Pentagon Papers Turns 50

This may have been the best eye-opener for people on the subject of the Vietnam War…..I still have my copy and remains in my “old Books” section of my library…..

2021 is the 50th anniversary of the publication of the “Papers” and the feed it gave tom the anti-war movement….

This article is from the NYT…..

Brandishing a captured Chinese machine gun, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara appeared at a televised news conference in the spring of 1965. The United States had just sent its first combat troops to South Vietnam, and the new push, he boasted, was further wearing down the beleaguered Vietcong.
“In the past four and one-half years, the Vietcong, the Communists, have lost 89,000 men,” he said. “You can see the heavy drain.”
That was a lie. From confidential reports, McNamara knew the situation was “bad and deteriorating” in the South. “The VC have the initiative,” the information said. “Defeatism is gaining among the rural population, somewhat in the cities, and even among the soldiers.”
Lies like McNamara’s were the rule, not the exception, throughout America’s involvement in Vietnam. The lies were repeated to the public, to Congress, in closed-door hearings, in speeches and to the press. The real story might have remained unknown if, in 1967, McNamara had not commissioned a secret history based on classified documents — which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers.
 
It is a shame that the American people cannot muster the passion to end destructive and deadly wars we fight all over the globe….
 
The book failed to have a lasting effect on our proclivity to war……

The Pentagon Papers should have spawned permanent, radical skepticism concerning the candor and competence of U.S. foreign interventions. Philosopher Hannah Arendt observed that the Pentagon Papers revealed how “sheer ignorance of all pertinent facts and deliberate neglect of postwar developments became the hallmark of established doctrine within the Establishment.” That internal study also revealed how deceit became institutionalized. Daniel Ellsberg, who wrote a portion of the papers, noted that the documents reveal “a general failure to study history or to analyze or even to record operational experience, especially mistakes. Above all, effective pressures for optimistically false reporting at every level, for describing ‘progress’ rather than problems or failure, concealed the very need for change in approach or for learning.” Georgetown University professor Derek Leebaert observed that the U.S. military floundered in Vietnam in part because “it had forgotten everything it had learned about counterinsurgency in Korea.” The accolade of “The Best and the Brightest” received far less derision than it deserved.

Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official, risked life in prison to smuggle the report to the media after members of Congress were too cowardly to expose it. The Nixon Justice Department speedily secured a court injunction blocking the New York Times from continuing to publish excerpts. The Washington Post and other newspapers quickly began publishing additional classified excerpts, setting up a Supreme Court showdown on the First Amendment.

Pentagon Papers Failed to Cure Servile Pro-War Media

Sadly they are few that push back against the control of the M-IC on our foreign policy……until we get a grip and demand that these endless countless wars cease….we will have the body counts grow and grow….

Pay F*cking Attention People!

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Our Dirty Little Wars

And the history lesson continues…..

America is fighting dirty little wars all over the globe…..and it is nothing new!

Our history is choked full of dirty little wars….a long history…..

Americans in combat, from colo­nial times to the present day, have almost always faced unexpected enemies—foes from different cultures who fought in unfa­miliar ways. Those intercultural contests also very often produced asymmetric warfare, simply because the enemy brought to bear different modes of recruitment, equipment, engagement, notions of acceptable conduct, and crucially, different definitions of success or victory.

Such wars and such foes usually contradicted expectations and assumptions about combat, and generated a different medley of experiences, sometimes with traumatizing effects.

Duncan Cameron, a British soldier fighting at Monongahela in 1755, later recalled the extremity of that battle, deeming it “the most shocking I was ever in”— this from a man who had already served in the horrendous battles of Cartagena, Dettingen, Culloden and Fontenoy. Fontenoy, fought between the British and French armies, was one of the bloodiest until World War I. As many as 18,000 men out of 100,000 who fought on both sides were killed or wounded on that single day in 1745. Yet, for Cameron, Monongahela proved worse, not because of the sheer number of men killed or wounded but because of its unsettling nature.

War, Cameron learned, wasn’t just in front of you or waiting for you at the top of a hill marked by an enemy standard. It was everywhere and nowhere. It was the strange primeval forest of the New World, the enemies’ ululating war cries, the flickering of deadly shadows moving and firing among the trees, combined with the agonized pleas of the wounded and dying men, some scalped, whom the living abandoned on the battlefield or along the retreat route. A terrifying four-hour battle against invisible irregulars had rendered two-thirds of the British force casualties and mortally wounded its commander, Major General Edward Braddock.

https://militaryhistorynow.com/2021/05/16/dirty-little-wars-americas-long-history-of-fighting-asymmetrical-conflicts/

And yet with all that history of asymmetrical warfare….the US seems to always be caught off guard and the handling of these foes seems to be a lesson we have to re-learn with every conflict.

“When will we ever learn?”

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Failed Weapons

AS we here on the Gulf Coast await the development of our first storm of the season, Bill….I thought it would be a good time for a  history lesson…..

I have continuously written about the waste in governments when they search for the ultimate weapon of destruction….There are some massive waste these days but it is not the present there has been failed weapons throughout our recent history, say the last 150 years or so….

It is that time again….a short history lesson…..

These are the top ten failed weapons systems in recent history…..weapons like flying tanks, jet packs, automatic revolver, etc…..

On May 15, 1718, Mr. Puckle patented what could be considered the first machine gun. With “innovative” ideas like a version with square bullets, it was a military and financial flop. This happens, weapons that seem like a good idea that real life proves are not so good. Here are 10 examples of such failures.

10 Weapons and Weapon Systems That Flopped

I would like to add the present day flop….the F35……

If you had all the money in the world, would you pay nearly $2 trillion for a plane that couldn’t get off the ground half the time? Probably not, even if your means were endless. It may sound like an insane question, but it’s one that taxpayers and watchdogs are asking the U.S. military now after yet another nonpartisan government report found countless flaws with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

A bit of background on the F-35 for readers uninitiated to perhaps the most expensive boondoggle in the $700-billion-per-year defense budget today: the program began in the 1990s and was, according to the Congressional Research Service, or CRS, intended to be “the last fighter aircraft program that DoD [the Department of Defense] would initiate for many years… expected to shape the future of both U.S. tactical aviation and the U.S. tactical aircraft industrial base.” Lockheed Martin, today the nation’s largest private defense contractor, was selected as the primary manufacturer of the aircraft in 2001, with Pratt and Whitney tapped to make the engine.

Let’s start with a big one: the estimated costs for maintaining and sustaining the F-35 over a 66-year cycle just went up —again — from $1.20 trillion in 2018 to $1.27 trillion today. That’s a $70-billion increase from just two years ago, or 6 percent. Since the 2012 sustainment estimate, the cost has gone up a whopping $160 billion, or 14 percent. Spread out over 66 years, that’s an average of $2.4 billion in added costs per year. And those costs may just continue to rise in future estimates.

Would you pay $1.7 trillion for a plane that couldn’t fly?

And yet the US is selling this weapon all over the free world…..and they buy it…..even with all its flaws….my question is….why?

Do you have any thoughts on failed weapons systems?

Please share.

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D-Day Remembrance

Today is the 77th anniversary of the Allied landing on the beaches of Normandy……our “Greatest Generation” saving the world from fascism………..

D-Day In Remembrance - 720

Some say this was the beginning of the end of the European theater of World War 2….and yet there is a large sector of the country that thinks that we should not have entered this conflict…..(originally posted on Memorial Day)…..

A new poll timed to Memorial Day shows that a surprising number of Americans say that the United States may have made a mistake in sending troops to fight in World War II.

An Economist/YouGov poll out this week asked respondents “Do you think the United States made a mistake sending troops to fight in the following wars?”

As expected, there were significant divisions over conflicts like the Vietnam War, with 48 percent responding that “yes” it was a mistake to send troops there, and narrower divisions for recent Middle East conflicts like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And the decision to send troops to fight i World War II received more support than any other in the poll, but it was far from unanimous. A third of respondents said it either was a mistake to send troops to fight the Nazi-led Axis powers, or they weren’t sure if it was a mistake to contribute troops to the prevention of Nazi world domination.

While 68 percent said it wasn’t a mistake, 14 percent said it was, and an additional 18 percent weren’t sure. Skepticism was highest among respondents between the ages of 30 and 44, of whom a majority were either opposed to or unsure of sending troops to fight in WWII — 26% said it was a mistake and 25% were not sure.

Wait, WHAT? One-THIRD of Americans Aren’t Convinced We Should Have Sent Troops — To Fight World War II

That is about 33% of the American people…..think about that.

Should the US have fought in that war?

My thought is yes we should have….it maybe the only war that we needed to participate in….a growing cancer on mankind needed to be surgically removed for the good of all.

No photo description available.

Please take a moment to remember the sacrifices made by those that answered the call….there are so few of them left….we owe them a debt and we should be working to preserve the ideals that they fought for and died.

After that watch this video from the Lincoln Project…..

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Who Was The First West Point Grad To Die In Combat?

First some sad news on this holiday……

Two people died and an estimated 20 to 25 people were injured in a shooting outside a banquet hall in South Florida, police said. The gunfire erupted early Sunday at the El Mula Banquet Hall in northwest Miami-Dade County, near Hialeah, police told news outlets. The banquet hall had been rented out for a concert. Three people got out of an SUV and opened fire on the crowd outside, police director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III said. Authorities believe the shooting was targeted, per the AP.

200 mass shootings so far for 2021……A situation that has become all too common in this country…..and yet few care.

It is Memorial Day…that time when we remember all those that gave their all in service of the country.

Best*}Memorial Day Pictures / Memorial Day Pics - Happy Mothers Day | Memorial  day quotes, Memorial day thank you, Memorial day pictures

For that reason I would like to present a warrior who was the first West Point grad to die in combat….

Cadet of the Military Academy, June 15, 1808, to Mar. 1, 1811, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to Ensign, 1st Infantry, Mar. 1, 1811.

Served: on the Northwestern Frontier, 1811-1812; and in the War of 1812-1815 with Great Britain, being engaged in Captain Heald’s desperate engagement near Ft. Chicago, Ill., Aug. 15, 1812, with a vastly superior force of savages, two of whom he slew in a hand-to-hand fight, but, while upon his knees as he had fallen faint from his bleeding wounds, still wielding his sword, he was himself killed in combat, Aug. 15, 1812: Aged 28.

George Ronan was the first West Point graduate to be killed in action. Because many of the American dead and wounded were civilians, the engagement is usually referred to, certainly in Chicago itself, as the Fort Dearborn Massacre, but it did not occur at the fort, rather some distance south of it; the fort had been evacuated and the Army was trying to lead the civilian inhabitants to safety in Indiana, when they were ambushed. The sites of both fort and massacre are within the present city limits of Chicago.

https://army.togetherweserved.com/army/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp

Remember those that gave their all for the country….a moment of silence would be nice….

Memorial Day is a day to seek peace | The Seattle Times

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Those Battlefield Blunders

As I checked my comments this morning I got an ‘atta boy” from Word Press……

You’ve posted 210 days in a row on In Saner Thought! Keep up the good work.

WP needs to check their stats a bit closer….I have posted at least one post for the last 10 years…..back in 2011 WP had a challenge for bloggers to post at least once a day…..I stared then doing so and have continued for a decade…..so their stats are wrong.

Now for a Saturday history lesson…..

Every war has its blunders…..wrong decisions by leadership, bad planning, and just stupidity……but there are a few that were monumental….monumental in the sense of disastrous.

Imagine how much longer and bloodier World War II might have been had Admiral Yamamoto not filled the decks of his vulnerable carriers at Midway with fully fueled airplanes awaiting ordnance. What if Hitler, despite his anger at the bombing of Berlin, hadn’t switched tactics from downing Spitfires to uselessly attacking London?

Battlefield blunders can be as decisive as brilliant tactics, whether they suddenly advance tribal factions toward nationhood, punish a proud military unaccustomed to losing or temporarily swing the balance of power in an utterly unexpected direction.

That said, following are five losers who might have wished for a do-over.

The Worst Battlefield Blunders: Five Battles That Ended Badly

For once I agree with the choices…..Gallipoli, Little Big Horn and Dien Bien Phu…..

Dien Bien Phu should have been a warning to the US about involvement in Vietnam….Giap was a genius in the planning and the French were arrogant and completely clueless of their enemy.

Do you have any others that were left off this list?

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That “Iron Dome”

Opening—I apologize for the late responses to comments from yesterday but my granddaughter was graduating high school and the day was about her.

Again I apologize.

WE all have an opinion about the recent conflict in Gaza…we know that Hamas fired a multitude of rockets into Israel and we are told the their defense system, the Iron Dome, destroyed about 80% of those rockets.

The Iron Dome?

It is a mobile all-weather air defense system[8] developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries.[7] The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to 70 kilometres (43 mi) away and whose trajectory would take them to an Israeli populated area.

Manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries
Unit cost

$50 million per battery $40,000 per missile

The reason I gave you that boring background on the Iron Dome is because Biden has promised to send cash to replenish the rockets used…..

Under the current military assistance agreement with Israel, Washington will provide Israel with $38 billion in aid from the 2019 fiscal year to the 2029 fiscal year. Of that $38 billion, $5 billion is allocated for missile defense systems, including the Iron Dome.

Biden Promises to ‘Replenish’ Israel’s Iron Dome After Gaza Ceasefire Reached

Seriously?

After all the cash that flies into Israel from Washington and a system that they make and the taxpayer must pay them for using their own system…..why?

They already get about $3+ billion in aid and yet we still have to pay for their wars of destruction…..again…..why?

The US will replenish the missiles used in the latest conflict…..more waste of taxpayer money….time for this waste to end.

Here is an idea….since the threat of Iron Dome does not deter conflict…..why not give both sides the same weapons after a holding ceasefire….kinda of like the idea of “Mutual Assured Destruction”.

MAD was/is a holdover from the Cold War and was meant to mean nukes…..but it could be expanded….

For those scratching their heads….

Mutually Assured Destruction, or mutually assured deterrence (MAD), is a military theory that was developed to deter the use of nuclear weapons. The theory is based on the fact that nuclear weaponry is so devastating that no government wants to use them. Neither side will attack the other with their nuclear weapons because both sides are guaranteed to be totally destroyed in the conflict. No one will go to all-out nuclear war because no side can win and no side can survive.

To many, mutually assured destruction helped prevent the Cold War from turning hot; to others, it is the most ludicrous theory humanity ever put into full-scale practice. The name and acronym of MAD come from physicist and polymath John von Neumann, a key member of the Atomic Energy Commission and a man who helped the US develop nuclear devices. A game theorist, von Neumann is credited with developing the equilibrium strategy and named it as he saw fit.

https://www.thoughtco.com/mutually-assured-destruction-1221190

Why not?

I mean all other attempts to bring a cessation of hostilities in the Middle East have been dismal failures….why not try another approach?

Just A Thought.

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Not With US Help

For ten days Israel has been punishing Gaza’s civilians for the actions of Hamas…..and the US has called for ceasefire….most of that is rhetoric and means nothing….just a way to calm the protests and cover Israel’s ass for them (something we do constantly).

***A ceasefire after 11 days is holding but it is a very shaky cease***

The US has never been serious about a solution that is beneficial to both sides…..not since the 1970s that is…..and it is NOT serious today.

Why would I say this?

more than 300 American lawmakers publicly pledged their unconditional loyalty to a foreign power.

In a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, the members of Congress cautioned against “reducing funding or adding conditions on” US welfare checks (totaling $3.8 billion annually) to Israel.

The letter name-checks US President Joe Biden, who, nearly a year ago tried to have it both ways — decrying Israeli annexation of Palestinian land and the eviction of Palestinian residents to make room for Israeli squatters (“settlers”), while likewise volubly assuring Jewish campaign donors, “I’m not going to place conditions on security assistance.”

Now Biden and members of Congress from both sides of the partisan aisle feign surprise and dismay as the Israeli regime once again makes war on the populations of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.

What the heck did they expect?

Peace in Palestine? Not if American Politicians Can Help It

But as they (whoever “they” are) actions speak louder than words…..

The UN Security Council was considering a statement condemning the violence in Gaza, which has left hundreds of Palestinians dead including dozens of women and children, and calling for a ceasefire—but the US blocked it Monday, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to Al Jazeera, that’s the third time in a week US opposition to such a statement has prevented one from being released. The council held an emergency virtual meeting to discuss the crisis, and China, which holds the rotating presidency of the council for the month of May, drafted the statement late Sunday. After it was blocked by the US, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters, “We urge the US to shoulder its fair share of responsibilities, take a just stance, and work with the majority of the international community to support the Security Council.”

 
Times of Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken became the first US official to call for a ceasefire late Sunday. The draft UN statement, obtained by the Times, “expressed [the council’s] grave concern regarding the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties, and called for de-escalation of the situation, cessation of violence and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, especially children.” On Monday afternoon, Israel’s defense minister thanked the US for blocking it, the Independent
Another reason there should be NO ONE country that can veto the will of the UN….plus there should be NO permanent members on the Security Council….that in NO way promotes democracy and that was the original intent for the UN.
 
If there is to be a peace then do not look to the US for leadership….we are too busy stroking the scrotum of BiBi.
 
While we snuggle up to Israel innocent civilians continue to die in the name of self-defense.
 
Keep in mind that Israel buys US weapons with US taxpayer dollars….

On May 5, Hamas commander Mohammed Deif issued a warning to Israel’s government: Unless Israeli police and troops stopped attacking Palestinians in Jerusalem — including not just those protesting against the regime’s theft of their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on behalf of Israeli “settlers,” but also worshipers at al-Aqsa mosque, one of Islam’s most sacred sites — rockets would fly.

On the same day, the Biden administration notified Congress of its approval for Boeing’s sale of $735 worth of Joint Direct Attack Munitions to the Israeli regime.

When Israel’s Regime Buys US Weapons, It Buys Them With Your Money

 
Ask yourself this….if the Biden group condemns the Saudis action in Yemen…why not Gaza?
 
What part of killing civilians is acceptable?   Any civilian.
 
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All Quiet On The Eastern Front

After almost 2 weeks of intense fighting between Israel and Hamas and many lives lost an agreement has been reached…..

Israel on Thursday announced a cease-fire in the bruising 11-day war against Hamas militants that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a standstill, per the AP. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced the cease-fire after a late-night meeting of his Security Cabinet. The statement said the timing of the cease-fire was still being worked out. One member of the Security Cabinet said it would take effect at 2am, roughly three hours after the announcement. A Hamas official, meanwhile, said the declaration of a truce was a defeat for Netanyahu and “a victory to the Palestinian people.”

Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ Arab and Islamic relations bureau, said the militants will remain on alert until they hear from mediators. Once Hamas hears from mediators, the group’s leadership will hold discussions and make an announcement, he said. Since fighting broke out on May 10, Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes that it says have targeted Hamas’ infrastructure, including a vast tunnel network. Hamas and other militant groups embedded in residential areas have fired over 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities, with hundreds falling short and most of the rest intercepted. At least 230 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health officials, while 12 people in Israel have died.

It is good for both sides of the conflict that there is a ceasefire…..and now is the time for Biden to step up where most presidents have not and help find a permanent solution to this conflict.

Did Biden start the process?

Biden stepped to the White House microphone to praise everyone involved and to offer assurances that he’s been pursuing diplomatic solutions all along. He said he’s talked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six times during the 11-day clash, and also to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, NBC reports. All told, per NPR, the White House counts 80 conversations between Biden, his secretary of state and other American officials and their counterparts in the Middle East, as well as to other world leaders. Administration officials call Biden’s approach “quiet diplomacy.”

A good start to the Summer, peace……at least in Gaza…..but ‘quiet diplomacy’?

Is that not what the US has been doing for 50 years…..’quiet diplomacy’ equates to do nothing and leave status quo in place.

This will do nothing to calm the chaos that has been created in the Middle East.

The US needs to step up and stop bowing to the almighty dollar and do what they preach in front of the cameras.

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Do Something Now!

The Middle East is once again in the midst of another war in the making….Hamas is firing rockets into Israel and Israel retaliates….the continuing saga…..

The problem is that Israel is not punishing Hamas but rather the Palestinian people and now even news organizations…..

An Israeli airstrike on Saturday targeted and destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of the Associated Press and other media outlets. AP staffers and other tenants safely evacuated the building after the military telephoned a warning that the strike was imminent within an hour. Three heavy missiles struck the 12-story building, collapsing it in a giant cloud of dust. For 15 years, the AP’s top-floor office and roof terrace were a prime location for covering Israel’s conflicts with Gaza’s Hamas rulers, including wars in 2009 and 2014. The news agency’s camera offered 24-hour live shots as militants’ rockets arched toward Israel and Israeli airstrikes hammered the city and its surrounding area this week.

“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza,” said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. “We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life.” The building also housed the offices of Qatari-run Al-Jazeera TV, as well as residential apartments. The Israeli military said Hamas was operating inside the building, a standard explanation, and it accused the militant group of using journalists as human shields. But it provided no evidence to back up the claims. Hours earlier, another Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family, mostly children, the deadliest single strike of the current conflict.

It was an accident?

Really?

All the sophisticated weaponry that the US sends to Israel and they cannot hit the targets they should……or maybe it was hitting the news media for their perceived slight in the reporting.

My feeling is that it was NO accident.

The US can stop all this chaos.

The US should suspend contracts with Israel until such time as they act in a civilized manner.

Time to hold the Arab nations up to the same pressure…..they could intervene and do the right thing…..such they also get massive aid from the US.

Time for the US to step up and make this stop and promote civility not armed response.

Just a thought.

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“lego ergo scribo”