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September 6, 2010

Beslan School Siege Survivor's Account

By Armed Liberal at 05:55

From Global Voices:
Agunda Vataeva (LJ user agunya) was a 13-year-old girl about to begin her ninth-grade studies on Sept. 1, 2004, the day when she, her mother and more than 1,100 others were taken hostage at School #1 in the North Ossetian town of Beslan. She survived the three-day siege. Her mother, a teacher, didn't. Of the 334 hostages who lost their lives six years ago, 186 were children.

Agunda is a 19-year-old college student now. In the past three days, she has posted three installments of her recollections (RUS) of Sept. 1-3, 2004, on her LiveJournal and Radio Echo of Moscow blogs.

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  • Javert Freeman: I do hope all is well with Marc. read more
  • toc3: Testing read more
  • tagryn: OK, I see Joe K. left a comment yesterday, and read more

June 4, 2010

Israel's Real Strategic Failure

By Porphyrogenitus at 00:56
My cold-blooded and deranged response to Walter Russell Meade's post on the subject.
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  • Barry Meislin: More Gaza Misery. read more
  • Glen Wishard: And there is absolutely no way that Israel will not read more
  • Barry Meislin: On part 2: Again, Hamas has a stranglehold on the read more

Well, That Clears That Up, Then.

By Armed Liberal at 05:09

Over at progressive defense blog, Democracy Arsenal, Michael Cohen gives a great insight into progressive defense thinking.

He's passionately arguing that the Surge in Iraq didn't work...
Well those "other factors" are actually quite important - in fact, they are likely the dominant reasons why violence decreased in Iraq during 2007 and 2008 (and Andrew leaves out a critical one; the sectarian cleansing and subsequent ethnic enclaving that took place in Baghdad in 2007 and 2008, which contributed mightily to the fall in civilian casualties). In other words there were very specific factors that allowed the surge to "succeed" in decreasing sectarian violence in Iraq.
Of course we've had the debate many times - but we need to keep having it over and over again; because the debate over the "success" of the surge is, in my view, the single most important foreign policy debate in this country. I make this argument for two reasons.
What are his reasons?
But that notwithstanding, the implications of the pro-surge narrative is far more dangerous because it presupposes that the US "gets" counter-insurgency; that it can be fought in a manner that minimizes civilian casualties (which didn't happen in Iraq); and above all the US military has the capability to successfully wage counter-insurgencies and that this core competency can be replicated elsewhere . . like Afghanistan.

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  • Marcus Vitruvius: It's classic, isn't it? If a line of argument leads read more
  • Jerry In Detroit: This is pretty standard fare. Mr. Cohen's intent would appear read more
  • Jerry In Detroit: This is pretty standard fare. Mr. Cohen's intent would appear read more

February 27, 2010

Taking Back ... The Infantry Half-Kilometer

By Armed Liberal at 02:07

I've got two firearms-related posts that have languished in the queue, one a review of a firearms catalog DVD, and this one a commentary on a monograph from Major Thomas P. Ehrhart of the Command and General Staff College entitled 'Increasing Small Arms Lethality in Afghanistan: Taking Back the Infantry Half-Kilometer' (pdf) which is a very interesting document that casts new and interesting light on the near-eternal 5.56 caliber debate.

The abstract pretty much sums it up (dryly...):
Operations in Afghanistan frequently require United States ground forces to engage and destroy the enemy at ranges beyond 300 meters. These operations occur in rugged terrain and in situations where traditional supporting fires are limited due to range or risk of collateral damage. With these limitations, the infantry in Afghanistan require a precise, lethal fire capability that exists only in a properly trained and equipped infantryman. While the infantryman is ideally suited for combat in Afghanistan, his current weapons, doctrine, and marksmanship training do not provide a precise, lethal fire capability to 500 meters and are therefore inappropriate.

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  • mark buehner: Sounds more like an ACW tactic. Assuming you can line read more
  • Jimmy: Hi Marc, Your son's squadmates can still shoot out to read more
  • Roger anderson: I had an M-14 E2 in Nam. I would read more

February 21, 2010

Terrorist v. Mucker ^2

By Armed Liberal at 20:47

Kevin Drum has jumped into the issue - on my side. Interesting comments, as well.

I'll suggest a further distinction. Terrorism has a political dimension which blind rage lacks, and calls for a different set of responses.

If you believe that we need the same responses to disgruntled, depressed computer jocks as we do to the Aryan Nation and Al Qaeda, then the distinction doesn't matter to you. At some level, this is an interesting parlor game - but until it can be tied to sensible policies, it is really just an argument over semantics.

It matters to me...

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  • mark buehner: I disagree. I don't think you ever catch many of read more
  • Alchemist: Yeah, this is just getting more and more common, and read more
  • mark buehner: A teacher jumped a school shooter in Colorado yesterday. Thank read more

Mucker v. Terrorist

By Armed Liberal at 02:59

...Jerry Bruckheimer is already making the movie, and if me anytime Jerry and I'll give you a plot.

So in the blogs and in the comments below, we're wrestling about what to call - and how to react to - the crazed guy who flew a private plane into the local IRS headquarters.

The usual suspects on left and right are trying desperately to tie him to the Tea Party movement or to socialism (based on one incoherent suicide note).

Juicebox Matt and Sully are patting everyone on the back, saying that it's clearly terrorism and the reaction to this incident is a model for how we should react to terrorist acts.

John Robb says this is a canary in a coal mine (and I worry that he's right).

Patterico and I disagree; he says it's clearly terrorism, I say no it's not. I'm left really, really uncomfortable that we're looking at this in the right way.

Here's a CNN interview with the filmmaker Pierre Rehov, who made the great documentary 'Suicide Killers'

You get a clear sense of the ideology that grows terrorists as a deliberate tool in its combat with the wider world.

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  • Marcus Vitruvius: As I said, organized crime gets dicey by this definition. read more
  • Demosophist: Paul Berman's thesis in Terror and Liberalism is that anomie read more
  • Armed Liberal: Marcus, I've gotta keep pushing back. Gangsters have as developed read more


By Armed Liberal at 04:00

Joseph Stack burned down his house and then flew his small plane into the local IRS office building, after having left a 'manifesto' which is really an incoherent cry of rage.

I'm hearing things from reliable sources that suggest that what we're seeing is more the fallout from the collapse of a life - a broken marriage, failed businesses - than a passionate blow by some antigovernment ideologue. I'd carefully watch the news tomorrow on this before taking a position...

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  • Marcus Vitruvius: A.L., I think there is room for reasonable people to read more
  • Armed Liberal: marcus, I'm just not across the line with you; I read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: Predictably, a lot of the chattering noise is by people read more

February 1, 2010

What To Do When "You Can't Quit."

By Armed Liberal at 02:15

An interesting discussion on Afghanistan, insurgency and "what now" has been breaking out lately.

Note that here, again, the semipro commentariat are doing Obama's work for him as they collectively try and come up with a strategic framework for the related series of conflicts we seem to be caught up in.

I'll refer you to three pieces, and focus my own commentary on one of them, the triggering post by Zenpundit (Mark Safranski): 'The Post-COIN Era is Here.' In addition, you should read Thomas PM Barnett's response, as well as T Greer's supportive post.
So, COIN still reigns supreme, albeit with trimmed sails?


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  • Armed Liberal: mark - no didn't ... can you resend it?? read more
  • mark buehner: Hey A.L., let me know if you didn't get the read more
  • Tim Oren: There's an new article regarding the 'tribal approach that's well read more

January 5, 2010

Sullivan's Credibility Escapes With A Literal "Woosh" - With Photo!

By Armed Liberal at 19:54

Sullivan approvingly quotes a correspondent:
A reader asks a very interesting question about the undie-bomber - why did he get back into his seat to detonate a bomb that had a ramshackle detonator and where he could be overcome by fellow travelers? Read the whole email:
I keep hearing this even described as a failed terrorist attack on an airplane. But was it really? I keep hearing about how the system failed, but did it really? Think about it. First, what is the major goal of terrorism? It is not to bring down airplanes. It is not to destroy the West. It is, pure and simple, to create terror in people. Why? Because when people are afraid they overreact. And this includes most of us, yourself included.

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  • MikeDC: Sullivan has an ideology? read more
  • Aog: The real problem for Sullivan and his ilk is that read more
  • toc3: The first thing we do, let's kill all the "journalists". read more

November 25, 2009

Thank You, Phil Carter

By Armed Liberal at 17:26

Yesterday's news feeds brought news that Phil Carter - who I've known since we were both standing at the sidelines together at LA Press Club events - before he re-enlisted and went back to Iraq - has resigned his position as deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy.

Phil and I did not always agree on first principles; but I have so much respect for him that when we've disagreed on policy I've always stepped back and revisited things from the ground up, and often wound up far closer to his positions than I'd began. Phil did not just talk about these issues, he involved himself in them. He re-upped and served as a MP training law enforcement, judges, and lawyers in Iraq when the war there was still quite hot.

He commented once that he brought all his men home, and that nothing could make him prouder.

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  • tagryn: Putting this move together with the resignation of White House read more
  • Armed Liberal: It's good to hold important issues and people up to read more
  • tagryn: At the same time, in his writings at Intel Dump read more

November 13, 2009

Fearless Prediction: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's Trial Will Be A Train Wreck

By Armed Liberal at 18:08

I Am Not A Lawyer, but trust me, it will be a train wreck - legally because a decent defense attorney will use it as a platform to place the entire War on Terror on trial, shifting the focus from Mohammed's acts to the government's and to a grandiose litany of America's wrongs in the world - and politically, because the American public is going to be really, really cranky when they see the mastermind behind 9/11 being aggressively defended in court.

Back in the dark prehistory of my blog, I pointed out that I thought the Clinton Administration had done a pretty good job of legally prosecuting terrorists, and that the terrorist movement had managed to grow rather dramatically regardless.

I hope I'm wrong on all counts. But I don't think I am.

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  • mark buehner: "I'm scratching my head over that statement. How was "shock read more
  • mark: I don't believe we have launched any large scale attacks read more
  • mark buehner: "London, Madrid, Riyahd (5 different ones), Bali, Istanbul, Mombassa, Djakarta." read more

Proximate Knowledge

By Porphyrogenitus at 15:00
I didn't manage to attend the Memorial at Fort Hood on Tuesday, but on Memorial Day itself I went to a nearby ceremony that LTG Cone spoke at.

Of course he spoke to last week's events, particularly the noble actions of numerous soldiers at the scene, two in particular: A Captain who was grazed in the head by one bullet, then struck in the thigh by another, but even after these injuries used her body to shield that of a pregnant fellow soldier. She was struck once more, in the stomach, but is of good spirits, recovering in the hospital. Another soldier was struck twice in the waist and hip, but still helped guide many, many of his fellow soldiers to safety outside.

I personally hope that these soldiers are appropriately recognized with purple hearts and other awards appropriate to their bravery under fire, just as they would be in a combat zone. They displayed great personal courage in a situation where, lets face it, no one went there that day mentally preparing themselves, for something like this.

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  • toc3: No, he means Memorial Day. You may be too young read more
  • pabarge: Memorial Day? Do you mean Veterans Day? read more
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