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22 September 2020


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Regarding Afghanistan, does your Seljuk thesis apply here? I believe the Seljuk line of control cuts through half of present day Afghanistan, as far as I am aware pederasty is practiced equally on both sides.

JM Gavin

You clearly saw through my poor attempts at subterfuge. You were able to see the hidden meaning behind my words. I am really just a Zionist stooge, and I exist to enable pederasts in Afghanistan...all a part of my secret plot to...to..House of Saud...something something...aw, hell, why don't you just finish this post for me, since you have me all figured out.

Let me know when you're done, so I can have you tell me what I really mean about the next topic on SST.


Babak makkinejad


Yes it does.

There was an Army War College study a few years back that had predicted the fracturing of Afghanistan.

I expect Pashtuns to be forced to go their way, eventually getting absorbed in Punjabi culture.

Everything you see in Afghanistan today had also existed also in Turkey and Iran . Those two countries cleand up their act in the process of learning from the Western Diocletian civilization.

Afghanistan was going through the same learning process when 40 years of war eviscerated the upper classes and small middle class, leaving a mass of unvarnished destitute and desperate people with no role models and with a terrible ethos of survival: homo lupus homini.


JM Gavin -

Great last sentence in your 6:40 comment. Politicians should also have to face the pain and shed some blood and sweat in wars they start, or that they escalate, or fail to stop.

Although I do not think that "chopping-off-the head-of-the-snake" tactic does anything to help win wars. Killing Yamamoto didn't help us in the war against Imperial Japan. It may have prolonged that war(?) And a friend once told me that "the Allies considered assassinating Hitler. But by 1943 they concluded that they were better off leaving him in place to continue to make critical geopolitical down to tactical errors."

I've always been a fan of the old Irish proverb "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't." Revenge is sweet, but the new guy could be smarter and deadlier.

Soleimani wasn't the military genius that the press built him up to be. And Tehran's guy in AF that courted the Taliban and gave them arms was General Qaani, not Soleimani. Qaani now has Soleimani's job.


JM Gavin,
are you related to General Gavin, who fought Hitler´s Wehrmacht in Sicily?



I was at the luncheon at AFSC in 1972 at which LTG(Ret) Gavin announced to us student officers that he had Alzheimers and would never speak in public again. A great man, an orphan literally left at a convent door. A great soldier. Airborne! Part of my Christmas ritual here has been recounting story of the scene in which Gavin, then commanding general of the 82nd received the surrender of the German paratroop task force in the Bulge. They had declined to surrender to anyone but US or British paratroops.

JM Gavin

I am not related to General Gavin, though I certainly would have been proud to trace my lineage to such a warrior and great man.

Soleimani may or may not have been the military genius the press thought him to be, but he led from the front. I'm just a soldier, but, as an adversary, QS earned my respect.

In my opinion, the US doesn't need to be the enemy of Iran. Many in the US government mistakenly believe that Iran's enemies are our friends, despite ample evidence to the contrary.



JM Gavin

You guys need to decide what you want from the world; picking fights with all these people and countries that actually want to work with you does not make sense to me.

Eric Newhill

"Want to work with you"?

Who's picking fights?

I recall an Islamic revolution who's first act was to take Americans hostage and then dance in the streets calling for death to America and death to Israel. They've been doing it ever since + supplying shaped charges, etc. to kill US troops. That's hardly sending a signal of wanting to work with us.

Iran looks to me like the Black Lives Matter of the Mid East. They pretend to be on the side of "justice" but are obviously cynical self-serving ideologue power seekers that do not want to live or work within the context of a larger more diverse community and who will not compromise like everyone else in the civilized world must do - and who use threats, terrorism and other passive aggressive tactics to try to achieve objectives that they will never achieve and aren't worthy of. Basically, angry losers banging their heads against a wall and turning off would be friends/supporters along the way. The more their collective head hurts, the more they bang away.

JM Gavin

The US is not a monolithic entity. Lots of cooks in the kitchen, often trying to bake different dishes in the same pan.

The US holds legitimate elections regularly, and the winners get to set policy, and often that policy is a departure from the previous office holder.

The US is an unsteady ally. That's just the way things are. Just think of us as a grumpy brown bear that can't decide what to eat for lunch. If smaller animals that could be lunch decide the poke the bear with a stick, the bear may eat lunch right then and there. Or it may not. As much fun as it is to poke the bear, it's less fun to get the undivided attention of a hungry bear. A lot of small animals have poked the bear, and the bear lost interest in the animal. Don't conflate the bear's short attention span with defeating the bear. Saddam Hussein did that in 1990, and Saddam went from having the fourth largest army in the world to having the second-largest army in Iraq very quickly.

Politicians are motivated by power, and they need money to get power or keep it. While it takes a lot of money to buy a politician, a lot of folks have enough to rent one as needed. The money is not supposed to flow from foreign sources, but motivated buyers find ways around that.

All this to write that you seem to have high expectations for a superpower with functioning representative democracy. The US government is always going to act in a manner that seems fickle and uncertain. That's also just the way things are, and neither you nor I have much personal input into the process.



JM Gavin

Guatemala, Iran, Vietnam, Chile did not poke you.

You had to go out of your way to poke them.

When Saddam Hussein attacked USS Stark, you guys attacked Iran.

When Israel attacked USS Liberty, you sucked it up.

When day were celebrating attacks 9/11/2001 attacks on US in UAE, you ignored them.

Right now, you are poling the Bear in her nest near the Black Sea.

Are you people mad?

You cannot be serious with that analogy.



I was a senior member of the USS Stark JCS investigation. There was no retaliation against Iran for that.

JM Gavin

I don't think you are reading what I have been writing, starting with the fact that there is no "YOU PEOPLE."

COL Lang,
I believe Babak is referring to the Iranian Airbus downing by the USS Vincennes as the US revenge for the strike on the USS Stark the year before. I doubt Babak believes that a country would ever mistakenly shoot down a passenger jet...



Jm Gavin

Well, then he is a 3rd world fool. USS Vincennes shot down the plane because the CO was terrified that he would suffer the same fate as the CO of USS Stark.

Babak makkinejad


These wars, needless confrontations and so on, are policies of the freely elected, duly & legally seated of the American people.

In a representative republic, where does legal or moral responsibility for policies reside?

Over as many decades?

Babak makkinejad

Col. Lang

My memory of that time is Iraq attacked USS Stark, Reagan gave a speech and blamed Iran for it, and US attacked an oil platform that Revolutionary Guards were using.

My Japanese friend was amused by US reaction as being nonsensical.

But, then again, George Bush used UAE, where coeds were giggling about 9/11 attacks on US when going to classes, to deliver another stern warning to Iran.



I remember the combat on the two little islands at the head of the Gulf. The larger one was Failaka I think. Iraqi Marines vs IRGC. Some sort of oil installations on the islands. I remember that we struck one or both but do not remember that it had anything to do with the accidental Iraqi attack on USS Stark. We knew they were responsible for that. They admitted it, apologized and paid the US a hefty penalty for the deed and the injuries and deaths. We would not have attacked you for that. As I recall we just did not want you to hold those islands. I was at Um Qasr at the time and remember Iraqi Navy gunboats bringing back dead and wounded from this fighting.

JM Gavin

The nature of the US government (as described above) doesn't exempt US citizens from responsibility or culpability.

The people of a democratic nation are morally responsible for the government's actions or failure to act.

Every people has the government they deserve.

At a certain point, "who started it" ceases to matter. Such is the case with the US and Iran. Speaking strictly for myself, I find that Iran is a rational actor, motivated by Iranian best interests. I believe that Iranian best interests and the United States' best interests are often compatible. The fact that Iranian interests conflict with the Arab states or Israel should not be the impetus for US animus (or action) against Iran.





Which brings me to my central thesis; a religious war, which, by nature, is not amenable to rational resolution or discourse until the situation on the ground changes.

Right now, Arab oil-producers are weakened due to reduction in oil demand; the United States is hurting politically and economically, Russia, Iran, EU states, Turkey are in various stages of economic and covid-19 malaise, Israel is shut-down, Lebanon is broke and so on and so forth - except the People's Republic of China.

Right now, Peace is Cheap and War is Expensive since everyone has an incentive to avoid further weakening of their position. As the Actor with the Strategic Preponderance, the United States could initiate a Peace Initiative - there would be many takers.

Not that I expect that.

Eric Newhill

JM Gavin,
US support of Israel is not going away. It's just a fact of life (whether or not Babak/Iran accept it). There are political and personal financial reasons. There are religious reasons. There are social justice reasons. There are cultural reasons. If the Sunni states will accept that fact and work within the parameters that fact establishes, then the US will also side with the Sunni states.

Personally, I am ambivalent on the question of Israel, yet I do accept it's there to stay and with US support. That said, I have no delusions about the goodness of Iran (or the "party of Ali"). They have their own interests and ambitions, some of which are contrary to to those of Israel and the Sunni states. Ergo, they are contrary to the interests of the US.

How hard would it be for Iran to simply recognize Israel as a sovereign nation and its right to exist? How far would that go towards diminishing tensions between the US and Iran? Babak says it can't be done because of "social justice". I call BS on that. Destroying a nation (Israel) in the name of the Palestinians is not increasing social justice in the world. Social justice cannot be a 0 sum game. Babak also says it is a matter of honor. Sometimes I think there is a fine line separating honor from stupidity and belligerence. Round and round we go and Iran just keeps losing and digging its hole deeper.

JM Gavin

Eric Newhill-
While support for Israel runs deep in US politics, many of the left are openly anti-Israel. In a time where the survival of the US as-we-know-it is a constant discussion, future US support for Israel isn't guaranteed.

The Israeli's don't help themselves by assuming that the US owes them whatever they want or ask (which is the Israeli government view, in my personal experience).

The Iranians seem to view themselves as a Shia Persian people surrounded by Arab Sunni interests. The Israelis are increasingly and openly establishing ties with Sunni Arab governments (Israel has long had more hidden ties to some Sunni Arab governments). How hard would it be for the Iranians to acknowledge Israel's right to exist? I don't know, I'm not Iranian, and I really can't see the world from their perspective. As long as the current folks running Iran are in power, I don't see it happening.

I'm just a soldier and bag man for the nation of my birth, and my views are shaped by my own history.


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