Category Archives: War Without End

F35 fleet grounded by engine crack

open quoteTHE Pentagon says it has grounded its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets after discovering a cracked engine blade.

The problem was discovered during what the Pentagon called a routine inspection at Edwards Air Force Base, California, of an Air Force version of the F-35. Other versions of the F-35 are flown by the Navy and the Marine Corps.

All versions were grounded on Friday.close quote (Read more)

The F35 Is Too Heavy and Slow, So the Pentagon Made Its Performance Tests Easier

Military procurement is the most holy, and therefore the most corrupt government procurement.

open quoteThe Pentagon’s pursuit of the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jet has been a heartbreaking one. If you’re a tax payer, the program’s estimated $1 trillion price tag probably breaks your heart a little bit. If you’re an aviation enthusiast, the constant whittling away of the do-it-all aircraft’s features, which in many cases actually amounts to adding weight and taking away maneuverability, must hurt a little bit, too.

. . . .

To put it bluntly, the Pentagon’s new trillion-dollar fighter jet doesn’t go a fast as it should, doesn’t turn as sharp as it should and doesn’t handle as nimbly as it should. This is bad news, explains Wired’s David Axe. For the pilots who will eventually take the F-35 into combat, the JSF’s reduced performance means they might not be able to outfly and outfight the latest Russian- and Chinese-made fighters,” writes Axe. “Even before the downgrades, some analysts questioned the F-35′s ability to defeat newer Sukhoi and Shenyang jets.” That all sounds like bad news, doesn’t it? If our expensive new jets can’t beat the Russians or the Chinese, who can we fight? I’m pretty sure al Qaeda doesn’t have an air force.close quote (Read more)

The Pseudo-Courage of Chris Kyle

Chris Kyle is a former Navy Seal who was recently killed in a civilian gun range in Texas. He is also the author of “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.”

open quote That kind of courage, which is conspicuous in danger and enterprise, if devoid of justice, is absolutely undeserving of the name of valor. It should rather be considered as a brutal fierceness outraging every principle of humanity. –

Cicero, The Offices, Book I Chapter XIX

As a sniper with the Navy SEALs in Iraq, Chris Kyle was shot twice and wounded on several other occasions. He is credited with 160 confirmed kills. He received several commendations. Of his fierceness there is no reasonable doubt. Whether his exploits display courage is an entirely separate question.

American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, the ghost-written memoir for which Kyle claims primary authorship, offers convincing testimony that Kyle not only failed to display genuine courage in Iraq, but was incapable of recognizing it when it was exhibited by desperate patriots seeking to evict the armed foreigners who had invaded and occupied their country.

The insurgents who fought the American invasion (and the few “allied” troops representing governments that had been bribed or brow-beaten into collaborating in that crime) were sub-human “savages” and “cowards,” according to Kyle.

“Savage, despicable evil,” writes Kyle. “That’s what we were fighting in Iraq…. People ask me all the time, `How many people have you killed?’… The number is not important to me. I only wish I had killed more. Not for bragging rights, but because I believe the world is a better place without savages out there taking American lives.”

None of the American military personnel whose lives were wasted in Iraq had to die there, because none of them had any legitimate reason to be there. From Kyle’s perspective, however, only incorrigibly “evil” people would object once their country had been designated the target of one of Washington’s frequent outbursts of murderous humanitarianism.

. . . .

“She was … blinded by evil,” Kyle writes of the woman he murdered from a safe distance. “She just wanted Americans dead, no matter what. My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul.”

Were Kyle just a touch more literate, he might recognize the term untermenschen, a German expression that encapsulates his view of the Iraqis who took up arms to repel foreign invaders. From his perspective, they were incurably inferior to their “liberators” and possessed of an inexplicable hatred toward their natural betters.

For some reason many Iraqis resented the armed emissaries of the distant government that had installed Saddam in power, built up his arsenal and apparatus of domestic repression, and then conferred upon the inhabitants of that nation the unmatched blessing of several decades of wars, embargoes, airstrikes, disease, and the early, avoidable deaths of hundreds of thousands of children.

“The people we were fighting in Iraq, after Saddam’s army fled or was defeated, were fanatics,” Kyle insists. “They hated us because we weren’t Muslim. They wanted to kill us, even though we’d just booted out their dictator, because we practiced a different religion than they did.”

Actually, most of them probably wanted to kill Kyle and his comrades because they had invaded and occupied their country. They were prepared to use lethal force to protect their homes against armed intruders who had no right to be there. Ironically, Kyle’s book offers evidence that he understands that principle; he simply doesn’t believe that it applies to Iraqis.

In one incident described by Kyle, he and several other U.S. personnel raid an Iraqi home, in the basement of which they discover a mass grave containing the bodies of several soldiers and Marines. For several panic-stricken moments, Kyle is understandably terrified by the thought that he might find the lifeless body of his younger brother, a Marine who had also been deployed to Iraq.

With obvious and vehement disgust, Kyle cites the “murdered young men whose bodies we had pulled out” of that basement grave as evidence of the bestial nature of the enemy. He exhibits no interest at all in the fact that tens of millions of Iraqis have seen friends and family meet violent, avoidable deaths as a result of the wars and sanctions imposed on their country by Washington. Untermenschen, apparently, aren’t entitled to experience grief and rage – much less the right to defend their homes and families against aggressive violence.

After returning from his first combat tour in Iraq, Kyle recalls, he was rudely roused from slumber one morning when the burglar alarm went off. Although this was a malfunction rather than a real emergency, Kyle’s reaction was revealing.

“I grabbed my pistol and went to confront the criminal,” he recalls. “No son of a bitch was breaking into my house and living to tell about it.”

Why was it “evil” for Iraqis to feel exactly the same way about the foreign sons of bitches who broke into their country and wrecked the place?
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Media Creating a New Enemy for a New War

How bad are the bad guys in Mali? The answer, in four powerful paragraphs

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SEGOU, Mali — On a sweltering afternoon, Islamist police officers dragged Fatima Al Hassan out of her house in the fabled city of Timbuktu. They beat her up, shoved her into a white pickup truck and drove her to their headquarters. She was locked up in a jail as she awaited her sentence: 100 lashes with an electrical cord.

“Why are you doing this?” she recalled asking.

Hassan was being punished for giving water to a male visitor.

… [R]efugees say the Islamists are raping and forcibly marrying women, and recruiting children for armed conflict. Social interaction deemed an affront to their interpretation of Islam is zealously punished through Islamic courts and a police force that has become more systematic and inflexible, human rights activists and local officials say.

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Doesn’t this type of thing happen among Islamists in London?

Super-costly F-35s, a global wrecking ball

open quoteThere is a stark lesson in the escalating cost nightmare of the F-35 fighter jets that holds more ominous implications for Washington than even for Canada’s Harper government.

Quite simply, it is that allied Western nations are finding the once-vaunted high-tech American weaponry no longer politically affordable. Not in large numbers.

Canada’s grief over its share of the F-35 price tag — now estimated to be almost $46 billion over 42 years — has been shared by a half-dozen countries, including Britain, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands, which have been forced to either cut back on their orders or contemplate outright cancellation.

This political fallout is upending the whole global arms bazaar. Around the world, America’s big-ticket defence items are being increasingly challenged by cheaper products from Europe and now Asia as well.

More developing countries are shunning extravagant U.S. weaponry for the cheaper but quite-good-enough products of Russia, China, India, and South Korea.

India itself recently rejected a large F-35 purchase in favour of buying more Russian and, possibly, French fighters for its fleet.

. . . .

t is a problem that goes well beyond the F-35s.

American insistence on super-smart combat designs has pushed the price tag of one destroyer to $1.2 billion and a new submarine to twice that. Even Congress has started to gag at such numbers.

Ironically, it was Washington’s concern over rising foreign competition that led to the F-35 woes.

The Pentagon recklessly raced the Lockheed Martin F-35 into early production in 2007, even before it was flight tested, in an attempt to corner the market for the company’s new stealth technology.

As aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia told the New York Times, “there was this big desire to kill the competition.”
‘Acquisition malpractice’

Bypassing flight tests before production was extraordinarily risky and some officials inside the Pentagon warned it would end badly. But apparently higher-ups insisted that any kinks would be worked out in computer simulation.

The F-35 was originally to have been a relatively affordable mix of three different plane types. But it turned out to be a far more complex hybrid than imagined.

Start-up costs have already consumed $65 billion, and the whole mess was denounced as “acquisition malpractice” by the Pentagon’s new procurement chief, Frank Kendall, earlier this year.

The F-35s are now the most expensive weapons program in history, so over the top, in fact, that the Pentagon’s original hope to produce some 2,400 of these fighters, spread across nine nations, is fading fast.

The estimated unit price per plane has doubled from $69 million to $167 million today and some industry experts warn that only half that projected production run may be achievable. . . .close quote (Read more)

Joe Klein’s sociopathic defense of drone killings of children

open quoteOn MSNBC’s Morning Joe program this morning, which focused on Monday’s night presidential debate, the former right-wing Congressman and current host Joe Scarborough voiced an eloquent and impassioned critique of President Obama’s ongoing killing of innocent people in the Muslim world using drones. In response, Time Magazine’s Joe Klein, a stalwart Obama supporter, offered one of the most nakedly sociopathic defenses yet heard of these killings. This exchange, which begins at roughly the 7:00 minute mark on the video embedded below, is quite revealing in several respects.

. . . .

(1) Klein’s justification – we have to kill their children in order to protect our children – is the exact mentality of every person deemed in US discourse to be a “terrorist”. Almost every single person arrested and prosecuted over the last decade on terrorism charges, when asked why they were willing to kill innocent Americans including children, offered some version of Joe Klein’s mindset.

. . . .

Leaving aside the sociopathic, morally grotesque defense of killing 4-year-olds with a “joystick from California”, Klein’s claims are completely false on pragmatic grounds. Slaughtering Muslim children does not protect American children from terrorism. The opposite is true. That is precisely what causes the anti-American hatred that fuels and sustains terrorism aimed at Americans in the first place, as even a study commissioned by the Rumsfeld-era Pentagon recognized almost a decade ago.

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This exchange is a perfectly vivid expression of the Obama legacy. Here we have a standard Democratic/progressive pundit who is one of the media’s most stalwart Obama fanatics defending indiscriminate slaughter of Muslim children. Meanwhile, it’s left to a former right-wing, Gingrich-era congressman to raise objections, call for more public scrutiny, and cite the moral and strategic dangers, one of the very few commentators on MSNBC – the progressive network – who has ever voiced such passionate criticism of Obama’s ongoing killings.close quote (Read more)