Space Farce Open Thread: To the MOON, Alice!

All the real billionaires, the Big Swinging Dicks, get to go on the TV and talk about their mighty throbbing rockets. Donny Dollhands thinks he ought to be able to grift his very own (no doubt Trump-branded, gilt-painted) bunch of rockets out of a grateful nation… and his will be the only ones carrying NUCKALAR BOMBS, suckitlibs!

Fortunately, our American armed forces have some experience with slow-walking “demands” from temporary autocrats, so I think we’ll see the first Trump Rocket unveiled on approximately the twelfth of Never. Per the Washington Post:

Trump has floated this idea before — in March, he said he initially conceived it as a joke — but has offered few details about how the Space Force would operate. Several experts noted that an act of Congress is required to establish a new branch of the military.

Trump said Monday that the branch would be “separate but equal” from the Air Force and that Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would oversee its creation.

“It is not enough to have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,” Trump said, adding that he didn’t want to see “China and other countries leading us.”

Dunford’s staff acknowledged Trump’s comments in a statement Monday afternoon, pledging to work closely with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s office, other Defense Department officials and Congress to “implement the President’s guidance.”

“Space is a warfighting domain, so it is vital that our military maintains its dominance and competitive advantage in that domain,” the statement said.

And a spokeswoman for Mattis said in a statement that Pentagon officials “understand” the guidance.

“Our Policy Board will begin working on this issue, which has implications for intelligence operations for the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy,” Dana White said without elaborating. “Working with Congress, this will be a deliberate process with a great deal of input from multiple stakeholders.”



Britain, Canada, France, and D-Day: Gold, Juno, and Sword

(Map 1: Normandy Landings)

Earlier today I did a post on the 74th anniversary of D-Day and the Normandy landings. This focused on the US, specifically as it highlighted the 82nd Airborne Division’s reenactment of their portion of the campaign over twitter. D-Day, however, was not just about the US’s efforts. It is important, given the current realities of the US’s relations with its closest allies, to remind ourselves what our allies and partners not only contribute as allies and partners, but what they are capable of doing. So before the 6th turns to the 7th, I wanted to take a moment and focus on Britain’s, Canada’s, and the Free French Forces’ portions of Operation Overlord, which were the landings on the Normandy coast’s named Gold (Britain), Juno (Britain and Canada), and Sword (Britain and France).

The planning for Operation Overlord was met with skepticism by Canadian and British military leadership as a result of the failure of the Allied raid at Dieppe on the French coast in 1942. From the BBC:

The British and Canadians had suffered their own disaster at Dieppe on 18 August 1942. More than two thirds of a 6,000-man raiding force had been left behind on the shingle beach, dead, wounded and prisoners.

On the eve of D-Day the Allied leadership was in a state of neurotic anxiety. Just after midnight on 6 June, a restless Churchill, haunted by memories of the disastrous Allied landings at Gallipoli 29 years earlier, bade his wife goodnight with the words, ‘Do you realise that by the time you wake up in the morning twenty thousand men may have been killed?’

The same night, the chief of the imperial general staff, General Alan Brooke, confided to his diary that ‘… it may well be the most ghastly disaster of the whole war. I wish to God it were safely over ‘.

Nevertheless, Britain and Canada prepared to take part in Overlord. From Veterans Affairs Canada:

Allied aircraft paved the way for the landings, bombing the coastal defence in the months leading up to the attack. On June 6, 1944—D-Day—a massive Allied force crossed the English Channel to engage in Operation Overlord. Their destination: an 80-kilometre stretch of the heavily-defended coast of Normandy. There were five landing zones, given special code names: Juno Beach (Canada); Gold Beach (United Kingdom); Sword Beach (United Kingdom and France); and Utah Beach and Omaha Beach (United States).

Seven thousand vessels of all types, including 284 major combat vessels, took part in Operation Neptune, the assault phase of the D-Day offensive. Destroyers and supporting craft of the Royal Canadian Navy did their part and shelled German targets while many Royal Canadian Air Force planes were among the 4,000 Allied bombers (plus some 3,700 fighters and fighter bombers) which attacked the German beach defences and inland targets.

More than 450 Canadians parachuted inland before dawn on June 6 and engaged the enemy. A few hours later, some 14,000 Canadian troops began coming ashore at Juno Beach in the face of enemy fire. Their mission: to establish a beachhead along an eight-kilometre stretch fronting the villages of Courseulles-sur-Mer, Bernières-sur-Mer, and Saint Aubin-sur-Mer. Once secure, the troops would push inland to capture the city of Caen, an important communications centre for the Germans.

Many Canadian soldiers in the Normandy campaign were young and new to battle, but their courage and skill meant they often helped lead the Allied advance against a determined enemy. Canadians soon captured three shoreline positions on D-Day and established themselves near the village of Creully, but this was to be only the beginning of the struggle to liberate France. Savage fighting in Normandy continued and grew even more intense as Canadian forces faced powerful German Panzer tank divisions in the struggle for Caen.

Through the summer of 1944, the fighting continued through choking dust and intense heat. The conditions were terrible and the enemy was ruthless, but the troops moved forward. Canadians played an important role in closing the “Falaise Gap” in mid-August as the Germans finally retreated in the face of the Allied offensive. On August 25, 1944, Paris was liberated by the Allies, bringing the Normandy campaign officially to a close.

And once again the BBC (emphasis mine):

On Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, British and Canadian troops were supported by the specialised assault vehicles of 79th Armoured Division. On all three, German strongpoints initially inflicted heavy casualties, but a combination of Petard mortar and Crocodile tank soon smashed the defences.

On Gold and Juno, British and Canadian forces pushed inland rapidly. On Sword, British 3rd Division was held up three miles short of Caen by a network of German defensive positions along a ridge. Finally, late that afternoon, the 21st Panzer Division launched a counterattack. Some units managed to reach the coast, though they were too weak to hold their positions.

The world learned the invasion was underway from German state radio, which announced landings in Normandy on its 07.00 news service, and promised the invaders would be swiftly annihilated.

A special BBC news bulletin came two-and-a-half hours later. John Snagge announced that D-Day had come and all was going according to plan. At 12.00 Churchill repeated this news in a statement to the House of Commons. Despite Eisenhower’s worries about the situation on Omaha beach, by mid-afternoon it was clear that even on Omaha the battle was running in the Allies’ favour.

When Churchill again addressed the House of Commons at 18.00 it was to announce an astounding success. To secure a lodgement on the coast of France, the Allies had taken 10,000 casualties, 3,000 of whom were dead – mostly airborne troops or those who had landed at Omaha Beach.

Losses were far lighter than anticipated, a tribute to years of planning and preparation, a bold command decision, and a lot of good luck.

I want to make sure to include the Free French Forces’ contribution. There weren’t a lot of them involved in the landing and assault on Sword Beach, but they fought with distinction.

On June 6, 1944, the Free French land forces deployed on Sword Beach are composed of two troops and a section. There are 177 commandos (1er Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins) led by Commandant Philippe Kieffer.

In the early hours of June 6, 1944, four sticks of 8 paratroopers from Free France belonging to the 3rd battalion under Bourgoin were dropped over Brittany.

The Free French air forces that participated in Operation Neptune from June 5 to 6, 1944, are the following: 3 fighter squadrons and 2 light and heavy bomber squadrons (which had previously fought in North Africa).

On many Allied war ships participating in Operation Overlord, one could find some crewmen French Libres. There are four Free French ships (which had been almost all built by the British):

In front of the German coastal artillery battery of Longues-sur-Mer (between Omaha Beach and Gold Beach) are deployed the Free France cruisers “Montcalm” and “Georges Leygues”.

In front of Omaha Beach is the Free France destroyer “Roselys”.

In front of Juno Beach is the Free France destroyer “La Combattante”.

 

(Image 1: Kieffer Commando’s Monument)

Here’s a documentary about the Allied – British, Canadian, and Free French – portion of Operation Overlord:

Open thread!

 



D-Day and Operation Overlord: The 74th Anniversary of the Normandy Landing

Today is the 74th anniversary of D-Day, which was the Normandy landing portions of Operation Overlord. The 82nd Airborne Division’s social media team, with, I would expect, an assist from the Division historian, are doing a historical reenactment via twitter of the All American Division’s part of the operation 74 years on.

Eisenhower’s letter to the troops:

And his letter taking responsibility in case it all went wrong:

There is the occasional dig on their rivals in the 101st Airborne Division:

And there are maps of the battlespace!

They have about an hour or so left to go in their social media reenactment, so if you’re a World War II buff or just curious, click across and check out the whole thing.

All the way!

Open thread.

ETA: Ike’s letters.

 



From Memorial Day 2017 To Memorial Day 2018: The Tally Of The Fallen

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Those who have died in service to the US from 29 May 2017 to 28 May 2018:

Sergeant Erik M Houck

Sergeant William M. Bayes

Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge

Private First Class Hanson B. Kirkpatrick

Sergeant Jonathon M. Hunter

Specialist Christopher M. Harris

Technical Sergeant David Board

Specialist Allen Levi Stigler, Jr.

Sergeant Roshain Euvince Brooks

Staff Sergeant Aaron R. Butler

Specialist Alexander R. Missildine

Staff Sergeant Dustin M. Wright

Sergeant La David T. Johnson

Sergeant Jeremiah W. Johnson

Staff Sergeant Bryan C. Black

Chief Warrant Officer Jacob M. Sims

Sergeant First Class Stephen B. Cribben

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lee M. Smith

Sergeant First Class Hughton O. Brown

Corporal Todd L. McGurn

Specialist Avadon A. Chaves

Sergeant First Class Mihail Golin

Specialist Javion S. Sullivan

Sergeant Christina M. Schoenecker

Sergeant First Class Maitland D. Wilson

Captain Christopher Zanetis

Captain Mark Weber

Master Sergeant Christopher Raguso

Master Sergeant William Posch

Captain Andreas O’Keeffe

Staff Sergeant Carl Enis

Staff Sergeant Dashan Briggs

Master Sergeant Jonathan J. Dunbar



Open Thread: What We Choose to Remember

(Jim Morin via GoComics.com)
.

E.J. Dionne, at the Washington Post:

[P]hony claims and nasty innuendo built around imagined sins against patriotism and our veterans predate President Trump. But Trump’s attacks on NFL players who have knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice represent a particularly vile effort to mobilize political support by implying that the dissenting athletes, most of them black, lack a devotion to country.

The privileged NFL owners chose to capitulate to this divisive propaganda. The anthem at the heart of this discussion celebrates our country as “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Yet the owners’ action is the opposite of bravery and a blow to freedom. Many on the right have spoken out forcefully for free speech on college campuses. But do they now propose to turn stadiums into “safe spaces” where conservatives deny others the liberties they claim for themselves?…

Democrats fret that even engaging with Trump on all of this risks placing progressives on the wrong side of patriotism. But the history of Memorial Day should teach us that the meaning of our patriotism has long been a matter of necessary struggle.

We should not let the divider in the Oval Office keep us from joining together in profound appreciation of our fallen. They perished under a flag that represents “liberty and justice for all.” The living cannot surrender either of these commitments.



Monday Morning Open Thread: Memorial Day



Megan McArdle Knows Absolutely Nothing About Any Form Of War And Wouldn’t Even If A Member Of The Military Bit Her!

Which I wouldn’t recommend, because despite all the vaccinations they’re given, I’m pretty sure they don’t cover whatever variant of Jakob Cruetzfeldt disease afflicts libertarian pundits who have never held an actual job and have absolutely no real world experience. But I repeat myself!

Now that the throat clearing is out of the way, I want to make a quick follow on point to AL’s cataloguing of McArdle’s idiocy. Specifically that the US has never actually fought a civil war. A civil war refers to a form of low intensity warfare – as in less than interstate war* -where the supporters of two or more claimants to power fight for control of the state. The claimants may have either de jure (legal) or de facto (extant) claims to control the state. This is not what happened in the US in the 1860s. Rather, what we call the US Civil War was actually a rebellion in support of secession from the state in the attempt to set up a new one. There was no dispute as to the legitimacy of the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. What was in dispute is that the southern states that would become the Confederacy refused to accept the election’s outcome and sought to breakaway and form their own nation-state.

Had supporters of Secretary Clinton, including Democratic elected and appointed officials at all levels of government, refused to accept the President’s election as legitimate and contested his inauguration, including violently, once they learned that the US intelligence community had determined that the Russians had interfered in the US election with the specific objections of electing the President, then we’d be talking about a civil war. That did not happen despite some of the comments posted here over the past 18 months or so…

What McArdle doesn’t understand, because she knows nothing about war – theoretically, conceptually, and/or experientially – is that there has been a low level insurgency in the US going back decades. We sometimes call this the culture war. Sometimes it’s referred to as the Southern Strategy, but it involves one of the two major political parties and its supporting movements, including religious movements, in the US refusing to accept the legitimacy of any other ones. It includes frequent use of dehumanizing language and threats of violence ranging from legislatively and regulatorily directing the power of the state, utilizing lawfare, and actually threatening and sometimes undertaking violence against their opponents or the objects of their dehumanization campaigns when the insurgents don’t get their way. And these people – elected, appointed, voters, supporters, pundits, etc – are McArdle’s fellow travelers! They are part of the larger political, ideological, dogmatic religious, and sub-cultural groups and movements that McArdle has been marinating in since she was an undergraduate.

They also make the mistake that they are the only ones that get to define patriotism and to actually care about the US and its ideals. They have convinced themselves that they are the only ones who can properly interpret the Constitution when in fact they are the poorest of linguistic and political historians of the late 18th Century, which leads to constantly misunderstanding and misapplying the Constitution. And they have deluded themselves into thinking that because their opponents believe in civility that their opponents are also unwilling to actually defend themselves in the political, ideological, social, religious, economic, and/or legal arenas. And those delusions include the mistaken belief that they don’t have the means to do so.

Right now the US is experiencing one of its periodic bouts of growing pains. As was the case in the 1780s and 1790s, the 1830s and 1840s, the 1860s, the late 1870s through the 1890s, during WW I, in the mid to late 1930s, and in the middle 1960s through the early 1970s, a period of imperfect progress is being met with a backlash against it. It is ugly. It is unpleasant. It is damaging. People who do not deserve to be hurt are being hurt. The real question that McArdle should have asked, yet is incapable because she is as the one who does not know how to ask, is what does it really mean to form a more perfect union? And what are the best ways to go about perfecting the union? Those are the real questions of American civic life. Not whether Democrats in urban areas know how to use guns.

Finally, that McArdle would even contemplate tweeting about this on Memorial Day weekend is insensitive and disrespectful for those who have given their life in service to the US. Discussing whether Americans should or could kill each other again en masse in pursuit of political power on this of all weekends should lead her to remove herself from opining. She needs to flee the public square and contemplate that the people who have given their lives for the US, with the exception of those fighting on behalf of the Confederacy, did so despite their political and ideological and regional and religious differences. They did it to ensure there would be a union to continue to perfect. McArdle is a poor excuse for a public intellectual. Unfortunately she’s an all too perfect an example of a poorly informed and poorly educated American ideologue.

And in case she or one of her followers sees her name in the post title on Cole’s twitter feed and decides to pop over and ask who am I to question her expertise in regard to war, here’s my abbreviated professional bio:

Adam L. Silverman is a consulting national security subject matter expert. In 2016 he assisted XVIII Airborne Corps in their strategic assessment of the Iraqi and Syrian Operating Environment for their deployment as the command element of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. In 2015 he served as a Senior Fellow at SOCOM’s Center for Special Operations Studies and Research. Prior to that he served as a Subject Matter Expert with the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue and US Army Europe from June through August 2014. From July 2010 through June 2014, he was the Cultural Advisor and Professor of National Security and Strategy at the US Army War College. In June 2014 he was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal by MG Anthony A. Cucolo, III.

Dr. Silverman has advised and provided support to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue, US Central Command, US European Command, US Special Operations Command, US Army Europe, the US Army Institute for NCO Professional Development, the US Army Sergeants Major Academy, US Army Special Operations Command, US Army Central, the US Army’s Office of the Provost Marshal General and US Army Corrections Command, I Corps, III Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps, 1st Armored Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the Department of State’s Near East and South Asia Desk, and JIEDDO’s Science Directorate. From NOV 2013 to AUG 2014 he served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commanding General of US Army Europe on temporary assignment. From OCT 2012 to NOV 2013 Dr. Silverman served as the Cultural Advisor to the Civil Affairs Branch Chief on temporary assignment. During 2012 Dr. Silverman served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commanding General of III Corps on temporary assignment from JAN through AUG. In 2010 he was the external subject matter expert on temporary assigned control to US Army Civil Affairs Branch’s Capability Based Assessment and then through JUN 2011 to the US Special Operations Command’s Joint Civil Information Management Test Development program. He previously served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division from OCT 2007 through OCT 2008 and was deployed with the brigade in Iraq in 2008. Upon returning from Iraq he served as a social science advisor in US Army Training and Doctrine Command’s G2 (2009). He routinely provides operational support to a number of US Army, DOD, and other US Government elements. Dr. Silverman holds a doctorate in political science and criminology from the University of Florida, as well as masters’ degrees in comparative religion and international security.

* An interstate war involves two or more sovereign states whose militaries are fighting in uniform under their states’ flags with a minimum of a thousand battlefield deaths. Interstate wars will often include types of low intensity warfare, such as rebellions, revolutions, insurgencies, and terror campaigns on one or more sides of the conflict.

Open thread!