barrel bombing line that is constantly being pedalled by Washington.

Tom

Thanks for that thoughtful post. My position is that democracy is a great thing to have once you get it. But to keep it there must be certain prerequisits. A minimum material level and a population that will voluntarily play by certain rules. If you introduce democracy without the population being ready you receive something much worse than what was there before: anarchy and chaos. This is being the very worst. People will prefer a Hitler or a Stalin or a Pinochet to total chaos. That is the reality in this world. That is why those do - gooders who helped open the gates of hell in Syria 5 years ago and still inist on overthrowing Assad are such a pest. The best thing that can happen to Syria now would be a decisive win by R+6. There will be a terrible reckoning no doubt. There will be massacres of the vanquished but then there will be peace and rebuilding can start. Happened in 1945 in Europe. Tito killed Ustasha and Tshetniks by the tens- if not by the hundreds of thousands. Stalin id the same and Germany was starved, humiliated and utterly rpaed into submission. But the majority agreed that it had to happen. That is why I ultimately believe those bombs falling now seve a good purpose.

Valissa

No Babak, they were not.

My dad was a member the Danish Underground/resistance during Germany's occupation in WWII (as were other members of his extended family in the greater Aarhus area). Generally he worked under the guidance of a British major and primarily transported "hidden items" in his plastering equipment, but because my dad was good with languages and spoke Danish, English and German he was sometimes assigned to liaise with members of the German underground (who did not like the Nazi dominance in Germany). He did not speak of it often but I know he worked with such Germans on a few occasions. Who do you think helped smuggle Jews out of Germany?

There is supposedly a statue of one of my great uncles in Israel somewhere, because of his help getting Jews out of Germany.

tjfxh

Are the Russian dumb bombs really dumb. The Saker says not.

"The Americans came up with an elegant solution: the JDAM. The Joint Direct Attack Munition kit was a way to convert 'dumb' (non-guided) bombs into 'smart' (guided) bombs by attaching a special kit to them. You can read more about this in this Wikipedia article. This made it possible to use old bombs, but this was still not cheap, roughly 25’000 dollars a kit (according to Wikipedia).

"The Russians came up with a much better solution.

"Instead of mounting a kit on an old bomb and lose the kit every time, the Russians mounted a JDAM-like kit, but on the airplane.

"Introducing the SVP-24:…"

http://thesaker.is/technology-sitrep-how-russian-engineering-made-the-current-operation-in-syria-possible/

raksh wah

russians are on the brink of defeating our jihadii enemies . are we going to pull defeat out of the jaws of victory by intervening for the jihadis?

ken locke

A comment on the newspeak term 'collateral damage'. Who knows whose paid to create such terms but they can be very cleverly constructed. The very first priority is to completely sever any link between the eye or the ear and one's visceral body. Any words or images or sound that brings us into contact with the real horror and pain suffered by real human beings are scrupulously avoided, for they are felt in our gut. The connection is immediate. And all experiences felt viscerally are full dimensional. For example, Picasso's Guernica is solely visual but one 'hears' the scream of terror. Or hearing a moan of utter grief brings forth all our senses including the immediate wrenching of our gut and the welling of tears in our eyes. So if one's job is covering over the absolute horror of bombing neighborhoods or a drone hit on a family home, by all means do not present any pictures or sounds of the actual human carnage. Secondly, choose descriptive words that are stripped of any associative link to images or sounds that would evoke a visceral body response. 'Collateral damage' is a superb example of this. The term brings up a bureaucratic bloodless description on, say, an insurance form describing a vehicular accident with collateral damage to a fence. Everything is contained within the cerebrum, one's bodily identification with the human devastation is never triggered.

Jack

BTW, the humanitarian disaster in Syria occurred when we along with Erdogan, Saud, Qatar and the Likudniks under the guise of a color revolution initiated regime change. Jihadists from all across the world were recruited, armed and funded to invade and topple the Assad government. This resulted in a good part of Syria looking like the picture Col. Lang has posted of Dresden.

Babak Makkinejad

I was referring to Germans not Danes.

It had been my understanding that Allies would have to build a wall around Germany if they had wanted to imprison all NAZIs.

Until well into the 1960, in West Germany, the Judges were those appointed under the NAZI regime - as far as I know.

The Beaver

Robt,

From TA , still there and operating:
https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g294011-d1526685-Reviews-Naranj-Damascus.html

Babak Makkinejad

In 1965, at a guess, 750,000 souls were murdered in Indonesia by the military and their civilian accomplices.

There is absolute silence in Indonesia on this topic. There is no admission of responsibility much less guilt, let alone paying blood money and proffering an apology.

Nor there is any effort by anyone in Indonesia to redress and rectify that outrage.

And if one, as a foreigner, brings up one comes face-to-face with the proverbial "Inscrutable Oriental".

The Asian Value called "Harmony" is incompatible with the Western Value "Truth" - in my opinion.

The pattern of Western Diocletian states is incredibly hard to repeat outside of its historical boundaries.

Valissa

Yes, I read your comment. Apparently you did not read my response closely enough. I said that my Dad worked with the German underground (or whatever the German's called it) who were NOT Nazi's, on occasion. He explained very clearly to me that there were at least some Germans who did agree with or support with the whole Nazi thing.

I am not disputing that many or most Germans went along with Nazism to some degree or another. As did some people in the occupied countries.

 Ishmael Zechariah

SST,
Paul Robinson, in his blog "IRRUSSIANALITY", under the "Crackpot Theories" rubric included a direct quote from Karl von Clausewitz of Prussia: ‘Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds, it is a fallacy that must be exposed: war is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.’

Indiscriminate bombing, indeed! Most probably judged by a "democracy lover" from a warm home with most creature comforts. They are responsible for the deaths of millions, exile of many more millions, a completely wrecked region- wrecked in men, material and ecology and these folk still keep on talking. A pox on all their houses.

Ishmael Zechariah

Babak Makkinejad

My apologies; I missed it.

SmoothieX12

Russia only has some Thirty aircraft in Syria.
-------------------------------------------------

I believe the number is closer to 70, especially with recent addition of 4 SU-35C and some Mi-35s on the way or, possibly, already there. I could be off, of course, in numbers. Russian Air Force also uses extensively Precision Guided Munitions in Syria, especially by SU-34s.

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