This publication may have been lost on most Americans…..so let me fill in some blanks.
The Pentagon Papers was the name given to a top-secret Department of Defense study of U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. As the Vietnam War dragged on, with more than 500,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam by 1968, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg—who had worked on the study—came to oppose the war, and decided that the information contained in the Pentagon Papers should be available to the American public. He photocopied the report and in March 1971 gave the copy to The New York Times, which then published a series of scathing articles based on the report’s most damning secrets.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of this secret study…..
June 13 will be the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the secret Pentagon Papers, a vast collection of internal U.S. decision-making documents on the Vietnam War.
The Papers provoked questions about how the war could have been waged through six presidencies in a row: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. How could such dissimilar presidents have gone wrong — over and over again? Why couldn’t they stop? Did they get bad intelligence? Did they pick unworthy advisers? Did other bureaucratic dynamics guarantee bad decisions every time? Were they afraid of losing re-election?
This speculation avoided a more straightforward conclusion: Six presidents in a row did not change the long-term goals and strategy, and could not have if they wanted to, because presidents don’t decide those things.
This is what is missing from the Papers. It is the empire in the room nobody wants to talk about.
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.
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.
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.
1965 LBJ allows US troops in combat in South Vietnam
1967 Israeli forces attack USS Liberty….. this is where this post picks up…..
Fifty four years and counting…….
Every year on the day of the attack, 08 June, I do a post on the USS Liberty in honor of those killed and wounded by the cowardly attack by”our good friend and ally” Israel on a US Naval ship….there have been are many articles and papers written about this attack and I try to give my reader a library of work on the situation…..so they can better understand what happened on that fateful day.
Most Americans have forgotten this attack by a pack of cowards that killed Americans with impunity….something I will try to correct as long as I am physically capable to remind my countrymen of this event and the spineless attack on an unarmed American ship….
For those that would like to know more and learn something there is a list below of articles and my posts about this attack and the deaths and injuries inflicted by the state of Israel….
In memory of those killed….for those that meant nothing to Israel and even less by their own country….
Before the torpedo boats attacked, four U.S. jets were launched to help the U.S. ship. However, they were soon recalled on order of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The reason given for the recall was that these planes were carrying nuclear weapons. About 95 minutes later, another wave of U.S. planes was launched, but it was subsequently recalled on order of the U.S. president. The U.S. ship did not receive any aid from the Navy until around dawn the next day when two U.S. destroyers finally arrived.
The Navy ordered the sailors not to discuss the attack with anyone, and split up and reassigned the crew. While the ship was limping to a dry dock in Malta, the Navy convened a formal Court of Inquiry. Strangely, the Court’s mission was not to investigate the attack, but to determine whether any shortcomings of the crew had contributed to the injuries and deaths that resulted from the attack. What!? The Court had one week to report which led to what Rear Admiral Merlin Sterling, the Navy’s former judge advocate general, later described as a “hasty, superficial, incomplete and totally inadequate inquiry.
This event needs to be better known by the the American public….instead cash and influence by Israel keeps most of us ignorant of the massive betrayal of a “good friend and ally”….what crap!
This even needs to come out of the “dust bin of history”…..the American people should practice what they preach and give the attack the coverage it deserves…..even if it is late.
And yet with all the links on the attack few bother to check on the attack it is as if they do not give a shit that Israel killed and wounded many American sailors….why is that?
Kinda pathetic that we Americans could care less….truly pathetic!
As long as I breathe I will continue to post and remember the attack by the world’s best cowards, Israel.
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.
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.
Probably only UK visitors will be the only ones that will remember and then only those that are aging….like me.
The Cambridge Five were the most notorious of all the spies who worked for the Soviet Union. This British quintet were exceptional for a number of reasons: while they worked independently, they knew the identities of one another; they spied at a critical time (during the Second World War and the early Cold War); the content of their espionage complemented each other, as each worked in different parts of the government. And the amount of information they provided was unsurpassed.
The five were recruited while students at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s and each would go on to have successful dual careers as British civil servants and Soviet spies. Kim Philby (1912–88) spent most of his career working for the British intelligence agency MI6, including a period as head of Soviet counterespionage and as MI6 liaison officer to the CIA in Washington DC. Donald Maclean (1913–83) had a successful career in the Foreign Office, working on atomic and military matters. Guy Burgess (1911–63) worked briefly for MI6, but also spent some time in the Foreign Office, working in London on propaganda, and then in the British Embassy in Washington.
From the mid-1930s through the early 1960s, the Soviet Union benefited from the services of five British traitors. Reams of classified documents transferred from British files and offices to those of the Soviet’s. During the height of World War II and the Cold War which followed, classified information shared between the United States and Great Britain received an eager welcome from the Soviets. The traitors sent so much information to their Soviet handlers that some in the NKVD/KGB questioned its value. Others were simply overwhelmed by the amount of data received and had insufficient time to properly analyze it all. Much of the damage done by the group originally labeled the Cambridge 4, later expanded to 5 when another traitor’s activities came to light, remains unknown.
Memorial Day weekend and we here in the US celebrate the ‘heroes’ that gave their all for their country….
We all have our idea of who were the heroes this country should celebrate….some are not as heroic as you might think and then there are heroes that you probably never heard of at any time….
The label ‘hero’ is overused these days….
And there is where I pick up the meat of this post…..
We begin this lesson on heroics with Hugh Thompson…..
Hugh Clowers Thompson, Jr. (1943 – 2006), was part Cherokee, descended from survivors of the Trail of Tears. Raised in Georgia, Thompson was a Boy Scout from a religious family whose children were taught discipline and integrity. In their corner of the segregated South, the Thompsons stood out for their opposition to racism, and for standing up for and helping people of color. In his youth, Thompson, Jr., helped his family make ends meet by plowing fields and working in a funeral home, before he joined the US Navy in 1961. He was honorably discharged in 1964, returned to Georgia, studied to become a licensed funeral home director, and settled in to raise a family.
When the Vietnam War heated up, Thompson felt obligated to serve his country, and enlisted in the US Army in 1966. He was trained as a helicopter pilot, and was sent to Vietnam. On March 16th, 1968, Thompson flew an OH-23 Raven observation helicopter in support of a search-and-destroy operation near Son My when he realized that a massacre was taking place below. He landed and tried to get some soldiers to help wounded civilians, but they offered to finish them off, instead. Their commanding officer, a Lieutenant William Calley, brushed Thompson off. So he took off in his helicopter, frantically radioed the chain that a massacre was taking place, and set about saving as many people as he could.
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.
But an initial fight was over the bill’s statement of purpose. It initially said that said the measure was designed to “preserve the purity of the ballot box” — a phrase “drafted specifically to disenfranchise Black voters following the Civil War,” Democratic Rep. Rafael Anchía told bill sponsor Rep. Briscoe Cain (R).
The weekend and what better time to throw some history at you?
The one thing that every commander hopes he/she never has to perform….a total surrender to the enemy….there have been ten surrenders that were extremely embarrassing and humiliating…..
On April 13, 1861, the US Army installation known as Fort Sumter located at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, surrendered to the rebellious forces of the fledgling Confederate States of America after a bombardment. The next day, the fort was surrendered to the Confederates with no men killed on either side. While the armed forces of the United States have been overwhelmingly successful over the course of many wars and conflicts, there have been those inevitable times with failure has resulted in the humiliating surrender of American military personnel and/or installations or ships. Today we address some of the most humiliating such incidents. Feel free to nominate other such incidents that we could have included on our list. (There is no significance to the order in which the incidents are listed.)
1. Fort Sumter, 1861.
Fort Sumter was built in response to the War of 1812 as part of the effort to protect the American coast against foreign invaders. It was not really completed when South Carolina became the first state to secede in 1860, although the fort was fairly imposing at it was. The garrison of 85 Union soldiers were faced by about 600 Confederates, and the prospect of constant bombardment with no way of reinforcing the fort or replying in a meaningful way. The supplies of food were also dwindling. An attempt to resupply the fort by an unarmed merchant ship was stopped by Confederate shore batteries. After a day of bombardment, Major Robert Anderson saw no reason to get his men killed with no hope of victory and surrendered his fort. The Battle of Fort Sumter is usually regarded as the first battle of the American Civil War, an inauspicious beginning for the Union.