Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Since the Last Time, Last Time

The 'last time' I updated (October 5th)  I wrote about the USAF strike in the MSF hospital in Kunduz.  The most recent development of that horror is the announcement that the aircrew involved have been suspended and may be looking at a court martial.  Something has come off the rails at PR headquarters.

LA Times Report

We should recall that the incident happened when Afghan and US Special forces were engaged in the mission to drive the Taliban invaders out of that city - hopefully saving it, without destroying it.  If the Taliban were playing true to form - where the notion about 'fighting and running away' is wiser than 'standing up' like a man so the nice chopper jockeys can shred you, they were probably exiting, stage north, while the good guys rolled into town from the south - at night.  An assault, at the best of times, is usually governed, at least when there are Americans involved,  by the 'war philosophies' of 'fire superiority'  and its related axioms: fire suppression, reconnaissance by fire, fire and movement,  etc - which generally involve a lot of shooting.

That this is happening at night, when either you can't see, or the night vision goggles are lighting up like a Disney movie, you have a recipe for the wrong people getting shot, or shot at.  And so when the 'Spectre' gunship, circling above to provide 'fire support' (another axiom),  received the report that maybe, somebody inside the hospital may have fired at the 'saving' forces, the gun sights would have been zeroed on the coordinates and confirmation of target sought. Obviously they got that for they opened-up and, after 55 minutes of the best airborne bang-bang money can buy and their ammo bins emptied,  the hospital had been put out of commission. Obviously too, in the heat of all that 'action' nobody thought to vet the procedure with HQ - which had, unbeknownst to the birdmen,  one of those silly humanitarian agreements with MSF about not shooting-up their hospital.

I'll bet that, after they wiped-off,  even the gunship crew knew there was a 'shitstorm' coming their way. And so the PR second-guessers kicked into overdrive. They took witnesses out of action to testify to seeing Taliban dashing about and firing from inside the hospital. Only thing wrong with that there were no dead Taliban, their weapons or even empty cartridges from all the shooting, found inside.  Not that there wouldn't have been,  for some non-military types actually got into the hospital before the good guys drove an AFV though the wall of a destroyed ward three days later  to get inside to 'do their investigation'. The MSF and Afghan watchman could easily have spirited-off the dead bad guys and picked up all the empties and guns left behind.   Why they even got the President of Afghanistan on the news,  to say that he wouldn't second-guess 'good intel' and, while it was regrettable, the shoot'em-up was OK by him. The President of the USA, of course, praised the good work of MSF and blamed the Taliban for endangering them. The US armed forces came up with a body of information and 'scenarios' to justify wiping them out.

And to-day, well the pendulum swings and somebodies, the guys at the sharp end, are going to have a chance to make their own case for why they felt the need to do what they were trained and deployed to do,  in front of the humanitarians who sent them there and would have been pinning medals on them if this had turned-out to be a 'feather in their cap', rather than 'a black eye'.   If Joe Heller were still alive he would be roaring about this one.

A human interest story coming out of this sad mess."The Man on the Table"  

Milo Minderbinder lives and the Big Picture is still what counts.

Speaking of that Big Picture again. The western military is agog in anticipation of what Putin is going to do to the Turks.  While he seems to have ruled out risking a 'nukuler conflagration' by attacking a NATO member under Article 5 of the Treaty. (Boo! Hiss!  Pusssaaay!) , Putin is being cracked-up for all kinds of creativity designed to bring about the end of all we hold dear and sacred.  The western media is full of 'what ifs', but the other 80 percent of the balderdash deals with why it was so right of the Turkish Air force to drop a Russian jet in the course of its duties bombing Syrian terrorists - well not quite terrorists like the ones we don't like, these are doing the same things and we do like them.  Like the Kurds defending their homes against ISIS, the Turkomens of Syria are 'defending their homes' against the Assad regime. In most other places they are called 'rebels', in Syria they're called the 'Free Syrian Army' because we've armed them like a regular army  to destroy tanks and aircraft. Apparently they couldn't drop the Russian aircraft 'attacking' them,  so their blood brothers across the border did.   The Russians initially claimed it was ground fire that downed the jet  (it was ground fire that killed one of the crew) but rather than take the 'free out',  the Turks responded with a radar tracking map and claimed the Russians flew over a 20 Km-wide sliver of southern Turkey that pokes 50 KM into northern Syria. the overflight took 17 seconds, during which the Russian aircraft (2) were 'warned' 10 times. Then a Turkish fighter fired an Aamraam long-range missile which struck one of the Russians while it was in Syrian airspace. That caused a crash inside Syria.

Russia denies the aircraft were in Turkey at all.  It's maintaining that story to-day while NATO is making noises about 'overreactions' and the US is saying it can't confirm Turkish radar data.

The Russian media slant:

We'll see where this goes but it's pretty certain it won't be a cause for war or even some Shock 'n Awe.

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