The View From Olympus: Futility

The United States is bombing in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, most recently a hospital in the latter. Russia is bombing in Syria. Saudi Arabia is bombing in Yemen. What do all these have in common? Futility.

Bombing is now what a state does when it wants to appear to be doing something, but would really rather not. It is governments’ easy out. A faction at court is whispering that our interests are being slighted in Karjackistan? The opposition in parliament is saying we are a “do-nothing” government? But, good sirs, we are doing something. We’re bombing!

Does this mean the people killed and maimed by the bombs, and the airmen who put themselves at risk, are doing so for nothing? Not at all. They are giving their lives to protect politicians’ backsides. What cause could be more noble?

There is a test to determine whether a government is serious or is just playing at war. Is the bombing integrated with actions of a capable ground force? In Iraq and Afghanistan, the answer is obvious.

An aside: The U.S. Army, which has patches for everything, including digging latrines, designed a patch for the troops now back in Iraq. Regrettably, just before it was issued, some spoilsport noticed it was a virtual duplicate of the symbol for the Muslim Brotherhood. May I suggest an alternative? How about an American soldier desperately trying to rally a mob of fleeing Iraqi or Afghan troops?

In some parts of northern Syria, our bombing, at least some of it, has been in support of an effective army, the Kurds. But the Kurds’ reach is geographically limited, and the Turks are now bombing them. Were we serious, we would tell the Turks to stop, or if necessary give the Kurds some air cover.

The Saudis and their Gulf State allies have put ground forces into Yemen, but they haven’t attempt much, probably because the Houthis can kick their butt. The main effect of their bombing has been the usual one, i.e., make all the locals come together against them. When people are bombed by aircraft immune to any response, they get motivated to strike back in other ways.

That brings us to the Russians in Syria. Diplomatically, Russia’s bombing campaign has given her a seat at the table. The fighters she has deployed are a warning to the Turks and others not to bomb Assad’s forces. But Moscow, unlike Washington, is run by realists. Realists know bombs alone do little to attain any serious objective. That suggests Russia will also send in ground troops the aircraft can support.

As she appears to be doing. At first, the Marines, airborne, and Spetznaz the Russians sent into Syria seemed to be for airfield defense. That is certainly part of their mission. But reports suggest they are now entering into the ground fight. Moscow also announced Russian “volunteers” would be heading for Syria. The word “volunteer” has never had quite the same meaning in Russia as it does elsewhere.

Not surprisingly, Moscow’s realism is beating Washington’s drole de guerre. Iran and Iraq (yes, the Iraq 5000 Americans died to create; thank you George W.) just signed an alliance with Moscow, leaving us out in the cold. Why? Because when Moscow says it will help, the help starts arriving next week. It does not come with absurd “human rights” conditions attached telling the Iraqi government not to employ its most effective forces, the Shiite militias. Russain weapons are simple enough for the locals to use and maintain. Maybe Russians can even provide trainers whose trainees fight instead of running. The Army’s National Training Center discovered long ago that Russian tactics are easier to teach and learn, and more effective, than American tactics.

The story in Washington and in European capitals is the same in everything: rule by an incompetent and disinterested elite that lives in Disneyland, can’t make things work, and isn’t serious about anything but remaining the elite. At some point, drole de guerre will yield to a bottom-up feu do joie.  favicon

22 thoughts on “The View From Olympus: Futility”

  1. I read a lot of these doom and gloom type of articles.

    What is the solution? It’s easy to point out a problem, but what we desperately need are solutions.

  2. Give me an R, give me a U, give me an S, give me an S, give me an I, give me an A. RUSSIA!

    I’m helping. 😉

    More seriously: Pointing at a good example can help in these sorts of circumstances.

  3. Apparently the Russian air force is already providing support for operations involving “thousands” of Syrian troops. I don’t know if the Syrian army is all that “capable”, but they’ve got to be better than the Yanks’ 5 or 6 probably-not-ISIS-members.

  4. Does anyone have a link to the Army National Training Centers report on russian training that is alluded to in the article? I would be interested to look at that.

  5. I was just about to ask the same. I’d like to see this, do they have an equivalent to FM 7-8, or an interpretation of it in English?

  6. Solution?

    From this government or its bureaucrats?

    What I take away from this is that you had best begin preparing yourself and your community, if you have not already begun, for the impotence and rage that the elite and their useful idiots are beginning to feel to be unleashed upon you. This might be SJW’s and churchians attacking your religion, culture, speech, or habits, to the newly established “Department of Domestic Terrorism” created at DHS whose target acquisition list is shaped by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    The solution is now at the personal level. What are you going to do?

  7. The story in Washington and in European capitals is the same in everything: rule by an incompetent and disinterested elite that lives in Disneyland

    I absolutely agree. Look at these photos. They tell you everything you need to know:

    1. European Defense Ministers.
    2. Russian Defense Minister.

    If you are interested in a deep analysis of the Syrian mess from the field of geostrategy and geopolitics, here you have a good one:
    Whoever controls Eurasia controls the world: The battle over Syria is part of a much larger – and longer-term – struggle for global hegemony.

  8. Wouldn’t you rather choose a Bernie Sanders? I mean, Allende-like collapse and reboot. There’s an opportunity in that scenario.

    What you need now is your own Gorbachev, someone capable of putting an end to the USA (as a political entity) through utter incompetence.

    Europe needs to be free from American hegemony, the sooner the better. And you need a new country, with new political and philosophical foundations. I mean, a real nation.

  9. The one pictured is an SU-34 Fullback, based heavily on the Flanker. I agree, they are beautiful airplanes.

  10. The Russian air force is far more effective than the useless bunch bunch of tossers who with half a trillion dollars a year on 9/11 couldn’t defend their own headquarters against $12 worth of box-cutters.

  11. “May I suggest an alternative? How about an American soldier desperately trying to rally a mob of fleeing Iraqi or Afghan troops?”

    Okay, I’ll admit it – that made me snort.

  12. Sanders is too weak relative to Hillary to have a good chance at election. Trump on the other hand is facing a brace of weak opponents and at least has good odds to win the nomination.


    All-Veteran Paintball Team Can’t Win Without Air Support

    “ATLANTA, GA — Prior-military paintball team “28th Paintfantry” has yet to win a single match against area teenagers according to sources at the paintball arena.”

    . . .

    “We tried bounding movements and flanking formations, but without overwhelming numbers, technology, and money, it turns out that our Vietnam-era tactics are completely useless.”

  14. To be entirely fair, the Russian forces in Syria aren’t going to be followed around by a gaggle of rubberneckers from Al-Jazeera, Al-Reuters, and the Jew York Times, who will screech to the world about “war crimes” and “humanitarian crisis” and “Islam’s sixth holiest shrine” every time the Russians drop a bomb on a fortified mosque that’s stuffed with weapons, ammunition, and terrorists. This alone should make the Russian forces vastly more efficient and effective than their American counterparts.

    Likewise, prisoners who fall into Russian hands–if we make the not necessarily sound assumption that the Russians will take prisoners at all–are likely to find themselves wishing that their captors were only interested in making them form human pyramids for their amusement. And there will be no, zero, 0, pictures posted on the cover of TIME Magazine when the KGB interrogators get out the electrodes and the hot irons and the flensing knives and the bamboo wedges and the electric drills.

  15. Leave. neutralism is the only solution. Don’t remember where I read it, but our best two generals are named Atlantic and Pacific.

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