a Someone should care, maybe not you....: August 2008 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

30 August 2008

American Politics

Boy it sure was an interesting week wasn’t it?

I listened to parts of the Democratic convention. (Please note the correct use of the word Democratic. I wish people on both sides of the aisle would grow the fuck up and return to using the correct terms) I heard Sen. Clinton’s big “Let’s pull together” speech. It was well written, well delivered and full of demagoguery. Nothing real said in the whole speech except “Vote for Obama.” I am just cynical enough to wonder what they promised her to get her that much on board. Although, I’ll be honest, I expected her to toe the line if she lost. And for most of her followers to toe it too. They are pretty old school when it comes to politics. If she had won, I doubt Obama’s coalition of the African Americans and young folk would have. I think they would have gone and whined about how the establishment “stole” the nomination from them and they would have sulked the election away. (hence the reason I was pulling for Sen. Clinton to win the Democratic primaries.)
I also heard Biden’s speech. It was less informative than Clinton’s. It was also less well delivered. I didn’t listen to Obama’s speech or Bill Clinton’s. there is only so much I can take and I really didn’t expect to hear anything new or interesting. From listening to the NPR commentators gush about it I was right. (note: The NPR reporters often reminded me of teenage girls talking about the Backstreet Boys (now I have dated myself). So much gushing can be a bit hard to take after awhile.) so. On the Democratic side, I’d rather see the Veep candidate become President than the Presidential candidate. Oh well.

Now the Republicans certainly aren’t immune to political weirdness either. I am still trying to wrap my mind around McCain’s choice for Veep. After all the talk about the need for experience to do the job on day one he chooses someone with arguably less experience than Obama. Yes, I know she has been governor of Alaska. For less than one term. Alaska has less population than many cities in the lower 48. Not exactly top flight presidential training. I think he went for her to A: wave the woman issue in the faces of Democrats. B. Appease some of the “social conservatives” and C: show that he is still the maverick, doing things his own way. It will certainly be interesting to see how it goes.

15 August 2008

I have to wonder....

Today the President of Georgia came out of a 5 hour meeting with Secty Of State Rice visibly upset and gave a speech that condemned the west for failing to help his country . He signed the French negotiated cease fire ( a very good spot for a joke about what France is good for here) but he was not happy about it. the Presidents of Latvai, lithuania, Estonia, and Poland pretty much compare this to the Munich accords that partitioned Czechoslovakia before the second world war. This cease fire doesn't quite do that but it pretty much guarantees that Georgia will lose Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Despite calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops it also allows them to continue "security operations"

I rather expect the meeting consisted of Rice telling him this is best you are going to get take it or leave it because we aren't going to send troops or do anything real to help you now. This is a HUGE win for Russia. The Baltic states have to be wondering how much their NATO membership means now and if the west would do anymore for them than it did for Georgia.

I would really like to see the Ukraine and Poland send troops to Georgia as "peace keepers". I don't think they will. they would be under immense pressure from the US not too but it would be nice to see someone stand up to the Russians here.

I sometimes wonder why anyone trusts us as allies. (Well, anyone outside western Europe, Japan, and Korea at least) W haven't done anything but sell supposed allies down the river since the late 50's. (an exaggeration I know, but not much of one.)

I really didn't expect us to go to war with Russia. but we could have done something better that issue stern statements.

11 August 2008

Georgia follow up

Well, Georgia gave in the the inevitable yesterday and began withdrawing it's forces from Ossetia and called for a cease fire. Russia it seems is having none of that. It is starting to look like we could be heading for the worst case I described in my previous post. The Russian Foreign Minister had declared that they have no intention of settling for Status Quo Ante. At the very least I expect Russia will annex South Ossetia and Abkhazia. IT is looking like they may be moving to overthrow the government of Georgia as a whole. Russia tanks have moved outside of Ossetia and are moving on the city of Gori in Georgia (birth place of Stalin for you trivia buffs). They have also bombed the airpost in the capital of Tbilisi, deployed several thousand troops into Abkhazia and attacked the Georgians there, and deployed their Black Sea fleet to the patrol the coast of Georgia. I do not know yet if they are imposing a blockade but they have sunk at least one Georgia Gunboat.
Things do not look good for the Republic of Georgia. The Georgia government has declared that if the Russians conquer Georgia they will turn to mass guerrilla warfare.

What can/should we do? hard to say. At the VERY LEAST we need to expedite the return of the Georgia forces in Iraq to Georgia. (Frankly, If I were their commander I would have already moved my forces tot he nearest airport and moved into the first available planes. WE owe them that much at the least. I think we should also supply them with anti aircraft weapons, ammo, and other needed supplies.

It would be a very interesting and dangerous call to send troops. That might make the Russians stop, or it might kick off a much larger war. Militarily we could beat the Russians. Their air force and armored units are not the equal of ours. But there are way, way too many bad ends that could come there.

I'll tell you who is watching this in near terror. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. They too have large Russian populations and if Russia succeeds here, they are probably next on the menu.

Surprisingly, it is enough to make me wish I were back in the Army.

09 August 2008

War in the Caucasus

Historically speaking of course saying "War in the Caucasus" is like saying Sunny in Los Angeles, or Muggy in South Florida. It has been the standard condition there for centuries. Pretty much the only time there hasn't been war there has been when some really big outsider has smacked them down and annexed them all (think Russia/USSR or the Mongols) and even then there has been internecine fighting going on.
Georgia became a kingdom around 4 BC. It was a fairly big player in the Crusades as it was a frontline Christian state. It spent the next several centuries being a buffer between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). In the 18th century it became a vassal of Russia in an attempt to keep the Turks out. When the Bolshevik's took over Russia it joined Azerbaijan and Armenia in an anti Bolshevik alliance then declared it's independence from Russia in 1918, In 1922, the USSR took it back. Withe the collapse of the USSR Georgia declared it's independence again in 1991. Parts of Georgia, namely South Ossetia and Abkhazia didn't really want to go along and with Russian support declared their independence from Georgia starting several years of civil war and chaos that sort of settled down into a cold war between Russia and Georgia. Russia has always been annoyed that Georgia didn't fall into line as a little puppet state and got REALLY annoyed when Georgia began talking about joining NATO. South Ossetia and Abkhazia were the anchors it could use to slow Georgia down.

Which brings us up to now. The Ossetian Separatists had been lunching attacks into Georgia for awhile and finally Georgia decided to stop it. They launched what for such a small country was a pretty massive surprise attack a couple of days ago and took most of South Ossetia. I think what they were hoping was that if they could grab it really quickly, Russia would accept it as Fait Accompli. Especially if there were pressure from Europe and the US on them to not intervene in a big way. This gamble appears to have failed. So we are left with an interesting (that is not a good word in international politics) situation. There are several ways this situation could go.
Best case - Russia decides not to go for major intervention, Georgia re absorbs South Ossetia and except for some terrorist action on the part of the Ossetian separatists things settle down untill something happens in Abkhazia. (this scenario is pretty much defunct already.)

Worst Case - Massive Russian intervention. The Russians decide to settle the issue once and for all and crush the entire state of Georgia either annexing it or just imposing a puppet government. I would expect a situation similar to that in Chechnya to result minus the Islamic fundamentalism.

Most likely - Georgia is beaten and backs off to a status quo antebellum with a few concessions and considerably less bravado.

What I absolutely do not see happening at all is any military support of Georgia from anyone, this despite all the joint training exercises the US and Georgia have been having (the Georgia Army National Guard has been having regular "Georgia to Georgia" exercises, the talk of NATO or Georgia's troops in Iraq. Neither the US nor anyone in NATO is willing to get into a shooting match with Russia over Georgia. Sadly the only military support the Georgians will probably get will come from the Islamic terrorists in Chechnya. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

01 August 2008

A good thing

There are a few good things about my employment situation. One of them is that I have time in the mornings to get up and fix stuff like this for breakfast whenever I want too without having to get up early or be rushed.

So, those of you have scarfed down your Egg McMuffin, breakfast burrito, or pastry from a coffee shop, just look at this and imagine how good it was.

And if you are wondering, those were made with blueberries picked fresh off my bushes. And yes, that is real maple syrup poured on top.

Have a good day.