« American Meddling in the Ukraine by Publius Tacitus | Main | Syria's probable future »

24 February 2018


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


different clue

He has the same IP, the same name and the same e-mail address. pl

Babak Makkinejad

The Framers relied on common religious understandings on the difference between "freedom" and "license". Since God is now persumed dead - or at least incapacitated - that common understanding no longer obtains.



This is the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive. A battlefield victory for America but a strategic defeat. It proved that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I showed up a year and half later in the 4th or 5th reconstitution of the 173rd Airborne. This was at the end of the draft army. Units were refusing to fight for nothing and President Nixon withdrew the army. As a direct result, the elite threw the losers in the trash. Obesity, drugs and dropouts are so bad today that only 25% of young American men and women are fit to serve in the military. Addiction and indebting the rest are money makers for the establishment.

Rather than give up on a regional war, the USA is doubling down with a free fire zone in Eastern Syria. There is simply no way to be victorious supporting the Kurds in the middle of nowhere against Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey; not to the mention, the risk of nuclear war with Russia. This is insanity. The Kurds to survive and push out the Turks in Syria must at some point come to the realization that they have to ally with the Alawites, Shiites, Russians and secular Sunni Syrians; and get rid of the Americans and Israelis.

Richard Milhous Nixon, for all his faults, would have avoided this trap.



"Units were refusing to fight for nothing" Did your unit refuse a combat order? The 173rd Airborne Brigade? Units were not "reconstituted" in Vietnam. They fought continuously with a constant flow of individual replacements. You volunteered for Jump School? Why did you do that? pl



After nearly being destroyed in the battle of Hill 875 near Dak To in November 1967 the Brigade was redeployed to the coast and rebuilt with individual replacements and assigned to pacification duty. The company was a mess when I arrived June 1969 and almost barracks duty when I left a year later. I know only of two deaths while I was at LZ English; a gung-ho sergeant in a firefight and a fragged support driver. Most of the troops were medevacked from trench foot or bobby traps never to return. It was a wild west fort with company size deployments around the edges of the reservation. The airfield is still there on google maps. All the communists had to do is wait for us to leave to reenter the valley. Yes, I was a leg in an airborne unit. I never volunteered for jump school in Saigon although it was suggested and I would get jump pay. Yes, I lucky to be an airborne unit. Everyone followed orders. They were airborne. They were withdrawn a year later in 1971.

This is all in retrospect.



"Hill 875

At 09:43 on 19 November, the three companies (330 men) of 2/503 moved into jumpoff positions from which to assault Hill 875. Charlie and Delta companies moved up the slope followed by two platoons of Alpha Company in the classic "two up one back" formation utilized since World War I. The Weapons Platoon of Alpha remained behind at the bottom of the hill to cut out a landing zone. Instead of a frontal assault with massed troops, the unit would have been better served by advancing small teams to develop possible North Vietnamese positions and then calling in air and artillery support.[29]

At 10:30, as the Americans moved to within 300 meters of the crest, PAVN machine gunners opened fire on the advancing paratroopers. Then B-40 rockets and 57mm recoilless rifle fire were unleashed upon them. The paratroopers attempted to continue the advance, but the North Vietnamese, well concealed in interconnected bunkers and trenches, opened fire with small arms and grenades. The American advance was halted and the men went to ground, finding whatever cover they could. At 14:30 PAVN troops hidden at the bottom of the hill launched a massed assault on Alpha Company. Unknown to the Americans, they had walked into a carefully prepared ambush by the 2nd Battalion of the 174th PAVN Regiment.

The men of Alpha Company retreated up the slope, lest they be cut off from their comrades and annihilated. They were closely followed by the North Vietnamese. All that prevented the company-strength North Vietnamese onslaught from overrunning the entire battalion was the heroic efforts of American paratroopers who stood their ground and died to buy time for their comrades.[30] Soon, U.S. air strikes and artillery fire were being called in, but they had little effect on the battle because of the dense foliage on the hillside. Resupply became a necessity because of high ammunition expenditures and lack of water, but it was also an impossibility. Six UH-1 helicopters were shot down or badly damaged that afternoon trying to get to 2/503.[31]

At 18:58 one of the worst friendly fire incidents of the Vietnam War occurred when a Marine Corps fighter-bomber, flown by the Commanding Officer, a LTC, of a Marine Air Group from Chu Lai, dropped two 500-pound bombs into 2/503's perimeter. One of the bombs exploded, a tree burst above the center of the position, where the combined command groups, the wounded, and the medics were all located. It killed 42 men outright and wounded 45 more, including the overall on-scene commander, Captain Harold Kaufman. 1Lt. Bartholomew O'Leary, Delta Company Commander, was seriously wounded. (Alpha company's commander had been killed in the retreat up the slope).[32]

The next morning, the three companies of 4/503 were chosen to set out and relieve the men on Hill 875. Because of intense PAVN sniper and mortar fire (and the terrain) it took until nightfall for the relief force to reach the beleaguered battalion. On the afternoon of 21 November, both battalions moved out to take the crest. During fierce, close-quarters fighting, some of the paratroopers made it into the PAVN trenchline but were ordered to pull back as darkness fell. At approximately 23:00, the 4th Division's 1/12th Infantry was ordered to withdraw from an offensive operations in the southern Central Highlands and redeploy to Đắk Tô. In an almost flawless night-time air redeployment, the entire battalion redeployed and took up positions around the main fire support base at Đắk Tô in less than 12 hours.

The following day was spent in launching airstrikes and a heavy artillery bombardment against the hilltop, totally denuding it of cover. On 23 November, the 2nd and 4th Battalions of the 503rd were ordered to renew their assault while the 1st Battalion of the 12th Infantry assaulted 875 from the south.[33] This time the Americans gained the crest, but the North Vietnamese had already abandoned their positions, leaving only a few dozen charred bodies and weapons.[34]

The battle of Hill 875 had cost 2/503 87 killed, 130 wounded, and three missing. 4/503 suffered 28 killed 123 wounded, and four missing.[35] Combined with noncombatant losses, this represented one-fifth of the 173rd Airborne Brigade's total strength.[36] For its combined actions during operations around Đắk Tô, the 173rd Airborne Brigade was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation." wiki



Ah, now I understand. You should have gone to jump school. you belong to "The Rock." You are one of them still. You would have gone through the door at that high school. pl


open thread so i guess share this,

just got back from a panel discussion in my neighborhood by the "nuclear age peace foundation"

it was really pathetic it was widely published in the neighborhood, and literally i was the only person their under 65 and i could count all the attendants on just my hands.

i remember we had a similar panel back in the bush administration and the same chruch was packed to capacity.

i cant figure out why my generation and younger really are not concerned with nuclear weapons.


re: I still wonder whether we should consider fellow committee-member confused ponderer as being the same person as before

You should because I am. And, except for the scars, I by and large am who I was before of my accident, and looking at what I got I got away very well.

The point is that in a hospital, without computer and an internet access it is hard impossible to post. That's to explain my ~2 year silence.

As for me replying to some of my older comments - that formulation is is technically correct, but practically it is more about afterthoughts, clarification or additional points. If I forgot something, I may reply to my post. Or not.

Still, that doesn't mean I am another person or two persons. Don't interpret too much into that.



Juan Cole reports that Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian church leaders have closed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem because of recent Israeli policies directed against these churches


Could their protests affect perceptions of our new policies regarding Jerusalem?

Babak Makkinejad

They likely still care but feel powerless to do anything about it - certainly through such fora as you attended.

And then there is this: the main concern of the so-called Tea Party was their pensions and other financial assets that they had acquired during their economic rocket ride - never having been burdened at their earl life with such things as College Debt or Job Insecurity.

They demonstrated that, as an age cohort, that they did not care one whit about anyone else - Apres mois, le Deluge.

Why would anyone else want to be associated with that crowd?

different clue


( reply to post 59)

Thank you for replying to clear up my confusion as revealed in my comment. And thanks to our host as well for that. Since I am sometimes slow to get the clue, I can sometimes be swayed by a coherent-feeling theory which appears to explain things at every level.

Everyone here missed you in your sudden absence and is happy to see you back and commenting.


William Polk explores America’s changing role in the world.
Here is a long article on Polk's recent 3 part lectures at Yale.
There are links in the article to videos of the lectures.


Remember William Seward? I am sure our Col knows his "Reminiscences of a Wartime Statesman and Diplomat".
Yes of course he was Lincoln's Secretary of State, and he almost died from knife wounds by the same conspirators who killed Lincoln, and his wife did die of shock from the horror of that attack.
Here are a couple of quotes I would like to share:

Who does not see, then, that every year hereafter, European commerce, European politics, European thoughts, and European activity, although actually gaining greater force and European connections, although actually becoming more intimate will nevertheless relatively sink in importance; while the Pacific Ocean, its shores, its islands, and the vast regions beyond, will become the chief theatre of events in the World's great Hereafter? Who does not see that this movement must effect our own complete emancipation from what remains of European influence and prejudice, and in turn develop the American opinion and influence which shall remould constitutions, laws, and customs, in the land that is first greeted by the rising sun?
(Speech in the United States Senate (29 July 1852)

no man will ever be President of the United States who spells 'negro' with two gs.
(in refutation of Stephen Douglas on the Senate floor)

Love one another.
(Last words, spoken to his daughter-in-law (10 October 1872)

grand visor

"When that happens the US will be in possession of a landlocked territory in eastern Syria that is inhabited by people who don't like us very much even if necessity has made them our allies"
Which people living on the globe do like Americans
I think there time maybe running out
however it might be Gotterdammerung
THE BAND TACKHEAD "I am scared of Americans"
native american indians,afroamericans who is next Arabs russians chinese philipinos
nay Europeans who will be turned to dust and a nuclear wasteland


grand visor

Perhaps you meant "Grand Vizier?" Be afraid. Be very afraid. You must be new here to spout this mindless anti-American drivel. I have lived a long life and throughout it people like you have always hated the US. Ho. Hum. Are you a refugee from Moon of Alabama? pl



Kushner's reduction in access to collateral interim secret is significant. At that level of access he will be cleared to read the menu at the White House mess. If I am not mistaken commissioning as a second lieutenant requires a FINAL secret clearance. Evidently there are quite a few other WH staffers for whom the FBI is unable to recommend final clearances. I wonder what this does for Ivanka. Daddy can tell her anything he wishes but it is a big risk since she and hubby are so close to Natanyahu. pl

Nancy K

I'm sorry but blaming movies and TV and games seems so bogus, especially when it is adult watching this crap. Maybe parents should take some control over what their children view.



"Maybe parents should take some control over what their children view."

I agree 100%. The same should go with social media use, especially phones and tablets.

Babak Makkinejad

Games are not to blame - TV and Movies are.



What is the likelyhood this is Kelly putting some professionalism into the staff by shooing the family out to greener pastures?


Today general elections in Italy. The 5-star movement will probably become the largest party.

They are Eurosceptic and when in government may exit from the Euro-currency. Italy's economy needs inflation to function. If Italy exits the Euro it will force a capital outflow out of the south of Europe to the north. This will create an instant crisis since undervalued German-Euro's will become overvalued German-Euro's and buying cars will become much more expensive. No need for Trump to impose import taxes.

This doesn't mean that they will form the next cabinet. IMO the following will happen:
* interim government for some time when the M5S will try to get a majority coalition (which the traditional parties will not do).
* a small majority government (like The Netherlands, UK etc) from centre left/centre right, who will continue the pro-Euro(pe) neoliberal policy
* that centre government will fall (as governments tend to do in Italy) and in new elections populist/far right and left will get more votes

No exit polls are available yet.

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