Saturday, September 5, 2020
We're now apparently supposed to be all aghast that the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military thinks that people who get killed wearing a uniform are "suckers" and "losers".
Here's the thing.
If you are a GI, or someone who loves or cares for a GI, or just someone who “supports the troops”...at the very least be honest.
Those of us who wear the tree suit are tokens in the Game of Thrones. I'm not whining about that. That's the nature of the business. We knew that when we took the re-up bonus. When it comes right down to it our job is, at the final throw, to be used - and spent, if need be - gaining or trying to gain some geopolitical thing.
We can hope that those spending our health and lives and futures are doing that wisely, judiciously, frugally, and for only the best and gravest of reasons.
All the while knowing that the opposite is very often the case; we will be thrown away for ignorance, pride, hubris, and foolishness. Our lives, or some portion of them, will often be wasted.
That's what we get paid for. That's our bottom line. That's the bargain we've made.
And if you don’t like that, or that saddens or appalls, or horrifies you?
You need to be better citizens. Learn the issues. Question authority. Support people and policies...or protest against them! Vote...and vote with your head, not with FOX or Facebook or your old high school buddy’s latest email attachment.
for some trashbag or fool or madman, or not even bothering to vote when
there's a chance that trashbag of a human being might be elected, means
that you lose the privilege to be shocked, shocked, when that trashbag
trashes your precious "troops".
your responsibility. We the People are supposed to be sovereign in this
republic. So We the People are the ones who ultimately decide whether our futures are hoarded, or wasted.
If someone you helped vote into power - or someone you're not fighting with all your might to keep from power - is disparaging, or mocking, or wasting your soldiers’ lives?
It’s not their problem.
Friday, August 14, 2020
10 August??? I called Ed this morning (14 August), Ed is a 96-year old vet who had served at Okinawa during that time. He was in our local VFW chapter, but is now in a senior care facility near his children. He recalled that all hands had gotten the word on the tenth that Japan had offered to surrender. There was a lot of celebration. He said the wild firing into the air was a bad mistake as several men were killed and wounded.
The US accepted on the 12th of August. The only exception to the Japanese
offer was that Hirohito could only remain
purely ceremonial role and NOT as Japan's 'Heavenly Sovereign'. There was a delay in Tokyo for debate about acceptance of Hirohito's eclipse - or continuation of the war. So on 13 August (14 August in Japan) B29s from Tooey Spaatz Strategic Air Force Pacific resumed air raids attacking Iwakuni, Osaka, Tokoyama, Kumagaya, and Isesaki. The PM, the Navy Minister, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs all opted for surrender. The Army was more intransigent, or at least some firebrands there thought they could get away with a coup and continue the war. They murdered a Lieutenant General who would not go along with them. Hence the Kyūjō incident.
But wiser heads prevailed. On the 14th (15th in Japan) Hirohito announced the surrender via radio to all in his nation so that they would know it was his personal decision to capitulate. He stayed in that ceremonial Emperor role for another 44 years. A good movie was made about the decision and the coup. Back in 1967 the great Kihachi Okamoto directed "Japan's Longest Day" aka "The Emperor and the General". Some dramatic license like all cinema, but well presented.
There is a remake out titled "The Emperor in August" released five years
ago on the 70th anniversary. I have not seen it yet but hope too soon.
I also called today and chatted with a elderly former Woman Marine who was stationed at Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay as a supply clerk during the war. She couldn't remember a lot. Said she was on duty when the announcements were made so missed all the partying in downtown Frisco.
The formal surrender of course did not take place until two weeks later on board the U.S.S. Missouri on 2 September.
UPDATE: Much has been said about the estimated casualties if the Invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall, had gone ahead. In April 1945, a Joint Chiefs of Staff planning
paper assessed possible casualties based on experience in both
Europe and the Pacific given a troop list of 766,700 men and a 90-day
campaign. Based on the "Pacific Experience" JCS projected that the US Sixth Army could be expected to suffer 514,072 casualties (including 134,556 dead and missing). There were three problems with that this assessment: 1] it only included casualties up to X+90 on Kyushu and not for the later invasion of Honshu on the Kanto Plain; 2] it did not include personnel losses at sea from Japanese air attacks; and 3] Japanese were easily
able to accurately predict the Allied invasion plans and thus tripled their defenses on Kyushu from what the JCS estimates had been based on. There were other estimates, MacArthur low-balled it at 105,000 total casualties but again that was only for Kyushu. Mac had made a habit of underestimating enemy strength. He did it in Luzon twice, here, and later in Korea.
Senior Navy admirals were against the invasion of the home islands. This was based on their experience at the lengthy and costly Okinawa Campaign where 368 Allied ships were damaged while another 36 were sunk, and the 5000 Navy dead exceeded Army KIA and USMC KIA. And probably based also on their experience at Iwo where Kamikazes sank an escort carrier, severely damaged a fleet carrier, and also damaged another escort carrier, an LST, and a transport. They preferred a blockade with continuation of a conventional bombing campaign. It might take longer but would save a lot of blood.
The Navy brass were also against the dropping of A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to Truman, Admiral Leahy called it "the biggest damn fool thing we have ever done". Admiral King called the rationale that the bomb would save American lives misplaced, because if Truman had been willing to wait a blockade would have "starved the Japanese into submission". Admiral Nimitz considered the bomb "somehow indecent, certainly not a legitimate form of warfare". Admiral Halsey, using military reasoning instead of humanitarian concern said "It was a mistake ever to drop it. Why reveal a weapon like that to the world when it wasn't necessary."
Ahead of the surrender, he had to choose between two conflicting orders – one by McArthur instructing the fleet to allow Japanese officials to fly to Tokyo, and another from his captain, ordering him to blow them out of the sky. His Dad's account:
“I relieved the watch in the combat information center. As was routine I just read all the dispatches that had come in since the previous watch. And one of them was a dispatch from General MacArthur’s headquarters in the Philippines saying that if we intercepted any Japanese transport planes that were flying a red pennant from the tail of the fuselage that we were to let the planes through, I presume because they were flying the Japanese generals from China to Japan to receive the surrender. Anyway, we were to let this plane through."
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
(Pompeo said that)..."the U.S. will organize the free world, while alienating and undermining the free world; he extols democracy, while aiding and abetting its destruction at home; and he praises the Chinese people, while generalizing about the ill intent of Chinese students who want to come to America.
Pompeo is also ultra-loyal to a president who cares not one whit for democracy, dissidents, freedom, or transparency overseas. Trump’s long track record on this is well documented, and it has defined his personal approach to China."
As we discussed here a while back, I'm all in favor of treating the PRC with cautious skepticism. But the problem here is that, having made it clear that if you're a Trumpkin, you're "America First" all the way, this administration has little diplomatic throw-weight to actually mobilize any sort of large-scale pushback against Chinese geopolitical ambitions. And then there's the whole "you are, too!" problem:
"The Chinese Communist Party wants a tributary international system where smaller countries are deferential to larger powers, instead of a rules-based international order where small countries enjoy equal rights. The CCP also sees no place for universal rights or global liberal norms, and wants to ignore the principles of open markets to pursue a predatory mercantilist economic policy.
So does Trump."
All this will undoubtedly rachet up tensions in the East Asian littoral. What that means in practice? I'm not sure; right now the U.S. is too busy being devoured by the Plague to make anything as distant as the South China Sea fairly low on the priority list...
Meanwhile, half a world away the same U.S. administration has directed the USDOD to move about 12,000 military bodies out of the Federal Republic of Germany.
This does not, in case you're keeping score, count as a "Donald the Dove" peace proposal. These people aren't going to become VISTA volunteers. Many are going to other parts of Europe, including Poland(?), Belgium, and Italy. But some of this may tie into the aggressive rhetoric against the PRC:
“Several thousand troops currently assigned to Germany may be reassigned to other countries in Europe,” Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal. “Thousands may expect to redeploy to the Indo-Pacific, where the U.S. maintains a military presence in Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and Japan, as well as deployments in locations like Australia.”
It's difficult not to be cynical about seeing this as a Trumpian revenge against the German government and his bete noir, PM Merkel, for being insufficiently fawning.
Monday, July 13, 2020
"Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors, undercutting the Trump administration’s efforts to isolate the Iranian government because of its nuclear and military ambitions.This is an obvious move for Iran, given that it is unavoidably clear that any Republican administration - and 2016 makes clear that the US electorate cannot be counted on not to elect a Republican government, no matter how ridiculous - will treat Iran to whatever they can manage of the Ledeen Doctrine.
The partnership, detailed in an 18-page proposed agreement obtained by The New York Times, would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects. In exchange, China would receive a regular — and, according to an Iranian official and an oil trader, heavily discounted — supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years.
The document also describes deepening military cooperation, potentially giving China a foothold in a region that has been a strategic preoccupation of the United States for decades. It calls for joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing — all to fight “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes.”
The partnership — first proposed by China’s leader, Xi Jinping, during a visit to Iran in 2016 — was approved by President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet in June, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said last week."
This is also obviously a very deep tarpit for Iran. Other "Belt and Road" nations have found that the PRC gives nothing that it cannot take, and have found themselves in hock up to their national ears.
Still...a worthwhile reminder that when your only tool is a hammer, and the tool using that tool is an utter tool, you end up with a "foreign policy" stupider than a bagful of hammers.
Oh, well. We're too busy catching the Plague to worry about any of this stuff anymore.
Friday, June 26, 2020
Everyone in the great state of Washington votes by mail. Thank God our state capitol Olympia did away with the caucus system. Ditto for Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, & Utah. California allows everyone to vote by mail but also allows those who prefer to go to a polling place to vote. No need to apply for a mail-in ballot, all registered voters get one. No need to prove your inability to travel to the poll. No need to prove you are out of state.
There are checks in place to prevent fraud. Sure, Junior can fraudulently vote for his senile parents. But incidents like that are onesey-twoseys. Large scale fraud is easy to spot via statistics, or by suspicious journalists or political analysts of any party. Public election officials can easily prove or disprove fraud by checkin signatures.
There is a system in place to insure secrecy & privacy of your vote. It increases voter turnout. It provides a legitimate backup record for recounts. It lowers the expense to states and counties for holding elections. What is not to like?
Reportedly two thirds of the country would prefer to vote by mail.