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Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Iron Law in the USAF

Jerry Pournelle posts an informative and timely explanation of the US Air Force's self-assisted decline into military irrelevance:
The heart of the USAF’s institutional culture was Strategic Air Command (SAC). It was where the pilots that learned how to do teamwork, logistics and (nuclear) strategy. That was where officers were groomed for senior flag rank command slots.

When SAC was stood down, Tactical Air Command (TAC) took over in the form of the renamed Air Combat Command (ACC). We are talking fighter jocks, the prima donna’s, the cowboys. The anti-intellectuals who are scared to death of people smarter than they are. Look what happened after the Gulf War when ACC was in charge.

Col. John A. Warden, the architect of the Gulf War air campaign was black balled by Gen. Horner. He retired a thrice passed over Col. at the Air Command and Staff School.

Gen. Corder — the man who put together the 1980’s USAF SEAD doctrine used so well in the Gulf War — was effectively sacked by the USAF chief of Staff (CoS) for disobeying a “strong suggestion” to lie to Congress about the need to retain the F-4G Wild Weasels. (The then CoS was trying to retain more F-15C’s in the force structure.) His efforts to deploy a missile warning system** to protect USAF planes was cancelled partially in retaliation.

When Corder’s allies in Congress started making noise in 1993 about the draw down of F-4G Wild Weasel and EF-111’s, the USAF put the recently retired Corder on a special six month SEAD study to satisfy them. Then the Air Staff sat on the results for close to three years. Corder, under the legal restrictions of the Reagan era secrecy laws, was thus effectively silenced while the deed was done. The downing of Capt. O’ Grady in Bosnia was a direct result of the purging of F-4G Wild Weasel and EF-111 Spark ‘Vark’s from the USAF force structure and senior ACC staff’s willing EW incompetence.

USAF CoS Fogleman, for all his faults, recognized the lack of institutional professionalism. His support of the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alb. and attempts to create a USAF doctrine codifying entity like the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) were what was needed.
Unfortunately, Fogleman could not delegate and his reforms died with his military career. The inability to delegate is a defining fault of USAF fighter pilot culture. Fogleman’s successors haven’t tried to address these core institutional issues since then. The F-22 budget wars and the real wars since 1997 have left the USAF CoS no time for anything else, assuming they were interested.

Jerry adds: The Iron Law even in the military, dammit. The purpose of warriors is to win wars.  It takes one force to gain and keep air supremacy, another to support the ground army.  The army can win without ground support if the other guy also has none, and we used to plan Cold War battles in which neither side had supremacy.  That was tough and the obvious conclusion is that air supremacy is vital; but that does not mean that support of the ground forces is not important. If the Air Force won’t give it, take the mission away; and if USAF blocks that, abolish USAF and bring back USAAF.

There is real evidence surfacing that the Iron Law has taken over to such a degree that the bureaucrats in the USAF are literally more loyal to their bureaucracy than to the country they are sworn to serve:

The Air Force is investigating allegations that the No. 2 commander at its prestigious Air Combat Command told lower-ranking officers that talking to members of Congress about the capabilities of the A-10 attack aircraft is tantamount to treason.

The alleged comment by Maj. Gen. James Post has stirred concern in Congress about the Air Force muzzling officers in violation of their legal rights. "This is very serious, to accuse people of treason for communicating with Congress," Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, told Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, who testified Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Post is reported to have told Air Force officers attending a recent weapons and tactics conference in Nevada that it is their duty to support the service's budget priorities by refraining from offering opinions inconsistent with those priorities. Air Force leaders have proposed retiring the A-10 fleet but Congress has refused, and some inside the Air Force have sided with Congress.
I see no point in a separate air force anymore. It has an insulated and myopic perspective on war that is entirely backwards, it is on the verge of being technologically irrelevant, and it simply cannot deliver the results it promises. Give ground support to the Army and Marines, give air and space supremacy to the Navy, and be done with it.

Labels:

152 Comments:

Blogger Tom Kratman January 29, 2015 8:45 AM  

Though effective enough a description, in practice, I think Jerry's Iron Law misses something. There are not two but _four_ kinds of people in a bureaucracy. The other two are a) those who work neither for the bureaucracy nor for the goals of the bureaucracy, but only for themselves, and b) those who do little or no work at all. It may be the existence of that last group that is all that makes living under a bureaucracy remotely tolerable.

Blogger Tom Kratman January 29, 2015 8:48 AM  

Oh, and again, for the reasons mentioned previously, it's really not as simple as that.

Anonymous RedJack January 29, 2015 8:49 AM  

The purpose of any branch of the military is not to win wars, but funding and prestige.

In a way, the F22 is a bit like the current Special Forces fetish. Great in certain instances, but as an old British general once said, it sucks a lot of resources away from the regular line troops, and leads them to believe they are not important. Which if you really want to win a way, you need more than a few SEAL teams or F22's.

Your recent comments on 4 generation warfare have really got me thinking. It is clear the military is not gearing up to win a war, but to win a funding battle with Congress. The command structure in the USAF has no desire or skill to fight an enemy.

Blogger JaimeInTexas January 29, 2015 9:02 AM  

Since there is no mention of an Air Force in the Constitution, a push for an amendment might be a vehicle to subsume it into the army.
Was it not, at first, the Army Air Core?

OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 January 29, 2015 9:03 AM  

Warthog.
But who's gonna' fly...um..."important" gub'mint folks around the planet?
Tom Cruise? John Travolta? "Skully"?

CaptDMO

Anonymous joe doakes January 29, 2015 9:05 AM  

A big standing army takes and holds ground until Imperial Governors arrive to integrate the area into the Empire. Persia. Rome. Europe after WW II - we kept our share, the Russians, theirs. Requires decades of patient administration to recreate a people - the British in India model.

Republicans took Vietnam and Iraq with huge armies, Democrats got bored with patient administration and gave them back. No lands added to the empire = waste of time and lives.

Going forward . . . are we likely to reestablish an empire? If so, huge army required with air superiority and ground support and every bell and whistle (the most expensive luxury is a second-best military).

If we're not going to reestablish an empire . . . what? Disband and hope for the best?

OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 January 29, 2015 9:07 AM  

"Was it not, at first, the Army Air Core?"
Yes, and there's a REASON it was taken away from the Army Generals!

CaptDMO

Anonymous RatDog January 29, 2015 9:07 AM  

I completed the Air Command & Staff College (ACSC) course by correspondence. It was a joke. Seven exams—all of which were fifty multiple choice questions where you chose from A, B, and C. Oh yeah, and a really bad video game simulation to accompany the last course. I think they changed to a new version now.
What struck me was that there was very little theory on strategy or warfighting. One of seven modules covered strategy. You read some AF officers’ interpretations of Clausewitz but no Clausewitz himself. There were a few articles on Boyd, OODA, and some wilder theories by Warden.
The vast majority of ACSC was learning AF institutions and bureaucracy. You learned all the offices in an Air Operations Center for example but not how to manage air operations. You learned the institutions and jargon of the national security establishment. The entire course was really a course in AF Public Administration.
The one thing I was pleased about was that the modules on air power were not an unabashed support of Douhet’s theories. It was actually some very long excerpts on the history of air power by some non-AF air power historians.
In short, absolutely nothing was learned about how to properly manage or execute an air operation. Nothing was learned about commanding an AF unit. Nothing was learned about choosing what type of assets were required for a particular sortie. Nothing about how the AF should fight a war. And yet the AF is probably the service that places the highest value on these Professional Military Education (PME) courses.
Interestingly enough, the Navy has by far the best PME courses and places little to no emphasis on them at all in officer development.
I learned far more from reading Lind’s “On War” series than I did from any of the PME courses I took. Only the Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School taught any theory about combat tactics.
It should be kept in mind that unlike the other services, warfighters are a very small percentage of the overall AF—and this gets much much smaller if you don’t include air mobility / airlift in this tally. You have a few pilots who fly fighters (A-10s are included in the fighter category), far fewer who fly bombers, and a bunch who fly helos. Other than special tactics units, the AF is mostly tail with little tooth. Of course, that is to be expected with aircraft. You need a lot more guys turning wrenches than flying.
Here’s something else: what is the first level at which a warfighter gets an independent command in battle? In the Marine Corps, probably the corporal in charge of a fire team. Not a whole lot outside of the fire team matters when stuff happens. In the Navy, probably the rear admiral in charge of a carrier strike group. A ship’s captain has a command but seems much more focused internally on ship’s operations than on the battle as a whole where his ship is just one part. Naval PME actually made a point of this in saying that it there was an argument that naval officers might not need PME if so few will reach this level of command. In the AF, the first rank at which someone gets real control of air operations is the four-star Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFAAC).
The AF as a whole—probably due to their low tooth to tail ratio just doesn’t have a combat or warfighting orientation.
As for the AF being a separate service, I note that the Mexican AF is a subsidiary branch under command of the army. The highest grade they can achieve is Lieutenant General.

Anonymous DrTorch January 29, 2015 9:08 AM  

Since this is remotely connected to "battlefield lasers" I sadly mention here that Charles Townes died.

Anonymous Mike M. January 29, 2015 9:23 AM  

RatDog:

Good grief. I went through the Naval War College Command and Staff program, and we read our Thucydides and Clausewitz in the original. And at that, I considered the course weak on naval strategy...you have to dig into Mahan and Corbett for that.

The ultimate problem with the USAF is that the General officer cadre is EXTREMELY corporatist. There's one Official Line, which they all are expected to toe. Robust debate and discussion, the sort you would see in the Navy, is not tolerated. The sad part being that the USAF has some very, very impressive people at the staff-grade level. Turn the O-4 to O-6 level loose, and they could turn the USAF into a tremendous fighting force.

As it is...the Army Air Corps sounds like a good idea. Turn the ICBMs over to the Navy, maybe the strategic bombers as well. Actually, I'd tend to turn over the procurement of aircraft in general over to the Navy...there are Constitutional limits on the duration of an appropriation for Army spending that impede efficient procurement.

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 9:26 AM  

Republicans took Vietnam and Iraq with huge armies, Democrats got bored with patient administration and gave them back. No lands added to the empire = waste of time and lives.


Nixon was a republican.

Anonymous Homesteader January 29, 2015 9:29 AM  

This was first noted in the late 19th century. (A Frenchman, if memory serves, studying bureaucratic organizations made the observation).

Every bureau has 2 purposes.
1. Its ostensible purpose.
2. Self preservation and promotion.

(Is the Navy really "A Global Force For Good"? No, but it helps with budget allocations.)

The Air Force is no different than the other services in this regard. Its problem goes back to its founding.
Lemay was a genius, but the premise of an independent Air Force single handedly winning a war was not based on amy observable reality. The daytime bombing raids, heroic though they were, still needed the D Day armada to achieve victory.

But flying planes is fun, so the blue boys get mad if you try to take their toys away. And being in your own club is fun too, which is why they'll never accede to it being shut down. And dogfighters get the chicks. (See Top Gun for the height of fighter porn. I don't think A-10 pilots get many movies made about them.)

Clearly, though, it does need shutting down.

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 9:30 AM  

(See Top Gun for the height of fighter porn. I don't think A-10 pilots get many movies made about them.)

Of course the top gun pilots are naval aviators...

Anonymous Homesteader January 29, 2015 9:36 AM  

But fighter pilots still!

Anonymous Homesteader January 29, 2015 9:39 AM  

Or "Aviators" - I forgot my Tom Wolfe.

Blogger Owen January 29, 2015 9:51 AM  

Republicans took Vietnam and Iraq with huge armies, Democrats got bored with patient administration and gave them back. No lands added to the empire = waste of time and lives.

Given the checks and balances and split Congress/presidency, I doubt anything can be drawn from those experiences. Both were filled with strategic blunders.

And, as noted, Kennedy/Johnson were Dems (I'm not counting Eisenhower's very limited "start" to Vietnam) and Nixon was a Rep. Even if you want to end Vietnam in '75, as some do, it was still Ford.

Anonymous Homesteader January 29, 2015 9:51 AM  

"In proportion to its attractiveness to women will be the durability of a male activity".

Good luck with those F-35 cuts.

Anonymous RatDog January 29, 2015 9:52 AM  

And while we're bashing the AF for military irrelevance, I wanted to pass along this little gem which was published when I was at Yokota Air Base-- an article titled "Pride in Uniform" (yes, THAT kind of pride)...

http://www.yokota.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123307600

Scroll to picture #4 or click here to see this monstrosity:

http://www.yokota.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/120604-F-NW635-001.jpg

Blogger Bob Ramar January 29, 2015 10:00 AM  

If you want to gain some understanding how the Air Force became what it is today, I recommend reading
"Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram". It is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This was another officer who was blackballed for 'unconventional' beliefs regarding warfare, tactics, and tools for the job.

Blogger Bob Ramar January 29, 2015 10:04 AM  

Josh: You said "Nixon was a Republican."

Actually, Nixon was a liberal Republican who did more to create the modern welfare state than Johnson could have ever dreamed of. Congress was owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Democrats, who defunded the military's activities for Viet Nam, effectively ending our military presence there.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 10:04 AM  

"The daytime bombing raids, heroic though they were"

Cooking civilians for barely any strategic gain is heroic?

Anonymous Nathan January 29, 2015 10:05 AM  

Boyd's story drives home the "if it's not on the checklist, we ain't doing it" and the "faster, higher, farther" beliefs of the USAF. Yet, if it wasn't for the unconventional Boyd, we wouldn't have the F-15, F-16, and A-10.

Anonymous hygate January 29, 2015 10:15 AM  

`"Was it not, at first, the Army Air Core?"
Yes, and there's a REASON it was taken away from the Army Generals!`

And the reason was that the thinking at the time was that armies were obsolete for winning wars. The air force would bomb the enemy into submission and then ground forces would go in, after the fight was over, to perform civil administration tasks.

Why anyone would think this reasonable after fighting WWII I cannot fathom.

The Air Force has always been lousy at ground support because they don't see that as their mission. That's why the Army has attack helicopters, since they aren't fixed wing they don't come under the Key West Agreement

None of this is new. The Air Force was trying to get rid of the A-10 when I was in the Army 20 years ago and more. The big difference now is that the Army has drones. And it is possible to automate and remotely control fighter jets, which pretty much just fire missles at targets from a distance. Nobody dog fights anymore.

Blogger Captain Atom January 29, 2015 10:19 AM  

Marshell L Michel , an AF officer, wrote an excellent book titled "Clashes" about the complete disfunction of TAC during Vietnam, and the subsequent whitewashing in the official AF history. Very highly recommended.

Blogger sysadmn January 29, 2015 10:26 AM  

It's kind of funny that any discussion of the Air Force role, especially within the Air Force, downplays the one vital role they fill: Air Mobility. You can't put ordnance on target or boots on the ground until you get them into the theater.
http://www.amc.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=229

That's not to say it couldn't fill that role as a DOD agency or Army sub-unit.

Blogger skiballa January 29, 2015 10:33 AM  

Tommy Hass, correct me if I'm wrong, but in another thread, weren't you chiding the West for a lack of resolve to do such things? And now chiding the West for having done such things, I fail to see your logic.

Blogger Nate January 29, 2015 10:36 AM  

There is no such thing a a Muslim civilian.

Blogger skiballa January 29, 2015 10:38 AM  

Nate, that's something I learned from 39 months in Iraq, though I did like most of the Turks I met, so long as I kept one hand on my wallet.

Blogger Al Cibiades January 29, 2015 10:51 AM  

@RatDog One challenge to re-combining the AF and the USA will be in force retention culture. E6's and up in the AF especially are highly and expensively trained and the USAF does quite a bit to keep them from leaving and going to civilian employment. I suspect there are quite a few young people who'd join the AF who would never consider the Marines or Army.

Anonymous ZT January 29, 2015 10:53 AM  

I grew up in the Air Force and witnessed Air Force bureaucracy and politicking first hand. There has generally always been the chip on the AF's shoulder as it is mostly a support army. It has the cargo planes, logistics arms and bases all over to place to move troops and goods around. The fighter jocks loved Desert storm as it was a place for them to prove out their worth and not let Navel Aviators have all the fun.

The AF is a great support unit and the bomber arm is the biggest offensive unit. The original intent of the fighter wings is support for bombers and ground forces. Problem is the logistics to get fighters to the battle field is solved by the Navy. This leaves the AF Fighters playing mostly defensive roles, at least until they had stealth tech where they could theoretically avoid getting killed by AAM. However "Defense" isn't so sexy in the military.

Marines assault, Army holds.
Navy strikes, Air Force... We don't know.

Air Force support units, A-10, C-130, and bombers are frankly it's best assets but they are all "support" assets.
The Navy is better positioned Air Superiority. Their base of operations is mobile and can adapt to the changing battle field far better than the AF.

My biggest problem with Army absorbing the AF is they are almost as myopic as the Air Force. This could change if both were joined at the hip the way Navy and Marines are but the AF is really good at one thing, playing Washington.

Anonymous Steve Canyon January 29, 2015 10:55 AM  

The new ACSC isn't different from the old, save for the fact there are now papers to write between the modules. Squadron Officer School had zero warrior orientation. A lot of management theory from academics.

The School of Advanced Air and Space Studies is about the only warrior-knowledge program they have. Not many deign to enter the program and guys from my career field aren't even encouraged to attend.


Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 10:57 AM  

Actually, Nixon was a liberal Republican who did more to create the modern welfare state than Johnson could have ever dreamed of. Congress was owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Democrats, who defunded the military's activities for Viet Nam, effectively ending our military presence there.

Nothing in your paragraph refutes what I stated.

Anonymous rho January 29, 2015 10:58 AM  

Completely OT: Ann Sterzinger reviews RIDING THE RED HORSE at Taki's.

Anonymous Homesteader January 29, 2015 11:02 AM  

Tommy-don't be disingenuous. It's tiresome.

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 11:07 AM  

"There is no such thing a a Muslim civilian."

Does anyone know of any studies that looked at jihadists by race, ethnicity, or nationality?

My thinking is that Arab + Muslim or Chechen + Muslim might pose a greater risk than Indian + Muslim or Indonesian + Muslim.

Blogger skiballa January 29, 2015 11:11 AM  

I'm not sure Josh, but if we factor in Persian+Muslim and Filipino+Muslim, it appears that the Muslim is the determining factor.

Blogger TheCitadel January 29, 2015 11:14 AM  

Don't forget, the Bali bombings were carried out by Indonesians Muslims.

Blogger Vox January 29, 2015 11:18 AM  

Why anyone would think this reasonable after fighting WWII I cannot fathom.

It's simple. About 80 percent of infantry casualties were caused by artillery, so the assumption was that airpower would replace artillery. It was reasonable, but wrong, for the obvious reason that artillery turned out to be much cheaper and tougher and more powerful and more accurate than airpower.

Blogger skiballa January 29, 2015 11:18 AM  

Oh, and let's not forget the Uighur in China either.

Blogger skiballa January 29, 2015 11:22 AM  

And artillery, or specifically ADA is probably a bigger threat to our air power than other planes. Breaking up the AF and distributing it across the other services according to mission seems to make sense.

Anonymous Athor Pel January 29, 2015 11:25 AM  

I'm sharing the following in order to provide some perspective, fill in the institutional background.

I was AF enlisted, 4 years active, 3 years Air Guard, never got above E-5. The unique thing to wrap your head around about AF culture is that it is mostly enlisted technicians and bureaucrats. And stateside on a day to day basis feels much like a large corporation.

You may wonder, "Well, what about the officers"? From the enlisted perspective officers are to be avoided because they're human and have the authority to end your career, fine you, bust you in rank or put you in prison. Kind of like dealing with cops for a civilian.

One thing that distinguishes the AF from the Army and Marines, AF officers are pretty much the only trigger pullers in the AF. Any deed that is an act of war or otherwise of significant import is, by policy, done by commissioned officers. For the most part the only "warriors" in the AF are line officers. You can guess what kind of mentality, institutional or personal, this encourages.

On a functional day to day basis you have situations such as the following. This is going to be from an intel perspective because that is what I have experience with.

You have an intel unit, vast majority of billets are enlisted, they do 24/7/365 sigint collection. One day something happens, one of them sees, hears, an event as it is happening. This event is reportable and not just any reportable but a critic or flash. This particular room of 40 operators are all enlisted except for one officer, a first or second lieutenant, maybe a captain. The officer's only duty is to issue the report given to him by the airman. From what I could see he didn't have any other job in that room, or not much of one.

Next situation. Group of operators on a flying intel platform with the capability to jam signals. Active jamming is considered an act of war. Again we have a plane full of enlisted operators with one low rank officer and he has one main duty, he pushes the button to jam the selected signal. The enlisted folks are not allowed to push that button.

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 11:31 AM  

Make the AF the Army Air Force again, give them a seat on the JCOS the way the Corps is treated as part of the Navy. Making the AF a separate service makes about as much sense as making armor and mech a separate service. Space goes to Navy.

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 11:39 AM  

One thing that distinguishes the AF from the Army and Marines, AF officers are pretty much the only trigger pullers in the AF. Any deed that is an act of war or otherwise of significant import is, by policy, done by commissioned officers. For the most part the only "warriors" in the AF are line officers. You can guess what kind of mentality, institutional or personal, this encourages.

Somewhat tangentially, there is no valid reason to restrict pilot billets to commissioned officers. A college degree in English or basketweaving for that matter, does not qualify one to fly a plane. If pay/retention becomes an issue it can be dealt with quite easily with additional pay (flight pay). For that matter, an infantry platoon does not need a Lt. to lead it. That should be a staff NCO billet. The only valid purpose of making that a commissioned billet is to give Lt's experience and there are other ways to deal with that.

Blogger dfordoom January 29, 2015 11:59 AM  

Marshell L Michel , an AF officer, wrote an excellent book titled "Clashes" about the complete disfunction of TAC during Vietnam, and the subsequent whitewashing in the official AF history. Very highly recommended.

I read that one not long ago. Great book and a real eye-opener.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 12:01 PM  

"Tommy Hass, correct me if I'm wrong, but in another thread, weren't you chiding the West for a lack of resolve to do such things? And now chiding the West for having done such things, I fail to see your logic."

Nonsense. I saud that one should do what is necessary to win. Those bombings were simple, pointless, indiscriminate slaughter, that had very little effect on the ultimate outcome.

I'm not kidding when I say that the London bombings on 7/7 were more heroic than the air raids over Germany.

Blogger dfordoom January 29, 2015 12:06 PM  

there is no valid reason to restrict pilot billets to commissioned officers.

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the RAF in WW2 have enlisted men serving as fighter pilots? With the rank of sergeant? And the RAF did OK in the Battle of Britain.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 29, 2015 12:07 PM  

Interestingly enough, the Navy has by far the best PME courses and places little to no emphasis on them at all in officer development.

Generally nothing degrades the quality of something faster than making it mandatory. It's more or less inevitable when the size of your customer base depends on pleasing rulemakers more than on pleasing customers.

Anonymous hygate January 29, 2015 12:11 PM  

"Somewhat tangentially, there is no valid reason to restrict pilot billets to commissioned officers. A college degree in English or basketweaving for that matter, does not qualify one to fly a plane. "

And the Army Air Corp did have enlisted pilots at one time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_pilot

Anonymous Jack Amok January 29, 2015 12:11 PM  

he sad part being that the USAF has some very, very impressive people at the staff-grade level. Turn the O-4 to O-6 level loose, and they could turn the USAF into a tremendous fighting force.

In the private sphere, when a company succombs to the Iron Law, what typically happens is these folks, the equivalent of O-4 to O-6 grades, leave and form their own small competitor (or join an existing, less-bureaucratic competitor).

Bell Labs -> Shockley Semiconductor -> Fairchild -> Intel

Oddly enough, militias seemed to provide something like this way back when. Ulysses Grant had resigned his commission in the US Army before the Civil War. When the war broke out, he wrote the Army offering to re-join. They didn't get back to him, so he accepted a staff position with a militia, and was quickly asked to take command of it. A few demonstrated success and he was back in the regular army.

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 12:11 PM  


Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the RAF in WW2 have enlisted men serving as fighter pilots? With the rank of sergeant? And the RAF did OK in the Battle of Britain.


Yes. U.S. did too at one time.

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 12:13 PM  

Wasn't GHW Bush an enlisted pilot?

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 12:15 PM  

"There is no such thing a a Muslim civilian."

Go drink bleach you worthless vermin.

"I'm not sure Josh, but if we factor in Persian+Muslim and Filipino+Muslim, it appears that the Muslim is the determining factor."

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Persians are notoriously mellow and peaceful. Indonesians are notoriously mellow and peaceful.

"Don't forget, the Bali bombings were carried out by Indonesians Muslims."

Who cares? How many Indonesians do this? You could let a million Indonesian Muslims into your country and have less trouble than you would have if you had 50.000 Chechens.

"Oh, and let's not forget the Uighur in China either."

What about the Uighurs? Maybe you should actually make arguments instead of hinting at it and leaving it up to us to decipher what you're trying to say.

Your implication seems to be that Uighurs are just as violent as every other muzzie group.

Not only is that bullshit, it is also irrelevant: Chinese are some of the most oppressive scum there is. (or at least their government is) We know the oppression they inflict upon the Tibetans, who are nown for their pacifism. This is evidence that the oppression they are inflicting on Uighurs cannot be regarded as a reaction to Uighur aggression, since they are doing the same to Vajrayana Buddhists. The common factor here are the Chinese.

Then there is that stuff about the scumbags in Burma slaughtering Muslim women for accidentally cycling into praying Buddhist women. There is no question that they are the offending party, but that doesn't matter to you does it?

*spit*

Anonymous Homesteader January 29, 2015 12:15 PM  

Were those in the mission orders?

"Gentlemen, today the 431st Bomber wing's mission is pointless, indiscriminate slaughter. Bombadiers, set your sights on Kinder, Kirche, Kuchen. Move out."

They were trying to win a war. The Germans had no problem launching the Blitz. You, as a scion of the Saracens, should grasp that "pointless, indiscriminate slaughter" depends on where one stands on the battlefield.

Blogger Bob Ramar January 29, 2015 12:19 PM  

Josh: Last time I checked, Congress has the power of the purse. The loss of Vietnam actually occurred under Gerald Ford. Yes, President Ford was also a Republican ... a liberal one. Again, Congress controls the power of the purse. President Ford could have vetoed the legislation, but chose not to do so. Therefore he was acceding to and agreeing with the Democrat's initiative. Six months or so later, the NVA invaded the South and the rest, as they say, is history.

Anonymous hygate January 29, 2015 12:19 PM  

And Army helicoptor pilots are warrant officers, not commissioned.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 12:20 PM  

Anyone who doesn't distinguish between fighters and civilians is filth, comparable to the people who were sent to the gallows around Nuremberg.

Your day will come too, Natey boy.

Anonymous Sam the Man January 29, 2015 12:23 PM  

Turks are different than Arabs, both genetically and culturally.

Blogger Bob Ramar January 29, 2015 12:23 PM  

Josh: Both George Bush I was a pilot (WWII, Naval Aviator, Wildcat Fighter and Avenger Bomber) and his son George Bush II (Air Force and Air Force Reserve, F-104 Interceptor).

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 12:24 PM  

Again, Congress controls the power of the purse. President Ford could have vetoed the legislation, but chose not to do so. Therefore he was acceding to and agreeing with the Democrat's initiative.

Case-Church was cosponsored by a democrat and a republican.

Nixon was a republican.

Kissinger was a.republican.

Ford was a republican.

Case was a republican.

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 12:25 PM  

Anyone who doesn't distinguish between fighters and civilians is filth

Google "Armenian genocide"

Anonymous RedJack January 29, 2015 12:26 PM  

Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 12:20 PM
Anyone who doesn't distinguish between fighters and civilians is filth, comparable to the people who were sent to the gallows around Nuremberg.


Then why wasn't Curtis LeMay and "Bomber" Harris in the dock then? The orders were to kill civilians, cause chaos, and punish the Germans for letting Hilter come to power. Go read a history book about the bombing raids in WWII. The British used night raids so they could kill civilians in their beds.
Or google "Terror bombing WWII".

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 12:28 PM  

Summary:

Nate: there are no Muslim civilians

Tommy: anyone who says there are no Muslim civilians is not a civilian

Anonymous RatDog January 29, 2015 12:29 PM  

The best model for integrating air and ground forces is the Marine Corps MAGTF model. Both air and ground are under the command (OPCON) of a single commander and the roles of both are understood. Under the current AF / Army model, the AF pilots can tell an army ground commander to eat dirt if the mission isn't approved by his AF commanders through the Air Operations Center. The Marine Corps aviators will answer to a single commander in charge of the mission.

The Army, Navy, and AF aviation assets are under OPCON of the JFAAC for whatever he wants done which may not be in line with what ground forces want. However it is spelled out ahead of time that Marine Corps aviation is reserved strictly for Marine Corps missions and may be put under OPCON or TACON of the JFAAC in general depending on excess capacity (which probably doesn't happen with such high demand on air assets).

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 12:29 PM  

"They were trying to win a war. The Germans had no problem launching the Blitz. You, as a scion of the Saracens, should grasp that "pointless, indiscriminate slaughter" depends on where one stands on the battlefield."

I have this opinion because I strongly identify with those that were killed during those raids. I grew up in this country after all, no matter how much some wish to minimize the effect of geographical relocation, it does have some effect.

When I hear people talking about why the bombings in London around 2005 were bad, they always say that civilians were targeted.

Did the firebombing campaigns have any military value? They didn't destroy airbased, train tracks or factories. They deliberately created fire storms that scorched as many civilians as possilble.

This isn't even "collateral damage". This is intentional carnage.

Oh and spare me the "THE GEMUNS DID IT TOO" argument. The Nazi regime has become a synonym for evil because of it's actions. You're telling me Allied bombings of civilian, non industrial targets wasn't evil because the Nazis did it too? REALLY?

I don't have a problem with Allied pilots bombing factories or airbases. Hell, even a blockade designed to starve the population makes sense as it has a miltary advantage. Those killed by air raids, didn't do much to win the war. It was senseless death.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 12:34 PM  

"Google "Armenian genocide""

Irrelevant. Did *I* say that there is no giaour or Armenian civilian?

"Turks are different than Arabs, both genetically and culturally."

Fun fact: one nickname for negros in Turkish is "Arabs". Lol.

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 12:34 PM  

Then why wasn't Curtis LeMay and "Bomber" Harris in the dock then?

Because their side won the war.

In his own words:

"Killing Japanese didn't bother me very much at that time... I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal.... Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you're not a good soldier."

Anonymous RedJack January 29, 2015 12:39 PM  

Josh you are right.

Which is why I have grown to look at aspects of Nuremburg as pure political theater. When you have the USSR judging the Nazi's for genocide, it isn't a real court of law.

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 12:50 PM  

Irrelevant. Did *I* say that there is no giaour or Armenian civilian?

So, those Turks are filth?

Blogger dw January 29, 2015 12:54 PM  

@Tommy Hass

Its hilarious just how easy it is to get your goat...

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 12:59 PM  

"Its hilarious just how easy it is to get your goat..."

I didn't know that getting mad is a defeat condition.

"So, those Turks are filth?"

..........probably? Engaging in massacres of innocents makes you filth, I thought.

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 12:59 PM  

Its hilarious just how easy it is to get your goat...

Um, yeah, no. Bad call. He really loves his goat!

Blogger skiballa January 29, 2015 1:01 PM  

@ dw
It truly is

@ Tommy

To be more clear, it's more like, every Arab is a combatant until proven otherwise. Not that I'd be immediately hostile, but certainly circumspect until I know better. And if that causes you to get upset, perhaps you should complain to the non-uniformed combatants that have caused this state of affairs.

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 1:04 PM  

..........probably? Engaging in massacres of innocents makes you filth, I thought.

Probably? Why waffle?

Tell us again how one should deal with gypsies.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 1:10 PM  

"To be more clear, it's more like, every Arab is a combatant until proven otherwise. Not that I'd be immediately hostile, but certainly circumspect until I know better. And if that causes you to get upset, perhaps you should complain to the non-uniformed combatants that have caused this state of affairs."

Oh THAT...

Well, that's Arabs for you...(we still remember Lawrence btw)

Arabs being duplicious sneaks is not a problem if you don't invade their countries. And maybe if you don't let them in.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 1:18 PM  

"Probably? Why waffle?"

Sarcasm, aunt Stilicho, sarcasm.

"Tell us again how one should deal with gypsies."

It's questionable whether gypsies are people. :^)

I dunno. Not let them into your country in the first place? Pay them 40.000€ per capita to fuck off and never return? Deport them if they came recently? Bar them from citizenship? Bar them from healthcare? Raise taxes on them to prevent them form breeding like rats. Make them live in ghettos as to prevent them from bothering civilized people with their "Do you have 50 cents?"

Close to where I live, a whole building has been taken over by them. Tbh, it's not the end of the world, but it's still and eyesore. Can't even tell my nephews to play outside instead of whatching shit on youtube. Play with whom?

Oh well, it's not my fault that the locals are easily brainwashed and with an underdeveloped sense of xenophobia.

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 1:18 PM  

Arabs being duplicious sneaks is not a problem if you don't invade their countries. And maybe if you don't let them in.

Agreed.

Anonymous Homesteader January 29, 2015 1:19 PM  

No Tommy. I'm not defending Dresden. I am defending the pilots who were given an incredibly dangerous mission, and who did their best to try to accomplish it.

Your original statement was a categorical condemnation of the daytime bombing runs. (I asserted they were "heroic"- you disputed this.)

Do you deny that many of the bombing runs WERE strategically helpful to the Allies? Do you deny the raw physical courage it took to pilot a bomber over Axis territory? You acknowledge that the Nazis were evil- what measures, in such a struggle, would YOU refrain from in order to placate your moral sensibilities?

If the outcome were uncertain, would you still refrain from them?

Your hindsight judgement is all well and good. I congradulate you on your moral superiority. I admire your renunciation of total warfare against women and children.

Tell me, in light of that, will you be renouncing Islam as well?

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 1:20 PM  

Oh well, it's not my fault that the locals are easily brainwashed and with an underdeveloped sense of xenophobia.

Shouldn't you be thankful for that, lest you find yourself on a cattle car headed to summer camp?

Blogger skiballa January 29, 2015 1:25 PM  

Sadly Tommy, it's not up to me at this point. When I was a soldier, I went where I was told, I'd be perfectly happy to leave them to their own devices over there. Here, on the other hand, I still don't have a choice, but if it comes down to it, I will not be standing around idly when action becomes necessary.

Anonymous Sam the Man January 29, 2015 1:26 PM  

Tommy, my entire interactions with Turks are as either graduate students or as soldiers.

The graduate students were quite western, their wives wore short-skirts when they visited the lab and while Muslim; they did not seem to have any problems with Jews, Christians or westerners in general. That said these were secular Turks, they liked Ataturk and his reforms. Very likeable folks and their opinions of Jordanians and Arabs in general made for a lot of laughs. Not politically correct at all.

The soldiers were a different breed. They are throwbacks to a different time. Truly bad-ass in way completely unlike Western SF types. Most of what follows is from stories, not personal interaction.

1) The Turks did not take prisoners in Korea. Period.
2) A soldier falling asleep on duty would be shot, on the spot by the officers who discovered him. This was observed by a fellow I know at a Turkish radar base in 1963.
3) Years later a Sailor fell asleep at his post in a US port while their ship was here for some port of call. The Turks went off shore- and then hung the poor sap just outside of the 12 mile limit. Related to me by Navy helicopter pilot who swore a squadron mate saw this, in the late 1980s.
4) Artillery officer fellow (National Guard) was at a joint NATO training exercise in the early 1990s. Typical male chest pounding in Officers club. Turk comes up, says something like “you guys so tough any of you willing to do this?”...sticks a knife through his hand. As the officer related “he won the biggest balls completion right there”.
5) Personal observation Post 9/11: Turkish cadre sent over to US for training. Final test of air assault course is a morning march with pack and rifle, pretty hard march in high heat and humidity, must complete to get your tab. One of the Turks is having trouble, looks like he is going to have to fall out. He does. Another Turk comes up and talks to him in Turkish. Guy gets up and completes, looks like death warmed over. Word was the Turk told the soldier failing that he had better compete the march or die, because if he does not compete that is the end of his career and there will be even worse implications.

The military enlisted Turk seems to spring from Anatolian peasant stock and is truly tough. Every Turk officer seems to be University educated and utterly without remorse of mercy towards anybody as regards accomplishing his mission.

In any case, do you dis-agree with the above characterization Tommy? I ask as if you agree, I do not think you can complain about western harshness during the World Wars. The Germans were truly formidable and ruthless foes and so if the allies at times were not playing according to the formal rules of cricket, is that not to be expected?

Anonymous Anubis January 29, 2015 1:59 PM  

Summary:

Nate: there are no Muslim civilians

Tommy: anyone who says there are no Muslim civilians is not a civilian, meaning he has personal military experience giving him access to real world knowledge that allows him to refute Taqiyya. Also see nits make lice.

Blogger Cataline Sergius January 29, 2015 2:11 PM  

Cooking civilians for barely any strategic gain is heroic?

No strategic gain?

In 1941, Germany and Japan were the two most warlike cultures on Earth.

In 1945 they discovered, "Holy Shit! Turns out we are total pacifists, guys!

Who knew? Right?

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 2:12 PM  

"The purpose of any branch of the military is not to win wars, but funding and prestige. "

This reminds me of a line from some old movie made back in the 1950's about a couple navy pilots (hailed as heroes by the Navy and the press) during WW2 on a few days' leave in San Fransisco.

A reporter asks:
"How is the war going?"

Cary Grant's character: "Which war do you mean? The one between the Navy and the Army, the one between the Army and the Marines, or the one between the Marines and the Navy?"

Reporter: "No, the war against the Japanese!"

Grant's character: "Oh -- NOBODY cares about them!"

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 2:15 PM  

Since there is no mention of an Air Force in the Constitution, a push for an amendment might be a vehicle to subsume it into the army.
Was it not, at first, the Army Air Core?


Since the USAF is what was formerly the Army Air Corps (note spelling), anything in the Constitution which applies to the Army also applies to the AF.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper January 29, 2015 2:21 PM  

There aren't any civilians in war anywhere under any creed these days . Note Unicef http://www.unicef.org/graca/patterns.htm not the usual cite but certainly on topic

"Civilian fatalities in wartime have climbed from 5 per cent at the turn of the century ... to more than 90 per cent in the wars of the 1990s."

Blogger dw January 29, 2015 2:43 PM  

"I didn't know that getting mad is a defeat condition."

It is when its so easy to cause someone to lose their cool that they explode...

"Civilian fatalities in wartime have climbed from 5 per cent at the turn of the century ... to more than 90 per cent in the wars of the 1990s."

Yeah, the next great war is going to suck.

Anonymous Steve January 29, 2015 2:47 PM  

RatDog - Scroll to picture #4 or click here to see this monstrosity:

http://www.yokota.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/120604-F-NW635-001.jpg


Aside from the obvious, the other notable thing is that the pair of them are wearing more decorations than Emperor Napoleon.

The little fat one on the right has more ribbons than a woman's milliner.

Why does everybody in the US armed forces seem to be festooned with medals?

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2015 2:55 PM  

Re: USAF/Army Bureaucracy

Back in the Dark Ages I was trained as an Army static line Jump Master for USAF AC.

I jump mastered no more than 50-drops. Only about 5-drops were from Regular USAF AC.

The rest were Army AC (the Army used to have a few light cargo AC we could ramp jump), Guard and Reserve AC (to include the excellent C-123), USMC UH-N and various foreign AC.

We also had a few regular USAF Ac provided as mutual convenience tasks where the USAK wanted an excuse to go some[place and offered as justification to drop us along the way.

The reason for this odd arrangement was that that it was very difficult to coordinate Regular USAF AC. Even though every Army Airborne unit had its own subset bureaucracy dedicated to doing just that. No doubt the USAF had their problems with us too.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 2:56 PM  

Why does everybody in the US armed forces seem to be festooned with medals?

Because most of those ribbons represent deployments and unit citations ("attaboys" awarded to units for doing their job). Most such awards started as a way to put something on the chests of REMF types so they wouldn't feel bad standing next to combat vets. Fruit salad inflation has become much like grade inflation in colleges.

Blogger Josh January 29, 2015 2:58 PM  

Everyone gets a trophy

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2015 3:12 PM  

RE: Fruit Salad

The controversial General Petraeus (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Petraeus) has an impressive rack of fruit salad.

However he has never been in an actual gun fight.

Somehow he did acquire a Bronze Star for valor.

This is not atypical. A surprising number of 4-stars have never been shot at. IIRC there was a CHO that David Hackworth called out about 15-years ago for wearing a Navy Achievement Medal with a V device.

He subsequently committed suicide. God rest his soul.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Athor Pel January 29, 2015 3:43 PM  

" SteveJanuary 29, 2015 2:47 PM
...
Why does everybody in the US armed forces seem to be festooned with medals?"



It is most prevalent in the AF.

An example. It's possible to get two ribbons after attending AF basic training. Not even kidding. I should know. I got them both, the basic training ribbon that everybody gets and the honor graduate ribbon. Which reminds me of the short tour ribbon that I got for spending a year in the ROK.

Blogger ajw308 January 29, 2015 3:54 PM  

And if that causes you to get upset, perhaps you should complain to the non-uniformed combatants that have caused this state of affairs.
If we were applying the Geneva Convention today, we'd be executing each and every non-uniformed combatant captured on the battlefield as spies. If we were applying common sense, our LEO's would be following the ROE of our troops and our troops would be following the ROE of our LEO's and any Mosque that is used by belligerents should go the way of Monte Cassino.

Anonymous Cheddarman January 29, 2015 4:00 PM  

"The (Turkish) soldiers were a different breed. They are throwbacks to a different time. Truly bad-ass in way completely unlike Western SF types" Sam The Man

Given the latest Greek election results, it seems as if the Hellenes are bent on continuing their 1500 year cultural slide into oblivion. The new government led by Syriza, wants to drastically cut defense spending and reach a "settlement" with the Turks. This show of weakness is probably not a good idea, give the historically verifiable Turkish habit of invading and occupying Greek lands (Come on Tommy Haas, I know that made you smile). Perhaps another 500 or so year occupation of Greece by the Turks might instill a little more backbone in the Hellenic peoples.


Blogger Chris Ritchie January 29, 2015 4:00 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Cogitans Iuvenis January 29, 2015 4:04 PM  

The little fat one on the right has more ribbons than a woman's milliner.

Why does everybody in the US armed forces seem to be festooned with medals?


Makes one wonder if the real front line types start eschewing all the attaboys for the medals that really mean something. I'm not military so I don't know if there is some sort of uniform regulation that prohibits omitting certain commendation ribbons from your uniform

Blogger Chris Ritchie January 29, 2015 4:05 PM  

Former AF Officer - From my perspective, it was one big corporation. I worked in US Space Command (AF Space Command was under that joint-ops umbrella) so it had some frontline duties, but mostly support. Satellite Engineering, Satellite Operations, Satellite launch at Cape Canaveral and Vandenburg, NORAD, Missile Ops (ICBM's) - those were all in my career field. Technically great, but very bureaucratic. I agree it should go back under the Army or the Navy.

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2015 4:09 PM  

Mr ajw308:

You posted in part:

"If we were applying the Geneva Convention today, we'd be executing each and every non-uniformed combatant captured on the battlefield as spies."

IIRC Articles 4 and 5 of the Third Geneva Convention provide protection to irregular combatants.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous WaterBoy January 29, 2015 4:58 PM  

Athor Pel: "It's possible to get two ribbons after attending AF basic training. Not even kidding. I should know. I got them both, the basic training ribbon that everybody gets and the honor graduate ribbon."

Three, actually -- you left out the Marksmanship ribbon.

But you're right about how they're practically handed out like candy, especially assignment medals like the AFAM.

Anonymous Clay January 29, 2015 5:07 PM  

I don't think we should take the F-22 or the F-35 off the table. They are, effectively weapons of deterrent, if nothing else. The first F-15 kill was made by the Israelis.

These are air platforms no one wants to mess with. Sorta like the M1-A1 Tank.

You learn the hard way. Whatever we hear about these weapons, they're only telling you mebbe 50% of if's capabilities.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 29, 2015 5:07 PM  

"Shouldn't you be thankful for that, lest you find yourself on a cattle car headed to summer camp?"

It's not binary Josh. The worst that should happen is mere deportation. The final solution wasn't done by the people but by the government.

"Do you deny that many of the bombing runs WERE strategically helpful to the Allies? Do you deny the raw physical courage it took to pilot a bomber over Axis territory? You acknowledge that the Nazis were evil- what measures, in such a struggle, would YOU refrain from in order to placate your moral sensibilities? "

It is less my opinion. I am mostly using the standard used on jihadist bombers against American/British bombers. Both targeted civilians. I am unconvinced of the strategic value of frying as many non fighters as possible. By all means hit the usual targets but that? Ugh.

I cannot truly say they were evil, as they were cornered. But I have a tough time denouncing terrorists and referring to them as heroes at the same time.

Simo Hayha was a hero. The French Resistance guys were heroes. American bomber pilots over Dresden? Brave warriors, heroes in the classical sense, but not the modern sense.

"In any case, do you dis-agree with the above characterization Tommy? I ask as if you agree, I do not think you can complain about western harshness during the World Wars. The Germans were truly formidable and ruthless foes and so if the allies at times were not playing according to the formal rules of cricket, is that not to be expected?"

I don't believe in the utility of that slaughter. It'd be easier if it had a point. I also have a problem with the denunciation of terrorists, which seems contradictory.

And while Turkish soldiers are tough as hell, I have a tough time believing they'd actually kill their own men, lol. I asked my father and he thought it's ridiculous and he served though only as an enlisted soldier.

"Given the latest Greek election results, it seems as if the Hellenes are bent on continuing their 1500 year cultural slide into oblivion. The new government led by Syriza, wants to drastically cut defense spending and reach a "settlement" with the Turks. This show of weakness is probably not a good idea, give the historically verifiable Turkish habit of invading and occupying Greek lands (Come on Tommy Haas, I know that made you smile). Perhaps another 500 or so year occupation of Greece by the Turks might instill a little more backbone in the Hellenic peoples."

Heh.

Beating up Greeks is of course a time honored tradition among our people, but I don't see a real possibility of us going after Greece. Going after the middle east seems to be more likely.

You need to realize that Greece wouldn't be alone if Erdogan did something stupid. So Greeks can probably chill. But I agree that defence is a vital concern that no one should take likely, least of all a country that is still a neighbor of a warlike people like us.

But that's a matter of principle rather than a realistic concern. Most of us think that Greeks are ok people. We have soccer and basketball to channel our competitive instincts into.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 29, 2015 5:10 PM  

Cogitans Iuvenis: "some sort of uniform regulation that prohibits omitting certain commendation ribbons from your uniform"

There is, but I think it's slightly different for each service. For the USAF, it depends on the particular uniform -- the general rule is All, Some, or None, meaning discretion is allowable for the Some configurations.

Blogger ajw308 January 29, 2015 5:14 PM  

@Richard,
Seems I've been wrongly informed. Thank you for the correction.

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 5:17 PM  

We had a SgtMaj on a base where I was stationed who wore no ribbon other than his MOH in direct violation of the uniform regs. No one said jack shit to him for obvious reasons.

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 5:21 PM  

Seems I've been wrongly informed. Thank you for the correction.

Not really. Those protections ONLY apply if they meet certain requirements, including but not limited to following the laws of war themselves. In other words, neither Al Qaeda nor ISIS qualify. You can find a summary of the requirements on wikipedia. Tom Kratman can elaborate if necessary as he has spent a fair amount of time studying and teaching the law of war.

Blogger ajw308 January 29, 2015 5:35 PM  

You can still shoot spies too.

"I observed him gathering intel."

Shouldn't be that hard.

Blogger ajw308 January 29, 2015 5:37 PM  

@Stilcho, the rules are going to be what they say they are, not what's written.

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 5:50 PM  

@Stilcho, the rules are going to be what they say they are, not what's written.

Then Richard's comment is irrelevant.

Blogger Subversive Saint January 29, 2015 5:53 PM  

Who calls the Chief of Staff of the Air Force the CoS? It's been CSAF for as long as I can remember.

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2015 6:14 PM  

Mr. ajw308:

You are welcome. That is me. Broke clock. Right twice a day.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2015 6:18 PM  

Mr. Stilicho:

You posted in part:

"Then Richard's comment is irrelevant."

My comments often are; but....

Prior to GWOT irregular combatants were afforded the protections of the 3rd (I think) Geneva Convention. The JAG's tended to lean towards protection in doubtful cases (as I found out the hard way).

However after GWOT the JAG's seemed to lean the other way. At least IMO.

Where is COL K when you need him? He would know for sure.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 7:04 PM  

It's kind of funny that any discussion of the Air Force role, especially within the Air Force, downplays the one vital role they fill: Air Mobility. You can't put ordnance on target or boots on the ground until you get them into the theater.
http://www.amc.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=229

That's not to say it couldn't fill that role as a DOD agency or Army sub-unit.


AMC (Air Mobility Command) was disbanded in the early 1990's, around the same time that SAC was.

Air Mobility in/out of theater is now provided by the reserve augmentation fleet of aircraft and water transports -- these passenger vessals (both air and sea) are owned by private companies, but their purchase is heavily subsidized by the DOD, with the stipulation that the subsidized airframes are to be available to the DOD for troop transport within X days of being requested.

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 7:06 PM  

OOPS ... MAC was shut down around the same time SAC was. MAC (Mobility Air Command).

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 7:09 PM  

One challenge to re-combining the AF and the USA will be in force retention culture. E6's and up in the AF especially are highly and expensively trained and the USAF does quite a bit to keep them from leaving and going to civilian employment. I suspect there are quite a few young people who'd join the AF who would never consider the Marines or Army.

Those are people we don't need. The more dedicated senior NCOs and officers are to SERVICE, not civilian-world side-effect benefits, the less corrupt the service is.

What you just put your finger on was NOT the reason for the USAF's success, but, instead, why it is such a complete cluster=****.

Blogger Cogitans Iuvenis January 29, 2015 7:13 PM  

There is, but I think it's slightly different for each service. For the USAF, it depends on the particular uniform -- the general rule is All, Some, or None, meaning discretion is allowable for the Some configurations

Once again, being a civilian I am just farting out ideas with little basis to support them other than my imagination, but I wonder if removing the majority of 'awards' outside of ones related to valor would actually improve the military in the long term.

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2015 7:20 PM  

Mr. Cogitans Iuvenis:

You posted in part:

"I wonder if removing the majority of 'awards' outside of ones related to valor would actually improve the military in the long term."

I understand that the IDF, when it was winning all the time, used to do that.

I also understand that in WW II US awards were much scarcer than they are now.

I have seen National Guard Colonels who never spent a day on active service with 8-rows of ribbons plus badges I could not recognize.

(OTH Some of the best grunts I ever ran into were Guard.)

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Quartermaster January 29, 2015 8:20 PM  

@Homesteader

“They were trying to win a war. The Germans had no problem launching the Blitz.”

The RAF bombed German cities first. The Blitz was in retaliation. Trying to win a war is not an excuse for committing criminal acts as RAF Bomber command did. Bomber Command contributed almost nothing to victory. Only the Dam Busting raid had any real military effect.

@ Red Jack

“Then why wasn't Curtis LeMay and "Bomber" Harris in the dock then? The orders were to kill civilians, cause chaos, and punish the Germans for letting Hilter come to power. “

What RAF Bomber Command did was a series of war crimes, nothing more, nor less. Butcher Harris (called that by his own men) would have been in front of a wall if the Allies had not won. After shameful things like Dresden, Doolittle would have been as well, an righteously. The Germans did blitz London, but it was in retaliation for the RAF bombing German cities. The Brits started that little show, although they are pretty quiet about it these days.

LeMay was not comfortable with the fire bombing of Jap cities. He did not like burning women and children, but his boss, Arnold, was demanding results. Later, when got on the ground in Japan, he saw why the earlier raids didn't have much of effect on Jap industry. There weer machine tools scattered through residential areas. The Japs were still using the “putting out” system of production. LeMay was bombing what they thought were the main production plants, and not getting anywhere. LeMay's discomfort ended, although he still didn't like burning women and children. LeMay did not try to start firestorms as RAF did, but ended up with them anyway because of the building materials used by the Japs in residential construction.




@Homesteader
“Do you deny that many of the bombing runs WERE strategically helpful to the Allies? Do you deny the raw physical courage it took to pilot a bomber over Axis territory?”

The second question is wrong question to ask, and the answer is irrelevant to the argument anyway. The first question was answered by the Strategic Bombing Survey, and the answer was “not much.” See my response to Sam the Man below.

@Sam the Man

“The Germans were truly formidable and ruthless foes and so if the allies at times were not playing according to the formal rules of cricket, is that not to be expected? “

The Germans actually fought a far cleaner war than the allies. The Strategic Bombing Survey conducted after the war determined that strategic Bombing did not contribute much to the prosecution of the war until the 8th AF started going specifically after oil production. The Battle of the Bulge used what had been 2 days POL production, but after the oil offensive became something 3 months production. It started having an effect almost immediately, unlike the rest of the bombing offensive.

It took great valor to bring a B-17 straight and level over Regensberg, but it was valor misused and wasted as a result. The shameful thing is that the stupidity of the Bomber Offensive resulted in an independent Air Force which took almost all aviation assets from the Army. Korea taught the Army just what had been lost in 1947.

@Comerford

IIRC Articles 4 and 5 of the Third Geneva Convention provide protection to irregular combatants.

As I recall, irregulars, anyone caught under arms out of uniform, or not part of the Armed Forces of a recognized belligerent, could be executed out of hand. That was the doctrine under which General Dostler executed a group of our guys in WW2, We, of course, being the winners weren't going to tolerate that, so we killed him right back and you can see the clip of his murder on you tube, if you are interested.

@Akulkis

“MAC (Mobility Air Command).”

NO. Military Airlift Command. It was originally known as Military Air Transport Service (MATS), had its name changed to MAC in the early 60s and then had its name changed to Mobility Command at the time SAC became Strategic Command.

Anonymous Bird on a Wing January 29, 2015 8:37 PM  

MAC was shut down around the same time SAC was.

Air Mobility in/out of theater is now provided by the reserve augmentation fleet of aircraft and water transports -- these passenger vessals (both air and sea) are owned by private companies


When SAC became ACC, MAC became AMC. Air Mobility Command. Yeah the name was just rearranged, but what the heck do you think those brand new C-17s are doing out there? Let alone the C-5s and KC-10s? C-130s?

Yes SOME air mobility, mostly personnel movement, is augmented through private contractors. They tend to be the regularly scheduled flights. Still, most of the in-theater and out-theater airlift is still supplied by AMC strategic airlift, and tactical airlift.

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 8:55 PM  

"'IIRC Articles 4 and 5 of the Third Geneva Convention provide protection to irregular combatants."'


Irregular combatants still must wear SOME sort of identification to qualify for such legal combatant protection. Such identification may be as simple as an arm-band or a distinctive cap, as long as it is regulated (in the original sense of the word, implying uniformity, not the modern "the heavy hand of bureacracy is always present" sense).

I.e., a legal "uniform" for an irregular can be no more expensive than a bleached rag optionally dipped in some color, and then tied around the upper arm one one side or the other.

The average drug gang (Crips, Bloods, etc) member in the U.S. conforms to Geneva Convention requirements for a legal, irregular combatant than ANY of the Muslims who we have been fighting since the 1970's.

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 8:59 PM  

""

Irregular combatants still must wear SOME sort of identification to qualify for such legal combatant protection. Such identification may be as simple as an arm-band or a distinctive cap, as long as it is regulated (in the original sense of the word, implying uniformity, not the modern "the heavy hand of bureacracy is always present" sense).

I.e., a legal "uniform" for an irregular can be no more expensive than a bleached rag optionally dipped in some color, and then tied around the upper arm one one side or the other.

The average drug gang (Crips, Bloods, etc) member in the U.S. conforms to Geneva Convention requirements for a legal, irregular combatant than ANY of the Muslims who we have been fighting since the 1970's."'

Did he ever show up for an inspection formation wearing literally nothing EXCEPT his MOH?

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2015 9:02 PM  

Mr. Quartermaster

You posted in part:

"That was the doctrine under which General Dostler executed a group of our guys in WW2, We, of course, being the winners weren't going to tolerate that, so we killed him right back"

The 2nd Geneva Convention was introduced to signatories @ 1929

The 3rd Geneva Convention was introduced to signatories AFTER WW II in 1949.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 9:07 PM  

"Once again, being a civilian I am just farting out ideas with little basis to support them other than my imagination, but I wonder if removing the majority of 'awards' outside of ones related to valor would actually improve the military in the long term."

Regardless of how many are worn, medals must ALWAYS be worn in the correct order of precedence. Medals for combat experience and valor have higher precedence than "Someone said I did a great job doing X", then comes the "I travelled to Y, lived there for 30+ days without being court martialed, and then came back home" medals, which are higher precedence than "I completed Z level of military education" ribbons, all of which have higher precedence than any awards (medals or ribbons) from foreign powers.

Most soldiers I know, if they omit medals (say they have 7 awars, but currently only have a 5-ribbon holder), will tend to omit some of the "bureaucratic" awards that . Most will ALWAYS wear any foreign awards, even though they are always considered "lowest precedence" (they don't count for promotion points), but because these say, "Hey, even FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS will testify that I'm a good soldier to have around."

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2015 9:10 PM  

Mr. Akulkis:

You posted in part: "Irregular combatants still must wear SOME sort of identification"

Under Article 4 3rd GC that appears correct; but under Article 5 (GW) the rule appears to be more generous:

"Article 4 defines prisoners of war to include: 4.1.1 Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict and members of militias of such armed forces
4.1.2 Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organised resistance movements, provided that they fulfill all of the following conditions: that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognisable at a distance (there are limited exceptions to this among countries who observe the 1977 Protocol I);
that of carrying arms openly;
that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

4.1.3 Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognised by the Detaining Power.
4.1.4 Civilians who have non-combat support roles with the military and who carry a valid identity card issued by the military they support.
4.1.5 Merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.
4.1.6 Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
4.3 makes explicit that Article 33 takes precedence for the treatment of medical personnel of the enemy and chaplains of the enemy.

Article 5 specifies that prisoners of war (as defined in article 4) are protected from the time of their capture until their final repatriation. It also specifies that when there is any doubt whether a combatant belongs to the categories in article 4, they should be treated as such until their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."


Of course I am a knucle-dragger. Where IS COL K when you need him?

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 9:14 PM  

"Yes SOME air mobility, mostly personnel movement, is augmented through private contractors. They tend to be the regularly scheduled flights. Still, most of the in-theater and out-theater airlift is still supplied by AMC strategic airlift, and tactical airlift."

I've been in since 1989, and been deployed multiple times, starting with Desert Storm.

I have never once been transported from CONUS to an active theater of operations on a USAF aircraft. Every single time has been on a reserve-fleet civilian passenger airliner.

USAF has only transported me between Kuwait Airport and Baghdad International Airport during OIF. All other in-theater flights have been Army helicopters.

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 9:26 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Akulkis January 29, 2015 9:28 PM  

Crips wear something Blue (even if only a handkerchief hanging out of a LEFT-side pocket), and Bloods wear Red (again, even if only a handkerchief in a RIGHT pocket). Hell's Angel's wear Black.

Why do they do this? For identification purposes among themselves, at a distance. This, therefore, conforms to Geneva Convention Article 4.1.2.

The various vermin -- those in ISIS; those who the Russians fought in Chechnya, and those who we have been fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, to name but a few, would NEVER do any such thing.

Confusion between who is a non-combatant and who is a combatant IS THEIR GOAL. They often carry their weapons underneath their 'man-dress" (in violation of the 2nd clause of 4.1.2 in addition to violating the 1st clause [ identifying garb recognizable at a distance to distinguish themselves from non-combatants] and furthermore, carry no identification cards [to be found if searched at a checkpoint or captured].

This all makes them, contra the "Gitmo is an outrage crowd", subject to IMMEDIATE summary execution. All this nonsense about "They're being held without trial".... even combatants who are not suspected in the slightest of being war criminals can be detained, without trial, for the duration of hostilities.

Since the hotheads want this war to go on FOREVER until the entire world is Muslim, I personally think that NONE of them should ever be paroled from Gitmo, for any reason, AT ALL -- EACH and every one of them was captured ON a battlefield and actively participating in combat and/or coordination of combat operations. As such, they can be held for the duration of the war. That all of them were doing so without the slightest bit of conformance to GC Articles means they can all be executed whenever the DOD damn well feels like it, and there's not a single complaint that can be made, on LEGAL grounds, from either foreign nations, or even Americans -- the Constitution does not apply, because the Bill of Rights, etc., applies to common criminals, not enemy combatants).

Anonymous Anonymous January 29, 2015 9:39 PM  

Mr. Akulkis:

You posted in part:

"That all of them were doing so without the slightest bit of conformance to GC Articles means they can all be executed whenever the DOD damn well feels like it"

@ 2008 the Supreme Court in a case titled Boumediene v. Bush ruled that the GTMO prisoners were entitled to access the U.S. justice system.

This ruling in turn was extended to provide protection to guys captured in the field.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Just WHERE is COL K when you need him? Off earning money to feed his kids no doubt.

Anonymous Bird on a Wing January 29, 2015 10:04 PM  

@ Akulkis

Much of the equipment and other assorted gear you used in Bagdad was airlifted in through Ramstein Air Base, Germany and Naval Station Rota, Spain by C-17s, C-141s, C-5s, and C-130s. The airlift started days, maybe hours after you guys on the ground secured Baghdad International, while the fighting was still ongoing.

If you had, God forbid, been seriously injured, you would have been personally airlifted out by the same planes to be treated at Landstuhl (maybe even on a C-9 before they got rid of them).

That was all USAF Air Mobility Command.

The contract flights are generally regularly scheduled personnel flights rotating from CONUS to nearby strategic air bases like Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan. Or Kuwait, or Al Uedid Air Base, Quatar. The contractors generally don't fly anywhere they might be shot at with a SAM during takeoff or landing.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 29, 2015 11:12 PM  

Regarding Fruit Salad, FWIW the Boy Scouts suggest adult leaders not wear more than two rows of ribbons. If you have more than that, it's suggested you wear the 6 most important ones.

Also FWIW, in our troop we have one retired Army and one retired Air Force. The retired Army guy never says much about the scouts uniforms (other than occasionally commending a kid who's uniform looks recently washed...). The AF guys is always nit-picking "uniform violations."

Anonymous Homesteader January 29, 2015 11:34 PM  

Actually, it WAS the appropriate question to ask. The valor of the pilots was being questioned by Tommy. You're going in another direction.

We started this topic by questioning the relevance of the Air Force as a separate service. I mentioned that IN SPITE of their valor during the daylight bombing runs, they still needed the invasion force to win the war. So their bombing was, by definition, ineffective. That's not in question.

As for war crimes, they are defined by the winner. If Germany had won, I have no doubt that Lemay and Doolittle and Harris would have been excecuted. Moot point. We won. And with 4g war now in play, the concept of "war crimes" is rapidly becoming obsolete anyway. Ask ISIS about that.

Again, you're doing what Tommy did-hindsight morality. What were the motives ?
Why did the principals on both sides do what they did? It's easy to say "war crimes" 70 years later, but I am skeptical that anyone made a deliberate decision to pursue a line of action that they KNEW was futile just so they could be "eevviill.."

Anonymous Stilicho January 29, 2015 11:35 PM  

@ Richard, what they are afforded for convenience or for PR purposes and what they might be entitled to under the laws of war are 2 different things. Barrack room lawyers tend to be worth exactly what you paid for them.

Blogger JaimeInTexas January 30, 2015 12:17 AM  

re. irregulars
The reason Santa Anna executed Fannin and his men in Presidio/Goliad (same for the survivors of the Alamo). The men captured upon disembarqing at Bahia, IIRC, were not executed because they were captured before they unloaded the weapons from the ship offshore and were not armed. They were spared.

Anonymous Discard January 30, 2015 12:29 AM  

Why is it always Dresden, Dresden, Dresden? Because there were only three firestorms in Germany during WW2. Dresden, Hamburg, and some small city that I can't recall and neither can anybody else. Had the RAF been able to create firestorms at will, Germany would have folded a whole lot sooner. Dresden and Hamburg were just particularly unlucky that the RAF navigators were really on the ball those nights.

Anonymous Discard January 30, 2015 12:35 AM  

Regarding medal inflation: During WW2, a total of fewer than 500 CMH were awarded, to all the services. Since then, politicians have been serving up medals to deserving constituents, but when I last looked it still had not broken the 500 mark.

Anonymous Discard January 30, 2015 12:53 AM  

During WW2, the USAAF would bomb some aircraft factories, then some tank factories, then some submarine yards, then some truck factories, then some oil refineries. They might reduce production by 20% in all those industries, which left the German with 80% of everything. For doctrinal reasons, they opposed "panacea targets". When they finally went after panacea targets, or industrial bottlenecks, the Germans were screwed. Synthetic oil and IIRC, coal mines and their nearby rail yards, did the trick. Planes and tanks without fuel, and power plants without coal, are useless.

Anonymous Anonymous January 30, 2015 9:29 AM  

Mr. Stilicho:

Thank you for your reply wherein you posted in part:

"Barrack room lawyers tend to be worth exactly what you paid for them."

Perhaps not barracks room lawyers but real lawyers with great wordily prestige.

Prior to 9/11/01 the JAG (as mentioned above) tended to take Articles 4 and 5 of the 3rd GC quite literally. After 9/11/01 the President's lawyers wrote a justification for (essentially) ignoring the aforementioned Articles. Left leaning lawyers then mounted a seemingly successful counter attack at both the ICC and the Supreme Court (see case cited above). It appears (at least to this knuckle - dragger) that after the dust settles we will return to a pre-9/11 understanding of the Articles in question.

We will not in the foreseeable future be allowed to X-out bad guys without due process; and there will be no more GTMO's

Of course I do NOT know what I am talking about. Where is COL K?

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Stilicho January 30, 2015 10:13 AM  

Perhaps not barracks room lawyers but real lawyers with great wordily prestige.

What you are incapable of or unwilling to understand is that lawyers' preferred practices are NOT what the law requires. You've gone from quoting parts of the Geneva Convention to support your erroneous contention that irregular combatants cannot be summarily executed to claiming that the letter of the law does not matter because some lawyers have advised that those savages without the law be afforded its protections regardless. While that advice has been given and even followed sometimes, it does not change the law of war. What it does do is support ajw308's contention that those in charge will do whatever they please and find a rationalization for it afterwards if necessary.

Prior to 9/11/01 the JAG (as mentioned above) tended to take Articles 4 and 5 of the 3rd GC quite literally.

Just the opposite. They eschewed a literal reading and chose to apply it to those excluded from its protections in an excess of caution lest they be accused of making a mistake. This is a practical solution, not a legal one. You tried to correct ajw308 with a legal position that was incorrect. Switching to a practical position now only exposes the weakness of your opinion. What is practical now may not remain so in the future. If (when) the pendulum swings, there is actually more support for the practice of summarily executing those combatants who are excluded from the protections of the Geneva Conventions (which is not the sum of the Law of War, by the way) than there is for extending such undeserved protections to them.

Anonymous Anonymous January 30, 2015 10:35 AM  

Mr. Stilicho:

Thank you for your reply wherein you posted in part:

"What you are incapable of or unwilling to understand is that lawyers' preferred practices are NOT what the law requires."

I think I understand that.

and in part:

"You've gone from quoting parts of the Geneva Convention to support your erroneous contention that irregular combatants cannot be summarily executed to claiming that the letter of the law does not matter because some lawyers have advised that those savages without the law be afforded its protections regardless."

Yes. Government lawyers, in my experience, will ignore the law to please their masters.

and in part:

"While that advice has been given and even followed sometimes, it does not change the law of war."

True

and in part:

"What it does do is support ajw308's contention that those in charge will do whatever they please and find a rationalization for it afterwards if necessary."

I believe I said much the same.

and in part:

"They eschewed a literal reading and chose to apply it to those excluded from its protections in an excess of caution lest they be accused of making a mistake."

I do not think so. The Article 5, 3rd GC requires a favorable lean to alleged bad guys: "Article 5 specifies that prisoners of war (as defined in article 4) are protected from the time of their capture until their final repatriation. It also specifies that when there is any doubt whether a combatant belongs to the categories in article 4, they should be treated as such until their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."

and in part:

"You tried to correct ajw308 with a legal position that was incorrect."

I believe I cited correctly the relevant articles.

and in part:

"Switching to a practical position now only exposes the weakness of your opinion."

I believe I cited above the relevant Supreme Court decision on this matter which indeed supported the position of the 3rd GC.

and in part:

"What is practical now may not remain so in the future."

I believe I posted much the same.

and in part:

"there is actually more support for the practice of summarily executing"

I am unaware of any provision of any law, regulation or directive; national or international, that provides for the summary execution of anyone.

and in part:

(which is not the sum of the Law of War, by the way)

The ICC, The Hague and our own government current decisions appear, at least to me, to be more restrictive than the 3rd GC.

Look, bottom line, if we are not very, very careful in this matter American Soldiers may end up taking the long course at Leavenworth turning big rocks into little rocks; or far worse doing a stretch in a foreign goal.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Stilicho January 30, 2015 1:05 PM  


I am unaware of any provision of any law, regulation or directive; national or international, that provides for the summary execution of anyone.


Yes, your ignorance has been amply demonstrated. One would think that you would refrain from opining on a subject about which you admit you are ignorant ("Of course I do NOT know what I am talking about."). Alas...

"They eschewed a literal reading and chose to apply it to those excluded from its protections in an excess of caution lest they be accused of making a mistake."

I do not think so...


Your thoughts have no effect on the definition of "literal".



Anonymous Anonymous January 30, 2015 5:55 PM  

Mr. Stilicho:

"One would think that you would refrain from opining on a subject about which you admit you are ignorant "

As penance for my sins I used to be tasked to give the mandatory Geneva War briefing every year in both an Infantry Battalion and a SF "B" Team. I am merely passing on what was, in the Dark Ages at least, the DOD standards for this matter. However the standards do bot appear to have changed.

To the best of my knowledge there has never been a provision under law or regulation for US Service Members to conduct summary executions.

The reason I comment on this matter despite my lack of education is that I was one of several Army Special Forces soldiers who were suspects in a war crime investigation. We were suspected of purportedly executing terrorists who had allegedly murdered one US Service member and wounded three more.

I hope that any young soldier reading this blog will realize just how desperately serious this matter is; and how easily they can fall under suspicion for speaking or commenting lightly on this matter.

I am sorry if I upset you. It was not my intent.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Blogger Akulkis January 30, 2015 8:21 PM  

"'To the best of my knowledge there has never been a provision under law or regulation for US Service Members to conduct summary executions. "

That's UCMJ which you are speaking of.

The Geneva Convention has MUCH lower standards.

While the UCMJ does now allow for summary executions for spies and improperly identified irregular combatants, the Geneva Convention sure as hell does.

Blogger Akulkis January 30, 2015 8:27 PM  

That is why I say that the detainees at Gitmo are alive ONLY due to the good graces of the DOD. There would be no Geneva Convention defined war crime committed if the occupied prisoner cells were all hosed down with insecticide, hosed down with napalm, or visited by belt after belt after belt of machine gun fire until not a single body inside so much as twitched -- because NONE of the detainees in Gitmo meet even the most loosest standards for protected status unger the GC, because they ALL choose to participate in a war while DELIBERATELY (as a matter of doctrine) to eschew any sort of identifying marking or clothing -- not even distinctive headgear or an arm band consisting of a rag dipped in whatever color they choose amongst themselves and tie above the elbow.

As such, they are lower than rats.

Anonymous Anonymous January 30, 2015 10:37 PM  

Mr. Akulkis:

Thank you for your reply. You posted in part{

"While the UCMJ does now allow for summary executions for spies and improperly identified irregular combatants, the Geneva Convention sure as hell does."

The 4 Geneva Conventions provide protections for 1. wounded; 2. shipwrecked, 3. prisoners and 4. civilians.

They do not provide authority for the execution of any party or class of persons.

A complete presentation of the conventions and protocols: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/geneva_conventionsGod bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Anonymous January 30, 2015 10:54 PM  

Mr. Akulkis:

Thank you for your reply wherein you posted in part:

"That is why I say that the detainees at Gitmo are alive ONLY due to the good graces of the DOD."

The DOD authority in this matter has been extremely limited by the Supreme Court case cited above. Essentially the GTMO prisoners are now subject on appeal to the U.S. Criminal Justice system now.

and in part:

"There would be no Geneva Convention defined war crime committed if the occupied prisoner cells were all hosed down with insecticide..."

I am afraid there would in fact be protections under Articles 4&5 GC (III). also under U.S. Statue the maltreatment of prisoners to include foreign prisoners taken bearing arms against the USA is now prohibited. Soldiers accused of the maltreatment of prisoners would be liable for prosecution under the UCMJ.

and in part:

"because they ALL choose to participate in a war"

Not the first batch or wave of prisoners to arrive in GTMO. These guys were already in Northern Alliance and PAK ISI goals BEFORE 9/1/01. They had never fought against the USA. They had nothing to do with 9/11.

and in part:

"not even distinctive headgear or an arm band consisting of a rag dipped in whatever color they choose amongst themselves and tie above the elbow."

There are several cases where Afghans were captured while defending their homes and villages against surprise night attacks by US Special Operations personnel.

The most disturbing case involves a 14 yo boy who allegedly threw a frag which killed a USSF. These folks often live their entire lives in the valley they were born in; and cannot speak the same dialect of the folks who live in the next valley.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Anonymous January 30, 2015 10:57 PM  

Re: Link to Complete Geneva Conventions

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/geneva_conventions

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Stilicho January 31, 2015 12:00 AM  

@richard the third GC does not extend it's protections to those who do not fit it's definition of lawful combatants. More importantly, treatment of the enemy is always determined by the combatants themselves. If one side behaves barbarously towards their enemies, such treatment will eventually be reciprocated. The converse can be true, but it isn't always true. The opposing forces are the only practical check on enemy behavior.

Claiming that the GC doesn't authorize execution is akin to claiming that the ground doesn't rain. The GC prohibits some acts towards those it purports to protects and sets standards of treatment for them. It is silent towards those it does not purport to protect.

P.s. Oldtimer question: you know Larry "Skeeter" Sherman?

Anonymous Anonymous January 31, 2015 10:04 AM  

Mr. Stilicho:

Thank you for your reply. You posted in part:

"third GC does not extend it's protections to those who do not fit it's definition of lawful combatants"

and in part:

"treatment of the enemy is always determined by the combatants themselves."

That was I think the argument made by Teddy Roosevelt in defending the "water treatment" used on rebels during the PI insurrection (1898 to @ 1913) during which the PI population fell from @ 8.5 million to 7.5 million.

Interestingly the U.S. Army did not get a handle on the PI insurrection until the newly appointed Governor, Howard Taft, outlawed the practice.

After the Supreme Court decision noted above the USA dropped its attempt to define bad guys as lawful or unlawful combatants. Article 5 GC (III) instructs the signatory powers to assume that, or lean to defining, all prisoners as lawful.

and in part:

"The opposing forces are the only practical check on enemy behavior."

Sounds like East Front 1945

and in part:

"Claiming that the GC doesn't authorize execution is akin to claiming that the ground doesn't rain."

Good point. But the GC does not grant powers to signatory governments but extends protections (to wounded, prisoners, ship wrecked and civilians) in the hands of said governments. The GC simply does not empower a signatory nation to X-out bad guys.

"It is silent towards those it does not purport to protect."

The GC extends protection to just about everybody that I can think of (wounded, POW, Ship wrecked, civilians). IT allows protected persons, with due process, to be removed from said protection; and with due process to stand either court martial or before a civilian court provided that there is, among other things, probable cause.

Look, at the risk of sounding like an extremist I think we are in a death struggle with Islam and that Islam is winning. The struggle is similar in many ways with the struggle with Atheistic Communism. But unlike Communism which shortly (in relative terms), collapsed under its own weight, Islam has endured for nearly a millennium and a half.

@ 1920 an English revisionist historian (Hillarie Belloc) predicted that Islam would arise again to threaten the West. I think his prediction was spot on; and is a bigger challenge than Marxist-Leninism.

I think the West has to get the irregular fighter drill down right or it will cost us. It has already cost us.

Finally in part:

"you know Larry "Skeeter" Sherman?"

I used to attend a bible study in Fayetteville (sadly I was motivated by the young ladies who also attended) hosted by an SF SGM (and SOG veteran) who's was called "Skeeter". Only guy I can think of.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Anonymous Stilicho January 31, 2015 11:38 AM  

I used to attend a bible study in Fayetteville (sadly I was motivated by the young ladies who also attended) hosted by an SF SGM (and SOG veteran) who's was called "Skeeter". Only guy I can think of.

That sounds exactly like him, except for the bible study part. Good friend and mentor.

Article 5 GC (III) instructs the signatory powers to assume that, or lean to defining, all prisoners as lawful.

And when a combatant is unambiguously unlawful? What prohibition is there on summarily trying and executing such a person?

Even if the leftist/liberal/anti-American view of the GC et al. were absolutely spot on from a legal perspective, why on earth should the U.S. follow any such rules that were drafted to hamstring the U.S. in the first place? Especially when the enemy combatants do not adhere to any such rules? A Christian gentleman should remove such people from the face of the earth as quickly and efficiently as possible if he wishes to shorten the struggle and preserve the innocents whom such unlawful combatants specifically and intentionally target and endanger with their tactics. A failure to do so suggests other motives.

Anonymous Anonymous January 31, 2015 1:52 PM  

Mr. Stilicho:

Thank you for your reply. You posted in part:

"And when a combatant is unambiguously unlawful? What prohibition is there on summarily trying and executing such a person?"

A party in one of the protected classes (wounded, shipwrecked, POW, civilians) who, with all due process, against whom the custodial power has established probable cause for a crime committed either before entering or during custody can be referred to either a military or civilian Tribunal where before they are found guilty of said crime can loose their protected status. The guilty party, having lost the aforementioned protected status can then be punished under the laws and regulation which authorized said Tribunal.

Bottom line a US Soldier cannot execute a bad guy until AFTER said bad guy has been entered into a protected class, separated from said class, tried, found guilty, sentenced to death, exhaust all appeals and applications for pardon.

and in part:

"Even if the leftist/liberal/anti-American view of the GC et al. were absolutely spot on from a legal perspective, why on earth should the U.S. follow any such rules that were drafted to hamstring the U.S. in the first place?"

As I understand it the GC were drafted by men who had lived through either WW I or WW II. The WW I crew was concerned with what had happened to wounded and ship wrecked. The WW II crew were shocked by the struggle between the Totalitarian powers and focused on protection of prisoners and civilians.

and in part:

"A Christian gentleman should remove such people from the face of the earth"

Certainly the followers of Jesus Christ have a duty to protect the weak and innocent from Muslim aggression - the whole purpose of the Crusades.
\
However Christendom is gone. And there are all too few Christian men left to defend a godless WEST - IMO.

and in part:

" A failure to do so suggests other motives."

IMO our elites are fanatically anti-Christian. They are using Islam like a club to hammer into dust the ruins of Christendom. All the while thinking Islam is not a threat to them.

Think Mrs. Clinton in a burka.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Blogger JaimeInTexas February 01, 2015 6:06 PM  

God! What a mess war is.

Reminds me of "the burglar cannot claim self defense in trial."

Mr. Comerford, thanks for reminding people that there are many folks that are dying just in their own defense or of their families.

That is why all of the "other side" has to be demonized and de-humanized.

I hope you are making a difference in the lives of the people you are instructing.

Anonymous Anonymous February 01, 2015 7:01 PM  

Mr. JaimeInTexas:

Thank you for your kind reply.

IMO the post Christian West is in a death struggle with Islam. An Infantry Sergeant (Army E-7) remarked after the SEALs killed OBL that if his Platoon acted in a similar way (The SEALs among other things reportedly each put rounds into OBL's body) he, the Platoon Sergeant would be doing the long course at Leavenworth.

In WW II we had at least the echo of Christendom to guide our actions.

Now we have the scream of the abortion culture.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Blogger Akulkis February 14, 2015 11:07 PM  

Unlawful combatants ARE NOT A PROTECTED CLASS.

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