(Not) John Cleese on Threats to Europe

English: John Cleese in May 2008.

English: John Cleese in May 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[A quick note here. Am I the only one who remember why we classed chemical weapons as 'weapons of mass destruction'? It was because during the cold war we had lots of tactical nuclear weapons but no gas shells. the Russians had lots of gas shells. so we decided that a gas shell, a bio weapon, or a nuke were all nukes to us, and that was how we would respond.

Now on to the main story]

I’ve seen this before (in fact I think I’ve run it before) but it’s still pretty much accurate. From Steven Hayword at Power Line

(NOT) JOHN CLEESE ON THREATS TO EUROPE (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Turns out this is not from John Cleese, though it has an Aristotelian authenticity that causes me to leave it up anyway.

This is making the rounds, and should not be missed:

ALERTS TO THREATS
IN 2013 EUROPE

From JOHN CLEESE

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels ..

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be right, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.

Regards,
John Cleese ,
British writer, actor and tall person

And as a final thought – Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.

(Not) John Cleese on Threats to Europe (Updated) | Power Line.

So the British told us to go away and deal with our own silliness, and now we’re stuck with the Cheese-eating surrender monkeys French

Which doesn’t mean or State Department shouldn’t take a lesson from the British Foreign Office

And we might want to do something about immigration before it gets like Britain’s as well

Welcome to Labor DayThe end of Summer, the first weekend of college football

Leadership

no_149_queen_elizabeth_ii_jordan_1983_postcards-r25372c63d2da4873bfb136f11213468e_vgbaq_8byvr_512“I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father’s inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939″ when World War II was declared, the scenario had the queen telling her subjects at noon on Friday March 4, 1983. “Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.”.

“Help those who cannot help themselves, give comfort to the lonely and the homeless and let your family become the focus of hope and life to those who need it,” the message read. “As we strive together to fight off the new evil let us pray for our country and men of goodwill wherever they may be.”

‘Solemn and awful duty’: Secret files reveal Queen’s World War III speech | National Post.

That is part of the queen’s speech in the Wintex-Cimex exercise from 1983 that you’ve been hearing about. It was part of a British/NATO war game. That was an exercise on thermonuclear war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. They were not uncommon. Those of us old enough remember those days with a shudder.

For you younger people we all, east and west, from 1957 until 1990, when we got up in the morning we always knew, like a black cloud on the horizon that the world might end in nuclear fire that day, with less than 30 minutes warning in the US, 15 or so minutes in Europe. This conflict is what drove foreign policy from 1945 until 1990, for forty-five years. I can still remember in the early sixties, before our missiles were fully on line doing duck and cover in elementary school, it was a lot like a tornado drill, but for the end of the world.

This is what the visible part looked like

This was a drill, obviously, but if it was for real, by the time that last bomber got off (and this is merely one of many bases) the missile subs were approaching launch depth, the tankers were flying, the ICBMs were within about a minute of launch, and the government was being evacuated from Washington. And that doesn’t even count the bombers that were in the air from 1960 for many years, along with a flying command post staffed with a miniature battle staff commanded by an Air Force General Officer who was the final launch authority if all else failed (or was destroyed).

When you hear us speak of mutually assured destruction (MAD), this is what were are talking about. The only good thing about it is that it worked, because the Soviets were no more suicidal than we were.

And since we started with a Queen’s speech from an exercise, this is what a Soviet attack on England would have unleashed, and nobody in America or the Soviet Union ever doubted it. That is what it meant to be an ally of America.

That is in a sense not an authentic speech but, I can easily hear the Queen giving it, just like I can imagine Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, or Reagan giving one like it.

And for contrast there is this

On Closed Embassies, the Worldwide Travel Alert, and Wimpitude

by Daniel Pipes
August 3, 2013

In April, the city of Boston was effectively under military curfew because two terrorists were on the loose. Now, fears of al-Qaeda attacking has led the U.S. government temporarily to close 21 U.S. embassies in Muslim-majority countries and then issue a worldwide travel alert announcing that “Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.”

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said that the two steps result from “a significant threat stream” and so the authorities “are taking it seriously.”

Comments:

(1) Don’t know about you, but I find this pre-emptive cringing unworthy of a great country, even humiliating. Why do we allow a bunch of extremist thugs to close us down, rather than the reverse? For what purpose do we pay for the world’s best military and largest intelligence services if not to protect ourselves from this sort of threat?

(2) This timidity fits into a larger pattern that I have long found reprehensible. Here’s a comment of mine from 1998 I should like to resurrect, that responded to the double bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania almost exactly fifteen years ago, on Aug. 7, 1998:

It’ll be a happy day when American embassies are again built in busy downtown intersections out of normal materials – and not, as they are now, bunkers located in distant lots surrounded by high fences. Such a change will only be possible when the safety of Americans depends not on walls, metal detectors and Marine guards, but on the deterrence established by years of terrible retribution against anyone who so much as harms a single American citizen.

Deterrence, not shuttering the bunkers we call embassies, is the solution. Maybe Obama’s successor will understand this imperative. (August 3, 2013)

On Closed Embassies, the Worldwide Travel Alert, and Wimpitude
 

God save the Queen

BBC News – Viewpoint: Counter-insurgency lessons from Vietnam

Viewpoint: Counter-insurgency lessons from Vietnam

American soldiers and Vietnamese refugees returning to the town of Hue, in Vietnam

The rise in so-called insider attacks by rogue Afghan security forces has highlighted the perils of joint operations in counter-insurgency. But former US soldier David Donovan, who fought in Vietnam, says lessons learnt long ago have been forgotten.

If you could feel the heat and sweat of the tropics. If you could hear the noise of battle and sense the fears.

If you could put yourself on the other side of the world where you are the selectee of your government to advise and help a unit of foreign fighters defend their village.

And if you and that unit are at this moment in combat but they are being slow to react, you might come close to understanding how I felt one day in 1969 in the Mekong delta of Vietnam.

The enemy were in a nearby tree-line. They had taken us under fire, and bullets were cutting leaves from the trees.

We already had wounded – one man shot in the foot, another in the side. Everyone had gone to ground and the Vietnamese officer, my counterpart, was down behind a small dike with some of his soldiers. He was fixed in place, not taking the lead.

I was an American infantry officer there to provide assistance when possible and leadership when necessary. Frustrated at our slow reaction, I ran toward my counterpart intent on getting him to lead his men. But as I made my way, a background programme had already begun running in my mind. It asked, “What are you doing here? Is this ever going to mean anything?”

Continue reading the main story

About the author

Terry Turner

David Donovan is the pen name of scientist Terry T Turner, of the University of Virginia. He served in the US army from 1967 to 1970, and saw frontline action in Vietnam. He has written a number of books about his experiences there.

BBC News – Viewpoint: Counter-insurgency lessons from Vietnam.

I can’t really say too much about this but, I have over the years known quite a few officers who were advisers to ARVN units, and they pretty much unanimously say nearly the same things as the author does here If they are correct, and I believe they are, it’s still another reason to get out while we can.

As Donovan says the Mullahs in the hills are saying exactly the same things about us as they did the British 150 years ago. Remember how the poem ends?

If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white,
Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight:
So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier.
Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier ~of~ the Queen!

 I don’t think it would be wise to have cause to write a similar poem about the American soldier.

Happy Saturday

From the E-Mail. Thought it would be nice to brighten your Saturday morning a bit.

So, here’s the world situation, according to John Cleese.

A little John Cleese humour to brighten up your day.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.

– John Cleese – British writer, actor and tall person.

A final thought -“ Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.”

Thanks DBM-W, you made my day.

Afghanistan: Part III

English: Mark Steyn speaks at CPAC 2008 as Pam...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve already written most of what I know about Afghanistan, if you want to know what I said, I’ll wait over here while you read Part I and Part II. This time, however, I’m calling reinforcements, serious ones Mark Steyn, no less.

Say what you like about Afghans, but they’re admirably straightforward. The mobs outside the bases enflamed over the latest Western affront to their exquisitely refined cultural sensitivities couldn’t put it any plainer:

“Die, die, foreigners!”

And foreigners do die. USAF Lieutenant Colonel John Loftis, 44, and Army Major Robert Marchanti II, 48, lost their lives not on some mission out on the far horizon in wild tribal lands in the dead of night but in the offices of the Afghan Interior Ministry. In a “secure room” that required a numerical code to access. Gunned down by an Afghan “intelligence officer.” Who then departed the scene of the crime unimpeded by any of his colleagues.

Some news outlets reported the event as a “security breach.” But what exactly was breached? The murderer was by all accounts an employee of the Afghan government, with legitimate rights of access to the building and its secure room, and “liaising” with his U.S. advisers and “mentors” was part of the job. In Afghanistan, foreigners are dying at the hands of the locals who know them best. The Afghans trained by Westerners, paid by Westerners, and befriended by Westerners are the ones who have the easiest opportunity to kill them. It is sufficiently non-unusual that the Pentagon, as is the wont with bureaucracies, already has a term for it: “green-on-blue incidents,” in which a uniformed Afghan turns his gun on his Western “allies.”…

How about that it’s common to have the Pentagon give it is normal bloodless euphemism: Green on Blue, indeed, we are talking about the murder of American Servicepeople here. ….

In the last couple of months, two prominent politicians of different nations visiting their troops on the ground have used the same image to me for Western military bases: crusader forts. Behind the fortifications, a mini-West has been built in a cheerless land: There are Coke machines and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Safely back within the gates, a man can climb out of the full RoboCop and stop pretending he enjoys three cups of tea with the duplicitous warlords, drug barons, and pederasts who pass for Afghanistan’s ruling class. The visiting Western dignitary is cautiously shuttled through outer and inner perimeters, and reminded that even here there are areas he would be ill-advised to venture unaccompanied, and tries to banish memories of his first tour all those years ago when aides still twittered optimistically about the possibility of a photo op at a girls’ schoolroom in Jalalabad or an Internet start-up in Kabul.

The last crusader fort I visited was Kerak Castle in Jordan a few years ago. It was built in the 1140s, and still impresses today. I doubt there will be any remains of our latter-day fortresses a millennium hence. Six weeks after the last NATO soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. Before the election in 2010, the New York Post carried a picture of women registering to vote in Herat, all in identical top-to-toe bright blue burkas, just as they would have looked on September 10, 2001. We came, we saw, we left no trace. America’s longest war will leave nothing behind.

Read the entire post at National Review Online.

What exactly is the point to this charade? It’s time to bring our people home now, not 2013, now, by Easter would be appropriate. We all know that our military will do their very best to win, in accordance with their orders, which makes it impossible to win.

Otherwise we’re reenacting some history which was a stupid idea the first time.

 

 

Afghanistan

Khwarezmid Empire (1190–1220)

Image via Wikipedia

We’ve been in Afghanistan for ten years now. Have we accomplished anything? Looks to me like the same old story. And I mean the same really old story.

According to history, Afghanistan was first invaded by Alexander the Great and his Macedonians, the very first disciplined (modern style) army. It took Alexander 3 years to complete the conquest whereas Persia had fallen in 6 months. Incidentally if you have read much of ancient history the Bactrian warriors mentioned at the Battle of Gaugemela were from eastern Afghanistan.

It took from about 642 until well into the 11th Century to complete the conversion/conquest of Afghanistan by Islam. Incidentally the ethnic make up the Afghans like the Persians to the west is primarily Aryan; like Europeans and unlike Arabs who are Semitic. It pays to remember that the Middle east has been a crossroads of humanity as long as there has been humanity.

The Khwarazmian Empire which consisted of modern-day Iran, Afghanistan and neighboring territories was attacked by Genghis Khan. It wasn’t pretty. From Wikipedia “The Mongol invasion of Central Asia however would entail the utter destruction of the Khwarezmid Empire along with the massacre of much of the civilian population of the region. The Mongols systematically exterminated a particularly large portion of the people of the cities, such as Bukhara. This earned the Mongols a reputation for bloodthirsty ferocity that would mark the remainder of their campaigns.”

This was followed by a group of regional wars by empires in the are which went on more or less continuously until:

The First (of 3) Anglo-Afghan wars which grew out of the British East India Company attempting to expand and then defend their empire. These continued until 1919. As usual, Rudyard Kipling had some advice for Tommy Atkins.

The Young British Soldier

 When the 'arf-made recruity goes out to the East
 'E acts like a babe an' 'e drinks like a beast,
 An' 'e wonders because 'e is frequent deceased
 Ere 'e's fit for to serve as a soldier.
       Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
       Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
       Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
          So-oldier _of_ the Queen!

 Now all you recruities what's drafted to-day,
 You shut up your rag-box an' 'ark to my lay,
 An' I'll sing you a soldier as far as I may:
 A soldier what's fit for a soldier.
       Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

 First mind you steer clear o' the grog-sellers' huts,
 For they sell you Fixed Bay'nets that rots out your guts --
 Ay, drink that 'ud eat the live steel from your butts --
 An' it's bad for the young British soldier.
       Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

 When the cholera comes -- as it will past a doubt --
 Keep out of the wet and don't go on the shout,
 For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,
 A' it crumples the young British soldier.
       Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

 But the worst o' your foes is the sun over'ead:
 You must wear your 'elmet for all that is said:
 If 'e finds you uncovered 'e'll knock you down dead,
 An' you'll die like a fool of a soldier.
       Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

 If you're cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,
 Don't grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;
 Be handy and civil, and then you will find
 That it's beer for the young British soldier.
       Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

 Now, if you must marry, take care she is old --
 A troop-sergeant's widow's the nicest I'm told,
 For beauty won't help if your rations is cold,
 Nor love ain't enough for a soldier.
       'Nough, 'nough, 'nough for a soldier . . .

 If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath
 To shoot when you catch 'em -- you'll swing, on my oath! --
 Make 'im take 'er and keep 'er:  that's Hell for them both,
 An' you're shut o' the curse of a soldier.
       Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

 When first under fire an' you're wishful to duck,
 Don't look nor take 'eed at the man that is struck,
 Be thankful you're livin', and trust to your luck
 And march to your front like a soldier.
       Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

 When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,
 Don't call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;
 She's human as you are -- you treat her as sich,
 An' she'll fight for the young British soldier.
       Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

 When shakin' their bustles like ladies so fine,
 The guns o' the enemy wheel into line,
 Shoot low at the limbers an' don't mind the shine,
 For noise never startles the soldier.
       Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

 If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white,
 Remember it's ruin to run from a fight:
 So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
 And wait for supports like a soldier.
       Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . . 

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
 And the women come out to cut up what remains,
 Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
 An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
       Go, go, go like a soldier,
       Go, go, go like a soldier,
       Go, go, go like a soldier,
          So-oldier _of_ the Queen!

From this point on we all know the broad outlines.

The Soviet Union got sucked in to support their (more or less) puppet regime in Kabul in 1979. Note that they were very reluctant and stalled for a considerable time, and that the United States under Carter had something to do with it also. They stuck with it until 1989, and apparently ended up pretty much agreeing with Kipling. After they withdrew the Taliban staged a coup taking power.

They remained in power until late 2001 when having hosted al-Qaeda and refusing to extradite bin Laden they were overthrown by US forces cooperating with the Northern Alliance, a loose grouping of warlords. And so now the US is conducting ground operations and so-called nation building in Afghanistan. I don’t really see why we expected our troops to be a lot more welcome than anybody else’s have been over the millennia, and they weren’t.

And so now here we are, ten years into a nation building mission that may never end while the locals snipe and set off IEDs at us, and our Presidents apologizes for burning a few books used as message pads. He also feels the needs to telegraph that we will be leaving in 2013, telling our enemies that they merely need to lie low and wait.

Given the givens and the history of the area, I see no particular reason to wait any longer than it takes to get transport in and get our people out.

There no glory to be won and no particular shame in not winning in this theatre, nobody else has done any better than we have and most far worse. The only one that has done as well is Genghis Khan and our equivalent to his method would to be nuke the entire country. I don’t think we really have the stomach for that, do we

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