This War Continues

I need to get into the nature of posting in this blog more frequently. It is comforting to have this functioning better though it would help if we had a faster speed to our internet and it would be more stable.

Now on to the current state of the war of Russia on the Ukraine. Ukraine has slowed down the military progress of Russia encircling parts of Ukraine and declaring victory. We are likely in for some very serious times ahead. This is a significant war that has so many undertones and nuances plus past history. This probably will not end well for a number of countries and also regions, including the U.S. and Europe. Russia looks to weaken the West and be the power it was before 1991 when it was essentially broken apart. Today, Russia's army has taken over the largest nuclear power plant in Europe which is in the southern part of Ukraine. Will this be used to blackmail the West? Times are uncertain.

A good article by a blogger with a lot of pragmatic views and there are lots of comments and a link to a Claire Berlinski substance article in the midst. A lot to ponder, worry, and monitor.

<<The article (the Russian press article declaring victory which has not happened and has been removed from its February 26th posting) dovetails with things Putin has been saying and doing for years, which is another reason I believe it’s for real and that it expresses his actual goals: not just to regain the old Russian empire, but – as Khrushchev once famously said – of burying us.

Remember Nineteen Eighty-Four? To paraphrase, “If you want a picture of the future [of Ukraine and all other countries Russia conquers], imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever.”
Remember, too, that although Orwell’s book was set in England, it was modeled after what Orwell knew of the Soviets. Putin isn’t a Marxist, but he has the same devotion they had to subjugating those who might want autonomy. Don’t forget also that before he was a politician,
Putin was a KGB guy. >>

A Return to War in Ukraine

In earlier times of this blog, such as in 2014, I wrote about the history of Eastern Europe and a war by Russia on Ukraine. This history of war goes back decades, centuries even. I mostly discussed the history of the 1930's and 40's brought about by Stalin's policies and control over the Ukraine being called the Holodomor.

There has been more recent interactions and history between the countries, in particular as the Soviet Union broke apart and Ukraine became a separate country with some aspect of democracy at the edge of Russia. Putin, the leader of Russia, sees now an opportunity to bring Ukraine back under their control and build further the prior influence of Russia over its vassal countries like as the Soviet Union.

This is a sad and alarming situation. The Ukrainian people are good people and are not looking for war. People will fight though and are dying. Some are fleeing the country. Some articles found in Tablet Magazine give a sense of what is happening: Lee Smith is a very good writer and has explained how he sees this war came about. Bernard Henri-Levy also writes about Putin and this unbelievable situation. So much feels like a return to the 1930's.

For more knowledge and good literature, I recommend these authors and books:

Robert Conquest - Harvest of Sorrow

Timothy Snyder - Bloodlands, Europe between Hitler and Stalin

Anne Applebaum - Red Harvest, Stalin's War on Ukraine

Seal Team 6 and 2002

The Fog of War they call it. Currently they are considering a Medal of Honor for a man who may have been mistakenly left behind in battle, who fought on against the enemy until almost rescued he did succumb. The story is here.

"An airman with the unit is being considered
for the Medal of Honor after new video
analysis suggested that he fought alone
bravely in a 2002 battle on an Afghan peak."


Early Terror Weapons

Having a surprise edge in battle or war can be the key to victory. They have found that the Romans had "whistling" sling bullets they used to terrorize their barbarian foe. More about it here.

"Some 1,800 years ago, Roman troops used "whistling" sling bullets as a "terror weapon" against their barbarian foes, according to archaeologists who found the cast lead bullets at a site in Scotland.

Weighing about 1 ounce, each of the bullets had been drilled with a 0.2-inch hole that the researchers think was designed to give the soaring bullets a sharp buzzing or whistling noise in flight.

The bullets were found recently at Burnswark Hill in southwestern Scotland, where a massive Roman attack against native defenders in a hilltop fort took place in the second century A.D."

Thirteen Hours

Bob and I went to the movie, Thirteen Hours, this late afternoon over in Corvallis. The movie is about the September 11, 2012 Benghazi outpost attack. It was a riveting movie and disturbing. I can say my reaction was blood-boiling anger that our government disrespects its citizens and also the heroic public servants and military (in uniform and ex) whose service is crucial to our protection and survival. I came across this review of the the movie says and I think it is accurate.
When we left the theatre, Bob felt sick to his stomach……….mostly figuratively but I think a bit literally too. He was tearful. One man when we left commented "That curdles your blood". Bob said one older gentleman left the showing in tears when Bob had to visit the restroom. A very emotional film.

Who Should Write Military History?

One of my side interests is history, especially military history. So it seems that a historians' panel is looking at and stating who they believe should write good military history. It may not be who you think. Check it out here.

"It’s an old question: Does one have to have military experience to write and teach military history? Panelists at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting, all of them military veterans and academics, offered fresh perspectives on the matter here Thursday. And while their responses differed somewhat, a common thread emerged: strong evidence and scholarship and -- hopefully -- good writing should matter more than personal insight."

What Is Counter Terror

With the number of mass shootings increased in recent days, a mix of Jihadi terror and spree killers, I read with interest this piece about there are really two types of shooters. There may be a few exceptions or blends but primarily two. In knowing their habits of how they do their attack, one can learn better how to deal or find them. So read about the two types - the terror soldier and then the lone wacko.

Terrorism is here

Today was another unspeakably bad day. Radical islamic terrorism has hit our shores again. 14 people dead and 21 injured at an attack on a meeting/holiday party at a regional convention center in San Bernardino. So much of the details don't make sense. The two perpetrators have been located and are dead. The whole scenario is alarming.

The Unknown Soldier

I had to get up early today for a long day of travel to Tampa, Florida by way of Denver. I felt fortunate that the flights were on time and I had no problems getting there. The city seems interesting and I wish I had more time to explore.
One additional bit of trivia for the day is about how the concept for the Unknown Soldier came about. Sites are not just located in the United States where we are most familiar as Americans. Here is some background to read about how an unknown soldier is selected. We have visited the Tomb in Arlington Cemetery and it is solemn and inspiring.
tomb-of-unknown-soldier --11-15

World War I Galleries

One of the most interesting sights and museums Bob and I have visited over the years is the Imperial War Museum in London. It was big and full of so much history. I remember the section on World War II where they kept playing Neville Chamberlain’s speech as Britain entered the second World War. The Museum has ben renovated in anticipation of the centennial of the start of their declaring war for World War I on August 4, 1914.

“A moonscape of craters, mud and shattered stumps fills a wall-sized video screen; you can hear shrieking shells and shattering blasts; an enormous British howitzer, meant to pulverize the enemy’s defenses, points toward the fields. The only thing missing in this gallery, devoted to the Battle of the Somme at the Imperial War Museum here, is the ability to conceive of 20,000 British dead and 37,000 wounded or missing in the first day of fighting, and more than a million casualties over all during five months.

It is one of the most powerful presentations at the new First World War Galleries here, suggesting that this seemingly futile battle was actually a turning point. These galleries, which replace an older presentation that was a classic for a generation, are also part of a $67 million rebuilding of the museum, completed in time to commemorate the centennial of Britain’s entry into the war. That occasion was somberly observed across Britain on Aug. 4 with moments of silence, extinguished lights and the scattered petals of red poppies — the war’s symbol of bloodied innocence and death.”

Sherman's March to the Sea

Gone With The Wind as a book and a movie depict in a bigger-than-life way the destruction of Atlanta and plantation life in the South during the Civil War. General Sherman was and still is considered a destroyer, a butcher per se to many people of Southern heritage. Victor Davis Hanson has an article that discusses the Atlanta campaign the Sherman’s severing of supply lines to make his March to the Sea in Georgia. By doing so, he feels he freed himself to attack the structure and illusion of the plantation elite to prop up the Southern armies to continue a prolonged struggle. By taking the war to those who started it and wished to continue their way of life, he brought the reality of war upon them and possibly shortened the war in the end. Interesting military history.

Five Bloodiest Battles in History

Interesting read on what they consider the 5 bloodiest battles in history. The number one top bloodiest was the Battle of Stalingrad.
Read about it, the numbers, and the other four here.

As the lead in paragraph states from this article in Military History online---

“Much of a soldier’s life is spent awaiting and preparing for war. When the moment to take action does come, it is usually bloody, confusing, and over quickly. Often, combat will be on a small scale; a skirmish, a probing patrol, an accidental clash with the enemy in the darkness. At other times, fear will destroy an army, causing men to flee from the perceived threat of death before severe casualties have been sustained by either side. And, finally, there is the battle that surpasses the normal expectations of war in its scale of death and destruction. These are the days where neither side is prepared to surrender, or – as is so often the case – a general’s strategy is such that it leaves the enemy no escape, left to the mercy of the victors.”

Iraq Falling Apart

Why is Iraq quickly disintegrating into a failed state and breaking into different competing regions when it was more on the road to a country that held democratic elections? One good article and opinion is found here. Our current foreign policy lacks good leadership and understanding of the region. We do not have a President who truly knows what he is doing and really is more a poster person for the Presidency than a substantive individual. Whatever makes him political points are all that matters. The rest of us and the world can go hang.

Are We Going Down That Path?

There is going to be endless speculation of whether 2014 closely resembles 1914 enough in turmoil to where we end in a major world conflict. Will it happen? Anyone’s guess and here is another article speculating on the topic.

An Unbroken Hero

Recently, an amazing man and a hero out of World War II passed away. The man is Louis Zamparini and he died at the age of 97. He was a pilot in World War II who survived his planed crashing in the Pacific war theatre followed by many days afloat in the ocean trying to make land. He was then captured by the Japanese and with that, survived a brutal incarceration by the Japanese through to the end of the war. Mr. Zamparini was the central focus of the best selling book, Unbroken. For a moving summary of his exploits and character, it can be found here from the Weekly Standard.

Is It a Pre-War World?

There is a lot of speculation during this 100th anniversary year of the start of World War I that events in the world have many similarities now to that distant year. Do they? As in many instances, yes in a number of ways, and no in so many other essential matters. Walter Russell Mead is one of the best writers and foreign policy analysts out there. You can read his thoughts here.

Top Battleships

Which are the top 5 battleships of all time? Which one would win a battle over another? It depends on the circumstances and who got in the first attack. Are there mismatches or truly matches of battleships. Check it out in this article in National Interest.

Top 10 Bad Decisions of 20th Century

Here we go again, another Top 10 list. This one is the Top 10 bad decisions of the 20th Century. They all seem to be related to wartime decisions. It is interesting to consider a counterfactual scenario of what would have happened if that decision or that action did not happen. I think the list is all justifiable as determined. Some may shift one item out and another in as they consider what is important to them. The list can be found here.

2014, Another Great War?

I have touched on this subject in recent posts, even the one yesterday. What is we were to have a Great War this year, 100 years after the last? Could we? Are the circumstances leaning that way? Here is an article discussing if it could happen and that it would have to entail the United States and China to come close to the impact of the Great War, being they are two super powers who could make the difference. Take a read. See what you think.

Seven Years' War

While we traveled around Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island, we got a better understanding of two wars that affected that part of North America, the Seven Years’ War and the War of 1812. The Louisbourg Fortress was transferred to British hands at the end of the Seven Years’ War. An article that gives a good synopsis of this war on the Continent and in North America is found here.

Among the British, more war with the French seemed likely over their differences in the Americas. The British had taken control of a portion of France's colony in North America in 1710 (during the Queen Anne War of 1702-13), and they had renamed the area they had conquered Nova Scotia.

Foreign Policy

A writer named Walter Russell Mead has a very good blog covering American domestic and foreign issues. He writes thoughtfully and offers great insight in many ways. He had a recent long piece about foreign policy that he divides into four different groups of “thought”……….Jeffersonian, Hamiltonian, Jacksonian, and Wilsonian. He describes their different beliefs and approaches based on current world affairs. It is an interesting read here.

Military Blunders

For interesting reading, check out this HistoryNet article about the 5 worst military blunders. Gallipoli and Custer’s Last Stand are included in the five. The article can be found here.


As a prelude to issues occurring in the European Union in modern times, there was war and turmoil in similar parts of Europe in the early 1600’s. The Treaty of Westphalia helped to bring a close to the Thirty Years’ War. A description of the war and treaty are found here.

In an early version of the EU is described in this manner:

Principles of Westphalia

The Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, bringing an end to the Thirty Years' War, which had drowned Europe in blood in battles over religion, defined the principles of sovereignty and equality in numerous sub-contracts, and in this way became the constitution of the new system of states in Europe.
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