Mercenaries To The Right…Mercenaries To The Left

I have written many times about the modern use of mercenaries. I do not approve of using mercs to fight wars. If the war is necessary and for the right reason then man up and use the military…….do not use thugs masquerading as “security specialists”.

Like I stated I have lots to say about the use of mercs……pick on or read them all…..

https://lobotero.com/2018/02/13/the-dogs-of-war/

https://lobotero.com/2017/01/03/rise-of-the-american-mercenary-2/

https://lobotero.com/2016/03/11/those-security-contractors/

https://www.your-poc.com/the-private-military-industrial-complex-extending-conflict-duration-and-quality-the-cost-of-using-private-military-contractors/

https://www.brookings.edu/articles/outsourcing-war/

https://lobotero.com/2019/11/27/curb-your-mercenaries/

Now you know how and why I feel that way about the use of mercs in today’s world.

Occasionally I get to read some of the papers that grad students are writing on international relations and conflict management…..this one is very interesting…..

The roots of the mercenarism can be traced back to the sixteenth century, argues Janice Thomson in one of the most comprehensive studies dedicated to this issue, in her book entitled “Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns: State-Building and Extraterritorial Violence in Early Modern Europe”. Countries like Switzerland were the main suppliers and France, one of the main beneficiaries of mercenary troops in the 16th and 17th century. By the 18th century, armies could be considered truly multinational. “Frederick the Great recruited all over the Holy Roman Empire (…) At the onset of the Seven Years War he attempted to incorporate the entire Saxon army into his own”, argues Thomson. Large scale mercenarism began to fade in the 19th century, and by the 20th century the citizen-army became the norm with the employment of foreign fighters beginning to be regarded as an anomaly, representing either the remnants of imperialism or an ad-hoc response to a shortage in fighting forces. Janice Thomson argues, and her view is consistent with Barry Posen’s, the fading of this practice can be seen as a corollary of the evolution of state authority claims.

The practice of mercenarism is sanctioned under Humanitarian and Public International Law, under Article 47 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, the 1989 International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries and under a regional convention sponsored by the African Union. The 1989 Convention describes a mercenary as “any person who is especially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight an armed conflict” who is “motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain”. The convention entered into force in 2001 and was signed only by 36 countries – with notable absentees like the US, Russia, Turkey or the UK. Arguably, these states have not ratified it because they use Private Military Contractors (PMC), who are of a different kind from mercenaries. However, the distinctions are more often hard to make – it is hard to find out whether foreign fighters are hired in a registered organization – which is what defines a PMC.

Opinion – The Rise of Mercenarism: Avoiding International Accountability

Let’s not forget that failed merc operation to kidnap Venezuela’s Maudro…..of course this was not in any way sanctioned by the DoD.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Perryville

Most people know the major wars of the American Civil War…..battles like Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Bull Run, etc etc…..but how many have heard of the Battle of Perryville?

Plus I have a loyal reader that is interested in the American Civil War….https://beetleypete.com/  if you have not visited his site yet then I suggest you do so for you will not be disappointed.

It is 1862 in Kentucky…..this battle was claimed by both sides as a victory…..that tells me it was a draw and fell from the minds of historians for they like winners and losers…

Here is the people and tactics of a little known battle of the War Between The States…..

Confederate Brig. Gen. George Maney maintained tight control of the three regiments in his first line as he pressed his attack against a key position on the extreme left flank of the Union Army on the afternoon of October 8, 1862. The Battle of Perryville had begun less than an hour earlier, and Maney’s brigade was part of a sledgehammer attack by the reinforced Confederate right wing against Maj. Gen. Alexander McCook’s I Corps.

Maney’s immediate objective was to drive the Federals from an eminence known as Open Knob, one of the key positions on the north end of the battlefield. Situated atop the knob was Lieutenant Charles Parson’s eight-gun battery. It was supported by the 123rd Illinois of Brig. Gen. William Terrill’s brigade.

Maney’s Rebels, clad in faded gray uniforms that matched the flora so well that Federal staff officer Samuel Starling thought from a distance that they wore camouflage, had reached a split-rail fence overgrown with brush partway up the east slope of the knob. With his regiments suffering additional casualties from Federal fire with each passing minute, Maney gave the order to charge.

Battle of Perryville: Death in the Kentucky Hills

Class Dismissed!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–14May20

How About A Global Ceasefire?

The pandemic is raging across the global….and the UN has floated a great idea…..while the nations fight to control this virus there should be a global ceasefire on the numerous wars being fought…..

On 23 March 2020 the UN issued the call for a global ceasefire…..

“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war”, he said.  “That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.  It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.” 

The ceasefire would allow humanitarians to reach populations that are most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, which first emerged in Wuhan, China, last December, and has now been reported in more than 180 countries. 

So far, there are nearly 300,000 cases worldwide, and more than 12,700 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

As the UN chief pointed out, COVID-19 does not care about nationality or ethnicity, or other differences between people, and “attacks all, relentlessly”, including during wartime. 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059972

As a long time antiwar activist I believe this is an excellent idea that should be embraced by all nations in this time of need.

Especially the US…..we are fighting numerous unwinnable wars and this would be the perfect time to bow out of all of them…..

As President Trump has complained, the U.S. does not win wars anymore. In fact, since 1945, the only 4 wars it has won were over the small neocolonial outposts of Grenada, Panama, Kuwait and Kosovo. Americans across the political spectrum refer to the wars the U.S. has launched since 2001 as “endless” or “unwinnable” wars. We know by now that there is no elusive victory around the corner that will redeem the criminal futility of the U.S.’s opportunistic decision to use military force more aggressively and illegally after the end of the Cold War and the horrific crimes of September 11th. But all wars have to end one day, so how will these wars end? 
 
As President Trump nears the end of his first term, he knows that at least some Americans hold him responsible for his broken promises to bring U.S. troops home and wind down Bush’s and Obama’s wars. Trump’s own day-in-day-out war-making has gone largely unreported by the subservient, tweet-baited U.S. corporate media, but Trump has dropped at least 69,000 bombs and missiles on Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, more than either Bush or Obama did in their first terms, including in Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. 
 
All I am saying is you want out of these wars and now you have the perfect excuse to get out of them…..why not take it?
 
Plus there is a  movement to get Biden to speak up in favor of ending these wars he helped start…..

In a letter Monday to former Vice President Joe Biden, over 50 groups urged the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for president to embrace “a principled foreign policy, one that prioritizes diplomacy and multilateralism over militarism.”

“The American people are looking for a leader who will turn the page on 9/11 policies that have resulted in an endless cycle of war, countless lives lost, increased global instability, large-scale refugee flows of the displaced, and the violation of Americans’ civil liberties and human rights,” explains the letter (pdf), first reported by HuffPost.

 
I like the effort but I just do not see Biden giving any thought to doing so…..but he will give it lip service.
 
All I am saying is….Give Peace A Chance!
 
After writing this draft news came to me on this proposal……
 
After six weeks of negotiations, the United States shot down hopes for a resolution to be approved in the United Nations Security Council on May 8, refusing to back worldwide cease-fires as the US continues to castigate China and the World Health Organization for the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, momentum behind tenuous cease-fires is vanishing, experts say.
 
Is there any doubt that the US is a warmongering nation that lives for death and destruction?
 
Not to me.
 
I Read, I Wrote, You Know
 
“lego ergo scribo”

Hamburger Hill

Closing Thought–12May20

It’s official designation is Hill 937…..or Ap Bia Mountain…….in the A Shau Valley……

51 years ago this week….the US forces faced the forces of the Army of North Vietnam…..a loss of 400 American soldiers and 600 for the NVA…..the battle was fought over 10 days in 1969.

This battle was a failure in more ways than not…..and helped turn the temperament of the nation against the war…..there was more to this battle than the entertainment of the movies….

Information on the Battle of Hamburger Hill during The Vietnam War, also known as Hill 937. The battle, which was fought on May 10-20, 1969 was a direct assault against a heavily defended and strategically insignificant hill, resulted in over 400 U.S. casualties and caused an outrage back home.

‘Don’t mean nothin’. That was the refrain of the powerful 1987 movie about the battle for Hamburger Hill, more correctly called Ap Bia Mountain or Hill 937. Many veterans of that May 1969 fight would no doubt agree, since the hill was abandoned to the enemy soon after it was taken. But the truth is that it was one of the most significant battles of the war, for it spelled the end of major American ground combat operations in Vietnam.

The Hamburger Hill battle had run afoul of a fundamental war-fighting equation. Master philosopher of war Karl von Clausewitz emphasized almost a century and a half earlier that because war is controlled by its political object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it both in magnitude and also in duration. He went on to say, Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced. And that’s exactly what happened. The expenditure of effort at Hamburger Hill exceeded the value the American people attached to the war in Vietnam. The public had turned against the war a year and a half earlier, and it was their intense reaction to the cost of that battle in American lives, inflamed by sensationalist media reporting, that forced the Nixon administration to order the end of major tactical ground operations.

Battle Of Hamburger Hill During The Vietnam War

“When will we ever learn?”

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Palmetto Ranch

Your history lessons continue…..

What significance does this place hole in history?

(Pause here….and give those who need it time to use the Google machine)

In case you did not use Google then let me help….this was the very last land battle of the American Civil on this day in 1865.

By May 11, 1865, nearly everyone in the United States and in the moribund Confederacy considered the Civil War over. Both of the South’s principal armies had capitulated. Lieutenant General Richard Taylor had surrendered most of the remaining Confederate forces east of the Mississippi. President Jefferson Davis had just been captured, and his cabinet had scattered to escape Yankee vengeance. Even the elusive Confederate guerrilla William Quantrill had been fatally wounded. The martyred president, Abraham Lincoln, had been buried a week before, and Federal troops had begun their long occupation of Dixie. Arrangements were underway for a grand review — a victory parade — in Washington, and the War Department was preparing to muster out most of the huge Union Army. Peace had come at last.

As usual, things were different in Texas. Hostile forces still faced each other at the southernmost tip of the state, where the Rio Grande spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. On Brazos Santiago Island lay nearly 2,000 Union troops, including the 62nd and 87th U.S. Colored Infantry, the 34th Indiana and a few dozen loyal Texans who had volunteered for cavalry service but remained dismounted. Across the bay and several miles inland, fragmented battalions of Confederate cavalry guarded the Mexican border, beyond which French imperial forces and native Juaristas vied for control of the northern province.

Battle of Palmetto Ranch: American Civil War’s Final Battle

Now you know…..

Class Dismissed!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Cerignola?

What does that term “Cerignola” mean?

Nothing?

How about 28 April 1503?

Still nothing (without the use of Google)?

I always make many many notes and then turn them into posts for IST…..thanx to this pandemic this note lost in the news of the day….but eventually I find my notes and try to rectify my oversight…..this is one of those posts.

As a student of conflict this one stands out for one reason…even though it was not readily studied….it stands out for the use of small arms….guns.

On April 28, 1503, the armies of Spain and France fought in Southern Italy at a place called Cerignola (near Bari), a battle decided by the small arms fire of muskets and arquebuses, one of the first European battles where small arms fire from firearms decided the battle. Although hand held firearms using black powder had been around for nearly 200 years, such weapons had usually not been decisive in battles fought mainly with edged weapons and later with a combination of edged weapons and cannons.

Gunpowder is an invention normally credited to the Chinese in the 9th or 10th Century, at first a novelty used for entertainment and fireworks. Whether gunpowder technology reached Europe from China or gunpowder was later also invented in Europe, we know Europeans were familiar with gunpowder (also called black powder) by the 13th Century. Gunpowder may have reached Europe via the Mongol invasions of the 1200’s or via the Silk Road. Crude bamboo hand cannons were devised in China, likely as dangerous to the user as his intended victim! Other forms of gunpowder weapons included tipping spears with bamboo barreled firearms (called the “fire lance”) where the ignition could take place a safe distance from the person employing the weapon. Around the 13th Century Chinese armorers devised metal barreled hand held weapons (called “hand cannons”) using gunpowder, the first practical firearms. Proper artillery cannons appeared in Europe in the 15th Century. The first known reference to a gun in Europe dates from 1322, and the first known picture of a gun in Europe was in a manuscript by Walter de Milemete from 1326. Multi-barreled volley guns and arrow launching guns were also produced in Europe in the 14th Century while arms makers sought the most practical gunpowder weapons. An early European use of cannon was at the Battle of Crécy in 1346.

April 28, 1503: What Was the First Battle Won by Small Arms Fire?

You would think with our “romance” with all things war that this would be an important to be taught to our young.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is NATO Necessary?

Time for me to get back to my forte (if I have a forte)……

That treaty that allows the US and its allies to do whatever they choose as long as they cite this antique of a treaty.

I for one has said that it was brain dead and on auto-pilot for decades……https://lobotero.com/2019/04/17/is-nato-dying/  and https://lobotero.com/2019/12/05/is-nato-brain-dead/

Of course the Neocons have used NATO to justify so many wars and conflicts that it is getting embarrassing….

NATO was formed to protect Western Europe from Soviet aggression and now it is an excuse to start a war whenever the occasion arises.

From NATO website……

It is often said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. This is only partially true. In fact, the Alliance’s creation was part of a broader effort to serve three purposes: deterring Soviet expansionism, forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent, and encouraging European political integration.

The aftermath of World War II saw much of Europe devastated in a way that is now difficult to envision. Approximately 36.5 million Europeans had died in the conflict, 19 million of them civilians. Refugee camps and rationing dominated daily life. In some areas, infant mortality rates were one in four. Millions of orphans wandered the burnt-out shells of former metropolises. In the German city of Hamburg alone, half a million people were homeless.

In addition, Communists aided by the Soviet Union were threatening elected governments across Europe. In February 1948, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, with covert backing from the Soviet Union, overthrew the democratically elected government in that country. Then, in reaction to the democratic consolidation of West Germany, the Soviets blockaded Allied-controlled West Berlin in a bid to consolidate their hold on the German capital. The heroism of the Berlin Airlift provided future Allies with some solace, but privation remained a grave threat to freedom and stability.

Then there were promises given to Yeltsin about NATO back in 1993 by Pres. Clinton…..

February 1990, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev discussed NATO’s future role in a unified Germany. Baker told Gorbachev that “there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east” and agreed with Gorbachev’s statement that “Any extension of the zone of NATO is unacceptable.” Conversation over, right? Wrong. Gorbachev himself has acknowledged that their meetings were an early discussion in what became negotiations over the terms of German unification, rather than a broader conversation about NATO’s future role in Europe. Understanding the twists and turns of these negotiations is crucial to understanding today’s contested narratives.

Promises Made, Promises Broken? What Yeltsin Was Told About NATO in 1993 and Why It Matters

In 1949 there were 12 members of NATO and since thewn?

In 1949, there were 12 founding members of the Alliance: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. The other member countries are: Greece and Turkey (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020)

So the US lied to Russia…and yet they are the bad guys around the world…..interesting….shame on Russia for believing anything Bill Clinton ever said…..he was a spineless coward and a habitual liar….

All that aside….is NATO dying?

We believe that there are ten main reasons that NATO is no longer needed:

One: NATO was created in 1949 for the three main reasons outlined above. These reasons are no longer valid. The security landscape in Europe is totally different today than seventy years ago. Russian president Vladimir Putin actually proposed a new continental security arrangement “from Dublin to Vladivostok,” which was rejected out of hand by the West. If accepted, then it would have included Russia in a cooperative security architecture that would have been safer for the global community.

(Read More)

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nato-still-necessary-145917

I for one say NO….NATO is NOT necessary!

Just another reason to spend money and force conflicts around the world.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–30Apr20–#2

This day means something to me as a veteran of the Vietnam War….

Flashback: The Fall of Saigon

(photo from NBC News)

On this day in 1975 Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese…..

The day after the North Vietnamese took Saigon, the city was woken by triumphal song. During the night the engineers of the victorious army had rigged up loudspeakers, and from about 5am the same tinny liberation melodies were incessantly played. It was 30 April 1975, and sharp early sunlight illuminated Saigon’s largely empty streets, at a time when the city’s frenetic traffic would normally have already begun to buzz. But hardly anybody knew what to do – whether to go to work or not, whether there would be anything to buy in the market, whether there would be petrol, or whether new fighting might break out. It was, of course, not just Saigon’s daily routine that had been utterly disrupted. Its established role as the capital of non-communist Vietnam had vanished overnight, its soldiers had disappeared, and many of its generals, politicians and civil servants were at that moment bobbing up and down on the decks of warships in the South China Sea, with US Navy blankets pulled round their shoulders.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/apr/21/40-years-on-from-fall-of-saigon-witnessing-end-of-vietnam-war

CBS offers up photos of the day Saigon fell to the Advancing North Vietnamese…..https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/fall-of-saigon-vietnam-anniversary/

This is how the North viewed this day….

Forty years ago, on April 30, 1975, Nguyen Dang Phat experienced the happiest day of his life.

That morning, as communist troops swept into the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon and forced the U.S.-backed government to surrender, the North Vietnamese Army soldier marked the end of the war along with a crowd of people in Hanoi. The city was about to become the capital of a unified Vietnam. “All the roads were flooded by people holding flags,” Nguyen, now 65, told me recently. “There were no bombs or airplane sounds or screaming. The happy moment was indescribable.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/04/the-vietnam-war-as-seen-by-the-north-vietnamese/390627/

This happened 4 years after I returned to the US…I was working as a warehouse manager working nights.

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Stop The Insanity!

More on Afghanistan……

I admit it I have not always been kind to Trump….I have agreed with him on occasion but I am really looking forward to seeing if he makes good on the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Afghan veterans have said that they want ALL American troops out of Afghanistan…..

Nearly three-quarters of veterans surveyed and almost 70 percent of troops’ family members support a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, according to a new poll from a conservative activist group

The results are an increase from identical questions in last year’s poll by Concerned Veterans for America, which has close ties to the conservative Koch network and the Trump administration. For much of the last year, the group has been leading public efforts to convince lawmakers and the White House to severely curtail overseas military operations.

“I think this shows the fatigue of almost two decades of war,” said Nate Anderson, executive director of the group. “And I think there is increased awareness among the American public about how long we have been fighting.”

The nationwide survey, conducted April 7 to 10, includes responses from about 700 military veterans and about 800 military family members. All were chosen randomly.

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/04/22/support-for-full-withdrawal-from-afghanistan-grows-poll/

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/our-veterans-want-us-to-stop-making-more-afghanistan-veterans

As an antiwar person I totally agree with the proposal to get all troops (American) out of Afghanistan after 19 years of war…..even as I have stated also wants Americans out of the country…..

With a peace deal in place in Afghanistan, at some point US troops would be expected to leave the country. Amid concerns of a coronavirus buildup, President Trump is thinking it is best to get those troops out of the country sooner, rather than later.

Officials say Trump complains about the troops not being out of Afghanistan yet almost daily, but that his advisers continue to stall and try to talk him out of it, arguing that if the virus is a reason to leave, US troops should also withdraw from Italy.

That argument seems a continuation of the strategy for getting out of Trump’s calls for drawdowns, which is to confuse the question and hope that Trump gets fixated on something else before they have to actually do anything.

Afghan officials have been emphasizing the risk of a pandemic, and how widespread it could be. While the US already has plenty of opportunity to leave Afghanistan now, this is just another opportunity on top of that, but whether Trump’s impulse to leave will actually pan out this time depends heavily on how he reacts to the ever-present resistance of officials

(antiwar.com)

He has my support on this proposal……he needs to work on getting my attention on other proposals….

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Why Should We Stay In Africa?

The Covid-19 has given me more to write about and I have been ignoring my writings on international relations and conflicts…..I will try to do better…..starting with the US involvement in Africa.

For years now the US has been involved in the issues and situations in Africa…..but out counter-terrorism policies have proved to be as worthless as the counting of sand grains.

We are heavily invested in the Sahel…..but is it worth the investment?

Since 9/11 the United States has significantly scaled up its counterterrorism (CT) activities in Africa. The U.S. has conducted unilateral CT operations as well as extensive training for African partner forces involved in the CT fight. Despite this long counterterrorism campaign the growth of jihadist groups continues in Somalia, north Africa, and west Africa. Many of the violent extremist organizations (VEOs) are aligned with either al-Qa’ida or the Islamic State.

U.S. Counterterrorism in Africa

That gives a semi rosy view but the truth is not so rosy or successful…..

President Trump provoked a furor when he declared his intent to withdraw some 1,400 US troops from West Africa, where he claimed they had quelled the terrorist threat. He sparked a similar firestorm when he announced that the U.S. would (eventually) pull 14,000 troops from Afghanistan, where they were engaged in an 18-year conflict against other violent extremists.

Critics included congressional Democrats, Republican stalwarts, and members of the U.S. military, intelligence, and diplomatic establishments, as well mainstream media pundits, international allies, and even some political progressives.

Establishment figures claimed that the battle against violent extremism was far from over and that U.S. military leadership was critical to victory. They pointed to ongoing insurgencies in the African countries of Mali and Nigeria in the Western Sahel and Somalia and Sudan in the Horn. Other progressives countered that U.S. policies have been ill-conceived and counterproductive — and that foreign military intervention has exacerbated the crises

Lessons From Africa: Military Intervention Fails to Counter Terrorism

It is time for the US to step back from the Sahel and let someone else do the heavy lifting……we have enough on our budgetary plate and a little relief would go a long way to easing the deficit.

Further Reading:

https://lobotero.com/2020/03/11/us-in-the-sahel/

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”