Closing Thought–06Apr18

Every year the military spends ba-zillions of dollars on R&D…..some of it is for new types body armor or a new rifle or a new vehicle….and then there are some research and development that just seems to be a waste of money…….found one!

The Pentagon is working on a funky new weapon that is, in the words of the estimable Popular Mechanics, “profoundly weird.” In short, military scientists aim to use lasers to create what sound like human voices that could be projected afar. These “voices” could then be used for “psychological operations, making announcements, or just plain weirding out the enemy,” writes Kyle Mizokami. The details of what’s called the Laser-Induced Plasma Effect come from a report at Defense One. One laser, called a femtolaser, creates a ball of plasma that’s hit by a second nanolaser. Tuned to a precise range of wavelengths, the laser manipulates the plasma to produce light and sound. In a video, a noise a bit like human mumbling can be heard during a second test of the device. The Pentagon thinks it can produce intelligible words in about three years.

“We’re this close to getting it to speak to us,” says David Law of the Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program. A second video shows the weapon creating the sound of a stun grenade. But the plasma can also be manipulated to produce heat, as seen in one test that caused a military uniform to burn, reports Ars Technica. Potentially, this could be done from a distance of several miles, Law says, noting an 8-inch laser mirror would create the effect about three miles away. A person between the weapon and the target would be unaffected, he adds. Some other possible uses: warning (or frightening) people away from a military checkpoint or perhaps mimicking the sound of gunfire

Seriously?  It always amazes me to see just what the military will attempt to suck on the taxpayer teat.

My day is no more…..time for me to adjourn to the library for a good book and a snifter of brandy…..chuq

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The Loss Of Saigon

As a Viet Vet I am always having to have the conversation about that war….mostly with people that are too young to know what it was like or from older people that did not go and serve in the country.

Usually I shut down the conversation when I ask if they were in country……if they say no then I point out that how can they have any idea of what happened if they were not there?  That normally makes some upset and they storm off.

Some stay to show their savvy of that war…they read a book or saw a movie so they have a good grasp on the policies of the time…..

Of course the conversation turns to why the war was lost….there is a wide array of reason….but the one that got my attention was the one that believes that it was Congress fault for cutting off funding to South Vietnam……

This article points out the fiscal policy of the day to include the war in Vietnam.

Since partisans have turned the April 30, 1975, Communist takeover of South Vietnam into a political weapon, I’m going to spend the anniversary doing a little myth-busting.

Mel Laird, Richard Nixon’s defense secretary, started the modern myth that “Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by cutting off funding for our ally in 1975” in a 2005 article in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations.

Laird repeated it two years later in a Washington Post op-ed column in which he wrote “of 1975, when Congress cut off funding for the Vietnam War three years after our combat troops had left.”

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/126150

Public Enemy Number One: Opioids!

We have a new president and a new number one problem in this country….with Trump it is the opioids abuse.

He has put Kelleyanne Conway as the Opioid Czar and her take on preventing the abuse is for addicts to eat ice cream or french fries…..a sound medical advice from another Trumpian that has NO clue about the world around them.

I read an article written in “The Cipher” on this problem…..

Americans are facing one of their deadliest foes in recent history: not ISIS, but opioids, painkillers that are highly addictive and killing thousands of Americans annually. Drug overdoses took the lives of 64,000 people in 2016, with two-thirds related to opioids.

Congress has taken a good first step, providing the federal government an additional $3.3 billion to fight the opioid crisis in its fiscal year 2018 spending bill with a focus on public health efforts. Most of the money, $1.4 billion, will go to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for a new State Opioid Response Grant program and also for the Mental Health Block Grant, according to Vox. The second highest chunk of funding, $500 million, is for the National Institutes of Health for more opioid addiction research.

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/column/expert-view/targeting-one-americas-deadliest-foes-opioids

Interesting thoughts from an agent of the DEA….I would like to hear from my readers on their ideas on the opioid abuse situation.

I agree that abuse is on the rise but on the same token opioids do good for people that suffer with chronic pain.

Afghanistan–News And Views

17 years and counting and in all that time not one word of how long this will continue to effect the country.

The Trump Pentagon is searching desperately for some success that they can hold up to the nation and claim that we are definitely winning this war.

As the US continues to escalate the war in Afghanistan, the official position is that there are no timetables anymore, no deadlines. 17+ years into the conflict, any pretense of a quick ending has long since evaporated.

That does not, however, mean that the Pentagon isn’t feeling pressure, as preposterous claims of “progress” ring as hollow today as they did in 2004, or 2013, or any other time in the war. The US may feel comfortable committing to decades more of the same, but NATO allies that keep getting dragged in for a new escalation are increasingly skeptical that there is a real endgame.

Pentagon leaders are desperate to show that something is different this time around, and that they aren’t just spinning their wheels in Afghanistan, even though that’s really what’s happening. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joe Dunford insists that this year will be “fundamentally different” from the last 17 years of US war in Afghanistan.

(antiwar.com)

Finding some success that could be taunted as a win is getting harder and harder o fine….and now the US has an old problem made new……

The Trump Administration is supportive of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s call for talks with the Taliban in order to bring peace to Afghanistan. Russia, Iran and China have also reached out to the group The interest in talking to the Taliban is partly the result of concerns about the Islamic State in Afghanistan.

Calling itself Wilayat Khorasan, the Islamic State’s South Asian branch is more commonly referred in Western media as ISIS-K or ISKP (Islamic State Khorasan Province). ISKP lays claim to an emirate comprising parts of Iran, three Central Asian republics, Afghanistan, Pakistan and in some maps parts of Kashmir in India and Xinjiang in western China. The group has sworn loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi even though most analysts agree that at least in the early years there was little or no connection between this group and the Islamic State in the Middle East.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/04/the-trump-administrations-new-afghan-problem-the-islamic-state/

Just when Trump is pushing the death of ISIS they are rearing their ugly mugs more and more in Afghanistan.

I want to see Trump address this rising problem and stop soft soaping the wars of intervention.