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22 March 2017


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The Twisted Genius

Yes, John, the wetness behind my ears has only just dried. I wish my body felt that way. I got into that class at jump school because the SGM at my ROTC unit was good friends with the Airborne School SGM. I decided to join ROTC in the Spring of '73, applied for a 3 year scholarship, started attending a few classes and saw the brochure for jump school in the ROTC office. A SGM to SGM phone call was made and a few weeks later, I had orders, a plane ticket, 4 sets of fatigues and a set of khakis from the local Army surplis store. I didn't sign any enlistment papers until the following Fall, so I technically wasn't yet in the Army. I endured all that sweat, sawdust and pushups as a civilian. Went home with my wings, in my khakis and first set of Corcorans.

I remember when you and Pat discovered you were in the same training platoon. That was just a few years ago wasn't it? That was an interesting exchange.


A very quick push to the outskirts of Deir Hafir simultaneously from the northwest and southeast. Hope the Tiger Force can make short work of it so they can go where they're needed most.

The Twisted Genius


Those photos I posted have nothing to do with this YPG/SDF operation. They are photos of Peshmerga Special Forces, a commando outfit called the Lexoman Parastin. At least those photos were closer than those photos of mass drops from C-130s.

Brett McGurk stated that U.S. support consisted of "air movement & strikes, Apache close air support, Marine artillery, & special ops advice and assistance." It was the YPG/SDF agitating the gravel and closing with the enemy.


Peter AU

I follow frontline markers on Wikimapia closely, too. I find them very useful. And so I appreciate very much the person or persons who pushed it through against various admins to have Syria frontlines displayed on Wikimapia. And while I often see Wikimapia frontlines being quicker than Al Masdar News, South Front or SANA, the people I follow on Twitter sources are usually quicker. However, sometimes quick means too quick, and some successes reported on Twitter and Al Masdar News proved to be inaccurate and too optimistic later. Take front lines east of Raqqa as an example, which moved slower in some parts than put on Wikimapia.

Another source of collective internet efforts on Syria frontlines I can recommend is this Syria war map of Wikipedia:


It's usually quite up to date regarding hot front lines, and though some quiet front line reversals are "forgotten" for months and years, I found the map to be mostly quick and accurate. And what I find very good is that changes need sources there, so one may look up the given news source for any colour status change.

But anybody shall be warned to read too much into those maps and colours. For example, I think a lot of places marked "Light Green" there are actually controlled by Al Qaeda, but since there is few - if any - reporting on this, the map doesn't use the grey colour of Al Qaeda there. And, of course, those maps and its' colours cannot reflect control by some state's special forces which deliberately use false flags to mask their true identity.


T-1s were replaced by/alternated with MC1-1s at some point, thus enabling greater chances of mid-air collisions due to higher forward speed, iirc. Mishandling the little steering handles would get you oscillating so bad that you invariably hit the dirt on a downswing. Good times. Best landing, Panama in elephant grass, back when jotc was a thing.

Yep, I read the reports of air drops with a lot of skepticism. Even at 500' a planeload of jumpers makes a juicy target. Air drops, indeed.

John Minnerath

Heh, yes it was.
One of the reasons Pat gets so many visits to this blog must be people wanting to read about some of the antics us crazy old coots did.



Hopeless discussion. goodbye. pl

Jim MacMillan

Dzha Tiror, a counter terror group from the PUK area of Iraqi Kurdistan. But they have been seen in Syria working with the YPG, Manbij in particular.

Lexoman Parastin is their motto. May translate roughly to 'Defending Ourselves' or 'Self Protection'?

Green Zone Café

The preservation of the parachute course and airborne units is 90% screening for volunteers willing to take risks, get in better physical shape, and adhere to ethos of an elite force, 10% thinking the capability of mass airborne assault is going to be used. Seizing an airfield like Point Salines, maybe. Market Garden II, no.


Wondering if the Taqba crossing a pre-emotive block to SAA moving down to DE once cleared Deir Heifa?


Your knowledge of the situation on September 17, 1939 is wanting. The remnants of the Polish government and army were fleeing to Romania, leaving a power vacuum that was going to be filled by either Germany or the Soviets. The Red Army was under orders not to interfere with the flight to Romania. It would have been a much worse situation for the Polish government and the remnants of their army had they declared war on the Soviets.


IMO things looking very bad in Hama, even comparing to the 2014 offensive(the last time things got this bad). New fronts being opened up by the hour. Overwhelmingly pre war Christian(pop ~30K) Mahardah not under total HTS siege. Doesn't bode well


Sorry for the double post, IMO the SAA was too quick to take the Al Bab bait and move out into the pretty much totally inhabited Aleppo CS to the euphrates. We see now that because of SDF actions this advance has been moot(not to mention that both ISIS and SAA recieved ~a dozen give or take another dozen,casualties in this whole siezure of aleppo CS, an obvious tactical withdrawal on the part of ISIS).and I can't help but thinking that things like what are happening in Hama wouldn't be happening with the SAA being overstretched BOTH in aleppo CS and palmyra like this. Palmyra in particular is completely foolish, ISIS is back to its old tricks again, slowly bleeding them dry around the city. Reports of T72s being TOW'd around the city every single day, mass-casualty raids, just yesterday a Syrian Major General was killed along with many troops,and much equipment captured, in an ISIS raid on the eastern outskirts(silos)


I first did not want to dignify Fanto and Heros should do their homework on international law. It is quite insulting to even begin to compare the horrors of Katyn or the Nazi crimes with member states' legitimate right to self-defense and the UN-mandated fight against ISIL/Daesh and Al-Qaida.

On the other hand, I have repeatedly seen the silly points on the lacking authorisation by the United Nations Security Council of the Coalition against the Islamic State (ISIL/Daesh in UNese), I appeal to the Colonel to allow the post below, in order to lay this to rest.

Coalition members active in Syria against Islamic State or the Nusrah Front who are not invited by the host country regularly communicated this to the UN Security Council, in accordance with the right to self-defense pursuant to Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.

For example, the UK did this starting on 25 November 2014 (S/2014/851), again on 7 September 2015 (S/2015/688), and yet again on 3 December 2015 (S/2015/928).

In addition to states exerting their right to self-defense, these actions are a response to the call by the Security Council in resolutions 2249 (2015) and 2253 (2015) for "necessary and proportionate measures against ISIL/Daesh in Syria".

Other states participating in fighting ISIL did report the exercise of their right to self-defense in accordance with the Charter and relevant resolutions like the UK.

The Syrian response to the Council on several occasions stressed that this was not a welcome intervention, as it for example destroyed oil facilities beyond reach but that belonged to the SAR, which then resulted in someone (unnamed) cutting the electricity to Deir ez-Zor (e.g. S/2015/949 in early December 2015). Similarly the Syrians also complained about the bombing of some oil facilities in Raqqa (S/2015/1043) at the end of the month. The key sentence in these protest is the stress put to the right to demand "compensation" for damages to SAR property.

However, the Security Council has not taken a negative view of these interventions, and has not responded directly to the Syrian letters (and they were numerous and claimed very high figures of damages incurred).

On the contrary, on 18 December 2015 with the passage of resolution 2253 the Security Council designated ISIL/Daesh as a threat to global peace and security, and with the passage of resolution 2254, the Security Council exempted ISIL and the Nusrah Front and other listed terrorist organizations from any cease-fires, and called again as in resolution 2249 for the eradication of safe havens erected on parts of the Syrian territory and stopping the flow of foreign terrorist fighters pursuant to resolution 2178. Resolution 2178 was passed unanimously, with President Obama chairing the SC meeting, and most countries represented at the same level.

This call went out to all member states, and included from 2015 onwards reminders that decisions by the Security Council are binding to all member states. This was again reaffirmed with resolution 2332 on 21 December 2016.

In addition, resolution 2332 (2016) notes that in the course of 2016, some territory has been retaken from ISIL/Daesh and assorted Al-Qaida affiliates, including the Al-Nusrah Front. Despite it's name change in June 2016, the name still appears in the official document of the Council, as the organisation and its members are still listed under that name by the 1267 Cttee. It still states the Council's determination to jointly address "all aspects of the threat".

There was a notification to the Council by the Syrian Democratic Forces (or probably closer: Forces for Democratic Syria) concerning their control over 14% of Syria's territory in January 2016 (S/2016/3). Their letter was forwarded by the Russian Federation. Again in the course of 2016 the Council did not respond specifically to the letter and did not take up the matter in a decision, as the Council for Democratic Syria is not the member state concerned. But it can be argued that the language used to note the conquest of territory held previously by ISIL/Daesh and assorted groups notes but does not judge on whoever was responsible for this.

While there is therefore no formal mandate by the United Nations to the activities carried out by several coalition members' air and ground forces in and over Syria, the exercise of the right of self-defense, reported to the Council is in accordance with the Charter, and the above (exchanges of letters and resolutions) covers what the Coalition and the the Council for a Democratic Syria currently do with almost a "nihil obstat".



"It is quite insulting to even begin to compare the horrors of Katyn or the Nazi crimes with member states' legitimate right to self-defense and the UN-mandated fight against ISIL/Daesh and Al-Qaida." For the benefit of those not familiar with the massacre in the Katyn Forest. The Soviets killed around twenty thousand captured Polish Army officers there and then claimed the Germans had done it. My father had a horror of what the Soviets had done and spoke of it often. I am not interested in sponsoring attacks on what many in the US (including me) see as efforts for "legitimate self defense" in the ME against ALL the jihadi movements. These movements are a threat to us in the West. Yesterday in London should demonstrate that adequately. I was opposed to the US misadventure in Iraq as unnecessary and unrelated to the jihadi menace. Farther than that I will not go in opposing US anti-jihadi efforts and policy. pl


Frankly at first I didn't expect one this year. But I am glad he did it, is a step forward.


Thanks Pat for letting us see comments like the one below. Hugo Grotius? Chickenshit? Or Heros comments above.

Concerning the German law case or the ruling of the highest court in administrative law over here I referred to above, they sided with the officer, but left many questions unanswered, necessarily. Thus leaving soldiers pretty much alone: Ultimately focusing on, I assume following his lawyer, the question of conscience. Not very helpful for other German soldiers, who risk their job. The verdict seems to have discussed "Preemptive War" ... not surprising. And the right to self-defense.


Page 39, pdf file, link above:
II. Seven Grounds for Insubordination
The grounds for the careful reasoning of the BVerwG may lie, apart from a possible general exercise of judicial self-restraint, in the severe consequences that are at stake. According to the German constitution, partaking in an illegal war in terms of international law may not only have to face the verdict of unconstitutionality, but
could also trigger criminal liability for the members of government and other actors involved. The BVerwG indeed identified this problem when it addressed whether the respondent was entitled to refuse to obey orders of a superior. The Court developed seven grounds which could, under German law, justify or even render mandatory such conduct:

(i) The military order violates the right to human dignity as provided for in Art. 1, para. 1 GG,

(ii) The order is given for purposes outside the ambit of the military service a soldier is obliged to render,51

(iii) Following the order would result in the commitment of a crime,

(iv) The order is not binding for other reasons, such as following it is objectively impossible, is contradicting in terms or has become moot for a change of facts,

(v) Giving the order or obeying it had to be qualified as an act which is “tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression” 52 and, hence, being unconstitutional,

(vi) The order is in variance of the general rules of public international law pursuant to Art. 25 GG,53 or

(vii) The order is unreasonable upon balancing all relevant facts and

The BVerwG failed to answer the question whether any of the above mentioned grounds for insubordination were present.55

It also refers to an earlier case against chancler Schröder and the government:
On 21 March 2003, one day after the war in Iraq began, the German Attorney-General at the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH – Federal Court of Justice (“Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof”), issued a press release.56 The Attorney-General, upon a complaint received, stated that there were no sufficient grounds for prosecuting the German Chancellor, other members of the German government or third parties, for committing the crime of preparing for a war of aggression in terms of Section 80 of the Strafgesetzbuch (StGB – German Criminal Code).57 The BVerwG referred to this decision of the Attorney-General, but did not further elaborate on it.58 However, the judgement of the BVerwG and the decision by the Attorney-General not to prosecute are not contradictory. The Attorney- General denied that the decision of the German Federal Government to undertake AWACS surveillance flights resulted in a crime in terms of Section 80 StGB for two reasons: first, the Attorney-General qualified such flights as mere failure to prevent an armed attack from occurring on the part of the German Federal Government. As the Attorney-General argues, this act of omission as such makes the members of the German Federal Government not liable for prosecution.

Closer to home:


Babak Makkinejad

He is too late.

And then how is he squaring this with his designation of Iranian people as potential terrorists in his executive orders?


Yet, better late than never, one thing for sure, in this country, with all political forces united against Iran' revolution and her independent posture, if you are not designated or act as an anti Iran politician, you will not be able to govern and or survive. In my estimation, this and the coming US administrations will not be able to change this policy on Iran for this and next coming decade.

English Outsider

Colonel - I think this correspondence is now closed but nevertheless I hope you will allow me to comment - I've been on a slow burn ever since I first saw this issue raised.

What is the issue raised? That the resources of many Western countries have been put to wrong use and this has resulted in much death and destruction. Who is responsible and how can they be held to account? That is the question Mr "Heros" and others are attempting to answer.

First of all we can in practice forget about seeking to apply international law. However good the intentions of the lawyers, those good intentions result in travesties like the Nurnberg trials or slow witch hunts such as those conducted in The Hague. And although law applied unequally is still law, we can't hope for much from a system of international law that, to take only one case at random - let's take Mr Blair as a good one - allows a person who has clearly behaved recklessly, and whose reckless behaviour has contributed to so much wrong, to escape scot free. We could maybe attempt to propound a system of international law that would dispense justice in such cases but we clearly haven't got one today so there's no remedy there.

The law failing us we could attempt to work from first principles. We the People tell the politicians what to do, they tell the military apparatus. We the people are all of us therefore responsible, together with the politicians who carry out our instructions.

But then you get bogged down in a multiplicity of qualifications. What is the case when the people don't know what the politicians are doing? When the people don't control the politicians? When the politicians are incompetent but well meaning? Or some are but others are incompetent but reckless?

Sort that lot out. You can't. We're untouchable, and Mr Blair and his like must go free because the law can't deal with him and there's no safe and indisputable line of reasoning that allows us to say "Make him pay anyway." The responsibility cannot be fixed accurately on any one person or group of persons and there is therefore no day of reckoning possible.

For many of us that's deeply unsatisfactory. Entire countries have been wrecked and there's not so much as a slap on the wrist for anyone. The temptation is to search around for somebody, anybody, we can blame, and at least have some feeling that these great tragedies have not gone unmarked and unpunished. Let's find someone to fix the responsibility on.

Failing we the people or the politicians, there is therefore a temptation to hold the military responsible. They should have know that what they were doing was wrong. They should have refused to do it.

I have never heard such utter nonsense. How far down is this supposed responsibility supposed to go? Senior officers? Platoon level? Or is each individual soldier supposed to undertake an intensive course in international politics and ethics before he so much as picks up his weapon? Is he supposed not only to fight for us, but to decide for us where and how? This is vicious nonsense and merely serves to allow us to shove the responsibility away from us and our dysfunctional political system and on to the easiest scapegoat we can find.

But the fact that there is no clear straight line of responsibility to be found anywhere, and no way of acting on it if we could find it, does not mean that there is no responsibility. In an unformulated and scarcely traceable way we do have to come back to each individual of we the people. The law can't touch us and nor can logic but, at the very least, all of us were around when the tragedies were being played out. Where was I when neo-nazis were being egged on in the Ukraine? Too busy looking after my own affairs so don't blame me. Where were so many bien pensant Americans when the Jihadis were being fed through Turkey? Too busy fussing about transgender bathrooms so don't blame them. Before we attempt to fix responsibility on the nearest scapegoat we should take a harder look at ourselves.


you are correct that polish government fled and was in disarray – but this is my point, that it should have at least declare what was obvious, whether they had done it from Warsaw or from Romania. My point is that Stalin was stickler to words – he did not even declare war on Poland on 09/17/1939 – he merely declared to polish ambassador that ‘Polish state ceased to exist’, so there was no state of war.
(the Wikipedia in English, French, German, and Russian does not mention that in chapters on WW2)
It is impossible to know what would have happened to those polish officers in Stalins hands, in case there was officially state of war, but it could not have been any worse. The basis for the executions in Katyn and other sites was explained by their alleged ‘counterrevolutionary’ activies. (letter from Beria to Stalin March 5, 1940 – cited from p.476 in “Special Tasks” by Pavel Sudoplatov, Little Brown and Company,1994).
I am not equivocating the USA to Stalin’s USSR in my taking sides with Heros, I must make it clear.
As Colonel notices below that any further discussion is unnecessary, I will leave it at that.


As I have said in my reply to Thirdeye, I am not equivocating USA to USSR. I am a stickler to words, like Stalin. So, compare me to Stalin.
You mentioned ‘compensation’ – (“The key sentence in these protest is the stress put to the right to demand "compensation" for damages to SAR property.”)
This is exactly an example a propos the situation which occurred after the polish government missed to state that it found itself in state of war with the USSR. Poland forfeited any right to compensations, in my understanding. I am not a scholar of international law, so please educate me. LeaNder seems to know a lot about it also. The loss of Poland’s eastern territories and the compensation of that loss with the Germany’s eastern territories (at a net loss for Poland, the only ‘victorious’ party in that war which lost territory!) also could have been made much more difficult for Stalin to accomplish, if Poland was officially in state of war with USSR.


"Before we attempt to fix responsibility on the nearest scapegoat we should take a harder look at ourselves."

How about going after the actual culprits? You know, the civilians that authorized the actions? Start with MH-Seventeen, why did the Ukrainian civil authority allow an airliner carrying passengers cross their territory while conducting active air operations during the conflict? With your fellow citizens being among the victims, demand the proof that the accused are guilty and have the current civilians in charge of your government display the radar and communication logs with no excuse for State Secrecy.

"Where was I when neo-nazis were being egged on in the Ukraine?"

Some of us were paying attention and have agreed that they aren't Neo- Nazis, they are the originals' descendants.

Jim MacMillan

The quote attributed to Cyrus is fictionalized. It comes from a historical novel/self help book written by Larry Hedrick a former Air Force Officer. Hedrick's book is an imaginary study of Cyrus as a Corporate CEO.

The achievements of Cyrus, who was indeed a great king, do not need to be faked and fabricated. And the President needs to hire a speechwriter who knows the difference between truth and fiction.


Jim MacMillan

IMO, as I have said, his problem is that he instinctively thinks he I BSing a business deal and is not well educated enough to tell the difference. pl

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