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Gary Brecher

I’ve been thinking it might be a good idea to do the Sunday blog on war books. The only problem is, there are so many great ones it’s hard to decide which one to start with.

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Posted: April 10th, 2011

Gen. Earl Van Dorn: Dixie girls thought he was handsome, more proof Dixie was insane.

 

If you ever need to remind yourself that military command isn’t as glamorous as people think, it doesn’t hurt to go over the short, ridiculous Civil-War career of Earl Van Dorn.

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Posted: April 9th, 2011

NOTE: My links are messed up here, I realize. Found out what’s wrong. I’ll have it fixed in tomorrow’s column. Meantime, here’s the link to the video I’m talking about:

 

I’ve been watching the famous motorcycle-shooting video from Afghanistan, the one leaked by Rolling Stone.

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Posted: April 8th, 2011

Which’ud Ya Rather Have, A BMW…

A couple of the comments on yesterday’s blog were about comparing the RPG-7 and the M2 Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle. It’s the kind of question I used to love when I talked hardware, but it’s the kind of question that made me stop talking hardware, too.

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Posted: April 7th, 2011

Ouattara: Whattarya, A Muslim Militant…

Things are popping on the comment front.

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Posted: April 6th, 2011

Strange doings in Ivory Coast. Well, no, actually; what’s going on in Ivory Coast is perfectly standard West African procedure. The strange goings-on are in the way the UN has been handling things and the press has been reporting them.

You don’t develop a lot of respect for the free press if you read what they write on Africa. It’s not that they don’t have a clue. That would be understandable. It’s that they don’t WANT a clue. That’s kinda hard to forgive in a reporter. (more…)

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Posted: April 5th, 2011

Captured Mercenaries in Libya: Sure, the money’s great, but…

One of the more interesting questions out of Libya is the tangled problem of who’s who, and who’s on who’s side. I’m starting to get some idea of who’s against Qaddafi—basically the young men, the East, and the tribes loyal to the king he booted out to take power.

But who’s fighting for him? I found one interesting answer in a crazy Ghanian blog called “The Ticklish”

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Posted: April 4th, 2011

Thaddeus Stevens: Weird-looking, huh? That’s because he was a real American. Extinct now.

Looks like they’re starting to find the mass graves in Ivory Coast right on schedule, but I’m going to leave the hard war news for the five weekday blogs. Weekends are for digressin’ and avengin’.

Today I want to do a little of both by quoting something amazing I found rereading a classic one-volume history of the Civil War, James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom.

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Posted: April 3rd, 2011

Grant: Never Got Over Junior High

 

Friday nights I read Civil War books. I noticed a European said in the comments last week how sick he is of the US Civil War. Well, my hemispherically-challenged bud, you’re not going to like today’s column but you have to understand that for every decent American, the Civil War is comfort food. It’s where we all started, all the war nerds I ever talked to anyway, and we all go back there to charge up after a week in the work world.

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Posted: April 2nd, 2011

Gbagbo fighters patrolling Abidjan: No wonder they lost! Call that stubbie a Technical?

Today the action moves south, off the Libyan beaches and into the rain forest of the Ivory Coast, where rebel forces have just taken the big city, Abidjan. It just cheers me up to write a good old-school line like that: “Rebel forces have just taken the big city…”

But although they moved fast at the end, it’s been a long, slow wrestle in Ivory Coast, with the Muslims from the North getting stronger year by year and the old French-trained coastal Christian tribes losing out so slowly they couldn’t believe it themselves.

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Posted: April 1st, 2011

Rebels doing what they do best: fleeing.

Libya is such a pitiful mess that it should keep the scriptwriters going for years.

For the dummies, you’ve got a good and evil story, with Qaddafi as the bad guy. Somewhere in Hollywood, producers are hitting scriptwriters on the heads to help them come up with an inspiring title for the upcoming Libya flick. I’m betting they’ll go for something automotive, thanks to all those pictures of Libyan rebels commuting to battle in their SUVs.

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Posted: March 31st, 2011

Khamis The Intern: Who In Their Right Mind Would Give Up Something This Promising?

The funniest story to come out of the Libya video game yet is the news that Qaddafi’s son, Khamis–one of however many the old man popped out in his big tent (Qaddafi is the original believer in the big-tent theory, with girls of all nations in the various tent zones)–has outraged the LA engineering firm called AECOM that hired him by going home and shooting down heroic rebels.

Two things: I guess this is the final word that the protesters or rebels are the heroes. Everbody got that? Synchronize your moral compasses to True North and Total Goodness. (more…)

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Posted: March 30th, 2011

How much would you pay for this dead reb?

How much would you pay for this dead reb?

First a quick clear-up on something I said yesterday. These clear-up urges seem to come with the daily posting territory. Every night I go to bed thinking I should’ve said something better, or added a link, or something like that. But the good part is, I can come back the next morning and do it.The point I wanted to clear up today was why V/STOL technology is a sensible design cost for some planes and not others. We were talking about the Harrier, where it’s not a good idea. That’s because the Harrier is a fighter, and as inflight refueling gets better and better, the need for good shock absorbers and V/STOL on a fighter goes down, because a fighter has no reason to land on what those Gettysburg guys would call “bad ground.” (I never heard people talk about “ground” as much as in that movie; it was like listening to landscape gardeners in uniform.) In fact, if a fighter or fighter pilot touches the ground at all before it gets home, something has likely gone seriously wrong.

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Posted: March 29th, 2011

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s an 80s revivial. You’re in Safeway stocking up for the night and start feeling rotten without knowing why. Then you catch a familiar syrupy drama-club vocal and you realize, Oh yeah, it hey’re playing one of those 80s revival songs on the muzak.

That’s how I felt this weekend when I saw a picture of the USMC Harrier AV8B “Jump Jet” (even that sounds like an 80s band), a classic 80s freak of procurement infighting. The Harrier is getting its picture on the news because it’s supposedly “hitting targets inside Libya.” What it’s actually doing is showing the flag, and I don’t mean the stars and stripes. I mean Marine Corps Air Wing. The story of the AV8B is just one long series of turf wars. As a weapon of war, the AV8B is a joke, but as a turf-weapon, a blunt instrument for the Corps to whack the Navy with, it’s a killer.

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Posted: March 28th, 2011

Sunday, the day the Lord appointed for revenge. And who better to practice on than the Luzer who reviewed my book back in 2008? Luzer is actually his name. Seriously, Daniel Luzer. Luzer reviewed my book for some goody-goody lefty magazine called Mother Jones.

I don’t know that magazine, “Mother Jones,” but I know I’d hate it.

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Posted: March 27th, 2011

My first Saturday blog. I promised seven days a week and I’ll deliver. To be honest “giving up my weekend” is not as much of a sacrifice as people seem to think. It’s not like I’m closing down all the local clubs, hitting the slopes at Tahoe, whatever. A good Friday for me is: Put Gettysburg on and watch Pickett’s Charge three or four times. I’ve been reading Shelby Foote’s Dixie-sucking histories again and they piss me off so bad I can’t get enough of seeing double loads of canister blast that fence, sending those big babies from ol’ Virginny flying up in the air to rethink their position on the constitutionality of secession.

But since Saturday seems to be an excuse to slack off for most people I figured I’ll take advantage and keep my Sat entries pretty fast. So just a couple of things. (more…)

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Posted: March 26th, 2011

 

You can feel the war in Libya shifting today. This is what it must be like to go to a stage play and wait around between scenes while they wheel the props off and drag in the new ones. The next act is coming up, and it’s pretty clear what it’s going to be: PR war, tribal deal-making war.

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Posted: March 25th, 2011

Whoa, things are heating up in a good way around here. First I want to thank everybody who helped with my puzzlement over that shot of an MBT with its turret popped off, lying in the sand 30 yards away from the chassis.

First, I have to own up: the photo I used isn’t the one I was talking about, because I’m new at blogging and haven’t been able to load the photos I want.  The reason I’m mentioning this is that a reader calling himself “Kingtoots” pointed out in a damn good comment to yesterday’s blog that the picture I ended up using shows a blasted self-propelled gun, not an MBT. Ya got me, King T. It was the off-circle turret and too-thick barrel that gave me away, I bet.

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Posted: March 24th, 2011

Who ever imagined Libya…I mean Libya, with a record of O-and-Forever, with a knockout from Chad on its record…would put on a show like this? Some of the pictures I’ve seen are so amazing I’ve been trying to figure them out for days. Like this one of a dead Libyan tank after the French Air Force hit it. Look at that turret! Flew clean off, like the turret-chassis joint’s almost intact, and landed 30 yards away. That’s what they call a precision air-to-ground munition.

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Posted: March 23rd, 2011

Libya’s newest fun park: Find the scorpion in the F-15 wreckage

A US F15E Strike Eagle went down over Libya today. Supposedly “equipment malfunction” brought it down. Also supposedly, both pilots are back in US hands. One was picked up by a V-22 Osprey from the Marine Corps, doing what it’s designed to do, fly in fast, land like a chopper and skedaddle. The other was rescued by “resistance fighters” and handed back to US forces. So aside from the fifty or sixty million we paid for the plane, all’s well—although this won’t do much for our “just one of the boys, not taking a leading role” PR story in Libya. Well, at least no American pilot’ll be making any of those bruised-face anti-imperialist videos you get from pilots whose chutes opened in enemy territory. (more…)

Posted: March 22nd, 2011