News Roundup 1/25/2022

News Roundup 1/25/2022

US News

  • The Massachusetts Department of Health reports that about half of people hospitalized with covid have incidental covid infections. [Link]
  • The US donated 150,000 doses of the Pfizer covid vaccine to Kyrgyzstan through Covax. [Link]
  • Seven sailors were injured during a landing accident on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson. [Link]
  • The US deploys two aircraft carrier strike groups to the South China Sea, including the USS Vinson. [Link] 

Russia

  • Cyber Partisans – a ‘pro-democracy’ hacker group – claims to have carried out a ransomware attack on Belarus’ rail system to prevent the transportation of Russian weapons. [Link]
  • Ukrainian separatists warn the government is planning to invade the breakaway Donbas region. [Link]
  • Ukraine is unhappy with the US withdrawing staff from its Kyiv embassy. [Link]
  • The Department of Homeland Security warns Russia could launch a cyberattack. [Link]
  • Without providing details, NATO announced it was moving additional aircraft and warships to Eastern Europe. [Link]
  • The US places 8,500 troops on heightened preparedness to deploy. [Link]

Iran

  • Iran rules out any preconditions – including releasing American prisoners –  for returning to compliance with the JCPOA. The US recently suggested Iran would have to release American prisoners to return to the nuclear deal. [Link]
  • Iran says it is willing to engage in direct talks with the US. [Link]
  • The Deputy Iran Envoy, Richard Nephew, leaves the nuclear deal negotiation team. [Link]

Middle East

  • Airstrikes in Iraq killed ten militants, and three soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb. [Link]
  • The US carried out airstrikes on a prison in northeastern Syria. The prison is run by the US-backed SDF but was taken over by IS. Fighting for control of the prison continues. [Link]
  • CENTCOM reports it used Patriot missile interceptors to defend the UAE. [Link]
  • The UAE-backed Giants Brigades say they have halted their offensive in Marib. [Link]

Africa

  • Mali calls on Denmark to withdraw its special forces. [Link]
  • Burkina Faso soldiers claim they have captured the country’s president. [Link]
  • Three protesters were killed by security forces in Sudan. [Link]
News Roundup 1/25/2022

News Roundup 1/24/2022

Covid

  • A federal judge in Texas blocks Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal employees. [Link]
  • The US donates three million covid vaccines to four African countries through covax. [Link]
  • The US donates nearly two million Pfizer covid vaccine doses to Egypt through Covax. [Link]

Haiti

  • The judge overseeing the investigation into the assassination of President Moise quits. [Link]

Russia

  • The Biden administration notified Congress of its plan to transfer Mi-17 helicopters to Ukraine. [Link]
  • The US delivers 90 tonnes of weapons – from a December aid package – to Ukraine. [Link]
  • The Baltic States’ arms transfers to Ukraine include Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. [Link]
  • Fewer than one in six Americans support sending US troops to Ukraine to prevent a Russian invasion. [Link]
  • The US will allow non-essential staff at the embassy in Ukraine to leave the country. The US ordered the family of staff to leave the country. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Vienna. The US agreed to give Russia a written response to its security proposal. The two diplomats will meet again next week. [Link]
  • Blinken asked Russia to release two US citizens who were convicted of crimes in Russia and serving prison sentences. [Link]
  • Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia will send political advisers to Paris for talks this week. [Link]
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined an invitation to speak with Biden about the Ukraine crisis. [Link]
  • The UK says Russia is planning to install a new government in Ukraine. [Link]
  • Blinken rejects calls to sanction Russia now. He explained that sanctions cannot work as a deterrent if they are already in place. [Link]
  • Biden is considering applying the ‘foreign direct product rule’ – cutting off semiconductors and related technology – to Russia in response to an invasion of Ukraine. [Link]
  • Biden is considering plans to deploy between 1,000 and 5,000 troops to Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. [Link]
  • Blinken says there are a number of areas for the US and Russia to work together. [Link]

China

  • Taiwan reports 39 Chinese military aircraft entered its Air Defense Identification Zone. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • The Taliban will meet with officials from Western governments in Norway. [Link]
  • ISIS-K claims it is behind a bombing in Afghanistan that killed at least six. [Link]

Iran

  • Shipments of thinning agents from Iran have allowed Venezuela to double its oil exports over the past year. [Link]
  • US and European officials warn time is running out in Iran nuclear talks. [Link]
  • Iran and Russia are in talks to upgrade Iran’s nuclear power plant. [Link]
  • The US Envoy to Iran Robert Malley says it is unlikely the US will return to the nuclear deal if Iran continues to hold four American prisoners. [Link]

Yemen

  • Saudi Arabia bombed a Houthi-run prison in Yemen, killing at least 80 people. [Link]
  • Shards from an American-made bomb were found at the prison. [Link]
  • The US claims it intercepted a ship transporting Urea-based fertilizer in the Gulf of Oman. The US alleges it was headed to the Houthi in Yemen. [Link]

Middle East

  • Israel’s cabinet voted to launch an investigation into the “submarine affair” that could implicate former prime minister Netanyahu. [Link]
  • The UAE bans civilians from using drones. [Link]
  • The UAE says it intercepted two ballistic missiles. [Link]
  • Eleven Iraqi soldiers were killed in an IS attack. [Link]
  • Nearly 200 people have been killed in three days of fighting between the US-backed SDF and IS for control over a prison in Syria. [Link]

Africa

  • A top Ethiopian military official says his army will attempt to eliminate the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. [Link]
  • Aid groups warn the people of Mali will pay the price for the sanctions recently imposed on the country. [Link]
  • A French soldier was killed in Mali. [Link]
  • Reports from Burkina Faso say several soldiers have mutinied against the government and a possible coup is underway. [Link]

1/20/22 Clint Ehrlich on Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan

Scott is joined by Clint Ehrlich who recently went viral after his appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show struck the nerve of a handful of foreign policy “experts.” So Scott invited him on the show to dive deeper into his arguments. They discuss why Ehrlich is nervous about the situation in Eastern Europe and how it came to this. He also gives his take on what happened in Kazakhstan.

Discussed on the show:

Clint Ehrlich is a foreign-policy analyst, lawyer and former visiting researcher at MGIMO University. Follow him on Twitter @ClintEhrlich.

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: The War State and Why The Vietnam War?, by Mike Swanson; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; EasyShip; Free Range Feeder; Thc Hemp Spot; Green Mill Supercritical; Bug-A-Salt and Listen and Think Audio.

Shop Libertarian Institute merch or donate to the show through Patreon, PayPal or Bitcoin: 1DZBZNJrxUhQhEzgDh7k8JXHXRjYu5tZiG.

News Roundup 1/25/2022

News Roundup 1/20/2022

US News

  • The police officers who restrained Cedric Lofton at a Kansas juvenile facility until he died will not face charges. [Link]
  • The city of Baltimore settles with two men – who police officers planted drugs on  – for $200,000. The officers were members of the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. [Link]
  • An interim CIA report has concluded it is unlikely that ‘Havana Syndrome’ is caused by an adversary or weapon. [Link]
  • The Pentagon will spend over $52 million in 2022 on 18 blimps to surveil the southern border. [Link]
  • Rodolphe Jaar – wanted for his role in the assassination of Haitian President Moise – was extradited to the US from the Dominican Republic. [Link]

Russia

  • Mark Brzezinski, son of former US national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, has been sworn in as US ambassador to Poland. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Ukraine and pledges an additional $200 million in military aid. [Link]
  • The US approved US-made weapons to be transferred from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to Ukraine. [Link]
  • Russia calls on the US to stop arming and training Ukrainians. [Link]
  • Biden says there is room to work with Russia on Ukraine. [Link]

China

  • Biden says it is too soon to consider easing tariffs on China. [Link]

North Korea

  • North Korea threatens to resume suspended activities. North Korea is likely referencing its pause on nuclear and ICBM tests. [Link]

Middle East

  • Biden says there is some progress being made in the Iran nuclear deal talks. [Link]
  • Biden says he is considering redesignating the Houthi are a terrorist organization. [Link]
  • The UAE claims the Houthi launched cruise and ballistic missiles along with drones in the recent attack on a fuel depot and international airport. The UAE says some of the missiles were intercepted. [Link]

Africa

  • US soldiers deployed to Niger for several days to help the country design a basic training program for its military. [Link]
  • Chad began releasing some rebel prisoners ahead of peace talks next month. [Link]
COI #218: Biden Team Blames Trump for Iran Nuclear Deal Failure

COI #218: Biden Team Blames Trump for Iran Nuclear Deal Failure

On COI #218, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman update the Iran talks, the new Cold War with China, and the genocidal war in Yemen.

Connor discusses the ongoing indirect negotiations in Vienna to restore the JCPOA. There are troubling signs that the Biden administration may be preparing for the talks to fail. House Republicans are demanding President Biden’s team immediately end the talks. Whatever happens, a decision is coming soon, and Biden’s team plans to continue scapegoating Trump. Although there are still positive statements coming from the EU foreign policy chief, the Chinese, and the Iranians themselves.

Connor covers China’s growing Middle East influence. Beijing and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are working toward building a free trade area and a strategic partnership. China is the GCC’s top trading partner and the region forms a centerpiece in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China recently invited Syria to join the BRI as well. Additionally, last year’s Tehran-Beijing comprehensive cooperation agreement is now entering its implementation stage.

Kyle and Connor talk about the U.S. military carrying out massive military exercises with Japan. Tokyo also sailed warships near Chinese-controlled islands twice in the last ten months. The U.S. just wrapped up war drills in the South China Sea including with an aircraft carrier strike group. Washington sent an Ohio class nuclear submarine to Guam, it carries dozens of nuclear warheads and 20 Trident ballistic missiles.

Kyle reports on the war in Yemen where the Saudis announced they will be increasing the bombings of the long battered country. Massive strikes, killing civilians, are being carried out including in the capital city. The Houthis have retaliated, they conducted a high-profile drone attack on Abu Dhabi that destroyed three oil tankers and killed three people. The UAE wants the U.S. to redeclare the Houthis a terrorist group. Such a move would make it even more difficult for aid to enter the blockaded and starving country. Most of Yemen’s civilians live in the northern territory held by the Houthis, the threat of U.S. sanctions would designedly deter most any humanitarian assistance.

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News Roundup 1/25/2022

News Roundup 1/18/2022

Ukraine

  • A bipartisan group of seven Senators traveled to Ukraine. They met with President Zelenskyy and restated America’s support for Ukraine. [Link]
  • The UK will give Ukraine anti-tank weapons and deploy troops for training on the weapons. [Link]
  • Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko returned to Ukraine to face treason charges. [Link]
  • Germany calls for four-party talks – Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia – to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis. [Link]

Russia

  • Russian forces are arriving in Belarus for war games. [Link]

Korea

  • North Korea says it test-fired tactical guided missiles. [Link]

Israel

  • The US denies brokering an energy deal between Israel and Lebanon. [Link]
  • A Palestinian family was forcefully evicted from their home in Sheikh Jarrah. [Link]
  • A 75-year-old Palestinian activist who was hit by a tow truck, contracted by the Israeli police, dies from his injuries. [Link]

Yemen

  • A UAE oil facility was damaged by a drone attack, killing three. The Houthi claim responsibility for the attack. [Link]
  • Saudi bombs Yemen’s capital after the drone attack on the UAE, killing at least six. [Link]
  • The UAE is calling on the US to label the Houthis as a terror group. [Link]

Middle East

  • Iran says nuclear talks are being stalled by the US. [Link]
  • The Wall Street Journal reports Iran is seeking a legal promise from the US not to exit the nuclear deal once an agreement is made. [Link]
  • Two members of Iraq’s parliament had their offices targeted with explosives. [Link]

Africa

  • Libya’s eastern parliament calls the internationally recognized government illegitimate. Presidential elections scheduled for December were canceled. [Link]
  • The UN is pushing for Libya to hold elections in June. [Link]
  • Biden names Lucy Tamlyn to head the US Embassy in Sudan. [Link]
  • Medics say seven protesters were killed by security forces in Sudan. [Link]

1/14/22 Ray McGovern on the US-Russia Talks

Ray McGovern is back to discuss the recent talks between Putin and the Biden Administration. McGovern observes that the talks, framed as a tense battle over Ukrainian sovereignty, appear to have actually steered towards a discussion about arms control in the region. A discussion that’s grown in necessity since the Trump Administration abruptly left a nuclear treaty with Russia. Scott and McGovern also talk about the collapsing narrative that the Russians are set to invade Ukraine any day now. 

Discussed on the show:

  • “Peeking Past the Pall Put Over Arms Talks With Russia” (Antiwar.com)

Ray McGovern is the co-creator of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and the former chief of the CIA’s Soviet analysts division. Read all of his work at his website: raymcgovern.com.

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: The War State and Why The Vietnam War?, by Mike Swanson; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; EasyShip; Free Range Feeder; Thc Hemp Spot; Green Mill Supercritical; Bug-A-Salt and Listen and Think Audio.

Shop Libertarian Institute merch or donate to the show through Patreon, PayPal or Bitcoin: 1DZBZNJrxUhQhEzgDh7k8JXHXRjYu5tZiG.

News Roundup 1/25/2022

News Roundup 1/16/2022

Corrected on 1/17 to say the USS Nevada visited Guam, not Taiwan.

Covid

  • Covax claims to have distributed one billion covid vaccine doses. [Link]
  • The US donates 2.8 million Pfizer covid vaccine doses to the Philippines through Covax. [Link]
  • The US donated four million covid vaccine doses to African nations through Covax. [Link]
  • The US donated three million Pfizer covid vaccine doses to Egypt through Covax. [Link]

US News

  • Ohio police officers will face no punishment after dragging a paraplegic man from his car by his hair. [Link]

Haiti

  • Jamaican authorities arrested former Haitian Senator John Joel Joseph, a suspect in the assassination of Haitian President Moise. [Link]
  • A Haitian hospital will close because gangs stole the generator that would be used to power the hospital. [Link]

Russia

  • Several Ukrainian government websites were targeted with a cyberattack. The US offered Ukraine support in recovering from the attack and investigating the source. [Link]
  • Ukraine blames Russia for the cyberattack. [Link]
  • The Pentagon says Russia is planning a false flag to give reason to invade Ukraine. [Link]
  • Russia says it took down the ransomware crime group REvil at the request of the US. [Link]
  • Kazakhstan authorities now report 225 deaths in the recent riots/protests. [Link]

China

  • Poland will sell the Philippines 32 Black Hawk helicopters. [Link]
  • The US and Japan participate in the annual Yama Sakura war games. [Link]
  • The USS Nevada – a nuclear, Ohio-class submarine – makes a port call in Guam. [Link]

Korea

  • North Korea is expected to reopen its border with China for rail freight. North Korea closed the border due to covid in 2020. [Link]
  • An early warning system incorrectly predicted that a missile launched by North Korea could hit the US. [Link]
  • North Korea says its third missile test in January was fired from a train. [Link]
  • North Korea carried out its fourth missile test this month. [Link]

Myanmar

  • Opposition forces in Myanmar are using 3D-printed guns. [Link]
  • Former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi – who was removed in a coup – faces five new charges. She is currently serving a multi-year sentence imposed by the ruling militia. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • At least four people were killed in fighting between Uzbek fighters and the Taliban. [Link]

Middle East

  • Eight members of the House and Senate form the Abraham Accords caucus. [Link]
  • Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vows not to engage in peace talks with Palestinians. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken says there are only a few weeks left to save the Iran nuclear agreement. [Link]
  • Lebanon says that it will not be subject to US sanctions on Syria for importing Jordanian and Egyptian energy through Syria. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia announces an increase of bombing in Yemen. [Link]
  • The UN is calling on the Houthi to release a UAE-flagged ship. The UAE says the ship was carrying medical supplies, and the Houthi claim it was carrying weapons. The Houthi rejected the UN call. [Link]

Africa

  • The spokesperson for Somalia’s prime minister was injured in an al-Shabaab suicide bombing. [Link]
  • The UN says airstrikes have killed over 100 civilians in Ethiopia since the start of the year. [Link]

1/13/22 Daniel Ellsberg: Humans Are Not to Be Entrusted With Nuclear Weapons

Scott is joined by the heroic whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to talk about a recent press release he helped put out calling for the abolition of land-based nuclear missiles in the United States. Before getting to that, Scott and Ellsberg discuss how his Pentagon Papers leak contributed to the end of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg then draws on his experience as a nuclear war planner to explain the crazy and perilous thinking behind post-WWII nuclear deterrence plans. They also discuss his most recent leak of classified documents that show how close the U.S. came to starting a nuclear war over Taiwan in the late 1950s. 

Discussed on the show:

Daniel Ellsberg is a former Marine Corps company commander and nuclear expert for the Rand Corporation. He is the leaker behind the Pentagon Papers, which revealed the truth behind the Vietnam War. He is the author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers and The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: The War State and Why The Vietnam War?, by Mike Swanson; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; EasyShip; Free Range Feeder; Thc Hemp Spot; Green Mill Supercritical; Bug-A-Salt and Listen and Think Audio.

News Roundup 1/25/2022

News Roundup 1/13/2022

Covid

  • Rhode Island will deploy 60 National Guardsmen to a psychiatric hospital due to staffing issues. [Link]
  • Oregon will deploy an additional 700 National Guardsmen to medical facilities, for a total of more than 1,200 soldiers. [Link]
  • Biden will deploy the 1,000 military personnel to hospitals in six states. [Link]

US News

  • Virginia Beach police used fake DNA reports to get people to confess to crimes. [Link]
  • Biden collected more in tariffs than Trump did. [Link]
  • The US approves the release of five Gitmo detainees. [Link]
  • US officials claim diplomats in Vienna and Paris came down with ‘Havana Syndrome.’ [Link]
  • Biden deports 10,000s Haitians. [Link]

Great Power

  • Russia met with US and NATO officials for over four hours. NATO proposed reopening diplomatic channels between the alliance and Russia. [Link]
  • While no progress was made at talks between the US/NATO and Russia, future talks are possible. [Link]
  • Germany calls on the US not to drag the Nord Stream 2 pipeline into the Ukraine conflict. [Link]
  • Estonia’s prime minister says the Baltic states are in talks with NATO for more troop deployments. [Link]
  • The US held a joint defense call with Japan and South Korea. [Link]
  • Japan has sailed near Chinese-controlled Islands in the South China Sea at least twice in the past ten months. [Link]

Korea

  • The US sanctions five North Koreans and one entity over the most recent missile test. [Link]
  • Biden is seeking more sanctions on North Korea issued by the UN Security Council. [Link]

Israel

  • Twenty-two Salvadorian journalists were targeted with the Israeli NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. [Link]
  • Last month, the Biden administration shelved its plan to reopen a diplomatic office for Palestinians in Jerusalem. [Link]
    Palestinians living in Israel and married to Israelis are unable to access the vaccine passport app. [Link]

Iran

  • The Biden administration says the fate of the Iran nuclear agreement will be decided in the coming weeks. The administration plans to blame Trump for the situation with Iran. [Link]
  • The eighth round of indirect talks continues between the US and Iran in Vienna. The remaining issues are a verification method to ensure sanctions are removed and a promise from the US it will not re-exit the nuclear deal. [Link]
  • US Cyber Command claims Iran is linked to a hacker group. [Link]

Middle East

  • Germany announces it will remove troops from Syria and extend the deployment of US troops in Iraq to October. [Link]
  • Syria officially joins China’s Belt and Road Initiative. [Link]
  • A group of US lawmakers sent a letter to Biden calling on him to prevent countries from normalizing ties with Syria. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia admits it presented Iraq War footage as evidence of Iran arming the Houthi. [Link]
  • The Giants Brigade was key in defeating Houthi fighters in Shabwah. [Link]

Africa

  • The US is backing French military operations in the Sahel with drone surveillance. [Link]
  • Mali claims a French military plan violated its airspace. [Link]
The Sapper in the Sewer

The Sapper in the Sewer

“The enemy was nowhere, but everywhere.”- Dan Rather, CBS News Report, Saigon, 1968

As the world approaches a period of unmanned systems, automation, and perhaps in many fields human obsolescence, warfare marches into its own future of certain uncertainty. Despite the great leaps in technology, warfare is very much the domain of the imperfect human. Perhaps in the not too distant future artificial intelligence will guide and “man” killing machines against one another and human beings. Engineers and geniuses will create and devise such killing machines to ensure that governments stay standing and expand their reach while always ensuring that there is profit from the techno-violence. But technologically inferior humans will resist and perhaps overcome as they always have.

The Vietnam War has been described as a “technowar,” a war of managers and planners who utilized their technological supremacy against a peasantry and second class enemy that resisted despite many short comings. For the planners and engineers, technology and complicated systems were the answer. Technology and superior ideas and methods are often the wisdom and hubris by which great powers wage wars. At times they will achieve victory, eradicating the enemy and absorbing them into their nation or empire. And when the great fail against the weak, a litany of reasons are sought but never are the will and resilience, determination and conviction of those defending ever properly appreciated until it is too late.

Twenty years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the United States military went home and in many ways the status quo returned to the region despite so much effort and loss. A horrible war by any measure. The objectives of the invaders, whether Soviet in the past or NATO in the more recent era, were never truly distinct. The basic goal was to prevent the capitulation of a proxy government, one that was never popular, after which Kabul still fell. Wars where wisdom and hubris existed alongside each other, and those on the ground who were observing from afar could see in the living minutes what was wrong, but the experts and planners persisted regardless, ever so confident and certain of victory, despite the uncertain aims. The powerful empires, Soviet and American, wrapped in the armor of resources and armed with immense weapon systems, failed under the incompetence of their own arrogance. And a determined human enemy won.

Whether in the jungles of South East Asia or the caves of Central Asia, the objective was often simple for the defender: eject the invader and reject the invader’s puppet government. What brought the insurgents to such a cause may at first have been deviant self-interest or religious idealism but for many it was a patriotism that the invaders in their own histories had experienced and romanced. The Soviets had once been those ejecting a powerful invader while the Americans were once proud insurgents. Greatness changed both their perspectives.

The well-armed invaders viewed the native populace as threats or the enemy. Whether walking through a village or observing via screens far away, the natives are unfamiliar. Regardless of how benevolent the invaders claim themselves to be, the natives are often considered as being inferior. For the locals, the strangers from afar may as well have come from another planet, alienated by ignorance of local customs and language while heavily relying upon superior technology and academic central plans of subjugation. Their perspectives would have been as different even if they were from off planet.

During the 1968 Tet Offensive, it is argued that the U.S. did not lose militarily, only politically. It was a coordinated offensive between insurgents and North Vietnamese military personnel attacking key targets of the U.S. and their allies. The impressive and expensive U.S. embassy in Saigon came under attack while a handful of insurgents managed to infiltrate and give the U.S. government a symbolic bloody nose. The flea had bitten the dog.

The Gardener and the Warrior

There is a samurai saying; “Better to be a warrior in the garden than a gardener in war.” And while this may be true for individuals, it ignores the importance of will and perspective. The gardener is not always just a gardener. When circumstances call upon them, whether through vengeance or a need to defend the home and garden, they become the warrior. Ones craft is defined by how they ply it. Most great warriors did not commence their lives with the ambition of being a war fighter and many who practice the martial trades in peacetime do not necessarily achieve victory in war. Most warriors by trade serve a master; this is their duty. Often duty requires them to venture into the gardens and face a man defending his everything, regardless of any peacetime trade and his tools at hand.

There is footage of a slender man, perhaps in his early twenties, almost naked being dragged from a sewer drain. His body is drenched in slime, he is armed with a pistol and perhaps a grenade or explosives. He had been crawling through the narrow sewage pipes of Saigon. With great discomfort and risk, he did this in the hopes of gaining entry into the government buildings during the 1968 Tet Offensive. One could never imagine that a man would be able to make the journey through such filthy pipes, and would risk his life and health while enduring such discomfort in the hope that he may plant explosives or shoot a government official. That’s determination.

The great planners with their war games, think tanks, and millions of dollars in research and technological marvels could seldom conceive that such a factor is important. It is not calculable, you can not duplicate it in training and among academic discussions it is not understood. That is the will to overcome, not just to survive but to kill the enemy, to outlast and destroy him. Such will is important. It cannot be trained. It needs to come from purpose and perspective. While the insurgent captured in the sewer tried to crawl his way to fight, some of his comrades had blown holes in the U.S. embassy’s walls and rushed into the compound, fighting to the death. They did not destroy the U.S. embassy, but they had bitten an empire.

The many governments of the world often invest time and resources into training police and military units that then become the elite. The elites that train hard are made up of individuals of great will and skills. They are those who are often depicted in fiction as being nearly superhuman, the men of the special forces. Unique humans are expected to perform with inhuman ability, to act as tools for their government.

The modern overreach of many governments has exhausted and over utilized these elite warriors, expecting them to perform missions that are almost impossible and then requiring them to do it again. In retirement some become celebrities while others may be lost to the strain and injury of their profession and experiences. These men who can usually perform great tasks are expected to be both mathematicians and elite athletes, operate complicated weapon systems while also performing paramedical acts under great stress. They are the warrior to the gardener.

Their enemy usually do not have such training, skills, or logistics. The government elites usually have regular military forces on standby, ready to back them up with aircraft and maritime vessels to extract them and provide support. Their enemies may at best have converted trucks and in the past bicycles and mules. It is uncertain how skilled that man in the sewer was. What had he done before the war? perhaps he was a gardener. As he crawled the sewer he had become a “combat sapper.” In that moment he was the machete inside the jungle of conflict, his utility was his simplified focus. His logistics was resilience and will. Though captured, his failure was in some ways a victory. As he was filmed and dragged into custody, his pathetic state of sewage slick nudity contrasted with the uniformed men of the government.

Inside a decade Saigon fell.

The Engineer

In a recent episode of a Dan Carlin hosted podcast titled “Engineering Victory with Elon,” Elon Musk discussed the importance of the engineer in warfare and how the engineer was often ignored by the historians. Musk made some interesting and relevant points. Engineers are crucial, and they are often downgraded after the fact, compared to the strategists and political leaders of war. Musk went on to make the case that technological supremacy is the key to victory and that the U.S. government could have won in Vietnam if it had of “wanted’ to.” Musk claimed that the U.S. government fought the war with the aim of preserving civilian life. Carlin politely mentioned the fact that the U.S. had destroyed nearly every building and village in North Korea during that war. But the issue was not pressed. Carlin did not mention the extensive civilian death count, not only in Vietnam but in neighbouring Laos and Cambodia. Instead the conversation returned to the importance of technology and air supremacy.

The mindset that any great power could win any war if it really wanted to is one that is held by engineers like Musk and it is also the self-preserving declaration of the defeated imperialist. How does one win an insurgency? Wars between governments is one things but against the “people” it becomes a harder to define path to victory. If the goal is to kill every person in a region, to turn a nation into glass, then certainly the United States or any nuclear armed nation could do this. Is that victory though? And was that the aim and intention during the South East Asian war that the United States waged?

What were the actual goals in the wars on Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc? To kill so many people from that region that they would love the invader and assimilate? To kill those who opposed the presence of a foreign invader and anyone that fit the profile of such a defender? And then what? To turn the survivors into allies and proxies who must obey the ultimate aims of the invader? In that case then mass destruction and death is the antithesis to such aims. But to an engineer the problem is simple: to kill. To make weapons that kill as efficiently as possible. But to conquer and win an invader requires a degree of humanity and interactions with the population. There is more to it than lonely fortresses, checkpoints, and “firing lasers from space.”

If one can not define the war itself, it is hard to define who the enemy actually is. For the men and women driven by hatred, revenge, fear, ideology, faith, patriotism and even love, the aim is seemingly simple. They will endure so much just so that they can kill. To kill the invader becomes survival itself. By the end of the century drones and robots will likely dominate the future battlefield and their utility as a police and anti-insurgency weapon will be paramount. Those rejecting such control by an invader will fight with the ancient will that has stretched across all of human history. They will find a way, not through anticipation or academic conjuring, but in the moment, after gaining experience and loss.

For those who talk about war from afar, it is academic problem to be fixed by engineers and strategists. It is a comfortable and impersonal puzzle to be solved, where human lives are digits. To them technology alone is the crucial element, the trump card for dominance. Technology will not make the conquered love the invader and it cannot make them yield, only incarcerate or kill. Such defiance and determination, the crude ingenuity of the peasant, can and has overcome. If victory requires killing as many as possible then the serial killer is life’s champion. From the armchair or the tables of a think tank the blood and carnage is absent, so technical details are the fascination of calculation. For those on the ground it is never so simple. The engineer is important and often neglected but so is the human of purpose or seemingly no other choice.

A Stone’s Throw Away

It is not that the defender rejecting the invading warriors always succeeds; the past century is littered with examples of might being triumphant. In 1968, the same time that the U.S. was grappling for control in South East Asia, the Soviet Empire swallowed up those rejecting it in Czechoslovakia. A pin prick of defiance perhaps, but the spirit of ‘68 would remain decades later when then Soviet Empire collapsed along with communist rule in Czechoslovakia, succumbing to freer governance and independence. Other peoples are not so lucky and continue to suffer.

Young boys will stand in front of tanks and throw stones when they have nothing else to fight with. In occupied Palestine the Israeli government may some day soon utilize drones and non-human combatants to interact with those that it has conquered. Such technology may allow them to convert the region into the world’s largest prison. They may not be about to eradicate the Palestinians for fear of international condemnation, but they can at the very least imprison them in a dystopian city of walls, cameras, checkpoints, and tyranny. It is occurring elsewhere on Earth for those resisting the Chinese, Indian, and Venezuelan governments. There may only be a glimmer but the same instincts of defiance flicker on.

To the very bitter end, as the adults are imprisoned and killed, the children will go on fighting. It is a circumstance of misery and one where technology and an advanced military seeks to overcome an impoverished people. With an ancient spirit they will resist but they may not overcome. The reprieve in such a circumstance can only come from without, embracing the humanity of those inside. Understanding that one is not an anti-semite simply because they empathize with a Palestinian family who has lost everything due to the actions of the Israeli government. The child throwing the stone may do little damage to the tanks of the IDF but as a symbolic act of defiance it may as well be a boulder dropped from above. And when it is drone vehicles roaming the streets, children not yet born will cast rocks at them too so long as they are oppressed.

It is the enduring defiance and the yearning to be free that can give a small cadre of peasants the edge over a professional army of invaders. The drones and AI may not suffer the fatigue that a conscript or a professional soldier might, they may not suffer trauma or moral injury. The imperfections of the human killer will be removed and replaced by a synthetic one. That does not mean that the inevitable human replacement is superior or indestructible. These drones will have their own weaknesses and flaws and those fighting them will find it and exploit it because they have to. Unless of course winning means destroying everything and killing everyone.

There is no moral virtue in resistance alone, just as none exists in conquest. It is not a clear cut case of good and evil. It is the understanding that perspectives drive objectives. When objectives are intangible and unimaginable for those on the ground or among those who are charged with achieving them, it can become almost impossible to “win.” This is not limited to warfare but for most government policy. For those resisting, the victims or the others, the objective and goal are simple: an end to occupation, to be left alone, eject the invader, or even freedom itself.

To drop the bombs, run the check points, burn down villages and so on may be done in order to enforce security and support a “friendly” government.Over time one must realize that such actions lead to instability and disorder while feeding the resistance. While the frontiers were conquered, the “savages” were tamed and many aboriginal peoples have been subjugated or wiped away. The great nations have committed their genocides and replaced what was with their own. That was the victory those who claim “if we wanted to” accomplished. Modern technology also allows us to observe and challenge such a means of victory to shame and expose the violence for what it is. In both victory and defeat there will always be the warrior in the garden and the sapper in the sewer.

“Whether the primary cause of revolution is nationalism, or social justice, or the anticipation of material progress, the decision to fight and to sacrifice is a social and a moral decision. Insurgency is thus a matter not of manipulation but of inspiration.”

“I am aware that such conclusions are not compatible with the pictures of guerrilla operations and guerrilla motivations drawn by the counterinsurgency theorists who are so much in vogue today. But the counterinsurgency experts have yet to win a war. At this writing, they are certainly losing one.”

Their picture is distorted because their premises are false and their observation faulty. They assume–perhaps their commitments require them to assume–that politics is mainly a manipulative science and insurgency mainly a politico-military technique to be countered by some other technique; whereas both are forms of social behavior, the latter being the mode of popular resistance to unpopular governments.”

Robert Tabor, ‘The War of the Flea’, 1965.

COI #214: Mainstream Media Throws Cold Water on Russia Talks

COI #214: Mainstream Media Throws Cold Water on Russia Talks

On COI #214, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman cover the U.S.-Russia talks in Geneva, the JCPOA talks in Vienna, and the criminal legacy of America’s Guantanamo Bay torture prison.

Connor updates Iran’s regional diplomacy and the nuclear deal talks. The Europeans are increasingly admitting progress is being made. Even the Israelis appear increasingly split on the issue with Tel Aviv’s Military Intelligence Chief saying it would be better for Israel if the JCPOA is revived. According to a new poll, most Americans support the deal as well.

Kyle breaks down all the news out of Geneva and what the indications are for U.S.-Russian diplomacy. The Russians and the Americans are still at odds over Ukraine’s potential NATO membership, a red line for Moscow and a tripwire for war. Connor and Kyle note that it does appear the Americans are willing to negotiate missile placements, perhaps replacing the INF Treaty, and limiting the size and scope of both NATO and Russia’s military exercises. Though Kyle shows how the media is preparing Americans for the talks’ failure.

Kyle details the history of Guantanamo Bay, the torture of detainees, new facilities being built that cost millions of dollars, and Biden’s broken promises to close America’s gulag.

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