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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